Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 1st, 2024

It’s May Day – a day we used to celebrate as children with folded paper May Day baskets filled with wildflowers, and a dance with colored ribbons around the maypole. But it is also the first day of Older Americans Month, celebrated since 1963, where communities across the country show their gratitude for the contributions of older adults.

This year’s theme is “Powered by Connection” which recognizes the profound impact of meaningful relationships and social connections. Often as we age, we find ourselves spending more time alone, leaving us more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation which can affect our health and well-being – and independence.

But for many of us, it is not easy to stay connected: mobility difficulties; loss of sight or hearing; loss of a spouse. But there are ways to stay connected even with the challenges we may face.

  • Find an activity that you enjoy, restart an old hobby, or take a class to learn something new where you might meet people with similar interests.
  • Schedule time each day to stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors whether in person, through texts, email, social media, or virtual calls. Or write a letter. Does anyone handwrite letters anymore?
  • Talk with people you trust and share your feelings.
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors.
  • Find a faith-based organization where you can deepen your spirituality and engage with others in activities and events.
  • Stay physically active by participating in an exercise class at your local senior or community center such as the popular Strong People class. But be warned, the classes are way too much fun!

There are also resources and programs at your local senior center and public library.

“Conversations for The Curious” at the Hood River Valley Adult Center from 10:30 – 12:00 on May 15th – discussing how to keep your financial affairs in order. Then on June 12th – how to have important and sometimes difficult conversations with family. For more information contact Claire Culbertson at claireculbertson@gmail.com.

Age Café at The Dalles Wasco County Library on May 6th from 2:00 – 3:00 and May 20th from 1:00 – 2:00. The Age Cafe offers an opportunity to engage in thoughtful small-group conversations on various topics relevant to older adults. Contact Roni Hyde at rhyde@gobhi.org or 541-705-4870.

“Let’s Talk” is a monthly session hosted by Noelle Savatta at the Pioneer Center Senior Center in White Salmon where you can find support or guidance about the challenges you may be facing in your life. For information about the next session call Noelle at 503-893-4669.

Older adults are a vital part of our society and it’s important that we stay connected with others to maintain our health and well-being, while also giving our time and effort to help keep our communities strong and vibrant.

BRAIN TEASE:

What are the next two numbers in this sequence? 7, 14, 17, 21, 27, 28, 35, 37, ?, ?

The 1968 song sung by Jeannie C. Riley that tells the story of Mrs. Johnson barging into a PTA meeting and revealing a long list of the members’ private indiscretions was Harper Valley PTA. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Donna Mollet, Rebecca Abrams, Kathy Bullack, Judy Kiser, Marny Weting, Jim Tindall, Lana Tepfer, Carolyn Bondurant, Rhonda Spies, Jay Waterbury, David and Sharrie Ray, Doug Nelson, Kim Birge, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Craig Terry and David Liberty – this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week my mind must have been playing in the clouds because I missed both Judy Kiser and Lana Tepfer.

In grade school during the 50s, I remember every Friday for lunch a particular food was served. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what food was it? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it stuck to a vintage lunch tray with instant mashed potatoes, peas, a cookie, and a carton of milk.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to make the best of every day – or at least get close. Until we meet again, make sure to take care of your future self.

“Life is trying things to see if they work.” Ray Bradbury

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Wednesdays with music on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: (The answer is again upside down. See if you can decipher it.)

.7 ʎq ǝןqısıʌıp ǝɹɐ ɹo 7 ʇıƃıp ǝɥʇ uıɐʇuoɔ ɹǝɥʇıǝ ʇɐɥʇ sɹǝqɯnu ǝɥʇ ǝɹɐ ʎǝɥʇ .74 ,24

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ April 17th, 2024

How often do you hear of new products or research findings that will help you live longer? Take this pill or that, eat less fat and more fiber, hit the gym, and lift those weights.

But many folks ignore it all because they believe when their time is up, there ain’t nothing you can do about it. So why change old habits? “Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be, will be”.

But in many ways the focus on living longer is not really the point. More importantly, the reason you should consider eating better, moving and stretching more, and exploring new possibilities is to enjoy the years you have left – no matter how many there are. Or to paraphrase “It’s not to add years to your life, but to enjoy the life in your years”.

These latter years are not a mere holding pattern – riding an antique Piper Cub going nowhere as it circles for its last and final landing. But a time to play with the grandchildren, write your life story, learn to use a smartphone, or even meet a new love and dance the night away. So consider what you can do to stay as healthy and active as possible to enjoy “the life in your years”.

This coming weekend is the 43rd Annual Northwest Cherry Festival in downtown The Dalles. It includes the parade starting at 10:00, Car Show, Open Air Market, Food Court, Carnival, and Entertainment. But most importantly it includes the Cherry Festival Breakfast at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. Why? Besides enjoying a tasty breakfast and supporting the senior center, it will be when the raffle drawing will be held for a quilt made by the Mid-Columbia Senior Center Quilters. All the “Remember When” winners will be entered and hopefully one of them will win. It has happened before!

And speaking of the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, the AARP Smart Driver Course, which is open to all Oregon drivers, will be held at the center on April 25th and April 26th from 8:35 to 12:15. The cost is $20 for AARP members and $25 for non-members. You still have time to sign up so call 541-296-4788.

Observation for the week:

“As you get older; you’ve probably noticed that you tend to forget things. You’ll be talking with somebody at a party, and you’ll know that you know this person, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember his or her name. This can be very embarrassing, especially if he or she turns out to be your spouse.” Dave Barry

Brain Tease: Instead of an actual tease, this week I’m including these number exercises that will help improve your concentration and mental endurance. Guaranteed!

  1. Recite all the numbers between 1 and 100 that contain the digit 7. (7, 17, 27…)
  2. Count down from 200 by 4s. (200, 196, 192…)
  3. Recite the numbers counting up by 4s and by 5s (4-5, 8-10, 12-15…)
  4. Start with 2 and start doubling it in your head. See how far you can get. (2, 4, 8, 16, 32…)

The American who defeated Russian Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship match in 1972 that was publicized as a Cold War confrontation between the US and USSR was Bobby Fischer. I received correct answers from Donna Mollet, Rebecca Abrams, Kathy Bullack, Rose Schulz, Dan Crisp, Eva Summers, Tina Castanares, Dave Lutgens, and Maria Kollas this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Ron Nelson and Craig Terry.

Do you remember when there were whitewall tires? If you do, you might just remember this car modification that was first commercially produced in 1932 but faded in popularity in the 1970s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name for pieces of bodywork, first described as “pants”, that were attached to the fender that covered the upper portions of the wheels of a vehicle? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or drop it off at my house with a blue 1952 Nash Rambler.

Well, it’s been another week trying to stay focused. Until we meet again, it’s been said without money we’d all be rich.

“It’s possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” Lee Segall

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office

(509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ April 10th, 2024

Do you and your partner ever fight over little or big disagreements? Or do you use the avoidance style of handling conflicts my wife and I use?

In her article “Is There a Right Way to Fight with Your Partner?” on the website Next Avenue, Randi Mazzella interviews couples therapist Dr. Julie Gottman who with her husband wrote the book “Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict Into Connection”

What they’ve learned from their fifty years of research with over three thousand couples, is that fighting isn’t necessarily bad for a relationship and if done right, fighting can lead to greater intimacy and connection.

Gottman offers several suggestions for how to fight right, so you can express your feelings safely without judgment and your partner will understand what is troubling you and you can get what you need.

First, avoid these four communication styles when communicating with a partner: stonewalling, criticism, contempt, and defensiveness. For example, instead of being critical, try something positive. Rather than saying “Why can’t you ever load the dishwasher?” try “It would help me if you could load the dishwasher tonight.”

Second, couples should employ a “5 to 1” ratio when discussing an issue: five positive interactions to each negative. Positive interactions can be a smile, a nod, or an affectionate touch, while negative interactions include saying something critical, a frown, or ignoring what a partner says.

Third, it’s not about winning; it’s about understanding one another. “Arguments should be productive and enriching, not hurtful,” says Gottman.

Fourth, learn to communicate better. Not just by being an “active listener”: letting your partner speak and repeating what they have said to prove you heard them. Active listening often fails because it doesn’t include the importance of how the speakers express themselves.” And using “I” sentences doesn’t always work either. Gottman explains that if you say, “I feel angry when you don’t bring in the groceries,” your partner may just hear the negativity. Using ‘I’ in a positive way, such as, “I’d appreciate if you brought in the groceries”, is a more effective way of getting your point across.

Fifth, know how to apologize. Now this could be a whole other column. But to apologize to end the fight without really being sorry, or apologizing without genuinely knowing why your partner was upset won’t help.

I don’t think any of us can or even should live like the fictional characters Carol and Mike Brady of “The Brady Bunch.” Because if done right, which may take time, fighting can lead to a more intimate and stronger relationship.

Now I just have to look for something to fight about tonight!

I learned at least one person was interested in the Pathfinder 2 study because he called and found that the phone number I wrote last week was incorrect. I meant to write 541-399-9059. Thank you to whoever that masked man was who found my error.

Brain Tease: This is a quote where I’ve reversed the text.

neurG araS – .tnatropmi tub ,krow drah si selbram ruoy lla gnivah fo ecnaraeppa eht pu gnipeeK

The name of the first satellite launched on October 4th, 1957, by the Soviet Union was Sputnik. I received correct answers from Jay Waterbury, Kathy Bullack, Lana Tepfer, Tina Castanares, Marny Wetting, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Eva Summers, Rebecca Abrams, Linda Frizzell, Bruce Johnson, and Glenna Mahurin, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I don’t know if chess was ever your game, but in 1972 the world was focused on a chess match between Russia and the United States. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the American who defeated Russian Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship match that generated so much interest it was broadcast on prime-time TV. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a copy of his book My 60 Memorable Games.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying life as I’m passing through. Until we meet again, as a very close friend recently told me, “I don’t like to fight. I just like to win!”

“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.” Martin Luther King

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: “Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.” ― Sara Gruen

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ April 3rd, 2024

As we grow older we continue to gain knowledge from our growing life experiences, and wisdom from our many past lessons.

And yet there is one personal trait I feel has taken a hit: my confidence.

I’m not sure why. Maybe because in conversations with friends or at a meeting, I’m afraid I won’t remember an important event, or I didn’t hear a key point. I can still put two and two together to get four, but did I hear two and two – or was it two and three, and then my response wouldn’t make any sense? So, I keep quiet, except with my wife who reminds me of how foolish I can sound – which doesn’t help my confidence!

You may feel the same way: less confident in public, or while driving after dark, walking an uneven trail, learning a new technology.

But sometimes when your confidence is low, it is often best to put yourself out there; take a risk by trying something new. Learn to play a musical instrument, join that Tai Chi class you always wondered about, or meet that cute boy or girl at your favorite gathering spot. (Sorry. I forgot we’re not in high school!)

And the key? Take small steps – and be persistent.

Then most importantly, celebrate your successes.

There will be setbacks: a poor choice of words, a forgotten appointment, an avoidable fall but focus on what you can do: your gifts and talents, so you don’t miss any of life’s opportunities.

That’s what I keep telling myself!

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world but too often cancer goes undetected until it is in an advanced stage. The 5-year overall survival rate is 4x higher when cancer is diagnosed early before it has spread.

Today only 5 types of cancer have recommended screening tests to detect cancer early:  breast, colorectal, lung (for those at risk), cervical, and prostate; while 70% of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths are due to cancers with no recommended screening.

But the PATHFINDER 2 Study is aiming to change that. This national clinical trial will check how well an early test called Galleri® developed by GRAIL detects more than 50 cancers with a simple blood test. The clinical trial will help determine if it will eventually be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Adventist Health Columbia Gorge and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute are participating in the PATHFINDER 2 Study and are looking for individuals to join the study. To be eligible you must be 60 – 79 years old and have had no cancer diagnosis or treatment in the last 3 years. And I’ve heard they are particularly looking for men for the study.

To participate call 541-399-9095 or email Gorgepathfinder@ohsu.edu to schedule an appointment to complete a brief medical history and provide a blood sample. There will be a brief annual follow-up once a year for 3 years by phone or online. Last year, I participated in the study and found it easy and confidential.

Worrying about having cancer can feel overwhelming. Knowing there is a screening test for over 50 cancers could help you feel more in control of your health. You can help make that possible by participating in the PATHFINDER 2 Study.

Brain Tease: For me, this was a “groaner” when I saw the answer.

“Who’s bigger: Mr. Bigger, Mrs. Bigger, or their baby?”

The name of the center who led UCLA to three consecutive national championship games and in 1971 publicly changed his name after converting to Islam was Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Mike McFarlane, Kathy Bullack, Dennis Morgan, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Doug Nelson, Tina Castanares, Dan Crisp, Mike Nichols, Deborah Medina, Keith Clymer, Bruce Johnson, Donna Mollet, Carol Earl, Nancy Higgins, Ken Jernstedt, and Blaine Evinger this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Today there are approximately 9,500 active satellites in various earth orbits and small satellites (661 pounds or less – about the weight of an average vending machine) comprise 94% of all satellite launches.

For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the first artificial Earth satellite (184 pounds and 23 inches in diameter) launched on October 4th, 1957, by the Soviet Union and triggered the Space Race? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a 1/24 scale model of the Explorer 1 – the first satellite launched by the United States when it was sent into space on January 31, 1958.

Well, it’s been another week, wondering what’s on the other side of the page. Until we meet again, sometimes stubbornness is just another name for being determined – and then sometimes it’s not.

Answer: The baby since he’s a little Bigger

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 27th, 2024

Humor is an indispensable tool of life and is particularly beneficial as we age. It can help mourners heal, defuse tensions, open friendships, and help us cope with challenging situations by acknowledging the incongruities and absurdities of life and reminding us that we are all in this together.

There are many types of humor from slapstick to ironic. However, some research has distinguished these four different styles.

1.) Affiliative humor that promotes social bonding through jokes, amusing remarks, and not taking oneself too seriously:

2.) Self-enhancing humor that enables people to cope with adverse circumstances by perceiving the brighter side of life and being able to laugh at yourself.

3.) Self-defeating humor. Putting yourself down in an aggressive or “poor me” fashion which can be psychologically unhealthy.

4.) Aggressive humor that mocks, ridicules, and disparages others. This involves put-downs or insults targeted toward individuals.

While humor is very individualistic, age can influence what we find amusing. Research has found older adults compared to younger adults enjoy humor more – although may laugh less, and do not enjoy aggressive types of humor as much.

The following five jokes represent the four different styles of humor. See which ones you enjoy – or not!

“A pair of cows were talking in the field. One says, “Have you heard about the mad cow disease that’s going around?” “Yeah,” the other cow says. “Makes me glad I’m a penguin.”

“My psychiatrist told me I’m going crazy. I said, ‘If you don’t mind, I’d like a second opinion.’ he said, ‘All right. You’re ugly, too.’” Rodney Dangerfield

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” Kurt Vonnegut

“I’m not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don’t we just take the warning labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?” Ricky Gervais

“Ole and Lena were at the drive-in movie. Ole says, ‘Say Lena, you wanna get in the back seat?’ Lena says, ‘Naw, Ole, I’d just as soon stay up here with you.”

So take time to enjoy a good laugh with a friend, read an amusing story, or watch your favorite comedy. As Elbert Hubbard once said, “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”

Brain Tease. Tell me if I’ve shared this before. “If 3 tigers catch 3 sheep in 3 minutes. How long does it take for 100 tigers to catch 100 sheep?”

The name of the television series created by Rod Serling in which characters find themselves dealing with often disturbing or unusual events was The Twilight Zone. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Stephen Woolpert, Kathy Bullack, Linda Frizzell, Judy Kiser, Donna Mollet, Sandy Haechrel, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl, Pat Evenson-Brady, Kim Birge, Tina Castanares, Dan Crisp, Nancy Higgins, Rose Schulz, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Bruce Johnson, Doug Nelson, and April Taylor this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Bruce Johnson. And thank you to everyone who sent in their most memorable Twilight Zone episode.

Since it is March Madness, I have to include a basketball question for the sports fans in the audience. When I was attending Purdue University during the 1968–69 school year, the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team beat Purdue to win an unprecedented third consecutive NCAA National Basketball Championship. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the center who led UCLA to three consecutive national championship games and in 1971 publicly changed his name after converting to Islam? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a picture of UCLA head coach John Wooden – the Wizard of Westwood – who coached the UCLA basketball team from 1948 through 1975.

Well, it has been another week, thinking of when I should get out the sunscreen. Until we meet again, as they used to say in the old west, “Poor is having to sell the horse to buy the saddle.”

“Never have children, only grandchildren.” Gore Vidal

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: For 100 tigers to catch 100 sheep, it would still take the same amount of time because each tiger is catching one sheep in 3 minutes. Therefore, it would take 3 minutes for 100 tigers to catch 100 sheep.

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 20th, 2024

You’ve been doing all the right things: exercising, reading, getting a good night’s sleep, eating well, staying socially active, and managing your stress, and yet you feel your memory is slipping. Is it typical age-related brain change or is it that number one fear: dementia?

To provide some guidance, I have listed the ten early signs of dementia published by the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) which also includes examples of typical age-related changes.

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: forgetting events, repeating yourself, or relying on more aids to help you remember (like sticky notes or reminders).

Typical? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

  1. Challenges in planning or solving problems: having trouble paying bills or cooking recipes you have used for years.

Typical? Making occasional errors when managing finances or household bills.

  1. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure: having problems with cooking, driving places, using a cell phone, or shopping.

Typical? Occasionally needing help to use microwave settings or to record a TV show.

  1. Confusion with time or place: having trouble understanding an event that is happening later or losing track of dates.

Typical? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

  1. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations: having more difficulty with balance or judging distance, tripping over things at home, or spilling or dropping things more often.

Typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.

  1. New problems with words in speaking or writing: having trouble following or joining a conversation or struggling to find a word you are looking for (saying “that thing on my wrist that tells time” instead of “watch”).

Typical? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

  1. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps to find something: placing car keys in the washer or dryer.

Typical? Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.

  1. Decreased or poor judgment: not managing money well, paying less attention to hygiene, or having trouble taking care of a pet.

Typical? Making a bad decision or mistake occasionally, like neglecting to change the oil in the car.

  1. Withdrawal from work or social activities: not wanting to go to church or other activities as you usually do, not being able to follow football games or keep up with what’s happening.

Typical? Sometimes feeling uninterested in family or social obligations.

  1. Changes in mood and personality: getting easily upset in common situations or being fearful or suspicious.

Typical? Developing specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

If you experience any of these warning signs, you should consult your primary care provider. What you are experiencing could be symptoms of a treatable condition: Vitamin B-12 deficiency; medications, hypothyroidism, anxiety, or depression.

If you are diagnosed with dementia, an early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment that can slow the disease – and to plan how to face the challenges ahead and live your life to the fullest.

Brain Tease: This Rebus puzzle should be easier than last week’s tease!

What common phrase does the following represent?

TTTHHHEEE IMMMAAAAGGGGIIIINNNAAATTTIIIOOONNN

The comedian who made popular the national catchphrases “The devil made me do it” and “What you see is what you get” was Flip Wilson. I received correct answers from Donna Mollet, Tina Castanares, Judy Kiser, Doug Nelson, Kathy Bullack, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Eva Summer, Stephen Woolpert, Dan Crisp, Keith Clymer, Rhonda Spies, Ron Nelson, and Sharon Mounsey this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I was recently reminded of this television series regarded as one of the greatest of all time. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the television series created by Rod Serling that ran from 1959 to 1964 in which characters find themselves dealing with often disturbing or unusual events? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a memory from your favorite episode.

Well, it has been another week, trying to decide if it’s time to reboot. Until we meet again, as a friend told me recently, “All days are good; some are just better than others”.

“To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.” Bertrand Russell

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answers: A Stretch of the Imagination.

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 13th, 2024

Doesn’t it feel like every day you hear of another way to improve your health? It’s hard to know what to believe: drinking lemon juice and water in the morning? taking vitamin C to help blunt cold symptoms? intestinal cleansing?

But research has shown there are ways such as the “Big Six” lifestyle behaviors I mentioned last week. (Do you remember them?)

Well, you can add one more to the list. In her online article “One of the Best Things We Can Do for Ourselves as We Age”, Stacey Lastoe describes the benefits of reading and how reading can lead to a longer and happier life.

She sites Dr. John Y. Lee, assistant chief clinical officer at Executive Mental Health, who lists the many benefits of reading that researchers have found: lowers our anxiety and helps with relaxation, (although I would avoid Stephen King!); develops deeper empathy for others and helps us experience and process our own feelings; increases our knowledge of other cultures leading to a deeper connection to others. And as you might guess, a growing body of scientific research points to reading as a way to improve cognitive health and to help ward off the onset of dementia.

So, find a good book whether it is a John Grisham novel or a trip through the universe with Stephen Hawking, and, if you haven’t already, start the habit of finding a good time to read at least 15 minutes a day. Or better yet, get together with friends and enjoy a good book together – with a bottle of wine? You’ll find if reading doesn’t lead to a longer, happier life, at least you’ll find life more enjoyable.

I promised I would give the answers to last week’s TRUTH OR MYTH questions. You can find more in-depth answers to the Truth or Myth exercise on the Dana Foundation website at https://dana.org/resources/truth-or-myth-flash-cards-b-w/.

Human brains have shrunk over the last 20,000 years. TRUTH

Populations became less aggressive, and increased social networks which both are associated with smaller brains.

The brain is good at multitasking. MYTH

The brain cannot attend to two or more attention-rich stimuli at the exact same time. Instead, the brain quickly switches back and forth between tasks.

All human brains start as female in the womb. TRUTH

It’s complicated!

The brain is the fattiest organ in the body. TRUTH

Overall, the brain is 75-80% water. The other 20-25% of the brain is solid tissue and is a minimum of 60% fat.

You are either left or right brain dominant. MYTH

Many talents like language processing, spatial ability, and logic, require the integrated teamwork of both the left and right brain.

Some people can taste shapes and colors. TRUTH

The phenomenon, known as synesthesia, may be due to different areas in the brain being more neurologically connected.

Brain Tease: I can’t imagine anyone correctly answering this one (without cheating!), but if you do, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee!

“What is unusual about the following words: revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven?”

The name of Blondie’s inept and bumbling husband is Dagwood. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Stephen Woolpert, Ron Nelson, Doug Nelson, Mike McFarlane, Lana Tepfer, Judy Kiser, Dave Lutgens, Donna Mollet, Rose Schulz, Tina Castanares, Linda Frizzell, Keith Clymer, Jay Waterbury, and Kathy Bullack this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I remember first seeing this comedian in the 60s on The Tonight Show when he was one of Johnny Carson’s favorite guests. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the comedian best known for his variety show from 1970 to 1974, and made popular the national catchphrases “The devil made me do it” and “What you see is what you get”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a picture of Geraldine and her boyfriend “Killer”.

Well, it has been another week standing still while trying to decide which way to go. Until we meet again, I always enjoy the extra hour in the fall, but I wish I didn’t have to give it back in the Spring.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw. Submitted by Rose Schulz

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answers: Take the first letter of each word and place it at the end. It will spell the same word backward.

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 6th, 2024

I worry when I can’t think of a word that is not even on the tip of my tongue, but hiding somewhere down in my throat. But then I remember: when I was younger and forgot a word, I used a common crutch: words such as thingamajig or whatchamacallit.

So, I’ve decided to revert to my younger days; instead of struggling to find the forgotten word, I’ll use one of those substitute words – although it could lead to a conversation like this.

“Dear, I can’t find my thingamajig. I just used it yesterday. I looked for it inside the doodad in the living room. Maybe I put it upstairs next to that whatchamacallit I was using. Could it be in your, uh, … Oh, never mind. I found it under the doohicky on my desk.”

Okay, I hope I don’t get to that point!

Even though many of us will experience some memory loss, most of us will continue to have strong memories as we age. To keep our memories strong and brains healthy, follow these “Big Six” lifestyle behaviors.

  1. Regular exercise (walk 150 minutes a week); 2. Healthy eating (Mediterranean-style diet); 3. Good night’s sleep (seven to nine hours a night); 4. Managing stress (meditation or reading a book!); 5. Staying socially engaged (join an exercise group); 6. Mental stimulation.

To help stimulate your brain, here are three simple, but also challenging, mental exercises you can do by yourself, anytime, and anywhere.

1.) Think of a list of items such as the months in the year and without paper and pencil alphabetize them by their first letter.

2.) Make a list of anything that comes to mind such as a to-do list and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. You may often do this already when you leave your shopping list on the kitchen table!

3.) “Backward Digit Span”. When you hear or read a four-digit number, repeat it – but backward. Try increasing the number of digits and see how many digits you can repeat.

Now that you know ways to keep your brain healthy, let’s see how much your brain knows about itself! Try to answer these six “Truth of Myth” brain questions from the Dana Foundation – but you’ll have to wait until next week for the answers.

Truth or Myth:

  1. The brain is good at multitasking.
  2. Human brains have shrunk over the last 20,000 years.
  3. All human brains start off as female in the womb.
  4. The brain is the fattiest organ in the body.
  5. You are either left or right brain dominant. This will determine whether you are more creative or more logical.
  6. Some people can taste shapes and colors.

Brain Tease: This is a brain tease I’ve heard before and yet I still couldn’t solve it.

“There is three errers in this sentence. Can you find them?”

The name of the 1961 film starring Fred MacMurray as Professor Ned Brainard, who accidentally invents a substance that gains energy when it strikes a hard surface and names it “Flubber” is The Absent Minded Professor.  I received correct answers from Nancy Higgins, Jay Waterbury, Judy Kiser, Donna Mollet, Kathy Bullack, Rebecca Abrams, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Kim Birge, Deborah Medina, Doug Nelson, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Rose Schulz, Eva Summers, and Dan Crisp this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Blondie is one of the longest-running American comic strips, published in newspapers since September 8, 1930, and led to the long-running series of twenty Blondie films from 1938 to 1950. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of Blondie’s inept and bumbling husband who had frequent run-ins with his boss Mr. Dithers? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a tall, multilayered sandwich made with a variety of meats, cheeses, and condiments named after this comic character.

Well, it’s been another week, wondering when spring is finally going to show its face. Until we meet again, in anger, as in chewing, it is best to keep your mouth shut.

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” Louis L’Amour

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answers: 1. Errors is spelled incorrectly. 2. Is should be Are. 3. There are only two errors.

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ February 28th, 2024

Every winter, I admire the couples I see walking in the mornings: bundled up in their ski jackets; enjoying the fresh morning air.

But you may be like me: a fair-weather walker, where it needs to be dry, at least in the upper forties; and the wind at my back coaxing me along. Now that we are about to turn the calendar to the first month of spring, I always feel it’s time to put on my walking shoes and get back outside for my daily walks.

Walking is the most popular form of exercise among older adults. There are physical benefits: strengthened muscles, lower risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis, and improved balance to lower the likelihood of falling.

It also has social benefits: improving your mood and overall emotional well-being, and helping reduce feelings of depression and stress. And it is one of the few activities where you can share stories with a friend while exercising – it’s not easy when you’re swimming laps!

But if you have been hibernating; avoiding the cold wintery days, snow, and the icy sidewalks, there are a few things to consider when you return to your regular walks.

Don’t be hesitant to start slowly. You can start with just 5 minutes and build up to the recommended goal of 150 minutes a week.

Wear comfortable shoes. If you have foot problems, consider orthopedic shoes, or talk to your healthcare provider about how you can continue your walking program. Physical therapy has strengthened my knees so I can keep walking.

Don’t let a cane or walker stop you. Using a cane or walker can improve your balance and help take the load off painful joints. And help you follow the three rules to live a long and healthy life: Don’t fall! Don’t fall!! and Don’t fall!!!

Aim for the right pace. My preference is a casual walk – trying to slow down my wife! But the recommendation is to walk as fast as you can, while still being able to chat with a friend. You should aim for 100 steps a minute.

Be Aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for uneven surfaces and other tripping hazards – and large oak trees!

It’s always recommended that you talk with your healthcare provider before you start any exercise program; and when you have any pain or problems walking which could be a warning of something serious.

One last suggestion: to avoid pain in your feet, knees, or lower back consider complementing your walking by enrolling in one of the strength and flexibility classes such as the “Strong People” class at your local adult center.

The HealthinAging and The National Institute on Aging websites have more tips and resources to help you enjoy the many benefits of walking during this first month of spring.

Brain Tease. A few more Rebus brain teasers which use words or letters to represent common phrases. 1.) MIL1LION, 2.) H O 🙂 U R, 3.) M1Y L1I1F1E, 4.) 53798SAFETY93028.

In the movie “Pinocchio”, the wise and comical character who was appointed by the Blue Fairy to be Pinocchio’s official conscience was Jiminy Cricket. I received correct answers from Bruce Johnson, Judy Kiser, Eva Summers, Rebecca Abrams, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Pat Evenson-Brady, Deborah Medina, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Doug Nelson, Tina Castanares, Keith and Marlene Clymer, and Donna Mollet this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Bruce Johnson and Carolyn Bondurant.

One more Disney movie question from the past. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the 1961 film starring Fred MacMurray as Professor Ned Brainard, who accidentally invents a substance that gains energy when it strikes a hard surface and names it Flubber (flying rubber)? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with the 1961 – 1962 Medfield College of Technology School Catalogue.

Well, it’s been another week, keeping my eyes open to the beauty around me. Until we meet again, I’ve learned that the average person’s short-term memory can hold about 7 pieces of information. I’m down to four!

“Never drink black coffee at lunch: it will keep you awake in the afternoon.” Jilly Cooper

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answers: 1.) One in a million, 2.)  Happy Hour, 3.)  For once in my life, 4.)  Safety in numbers.

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ February 21st, 2024

Have you recently had a meaningful conversation? I mean something besides the weather, your kids, or the future of the Pac-12, but the kind of conversation, whether it is with your spouse, a friend, or a new acquaintance, where you walk away feeling engaged and understood?

In “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation”, a TED Talk on YouTube, Celeste Headlee describes how to find the balance between talking and listening to have more meaningful and respectful conversations – which seems to be a lost skill nowadays.

As I read these suggestions, I realized I often ignore many of them if not most of them. You might also find that to be true.

Number one: Don’t multitask.

Be in the present. Don’t be thinking about where you’re going for dinner or the snow starting to fall outside.

Number two: Don’t pontificate.

Assume you have something to learn which often means setting aside your own opinions. Everybody is an expert in something.

Number three: Use open-ended questions.

Start your questions with who, what, when, where, why, or how. You’ll get more interesting responses if you let the person describe their thoughts, experiences, or feelings.

Number four: Go with the flow.

How often does a thought come to mind that you just have to say it even though it may not add to the conversation? Stories and ideas will come – but let them go.

Number five: If you don’t know, say you don’t know.

They won’t be surprised!

Number six: Don’t equate your experience with theirs.

If someone shares their dementia diagnosis don’t start saying how you have forgotten things too. It’s not the same; never will be. And it’s not about you anyway.

Number seven: Try not to repeat yourself.

Make your point but don’t keep rephrasing it over and over.

Number eight: Stay out of the weeds.

You don’t need to share all the details: years, names, dates, you’re struggling to remember. Most people don’t care. They want to learn more about what you think.

Number nine: Listen.

It’s not easy. Paying attention to someone takes effort and energy. As Stephen Covey, author and businessman, said “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.”

Number ten: Be brief.

As they say about a miniskirt, “Short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject.”

When talking with someone, there is nothing wrong with small talk. But if you want a more meaningful conversation where you learn about yourself, the other person, and the world around you, try these suggestions and you may be amazed by what you learn.

Brain Tease: A Rebus brain teaser uses words or letters in interesting orientations to represent common phrases. Can you decipher these musical instruments? 1. P O; 2. BA BA; 3. ECLART; 4. @ # $ %

The name of the novella that tells the story of a group of animals who rebel against their human farmer and end up in a state as bad as it was before, was Animal Farm. I received correct answers from Nancy Higgins, Jonnie Anderson, Steven Woolpert, Judy Kiser, Rhonda Spies, Tina Castanares, Lana Tepfer, Pat Evenson-Brady, Linda Frizzell, Donna Mollet, Dave Lutgens, and Randall Pearl this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Lee Kaseberg, Steven Woolpert, and Doug Nelson,

If you grew up in the 50s and 60s, Walt Disney was probably a big part of your childhood whether it was the animated movies or the Mickey Mouse Club – with my first “love” the popular Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. For this week’s “Remember When” question, in the movie “Pinocchio”, who was the wise and comical character that was appointed by the Blue Fairy to be Pinocchio’s official conscience? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a recording of the 1940 Academy Award-winning song “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to be ruled by the clock. Until we meet again, as a friend told me, “To keep it, you have to give it away.”

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” — Charles M. Schulz

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answers:  1. Piano (P and O); 2. Tuba (Two BA); 3. Clarinet (CLAR in ET); 4. Cymbals (Symbols)