Aging Well in the Gorge May 4th 2022

 Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month. It began in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens met to address the growing concerns of America’s 17 million individuals ages 65 and older. At the time, one-third of all seniors lived in poverty with few social programs available to help support them. 

To raise awareness of the problems facing seniors and to honor them, then-President Kennedy and the Council proclaimed May as Senior Citizens Month.  Two years later, in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Older Americans Act of 1965 and formally declared May as Older Americans Month.

The theme for this year is “Age My Way,” recognizing how older adults are taking charge of their health, getting engaged in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others in both large and small ways.

But “Aging My Way” doesn’t just happen. Well, it can but the result isn’t always what you would hope. To grow older the way you want, the Administration on Community Living suggests four common areas to consider.

Planning: You never know what future challenges and also opportunities you will find which makes it difficult to plan. But it is important to start thinking about what you will need and want. For example, do you plan to live in your own home for as long as possible? Are there health considerations where you may need in-home assistance at some time? Do you want to travel to exotic places – or maybe non-exotic places?

Access: If you plan to stay in your home, what home improvements and modifications can you make to help you better age in place? AARP has published online a HomeFit Guide that examines ways to make a home aging-friendly by modifying exits, kitchens, living rooms, stairs, bedrooms, and bathrooms thus making your home a better “fit”.

Engagement: How are you going to stay involved and contribute to your community? Working, volunteering, attending church? The contributions of older adults are essential to the health of any community.

Connection: How are you going to stay connected to combat the number one threat to your health and wellbeing: social isolation. The community centers for older adults in the Gorge are a great resource. They offer activities and can refer you to resources you may need.

By planning, making your home age-friendly, staying involved in your community, and staying socially connected, you can “Age Your Way” and enjoy the many years ahead.

This week’s Brain Tease may be too easy but try it on for size. 1) In the dead of winter, you are in a house with only one match. There is a gas lamp, a fireplace, and a wood stove. Which would you light first?

The name of the television series where Martin Milner and George Maharis traveled the back roads of America in their 1961 Corvette convertible was Route 66. I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Diana Weston, Jess Birge, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Patty Burnett, and DeAnn Orand this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

In the1950s the nationally televised news programs were in their infancy – only fifteen minutes long until 1963 when the evening news expanded to thirty minutes every weeknight. The competition was tight between Walter Cronkite on CBS and the two newscasters on NBC. For this week’s “Remember When “question, what were the last names of the two anchors who hosted the nightly news program on NBC from 1956 through 1970 and signed off each night with “Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night, for NBC News.” Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a recording of NBC’s coverage of the 1956 national political conventions.

Brain Tease answer: match

Well, it’s been another week, wondering why everything has to be so complicated! Until we meet again, even at our age it is good to heed the advice Christopher Robin gave Winnie-the-Pooh, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” Will Rogers

 

Aging in the Gorge Aparil 27th 2022

 Last January I shared ideas about how to downsize including the different categories of items you might want to get rid of: the “just in case”, “maybe-someday”, “might-be-valuable” and “maybe-my-children-will-want” items.

While deciding what to clear out is difficult enough, I have found another challenge. Can you and your spouse agree? What is obvious to me to eliminate has sentimental value for her and the opposite is true. So, we have kicked the can down the hall and created another category “haven’t decided yet” which has allowed us to maintain our 47 years of marriage – at least so far.

My wife and I are making progress “decluttering” if you don’t count 80 banker boxes of stuff stored in the basement. The plan is to move into our small basement apartment which we’ve been painting, scraping, and installing countertops and sinks – and asking ourselves, “Why are we so tired?”

But all the remodeling has given me less time to write this column. so as I’ve done before when time is short or the well is dry, I looked for something I wrote in the past to revise.

So, here is an amusing test of your critical thinking skills I found on the Internet back in 2018 which you probably don’t remember, at least I don’t because I couldn’t answer a single question correctly – again!

There are only four questions with explanations, but you’ll have to put your logical thinking skills on the back burner and think outside the proverbial box.

1. The Giraffe Test – How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator? Stop and think about it and decide on your answer before you move on.

The correct answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

2. The Elephant Test – How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator? Wrong Answer.

Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant, and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

3. The Lion King Test – The Lion King is hosting an Animal Conference. All the animals attend … except one. Which animal does not attend?

Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there. This tests your memory.

Okay, this is your last chance before you have to pick up the phone to schedule your appointment. Think!

4. The Crocodile Test – There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?

Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across. Haven’t you been lis-ten-ing? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Conference. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

So how did you do? Are you still mentally on top of your game? If you couldn’t answer any of the questions correctly, don’t worry. According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals tested got all the questions wrong. But don’t feel too relieved. They also tested preschoolers and found most children answered at least one question correctly!

The name of the comedian who performed on stage and in several movies with his brothers, Chico, Harpo, Gummo, Zeppo, and hosted the comedy quiz series You Bet Your Life was Groucho Marx. I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Kim Birge, Margo Dameier, Keith and Marlene Clymer, and Donna Mollett this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Did I miss anyone from last week?

Did you ever have the dream of finding adventure traveling across the back roads of America in a 1961 corvette convertible? For this week’s “Remember When “question, that was the basic plot of what television series starring Martin Milner and George Maharis that aired from 1960 through 1964 on Friday nights? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a map of the Will Rogers Memorial Highway.

Well, it’s been another week pretending to know what I don’t. Until we meet again, as the Beatles once sang, “Let it be”, or as the philosopher farmer from Fossil would say, “Don’t interfere with something that ain’t bothering you none.”

“I intend to live forever or die trying.” Groucho Marx

 

Aging Well in the Gorge April 20th 2020

 Because many have been asking, I told my wife I was going to write about retirement, and she said, “You’ve been retired for only 7 weeks! What do you know?”

Well, actually, not much. But I have learned this transition hasn’t been easy. I have mixed emotions. My north star has vanished and I often feel directionless. And yet I have the freedom to do more of what I want to do – if I can figure out what that is!

I no longer have my familiar routine: waking up, taking my pills with breakfast, going to work, coming home, taking my pills with dinner, going to bed. Now I have time to read the newspaper instead of skimming through it; do the things I once thought were unimportant as learning how to use the remotes for the TV, and I don’t have to hurry to complete a project on the weekend. I can wait till Monday. But what more can I expect during my retirement years?

I found on the Wildpine retirement community website, the five common stages of retirement that many retirees encounter. Tell me if you’ve experienced any of these stages.

The first stage is Pre-Retirement or “I can’t wait!”. This stage is filled with excitement and anticipation, but often also with worry and doubt, as you imagine what your new life will be like both emotionally and financially. 

The second stage is “This is great! I can do anything I want!” During this honeymoon phase, you can rest and relax with time to travel, pursue your hobbies, and catch up with family, old friends, and even your spouse if both of you are now retired.

The third stage is “Now what?”. The retirement honeymoon is over, and you feel something is missing. You start searching to find what gives your life purpose and meaning.

The fourth stage is “Who am I?” This stage is often considered the most challenging: creating a new identity that provides a meaningful purpose in your life. You may pursue a new passion such as painting, or volunteering, or some older adults have even started a small business.

The last stage is what I call “Life is good”. It may be fifteen years after retirement, but you’ve settled into a stable, simpler, and relaxing lifestyle that is fun and rewarding. Only if your body would cooperate!

Everyone experiences retirement in their own way. For myself, I seemed to have skipped the honeymoon and immediately went to the “Now what?” stage. But whatever has been your experience, I hope you have found retirement to be the best of everything you imagined.

This week’s Brain Teaser spun my brain around so many times I couldn’t stand up. See how well you can do. “The day before two days after the day before tomorrow is Saturday. What day is it today?”

The name of game played on a large plastic mat with six rows of large colored circles that was a national phenomenon in the late 60s and is still sold today is Twister. I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Millie Baumgartner, Jeannie Pesicka, Rhonda Spies, Patty Burnet, Kim Birge, Marlene Clymer, and Lana Tepfer who believes we may be past playing Twister anymore (at least I am) and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Many young people may recognize Karl more than this entertainer considered to have been a master of quick wit. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the comedian who performed on stage and in several movies with his brothers and hosted the comedy quiz series You Bet Your Life? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a portrait of Margaret Dumont.

Answer: Friday. The “day before tomorrow” is today; “the day before two days after” is really one day after. So, if “one day after today is Saturday,” then it must be Friday. Got that?

Well, it’s been another week, looking out for what I can’t see. Until we meet again, don’t live as if you’re eating soup with a fork – going through all the motions but getting little out of life.   

“I have the worst memory ever, so no matter who comes up to me – they’re just, like, ‘I can’t believe you don’t remember me!” I’m like, ‘Oh Dad I’m sorry!’ – Ellen DeGeneres

Aging Well in the Gorge April 13th 2020

We’re in a technological revolution from Smartphones to Roomba robot vacuum cleaners. But for us who have not grown up with all the advances in technology, it can be daunting. (My pocket calculator in high school was a slide rule.)

First, there’s all the unfamiliar terminology: touchpad, mouse, router, browsers, phishing. And then there are the different computer operating systems: Apple, Google, and Microsoft. And once you understand one thing, it is “improved” – and you must relearn it – again!

Because it’s so overwhelming many of you have decided not to dive in. But you have friends who are enjoying the swim and now you might want to learn more about how to purchase a computer; how to use Zoom to see and talk with your grandchildren; or how to protect your personal information so you can bank online safely.

But where do you begin?

To assist older adults in utilizing the benefits of technology and avoid the dangers, GOBHI’s Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative is partnering with Senior Planet powered by Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP to offer innovative classes designed for adults 60 and over. The lectures and courses will be led by trained instructors and held at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center.

The classes will begin with a series of five weekly lectures on Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:15: “Smartphones” on April 14th; “How to Choose a New Computer” on April 21st; “Protecting Your Personal Information Online” on April 28th; “All Things Zoom” on May 5th; and “How to Spot Fake News” on May 12th

The weekly lectures will be followed by a five-week Chromebook Essentials course from 2:00 – 3:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Tuesday, May 17th.

This course will cover the essentials of how to use a Chromebook – a popular type of laptop that is great for beginners who just want to use the internet. (Thanks to Google in The Dalles for donating ten Chromebooks for the class.) If you’re interested in any of the lectures or the Chromebook Essentials course call (541) 296-4788 or email Britta Willson at bwillson@gobhi.org

If you can’t attend the classes, you can go online to the Senior Planet website to register for many of their virtual classes. And for technology questions, Senior Planet offers a Tech Hotline at 888-713-3495 between 6am and 2pm.

By using the Internet and other technologies we can change the way we age. We can connect with friends, participate in art and movement classes, attend public meetings, and advocate for causes important to us. So dive on in. Just make sure you avoid the rocks!

This week’s brain tease is more of a brain challenge. When I swim laps, which I enjoy but can be reaaaaally boring, I play this mental game you can try anytime, anywhere. I start by memorizing the seven days of the week in alphabetical order, then the first ten digits in alphabetical order, and finally the twelve months of the year. I’m proud to say I can recite them all alphabetically – but unfortunately only when I’m swimming!

The name of the police drama that aired on NBC from 1968 through 1975 and followed Los Angeles Police Department officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed was Adam-12. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Jess Birge, Rose Schulz, Lana Tepfer, Keith Clymer, and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket Gary Van Orman who in 1972 was an actor in an episode of Adam-12. And last week I missed Susan Ronning and Joyce Jennings.

This game of physical skill was a national phenomenon in the late 60s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of “the game that ties you up in knots” played on a large plastic mat spread on the ground with six rows of large colored circles with a spinner telling you where to place your hand or foot? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with the May 3, 1966 episode of the Tonight Show when actress Eva Gabor played the game with Johnny Carson.

Well, it’s been another week, asking, “Now what?”. Until we meet again, as I tell my kids, there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” Rabindranath Tagore 

Aging Well in the Gorge April 6th 2022

 In her book “Secrets of Becoming a Late Bloomer”, Connie Goldman discusses many secrets for living life to the fullest: attitude, risk-taking, humor, creativity, and forgiveness. But she also included one secret, you might not normally consider but appropriate at this time of the year: gardening. There are the external mechanics of gardening, but the value for late bloomers (and those of us who are still waiting to bloom) are the internal rewards: the opportunity for self-expression; a chance to see the beauty of the natural world; and experience the rhythms of birth, change, death and birth again. Gardening can provide a source of healing and renewal; a haven from the noise and clutter of the mechanical world and a place to contemplate our inner world; and for many a chance to be closer to God. Connie describes gardening as nourishment for the heart and soul.

Many have experienced those inner rewards. I have been tempted. I have looked inside that window and felt the attraction of gardening, but for many reasons, I haven’t walked around and gone in the front door or even the back door. Some have a green thumb. I have a brown thumb. I can hear the plants screaming when I come near. I have forgotten to water and have overwatered. I have allowed zucchini to grow three feet long and tomatoes, well, I never had much luck with tomatoes. But weeds I know well. They don’t need special efforts or even much rain to survive (during the dry summer if it weren’t for the green weeds my yard would look like a brown shag carpet). It may seem odd but maybe there is a reason for weeds: to remind us of nature’s ability to keep coming back; of nature’s resiliency – even though they are such a pain in the backside. And maybe that is what life is about.

In this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder”, Sheila Ford Richmond shares her love of gardening and the connection to the natural world.

This week’s Brain Tease to tickle your grey cells.

Mom and Dad have four daughters, and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the family?

.dad dna mom sulp ,nerdlihc evif gnikam ,rehtorb eno ylno evah srethguad ruof ehT .neveS

Because of my past column about video games, I decided to try two video games: Sega’s Sonic Racing and NBA 2K22. And I found out, “They’re hard to learn!” (But then maybe I should read the instructions – if I could find them.) It reminded me that it takes time and persistence to learn a new skill – and I realized I may have the time but not the persistence.

I’m more comfortable, although not any better, with word games. I just started playing what is apparently the latest craze, or at least it was, the word game Wordle which I’ve enjoyed. So whatever suits your fancy, video games, word games, or just a new card game with friends, enjoy the rewards of learning something new.

Hot off the wire. The Gorge’s own Amy Mallett, director of the Hood River Valley Adult Center, was awarded the Local Service Provider Champion Award at the National Senior Nutrition Program 50-year Celebration. Congratulations to Amy for her dedication to improving the health and well-being of older adults in the Gorge.

The individualized reading kits composed of boxes filled with color-coded cardboard cards that included a reading exercise and questions were SRA Reading Labs. (Science Research Associates). Several answered the tough question: Kathy Gay, Rhonda Spies, Jim Lindell, Doug Nelson, and Carolyn Bondurant who all win a quilt raffle ticket.

I just learned this television show is a childhood favorite of Rob Garrett, the new director of the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what is the name of the police drama that aired on NBC from 1968 through 1975 and followed Los Angeles Police Department officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed as they patrolled the streets of Los Angeles. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or drop it off while driving a 1968 Plymouth Belvedere.

Well, it’s been another week, feeling the optimism that comes with spring. Until we meet again, don’t let the wind blow you over.

“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” Doug Larson

Aging Well in the Gorge March 30th 2022

 Ah, sleep: nighttime bliss when you escape from your daily worries, refresh your body and mind, and star in a nonsensical dream – waking up wondering what did that dream mean?

But it’s only bliss if you can get a good night’s sleep.

As we age, many health issues can interfere with our sleep: anxiety, depression, pain such as arthritis, medication’s side effects, bathroom runs, insomnia, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome. It’s a wonder we ever get a good night’s sleep. It is estimated between 40% and 70% of older adults have chronic sleep issues which can significantly interfere with their daily activities and reduce their quality of life.

 

So what can you do to help get a good night’s sleep? Here are a few tips from the Sleep Foundation.

Exercise: older people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and report better quality of sleep.

Reduce bedroom distractions: televisions, cellphones, and bright lights.

Avoid substances that discourage sleep: alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and even large meals late in the day.

Develop a bedtime routine and follow it. Include relaxing activities before bed such as a warm bath or reading. (I can’t get past four pages before falling asleep.)

Avoid napping after 3:00 pm, although before 3:00 some experts suggest that a “short” daytime nap may be beneficial – thank goodness!

Keep your bedroom at a temperature comfortable for you, and hopefully comfortable for your spouse also.

And the last one I will add, find a partner who doesn’t toss and turn all night. Fortunately, my wife hasn’t asked me to sleep in a separate bed – yet.

While getting a good night’s sleep, you also want to be safe. You might want to try these suggestions.

Keep a telephone by the bed: It’s important to be able to call for help from your bed.

Make sure a light is within reach that is easy to turn on.

Reduce fall hazards in the bedroom: rugs, cords, and furniture.

It is also recommended to put a glass of water next to your bed in case you wake up thirsty. But I’d use a capped bottle of water. I’m not the most coordinated in the middle of the night and I would surely knock over the glass.

Most people should get between seven and eight hours of sleep a night for the health of their mind and body. And besides, you don’t want to wake up tired and irritable all because of a poor night’s sleep

This week’s Brain Tease. Name 6 or more things you can wear on your feet beginning with the letter “S.”

Answers: .stlits ,sgnikcots ,seohswons ,setaks ,siks ,sreppils ,srekaens ,sladnas ,skcos

The actor who in his first leading role starred in the “Dollars Trilogy”, the low-budget spaghetti westerns, was Clint Eastwood. I received correct answers from Lucile Stephens, Billy Maxwell, Sam Bilyeu, Tina Castanares, Doug Nelson, Rose Schulz, Kim Birge, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Julie Carter, Gene Uczen, Steven Woolpert, and Dan Williams this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.  Last week I missed Gene Uczen and probably a few others.

I have received a few comments from certain individuals that the weekly question is too easy. Well to show them, here is a question I remember vividly from my grade school that I’m not sure if anyone else will. (You need to know my dad was a grade school principal.)

In 1957, this publisher of educational materials created individualized reading labs for grades schools composed of boxes filled with color-coded folded cardboard cards and each card included a reading exercise and questions. If you were successful answering the comprehension questions, you would move to the next color in the box. For this week’s “Remember When” what was the name of these reading kits. (Hint: It is a three-letter acronym for the company that created the reading kits.) Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or mail your answer written on the back of a check made out to Scott McKay for $10. (I’m not greedy!)

Well, it’s been another week, and still upright. Until we meet again, instead of what woulda, coulda, and shoulda happened, dream about what will, can, and shall happen.

“My mother told me to follow my dreams, so I took a nap.” Unknown

And one more.

“The lion and the calf shall lie down together, but the calf won’t get much sleep.” Woody Allen

Aging Well in the Gorge March 23rd 2022

 Senior Living March 23rd,2022

“There are only four kinds of people in this world: Those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Rosalynn Carter

What has been your experience? Caring for a spouse 24/7? Caring for your mother living in another state? Taking care of your grandchild? It can be tremendously rewarding but also extremely challenging – especially emotionally: a mix of exhaustion, guilt, and resentment while balancing your caregiving with everything else in your life.

To maintain your health and well-being, the “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” class offers a variety of tools and ideas. The class is being offered virtually using ZOOM so you won’t have to leave your home which is difficult for many caregivers. The class meets from 1 pm – 2:30 pm every week for six weeks starting Tuesday, April 12th. Registration is required and the deadline is March 28th. To register, go online to https://www.powerfultoolsforcaregivers.org/; scroll down to “Find an Upcoming Caregiver Class” and follow the directions to where you can click on the April 12thclass. There is a $30 requested donation to pay for the book: Caregiver Helpbook: Powerful Tools for Caregivers. If you have any questions, call Britta Willson at (541) 256-4623 at Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI).

In the class, you will find support and share ideas. But if the class doesn’t fit your schedule, you can go online to the same website and scroll down to the bottom where you can purchase the Caregiver Helpbook.

Whether you were, are, or will be a caregiver, here are a few of the many “how’s” you’ll learn so you can take care of yourself whenever you are caring for someone else.

1. Take responsibility for your own health and well-being and learn how to manage your self-care.

2. Have realistic expectations. Wanting to be a good caregiver can create unrealistic expectations which can lead to a feeling of failure resentment and guilt.

3. Focus on what you can do and cannot do. Seek solutions for what you can change.

4. Communicate effectively with others: family members, friends, healthcare professionals, and the person you are caring for.

5. Listen to your emotions. Don’t deny your feelings or strike out at others. You are in control.

6. Get help when you need it. Know when to ask for help and where to find it. Without waiting till the last moment.

7. Set goals and work towards them.

If you are caring for someone and trying to “do it all”, I would encourage you to register for the class or purchase the book. “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” offers ways to maintain your health by reducing stress, improving self-confidence, better communicating feelings, increasing your ability to make tough decisions, and locating helpful resources. To take care of someone special, you need to take care of yourself.

Since I wrote about brain health last week, I thought I would follow up with a brain tease that was past my IQ level. See if you can do any better. And this time I’m going to make you work a little harder by spelling the answer backward.

There are six eggs in the basket. Six people each take one of the eggs. How can it be that one egg is left in the basket?

.ti edisni llits gge tsal eht htiw teksab eht koot nosrep tsal ehT

The best-selling fiction writer of all time who wrote 66 detective novels between 1921 and 1973 and sold over two billion copies was Agatha Christie. I received answers from Doug Nelson, Donna Mollett, Jeannie Pesicka, Mike McFarlane, Katherine Schlick Noe, Rose Schulz, Julie Carter, Lana Tepfer, and Jayne Guidinger this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Among the most popular spaghetti westerns of the 1960s was the “Dollars Trilogy” beginning with the low-budget A Fistful of Dollars directed by the Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone. For this week’s Remember When” question, who was the star in his first leading role and who was paid only $15000? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” soundtrack which included the theme song by Hugo Montenegro which became a hit single in 1968.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to take it sloooooow. Until we meet again, don’t pick a fight with a grizzly bear holding a shotgun.

 

Living Well in the Gorge March 16th 2022

For some reason, the brain thinks it’s the most important organ in our body. No other organ must have a special week. There’s not a Kidney Awareness Week, or Liver Awareness Week. But there is Brain Awareness Week which this year is March 14ththrough March 18th.

Brain Awareness Week was founded by the Dana Foundation to better understand our brains through brain science research so as older adults we can continue to enjoy our later years. Another independent leader in understanding the brain is SharpBrains whose focus is tracking health and performance applications of brain research. As with the Dana Foundation, their website offers fascinating information about the brain including a list of ten lifestyle activities to help maintain and improve your brain health – which my brain is selfishly telling me to share with you. It is an abbreviated version – since we all have things to do and people to meet.

1. Better understand your brain. “It will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses”. If you want to imagine you’re back in school, Dana Foundation has lessons about the brain for grades K-12.  

2. Eat well. The “brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake.”

3. Exercise. “Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain”. And anything is always better than nothing.

4. Be positive. “Stress and anxiety, no matter whether induced by external events or by your own thoughts, actually kills neurons and prevents the creation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the opposite of exercise: it prevents the creation of new neurons.” So now I can stress about being too stressed!

5. Engage in Mental Challenges. “The point of having a brain is precisely to learn and to adapt to challenging new environments. Challenge your brain often with fundamentally new activities”. 

6. Aim high. “The brain keeps developing, no matter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.”

7. Explore and travel. “Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment. Make new decisions, use your brain.” So getting lost is a good thing?

8. Think for yourself. “Make your own decisions, and mistakes. And learn from them. That way, you are training your brain, not your neighbor’s”.

9. Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. “We are social animals and need social interaction”. 

10. Laugh loud and often, “especially to cognitively complex humor, full of twists and surprises”. Did you hear about the man who put on a clean pair of socks every day of the week? By Friday he could hardly get his shoes on. Okay, that may not count as complex humor.

In a nutshell, to keep your brain happy, practice the four components of good brain health: physical exercise, a balanced diet, stress management, and brain exercise.

Did you remember to turn back your clocks on Sunday? Before phones and clocks that automatically change the time, you could tell who hadn’t adjusted their clocks by who arrived at church an hour late.

The name of the two-dimensional sports game that simulates table tennis introduced in 1972 (That’s fifty years ago or worse yet a half a century ago!) and became the first successful video arcade game was not Ping but Pong. I received answers from Dennis Morgan, Jeannie Pesicka, Rhonda Spies, Donna Mollett, Rebecca Abrams, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Gene Uczen, Rose Schulz, Dave Lutgens, Doug Nelson, and Lana Tepfer this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And those who I know I missed last week were Linda Frizzell and Maria Kollas.

During my grade school days, I enjoyed reading the Hardy Boys mysteries but never heard of this prolific mystery writer. For this week’s ”Remember When” question, who was the best-selling fiction writer of all time who wrote sixty-six detective novels between 1921 and 1973 and sold over two billion copies? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send with two tickets on the Orient Express.

Well, it’s been another week, checking my pillbox to know what day it is. Until we meet again, just because you are wandering, doesn’t mean you are lost – as I often tell myself.

“If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.” Steven Wright

Aging Well in the Gorge March 9th 2020

 Today there are practically unlimited forms of entertainment. (Remember when you adjusted the rabbit ears on top of the TV set to watch your favorite show on one of the three network stations. Ah, the simpler days.) You can enjoy a night of bingo, listen to music in a local pub, or go out to dinner with friends, pull weeds in your garden? 

And now with the Internet, you can play one of the hundreds of online games which are an increasingly popular form of entertainment among older adults. Nearly half of all older Americans play games online and the majority are women. The creators of Bejeweled, an incredibly popular mobile game that you may be familiar with, found that 47% of their estimated 150 million players worldwide were over the age of 50.

There are many types of online games you can play on your computer, tablet, and smartphone: puzzle, strategy, adventure, board, card, and sports games. Both Apple and Google have a game store where you can purchase hundreds of them.

You can also elevate your game by purchasing one of the popular video game consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch which range in price from $300 to $1000. Or better yet, ask your kids to buy you one so you can play with them online. They may be impressed you’re interested in gaming – and a little confused!

But why would I want to play video games? I always thought they were a non-productive use of my time – although I can spend ninety minutes in front of my big screen TV watching streamed British mysteries every night!

Because video games can actually be good for you. Really! And there are several reasons.

Depending on the game, research has shown video games can improve reaction time, attention, and short-term memory in older adults.

By playing video games you can exercise your creative and problem-solving skills in an elaborate alternative world while competing against rival players or working collaboratively with teammates by building, exploring, and sharing.

Multi-player games can provide a way to stay connected with family and friends and across generations – although you might not want to disclose your age. Young gamers don’t like to be beaten by grandma!

Video games can be an escape. Family caregivers have found gaming to be a way to address stress, avoid isolation and stay connected.

And they give you the freedom to participate in activities you could not normally do. Even if you’re confined to a wheelchair, you can still compete on the PGA Tour or fly a commercial jet.  

I’m not a “gamer”. I don’t own a PlayStation or Xbox console and never had an interest in playing video games. And as with any new activity, I know they can be complicated and challenging. But I’ve also learned online games can be a beneficial use of your time – as well as fun.

One caution. Online games are designed to keep you playing, and I may add spending. If your screen time is keeping you away from healthier activities such as exercise or socialization, then you may be doing more harm than good.

If you play video games, email me how often you play and what is your favorite online game.

In 1956 the country where the USSR sent troops to suppress the popular uprising was Hungary. I received answers from Doug Nelson, Barbara Cadwell, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Sam Bilyeu, Lana Tepfer, Tiiu Vahtel, and Steven Nybroten this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

In 1972 the video arcade game industry began with the introduction of the first successful commercial arcade video game. For this week’s “Remember When“ question, what was the name of the two-dimensional sports game that simulates table tennis by moving paddles to hit the ball back and forth. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with an original Atari Video Computer System with a game cartridge.

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to rush when I no longer need to. Until we meet again, a Danish proverb says “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man be perfected without trials” but I must admit – there are days I would gladly trade a little less perfection for a few less trials.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.” Robert Frost

Aging Well in the Gorge March 2nd 2022

 Here’s the question for the week. What do communities need so, if we want, we can stay in our homes – a place familiar and secure? Safe neighborhoods? Accessible sidewalks? Places to connect with friends? Adequate public services? Maybe even fast and reliable Internet service?

For many, staying in their home means being able to continue getting from one place to another: to shop, to attend church, to see the doctor. Most of us still drive but one day we may decide to turn in our car keys or worse yet someone will tell us, and then what do we do to stay engaged and connected?

In the Gorge. the local public transportation providers are working together to help. Through the Gorge Translink Alliance, they have developed a seamless network of transportation services within the Gorge area while linking those services to Portland and Vancouver, Washington.

The alliance includes all five public transportation providers in the Gorge: Columbia Area Transit in Hood River County (541-386-4202); The Link in Wasco County (541-296-7595); Sherman County Community Transit (541-565-3553); Skamania County Public Transit (509-427-3990); and Mt. Adams Transportation Services in the Goldendale area (509-773-3060) or the White Salmon area (509-493-4662).

They provide both Dial-a-Ride services that pick you up at your home and take you wherever you need to go within their service area and sometimes between counties; and fixed-route services that run regularly on a set route and schedule.

To make your trips simpler and more affordable, you can now purchase a GOrge Pass for unlimited rides on all Gorge fixed routes including to Portland. The cost is $40 through December 31, 2022. If you have questions, you can call 833-3GO-PASS (833-346-7277), email (info@gorgepass.com), or visit their website at https://gorgepass.com/.

One of the greatest unmet needs has been medical rides to Portland to access medical services or visit loved ones who are receiving medical care. Responding to that need, CAT now offers on Tuesdays and Thursdays a first-come-first-serve reservation-only shuttle service from the Gorge to five medical facilities in the Portland Metro area for $20 each way. To learn more and whether this service will work for you, call CAT at 541-386-4202 or The Link at 541-296-7595. And sorry the fares are not covered by the GOrge Pass.

Through the Gorge public transportation providers, there are accessible and affordable options for older adults to get around in their communities and stay engaged and connected. For more information about these transportation options, call your local public transportation provider or visit Gorge Translink at https://gorgetranslink.com– Your Gateway To Getting Around The Gorge!

You must take time to read this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder”: a beautiful and touching story by Daera Dobbs of life after the loss of her husband.

The name of the German Shepard and star of the television series that ran on ABC from 1954 through 1959 was Rin Tin Tin. I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Dave Hanson, Judy Hanson, Donna Mollett, Margo Dameier, Elaine Kirby, Rose Schulz, Barbara Cadwell, Linda Frizzell, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Gene Uczen, Doug Nelson, Julie Carter, Joe and Terry Wiederhold, and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Dennis Morgan who watched The Adventures of Rin Tin Tinevery Saturday morning and still remembers the main characters: Lt. Rip Masters, Sgt. Biff O’Hara and Rusty stationed at Fort Apache. And I would have bet fifty cents (which is as much as I bet when it comes to my memory) that I included Steven Woolpert last week, but my mind played tricks again.

Reflecting the news of this last week, I have a geo-political question from the cold war. The invasion of Ukraine reminded me of when I was in the sixth grade and assigned to help a young boy learn English who was one of the 200,000 refugees who fled this eastern European country. For this “Remember When” question in 1956 what country did the USSR send troops to suppress the popular uprising against Soviet domination? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send with the November 1st,1956 Universal-International newsreel that reported on the situation.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to find my new rhythm. Until we meet again, enjoy the last weeks of spring.

“For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest.” Hasidic saying