Aging Well January 10th

You don’t need paper or pencil; you can do it in bed or while taking a shower. You don’t have to ask for permission and it can even be done without anyone knowing. And it is not what you are thinking!
It is exercising your working memory: the critical ability to keep track and manipulate a small number of items – like using a scratch pad, before you transfer the information to the filing system of your long term memory. And even as we age we can still strengthen our working memory with practice.

One simple, but not necessarily easy, mental exercise is called “Backward Digit Span”. When you hear or read a four digit number, repeat it – but backwards. Try increasing the number of digits and see how many digits you can repeat. Now try the same idea with letters. Think of a word and then mentally spell the word backwards. Again start with a short familiar word, then try a longer word and that isn’t as familiar. And don’t get discouraged. The intent is to improve and strengthen your working memory, not to worry about where you start.

You can learn more about the brain and how to improve your memory by attending the Center’s Brain Fitness class on Mondays from 1:00 – 2:00. We are currently studying a video lecture series called “”Optimizing Brain Fitness” with Professor Richard Restak from George Washington University. And don’t feel you can’t join us now because you have missed the previous presentations. I can’t remember what we discussed two weeks ago anyway.

I want to thank all the folks who responded so enthusiastically to our “End of the Year” 2012 membership drive. At this early stage we have 201 members including 34s new members, and thirty-eight Super Duper members – which include the Center’s first Super Duper member Patti Blagg. (And I can’t mention Patti without reminding everyone of the next Community Concert at The Dalles Wahtonka High School this Wednesday starting at 7:00 PM featuring the “Men of Worth”.) And if you happen to possess that all-too-common procrastination gene, the Center would once again like to invite you to become a member. It could change your life.

Tonight at the Center, it’s John Martin and Friends cooking up some good ole country fried music. And on the 17th, Truman will occupy the third Tuesday of the month playing his Country Gold. Music starts at 7:00, ends by 9:00 and donations are always appreciated..

Maybe I was waiting until they decided on a good name for themselves, because now I can finally invite everyone to join the “Needle Nutz” in the Center’s lounge. They meet every Wednesday from 10:00 till lunch to stitch, macramé, crochet, knit – anything that has to do with long strands of yarn or thread. The “Needle Nutz’ include Sandy Haechrel and her friends (now you know why the name is so fitting) and they would welcome anyone whether a newbie or expert to join their circle – or just stop in to ask any questions.

No one remembered the past editors of the Senior Highlights – the monthly newspaper for seniors first produced and distributed by the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program in the 1970’s. So I needed to go to the man who has been working at CAP since the days Rod Runyon was a young whipper-snapper Jaycee, and who is now CAP’s Executive Director. And Jim Slusher came through like an Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass. Jim remembers the first editor was Vince Paul Killeen, the “lil old editor” of the August 1975 Senior Highlights followed by Fritz Cramer who was the editor through the 80s.

But cleaning up my office also provided this week’s “Remember When” question. What was the name of the weekly educational newspaper/magazine first published in 1928 and distributed in the elementary grade classes (reaching a total circulation of 4,269,000 in 1949) that described current events in the United States and around the world? If you know, email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or write your answer on the back of a plate block of ten cent 1958 US Saving Stamps and mail it to 1112 W 9th Street.

Well, it’s been another week looking for the silver living in this old winter coat of mine. Until we meet again, don’t forget to breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in …

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone. ~Jim Fiebig

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