Aging Well July 23rd 2013

Did you hear the one about the three retirees, each with a hearing loss, who were playing golf one fine March day? One remarked to the other, “Windy, isn’t it?” “No,” the second man replied, “it’s Thursday…” And the third man chimed in, “So am I. Let’s have a beer.”

 I enjoy sharing jokes about the challenges we face as we get older (especially ones I can relate to) because humor can be a way to accept and adapt to what life throws our way so we can then move on. But do these jokes perpetuate the negative stereotypes of aging we often find in our society – reinforcing inaccurate perceptions about getting older: the loss of mobility and function – and eventually our independence? Or even worse perpetuating stereotypes we internalize so we fear and avoid preparing for old age believing it will inevitably be a time of decline, lost dreams and lack of purpose?

 To change the way we think about aging, the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) has introduced the “Changing the Way We Age Campaign”. They are working with professionals in the aging fields to reject the limiting negative views of aging while encouraging a more positive and realistic vision of aging – thus creating a society that “recognizes, respects and responds to the potential of older adults”.

 In future columns I will discuss several themes of the campaign. But one that resonated with me is how society tends to focus on chronological age – associating an age with a variety of problems, instead of focusing on the problem itself. As ICAA points out “the problem is the problem; not the age”. When I discuss with my wife the chronic health conditions we have encountered (specifically, how she is tired of having to repeat everything she says – but she just needs to E-N-U-N-C-I-A-T-E!), she reminds me that raising two kids was not a piece of cake either. And I won’t even mention the struggles of junior high school!

Every period of our lives has its problems and rewards – they are just different problems and granted now we have to sometimes look harder for the rewards. But no matter our chronological age, the goal is to live as well as possible with humor, strength, and grace through all the ages in our unique and wonderful lives.

 The Center offers several opportunities to learn more about new technologies: every Wednesday between 9:00 and 10:00, there is a computer help lab to answer your basic computer questions; and from 1:00 – 2:30 there is an iPad support group on the first Wednesdays of each month and a Kindle support group on the fourth Wednesdays. Both are informal – asking questions and learning from each other. But recently someone asked about the Android operating system (developed by Google) found on the majority of smart phones and many tablets. If you are interested in learning more about the Android operating system, email me or call the Center and I will work to set up a time for an Android Support Group.

 Next Tuesday (the fifth Tuesday in July) the “Sugar Daddies” will be handing out musical treats all night long. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and everyone is invited. A suggested donation of $2.00 per person or $3.00 a couple is appreciated to feed the musicians and keep the lights on.

 The espionage thriller that ran from 1965 to 1968 on NBC starring Robert Culp and the first African-American actor in a lead role, Bill Cosby, as globetrotting tennis bums/secret agents was “I Spy”. (And this week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on August 17th is Sandy Goforth.) I promised one more “Remember When” question about secret agents, but this week we’ll trade in the tennis shoes for a Derby hat and an umbrella.

What was the name of the first British series to be aired on prime time U.S. television in 1965 starring Patrick Macnee as the sophisticated English secret agent John Steed and Diana Rigg as his talented assistant Emma Peel? (Her name evolved from the writers wanting a character with “man appeal” which was shortened to m appeal and evolved into Emma Peel.) Mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the June 10th 1967 issue of TV Guide featuring a four-page photospread on Diana Rigg’s new “Emmapeeler” outfits.

Well, it has been another week trying to stay on track without getting railroaded. Until we meet again, don’t hold a grudge while everyone else is out dancing.

 “Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” John Glenn

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