Aging Well March 24th

After eight days and seven nights on the road, Rita and I are glad to be back home again in Wasco County, eating home cooked food and sleeping in our own bed. It was a good trip: our relationship and bank account still intact. She didn’t leave me stranded in Las Vegas and I didn’t lose a dime – which isn’t so hard if you don’t bet a dime.

I was one of over 3500 folks attending the annual Aging in America Conference (It was so large I saw Sue Samet, Director of the local Area Agency on Aging, only once) and from all the valuable workshops I attended – all day Sunday through Wednesday – I was reminded of the important role senior centers can and should play in the community.

The conference reinforced the importance of this Center’s mission of promoting healthy aging so older adults can live full and active lives by exploring the world around them and their view of the world within them, by connecting with old friends and meeting new ones and by finding meaning and purpose through contributions to their communities. And I was again reminded that many times society sees older adults as needy, frail and dependent instead as active participants in life; keepers of lessons learned and experiences lived to be shared with others.

There were workshops on authentic aging: being true to yourself and following your own script; how to help older adults living in poverty or near poverty access benefits and avoid financial abuse, how to know if the Center is providing the supports and opportunities older adults want, and so much more. The conference concluded with a delightful evening with Debbie Reynolds who summed up her life in one word: perseverance. In future columns I will share with you in more detail what I learned in Las Vegas besides what any Las Vegas visitor already knows: the traffic is terrible, the blocks are long and there isn’t a cheap meal on the strip (and there is a reason they call it the strip).

Sue Samet, Director of the Area Agency on Aging, will share with us a “Political Update on Issues Affecting Seniors” at the Next Chapter lecture on Tuesday the 31st at 11:00 AM. Sue has years of experience in the field of aging and is a strong and knowledgeable advocate for seniors.

Last Saturday the Center’s Third Saturday Breakfast returned, but with our regular volunteers busy or on an overnight campout at the coast, we were short staffed. But several fine folks came to the rescue. Mary Catherine and Lisa from Cherry Heights Retirement Community, this month’s sponsor, helped serve and bus tables and Barbara from Washington Federal was again our cashier. They were certainly appreciated. Next month’s breakfast will be on Cherry Festival Parade Day, the 25th, and will be sponsored by Washington Federal. This is your chance to stop by the Center before the parade and enjoy a fine breakfast and meet all of the Cherry Festival dignitaries.

And don’t forget the Sadie Hawkins Dance, 7:00 pm on Tuesday the 31st with Penny and Small Change and just added – the Olde Tymers of Mike Tenney (who does look like an old timer) and John Schultz (who I think is lying) sponsored by Hearts of Gold Caregiving and Mill Creek Point. It will be fun, entertaining and if you are shy or have some sense of discretion, you don’t have to dress in costume although you will miss the chance to win a prize.

The daffodils are beginning to pop their heads up checking to see if it is safe. And as with the rest of us, they probably will decide that it is better to be above the ground with all of its dangers than to stay under it. So until we meet again, do one thing different and see what the difference will make.

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