Aging Well March 30

While more and more older adults are jumping on the information superhighway, many are tentatively dipping their toes in the pool of social networking sites to broaden their social connections and to stay engaged in their communities. According to one report in the New York Times, the number of older adults visiting social networks online last year grew twice as fast as the overall rate of Internet use among older adults.

For folks who live alone – about one third of persons over 75 according to a recent study by AARP – it is important to stay connected and engaged. And social network sites – where you can share stories; connect with old friends and make new ones; and learn about civic and educational opportunities – can help. As Joseph F. Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stated “The new future of old age is about staying in society, staying in the workplace and staying very connected. And technology is going to be a very big part of that, because the new reality is, increasingly, a virtual reality. It provides a way to make new connections, new friends and new senses of purpose.”

Jeff Eagan, in his work helping many older adults navigate through the maze of Medicare options, has seen the need for an easy accessible online Internet site where adults over 50 can keep connected and engaged in the community. Because of this vision, Jeff has created the online site You can learn more about how to use this website to stay connected with friends and your community at 11:00 next Tuesday April 6th at the Center.

April is the month for planting, taxes, baseball and, yes, the Center’s spring membership drive. By providing opportunities to “explore, connect and contribute”, the Center is working hard to fulfill its mission of “promoting healthy aging by sharing and caring”.

By being a member you will help support the many activities and programs that the Center offers: drawing class, wildflower hikes, monthly foot care, a loan closet of medical equipment, exercise classes, computer classes, lecture series, music and dance, cards, driver safety and Wii bowling. And I mustn’t forget Bingo!

And it is not just about us. The Center also provides space for the local ARC chapter and sponsors Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack #395; provides space for several community programs including the Area Agency on Aging’s “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” and Medicare counseling; and La Clinica’s “Steps to Wellness” class and well as the AARP Tax Aide.

Since there is a richness of activities providing a variety of opportunities for older adults we, we also support and promote other community resources including MCMC, the Columbia Gorge Community College, Wasco County Historical Society, Community concerts and many others.

The Center’s goal is to increase its membership to 600 – one person, one couple at a time. Whether you participate directly in the Center activities or indirectly – such as reading this column – I ask you to become a member. The annual dues are only $35 per person on $60 per couple. Just drop in or mail you membership dues to the Center at 1112 W 9th, The Dalles.

Next Tuesday, Truman, the Center’s friend and guitar picker (who like Madonna and Bono is identified by only one name) will be playing his country gold. And tonight the good ole Dufur Boys (and Molly) will be playing for your dancing and listening enjoyment. The fingers start plucking at 7:00 and there is no charge but donations are widely accepted.

The epic film that debuted in 1959 and featured a chariot race was Ben-Hur. Joe Usatine’s name was randomly drawn winning him a free breakfast on Cherry Festival Saturday.

This week I am taking a different tack and see how far upriver I can sail. My memories of my youth – those that I can remember or want to remember, and which usually involve a girl – usually include a sound track. This week’s “Remember When” question is “What is your most memorable song from your high school days? Call 541-296-4788, or email

Well that is another week and another seven dollars. Until we meet again, keep clean, keep current and keep connected.

“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked” Bernard Meltzer

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