Aging Well May 20th 2014

It is said if you’re over 65 and need a conversation starter, bring up the subject of medications. It is a safe bet because five out of six persons 65 and older are taking at least one medication and almost half take three or more.
With the advancement in pharmaceutical research, the lives of older adults have been improved and many have been saved. But there are also significant risks, so it is important you manage them safely.   
Some steps you can take are common sense: keep an up to date list of your medications and supplements with your health care team; follow your doctor’s instructions; take only your own medications and keep them in their original containers.
But it is also important to know your medications.  
Which means to ask questions – and make sure you understand the answers. (I try to bring my wife with me so I have another set of ears – and a better memory.) Know the name of your medications and how they look so you will recognize if the pharmacist gives you something different.
Know how to use the medications correctly. Read the directions on the label and any other information you receive. Ask if there other medicines, foods, or activities that you should avoid while using the medications? What to do if you forget a dose? When you should take the medication and how long between each dose?
And know about possible side effects.  Older adults are more medically complex. And for adults over the age 65 who take five or more medications, about one-third experience a serious adverse effect each year. So ask what side effects to expect and which ones are serious. And since some side effects may bother you initially, but improve over time, ask when you should contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have certain side effects?
By knowing your medications, you will know what to expect, what to avoid and are more likely to use them correctly. Next week I will share with you tips on how to make sure you take your medications on their prescribed schedule. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about ensuring safe and appropriate use of medications an excellent website is Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors™ at
Nehemiah Brown is performing once more at the Center on Friday May 23rd from 7:00 – 9:00 sponsored by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center. Everyone has enjoyed his previous performances, and for $3.00 per person, you can’t beat the price.
The speaker for the next 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on May 27th will be Andy Roof who will be discussing “Living with Persistent Pain”. Andy is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Specialist with a master’s degree in physical therapy. He works at Water’s Edge where he also teaches the “Explain Pain” class which helps patients understand the role pain plays in their lives and bodies and how to treat pain through a variety of treatment methods including lifestyle changes, appropriate exercise and education on the physiology of pain. This is another MCMC presentation you won’t want to miss.
Truman will be performing his Country Gold at the Center on Tuesday May 27thstarting at 7:00 PM. There will be Pie and Ice Cream for sale for those with a sweet tooth. Bring your dancing shoes and enjoy an evening of fine country music.
It is not Caster Oil or Geritol, two of the answers I received for last week’s “Remember When” question. But it was Hadacol: the 1950’s product marketed as a vitamins supplement although in the dry counties in the South if was known to be served in a shot glass because of its 12% alcohol content. (And the winner is Karl Vercouteren who remembers the jump rope rhyme from the 50’s “HADACOL the doctor/ HADACOL the nurse, HADACOL the undertaker/ driving the hearse”.)
But this week it is clothing styles. What is the name of the style of shoe, most common in black and white, popular in the 50’s, worn by both men and women, and has a distinctively shaped decorative panel placed mid foot – which gives the style of shoe its name? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop a pair off with your favorite poodle skirt. (I wear a size 10 – and that’s the shoe not the poodle skirt!)   
Well, it has been another week trying to light a fire on another windy day. Until we meet again, no matter whether the sun shines or not, life goes on.
“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” James Dean

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