Aging Well November 30th

The brain works in incredible ways and we are just beginning to understand it. Ninety five percent of what is known about the brain has been learned in the last thirty years. But we only wish we knew more. Because as Dave Barry pointed out in his “Book of Bad Songs” we still don’t know why we can forget the important stuff: our ATM number, location of our car keys and the name of people we have known for years – but permanently stuck in the inner reaches of our brain are songs that we really, really don’t like. If you are of the boomer generation you can probably still hum the tune to “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I got love in my tummy”. Or can recite the lyrics to MacArthur Park – “Someone left the cake out in the rain/ I don’t think I can take it!/ ‘cause it took so long to bake it/ And I’ll never have that recipe again/ Oh no!” What in the heck did that mean? And why do I still remember it?

Roger Annunsen, a self described translator of the latest brain research, spoke at the Center two weeks ago and shared the six components – that by working together – promote good brain health.

The first is physical exercise – aerobic exercise is the best, but at the very least just keep moving. And what exercise is the best? Whatever you will do!. The second is mental exercise – besides the word puzzles and games, surprise yourself, take the wrong turn, get lost (as long as you find your way back home). Third, be socially active – meet with friends, share stories, ask someone out on a date or eat dinner provided by Meals-on-Wheels at the Center.

And there are three more components of brain health, but I want to “work you brain” by asking you to identify the other behaviors that help promote brain health. Think about it. I will include them in next week’s column or if you can’t wait, you can find all six components on the Center’s web site at

If you are fortunate to be covered by Medicare you have until December 31st to change your Prescription Drug plan or your Medicare Advantage insurance carrier. If you have questions and need assistance, you can call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 and ask for Jean Hockman.

But there are three general rules SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) recommends when making Medicare decisions. First, ask your doctor’s office if they accept the insurance plan you want to use. Second, do a drug benefits check-up every year to determine which plan is best for you. If you are Internet comfortable, you can use the Drug Plan Finder at And third, save all your correspondence (letters, statements and envelopes) and document any phone calls. SHIBA’s excellent user friendly guide to the Medicare system is now available and you can pick one up at the Center or at the Area Agency on Aging on the corner of 11th and Kelly.

If the weather holds, tonight’s Tuesday Night music at the Center will be provided by John Martin and Friends singing good old country western music. The music starts at 7:00 and everybody is welcome. And you don’t have to spend a cent – but donations are appreciated.

Last week, I couldn’t mention it, but I wanted to thank Myrna Kinner for helping me think of the “Remember When’ question when she told me she was named after Myrna Loy – the actress who played Nora Charles in the Thin Man movie series. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast was Sandy Goforth.)

And now that we are officially in the Christmas season with the sounds of carols and Christmas standards coaxing us into the Christmas spirit, we will certainly hear our favorite Christmas songs. Mine is “White Christmas” first sung by Bing Crosby in the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn”. But what is your favorite Christmas song? “Silent Night”, “I’ll be Home for Christmas” or the “Chipmunk Song”? E-mail it to me at, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a $100 Fred Meyer gift card and leave it on my desk.

The Center is back in action after a week in a winter wonderland. And whose idea was it to have snow this early? It certainly wasn’t mine! So until we meet again, I am beginning to realize I am getting to that age when I no longer need studs for my car – because if the weather is that bad, I’m better off staying home.

“Men’s minds are raised to the level of the women with whom they associate” – Alexandre Dumas Père

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