Aging Well November 6th 2012

It isn’t clearly understood, but social engagement is known to have positive effects on your health and well-being. While on the opposite side of the coin, social and emotional isolation can be harmful and decrease your life expectancy. Unfortunately, when confronted with life changing events such as a death of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis or confronting an addiction, it is easy to retreat and separate yourself from your friends and family: your natural support network.

But in those situations, a support group is often a lifeline – providing life-saving benefits during those traumatic times. A support group can help you connect with others – reducing the feeling of isolation and being alone; help you understand that your feelings and reactions are not strange, but normal; and help you realize that life may be different, but it’s not over.

There are many support groups in the area for individuals as well as family, friends and caregivers. Last week, I mentioned the Stroke Support Group meeting on the second Wednesday of the month at Water’s Edge (541-506-6902). But there are many others including: a men’s cancer (
541-296-7207) and a women’s cancer support group (Lyn at 541-296-7205); Parkinson’s (Chad at 541-478-9338), Family Alzheimer’s/Dementia (Karen Deswert at FlagStone Senior Living 541-298-5656), and a Dementia support group (Veteran’s Home 541-296-7190). For bereavement support you can contact Heart of Hospice (541-296-7190) and Hospice of the Gorge (541-387-6449).
The bottom line is support groups offer social connections, experiential knowledge, role models and caring relationships. There is nothing better than knowing you can count on a group of people for support and guidance; and knowing, at some time, you will be able to reciprocate and help others through their difficult days, weeks and months. There is an open door waiting. You just have to make the life affirming decision to walk through it.
November 12th through the 16th is International Education Week: an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and worldwide exchange programs such as AFS (American Field Services). Since 1947, AFS has provided “intercultural learning experiences that bring global cultures together by helping people connect, transforming the lives of thousands of students, families, and individuals every year”.

Thanks to the efforts of Tedd and Rymmel Lovell, host families, liaisons and many other volunteers, there are three AFS high school students in The Dalles this school year including Anas “Ben” Dlala from Tunisia. You can learn more about AFS and Tunisia when Ben shows slides and discusses his homeland at the Tuesday Lecture on November 13thstarting at 11:00.

And to raise funds for student scholarships, local events, and school expenses for the current and future crop of exchange students, the local AFS program is selling 20 pound boxes of Ruby Red Grapefruit or Navel Oranges for $16.00 apiece. You can order a box (or half box) by calling 541-296-6546, contacting your local AFS volunteer or going online at

Novelty and focus are two essential nutrients for a good memory. So again it is time mix it up with this week’s music announcement. At the tenter conight starting at 7:00 PM “The Strawberry Bountain Mand” will be performing. And next week, Frartin and Miends will provide the soundtrack for an evening of lancing and distening. Everyone is welcome – political linners and wosers – and donations are always appreciated.

Last week’s question was a popular one with many folks remembering Eve Arden starring in “Our Miss Brooks” – the popular comedy series that aired on the radio from 1948 – 1958 and television from 1952 – 1956. (And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on the 17th is John Lampe.) And since today is Election Day – the end to all the political pitches covering the airwaves like weeds in a vacant lot – it only seems appropriate to include a political “Remember When” question.

For two years the nation was run by a president and a vice president who were not elected by the people. Who was the U.S. President? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a No. 48 football Jersey from the University of Michigan.

Well, it has been another week, trying to stay on my side of the road when the rain is pouring down. Until we meet again, stay strong, but many times the greatest strength is knowing when to seek support.

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” Robert Fulghum

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