Aging Well September 9th 2014

We all change. And although changes occur throughout our lives, they now seem more onerous and unwanted – particularly when they affect our driving abilities. Driving is important in staying independent, but it is also one of the most complicated activities we encounter: a balancing act of perception, attention, memory, decision making, and action control.

Unfortunately, that balance is often affected by age related changes – which many of us can’t avoid: vision problems, hearing loss, slower reaction time, loss of strength and flexibility. Grudgingly, we accept this reality. But we can also adapt by modifying our behaviors in the following ways

Before driving off, make sure you check yourself, your vehicle and all around you. Then while driving stay alert, keep an eye out for the other guy and expect the unexpected; and keep an adequate space between your vehicle and others to give yourself time to react if you have to stop suddenly – even though from my experience on congested roadways, some eager driver always fills the gap.

At some point, you may want to avoid higher risk situations: night driving, congested streets and intersections, bad weather and busy times of the day. And although it is a difficult decision, there just may come a time when you have to give up the keys.

These are suggestions from the AARP Smart Driver course which is offered monthly at the Center. In the course, you will update your knowledge of the rules of the road; and learn about normal age-related physical changes and how to adjust your driving to compensate. Because the course helps reduce auto accidents, auto insurance companies provide a discount for those who complete the course. If you are seventy or over, it is recommended you take the course every two years and for those of you under seventy – once every three years.

The course is offered from 9:00 – 12:00 on the third Monday and Tuesday of most every month – in September it will be on the 15thand 16th. The cost is $20.00 and $15 for AARP members. If you are interested, call the Center to sign up.

In addition, the Center’s Saturday Breakfast on September 20th, sponsored on behalf of the AARP Smart Driver Class, will recognize The Dalles’ own Dennis Davis – the #1 rated Smart Driver instructor in Oregon.

A couple of quick reminders from the history file. The once in a hundred year Mosier City Centennial celebration is on Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th. At 1:00 on Saturday in the school gym, there will be a presentation on Ortley, the 1911 former city on 7-Mile Hill. And on Saturday at 4:00 and Sunday at 2:00 “Voices from the Past” will be presented. You can learn more at
And if your interests lean more towards family history, on Saturday the 13th at 1:00 at the Discovery Center, the Columbia Gorge Genealogical Society presents the first of a 3-part series that will get you started on the right path. September’s topic is “Get Organized”, followed by “Get Started” on October 11thand “Get It Right” on November 8th.
As several people pointed out, it’s Tuesday Night music at the Center – not Saturday night which is busy with Bingo. So let me try again. TUESDAY Night music is back at the Center with Truman playing on the 16th. Music starts at 7:00 and everyone is welcome. And don’t forget Nehemiah Brown will be singing the easy listening hits from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s on Friday September 19th. The cost is $3.00.
“Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry,” were lyrics from the song “American Pie” sung and written by Don McLean and inspired by the tragic airplane crash that killed McLean’s idol, Buddy Holly as well as Richie Valens and the Big Bopper. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Ed Anghilante.) 
This week’s “Remember When” question is a back to movie quotes – this one from the highly acclaimed 1964 British – American black comedy starring Peter Sellers (in three different roles) and George C Scott. In what movie was it said “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it by air express on a B-52 bomber.  
Well, it’s been another week trying to line a pig’s ear with a silk purse – or something like that. Until we meet again, learn something new every day – just try not to forget it by the time you fall asleep.  

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl

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