Category Archives: Aging Well in the Gorge

Welcome to Aging Well in the Gorge, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center’s article series by former director Scott McKay.

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ June 5th, 2024

I’m so easily distracted whether is a text message on my phone, my wife calling me, or a buzzard gliding past my window. It breaks my concentration and worse, I can’t remember what I was doing or thinking Then I follow the familiar routine of trying to turn back the hands of time, hoping to jog my memory.

I don’t remember this being a problem when I was younger, but then I don’t remember much of when I was younger – although I do remember my senior year in high school: the intramural basketball team called “Nads” (think about it!); dress down day when I was suspended for wearing a pair of torn and worn out jeans; and when we often wore to school pleated pants, tie, and sports coat with a button down Gant shirt just to be cool.

But what was I talking about? Oh yeah, distractions. 

As we age we become more easily distracted and have a harder time focusing on one thing. These distractions can occur in what we observe around us: seeing a billboard along the freeway while driving. Or they can be internal distractions: worrying about a family member while walking down the steps.

Distractions are a serious concern. But it is not all bad news. 

Surprisingly, one way distractions can be beneficial is that older adults remember irrelevant information more than younger adults. Now you may be asking, what is that good for? Well, it can be helpful if the distracting information becomes relevant later. For example, hearing on the radio about a road closure which is not relevant while washing dishes, may be relevant and helpful later when choosing your route to the grocery store. 

Regardless of the benefits, to remember anything you must first encode the information into your brain by avoiding distractions and focusing on what you are doing whether it is driving on the freeway, walking down the stairs, or remembering to turn off the stove after you’ve finished cooking.

Consequently, the appearance of a memory problem may just be because our ability to focus worsens as we get older, and we are more easily distracted. But it is also important to understand that making sense of what we know and forming reasonable arguments and judgments remains intact.

BRAIN TEASE: Jack walks out of his house and over to his beautiful tulip garden. He holds out his right hand, and a bee lands in it. What is in his eye?

Back in the ’50s and ‘60s, I was constantly reminded to wait an hour before “swimming”. I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Judy Kiser, Ken Jernstedt, Donna Mollet, Kathy Bullack, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Rose Schulz, Lana Tepfer, Linda Frizzell, Kim Birge, Craig Terry, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Deborah Medina, David Liberty, and Bruce Johnson. 

And for the week before, the chairman and president of American Motors Corporation when they introduced America’s first successful compact car, the Rambler American; and later served as governor of Michigan was George Romney. I received correct answers from Ken Jernstedt, Judy Kiser, Bruce Johnson, Doug Nelson, Tom Schaefer, Jim Tindall, Donna Mollet, Dave Lutgens, Lana Tepfer, Marny Weting, Rose Schulz, Bill Bullack, and Linda Frizzell. The winners of a quilt raffle ticket for the last two weeks were Ralph Winans and Ken Jernstedt.

And I missed Rose Schulz and I’m sure she won’t be the last.

I wasn’t a big fan of disco during the ‘70s, I never even watched Saturday Night Fever, but I did enjoy this singer. 

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the Queen of Disco who had the breakout hits “Love to Love You Baby” and “I Feel Love” co-written by Giorgio Moroder who was known as the Father of Disco? Email your answer for this week’s “Remember When” question to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send it with the German adaption of the musical Hair in which she performed.

Well, it’s been another week seeing what I can pull out of the hat. Until we meet again, keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Wednesdays with music on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: (ɹǝploɥ ǝǝq) ɹǝploɥǝq ǝɥʇ ɟo ǝʎǝ ǝɥʇ uᴉ sᴉ ʎʇnɐǝq ǝsnɐɔǝq ʎʇnɐǝq

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 29th, 2024

How many push-ups can you do? Or are you like me: the bigger challenge is just getting back up off the floor with some kind of grace and dignity!

Many of you are already active and can testify that you don’t have to relive your junior high P.E. class to enjoy the benefits of exercise and movement. It can be as simple as walking around the block or throwing away the TV remote – or even the TV. It can include water aerobics, gardening, dancing, or movement classes. By engaging in 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity you can improve or maintain your strength, balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness.

The first step is to avoid the excuses. Even with physical limitations, doing something is always better than doing nothing. If it becomes boring, mix it up and be creative. And even though you haven’t lost any weight or that extra inch around the waist, keep moving. It is still good for you.

There are also plenty of inexpensive ways to keep moving: a few plants here and a walking stick there or classes at your community center. And if you just don’t have the get up and go, to get out and move, reward yourself. Buy yourself a large chocolate milkshake. (Just kidding!)

And exercise with friends. The social connections will make it fun, more interesting, and a little peer pressure can be the motivation that keeps you going. And start small. You’re not getting any younger. Just because you were able to do something twenty years ago, doesn’t mean you can expect to start at that same level today.

The point is that it is never too late to start being more active. Start small, make it fun, and be persistent. At our age we may no longer be the youthful hare of Aesop’s Fables. But we can still follow the tortoise’s example where slow and steady wins the race.

A quick reminder. Shingles is not a walk in the park as a friend reminded me recently. She is suffering from painful nerve damage from shingles and has been urging all her friends to get the vaccine!

The two-dose recombinant zoster vaccine Shingrix is more than 90% effective compared to the previous vaccine Zostavax which was 51% effective. Even if you’ve already received the Zostavax vaccine or if you had shingles in the past, it is recommended that you receive the Shingrix vaccine. But if you’ve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine or have a weakened immune system, you should talk to your doctor first.

BRAIN TEASE: You may find this one way too easy.

I am a word of six; my first three letters refer to an automobile; my last three letters refer to a household animal; my first four letters is a fish; my whole is found in your room. What am I?

The person who served as chairman and president of American Motors Corporation from 1954 to 1962 and served as governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969 was George Romney. Once again, because it was another Monday holiday and I needed to send in this column early, next week I will share the names of those who sent in last week’s correct answer.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s, there were different ideas of what was safe and what wasn’t. I didn’t wear a bicycle helmet; I put raw eggs in my milkshakes; I used baby oil instead of sunscreen: and my sister and I would sleep on the mattress in the back of the Mercury station wagon while my mom and dad drove to Florida. But during the summer we were constantly reminded to wait an hour before doing what? Email your answer for this week’s “Remember When” question to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of a Sandra Dee Coppertone ad.

Well, it’s been another week trying to decide should I or shouldn’t I. Until we meet again as Anton Chekhov once pointed out “Any idiot can face a crisis. It’s the day-to-day living that wears you out”.

“The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.” Dave Barry

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Wednesdays with music on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: ˙ʇǝdɹɐɔ ∀

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 22nd, 2024

For many, the idea of “playing” ends in childhood. When we were working and raising a family, we didn’t have much time to play. We had important things to do and playing was often seen as wasting time. Then when we reach that stage in life when we have more time, we don’t play enough.

But we should play more. Play has numerous mental and physical health benefits. It stimulates the mind, nurtures creativity, and boosts overall happiness while relieving daily stresses: health, family, or financial issues. And what may be most important is that engaging in play with others can create lasting friendships.

There are many types of play to consider.

Constructive play? Remember how much fun it was playing with Legos? You can now buy Lego Sets and even Erector Sets for adults. What better way to impress your grandchildren?

Games and Puzzles? There’s pinochle, poker, checkers and brain teasers, crossword puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles (which are addictive!).

Physical play? Pickleball, boogie boarding, golf, cycling. Or you can let it loose gyrating on the dance floor with your partner imagining you are on American Bandstand.

Outdoor play? There’s gardening or walking your favorite nature preserve, watching nature bloom. Although I always thought pulling weeds was a little too close to nature.

Creative play? Creating something new that no one has ever made – maybe something no one would ever want to make! But who cares if it brings you joy and a sense of accomplishment. It could be painting, writing, knitting, or creating that one-of-a-kind quilt.

Imaginative Play? When was the last time you dressed up and played make-believe? Maybe a lightsaber fight with your grandchildren?

Travel and Exploration? Exploring new places, trying new foods, and experiencing different cultures can be playful and adventurous.

Humor and Laughter? Whether through watching comedies, or sharing age-old jokes with friends, humor contributes to a lighthearted and playful attitude.

Play is not restricted by age. How we play may change: no longer doing somersaults or engaging in silly fun. But no matter our age or physical condition it is never too late to find a way to play. As the well-traveled quote by George Bernard Shaw reminds us, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing.”

There is a Scam Prevention Event at Hood River Valley Adult Center on May 30, resource tables from 11:30 – 1:00, and from 1:00 – 2:00 Ellen Klem with the Department of Justice will give a presentation to help you stop the fraud before it starts and teach you how to alert others so they can avoid becoming victims.

BRAIN TEASE: See if you can answer this tease without paper and pencil.

Three playing cards in a row. Can you name them with these clues? There is a two to the right of a king. A diamond will be found to the left of a spade. An ace is to the left of a heart. A heart is to the left of a spade. Now, identify all three cards.

The irreverent World War II novel by Joseph Heller published in 1961 that follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier is Catch-22. I received correct answers from Donna Mollet, Kathy Bullack, Dave Lutgens, Jim Tindall, Craig Terry, Mike Nagle, Tina Castanares, Judy Kiser, Bruce Johnson, Pat Evenson-Brady, Dan Ericksen, Lana Tepfer, Doug Nelson, Rebecca Abrams, and Julya Hoffman this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This person served as chairman and president of American Motors Corporation when they introduced America’s first successful compact car, the Rambler American; and later served as governor of Michigan. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this American businessman and politician? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or return it with a picture of his son who was governor of Massachusetts.

Well, it’s been another week trying to stay on track without getting railroaded. Until we meet again, find a little time to just be silly.

“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.” Cynthia Heimel

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Wednesdays with music on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: ˙sǝpɐdS ɟo oʍ┴ ‘sʇɹɐǝH ɟo ƃuᴉʞ ‘spuoɯɐᴉp ɟo ǝɔ∀

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 15th, 2024

As I get older there’s always new aches or pains: knee, stomach, neck, you name it. It’s no big deal. It is what it is and I carry on.

But occasionally I read about a common symptom that’s a sign of a serious illness – and I scare myself. Is that gas I’m having caused by too much Broccoli or Celiac Disease? Is that painful, burning sensation in my chest heartburn or a more serious heart problem? Is that stomach discomfort indigestion or early signs of stomach cancer?

I worry. And if the symptoms persist, I will finally see a doctor to diagnose the problem.

Last year I wrote about how to get the most out of a doctor’s visit: be honest; decide on three or four questions to ask; stick to the point; and share how you felt about the visit.

But recently I’ve learned that even though a doctor can find valuable information from a physical exam and medical tests, a clear understanding of your symptoms can point the doctor in the right direction.

So how should I describe my symptoms? Consider these suggestions from the National Institute on Aging. (www.nia.nih.gov/health.)

Be clear and concise; and as specific, detailed, and descriptive as possible when describing your symptoms.

Explain to or show your doctor the exact location where you are experiencing your symptoms instead of some general area.

Rate the severity of your symptoms on a scale of one to ten: one being almost no effect on you and ten being the worst possible case you can imagine. Be honest, and don’t minimize or exaggerate.”

Mention how long you’ve had your symptoms. When did they begin and how often do they occur? Have you experienced the symptoms before?

Explain what relieves or worsens your symptoms. Are they getting better or worse? Are they connected to specific activities, injuries, times of day, food, or beverages?

When you visit your doctor make sure you first describe only your symptoms and not what condition you think you have. With online medical websites such as MedlinePlus or WebMD, there are plenty of opportunities to research your symptoms and self-diagnose – which I avoid because I don’t want to know how bad it could be. I want to sleep at night!

Finally, keep a record of your symptoms. Remember, be as specific, detailed, and descriptive as possible, and don’t forget to take it to your medical appointment.

Worrying about your symptoms is not a sign of weakness. And being honest about what you are experiencing doesn’t mean you are complaining – well, maybe sometimes I am! So when you visit your doctor, be prepared to accurately describe your symptoms so you can receive the best diagnosis possible.

BRAIN TEASE: How do you make the number 7 even without addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division?

The name of the sportswear company that in 1957 modified the sign on the roof of its downtown Portland building to include a male deer leaping over an outline of the state of Oregon was White Stag. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Bruce Johnson, Donna Mollet, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Lana Tepfer, Charlotte Arnold, Judy Kiser, Deborah Medina, Doug Nelson, Cindy Winfield, Keith Clymer, Kathy Bullack, and Charlotte Arnold this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

And last week because I was too busy eating my fish sticks, I missed Donna Mollet and Keith Clymer.

The irreverent World War II novel by Joseph Heller first published in 1961 follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of this book that became a cult classic, especially among the Vietnam War generation, and the title has become a part of our modern vocabulary describing a “no-win” situation. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or return your answer on the back of a poster for the film adaptation released in 1970.

Well, it’s been another week, doing what I can with what I got. Until we meet again, every day is a gift – although sometimes it’s hidden in the closet, wrapped in a crumpled month-old newspaper.

“Don’t hold a grudge. While you’re carrying a grudge the other guy’s out dancing.” Buddy Hackett

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Wednesdays with music on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: ˙,,uǝʌǝ,, sǝɯoɔǝq ,,uǝʌǝs,, puɐ ,,S,, ǝɥʇ doɹp

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 8th, 2024

There is a point when you learn to accept that you will not live forever no matter how well you eat, exercise, and do all the right things. We will all experience an end-of-life journey riding off into the sunset like the hero in a cowboy Western. The question is what kind of journey do you want that to be?

Facing this end-of-life journey is scary. We try to avoid it, and too often a person doesn’t receive the support so they can live as fulfilling a life as possible for the rest of their life. But hospice can provide that support.

Because hospice is often misunderstood, it is requested too late, missing out on months of supportive care they could have received including an interdisciplinary care team that comes to the person’s home and addresses the burdens they and their family face – all at little or no cost.

Anyone can request hospice services not just a physician: a family member, a friend, or the person. Hospice will contact the provider and determine if the person qualifies for hospice services. Generally, to be eligible a physician must predict a life expectancy of six months or less, but there is no limit to the length of time as long as the person continues to qualify for hospice.

Most of us are afraid of dying; it’s not something we generally discuss around the kitchen table. But Hospice is not just about dying, it’s as much about living: living a life of discovery, love, and even joy to the end of this wonderful journey.

Two hospices serve the Columbia Gorge; Bristol Hospice (541-386-1942) and Providence Hospice (541-387-6449). Gorge End of Life Services also offers services that are an extra layer of support to medical and hospice services and are not replacing hospice. You can learn more about their services by going to their website https://gorgeendoflifeservices.com/.

On May 18th Bristol Hospice invites the community to the Bristol Hospice Memorial and Kite Festival from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. near the Waterfront Events Site in Hood River. You will be treated to the awe-inspiring sight of colossal kites soaring high in the sky flown by professional kite flyers. It will be a day of joy for individuals looking to honor the memory of loved ones and a day of fun for families. Everyone is encouraged to bring their kites and picnic baskets to make the most of this memorable occasion.

For more information about the Bristol Hospice Memorial and Kite Festival, contact Bristol Hospice at 541-386-1942 or thomas.keolker@bristolhospice.com.

BRAIN TEASE: You get off easy this week. See how you do.

You live in a one story house made entirely of redwood. What color would the stairs be?

Besides myself, Judy Kiser, Dave Lutgens, Doug Nelson, Sam Bilyeu, Kathy Bullack, Lana Tepfer, and Rebecca Abrams remember every Friday being served some form of fish usually fish sticks; Mike McFarlane remembers Tuna Noodle Casserole; and Linda Frizzell remembers Hot Dogs. But the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Kathy Bullack who also shared her most memorable lunch called a “flying saucer”: a slab of bologna with mashed potatoes on top, spinach or peas on the side, milk in a glass – and you could have a big chocolate chip cookie if you ate all your lunch! Ah, what the kids miss these days.

This lighted sign in downtown Portland was redesigned in 2010 to become the “Portland Oregon” sign. But for this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the sportswear company that in 1957 modified the sign on the roof of its downtown Portland building to include a male deer leaping over an outline of the state of Oregon? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a vintage white jacket – a must-wear if you wanted to be cool in high school in Portland during the 50s. At least that’s what I was told!

Well, it’s been another week, hoping for at least one good idea. Until we meet again, keep the sails up – you never know when the wind will blow.

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep stepping.” Chinese Proverb

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Wednesdays with music on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: . ǝsnoɥ ʎɹoʇs-ǝuo ɐ uᴉ ǝʌᴉl no⅄ ¿sɹᴉɐʇs ʇɐɥM

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ May 1st, 2024

It’s May Day – a day we used to celebrate as children with folded paper May Day baskets filled with wildflowers, and a dance with colored ribbons around the maypole. But it is also the first day of Older Americans Month, celebrated since 1963, where communities across the country show their gratitude for the contributions of older adults.

This year’s theme is “Powered by Connection” which recognizes the profound impact of meaningful relationships and social connections. Often as we age, we find ourselves spending more time alone, leaving us more vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation which can affect our health and well-being – and independence.

But for many of us, it is not easy to stay connected: mobility difficulties; loss of sight or hearing; loss of a spouse. But there are ways to stay connected even with the challenges we may face.

  • Find an activity that you enjoy, restart an old hobby, or take a class to learn something new where you might meet people with similar interests.
  • Schedule time each day to stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors whether in person, through texts, email, social media, or virtual calls. Or write a letter. Does anyone handwrite letters anymore?
  • Talk with people you trust and share your feelings.
  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors.
  • Find a faith-based organization where you can deepen your spirituality and engage with others in activities and events.
  • Stay physically active by participating in an exercise class at your local senior or community center such as the popular Strong People class. But be warned, the classes are way too much fun!

There are also resources and programs at your local senior center and public library.

“Conversations for The Curious” at the Hood River Valley Adult Center from 10:30 – 12:00 on May 15th – discussing how to keep your financial affairs in order. Then on June 12th – how to have important and sometimes difficult conversations with family. For more information contact Claire Culbertson at claireculbertson@gmail.com.

Age Café at The Dalles Wasco County Library on May 6th from 2:00 – 3:00 and May 20th from 1:00 – 2:00. The Age Cafe offers an opportunity to engage in thoughtful small-group conversations on various topics relevant to older adults. Contact Roni Hyde at rhyde@gobhi.org or 541-705-4870.

“Let’s Talk” is a monthly session hosted by Noelle Savatta at the Pioneer Center Senior Center in White Salmon where you can find support or guidance about the challenges you may be facing in your life. For information about the next session call Noelle at 503-893-4669.

Older adults are a vital part of our society and it’s important that we stay connected with others to maintain our health and well-being, while also giving our time and effort to help keep our communities strong and vibrant.

BRAIN TEASE:

What are the next two numbers in this sequence? 7, 14, 17, 21, 27, 28, 35, 37, ?, ?

The 1968 song sung by Jeannie C. Riley that tells the story of Mrs. Johnson barging into a PTA meeting and revealing a long list of the members’ private indiscretions was Harper Valley PTA. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Donna Mollet, Rebecca Abrams, Kathy Bullack, Judy Kiser, Marny Weting, Jim Tindall, Lana Tepfer, Carolyn Bondurant, Rhonda Spies, Jay Waterbury, David and Sharrie Ray, Doug Nelson, Kim Birge, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Craig Terry and David Liberty – this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week my mind must have been playing in the clouds because I missed both Judy Kiser and Lana Tepfer.

In grade school during the 50s, I remember every Friday for lunch a particular food was served. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what food was it? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it stuck to a vintage lunch tray with instant mashed potatoes, peas, a cookie, and a carton of milk.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to make the best of every day – or at least get close. Until we meet again, make sure to take care of your future self.

“Life is trying things to see if they work.” Ray Bradbury

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Wednesdays with music on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: (The answer is again upside down. See if you can decipher it.)

.7 ʎq ǝןqısıʌıp ǝɹɐ ɹo 7 ʇıƃıp ǝɥʇ uıɐʇuoɔ ɹǝɥʇıǝ ʇɐɥʇ sɹǝqɯnu ǝɥʇ ǝɹɐ ʎǝɥʇ .74 ,24

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ April 17th, 2024

How often do you hear of new products or research findings that will help you live longer? Take this pill or that, eat less fat and more fiber, hit the gym, and lift those weights.

But many folks ignore it all because they believe when their time is up, there ain’t nothing you can do about it. So why change old habits? “Que Sera, Sera. Whatever will be, will be”.

But in many ways the focus on living longer is not really the point. More importantly, the reason you should consider eating better, moving and stretching more, and exploring new possibilities is to enjoy the years you have left – no matter how many there are. Or to paraphrase “It’s not to add years to your life, but to enjoy the life in your years”.

These latter years are not a mere holding pattern – riding an antique Piper Cub going nowhere as it circles for its last and final landing. But a time to play with the grandchildren, write your life story, learn to use a smartphone, or even meet a new love and dance the night away. So consider what you can do to stay as healthy and active as possible to enjoy “the life in your years”.

This coming weekend is the 43rd Annual Northwest Cherry Festival in downtown The Dalles. It includes the parade starting at 10:00, Car Show, Open Air Market, Food Court, Carnival, and Entertainment. But most importantly it includes the Cherry Festival Breakfast at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. Why? Besides enjoying a tasty breakfast and supporting the senior center, it will be when the raffle drawing will be held for a quilt made by the Mid-Columbia Senior Center Quilters. All the “Remember When” winners will be entered and hopefully one of them will win. It has happened before!

And speaking of the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, the AARP Smart Driver Course, which is open to all Oregon drivers, will be held at the center on April 25th and April 26th from 8:35 to 12:15. The cost is $20 for AARP members and $25 for non-members. You still have time to sign up so call 541-296-4788.

Observation for the week:

“As you get older; you’ve probably noticed that you tend to forget things. You’ll be talking with somebody at a party, and you’ll know that you know this person, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember his or her name. This can be very embarrassing, especially if he or she turns out to be your spouse.” Dave Barry

Brain Tease: Instead of an actual tease, this week I’m including these number exercises that will help improve your concentration and mental endurance. Guaranteed!

  1. Recite all the numbers between 1 and 100 that contain the digit 7. (7, 17, 27…)
  2. Count down from 200 by 4s. (200, 196, 192…)
  3. Recite the numbers counting up by 4s and by 5s (4-5, 8-10, 12-15…)
  4. Start with 2 and start doubling it in your head. See how far you can get. (2, 4, 8, 16, 32…)

The American who defeated Russian Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship match in 1972 that was publicized as a Cold War confrontation between the US and USSR was Bobby Fischer. I received correct answers from Donna Mollet, Rebecca Abrams, Kathy Bullack, Rose Schulz, Dan Crisp, Eva Summers, Tina Castanares, Dave Lutgens, and Maria Kollas this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Ron Nelson and Craig Terry.

Do you remember when there were whitewall tires? If you do, you might just remember this car modification that was first commercially produced in 1932 but faded in popularity in the 1970s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name for pieces of bodywork, first described as “pants”, that were attached to the fender that covered the upper portions of the wheels of a vehicle? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or drop it off at my house with a blue 1952 Nash Rambler.

Well, it’s been another week trying to stay focused. Until we meet again, it’s been said without money we’d all be rich.

“It’s possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” Lee Segall

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office

(509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ April 10th, 2024

Do you and your partner ever fight over little or big disagreements? Or do you use the avoidance style of handling conflicts my wife and I use?

In her article “Is There a Right Way to Fight with Your Partner?” on the website Next Avenue, Randi Mazzella interviews couples therapist Dr. Julie Gottman who with her husband wrote the book “Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict Into Connection”

What they’ve learned from their fifty years of research with over three thousand couples, is that fighting isn’t necessarily bad for a relationship and if done right, fighting can lead to greater intimacy and connection.

Gottman offers several suggestions for how to fight right, so you can express your feelings safely without judgment and your partner will understand what is troubling you and you can get what you need.

First, avoid these four communication styles when communicating with a partner: stonewalling, criticism, contempt, and defensiveness. For example, instead of being critical, try something positive. Rather than saying “Why can’t you ever load the dishwasher?” try “It would help me if you could load the dishwasher tonight.”

Second, couples should employ a “5 to 1” ratio when discussing an issue: five positive interactions to each negative. Positive interactions can be a smile, a nod, or an affectionate touch, while negative interactions include saying something critical, a frown, or ignoring what a partner says.

Third, it’s not about winning; it’s about understanding one another. “Arguments should be productive and enriching, not hurtful,” says Gottman.

Fourth, learn to communicate better. Not just by being an “active listener”: letting your partner speak and repeating what they have said to prove you heard them. Active listening often fails because it doesn’t include the importance of how the speakers express themselves.” And using “I” sentences doesn’t always work either. Gottman explains that if you say, “I feel angry when you don’t bring in the groceries,” your partner may just hear the negativity. Using ‘I’ in a positive way, such as, “I’d appreciate if you brought in the groceries”, is a more effective way of getting your point across.

Fifth, know how to apologize. Now this could be a whole other column. But to apologize to end the fight without really being sorry, or apologizing without genuinely knowing why your partner was upset won’t help.

I don’t think any of us can or even should live like the fictional characters Carol and Mike Brady of “The Brady Bunch.” Because if done right, which may take time, fighting can lead to a more intimate and stronger relationship.

Now I just have to look for something to fight about tonight!

I learned at least one person was interested in the Pathfinder 2 study because he called and found that the phone number I wrote last week was incorrect. I meant to write 541-399-9059. Thank you to whoever that masked man was who found my error.

Brain Tease: This is a quote where I’ve reversed the text.

neurG araS – .tnatropmi tub ,krow drah si selbram ruoy lla gnivah fo ecnaraeppa eht pu gnipeeK

The name of the first satellite launched on October 4th, 1957, by the Soviet Union was Sputnik. I received correct answers from Jay Waterbury, Kathy Bullack, Lana Tepfer, Tina Castanares, Marny Wetting, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Eva Summers, Rebecca Abrams, Linda Frizzell, Bruce Johnson, and Glenna Mahurin, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I don’t know if chess was ever your game, but in 1972 the world was focused on a chess match between Russia and the United States. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the American who defeated Russian Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship match that generated so much interest it was broadcast on prime-time TV. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a copy of his book My 60 Memorable Games.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying life as I’m passing through. Until we meet again, as a very close friend recently told me, “I don’t like to fight. I just like to win!”

“If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.” Martin Luther King

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: “Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.” ― Sara Gruen

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ April 3rd, 2024

As we grow older we continue to gain knowledge from our growing life experiences, and wisdom from our many past lessons.

And yet there is one personal trait I feel has taken a hit: my confidence.

I’m not sure why. Maybe because in conversations with friends or at a meeting, I’m afraid I won’t remember an important event, or I didn’t hear a key point. I can still put two and two together to get four, but did I hear two and two – or was it two and three, and then my response wouldn’t make any sense? So, I keep quiet, except with my wife who reminds me of how foolish I can sound – which doesn’t help my confidence!

You may feel the same way: less confident in public, or while driving after dark, walking an uneven trail, learning a new technology.

But sometimes when your confidence is low, it is often best to put yourself out there; take a risk by trying something new. Learn to play a musical instrument, join that Tai Chi class you always wondered about, or meet that cute boy or girl at your favorite gathering spot. (Sorry. I forgot we’re not in high school!)

And the key? Take small steps – and be persistent.

Then most importantly, celebrate your successes.

There will be setbacks: a poor choice of words, a forgotten appointment, an avoidable fall but focus on what you can do: your gifts and talents, so you don’t miss any of life’s opportunities.

That’s what I keep telling myself!

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world but too often cancer goes undetected until it is in an advanced stage. The 5-year overall survival rate is 4x higher when cancer is diagnosed early before it has spread.

Today only 5 types of cancer have recommended screening tests to detect cancer early:  breast, colorectal, lung (for those at risk), cervical, and prostate; while 70% of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths are due to cancers with no recommended screening.

But the PATHFINDER 2 Study is aiming to change that. This national clinical trial will check how well an early test called Galleri® developed by GRAIL detects more than 50 cancers with a simple blood test. The clinical trial will help determine if it will eventually be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Adventist Health Columbia Gorge and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute are participating in the PATHFINDER 2 Study and are looking for individuals to join the study. To be eligible you must be 60 – 79 years old and have had no cancer diagnosis or treatment in the last 3 years. And I’ve heard they are particularly looking for men for the study.

To participate call 541-399-9095 or email Gorgepathfinder@ohsu.edu to schedule an appointment to complete a brief medical history and provide a blood sample. There will be a brief annual follow-up once a year for 3 years by phone or online. Last year, I participated in the study and found it easy and confidential.

Worrying about having cancer can feel overwhelming. Knowing there is a screening test for over 50 cancers could help you feel more in control of your health. You can help make that possible by participating in the PATHFINDER 2 Study.

Brain Tease: For me, this was a “groaner” when I saw the answer.

“Who’s bigger: Mr. Bigger, Mrs. Bigger, or their baby?”

The name of the center who led UCLA to three consecutive national championship games and in 1971 publicly changed his name after converting to Islam was Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Mike McFarlane, Kathy Bullack, Dennis Morgan, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Doug Nelson, Tina Castanares, Dan Crisp, Mike Nichols, Deborah Medina, Keith Clymer, Bruce Johnson, Donna Mollet, Carol Earl, Nancy Higgins, Ken Jernstedt, and Blaine Evinger this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Today there are approximately 9,500 active satellites in various earth orbits and small satellites (661 pounds or less – about the weight of an average vending machine) comprise 94% of all satellite launches.

For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the first artificial Earth satellite (184 pounds and 23 inches in diameter) launched on October 4th, 1957, by the Soviet Union and triggered the Space Race? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a 1/24 scale model of the Explorer 1 – the first satellite launched by the United States when it was sent into space on January 31, 1958.

Well, it’s been another week, wondering what’s on the other side of the page. Until we meet again, sometimes stubbornness is just another name for being determined – and then sometimes it’s not.

Answer: The baby since he’s a little Bigger

Aging Well in the Gorge ~ March 27th, 2024

Humor is an indispensable tool of life and is particularly beneficial as we age. It can help mourners heal, defuse tensions, open friendships, and help us cope with challenging situations by acknowledging the incongruities and absurdities of life and reminding us that we are all in this together.

There are many types of humor from slapstick to ironic. However, some research has distinguished these four different styles.

1.) Affiliative humor that promotes social bonding through jokes, amusing remarks, and not taking oneself too seriously:

2.) Self-enhancing humor that enables people to cope with adverse circumstances by perceiving the brighter side of life and being able to laugh at yourself.

3.) Self-defeating humor. Putting yourself down in an aggressive or “poor me” fashion which can be psychologically unhealthy.

4.) Aggressive humor that mocks, ridicules, and disparages others. This involves put-downs or insults targeted toward individuals.

While humor is very individualistic, age can influence what we find amusing. Research has found older adults compared to younger adults enjoy humor more – although may laugh less, and do not enjoy aggressive types of humor as much.

The following five jokes represent the four different styles of humor. See which ones you enjoy – or not!

“A pair of cows were talking in the field. One says, “Have you heard about the mad cow disease that’s going around?” “Yeah,” the other cow says. “Makes me glad I’m a penguin.”

“My psychiatrist told me I’m going crazy. I said, ‘If you don’t mind, I’d like a second opinion.’ he said, ‘All right. You’re ugly, too.’” Rodney Dangerfield

“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.” Kurt Vonnegut

“I’m not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don’t we just take the warning labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?” Ricky Gervais

“Ole and Lena were at the drive-in movie. Ole says, ‘Say Lena, you wanna get in the back seat?’ Lena says, ‘Naw, Ole, I’d just as soon stay up here with you.”

So take time to enjoy a good laugh with a friend, read an amusing story, or watch your favorite comedy. As Elbert Hubbard once said, “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”

Brain Tease. Tell me if I’ve shared this before. “If 3 tigers catch 3 sheep in 3 minutes. How long does it take for 100 tigers to catch 100 sheep?”

The name of the television series created by Rod Serling in which characters find themselves dealing with often disturbing or unusual events was The Twilight Zone. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Stephen Woolpert, Kathy Bullack, Linda Frizzell, Judy Kiser, Donna Mollet, Sandy Haechrel, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl, Pat Evenson-Brady, Kim Birge, Tina Castanares, Dan Crisp, Nancy Higgins, Rose Schulz, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Bruce Johnson, Doug Nelson, and April Taylor this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Bruce Johnson. And thank you to everyone who sent in their most memorable Twilight Zone episode.

Since it is March Madness, I have to include a basketball question for the sports fans in the audience. When I was attending Purdue University during the 1968–69 school year, the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team beat Purdue to win an unprecedented third consecutive NCAA National Basketball Championship. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the center who led UCLA to three consecutive national championship games and in 1971 publicly changed his name after converting to Islam? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 541-296-4788, or send it with a picture of UCLA head coach John Wooden – the Wizard of Westwood – who coached the UCLA basketball team from 1948 through 1975.

Well, it has been another week, thinking of when I should get out the sunscreen. Until we meet again, as they used to say in the old west, “Poor is having to sell the horse to buy the saddle.”

“Never have children, only grandchildren.” Gore Vidal

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: For 100 tigers to catch 100 sheep, it would still take the same amount of time because each tiger is catching one sheep in 3 minutes. Therefore, it would take 3 minutes for 100 tigers to catch 100 sheep.