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 September 28th 2022

Well, it only took me six months to get to that third stage of retirement: Now What? I was finding the less I did, because there wasn’t anything I HAD to do, the less I felt like doing. But in life, you never know when a new door will open. So my wife and I are now job-sharing the community liaison position for Circles of Care in The Dalles and Hood River

You may have read about Hood River Circles of Care in this paper last week. As Amy Mallett, Executive Director of the Hood River Adults Center, pointed out, Circles of Care connects older adults with trained and caring local volunteers to help older adults stay in their homes and age with dignity.

Circles of Care’s trained volunteers can lend a hand in assisting with everyday tasks such as transportation, meals, errands, light cleaning, technology support, minor yard work, and household maintenance – and often most importantly friendly check-ins.

My mission as community liaison is to match an older adult with a volunteer. But that can only happen if there are enough volunteers.

So here is my pitch. Besides the rewarding feeling of personally assisting an older adult and often even becoming friends, being a Circles of Care volunteer allows you a wide range of flexibility. You choose how you would assist (several volunteers have chosen to share their musical talents during their regular check-ins); how often you would like to volunteer; or if you want to volunteer with others or would rather enjoy a one-on-one experience.

If you are interested in lending a hand and becoming a part of the Circles of Care community, go to the Age+ Circles of Care website where you will have the choice of volunteering in The Dalles or Hood River.

You will be asked to create a username and password so you can log on to your Myimpactpage. Once you have logged on, you will find the application page where you will complete a questionnaire that helps me know when and how you want to assist.

Also, if you or someone you know is interested in receiving periodic volunteer assistance, go to the same Age+ Circles of Care webpage and choose The Dalles or Hood River. If you have any questions, you can email me at or call 541-397-0724.

AGE+ is a statewide non-profit that developed Circles of Care as one of its initiatives to champion a new vision for successful and equitable aging for all Oregonians by empowering communities and linking generations to make longer life an opportunity, not a burden. But in simpler terms, I see Circles of Care as the embodiment of the good old American value of “neighbor helping neighbor”.

Brain Tease: This is a test of your lateral thinking. I had to kick myself when I looked at the answer.

A man rode into town on Monday. He stayed for three nights and then left on Monday.

How can this be?

The name of the cartoon character created in the 1930s and is associated with the classical comedic opera Barber of Seville in the Looney Tunes episode “Rabbit of Seville” was Bugs Bunny. I received answers from Donna Mollet, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, and Patty Burnet this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.  And last week I missed Mike Nagle.

When growing up, my family wasn’t into fine cuisine. I thought the only type of cheese was processed cheese which you had to cut with a wire.  And I never knew what butter tasted like until in my late teens. But we always had this artificially orange flavored drink mix at the breakfast table because it was the drink of the astronauts!

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this drink

mix whose sales were poor until NASA used it on John Glenn’s Mercury flight in February 1962? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send it with the video of Walter Cronkite reporting on the launch of the first American to orbit the earth.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my balance on an uneven dance floor. Until we meet again, never deny who you are.

“Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious.” Brendan Gill, writer

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; 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); Skamania County Senior

Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: Monday is the name of his horse.

Aging Well in the Gorge September 14th 2022

Well, this hasn’t been a good week! On Saturday, the 3rd my cough started worsening, and to be safe I decided to take a COVID test. I wasn’t worried. I haven’t been infected with COVID and I didn’t even get it when my wife was sick from COVID. I figured my immune system was one part of my body that was working to full capacity. But you know where I’m headed. I did test positive! And it has been a very uncomfortable eight days: constant coughing fits, tiredness, loss of appetite.

I think I have finally turned the corner, but it has thrown my fine-tuned writing routine out the window. And worse, I kept telling myself if I’m too tired to write I can wait till the next day and the next day. And now here I am. I need to submit the column by Sunday which as I’m writing is tomorrow!

But I made it! And although this week’s topic is not one you would normally have on your list of conversation starters, it is important because it does affect many of us.

You may have had a “Gotta go, Gotta go!” moment – and from own my personal experience it can be embarrassing when you don’t make it. If you experience incontinence, you’re not alone. An estimated 32 million Americans have incontinence,

But what can you do? I found the report “Better Bladder and Bowel Control, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School” that you can access on the Internet. It offers a regular bladder workout that can tame incontinence without surgery. See what you think.

Doing more bladder training can go a long way toward helping with urinary incontinence. In simple terms, this workout strategy involves learning to urinate on a schedule and doing pelvic muscle exercises.

Here’s a step-by-step bladder-training method.

Keep a diary. For a day or two, keep track of the times you urinate or leak urine during the day.

Calculate. On average, how many hours do you wait between visits to the bathroom during the day?

Choose an interval. Set your starting interval for training so that it’s 15 minutes longer.

Hold back. On the day you start your training, empty your bladder first thing in the morning and don’t go again until you reach your target time interval. If the time arrives before you feel the urge, go anyway. If the urge hits first, remind yourself that your bladder isn’t really full,

Try pelvic floor exercises (also called Kegels), or simply try to wait another five minutes before walking slowly to the bathroom.

Increase your interval. Once you are successful with your initial interval, increase it by another 15 minutes. Over several weeks or months, you may find you can wait much longer and that you feel the urge less often. After four to eight weeks of improvement, you can reward yourself with a glass of wine before you start another diary.

Brain Tease. A man was walking in the rain. He was in the middle of nowhere. He had nothing and nowhere to hide. He came home all wet, but not a single hair on his head was wet. Why is that? Too easy again?

The two stars of the 1951 critically acclaimed film African Queen were Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. I received correct answers from Jess Birge, Margo Dameier, Lana Tepfer, Rebecca Abrams, Donna Mollet, and Rhonda Spies this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Patty Burnet and Margo Dameier.

It has been almost 40 years since the “Where’s the Beef?” commercial was televised and since then it has become a popular catchphrase. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what fast food chain introduced the phrase in 1984? And for bonus points what presidential candidate used the phrase in a 1984 Democratic presidential debate?  Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send it with a Dave’s Combo.

Well, it’s been another week, coughing and sputtering. Until we meet again, as I’ve learned, it’s always a risk thinking it won’t happen to you.

I saw this Kurt Vonnegut quote on a t-shirt hanging in the Kurt Vonnegut Museum in Indianapolis that speaks to the value of art. “Practicing an art no matter how well or badly is a way to make your soul grow.”

Aging Well in The Gorge September 7th 2022

Ah, the body: the vehicle that used to attract young women with such ease, that could zig-zag through the backfield of the opposing team and catch passes with a single leap; and could stay up all night and still get to class in the morning – on time. Where, my friend, have you gone?

Now because of your wayward behavior, I have another part-time job: maintenance man. Unexpected trips to the hospital, doctors testing and poking me while losing any sense of modesty; often finding not an answer but several “it-could-be’s”; and then spending weeks worrying what the “could-be’s” could actually be! Body, you were once an asset and now it’s just “patch, patch, patch”.

But I haven’t given up on you – at least not yet. Even though you haven’t been kind, I will still do my part. I will keep moving, stay active, laugh with friends, and eat well. And then will you see the error of your ways? Or at least can we just be friends?

Okay, this comes under the category, “I just don’t understand”. If you text or email do you ever use those tiny symbols called emojis? Because I just don’t understand them! I mean I do understand the heart, the thumbs up and the smile which are the only ones I use but there are hundreds of emojis just of faces: partying face, winking face, thinking face, pleading face! And when do you use each one? I just must not have the emotional depth to make sense of all of them, and I just don’t want to get myself in trouble using the wrong emoji.

If you have the same difficulty and want to learn what an emoji means, I found the website Emojipedia that describes the meaning of each emoji. Then you can show your grandchildren you know what’s “in”!

Last week when I mentioned the important contribution of caregivers, Barbara Cadwell wrote reminding me that we should not forget the nurses who often work long hours under difficult situations. As with many occupations, there is a shortage of nurses but unlike most businesses, you can’t just reduce the hours you’re open. So, a belated Labor Day thank-you to all the nurses who make our lives better.

I had a great visit with my sister and brother. We visited the sites of Indianapolis including my first professional football game which was LOUD! I also learned some family secrets which my sister said I can’t share because by some wild chance you may know someone in the family – or more importantly know someone in law enforcement!

But I can share this riddle my brother told me. I didn’t know the answer but give it a try.

Brain Tease. How many seconds are there in a year? Hint: it’s not 31,536,000 seconds.

The thoroughbred racehorse that in 1973 won the Triple Crown while setting speed records in all three races was Secretariat. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Doug Nelson, Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Rebecca Abrams, and Diana Weston this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

And for the previous week’s question, those who remembered the Uncle Wiggly boardgame were Patty Burnet, who still had the game in her cupboard, Diane Lee, Barbara Cadwell, Rose Schulz, Donna Mollet, and Ang Harr that week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

I’ve watched the 1951 film African Queen several times and I still get the shivers thinking of the scene where the character Charlie Allnut climbs out of the river covered with leeches uttering those memorable words, “One thing in the world I hate: leeches. Filthy little devils.” For this week’s “Remember When” question who were the two stars of this critically acclaimed film? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send it with the featurette “Embracing Chaos: Making the African Queen”.

Well, it has been another week, trying to remember what I wrote last week. Until we meet again, sometimes it is harder to realize the question than to find the answer.

“If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub.” Ursula K. Le Guin, from her book No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters.

Posted by Scott McKay

Aging Well in the Gorge August 31st 2022

 Lily Tomlin once said, “Reality is the leading cause of stress – among those in touch with it.” And for those of us who have stayed in touch, we have experienced the various stresses in all chapters of our lives: in school worrying about exams and first dates, during mid-life while encountering family and work decisions; and now in this, our third chapter, worrying about personal health issues, caring for loved ones and facing the ultimate reality of death.

Although some stress can be beneficial, stress can have significant harmful consequences: insomnia, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure – besides just ruining all the fun.

There are many steps you can take to relieve stress: staying socially connected, keeping physically active, and enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us in the Gorge.

But according to Doctor Mike Evans who produced the short ten-minute video “The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do for Your Stress” (You can find it on YouTube.), the current research suggests the most effective treatment to manage stress is changing your thinking style.

He explains that stress doesn’t just happen to us, it passes through our brain. And our brain – that space between the action we experience and our response to what happens – is where we create the stress. In other words, it is our thinking that creates stress.

This idea is embodied in the 90/10 rule. Ten percent of how we do in life is based on what happens to us, but ninety percent is how we respond. And we have the ability to manage that ninety percent. (Although as I get older it feels more like a 70/30 rule.)

In the video, Dr. Evans explains in more detail how stress management can be learned through different techniques such as problem-solving, avoiding thinking traps, and reframing automatic thinking to healthier thinking patterns.

In particular, he points out the effectiveness of mindfulness training which combines increased self-awareness, breathing techniques, meditation, and letting go of distractions – being in the moment.

Okay Mike, let’s stop here. That sounds all well and good, but I and probably many others have found it isn’t as easy as you make it sound. There are many times I don’t feel like being in the moment. I’d rather be on a sandy beach on a warm sunny day in Hawaii. And my brain! It often seems to have a mind of its own and won’t listen to me.

But I get it and I’ll keep trying. I know as the famous American psychologist William James pointed out, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”. I just wish it wouldn’t be so difficult!

This coming Monday is Labor Day and I want to remind all of us how important caregivers are and how they are often taken for granted. They may be taking care of a spouse and loved one, providing in-home care, or working at a long-term care facility. The work is rewarding but can also be stressful and challenging especially during the COVID restrictions. The dedicated caregivers deserve a standing ovation!

Brain Tease: Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?

The name of the classic juvenile American board game first introduced in 1916 and based on the children’s stories of an engaging elderly rabbit was Uncle Wiggly. Since once again I’ll be traveling – this time to my hometown of Indianapolis, (Isn’t retirement wonderful!), next week I’ll mention those who sent in the correct answer.

This thoroughbred racehorse thrilled America in 1973 when he won the Triple Crown setting speed records in all three races. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this stallion regarded as one of the greatest racehorses of all time? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send it with a video of the 1973 Belmont Stakes where he won by 31 lengths.

Well, it’s been another week, telling myself, “Yes, I can. Yes, I can”. Until we meet again, keep your light shining.

 “If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say, ‘He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned.’” Epictetus, Philosopher

Written by Scott McKay

Answer: Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Aging Well in the Gorge August 17th 2022

Besides inflation and gas prices, the next biggest concern for many Americans is the cost of housing – and that includes for us older adults.

Like myself, many older adults have been living in their house for decades; not interested in moving except that there is just too much space. And then there is the hassle of fixing problems that always seem to pop up.  What I use to repair myself, I now want to hire professional help which is worth it but can be expensive – let me restate that, is expensive! So there comes a time to move and cash out that equity you have earned in your house.

Many older adults across the country are considering just that but have found it difficult to find affordable housing, but also finding housing that is accessible so they can continue to live there no matter their physical condition.

Although we may hate to admit it, most of us will need some level of accessibility if even for a short period. Because my wife and I are trying to sell our house, we moved into the downstairs apartment. But more importantly, we moved because after her hip surgery she needed a place that didn’t require climbing ten steps to get to the front door.

As with our house, most houses and apartments in the United States are designed for young, able-bodied adults (who will eventually get old!) and don’t meet the needs of older residents or people with disabilities. In fact, in much of the nation, most housing was built more than a generation ago to generally serve a population of traditional households consisting of two parents and at least two children.

But times have changed which has led to a new architectural standard: Universal Design – also called barrier-free design. Universal Design seeks to create environments and products that offer safety and comfort for all people with no need for adaptation or functional changes and are largely invisible to the casual observer.

When applied to housing, examples of Universal Design are: no step entrance from the sidewalk, rear patio, and garage; lever handles instead of doorknobs; hallways and doorways that are 36 inches wide or more; avoiding changes in floor height; lowered switches and raised receptacles so that they can be reached from a seated position;  and in the bathroom a walk-in shower, a wall-hung sink, and a 60-inch clear floor space for turning a wheelchair. Even though it costs very little more to build using Universal Design standards, barely one percent of the nation’s housing supply contains any “Universal Design” elements.

It is clear there’s a need for more affordable housing for all. But often overlooked when building both private and public housing is that for many, housing that is accessible is also critically important for now and in the future.

 Brain Tease: Unscramble the letters to reveal a quote by W.C. Fields.

“fi uoy actn zdaelz etmh tiwh becinrllai lafbef ehtm iwht llub.”

The name of the fictional cartoon band that recorded the number one single “Sugar, Sugar” in 1969 was the Archies. I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Kim Birge, Margo Dameier, Donna Mollet, Keith Clymer, Jim Tindall, and Jayne Guidinger who may still have the record she got from the back of a cereal box and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

And I missed Sandy Haechrel who enjoyed seeing lightning bugs when vacationing recently in Minnesota; and Rose Schulz and Rebecca Abrams who remembered Jaws.

Red Foxx starred in this 1972-1977 television series as a 65-year-old widower and junk dealer living in the Watts neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this television series? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with one of the thirty-two “party” albums he recorded.

Well, it has been another week wishing for more rain and less wind. Until we meet again, always question but don’t let it keep you from acting.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Aging Well in the Gorge August 10th 2022

 by Scott McKay

“There are only four kinds of people in this world: Those who have been caregivers, those who currently are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Rosalynn Carter

And yet most of us are not prepared for the challenges of caregiving: caring for someone recovering from a stroke, someone with memory loss, or someone who needs support to continue living in their own home.

It’s difficult, challenging, and may continue for years but we carry on and learn by doing what needs to be done. But it’s not unusual for the caregiver to ignore their own health jeopardizing the care they can provide.

If you are a caregiver, you may be asking how do I take care of myself? How do I manage my emotions: the guilt, anger, and depression that often accompanies caregiving? How do I increase my self-confidence in coping with the demands of caregiving? And how do I find the community resources when I need support?

Powerful Tools for Caregivers ( can help answer those questions. It is a six-session class held once a week led by experienced class leaders.

The next class in Oregon is virtual and will be held at 2:00 on Tuesdays starting on September 13thsponsored by Community Connections of Northern Oregon. To register contact Kathy Ganung at or 541-963-3186.

It is hoped that more Powerful Tools for Caregivers classes can be held in person in the Gorge IF there are more trained leaders. To become a trained leader, GOBHI (Greater Oregon Behavioral Health Inc.) is offering a virtual training 1pm – 4pm, September 19th through September 23rd. That is 15 hours but if you have the time and are interested in helping others learn how to care for themselves while caring for others, it is worth it. The cost is $200 plus $30 for the book. If you want to register or if you have questions, email Britta Willson at The deadline to register is September 1st.

My wife and I are back home from our trip driving to California to spend time with our children – and thankfully missing the 100-degree heat. (We did feel a little guilty!) It was a great trip, but I did learn several lessons.

First, being away for eleven nights felt like four nights too long.

Second, you don’t need to worry about stopping every few hours to stretch your legs – your bladder will remind you.

And finally, and most importantly, if you’re going to use the Google Maps app for directions, make sure you know how to use it BEFORE you leave. Learning to use it while seeking the best route out of Bakersfield is not good for any relationship. Trust me!

Brain Tease: How do you make the number 7 even without addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division? Hint: It’s not really a math problem.

To catch up on the “Remember When” question, here are the names of those who sent in correct answers from the last three weeks.

July 20th – Pentagon Papers: Pat Evenson-Brady, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Doug Nelson, Rhonda Spies, Donna Mollett, Rebecca Abrams, and Steven Woolpert the quilt raffle ticket winner.

July 27th – Lightening bug or firefly: Scott Franke, Rebecca Abrams, Dave Lutgens, Margo Dameier, Deborah Medina, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Judy Hanson, Doug Nelson, Billie Maxwell, Chuck Rice, and Patty Burnet the quilt raffle ticket winner.

August 3rdJaws: Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, and Donna Mollett and Doug Nelson who both remembered the fictional beach town was Amity Island and are this week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each.

This week’s question is a tough one – well, at least my wife couldn’t answer it. The bestselling single in 1969 was “Sugar, Sugar” outselling The Rolling Stones, The Temptations, and The Fifth Dimension. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this fictional cartoon band? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with their previous single, “Feelin’ So Good (S.K.O.O.B.Y-D.O.O)”,

Well, it has been another week, thankful for all the skilled and dedicated firefighters and support personnel. Until we meet again, it’s always good to be back in the Gorge.

“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.” Andy Rooney 

Living Well in the Gorge August 3rd 2022

by Scott McKay

Were you ever called a “Fraidy Cat”? Unable to go to sleep without a night light. Or teased because you were too scared to watch Godzilla. Your imagination could run wild with all the “could be’s” and “maybe’s” – that monster could climb out from under the bed!

Fear. How many of our decisions are driven by this unpleasant emotion that often controls our lives? Afraid of seeing the doctor about a persistent cough, fearing the worse. Afraid of expressing what we really want to our adult children, because it may hurt their feelings. Afraid of starting a new activity because we might look silly or inept. Afraid of making an emotional commitment because it might not be shared – or last. And afraid of the unknown when an overzealous imagination conjures up only the worse that could happen. What are you afraid of that keeps you from doing what you want to do?

Our lives are full of fears. But it is important to distinguish between those things we are afraid of from those things that are truly dangerous. I may ride my bicycle along the Riverfront Trail, but I don’t think I will try a “backside heelflip” on a skateboard. And I will still use a step stool, but you won’t see me climbing thirty-foot ladders anymore. We are old enough to know where the line is between being fearless and just plain stupid. (Now let me point out that wearing a bright pair of lime green pants is not fearless or stupid – it is just showing really bad taste!)

Know the true risks. But don’t make your fear of what could happen make nothing happen. Because of our fears, we miss meeting new friends, starting new hobbies, or experiencing new adventures we never even imagined! Fear is a choice.

It takes tenacity and courage to move beyond our fears, to distinguish between the real dangers and the imagined, and to live our lives to their fullest, and although fear may be a passenger, don’t let it take control of the steering wheel.

To manage our fears, it helps to stay connected with family; enjoy the laughter and support of our friends, and plan and prepare for the “inevitables”. (I hate to remind you who are in denial, but we are going to get older; we are going to lose friends and loved ones; and someday, we will pass from this earthly existence – but hopefully not too soon!)

Life is too short to worry about how short life is; too short to play it safe and miss all the opportunities and possibilities. None of us know what is going to happen today or tomorrow, let alone ten years from now. But as we live with our fears, we can still embrace each day – while enjoying the dance as long as the music keeps playing.  April 2nd, 2013.

To read about Louise Palermo who lives with little fear and embraces each day with enthusiasm and heart, check out this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder”.

Brain Tease: Can you cut a cake into 8 pieces with three cuts?

The name of the flying insect that has a rear section that glows in the dark that many of us enjoyed catching during the summers was called a lightning bug in my home state of Indiana or a firefly in other parts of the country. I will mention those who sent in this week’s answers as well as last week’s answers next week.

This 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg is the model for the summer blockbuster that we have come to expect. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this movie, and for bonus points what was the fictional name of the New England beach town where the movie was set? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a map of Martha’s Vineyard.

“Fear is an insidious and deadly thing. It can warp judgment, freeze reflexes, breed mistakes. Worse, it’s contagious.” Jimmy Stewart

Well, it has been another week, watching the pelicans bob in the river. Until we meet again, enjoy the special gift of each other – nothing on this earth is forever.

Aging Well in the Gorge July 27th 2022

by Scott McKay

Remember those hazy, crazy days of summer: making out in the back seat at the drive-in theater, hanging out with friends at the pool, and cruising the gut in my ‘63 Buick Skylark convertible? Those are some of my memories from the days of my youth.

But now that I’ve “grown up” my summers are more domesticated – each summer driving to California to visit our children. Since I’ll be enjoying their company for the next two weeks, I’m going to use the best of two columns I wrote several years ago and hope you feel they are still relevant. So here goes from October 13th, 2009.

Do you really want to stay young? Or let me put it another way. Do you really want to relive middle school? Although staying forever young may not be our goal, we do want to live independently; we do want to see our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grow and set out on their own paths; and we do want to live caring and meaningful lives so that who we are and what we do matters.

The other day Jan Holt gave me a list of eleven simple rules that although they are titled “How to Stay Young”, are more about achieving those things we do want; about how to live well. Here they are for your consideration – plus my short observation for each rule.

1. Keep learning – see the world with virgin eyes.
2. Enjoy the simple things – as in the Shaker song, “Tis the gift to be simple”.
3. Laugh often, long and loud. – it’s contagious,
4. The tears happen – the ones we love won’t live forever.
5. Keep only cheerful friends – leave the rest alone.
6. Surround yourself with what you love. – not with what others say you should have.
7. Cherish your health – don’t take it for granted.
8. Don’t’ take guilt trips – life happens.
9. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity – stay current.
10. Forgive now those who made you cry. You may not get a second chance and forgiveness can set you free.
11. Try everything twice – except Brussels sprouts.

During one of the Senior Planet technology lectures, I learned about Gorge Learns ( a website providing educational resources on the history, art, science, and technology in the Gorge created through a collaboration with local Gorge cultural institutions. On their website, you can view videos of local performances, historical sites, and much more. It is especially valuable if you have difficulty getting out to see many of these events and sites. 

Gorge Learns is an outreach project of The History Museum of Hood River County. Its funding is made possible through the History Museum and grants from Oregon Humanities and the Providence Foundation.

Brain Tease. Well not exactly a tease, but I found this memory tip posted on the blog “Marc and Angel Hack Life”. (It seems like memory isn’t just a concern of us older folks.) To improve your memory, they suggest before going to sleep, reviewing everything you did during the day – in specific detail as if you were watching a video replay. At first you may not remember much, but with experience you will gradually remember the details of your day – and maybe even remember where you misplaced that missing book!  Try it for thirty days and see if it helps.

The unofficial title for the classified study “The History of U.S. Decision-Making Process on Vietnam,” released by Daniel Ellsberg was the Pentagon Papers. Since I’m enjoying the sunny skies and sandy beaches in San Diego, in two weeks I’ll mention all of you who sent in correct answers.

One thing I enjoyed about the hot, humid Indiana summers was trying to catch a particular flying insect. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what do you call this flying insect that has a rear section that glows in the dark? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or with a picture of the Indiana state insect.

Well, it’s been another week trying to decide – should I or should I not. Until we meet again, keep singing even if you can’t follow the tune.

 When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.”  Mark Twain 

Aging Well in the Gorge July 20th 2022


When you reach a certain age of “maturity” your body may need more than just maintenance. You may need orthopedic surgery to replace or repair that knee, hip, or shoulder that’s causing a real pain in the … well, knee, hip, or shoulder. But orthopedic surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. Because there are risks, surgery is recommended only when it interferes with your lifestyle.

Knowing what to expect is crucial to a healthy recovery. To help you prepare, many hospitals and surgery centers educate patients and caregivers on what to expect before, during and after an operation. (Before her surgery, my wife and I attended MCMC’s Joint Camp.) So what should you know when considering orthopedic surgery?

On the website Next Avenue, I recently read “What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor Before Orthopedic Surgery?” by Sheryl Stillman. She poses questions to ask yourself and your doctor so you and your doctor can make the best decision.

To make an accurate diagnosis the doctor will need to understand the pain you are experiencing. Ask yourself, when did the pain start? Where is the pain? What makes it worse, better and what have you tried that has been effective and what hasn’t been? This information is critical

Once the diagnosis is determined to decide on the next step you’ll want to know if there is anything you can do to prevent the pain from getting worse. Are there any non-surgical options such as physical therapy or medications? What are the surgical options? What is the expected outcome? What, if any, are the risks? What can happen if I wait?

If you then decide to proceed with surgery, you should know what to expect after surgery and particularly during the first couple of days.

How long is the procedure? How long will I be in the hospital? What medications, including painkillers, will be prescribed? What type of post-surgery care will I require (wound care, medications, bathing, etc.)? What resources, including skilled nursing facilities or caregivers, are available to me? Will a nurse and physical therapist come to my home? How long until a full recovery? When can I expect to drive again?

When considering orthopedic surgery, there is plenty to understand. Asking your doctor and care providers the right questions is the first step to making informed decisions and a healthy recovery.

But what leads to many orthopedic surgeries besides that old nemesis arthritis? Falls. One program that improves your strength and prevents falls is OSU Extension’s StrongPeople (formerly known as StrongWomen.) Through the Gorge, there are currently 10 programs, and it is hoped more will start this fall with newly trained leaders!

If you are interested in becoming a leader there is a training scheduled on Tuesday, August 2nd from 8:30am-5pm at the FISH Food Bank in Hood River located at 1130 Tucker Road. To register contact Lauren Kraemer at 541-386-3343 x38258 or 541-296-5494 or by email at For more information about StrongPeople go to

Brain Tease. After last week’s brain tease this one should be easier.

What is the next letter in this sequence: J F M A M J?

The diluted chemical compound commonly used as a mild antiseptic but also as an inexpensive hair dye was hydrogen peroxide. I received correct answers from Rose Schulz, Donna Mollett, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Pat Evenson Brady who from her days clerking in a drugstore tells me that hydrogen peroxide doesn’t dye your hair but actually bleaches it and you may need several bleachings to get that “peroxide blonde” look.

During the summer of 1971, the classified study “The History of U.S. Decision-Making Process on Vietnam,” was released by Daniel Ellsberg, a U.S. military analyst. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was this study commonly called? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of the front page of the June 13th, 1971 edition of the New York Times.

Well, it has been another week, waiting for the bread to rise. Until we meet again, don’t let a piece of good advice stand in your way.

“I really don’t mind getting old, but my body is having a major fit.” Anonymous

Aging Well in the Gorge July 13th 2022

In the Gorge, we don’t experience Midwest tornadoes or east coast hurricanes, but we do have our summer threats: heat, wildfires, and the accompanying smoke. We’ve all experienced those conditions, but here is a quick reminder on how to be ready.

Prepare an Emergency Kit. It should include food and water to last at least three days – and don’t forget your medications. Also, know where you keep your important documents so you can quickly take them with you.

Create a plan. Do you have a personal support network? A family communication plan? An evacuation plan? A plan for your pet? If you rely on electricity or battery-dependent medical equipment, do you have a plan for a power outage?

Stay informed. Do you have your mobile phone registered with your local emergency notification system such as Citizen’s Alert? This enables Emergency Response Agencies to provide you with critical information quickly. As they’ll tell you, they can’t warn you if they can’t reach you. (All landlines automatically receive emergency notices).

You can register on your county’s website or call one of the following numbers for assistance.

Klickitat County Emergency Management (509) 773-0582)

Wasco County Emergency Management (541) 506-2790

Skamania County Department of Emergency Management (509) 427-8076

Hood River County Sheriff’s Office (541) 386-2098

Sherman County Emergency Services (541) 565-3100

But what causes more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, and floods combined? Heat-related illnesses.

Older adults are at greater risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion exhibited by heavy sweating and a rapid pulse. But if untreated it can progress to heat stroke the most severe form of heat illness – a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat stroke are lack of sweating, headache, confusion, rapid heart rate, nausea or vomiting, and loss of consciousness.

So how do you protect yourself? Stay cool, hydrated, and connected.

Avoid sun exposure; wear light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes that cover your skin; wear a wide-brimmed hat; try ice packs, cool showers or sponge baths. But do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature or prevent heat-related illnesses.

Drink plenty of fluids even if you are not thirsty; Drink enough to have to urinate every four hours. The color of your urine is an indicator of whether you are hydrated.

Be aware of local heat advisories; have someone check in on you; and identify places to stay cool such as senior centers, libraries, or your favorite coffee shop.

You can find more information about preparedness at As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worse.”

An inexpensive way to get that deep tan was baby oil. I received correct answers from Rebecca Abrams and Deborah Medina; and Dave Lutgens answered Man Tan a much safer alternative to sunbathing, But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Margo Dameier who took sunbathing a step further with a combination of baby oil and iodine which I also used. Remember we were just kids!

From the previous week, those who sent in ”Itsy, Bitsy, Teenie, Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” were Sandy Haechrel, Donna Mollett, Cindy Winfield, Keith and Marlene Clymer, Maria Kollas, Deborah Medina, Rebecca Abrams, Linda Frizzell, Lana Tepfer, Margo Dameier, Doug Nelson, Rhonda Spies, Jess Birge, Chuck Rice, Billie Maxwell, Stephen Woolpert and this week’s two winners of a quilt raffle ticket: Joy Bee and Bob Sallee. And way back when I missed Rhonda Spies.

A quick Brain Tease: Can you find the next 3 letters in this sequence? o t t f f s s _ _ _

Remember when girls and boys would dye their hair blond or in some unfortunate cases orange? For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was this diluted chemical compound commonly used as a mild antiseptic but also as an inexpensive hair dye? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a bottle of H2O2.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the mornings on the front porch. Until we meet again, when there’s a problem, acknowledge it, work through it, and move on.

“Life is too short to waste time matching socks.” Forwarded to me by Sandy Haechrel.