Senior LIving April 15th 2008

Senior Living April 15

While at the Aging in America conference I attended a workshop on “Seeking the Balance: Positive Aging and Disillusionment”, curious about the connection between the two. Although it was difficult, many people shared their disillusionments whether with an employer, a spouse, a political candidate or retirement (no one returns my phone calls anymore!). But positive aging and disillusionment are two sides of the same coin. Through our disillusionments – the removing of illusions – we have an opportunity, if we want to take it, to learn more about ourselves; to understand who we are beyond our job or career. Knowing that this may lead to better self understanding does not remove the grief, or regrets or even anger, when reality strikes. As an example, realizing that we cannot avoid the gradual but continuing loss of independence (what a disillusionment that is) may motivate us to take control of our future and start to eat better, exercise better and live better to maintain, as long as possible, our independence and quality of life. While disillusionment is painful, it can also be just another bump in the road toward a vital, active and resilient life.

Spring finally showed itself this last weekend. People were out enjoying the day, in tee-shirts and shorts, walking along the sidewalks and working in their yards. With the warmer weather there is more activity, more chances to exercise, and another opportunity to mention the importance of exercise for both the body and mind. It was reported in the April edition of Brain Health e-tips from OHSU that “research continues to confirm that exercise benefits the brain”. What is good news for seniors is that according to several national experts “exercise doesn’t have to be brutal. Walking and swimming are excellent, as is lifting light weights at home or riding a stationary bicycle. Walking for 45 minutes two or three times a week will improve your overall fitness, your balance, your mood…and your brain! Best of all, it’s never too late to start.” So when Nike says “Do it!” you don’t have to run a marathon or swim the English Channel. Just get up and “Move It!”

The Senior Citizen’s Prom is this Friday April 18th from 5:30—8:30 at The Dalles Civic Auditorium. This year’s theme is “In the Still of the Night” with entertainment provided by “The Jazz Generations”, TDWHS Choir and Jazz Band and Michael Ladouceur on Piano. The Dalles Wahtonka High School Key Club is again organizing this year’s event working hard to make this an entertaining evening for the “older” generation. So even if you don’t consider yourself “old” remember what age you thought “old” was when you were in High School and come on down to the civic and enjoy an evening of music and dancing. You can purchase tickets at Klindt’s Bookstore, the Senior Center or at the door for $5.00.

Tuesday Night April 22nd “The Jazz Generations” will be performing again at the Senior Center. Hank and Ann Krum, Bob Fiske and David Fretz play the big band style of music for your listening and dancing pleasure. And tonight Hardshell Harmony an energetic Bluegrass group will be performing. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

On Tuesday April 22nd, at 11:00 the Next Chapter Lecture Series will feature Dan Spatz, Foundation Director for The Columbia Gorge Center, providing an update on the College construction both in Hood River and The Dalles and also on the Columbia Gorge Community College Foundation. This lecture series is an easy way to learn something new and keep abreast of what is happening in your community.

Several times, I have mentioned the increasing participation in Wii bowling at the Senior

Center. But in doing so I have neglected to mentioned what many of us did indoors before the “Age of Technology”, namely, playing cards. We offer three opportunities to play cards and meet new friends at the Senior Center: Pinochle on Thursdays from 1:00 – 3:30, Bridge on Fridays from 1:00 – 3:30 and on Saturdays Cribbage from 9:00 – 12:00.

It is almost Cherry Festival time with The Dalles gearing up for a full week of activities. Mill Creek Point Assisted Living Facility is presenting the Northwest Cherry Festival Very Cherry Dessert Contest and Main Dish on Monday April 21 at the Senior Center with judging at 5:30 and sampling at 6:30. Admission is free. On Saturday the 26th, the Senior Center will be serving a full breakfast from 7:30 – 10:00 for those who want someone else to do the cooking on a busy parade day morning. (Because of the Cherry Festival breakfast there will not be a breakfast on the third Saturday, April 19th.) And after the parade stop by the Senior Expo tent on Fourth Street to learn more about the many local services provided for seniors.

Well that is it for another week. Until the next time, as I try to sort through my illusions, I am thinking reality wouldn’t be so bad if it just wasn’t so honest.

“Perhaps middle age is, or should be, a period of shedding shells; the shell of ambition, the shell of material accumulations and possessions, the shell of ego. Perhaps one can shed at this state in life as one sheds in beach-living; one’s pride, one’s false ambitions, one’s mask, one’s armor. Was that armor not put on to protect one from the competitive world? If one ceases to compete, does one need it? Perhaps one can at last in middle age, if not earlier, be completely oneself. And what a liberation that would be!. Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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