Senior Living April 28 2008

Remember as a parent when your kids knew all the answers, were so disrespectful – ignoring all the rules, always wanted to know “why” and thought you were so un-cool and old fashioned. And they would never listen or talk about it. Or as a kid growing up during the “express yourself” years when your parents had all these stupid rules that didn’t make any sense, were always telling you what to do, and didn’t understand your music or your fashions. And they would never listen or talk about it.

It was tough enough to have serious discussions about wants, needs and desires back then let alone now, forty years later. Hopefully our relationships with our adult children or our aging parents are better, having survived that “rebellious” period. But I imagine the majority of us still find it difficult to talk about important aging questions; still find it difficult to listen to one another.

But these questions about how one wants to be cared for as we age need to be discussed. To help, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center is hosting a workshop “Tough Talk about Aging” to assist aging parents and their adult children learn how to better talk and listen to one another.

“Like it or not, elders and their families tend to bristle whenever issues of care and long-term planning arise. No matter how well intentioned the parties might be, these topics are highly emotional for nearly all of us. All too often, parents and their children fall into a deep abyss of guilt, shame, and frustration when discussing these concerns, yet there are creative and compassionate ways to build bridges to safely cross these dangerous chasms. This workshop will focus on identifying the major stumbling blocks regarding communication between parents and adult children, and coping with the challenges of aging with grace and love.”

We are extremely fortunate to have as the presenter Lee Paton, RN, PH.D., Clinical Director of Spectrum Elder Services, Inc. in Beaverton and a clinical gerontologist. She is a highly respected and sought after speaker providing educational programs throughout the US and Asia. The workshop will be facilitated by Lucile Torgerson who along with Kathleen Flynn helped facilitate the “Let’s Talk” discussion series at the senior center last year. Both of them understand how important this subject is and have given their time and effort to make this workshop possible. I also want to thank Pat Case of Hospice of the Gorge for all of her help.

The workshop will be held on Saturday May 10th at the Senior Center with early registration and continental breakfast starting at 8:30 and the presentation beginning at 9:00 and concluding at 11:00. As both parents and children have grown older and hopefully wiser, we have another chance to get it right.

Last week, when I mentioned the Charter Member Recognition Luncheon on Thursday May 1st, I forgot to thank Meals-on-Wheels for providing the special meal for the event – your choice of Chicken Cordon Bleu or Teriyaki Steak – in support of the Senior Center. At the luncheon we will recognize the Charter Members in attendance and share the story and photographs of the construction of the Senior Center. It is a fascinating history.

I don’t know how Boyd Jacobsen lines up all this great musical talent, but this coming Tuesday May 6th the “Sugar Daddies” with Mark Womble, Dennis Williams, and Jim Ortlie will be playing. I have seen them perform around town and they are a great act. And tonight the Senior Center’s own “Young at Heart Seranaders” will be performing. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

Dan Ericksen, Wasco County Judge, will be discussing the “State of the County” at the Next Chapter Lecture Series, 11:00 on Tuesday May 6th at the Senior Center. You will have a chance to ask him questions about all kinds of subjects: the budget hearings just completed last week, the county charter committee, road funding or whether he wears boxers or briefs.

In May we are starting another four session Computer Basics class on Monday from 10:00 – 11:30 taught by Laurie Fadness and on Wednesday from 10:30-12:00 taught by Richard Lyon. This introductory class covers the basics of getting started on a computer. Because there are only six persons in a class so you will receive a lot of individual attention. If you feel you know the basics but have individual questions, you are welcome to attend the Help Lab on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:30 taught by Corlis Marsh. Call 296-4788 to sign up.

The third “Wildflower Walk” led by Skip Tschanz is scheduled for Monday May 5th. We will carpool at 1:00 from the Senior Center. And a Potluck and Bunco Party will be held at the Senior Center this Friday from 6:00 – 8:00 for all 2008 Senior Center members to thank them for their support.

The Wasco County Pioneer Association Annual Meeting will be held this coming Saturday May 3rd. Registration begins at 9:30 at the Calvary Baptist Church with a salmon or ham luncheon served at 11:30. Don Schmidt will be present a program “Shaniko and the Southern Wasco County” after a short meeting at 1:00.

That’s it for another week. Until the next time, as I tell my kids, there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” – George Moore. And on the lighter side “Never have children, only grandchildren.” – Gore Vidal

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