Senior Living February 5 2008

Senior Living February 5

I would like everyone to know that I do not come up with the catchy headlines for this senior living column. The Dalles Chronicle staff gets the credit for being the creative ones and apparently they had fun coming up with last week’s headline: Aging –it is not for sissies. Aging is not for the faint of heart and although I emphasize and highlight the tremendous rewards of aging in this column, there are no doubt challenges: physically, mentally and emotionally because we know them every day (my knees now tell me I should have been fishing instead of running when I was younger).

One of the struggles we face as we do age are the losses we encounter: death of a close friend or losing our physical or mental abilities, and the corresponding grief that accompanies the loss. On my cluttered desk I found “Some thoughts about grieving” written by Hospice of the Gorge. It shares many of the things you should and should not do when trying to deal with the feelings of grief. It is information many of us could use particularly living in a culture where men are not suppose to cry and we are to keep our feelings to ourselves (although that is changing). The thoughts are abbreviated for his column but pretty much verbatim. If you would like more information about loss and grieving, contact Hospice of the Gorge.

Thoughts about Grieving

Accept the grief – do not try to “be brave” and if you need, take time to cry. Talk about it – share your grief with family or a friend and if a friend tells you to “snap out of it” find another friend. Keep busy – do work that occupies the mind but avoid frantic activity. Take care of yourself – you may feel you don’t care but that will change. You are important and your life is valuable. Eat well – at this time in your life you need good nourishment. Exercise regularly – return to your old program or start a new one soon. Get rid of the imagined guilt – you did the best you could at the time. If you made mistakes accept that you, like everyone else, are not perfect. Join a group of other who are sorrowing – your old circle of friends may change. Even if it does not, you will need new friends who have been through your experience. Associate with old friends also – this may be difficult, because some may be embarrassed by your presence but they will get over it. Postpone major decisions – for example, wait at least a year, if you can, before deciding to sell your house or change jobs. Take advantage of your religious affiliations, if you have one – if you have been inactive this might be the time to become involved again. Get professional help if needed – do not allow crippling grief to continue. There comes a time to stop crying and to live again.

Remember, no matter how deep your sorrow, you are not alone. Others have been there and will help share your load if you will let them. Do not deny them the opportunity. Thanks to Hospice of the Gorge for providing this information that I could share with you.

The speaker for our “Next Chapter” Lecture Series on February 12 is Jerry Tanquist, local railroad enthusiast and historian. He will be discussing “The Great Southern Railroad, The Story of Our Local Wasco County Railroad – The Dalles to Dufur and on to Friend 1905 – 1936”. This is a wonderful presentation for anyone interested in railroads and our amazing local history. For those who were disappointed when we postponed the “Reverse Mortgages” presentation by Jim Bishop of Westcorp Mortgage because of snow, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 19th

Also, next Tuesday (February 12th) at 7:00 the Senior Center welcomes back our regular second Tuesday performers “The Notecrackers”. Their January performance was snowed out so now is your chance to get back into the swing of things while listening and dancing to the sweet sounds of the 20’s through the 60’s. Performing tonight at the Senior Center are Lloyd Walworth and his The Dalles Wahtonka High School vocalists.

Wheel Chairs needed

One of the small but truly appreciated services the Center provides is lending walkers, canes and wheelchairs to those who need one for a short period of time (less than six weeks) We have a large collection of canes and walkers but unfortunately we are have loaned out all of our wheelchairs. We are now looking for any useable wheelchairs that could be donated to the Center.

Life is always changing whether in our personal lives or in our community and the change can create uncertainty and fear especially if it happens to us and we have no ability to affect the change. (And not all change is positive as we consider what to do about global warming and increased drug use.) But change can also create opportunities and the Senior Center is looking for any new opportunities to meet the needs of all seniors. Last month when identifying future opportunities for the Senior Center, I left out one exciting possibility I feel could have the greatest impact on the senior community and put the Senior Center in the position to effectively support seniors for the next 25 years. That possibility will be presented at noon on Thursday at The Senior Center. Come and enjoy a fine meal (salmon and baked potato) provided by Meals-on-Wheels and learn more about the future of the Senior Center. This will just be the beginning of the conversation and we will need the ideas and support of everyone interested in the welfare of both our current and future seniors.

Until the next time, imagine when it snows it is just a snowman falling – unassembled.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” Rabindranath Tagore

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