Senior Living June 5th

Summer is the perfect time for family reunions: the kids are out of school and the weather is warm. Last week the McKay Reunion took place in Indianapolis where the whole clan covering four generations gathered for the first time in eight years. Like many families with busy schedules and long distances, it is hard to stay connected and even harder to get together. The reunion was a success: a simple affair, with plenty of pictures, conversations and memories to share. As usual we asked ourselves why we had waited so long and are already talking about the next gathering. Thanks to Marilyn Ericksen for filling in last week so I could spend more time with the relatives. It was a great time, but it is always nice to be back in Wasco County.

A cool stretch of weather during the summer won’t last long. And during the inevitable hot weather spells, a major health concern for older folks is dehydration. The Oregon Department of Human Services cautions, “Not getting enough fluids each day can take a tremendous toll on every aspect of bodily functions, including possible changes in memory, vision, and kidney and heart function.” Dehydration is a greater concern for seniors because the percentage of a person’s weight in water changes as we age from about 80% for children to only 43% for women and 50% for men between the ages of 61 and 74. Consequently, any decrease in fluid consumption can cause proportionately more dehydration. Older folks often don’t consume enough liquids and for most folks you need at least six cups of liquids per day to stay hydrated.

To avoid dehydration you should drink many times throughout the day, and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas which act as diuretics. Instead, try drinking flavored carbonated water, or decaffeinated ice teas or just add a slice of lemon to a glass of water.

Ironically this last Sunday the Senior Center experienced its own hot spell when the center hosted the Dallesport Jammers. The air conditioner in the dining room would not kick on, nor would the Meals-on-Wheels freezer, nor the lights in the restrooms. (You know it is too warm in the dining room when it feels cooler walking outside.) I was a little panicked, initially thinking it was a problem with the center’s electrical system. But with the help of Gary and Denise Patton, Phil Hayden of Juniper Heating, Doug Jenkins Electric and the PUD, we found out a squirrel, bound for squirrel heaven, got into the transformer and caused the problems. With everyone’s help, pitchers of water and the excellent music, we all survived although a little stickier. The “lemonade from the lemon” was we thankfully found the problem before Monday when we could have lost all the food in the freezers and refrigerators. But the Jammers will be back on Sunday, August 31st and I promise this time you may need to wear a sweater.

This coming Saturday morning you may see a bunch of fire trucks parked around the Senior Center. But don’t worry. The fire trucks are there to bring attention to the annual Mid-Columbia Firemen’s Breakfast for MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) from 8 to 10 AM. Thanks to Meals on Wheels for providing their kitchen and support and to the firemen for raising money for this worthy cause. Enjoy a fulfilling breakfast while supporting MDA.

On the same Saturday, August 9th, there will be a Nu-2-U Sidewalk Sale from 9:00 – 3:00 at the Senior Center. They are over stocked with good quality, mostly women’s, used clothes and need to move them out. There are a variety of sizes and styles from summer blouses to jackets to formal gowns. Come by and spend a few minutes. You might be surprised. All ages are welcome, because “what comes around goes around”, although I did not see any striped bell-bottom pants or tie-dyed t-shirts.

Skip and Janet Tschanz will be leading a hike to powerful Tamannawis Falls on Monday August 11th. It is a moderate 4-mile round trip walk following beautiful Springs Creek. If you can walk from the Senior Center to Sorosis Park, this is an outing for you. Bring a camera, snacks, a beverage and a sense of adventure! If you would like to make this outing but don’t think you are up to the entire length of the trail, there are several picnic spots along the trail where you can stop and just enjoy the day! Meet at the Senior Center at 9:00 am to car pool. Donations for gas are appreciated.

The Tuesday Night music for August 12th will feature the “Notecrackers”. We have been having excellent crowds and are working to get more seats for sitting and more room for dancing. So come on down. It’s a cool spot on hot nights! (now that we have the air conditioning working again.) And tonight another crowd favorite, the “Sugar Daddies” will be playing. The music and dancing starts at 7:00 pm. Admission is free although donations are gladly accepted. And whenever there is music at the Senior Center everyone is welcome from thirteen years old to a hundred and three.

The Wasco County Fair starts August 11th and runs through Sunday August 18th. The Fair is a community event which celebrates our vital agricultural industry in Wasco County. On Thursday the 14th there will be Senior Picnic at the Fairgrounds from noon to 2:00. Admission and food are free which is a pretty good price. There will be entertainment, door prizes and the “Third Annual Best Hat Contest”. The picnic is organized by the Area Agency on Aging and sponsored by Pioneer Potlatch. The Area Agency on Aging is trying to coordinate rides so if you think you need a ride, call them at 298-4101 or the Senior Center at 296-4788.

That’s it for another week. Until we meet again,

“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” by Brad Henry.

Or as George Burns once said, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city”.

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