Senior Living May 6 2008

Retirement ain’t what it used to be. In fact, William D. Novelli, Executive Director and CEO of AARP speaking at the Institute for Public Relations conference said that in the coming years as the boomers start to reach 65 we will see the end of retirement as we have known it.

My mom and dad were examples of what commonly considered retirement. When they retired they bought a second home in Florida (no one really wanted to spend the winters in Indiana if they could avoid it) and traveled, fished, relaxed and enjoyed the comforts that they so richly deserved. They both had sufficient pensions and had made wise financial investments to support their retirement.

My sister and I are examples are of what Novelli predicts retirement will look like in the coming years. When I retired from Wasco County government after serving for 20 years I continued to work, becoming the director of the Senior Center. My sister when she retired after working 25 plus years for the Fairfax school district in Virginia, went back to school, will finish her doctorate this summer and will start teaching as an assistant professor at a major university in Indianapolis at the age of 59. I don’t think either one of us can imagine ourselves not working in some capacity as long as we are physically able to do so.

My sister and I are not the exceptions. Research shows that 80 percent of boomers expect to continue working in some form past the age of 65. This could include starting a new career, a new business, or volunteering for a non-profit organization. Some will have to work (I will be paying off student loans for the next 20 years) and others will work for the fun of it.

For many, retirement is now seen as the start of the next chapter of one’s life and that next chapter will probably include some kind of work. And at 50, where one has half of their adult life ahead of them, many are viewing that as a time to start considering new adventures, activities and goals that will provide them with both choice and freedom and also personal fulfillment. Institutions including senior centers will have to adapt and adjust to these significant changes to what has been considered retirement.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible and very difficult disease for both the individual and the caregiver. Seeing a loved one drift away to the point where they no longer recognize you is heartbreaking. The Planetree Health Resource Center in partnership with the MCMC Spiritual Care Department is presenting a special health lecture on “The Challenge of Alzheimer’s” at 7:00 PM on Thursday May 8th at MCMC’s Medical Office Building. This free presentation “will summarize what is currently known about the disease, including the signs and symptoms that lead to diagnosis, risk factors, treatment, and important things to remember when relating to a person with Alzheimer’s”. It will be presented by Judy McKellar, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association. The lecture is free, but pre-registration is required. Call 296-8444 to reserve a seat.

On Thursday May 8th, The Senior Center will be taking this year’s first day trip to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, a non-profit museum established in 2006 in Hood River. The museum provides a living history of aircraft and automobiles with a growing fleet of 50 plus flying antique aircraft plus dozens of automobiles and military jeeps. Many of the airplanes are either the last of their make and model or the only ones left flying. The cost for the museum tour is $7 for seniors and veterans. We will carpool from the Senior Center at 9:30 and return by 2:30 with lunch in Hood River.

The Notecrackers will be returning to perform on Tuesday May 13th at The Mid-Columbia Senior Center “playing pop standards from the ’20s – ’70s. They sing and play saxophone, flute, guitars, mandolin and strict tempo bass and drums for your dancing pleasure. With such variety, if you don’t like one song – just wait – the style will change! We try to have something for everybody. Revive old memories and make new memories of a good time”. And tonight the “Sugar Daddies” will be playing. The fun always starts at 7:00. It is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

Jason Corey, local attorney, will discuss “Wills and Estates” at the Next Chapter Lecture Series, 11:00 on Tuesday May 13th at the Senior Center. Many people were disappointed when we had to postpone his presentation last winter because of the weather. Hopefully it won’t snow this time.

Both Basic Computer classes for May are almost full but one service that we offer that is underutilized is the Help Lab on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:30 taught by Corlis Marsh. She is excellent in explaining the complex and frustrating world of computing. If you feel you know the basics but have individual questions about e-mail, the internet or word processing, or whatever this is the place for you.

One last plug for the “Tough Talk on Aging” workshop on Saturday the 10th from 9:00 – 11:30 at the Senior Center with registration starting at 8:30. Aging parents and adult children are both invited. You can come together or by yourself. Many folks are talking about this workshop and I hope to see you there.

That is it for another week. I wish all the mothers, both young and old, a happy mother’s day. Until the next time, give your kids a hug.

“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” George Burns

“Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can’t retire his experience. He must use it.” Bernard Baruch

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