Senior Living September 16 2008

Do you know at least one person who has fallen within the last year? Hopefully not, but because our abilities and circumstances change as we age, we are at greater risk of falling resulting in broken hips, head injuries or even death. According to the Fall Prevention Center for Excellence “more than 40% of people hospitalized from hip fractures do not return home and are not capable of living independently again and 25% of those who have fallen pass away each year”. But most falls are preventable and there are things you can do.

The first step is to talk with your doctor or health care worker. During your next visit ask what your risks are and what you can do to reduce them. For example, certain medications can cause dizzyness in older adults. I know of several folks who have had serious falls after starting a new medication. Know the side affects and be prepared.

The second step is to improve your balance, flexibility and strength. This can both reduce your risk of falling and also improve the chances of recovering if you do fall. We aren’t as spry as we once were. (I don’t sit down on the floor anymore because I can’t waste the hour and a half it takes to get back up.) So get moving whether it is as simple as walking, taking a water aerobics class or participating in one of the many exercise classes at the Senior Center. Tai Chi is particularly good for improving balance and there are two Tai Chi classes starting September 23rd: a class taught by Corliss Marsh on Tuesdays, 1:00 pm at the Senior Center (call 296-4788) and a class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:00 pm offered by MCMC at their Celilo Center (call the Center for Mind and Body at 296-7414).

The third step is too access your home to identify ways to make it fall proof particularly in the bathroom and on the steps. In the bathroom, you can install grab bars in the shower or tub, create a place to sit, and add non-slip surfaces. For the steps, you can add handrails, provide better lighting, and add contrast between steps. By making changes to the home environment a person can feel safer and decrease the risk of falling.

You can learn more about fall prevention and other ways to make your home safe at the Next Chapter Lecture on “How to Assess and Prevent Accidents around your Home” presented by Visiting Health Services on Tuesday (23) at 11:00 am at the Senior Center.

One of the characteristics of The Dalles that sets it apart from other Oregon cities is its history. This weekend you can learn and experience the history of our fine city by attending the many events at museums and historical sites throughout the city during “Historic The Dalles Days”. The celebration begins Thursday, September 18, when the popular “Cascade Singers” offer a free “Old Favorites” public concert in St. Peter’s Landmark. The music starts at 7:30 and will feature folk songs, hymns, spirituals, camp songs, patriotic music and sing-along favorites.

One of the Friday events is a Tribute to Veterans, POWs and MIAs in the Civic Auditorium from 1:00 – 2:00. And Saturday there are all kinds of events to remember the “good old days”: wagon rides, free tours, music, and demonstrations at The Fort Dalles Museum from 11:00 – 4:00, a “Three Courthouses” presentation in the Original Wasco County Courthouse at 1:30 pm, the Port of The Dalles 75th Anniversary reception at Klindt’s Annex (formal ceremony at noon), a tour of D-21 School District Archive Museum at The Dalles Wahtonka High School main campus from 9:00 – 2:00 (entrance at 10th and Court Street) and many more.

Then on Saturday evening from 6:00 – 10:00 pm you can really get into the spirit by dressing up in your 1800’s finest and attending the 1858 Costume Ball and Dinner at the Discovery Center. There will be horse-drawn carriage valet parking and music performed by the High Strung String Quartet. The cost for this evening of memories is only $25 per person, and you can add an optional candlelight buffet dinner for only $12, served until 8 p.m.

Our regular cook Bonnie Lobdell will be gone this month but we are going to try to do her proud. The menu for this Saturday is Biscuits and Gravy with sausage and fruit along with the regular beverages.The Boy Scout Troop #395 will be back from their summer adventures to help serve and bus tables. Marilyn Erickson will be collecting money at the door and if you haven’t seen her for a while you can catch up on the latest going on’s. Come down, visit with friends and neighbors and let someone else do the cooking because “Food always tastes better when somebody else makes it”.

The Jazz Generations will be performing next Tuesday (23rd) at the Senior Center playing their Big Band sounds. Bring a dance partner and enjoy an evening of fine music and dancing the way it use to be. And tonight our home grown Victor Johnson and friends will be performing. Music starts at 7:00 and everyone is welcome. Admission is free but donations are always welcome.

A quick reminder about the new activities starting this week at the Senior Center. The Book Club starts Wednesday (17th) 7:00 pm discussing “Aristotle and an Aardvark go to Washington: Understanding Political Doublespeak through Philosophy and Jokes”. As the prophetic Will Rogers once said,”Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke”. Also get a jump on the holiday season by making Holiday Cards with Joyce Browne on Thursday 18th at 2:30. And on Friday at 10:00 learn to play games on the Nintendo Wii starting with Tennis. To register call the Senior Center at 296-4788.

That is it again. Until the next time, keep moving.

“Things ain’t what they used to be and never were.” Will Rogers

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