Senior Living

2020 has been quite a ride. And with all the stay-at-home orders and cancellations, you may be thinking, “I’m not adding this year to my age — I didn’t use it!” But we’re tough and resilient, knowing from every experience there is something to learn.

For this first column of 2021, I thought I would again share some lessons I have learned over the years listening to the amazing “elders” that I encounter daily. I have learned more than I could ever have imagined, and yet, I still feel like a rookie.

As I am often reminded, this journey of ours is not about living longer. It is about taking care of ourselves and others so we can gracefully live the rest of our lives with courage, compassion and meaning. Tell me if any of these lessons speak to you.

1. What is good for your heart is good for your brain.

2. Learn a new skill without worrying how good you’ll be.

3. First steps to improve your memory: Pay attention and focus.

4. Most things don’t really matter, but a few really do.

5. The goal is not to get faster, but to keep from slowing down.

6. Getting older beats the alternative, but it is hard work.

7. Accept what you can’t control — and then adapt.

8. Live in the “now.”

9. Know what you want and let others know — particularly your adult children!

10. “Dream as if you will live forever and live as if you will die tomorrow.” — James Dean

11. Age is in your attitude.

12. Adeline’s five “S” to avoid: Sugar, Salt, Seconds, Soda and Shortening.

13. Add color to your meals — meaning eat your vegetables!

14. Isolation kills. Stay connected.

15. Keep moving — at least 30 minutes a day.

16. Breathe from your belly.

17. See the world with virgin eyes and you’ll find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

18. Relationships are more important than things (although I do have an unhealthy relationship with my iPhone).

19. Grey hair is cool.

20. And as Carl Kramer once said, “Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out and before you know, it you are 100 years old!”

If you haven’t already, you must read this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder” by Colleen Ballinger on page 13 in today’s paper. She shares her experience of becoming a hospice nurse and through that experience what dying has taught her about living.

For those who live in The Dalles area, the Center is having a book and puzzle sale on Saturday, Jan. 9th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Books $3 a bag and puzzles $1 apiece.

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The bandleader for the Royal Canadians that for 50 years at the stroke of midnight played “Auld Lang Syne” was Guy Lombardo. I received correct answers from Tina Castañares, Jeannie Pesicka, Kim Birge, Barbara Cadwell, Jim Ayers, Rose Schulz, and Dave Lutgens, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And those who sent in last week’s answer, White Christmas, were Cheri Brent, Jeanne Pesicka, Rhonda Spies, Cindy Winfield, Rose Schulz, Jim and Betsy Ayers, Barbara Cadwell, Dave Lutgens and Margo Dameier, who is a White Christmas aficionado and last week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

“Step on a crack and break your mother’s back” was a childhood saying I still remember — and I still walk carefully down the sidewalk! For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the saying children used to convince someone they were telling the absolute truth? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a handmade wooden cross.

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Well, it has been another week looking for the sun on a cloudy day. Until we meet again, during the holidays my routines were so scrambled, I had to look at my pill box to know what day it was!

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“Life is about change, sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s beautiful, but most of the time it’s both.”

— Kristin Kreuk

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Nutritious home delivered meals and pick-ups for anyone over 60.

The Sherman County Senior and Community Center — Call 541-565-3191 by 10:30 a.m. and leave a message with the number of meals needed and the names of each person.

The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels — Call 541-298-8333 to sign up for home delivered meals. Call before 10:30 a.m. to pick up a meal at noon at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center.

Hood River Valley Adult Center — To sign up for Meals-on-Wheels call 541-386-2060 and ask for Eric. You can also pick up a drive-thru meal from 11:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m.

Skamania County Senior Services — Call 509-427-3990.

Klickitat County Senior Services — For home-delivered meals call the Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068).

Pioneer Potlatch meal sites in Wasco and Sherman Counties — Call 541-298-4354.