Do you ever feel you’re a day late and a dollar short? Today I do, because last week was Brain Awareness week—and I missed it.

But in the spirit of “better late than never,” I want to share some memory tips from the AARP program “Staying Sharp”.  

First and most important, PAY ATTENTION. Often when we forgot something, we just weren’t paying attention. For example, I couldn’t remember where I laid the car keys because when I came home, I was too focused on how fast I could get to the bathroom!

Second, avoid multi-tasking. It is a myth that your brain can focus on two tasks at the same time. What your brain actually does is quickly switch back and forth between the two tasks. But as we age, our brains can’t switch as fast and at the same time are more easily distracted.

Third, write it down. I am often frustrated when I have an earth-shattering idea that will bring peace and harmony to the world — or at least make my life a little better — and I forget it! I’ve adapted and you’ll see plenty of sticky notes around my house.

Fourth, establish a routine. Do you use a pill box? I never wanted to because I thought it was an indisputable sign I was getting “old”. But after not remembering whether I took my pills several times (which is not a good thing), a pill box has become an essential part of my morning routine.

Fifth, relax. Don’t stress out when you forget where you parked the car. You always find it, right? During my younger days there were many times when I couldn’t think of a word using “whatsimacallit” or “thingamajig” instead. But did I worry that it was an indication of early dementia? No! And today with all the instant electronic notifications and distractions, I’m sure young people have many of their own “senior” moments.

If you want to learn more, you can join the Mid-Columbia Senior Center’s Brain Fitness Club, which meets every Monday at 1 p.m. For the next several weeks, we’ll be learning more about the brain by developing the curriculum for a brain fitness class starting sometime in April.

I’ve mentioned before that if you have Medicare questions you can call SHIBA Medicare counseling at 541-288-8341 or the Center at 541-296-4788 to schedule a free appointment.

But if your questions aren’t urgent, you can attend one of the free Medicare 101 classes at CGCC on Tuesday, April 9. To register for the class at the Hood River campus, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., call 541-308-8202; to register for the 1 p.m.–3 p.m. class at The Dalles campus, call 541-506-6011.

Until then, here is a “Medicare Minute” to store in your long-term memory for future use:

If you find your Medicare supplement premiums keep going up, one option is to change to a cheaper policy. Unfortunately, in most states that means going through underwriting, which often makes it difficult to change because of pre-existing conditions.  

But Medicare beneficiaries in Oregon are fortunate. During the thirty days following your birthday, you can change from one Medicare supplement to another of equal benefits with no underwriting. You can find which companies have lower rates by consulting the 2019 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans, which you can pick up at the Center or by calling 541-298-8341.

When television stations signed off, the picture design following the national anthem was called a Test Pattern. I received correct answers from Sandy and Bob Haechrel, Cheri Brent, Jerry Phillips, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket (who I didn’t miss this time), Mike Carrico.

In July of 1962 the first commercial communications satellite was launched, and within a year had successfully relayed its first first telephone call, telegraph image and live transatlantic television feed through space. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this communication satellite?

Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a 45 record of the song that was named after the satellite, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December of 1962.

Well, it’s been another week, knowing it’s all good. Until we meet again, keep reaching for the stars —even though takes a little more effort.

“There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

—Douglas Adams


Thursday (21): Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Music by Tom Graff)

Friday (22): Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich with Homemade Soup and Salad Bar (music by Bruce and Sher Schwartz)

Monday (23): Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday (26): Taco Casserole

Wednesday (27): Salisbury Steak with Homemade Soup and Salad Bar

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