Older adults make countless contributions to our communities, but they are often forgotten in our youth-obsessed society. It takes commitment and perseverance to continue working or volunteering to help our neighbors and improve our communities. It’s not easy—but it’s not easy getting older either. Yet we all get older, and we can all contribute.

To recognize the contributions of older adults in Wasco County, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, in cooperation with Age+, is soliciting nominations for the first Wasco County Ageless Award. There are three criteria for the nominees: the person has to be seventy-five or older, an individual who has made and continues to make substantial contributions to the lives of others, and an individual who serves as a role model showing that our elders are a significant part of the community fabric.

If there is someone you feel meets the criteria, email their name with a short explanation of their contributions to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com or smckay1948@gmail.com.

I realized that last week when I said SHIBA volunteers are unbiased, I might have given the impression I thought insurance agents are biased in a negative sense. All the insurance agents I know are capable, knowledgeable and committed to serving their customers. But in some cases, there may be limits to what they can offer.

Whether you see an insurance agent or talk to a SHIBA counselor, you have an opportunity to change your Medicare health plans and  your prescription drug plan during open enrollment between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. Each year Medicare plans can change their cost, what they cover, and which providers and pharmacies are in their networks.

But how do you know if you should change plans?

You should have received information from your current plans in a document called “Annual Notice of Change,” listing any changes that will go into effect in January. Review these statements carefully. If you’re satisfied, you don’t need to do anything. But if you aren’t happy with the changes, you can compare plans by going online to www.medicare.gov. If you feel more comfortable talking to someone face-to-face, contact your insurance agent—or call the Center at 541-296-4788 or the SHIBA coordinator at 541-288-8341—to schedule an appointment with a trained SHIBA volunteer.

Most importantly, take this time to understand your Medicare plans and options so you can make informed decisions—both for your health and for your pocketbook.

Did you share a new joke last week, as suggested in the Gorge Happiness Calendar? When I asked that question at the Center, this is the joke I heard that I hope you will enjoy: What do you call ninety-nine rabbits stepping backwards? Keep reading and you’ll find the answer—if you don’t know it already.

And speaking of Gorge Happiness Month, here are this week’s suggestions to help increase your happiness. Oct. 10—complete one small irritating task; Oct. 11—listen to music; Oct. 12—talk to someone at the farmer’s market; Oct. 13—reconnect with an old friend; Oct. 14—stop and count the number of things you can hear right now; Oct 15—do someone else’s chore; and Oct. 16 —send a thank-you.

The title of the NBC television series that told the story of a young intern working at a large metropolitan hospital was “Dr. Kildare,” starring Richard Chamberlain. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Barbara Cadwell, Rhonda Spies, Kim Birge, Becky Roberts, Julie Carter and Mary Collins, who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Continuing the October theme of television shows, this week it’s a question about a comedy series. I don’t know if anyone thought this was going to be a hit, but it became a cultural phenomenon during the 60s yet at the same time was disliked by critics. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the CBS comedy broadcast from 1962 to 1971 that told the story of a poor backwoods family from the Ozarks who moved to California after striking oil on their land? And for extra points, what was the name of the family? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or send it with any album by the great bluegrass duo Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

Answer for the joke: a receding hare line!

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to worry about things I can’t control. Until we meet again, you don’t know if it’s your cup of tea unless you take a sip.

Some simple advice from table tennis master Dick Hamilton: “When you get mad, keep your mouth shut!”

Menu

Meals-on-Wheels dinner served at noon at the Center.

Thursday (10): Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (Music – Tom Graff)

Friday (11): Hot Turkey Sandwich

Monday (14): Chicken and Dumplings

Tuesday (15): Salisbury Steak

Wednesday (16): Pork Medallions

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