At Nicole Pashek’s excellent presentation at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center on “normal memory loss and aging,” information was shared that you might find helpful. So bear with me as I spend one more week talking about brain health.

Because of the brain’s ability to change and adapt,  known as neuroplasticity, there are actions you can take to maintain your brain health and memory. Seven of them are described in a handout Nicole distributed.

See how many of these seven tips you are currently practicing:

1. Socialize. Participation in social and community activities improves mood and memory function by giving you a chance to think on your feet and build supportive relationships.

2. Get moving! You’ve heard it before, “What is good for your heart is good for your brain.” Physical activities and exercise such as brisk walking help boost and maintain brain function. Try starting your own walking group, and you can cover these first two tips at the same time.

3. Train your brain. Using mnemonic strategies to remember names improves learning and memory. (Mnemonics are tricks and techniques for remembering information. For example, the mnemonic “Will A Jolly Man Make A Jolly Visitor? is used to remember the first eight U.S. presidents. And learn something new every day by watching the National Geographic television station, taking classes at CGCC (some are discounted for older people), attending presentations at the Center, the The Dalles/Wasco County Library, the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and the The Dalles Art Center—or just by learning to operate your new smartphone.

4. Don’t buy into negative ageist stereotypes! Studies have shown that having a positive view on aging can improve memory performance in older people.

5. It’s difficult to gain knowledge if you can’t see or hear well. For example, if you have difficulty hearing it is hard to socialize (see tip number one). I’ve found hearing aids won’t give me 20/20 hearing, but they sure help. And take time to clean them regularly, because they don’t help when they’re clogged.

6. Keep a sense of control and confidence in your memory. A little memory loss is normal. I’ve had memory loss since high school—“Mom, I forgot what time you said I was supposed to be home after the party. It wasn’t 2 a.m.?” But there are memory aids (I make plenty of notes) to help maintain confidence in your memory.

7. Avoid distractions that divert your attention. If information doesn’t get encoded in your brain, it’s not going to be remembered. Distractions can be as simple as a loud noise or as complex as trying to do several things at once, or listening to those conversations in your head.

To maintain your general health as well as your brain health, Nicole also suggested you take advantage of your annual Medicare Wellness exam, which is available once every 12 months. There is no co-pay, and if you often felt rushed at your regular doctor appointments, your wellness exam is for sixty minutes. This gives you an opportunity to share your concerns and discuss what you can do to improve your health. As they say, “An ounce of prevention is …”

Well, you know the rest.


The two-seater Ford introduced  in 1955 in response to the Corvette was the Ford Thunderbird. I received correct answers from Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Cheri Brent, Tiiu Vahtel, Jerry Phillips, Sandy Haechrel and Lee Kaseberg, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And once again, I missed someone last week; this time it was Dave Sturgeon.

Clothing styles are always changing, hemlines going up and down, (remember the kneeling test to see if a girl’s skirt was too short?); tight pants to baggy to something in between. Some styles last a while and others are just a blip in the fashion world, as was this style of jacket. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the hip-length tailored jacket with a mandarin collar warn by the Prime Minister of India that was popular in the mid-60’s? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with one of the 200 jackets of this style owned by Sammy Davis, Jr.

Well, it’s been another week, complaining when the wind blows and again when it doesn’t. Until we meet again, enjoy every day because you can’t take anything for granted.


 “When all else fails, there’s always delusion.”

— Conan O’Brien



Thursday (15th): Chicken Pot Pie

Friday (16th): Swiss Hamburger Burger

Monday (19th): Stroganoff over Egg Noodles

Tuesday (20th): Baked Ham

Wednesday (21st): Meatloaf with Macaroni and Cheese

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