Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

'Embracing Elderhood' event to focus on effects of aging

Experts will offer tips for caregivers and people living with Parkinson's disease or dementia

LAWLERLake Oswego’s Adult Community Center will shed new light on the aging process March 13 with a special program called “Embracing Elderhood.”

The event, which is scheduled from 1-4 p.m., will feature two of the top experts in their fields: Tony Borcich of Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon will offer hope to caregivers of people living with Parkinson’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses, while Dr. Meagan Lawler of Marylhurst University will talk about how often the common wisdom about aging is simply wrong.

“Contrary to popular belief, mental ability does not decline as you grow older,” Lawler says. “There is a great misconception about this. The brain changes, but it doesn’t decline until you reach your 80s. Your mind becomes richer, deeper and your judgment improves. Your speed lessens, but the other things improve.”

That should come as great news to members of the rapidly aging baby boomer generation, many of whom struggle with the effects of getting older.

“You should not worry so much about forgetting things,” Lawler says. “It’s because you have more information files to check. Instead of declining, you are becoming more of what you are.”

Julie Ouellette, owner of NW Senior Resources of Lake Oswego, agrees. Her organization is co-sponsoring the March 13 event.

“It’s easy to say I’m losing it, but you’re really not,” Ouellette says. “You may lose speed, but you gain wisdom.”

Berta Dermann, the Adult Community Center’s programming director, says that’s one of the key messages of the “Embracing Elderhood” seminar — that “there are positive contributions that older people can make to society.”

Lawler says she believes elderhood can actually be a healing force in society.

“The impact, we hope, will be a less impatient, less reactionary society,” Lawler says. “Maybe we can become a more tolerant society.”

BORCICHBorcich’s presentation will focus on the caregivers who help people living with Parkinson’s disease and dementia-related illnesses. These folks are often in danger of losing their own mental and physical health, but Borcich says it doesn’t have to be that way.

“This program will be for everyone touched by this disease,” the veteran social worker says. “Stress on caregivers can be quite high as Parkinson’s disease progress. People who suffer from it become more physically challenged and have mental symptoms like dementia, anxiety and depression.”

Because of this, Borcich says caregivers must pay attention to their own needs, and

they should not feel guilty about it.

“I’ll talk about mindfulness,” Borcich says. “Caregivers need it to alleviate their own depression. There can be a lot of guilt when we pursue a bit of our own lives.”

Borcich has been talking about this topic for three years. “I’ve done previous programs with Nancy (Raske, former NW Senior Resources owner) and Julie,” he says. “I’ve had good attendance and have gotten a lot of good feedback.”

Admission to “Embracing Elderhood” is free and refreshments will be served, but reservations are required. For more information, call 503 635-3758. The Adult Community Center located at 505 G Ave. in Lake Oswego.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..