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Positive Aging: Try sharing some stories with your kids

Since I began writing this column in 2004, I’ve met loads of interesting people and received many new ideas. Several people enjoyed information about remembering most easily what we hear. Then the phone call I received 10 days ago prompted me to dig into my own memory.

The caller asked if now that I live at Mary’s Woods I could tell her the differences between services provided here and those at other retirement facilities nearby.

My reply — I could tell her about Mary’s Woods but I don’t know enough about other places. Then with some effort I remembered that I have loads of info. somewhere in my messy files.

One item that I rediscovered is a book that may be of interest to many of you. “Retirement Connection Guide for Greater Portland/Vancouver” is available free — paid for by its advertiser — and on the Internet at RetirementConnection.com.

The 170-plus pages cover housing choices (assisted, family care, memory care, nursing homes with locations and costs). Other topics are recreation, private and public services, health, recreation and more.

My copy is dated 2010, and because it’s updated twice a year, I’ve ordered a new copy.

Another reader of my columns enjoyed my last one about remembering what we hear. I told one of my stories that provided an amusing lesson, and here’s another — one that truly defines my brother, Stan. He was, and at age 87 still is, an animal lover. Those who hear the story won’t forget that.

My mother put up with a variety of “house pets” — a goose, monkey, white rats, king snake and various tropical fish.

However, the story told and most remembered in my family is about the first in a series of alligators. When Stan was about 12 years old, his baby alligator was housed in a fish tank in his bedroom. My mother was very patient with the stream of pets, but that alligator really upset her. I still remember her yelling at Stan: “Clean up that fish tank. It smells!”

My brother’s reply: “I’m not surprised. It died a week ago!”

Stan’s alligator story is told and retold by members of my family. (No one will forget he’s an animal lover. And he did arrange a proper burial for the “gator.”) And my memory of hearing that event provided useful information for me when years later another tourist returned from Florida with an alligator as gift to my kids.

The value of hearing stories was reinforced when my dad was in his 80s and couldn’t remember names of his grandchildren but did well at recalling events of the past.

Each of my brothers brightened his life by reminding him of special events they’d shared with him as youngsters. That prompted his stories that now are retold to our children and grandchildren. What a great way for them to learn family history.

Try sharing some stories with your kids. The results can be remarkable.

Stories for Positive Aging is a semi-monthly column on senior issues written by Lake Oswego author of “ Facing Age, Finding Answers” Ardis Stevenson. She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by regular mail at 17440 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.



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