Positive Aging column

A quick look at this newspaper and we’re reminded that the election is almost here. Here’s one of the best sources of information about issues and candidates.

Right now the newspaper is coping with opinion pieces, endorsements and articles about not only local election issues but also forecasts of future changes to government and perhaps to newspapers.

I’m in awe — so much news and so much opinion. Is this year different than other election years? This column on senior issues was first published in 2004. That was an election year too. The headline on my January 2004 column was “Issues facing seniors are important, varied,” and went on to report, “according to information from city hall 35 percent of Lake Oswego residents are age 37 and older — a dramatic increase in the last seven years.” Current numbers continually report increases in the aging population.

A clipping from that first column, now yellow with age, identified a number of major challenges facing seniors. They were “housing, transportation alternatives and legal issues like advance care directives.” Those issues are still with us along with additional alternatives. Instant communications are common now thanks to computers and the Internet.

“Gerontology,” an increasingly common topic of new studies, offers alternatives to the old concerns about aging. In fact we are living longer and new choices exist. Until recently, few senior citizens had Internet connection. Organ transplants were rare if not unheard of. Now “nursing homes” often are replaced by “retirement communities.” One-hundredth birthdays are not rare.

Although we’ve seen eight years of changes since this column first appeared, “senior issues” have not disappeared. Fortunately, now we have new ideas and answers about how to deal with changes. “Caregiver” has become a recognized occupation. “Zumba” is a new the health and wellness class at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center. (No, I’m not familiar with it either.) Transportation alternatives for seniors who no longer drive have increased.

New information about food and nutrition seems to pop up almost daily. New studies point out the value of high antioxidant foods. A list of what those are came to me from mindRAMP & Associates and I’m pleased to see the importance of fruits and vegetables. However, the new knowledge that I like best is this: “Dark chocolate may guard against brain injury from stroke.” That conclusion comes from researchers at John Hopkins. And I’m glad to know this because I find it to be justification for my absolute conviction that my daily dose of dark chocolate is good for me.

Election day is two weeks from now. The results will give us clues to future changes. We might have a clearer prediction of what happens to Medicare. However, challenges and opportunities for seniors will continue and I look forward to sharing information about them through this column. And, of course, I welcome your comments, and I’m sure the newspaper would like to hear them too.

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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