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Stevenson logs 10 years writing on senior issues

Columns in newspapers should be timely. Sometimes identifying topics is difficult, but now for me there are several topics that are important to me — one is the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Another that’s important is a personal anniversary.

I’ve lived enough years that birthdays no longer receive special attention (I think I’ve had too many to count). However, now I am counting anniversaries. They are a much more manageable number, and January provides a memorable one that I find important. This month represents the 10th anniversary of writing this column.

More than 10 years ago, I was chairwoman of the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center Advisory Board, which no longer exists. As chairwoman I felt it was my job to attend the city’s budget committee meeting when the ACC was on the agenda. In public testimony one night, two citizens urged that no city money should go to the ACC. They said “that group doesn’t do anything except provide cheap trips to rich city residents.”

Clearly that testimony demonstrated that the ACC needed a marketing program to make people more aware of its services and benefits.

Following that meeting journalist Syd Kanitz and I visited the Lake Oswego Review office and told the editor Martin Forbes and publisher Brian Monihan that the newspaper (both the Review and the West Linn Tidings) needed more coverage of senior issues. The reply: “Yes. When can the column start? What senior issues (will you cover)?” The first column under my byline was published on Jan. 29, 2004. The headline was “Issues facing seniors are important, varied.”

How exciting! Results were better than expected! My first problem was an answer to “What are senior issues?” Fortunately, I found a quick answer. That same week I read in the Review of a talk about “senior issues” by someone named Roger Anunsen. The talk was interesting and had a dramatic moment when he jumped up on a chair to make a point. And with my newspaper opportunity I introduced myself to him after the speech.

That was the beginning of a valuable and important friendship. Roger is a nationally recognized expert on brain health (he’s lectured at Oxford, the Smithsonian and even here in Lake Oswego).

His new effort is as a gerontology expert, and he produced an especially memorable event for me. When I shared a draft of this column with him, he mentioned all the various advances in brain health we’ve made in the past 10 years. When he elaborates, I shall share the information with you.

Stories for Positive Aging is a semi-monthly column on senior issues written by Lake Oswego resident Ardis Stevenson, author of “Facing Age, Finding Answers” and “Dusty’s War.” She can be reached by email at me@ardisstevenson.com or by regular mail at 17440 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.

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