Successful aging in Sisters
Last updated 1/26/2021 at Noon
Successful aging requires intention and planning, and perhaps a modicum of luck. Here in Central Oregon, we are fortunate to have many well-qualified professionals and organizations to help navigate the path to and through the aging process.
Financial planning, regardless of the amount of assets involved, can help you make well-informed decisions regarding how and where you will live as you age. BlueStone Retirement in Sisters provides services that help one maximize Social Security benefits and other income sources, reduce taxes, and develop and implement a retirement income plan. There is no charge for the initial consultation.
John H. Myers, of John H. Myers Law Office, is a local attorney specializing in wills and trusts which should be set up while we are still competent. He offered some valuable information regarding the importance of having a will and why to consider establishing a trust, regardless of the value of your assets (see sidebar).
With advancing age, maintaining a satisfactory quality of life can be made difficult by health issues or lack of sufficient funds. There are a number of ways to maintain or enhance your quality of life, but it takes being proactive about one’s own health, both mental and physical.
A consistent level of physical activity commensurate with one’s abilities, eating healthy, balanced meals, and getting adequate sleep every night can go a long way in aging well. Gentle yoga, walking, stretching, and even chair exercise are enjoyable ways to maintain flexibility as physical abilities wane.
Massage relieves stress, relaxes tight muscles, and increases a sense of well-being. Chiropractic care and physical therapy help keep a body aligned and functioning properly. Accountability to someone else for practicing healthy routines often helps keep motivation up. A membership in a gym, yoga studio, or athletic club, or recreational classes can provide that structure. All of those businesses can be found in Sisters.
If motivation isn’t an issue, there are television programs, YouTube videos, and online exercise regimens that can be done at home, as well as in-home exercise equipment.
Deschutes County Health Services is offering virtual programs available online designed to help participants take charge of their health. Living Well with Chronic Conditions begins Friday, January 29 for six weeks from 2 to 4 p.m. for a cost of $10. Prevent Diabetes Central Oregon is a free-of-charge, evidence-based program offering attainable lifestyle choices. There are two classes from which to choose, beginning Tuesday, January 26, 1-2 p.m. or 5:30-6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.deschutes.org/preventdiabetes or www.livingwellco.org.
Yearly vision exams and hearing tests, especially after age 60, or earlier with symptoms, can catch any deficits earlier to avoid creating more serious issues later in life. If hearing loss is ignored, it can create permanent damage to the auditory system, which is not fully correctable with hearing aids. Compromised hearing can lead to isolation and memory loss (see related story).
Good dental care is an important lifelong practice and can help avoid the development of other health issues. Regular checkups with the dentist and consistent tooth care at home are important habits to sustain.
An excellent resource for older adults and their families is the guide called “Directions,” produced by the Council on Aging of Central Oregon. The guide provides quick, easy access to listings of supportive services, emergency contacts, financial and legal services, residential and social opportunities, and more. The guide is available from COACO, can be downloaded from the internet, and is often available at the Sisters Library and Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce offices in their lobbies.
At the end of life, assistance is available from local hospices like Partners in Care and Hospice of Redmond. For people dealing with a life-limiting condition, but who are not at the end of their life, the Transitions program offers services provided by volunteers who come to wherever you live. Partners In Care also has home-health services. Hospice care assists not only the patient but the family as well, helping them to understand the end-of-life process and providing emotional support, as well as comfort care for the patient in their own home.
Partners In Care has an in-patient Hospice House that offers up to five days of respite care if the patient needs more aggressive pain management or if family members need a few days break from caregiving. (See story on new Hospice House.)
With a wide range of resources and services and a close-knit community, Sisters is one of the best places you can find to live the late years of your life to their fullest.