The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 4, 1998 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Salina, Kansas
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Thursday, June 4, 1998
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Page 4
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A4 THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 1998 NATION THE SALINA JOURNAL T AARP CONVENTION Exhibiting age Convention ponders joys, annoyances of aging By DAVID PETERSON Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune MINNEAPOLIS — Old age, it has been said, is like a foreign country: No matter how well informed you think you might be ahead of time, getting there will surprise you. This week in Minneapolis, old age is a country anyone can visit. The nation's largest gathering of people over 50 is taking place and for five bucks you can wander through the aisles of an enormous exhibition center, pondering the joys and annoyances of aging. They're all mixed together. The Cruising Alaska booth ("A 14-day adventure for the heart, mind and soul") is right by the one offering amplifiers for your phone ("Loud and clear!"). Huge photos of tourists gazing upon the Grand Canyon at sunset can be found right next to "CharcoCaps: Relief from intestinal gas." Nearby, cheerful grannies wearing T-shirts, silly hats and flowery wreaths from the Hawaii booth stroll past the National Funeral Directors Association display ("Brochure, sir? Candy? How about just the candy?") Attendance of 25,000 was predicted, and without releasing attendance figures, officials of the American Association of Retired Persons said they expect to exceed that figure. At one point Tuesday there appeared to be 3,000 people listening to former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger as another 1,500 heard former TV doctor Art Ulene. Thousands more milled around the The exhibition center includes huge photos of tourists gazing upon the Grand Canyon at sunset next to "CharcoCaps: Relief from intestinal gas." booths. For Viola Williams of New Orleans, who came up from Mississippi in a bus with 35 others, this is her fifth biennial (AARP) convention. Her husband, Henry, proclaimed that they had come "from the mouth of Mississippi to the source," and that the source, at 59 degrees outside, was awfully chilly for their tastes. The Williamses were seated along with a few friends and seven bulging bags of freebies, from plastic fire hats and posters to magnets and water bottles. Just off the floor, the celebrities speak. Three generations of one of America's best-known show-biz families — Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher and Carrie's daughter Billie, age 5 — delighted an audience of about 1,000 Tuesday as the public portion of the convention opened. Fisher, 41, confessed that with her family's history of serial divorce it was absurd for her to pose as an expert on family. Reynolds stood just offstage, smiling sweetly, stroking her chin and peeking once around the curtain. ("I'm pretty sure that's my mother," Fisher said. "I've seen her films.") Back in the exhibition hall, meanwhile, NASA was showing seniors that if you take an ordinary empty plastic film canister — the milky-colored kind with the cap that presses inside the top — attach a paper rocket to it and put some water and half an Alka Seltzer capsule inside, you can have an amazing blast-off. NASA brought along a full- scale mockup of parts of the International Space Station, which will be transported into outer space later this year. Visitors can walk through the living area and peek into the shower (one tube to spray water, another to vacuum it up) and the "waste management" compartment (toilet, with another long vacuum tube). Also not to be missed is the Bureau of the Public Debt booth, which provides tests for blood pressure and several other bodily functions, including vision. One of the blood-pressure tes- tees was Rachel Cruey, 69, Bristol, Tenn., who drove up with her husband several days early to see the sights in the Twin Cities. They'd never been here before. Despite a bad knee she has seen practically everything: the Capitol, the James J. Hill House, the trolley tour of Minneapolis and many other sites, including, of course, the Mall of America. "What do you buy at this age?" she asked, a thought that this week's' exhibitors may not appreciate. T FIRST FAMILY Book based on letters to Clintons' pets By The Associated Press NEW YORK — Following in the paw prints of Barbara Bush's dog Millie, Socks and Buddy will be publishing a book of letters they've received while living in the White House. Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to put together "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy," which will include letters from children to the first family's pets plus 50 to 60 photos of the animals, the Simon & Schuster pub- lishing company said Wednesday. Clinton will write an introduction emphasizing the importance of writing to children's development and giving parents advice on how to help kids enjoy writing and receiving letters, the publisher said. "If the most important thing a parent can do to help a child grow is to read to her, then encouraging her to write probably runs a close second," said Carolyn Reidy, president of the trade division at Simon & Schuster, which plans to publish "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy" in November. Linda Kulman, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, will help Clinton write the book. Clinton will receive no advance, and all her royalties and other earnings will be donated to the National Park Foundation, a nonprofit partner of the National Park Service. The company said it would also donate a portion of its own proceeds to the foundation. V CENTENARIANS Study: Turning 100 no bed of roses U.S. expert agrees few people can live to 100 without mental decline By The Associated Press TORONTO — A new study suggests if you make it to age 100, you can expect to leave a good chunk of your mental abilities behind. Dutch researchers tracked down every centenarian in three towns and found at least 12 of the 17 were moderately to severely demented, and three more had mild dementia. They weren't able to test the two others. Not one of the tested participants who was capable of conversation could draw a clock face that indicated a given time. The results are gloomy, said Dr. Ben Blansjaar, who presented the study Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. He said that he suspects the findings will apply to American baby boomers when they, too, reach 100, but that medications might help. An American expert said he believes the finding reflects a bleak truth about extreme old age. • Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, a neurologist who directs the Oregon Brain Aging Study at the Oregon Health Sciences University and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, agreed that few people can live to 100 without serious mental decline. "I can say unequivocally you can be over 100 and not be de- mented," he said, but it's "very, very rare." And nobody has a solid answer for how common dementia is among centenarians. Finding out is important because centenarians are a rapidly growing group, and planners want to know what their health care needs will be. In 1995, the United States had about 45,000 white citizens age 100 or older. By the year 2050, that figure will grow to 607,000. Among blacks, it is projected to grow to 116,000 from 7,000. One big question: "If you live to be an old enough age, will everybody become demented? We really don't know," said Neil Buckholtz, chief of the dementias of aging branch at the National Institute on Aging. FIRST BANK KANSAS 235 S. Santa Fe, Salina 825-2211 2860 S. 9th, Salina 825-9582 With additional locations in Assaria, Kanopolis and Ellsworth Race into First Bank Kansas for 6.9% APR auto loan financing for up to 48 months. Other special rates and terms are available. It's a great rate whether you're buying a car or just want to refinance the one you've got. This is a limited time offer for new or existing First Bank Kansas checking customers. Call or visit us today for more information. 'Kef n< it in).; offer nol available on existing loans <il firs! Hank K.u sa . Subject to applk alion and approval. $.1,00(1 minimum lo.i i. )ffer good only on '9(>, '17. and ' l )H vehicles. Special rale ava la le only to applit arils with a new or existing Firsl hank Kar s, ( hec king M i ounl. le: A 110,000 loan at f).'l"!. AI'K over -III inonlhs would t_M'J.O-l monthly paymi'iil. 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LARGER SIZES ALSO AVAILABLE TWODATSPEOALEVENT TUESDAY& WEDNESDAY JUNE 9 & 10 • Itfe like Having 100 Hearing Aids in 1 • The hearing instrument can be programmed to fit your exact needs right now, without distortion or annoying feedback • As your hearing needs change, we can reprogram your existing instruments. • It comes in one of the smallest sizes we have ever offered! •GOdayTWal You can have the latest in computer programmable technology. Satisfaction Guaranteed - 60 Day Trial PHILLIP G. LOWR^ B.C.-HXS. Board Certified in Hearing Instrument Sciences Precision Hearing Aid Center 903 E. Prescott Salina, Kansas 67402 Call TbdayTb Make Yom^ Appointment 452-9818 or 1-800-777-6816 Home Office: 2100 N. Waldron, Hutchinson, KS 67502

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