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My new hearing aids are the latest to join the ever-growing family of chargables.

An email alerted me that my Fitbit battery is low and to charge it as soon as possible, which I dutifully did. While it wouldn't be a major catastrophe not knowing how many steps I'd taken in a day, or any of the other miscellany it records, I do like to keep my various devices charged and performing properly. The problem seems to be that I'm acquiring more devices needing this service.

My new hearing aids are the latest to join the ever-growing family of chargables. Since their day ends along with mine, it's easy to remember to put them into their charging receptacle before putting myself into bed. My smartphone also spends the night at this same charging station — unless I've unknowingly left it elsewhere and find it has less energy than I do the next morning. The tablet is the easiest to forget as it gets turned off after reading the morning paper and may not be in use for longer periods of time.

I remember purchasing our first cell phone in the 1990s. It was large and cumbersome and lived in the car to be used for an emergency situation or, as new Oregonians, to call for directions when we'd lost our way to a destination. Mostly it was used to call my daughter to describe something I'd seen at a garage sale which might be of interest to her or the grandsons.

Now, many years and several models later, the phone and I are close companions, usually starting our day together before breakfast. It lets me know the day's weather, shows me current photos of the grandkids on Instagram, a quick check of messages and emails, and then we settle down to eat and solve the daily Wordle. We play Words with Friends throughout the day and actually make and receive calls — just as a reminder of its original purpose.

But back to the Fitbit. It wasn't that I felt the need for one — it was just happenstance I received it. During the Olympics in February, we were having a Winter Wellness Olympics here at Mary's Woods where I reside. I believe the purpose for this event was to encourage residents to again participate in the in-person activities that had gradually resumed after the past two years of living our lives virtually because of the Pandemic.

To accomplish this, we were given a two-week calendar for both physical and mental activities and for each exercise class or activity, the person in charge marked our calendars with an appropriate stamp. We could also check with the concierge everyday and tell her if we'd gone for a walk, played bridge, etc. for additional stamps. Not everyone was participating and it was easy to forget to take the calendar to every event. But I, and many others, faithfully got all the stamps we could and turned in our completed calendars.

These were sorted, according to the number of stamps, into three categories and a drawing determined the winners of the gold, silver and bronze prizes. I wasn't able to attend the drawing, since I was playing bridge that day, but I saw my neighbor later who told me my name had been drawn for the Gold! So it was "the luck of the draw" and not any great physical feat that I now own one.

An additional part of my prize was a personal training session with the Wellness Manager. We met at the gym and talked about the exercise classes I'm doing and he showed and explained the exercise equipment available (which I probably won't use as their largeness intimidates me). He asked about my goals and I told him that at this stage of my life I mostly just want to stay mobile. I was pleased that he thought I was doing all the right things to be in my present condition, but I especially liked him for refusing to believe I was 91.

There was no impressive ceremony for these awards, just a mention in our monthly newsletter … in which my name was misspelled; but the event served its purpose as more people are showing up in the classes — and I have my Fitbit to encourage me to stay active.

Jo Ann Parsons is a member of the Jottings Group of Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.


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