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Friday, February 27, 2015  7:30 PM

I just finished the best meal I've had here in over two years. So why am I not happy? See next weeks Blog for details.


Friday, February 27, 2015  8:00 AM


Good morning. After a tumultuous week here at the Center, a week filled with uncertainty, misinformation and general confusion, it appears that, slowly, all is returning to normal. 

Once again, residents are wandering around the corridors looking for their rooms. Once again, diners are entering the dining room confused as to where they should sit. And, once again, lines are forming at the medroom doors. Ah, normalcy.


This week's main blog contains an eclectic group of articles gleaned from the news and other sources. While they are skewed to topics of interest to an older generation, we hope that everybody will find something of interest. After all, if life has done right by you, old age is inevitable.

Comments on anything you see on these pages may be sent to:

The Weekly WCenterBlog begins below

Residents need to “Warm things up”

More on one of my favorite topics

It’s simple, it’s safe and we need to have it now.

Readers of this blog, or anyone that knows me, is aware that ever since I became an inmate of this fine institution, I have pleaded, begged, hoped for and lobbied for us residents to be allowed to have some basic food warming device in our rooms. Now let me state that I am not looking for something that I can cook with. The size of our rooms and the lack of counter space would make any actual food preparation impossible. Therefore, I don’t want a NuWave cook top or a Wolfgang Puck oven or even a George Foreman grill or hot plate. All I, and many of my fellow residents want, is a simple way to reheat leftovers or takeout food and a way to heat water for coffee, tea, soup or an occasional cup of hot chocolate. This would include such items as a microwave oven, a Mr. Coffee type device or better still, an electric kettle like the one pictured here. These units are safe, have no open flame or exposed heating elements and the only way someone could become injured is to pour hot water on themselves. Something that could happen to anybody anywhere. In fact, the Center does have one boiling water dispenser available for resident’s use. So, the question begs. “Why can’t we have something so simple as a teapot in our rooms. Of course it all boils down (pun intended) to money. 

Some may argue that there is a DOH regulation prohibiting such items in the resident’s room. In actuality, the rule states that residents may not have any cooking appliances, which leaves a wide birth in the interpretation of that rule. As I said, we do not want to cook, we only want to re-heat. The official explanation for the “No appliance rule” is that “We are only looking out for the safety of many of the residents who may have difficulty in operating such appliances in a secure manner”. This is, of course, a load of crap, which brings us to the real reason why we are not permitted to have even the simplest appliances in our rooms. It’s called insurance.

As you can imagine, the cost of liability and fire insurance on a place that is filled with old people, many who are physically disabled or worse, is phenomenal. Therefore, any way that the cost of such insurance can be reduced, would save the owners thousands of dollars a year. Thus was the dilemma that faced the people who own our little paradise on the hill. Whether to make the quality of life of some of our residents more comfortable and homelike, or to save money on insurance, thereby padding the bottom line. Naturally, the residents (or “inventory” as I like to call ourselves) came in a distant second. So, no appliances.

A few months ago, a petition was taken by and for the residents of the Center, asking them what appliances they would like to have. Hair dryers were at the top of the list (Yes, we can’t have those either) along with curling irons as well as microwave ovens and Mr. Coffee’s. The petition was presented to our administer who said he would pass it on to the corporate owner. That’s pretty much the last we heard of the fate of that petition except that it was rejected by the powers that be. The “BIG BROTHER” system of management, is alive and well and living at the Westchester Center.

As a resident of this facility, and a member of the Resident’s Council, I am ashamed to say that I don’t know what else we can do to turn the decision to keep us “safe from ourselves” around. We can only keep pressing for a change in policy in the hope that some day, the people that run this institution and control almost every aspect of our lives, will eventually reverse their views on this topic and let us have something that would make the lives of our residents so much better.

Safer cooking options for seniors in assisted living

Michael Chotiner

Whether in independent living or in an assisted care facility, there's no reason for residents to give up cooking for guests, especially if preparing meals is something they enjoy. Cooking keeps the mind stimulated, and the end results nourish our bodies.

Induction cooktops, which operate with a different technology than either gas or electric stoves, offer features that make them safer and easier for seniors to use. Rather than depending on flames or hot coils, induction cooking elements heat pots and pans with magnetic fields. Only the cookware gets hot, not the cooking surface, reducing the risk of accidental fires and burns.

Along with reducing these risks, induction cookers offer these benefits:

They heat faster and can cut cooking time

Their controls offer faster response, more precise temperature setting.

Because the heating function works only when cookware is directly within the induction element's magnetic field, burners turn off automatically when the pots and pans are removed from the cooking surface....


More on this topic

The extreme winter weather this year, and the now commonplace closings of the dining room, makes having some way to re-heat food more important than ever before. It amazes me that, for a facility of nearly 200 residents, there is only one microwave oven available for use. It is located on the main floor country kitchen. Also available there, is the only “extra hot” water dispenser. We have been asking that another microwave or hot water dispenser be installed in the Franklin annex for the convenience of the 30 or so residents that reside in that location. Of course, this appeal was denied by the administration for so-called safety reasons. I just don’t know what we can do to convince management that these are necessary items, especially if the administration is going to arbitrarily close the dining room at the drop of a hat.

Praise and condemnation

Itchy rash

In January it was the stomach wrenching Norovirus, which all but shut down the facility. This month’s “Plague du Jour” is scabies, brought in to the Center by a resident. Apparently, this resident was sent home from the hospital with the itchy rash, and received by this facility knowingly. This begs me to ask the question, “Why was he let back in here”. That’s mistake number one.

Mistake number two is, why was the affected resident permitted to wander about the building* unsupervised and permitted to sit on every piece of furniture he could get his ass on. The Center should have known that just telling this obviously mentally challenged resident to “please stay in your room” was insufficient. He should have been watched constantly. Therefore, because of neglect by the facility to properly supervise the resident, we have to endure yet another period without lobby furniture to sit on. And, once again, there is a complete lack of communication from the management regarding this latest infestation. Evidently, out of mind, out of sight.

Now for the “praise” part. Due to the quick action by the Center, as soon as it was learned that the infected resident left his room, they were able to check the spread of the itchy rash and confine it to the original source. Practice makes perfect.

* It was reported that the resident in question was seen running around naked. Word has it, that he has been permanently removed from the facility.

Flu comes to the W. Center

It was deja vu all over again last week as residents were once again forced to take their meals in their rooms. An onset of influenza, apparently swept through the facility causing as many as 20 people to fall ill. Fearing an even wider outbreak of this virus, which has ravaged the rest of the country as well, the Center went into “Emergency Mode” restricting activities and gatherings which included closing the dining room. As an added precaution, Tamiflu® capsules were distributed to all residents who wanted them. Hopefully, we will be back on a normal schedule by the time this blog is posted.


In the past, I have posted a number of articles on how to find an ALF that best meets your needs. This story, that appeared in U.S. News, may be the best of the bunch. It’s clear and concise and it tells you the truth which is, “How well you will live depends on how much money you have”.

How to Find the Best Assisted Living Community for You

Some facilities offer greater independence, while others provide a higher level of care.

By Teresa Mears

There are about 150,000 assisted and independent living facilities in the U.S., plus 1,500 continuing care communities, according to Andy Cohen of, which features lists and reviews of facilities. And that figure doesn’t take into account nursing homes, group homes and active adult communities.

There is no standard definition of assisted living. What’s called assisted living in one state may be called something else in another. Many of the same communities also offer independent living for people who want communal living but need less help. One facility may charge by the level of care and another may charge for specific services, making it hard to comparison shop, which is important when you’re trying to save money.

“You can find places that are like the Four Seasons, and you can find places that are like budget motels,” Cohen says. “They’re not one size fits all. They’re very different.”

Most assisted living communities charge a monthly fee for basic room and board, with additional fees for special services such as managing medication or bathing. Residents have their own apartments, and there is usually communal dining, transportation and activities.

These communities are a good choice for people who need some assistance but don’t have complex medical problems, says Emily Saltz, CEO of LifeCare Advocates in Boston and a past president of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.



There’s gold in them thar Old Folks

Insider Selling: Brookdale Senior Living CAO Sells $181,600.00 in Stock (BKD)

Posted by Reagan

Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD) CAO Kristin A. Ferge sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, February 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $36.32, for a total value of $181,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 125,703 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,565,532.96. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC.

Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE:BKD) opened at 37.27 on Monday. Brookdale Senior Living has a 1-year low of $29.50 and a 1-year high of $37.37. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $35.85 and its 200-day moving average is $34.26. The company’s market cap is $6.838 billion.



The Cancer That's Poised To Explode

Michael Hodin

Looking ahead, skin cancer is poised to explode. As people live longer -- as individuals routinely celebrate their 80th, 90th, and even 100th birthdays -- their skin will deteriorate. And with this deterioration comes an increase in susceptibility to cancer. This decline is, at the moment, nearly inevitable. That needs to stop. Healthy skin in older age is possible -- and it's an enabler of healthy aging.

This conclusion was reached at the first summit of its kind in Manchester, England, in June of 2014. A cross-sector group of experts from medicin

e, innovation, economics, and demography convened and agreed that a "life-course of healthy skin" is a pillar of healthy and active aging in the 21st century.

Moreover, it was also agreed that the need for healthy skin was pressing, given the rate at which the population is aging and the increased risk that older adults have in contracting skin cancer.

The data is powerful. Of all cases of non-melanoma skin cancer, more than 80 percent occur in people over 60. And over half of melanoma skin cancers occur in people over 50.

And, with nearly one-third of the U.S. Population over 55 within the next five years, it is not only a health imperative to become more proactive in caring for our skin -- but also a social and economic imperative. In other "old" societies like Europe and Japan, the imperative is even greater. In emerging markets, which are still "younger" but are aging at breakneck pace, there is also no time to waste.....


More on health

The Truth Behind Your Supplements

Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D

Supplements Done Right

It's understandable why you would may have a cabinet full of supplements at home. Supplements are highly marketed as providing benefits that we want, such as more energy, digestive health, healthy immune function, balanced mood, and the list goes on. For many people, these complaints and declines in their well-being are not perceived as severe enough to seek out medical care, so taking a supplement fits the bill instead.

The right supplements can provide a benefit, when properly matched to your unique needs. My practice specializes in nutrition and metabolism with an emphasis on helping people lose weight and correct insulin resistance. In my medical practice, I run simple blood work on all of my patients for three common vitamin and mineral levels. Time after time, these three are revealed to be deficient:.....

Vitamin D -- With a practice in Florida, many would assume that my patient's levels of vitamin D (which is made in our skin from the sun) would be high, however it is very often low, especially in those with insulin resistance.

Vitamin B12 -- Vitamin B12 is important for energy and often comes up low as well in my patients' results. Many are on stomach acid blocking medications which are known to impair the absorption of vitamin B12 and many were unaware of this medication's side effect. .......



Senior citizen says guardianship left her 'absolutely broke'

Susannah Frame

Some people call it the "silver tsunami." America's population is aging and with it more and more of our parents and grandparents are falling victim to exploitation.

Seventy-four-year-old Lin McDowell believes she's one of those senior citizens. McDowell lived old school – she never rang up credit card debt. She paid cash for her cars, and consistently saved as she worked for decades in different careers, including as a project manager position at NASA, a real estate agent, and an art gallery owner.

"I had a $100,000 CD, I had a very good stock portfolio. I had investments," said McDowell.

In 2012 McDowell, divorced and estranged from her children, lived in a quaint rambler with pretty gardens in the backyard, on a nice street in Vancouver, Wash. By then, she'd managed to bank nearly $250,000 in cash and cash equivalents.

Two-and-a half years later, the bank account's been drained to roughly $20,000. The home's been sold.

"I've sold my wedding rings (to buy groceries)," said McDowell....



GrandPad Senior Tablet review: This easy-to-use device can help 

families stay connected

John Brandon

Here’s a sad fact about the growing elderly population: While the rest of us get more connected by using social media such as Facebook and Twitter, sending streams of photos to each other using services like Instagram, and using text messages to exchange bon mots, senior citizens who aren’t savvy to the latest personal technology are becoming increasingly isolated. The more Millennials use text messaging, the less they communicate with people who don’t know how to use a smartphone or tablet.

That’s why the GrandPad tablet is such an interesting product. It’s just a Nexus 7 tablet at its core, but it runs a customized version of Android that’s designed specifically for older users. A wireless charging stand, a cover, and a stylus are included in the package. 4G connectivity (Verzion LTE) is also included, eliminating the need for the end user to have a router, broadband Internet access, and the skills to install and maintain the same; plus, they can take the tablet almost anywhere without the need to look for and connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot. And the tablet is insured; so if the user loses or breaks the device, the manufacturer will send a replacement at no additional cost......



How Reducing Social Isolation Protects Older Adults

John Feather, PhD

"I get by with a little help from my friends."

The Beatles were on to something big: the fact that social isolation is a social determinant of health, so potent yet so under-appreciated that we are still discovering just how important it is to this day.

Lonely hearts at risk

What we now know is that lonely hearts are hearts at risk, because social isolation is a killer. Specifically, social isolation is associated with, and a powerful predictor of cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, institutionalization, stroke, re-hospitalization, depression, and increased risk of suicide, just to name a few. It is linked to everything from a higher risk of contracting the common cold to faster tumor growth in cancer patients. All in all, socially isolated people are twice as likely to die prematurely (even controlling for other relevant factors) than are people with many strong social relationships.

This generally holds true for people of all ages. Older people, however, may need and respond to somewhat different forms of support and intervention to address the problem of isolation.



Spring is only a month away. You might want to start making your plans now. However, where to go is only part of the travel experience these days. Security and weather has made travel more difficult than ever, especially for seniors. Here are some ways to cope...

The aging traveler

By John Philipp 

Traffic delays constitute an increasing problem as one gets older. Medical research, advises that when you are 30 and feel a need to go to the bathroom, it is a signal your bladder is half-full. When you’re 60, the same signal means your bladder is full. Time to initiate emergency freeway exit procedures.

These days, my entertainment in the car comes from my iPod. My selection of choice is “Car Talk,” which is a funny show and freeway trek appropriate. The show is 55 minutes long. If I’m stuck in traffic, and the show finishes, I am left with the one radio station my broken car antenna picks up. Well, it picks it up in Marin, but by the time I’ve passed the Oakland Coliseum I only hear every third word accompanied by intermittent static.

Packing is more complicated as well. My current overnight list includes, but is not limited to:

• Pajamas (at 20 I didn’t use them) and a bathrobe (it’s not my house).

• Buckwheat pillow that nestles my neck so it will work without pain the next morning.

• Electronics of various sorts. A laptop for writing, should inspiration strike me, and so I can check Facebook for new pictures of mournful dogs that want to be adopted, cats (this was so cute I had to post it. You’ll die laughing) and which of my “friends” are currently having more fun than I am. I also bring my iPad because it has games my grandkids like and my iPod Touch that has games I like. Each of these devices has its own special recharging paraphernalia that pretty much fill up a tote on their own......


Gridlock Over Fixing Social Security Disability Would Mean Benefit Cuts, Warns The Senior Citizens League

Congressional gridlock over the looming insolvency of the Social Security disability insurance program would put the benefits of about 11 million disabled Social Security beneficiaries at risk, warns The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). According to the Social Security trustees, the disability insurance trust fund will exhaust its resources by the end of next year. If Congress fails to address the disability program's funding problems, benefits would have to be reduced by about one fifth to adjust to the level of payroll taxes that the program receives. "Congress needs to take timely action soon to avoid creating a financing crisis for millions of our nation's sickest and most vulnerable Social Security beneficiaries," says TSCL Chairman Ed Cates.

According to a December report from the Social Security Inspector General , legislation will be necessary to permit beneficiaries to receive their full benefit payments. Even though the financial condition of Social Security is often reported as just one trust fund that is financially sound until 2033, there are actually two trust funds and they operate separately. Current law does not permit one Social Security trust fund to borrow from the other -- Congress must pass legislation to do so, the Inspector General's report says.....


Conspiracy Theory 98% of Retirees Believe (But You Shouldn't)

By Dan Caplinger

Of course, it should come as no surprise that with so many people disgruntled about their tiny cost-of-living increases in recent years, the percentage of people believing in deliberate manipulation would be so high. Indeed, a recent article from the Senior Citizens League asserted that government manipulation is essentially a given, arguing that "Unbeknownst to most of the public, the federal government has quietly made numerous changes to the methodology used for the nation's inflation measurement." Yet even when you set aside the rhetoric, the argument among economists and the general public over the complex economic theories involved in measuring price changes is really a red herring for the policy question that retirees want answered now: whether current Social Security payments are large enough to help Americans make ends meet in retirement.



Poll: Yesterday’s Democrats are today’s Republicans

Bob Collins

A surprising thing has happened to those war-protesting, Eugene McCarthy-voting, Richard Nixon-hating kids of the ’60s.

They’ve become Republicans.

A Wall St. Journal/NBC poll shows that the demographics of senior citizens has flipped since the Clinton administration.

All of which begs the larger question: What happened? Well, for starters, and to state the obvious, today’s senior citizens aren’t the senior citizens of decades past. For a long stretch of political history, older voters comprised Americans who came of age during the long tenure of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal programs. For many who benefited from them, those programs created a lifelong bond to FDR’s Democratic Party.

Today’s 65-year-old voter, by contrast, would have been 30 or 31 years old when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 and, for all practical purposes, brought the period of New Deal ....



What Age of Sexual Partner Do Senior Men and Women Prefer?

New evolutionary psychological research shows gender differences in age preferences regarding sexual partners stay about the same through old age

This new research from Finland is probably not going to surprise anyone. The researchers had to interview over 12,000 people to learn that women prefer men about their age or slightly older, but men - even senior men -  prefer women in their mid-twenties. And, both preferences seem to apply for adults up through their senior citizen years.

It is probably no surprise, either, that women’s preferences are better realized than are men’s, the study reports, since their age differences are much smaller than those of the men.

Researchers in psychology at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland, suggest that this pattern reflect the fact that when it comes to mating, women control the market. Sex-differences in parental investment and in age-related fertility variations are assumed to have shaped the sexual strategies for both sexes.



During last month’s quarantine/lockdown Norovirus outbreak, I refrained from reviewing food served here at the Center. I did so because I felt it would not be fair, under the circumstances. After all, that was the first time that the Center ever had to deal with such an incredibly difficult task. The food, to say the least,was awful. And yet, I kept my criticism to a minimum. 

At that time, I said that the one good thing that might have come out of those three weeks of culinary hell,was that it was good training for similar occurrences that might happen in the future. Well, the future, unfortunately, came faster than we thought, and even more unfortunately, the facility did not learn a damn thing about serving food outside of the kitchen environment. Consequently, because the facility continues to serve the worst food outside of a state penitentiary, I have decided to cut them no slack this time around.

Let us begin

Lunch Tuesday

Tuesday’s lunch consisted of a slightly warm 1/2 cup of soup and BLT on a soggy, cold piece of white toast. Although it is difficult to see here, the soup had a thin “skin” on it from having sat around for a while. The single slice of tomato, in the BLT, was cut so thin I could read the time on my watch through it (it was 12:35 by the way). Macaroni salad, side dish, not worth talking about. 

Dinner Tuesday

Cold “shake and bake” chicken with the consistency of a basketball, a barely warm baked potato and the ubiquitous 3 florets of broccoli (the only veggies that seems to be available recently), made up one of the worst meals I have ever eaten anywhere. I took one bite and threw it away. This left me with the only edible thing on the tray, a piece of cherry pie. Nice dinner, huh?

Breakfast Wednesday

Dinner Thursday

Dinner Friday

Senior citizens in Aisle 7, and they’re all mine


Sooner or later, every baby boomer confronts his or her parents about their driving. We all seem to know when its time to take their car keys away. But when do we take their shopping carts away?

Other friends who have gone through this tell me a crucial element is patience — something I'm all out of. (What aisle do they sell it in?)

A few have told me their parents give them a list. Others have had success ordering their parents' groceries online and having the food delivered.

Neither option interests my parents, who, especially in the winter, just want to get out of the house.

My big suggestion last week: "Make a partial list of bread, canned goods, etc., and I'll pick that stuff up for you. Then I'll take you back later for your meats and vegetables."




Contact and Comments

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The man who ate ziti alone

My wife and I officially separated in the fall of 1984 after 8 years of marriage. The breakup was difficult for both of us. Having nowhere else to go, and apartments in NYC are what they are, I moved in with my mother. This was a win for both of us. I had a roof over my head, and my mom had a companion and someone to cook for. The truth be told, the fact that now, I would once again eat home cooked meals appealed to me as well. But perhaps the most meaningful thing about this was that, now, I did not have to eat dinner alone.

I was brought up in a traditional family setting. Dad went to work and mom stayed home to take care of the house and my brother and me. Dinner began when dad got home (around 6 PM) and we always ate together. Those dinners, together, were very important to me. I learned about the news of the day, manners, the importance of school, the proper way to dress and a whole bunch of other stuff necessary to the nurturing of a 10 year old boy. In return, my parents learned of my concerns, my school work and who I was hanging around with. It was more than just eating, it was dialogue. A give and take of ideas, misgivings, desires, truth and rumor. All of the things that make humans the social creatures they are.

I lived with my mom until she passed away. My brother moved to Florida and, I, once again found myself eating dinner alone. Eventually, I got used to it until one day, after a long hard day at work, I found myself at  a restaurant that me and my wife would eat at frequently. I had not been in this restaurant for a few years. The Maitre D’ recognized me.

“Hello, Mr. C........., are you here alone, ” he said, looking around for my wife. 

“We’re divorced”. I said.

“So sorry. It happens”, he replied. “Table for one than”. 

He led me to a table, in the back, far away from the rest of the diners who were animatedly chatting with one another. Evidently, this was the place where the single people had to sit, like the lepers we were. Sitting there, alone at that table, surrounded by people who at least had someone to talk to at dinner, I, for the first time, felt truly alone. This is why I became very upset when, one day last week, I was forced to sit alone at my table here at the Center because of some arbitrary, nonsensical rule imposed on us by a clueless food service manager.

There I was, seated at a table with three perfectly good, unfilled seats. And, on the other side of the room was a person, whose table was also empty. And, for some unknown reason, I was not permitted to have the company of that person with dinner. All this, because the management of this establishment has no idea of the effect of loneliness and solitude has on the residents here. Having the ability to interact with another human being when we are old is as important as it was when we were young. Just knowing that other people have the same questions and fears, desires and, yes, memories as you do, goes a long way to providing a nurturing and stable atmosphere for the residents here. Nowhere else but at the dinner table is this interaction so pronounced. The combination of sharing a meal and good conversation has been a staple of the human condition since time immemorial. Why the Center wants to discourage this, I don’t know. What are they afraid of?

So, there I sat. By myself, eating a bowl of baked ziti and staring at the three empty seats around me, wondering what was the purpose of this. Why this enforced solitude. The people that make these rules don’t have a clue as to the need for companionship, even if it’s only for a few minutes at the dinner table. This is because these people go home every night, sit down with their loved ones and have the conversations that we, here at the Center should be having with anybody we want and at any table we want. 

On the subject of...


If you thought we, here at the Center, were alone last month when we were stricken with an illness that kept us in our rooms, think again.

Flu season typically puts limits on close-quarter facilities



Flu season usually means more calls to the Virginia Department of Health, especially from nursing homes and other such facilities where people live and work in close quarters.

This year appears to be no different, as callers to The Free Lance–Star have said said centers where their friends and loved ones live are seeing an increase in illness and restricting visits.

Stephanie Goodman, an epidemiologist with the Rappahannock Area Health District, said her department typically does not give out the names of facilities they are working with unless the illness involved requires tracking down people who visited the site.

Instead, the health department offers recommendations for controlling the illness. Those can include limiting contact between residents in the dining hall and in group activities, Goodman said. Visitations are also typically limited.

Chancellor’s Village senior living community in Fredericksburg recently experienced an uptick in a “gastrointestinal illness with flu-like symptoms,” said Kristen Hansen, the facility’s executive director.....



Good help is hard to find

The resident’s council, here at the Center, which meets once a month to set an agenda for the resident’s meeting, has been decimated due to illnesses and resignations. Essentially, there are only two or three active members now serving on this board. Last week, at our regular resident’s meeting, we asked for those residents that would be interested in serving on the council to sign up to be considered. Out of approximately 50 residents present at that meeting, only Command Medium Picture Hanging Strips, one or two people said they were interested. What a shame. Here is a chance for someone to have a say in the way things are run here, plus being allowed to put their two cents in, and hardly anyone was interested. 

You would think that in a place where everybody has an opinion, and a gripe, people would be lining up for the chance to be heard, and possibly do something to change their situation, but no. Instead, they prefer to sit on their asses, gripe to one another and be led, like sheep to the slaughterhouse every time a new rule or regulation is imposed on them. We will make another plea for members at our next meeting, but I don’t expect much change.


Flying Fish story

Lots of stuff gets stolen out of resident’s rooms here at the Center. Usually it’s stuff that residents forget to lock up or put away. Stolen items range from cash, to books, to jewelry and computers. However, once and a while something goes missing of such an unusual nature that I find it important to make note of it.

One of the few living things that we are permitted to have in our rooms, besides a plant, are fish. Fish are fun to watch and easy to take care of. And one other thing that makes fish a perfect companion is that they are relatively cheap. Five dollars will get you a colorful tropical fish from the pet store. So, it behooves me to find that someone has stolen two tropical fish from the fish tank in the room of one of our residents. Even stranger is the fact that there were three fish in that tank, but only two were missing when the resident returned to her room.

At first it was thought that the remaining fish had eaten, it’s two tank mates. But upon closer examination. Not even one spec of the other fish could be found. Not a fin, not a bone, not a scale. They were just gone. Therefore, the question begs, who would steal a couple of five dollar fish. It makes no sense. Unfortunately, the owner of the fish did not have a picture of the two fish or we would have put up “Missing Fish” posters all over the place. 


Looking out of the window on the third floor of our main building, and seeing the snow piled high on the facility air conditioning units, made me yearn for warmer climes. Now tell me again why I didn’t buy that condo in Florida when I had the chance.

Listen to this story. Then answer this question.

“Why didn’t the residents, themselves, notice anything was wrong. They should have been the first one’s to speak up” This is why I, and some of my fellow residents do what we do. Someone has to question everything that does not seem right.

Investigation: Food withheld at an Idaho care facility

Andrea Lutz, KTVB

BOISE -- An investigation into a Wood River Valley assisted living facility found the administrator was keeping away food intended to feed residents.

Safe Haven Health Care operates a dozen facilities around Idaho for elderly and disabled seniors. However, the one in Bellevue is operating under the careful watch of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare after reports last fall revealed that there was an extreme food shortage taking place.

According to its website, Safe Haven Health Care promises to provide skilled nursing, mental wellness and assisted living services to seniors throughout Idaho.

In September, Health and Welfare received a complaint that caregivers at the facility were having a hard time feeding the residents because food was not coming in from the site administrator.

Health and Welfare spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr explains what surveyors called to the facility to investigate found.

"Sometimes they didn't have food to cook and they would call the administrator at the time and he 



New rules to let frail elders stay in assisted living

Regulators also mandate training, evacuation plans

By Kay Lazar

Frail elderly residents will still be allowed to live in assisted living facilities under hotly contested rules unveiled this week by Massachusetts regulators.

The regulations, aimed at strengthening protections for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, mandate expanded training for facility workers and require detailed emergency evacuation plans, including enough equipment and medicine if extreme weather threatens.

But regulators backed off one of the most closely watched provisions, which would have prohibited assisted living facilities from accepting residents, or allowing them to remain there, if residents require more than 90 consecutive days of skilled nursing care.

Many elders who once would have moved to a nursing home when their health declined are instead choosing to remain in assisted living, often because it costs significantly less than nursing homes. Over time, the population in these loosely regulated, apartment-like facilities has grown increasingly frail.

About 14,000 people in Massachusetts live in about 225 of these facilities.


The Vampire Cure for Aging

Watch out Millennials! Baby Boomers are out for blood.

Human blood enables vampires to remain physically attractive and mentally sharp according to ancient lore. But the anti-aging properties of blood may be more than a legend. Researchers at the biomedical startup Alkahest in California are actually running a small clinical trial that involves injecting human blood plasma from young people into dementia patients. The hope is that factors in the blood of young people will repair and rejuvenate ailing brains. It worked in mice, so maybe it will work in people.

Researchers associated with the University of California, Berkeley, biologist Irina Conboy jump started the hunt for youthful factors in blood with their work with mice involving heterochronic parabiosisHeterochronic means differently aged and parabiosis means next to life. In their experiments, the researchers basically sewed together young mice and old mice to see what would happen as their circulatory systems melded. They discovered that tissues in geezer mice were rejuvenated. Apparently, something in the blood of young mice stimulates the worn-out stem cells in old mice to start proliferating again to repair damaged tissues.



What the proposed 2016 budget would mean for senior living

The 2016 federal budget announced by President Barack Obama on Monday is a mixed bag for senior housing and service providers, according to several organizations representing them.

The $4 trillion budget proposes to “bring the middle class economics into the 21st century” through $1.8 trillion in deficit reductions, mainly through changes to healthcare programs, the tax code and immigration reform. Specifically, as relates to healthcare, the budget includes $400 billion in savings over 10 years from Medicare, Medicaid and other programs, which the administration said can be realized by a slowdown in cost growth due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “Notably, the budget’s health savings grow over time—raising about $1 trillion in the second decade, and extending the Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund solvency by approximately 5 years,” according to the budget overview.


The budget would repeal the sustainable growth rate formula for reimbursing physicians who treat Medicare beneficiaries, and it also calls for $54 billion in new Medicare spending.


Aging Population and Rising Incidence of Incontinence Drive the Urological Catheters Market, According to a New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

GIA announces the release of a comprehensive global report on Urological Catheters. The global market for Urological Catheters is forecast to reach 684 million units, worth US$3.4 billion by 2020, driven by the aging population, and rising incidence of urinary incontinence and chronic kidney disease.

Urological catheters find widespread use in the healthcare industry. The rapidly aging population is resulting in the increasing incidence of urological conditions that require catheterization. The United States, Western Europe, and Japan with rapidly aging societies are at the forefront of global growth in the market. An increase in the number of hospital admissions of the elderly and rise in surgical procedures performed on the old and sick are driving sales of urological catheters. Innovative technologies, products, and procedures are constantly fueling growth in the market. Manufacturers are testing and developing newer catheter material compositions that help improve user pre and post-catheterization comfort. Antimicrobial coatings are also growing in importance, given their ability to prevent the formation of biofilms and crusts. The catheter market is witnessing an increase in the frequency of catheter changes, due to the huge economic impact of Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI). Reducing CAUTI is fast becoming a priority for the healthcare sector in developed economies. Antimicrobial-coated catheters are helpful in preventing Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI).


More health news

Every day, the ambulances line up outside this place like taxis after the opera. Why? Here’s some recent information that may keep you out of the hospital.


Most families would agree that keeping a senior out of the hospital is an important goal. That’s because professionals who work with older adults know that some seniors who are hospitalized don’t always go home the same. Or, they don’t go home at all.

And yet, research reveals that many of these hospitalizations could be prevented, according to a survey of 400 North American nurses who specialize in senior care and conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. In fact, this new research showed that nearly half (48.5%) of these hospitalizations could be avoided if the proper preventative steps are taken.

In fact, these five preventative actions can help reduce the potential risk that an older adult will end up in the hospital:

Follow doctor’s orders

Don’t ignore symptoms

Reduce risks of falls and accidents

Stay active physically and mentally

Maintain a healthy diet

There’s another vital factor in keeping seniors out of the hospital. It’s family. Nearly 100% of the nurses surveyed agreed that a family’s role in helping to keep seniors healthy and out of the hospital is as important as that of the medical community..



Why Do Some People, Including Several Prominent Haredi Rabbis, Live Well Into Old Age Without Showing Serious Memory Decline? Researchers May Now Have Discovered Why

SuperAger Brains Yield New Clues to Their Remarkable Memories

Brains of cognitively elite look 

distinctly different than their elderly peers

Marla Paul • Northwestern University

SuperAgers, aged 80 and above, have distinctly different looking brains than those of normal older people, according to new Northwestern Medicine® research that is beginning to reveal why the memories of these cognitively elite elders don’t suffer the usual ravages of time.  

SuperAgers have memories that are as sharp as those of healthy persons decades younger. 

Understanding their unique “brain signature” will enable scientists to decipher the genetic or molecular source and may foster the development of strategies to protect the memories of normal aging persons as well as treat dementia.



First it was the pipes in the bathroom of my aging house. Than the radiator of my old car. Soon MY pipes were beginning to leak. Now, as if there weren’t enough leaks in my life, I have to worry about this...

Scans show aging brains can leak

The barrier between the brain and the blood can degrade as a person gets older


A protective network of cells surrounds blood vessels in the brain. This blood-brain barrier shields the brain from dangerous stuff that might be moving through the bloodstream. But the barrier doesn't remain intact forever. Brain scans now show that the barrier starts to leak as people age. That lets compounds that the barrier once kept out now enter.

The scans suggest the barrier’s breakdown may play an important role in Alzheimer's disease. The reason: Brains in aging people get leaky first in areas used in learning and memory, the scans showed.

Aging and memory problems already had been linked to leakier blood-brain barriers. However, no one had shown this link in brain scans of living people.



Federal program helps senior citizens find jobs

As the years roll on and you move through middle age into senior citizen status, it can feel as though the world is racing past you, leaving you in its dust. Especially when it comes to finding a job.

Yet more and more people aged 55 and up are in the job hunt. The government tells us in 1992, workers 55 and older made up just under 12% of the work force. By 2022, it could be more than 25%.

A federal program called Experience Works is designed to help the 55 and older worker with the demands of the modern workforce.



Women shaving their faces to fight aging

Skin experts weigh in on whether it really works

Author Sandra Ali,

More women shaving their faces to smooth skin, look younger

Reality stars have recently brought to light shaving as a weapon to fight wrinkles for women. But does it really help? And is it safe?

Two metro Detroit beauty experts shared their opinions with Local 4's Sandra Ali.

Shaving exfoliates, which can make skin look more youthful.

"At home, women are finding if they shave their face, wow, I look like I just had a facial. My skin is smoother, softer,'" said Holly CaSaroll, founder and CEO of FACE.

CaSaroll said shaving is one way women can avoid using chemicals on their faces, and it also comes with a cheaper price tag than a trip to the spa.

This is something you can do at home and see a nice difference. If you don't have the budget to go professionally and do some of the deeper treatments for the skin, absolutely you will see a little bit of the smoother texture in the skin. You see, your moisturizers work a little better,



Readers of the daily blog will remember this tirade from last week. I thought it was important enough to repeat.


Would you put a smiley face on the Mona Lisa. No. Would you put a fig leaf on Michelangelo's David No. Why? It just ain't right, that's why.

Glancing at the lunch menu yesterday afternoon, I was surprised to see two items we have not had before. One of the items was a grilled corned beef on rye with Swiss cheese, not bad. However, it was the other item on the list that really got my attention. It was a knish. An item brand new to our usually bland and uninspired cuisine. 

I knew it was not going to be one of those homemade knishes like my mother used to make or even one of those we used to buy at the Knish Nosh on Queens Boulevard. However, even one of those mass produced factory jobs would be very appreciated. Unfortunately, an ugly rumor spread among the throng waiting in the lobby. A rumor so unbelievable, that if true, would be nothing less than sacrilegious. The knishes were cut in half. Yes, we were only getting half a knish each. I could feel the blood starting to boil deep within me. The hair on the back of my neck stood up like a pit bull looking for a fight. I was mad.

As soon as the sandwich and my half knish arrived at my table I popped out of my seat and made a beeline for the open kitchen door. Holding the plate in my outstretched hand, I shouted, "Who's the cheap bastard that had the nerve to cut a  knish in half". The entire kitchen staff pointed to our food service manager who came out from behind a counter to see what the fuss was. 

"Are things so effing bad here that they can't afford to give us a whole knish", I reiterated.

What followed was a half-assed explanation blaming a miscalculation in the ordering process or something like that. To which I replied, "bullshit". And went back to my table vowing to get to the bottom of this atrocity. 

Soon after, one of the other cooks came to my table with two more half knishes and an apology.

"We were afraid we would not have enough", he said apologetically.

Amazingly, a few minutes later, another plate, piled high with half knishes, magically appeared and was offered to the diners. Not enough knishes, my ass....................................................................................... Ed.

BTW: The knishes were actually good.


The empty bowl should say it all. I really enjoyed the Vegetable Beef soup we had for lunch last Thursday, I liked it because it had all of the elements of, not only a good soup, but of a very decent beef stew. In fact, the only real difference between the soup and a stew is a couple of chunks of beef and a thicker broth. This brings me to the question, “If they know how to make a decent beef soup, why can’t they make a decent beef stew here.” 

The Center’s version of beef stew is nothing more than a couple of chunks of stewed beef, a few motley veggies, a thin, tasteless broth over a bed of noodles. Why they can’t serve an honest beef stew I don’t know. The stew is the very antitheses of what the soup is. While the soup had all of the proper vegetables, (celery, carrots, onions, string beans and potatoes), the beef stew has only a fraction of these. Add to this an almost non-existent gravy, and it’s as if nobody understands the elements of beef stew at all. So, here is my suggestion.

Cook the soup just as you have been doing. Add a little corn starch or flour or arrowroot to thicken the liquid, throw in a couple of chunks of cubed chuck and some nice new potatoes an you've got yourself a hearty, delicious home made beef stew to be proud of. And, by the way, ditch the noodles.................................... FF.

Proof: America has the healthiest mice in the world.

Can the Aging Process Be Slowed by an OTC Vitamin Pill?

A new dietary supplement claims to have anti-aging effects, but is there data to support these claims? The startup company Elysium Health is releasing this week Basis, a pill containing the chemical precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a compound used by cells use for metabolic functions. This compound is believed to cause effects similar to caloric restriction, such as releasing energy from glucose.

Prior research has indicated that the lifespan of mice can be extended by feeding them less food possibly due to the mediation by biological molecules called sirtuins. .....



Seniors At Jewish Home Give The Best Dating Advice

By Ann Brenoff

"Sympathetic and wise; practical and nurturing; funny and sweet -– seniors at the Los Angeles Jewish Home make the perfect matchmakers," said the accompanying press release. "They know from experience what it takes to light a spark and turn it into a flame." A spokesman for the Jewish Home said the video was prepared for Valentine's Day and was meant to be light-hearted. The young man asking the questions is an associate at the home.


Watch video......



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                          Community or Commodity: The Future for old people

I recently saw this headline on an online franchising website...“Why Now Is the Time to Enter the Senior Home Care Industry”... And it got me thinking. “Do the operators of nursing homes and assisted living facilities think of us as a commodity to be bought, sold and traded like so much corn, wheat or sorghum or a product like a Big Mac or a used car. If the way corporations are jumping on the “Elder Express” is any example, then we (old folks) better pay attention. And, if indeed, we are perceived as nothing more than a means to financial gain, our well being, if not our lives, may be at stake.

Every day, I receive news stories in my email telling of how a new A.L.F. or senior residence is being built somewhere. Some of them in communities where such facilities never existed before. Many stories are about how present facilities are adding beds and constructing new buildings in order to accommodate what is being called “The Silver Tsunami”. Even our own place announced that they would be building a 200 bed facility directly across from our present building.

All of this new interest in providing living space for seniors is prompted by the fact that 10,000 baby boomers per day are reaching retirement age and, not all of them are poor. In fact, some are quite “well healed” with plenty of money to spend on travel, vacation homes and up-scale retirement living. This is great for those folks. Because, like any group of rich people, they will be coveted (and coddled) by those who cater to such people. Those people will have access to all the rewards that a well deserved retirement should hold. The neat condos, the swimming pools, the tennis courts, the gourmet food, the well stocked bar and the option to travel where and whenever they want. But what about the rest of us. You know those of us whose, for one reason or another, best laid plans went astray. How will we be treated in this brave new (gray) world.

As things stand now, I often get the feeling that we are perceived as nothing more than dollar signs with legs. By the way people are being herded into many of these facilities, with very little attention paid to their state of health or mental acuity, many of these facilities have, or will, become nothing more than a dumping ground for the unwanted, old and poor. As one current resident of our facility put it, “All you need to get in here is a Social Security check and a pulse.” So, what are we to do.

Unfortunately, it may be too late for those of us who are already in the “system”. The best we can hope for is that the status remains as it is. A minimum level of care and a modicum of amenities, one step above a nursing home and not quite a senior residence. However, for those who are just entering the world of assisted living or looking at it as an alternative to living at home, there may still be hope. This hope will come in the form of careful planning coupled with the demand for a better way of life than what is currently being afforded by Medicare and Medicaid accepted living. It all boils down to the realization by the corporate owners of these facilities that, although we may be on the lower end of the economic scale, the marketing will be as difficult as that for those upscale all-inclusive facilities. Even though our dollars come from government entitlement programs, it’s still our money. And, as with any demographic, if they want it, they will have to fight for it. As competition in the field increases, a new look at the way low end senior housing and the people who reside in them will be in order. It is my hope that all of those baby boomers will not forget who they are and who they were. The most savvy and, yes, the most spoiled generation of the last 100 years. And that we (they) will not settle for anything second rate and will never let themselves be thought of as “inventory”.

To read the story behind the headline cited in this editorial go to...



Sometimes I wonder how such a diverse group of people finds this blog, but they do. Take a look a typical couple of hours from last week.

A reader responded to last week’s editorial on the making of long range plans

Reply: God must enjoy laughing at me. Otherwise, why would he have kept me around so long. I often feel like I’m doing improve in some celestial comedy club

No patio for old men (or women)

It might be a while before residents will be able to sit out on the patio. The Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter.

The Business Case for Culture Change

By Anthony Cirillo

Culture change and its many alternative names – person-centered care, resident-centered care among them – is a movement in healthcare to revolve the care around the resident and/or patient based on their unique needs, preferences and interests. It has been hard to take hold because the business case for culture change has not always been articulated. Reluctant CEOs and CFOs who view this as fuzzy need to understand the return on investment. The business case for culture change lays this out.

The Anatomy of Experience Management

At the end of the day what it comes down to is a simple question – will your customer, client, patient, recommend you to others. They will if their expectation is not just met but exceeded....



 Assisted living salaries solid, vacancy rates stable

Administrators in assisted living earned a median salary of $80,830 in 2014, an increase of more than 2% over the previous year, according to a comprehensive new report.

Human resources directors were at an average of nearly $70,000.

As assisted living facilities are pressured to up the quality of food, chefs, cooks and sous cooks all continued to see their hourly rate increase more than 2%, according to same-facility data. Food service aides had one of the smallest percentage increases — 0.95% — and made an average of $9.70 an hour.



Social Security Announces New Online Service for

Replacement SSA-1099s

Available to Recipients with a my Social Security Account

Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the agency is expanding the online services available at Social Security beneficiaries are now able to quickly and easily obtain a replacement SSA-1099 from the agency’s website with a my Social Security account.

"I am proud of our continued efforts to make it even easier for people to do business with us in a way that’s convenient for them, from the comfort of their home, office, or a library," Acting Commissioner Colvin said. "Beginning this tax season, any my Social Security account holder who misplaces their original SSA-1099 will be able to request an instant replacement from our menu of online services."

Social Security sends SSA-1099s each January to everyone who receives Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits paid in the previous year and is used for tax purposes. Previously, people who lost their SSA-1099 had to call or visit a Social Security office to get a replacement or request one be mailed to them. With this new online service, people now only need to create a my Social Security account, or log into their existing one. Once there, they can view and print their SSA-1099 or request to have a new one mailed to them—all online.

My Social Security is a secure, online account people use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits. Once the account is created, it is used by people who are working to keep track of their earnings and to get estimates of future benefits. People already receiving benefits manage them with their account—changing their address, starting or changing direct deposit, getting a benefit verification letter, and more. In addition to those existing services, beneficiaries will now be able to immediately get their SSA-1099 replaced without needing to call or visit an office and often wait for a replacement form in the mail.

"Setting up a my Social Security account is quick, easy, and secure; plus it’s a great way to do business with Social Security," Acting Commissioner Colvin said.  "That’s why more than 16 million people have already taken advantage of our award-winning online services and experienced the new features available with their own accounts."

In fact, a new my Social Security account is created every six seconds.  For more information, please go


The following is a down-loadable booklet for New York State residents.However, it may do you well to check with your state to see if such a guide is available where you live.



Testing for mortality: A way to measure our bodies' risk of disease

By Lisa M. Krieger

The moment will come, we know, when we're whisked off life's stage.

But when? It's a mystery that has haunted humans since the dawn of civilization. If it's soon, we can cancel that dental appointment, quit the job and take a dream vacation. If not, plan for decades of decrepitude.

For me, a clue — perhaps — arrived in my e-mail from a Menlo Park company, Telomere Diagnostics. Its tests measure the length of a protective cap at the end of each strand of DNA, the genetic blueprint of life. These caps are called telomeres, and mine are shrinking right now. So are yours. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres shorten. Their shrinking serves as a kind of clock that counts off a cell's lifespan. They tell us: Time's running out.

These tiny telomeres are so important to human biology that their discovery earned three American scientists the 2009 Nobel Prize.

So I leapt at the chance to have my telomeres measured — and get paid $50 per test — in Telomere Diagnostics' yearlong study to identify normal telomere lengths and rates of change. A telomere test is not yet — and will likely never be — life's crystal ball. There are other theories to explain aging, such as damaged cell membranes and mutated DNA.

But a fast-growing body of research is finding that telomere length in leukocytes, the white blood cells of the immune system, reliably predicts age-related disease — and can be affected by genetics, chronic stress and health behaviors, such as exercise and diet.



Americans Skipping Medications Due to High Costs

By James Maynard,

Prescription drugs are being skipped by many patients across the United States, due to high costs. How serious is the problem? 

Americans are skipping medications due to high costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As many as 8 percent of all adults in the United States avoid drugs because of the cost, according to officials.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released a report on methods used by Americans to save money on prescription drug costs.

In addition to people skipping prescribed drugs, 15.1 percent of patients asked health care providers for lower-cost medicines. About 4.2 percent of people examined in the study sought out alternative treatments to lower costs, and 1.6 percent purchased drugs in another country.

Young adults, and those with lower than average incomes, were found to be the most likely to skip prescribed drugs. About 8.5 percent of patients aged 18 to 24 passed on medicine in order to save money. Many patients with incomes less than or equal to 139 percent of the federal poverty rate also decided to forego medicine to save cash. Analysis of the data revealed a clear correlation between the income of patients and how often they went without drugs for financial reasons.



When senior citizens stick together, they keep their hard-earned benefits

Jan. 31 was the 75th anniversary of the first Social Security checks issued to older Americans back in 1940. Following the Great Depression, Social Security was implemented to address skyrocketing poverty rates among senior citizens. Even today, as a nation, we have got to do more to protect our oldest and most vulnerable Americans.

At the time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "This Social Security measure gives at least some protection to 30 million of our citizens."

Today, our nation has yet another crisis for older Americans, as tens of millions of retired Americans who were guaranteed lifetime pension and healthcare benefits from their former employers in exchange for  working decades at a lower wage are under assault by self-serving corporate CEOs and their bean counters.


More lifestyle news

Aging Differences Between Men And Women: How The Sexes Grow Old Together (And Apart)

 By Samantha Olson

There’s an old adage: Men age like a fine wine, while women age like a glass of milk. Jokes come in endless supply when it comes to aging and the inevitability of earning senior citizenship. There are so many people denied the choice to live into a ripened old age because they’ve been plagued by disease, dealt an undesirable hand of deadly fate, or freak accident. Aging should be coveted, with lines of pride drawn into the skin leaving behind wrinkled scars.

It is nearly impossible to imagine life without timekeeping. While some children and teens would gladly trade in their playtime and curfews for adulthood, their desires for future comfort is the greatest thief of life. Aging differs between men and women, through mind, body, and their emotional capacity. The aging pattern for each gender greatly depends on the society an individual was raised in and their personal smoking, alcohol abuse, infectious disease, nutrition, poverty, access to education, work conditions, violence, and health care, according to the World Health Organization.



Microsoft Guide For Aging Computer Users 

This helpful site gives the reader tips on how to make the computer experience more comfortable as they age. It deals with screen resolution, text size, color, speech recognition and shortcuts among other things. The easy-to-use format guides seniors to maximize, customize and personalize their computer. A simple click brings them them to a step-by-step instruction page.



Mild Cognitive Impairment: What It Is, What It's Not

Esther Entin, M.D.

As we age, we stop discounting symptoms as minor annoyances and begin to wonder if they are harbingers of bad things to come. Is that ache arthritis? Is that twinge angina? And perhaps most alarming: Are we losing our minds?

When we misplace our keys, can’t locate our glasses, forget words and names, we begin to worry, we have the kind of memory problem that puts us on the slippery slope to Alzheimer’s disease.

What distinguishes “senior moments” from serious dementia? What can we do to prevent or slow the loss of our mental functions? How can we and our friends and families tell if we are in need of medical evaluation and care?

A recent study looked at these and other questions related to cognitive impairments related to age and revealed some useful guidelines and recommendations.

What Qualifies As Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)?....


Forgetful? Study finds new drug that could help

Brett Smith

Studies have shown that forgetfulness as we get older can be seen in the form of neurons in our brains beginning to fray and disappear.

Now, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that a drug used to treat Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) called riluzole can prevent these changes in lab rats, and could lead to effective treatments in humans.

“By examining the neurological changes that occurred after riluzole treatment, we discovered one way in which the brain’s ability to reorganize itself — its neuroplasticity — can be marshaled to protect it against some of the deterioration that can accompany old age, at least in rodents,” said  study author Bruce McEwen, head of the neuroendocrinology lab at The Rockefeller University in Manhattan.

The study team said they explicitly chose to study riluzole as a potential treatment for age-related cognitive decline because of its role in treating ALS, also a cognitive disorder. The scientists started by providing riluzole to rats as soon as they reached 10 months old, considered middle age when their cognitive slow-down normally begins.

Read more at 


4 Reasons It's Harder To Lose Weight As You Age

Weight gain. We've all been there. Yes, you might not have realized it yourself until you noticed all of your peers looking noticeably plump at the high school reunion, or when you were cleaning out the attic and decided to try on your old sports uniform.

It's no secret that as we age, whether it's 35 or 55, maintaining a healthy weight can sometimes be an uphill battle for many of us. It might have started in your college days, when you realized all the free pizza and cheap beer was doing a number on you. Or in your 30s when taking care of your body was no longer a priority amid the stress of juggling a career and family.

Here's why the pounds really are 10 times easier to put on than they are to take off:

1. You're not sleeping enough. 

Before you had the demanding job, the boss who wants you in at 7 a.m., kids to drive to school and meals to cook, sleep might have been your favorite hobby. But now with added stress, the medications that can sometimes keep you up and, yes, even having to run to the bathroom more often at night -- getting eight hours of sleep seems like a fantasy.


Sleep patterns and aging


Q. I have found that I don't sleep as well as I used to when I was younger. How common is this?

A. Many people believe that poor sleep is a normal part of aging, but it is not. Sleep patterns change as we age, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging.

Seniors need about the same amount of sleep as younger adults — seven to nine hours a night.

Unfortunately, many older adults don’t get the sleep they need, because they often have more trouble falling asleep. A study of adults over 65 found that 13 percent of men and 36 percent of women take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.

Also, older people often sleep less deeply and wake up more often throughout the night, which may be why they nap more often during the daytime.

Nighttime sleep schedules may change with age too. Many older adults tend to get sleepier earlier in the evening and awaken earlier in the morning.



Cheech and Chong Talk Retirement, Aging, and Pot

When I scheduled my interviews with Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong I had visions of them arriving in a purple low-rider and, as the car doors opened, they would magically appear from behind a cloud of smoke with glassy-eyed grins. However, just as their careers blossomed well-beyond the tasty-buds of their early roles, both appeared timeless in their humor, energy, and direction.

Starting with the obvious, I asked both what they think of retirement, and if they ever plan to hang it up.


“I don’t think comedians have ever retired, and we live longer because we’re always around laughter. Plus, I don’t think I will retire because I am Chicano. I always have to have at least three jobs, you know?”


“I’ve always believed in the concept of retirement. I retired for the first time at age 18 … from school. To me, retirement means doing what you want to do without worrying about getting paid for it.”



I really love barley soup. In fact, it’s my favorite soup. It reminds me of home. And, it’s one of the few soups I make myself. Surprisingly, the barley soup made here at the Center, is very much like my mom (and then me) made, as part of the base. However, even a dyed in the wool barley soup eficianado such as myself balks when it is served at three meals in a row.

Saturday we had Chicken Barley soup. Sunday brought us Vegetable Barley soup and Monday we were treated to Mushroom Barley soup. The question now is, will Beef barley be next?


Perhaps I was feeling a bit impish, or maybe I just needed something different, but when I saw Friday nights dinner menu my mind began to wander. It wandered to thoughts of better days and better restaurants and a dish I used to have. A dish, that I saw no reason why I could not have again. If only the kitchen would be cooperative and not scoff at my request. Amazingly, I got what I asked for. A piece of baked sea bass and a piece of Swiss steak (which tonight was the alternate). To my knowledge, this is the first time this has ever been done here at the asylum. Let's hope this is the start of a trend.


I haven't had an offering from Mike's Bizarro world diner in quite some time, but last Saturday's dinner warranted such mention. Food from "Mike's Diner" is reserved only for concoctions that cannot be found in any other food establishment in the country. 

This dinner, who's primary protein was chicken, had no name. It was simply called "Chicken breast with vegetables and brown gravy." The vegetables consisted of carrots and brocolli, and the brownish gravy consisted of who knows what. While it was mostly some sort of flour based sauce, it did not quite have the consistency of a white sauce as in Chicken A La King. However, this is not to say that it wasn't good. In fact I rather liked it, if not for its presentation as much as for its imagination. I would have given this a 3 foodie rating were it not for the soggy and cold steak fries that sat there on the plate like an afterthought.

Seniors More Accepting of Gay Couples in Assisted Living Facilities, Study Shows

by Christiana Lilly

A new study out of Miami suggests that Americans are much more accepting of gay couples in assisted living facilities than previously thought, especially seniors.

According to Miami Jewish Health Systems' Harris Poll, some 67 percent of those surveyed saying they would be somewhat to very comfortable living in a assisted living facility where openly gay couples live.

The study included Americans across the country and ages 18 up to 65 and older. Those living on the west coast and in the Midwest were the most accepting, with 69 percent saying they would be fine with openly gay couples. The South had the lowest, but only at 62 percent of respondents. As one would imagine, younger Americans were most accepting, but the lowest level of acceptance was 60 percent in Americans 65 and older.....



Contact and Comment. All comments will kept anonymous

No plan is a good plan

I had a lot of time to think about stuff these past couple of weeks that we spent in virtual solitary confinement. At times it was just wishful thinking, mostly about hot food, that took up my time. I wasted the rest of the day reviewing my life. Where I had been, what I had done wrong, what I had done right and how the hell did I wind up here in a small room eating food out of Styrofoam containers. And what I found out surprised me. I realized that, despite everything, I was probably exactly where I was supposed to be. 

“O.K..” you say, but what about all of your plans and dreams. To which I say, “That’s where we all make a big mistake.” We would all be better off not making any plans at all. If we went with the flow and let the chips fall where they might, we would all be a lot happier.” 

Wow, where did that come from. After all, I was “Mr. Plan”. Not that I had a schedule or anything, but I did have a rough outline of what my life should have been like. It went something like this.

Graduate college, get a good job in my field of study, marry the perfect woman, have two kids (one of each) and a dog. Save up enough money so that I could retire to a warm climate, drive a sports car, buy a small boat and fish for the rest of my life. Needless to say, nothing past the college part came to pass. This is not to say that I was miserable. In fact, for the most part, I was happy. I actually had some money and an O.K. Car and a rent stabilized apartment. None of which I had planned for. And, although the wife thing didn’t work out as I had planned, I don’t regret a day of our marriage (well maybe just the last year). 

Then, one morning I woke up to middle age. The wife (and any hopes of having kids) was gone. My job had moved out of state, my car was all of a sudden ten years old and I wasn’t feeling too hot. The one thing I hadn’t planned for was becoming the one thing that would control the rest of my life. So what does this mean. It means that you can plan all you want. You can spend hours accumulating information on how to acquire wealth and retirement planning. You can wait for years to get married, only to find that you made the biggest mistake of your life. But the worst thing is, because you planned so carefully and failed, you have disappointed the one person who matters the most, yourself. So, should you not plan for anything.

No, not planning for anything is foolish. Just don’t plan too far in the future. In fact, you would be better off if you don’t plan for anything past lunch tomorrow. There are too many variables to get in the way which you cannot control. The weather, the jerk who parked in your driveway so that now you can’t get your car out, or your colon deciding that it no longer want’s to live inside you. You never know. That’s why, if you don’t plan on anything, you will never be sorry at the outcome. And chances are, whatever happens will have happened because it was what was supposed to happen. You were never meant to have money, the perfect wife or the sports car. That two bedroom, rent controlled apartment was never really yours and who needs a rotten colon anyway. No. My life turned out exactly as it was meant to turn out. Mediocre, and that’s alright with me. Although, I would have liked the boat and fishing thing. 


Following up on a couple of open issues from past blogs

There's good news and not so good news. The "not so good news" is that the status remains the same on two ongoing issues here at the Center.

The first has to do with one of the two washing machines still not working. The only thing we get from management is "We're working on it".

The "good" news, if you can call it that, is that the non-functioning ice machine in the country kitchen will be replaced with a brand new one. The new machine, according to food service manager Mike Palermo, will dispense either cubes or crushed ice and not ice water. When we will actually see this new machine is anybody's guess.

It's nice to have a cheering section

Reply: The email refers to the "No visiting friends' tables" rule that recently went into effect here.

When I brought this up at last Friday's resident's meeting, hardly anyone even knew that such a rule existed. Unfortunately, even after the rule was explained to them, it appeared that the majority of residents present could not have cared less. Our food service manager, who initiated the rule, tried to explain his reasoning for its implementation, but his argument was weak and impressed no one. I hope, people will continue to do whatever the heck they feel like doing and will, over  time, realize that the rule is unenforceable................................................................................. Ed.


A case of shpilkes*and a great idea

* Shpilkes is a Yiddish word that means agitation or restlessness. However, as in any ethnic word, the exact meaning goes far beyond any English translation. While shpilkes does mean “restlessness” to me it also means loneliness, boredom and the need to do something productive. These last couple of weeks hold up here in my room has taught me something about shpilkesShpilkes is a tool that aides in the birth of great ideas. And it just so happens that I got one while waiting for a wave of shpilkes to pass over me. I am giving this idea to anyone who would like to start a business.

One thing that I learned from the events of these past couple of weeks is that nobody here knows what they are doing. Now, this is not something that I am condemning them for. After all, who could have foreseen such an event lasting so long. No facility, especially one that is relatively new, could possibly know what to expect or how to act in such a situation. And, once they finally did come up with a plan, it was only a half assed effort at best. What they needed was a professional. Someone who knew what to do and could come in and do it. A professional medical/quarantine team.

Just as there are businesses that come in and clean up after a disaster and get your place looking like new, a team of professionals could, with just one call, come to your facility and take charge. They would coordinate all phases of the quarantine, including the preparation and delivery of meals, medicine and, most important, the dissemination of information on a daily basis. They would also be responsible for disinfection as well as supplying recreational materials to the affected residents.

Meals would be prepared by this company in their own mobile kitchen while the facility's kitchen is cleaned. The meals would be delivered in temperature controlled carts to assure that hot food stayed hot and cold food stayed cold.

As I said, I am giving this idea to any up and coming entrepreneur out there who thinks they can make money with this. All I want is your undying gratitude and 25% of your business..............................Ed.


What You Need to Know About Guns 

in Senior Living Communities

By Andrea Watts

Keeping residents safe is a priority of retirement communities, whether this means having an emergency call system in all apartments or documenting all dispensed medication to reduce medication errors. These safety features are why many families elect to have their loved one join a retirement community rather than living alone. In keeping with this safety-focused culture, there is one policy that is nearly universal across the senior living industry. Though this policy means that a resident’s freedom is curtailed, its adoption maintains a safe environment for everyone at the community—residents, staff and families.

In spite of the debate calling for expanding the number of places that firearms are permitted, the senior living industry has already taken a position on the issue—weapons have no place at a retirement community.




Aging can be adventurous fun

Paul C. Anderson

Let’s put aside all negative thoughts about getting old for a few minutes. I know it’s hard, but let’s put on a smile, sit back in our easy chair and direct our thoughts to some of the wonderful memories of the past years.

This is what the writer of this article has done many times. Let’s think of aging as a trip. All trips have a destination. First of all, decide where you are going and what must you do to get there. As an example, I plan on my trip ending in Heaven, but until I get to this destination, I plan to enjoy the days I have left of this aging process.

Let’s see what there is available for fun while aging. First, keep a smile on that face of yours and the person you are talking to will also smile. Maybe a funny story will help. Have you ever thought how much fun it would be to jump on one of those powerized grocery carts and go cruising up and down the grocery aisles?...


More lifestyle news

Seniors ready for tougher driving laws to protect them from themselves

By Chris Bruce

The American populace is getting older, and that means more senior citizens behind the wheel in the coming years. According to a study commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people over the age of 65 already make up 17 percent of the driving population, and 68 percent of those over 85 are still on the road five or more days per week. However, new research indicates that older folks understand that there's a concern about their safety as drivers, and the study suggests they are willing to accept measures that could potentially keep them off the highways.

”Seniors appear largely to be safe drivers, as well. Around 90 percent of all the groups had no moving violations or crashes in the last two years, although all of the results were self-reported and could have been somewhat skewed.”

"As older adults live longer and spend more time behind the wheel, it's promising to see a trend towards a more pro-safety culture with increasing age," said Jake Nelson, AAA's director of traffic safety advocacy and research, in the organization's announcement. This investigation is just the beginning for AAA; it's also conducting a five-year study with 3,000 seniors to examine their driving habits. Scroll down to read the complete press release about the analysis or check out all of the data for yourself here, in PDF format....



To protect senior citizens, protect Social Security

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol January 16, 2014 in Washington, DC. Sanders spoke on "Republican efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare and other programs of great importance to working families" during his remarks.

Republicans are threatening the most vulnerable of our nation just to get their way. It’s blackmail!

For the past 80 years, their whole focus has been on dismantling or privatizing Social Security to get their greedy hands on the $2.8 trillion in the SSA Funds.

Social Security provides the nation’s foundation for what will be a secure and dignified retirement for millions. Even in the midst of the 2007 Great Recession, caused by the Republicans, Social Security’s “earned” benefits were paid on time and in full.



More on my favorite topic

Medical Marijuana, Inc (OTCMKTS:MJNA): Cannabis For Anti-Aging

 By Steven Goodstein No 

Cannabis for anti-aging

While marijuana is already known to help with conditions such as cancer, especially with regards to pain relief, marijuana is also cited as a potent remedy for aging. It can be used as a natural anti-aging product that does not expose users to adverse side effects. At a recent conference focusing on cannabis for anti-aging, Medical Marijuana, Inc (OTCMKTS:MJNA) sought to drive some points home about ,of pot as an anti-aging remedy.


More health news

All Senior Citizens Under 76 Should Consider Statins to Reduce Cardiovascular Risks

All men and most women 66 to 75 qualify for statins

Nearly all individuals in their late 60s and early 70s - including 100 percent of men - now qualify for, and should consider, starting a statin medication to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, under the recently released cholesterol guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA).

That's according to a research letter published by Michael D. Miedema, MD, MPH, a research cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and cardiologist at Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

"The guidelines are a significant change from prior guidelines that relied heavily on levels of bad cholesterol to determine who to treat," states Dr. Miedema.

"Instead, the new guidelines recommend focusing statin therapy on the individuals that are at the highest risk for heart attack and stroke, even if their cholesterol levels are within normal limits."


UTMB Scientist Finds Marker That Predicts Changes in Cholesterol Levels as People Grow Older

By: Raul Reyes

It’s known that cholesterol levels typically rise as people age and that high cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. What’s less known is that cholesterol levels begin to decline the more a person ages. Recently, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the University of Kentucky found that differences in one gene can influence a person’s cholesterol level from midlife to late life.

“The increased risk for cognitive and cardiovascular diseases among older adults who carry an APOE e4 allele may be due, in part, to the fact that these individuals are predisposed to having higher total cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol from midlife through late life, compared to people with the APOE 3 variant,” said Brian Downer, lead author and UTMB Sealy Center on Aging postdoctoral fellow. “The decreased risk for these diseases associated with the APOE e2 allele may be due to lower total cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol across the life span. Further research is needed to determine if reducing total cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol decreases the risk for cognitive and vascular diseases among adults who carry APOE e4 alleles.”

Another surprising finding of the study is that high cholesterol in older adults may be associated with longevity. ...


10 Best Websites For Seniors

By suziecat7

It's true. Grandma and Grandpa are on the Internet too. They surf, they chat, they play. The young no longer dominate the Internet. The young-at-heart do. There is much for older adults to reap and sow in cyberworld. Certain websites are geared to the senior demographic. They are places to learn, to have fun, to share. Here are ten great websites that are senior-specific and ready to explore.



The top tax breaks for senior citizens?

As each of us grows older and moves into retirement, we will not only earn less income, we may also find that our retirement savings are not going to stretch as far as we thought they might. Therefore, it is important to be frugal when it comes to expenses in retirement, including paying income tax.

There are certain tax breaks that many senior citizens can take advantage of, but only if they know about them. Read on to learn about some of these tax breaks that may be of benefit to you.

Standard versus Itemized Deductions

When determining whether it is better for them to take the standard or itemized deductions, retirees need to remember that their standard deduction may increase depending on their situation.

The standard deduction, which begins January 1, 2015, is $6,300 for individuals and $12,600 for those married filing jointly. For those filing as head of household, the standard deduction is $9,250.

For those who are blind or age 65 or older and married, they can take an additional standard deduction of $1,250. For those who are blind or age 65 or older and unmarried, their additional standard deduction is $1,550.

Some of the following deductions can only be taken by taxpayers who itemize.....


It seems that wherever you go, someone wants to get their hands on your money

To Collect Debts, Nursing Homes Are Seizing Control Over Patients Funds


One day last summer, after he disputed nursing home bills that had suddenly doubled Mrs. Palermo’s copays, and complained about inexperienced employees who dropped his wife on the floor, Mr. Palermo was shocked to find a six-page legal document waiting on her bed.

It was a guardianship petition filed by the nursing home, Mary Manning Walsh, asking the court to give a stranger full legal power over Mrs. Palermo, now 90, and complete control of her money.

Few people are aware that a nursing home can take such a step. Guardianship cases are difficult to gain access to and poorly tracked by New York State courts; cases are often closed from public view for confidentiality. But the Palermo case is no aberration. Interviews with veterans of the system and a review of guardianship court data conducted by researchers at Hunter College at the request of The New York Times show the practice has become routine, underscoring the growing power nursing homes wield over residents and families amid changes in the financing of long-term care.


109-Year-Old Woman Says Secret To Long Life Is Avoiding Men

By Ann Brenoff

The oldest living woman in Scotland -- 109 -- says the secret to her longevity is this: Eat your porridge and avoid men. Centenarian Jessie Gallan, who never married, was born in a tiny two-room farm cottage where she slept "top-to-tail" with her five sisters and a brother on a straw mattress, reported The Daily Mail.

Gallan told the newspaper that her "secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They're just more trouble than they're worth." She noted that she also "made sure that I got plenty of exercise, eat a nice warm bowl of porridge every morning and have never gotten married."



Heather Locklear, 53, dishes anti aging secrets: Low-carb diet, intense workouts

Heather Locklear looks incredible at 53, and said her anti-aging beauty secrets are rigorous exercise and a low carb, portion-controlled diet.

Locklear said regular exercise is her fountain of youth. “I do resistance training three times a week," Heather told Parade. "That really helps with defying gravity and keeping things in place. I have light weights to do reps with both my arms and legs. I do cardio a couple times a week on the treadmill with the music blasting."

Like most people, Locklear would sometimes like to skip her workouts, but said consistency is critical for both physical and mental health.



Is It Normal Female Aging, or a Heart Condition?

By Amy Kraft

Women make up more than half of all heart disease deaths in the United States each year,according to The Heart Foundation. In women, the risk of heart disease increases with age and is brought on by physiological changes such as the decline of estrogen during menopause.

Estrogen plays a role in improving the elasticity of the blood vessels and helping them to dilate. It also balances out good and bad cholesterol. Once menopause occurs, though, women have higher levels of total cholesterol and increased levels of blood fat known as triglycerides.

Despite these changes, women can do a lot to prevent heart conditions. JoAnn M. Foody, MD, Executive Director of the Pollin Women’s Heart Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says that the answer starts with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and controlling other medical conditions. “More women live with heart disease and die from it, so it’s important to keep all risk factors controlled,” says Dr. Foody

Here are several heart conditions women need to watch out for as they age and tips for how they can better protect themselves.


Nice Comeback

After three weeks of abysmal food, the kitchen gets it right. Almost

After three weeks of having to endure the worst food imaginable, I was prepared to praise anything served to us that was hot and on a real plate, What I wasn’t prepared for was how good Monday’s corned beef dinner actually was.

Expecting a few slices of dry, overcooked slabs of stringy beef, I was pleasantly surprised at how juicy, tender* and well seasoned the nicely cooked corned beef turned out to be. It just missed the four foodie mark by a fraction. A Better choice for side dishes would have been a boiled potato (instead of a sweet potato) and, of course, cabbage.

*Evidently, “tenderness” was a hit or miss proposition. A survey of some of my fellow diners found that their meat was too tough to chew.


At least the fries were good

I’m only giving Wednesday’s lunch 2 foodies because the fries, for a change, were perfectly cooked (and hot) and because the honey mustard sauce was strong enough to mask the taste of those perfectly lousy chicken fingers. 

There are two types of chicken fingers that are served here at the asylum. One kind is a lightly battered, gently cooked pieces of tender chicken. The other is a soggy battered, overcooked tough and dry concoction from hell. 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to know which one will be served to us on any given day. Wednesday, to our dismay, the latter rather than the former was given to us. The only good thing about the chicken was, there was not too many of them on the plate. I’m sure nobody asked for seconds. 


I’m only showing desert, because...

...the rest is too horrible 

Any photograph of Thursday night’s dinner would have been too intense to show to those who are sensitive to photos of homicidal events. The outright murder of what should be a relatively easy dish to make was evidently the work of amateurs. The “body” was riddled with slabs of some sort of unknown cheese product while the eggplant struggled against a tide of tasteless (and almost non existent) red sauce. The body was found lying in a pile of cold, lifeless, and  sauceless pasta. Even the addition of more sauce could do nothing to revive this corpse of a dish. I hope they find the S.O.B. who did this and never let him back in a kitchen again.

Eggplant Parm.


Senior Citizens React To Kim Kardashian And They Are Not Impressed

All young people, of course know, who Kim Kardashian is. But surprising at is may seem, not all senior citizens are familiar with her. The Fine Brothers decided to show a group of elders the celebrity who is famous for being famous to see what they thought.

- See more at: 


Contact and comment - All comments will remain anonymous

A Request

I, and the other members of the Resident's Council, would like to 

compile a list of suggestions from both residents and non-residents

 as to how something like this could have been handled more 

effectively. Naturally, we will most likely have a lively discussion at 

our next resident's meeting, but until that time we would like your

 input. Use the form at the end of this blog or email me directly at....


Guinea pigs

had a completely different editorial planned for this week. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in the same position that we were in two weeks ago. Virtual prisoners. I had high hopes of telling you that all was back to normal here at the asylum and that we were once again mingling with our friends, having our meals (served hot) in the dining room, playing Bingo, watching movies on the big screen, but alas, I cannot. The lockdown/quarantine/ confinement/cautionary isolation thing that has gripped this facility for three weeks, continues with no word on when it will end. Management, in its infinite wisdom, has chosen not to speculate on when this will be over. In fact, they have chosen not to tell us anything, keeping things closer to the vest than a riverboat gambler. Why the silence? There may be a number of reasons for this.

There may be legal implications involved as to why it becomes an advantage not to be too forthcoming. Knowing the way the Center handles publicity and the stupidity with which they come to their management decisions, keeping their mouths shut is probably the best way to go here, at least for them. All institutions that take care of older citizens are under strict and constant scrutiny by the state. New York being one of the strictest. The paperwork, the rules, the constant inspections, puts all of these places under the microscope every day. The possibility of losing one’s license to operate is a very real thing. So, in this case, silence is golden. 

Then, of course, there is the other reason. There is no one in this entire facility that knows how to tell the truth or how to even spin the truth. They are communication illiterates. They have made a point of rarely telling the residents anything about anything. Policies change here without any warning or input from residents. Rules and regulations are imposed on us without any good reason given. The gap that exists between management and the residents who they are supposed to serve grows wider each day. And never more has this gap been so apparent than in these last couple of weeks. Instead of sympathy, we get impersonal form letters that put the blame for our extended situation in the hands of the Department of Health. You mark my words. When this is all over you can be sure that this facility will take no blame for the situation they have put us in. They will never admit that they did not know a thing about how to control such an outbreak nor did they have any plan in place to even address the situation. Everything was done in a haphazard manner while we (residents) are being used as guinea pigs in some bizarre game of “Let's see just how much they can take”. The Center has a lot of explaining to do, but in keeping with tradition, I doubt we will we be paid no more than lip service.




Free Webinar

When: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 2 – 3:30 PM EDT

We will cover the basic eligibility rules for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program which provides modest financial support for older people and people with disabilities who lack other resources. We will describe how benefits are calculated and will provide suggestions on where to go if you need further information.

The webinar is designed for advocates just getting started in the field and others who want to learn the essentials of how the program works.

Register here...

More senior money news

Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Seniors

If you're living on a fixed income, every penny counts! Use this checklist to make sure you're saving money where you can.

1. Current Expenses

Take the time to compile all of your current obligations (supplemental health insurance, prescription drug insurance, life insurance, etc.) and examine if you have the most cost-effective plan for you and/or if all plans are still relevant. Consult with a trusted information source before terminating plans. When assessing your prescription drug plans, consider reaching out to your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), where you can get free information about Medicare, including applying for and selecting plans.

2. Health Insurance

If you're enrolled in Medicare and have limited income and assets, you may be able to put over $100 back in your monthly Social Security check and minimize your premiums and co-pays by learning more about Medicare Savings Programs. There are four different Medicare Savings Programs that can help with Part B premiums and other costs. Each program has a different income and resource eligibility limit....


The following is a copy of an email that I sent to our food service manager and our administrator (among others)

I sent this because, after three weeks of eating bad food, today's lunch was the worst yet. I don't know if anyone else has publicly (or privately) complained, but the time for being Mr. nice guy is over. I am posting this here on THE BLOG and on my Facebook page, to express my frustration with this entire situation. And, to be frank, I don't care who knows about it. My blog is read in over 150 countries and most of the United States. I have received numerous comments and suggestions from the readers of the blog, all expressing their shock at the way we have been treated. Perhaps informing the powers that be that now the rest of the world knows what's going on, something will be done to end this ASAP.


From Bruce Cooper

  Subject: Not acceptable

1:39 PM



 While I understand the difficulties in serving decent food under the present situation, Sunday's lunch was totally unacceptable.

Besides being served less than a half cup of  soup (something that I have complained about time and time again, the sandwich was inedible. The leftover turkey was cold and dry, and the bread it was served on was soggy as were the overcooked fries. THIS HAS GOT TO END. WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE TREATED THIS WAY. 


Surveyors on the patio.

If there was any doubt that the Center’s owners are going full steam ahead on their expansion project, here’s proof. On Wednesday, a team of surveyors, under the watchful eye of our head of maintenance, were going about their business. I don’t know much about surveying, but I know that before any capital construction project can begin an accurate survey of the land must be taken so that blueprints can be drawn, roads altered etc.

If anything, it will give our residents something to look at for the next year or so as the project rises across the road.

$24 million for what!

So, the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency gave the corporation that owns our facility $24 million to expand its operation and open a new facility across from ours. In light of the way the Westchester Center handled the recent health emergency at its present facility, why would the YIDA want to give them any money at all. These past three weeks have proven what I, and many of my fellow residents have argued, and that is “The present management has shown that they neither have the managerial skills nor the compassion needed to operate a successful assisted living facility.” Their antiquated approach regarding the dissemination of information and the lack of pro-activity when the chips are down suggesting a systemic lack of knowledge in regards as to what seniors need or want. Although, it is probably too late to deny any funding for the new facility, this should be a warning to all those who may be approached for such funding in the future. “Look before you leap”, you may fall into something you can’t get out of.

New Resource on Resident to Resident Mistreatment

Aggression between residents of long-term care facilities is a serious, yet often hidden, problem.  All residents have the right to be free from all forms of abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and have rights if they have been subject to mistreatment.  Newly released from the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care and the National Center on Elder Abuse, this brochure (and large-print fact sheet):

  • Identifies types of mistreatment,
  • Shares information about an individual's rights, and
  • Offers resources on where they can go for help. 

The brochure and fact sheet can be downloaded for free. A hard copy will be available for purchase from the Consumer Voice.  Contact us at for more information. 


More ALF news

Q&A: Emeritus Co-Founder Dan Baty on What’s Next For Senior Housing

by Jason Oliva

“The senior living business started off primarily as mom and pop companies, however, we’ve spent a number of years consolidating that. The same happened once we got to assisted living and independent living, which was started mainly by regional operators.”

“Today, we’re seeing a re-emergence of regional providers, putting 8 to 10 properties together and building that up again. The biggest driver was inexpensive money, both for the REITs and private equity guys. They had cheap money, which allowed them to pay high prices. Inexpensive money has allowed a lot of acquisitions where both the buyer and seller win—and then you load on that chief debt money and the high multiple that the REITs sell at. That’s been the biggest driver.I’ve been through five cycles now and have gotten fairly good at feeling the wind and getting a sense of when to shift from buying to building to selling over the last 40 years.”



New York is “one of the global leaders” in adapting to the needs of older residents, says John Beard, the Geneva-based director of the Department of Aging and Life Course for the World Health Organization.

In 2007, WHO initiated an ambitious project to encourage age-friendly cities, with a range of goals that could apply to every metropolis in the world. The details included tangible things like non-slippery pavements, buildings with elevators, easy access to public toilets, and plenty of outdoor seating, along with fuzzier concepts like “respect and social inclusion.” New York was the first to join WHO’s  global network of age-friendly cities.

“There was a genuine attempt to consult with older people in the city” on what mattered to them, Beard says. ..


Will the White House Conference on Aging Accomplish Anything?

The Obama Administration has announced its preliminary plans for the next White House Conference on Aging, which would be held next year. It would be the first such conference in a decade and could be quite valuable, given the rapid aging of the U.S. population and vast changes in the medical and long-term care environment since the last session. 2015 also has powerful symbolic meaning since it will be the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act. But the conference risks being a bust—even more disappointing than the 2005 version, which accomplished little of substance......


Having nothing else to do, the mind wanders.

Why spend $20, $30, $50 or more for a white marker board?

Did you know that a Styrofoam tray makes a great dry erase board?

The surface is coated and the marker easily wipes off with a clean cloth.

Save your trays and ask the recreation dept. for dry erase markers and have hours of marking fun.

8 Signs You Should See A Therapist

Everyone experiences periods of stress, sadness, grief and conflict, so when you're feeling off it can be hard to know if it's time to see a professional about the problem. And apparently, those who would benefit from some therapeutic intervention are not seeking it enough: While one in five American adults suffers from some form of mental illness, only about 46-65 percent with moderate-to-severe impairment are in treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

And while identifying and managing diagnosable mental illness is a priority in the psychiatric community, psychological help for those without a clear condition to manage can be just as important. Aside from suffering needlessly, those in distress may actually make the problem worse by avoiding professional help.

"The earlier someone gets help, the easier it is to get through the problem," says psychologist Daniel J. Reidenberg. "There will be less time and less strain and stress involved in that."...


5 ways for Congress to back retirees

By Jennie L. Phipps · 

The National Council on Aging points to five actions it believes Congress ought to take -- most of them low cost -- to support older Americans and ensure that more of them have health and economic security.

Protect Medicare beneficiaries with modest incomes. One of the biggest challenges for lower-income people is paying Part B Medicare premiums and other out-of-pocket health care costs. The Medicare Qualified Individual program or QI, helps people with incomes between 120 percent and 135 percent of the poverty level --  $14,000 to $15,750 per year -- pay their Part B premiums -- not co-pays or deductibles. It is a modest program that saves lots of people with limited incomes at least $1,200 a year. The program expires March 31. Howard Bedlin, vice president of public policy and advocacy for the National Council on Aging, says persuading Congress to continue this program and fund it permanently is a vital step. "If people don't get this kind of help, they don't have access to a doctor," Bedlin says.

Renew the Older Americans and the Elder Justice Acts. Together, these programs provide help to older people in search of jobs and offer funding to senior nutrition programs, senior center staff and caregivers. They also provide legal assistance for those facing elder abuse and fraud. ....


Study looks at why oldest seniors are hospitalized

Robin Erb

10 years' worth of data show clear reasons why those 85 and older go to ER

A new look at hospital discharge data of extremely elderly patients — those 85 or older — underscores how many visits might be avoidable.

The National Center for Health Statistics looked at 10 years of discharge data ending in 2010. By the end of the decade, seniors most often were diagnosed with:

■Congestive heart failure (43%).

■Pneumonia (34%).

■Urinary tract infections (30%).

■Septicemia (28%).

■Stroke (28%).

■Hip fractures (21%).

"A lot of these conditions are preventable if caught early," said study author Shaleah Levant.....


More senior health news

Are Seniors With Diabetes Overtreated?

 By Dennis Thompson

Many older people with diabetes may be exposed to potential harm because doctors are trying to keep overly tight control of their blood sugar levels, a new study argues.

Researchers found that nearly two-thirds of older diabetics who are in poor health have been placed on a diabetes management regimen that strictly controls their blood sugar, aiming at a targeted hemoglobin A1C level of less than 7 percent.

But these patients are achieving that goal through the use of medications that place them at greater risk of hypoglycemia, a reaction to overly low blood sugar that can cause abnormal heart rhythms, and dizziness or loss of consciousness, the researchers said.


6 Penis Problems That Happen With Age

  By Beth Levine

You’d like to think that at least some areas of our bodies will be spared the indignities of aging, but one day you realize: Mr. Happy gets older, too. “You don’t wake up one morning and realize it is different. It’s a gradual process, but starting around age 40, the changes become more noticeable,” says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D., author of "Penis Problems: A Man's Guide." So what does it mean when a penis looks and acts different?


Atherosclerosis, a common problem of aging, restricts blood flow, affecting the heart, brain, and penis. With less blood in the area, the penis appears lighter in color, says Dr. Castellanos, who is also a sex therapist with a private practice in New York. This is nothing to worry about as long as you have regular checkups that show that everything else is in working order. Also, just as skin everywhere shows the effects of aging, so does the penis skin. It may appear .....


5 Game-Changing Tech Tools For Caregivers

By Ann Brenoff

Many mid-lifers are the caregivers for elderly relatives who are struggling to stay independent. While nothing will likely ever replace driving over to visit Mom, there are several tech devices and apps that can ease a caregiver's mind when a visit isn't possible. Here are some of our favorites:

A smartphone for aging adults.

The Touch3 is a Samsung Galaxy phone made specifically for older adults and intended to be an assist for caregivers. It has GreatCall exclusive apps pre-installed and gives the user one-touch access to health and safety services. When GreatCall Link is downloaded to a caregiver’s computer or phone (iPhone or Android) and connected to the 5Star app pre-loaded to the family member’s phone, the caregiver can get updates on their charge's health and safety -- where she is, what she's doing, and alerts when an emergency call is made to 5Star. The phones come with access to NAED Certified 5Star agents who will assist with anything, at any time. Kind of like OnStar but for your aging relatives.

Other apps that come with this phone keep track of medications that need to be ....


Can apps really help fix aging eyes? Let's see.

For those of us who weren't blessed with perfect eyes, there's apparently an app for that.

One of them is UltimEyes, which is the brainchild of Aaron Sietz, a psychology professor at the University of Riverside. The app supposedly strengthens the visual cortex, improving the way the brain processes info coming from the eyes, improving vision.

"We're not necessarily going to cure them, but we can definitely improve their lifestyle," Sietz said.

"It's a myth. Anybody who actually understands the optics of the eye... It's an obvious myth," Scripps Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology Dr. Gregory Ostrow said.

Ostrow says when it comes to bad eyesight, there's not an app for that.

"There is no actual way to reverse near nearsightedness permanently. A nearsighted eye is an eye that has grown too long. All the exercises in the world aren't going to make your eyes shrink," he said.



Diane von Furstenberg Shares Her Views on Aging: "With No Plastic Surgery at My Age, It's Not the Easiest Thing"

by KAMALA KIRK and Jennifer Cooper

During a recent cocktail reception for DVF in New York City, we spoke with iconic designer Diane Von Furstenberg to get the scoop on plastic surgery, fashion, her new show and much more!

The House of DVF star admits that she never got any plastic surgery in her life, but she points out that going natural has its own set of challenges—especially when she sees herself on the big screen.

"I hope I learn a little bit about myself everyday," she says. "The hardest part of the whole thing is the way I look because with no plastic surgery at my age, it's not the easiest thing."

Despite the fact that Diane's new show House of DVF (which will document her search for her first-ever Global Brand Ambassador) premieres in just a few days, the designer confesses that while she doesn't watch any reality shows, she has an incredible amount of respect for them. She also looks forward to showcasing the journey of the eight young women who are competing for the Brand Ambassor position on her show.



Anti-ageing drugs may have been developed

Modern medicine could add 10 years to your lifespan


Anti-ageing drugs have long been in-development, but emerging evidence indicates that life-extending medicine may have already arrived.

The most promising life-extending drug is based on a compound called rapairmycin. It was originally used to suppress the immune system for people receiving organ transplants, but was found to have life-extending properties of yeast and worms.

From there, it was tested on successfully tested on mice, increasing their life by up to 14% despite the fact the animals tested were equivalent to 60 years old.....


Eating Fish Protects The Brain From Aging

Posted by:  Paul Ebeling

Eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week may preserve parts of the brain that are hit hard by aging, according to a new study.

Brain scans showed that people over age 65 who regularly ate fish had 14% more gray matter in brain regions associated with memory and 4% more in areas devoted to cognition than people who did not consume fish regularly......


For future reference, there are ways to properly serve (hot) food to residents who are confined to their rooms. It’s just a matter of whether or not the management has the wherewithal to implement such a system. 

The Center could have rented or leased a hot/cold cart like this.



Even though I am suspending my food reviews, does not mean I am suspending my crusade against insane frugality. Although I am using this container of soup as an example. Everything we get here comes in half-cup amounts. Soup, deserts, even scrambled eggs. The only thing we get a full cup of is coffee or tea. Would serving us full cup portions be such a big deal. How cheap can they get.


Reverse aging

What’s next. A sippy cup?

I’m just waiting for a bib, diapers, and pureed food


Contact and Comments - All comments will be kept anonymous


 U.S. Copyright laws prohibit me from reprinting entire articles. Therefore, I have provided links to the original stories. 

Coming Clean

Hopefully, by the time this editorial is published, the epidemic of stomach virus which infected and affected the entire population and staff of the Westchester Center last week will be over and things will have returned to normal. Quite frankly, it has been very hard on all of us, residents and staff alike. While there are many kudos and accolades to be passed around, much of the way this entire incident was handled needs to be dissected and corrected. And the only way to do this is if the management of the center compiles, and publicly releases, a full report on what occurred. That report should include, but not be limited to, the following.

1.An accurate timeline of events. 

This should be in the form of a day by day, hour by hour, narrative of the events which led to the steps taken by the Center. The report should state when the first incident of the virus was noticed and how long it took for the management to act to contain it and when was the Department of Health informed.

2.What steps were taken to inform residents of a possible health risk.

Communication may be the most vital part of stemming the spread of any infection. The faster and more widespread information is transmitted to the population the faster these infections can be stopped. Delaying accurate information because of a fear of unnecessarily alarming people may be the worst thing to do in situations like this. With so many new ways of communicating with people technically available to us, the way we were informed of what was going on was nothing less than archaic. The management could have used text messages, emails, even CCTV (which we have but is not activated) to get information out as it happened. Daily, if not twice daily, updates should have been given out.

3.Coming clean. Statistical transparency.

Any report should include accurate statistics as to how many residents and staff were actually ill, how ill, and was any hospitalization or special treatment needed.

Additionally, the report should include input from residents along with recommendations as to how things could be improved if there are any future events such as this.

The report should be in printed form as well as being read aloud at a resident’s council meeting with a Q&A session afterwards.

It is in times of crisis that an institution shows its true metal. And, while it is not suggested that the Center acted in any way, shape or form in a manner that was deleterious or dangerous to its residents and staff, we believe that some new form of communication needs to be put in place. Being treated like prisoners in solitary may not be the right direction to take in situations like this.


Another very grim tale

A Plague in the Land of Yonk

nd it came to pass that a plague settled upon the Land of Yonk, and it was bad. From hut to hut the peasants succumbed to the ravages of the wonton disease which causeth the pain in the belly,the runneth of the poop from thy rear and the floweth of vomitus from the mouth.

Prince Yussel the Silent, at first, did not want to admit that in the pristine Land of Yonk, where all is good and clean, that such a plague had invaded his fiefdom. It was not until after the prince’s knaves and HaHa’s (HHA’s) advised that more and more peasants had the illness did the Prince decide to act.

Scrubbeth the furniture”, he decreed. “Locketh the ill in their huts”, he went on. But this was too little too late. The Plague had already spread beyond the confines of the huts to all areas of the castle. The Plague not only visited the peasants but the knights and knaves alike. Even the Jesters, who occupy the dining room, were not spared. Finally, after coaxing by the Sheriff (The evil Duke Of Horrors) a decree was sent forth ordering all peasants to be confined to their huts until such a time as it be safe to once again roam the halls and corridors of the castle. 

“But how shall the peasants eat if they cannot leave their huts to tendeth their fields and congregate in the dining hut”, asked one of the Prince’s courtiers.

Feedeth them in their huts”, cried the Prince.

“But the food, your highness, won’t it be cold and off-putting” continued the Prince’s advisers.

“Then let them eat cake”, he said. “And maketh sure that no peasant leaveth his hut unless I say so”.

And so doom and despair fell upon Land of Yonk. The halls of the castle were devoid of all life and activity. There was no Bingo, no picture plays and no Wii bowling. Even the general store was closed depriving the peasants of their Doritos, Cheetos and Cup-O-Noodles.

Days passed without word from the Prince or his court. Food was brought to peasant's huts, but it was not good. The gruel was cold as were the slabs of loaved meats and noodles. The peasants were at their wits end. 

It was not until days after the last peasant fell ill did the imprisonment end and once again the  Land of Yonk returned to the happy and healthy place it once had been.

Time to re-think an issue

This is not a food review. This is a cold food review. And it's something that did not have to be were it not for the uptight, archaic, panties-in-a- bunch, regressive thinking of the management of our little facility.

Briefly, for those who do not know, we here at the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living are not permitted to have (among other things) a microwave oven in our rooms. This is not some building code regulation or some fire code regulation or even some health department regulation. It is solely the neolithic thinking of the administration who’s archaic policy has deprived us of one of the essentials of independent living. 

This past week, as residents suffered thorough an illness and the subsequent isolation ward tactics that both the health department and the Center imposed on us, we had to suffer an additional indignity. Having to eat cold food in our rooms. And I am not blaming the kitchen or food staff for this. It is almost impossible to serve hot meals to almost 200 people scattered throughout a large facility. I am blaming the admin for not allowing us to have an appliance that has been proven safe so that we could re-heat some of those meals. Having the ability to actually have hot cereal, or hot pancakes or soup would have added so much to soften the hardships that the residents had to endure this week. 

Never has a time been more appropriate to rethink the issue of permitting (at least some of us) to have a simple microwave oven or a coffee maker in our rooms.


Looks like “Independence”is the way to go

Nursing home and assisted living occupancy remained static in the 4th quarter

The occupancy rate for nursing facilities and assisted living facilities held steady in the fourth quarter of 2014, while the rate for independent living continued its surge, according to data released Friday by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.

The nursing care occupancy rate remained at 88.3% and assisted living held at 89.3%. Independent living occupancy increased by 0.4 percentage points from the prior quarter, reaching 91.3%.

On a year-over-year basis, senior housing occupancy trends were positive, NIC officials noted. This reflects rising demand linked to an improving economy and greater consumer confidence, said Chief Economist Beth Mace.


Most nursing homes and A.L.F’s refuse to even acknowledge the death of a resident. Here’s one that treasures it passed friends.

Remembering the Lost


You may have noticed the discreet way in which many nursing homes and assisted living places acknowledge a resident’s death: A bud vase on the mantle or at the reception desk. A single rose. A card announcing the deceased’s name.

Death comes too frequently to these buildings to allow for several administrators have told me. Residents would become distressed, constantly reminded of loss. Instead, although people may attend the funeral of someone they felt particularly close with, the homes commonly default to the vase, the flower and the tasteful card.

But when Faye Hellman died in November, at age 95, her neighbors and friends at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale assembled in a lounge for what it calls “A Time to Remember.” With her family and the staff members who cared for her during the nine years she lived there, the group sang songs and said prayers and remembered Mrs. Hellman.



Facebook has more senior citizens than any other social networking website

Facebook is the leader of social media, says a new survey, adding that the social networking site has also made inroads into becoming the popular choice among the elderly.

The findings of a survey by a US-based global think-tank Pew Research Centre that involved 1,597 internet users revealed that 71 percent of US adults were hooked to Facebook in 2014. This figure has  remained unchanged since August 2013, though there has been a noticeable shift in the age groups using the social media platform.

Though a whopping majority of 87 percent of Facebook users, fall between the ages 18-29, 56 percent fall in the age bracket of 65 years and older. This is more than any other social networking website. Note that this figure is continually increasing, while there has not been a huge increase in the 18-29 age group (just 3 percent from last year).



Medicare pays doctors to coordinate chronic care for senior citizens

By Lauran Neergaard

Adjusting medications before someone gets sick enough to visit the doctor. Up

dating outside specialists, so one doctor’s prescription doesn’t interfere with another’s.

Starting this month, Medicare will pay primary care doctors a monthly fee to better coordinate care for the most vulnerable seniors — those with multiple chronic illnesses — even if they don’t have a face-to-face exam.

The goal is to help patients stay healthier between doctor visits, and avoid pricey hospitals and nursing homes.


Congress is ignoring an important law for senior citizens


Next year we will celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the 50th anniversaries of Medicare and Medicaid, the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act.

For what the Older Americans Act accomplishes for so many (providing nutrition, caregiving transportation, legal services and elder abuse prevention), it struggles from chronic underfunding, and has for the past 20 years.

The groundbreaking law is now more than four years late in being renewed. This is especially hard to explain when one considers the bipartisan, noncontroversial nature of previous reauthorizations including the last successful one, led by a Republican Senate in 2006.

The Older Americans Act, and especially its nutrition program, saves Medicaid and Medicare countless millions of dollars.



A Cup of Blueberries a Day Could Save Your Heart

By Brian Stallard

Blueberries have long been associated with a healthy lifestyle, but this is often attributed to the fact that they are packed full of antioxidants. Now new research has revealed that these incredible little fruits can also help people avoid heart disease, improving the health of their arteries well into old age.

That's at least according to a study recently published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which details how just one cup of blueberries per day can significantly reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, especially for women.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Once women go through menopause, this puts them at an even greater risk for it,"...


5 Ways To Make New Friends After Relocating

By Tim Watt

As an adult, sometimes people need to relocate. People move for various reasons, whether it's to be closer to family or to transition into an assisted living community. Making new friends can easily help you adjust to a new environment, but how do you do it? Consider these tips on making friends after relocating.

1.Get involved in a hobby

One of the first ways you can make a few new friends in your neighborhood is to get a new hobby, or be active in one that you already have. Love to cook? Go to a cooking class or set up a bake sale in your region. You could also go to a driving range if you love to golf, or a fitness club if you like to play tennis. It may take a while for you to become familiar with the people who frequent these places, AARP notes. Yet with familiarity grows fondness. It takes approximately six to eight interactions with a person before you may begin to consider him or her your friend. In time, that person may introduce you to others who have the same interests....


Fighting depression in aging adults

Suzanne Allard Levingston

Depressive disorders, along with dementia-related behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, are the most common maladies facing that group. Some experience depression for the first time in older age; others have chronic conditions.

“Depression is underrecognized and undertreated in older adults,” Bartels said.


Depression in seniors is often misunderstood. “The public thinks, ‘Well, if I was losing my ability to walk or losing my vision or hearing or people that I love, that it’s normal to be depressed when you get older,’ and that’s just not true,” Bartels said.

The most important misconception about seniors and depression is the assumption that a person who has never had it won’t develop it, said George Alexopoulos, a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.


Senior citizens could soon lead the way in illicit drug abuse

Hippies were famous for substance abuse and that has not changed as they got older. Close to three million Americans aged 55 and older suffer from alcohol abuse and the number is expected to double by 2020. Alcohol abuse prevalence is not new but less well-known is that the rate of illicit drug abuse in older people more than doubled between 2002 and 2013, as people from the sixties became people in their fifties

Many of the older Americans suffering from substance abuse are retired, but according to Tel Aviv University research it is not retirement alone that leads to drug and alcohol abuse. Instead, older people blame, leaving the work force and painful later-life events such as the death of spouses and friends. One thing remains consistent about the late Baby Boom generation; they have maintained a way to blame everyone else for their problems.

According to the study, older adults often lack the skills required to cope with the sudden vacuum produced by retirement as well as events common to later life -- such as deteriorating health and the death of spouses and friends. The research also pointed to the impact of circumstances and conditions of retirement on feelings of depression, purposelessness, and financial strain, which are known to lead to substance abuse.


I have been making fun of one of my table mates here who covers his food with pepper. Perhaps he has the right idea.


by Tracey Roizman

Black pepper, derived from the unripe berries of Piper nigrum, is the most widely-used and traded spice in the world, notes Princeton University. Ancient Egyptians used black pepper in mummification rituals. Long valued for its sharp flavor and purported health-promoting effects, including some related to brain function, black pepper is a staple in home kitchens and restaurants alike.


Piperine, an active compound in black pepper, inhibits an enzyme that breaks down the calming neurotransmitter serotonin, according to a study published in the December 2012 issue of “Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters,” making it potentially useful in the treatment of some mood disorders.

The enzyme also degrades melatonin, a hormone your brain produces that controls your body’s day/night cycles.... 



If you found the fountain of youth, would you really take a drink?

By Sherry Young,

My husband, Grit, asked me one day: “Why do you think we need to grow old? Why can’t we get to a certain age, keep our hair and vigor and then one day just pop off? Now we have all this wisdom, just think what we could accomplish if our bodies and brains kept working well.”

In a book excerpt of "Why We Age: What Science Is Discovering about the Body's Journey Through Life" online at, Steven Austad, a professor of zoology, explains: “Living organisms are very different from machines. The most fundamental defining characteristics of living organisms, in fact, may be their ability to repair themselves. We don’t usually die of cuts, bruises, or even broken bones. These injuries mend, and life goes on.”

He goes on to tell how remarkable some other creatures are. Take the starfish, which when torn into two parts is able to turn into two healthy starfish....



Why Drugs Cost $o Much


ELI LILLY charges more than $13,000 a month for Cyramza, the newest drug to treat stomach cancer. The latest medicine for lung cancer, Novartis’s Zykadia, costs almost $14,000 a month. Amgen’s Blincyto, for leukemia, will cost $64,000 a month.

Why? Drug manufacturers blame high prices on the complexity of biology, government regulations and shareholder expectations for high profit margins. In other words, they say, they are hamstrung. But there’s a simpler explanation.

Companies are taking advantage of a mix of laws that force insurers to include essentially all expensive drugs in their policies, and a philosophy that demands that every new health care product be available to everyone, no matter how little it helps or how much it costs. Anything else and we’re talking death panels.

Examples of companies exploiting these fault lines abound. An article in The New England Journal of Medicine last fall focused on how companies buy up the rights to old, inexpensive generic drugs, lock out competitors and raise prices.


More of the same

If today’s lunch looks a lot like Sunday’s lunch that’s because it’s exactly like Sunday’s lunch. Yes, I could have had the fish, but knowing how fish is cooked here and knowing that hauling that fish around the corridors for an hour will certainly not improve its flavor, I elected to, once again eat the spaghetti and meatballs. While the S&M’s were warm, and there was some cheese on it, the sauce was cold. It's nice to know that the kitchen has not diminished one iota in its quest for imperfection.


Dinner. Tuesday & Sunday

Oh yes, there was a piece of cake for desert.


Lunch on Cell Block F

No choice. It was either turkey, Swiss and bacon or nothing for lunch on Thursday. French fries were a nice change, though, and they were hot.


Sunny Goodness

I stared at lunch Friday knowing what was in store for me. A cold clump of mac and cheese and two stuffed bread bowls (almost a knish) equally cold. I took a bite of each and put down the fork. Perhaps I was just not hungry, having had breakfast only two hours before. Or perhaps I am just sick of the whole deal. Anyway. I was glad for the nice, fresh, juicy orange, which kept me going until dinner.

White House Conference on Aging Blog

Regional Forums to Provide Input and Ideas for 2015 White House Conference on Aging

By: Cecilia Muñoz,

I am delighted to announce the launch of a series of regional forums designed

 to help provide ideas for the upcoming 2015 White House Conference on Aging.


There’s no red neck like a Senior red neck

Nurse claims racial abuse in assisted-living center

John Hult

Southridge Healthcare in Sioux Falls sued for claims of abusive racism from residents.

A former nurse at a Sioux Falls assisted living facility has filed a lawsuit against her former employer, saying it failed to protect her from abusive racism from residents.

The employer, Southridge Healthcare, has responded by saying it is "offended" by the implication that it doesn't protect its employees.

Either way, 37-year-old Ayana Hardiman-Davis' lawsuit speaks to the real problems posed by patients who either mistreat caregivers of different races or request new doctors or nurses outright.

Medical ethics dictate that patients be allowed to refuse care for any reason and have a right to care regardless of their disposition, but federal law says employers protect their employees from harassment by customers.




Contact and comment

Lack of Information: Something I can’t “stomach”

Last week’s outbreak of some mysterious stomach virus pointed out the weaknesses in the way information is disseminated around the Center. After the initial memo that was distributed by members of the Case Management department, residents received no further official communication from the administration other than to say that “The dining room would be closed and that all meals would be served in resident’s rooms.” All of the other instructions, policies or information regarding the outbreak was learned, second hand, through other residents or housekeeping staff. Therefore, the question is, “Why the secrecy. Don’t we have the right to know (officially) what’s going on.” For instance, It was from a relative of a resident that I learned that the D.O.H. had to put the center on a virtual lockdown, requesting that ALL residents remain sequestered until further notice. In addition, it was only through an email sent to me by another resident that I was made aware of the true extent of the illness and that far more residents had reported feeling ill than had been officially reported to the D.O.H.

This unwillingness by management to be candid and forthcoming with vital information is part of an ongoing process here at the Center. If the truth be told, every bit of intelligence on policy, staff and personnel changes and most other information which directly affects the residents is learned through second or third-hand sources. An example of this can be demonstrated by the non-communication by management, that a new facility will be constructed directly across the road from ours. I had to find this out from a newspaper article. Even after confronting the administration with this information, they were still unwilling to tell anybody about it stating that “It was none of our business.” I find this policy (And, yes, I do believe it’s policy) of withholding as much as possible from us, abhorrent. Treating us as if we were little children, incapable of handling or understanding the truth is ridiculous and dangerous. Don’t you think that a health crisis, which swept through here like a flash flood, required some sort of official, and ongoing, status updates? In today’s age of instant communication, this distribution of news could have been accomplished very easily.

Practically all colleges, and many schools and neighborhoods, have vital news and information sent to them via text messages on their phones. Since most, if not all of our residents have cell phones, sending messages and updates should not be a problem. Even if a rather low-tech system like regular Xeroxed memos would have been appreciated. Unfortunately, the antiquated thinking and medieval mindset of the powers that be here, are too mired in their 19th Century management skills to ever install such a system. “Keep them stupid, and they’ll be happy”, appears to be the order of the day.

As of this writing, Saturday morning January 10, we are still on virtual lockdown. Not a word, text, email or any other official memo has been given to us as to when we may see and end to this situation. I suppose, we will find out about what really went on through the grapevine which is the only way we find out anything here.

Editor’s note: I will post any updated information as I receive it.


It never fails to amaze me how widely read this blog is. This map is provided by my stat service, While most of this blog's readers are from the U.S., many are from Europe and Asia. Why Europeans would have an interest in American assisted living facilities I do not know, but I’m glad for their visits. We seem to be lacking in visitors from the Antarctic and China however. And, how about you Greenlanders and South Americans. 

From the editor:

As of this writing, the stomach illness, which has put the facility on a virtual "lockdown", continues with no abatement in sight, The management continues to be as uninformative as usual. Any further updates (should they become available) regarding our present situation will be posted at the top of this blog as soon as possible.


Low tech answer to cold problem

The Center thought that they had solved the problem of cold air and snow blowing in through a space at the bottom of the doors of the passageway leading to the Franklin Annex. Last year, after stuffing towels in the open space, a metal strip 

of weatherproofing was installed at the bottom of  each door. Unfortunately, this was proven to be ineffective when the temperature dropped to single digits last week, causing the loss of a lot of precious heat. So, it’s back to the towels while they try to figure out a more permanent fix.


You wouldn’t think in a place that houses, mostly older and often infirm folks would be a hotbed of crime, but it is. Hardly a week goes by that one does not see one or two of Yonker’s finest parked outside or conversing with a resident or staff member. What’s going on that causes the cops to come here on a regular basis. Perhaps I can answer this without getting into details about any one particular incident, the outcome of which may still be pending. Also, let me state that I depend on my little band of “stringers” that fill me in on the day’s events so the facts may not be 100% accurate. Before I get into the real criminal aspects of life here at the Center, let me state that such incidents are not uncommon to most, if not all, institutions of this kind, and there is a very good reason for this.

You see, one must never forget that most of the residents that reside here do not want to be here. They have been thrown into a situation by circumstances, sometimes not of their own making. Some are too poor to afford one of those “luxury” senior residences. Or they have become disabled and can no longer take care of their daily needs or, and this is the worst category, those whose relatives just don’t want them any longer. Unfortunately, it is this last group that has the most trouble fitting into a society such as the one encounters here on a daily basis.

This facility is made up of people of all races, religions, sexual orientation, ethnicity and temperament. And, as with any diverse group of individuals, conflicts are bound to happen. Normal people will either resolve these conflicts by discussing them directly with the offending party or with Case Management. However, there are some people who are just plain nasty. Many are borderline psychopaths who should never have been allowed on the premises, while others have the mentality of a spoiled two year old. The real problem is that once these people are admitted as a resident, little can be done in the way of censure, reprimand or eviction, allowing these people to go unfettered in their retribution and confrontation. Such an incident occurred just last week.

The details of the conflict between two male residents are not clear, but it wound up by one resident calling the cops on the other. The offended resident is relatively new here and, even in the short time he has been here, has had a number of heated confrontations with other residents. My sources tell me that he is mean, nasty and quick to argue. And unfortunately, because there is literally no way to get rid of him (short of him physically injuring someone). Just another one of the foibles inherent in assisted living. But enough about the residents. There are actual crimes being committed here every day.

Most of those crimes involve theft. Theft of residents personal property. Often this property includes family heirlooms, trinkets of a lifetime of memories. Sometimes it’s the items of the new technology like laptops and tablets and I-phones that catch the eye of the would be thief. I have even heard of items of clothing being taken right out of people's closets. Despite the fact that there is a myriad of security cameras monitoring every nook and cranny of this facility, nobody (at least to my knowledge) has ever been caught in the act.

In their defense, the facility does offer to install a locked dresser drawer for those valuables, but security still appears to be lacking. The problem:Too many people have keys to the residents rooms. A better technology would be a key card system that would log each entry into a resident's room. Until such a time, we will have to put up with nut jobs and criminals, just like everyone else.



Money: Quick to take, slow to give

The residents in the photo are not waiting for the doctor or for the dining room to open or even for the Bingo game to start. No, what they are waiting for is money, their money. And it’s a scenario that occurs on a weekly basis because of the antiquated way resident’s funds are distributed here. Perhaps some background information is in order here.

Here at the Center, we have what is known as a resident’s account. This account contains the cash funds placed there, by the residents or an outside source such as a relative. The residents may draw money from this account for the purpose of purchasing incidentals like items from the general store, takeout food or even the beauty parlor. This money is “managed” by the Center to “protect”the residents from having this cash possibly lost or stolen. All in all, this sounds like a good idea, and it would be if the residents did not have to beg to get their hands on it. Because, you see, unlike having money in a regular bank, which provides 24/7/365 access to one’s funds with the use of an ATM, residents have to go to the office (open only 9-5 weekdays) and ask a staff member if enough cash is available to cover what they need. On busy days, the office has actually run out. 

“So why isn’t an ATM machine installed somewhere”, you ask. A good question, and one that has been proposed and even researched by one of our residents. However, one slight drawback remains. Although,  the ATM company would be willing to install a machine at our facility, they only want to install it in the lobby. Unfortunately, the corporate decorator (yes, Virginia, we have a decorator) has a problem with the aesthetics of placing an ATM in the lobby. So, no ATM. 

However, the fact that we can’t easily connect with our cash is only one of the things that bother me about having the Center in charge of my money. The other thing is a question that has been gnawing at my craw for a while now. “What happens to the interest that is accrued from the funds in this account?" Surely the bank that is holding my cash gives some sort of interest, even if it’s only a percent or two. So, where is it. If the Center is taking that interest as an administration fee, then why is it not being properly "administered". We are certainly not getting any service for that interest. The Center recently employed a new accountant/bookkeeper. I should like to hear from him and perhaps get an explanation of exactly how our funds are managed. 


I had to read this headline twice. I am so angry. I could not believe that an organization formed for the purpose of promoting the welfare of senior citizens would do this. The article states that the COA in this particular Louisiana town donated an unused van to an animal shelter so animals could ride in style. Are they effing nuts? I can’t believe that somewhere, there was not a people shelter or old age home or assisted living facility or even a scout troop that could not use this vehicle. Woof!

COA donates van to Denham animal shelter


Animals at the Denham Springs Animal Shelter can ride safely and comfortably, thanks to a donation from the Denham Springs Council on Aging.

aveterinaryandThe Council on Aging donated one of its used vans to the city’s shelter, thus increasing capacity, efficiency and safety of the animals. Shelter volunteer Berkley Durbin said the van, which already is being used to transport animals to veterinarian appointments to Petco for adoption days, is much safer for the animals than a truck or a sport utility vehicle, especially during inclement weather.

“A key component for us is no added expense to our budget,” Durbin said. “(We have) no more transporting issues in inclement weather or require multiple trips.”



C.G. Is referring to last week’s editorial in which I said that despite everything that goes on around here, I have found a modicum of peace. While I thank C.G. For the kind words, I believe that the content of the essay may be too personal for publication in anything more than a blog written by old reprobate like myself. I would love to be able to publish this in our quarterly resident’s newsletter, but it would never make it past the censors.........................................................................ed.

My plan, if I actually ever did face homelessness, would be to take my last $200, and buy a bus ticket to Miami. If you got to live on the street, why not do it under a palm tree............................................................................................................ed.

BTW: Currently a bus ticket from NYC to Miami cost $130 one way (about the same as the train) The trip takes 31 hours. 



Cuomo signs senior care bill

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law that will provide seniors who reside in continuing care retirement communities with additional service options. 

“This law will make new options available to seniors. By offering additional affordable care options, more seniors will be able to live independently, while lowering their health care costs. I am so pleased that this initiative has been signed into law,”

Continuing Care Retirement Communities presently offer a tiered approach to the aging process, accommodating residents’ changing needs. Upon entering, healthy adults can reside independently in single-family homes, apartments or condominiums. When assistance with everyday activities becomes necessary, they can move into assisted living or nursing care facilities. These communities give older adults the option to live in one location for the duration of their life, with much of their future care already figured out....


More ALF news

I am including this story in this week’s blog, not to praise any one particular A.L.F. (Although they certainly deserve it) but rather to point out the differences in management styles that exist between our facility and some of the more progressive thinking facilities out there. A few months ago, our residents' council devised a survey which was handed out to those residents who wanted to participate. The results were tallied and given to management. While we did not think that management would be overjoyed with us taking a poll, we were surprised at their total dismissal of the results. This reinforced my perception of how non-inclusive and closed-mouthed management is in regards to its residents.

South Pointe Releases Satisfaction Survey Results

South Pointe Assisted Living announced results of a satisfaction survey completed by the community.

A total of 100 percent of respondents rated their willingness to recommend South Pointe as “excellent” or “good,” the report stated.

“This result speaks volumes to the community and prospective residents and families,” she said.

More than 70 percent of residents participated in the survey, which was mailed to residents.

Surveys were returned to My InnerView for data processing.

“By listening to the voice of the customer, South Pointe has invaluable data to help them improve and deliver a higher quality of care and service to their residents,” said Neil Gulsvig, My InnerView chief executive officer.


'Everyone wants to live in a place where they feel like they have a sense of purpose'


New technologies combined with a bit of the familiar can help those in assisted living facilities recapture a bit of home.

It’s also important, Ewen said, to “let residents have a say” 

“We try to meet individual needs,” said Shirley Paulk, vice president of marketing for The Arbor Company, an Atlanta-based company that operates a number of assisted-living facilities in the U.S., including an Athens community.

Paulk said Ewen’s point about making facilities into a home for residents is a bedrock principle.

“This is their home,” she said.

“Everyone wants to live in a place where they feel like they have a sense of purpose,” Paulk said. “And when you see one resident helping another resident — those are the special moments.”



There are many reasons why I no longer drink. Primarily, because some of the medication I take conflicts with the consumption of alcohol.The other reason is simple. They don’t permit any alcoholic beverages on the premises. This is almost in direct conflict with other assisted living facilities where booze is permitted. I think a little wine with dinner or before bed would not hurt one bit.

Moderate Drinking Can Be Good for the Aging Brain

Men and women who drink moderately in older age may have a better memory than those who abstain from alcohol, a new study shows. The findings suggest that moderate alcohol consumption later in life may have beneficial effects on the brain.

The study, from researchers at the University of Texas and other universities, looked at 660 men and women age 60 and older who were free of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. They were part of a large and ongoing study, the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort, that looked at how various lifestyle factors can impact health.

The study participants completed detailed questionnaires about their drinking habits. They also underwent detailed tests of memory and thinking skills, as well as MRI scans to measure their brain volume.

The researchers found that adults who drank lightly, no more than six alcoholic drinks a week, performed better on tests of episodic memory. Episodic memory is the ability to recall the details of past events, such as when or where something happened.

Other studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption may be good for the aging brain and could be linked to a lower dementia risk. Experts aren’t sure why moderate alcohol consumption helps the brain, though it may reduce inflammation, which has been tied to Alzheimer’s, heart disease and other ills. It may also promote blood vessel health throughout the body, including in the brain....



Could a 200-year-old whale offer clues to help humans live longer?

Scientists are hoping the fountain of youth might be hidden inside a whale species that can live up to 200 years.

With a 1,000 times more cells than a human, the whale should have a much higher probability of cell death and disease. It doesn't.

In their findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, the team found as many as 80 candidate genes that may help protect the whale from cancer or contribute to it being the longest living mammal on earth. The team found that the whales have genes related to DNA repair, as well as those regulating how cells proliferate, that differ from those found in humans...



For Cloris Leachman, No Bad Days


Now age 88, Cloris has appeared in more than 70 films, including The Last Picture Show, for which she won an Oscar and BAFTA Award. Other films included

 Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety and The Muppet Movie. She rocked the seventh season of Dancing With the Stars in 2008 as the oldest competitor on the ABC hit series. She was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011 and has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her alma mater, Northwestern University, bestowed an honorary doctorate last year.

When we spoke, Cloris was preparing for her family’s annual Christmas recital. “Everyone has to do something,” she said. Let’s catch up with her now and find out how she’s lived so long, and so well....



New Poll by The Senior Citizens League Shows Social Security Recipients Think Government Manipulates CPI Data

People who receive Social Security benefits overwhelmingly think the federal government is manipulating the consumer price index (CPI) data, according to a new poll by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). When asked, “Do you believe the government is manipulating the CPI to cut spending on cost of living adjustments (COLAs)?” — 98 percent of respondents said “yes.” “This should concern our new Congress,” says TSCL chairman, Ed Cates. “Both Members of Congress and the White House have discussed COLA cuts as a leading option to fix the long-term financing of Social Security,” Cates says. “Yet retirees don’t believe they are getting a fair COLA as it is now.”

The benefits of more than 55 million Social Security recipients are adjusted each year to account for increases in the cost of living. The federal government uses the percentage of increase in the Consumer Price Index for Workers (CPI-W) to calculate the increase. But beneficiaries frequently say that the annual boost in benefits is doing a poor job 



 Congestive heart failure


Much like other progressive diseases, congestive heart failure is classified by the damage that has already been done to the heart, which is assessed by tests that measure the size, structure and strength of the heart muscle and its ability to pump effectively.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, understanding the stage of diagnosis is an important first step. Here is an overview of the stages and some questions you should ask the doctor at each step:

Stage A: This stage, also known as pre-heart failure, suggests that there is a high risk of developing heart failure, but the heart hasn’t suffered any structural damage yet, according to the tests that were performed. At this stage, you should ask the doctor what you can do to prevent heart failure symptoms from developing....



Message from the editor:

I am reprinting this entire article because, for some of you, clicking on the link provided at the end will only take you a firewall prohibiting you from reading the story. For those of you who want to bypass the firewall, either permanently or on a need-to basis you can download a small, free program at This site is a “proxy server” which  bypasses the Center’s firewall software.

Ten Things Seniors Should Know About Medical Marijuana

We understand many senior citizens come to us without much information about marijuana as a medicine. Our goal is simple: we want to assist aging adults to improve their quality of life.  There are many misconceptions about medical marijuana, especially among senior citizens. The first step is learning about what we do and the products and services we provide. Harvest of Tempe offers a free new patient orientation class every month during which our medical director, Dr. William Troutt NMD, will discuss risks and benefits, realistic expectations and outcomes, dosages, and different ways of using marijuana (such as edibles, liquid tinctures, topical ointments, and smoking). Dr. Troutt will always make himself available to chat with you and address your specific questions and needs. You do not need a medical marijuana card to attend the orientation and we encourage family and health care workers to attend.

1. Marijuana is SAFER than many commonly prescribed medications

Most seniors take prescription drugs on a daily basis. The “side effects” of marijuana are insignificant in comparison to the side effects of many prescription drugs, and not a single person has ever died from a marijuana overdose. An ongoing 30-year study found that a person weighing 140 pounds would have to consume over 4 pounds of marijuana in one sitting to reach toxic levels, and that still would not be a fatal dosage. The powerful anti-oxidant effects of marijuana can provide relief for many disorders, including liver inflammation from Hepatitis C, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other serious medical conditions that all involve inflammation and oxidative damage.

2. Marijuana is not physically addictive

Many seniors fear that if they start using marijuana they will become addicted. People can use marijuana daily and then stop “cold turkey”.  Discontinuing the use of marijuana has much the same response as quitting the consumption of coffee. Many people who seek welcome and effective respite from chronic pain, anxiety, and stress use marijuana as a daily medicine.

3. Marijuana can reduce and possibly replace many prescription medications

A major complaint of seniors regarding their daily medications is that the first pill often causes side effects that the second one is supposed to “fix.”  ”Marijuana’s healing properties target various conditions such as inflamed joints, high blood pressure, chronic pain, digestive disorders, constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, cognitive awareness, and more Marijuana has the potential for accentuating the effect of many commonly prescribed drugs (” For example, opiate based painkillers are typically enhanced when marijuana is used concurrently, often resulting in a reduction of pharmaceutical medicines.

4. There are many different types, or “strains” of marijuana

Growing this plant is not terribly different from gardeners attempting to create the perfect rose or tomato plant.  Each plant has its own personality and effects. There are strains that are very helpful for chronic pain relief and strains Some strains can make one feel very focused and energized, while others can be relaxing and help with a good night's sleep.

5. There are marijuana strains without “the high”

“If I could get the medical benefit from the plant without the high, I’d consider it.” said many of the seniors we’ve spoken to.  Harvest cultivators have developed and are currently producing potent CBD genetic strains that have a minimal psychoactive effect.  CBD, or cannabidiol, is tremendous for inflammation, eases pain, stimulates bone growth, suppresses muscular spasms, reduces anxiety, and increases mental focus. Harvest currently carries liquid extracts that have no “high” at all. These have proven extremely successful for persons suffering from arthritis pain, nausea, and muscle spasms.

6. There are ways to use marijuana other than smoking it

One common misconception among aging adults is that they have to smoke marijuana to gain the medicinal benefits. Harvest of Tempe provides liquid extracts, infused honey,candies, baked goods, and other products to choose from. Marijuana can be added to just about any regular recipe in the form of marijuana infused butters or oils. This opens up so many options for your medicine.

7. Marijuana-infused ointments can be very effective in alleviating arthritis and neuropathy pain

Locally made, medicated creams are very popular for sore joints and back muscles pain. They are very effective, smell nice and give a you no “high” so you can feel comfortable using the products throughout the day.

8. Marijuana does not lower your IQ or cause brain damage

Another common misconception aging adults have with marijuana is that can lower intelligence or cause brain damage . There is no documentation that shows that marijuana reduces or “kills brain cells.” Studies with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients indicate that marijuana gradually encourages new neural pathways, allowing those with impaired brain function to potentially halt further degeneration and even encourage brain function.

9. Marijuana can help increase your appetite

One of the most dangerous health risks among senior citizens is the loss of appetite, leading to weight loss. Marijuana has been extremely successful in alleviating nausea and as an appetite stimulant. That being said, A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology finds an intriguing connection between marijuana use and body weight, showing that rates of obesity are lower by roughly a third in people who smoke marijuana at least three times a week, compared with those who don’t use marijuana at all.

10. The stigma around medical marijuana use is fading

Seniors are the fastest growing population of new medical marijuana users. There is no other reason for this other than it is working work for them. If you are in discomfort or chronic pain and would like other options. Those options consist of an organically and locally grown herb that is 3rd party tested, legal in the state of Arizona and can be purchased from a conscientious and responsible business that will provide you with friendly service and education. Medical marijuana can be a valuable tool in your “wellness toolbox”. The Harvest of Tempe is here to help.



Sex, Lies And Ensure: The Sexual Habits Of The Over-55 Set

Anyone who has ever visited an assisted living facility or nursing home has probably come away with the impression that the #1 athletic pastime of residents consists of lining up at the dining hall doors, well before meal time is scheduled to begin. If so, you'd be wrong. Not only wrong, but seriously wrong.

The Department of Health and Human Services released a little-noticed report on Medicare a few months ago that had this startling statistic: In 2011 and 2012, 2.2 million beneficiaries received free sexually transmitted disease screenings and counseling sessions. And more than 66,000 received free H.I.V. tests.

More sex has its advantages and its disadvantages. The biggest advantage of more sex is sex. The biggest disadvantage is STDs. Seniors tend not to use condoms, and they tend not to visit a doctor when symptoms arise. The senior population has enough problems with arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, and unsavory happenings in their nether parts. They may tend to overlook rogue rashes, itching, burning, and general discomfort. ....



New Clues Why Older Women Are More Susceptible to Breast Cancer

Skip Derra

What they found was that in older women the cells responsible for maintaining healthy breast tissue stop responding to their immediate surroundings, including physical cues that should prompt them to suppress nearby tumors. The work sheds light on how aging alters cellular and molecular functions and how these changes contribute to the prevalence of breast cancer in older women—a disease that is most frequently diagnosed among women aged 55 to 64, according to the National Cancer Institute.

“The importance of our work is that we have a system that facilitates a detailed analysis of cellular and molecular level functional consequences of aging in a human epithelia,” LaBarge told Bioscience Technology and Drug Discovery & Development.

“We are working on identifying the mechanisms by which the different lineages age, then on trying to slow down that process,” he explained. “Ideally, we will identify compounds that can achieve this safely, so safe that even very low-risk women could benefit from some form of chemoprevention.”

“My ideal would be analogous to taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart disease,” he explained. “I want to find the aspirin-equivalent for breast cancer.”



Hello, room service?

Due to a facility-wide attack of “The great plague of 2015”, the residents have been receiving their meals in their rooms. Therefore, I will limit my reviews of these meals to only a few words. “They are barely edible


Breakfast has gone from "What would you like" to "Here's what you're eating". Today it was a scoop of scrambled eggs, and two sausage turds. I did get my bagel, however, which makes me feel better. I wonder what the boys at Rikers are having this morning.


I apologize

I apologize. I led you astray. I said the food was "edible". I was wrong. Now it's just crap. I took one bite of this fish stuff and could not eat any more. Had some cold soup. Only the pudding was worth the effort. When things get tough, the kitchen runs the other way.


Welcome to...

W. Center Airlines

Sunday's dinner looked like something they used to serve in coach on a failing airline

From cradle to grave. All they need is a maternity hospital to complete the circle

Residents Concerned Over Plans Of Crematorium


Neighbors in Bethany (Oklahoma) expressed concerns about a funeral home and crematory possibly being 

Paul Andrews said his home would basically be in the backyard of the new facility. He said he and other homeowners support crematory services, but not on that land. “We just feel that a crematory is way too intense of a land use issue here next to all these homes, particularly next to an elderly assisted living facility,” he said. “It's just a bad location.”

Gary Mercer, the president of Mercer-Adams, said the new business wouldn't be anything to worry about. Ironically, Mercer lives in the area near the proposed business, too.

“The odor is actually non-existent. There is a little bit of smoke when the cardboard container that a person is in, initially catches fire in the cremator, but beyond that, you hit 1700 degrees and everything is re-burned essentially and there is virtually no smoke,” .....



Funny Video

The Indignity of aging in the U.S.A.




Contact and Comments

January 9, 2014 11 AM

Center takes extraordinary means to curb stomach virus

While the rest of the country has been hit by the flu, we here at the W.Center have been contending with a particularly virulent form of stomach virus which has infected approximately 25% of our residents. The Center, in its wisdom, has taken extraordinary means to end the rampaging illness whose symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea.
All social activities have been canceled such as Bingo and movies. Sick residents have been confined to their rooms and told not to receive any visitors. The staff,too, has taken precautions by wearing masks and gloves when coming in contact with sick residents. And, as of the writing, the dining room and public restrooms have also been closed, resulting in all residents

having their meals delivered to their rooms. Ceramic dinnerware has been replaced with disposable Styrofoam plates and cups as well as the silverware. The furniture in the common areas such as the lobby, country kitchen and various lounges has been removed and brought to the auditorium for disinfection. Although this is a great inconvenience for our residents, I applaud the Center’s management for their quick action. So far, no residents have needed hospitalization for this illness.

All residents have now been told to stay in our rooms

Could I have found what I’ve been looking for all of my life?

Over the past year, I have complained a lot and grouched a lot about practically everything. And, while it is my prerogative (If not, my god-given right) as an old man to do this, life has not been so bad as to not make me thankful for much that I do have.

Primarily, let me say that my criticism of the s--t that goes on around here at the Center is meant, not to scold, but to educate and enlighten. I feel that, without my berating, chiding and reprehension this place would have gone to hell in a hand basket months ago. Every governing body, institution, corporation or organization needs its critics and detractors to keep it on the straight and narrow and to protect them, and us, from the virus called complacency with which this place is filled to the brim. Owing to the fact that old people rarely complain, if it were not for me, and a handful of other equally cantankerous individuals, the management would have run roughshod over the population without so much as an “excuse me”. Therefore, I consider myself to be a necessary evil. A thorn in the side, if you will, of those who would demean, belittle and debase those who cannot or will not speak up for themselves. There, I have said what I had to say. However, this is only a preface to what I really want to say. And that is, “I am thankful for this place, this building and these people where and with whom I live.”Why”, you ask, “are you thankful.”

Essentially, I am thankful that I am still alive. There was a time, a few short years ago, when life for me was an option, an item on a checklist of things I might consider continuing. Fortunately, I turned that morbid corner and, in doing so, I have gained a new outlook on what is really important in life. I used to laugh at people who said “If you have your health, you have everything”. “The hell with that”, I would say. “What about money and stuff and new cars and stuff and fancy clothes and watches and more stuff.” But a couple of months in a hospital bed and subsequent nursing homes soon cure you of any materialism you might have possessed. If you wake up every morning in pain, apprehensive about the future, questioning your very existence, you will soon realize how unimportant all the glitzy bling crap stuff really is. You learn that all that stuff does not matter and what does matter is “peace”. Peace within me. Peace in my heart and peace in my soul. This is why I have reduced my life to only things I need. This is not to say that I no longer want stuff, but I have come to realize that stuff, while it may make you happy for a while, the euphoria gained from its acquisition is short lived and shallow. Fortunately, this place, this facility, has afforded me the peace that I was seeking. I no longer have to worry about the basics. I have all that I need. 

I have a roof over my head, something that has always given me a reason for angst. I have to admit that I have a fear of being homeless. Urban dictionary’s actually have a name for this. It’s called “Hobophobia”. Now, since living here in this affordable facility, that fear has been eliminated. Another thing that I am thankful for are people. Not all people, but just enough people so as to make me feel not so lonely.

When we are young, we are constantly surrounded by people. Even if you crave solace, your youth will not permit it. There is school, which forces you to be surrounded by people. There is work, which forces you, not only to connect with people, but in many cases to give up part of your humanity just to please those people. Marriage, attaches you to people by law. You now have “in-laws”. Those people who suddenly believe that they can have access to your stuff just because you married their little (fill in the spouse's name). However, as you grow old, most of the annoying people in your life have disappeared as well as most of the people you liked. Your in-laws went away with your (ex) wife. Your friends got married and now have in-laws of their own who take up their time. Your relatives, parents and your siblings have moved away or passed on and, finally you have the peace and solitude you were looking for all of your life. Unfortunately, this reclusiveness comes at the wrong time and at a price. The older you get, the more support you need. I know, if I were still married or had all of my family around me, my life would be entirely different. I certainly would not be here, which is not to say, a bad place if being surrounded by people is what you need. The one thing I can say with no compunction about living here is “I never have to be alone” if I don’t want to be. Lastly, there are some other things that I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I still have control of my faculties. For many people, growing older means a loss of cognitive function, even if it’s only forgetting a name or where you put your keys. For some its worse, much worse. For some reason, fate has, at least for now, spared me this debilitating condition. If the truth be told, I actually feel more cognizant and more aware of myself and my surroundings than ever. I am writing more than I have ever written and reading more than I have ever read. I am thankful for my relative good health and the people here that help me keep it. I now see a doctor on a regular basis, something I never did in my other life. Yes, I have much to be thankful for, but sometimes it takes a little searching to find it. In retrospect, getting older is not all that bad. Perhaps it’s what I have needed all my life.

Two Castles in the Land of Yonk

(A very grim fairy tale)

 nce upon a time, in the land of the West, there was a desperate king called Chuck whose subjects referred to him as “Chuck the Gross”.  King Chuck reigned over a kingdom of 16 fiefdoms all governed by feudal lords. The king’s favorite fiefdom was the one in the province of Yonk. Yonk was not much of a place. There were no markets for the peasants to shop at. And even if there were, most of the peasants had no money or could not get access to their money because Prince Yusselot, the feudal lord of the castle in Yonk, would not permit the money giver, whose name was At-m, on the castle grounds. The castle, which prince Yusselot called “The Center”, was lacking in many other amenities that the other castles throughout the kingdom of the West had.

Although some peasants had their own carts, most of them had to rely on wagons borrowed from neighboring castles for their treks to and from the markets and fairs. And, even when the peasants were able to get their own meats and vegetables, they could not cook or even heat them up . For you see, in Yonk, peasants were not permitted to warm their meager meals within their huts, for no fire was permitted anywhere the peasants lived. Peasants were forced to take their meals, in a communal place of eating, at ungodly hours. All of the meals were prepared by the Lord’s henchman, a knave who was completely controlled by the unforgiving king Chuck and his sheriff. The sheriff, the Duke Of Horrible,(D.O.H.) controlled most of how the kingdom was run. Even the King had to obey what the D.O.H. dictated. The sheriff used his power with un-abandoned ruthlessness. 

One day the sheriff made a law that no food could be cooked at a temperature of less than 160 degrees Fahrenheit (As the temperature was called in those days). Because of this law, all of the food the peasants were forced to eat was dried out and inedible. The eggs were as tough as a rubber gauntlet and the meat was a hard as chainmail.  In fact, the food was rendered so useless as to make the Sheriff’s deputy, a scullery wench named Sarah, unable to even taste the food. 

One day the king, as a favor to another prince, decided to split the province of Yonk into two separate fiefdoms. He ordered that a new castle be built right next to the existing castle, which was now beginning to look old and worn. Many millions in gold would the new castle cost which did not worry the king one bit. Because the king, you see, would not have to use any of his own gold. Instead, the gold he needed to construct the new castle, would come from the peasants who worked the land surrounding the old castle. In addition, the king's tax collectors were ordered not to try to collect any taxes from the new castle’s prince. A deal, as the old king said, “That was made in heaven".

The peasants, being the lowliest of individuals, were never even told of the new castle being built next to their homes. This left many of them in fear that their own castle would suffer even more neglect because all of the gold needed to maintain it would be spent in favor of the new castle. In fact, some signs of indifference towards maintaining the current castle was already at hand. One of the two washboards, which the peasants used to wash their pitiful rags, had remained broken for almost three months with no sign of repair in sight. In addition, the ice stream, used to cool the villager’s lukewarm beverages, was dammed up and unusable. 

Steadily, a darkness settled over the fiefdom causing the peasants to become uneasy. Many of them began jousting and fighting with their fellow peasants as well as Sir Yusselot’s Jesters called HHA’s or Haha’s. The poorly compensated Haha’s, wearing maroon colored doublets so as to distinguish them from the ordinary peasants were so underpaid that it was rumored that they would often steal from the peasants just to make ends meet. It is believed that, although the lord of the manor knew of the thefts, no HaHa was ever drawn and quartered or sent to the stocks.

Some of the money would be lent to King Chuck by the notorious Duke of Spano, who held land far and wide and was in league with Chuck and his henchmen. In fact, all that Chuck the Gross had to do was to ask for the money which was quickly forthcoming. 

Only time will tell us if the new castle and its new prince will overshadow the old fiefdom of Yonk or whether the old castle will eventually fall into ruin and collapse. But, even if it does, the peasants will be the last to know.



A “rocking chair” New Year’s Eve at the Asylum

To say that it was an exciting New Year’s Eve here at the Center would be like calling a funeral “A festive occasion”. In fact, the “celebration” was so short lived and so quickly over as to make it almost not worthy of mentioning. I mean, what can you say about a New Year’s Eve party that starts at 7pm and is all but over at 8. 

I finished dinner in the dining room at about 6:15 and decided to go back to my cell instead of hanging around the lobby. I watched TV until seven and then, walked back to the auditorium to check out the “action”.

I found a room packed with residents, all neatly in place in chairs, wheelchairs or Rollators. They where all listening to the entertainment for the evening, which was some guy playing oldies on a keyboard. Since this was not my cup of tea and no food or drink was yet being served, I decided to return to my room and wait until the “real” party got started. 

At 7:55, I walked back to the auditorium thinking that I would be in the middle of a rousing celebration with jovial residents talking and mingling and socializing with each other. What I found was something quite different. 

I was confronted with a sea of residents walking towards me, away from the auditorium. It was eight o’clock and the party was over. I grabbed what was left of the hors d'oeuvres (little, cold pastries stuffed with a mysterious filling) and a plastic champagne glass filled with warm, sparkling apple cider. I wished a couple of lingering residents a “Happy New Year” and trudged back to my room, took off my pants, got into bed and watched the ball drop in silence. All in all, an exciting evening here in the Center.


Many of you know that my pet peeve and most hoped for change here at the Center, is the lack of proprietary transportation for our residents.. Here is reader with a suggestion...

Unfortunately, the volunteerism here is almost non existent. While some of the residents do own cars, they are slow to offer rides to anybody. No one, to my knowledge, has ever just said, “I’m going to the mall, would anybody like to come.”. There seems to be (and perhaps with good cause) some sort of reluctance by residents with cars to offer rides. Call it caution, call it fear of being taken advantage of, I just don’t know. Whether or not outside volunteers are available we may never know. The Center makes no attempt at reaching anybody who might be willing to volunteer. There seems to be an aversion by management to have anybody from the outside come in to help with anything.

The idea of a $5.00 ride is a good one except that most likely it is illegal and would probably void any insurance payout should she get in to an accident. In NYC, we used to call them “Gypsy cabs” and riders rode at their own risk...............ed.


Prices are Rising For Senior Living Properties


(No wonder they’re building a new facility on property they already own.)

The aging of the Baby Boom generation combined with the flood of capital into commercial real estate is driving up the costs of properties that cater to senior living.

Experts say demand for space at senior living centers has been rising thanks in part to improving house prices in many markets, enabling many seniors to sell their homes. Also the economy is strengthening, financing is becoming more available and commercial real estate of all types has become more attractive.

Today’s market “feels very much like 2004,” said Mr. Bernstein in a recent client note. “The availability of capital and leverage is driving it,”....



More on ALF’s

Raise bar on assisted-living standards:

Assisted-living residences are a godsend for many senior citizens and their families.

Assisted-living facilities are a vital part of a continuum of care for senior citizens, especially with the growing theme over the last few decades of trying to keep people as independent as possible for as long as possible. But, as a Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team report explored, there can be problems. At least 24 assisted-living residents in the state’s largest 15 counties died following mistakes or mistreatment by caregivers in 2012 and 2013. At least 94 other residents were hospitalized or treated in emergency rooms for the same reasons.

A number of issues are involved that can lead to these problems. A facility might be sparsely staffed, temporarily or as a matter of course. Staff might not be trained adequately to deal with difficult situations. A facility’s policies might not be adequate. A resident might have needed minimal assistance ....



Many Factors Affect an Assisted Living Facility’s Personal Suitability

Assisted living facilities are designed to provide residents with help with daily activities while allowing them to retain their independence as much as possible. As a person considers moving to an assisted living facility, he or she should thoroughly research the options in order to choose a facility that best meets all needs.

“One of the most important things to consider is what kind of assistance you will need. Cooking, using the restroom, bathing, dressing, and managing medications are common areas of assistance,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center. “And you should be prepared for the changes that you will need if your health declines.”

Continuing care retirement communities are assisted living facilities designed to allow residents to age in place as they come to need more care. Many of these communities have independent living facilities, assisted living facilities and a nursing home all in one location. Other assisted living facilities are free-standing

Learn more


We usually don’t do poetry here, but I though the joint could use a little classing-up for the new year.

This Aging Man

By Lawrence S. Pertillar

Today I didn't turn away,From this aging man staring.

Staring back at me,

With an expression of gratitude.

Today I stopped to say 'Thank you'.

'Thank you', is what I said today.

'Thank you', for being there,

To tolerate experiences I now appreciate.

There had been days,

When I would only glance...

To quickly examine the gray.

And the lines on my face,

That began to trace...

An aging that my felt kept youth,

Could no longer fake a truth.

Each phase of life one is blessed to live,

Welcomes yet another stage of it that fades.


I didn't turn away,

From this aging man staring!

I stayed and examined a reflection of me.

A reflection I suddenly began to feel proud to see.

And congratulated, I did, this aging man.

With a comprehending to understand...

No other way I would rather be.


‘Anti-Aging’ Novartis’ miracle medicine makes progress

For long scientists have been working to find out anti-age medicine. And it appears that their hard work has yielded positive results with reports pointing out that initial baby step towards accomplishing this feat has been achieved.

This is what Novartis Report stated: “Seniors received a significant boost to their immune systems when given a drug that targets a genetic signalling pathway linked to aging and immune function.”

Dr. Nir Barzilai, executive of an Institute for Aging Research during Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, has praised the development. He has termed the examine as a “watershed” impulse for examine into a health effects of aging. The drug Rapamycin famous as mTOR inhibitors has been at the centre of attraction since then.



Disabled veterans and their widows may qualify for additional benefits

By Ted Puntillo

Veteran’s pension is a cash benefit paid to war-time veterans who have limited or no income.

Veterans 65 and older automatically qualify to receive this benefit.

Those under 65 years of age must be permanently and totally disabled.

In addition to the cash benefit, veterans who are more seriously disabled may qualify for Aid and Attendance or Household Benefits, paid in addition to their basic pension rates.

The most common use for this benefit package includes medical care for veterans in non-combat related injuries, such as a stroke or vehicle accident — leaving them permanently disabled. Benefits may also include compensation for an assisted living facility; a popular option for those who are no longer able to care for themselves.

Veterans and widows of veterans considering a transition to an assisted living facility may be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit package....


More on money

Middle class struggles to preserve retirement security

Pamela Yip

It’s no secret that retirement security is eroding for many Americans.

“Half of today’s working-age households are unlikely to have enough resources to maintain their standard of living once they retire,” according to the National Retirement Risk Index, compiled by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.

That conclusion is based on very conservative assumptions, according to the index, which measures the share of working-age American households at risk of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement.

“The only way out of this box is for people to save more and/or work longer,” the center said.

But it’s not that simple.

Too much to top half percent

“It’s easy to put it on people, but at the same time, that money is hemorrhaging to the top half percent,” said Eric Kingson, co-director of Social Security Works, a Washington-based group that supports the expansion and protection of Social Security. “Everyone else is not saving enough when wages haven’t been increasing.”



Promoting Positivity

You’ve heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, right? But what about a positive attitude?

Studies have shown that a positive attitude can protect against poor health later in life. A healthy approach on life can also serve as a powerful antidote to stress and physical pain.

So, we can change our diet to eat healthier foods, exercise more for healthier physical health, and go to bed earlier to change our sleep patterns, but how do you change your attitude or your aging loved one’s mindset? Here are a few tips for promoting positivity:

Adopt a new pet – Owning a pet can actually reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase social and physical activities!

Join a community group – Head over to your local community center and join a new group. Anything from bird watching to painting can increase social activity and give your aging loved one something to look forward to.

Listen to music – Music has a very powerful effect on all of us. Listening to music from your past can actually improve your attitude by generating happy memories.

Encourage your aging loved one to look on the bright side and improve their health and over all wellbeing.

-See more at:

Call me by my name and not ‘old timer’

Gary Calligas

when talking to older people who are 65 and older, what should we call them?

There are many choices: senior citizens, elders, older adults or something else. As I have learned, age is just a number and does not reflect the spirit or the activity of a person.

There are some 40-year-olds who look and act like they are much older, while some in the 70s and 80s look and even act like they are in their 40s. You often hear the term twenty something or thirty something, but I have not heard the term sixty something or seventy something.

So, maybe we should never talk about a person’s age or deem them older and less active as we might perceive them to be.

I recently met a 101-year-old elegant lady who looks like she is only 50 years old and appeared to be very active.


Editor’s note: In case you are at loss for words for what to call old people, here are some prime examples.

Coffin-dodger  (slang)elder, elder statesman, father, gaffer, grandfather, graybeard, O.A.P, old codger,  oldster,   old-timer ,(U.S.)   papa , pops (old-fashioned informal)   patriarch, senior citizen, advanced in years, aged, ancient, decrepit, elderly, full of years, getting on, geezer, gray, gray-haired, grizzled, hoary, mature, over the hill, (informal) past it, past one's prime, patriarchal, senescent, senile, venerable, antediluvian, antiquated, antique, cast-off, cobwebby, crumbling, dated, decayed, done, hackneyed, obsolete, old-fashioned, outdated, outmoded, out of date, out of the ark, (informal)  passé, stale, superannuated, timeworn, unfashionable, unoriginal, worn-out, aboriginal, antique, archaic, bygone, early, immemorial, of old, of yore, olden,(archaic), original, primeval, primitive, primordial, pristine, remote, age-old, experienced, familiar, hardened, long-established, of long standing, practiced, skilled, time-honored, traditional, versed, veteran, vintage, earlier, erstwhile, ex-, former, one-time, previous, quondam.  



Help Seniors Breathe Easier With These Tips For Fighting Respiratory Ailments

By Megan Ray

Why seniors are at risk for respiratory problems

It's true that many older adults are at risk for breathing-related ailments due to chronic conditions. But beyond that, the aging process itself can be a risk factor for respiratory difficulties. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, aging can cause bones to become weaker and more brittle, and muscle tissue can also weaken. This leads to more difficulty expanding or contracting the rib cage as part of the natural breathing process. Additionally, the lung tissue itself can change its shape as a result of age, and in some cases the neurological processes that control respiration can be negatively affected due to illness as well.

Care starts with prevention:

Some conditions that result in respiratory difficulties can be treated with medication or therapy, but in the case of age-related breathing troubles, the best place to start is by creating an atmosphere - literally - that supports healthy breathing. emphasized the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, both for seniors and their caregivers. Preventing the spread of other illnesses can help ensure breathing problems don't persist. Enforce a strict hand-washing policy and encourage a healthy diet as part of your normalsenior care regimen. 


More on health

Ibuprofen is not an anti-aging drug


In laboratory tests, ibuprofen was found to extend the lives of worms and flies by the equivalent of about 12 years in human terms.

Regular doses of ibuprofen could allow people to live up to 12 years longer.

It’s too early to know whether the drug will have the same effect in people, how long it would need to be taken or at what doses, researchers said.

In other words, no one knows if ibuprofen will actually slow down the aging process in humans (but if you have a pet worm…?), or how much would need to be taken over how long a period of time.

So please don’t start taking daily doses of ibuprofen on the off-chance that future (human) research might be more promising.

Although the researchers quoted in the articles state that ibuprofen is “relatively” safe, it is NOT harmless. Overuse or long-term use of ibuprofen can lead to stomach ulcers and kidney damage.


Your Social Security Number

How Can Retirees Keep It Secret When They Carry It Everywhere?


Encouraging seniors to keep close watch over their Social Security numbers, as we did in our last column, opened the floodgates to letters complaining that those numbers are in plain sight on their Medicare cards—and asking why that should be.

“When you reach this old age of 65, all the years you protected your Social Security number are for naught; everything shows your number,” writes Steve H. from Anaheim, Calif. “I figure, at this age, the government believes dementia has already occurred.”

Adds Liz M. of San Antonio: “Could they try any harder to increase the potential vulnerability of the elderly?”

“I find it difficult to comprehend that the personal ID number that we are reminded frequently to keep a secret is now on a card that we need to have on our person frequently,” says Phil O. of Pittsfield, Mass. “You remind readers that a lost or stolen SS number can lead to identity theft, with all the related consequences. The elderly are often targets of scams of numerous variety. Why does the government require us to carry a card with such potential for dire consequences at a point in our lives when we are becoming more vulnerable?

“Is there a way to deal with this issue?”....


More on security

Postal Service must combat change of address fraud

 Melanie Payne

Criminals are using the U.S. Postal Service's antiquated method of changing addresses to commit fraud.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service says this is uncommon. And because it takes 10 days for a piece of mail to be rerouted, the validation program—where the addressee gets a letter at the old address asking them to contact the post office if they didn't make the change—works to thwart criminal activity.

Tell that to John Berry who is still dealing with the identity theft problems this caused.

Berry, 81, lives in Cape Coral. His wife, Lois, is in an assisted living facility.....


Boomers turn to online tools for health-care needs


According to Forrester Research, 82 percent of all boomers – about 63 million people – regularly use the Internet. That’s about equal to the population of the United Kingdom, and that group spends major amounts on technology.

Most online boomers regularly use a laptop, and within the younger half of this Internet-connected group, more than 40 percent own a smartphone, Forrester reports. A 2012 Nielsen report said boomers made up 41 percent of Apple computer purchasers.

Recognizing the needs and potential of such a huge market, companies are developing a variety of health-related technologies geared toward the needs of people in their 50s and 60s. Some of the technologies are aimed at the baby boomers themselves and others at helping people like Rubin care for aging parents.

“There’s a massive market opportunity for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to build companies that proactively address the needs of baby boomers as they age,” said Kelsey Cole, director of Koa Labs, a shared working space for startups in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great: Grandparents and Grandchildren Share Their Stories of Love and Wisdom 

Grandparents and grandchildren will enjoy Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grand and Great with its 101 stories written by grandparents about their grandchildren and by grateful grandchildren about their grandparents.

A parent becomes a new person the day the first grandchild is born. Formerly serious adults become grandparents who dote on their grandchildren and find new delight in life. This new book includes the best stories on being a grandparent from Chicken Soup for the Soul’s library. Everyone can understand the special ties between grandparents and grandchildren -- the unlimited love, the mutual ...


Senior Citizens, Not Hispanics, Are ‘Fastest-Growing Demographic’

by Josh Feldman

Fox’s Brit Hume gave a piece of commentary tonight that argued it’s not Hispanics that make up “the fastest-growing demographic” in the U.S. it’s senior citizens. And this is a group that the Republicans won handily last week and in the last few election cycles.

Hume brought up economic stagnation to suggest that’s why seniors are trending Republican. And that’s a problem for Democrats because, Hume explained, “It is senior citizens, not Hispanics, who are the fastest-growing demographic in the country. Mr. Obama and his party, it seems, needs a better sales job.”

Hume backed up this argument by saying Hispanics may be the fastest-growing ethnic group, but their size and percentage of the electorate is still dwarfed by the 65-and-over crowd.



The Surprising Way Your Screen Obsession May Be Aging You Prematurely

By Jamie Cuccinelli

About a month ago, we mentioned that all that time you spend with your head bent over your iPhone or laptop could permanently mess with your posture and contribute to lower back problems and neck pain. If that wasn't enough to get you to turn off your tech, you've got some premature neck creases and a slacking jawline to look forward to. Awesome. Net-A-Porter's magazine, The Edit, recently reported on the phenomenon of "tech neck," a slew of slack jawlines due to our obsessive use of technology -- aka my newest beauty fear.

According to facial expert Sarah Chapman, the hundreds of minutes we spend staring at tiny screens per day (yup, per day...) can lead to jowls and premature aging of the neck and jawline. "We spend around 411 minutes a day looking at screens -- that's a lot of time spent with your chin tucked under and your face tilted at a 45潞 angle," says Chapman. "It's inevitably going to take its toll, causing slackening around the neck and deep skin creases." Well, this sucks...




Eureka Times-Standard

 For those dedicated souls who wish to enter next year without regret about having "blown it" during the last two months of the year, here are several strategies to navigate your way to a new you in the new year.


Be "sparklingly clear" about what your definition of success looks like. How will you know you've arrived if you don't know what it looks like when you're there? It's true the result might look different than expected. However, one doesn't begin a trip without at least an idea about where he's going.

Describe success in as much depth as you can. Use numbers whenever possible while also focusing on the feelings that will result from your hard work. Use concrete descriptions in defining your goals.

Instead of "I will lose weight," try (for example) "I will wear a perfect size 10 comfortably by Jan. 15."


Small steps done regularly will always generate more results than large steps done intermittently. In other words, it's better to walk a block and really do it than to swear you'll run a mile and never get around to it.

If after saying, "I will do (whatever)," you're not 100 percent, absolutely, dead-on totally confident that you really will do that, then that goal is too large. Make it small enough so that you have no excuse to not do it.

By the way, a good indicator is that if your inner critic is telling you you're not doing enough, you're probably on track.


Just because the road has bumps doesn't mean it's not the correct road.

Difficult times don't throw us off; it's mistakenly believing that we wouldn't have difficult times that throws us for a loop. If we think it's a straight shot from here to there, when we do hit a barrier we think, "It's all over! I've lost my mojo." Expect that there will be difficult times — and also expect, just like you would with an important relationship, that you'll work through it.


Last Monday’s dinner was the same as one would get in any Junior High School cafeteria, prison dining hall, or Bowery soup kitchen. However, we are bot 7th graders, inmates or homeless. We are Senior Citizens who deserve the respect of the people we pay to take care of us. Serving this poor quality, cheap, crappy food is just another way of how this facility does not care one iota about how or what we eat. Eating this crappy, out-of-the-box, reheated frozen food is not cooking. And if it’s not cooked, what the hell do we nee a kitchen for. Just give us the number of the local take-out joint. We’d all be better off. 

Oh, and by the way, the rice sucked too!


I Am Not Giving Up

I have not slackened off on my desire for a full cup of soup.

I would rather have a full cup of soup than that crappy, tasteless rice, underseasoned chicken fingers, overcooked meatballs and skimpy salads that often pass for lunch here at the Center.  I, and every resident here deserves a full cup of soup.


Mini bagels make an unwelcome comeback

Diners at Sunday morning's breakfast were disheartened to find that the much hated mini bagels, once a staple on Sunday, had once again reared its diminutive head and found their way to our plates. And, even though my motto is "I have never met a bagel I didn't like", these small, cold, burned leftovers from New Year's Day continental breakfast, were hard to swallow (pun intended).

Never mind the fact that I will probably need dental work after trying to bite into one of these leftovers from the stone age, The very fact that they would serve them to us is enough cause for consternation. This, together with the 1/2 cup of soup, makes me wonder in what direction this facility is heading.


Wait a minute, am I reading what I think I’m reading. Is this a license to kill?

Clients Can Buy No Medical Exam Term Life Insurance For Their Aging Parents! has released a new blog post explaining how to buy no medical exam life insurance for aging parents.

Clients can now purchase a life insurance policy for their aging parents. No medical exam life insurance is one of the simplest plans available. Qualifying for coverage can be done online, in just a few minutes.

Purchasing life insurance for aging parents has become more popular because funeral expenses have increased. The premiums will be calculated based on the insured's health and age. This can make the plan more expensive as senior citizens are considered riskier to insure.

The newly released blog post provides more details about purchasing life insurance for aging parents. Clients should review their options before choosing a plan...


McDonald’s Vs. Elderly Koreans In Queens, New York: Culture Clash Or A Lesson in Customer Etiquette?

By  Palash Ghosh

A minor dispute between a group of elderly Korean immigrants in the New York City borough of Queens and the local owner of a well-known fast food establishment revealed some cultural fissures that would otherwise have gone unnoticed in the huge metropolis. A group of senior citizen Koreans in Flushing, a heavily Asian neighborhood in northwestern Queens, have long annoyed the proprietor and employees of a McDonald’s restaurant at the corner of Northern and Parsons Boulevard by ordering only coffee or fries and spending hours in their seats -- thereby making it impossible for other diners (who bought hamburgers and other meals) -- to sit in booths in the eatery.

The issue became so heated that the managers often called the police or 911 to forcibly remove the elderly Koreans, sparking outrage among some quarters of the immigrant community, citing that in Asian culture, the elderly are respected and highly valued.



Contact and Comment

I love reading blogs and stories written by older folks. They are usually filled with wisdom, humor and self degradation. After all, if you can’t laugh at old age, the only alternative is to give in to it and who the f--k wants to do that. 

Old age, for me, did not set in until about five years ago when I, (because of an illness) was forced to live in a nursing home. And, while there are other people in nursing homes besides old people, the majority of people are old. Some very, very old and on their way out. And, since there are so many old folks in nursing homes, the staff finds it easier to treat everyone like they were 85 and dying, rather than trying to customize a care plan for each individual. Therefore, during my stay in just such an institution, I learned how to be old even though I was just 64 and not even eligible for Medicare. I learned how to accept help from others. Something that I think most people find difficult to do if not downright abhorant to ones usual way of living. I accepted the fact that any dignity (or modesty) I had left was quickly washed away immediately after I was given a shower by a female aid who had no compunction about washing my naughty bits. Between the showers I was given a “sponge” bath. This was, at times, a group activity witnessed by a plethora of nursing aides in training who were taking meticulous notes on how to wash an old person. Dressing in the morning was a spectator sport. This was usually witnessed by anyone who happened to walk by my wide open door. I had to beg them to close the door and draw the curtain while I was dressing. After a while, I gave in and did not care anymore. I had successfully completed my first lesson on how to be old. Losing one’s prudery 101.

The nursing home became a sort of “The University of the Elderly”. As the weeks and months dragged on, my lessons in agedness continued. I learned how to eat like an old person. I learned that any food that required any cutting or slicing was something old people did not do. Also, any foods that were seasoned beyond that of a jar of Gerber Baby Foods was not good for old people. It made no difference if you were used to salty, spicy, peppery, garlicky or oniony foods all of your life. You are old now and you can't have them anymore. Lesson number 2. “You will never eat a decent meal again in your life”. 

The old folks university does not end there. There are other prerequisites to be learned before you can go on to the elective subjects like “How to be a curmudgeon”, “How to dress your age with mismatched clothes” and “Opening childproof medicine containers”. One of the most important prerequisites will prepare the older person for a life lesson that will be the foundation with which you will live the rest of your life. “How to resist punching a person in the nose when they start talking to you as if you were a child.” You can substitute “as if you were retarded” for “child”.

For a while, I was confined to a wheelchair. This brought about an additional set of learning experiences. I found that those people in wheelchairs are not only spoken to as if they were retarded, they are also spoken to as if they were deaf. I remember once, when I was getting into one of the elevators, a visitor who appeared to be older than me, asked, in a very slow, metered, overly loud voice “WHAT FLOOR ARE YOU GOING TO” and prepared to push the button for me even though there was nothing wrong with my hands or fingers. Not only was I recognized as slow witted and deaf, but as a helpless invalid as well. Lesson number 3. “Old people in wheelchairs are perceived as not being able to do anything”. I could go on and on. 

Besides the food, the clothes and the being talked down to, there are the endless doctors, treatments, illnesses (real and otherwise) the stream of pills that never seem to end for conditions that never seem to go away. All just part of the aging experience learned in nursing homes. However, if you survive the “initiation” period and leave the home you will be well prepared for graduate school, better known as assisted living. Assisted living is like an internship. It is the kind of education you can only get through actually learning to fight the forces of evil. Up until now, all that has been thrown at you was in preparation for how to live the rest of your life with a modicum of dignity. And the only way to do this is to fight the bastards every inch of the way. This is all too much to get into at this time. It’s best left for a seminar rather than a post graduate course. 

You will eventually graduate from Elder U. Your sheepskin will be a death certificate and your cap and gown a shroud. But let me leave you with this. "Always remember that you are, and have always been, an individual. You have managed to make it this far (for some of you very far indeed) and you evidently know what you are doing and what is best for you. And, while there may come a time when your memory fails you and your body protests at every move you make, never, ever let them win.”

Chalk up one for the old dudes

Senior Citizens Tackle Would-Be Purse Snatcher To The Ground

A group of Florida senior citizens fought back against a would-be robber who was trying to purse snatch from one of their own.

On Christmas Day, Larry Kent Jr., 45, allegedly tried to steal the purse of a 68-year-old woman outside Buffet City restaurant in Winter Haven, Florida.

The attempted purse snatching did not go as Kent planned.

The woman would not let her purse go and began screaming while Kent dragged her 15 feet across the parking lot.聽That is when two of her senior friends, ages 73 and 66, tackled Kent, keeping him pinned to the ground until police arrived, reports.

After shouting that Kent had a gun, another man, age 67, ran over and helped keep Kent restrained while one of the friends grabbed his weapon.

"His legs were kicking this that and the other, so I grabbed his legs so he wouldn't kick the others," said Pat Cameron.

 didn't care that he had a gun, I just wanted to help them out, Cameron said.


A New Year

As I do every year, in a futile attempt to improve conditions around here, I write my wish list in the hopes that someone in authority is listening. However, as in years past, little or nothing is ever done. They say that a true crazy person is somebody that keeps doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome each time. To that I say @#%$&.


I have a secret Santa

Being a person who neither receives or gives Christmas gifts, I was surprised when a small package was left for me with one of the staff. It was a small bag decorated with the symbols of the holiday season suggesting that there may be some kind of bounty inside.

Not wanting to embarrass myself in front of my fellow residents, who did not appear to have gifts of their own, I waited until I was in the privacy of my humble abode before opening, what I believed to be something of great value considering the way it was so carefully wrapped in the most silvery of aluminum foil. And, indeed, it was something of great value. Not so much for its intrinsic worth, but rather for its rarity. For, you see, the contents was not some gold trinket from Tiffany’s or or a Cashmere scarf from Ralph Lauren. No, it was something much more rare and scarce. Something rarely, if ever, seen on a day other than Sunday. It was a bagel schmeared with its traditional companion, cream cheese. Thank you secret Santa. If you tell me who you are I have a lovely can of Bumble Bee tuna waiting for you.


Miss Smokey is still at it

I spotted, once again, Miss Smokey Pants cowering in the corner, directly outside our main entrance, happily puffing away on a cigarette in complete disregard of the no smoking rules of the Center. However, what is even more disturbing is the way the management of the Center has decided to completely turn their head the other way and not confront these residents who continue to smoke in places other than the facilities smoking area. I wonder what is going to happen when there are a possible 200 more smokers on the grounds. How knee deep in cigarette butts will we have to be until they put a ban on smoking altogether.


Seniors need to be ready for winter's challenges

John Benson

"Wintertime presents unique challenges for everyone, but as we age, it's important to recognize our physical abilities change,Our ability to deal with extreme cold temperature, for example, may not be as it was when we were younger. We have a harder time doing that.”

"Things that older adults can do to reduce falls is just to be mindful of their abilities and don't go out in bad conditions if you don't have to, Just stay active and exercise to keep your strength and balance up."

"All of us as individuals have our pride. Independence is very important to us as Americans. And anytime that we find ourselves having to seek and accept help from others can be seen internally as we're losing some of our independence. We should not view this as a negative thing.”



What the Future Holds for Assisted Living

“As with health care, senior services face an environment of enormous disruption. Some providers will embrace it,” he writes. “Others will be destroyed. For consumers, it might mean more choices and a better quality of life.”

Assisted living is changing, and fast, writes Forbes columnist Howard Gleckman in an article published this week. Residents are changing, their needs are changing, and the services they require may not longer fit the hybrid model they have assumed somewhere between independent living and nursing home care. 

“As nursing homes abandon the long-stay business for more lucrative post-acute and rehabilitation patients, Baby Boomers will need an alternative,” he writes. “But not today’s ALFs. What will assisted living look like in 2020?”

The answer presented by Forbes is four-pronged: fewer operators, better integration

 with medical providers, person-centered care, and “fewer heads in beds.” 

“The old business model was based on filling rooms,” Forbes writes. “The new one may focus on virtual assisted living that delivers services to people living in the community rather than in its buildings....



What lighting is best for aging eyes?

As you age you require more lighting to see

Lighting becomes more important as people age. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), with each passing year, everyone requires more light to see properly.

Terry McGowan, director of engineering for the ALA, says, "Older eyes experience two important changes."

First, the amount of light required to sustain visual performance increases with age. Research shows that a 60-year-old needs twice as much light as a 30-year-old.

Second, with time, human eyes become more sensitive to glare. This can seem like a bit of a Catch-22, as more light can often result in increased glare. That's what makes the quality of light more important as you grow older.

With many baby boomers reaching their mid-60s, homeowners should consider user age as a factor in their home lighting design. It is easy to enhance the visual performance and enjoyment for baby boomers and older folks with a few simple lighting adjustments:

* Turn on one or two table lamps while watching TV to reduce the contrast between the bright screen and the surrounding darkness.

* Use a torchiere for uplighting as well as downward illumination for versatility. Look for a fixture with a separate task light attached or one with a glass bowl at the top to shine some light downward.

* Have a task light that can be directed or pivoted...



Did you skip your meds? Half of us do and face big risks

Seniors face complex medication compliance issues when they are managing several health conditions.


Not using a medication as directed extends to many adults and illnesses. Only about half of adult patients take their medication as directed, a 2013 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

Nearly 75 percent of those 65 and older face at least one chronic illness and nearly half have two, the U.S. Health and Human Services department reports. About 40 percent of seniors take five or more medications a day. Keeping track of how and when to take each drug is confusing for many. For some, following a doctor’s orders and even affording prescriptions puts their health at risk, most commonly for hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular ailments.

Forgetfulness is a common cause for missed meds. Others skip their meds because they have other priorities,



Intermittent Fasting Supercharges Weight Loss, Has Anti-Aging Health Benefits

Intermittent fasting is better for weight loss than regular, linear dieting, according to a new study.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego said their

 research suggests intermittent fasting (where you alternate between periods of normal eating followed by brief periods of fasting), can fight obesity and accelerate weight loss.

What’s more, studies suggest intermittent fasting can also prevent disease and slow down aging. “Fasting alone is more powerful in preventing and reversing some diseases than drugs,” said Satchidananda Panda, an associate professor at the Salk Institute...



Osteoarthritis: Is It Really a Natural Part of Aging?

By Dr. Sabrina Chen-See

Osteoarthritis, or pain from degenerating joints, is so prevalent among seniors and older adults that it is assumed to be an unavoidable part of aging.

However, these pains can occur in the neck, back, knees, hips, fingers, or shoulders and show up in middle-aged or young adults and even teenagers.

It did for me. As a child, I was a very active tomboy. I enjoyed life. I started competitive running in grade three, played lots of soccer, and by the time I was 13 I already had pain and swelling in my knees.

The pain would flare up if I was cold or wet. I described the pain to my mother and she said it sounded like rheumatism, like what old people have, but it couldn鈥檛 be because I was too young for that....



Dick Van Dyke Sets Memoir on Aging for 90th Birthday

Dick Van Dyke has signed to write Keep Moving: And Other Tips About Old Age, about his approach to growing old, publisher Weinstein Books announced. Publication is scheduled for Fall 2015 to coincide with the actor 90th birthday on Dec. 13. 2015.

"I not going to sugarcoat anything," said Van Dyke in a statement. "Yes, your knees do hurt, your hair thins, you lose loved ones, and your memory can act like a friend who doesn’t answer the phone. But I’m going to assure people that there is a beautiful life waiting for you. There is no reason to feel bad about getting old if you do it right. Just keep moving."



How old is too old? Two ethicists debate quality of life as we age


How is this for a headline sure to catch your attention: "Why I hope to Die at 75." It was the title of an opinion piece written earlier this year for The Atlantic by Zeke Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. In it, Emanuel lays out the reasons why he thinks 75 is old enough. He's not talking about ending his life at that age, but says he believes that's the perfect age to go. Obviously, this article got a lot of response.

Unrelated, but around the same time, Jason Karlawish, a geriatrician, and professor of medical ethics and health policy at U Penn wrote a piece for the New York Times titled: "Too Young to Die, Too Old to Worry" which describes how singer Leonard Cohen said he would start up smoking again at age 80. Karlawish uses this as a way to discuss risk reduction versus enjoyment of life, and quality of life in old age.

Two interesting takes on the issue of aging, and what quality of life means - so we brought the two ethicists together for a discussion on this topic - which got quite heated at times.....



Seniors' Aging Brains Find Ways to Stay Financially Sharp

Study reveals that as the mind ages, knowledge gained over a lifetime makes all the difference

By Randy Dotinga

New research suggests that decades of financial experience help seniors stay smart about money matters, despite the mental declines that come with age.

It all has to do with the various ways the brain handles financial issues, expla

ined study lead author Ye Li, an assistant professor of management and marketing at the University of California, Riverside.

"Two different types of intelligence provide separate pathways to good financial decisions," he said. "One relies on 'active thinking' that declines with age, and one relies on expertise and knowledge that improves with age."

It's perfectly normal for various elements of brainpower to decline with advancing years, added clinical neuropsychologist Daniel Marson, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Marson, who was not involved in the new study, said that short-term memory, thinking speed and "the ability to manipulate multiple sources of information," also known as mental "multitasking," can all falter with age.

Deficits in these areas would "presumably affect a person's ability to make financial decisions," he said, while diseases like Alzheimer's would make things worse.

More ...

   More on money

Aging And Household Spending Conducive To Simple Life

Good news for aging into simple living - it is a natural progression to reduce the amount of shopping you do the older you get. You really aren't getting older - you are getting better. Better at living simply.

Generally household spending peaks between the ages of 45 and 50, and then falls in most every category, dropping about 43% by the age of 75. See? Just by following the natural way of things you will live 43% more simply by age 75 than you were at age 45.

Inquiring minds will want to know why this is. Do we get wiser starting at age 45? Are we more content with what we have? Why slow down the spending after a life of binge shopping?

Whatever the cause, it looks like most people will slowly slip into the simple life whether a conscious decision or not.

Tired of spending hoards of cash on things you don't need? Not to worry - aging will take care of that. Not to say one can't start spending less earlier...



What Happens to Your Social Security Number When You Die

Since 1935, the Social Security Administration has been issuing numbers to permanent residents of the United States. Nine simple digits distinguish each American from his or her fellow residents. Today, assigned randomly and never recycled, a social security number is as unique an identifier as your fingerprints. (Although, in the past, duplicates are known to have been issued accidentally.)

Early on, SSNs were issued through the states, and the first three digits designated the state where the person obtained the number; some states had more than one number, and this continued through 1972. Beginning in 1973, the numbers and cards were issued centrally, from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in Baltimore, MD, with the first three digits being assigned based on the zip code included on the application. Most people can verify that their number coincides with the place where they obtained their number. There is a general east to west pattern, although not perfect, in the assignment of the first three digits, with several exceptions. For example, New Hampshire is 001-003, Maine is 004-007 and Hawaii is 575-576. Places that fall even further out of the pattern include D.C. (575-576), Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (580-584, 596, 599), and Mississippi and Florida (both received 587-589 and 595 after they exhausted their initial assignments.

The remaining digits of the social security number have little significance, other than as a unique identifier. The second two digits were initially designed to be the holder's date of birth, but this was quickly abandoned in place of using those as a group number to ensure the accuracy of the issuing process. The last four digits are simply a serial number.

This all changed in June of 2011. In order to help protect the integrity of SSNs and to address the problem of insufficient new numbers in some states, the SSA stopped issuing numbers based on location in lieu of a system of "randomization" that included the following changes:

To date, 450+ million SSNs have been issued, but with just under 1 billion possible number combinations, there has never been a need to recycle numbers, and the SSA notes that it does "not reassign a Social Security number (SSN) after the number holder's death." Of course, at some point the numbers will run out and some change will need made to keep up that policy, perhaps adding a digit. But, for now, the answer to "What happens to your SSN when you die?" is absolutely nothing. It remains yours.....



America's Senior Citizens Rank Dead Last Among Developed Nations in This Category

By Sean Williams

The Commonwealth Fund's study found that senior citizens in the U.S. were the mostly likely to have trouble meeting their medical bills. In the U.S., 11% of seniors noted difficulty in keeping up with medical costs. Comparatively, just 1% of respondents in Norway and Sweden noted an inability to keep up with their medical bills.

Expounding on the first point, close to one-in-five American seniors noted that they'd put off medical care because of out-of-pocket costs. This was nearly double the second-highest country, New Zealand, and more than 500% higher than France, where just 3% of respondents admitted to holding off on medical treatment because of cost.

American seniors also ranked with residents of Canada, Sweden, and Norway for being the least likely to be able to get in to see their primary care physician on the same day or the following day when sick. In the U.S. just 57% of study participants admitted to being seen the same day or the following day if sick.



You know it would not be New Years if Foodie did not come up with his year end review of everything culinary here at the Center. So without further ado, here goes...

Generally, I think that the food served here has improved, not by leaps and bounds, but by small, carefully taken baby steps. While there has not been any one significant new item that I would call spectacular, there have been some triumphs. One was the introduction of hot open sandwiches which, it appears, they have finally gotten right. Another Item that I think the kitchen has done well is the soups. Except for a few duds (like lentil soup with hot dogs and potato soup that tastes like a bowl of watery mashed potatoes) most of the soups are very good. I would like to see a couple of new soups added such as cabbage soup and a real French onion soup (with cheese and a crouton). And, speaking of cabbage, what happened to the stuffed cabbage we used to have?

There are some items I would like to see added to the menu. These would include more Mexican type dishes and more stir fried items. I would also like to be able to have a soft tortilla instead of toast with my meals. This would enable those of us who would like a “wrap” to be able to make our own at the table.

Unfortunately, some of the old grievances remain. I still think that most of the food is under-seasoned. Things don’t have to be spicy to be good, just well seasoned. The chili made here is bland and boring with hardly any chili flavor. The meat loaf is almost devoid of any of the traditional meatloaf seasonings. Most of the baked chicken dishes could use a heavier dose of sage, rosemary and thyme as well a much more garlic. In fact, the absence of garlic in most dishes is very noticeable especially in the sauces used in Italian style dishes. And, while we are on the subject of garlic, how about some nice hot garlic bread with dinner once and a while. Considering that our chef is of Italian heritage, I would have expected a better understanding of things such as meatballs which have the taste and consistency of a golf ball. BTW, a meatball Parmesan hero sandwich does not mean a meatball sandwich that we have to sprinkle Parmesan cheese from a jar over. How about a real slice of cheese melted on top. Gee whiz, if you are going to do something, do it right for god’s sake. And speaking of doing it right, let us not forget deserts.

Desserts have always been a problem here. Some of the time, the desserts listed on the menu don’t even exist or they run out. Most of the cakes are dry and the assortment of pies has dwindled down to just one, apple. While I still consider two cookies on a plate, not a real desert, at least they could be decent chocolate chip cookies instead of poorly made factory produced ones or packaged Oreo’s.

There are other problems with the food that I know will never be corrected unless we can get the DOH to un-clench their anal retentive bottoms and realize that human beings have to eat this food. These include the over-cooking of foods that should not be over-cooked like eggs, and burgers and roast beef. I live and pray for the day when I can have a poached egg or a juicy, medium hamburger. Residents of assisted living facilities are the only people in NY State that are not permitted to eat food that is not cooked to death. 

Additionally, as I have done every year since I have been here and with every chef we have had. I ask that the amounts of carbohydrate loaded side dishes be reduced in favor of more protein. There is much too much rice, pasta, and potatoes being served here. Finally, as I say every year, all I want is the food to be as good as that served in any diner in New Jersey. Or is that setting the bar too high?


I got the hots for this H. O. R. B. S.*

(*hot open roast beef sandwich)

I cannot heap enough praise on the hot open roast beef sandwich I was served for lunch last Friday. Finally, they got it right, and by right I mean not cooked to death, and with plenty of hot gravy. 

I could see that something was different about this sandwich as soon as I saw it. The beef had a pinkish hue in the middle of each slice. This told me that this roast beef was not cooked here. Because, if it were, it would be all brown and dry. Therefore, my hat is off to Boar’s Head or whoever made this RB, they done it right. Another thing done right was the portion size which finally did not make mockery of the appetites of some of our residents. Lastly, the gravy which covered the entire sandwich and soaked into the bread beneath. This is why this meal deserves a four-foodie rating.


A place where Thanksgiving never ends

Christmas day, and once again we are treated to a traditional Christmas day meal. Unfortunately, it is what serves, not only as Christmas meal, but a Thanksgiving meal, a New Year’s meal, a Mother’s Day, a Monday meal, a Tuesday meal... oh well, you get my point. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like turkey with all the trimmings as much as the next guy. After all, along with the cheese burgers and General Tso’s chicken, it’s our national dish. However, even with all of its patriotic acumen, I don’t think we should have to eat it every damn time the kitchen runs out of time. And, while it's true that old folk’s memories are not as sharp as they used to be, we can still remember the last time we had turkey with stuffing and sweet potatoes. IT WAS LAST WEEK.

The Link Between Immigration And Elder Care

One aspect of the immigration debate that is seldom discussed is that we need foreign labor in order to create an ample supply of young, able and willing people here to care for our growing elderly population.

Immigration reform alone is not a complete answer, of course. The complicated bureaucracy attendant on hiring home health aides also needs to be addressed. We should make it simpler and cheaper for families to hire the help they need.

Home health workers are not a one-size-fits-all solution. There will always be good assisted living facilities, and people who want to live in them. But in an institution or at home, one of the biggest challenges of caring for aging parents is keeping them safe from falls. If immigration reform helps get us there, it is one more point in its favor.....



The following information is primarily for folks living independently, in New York City and in their own apartments. However, there may be similar programs where you live. 

Many leases come due during January, and if you live in a rent stabilized apartment in NYC, chances are you will be paying more. And, when your lease comes due again in two or three years, you can expect another increase. Unfortunately, our fixed incomes don’t keep up with the 7 to 14% rent increases. That’s why the “SCRIE” program was invented. ....

Lawmaker says many senior citizens are missing a chance to apply for a rent freeze


Assemblyman Ron Kim said the state's SCRIE program can help seniors

 avoid rent increases. But too many people aren't applying. He is hosting a free workshop on Oct. 10 with the Legal Aid Society to help people apply.

Applicants must be at least 62 years old and live in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled unit or another qualifying rental or co-op apartment. Tenants who meet those guidelines and pay rent of at least one-third of their family income can have their rent frozen....




Contact and Comments

200 more residents to be added to the Center

Can management handle it?

Last week’s breaking news headline was a shocker for many of the residents here at the Westchester Center. An article in a local Westchester newspaper proclaimed that the corporation that owns and operates our facility has approached the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency (the same agency that funded our present facility back in 2011) asking for a loan of 24 million dollars to expand the present facility with the addition of a new building for 200 residents. The new facility will be constructed on a piece of underutilized property across the parking area from the present main building and will house (as it does now) mostly residents on fixed incomes. Taken at face value, this seems like a good idea. After all, there is a clear need for senior housing for people who do not need nursing home care but do need some amount of assistance to cope with their daily needs. And, while I am not opposed to such a project, and I am certainly in favor of adding an additional 110 jobs to the Yonkers tax base, my reluctance to approve of this funding lies not in its implementation, but with the people who are asking for the money. The present owners of the facility I now live in. 

As it exists now, the facility (due to a very aggressive marketing scheme) is nearing its capacity of 195 residents. Unfortunately, management has not proved its ability to properly handle and maintain the present situation which has put a noticeable strain on this facilities resources. How, therefore, will they be able to handle an additional 200 people if they are having difficulty with half that number. When I first came here back in 2012, there were only 85 residents. The place, as one would expect, ran like a jewel. Maintenance tasks were quickly accomplished. The home health aides responded almost immediately to the call bells which signaled that a resident needed assistance. In fact, the entire staff, including the administrator at the time, would fall over backwards in their attempts to be of service. The facility remained, for a time, at less than its planned capacity of 195 residents. It was not until they aggressively began a marketing campaign to attract and admit new residents did things start to go down hill.

Gradually, over the following months, the facility census grew until there were 120 or 130 residents present. Even with this slight increase, the Center was able to maintain a certain level of service. Unfortunately, as the marketing became more aggressive in its attempt to fill all of those empty beds, it became quite apparent that the Center was not equipped to handle, not only the increased number of new residents, but the kinds of new residents that were being admitted.

This was supposed to be a facility where people with various disabilities would be able to receive a minimum amount of care. This included help with showering and dressing as well as being provided with housekeeping duties and, of course, meals and medications. This was never intended to be a place for very sick people with life threatening illnesses. This was also never intended to be a place where people with obvious dementia and cognitive disorders could be taken care of. And it most certainly was not intended to be a place where people with Alzheimer’s should be housed. And yet, that is exactly what this place has become. A dumping ground for those whose relatives can no longer take care of them in a home setting, but are not so far gone as to need a nursing home or some other institutional environments. And in that, lies the problem. The management of the Center has taken on a responsibility for which they have no business doing and no skill at performing. Simply put, the staff and the physical plant are not equipped to deal with these people. And yet, they want to build an additional facility which, undoubtedly, will be admitting more and more of the same people who have special needs.

To show how incapable the management is at handling what is now approaching almost 100% occupancy, I offer these examples.

  • As a result of overcrowding, dining is divided into two sections with at least half of the residents forced to eat dinner as early as 4:30 in the afternoon. And, while we are on the subject of food, it has become quite obvious that the amount of money budgeted for food has been scaled back to a point where only the most basic nutritional needs are being met. No "gourmet" food here.

  • While emergency repairs are usually handled in a timely manner, the facility looks worn and dreary and in need of cleaning. The elevator floors are filthy. Peeling paint in many of the rooms and a carpet in need of a good shampoo is among the items neglected as the place becomes more crowded.

  • Crowded office and long waiting time for in-house doctor.

  •  Free or low cost transportation to and from malls and shopping is limited to only a small number of residents at a time. 

  • Unresponsive management. Question and concerns often take weeks, if ever, to be resolved.

  • Non transparency. Residents are NEVER consulted on, or even informed when policy changes or new regulations are implemented. The residents are ALWAYS the last to know when any drastic changes to the facility and or its residents are made. Residents, and much of the staff, only learned of this proposal to add 200 more residents, because of an article in the local paper. 

The big sign over the transom covering the main entrance to the building bids all “Welcome Home”. And yet, management operates this facility in such a manner as to make one feel quite the opposite of “home”. The very fact that they are planning to have a number of rooms that will house more than one person shows that they have learned nothing from their experiences with the present operation. The bottom line is this. Until they can get their act together and run their present facility as a modern, forward thinking, resident considerate residence instead of the medieval fiefdom it is now, the YIDA should give great thought about lending this corporation as much as a dime.


As I was writing this editorial, this news story came across my desk. It appears, for all practical purposes, that this is already a done deal. Here is a quote from that story...

“There’s nothing like repeating a success story,” said Mayor Mike Spano, chairman of the city IDA board, in a press release. “The Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living provides an affordable home for so many senior citizens, yet there is still demand for more. We are glad to help it meet that demand.”


Requiem for an ice machine

This shiny, stainless steel thing is supposed to be a combination water cooler/ice dispenser. In reality it is a stainless steel monolith whose ice dispensing properties have long since vanished, along with one of our washing machines, into the nether regions of the great un-repaired. At the time of this writing this machine (the only one on the premises set aside for the use of the residents) has been on the fritz. Although it still dispenses water, it no longer has the ability to make it cold. The machine has been in this non-working condition for almost three weeks with no relief in sight. We imagine that maintenance is waiting for some part or another. Unfortunately, what we need is a new machine. Considering that most of the beverages served here are served at room temperature, the need for a dependable source of ice becomes even more important. We urge the Center to stop fooling around trying to repair what is obviously a faulty machine and shell out for a new one.


A gift from Medwiz

The residents of the W. Center would like to formally thank the Medwiz Pharmacy(the Center’s primary supplier of prescription medications) for their more than generous gifts. The water bottle, beautifully decorated with advertising from various companies such as Tootsie Roll and Topps Baseball cards proves how much Medwiz appreciates our business. And, although no gift can really express their gratitude, giving us a job lot piece of crap certainly makes up for the four or five thousand dollars a year worth of business each resident is responsible for.


90 days and out

New rules to protect elderly opposed

Critics assert rules may limit choices

Kay Lazar

A push to strengthen protections for elderly residents of assisted living facilities may instead end up limiting their choices, industry leaders warned Tuesday.

The proposed rules, issued by Massachusetts officials, may also curtail future public input in the regulatory process governing the residences, industry leaders said.

The rregulations would prohibit assisted living residences from accepting residents so frail they need months of skilled nursing care. Regulators detailed their proposals Tuesday at a meeting of the Assisted Living Advisory Council, an appointed board of industry leaders and consumer representatives.

Facilities could not accept residents, or allow them to remain in the facility, if the residents require more than 90 consecutive days of skilled nursing care, under rules proposed by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, which is charged with overseeing assisted living residences.


Editor’s note: After reading this article, I decided to check what the rules are here in New York State by asking my primary source for all rules pertaining to ALF’s. Here is what she said...

“If you are in the hospital more than 90 days they do not have to hold your bed. DOH regs.If you come here needing skilled nursing they should not admit you. But you can see that they play fast and loose with that reg. Just take a look around you. I know you can tell who belongs here and who does not.

There are ALFs where you can age in place. All they need is the proper certification. Enhanced assisted living and special needs assisted living. WC does not have these certifications, and probably never will. Money comes into the equation, as both cost more money per month.

Sadly I don't know of any ALF where you can age in place that does not cost out of pocket cash and plenty of it.”


New Medicaid rule could halt shift from nursing homes

By Christine Vestal

For more than 30 years, states have been finding new ways to care for aged and disabled Medicaid beneficiaries without confining them to nursing homes. The number of people living in skilled nursing facilities has declined significantly over the past decade, despite a marked increase in the number of elderly in the U.S.

Starting this year, a new federal rule will require states to ensure that long-term care alternatives to nursing homes — such as assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, group homes and adult day care — work with residents and their families to develop individual care plans specifying the services and setting each resident wants. The overarching goal is to create a “homelike” atmosphere, rather than an institutional one and to give residents choices about their care.

While nearly everyone supports the concept, states, providers and even some consumer advocates are complaining that the rule could make it difficult for health care providers to fulfill increasing demand for long-term care outside of nursing homes....



Assisted living employees vote to join union

HIGHLAND NY.– Two groups of staffers at the Highland Assisted Living Facility have voted to become members of Service Employees International Union Local 200United.

The vote was unanimous among the 16 employees, who work as recreation director, maintenance, head chef, weekend chef, personal care aide, home health aide and licensed practical nurses.

The employees wanted to join a union to have a say in their healthcare, wages and physical working conditions.....


Editor’s note: While I am not generally in favor of unions, I have to side with the staff on this one. Knowing the poor working conditions, low wages and lack of healthcare that the staff here at the Center has to deal with, a union would help, not only the workers but the residents as well. A happy, well cared for workforce is as an important an issue as in assisted living as any other of its components.



Continuing to bring you the latest on my favorite story of the year. It appears the eight remaining residents of that senior residence in Brooklyn are still holding on in their fight to stay.

Elderly Evictions: Assisted Living Residents Refuse to Make Way for Luxury Condos


When 92-year-old Annemarie Mogil left her home of more than 30 years, it was important for her to find a residence where she could live out the rest of her days in peace. Which is why she was elated when she signed a lease last year at an assisted living facility that overlooks Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. 

The Prospect Park Residence offered laundry and meal services, arts and crafts and outings to the local botanical garden and Brooklyn Museum. 

“I feel that at 92, I lived a full life and an active life and helped a lot of other people. It’s my time now to rest and relax and have some comfort,” Mogil said. 

That, however, is proving to not be so easy for Mogil and the seven other remaining residents who have been fighting in court for the past six months to stay in their homes...



It's “Back to the Future” for some Illinois Seniors

Consumer advocates gear up for fight over landline phones


Consumer advocates say they're gearing up for an anticipated fight with telecom companies next year over the availability of landline phone service in Illinois.

Citizens Utility Board executive director David Kolata said the Illinois Telecommunications Act will expire in 2015, and that could help trigger a renewed push by companies like AT&T and Frontier for fewer regulations.

But AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza said Illinois "would remain a rotary dial state in a broadband and wireless world" if the Citizens Utility Board gets its way.



Good News: 6 Common Negative Misperceptions of Aging Debunked

Depression is actually NOT more common among the elderly.

Cognitive decline is NOT inevitable.

Work productivity does NOT decrease with age.

And the list goes on of the various myths about aging that were debunked in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Using data and evidence from a variety of sources and studies on aging, the article debunks some of the most prevalent (and negative!) stereotypes about aging.

Major finds in the analysis include that those in the 55+ age group actually have the lowest occurrence of major depressive episodes, compared to those 26 to 49 years old, and the 18 to 25 group.

Studies also revealed that cognitive decline is not something that all of us will experience; ....



Olivia Newton-John: Why a Smile is the Best Facelift


"Olivia, tell us how you Mind Your Body with what you eat. However you do this, it is definitely working for you."

I've always eaten pretty well. Mom was German and cooked very simply most nights. She used to steam vegetables and cook potatoes with the skin on them. My friends had foods out of cans, and they ate white bread. My mom gave me really good habits that I've also passed on to my daughter.

What‘s your physical activity regimen?

I do something every day. I use a treadmill in Vegas for a half-hour to get my heart rate up. I like to take my German Shepherd Raven out on hikes when I’m home in Santa Ynez. I play tennis and do a lot of walking. And my show is a good workout, too—dancing and singing at the same time....



While this article speaks mostly of hearing aids, the “tricks” can help you keep you from misplacing just about everything.

Q: I’m concerned about my parents’ hearing aids being misplaced or lost at their new assisted living center. Do you have some ideas?

A: We use a three-step “USE-PROTECT-MANAGE” method for our patients who live in assisted living centers and rehabilitation centers.

The first step involves labeling. We emboss or etch our patients name onto their hearing aids for easy identification. We also label the hearing aid container.

The second step for some patients is to use a clothing loop that connects the hearing aids to our patient’s clothing. ....



It’s Time for Seniors to Embrace the Internet of Things

by Angela Stringfellow     

You've likely heard of the Internet of Things (IoT), but if you don’t actually know what it is, you’re not alone. In fact, even purveyors of the Internet of Things at times aren’t sure how to actually define this growing concept and collection of … things. In a nutshell, the Internet of Things is a term used to describe the ever-growing network of connected devices, or, if you will, “smart gadgets.” With 45 million people (and growing) in the U.S. in their senior years, and more and more seniors opting to age in place, the Internet of Things holds much promise. We contend that seniors should embrace the Internet of Things. You may just be surprised how much better and easier life can be when you do.....



Senior citizens asked to pack condoms for cruise

Forget gentle games of bridge over cups of Earl Grey tea, the “silver set” are a lot more sexually active than they’re given credit for.

That it’s such a shock to many proves that "ageism" is alive and well, because, well, why shouldn't our grandparents be getting it on, and with such vigour?

The only problem with the lustiness of pensioners is the alarming rise of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), with evidence that rates of STIs among older adults are rising all around the world. 

Facing the problem head-on is a UK Government agency, that have included safe sex preparation in their health guidelines for Britons (more than a quarter of cruise passengers are over the age of 60) embarking on a cruise holiday. The advice included for the pensioners to pack "indate, good quality condoms."...



More aging boomers, but fewer doctors to care for them

By 2030, the last of the Baby Boomer generation will have turned 65 years old, putting the population of “senior boomers” in the United States at approximately 71 million. Currently, only about 7,000 certified geriatricians – physicians specializing in the care of older adults – are practicing in the US. That’s about one geriatrician for every 10,000 of these expected seniors, assuming that the number of geriatricians remains stable. However, the number of new trainees in the field of geriatrics is going down.

Geriatricians often act as primary care doctors, and at times as specialist consultants, for patients who are advancing in age and may require targeted, specialized care to maintain function and quality of life. Geriatricians are attuned to the specific needs of the patient at all stages of aging, regardless of what or how many chronic conditions that patient may have. As America’s population ages, these doctors will play a critical role in caring for senior citizens......



It's time to give nurse practitioners full practice authority

By 2020, the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that many states, if they are not facing one already, will face a shortage of primary care physicians. This is due to an aging baby boomer population, an aging physician workforce and the millions of millennials who will be newly insured through the Affordable Care Act. 

A way to meet the primary care demand is by allowing nurse practitioners the ability to diagnose and treat patients without direct physician supervision. Advanced practice registered nurses would also have limited independent prescriptive authority after being in a four-year mentorship program. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have enacted into law and implemented full practice authority for nurse practitioners. 



Report Highlights Most Common Disability Among Older Adults.

Do you fit the profile?

Approximately 40 percent of Americans older than 65, or about 16 million people, live with at least one disability, according to the new study.

“With the first baby boomers having entered the 65-and-older ranks in 2011, the United States may experience a rapid expansion in the number of older people with a disability in the next two decades,” says the report. The report focuses on various disabilities including problems related to hearing, sight, cognitive, walking, self-care and independent living. The most common type of disability was difficulty walking or climbing stairs, which was reported by two-thirds of seniors with a disability.

Older adult women accounted for almost two-thirds of the seniors with disabilities. However, older men were much more likely to have serious hearing problems – 52 percent versus 32 percent.

Other common types of disability included problems with independent living (about 48 percent) and hearing problems (40 percent), but 61 percent didn’t have any of the six types of disabilities measured in the report.

About half of seniors with a disability lived in nine of the most populous states: California, Florida, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina.

However, areas in the South, especially in central Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, tended to have higher disability rates among seniors. The report found the highest rate (48 percent) was in Mississippi. The lowest rate (35 percent) was in Arizona.

Black and Hispanic seniors with a disability had higher rates of poverty, and blacks and whites with a disability had higher rates of living alone, the report noted.

Want to live to 100? Live well, look on the bright side

QUESTION: Can you live longer than 100 years? What person lived the longest on Earth?

ANSWER: People 80 years and older are actually the fastest growing portion of the world population! The oldest person who ever lived (and has been validated by documents) was Jeanne Louise Calment, a French woman who was 122 years and 164 days old when she died in August 1997. The oldest person in the world right now is Misao Okawa, a 116-year-old woman living in Japan.

The Gerontology Research Group at UCLA is a great resource for information on aging. This group of scientists and doctors is trying to figure out what qualities and characteristics people who live long lives have in common. Their research actively maintains a file of living supercentenarians (people 110 years and older). There are currently 76 supercentenarians on their worldwide list. The chance of living to 110 is currently 1 in 7 million, according to these researchers. So far there has not been a common trend in the lifestyle of the supercentenarians, only that close relatives of theirs also live long lives. Another interesting fact is that female supercentenarians outnumber male supercentenarians 10 to 1, and researchers do not understand why.People who live to old age (80 to 100) do have some significant similarities in lifestyle. ....


Medicare cards aid in ID theft

Julie Jason

Since cybersecurity and identity theft are such big issues today (Just look at what happened to SONY), you have to wonder why our regulators, legislators and leaders in Washington, D.C., are complacent about putting 50 million senior citizens at risk.

What risk? Medicare cards that prominently display Social Security numbers.

The Social Security Administration cautions you to never to carry your Social Security card with you. Yet seniors must carry their Medicare cards with them to present to their health providers. How rational is that?

Seniors' exposure to identity theft is not news to anyone in Washington. The U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended removing Social Security numbers from "government documents" in 2002. In 2007, the Identity Theft Task Force concluded that the "most valuable commodity" for identify theft was the numbers.

A year ago, the GAO issued a report to Congress again recommending removing the numbers from Medicare cards.

The report, titled "Medicare Information Technology, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Needs to Pursue a Solution for Removing Social Security Numbers From Cards," provides details of previous studies and previous recommendations to use some other identifier to replace the Social Security numbers.

So far, nothing has happened.....



Fashion for seniors need not be dull


When you start wearing gray or tan every day, you know you are old: senior citizens seem irresistibly drawn to conservative, almost colorless clothing after passing a certain age.

“That is partly due to the selection of clothes for them in the shops. Unfortunately most of what the industry makes for older women looks rather dowdy,” says Angelika Hansen from Germany's Association of Senior Citizen Carers.

But the grey-or-beige look is a matter of choice.

“Most seniors don't trust themselves to wear bright colours or strong patterns when they reach the age of 60 or 70,” says Hansen.

One reason may be that elderly people feel the need to wear what they think is appropriate clothing that won't draw attention.

“Some are just very unsure about what looks best with their mature status,” says Evelyn Baganz who advises senior citizens on styling issues.

“A fashionable outfit with a nice design and colour makes the wearer look more attractive, younger and happy. It can also give a boost to your confidence,” says Angelika Hansen. Criteria for deciding what looks good are independent of age and apply to everyone.



This is what passes for lunch at the W.Center...

...and it pisses me off!

It was difficult to tell by the name, “Baked Bread Bowl”, to know what exactly we were being served.

Even the server was not entirely sure. However, being the adventurer that I am, I went ahead and ordered it anyway. My disappointment was overshadowed only by my utter shock at what appeared on my plate. There, before me were, what I can only describe as two canapés. What they certainly were not is a decent meal. What you see in the photo is what we got. Two of these faux knishes and nothing else on the plate. Yes, I know, I should have had a bowl of soup and a salad that was also offered, but because I did not know what I would be getting, I did not order them. The least they could have done is to put three or four of those things on the plate. At least the meal would not look like something left over from the staff X Mass party.

Editor’s note: each “bowl” is approx 2” in diameter. Also, I am giving this a “3” rating on the foodie scale only because they tasted pretty good. For an appetizer!

X Mass Dinner, 2014

As a rule, I do not usually review parties or special events held here at the Center. However, since this has been a rather slow food/news week, I feel it's my duty to report on this event which, of course, included food.

Compared to this year's Thanksgiving dinner, which was sparsely attended by family and friends, Sunday's event was quite the opposite. The dining room was packed with all the seats and tables occupied. The staff did a great job at serving despite the large crowd. The only drawback, in my opinion, was the music which was too loud and not appropriate for an X Mass dinner. Perhaps some nice seasonal music would have been a better choice.

Hamill: For an aging hippie, de Blasio's new pot policy is cause for celebration

So the police unions threaten a job slowdown because they think Mayor de Blasio’s new decriminalized pot law that will save thousands of young people — incincluding the kids of police officers — from lifelong arrest records for something as silly as weed is, well, reefer madness.


“I was a long-haired teenager on Hippie Hill in Prospect Park in 1967, the Summer of Love, when Brooklyn kids transformed the violent youth gangs of the late-’50s and early-’60s into passive flocks of flower children wearing love beads and peace symbols grooving on summer afternoons to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and Bob Dylan singing “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”

We’d furtively smoke weed on the grassy knoll near Bartell Pritchard Square, always looking out for cops who blatantly profiled hippies in a policy of stop-and-frisk.”...



Contact and Comment


Yonkers considers $24 million assisted living site

 Ernie Garcia

A developer of a $24 million assisted living complex for low-income seniors wants $1.4 million in tax breaks. The Plaza at Westchester is proposed for 75 Stratton St. South

The Plaza at Westchester is proposed for 75 Stratton St. South

The Plaza at Westchester would consist of 158-units with living space for 200 residents.

The assisted living project is estimated to create 110 permanent full-time equivalent jobs.

YONKERS – A developer of a $24 million assisted living complex for low-income seniors wants $1.4 million in tax breaks.

The Plaza at Westchester is proposed for 75 Stratton St. South and it would consist of 158 units with living space for 200 residents.

The complex would replace an existing building on the campus of the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living.

Westchester ALP Property is asking the Yonkers Industrial Development Agency to give provisional approval to the tax breaks at its monthly meeting Tuesday morning.

The requested tax breaks include $1,005,000 in sales tax exemptions, $388,800 in mortgage tax exemptions and a to-be-determined property tax break.

The assisted living project is estimated to create 110 permanent full-time equivalent jobs. The average estimated annual salary of the new jobs is $36,800, ranging from $20,020 to $100,000.

Although the target market is low-income seniors, the Plaza at Westchester will offer amenities similar to those offered at luxury assisted living sites opening elsewhere in Westchester County, including restaurant-style dining and a beauty parlor.

The project must go through the city's planning and land use process after any approvals from the YIDA.

Editors note: This is the first we (residents) here at the center have heard of this. It is my personal opinion that this is a bad idea. The Center has proven that they do not have the knowledge or the  skills to manage a place the size of the one proposed. They can barely handle the near maximum capacity of the present facility with only 195 residents.  They will have to make vast improvements to their current facility before I am convinced that an expansion will be good for any of us.

‘Tis Not The Season

It seems like only yesterday that we were cleaning up the mess from last Christmas. We say that “this will be the last time I make such a fuss out of the holidays”, and yet here we are again doing what we do every year. Trying to make the best out of this miserable time of year.

 “Wait just a darn minute”, you say. “Is this going to be one of those editorials filled with self pity and remorse.”

 You’re damn right it is.

My dislike of the holiday season is not new. It goes way back to when I was a kid and was told by my mother that Santa did not visit Jewish kids. Little did I know that my mom was giving me my first lesson in anti-Semitism (or anti-santamism). My little gentile friends would come to school after the holidays, sporting their Christmas sweaters, shirts and scarves and showing off their new bikes or skates that that anti-Semitic Santa gave them. It was, to say the least, demoralizing. Of course there were enough Jewish kids in my class to put up a brave front. After all, we all knew that we were the “Chosen People”, just not chosen to receive gifts. 

“But what about Hanukkah, you got presents on Hanukkah didn't you”. 

No. I didn’t. Well, not real gifts anyway. We got Jewish gifts. We got the traditional Hanukkah gifts like those chocolates wrapped in gold foil to simulate “gelt” (gold). I think one year I even got a savings bond from an aunt and a new Talis (prayer shawl) and yarmulke from an uncle. The only secular gift I can remember receiving was a pair of brown leather gloves from someone who obviously was unaware of the “no cool gift” rule.

My view of the holidays was tempered a bit as I became an adult and entered the business world. As I was soon to learn, it’s business gifts that really drive the economy and that make the season oh so jolly. Fortunately, Christmas, as it pertains to business, has no religious connotations. There are no Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Hindu purchasing agents or CEO’s in the business world. They are all just one non-denominational super cult whose creed is greed and mantra is “What’s in it for me”. Christmas is just another dollop of lube on the gears, and heaven help those that forgot to squirt some on.

Liquor is the big item when it comes to gifts for people who have been “kind” to you all year. In fact, it is those gifts that started my education as an expert on cheap booze. As soon as one finds out that your station on the corporate latter determines the kind of booze you get, things become clear. Those who receive “the good stuff” like Johnny Walker Black Label or Crown Royal in those purple drawstring sacks or a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac 1986 ($592) are at the top of the food chain. I, of course, being barely visible to anyone outside of the 4X4 cubicle and headset crowd, was lucky to receive a bottle of Rye (and not Canadian Club either). As I moved up the corporate escalator, the booze got a little better, but I never made it much past the bottle of Jim Beam level.Later on, it was my non-Jewish ex-wife that put the nail in the coffin for me as far as the Holiday spirit is concerned.

“Plaintiff”, as I like to call her, was all about the holidays, with Christmas being at the forefront of those days. For “P” it was all about gifts, trees, decorations, and, did I mention “gifts”. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly understand her enthusiasm for this season. After all, she was brought up with it. She knew that Santa would be coming to her house. In fact, she was so certain that Santa would get her something nice for Christmas, that I was always afraid to tell her that Santa was just a myth. To this day, I’m not so sure still does not know the truth. In any event, it was up to me, and not Santa, to try to find a gift appropriate for a wife on the second most important gifting day of the year (Valentines Day is number one). The problem was, I am clueless as to what gifts to get anyone, especially the women that was supposed to be the love of my life and my best friend. Hey, that’s a lot of responsibility for someone whose idea of a good gift is a combination microwave/convection oven. . No, I never could come up with a good gift and, although I am not saying that this lack of a proper present led to our divorce, I don’t think she ever forgave me for my absence of gifting sensibility. Now that I think of it, perhaps it was that gift certificate to Lane Bryant that finally did us in.

Meanwhile, back here at the Center, Christmas is a toned-down affair. There are no decorations on the walls. No tinsel draped from the light fixtures. There is a Christmas tree, whose lighting ceremony was sparsely attended. There are even colorfully wrapped phony gift boxes beneath it. But there are no wreathes, no holly and no mistletoe (Although, there is an errant piece of broccoli stuck on the wall in the dining room. There will be a Christmas party, but there will be no gifts. At least not from the Center. One year we received gifts from our local parish church, but even they have given up on us. Yes, it will be a gift-less and lackluster holiday season for us old folks. Just the way I like it. But hey, don’t let me stop you from having fun and think of me when you are taking a drink from that bottle of Ripple you got from your boss.


Fear not. This is not going to be one of those endless surveys that ask you to rate something on a scale of 1-10. There will be no promise of a free gift upon it’s completion and you may have no interest in the results. I don’t need your name or your gender. In fact I don’t care who you are. The results will be only for my own interest, and perhaps yours. There is only one question. You may answer it with as long or short an answer as you see fit....

Lately, the lunches around here have become dull and uninspired. So this got me to thinking. What is my go-to lunch, my favorite thing to eat for lunch. The only rule is, it had to be simple. Therefor, I ask you....

“What is your all time favorite lunch?”

Email your answer to:      

Editor’s note: It did not take me long to realize what my favorite lunch is. It is something I remember from my childhood and still holds up today. 

The ingredients, to what I consider the perfect lunch, are simple. They are, a bowl of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. A grilled cheese sandwich made from Kraft American singles on Pepperidge Farm white bread. A kosher dill pickle and a glass of chocolate milk made with Fox’s U-Bet. Now, beat that.


New “Improved” Med Room opens: Will it make a difference?

After more than a month of having residents run all over the building for their meds and busy med room techs having to scurry about the dining room delivering pills to diners, the newly re-constructed med room has finally opened. While the room is not yet fully finished, residents began lining up outside the double doors with eager anticipation of better service to come. Hopefully, this new configuration will help facilitate the distribution of pills, drops and sprays and reduce the long lines of the past.


The New World of Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities (ALFs) may be going the way of cable TV.  Still around, but with a limited future.

Their residents are changing. Even as their needs become more complicated, they are demanding less institutional-like care.  At the same time, assisted living will have to find its place in a world where medical and social care are becoming better coordinated and providers will be expected to organize themselves in very different ways than today. 

Assisted living was once a creative alternative to nursing homes. Soon, something new will replace ALFs. The details remain uncertain, but we can begin to see what this new model of residential care will look like.



New Homes on the Range: Better Care for Elders

'Green Houses' seek to make care kinder

A century ago, those who couldn't be cared for at home were sent to the workhouse or poorhouse, where they lived alongside criminals, the insane and the homeless. In the 1960s, nursing homes were developed as a more caring, safer alternative.

And now, the revolutionary Green House Movement is here, with its provocative message that old age has been over-medicalized and that nursing homes are a place where no one wants to go.

”The Green House replaces a traditional nursing home with a cluster of houses or apartments that allow elders to live within their communities. The Green House model creates a true home where each elder gets a private room and bathroom with space for personal items. When you visit, you knock on the door and wait for a resident to let you in. Round-the-clock care is provided, but medical routines do not take precedence over the natural rhythms of daily life. There is a kitchen, as in any home, and a central hearth and table provide a common area to socialize and enjoy a home-cooked meal every day. "It looks like you’re walking into a living room," one family member says. "There is always someone cooking and it smells good. It’s a homey setting.” ...



Defining “Aging”

We all probably have our own definition of aging. I guess, when asked, we would say that to age is to become wrinkled, saggy, bald, stooped over, having a disability, forgetfulness, and occasional aches and pains. However, the clinical definition of aging is quite different and a bit scary.

This is how doctors at the University of Chicago have defined aging in a paper on a study of a particular protein in human DNA.....

“Aging is a universal process involving the progressive decline in organ function that eventually leads to organismal death. While accumulation of DNA damage has long been considered the central cause of aging, more recent observations suggest that aging is the result of a continuation of early-life hyperfunction programs. Regardless of mechanism, cellular senescence is a central finding associated with mammalian aging, an observation emphasized by a report demonstrating that apoptotic removal of senescent cells preserves tissue homeostasis and extends overall animal health. Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor that has been intimately linked to cellular senescence, DNA damage signaling and organismal aging.”

Ed.....Now don’t that make you feel better. Oh, BTW, this won’t be on the final.

More (if you’re interested):


Why The Older Americans Act Matters

By Bob Blancato

Next year will be important and symbolic for aging programs and services, as we celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the 50th anniversaries of Medicare and Medicaid and the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.

For all the Older Americans Act accomplishes for so many (providing nutrition, caregiving, transportation, legal services and elder abuse prevention), it struggles from chronic underfunding and has for the past 20 years.... 



My concerns that many seniors are being over medicated has not gone un-noticed by many professionals.

Old And Overmedicated: The Real Drug Problem In Nursing Homes


It's one of the worst fears we have for our parents or for ourselves: that we, or they, will end up in a nursing home, drugged into a stupor. And that fear is not entirely unreasonable. Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugsusually to suppress the anxiety or aggression that can go with Alzheimer's disease and other dementia.

Federal law prohibits the use of antipsychotics and other psychoactive drugs for the convenience of staff. It's called a "chemical restraint." There has to be a documented medical need for the drugs. "But they just kept giving her more and more," says DeLeon, "and I noticed when I used to go see her, she'd just kind of mumble, like she was lost......


Many Senior Citizens Take Too Many Medicines -- Here's How To Fix It

One recent analysis by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that people aged 65-79 receive more than 27 prescriptions for new drugs per year.

Let me say that again: Twenty-seven prescriptions per year. Not only is this a high

 number, it’s also a concern.  Consider the possible drug interactions and side effects. One report found that the number of pain-relieving narcotic prescriptions for seniors rose more than 20% over a five-year period...

How did this happen? Alice had not seen some of her doctors, but continued to get refills. Since no one was directly responsible for her care, no one stopped any of the medicines or checked to see if Alice was having side effects. In short, nobody was paying attention because it wasn’t anyone’s job to pay attention....



Mobility is most common disability for American senior citizens

Nearly 40 percent of people age 65 and older had at least one disability, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report that covered the period 2008 to 2012. Of those 15.7 million people, two-thirds of them say they had difficulty in walking or climbing.

Difficulty with independent living, such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping, was the second-most cited disability, followed by serious difficulty in hearing, cognitive difficulty, difficulty bathing or dressing, and serious difficulty seeing.

The oldest old - those aged 85 and older - had the highest prevalence of disability. While this group represented 13.6 percent of the total older population, they accounted for 25.4 percent of those with a disability....



Oh, The Horror: Scary seniors

By Hana Shafi

Despite the fact that most of us find comfort in the warm, overly buttery cooking of our grandmothers, old women in horror are the creepiest. You know granny means trouble in a horror movie when she walks into a room dressed in that classic granny cardigan, compassionately offering tasty snacks for lost, cold, and hungry travelers.

I recently watched two really excellent horror films, Mercy (2014) and The Talking of Deborah Logan (2014), which both have terrifying old women as the antagonists. Both movies sufficiently scared and intrigued me. It got me thinking: what is our perception of the elderly, and what makes them so frightening in horror?

It’s no surprise that our society is uncomfortable with aging.....



Strange Addiction: Man Drinks The Young People's Urine Because He Believes It Keeps Him Forever Young. L’chaim.

Dana Dovey

Addiction is a terrible thing, and although controlled substances are the usual object of obsession, a person can become addicted to literally anything. There is no better example of this than Robert Wells, a man addicted to drinking other people’s urine, particularly from young children.

Wells lusts for the freshest batch of urine in the same way a drug addict would desire the best and purest hit. The middle-aged man admits to knowing that going out to collect urine from unknowing, and most importantly underage “donors,” was morally wrong. Unfortunately, like other addicts, this is not enough to keep him from satisfying his urges. ....


Cold, flu meds risky for senior citizens with high blood pressure

Some over-the-counter meds can have negative impact on hypertension

It is the season for colds and flu. Most of us seniors do not hesitate to seek quick relief from an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Not so fast, says the American Heart Association, most senior citizens also have hypertension. Some medications taken over the counter can have a negative impact on blood pressure.

The prevalence of hypertension increases with age and is a problem for about 65 percent of Americans age 60 and older.

The First Step

“The first step is for people with high blood pressure to know which products could cause variations in blood pressure,” says Willie E. Lawrence, Jr., M.D., a spokesman for the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Cold medicines, painkillers and energy pills or drinks are a few products to watch out for if you have high blood pressure.

“Patients should be aware of the list of things that we know can cause an elevation in blood pressure,” Dr. Lawrence said. He advised that these products should be avoided, used with caution, used only for a short amount of time or used after a discussion with a medical professional...



After Menopause: Aging and the Female Reproductive Organs

You Stop Making As Much Estrogen and Progesterone

When you first enter perimenopause, your body starts slowing down. This is a time when, biologically, you are not needed anymore to create children so the body down regulates certain hormones. Your ovaries stop making these critical hormones, and you start to experience mood changes.

Two of these are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is a female sex hormone – actually, it refers to a group of compounds that make up sex hormones which are dominant in all women. They are important in both menstrual and estrous reproductive cycles, and are also considered steroid hormones.

Progesterone is another steroid hormone that’s involved in a woman’s menstrual cycle as well as pregnancy.



Senior Focus: Preventing malnutrition in older adults

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

Diseases associated with excess food consumption such as obesity, diabetes and heart issues are epidemic in the United States. Malnutrition, however, is a problem frequently overlooked in older Americans.

Older adults with chronic diseases and disabilities are at highest risk for undernutrition, which occurs when a person doesn’t get adequate nutrition from food to function optimally. This may arise from lack of eating or from a nutrient-poor diet.

Essential nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are required to support all body functions and provide energy for daily activities.

Studies have shown that about 40 percent of older adults eat less than 75 percent of the recommended daily allowance of nutrients.

Common causes of undernutrition in older adults are:

• Limited finances. Many senior citizens do not have the financial resources for an optimal diet.

• Social isolation. Elderly people who live alone often prepare and eat their meals in solitude. This can lead to loss of enjoyment of cooking and eating.

• Changes in chewing, swallowing and ......


More on Senior Eats

There has been a lot of talk about how the “Mediterranean” diet can slow down the aging process. If there is anything I need right now is a slowing down of my aging process. So when I saw the headline, I figured “At last, a diet with food I may actually like eating.” I mean, after all, doesn’t pizza, spaghetti, Souvlaki, gyros and red wine come from Mediterranean countries. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of diet they were talkingabout. It appears the “MED Diet” has nothing to do with those foods. It’s all about...yuch...eating healthy....

Mediterranean Diet Slows Down Aging Process

By Rhodi Lee

Those who want to live longer and shun age-related diseases may turn to Mediterranean diet. Experts found evidence that adherence to the regimen is associated with a biomarker of longevity.

No formula has yet been made that could provide the effects of the legendary fountain of youth, but those who want to stay young for a much longer time have an option. Having a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, legumes and olive oils appears to slow down aging.

Findings of a new research provide evidence that people who follow a Mediterranean diet have biological markers of slower aging, suggesting that the regimen may help improve one's chances of having a longer life.....



Last week, I ranted about how sleep was no longer important. Well, it turns out that there may be some health benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. With that in mind, here are some last minute X Mass gifts for that insomniac in your life...

8 Perfect Gifts For Anyone In Need Of A Good Night's Sleep

By Sarah Klein

Everybody needs sleep -- and most of us wish we got more of it. So this year, why not give someone that very thing?

A sleep-promoting gift has the benefit of being (at least a little bit) more exciting to receive than some traditional health-minded presents (because absolutely no one wants to open a scale on Christmas morning). But these are still smart options: Getting too little sleep ups a person's risk for stroke, diabetes, obesity and even earlier death.


Unmet Needs Continue to Pile Up


“Unmet needs,” a term gerontologists use, refers to care or help you require but don’t get. If, when you’re elderly or disabled, you aren’t able to shop or cook, you lack the strength to go outside, you can’t keep track of your bank account or your medica-

tions — and no one assists you with those functions — you have unmet needs.

Older people who move into assisted living and other forms of supportive housing are primarily seeking ways to reduce unmet needs. Occasionally, someone moves because he feels lonely or she is trying not to burden her children. But usually, people stay in their homes as long as they can until unmet needs pile up....



Aging Parents' Struggle To Pay Out Of Pocket Medical Costs

When Medicare started, most of us thought it would take care of our medical costs when we got to be 65. Right away, we learned that we have to get supplemental insurance to pay for the 20% of those costs Medicare doesn’t cover. And on top of that, we have to buy a prescription drug plan (Part D).  Oh, well.  That’s what we do.  But here’s the other truth.  Even with all that, American seniors are spending an average of another $4000 a year on medical expenses not covered by traditional Medicare.

According to an 11 country study by the Commonwealth Fund published in the journal  Health Affairs, American’s are shelling out that amount, which is higher than what any of the participants in the 10 developed other countries in the study are spending.  For some 19 percent of us, those costs are an obstacle to getting needed care. What costs so much? ...



Faceless Foody’s Holiday Gift to you

On the first day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

A piece of toast that tasted like a tree

On the second day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

2 overcooked eggs and...

A piece of toast that tasted like a tree

On the third day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

2 overcooked eggs...

3 cold pancakes...

And a piece of toast that tasted like a tree

On the fourth day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

4 chicken fingers...

2 overcooked eggs.

3 cold pancakes...

And a piece of toast that tasted like a tree

On the fifth day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

5 dried up onion rings...

4 chicken fingers...

3 cold pancakes...

2 overcooked eggs..

And a slice of toast that taste

Like a tree


On the sixth day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

6 frozen waffles...

5 dried up onion rings...

4 chicken fingers...

3 cold pancakes...

2 overcooked eggs

And another piece of toast that tasted

Like a tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

7 servers a-kvetching...

6 frozen waffles...

5 dried up onion rings...

4 chicken fingers...

3 cold pancakes...

2 overcooked eggs...

And wholewheat toast that tasted

Like a tree

On the eighth day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

8 Residents a-wandering...

7 servers a-kvetching...

6 frozen waffles...

5 dried up onion rings...

4 chicken fingers...

3 cold pancakes...

(with imitation maple syrup)

2 overcooked eggs...

And an English muffin that tasted

Like a tree

On the ninth day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

9 cooks a-dancing...

8 residents a-wandering...

7 servers a-kvetching...

6 frozen waffles...

5 dried up onion rings...

4 chicken fingers...

3 cold pancakes...

(with something called “table syrup”)...

2 overcooked eggs...

And something toasted that tasted like a tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas

The Dining Room gave to me...

10 meatballs rolling...

9 cooks a-dancing...

8 residents a-wandering...

7 servers a-kvetching...

6 frozen waffles...

5 dried up onion rings...

4 chicken fingers...

3 cold pancakes...

(even the butter won’t melt)...

2 overcooked eggs...

And a piece of toast that tasted

Like a tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas

The Dining Room fed to me...

11 piping hot bowls of oatmeal...

10 meatballs rolling...

9 cooks a-dancing...

8 residents a-wandering...

7 servers a-kvetching...

6 frozen waffles...

5 dried up onion rings...

4 chicken fingers...

3 cold pancakes with

Imitation maple flavored table syrup...

2 overcooked eggs...

And (god bless them) rye toast 

That tasted like a tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas

The Dining Room served to me...

12 turkey drumsticks drumming...

11 piping hot bowls of oatmeal...

10 meatballs rolling...

9 cooks a-dancing...

8 residents a-wandering...

7 servers a-kvetching...

6 frozen waffles...

5 dried up onion rings...

Only 3 chicken fingers...

(They were running short)...

3 cold pancakes...

2 overcooked sunny side over hard eggs...

And some raisin bread toast

(At least we think those things are raisins)

That tasted like a tree

© 2014 Bruce Cooper


When I first came here to the Center I was full of vim and vigor, piss and vinegar, ready to take on the administration, case management and, most importantly, the kitchen. Unfortunately, as the months and years have gone by, I have come to realize that my resistance is futile. For no matter how much I complain, cajole, manipulate, beg or plead, nothing has (or will) really change.

At one time, I would have lambasted the Center, the dietitian and the Chef for feeding us chicken for what seems like the 12th time this week, But now, I no longer care. I have surrendered, I have gone over to the dark side. Given in to the forces of evil if you will. Therefore, I will no longer complain about the food unless I think it is positively awful, indigestible or just plain rotten. So, since the baked / fried chicken (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) fits in to none of those categories, I will just say it was edible and probably won’t kill me.


I’m all for portion control...

...but this is ridiculous

I stared, in disbelief, at the slice if pineapple cake set before me at the conclusion of dinner last Thursday. In fact, I stared at it for almost a full minute trying to figure out exactly what it was. And, while I never expect anything on the order of a giant slice of anything around here, this was a slice of cake, that even for this place, was the smallest I’ve ever seen. Not having a ruler to measure the actual size, it was suggested to me that I place a packet of Sweet and Low next to it as a comparison. It appears, as the facility reaches its capacity of 195 souls, they are trying to find a way to stretch that food budget even further. Let’s see. What’s one cake divided by 195.


This past Saturday, the W. Center had its annual employees Christmas party. As a resident, I certainly respect the right for our wonderful staff to enjoy a nice evening with their fellow workers. However, I do deplore the manner in which this party was planned and carried out. 

This year, due to the penny pinching bean counters at corporate HQ, the staff Christmas party was not, as in past years, held off premises. Holding it instead, in the facilities, dining room. The same dining room where the residents eat. This, of course, caused a conflict with the two section seating schedule with all residents having to assemble for dinner at the ungodly hour of 4:30 pm, much too early for most residents who had just eaten lunch only three hours earlier. Naturally, there was great confusion at the "open seating" arrangement which forced most residents to find seats not at their usual tables. Unfortunately, some of our more "confused" residents found this to be a stressful situation. Pressure was also put on residents to finish their dinners quickly. In fact, after what felt like only about a half an hour, we were unceremoniously ushered out of the dining room by the dining room manager who needed to set up for the party. 

This only shows that, once again, the needs of the residents are overruled for the convenience of the staff and management. 

Of course, I wish the staff a very happy holiday and hope that they enjoyed the wine and other adult beverages that were served. Something else that we (residents) are prohibited from having.


You never know who may be sitting next to you at breakfast

Notorious hit-man dies, spent last days in Sunrise nursing home

As an elderly resident of an assisted living facility in Sunrise, former hit-man for the mob, Harold "Kayo" Konigsberg was just considered unpleasant, a fading gangster who was cranky, demanding and rude.

By Mike Clary

As a hit-man for the mob, Harold "Kayo" Konigsberg was once considered "the most dangerous uncaged killer on the East Coast," according to Life magazine, suspected in at least 20 murders.

As an elderly resident of an assisted living facility in Sunrise, he was just considered unpleasant, a fading gangster who was cranky, demanding and rude.

"I don't know how anybody could put up with him," said Eric Konigsberg, his great-nephew. "I know I was truly terrified when he threatened to kill me."

Konigsberg, who spent nearly 50 years in prison before he was released to live with a daughter in Weston two years ago, died last month. He was 89....



It’s all about being treated like an adult

Cocktails at senior living facilities on horizon

                                        By   Colleen Quinn                                                           

"These are people in our communities who have lived their life, made a difference for all of us. They deserve to be able to enjoy an adult beverage of their choice."

Residents living at continuing-care retirement communities may soon be able to order a cocktail, something they cannot do in Massachusetts right now.

A bill making its way through the Legislature in the final days of the 2013-2014 legislative session would allow cities and towns to grant liquor licenses to continuing-care retirement facilities.

The residential facilities that could be granted licenses offer housing to seniors living independently, as well as fully-assisted nursing units. The facilities would be required to go through the application process for an "on-premises consumption" liquor license, the same way restaurants and bars apply, according to Senate staff. Alcohol sales could be made to residents or their guests in dining facilities or residents' rooms.



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Sleep: a waste of time.
I used to worry a lot about sleep. I was concerned that not getting my six, seven or eight hours a night would eventually kill me at an early age. In fact, I was so obsessed with falling asleep and staying asleep that I resorted to chemicals to aid me in that attempt. My “Méthode de dormir” was NyQuil, or whatever Duane Reede Pharmacy called its brand of that nighttime cold remedy. One cap full of that blue-green licorice flavored alcohol infused syrup knocked me out for five or six hours, with no side effects. No side effects that is except for the fact that I was hooked on the stuff and after a while it became ineffective as a sleep aid.

While in the hospital, I was given Ambien, a powerful prescription sleeping pill. Not only did it put me to sleep, but it gave me the most realistic hallucinations I ever had. I mean I was seeing butterflies coming out of the TV on the wall. Once, I even dreamed that the Brazilian Olympic Soccer team was chasing me through the streets of Rio De Janeiro. I woke up before they caught me. Needless to say, I no longer rely on foreign substances to put me to sleep.

If I were able to somehow warm up a nice glass of milk before bedtime like most normal people do, I am sure that I would have no trouble at all falling asleep. Unfortunately, because I live in a place where even the innocent act of heating up some milk is considered detrimental to ones safety, I can’t. So what do I do. It’s simple. I do nothing.

I do nothing because I no longer care about sleep. I have decided that at this point in my life, sleep is not that important, at least to me. Yes, I know they say that even a person of my advanced years needs as much sleep as someone in their 20’s. They also say that older people have a difficult time getting all the sleep they need because some sleep-related neurons in the brain have died off*. However, I beg to differ. The reason why old people sleep less at night is because we are running out of time, and we know it. Sure, if you are 12 or 20 or even 30 years of age, you have all the time in the world left to waste your time slipping between the percales. But when you are at a point in your life when each day brings you closer to going on a boat ride with the Grim Reaper, you realize that you will never get back those seven or eight hours lost. And for that matter, why is it important to sleep at night. After all, I’m retired. Nobody is expecting anything of me anymore. Certainly not my family or friends. Certainly not the people who work here. As long as I show up for meals and my meds, they could care less how I spend my nights or days. Therefore, with that in mind I have taken to taking naps after lunch. I turn the TV on to some mind numbing daytime program and, after fifteen or twenty minutes, I’ve settled comfortably in to the arms of Morpheus for a couple of hours. When I awake, I am free to continue to do as I please. And, I can do it all night if I want, and I have. In fact, most of this blog is written during the wee hours of the morning when all that can be heard in this mortuary of a building is the flushing of toilets and the occasional death knell of some small woodland creature unfortunate enough to have been chosen as a meal for one of the feral cats that roam the grounds. Sometimes, I turn on the radio and listen to some all-night radio talk show. Sorrowfully, there are fewer and fewer of those on the air nowadays. I may be showing my age, but I remember staying up all night listening to such great radio hosts like Barry Grey and Long John Nebel. Now, only George Noory is left for us insomniacs. But I digress. The bottom line is, the hours, the days, the years are going by much too swiftly. To try and squeeze all that there is left to do into the time limited to us by the morays of a daylight culture, is like limiting when we can breathe. We old folks need more time and wasting it sleeping is, literally, sleeping one’s life away. And whether that time is during the day or during the night it does not matter. We should be left alone to sleep when and as much or as little as we need because, at this juncture in our lives, time is more important than sleep any day, or night.


One of the great new pleasures of being retired is the ability to be able to take a nice nap after lunch. Living way in the back of the annex affords me plenty of peace and quiet in the afternoon and, since afternoon TV sucks, I’m not tempted to turn it on. When I was still working, I tried to introduce a nap time into the day’s schedule, but they wouldn’t go for it.

5 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Napping
 By Sarah Klein

To help spread the power of the afternoon snooze, we got to the bottom of a few of the common myths about napping we still hear.

Myth: If I take a nap, I'll only wake up feeling worse.

Fact: That groggy feeling after you wake up from a nap is real (it even has a name:sleep inertia) but it's not a guarantee. How you feel after your snooze is probably a factor of 
how long you snoozed for. Experts generally agree that a nap should last no longer than 30 minutes. "If you take it longer than 30 minutes, you end up in deep sleep," sleep expert and HuffPost blogger Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., previously told HuffPost. Anyone who has ever felt worse upon rising from a nap is "sleeping too long," he said. "You're going into a stage of sleep that's very difficult to get out of." Next time you're in the mood for a snooze, set your alarm for 20 to 30 minutes, tops.

At the W. Center...


If you got ‘em, smoke ‘em,
Wherever you want.

I am as much of a rebel as the next guy, and I always encourage a slight bending of the rules, especially when I think they are too restrictive or make no sense. However, when a rule is made that affects my health and the health of everyone who lives here, I strongly support the facilities enforcement of that rule. Unfortunately, while almost every other rule is strictly enforced, the rule about smoking only in designated areas is not invoked.

The Center has an area located outside the Garden Level living area, designed for those residents who smoke. It is easily accessible by taking the elevator 1 floor down and walking a short distance to the garden door. However, this task is too difficult for some of our residents to understand or accomplish so they have taken to lighting up anywhere they damn well please. They even have gone so far as to sit and smoke a cigarette right in front of the entrance to the main building as if to flaunt their insolence right in the face of management and their neighbors who have to inhale the foulness of their second hand smoke. And, to its detriment, management won’t or can’t do anything about it. Therefore, I have decided to deal with this problem my own way. Although the photo above is presented with the abusers face blurred out, the next time it won’t be. I will publish this offenders face and the likeness of anybody else I see smoking in areas where their smoke can be breathed in by unsuspecting bystanders. If the management of this facility won’t put a stop to this, I will.

While I have no complaints about the soup, I do have a problem with the bowl in which this, and other items are served. You see, over the last few months there has been a shift from a standard size soup bowl (see photo right) to a bowl like what you see above. This new bowl is much smaller than the original allowing for less than one cup of liquid to be placed in it. Previous posts on this blog have shown a demonstration whereby I poured the contents of the bowl into a standard size coffee cup. The level of soup only rose to half way up the cup. Now, the question is, has this penny-pinching, bean counting facility decided that by reducing the size of each portion they will save what can only amount to a fraction of a cent per serving. And what makes this worse is they think nobody notices.

By now most of you know my disinclination for starting, disseminating or perpetuating rumors. However, every once and a while a piece of scuttlebutt comes around that is just too juicy not to mention. In fact, I would not have even thought of repeating it if it did not pertain to something that I have been pissed off about almost from my first day here at the asylum and that is the use of microwave ovens in resident’s rooms.

Readers new to this blog may not know that here, at the ALF where I live, residents are not permitted to have any appliances in their private rooms deemed dangerous by the management. This is a house rule, not a state or local ordinance. You must also understand that practically all of the other ALF’s in this state do permit the use of such devices by residents and many even supply microwave ovens and feature them in their advertising campaigns. This is why I became so incensed when I heard this story from what I consider an impeccable source. The story began a few months ago when the Center realized that its occupancy rate was stalled well below the national average of 89%. 

The corporation that owns this, and other facilities, realized that it was time for the implementation of a new marketing strategy which included a new brochure and even a video depicting the amenities and virtues of the Center. One of the tools used in this campaign is the setting up of a “model room” or show room much like real estate people when selling a new home. Therefore, they decorated one of the rooms in the main building in such a way as to show how even a small room could be made to look “homey” and livable. They installed extra furniture, new bedspreads and pictures on the walls. 
All, items that any perspective resident could decorate their rooms like. However, there was one item added to this idyllic paradise of a room and that was the inclusion of, you guessed it, a microwave oven sitting proudly in the kitchenette area of the room. This, in direct contrast to what is actually permitted. In fairness, it must be stated that, according to my source, the microwave has since been removed from the model room. The explanation for why the microwave was put there in the first place was that they wanted to show what “might be done if they permitted it”. All of this just goes to show you that denying the use of such devices as microwave ovens and coffee makers to residents who are qualified to use them is both archaic and a detriment to the happiness and well being of those who live here.


Through both personal experience and up close observation, I believe the following to be oh so true.

Elderly don’t want roommates in nursing homes
 (or ALF’s )

When elders express a wish to remain in assisted living facilities, even as their health declines enough to warrant nursing home placement, I believe they are telling us more than that they want to avoid the high cost of nursing home care. In assisted living facilities, elders usually live in their own units, but nursing homes provide far more semiprivate rooms (typically with two beds) than private ones. If a patient is alone in a room, the other bed is usually soon occupied, unless the patient has a serious, communicable disease.
Elderly people who are frail enough to need placement in a nursing home often resent being forced to have a roommate. ....

I’m taking a chance and reprinting this article in its entirety. Read and check-off how many of these items are available to us, here at the Center. Pay attention to the highlighted items.

Ten qualities of a great assisted living residence
By Fern Marder, Parker Home

An assisted living residence is a good option for seniors who need help with some aspects of daily living, such as cooking meals, taking medication, cleaning the house, and traveling to appointments.The residence also provides a secure environment with emergency call systems in place.When you need more assistance that your family, friends and in-home help can provide, you should consider moving to an assisted living residence.

There are 10 qualities you should keep in mind while visiting assisted living residences:

1. Contentment — When visiting an assisted living residence, speak to the people who live there and find out how they feel about the home. Do you see people socializing and laughing? Are the residents participating in activities and clubs? Do they like the environment and the food?

2. Home-like — The assisted living residence is clean, comfortable and nicely decorated, with plants and artwork. The dining room uses real dishes and silverware — no paper and plastic. There are areas where small groups can gather and enjoy activities together or watch TV.

3.Autonomy — Residents have the freedom to do what you can for themselves. Their choices and wishes are encouraged and respected.The residents should be treated with dignity and respect.

4.Amenities — The assisted living residence has a health and wellness center where you can exercise and learn about wellness, a hair salon, a library, an area for worship similar to a chapel, proximity to other amenities like theaters, shopping malls, and transportation to bring you there and back.

5. Plants, pets and children — There is greenery both inside and outside the building, with lovely grounds and areas to walk and socialize. Residents can have a small to mid-sized dog or cat living with them. Many great assisted living residences have visits from local children to brighten up the residents’ day.

6. Excellent, nutritious food — For health and for pleasure, dining together with friends is an important social experience.When you visit an assisted living residence, ask to try the cuisine.The food should be high quality, nutritious and freshly prepared.

7. Bedroom or suite — The suite should be comfortable and include a kitchenette and a bathroom with a shower. Privacy is important and the resident should be in control of his personal space and time.

8. Personalized plan — The residence should have a team that sets up a personalized plan for residents that meets their physical and emotional needs, including accommodating for any disabilities that they may have. 9.Additional assistance — If a resident requires a higher level of care, such as taking medication or assistance with bathing, or laundry, services are available.The goal is to allow people to “age in place” as much as possible.

10. Social activities — There should be interesting activities and events available daily, including nights and weekends. One of the main reasons seniors move in to assisted living residences is to ease the loneliness they experience living alone. There are some excellent resources on the Internet that will assist you in finding the best assisted living residence for you. provides news and case studies about assisted living on their website. is a nonprofit guide to resources including assisted living provides a checklist of traits to look for in an assisted living residence.With patience and persistence, you will find the perfect residence for you.

Editor’s note: I did not post this story in order to lambaste or to make any derogatory comments about the Westchester Center. In fact, out of the 10 items on the list, we are only deprived of three. As I have always said, this facility has the potential to be one of the best facilities of its kind in the country, all it needs is a little “tweaking”


NIC: Assisted Living, Seniors Housing in Peak Demand 
Assisted living communities experienced occupancy levels of 89.4 percent, the best showing since late 2007, according to the National Investment Center’s top
Additionally, third quarter 2014 results for transaction volumes, return performance and demand “were impressive for seniors housing, with new records set on many scores,” writes NIC Chief Economist Beth Burnham Mace. The senior housing transaction market reached a new high in Q3, with nearly $7 billion worth of deals closed, up more than 30 percent from the previous high during Q3 2011. ....


Do sneezes get louder as one gets older?

Answer: Rick Prothero

I do not believe that age is a primary factor.

The output of a sneeze depends primarily on factors such as lung capacity and the size of the pre-sneeze inhale. More air makes for a bigger sneeze. An intense irritation can make for a louder sneeze.

However, I think that the personality of the individual has a lot more to do with it. Just like loud and soft laughter's, and burps. ....


6 Challenges of Aging With Diabetes
How to overcome your body’s natural changes
By Laura Williamson

About one in four Americans over the age of 60 have diabetes. Managing the disease can become more difficult as people enter their 60s, 70s, and 80s. Here’s what experts have to say about the challenges of aging and what you can do to overcome them:
Two of the most important things aging people can do is admit that they need help and ask for it, says Barbara Resnick, PhD, CRNP, professor of gerontology and Sonya Ziporkin Gershowitz chair of gerontology at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. “A lot of people don’t want to admit they are not checking their glucose levels,” she says. “If you cannot adhere to your self-care regimen, be honest. Talk to your provider about it so you can work out a system that’s realistic for you.”
Read on for six common challenges of aging to discuss with your health care provider:

1. Vision Problems

More than 28 percent of adults over the age of 40 living with diabetes experience diabetic retinopathy, or damage to the small blood vessels in the retina that can result in loss of vision. As people age, vision can deteriorate even further, especially if blood glucose levels are uncontrolled. Cataracts, common in people with diabetes, can also contribute to poor vision.

Failing vision makes it more difficult to read the directions on medication, to see blood glucose numbers on a meter, and even to walk down stairs without falling, especially if reflexes have also slowed, Goldberg says.

2. Hearing Loss

Likewise, seniors may want to have their hearing checked and....


Diabetes in midlife linked to significant cognitive decline 20 years later

People diagnosed with diabetes in midlife are more likely to experience significant memory and cognitive problems during the next 20 years than those with healthy blood sugar levels, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

"The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you're 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you're 50," says study leader Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "There is a substantial cognitive decline associated with diabetes, pre-diabetes and poor glucose control in people with diabetes. And we know how to prevent or delay the diabetes associated with this decline."

More health news

New Approach With Elderly Addicts at Nursing Home

A surge in baby boomers has driven up the number of elderly people abusing drugs or alcohol, bringing more attention to the sometimes-delicate problems involved in treating addiction in the aging.
Clare Mannion, 64, of Fort Myers, Florida, says her fear of aging triggered her alcohol addiction."For me, growing older was not a positive thing," she said. "When life became difficult for me, when it appeared that my prejudice about being a boomer or elderly became insurmountable, I turned to the quickest, easiest, legal medication I could find."The elderly often need powerful pain medications, which are easy to overuse. They typically have dramatic changes in their personal life, such as retirement or the death of a spouse, that can trigger abuse. Family, friends and even doctors sometimes mistake the symptoms of addiction for the symptoms of old age. And dementia can both mask and worsen the effects of drugs and alcohol.....


Aging eyes, screen size and resolution

Q.     I have a 19" monitor with a native resolution of 1600x900. This provides crisp clear text, but it is too small. My vision is not as good as it once was. In order to see easily I have reduced the resolution to 1280x720 and have chosen LARGE fonts. The text is larger but not as clear and it makes me scroll my screen horizontally because it doesn't "fit" the screen.If I graduated to a 23" monitor with a native resolution of 1920x1080 with a normal font would that fix my woes? How would the text size on my 19" 1280x720 LARGE font compare to the text size on a 23" 1920x1080 with regular font? .
A.Some quick background 

Pixels are the smallest physical "dots" that are lit up on the monitor to display an image. They are the building blocks and define all of the tradeoffs. The monitor is manufactured with a specific arrangement of pixels, which is its "native" resolution.

Characters are drawn on the screen by defining which pixels are illuminated within an imaginary grid. The number of pixels in the grid determines the size of the font on that monitor.

Normal Size 

Let's start with screen fonts at their normal size and the computer configured to use the monitor's native resolution, and compare how the same font will look on two different size monitors. On each monitor, the actual size of the font on the screen will be determined ....

Barry Manilow: I have not had any plastic surgery and am aging naturally

Barry Manilow denied reports that his wrinkle-free appearance is due to lots of plastic surgery. Manilow insisted he is aging naturally and slammed longstanding rumors that he has gone under the knife.
“It’s infuriating," Barry told UK talk show host Jonathan Ross Nov. 27. "This is me at 70. I swear. Really, this is what I look like. I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”
Manilow is the latest celebrity who has been the subject of plastic surgery reports. Fashion designer Donatella Versace was recently accused of going overboard with plastic surgery after debuting a shiny, waxy face that had fans saying she resembled a melting candle.....

Discounting the myth

A nation of Methuselahs: Is it possible for humans to live too long?
Advances in science pose a fresh moral problem: Is it possible for humans to live too long?
Jennifer Graham

Is death optional? Can aging be cured? A human life with no expiration date has long been the stuff of science fiction, but some scientists believe these screenwriter fantasies will one day be real, as life spans creep upward and medicine advances.
But if the life expectancy of, say, Methuselah, who the Bible says lived 969 years, is achievable, is it desirable, or even moral?
Death is a loss, Emanuel wrote, “but here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived.”


Hey Chef! Do I look like a f-----g rabbit?

Carrots, carrots. Every time I look at my plate I see a side of carrots. Sometimes they’re sliced, sometimes they’re diced and sometimes they are those tough little miniature carrots. Quite frankly chef, nobody here like carrots. For most of the residents they are too touch to chew and when they are cooked so much as to make them soft, they loose all of their flavor. All you have to do is look in the garbage at the end of a meal where carrots were served and all you will see is a sea of uneaten carrots. Yes, I know that carrots are good for you, but not that good that they are served three or four times a week. After all, there are other vegetables besides carrots. Some of them equally as healthy. How come we never get asparagus or Brussels sprouts? Where are the nice whole cut string beans? Hoe about some creamed spinach or even some nice whole leaf spinach once and a while? Enough with the carrots already. My nose is twitching.