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


Monday, Nov. 30th, 2015

The W. Center

(Where Thanksgiving Never Ends)

If you believe that the plate in the photo looks to you like your typical, institutional all-encompassing Thanksgiving  dinner, you would be wrong. Yes, it is turkey, and stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, but it’s not Thanksgiving and It’s not leftovers. For some reason our Dietary/Food service/Masochist Department thought it would be a good idea to serve a complete T-Day meal only four days after the actual Thanksgiving. And, while the turkey was actually juicy and tender, we here at the Asylum are, to say the least, damn sick of turkey.

And by the way, if one wanted to not subject himself to yet another other white meat dinner and, instead went for the alternate meal of fish, he would have been disappointed. The fish, you see, ran out after the first five minutes............ Ed.

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This week's main blog contains an eclectic group of articles gleaned from the news and other sources, 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:    


Since most of the articles taken from other websites are copyrighted, I can only reprint a small portion of each. Please click on the links I have provided to view the complete articles.

The Weekly WCenterBlog begins below


A look back at “Kid Central”

Part One

With the realization that I may be disengaging much of this country, I will continue, undaunted, with this week’s editorial.

I don’t know what kids in the Midwest, The South, or on the West Coast called it, but us kids here in the New York area called it “The Candy Store.” However, the title “Candy Store” belied the true value of its worth to the neighborhood kids. To us this rather unpretentious edifice, usually located on one corner of a well-traveled thoroughfare, (In my case on the corner of Clarkson and Bedford Avenues in Brooklyn) might as well have been Shangri-La, Nirvana, Mecca or Xanadu. It was a place where dreams were made of. It was “Kid’s Central.” A place where a city kid could stock up on his necessities of life, his raison d’etre if you will. Things that no self-respecting young urban urchin could live without. It was a place where he could buy his “Stuff”. And just what did that stuff consist of? A collection of strategic merchandise necessary for one’s very survival. There was, of course, the essentials.

The actual designation of the local candy store was “Luncheonette”. By its very name, it inferred that food was served there, and it was. And, if you were lucky enough to have one near your school and your mom gave you a dollar before you left in the morning, you could skip the awful cafeteria food and dine in style at the Luncheonette. There was, the kids version of “Spécialités de la Maison.” 

The hamburger was always popular. It was prepared simply. A patty of beef slapped down on a flat stainless steel grill, a heavy weight placed on it to “squeeze” out the excess fat. A side of French Fries was always the side dish with the preferred beverage of choice, a chocolate egg cream*. However, for those of us with more plebeian tastes, there was only one perfect luncheonette lunch. The piece de resistance of Luncheonette cuisine. The grilled cheese sandwich.

I don’t know what it was about that particular grilled cheese sandwich. For some reason, I was never able to reproduce it at home. Maybe it was the grill, which was right there in front of you as you sat at the counter and watched it being made. Perhaps it was the extra butter the griddle guy slathered both sides of the bread with. Or maybe it was just the thrill of being grown up enough for your mom to let you buy lunch on your own. Or perhaps it was what you drank with the grilled cheese sandwich that made it so special. I mentioned that the beverage most consumed with a hamburger was a chocolate egg cream or sometimes a Coke. And, while they were not completely unheard of when having a grilled cheese sandwich, the only real drink for me was a chocolate malted. But it had to be made a certain way.

The only piece of equipment that could ever make one of these properly was the Hamilton Beach mixer. Every luncheonette had one. It was always a sea green color and it was always right near the grill. Somehow, this machine, like no other, could stir the ingredients at the right speed so as to achieve the proper consistency. The candy store guy would pour the finished malted into a tall glass directly from the stainless steel container that it was mixed in. There was always more in that container than could fit in the glass, so he left it right there on the counter for you to finish. It was like having a treat after the treat. Accompanying the perfectly melted, perfectly grilled cheesy delight was either a kosher dill pickle or a little paper cup of coleslaw. But lunch did not end there. There was still one more “Must Have”. The one item that made the meal true perfection. The pretzel stick.

The pretzel stick, complete with a coating of coarse salt, and plucked from an oblong glass jar located next to the cash register, was tantamount to you dad’s after dinner cigar. You took it into your hands as if it were a fine Cohiba. You inspected it for the proper distribution of the salt and for its freshness. You all but drew it under your nose and inhaled its pretzely aroma. The perfect ending to a perfect meal.

Next week: Part two.The stuff no self respecting kid  would be without.

*Egg cream. Even the most sheltered country bumpkin knows by now what an egg cream is. But for those of you that have just arrived here from Alfa Centuri, I will briefly explain.

The chocolate egg cream contains no egg. It does contain chocolate syrup (Preferably Fox’s U-Bet). The other ingredients are seltzer water and milk. The syrup is placed in the glass first and then the milk. Finally the seltzer is poured into to a glass, while stirring briskly, which produces a foamy head not unlike that found on a freshly drawn Guinness.


And we wonder why Social Security is in trouble, or

why Medicare rates are going up or,

why pills cost so much....

It’s not Tax Evasion, It’s Tax Inversion

In one of the biggest corporate deals ever, Pfizer and Allergan announced Monday that they would combine to create the world's largest pharmaceutical giant.

The merger, which still needs regulatory approval, would bring blockbuster drugs like Pfizer's Lyrica, Enbrel and Viagra and Allergan's Botox and Restasis under one corporate roof. 

Consumers probably don't have to worry about big price hikes for these drugs, though. 

There has been an intense focus on drug prices from presidential candidates after one drug company raised the price of a drug used by AIDS patients by more than 5,500%. 

But the prices of blockbuster drugs have typically not gone up that much when two large pharmaceutical companies merge. Instead, the huge price spikes are usually by smaller companies that own drugs for rare diseases. 

The Pfizer-Allergan merger, worth approximately $160 billion, would be the second-largest of all time, according to Dealogic, behind only the 1999 merger of two telecommunications firms. 

The companies said they expected the deal to close by the end 2016. 

Allergan (AGN), based in Dublin, is best known as the maker of Botox. 

The combined company would top industry leaders Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Novartis (NVS) in terms of sales and market value. 

The mega deal is also the latest example of the massive wave of consolidation in health care. Drug makers, insurers, hospitals and pharmacies have raced to bulk up in recent years as the business landscape has been altered by Obamacare and an aging population. 

The Pfizer-Allergan announcement is expected to be controversial in political circles. 

The deal would move New York-based Pfizer (PFE) to Ireland -- making it the latest merger that will let a U.S. company slash its federal corporate tax bill. 

Pfizer has been openly critical of the U.S. corporate tax rate. Last year, when it tried unsuccessfully to acquire British drug maker AstraZeneca, Pfizer didn't hide the fact that tax savings were one of the main drivers. 

Mergers like Pfizer-Allergan are known as tax inversions. In such deals, bigger American companies buy smaller foreign ones and then switch their headquarters (at least on paper) to the location of the smaller company. 

Burger King made headlines last year when it bought Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons and moved its address to Canada. 

Inversions are legal but have been criticized, particularly by Democrats, as a way for companies to beat Uncle Sam. 

The U.S. Treasury Department unveiled new rules Thursday to make it harder for companies to do inversions. But without Congressional action, the Treasury rules were not expected alone to stop a Pfizer-Allergan tie up. 


Staffing Problems Make for Long Lines and Slow Service

New DOH regs make ALF Staffing more difficult

Residents here at the Asylum have been witness to a disturbing trend as of late. Long lines for medication and a longer than usual wait for the dining room to open for all meals. In addition to that longer waiting time comes slower and more inept service by overworked servers. With the occupancy rate reaching critical mass here, it has become quite clear that staffing has not kept up with need. Regretfully, this lack of personnel may not be entirely the fault of the Center. The difficulty lies mainly with the New York State’s DOH, recent regulations regarding employees of Assisted living facilities (ALF)....



Implementation Effective January 1, 2015, new prospective employees for ACFs will require to be fingerprinted (SSL Section 461 subsection t) Includes Adult Homes (AHs), Enriched Housing Programs (EHPs) and Assisted Living Residences (ALRs) that are licensed or certified by the New York State Department of Health.

Who is Subject to CHRC?


All non-licensed employees providing direct care to residents/clients pursuant to a plan of care, including those who have access to living quarters. Examples: - CNAs - Hairdressers & barbers - HHAs - Housekeepers - Dietary Aides - Maintenance workers.

The above is just a partial list of rules and regulations regarding the background status of prospective employees and who can and cannot be hired. And, while there is nothing that says that a facility cannot hire a less than desirable person, any facility would be reluctant to have someone with a spurious background to work in a place where such persons would have access to resident’s rooms or have direct interaction with residents.

The entire PDF version of this regulation may be viewed at.... 


Unfortunately, this does not bode well for many ALF’s who have a difficult time as it is finding and keeping staff. Many prospective employees are reluctant to (for various reasons) have their fingerprints taken. This decreases the number of prospects because many of the people who would normally apply for such a job (which, by the way, pays very poorly, usually at or just slightly above minimum wage with no benefits). 

It’s the old story of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. While the need for staffing is at its greatest, the perspective pool of resources is being legislatively reduced. I believe that it will only be a matter of time for this latest poorly thought-out regulation will come home to roost......................................................... Ed.

See Related Story Below

Investing in staff: Better engagement, better business

by Imran Javaid

To be successful, long-term living businesses need to focus not only on their residents, but also on the people who are providing the services—the staff. However, the LTC industry often considers high turnover rates—particularly among certified nursing assistants—to be simply part of the business.

Rather than accepting turnover as an inevitable cost of doing business and focusing instead on investing in the most up-to-date facilities, LTC businesses should also focus efforts on building a permanent, dedicated and engaged workforce. Operators who invest in their staffs take a critical step toward business success. As a lender, turnover rates and quality of care are fundamental criteria that we examine when assessing potential opportunities.

Addressing common issues

Two of the biggest issues that impact seniors are nutrition and the feeling of isolation. A facility’s staff can have a tremendous impact on both these issues. An engaged staff gets to know the residents as individuals, building relationships that can alleviate loneliness. Dedicated staff members who are invested in the people they care for can transform a facility into a home and a community.

Similarly, a staff that connects with its residents is a staff that more effectively feeds its residents. Knowing the likes, dislikes and special nutritional needs of each resident is a basic requirement for effective care, but too many facilities fall short. Alleviating these two common problems can make an immediate difference in creating high-quality outcomes for residents.

Better care, better business

At the same time, we need to consider the business element of this “people business.” The primary source for resident referrals is hospitals, which discharge their patients to facilities with the expectation that they will receive appropriate care. Driven by current healthcare regulations where hospitals are penalized if a patient is readmitted within 30 days for certain conditions or diagnoses, hospitals prefer to refer patients only to those LTC facilities with the best care. Hospitals won’t recommend assisted living, home health or skilled nursing facilities that offer unacceptable outcomes, as measured by the hospital re-admittance rate....


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Senior Living’s Labor Crisis:

 Providers, Lawmakers Seek Solution Overseas

 by Kourtney Liepelt 

There’s a storm brewing in senior housing: Between wage pressures and work environments that can take an emotional and physical toll, senior living providers are scrambling to recruit and retain staff. A dwindling labor force, though, has many looking to immigration reform as senior living’s saving grace.

The stark conditions in the sector have prompted lawmakers and industry leaders to consider alternate labor outlets, with the CEO of the nation’s largest independent living provider among the most vocal advocates of an immigrant workforce. Kai Hsiao, President and CEO of Holiday Retirement, suggests that directly recruiting overseas workers is inevitable

But whether or not that comes to pass, a clear consensus within the industry is that there soon won’t be enough caregivers for the United States’ aging population—and immigrant workers could be a key part of the solution

From Bad to Worse

The ratio of caregivers to those over age 80 is expected to drop drastically over the next 20 years, according to a recent AARP study. Whereas that ratio was seven-to-one in 2010, it’s likely to plummet to four-to-one by 2030, a decrease that could propel the industry into crisis mode.

To close that gap by 2030, at least 2.5 million more workers will be needed to provide long-term care to an increasingly older population in the U.S., according to a study conducted earlier this year by the University of California-San Francisco. The study’s authors predict this demand for workers will remain steady, even if there’s a significant shift from institutional to home-based care.

“This industry should be cheerleaders for immigration reform—it’s a caregiver opportunity,” U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) said at the conference. But exactly what immigration reform would look like—and when it would take place—is up in the air.

In November 2014, President Barack Obama issued an executive order that granted temporary legal status to parents of U.S. citizens and those brought here as children who aren’t living in the U.S. legally. A coalition of 26 states filed a lawsuit challenging Obama’s action on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and would saddle states with increased law enforcement, health care and education costs.....




Manicures and Permanents: Inside a Senior Living Facility Beauty Shop 

By  Claire Carusillo  

My own grandma’s routine tipped me off to the reality of the hundreds of thousands of other American women in assisted living facilities holding onto their vitality through a beauty regimen. At the Hebrew Home campus, I met women like Gladys: Molly, a 99-year-old spitfire; Ita, an 83-year-old artist; and Roslyn, who was just coming to the tail end of her first week residing full-time in an assisted community when I spoke to her. Roslyn was getting her hair set for the first time in longer than she’d like to admit. "I was in the hospital before this, so I haven’t had my hair done in two and a half months," she said. "Generally, when I was at home, I went every other week. Today, I’m having color and curls."

For these senior citizens, it’s not really about the makeup or the hair, it’s about the activity of getting ready. As a young person who cultivated her beauty routine at a college on a nowhere-to-go farm in central New York state, this is something I know well. We’d cheat our lip size with purple crayons and craft elaborate braids, only to realize hours later we’d rather stay in and watch TV instead. The ritual of beauty, rather than the look itself, is often most important. It’s no different between twentysomethings and ninetysomethings. "The seniors here will get dressed up for doctor’s appointments," a stylist at the Hebrew Home told me.

Putting on lipstick or getting a hairdo may be the only part of a senior’s former life that remains when she moves into a senior living facility, ....


Aging has you restless? Don’t lose sleep over it

By Phyllis Hanlon

Aging often brings with it a few more wrinkles, several more pounds, and perhaps a bit of forgetfulness. In addition, sleep habits tend to evolve with age, and these changes can lead to serious medical conditions.

According to a 2015 study published in Disorders of the Nervous System, the body’s circadian timing systems shift as a person grows older, often leading to less and lower quality sleep. The authors of this research indicate “aging profoundly alters circadian behavior and physiology.”

Reduced sleep efficiency, decreased time spent in bed, and consistent disruptions to rest can be complicated by diagnoses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, abd chronic heart conditions. These problems may then lead to other medical conditions. “There is an increased risk of sleep apnea, especially in women,” he says. “In pre-menopausal women, the risk is 0.6 percent. After menopause, the risk goes up to 4.5 percent.”

Sleep deficiencies also increase the chances of developing restless leg syndrome (RLS). “People with restless leg syndrome describe it as a crawling sensation in their legs or dancing feet,” ....

Furthermore, a 2011 study cites a correlation between insomnia and hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness) and comorbid conditions, such as diabetes and chronic pain as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary, and neurological disorders.

Cleaning up your act with sleep hygiene

An exercise routine that involves rigorous activity in the mornings and afternoons, and relaxing exercises in the evening.

Avoiding naps that can disturb normal sleep patterns.

Getting ample exposure to natural light during the day.

Reserving your bed for sleep rather than listening to music or watching TV in your resting space.

more... http://www.chiroeco.com/aging-has-you-restless-sleep-hygiene/76405/

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Tai chi improves balance, prevents falls,

Maine pilot project shows

By Meg Haskell

Falls are a major cause of injury and debilitation among the elderly, according to national experts, and often mark the threshold between an older person’s ability to live independently and the need for placement in a care facility. 

Tai chi, a centuries-old practice that developed in China as a form of self-defense, more often is employed in this country as a gentle form of physical exercise and mental focus — similar to yoga. Characterized by languid, choreographed movements and accompanied by deep, controlled breathing, tai chi can be practiced alone or in a group, just about anywhere. It requires no special clothing or equipment and is suited for people of all ages and levels of physical strength. 

Tai chi has several distinct forms, some of which have been specifically adapted to improve chronic conditions, such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s disease. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorses tai chi as an effective strategy for preventing and countering risks and complications associated with aging and chronic disease, as do Harvard Medical School, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, the Arthritis Foundation and other reputable western health care institutions. 

Because of this, the research division of Aetna health insurance company recently partnered with Maine’s Agencies on Aging to measure tai chi’s impact on preventing falls in the state’s Medicare population of people age 65 and older. 

Many formal studies show tai chi’s positive overall impact on health and fitness, according to Teresa Dubiel of Aetna’s Innovation Labs, which measures health-related interventions for effectiveness. More specifically, she referenced a 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed tai chi’s effectiveness at improving posture, balance and motor control in people with Parkinson’s disease. 

“But what we really wanted was to understand how well it works in the real world,” Dubiel said, noting that seniors’ ability to practice tai chi regularly can be affected by illness, transportation problems and other obstacles....

More...http://bangordailynews.com/2015/08/27/health/tai-chi-improves-balance-prevents-falls-maine-pilot-project-shows/ printed on November 25, 2015  


Early Prostate Cancer Cases Fall Along With Screening


Fewer men are being screened for prostate cancer, and fewer early-stage cases are being detected, according to two studies published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The number of cases has dropped not because the disease is becoming less common but because there is less effort to find it, the researchers said.

The declines in both screening and incidence “could have significant public health implications,” the authors of one of the studies wrote, but they added that it was too soon to tell whether the changes would affect death rates from the disease.

About 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer are expected in 2015, along with 27,540 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

Screening for prostate cancer, like mammography for breast cancer, has long been a subject of intense debate, with advocates insisting that it saves lives and detractors arguing that it leads to too much unnecessary treatment.

The decrease in testing is almost certainly a result of a recommendation against screening made in 2012 by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. The task force, an independent panel of experts picked by the government, found that risks outweighed the benefits of routine blood tests for prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, a protein associated with prostate cancer.

Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, the panel said, screening finds many tumors that might never have harmed the patient. But they are treated anyway. As a result, it concluded, testing saves few lives and leads too many men into unneeded surgery or radiation, which often leaves them impotent and incontinent....


Aging Beautifully At 95: What's The Secret?

By Carolyn Rosenblatt ,


Imagine the memories a 93 year old and a 95 year old pair of friends have to share. Apparently, decades of fun times can be relived for quite awhile when they get together.  My husband, Mikol and I dropped off his Mom, Alice to visit a dear friend whom she had not seen for a long time and the ladies reminisced, laughed and talked for four hours straight.

Her friend Julie is 95.  When we picked up Alice, I was amazed at both of them!  First of all, Julie is still sharp at 95, as is Alice with no sign of memory problems in either of them. That being remarkable in itself, Julie looks amazing too. She stands straight and walks confidently, unassisted in her high heeled pumps.  She wears a becoming pair of slacks and a sweater, full make up, nails done and nice jewelry.  This is not one’s usual image of what 95 is supposed to be like.  She says she is the only one of the same age in her senior community  who can still walk.

“What’s your secret?” I ask. She smiles and says she has always been conscious of health. Her weight is normal, she doesn’t smoke and she says she eats a good diet and walks as much as she can.  ”I’ve always walked a lot” she tells me.  She and Alice concur on that as Alice was a daily walker too, until her knees basically gave out. Now Alice gets her exercise in a daily pool routine. And she looks terrific too.

Julie says she attends exercise classes at the seniors’ community where she lives 5 times a week.   “Mostly it’s in a chair” she tells us: chair yoga, exercise sitting and stretching from a chair and movement class. She is quite relentless about this. She allows as how it’s getting harder lately as she tires more quickly.  ”I went shopping with my son the other day and I was dead tired just from that.  When I was younger, like in my 80s it wasn’t so bad. But that 90? That 90 will get you.”...

more... http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolynrosenblatt/2015/10/13/aging-beautifully-at-95-whats-the-secret/

New Feature

Experts Urge Holistic Approach to Aging Societies 


The challenge we are facing is not population aging, but outdated and ineffective policies and practices declare Fellows of Salzburg Global Seminar.

Leading aging experts have issued a statement calling for a new, holistic approach to dealing with the challenge of aging populations.

The "Salzburg Statement on Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity" was issued by 52 thought leaders, practitioners and innovators from social gerontology, aging-innovation, business, health and social care, workforce development, non-profits, national and local governments, and advocacy, from 23 countries.

According to the jointly issued Statement, "The number of people today aged 60 and over has doubled since 1980, and the number of people aged 80 years will almost quadruple to 395 million between now and 2050. With statistics like this, it is unsurprising that aging is often stated to be one of the greatest challenges we will face in the coming decades - but the challenge we are facing is not population aging, but outdated and ineffective policies and practices."

Through their Statement, the international experts call for "holistic approach" to "better respond to the rights and needs of older people," promoting improvements in their quality of life and assuring "their independence, health, care, income security, and well-being now and for future generations."

The comprehensive Statement, which calls for "all stakeholders, across all sectors and disciplines - intergovernmental, international, regional, national, and local - and individuals" to heed 46 recommendations across six distinct but inter-linking areas, was issued following the five-day program "Aging Societies: Advancing Innovation and Equity" held by the independent non-profit Salzburg Global Seminar, at Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria and an additional one-day program held at the Austrian Economic Chamber (WKÖ), in Vienna, Austria in early November.

The six sections of the Statement cover growth and prosperity in aging societies, sustainable health and care systems, work and markets, retirement, families and communities, and "the social compact" between government, business and civil society.....

more... http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/experts-urge-holistic-approach-to-aging-societies-551804801.html

Guess what seniors are researching on the Internet now 

By Kevin Downey 

Sex never gets old, does it? As it turns out, a lot of senior citizens are having sex.

In fact, about half of men in their 70s say they have sex at least a couple of times a month, and about one-third of women in that age group do, too. That's a good thing.

Scientific American magazine says being sexually active is good for your health, even when you're older. So there.

However, talking about sex even when you're a senior citizen can be uncomfortable. For example, if you're a widower who hasn't gone on a first date in 50 years, you may be wondering, "How do I ask a woman to have sex?" But there are more serious questions you should be asking, too.

Is it OK to have sex while on the medication you're taking? How do you protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases?

Making matters more complicated, doctors are also reluctant to talk about sex with their older patients. Doctors and employees at senior citizen facilities aren't addressing sexual issues that may affect your health, according to scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign...


Hasbro’s first toy for the senior set:

Robotic cats to keep grandma company

By Nidhi Subbaraman

Is it another gee-whiz technology, or a sad sign of life to come for aging baby boomers?

Toy maker Hasbro Inc. last week unveiled its first product designed specifically for older consumers: a $99 robotic cat that’s programmed to roll over and purr when it’s petted and stroked.

No, it can’t leap in your lap or walk over your keyboard, but it won’t claw your sofa to shreds, either. And when you pet it, a combination of sensors translates the gesture as a cue for the robot to meow and purr, or to turn over.

“The cat will meow in various different ways, depending on how it’s interacted with,” said Ted Fischer, Hasbro’s vice president of business development, describing what the company calls its “VibraPurr” technology. “It’s a very calming kind of feeling as it’s sitting on your lap.”

Hasbro, better known for child favorites like Transformers action figures, began developing what it calls the Companion Pet Cat about four years ago when its market research team picked up on a surprising trend: When parents bought cute stuffed animals, a significant number of them went to an aging relative who lived alone or couldn’t own a pet.

The cat — which comes in orange tabby, silver, and creamy white — was chosen after the testing revealed that people were most engaged not by action figures or board games or even stuffed unicorns, but by interactive robots that reminded them of their pets.

At a time when consumers rely on technology for just about everything and routinely rattle off commands to a personal assistant hidden in a phone, it should come as little surprise that a company would attempt to sell a product that can mimic the primal satisfaction of having a cat rest in your lap.

But scholars have already offered the view that there’s something eerie about how people are willing to outsource a basic human need — keeping company — to machines or artificial intelligence software, as Joaquin Phoenix’s character did in the 2013 Spike Jonze film “Her.”

“I think this path takes us off our deepest connection with ourselves and our humanity. I am hoping that we will experiment and talk about it and reject it,” Sherry Turkle, MIT professor and psychologist, wrote in an e-mail....


Elder Abuse:

Who Can You Speak to About It?

Experts say multi-disciplinary strategies offer the most effective responses

By Shefali Luthra

Elder abuse, which can take the form of sexual or emotional abuse, physical violence and even financial manipulation, affects at least 10 percent of older Americans, according to a review article in the Nov. 12 New England Journal of Medicine.

That figure, researchers note, is likely an underestimate, since it’s based on self-reported cases, and potential victims often suffer from dementia or are otherwise isolated from people who might notice something is wrong. But the estimate drives home how pervasive the problem is, and how familiar its victims might be.

Who the Most Likely Victims Are

Elder abuse can happen to residents in nursing homes or those living with family members. The “young old” are more likely to be affected. And if unchecked, elder abuse increases the risk of death and can result in long-term harm — putting its victims in the hospital and emergency room and increasing their odds of physical and mental illness.

Elder abuse affects at least 10 percent of older Americans, according to a review article in the Nov. 12 New England Journal of Medicine. 

And, because the abuse can take various forms and the issues involved are complex, there is rarely a single, easy solution. Instead, with this review of research from the past decade, the authors conclude that multi-disciplinary strategies offer the most effective responses.

For example, if someone is being physically harmed, he or she could need help from a primary care doctor. But once this initial problem is recognized, it might become clear that the victim also needs a new place to live, which would make the assistance of housing authorities key. Or, if someone is scamming the older person or withholding his or her money, getting help at the bank also makes sense....

more... http://www.nextavenue.org/elder-abuse-who-can-you-speak-to-about-it/

* * *

5 things to know about the

national crisis facing aging Americans

By Emily Rappleye 

As a society, Americans are obsessed with aging — how to age slower, better, healthier. Yet as this obsession bleeds into healthcare through discussions on palliative care, hospice and advanced directives, it is becoming increasingly obvious we — healthcare professionals included —don't know nearly enough about aging.

"Most healthcare professionals have had little to no training in the care of older adults. Currently, 97 percent of all medical students in the United States do not take a single course in geriatrics," a recent article in The New York Times reads.

This lack of knowledge combined with the aging Baby Boomer population has the makings of serious national crisis.

Here are five things you need to know about the national aging crisis.

1. There is a national shortage of geriatricians. According to The New York Times, there are currently less than 8,000 geriatricians. Yet the population of Americans over age 65 is growing, so that by 2050, a projected 90 million Americans will be over age 65 and a projected 19 million will be over age 85. The report crunched the numbers and estimated that by 2030 there will be one geriatrician for every 3,798 older adults. The American Geriatrics Society says there should be one geriatrician to every 300 older adults in an ideal world, according to the report.

2. Geriatrics is not a lucrative specialty. Most geriatricians are reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid, making it difficult to sustain a financially viable practice. According to an NPR report, geriatricians made an average salary of $184,000 in 2010, which was nearly three times less than radiologists. Students often look for higher-paying fields to help offset the burden of medical school debt. According to a 2015 Medscape report, 78 percent of medical residents have some debt, and 37 percent of residents have more than $200,000 in debt. High levels of debt and low pay can make geriatrics less appealing to medical students.

Geriatric patients are managed, not cured. Medical students may also shy away from geriatrics because their patients tend to be medically complex and have diseases that cannot be cured. In combination with low-pay, geriatric cases tend to be more time consuming, according to the NPR report....



See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery...


The Very Last Final Word about Meatloaf (I hope).

O.K., this is it. Positively, absolutely, the last and final word I will have to say on this subject.

Regular readers of this blog have undoubtedly been following my trials and tribulations concerning the flavor and consistency of the meatloaf served here at the Center. You have commiserated with me as I explained that our meatloaf had no resemblance to any meatloaf made anywhere on this planet, and not in a good way. The consistency and texture could only have been construed as being mushy and the flavor as mindless. I have also said that a monkey, given a cookbook and enough time, could make a meatloaf better than what comes out of our kitchen. And, while I don’t regret having made any of those comments, I must, after last this past week, amend some of what I have said.

“Thrice fooled, twice shy”, I thought as I perused the dinner menu last Wednesday. For there, amongst the appetizers, salads, and alternate meals, the monster meatloaf reared its ugly head as the featured item. 

“No way in hell am I going to order that crap again”, I said to my tablemate and proceeded to go with the alternate entree of fried fish. However, a minute after placing my fish order, our chef came to my table and urged me to try the meatloaf. Apparently, he had taken my rantings to heart and had actually changed the basic recipe. Unfortunately, I was still leery of his proclamation and declined to change my order. However, he did instruct the server to bring a slice of his new concoction over for me (and my table mate) to try. And what I discovered was amazing. 

After all of these months and years suffering through various emulations of what should have been a no-brainer, I can finally say that the meatloaf served to me last week was the closest it has ever come to being what all of America has known meatloaf to taste like. The formally muddy texture has done a complete 180 to the point where it now has the consistency of a real meatloaf. It was firm and well-formed. The flavor, while still lacking what I would consider to be authentic meatloaf flavor did, at least, have some recognizable spices and flavoring. 

Therefore, the next time I see meatloaf on our menu (which should not be too long in coming), I will definitely order it. And, if I pour enough ketchup over it, I might even enjoy it........................................................... FF.

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Medicare Fraud

Don’t let the SOB’s get away with it.

All of us who reap the benefits of Medicare (and that’s mostly everyone over 65) has received or will be receiving a Medicare statement in the snail mail or in your email. You know, it’s the one that firmly states “This is not a Bill” on it. The one you probably throw away without reading it. Yes, that one. Well, the next time you get one of these (usually once a quarter) it might do you well to read it, carefully. You may be surprised at what you find just as me and a fellow resident here at the Asylum found out recently.

My friend “K”, came to me a couple of days ago and told me that, after reading her quarterly statement from Medicare, she noticed a claim from a doctor she did not recognize. This caused her to read further and what she saw caused her mouth to drop open. Not only did she never see or even have a conversation with the doctor (A Urologist) named on the statement, but never ever had any of the procedures that this doctor billed (and was paid for by) Medicare. She went on to tell me that she was going to file a complaint, fraud if you will, (online) with Medicare. I said “You go girl” and left it at that, dismissing it as just a clerical error on the doctor’s part. Then, yesterday evening, I received my Medicare quarterly statement and low and behold, similar charges by the same doctor appeared just as they had on her’s. Needless to say, I was pissed. The nerve of this SOB trying to perpetrate a fraud with me as an unsuspecting dupe no less. This got me to thinking. How many other residents of this facility have received or will be receiving comparable statements? And, what’s worse, how many of my fellow residents will fail to read the statements carefully and dismiss the information as just another boring government waste of time. Unfortunately, it is this apathetic attitude prevalent among many seniors, that these crooked doctors depend on for their ill-gotten gains. 

Therefore, my friends, no matter where you are or what your financial circumstances may be, I urge you to read, carefully, every piece of literature you receive from Medicare or Medicaid or any government agency. And, if you don’t understand something on the form, don’t be afraid to call the number on that form. The government is very interested in combating these kinds of malfeasance. As for me, I am not only going to report this to the Office of the Inspector General, but I am going to make it my duty to make sure that other residents here at the Center check their statements as well. Eventually, it is up to all of us to keep a sharp eye out for this kind of dishonesty. We all wind up paying for it in the end.

If you wish to report fraudulent activity, you may do so online by contacting the U.S. Inspector General at... https://forms.oig.hhs.gov/hotlineoperations/report-fraud-form.aspx

Editor's note: Further investigation of this particular doctor shows that he does not even have a specialty in urology.


This is one battle I’m glad I no longer have to fight. As a homeowner, the yearly arrival of fall and all of its beauty has, unfortunately, a seamy side. All of those nice colorful leaves that adorn those stately trees will, eventually, wind up on your lawn, hedges, and sidewalks. And, while some people just leave them alone and let them accumulate into one rotting pile of mulch, most of us don’t appreciate the odor of decomposing foliage. Therefore, each year, we become slaves to the leaf. We rake, blow, collect, burn, pile, and even vacuum them away from us. Some neighborhoods have leaf drives whereby the bagged leaves are collected and turned into compost which is sold or distributed back to the homeowners. For most of us, well, we just stuff them into giant plastic bags and put them out for the sanitation department to collect. But here at the Center, we have a better idea. We pay professionals to do the dirty work. Our landscaping crew uses the latest in leaf removal technology to blow all of the leaves into a pile and throw them into a truck to do god-knows-what with them. 

Top Reasons for Moving to a Senior Living Community

 By Kourtney Liepelt 

Changes to a senior’s health status are more likely to prompt a move to a senior living community than any other deciding factor, according to survey findings recently released by Varsity Branding and Asbury Communities.

The study, titled “Project Looking Glass III: From The Outside In,” explores the decision-making process behind selecting a senior living community. It includes findings from focus groups, in-depth interviews and a nationally distributed online survey completed by 435 people, 51.5% of whom are non-residents and 48.5% of whom are already residents in a retirement facility.

Among residents surveyed, 44.5% said either a health change for themselves or their spouse/partner triggered their move to a senior living community. Similarly, 34.9% of non-residents indicated a health change as a reason they would be motivated to move into a senior living facility.

Meanwhile, 30.6% of residents said freedom from home maintenance responsibilities drove them to move, nearly equal to the 30.5% of non-residents who said the same would push them to enter a community.

The survey further revealed that the majority of respondents aged 70 to 79 did or would search the Internet using a search engine to begin learning about their senior housing options. Children, friends and themselves topped the list of influencers in deciding to move to a community for those who completed the survey. ....


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The Future of Aging

Can architecture address an aging population?

By Victor Regnier.



Whether it is a new gray hair or an aging parent, getting old is universal. We all have to deal with it. While people are living longer, healthier lives, the growing older demographic puts pressure on the architectures that support seniors. AN spoke with designers and experts about how cities and buildings can respond to issues around aging.

Mimi Zeiger: What do you see as the future of aging?

Victor Regnier: When we talk about the future in terms of an aging population, we aren’t talking about five or ten years out; 2040 or 2050 is our target. By then we should have a cure for cancer, have cut heart disease in half, and have good insights into dementia. This means incredible increases in longevity and a world with huge numbers of older people. Right now the fastest growing age group is those over 100, and the second fastest growing group is people between 85 and 100.

However, we are seeing very low population growth in the US, Europe, and developing countries. This means that the percentage of oldest old people in the population is going to grow as well. There will be a smaller number of people between 50-65 supporting the young and the very old.

The question is: With all these drugs and all these things that we are going to invent in the next 20 years, are they going to lead to more years of positive, beneficial old age or are they going to lead to more years of impairment in a facility or at home in bed, in a wheelchair, or with a walker?

How do these numbers impact the built environment?

What this means from an urban design perspective is that we need to have cities that are more accommodating and more positively predisposed toward people who are aged and have limited mobility.

Looking at healthy cities that support older people is the most positive thing we can do—to help people lead more independent lives in their own neighborhoods and communities. In doing so, we will keep people from going to institutions or choosing non-independent living arrangements.

Those arrangements, though necessary for some, are also very expensive and there are not that many of them. That’s a problem. They are expensive to build and difficult to develop as subsidized arrangements, since there are service components for recreation and medical which have to be accommodated in the model. So it is difficult to create for affordability.

Ultimately, we want people to live in their own homes as long as possible. We are now seeing more waiver programs that provide help and support at home instead of in a nursing home.....


 More on ageism and how is cuts across all

 race, gender and abilities

By  Helen Dennis

Today’s column capitalizes on the experts’ take on the subject with my own perspective thrown in for good measure.

Ageism is defined as prejudice or discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. One may question why bother with the subject.

Erdmore Palmore, professor emeritus in psychiatry at Duke University, answered the question in his editorial in the Journal of Gerontology:

• If we live long enough, we are all vulnerable to ageism. It cuts across race, gender, sexual orientation and ability.

• The long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare is affected by the rapid increase of older adults, which may generate conflict between the generations.

• Ageism affects older workers, which limits their opportunities and deprives employers of valuable talent and experience.

• Ageism is a civil rights issue and should not be tolerated in a society that prides itself on being egalitarian.

Age discrimination is not new. 

Although the term was coined in 1969 by the late noted geriatrician Dr. Robert N. Butler, contempt for older people has been traced to Neolithic cultures. 

During this time, men and women who could no longer contribute to communal survival were cast aside or left to die as noted by W. Andrew Achenbaum, professor of Global Aging in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Houston.

Ageism is all around us. 

Palmore writes that it “is so much part of our culture that most people are not even aware of it. It’s like the air we breathe.” And 80 percent of Americans say they have been subjected to it.

According to a study by the FrameWorks Institute, the public has three large misconceptions about aging that are strongly associated with decline. The public believes that loss of control and deterioration are inevitable; that with age, individuals cannot learn, are stagnant and digitally incompetent. 

They also believe older adults’ identity, skills, knowledge and success are fixed....


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Movies are growing up too

By Helen Dennis

Q.Is it my imagination or am I seeing Hollywood finally featuring older people as stars with something to offer rather than appearing weak, silly and needy? If I am right, it’s about time! Thanks for your take on this. 

— N.S.

A. Dear N.S.,

Hope springs eternal and part of that hope is linked to demography. The baby boomers are getting older and are between 51 and 69 years. They are 78 million strong, which translates into a lot of discretionary income and buying power. Many of us in that stage of life and older would like to see a balance between the challenges facing older persons and the portrayal of older adults that inspire us.

The late David Wolfe, author of the classic book “Serving the Ageless Market” (McGraw-Hill, 1990) wrote about effective marketing strategies to reach older adults. One strategy is to provide images and experiences to which older adults would aspire. That logic transfers to movies.

AARP identifies movies for grown-ups that feature older actors and actresses as well as themes that an experienced generation would enjoy and appreciate. Two recently released movies on their list highlight the possibilities, roles and capacities of older people. (Note this column is not a movie review; rather it is a focus on the message.)

The first movie is “A Walk in the Woods” starring 79-year-old Robert Redford and 74-year-old Nick Nolte. It is based on travel writer-humorist Bill Bryson’s memoir of walking the Appalachian Trail. 

Redford plays the role an older man who has had a semi-successful career, a good family life yet finds something missing to the point of having a meltdown. It’s a movie about age, time left, friendship and taking on a challenge to find out “what’s next?” 

This question is germane to our off-screen lives and stimulates thinking to find answers to the “what’s next” question. 

What can I do that brings meaning to my life? What are my physical and mental capabilities? Can I do more than I think I can do? Am I willing to take some risks? To what extent are social expectations and stereotyped images of aging dictating what I do? Answers to these questions require some personal reflection and an awareness of opportunities around us.

The second film is “The Intern,” starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway. DeNiro plays a 70-year old widower who is a retired phone book company executive. To get himself out of the house he volunteers as an intern to Hathaway’s company. She plays a 30-something CEO of an online fashion start up. ....


Scientists Find the Real Fountain of Youth — Inside Our DNA

By Natalie Shoemaker

We have a finite time on this Earth and we all want to make the most of it. However, sometimes the side effects of aging get in the way. Technology is helping in a big way to make aging a more graceful process, but some scientists are seeking something greater: the fountain of youth. Rather than looking for it in some ancient jungle, researchers are trying to find the key within our genome to “edit out” the bad stuff.

"Almost half of the genes we found that affect aging are conserved in mammals. In theory, any of these factors could be therapeutic targets to extend health span. What we have to do now is figure out which ones are amenable to targeting.”

The researchers used yeast, deleting a single gene among 4,698 strains and then waiting to see which one outlasted the others.

They found deleting a gene called LOS1 helped extend the lifespan of a strain of yeast by 60 percent. This gene is associated with calorie restriction, and a low-calorie diet has been shown to delay or offset certain aspects of aging.

The find is an interesting one, but there are still many secrets yet to unlock when it comes to understanding why and how we age....


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Is a New Experimental Drug the Fountain of Youth?  

Researchers find a drug used to fight Alzheimer's disease

 has anti-aging properties, too.  

 By Brittany Smith      

Scientists from the Salk Institute may have discovered a "fountain of youth" while on a quest to fight Alzheimer's disease. The potential wonder drug is called J147 and, according to the researchers, this new body of research published in the journal Aging,  is expanding on previous developments and findings in which J147 targets Alzheimer’s number one risk factor—old age.

In the new study, scientists explored the effects of the drug on a breed of mice that ages rapidly and experience a version of dementia that closely resembles how we’re impacted by the age-related disorder. In all, there were three groups of mice total: One was young, another set was old, and the third was old, but fed J147 as they aged.

Using a comprehensive set of analyses to measure gene expression in the brain, as well as over 500 small molecules involved with blood and brain metabolism, the researchers were able to examine  how the three groups of rapidly aging mice fared. 

Overall, the J147-treated mice performed better on memory and cognition tests, and “displayed more robust motor movements,” according to the press release. They exhibited healthier physiological features (AKA, they looked younger!) and strengthened blood vessels; ...


Data on Benefits of Lower Blood Pressure 

Brings Clarity for Doctors and Patients



When the federal government announced in September that it had abruptly halted a large blood pressure study because its results were so compelling, doctors were left in frustrating limbo.

The announcement said researchers had found that driving systolic blood pressure to levels far below what current guidelines recommend — less than 120 instead of 140 or 150 millimeters of mercury — can save lives and prevent heart disease and strokes. But they declined to release any data on the number of lives saved, the number of heart attacks prevented or other critical measures.

“How can anyone do anything different tomorrow with regard to blood pressure control without knowing more about what they found?” asked Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale, echoing the concerns of other specialists.

On Monday, reporting at an American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Fla., and in a paper published simultaneously in The New England Journal of Medicine, study investigators lifted the veil. Among the 9,361 hypertension patients followed for an average of 3.2 years, there were 26 percent fewer deaths (155 compared with 210) and 38 percent fewer cases of heart failure (62 compared with 100) among patients who achieved the systolic pressure target of 120 than among those who achieved the current 140 target.

Systolic pressure is the higher of the two blood pressure numbers and represents pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts.

Overall, there was a 24 percent reduction — 243 compared with 319 — in people who had a heart attack, heart failure or stroke or died from heart disease, Dr. Paul K. Whelton, a principal investigator for the study, said.

The older participants did just as well as younger ones.

For millions of Americans with high blood pressure, the results could be transforming, said Dr. Marc Alan Pfeffer, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who was not affiliated with the study....


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10 Exercises for People in Pain

If you're in pain, there's a temptation to skip exercising. But exercise is often the very best way to help lessen the pain and improve your quality of life.

By Amanda Gardner

If you’re in pain, there's a temptation to skip exercising. But exercise can often help reduce pain and improve your quality of life.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. The good news is that you don’t have to run a marathon to get back to the business of life.

“Everybody can do something,” says Perry Fine, MD, a board member at the American Pain Foundation. Exercise "does actually allow people not only to reduce their perception of pain, but to overcome limited functioning.”

Just remember to pace yourself and consult a physical therapist for advice. Here are 10 types of exercise that can help get you moving. 

Next: Walking ...


Is my depression a natural part of my aging?  


While depression can start for the first time at any age, 

it is important to know that clinical depression is NOT a normal part of the aging process. 

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote in 500 B.C. that “change is the only constant in life.” And of all periods of human life, our senior years can contain some of the most challenging changes. Retirement, long-distance moves, worsening health, or death of a spouse or other loved ones can cause tremendous upheaval even for the strongest of us. Sometimes these changes are associated with serious declines in mood or other important functions — a term physicians call depression. 

Older people are often rightly proud of being “survivors,” and depression may be viewed as a sign of weakness or a source of shame. However, there are very practical reasons to move past that point of view!

Treatment of depression can not only improve your quality of life, it can lengthen your life as well. Having depression doubles your risk of developing heart disease and cuts your risk of surviving a heart attack in half, so treating depression can be lifesaving in more ways than one.

All people suffer ups and downs in their lives. However, over their lifetimes, somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of all Americans will suffer from a depression so severe and enduring they cannot function as they normally would. About 6 million older Americans suffer with that level of depression, but only about 10 percent of them ever receive treatment. 

We know that sadness and low energy are symptoms of depression. In older patients, however, other symptoms, such as disrupted sleep, poor self-care and hygiene, irritability and short-term memory loss, may be more prominent symptoms than any sense of sadness or the blues. And many people who experience depression-related memory impairment may worry they have the start of Alzheimer’s disease. However, memory impairment associated with depression usually can be reversed with treatment of the depression. 

It is also important for older people to realize that their medications may be associated with depression, including those used for high blood pressure, sleeping pills, high cholesterol pills, painkillers and arthritis drugs. 


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Strong Leg Muscles Protect Aging Brains

 To help protect our brains against cognitive aging, it is better is to have strong, muscular legs, finds a new UK study.

Gym exercises, running and walking all boost leg power, which in turn improves the brain's ability to age.

 Researchers at Kings College London in the UK came to that conclusion after a 10-year study (1999-2009) of 324 healthy female twins, with an average age of 55, from the national TwinsUK volunteer registry.

 The researchers decided to use identical twins for this study because their genetic makeup is the same and cannot be changed over time.

 At the beginning and the end of the study, the team measured various indicators of cognitive capacity, learning and memory, adjusting for factors shared by twins.

 Their findings, which were published in the November 10 edition of the journal Gerontology, showed that leg power is a better predictor of cognitive changes than any other lifestyle-related factors that have been studied.

 The researchers noted that the twins with more leg power at the beginning of the study remained in better cognitive health and had less cerebral changes caused by aging after 10 years. 

 "It's compelling to see such differences in cognition and brain structure in identical twins, who had different leg power ten years before," said Dr. Claire Steves, the study's main author. "It suggests that simple lifestyle changes to boost our physical activity may help to keep us both mentally and physically healthy." 

Read more.. http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Health-News/strong-muscular-legs-protect/2015/11/12/id/701910/

Where Will 78 Million Boomers Retire? Facing the Challenge of Aging in Place 

By Eric Pianin 


With roughly 78 million baby boomers at or near retirement and average life expectancies climbing, many independent-minded seniors are resisting the pressure to move to often costly retirement communities or assisted living facilities and are instead making plans to stay at home

“Aging in place” is the new mantra for many older Americans and there has been a surge in community-based programs and activities to help them remain in their homes. Indeed, the rate of homeownership among people 65 and older is a remarkable 78.5 percent, compared with a homeownership rate of 63.5 percent among the general population. And that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The challenge for many to both stay relatively healthy and hang onto their homes is formidable. An estimated 80 percent of seniors in the U.S have chronic health conditions that potentially could force them into nursing homes or assisted living without adequate health care support. And while 87 percent of seniors said in an AARP survey that their fondest desire is to remain in their homes and communities, depleted incomes and savings are making that harder and harder for many Americans.

So what to do?

A new report by a task force of the Bipartisan Policy Center released on Thursday is calling for a “more strategic approach” to linking health care and housing policies to help millions of seniors realize their desire to stay put in their homes as long as possible.

The report is highly critical of federal, state and local health care and housing officials operating in isolation from each other and calls for a more collaborative effort.

“By more tightly linking health care and housing policy, the U.S. has the potential to improve the health outcomes for seniors, reduce the costs incurred by the health care system, enable millions of seniors to 'age in place' in their own homes, and improve their quality of life,”   Vin Weber, a former Republican House member from Minnesota and co-chair of BPC’s Health and Housing Task Force, said in a statement. “Making these connections is critical as federal government spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs is projected to grow much faster than the overall economy over the next 25 years.”...


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Health experts recommend plyometrics for aging baby boomers, seniors

Fitness trainers use plyometrics with athletes and regular gym goers,

 but experts say there is a strong indication that this reactive training is beneficial for seniors.

By Lori Corbin

Fitness trainers use plyometrics with athletes and regular gym goers, but experts say there is a strong indication that this reactive training is beneficial for seniors.

Mike Lukich, 75, strength trains three to five times a week and cycles up to 50 miles a day, yet he feels the effects of aging.

"Balance is the one thing I'm losing a little bit," said Lukich.

So, he is trying plyometrics to help that.

Plyometrics, also known as jump or reactive training, is a concept that fights gravity with positive motion. Together, motion and balance are brought into the mix to prevent injury.

John Platero who founded the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers, recently created the Senior Specialist Certification program for trainers.

"For seniors, the idea of functional independence and freedom of movement is essential for their quality of life," said Platero.

Most trainers use plyometrics with athletes, but there are ways the concept can be applied to everyone, baby boomers included.

"Plyometrics are about giving you a body that works so that you have strength and power to go live your 165 hours differently from the training that you do, three hours in the gym," said fitness pro Peter Twist.

Twist demonstrated the difference between an athletes plyo and a senior's. There are similar moves, but very age specific.

"According to the Journal of Sports Medicine, the possibility of a hip fracture increases over 50 percent once they get 50," said Platero....

See more and watch video...http://abc7.com/health/plyometrics-good-for-the-elderly-to-help-prevent-falls/1081280/

Israel’s High Tech Aims to Help the Elderly

By Robert Swift

Applications raise questions for society as a whole

More and more elderly people worldwide are joining the technology revolution, and technology is coming to meet them halfway. In Israel, one of the world’s high-tech capitals, companies are racing to develop new applications and products for the senior citizens set.

“The population is getting older and this creates a lot of challenges as people are living alone and not being involved in society as much as younger people,” Eran Gal, CEO of Xorcom a company developing a home monitoring solution, told The Media Line. Called Amity, the software is capable of monitoring both location and behavior patterns to ensure that an older person has not fallen or wandered away from their home in cases of dementia. The idea is to give elderly more independence while keeping them safe.

A second startup, E2C has developed a simplified operating system that works with off-the-shelf hardware to create a smartphone that is more user friendly for older customers. The program responds to longer presses on the touch screen (to prevent accidental calls), always uses a full screen keyboard, and collects pictures and messages from different programs into one easy-to-find location. The program is aimed at reconnecting elderly people to friends and family and allowing a smartphone to be an aid rather than an obstacle. Currently, only around 20% of seniors in the US are using smartphones, E2C’s co-founder Amir Alon, told The Media Line, and he hopes his application could increase that number.

“We are taking the latest technologies and making it relevant for the senior citizens, and we can change the life of the senior,” Alon said. “Our flagship product is our smartphone for seniors. We take off the shelf hardware, and we make our own kind of Android for seniors.”

It makes good business sense, as well as ethical, social responsibility, to cater to the elderly, Nir Shimony, the CEO and co-founder of TechForGood, a group which aims to promote social works through innovative technological solutions, told The Media Line. “We want to harness the Israeli out-of-the-box way of tackling business issues into tackling social issues,” Shimony explained. The size and growth of the elderly population in the developed world makes them an attractive consumer group to companies, as does their relative wealth.

Other Israeli startups moving into the field of elderly care include: Video Therapy, a solution aimed at improving the efficiency of therapy for older citizens by allowing them to interact with their trainer via video-call; and Atlas Sense, unobtrusive, wearable technology that can read and transmit a subject’s vital signs to monitor their health, and even detect if a person falls....


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What Telemedicine Can Do For Your Aging Parents

By Robert Mauterstock

What do you do if you can't get your aging parent to a doctor's office because of his or her disability? What do you do if your parent needs to see a specialist who may be hundreds of miles away? A new area of medicine known as Telemedicine may be the answer to your problem.

I first heard of this breakthrough through the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's Newsletter, News & Review available at www.pdf.org. The newsletter described the advantages of Telemedicine for Parkinson's patients. It offers them access to care, particular to specialists, in locations that are remote or poorly served by medical resources. It also makes it easier for people with Parkinson's to participate in clinical trials, which could speed up the development of new treatments.

A virtual medical appointment uses a computer, tablet or smartphone with technologies such as Skype or Facetime. These programs are available for free. Skype can be downloaded from www.skype.com. Facetime comes as a resident program on any Apple Computer, Iphone or IPad. Patients can communicate with and see their Doctor on the screen of the devise.

Early studies have indicated that the virtual visit may be more effective than seeing your doctor in person. It eliminates the hassle of travel to and from the doctor's office and sitting in the waiting room. It also helps the doctor see you in your everyday environment. If your parent is prone to fall it may help a doctor or therapist to identify risk factors and suggest ways to solve them.

Some studies have shown that during Telemedicine appointments, people are more relaxed, can communicate better with their doctors and can remember advice with greater accuracy. In a study done by the University of Rochester with people who have Parkinson's Disease, researchers found that the quality of care was high and patients actually preferred the telemedicine visit....



See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery...


Nutrition needs change for older adults

By Sara Perovich

Look around and you will notice that the American population is aging.

The proportion of U.S. adults older than 65 is growing. According to the Census Bureau, life expectancy is now 78.

The aging process doesn’t begin at a specific time, such as age 65. From the time you are born, you grow older every day. To some extent, a person’s genes will determine the aging process. Lifestyle, however, is a big factor. It can determine how quickly aging occurs.

Good nutrition is part of optimal well-being throughout life. In the early stages of life, proper nutrition can promote growth. When we stop growing, nutrition can continue to promote health and slow aging.

No ideal diet can be recommended to a person entering retirement. A group of 65-year-olds could vary physiologically along a wide spectrum from poor to excellent health. Past experience plays a part in a person’s health status. At any given time, health can be dependent on such things as dietary patterns, physical fitness, chronic health conditions and mental health.

In general, people older than 60 should focus on getting adequate intakes of some key nutrients which may help ensure a healthy aging process.

Key nutrients

Energy: In my work with retired patients, many are quick to point out that they cannot get away with eating as much as they did during middle-age without seeing an increase in weight. Certain things bring about this decreased need for energy or calories, notably, hormonal changes, a decrease in physical activity and a loss of muscle mass.

Despite the decreased need for energy, most nutrient needs are the same as in the middle years. Some nutrient requirements increase upon reaching 70. Packing nutrients into meals and snacks with fewer calories is important.

Protein: While the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is at the same level for all adults older than age 19, some researchers would argue that it should be set higher for adults older than 65. The reason for increasing protein with age is to help combat the skeletal muscle loss, sarcopenia, that occurs in more than 15 percent of people older than 65....


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Support your aging digestion

By Michael Noonan

We are all familiar with the slowing of our bodily processes as we age. As early as our 50s and 60s, we may find our reflexes slow down, we get winded faster, and printed words get smaller and blurrier.

There is another system that is affected by the aging process — our digestion. This is unfortunately a “double whammy” because our bodies tend to lose the ability to digest and absorb the important nutrients that keep us healthy and, paradoxically, slow the aging process.

One of the most important parts of our digestion is the acid made by the stomach. It has many purposes, including breaking down proteins, destroying poisons, killing bacteria and parasites and helping absorb minerals such as calcium. When acid production slows down, the whole digestive process is impaired. There is some evidence that acid production decreases as we age, and we know for sure it is reduced by a poor diet, chronic stress, disease and some medications.

When digestive acid production is not up to par, it can affect the whole system. If the stomach is not doing its job, it passes undigested food on to the intestine, where it can cause bloating, gas, constipation, loose stools and other problems.

But the biggest problem caused by low stomach acid occurs in the stomach itself. The lack of acid prevents the food from digesting properly, causing it to be retained in the stomach longer. This is irritating to the lining of the stomach, leading to heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Of course, millions of Americans intentionally reduce their acid production through the use of drugs — the “purple pills” you see advertised. And while this approach does ease the pain of GERD and heartburn, it actually worsens the underlying problem. This is why many patients need higher doses of these meds over time. I have seen some patients who are on two different acid blocker meds and still need to use an antacid with meals. The problem is not that their stomach is making too much acid, but that the linings of their stomachs are so inflamed they cannot handle what little acid they do make when they eat....


Again with the meatloaf?

Last Wednesday evening, and against my better judgment, I decided to “Take one for the team” and experience the meatloaf dinner. I did so purely for both scientific reasons and curiosity. 

Scientifically, I was interested to know if my public rant (on this blog two weeks ago) actually had any effect on the way the meatloaf was cooked and, for curiosity sake, I was hoping that the meatloaf would actually be edible. Unfortunately, I was disappointed on both counts.

One again we were “treated” to a meatloaf that had the consistency of pureed baby food. It was both mushy and muddy and gritty all at once. And, as usual, there was a strange taste unrelated to any meatloaf flavor I have ever tasted. In fact, the “seasoning” is of such an obscure nature as to make it unrecognizable. I cannot put my finger on whatever that strange flavoring is. I only know that it should never be used in anything we eat ever again. A monkey with a Betty Crocker cookbook could do a better job.

Nursing home residents abusing one another and scammers 

ripping off the elderly, new study finds 

By Jacqueline Cutler  


The first in-depth study of its kind, found that one in five residents of nursing homes reported some form of abuse over a month, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One in five nursing home residents are being abused inside the facility, a bombshell new study reveals.

And that’s just resident-on-resident violence and verbal abuse, not workers abusing patients, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“(It’s) all kinds of physical altercations,” says Karl Pillemer, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, who co-wrote the study. “Someone with dementia wanders into another resident’s room and that resident becomes upset and they have an actual fist fight. You have a lot of people clustered together who have dementia...The actual physical abuse is quite a serious problem.”

Even so, the study says the most serious form of elder abuse is financial fraud, with close to 5% of seniors overall saying they had been cheated.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is.

“Any illness that rose to the level of 4 or 5% of the population would be called an epidemic,” says the report’s co-author, Dr. Mark Lachs, also of Weill Cornell.

The study was a result of observing 2,011 residents in 10 different New York State nursing homes for six weeks. The researchers did not reveal which residences were included in the study, but 411 residents had reported experiencing at least one incident of abuse....



©2015 B.W. Cooper

You have my permission to reproduce anything you see here as long as you give me credit and it is not for commercial purposes. If you do. I want a piece of the action.


Contact and Comments

Security Vs.  Privacy

The truth be told, I have gone over this before. In fact, I have gone over this many times before. However, I deem it so important and so frustrating, that it takes repeating on a regular basis. So, bear with me, won’t you

As an older person, you lose a lot. Not only have you lost your vim and vigor, part of your mobility, probably most of your money and your looks, but your dignity as well. And, as a resident of an assisted living facility, you lose even more. You lose your privacy. 

Anybody who has attained a certain age is probably used to a loss of dignity. Doctors and nurses and just about anybody in the health care business will think nothing of asking you to strip down and proceed to poke and prod and stick things in you where the sun don’t shine. And, while you don’t appreciate the cavalier way in which your body is being treated, you have convinced yourself, like the good little sheep you are, to go with the flow because it’s “for your own good.” Even I will admit to having dropped trou for anybody who asked. But even I have a breaking point, a place where I draw the line. And that line has the word “PRIVACY” written on it. Unfortunately, for me and most residents of an assisted living facility, privacy is looked at as a foreign word. It might as well be spelled preifatrwydd, prywatność or gizlilik*, for all they care. Privacy, as a new resident will soon find out, goes right out the window. And the problem is, they have the right to grant you as much privacy as they seem fit you need. So what’s the story?

Without stating chapter and verse of the DOH law that regulates assisted living centers, simply put, it says that the facility is obligated and required to do a “bed check” on all residents of the facility every night. And by “bed check” they mean that a designated staff member may come into your room (whether you invite them or not and at any time) to see if you are alright. Sometimes they will do this at odd hours and they will often do it without so much as a knock on your door. Sounds a bit invasive, doesn’t it? Yelling at them, threatening them or reporting them to management will do no good as I found out the other day.

After having received one of these nocturnal invasions the night before, at 1:54 in the AM no less, I decided to pay the night supervisor a little visit to discuss my displeasure in having an unwanted guest in my room at such an ungodly hour. I explained that I did not appreciate the way in which I was disturbed and that I no longer wanted the services of having someone “check” on me ever again. I told her that I didn’t care about the rules and regulations and that I wanted out of the rotation. She listened politely and in so many words she said “too bad. We have to do it and that’s that.” To which I told her that it would be necessary for me to resort to drastic measures in order to assure that nobody will come into my room if I don’t want them to. I told her that I would find a way to barricade my door so that it could not be opened to which she grunted, shrugged her shoulders and said “You do what you have to do, and we will do what we have to do”. That may have been the end of the discussion, but not the end to my displeasure. I returned to my room determined to find a way to ensure that my privacy would be maintained. 

At first I thought of wedging my one and only chair up against the door knob like I had seen in a 1930’s gangster movie. But it was heavy and didn’t really work very well. A door stop would have been perfect, but I didn’t have one. And then I looked at my cane leaning against the wall. It was perfect. It was light, portable and best of all, it was adjustable. I got to work.

I extended the cane to its full length and locked it in place. I then proceeded to wedge it into place between the door knob and the carpeted floor. It appeared to work just the way I wanted it to so I kept it in place. The door was now sealed to all outsiders. I went to sleep feeling that my privacy, at least temporarily, had been assured.

I awoke the next morning and checked the cane. It looked as though it had not been tested so cannot say with any certainty that it actually works. I am in the process of procuring a more permanent form of resistance like a doorstop or some other device. But there is one little problem with all this. It has to do with my safety. Something for which I am very concerned. 

As an old dude, I realize that I am not the infallible human being I was as a young man. Things happen when you reach codgertivity. You can get dizzy by just turning your head too quickly. You can lose your balance by bending over to retrieve something you dropped on the floor, or you could just pass out for no reason at all and injure yourself. And, if indeed you did manage to barricade your door to the extent that it would be difficult for emergency personnel to come to your aid, you, my friend, are in big trouble. This is the paradox I face now. On one hand, I have to find a way to deal with the intolerance of management and, on the other, still keep the security I need. 

*The Polish, Welsh and Turkish words for “privacy”, in that order.

Exactly where is our money again?

Why must there be restrictions on when and where we can access our funds?

Residents here at the Center are confronted with restrictions every day. Some have to do with where in the facility, we can go or when and where we can eat or when our medications are available. We are restricted to what appliances we can have in our rooms and, in some cases, even what we can eat. Many of these regulations are meant to be “for our own good” and for many residents this may be necessary. However, when it comes to money and the way it is handled here borders on, if not criminal, then most certainly questionable.

There are many questions that need to be answered when it comes to the who, what and where our funds are. We need to know more about the regulations that govern the money in our resident’s accounts. We need to know why we don’t get interest on these accounts when the state banking regulations specifically state that interest must be paid on any account over $50. If we (residents) are not receiving this interest, then who is? We also need to know why there are no checks or debit cards available on these accounts and why don’t we have 24/7/365 access to this money (i.e. ATM machines).

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that there are any improprieties being committed here. I just want answer's to what I think are very important questions............................ Ed.

What Does—and Does Not—Trigger a Senior Living Move-In

By Kourtney Liepelt 

Medical diagnoses and the needs of a caregiving family member are more likely to drive senior living move-ins than social factors, according to new research from third-party referral agent Caring.com.

From July 8 to Aug. 10, Caring.com conducted a survey of 2,098 people aimed at examining the caregiver journey. All those surveyed had searched online for senior care assistance, though specific search terms varied.

About 58% of adult children who participated in the survey indicated that a medical diagnosis prompted them to seek out senior housing for a parent, while 27% said their own needs led them to make such a move. Only 8% mentioned loneliness as significant in their decision-making, according to the survey.

Clearly if its a medical situation or a change in family needs, you have to move right now,” Katie Roper, Caring.com’s vice president of sales, tells SHN. “But what about the 92% who say loneliness is not a factor to move parents into a community? Is it because they don’t know?”

Socialization has become increasingly important in the senior housing space, as providers look for innovative ways to engage their residents and new solutions to attract younger residents. But Roper says the social aspect of senior living isn’t being effectively portrayed or entirely understood....


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It Takes a Village for Seniors Also

There’s a village movement happening throughout the country and the conversation is hot in Santa Cruz County. Mary Howe is leading a strategic planning committee to find out what is wanted and needed in our area. The excitement has become contagious.

With the strategic planning committee in place, the vision is formulating quickly to have Village Santa Cruz function as an intergenerational organization. Intending to bring out the civic mindedness and neighborliness we know is in the heart of Santa Cruz County and supporting a continual age friendly community is primary and a good beginning is in place.

A Village is a non-profit, grassroots, member-driven organization, which relies on members supporting members in various ways, looking out for each other. The Village connects members with each other and with the resources we need to age in our homes and age in community.

Villages are connected through a national organization, Village to Village Network (VtV). Three members of the Village Santa Cruz strategic planning committee (Mary Howe, Jacques Bertrand, & Sandy Cohen) just returned from the Annual VtV National Gathering in Seattle, WA.

Before explaining more what the Village model is, it’s important to clarify what a Village is NOT. A Village is not a brick and mortar place; it’s not a physical place you move to. Neither is a Village a Social Service agency, nor a Medical Community. Rather, a Village is a network of support; members helping each other through the transitions of aging. Each stage of life has significance. Our goal for Village Santa Cruz is to keep all of us interconnected. Keeping elders engaged in the community helps elders, but also helps the community as a whole. Aging as a foundation of creativity & insight, and a village can bring the spotlight on this wisdom....


Continuing with our “Over-medication series from last week’s blog...

Some Older Patients Are Treated, Not Wisely, but Too Much

Like a lot of older people, he copes with multiple medical conditions, including high blood pressure and severe kidney disease. But with four prescription drugs, plus Tylenol for lower back pain, he’s doing reasonably well.

Oh, and he’s a hypothetical example, concocted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. They sent this fictional case study to primary-care professionals at Veterans Affairs medical centers across the country and asked a series of questions about the man’s treatment.

The researchers believed their nearly 600 respondents — mostly physicians, but also nurse practitioners and physician assistants — would recognize that such a patient risked developing dangerously low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia. But no. About half these professionals said they wouldn’t worry about potential harm from the man’s rigorous treatment regimen.

Evidence is accumulating that older adults with diabetes, hypertension and other conditions should be treated less aggressively than they commonly are. “Deintensification,” the Michigan researchers have named this approach.

As this and another related recent study have shown, not for the first time, getting that message out to practicing physicians has proved difficult....


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The age of replacement - everything old is new again

By Laura Porter

Here in advanced middle age, the hottest news is who’s having what replaced.

At first, about 10 years ago, the aging parents of my friends began to have their joints replaced, one after another. Then, like a fashion trend moving in the wrong direction, it quickly trickled down to people in my own age group.

Now, a friend’s husband has not one, but two new hips. Another friend had her hip done and then turned around and replaced both knees next. Yet a third did the exact opposite.

My sister-in-law replaced one hip, waited a few months only to discover that she was still limping, and then did the other one.

There are now so many people with metal or ceramic joints in the relatively small social net I cast that those of us who still have the originals are the odd wo(men) out.

Everyone I know seems to be bionic.

Last summer, in another new twist on the aging process, my husband was the first among our age cohort to reach another milestone: cataract surgery.

He’s only 58, but he had been in the “wait and see” stage for quite some time.

Eventually, as the cataracts grew, he began to make vaguely disconcerting comments about having trouble seeing at night....

As soon as I heard “I’m fine as long as I know where I’m going,” I took over all driving after dusk.

Early last summer, without any urging, he made an appointment with an ophthalmic surgeon and I figured it was time for me to start driving him around during the day, too.



WELCOME to the National Council on Patient Information and Education 

One of the original patient safety coalitions, NCPIE has been working to advance the safe, appropriate use of medicines through enhanced communication since 1982.

Key Programs and Initiatives

30th NCPIE “Talk About Your Medicines” Month


 October 2015 marks the 30th NCPIE “Talk About Your Medicines” Month

 Our milestone anniversary theme, “Safe use. Safe storage. Safe  disposal.,” captures, in 3 profound steps, the core purpose of NCPIE’s mission— to promote the wise use of medicines through trusted communication for better health.

This year’s program will include educational resources and social media messages that can be used to develop a “Talk About Your Medicines” Month program in your community. 

Talk Before You Take


 “Talk Before You Take” is a new national awareness campaign to encourage and improve communications between healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients about the benefits and potential risks of prescription medicines.

Visit TalkBeforeYouTake.org to learn more ....http://talkaboutrx.org/

Senior Citizens Are Going to Hate Ted Cruz's Tax Plan

By Kevin Drum

Sen Ted Cruz introduced his tax plan. Let's let the Tax Foundation describe it

This plan would institute a flat 10 percent tax rate on all varieties of individual income, with a large standard deduction and personal exemption....The plan would replace the corporate income tax and all payroll taxes with a broad-based “Business Transfer Tax,” or value-added tax (VAT), with few exemptions.

I just want to make a quick point about this: if it ever became a serious proposal, AARP would go ballistic. Wonks might support a switch from an income tax to a VAT, but old people decidedly don't. Here's why.

Businesses would pay Cruz's VAT and then pass along the cost to consumers. In practice, you can think of it like a sales tax. If it's been around forever, everything is fine. But if you replace an existing income and payroll taxes with a VAT, the elderly get screwed.

Take a look at the table on the below. To make the arithmetic easy, my example assumes:

◾$100 in income.

◾A current combined federal income/payroll tax rate of 25 percent.

◾A Cruz income tax of 10 percent and a Cruz VAT of 15 percent....

In our current system, you pay 25 percent in federal taxes when you earn your money and sock away the rest in savings. When you retire you can withdraw the original sum without paying further taxes. Of your $100 in original earnings, you have $75 to spend.

Now look at the last column. This is Cruz's system once it's fully established....




Demoted To Lunch: The Underbelly Of Grief

By Laurie Burrows Grad 

The hardest thing about grief is to see life going on. People all around me continue to do their daily routines. The stock market keeps functioning; meteorologists predict the weather; time marches on. I cannot understand how I have lost Peter and the clocks have not stopped. 

My friends circle me like a posse. My dear amazing son and his family are here. My brother, Peter's sister and all my friends are rallying and bringing food, caring for me, hugging me, and crying with me. All of this is a great comfort, but where is Petey to hear the stories? How can I go on without my partner? 

For my own sanity, I started to journalize on Day Eight. "Day Eight and it is worse. I start on Day Eight because I can't start on Day One. No one who has lost a spouse can start on Day One. I don't know how to move, or react, or sigh, or even breathe. I have lost my spirit and the pain is unimaginable. It hurts like a knife in my heart. It cuts through my soul and I don't want to be here without my love. I wake each day like the movie 'Groundhog Day,' reliving the pain of my loss. I go to bed on drugs to ease my anxiety only to be jolted awake in the early morning hours to my new painful existence."

I finally saw a grief counselor two weeks after Peter died. She was comforting and nice and had lots of tissues. I tell her I have been demoted to lunch as in "Oh, let's have lunch, Laurie, and talk about Peter," instead of "Oh, let's have dinner, Laurie, and talk about politics," which is what people used to say when we were a couple. She doesn't laugh at my jokes, but realizes that I need humor to get me through this. She asked me to describe the pain. I say it is like a weight tied around me and I feel submerged in water and can't get to the surface. Is that a description or a pattern of torture? ....


* * *

All-out care at end of life takes toll in agony, expense

 and it’s worse in Dallas 


Once, they were able to laugh. Once, their eyes danced with the recognition of a loved one. But now dementia has stolen their memories. Some have slipped into a void where they’ve lost the ability and the will to eat.

What to do?

Often, families can’t decide. Most medical practitioners argue that surgically inserted feeding tubes for such patients are uncomfortable, alienating and fruitless, requiring restraints and prolonging the course of dying rather than giving the patient more days of a life they would want to live.

But when indecision reigns, U.S. health care has a fallback position: Do everything.

Feeding tubes for dying Alzheimer’s patients are one example of the high cost of dying.

In Dallas, there are many others. Dallas is one of the nation’s most expensive places to die. It is also a city where death is a prolonged process.

In the last two years of life, the average Dallas patient spent $79,515 of Medicare funds, according to federal data for 2012 sifted by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. The national average was $70,686.

One in 5 Dallas seniors who died that year died in a hospital — less than in years past. But their bills were well above the national average. And more spent at least a week in intensive care.

America’s spending during the typically years-long decline to death from chronic diseases is four times greater than the amount spent by wealthy European countries but gives us no more life expectancy.

It is one of the key reasons the cost of care is so high.....


Do you need long-term care insurance?

By Carol Marak 

There is no clear and precise answer to the question of whether you should buy long-term care insurance or not. Naturally, different situations call for different solutions. The long-term care insurance inquiry is full of pros and cons and a slew of other ancillary concerns. In the future, I’ll address other critical topics that deal with long-term care since 70 percent of older Americans will need at least three years of it after turning 65. And since the cost of a nursing home stay runs close to $85,500 a year, aging Americans need all the information they can get.

nursing home care or assistance in doing everyday tasks like bathing, using the bathroom, preparing meals, shopping, and taking medications. This type of care is very costly. Check out senior care costs in your area http://www.skillednursingfacilities.org/resources/nursing-home-costs/.

The biggest problem with long-term care insurance policies, you must buy it in advance. If you wait till you need it, you won’t qualify. Another issue, people have a hard time figuring out the type of care they might need in the future. You frankly don’t know how your health will play out.....


* * *

Strong Enrollment in Medigap Plans Continue Among US Seniors

By Jackie Syrop

Enrollment in Medigap plans has continued to increase among senior citizens for the fifth year in a row, according to a new report from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)’s Center for Policy and Research. Between December 2013 and December 2014, enrollment in Medigap private health insurance plans that supplement fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare increased to 11.2 million people, up from approximately 10.6 million the year before.

The report found that 94% of Medigap policyholders are satisfied with their coverage and more than 9 in 10 would recommend Medigap to a friend or relative to fill the gaps left by traditional Medicare.

“Millions of seniors continue to recognize the value of Medigap coverage in filling the gaps left by traditional Medicare,” AHIP President and CEO Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement.

 The report, “Trends in Medigap Coverage and Enrollment, 2014,” found that consistent with previous years, beneficiaries are increasingly choosing to enroll in Medigap plans that include at least some cost-sharing reduction provisions for co-pays and coinsurance. Over the last several years, the fastest-growing Medigap plans have included newer standardized Medigap plans that contain enrollee cost-sharing requirements, AHIP found. For example, the highest rate of growth in enrollment was in Medigap Plan N, which includes cost sharing of up to $20 for physician office visits and up to $50 for certain emergency room visits. Enrollment in Medigap Plan N grew by 33% between December 2013 and December 2014....

more... http://www.ajmc.com/newsroom/strong-enrollment-in-medigap-plans-continue-among-us-seniors


See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery...


What Old Age Is Really Like

By Ceridwen Dovey

Old age is perplexing to imagine in part because the definition of it is notoriously unstable. As people age, they tend to move the goalposts that mark out major life stages.

What does it feel like to be old? Not middle-aged, or late-middle-aged, but one of the members of the fastest-growing demographic: the “oldest old,” those aged eighty-five and above? This has been the question animating me for a couple of years, as I’ve tried to write a novel from the perspective of a man in his late eighties. The aging population is on our collective minds; a statistic that intrigued me is that the average life expectancy in the U.K.—and, by extension, most of the rich West—is increasing by more than five hours a day, every day. I’m in my mid-thirties, but felt confident that I could imagine my way into old age. How hard could it be, really?

Somewhere along the way, though, things went wrong. My protagonist became Generic Old Man: crabby, computer illiterate, grieving for his dementia-addled wife. Not satisfied to leave him to his misery, I forced on him a new love interest, Eccentric Old Woman: radical, full of energy, a fan of wearing magenta turbans and handing out safe-sex pamphlets outside retirement homes.

In other words, I modelled my characters on the two dominant cultural constructions of old age: the doddering, depressed pensioner and the ageless-in-spirit, quirky oddball. After reading the first draft, an editor I respect said to me, “But what else are they, other than old?” I was mortified, and began to ask myself some soul-searching questions that I should have answered long before I’d written the opening word.

The first was: Why did I so blithely assume that I had the right to imagine my way into old age—and that I could do it well—when I would approach with extreme caution the task of imagining my way into the interior world of a character of a different gender, race, or class? Had I assumed that anybody elderly who might happen to read the book would simply be grateful that someone much younger was interested in his or her experience, and forgive my stereotyping?...


* * *

Young People More Envious Than Older People:

 Perk Of Aging Or Generational Difference?

 By Susan Scutti  

While both men and women, mostly envy those of their own gender and age, overall, young adults are more likely to feel envy than older adults, say two UC San Diego researchers. Yet, the results of their new study do not reveal whether older people are less jealous due to personal changes over time or some essential difference between the generations.

"Either finding is interesting, but only future longitudinal research can distinguish between these two options," wrote the researchers.

While previous experiments indicate older adults may have more control over negative emotions than younger adults, no research has examined the effects of age on just one trait: envy. And so UC San Diego Psychology Professor Christine Harris and her graduate student, Nicole Henniger, investigated this single emotion across the lifespan. Their analysis included data from two separate studies. The first surveyed 987 participants, between the ages of 18 and 80 and mostly American, about their experiences of feeling envy, while the second surveyed 843 participants about being envy’s target.

Unsurprisingly, their first conclusion was envy is as common as dirt.

Moving Target

More than three quarters of participants said they’d felt envious in the last year, with slightly more women (79.4 percent) than men (74.1 percent) reporting such feelings. Overall, this experience decreased with age. About 80 percent of people younger than 30 said they’d felt envious in the last year, yet, by age 50, that figure decreased to less than 70 percent.....



Letter: Budget deal bad for senior citizens

For years now, we’ve watched the Obama administration battle the Republicans over raising the budget ceiling. Ultimately, the matter is resolved by kicking the can down the road and the ceiling goes up a little, permitting the U.S. to honor its financial obligations.

This time is different. Congress and the Obama administration reached an agreement on the debt ceiling by passing the Bipartisan Budget Act. Fine, but in doing so they took away a popular new Social Security strategy that helps resource-depleted retirees make ends meet. The federal action was intended to close a loophole, but in reality it harmed the middle class. You can’t help asking, “What were they thinking?”

The strategy is called “File and Suspend.” Under this strategy, when one’s spouse (let’s assume the husband) reaches 66 (full retirement age), he can file for Social Security payments. His wife, if 62 or over, can then file and claim half of the husband’s benefit. The husband then stops drawing his Social Security and waits until age 70 to start collecting.

By this procedure, the couple gains the benefit of increasing the husband’s monthly retirement income by 32 percent when he resumes drawing at age 70. By allowing the wife to draw while the husband delays, the couple can have the necessary cash to sustain the four-year wait....


* * *

 IRS continues to dramatically penalize senior citizens

You work hard all your life, take care of your family, pay your taxes and save for a rainy day and to secure your retirement and provide for your golden years. You believe you have achieved the American Dream. However, with the current federal tax burden that families have to shoulder, the ability of most Americans to obtain these goals begins to unravel.

This is especially manifest in the federal tax code through the “age penalty,” a tax policy targeting seniors that results in a much higher and unreasonable federal tax burden. This senior tax abuse scenario is unfair to older Americans after they have worked, saved and paid taxes all their lives and it undermines the American Dream.

The top 1 percent of income earners nationally pay on average a federal tax rate of 22 percent yearly. Compare that with the rate paid by most seniors receiving Social Security benefits and currently earning over $32,000 each year who are forced to pay a tax rate of up to 28 percent. At the $42,000 yearly income level (hardly considered wealthy) 85 percent of Social Security benefits become taxable up to a 28 percent rate.

This “age penalty” is blatantly unfair, confiscatory and betrays those who are self-reliant, did the right thing and saved for their future retirement....


Raquel Welch anti-aging beauty & weight loss tips: actress continues to dazzle at 75; see her secrets here

Golden Globe Award-winning actress Raquel Welch, who has starred in numerous films and television series that spanned over 50 years is looking sexy and healthy at 75, making audiences wonder what's the secret behind her aging ever so gracefully.

The answer, according to Celebrity Health Fitness, is a low-carb, gluten-free diet and exercise in the form of yoga.

"I'm holding together just fine, but I'm not doing it with no effort," Welch said, as per The Examiner. "I'm doing my yoga every day — an hour-and-a-half of that."

"I have a very exciting life and to enjoy it, I have to keep in shape and look as good as I can. It's a trade-off," the now 75-year-old actress said. "The body beautiful is not a top priority anymore. Health and well-being are more important."

As for beauty tips, The Sun reports that the former Bond Girl (she appeared in 1965's Thunderball), said that she uses Bag Balm for her lips and face. Bag Balm is commonly used by farmers on their cattle to "soothe bruised, sore or injured teats".

"Bag Balm is kind of a silly thing, it’s used when they milk cows on their udders," Welch admitted. "It is something you can put on overnight and when you wake up you don’t have a dry, cracking mouth. Believe me, there are a lot of mummies walking around with Bag Balm."

Welch also admitted that she is a fitness fanatic whose diet is free of sugar, salt, wheat, and caffeine. The actress, who is also now the face of wig company HAIRuWEAR, was known as the iconic deer-skin bikini clad Loana in the 1966 film One Million Years B.C., landing her title as sex symbol soon thereafter....


Love the Egg Bowl...

... hate the potatoes

Look, I don’t really hate potatoes. In fact, I love potatoes, and under normal circumstances, I would eat potatoes any time, any way and in any form presented to me. However, not when one is looking to reduce the number of carbohydrates in his diet. And, even if the circumference of my rather corpulent girth was not approaching critical mass, the mere fact that I don’t have a choice whether or not I want potatoes for breakfast brings my blood to the boiling point. When did we start eating potatoes for breakfast anyway? As a kid, I can’t remember my mom ever serving me potatoes with my eggs or cereal. Pickled herring, lox, smoked sable carp maybe, but never potatoes. It was not until my first experience eating breakfast in an upstate diner did I come face to face with home fries. And I must say, I was hooked. That stuff was great. But not so much now. So please, don’t force me to eat potatoes if I don’t want them. They really don’t enhance to flavor of the egg bowl anyway.

Senior citizens seek companionship through speed dating

 By Rachel Skytta

Just ask a group of senior citizens at the Derby Senior Center who were at a speed dating event Thursday.

"I'm just real active and I love to walk," said Shirley Starr.

Starr was one of 32 people taking part in the event.

"I just love to talk anyway," said Starr.

That's why she knew speed dating would be the perfect way to get back out there.

"I'm not wanting anything serious. I just want someone to pal around with and just do fun things with," said Starr.

But between the small talk and first date jitters, these seniors find a common bond.

Most of them have lost loved ones, and are now looking once again.

"Our hopes and dreams don't change just because we're a certain age. And everyone has a need to feel loved and wanted, and have a companion," said Dee Williams, Senior Services Administrator.

Some are looking for their next great love. Others, just a friend. These seniors are proving first dates can lead to new beginnings at any age....

Read more and watch video....http://www.kwch.com/news/local-news/Senior-citizens-seek-companionship-through-speed-dating/36420236

* * *

  What’s circling over the assisted living center?

Are they vultures?

Q: I live at Laurel's Edge. On Sunday, Oct. 4, we were outside and all of a sudden there were so many black birds up above Mankato. I thought they were crows, but my son-in-law said he thought he saw some white. They were just circling in the sky. What are they?

A: Scott Roemhildt, an information officer for the Department of Natural Resources regional headquarters in New Ulm, was given the details of the bird sighting and the location. (Laurel's Edge is an assisted-living facility on Mankato's west side near Rasmussen Woods Nature Area and not far from the Blue Earth and Minnesota rivers.)

"Sounds like you saw turkey vultures," Roemhildt said. "These large birds, with their six-foot wingspans, can be sighted throughout Minnesota during the summer."

Ask Us Guy believes it's important to note that the vultures, also called turkey buzzards, were not specifically circling the assisted-living center. They were soaring above much of west Mankato and can regularly be seen in the Sibley Park area through the warm-weather months.

The vultures are similar in size to eagles, Roemhildt said, but their wing shape is slightly different and they're more wobbly than eagles as they float on the thermals.

"... Vultures hold their wings in a shallow V-shape and rock side to side as they soar," he said.

As for the reader's son-in-law believing he saw some white on the birds, the mostly dark turkey vultures have much lighter feathers on the underside of their wings and appear two-toned when they're flying, according to Roemhildt.

The birds aren't exactly cute when seen up close, with featherless reddish heads adorned only with scattered black spindles, a hooked beak and extra-large nostrils. The lack of head feathers on the vultures is actually helpful, in terms of cleanliness, because the buzzards eat by tearing apart dead animals with their beaks. So the bare heads make them less vulnerable to the bacteria and parasites on the rotting carcasses, which otherwise could multiply under their feathers.

"Turkey vultures feed almost exclusively on carrion (dead animals) and are one of the few birds that use their sense of smell to find food," Roemhildt said.

The sighting by the folks at Laurel's Edge of the many soaring vultures isn't surprising in October. The birds congregate in large numbers before heading to warmer climates for the winter.

Now, time for a "Turkey Vulture Fun Fact" ... . A group of vultures on the ground is called a "volt" or a "venue" or a "committee," but a group of vultures in flight is called a "kettle."

Roemhildt also offered a "Turkey Vulture Fun Fact," although Ask Us readers might want to save Roemhildt's until after they've finished their Sunday breakfast or brunch ... .

"You might be interested to know that when threatened, they defend themselves by vomiting powerful stomach acids," Roemhildt said (referring to the vultures, not Ask Us readers).

Ask Us Guy, not to be outdone, dug around the Internet to find one more post-breakfast fun fact. According to a number of websites, turkey vultures, as a tactic to keep cool on hot days, urinate and defecate on their legs.

If all of this new knowledge about these interesting birds, leaves readers anxious to get a closer look, they'll have to be patient.

"This time of year turkey vultures are migrating south, but will return to our area in mid-March," Roemhildt said.


©2015 B.W. Cooper

You have my permission to reproduce anything you see here as long as you give me credit and it is not for commercial purposes. If you do. I want a piece of the action.

Contact And Comments


TPM and the Human Body

Can Total Productive Maintenance help us live longer and better?

Please read this first...


Anyone who writes a blog on a particular subject usually subscribes to a number of news feeds and alerts. One of my most productive news feeds come from Google Alerts. It’s simple to use and set up. All you have to do is list a couple of keywords about the topic you are interested in (like “seniors”, “aging”, “assisted living”, etc.) and Google scours the media for stories that contain those words and email the headlines to you. I usually receive about a hundred of these a day. But not all are exactly what I’m looking for. For instance, when you use “aging” as a keyword, you not only get stories about aging human beings, but aging dogs, aging wine, and aging machinery. While I am usually able to filter out the irrelevant stories, there was one that gave me some food for thought. It’s an article from a newsletter made primarily for people who own and operate manufacturing machinery, something I did not notice when I first opened the story. I got halfway through the article before I realized that they were not talking about people when referring to “maintenance”. They were referring to the maintenance of machinery. However, even if the points mentioned in the article were geared to things made of gears and widgets, they could just as well have been talking about a plan to keep an aging human operating properly as well. What I’m talking about is a form of regular maintenance for people.  

The TCM system was first used by Nippondensu, a Japanese auto supplier. The system consists of 8 pillars of activity. Now, with only a very slight change to each one, we could easily translate this system to the proper care and maintenance of ourselves. Let's have a look at each one and see how much sense this makes.

·  Autonomous Maintenance: Operators monitor the condition of their own equipment and work areas.

(We should always be responsible for our own well-being. After all, nobody knows our bodies like ourselves. We work with it every day and, therefore, should be aware of any changes in the way it performs).

·  Process And Machine Improvement: Team leaders collect information from operators and work areas, then prioritize preventative maintenance and improvements.

(When we were young, it was our mothers and fathers who were our primary “Team Leaders”. No one, not even ourselves, was as interested in how we felt as were our parents).

·  Preventative Maintenance: Operators and team leaders share preventative maintenance tasks and schedules.

(Mom always went with us when we visited the doctor, right?).

·  Early Management Of New Equipment: Team leaders anticipate and plan for parts of equipment life-cycles and report to managers based on maintenance reports.

(This one may be a little strange, but upon occasion even humans get new “equipment” like shoes, glasses or a hearing aid. Sometimes it goes a little further with the addition of some new body parts like hips, knees and maybe even a heart etc.).

·  Process Quality Management: Shared responsibility for operation and maintenance encourages quality improvement ideas from all areas of work.

(All of our doctors and health care professionals, as well as our relatives, should be informed of any changes in our medications or treatments and coordinate their efforts into one cohesive plan).

·  Administrative Work: Managers prioritize data from the previous pillars and share outcomes with team leaders and work areas.

(Always keep handy a list of all of your medications and treatments and make sure all of your healthcare people know about it. An occasional review of your meds may result in changes that are beneficial for your long-term health).

·  Education And Training: Continuous improvement includes operator and work area education and training which improves morale, retention, and efficiency.

(It never hurts to keep informed about all the advancements in treatments that pertain to a particular condition you may have or are concerned about. It also helps when you discuss treatment options with your doctor).

·  Safety And Sustained Success: Facility-wide safety is prioritized, which positively impacts sustained success of the TPM program.

(Be alert and aware of your own health and make your health the number one priority in your life).

The unfortunate thing about human beings is that we don’t come with instructions. Most of us are clueless when it comes to the workings of the human body. See what answers you get when you ask someone to show you where their kidneys are or what their diaphragm does. Perhaps, taking a more “industrial” approach to healthcare will de-mystify how we care for ourselves. The truth is, most people take better care of their cars (and pets) than they do of themselves. Perhaps it’s because we were given this body, this life, for free. For most of us our “manufacture” took no more than a little begging from your father and a little “giving in” from your mom to start the assembly process which, for the most part, takes care of itself. Many people like the fabrication procedure so much that they do it over and over again, producing more than their fair share of humans.

While I am not saying that we should all become doctors and start maintaining our own bodies like some sidewalk mechanic doing an oil change in his driveway, we should realize that neglect and abuse of our “machine” will only result in a premature disintegration of our parts and an untimely trip to the scrap yard.

I know it seems impossible, but every once and a while this blogger needs a little assistance writing the editorial portion of the blog. Therefore, I am asking for your help. I need you to do either one of two things. I would love to be able to publish your guest editorials. I would even keep it anonymous if you so desired. You could write about anything as long as it pertains to the general subject of this blog which is seniors and senior concerns. Or, if you don’t feel confident in your writing abilities, perhaps you could suggest a topic or topics for me or someone else to write about. You can send your opinions, suggestions, and editorials to ...Resident-X@hotmail.com. All suggestions will be appreciated and considered for publication...............Ed.


I have a confession to make, and it’s something I’m not proud of. I have not voted for the past 7 years. There are two reasons for this. First, up until the last 3 years I have been in and out of hospitals and nursing homes, never having a real address. And secondly, I really had lost my confidence in politics, politicians and the entire political process. I felt that none of the candidates running for office had my needs and interests in mind and that voting for any of them would just be voting for the lesser of two evils. This may or may not have been warranted, but in any event, It turned me off to voting. However, this time it’s different. This time, there is a clear choice. The candidates for one party have very different views concerning the future of our country than that of the other. Their views concerning healthcare, immigration and how we treat our senior citizens are diametrically opposed to one another. Therefore, I urge you, my fellow seniors, if you are not registered to vote in the area in which you now reside, register now. Contact your local board of elections or go to...  https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.. for more information. 

BTW, Today, I can proudly say that I am a bonified registered voter in the county where I now reside. I even got a congratulatory letter from the mayor of my town. This coming year, more than ever before, senior citizens will be a force to deal with in this country. There are more and more of us each day. We only need to get up out of our easy chairs and become involved once again. ..........................Ed.

Points of Interest

  • We thank all of the residents who signed the petition urging Gov. Cuomo to increase the SSI rate in the 2016-17 budget. The petition is on its way to Albany.
  • It appears that no matter how much we plead or threaten, the residents who refuse to stop smoking in restricted areas continue to do so unabashedly. It’s disgusting and unhealthy, not just for the smoker, but for all of us who have to wade through a cloud of second hand smoke every day. And to add insult to injury, they are discarding their cigarette packs on the lawn along with their butts.
  • One of the trips announced for November includes an excursion to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. For those of you who have never explored the “Little Italy of the Bronx” you will be in for a treat...

“Ask any New Yorker about Arthur Avenue in the Bronx and you get either puzzlement or a flood of loving sentiment about the real Little Italy of New York, the best place for bread, pasta, meat, pastries, espresso machines, the only place to buy Italian sausage, and more. The paradox is real: Many New Yorkers never heard of the place, while for others it’s home away from home… although it is often a well-kept secret.

Read before you go...http://www.arthuravenuebronx.com/

  • There was a genuine outpouring of love and affection during last Friday’s memorial service for one of our residents who left us much too soon. The auditorium was standing room only as residents and family members listened to a local priest preside over a funeral mass. It is the largest crowd that I have ever seen for any event here at the Center.

No matter what the reason for a person to transition to an assisted living facility, it must be understood that they will have to leave much of their former life behind. Besides furniture, photos and clothing many times the single most difficult thing to leave behind is a pet. Even though study after study has found that pets are beneficial for the well-being of ALF residents, very few facilities permit pets, of any kind. However, there are some places that do. Here is a story about one of those places.

Becoming pet-friendly

Animals improve quality of life, some operators say

By LeAnn Bjerken

South Hill Senior Living administrator Leslie Bass says coming to work can sometimes remind her a little of Noah’s ark. 

“While we’re not the only pet-friendly facility in town, we’re probably the only one I know of that has quite so many pets on-site,” says Bass. 

The website aplaceformom.com, which assists users in searching for retirement homes, lists 30 retirement facilities in greater Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area as pet-friendly. Information the Journal gathered for a listing of largest area retirement homes here shows nine of 49 facilities that specify they are pet-friendly. South Hill Senior Living is one of them. 

“I would say we have about 10 dogs, somewhere between 15 and 20 cats, two birds, and a couple of fish,” she says.

Bass is a registered nurse, specializing in mental health. She says South Hill Senior Living accepts seniors who are 55 or older, the average age being somewhere in the mid-70s, with many residents having physical or cognitive disabilities. 

Bass, who has worked at the South Hill facility for about a year, says, “This is the first building I’ve worked in where the pet policy is so proactive. The owner is a pet lover himself, and we have several nurses on staff that have pets. You really have to be a pet person to understand it.” 

Bass admits that being a pet-friendly facility isn’t without problems, some of which start right at the beginning. ....

“We require three main things of residents who wish to have an animal,” says Bass. “Dogs must be under 20 pounds. Animals must be kept up to date on vaccinations, and the resident must sign a pet contract detailing responsibility for the animal.” 

Some residents agree to the contract, only to find later they are unable to care for their pet due to declining health or extended hospital stays. Bass makes it clear that while South Hill Senior Living’s caregivers love animals, staff is there to care for the residents, not their pets. 

“It is the responsibility of the pet’s owner to care for the animal. If they can’t, other arrangements have to be made,” she says.  

Family or other residents might care for a pet temporarily. 

“Some families are better about it, stopping in to care for a pet or taking them in and bringing them back for visits,” says Bass. “Unfortunately, we do get those who make promises and don’t follow through. In those cases, we usually try our best to find staff or someone else to adopt the pet.”

The facility maintains strict records of all pets on-site, as the Washington state Department of Health and Social Services keeps a close watch on whether animals are healthy and not a danger to residents. 

“The elderly have delicate skin, which some pets can scratch accidentally,” Bass says. “We have to be on the lookout for things like that.” 

Another problem for resident pet owners is being able to afford food or other pet supplies. Bass estimates that 99 percent of the facility’s residents receive Medicaid, which generally covers the cost of a studio apartment, with not much left over.....

- See more at: http://www.spokanejournal.com/special-report/becoming-pet-friendly/#sthash.1tPnxtsI.dpuf

* * *

Florida website takes mystery out of choosing

 quality assisted living facilities

By Susan Newman


Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration has just taken a lot of the guesswork out of choosing a quality assisted living facility with a new website for consumers. http://www.floridahealthfinder.gov/LandingPages/ALF.aspx

“It’s a very big step, and we’re one of the few states that do that,” said USF Professor Kathryn Hyer who runs the Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging. “This is a brand new important first step.”

The site is cobbling together information scattered about the Internet into a one stop matrix that is easily searchable by location and sortable by 14 different factors that in one way or another should be essential for anyone who is trying to make an informed choice for an assisted living facility in Florida.

There are more than 3000 ALF’s in Florida to choose from, and figuring out the differences until now has been quite a challenge for most people. “It’s a lot easier to navigate,” said District Ombudsman Manager Lynn Pencey who often helps consumers sort through the maze of choices. Volunteers at the Ombudsman program can also help anyone who calls them at 1-888-831-0404.

State Representative Larry Ahern (R) Seminole sponsored the legislation that lead to the AHCA website and believes it’s going to be a big break for folks who want the best care their elders can afford. “Information is power,” Ahern said. He says the website is designed to answer one basic question for Florida consumers. “Is this the best place for my loved ones to go.”

Hyer says the site is a great start but does leave out some critical information such as the cost of care, whether a facility will accept Medicaid when someone’s money runs out and whether it offer’s step up care as people age and their health care needs grow.....


* * *

Aging in Place

A definitive survey of actual seniors who are thinking of remaining in their homes instead of moving to senior housing was recently conducted in Australia. While the entire survey is quite extensive and informative, it is also very tedious to read in its entirety. Therefore, I have condensed the information down to a more manageable level.

From the characteristics identified by participants for successful aging, and the key elements identified of how best to support effective aging-in-place, we distilled a set of consumer-driven priorities that consumers believed could support planning for effective and successful aging-in-place. These priorities were synthesized as an algorithm (HIPFACTS).

1) Health: support for self-management, health professionals as needed

2) Information services: timely, accessible, online, face to face, one stop

3) Practical support: targeted, timely, self-directed, affordable

4) Finance: subsidies for those in need

5) Activity: physical and mental

6) Company: community, family, and pets

7) Transport: affordable, reliable, accessible

8) Safety: personal, house, and environmental safety and security.

Read entire survey...https://www.dovepress.com/consumer-views-about-aging-in-place-peer-reviewed-article-CIA

Doctor busts myths about aging 

Author: Jennifer Waugh

Dr. Bill Thomas, a Harvard educated physician of geriatrics, says everything we know about getting older is wrong.

"What we don't know is that aging is one of the most spectacular achievements of human kind," Thomas said. "Aging is what actually completes us as human beings."

Thomas is touring the country trying to clear up misconceptions about aging.

"Research shows that if you ask someone what they think old is, they describe 15 years from the age they are," Thomas said. "What I'm trying to do is get them to embrace where they are right now."

Thomas has 10 suggestions to growing older:

1. Protect your kids and elders from the cult-like addiction and devotion to youth. Push back against the encroachment of inverted values on kids’ and elders’ turf. Let the kids be kids and let the elders grow old gracefully. Say no to standardized tests in kindergarten. Don’t worship youth as perfection.

2. Ignore the anti-aging gurus and quackery.  Toss the creams, supplements, and elixirs. Say no to botox, human growth hormones and other expensive and even dangerous snake oils that give you nothing but false hope. Resist the pressure and don’t succumb to the idea that the only good older person is one who looks and acts like a younger person.

3. Look in the mirror and embrace yourself. Love yourself the way you are. Don’t accept the idea that aging is defined solely as a matter of decline. Rejoice in the fact that lots of things get better and improve with age. Enjoy the fact that there is more happiness and less stress, anger and strife.

4. Slow down and focus on quality time. Stop letting your time-saving gadgets, apps, and technology take over the natural rhythms in your life. Turn them off. Turn the volume down. Get away from them. Go outside. Take a walk every day. Meditate. Have a conversation with a loved one. Break the pandemic hurry sickness.

5.Choose how you spend your time. Think about how you spend each day. Choose to do less things you don’t like or enjoy. Choose to do more things that you like to do. Don’t say yes, when you want to say no. Say no and do what you want to do instead. Spend more time with the people you enjoy and less time with the people you don’t....


* * *

Aging in the Fast Lane

By Valecia Weeks

Take a look in the mirror today when you read this; then picture yourself in that same mirror 26 years from now. What do you see in the back of your mind? Do you see a vibrant, strong, and gracefully aging diva or will you be drying up like a ripe prune and looking older than you really are? The choice is yours, and yours alone! Well, good news, ladies: it’s never too late to slow down that biological clock by training yourself to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Below are some really bad habits that are to be avoided if you want to enjoy that fountain of youth and continue to look young for your age:

Sugar Fix

Excess sugar doesn’t fix anything but a place for wrinkles to reside. If your reward for a job well done includes candy bars and pastries, you may find that you are setting yourself up to age rather prematurely.

Sleep Deprivation

Have you heard the phrase, "I’ll sleep when I’m dead"? Well, those who have this outlook may, in fact, find themselves there sooner than later. Scientific studies have shown that getting less than seven hours of sleep per night on a regular basis can cause a shortened life, not to mention leaving you so sleepy and sluggish that you strike out to every poor victim who comes in your path. There is a healing and detoxification process that takes place during the vital sleep hours. Also, the hormone that is produced during sleep, melatonin, helps with the repair of cells which ward off cancer.

Cutting the Sex

Not tryin’ to be nosy, but ask yourself, "when was the last time I had sex"?



Doctors should cut back on some medications given seniors,

 two JAMA studies suggest

Too much, too late: Overtreatment for blood pressure and blood sugar can be dangerous for some 

A senior who takes medicine to get their blood sugar or blood pressure down – or both – knows their doctor prescribed it to help them.

But what if stopping, or at least cutting back on, such drugs could help even more?

In some older people, that may be the safer route. But two new studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggest doctors and patients should work together to backpedal such treatment more often.

In people in their 70s and older, very low blood pressures and sugar levels can actually raise the risk of dizzy spells, confusion, falls and even death. The consequences can be dangerous. 

In recent years, experts have started to suggest that doctors ease up on how aggressively they treat such patients for high blood pressure or diabetes -- especially if they have other conditions that limit their life expectancy.

Dialing back

To see if such efforts to encourage doctors to de-intensify treatment are working, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School and VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System studied the issue from two sides: patient records and a survey of primary care providers. 

They focused on patients over 70 with diabetes who had their blood sugar and pressure well under control using medication.

In all, only one in four of nearly 400,000 older patients who could have been eligible to ease up on their multiple blood pressure or blood sugar medicines actually had their dosage changed. 

Even those with the lowest readings, or the fewest years left to live, had only a slightly greater chance as other patients of having their treatment de-intensified. 

Meanwhile, only about half of the nearly 600 doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants surveyed said they would de-intensify the treatment of a hypothetical 77-year-old man with diabetes and ultra-low sugar levels that put him at risk of a low-sugar crisis called hypoglycemia. 

Many providers said they worried that decreasing medications for a patient like this might lead to harm, and that decreasing medications might make their clinical “report cards” look worse. Some even worried about their legal liability.....


* * *

Depression affects the aging process

Not all old age sadness is related to loss or grief. Clinical depression, if present, has probably been there all alone, and most who suffer from it already are aware of it. But some, like my father, are not aware. He experienced periods of fatigue, loss of interest and a need for extra sleep most of his life. He assumed it was because of the stress of his job. At 75, he was diagnosed with chronic depression and put on one of the many antidepressants on the market. His response was dramatic. He told me, “I wish I had known about this sooner; it would have changed my life.”

If you are experiencing a worsening of symptoms: unexplained fatigue, loss of interest in things you usually enjoy (anhedonia) loss of appetite and, especially, thoughts of suicide, see your doctor immediately for an evaluation.

I also encourage my clients to write or dictate their memoirs, to leave the stories of their own journey for those who come after them. It’s important for our children, grandchildren and even those we may never know to learn from our mistakes, our successes and finally, from our optimistic belief that life has meaning, because that is what keeps us going through it all – that, a sense of humor and, of course, dogs.


Don't Just Grow Old -- Grow Whole

 By Carol Orsborn

The problem with what gerontologists refer to as "activity theory" are manifold. For one, after decades of driven productivity, an increasing number of aging boomers are finding ourselves exhausted by the notion of living up to others' expectations of what it means to be a contributing member of society. We long not so much for the old-fashioned notion of retirement, but we do thirst for the freedom to pick and choose how we spend our time, including chilling out with a good book or sitting on the bank of a river enjoying the breeze without feeling guilty.

The bigger problem, according to the growing chorus of voices in the conscious aging movement, is that by refusing to confront and embrace the shadow side of growing older, an entire generation is in danger of missing out on the opportunity to experience aging as a dynamic life stage offering a new-found psychological and spiritual freedom all of its own. 

Consider the novel possibility that after a lifetime of "seeking", many of us are, at last, actually finding what we've been searching for -- hidden in plain sight in the unlikeliest of places: our own old age. Over the years, many in our generation have invested a lot of time and a great deal of money learning how to let go of our egos, transcend materialism, appreciate the present moment. 

In fact, virtually every spiritual and religious philosophy centers on the shattering of illusions--be it the Hebrews tearing down of false idols or the Buddhists seeing through the Maya of surface manifestation. Isn't it ironic -- and somehow deeply meaningful -- that those losses aging inevitably brings our way including the passing of those dear to us and the erosion of self-worth associated with the diminishment of our societal roles turn out to be the ultimate destroyer of illusion? We are simultaneously waking up to the realization that our full spiritual and therefore our human potential is coming about, not in spite of the challenges aging brings, but because of them. ....


* * *

Boomers And Healthcare

by Miles Beckett

Boomers are concerned about their health and rightly so. Of the 75+ million Americans who make up the boomer generation, about 3 million are hitting retirement age every year for the next 20 – and they are focusing on their future. With that in mind, marketers of everything from exercise to food to pharmaceuticals can and should be speaking to the boomer crowd.

Here are a few markets in the healthcare & wellness space that would benefit from paying attention to how they address the needs of today’s boomers.

1) Boomers and their personal health: Boomers are living longer but they may not be healthier. According to 2013 research by Concordia University with data from government sources, it turns out that the average American over 65 has multiple chronic conditions, including hypertension (72%), arthritis 

(51%), heart disease (31%), cancer (24 %) and diabetes (20%), accounting for one third of all healthcare spending in America. With that said, the market for drugs that address these ailments is real and growing. According to an article in Time, adults aged 55-64 are taking more drugs than ever before, with a 29% spike in the use of anti-diabetic pills and a 54% increase in cholesterol-lowering drugs.  

2) Boomers and Wellness: Boomers are more active than any generation before it at this age:  dating, hitting the gym, traveling, moving, doing DIY home improvements. They remain as engaged as possible in the fight against aging. As a result, fitness programs geared to boomers are popping up around the country. People aged 55 and older are one of the fastest growing segments of gym membership, according to IBISWorld. In fact, the same study predicts the boomer generation will help push the fitness category to nearly $30 billion by 2018.

3) Boomers and Beauty: Research firm BCC Research estimated that the global market for anti-aging products and services including anti-aging cosmetics, plastic surgery, dermatology and anti-aging disease management was $261.9 billion, up from $249.3 billion in 2012. The firm projected this number would reach $345.8 billion by 2018. 



See all “At The ALF” cartoons in our Cartoon Gallery



Technology to help senior citizens stay connected

The worlds first and only TV with embedded eldercare services

By Holly Firfer

Technology is just about everywhere today and health care is no exception.

However, senior citizens get left behind the tech curve but there’s something new aimed at changing that.

More seniors are getting online to help keep in touch with family, but technology can be a real challenge for a generation of people who grew up without it.

“As human beings, we need to stay connected with those who love us and that we love,” said Kian Saneii, Founder of Independa.

That’s where Kian Saneii steps in, “We have the worlds first and only TV with embedded eldercare services. As long as you can use your remote control on your TV, you have services that become available to you that help you stay engaged and independent.”...


Why It’s Time to Prepare to Live to 100

By Michael Hodin

In Geneva this week the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a wake-up call to its  194 member governments and its fellow global institutions to open their eyes to what’s staring them in the face: a world that will soon have more old than young; a world where people over 80 is the fastest growing demographic segment; a world where planning for 100 years of life is for the first time in history the norm.

This is massive.  

The exhaustive new report from WHO provides guidance for policymakers by framing a 21st century understanding of what healthy aging is. In the process, it re-defines the course of public health from the 20th century’s “absence of disease” to today’s “functional ability.” WHO has given us this framework through the prism of 21st-century longevity. 

The successful 100-year life span is about function and ability, and contribution and participation in social and economic affairs. As Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO says, “The greatest costs to society are not the expenditures made to foster this functional ability, but the benefits that might be missed if we fail to make the appropriate adaptations and investments.”

At its heart, healthy aging is about future generations -- not just Baby Boomers and the octogenarians of today. Think of it this way: How will the children born in the 1990s in live through two centuries their lives will touch? And how will they thrive in a world with more old than young? A world where the proportion of society – the first time in the history of human kind – has an inverted age structure. The age pyramid is on its tip and widens with aging. This is new. As with any pyramid balancing on its point, it will require enormous global efforts to restructure the social contract for this global society. ...


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Scientists Find the Real Fountain of Youth — Inside Our DNA

by Natalie Shoemaker

We have a finite time on this Earth and we all want to make the most of it. However, sometimes the side effects of aging get in the way. Technology is helping in a big way to make aging a more graceful process, but some scientists are seeking something greater: the fountain of youth. Rather than looking for it in some ancient jungle, researchers are trying to find the key within our genome to “edit out” the bad stuff.

Longevity, living longer and maintaining independence has been always been on the minds of scientists. A new study published in the journal Cell Metabolism may have found a key to increasing the lifespan of humans.

Entrepreneur Peter H. Diamandis discusses his work with Human Longevity Inc., which seeks to extend the healthy human lifespan.

“This study looks at aging in the context of the whole genome and gives us a more complete picture of what aging is,” explained lead author Brian Kennedy in an interview with The Telegraph.

"Almost half of the genes we found that affect aging is conserved in mammals. In theory, any of these factors could be therapeutic targets to extend health span. What we have to do now is figure out which ones are amenable to targeting.”...


A poignant journey into aging


The world is aging.  We mention the many facets of this demographic shift often on this blog, and the world is just beginning to come to terms with them and encourage higher fertility rates.  We would all do well to better understand the emotional and physical challenges the aging face, as such a high proportion of our society moves into this age bracket.  Sometimes I find the best way to enter into someone else’s daily reality is vicariously through a good novel.  I just read the 1971 novel Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, by Elizabeth Taylor, and found it to be a poignant insight into the challenges of aging.

The reader shares the main character, Laura Palfrey’s, journey – the constraints, the vulnerabilities, the loneliness, the boredom and, at times, the feeling that you are no longer of ‘use’ to society she experiences when she must finally move into a retirement village (actually an English hotel where a number of retirees live which apparently used to be quite common):

"She realised that she never walked now without knowing what she was doing and concentrating upon it; once, walking had been like breathing, something unheeded. The disaster of being old was in not feeling safe to venture anywhere, of seeing freedom put out of reach."

She must adjust to being on her own after decades of having her husband’s companionship at social events and at home, and take care of matters like her finances for the first time:

"Her fall had deepened her uncertainty. And there was no husband to take her arm across a road, or protect her from indignity when she failed." ....

- See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/demography/view/a-poignant-journey-into-aging/17027#sthash.v7Dfqda9.dpuf

Old and ill? It gets worse 

in our health care system 

Author learned about problems when father was misdiagnosed

Nursing staff said issue was ‘communication breakdown’

Fewer geriatricians, specially trained in health for older people, will be available

By Marcy Cottrell Houle

The nation’s health care system is endangering the elderly. But few outside the geriatric medical community seem to notice.

I learned about this problem the hard way – when caring for an aging parent. My father, a highly regarded orthopedic surgeon, developed Alzheimer’s when he turned 78. As his disease worsened, so did the stress of trying to navigate the health care system.

After my mother and I moved him to a memory care facility for his increasing needs, he fell and broke his hip. He had surgery, which he tolerated remarkably well, and was transferred to a skilled nursing facility to recover. But within two days he’d lost the ability to speak. He grew rapidly weaker. When we visited, he made frantic circles with his arms and picked incessantly at his gums.

The staff told us he was going into renal failure and to say our goodbyes.

Thankfully, an astute pharmacist figured out what no one else did. My father was dying – not from his kidneys shutting down after the surgery but from dehydration. Now on high alert, our family observed that none of the trays delivered to his room included any fluids.

In desperation, we took turns supplementing every meal with water. My father’s speech and strength returned. There was no more talk of renal failure. The staff at the nursing home referred to the matter as a “communication breakdown somewhere.”

As I came to learn, such incidents are quite common in health care for aging people. Over the 14 years, as I cared for my father and later my mother, we experienced many “communication breakdowns” and serious health care delivery problems.

Many times different providers prescribed too many drugs at once, a problem known as polypharmacy.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/health-family/article35491782.html#storylink=cpy

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Resources that relieve Senior loneliness and isolation

Senior care professionals know that the feelings of isolation and loneliness are a significant risk for older adults. They can lead to grave consequences for the mental and physical decline. Naturally, it’s important to understand the causes and risks involved, but SeniorCare.com wanted to know what older adults and family members can do to mitigate the issues. 

Nobody wants to grow old alone receiving no help from a loved one. But the statistics tells us that 28% of people aged 65 and older did live alone in 2010 (U.S. Census.) It’s a fact, the older a person becomes, the potential of being on one’s own increases. Plus, AARP reports that the boomer generation is well-known for having fewer or no children. Other issues like immobility and no transportation can keep seniors close to home. Not having easy access to social activities is a huge factor in isolation.

Considering the risks of isolation and feelings of loneliness, SeniorCare.com explored with aging experts what Internet and technology solutions, when combined with offline activities, would help seniors who feel secluded and alone. 

Senior centers, churches, and synagogues are a good place to start. Families, need to look for local resources to help seniors relieve loneliness. Laurie Miller, Apple Care & Companion

Meetup sites. I recently developed tools for folks to write an “about” profile in my retirement workshops. We had a ball playing with making personal ads together with strangerslots of giggles. Martin Kimeldorf, Martin Kimeldorf.org

Local library. Some libraries have senior citizens centers that provide activities. Check out your local library website for details and sign up for the newsletter. Many activities are free. If membership is required, they are inexpensive and often have scholarships. Kaye Swain, SandwichInk


Candy bars and white bread: 

My aging mother’s blood-sugar obsession

By Elissa Altman 

My mother is sitting in the passenger seat of my Volkswagen while I drive her to my house for a weekend in the country; her makeup is perfect, she is dressed to the nines, in tight Armani jeans and a Kenzo jacket, her calling-card round black glasses perched on her nose. She opens her red Birkin, unwraps a half-eaten Chunky candy bar, perhaps a week old, gnaws at it, wraps it back up and sticks it in her purse.

“You know,” I tell her, looking over. “I could stop for some fruit. It’s apple season —”

“Are you trying to kill me?” she asks, poker-faced.

“I thought you liked apples,” I say, reminding her of the obsession that she 

suffered from in the mid-1980s. It was so bad that she spent most of my college graduation weekend searching the city of Boston for the perfect Macintosh, eventually enlisting the help of the concierge at the Ritz to find her one.

“I’d go into diabetic shock,” she says.

“You’re not a diabetic, Mom.”


“Since when?”

“I have to be careful of my sugar.”

“So you’re eating a candy bar?”

“It keeps things balanced,” she says, “like white bread. They’ve saved me, both of them.”

My mother’s counterintuitive relationship with foods that she thinks will cure her ills has been going on for years: In the 1990s, instead of eating more vegetables and increasing her fiber intake, she believed that a tablespoon of Tofutti three times a week would reduce her stratospheric cholesterol, so she stockpiled it in her freezer. During her oat bran muffin craze in the early 2000s, she always had one at the ready — in pockets and purses — to stave off heart disease. Now, in her 70s, she believes that she has to eat a slice of inexpensive white bread three times a day and a few bites of cheap chocolate to keep her sugar levels from fluctuating. Open her refrigerator, and there are piles of it: her beloved Diet White, thin as melba toast, and half-eaten candy-store chocolate bars in varying states of disrepair. Offer her bread that’s whole grain, or a small piece of good-quality chocolate, and she’ll scoff and claim she’s allergic to it. Suggest fruit, and she’ll gasp with panic.....


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Mediterranean-style diet 

may protect against brain aging

Written by Honor Whiteman

Adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet could protect against brain shrinkage that commonly occurs with aging, finds a new study published in the journal Neurology.

Following a Mediterranean-style diet may protect against brain shrinkage, according to researchers.

A Mediterranean diet typically involves high consumption of fish and seafood, plant-based foods - such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and legumes - replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil, while limiting consumption of red meats and dairy products. 

The potential benefits of such a diet are well documented. Last month, Medical News Today reported on a study claiming a Mediterranean diet can promote a healthy gut, while another study linked a Mediterranean diet with olive oil to reduced risk of breast cancer. 

For this latest study, Yian Gu, of Columbia University in New York, NY, and colleagues set out to investigate the effects of a Mediterranean diet against brain shrinkage - the loss of brain cells that typically occurs as we age. 

The team enrolled 674 individuals of an average age of 80 who were free of dementia and asked them to complete a questionnaire detailing their dietary habits over the past year. 

The researchers split the participants into two groups. One group included subjects who followed at least five components of the Mediterranean diet, while the other group included participants whose diet did not closely follow the Mediterranean diet. 

Mediterranean-style diet protected against 5 years of brain aging

Around 7 months after the dietary questionnaire was completed, the participants underwent brain scans, enabling the researchers to assess their total brain volume


Why is the meatloaf so bad?

I am not asking this rhetorically, or trying to be cute or facetious. I really want to know why the meatloaf served here tastes like no other meatloaf made anywhere in the known world. Saying that it is awful would be doing a disservice to the word awful.

Meatloaf is a staple at the American dinner table. Hardly anyone here at the Center has not had meatloaf at some time in their lives. And, while the ingredients for meatloaf vary from region to region ( sometimes block to block) all meatloaves have approximately the same flavorings and spices that make this dish unique, Unfortunately, what comes out of our kitchen has no relation to anything I have ever tasted, except for some raw hamburger my brother made me eat when I was 10. Where do they get this stuff? Does it come, already cooked, from some generic meatloaf factory, or do they actually assemble the ingredients here. I cannot believe that there is a company somewhere that makes institutional meatloaf especially for places like ours and does not know that the product they put out is disgusting. Does anybody actually taste this goop before they send it out? How could any food purveyor say that this stuff tasted good? Why can’t we get a decent tasting, properly seasoned meatloaf dinner here, it’s not rocket science? 

Oh, by the way, if you think the beef meatloaf is bad, you should try the...ugh...turkey meatloaf they turn out here. It’s almost inedible...........................................ff

Pug in Assisted Living 

An elderly Pug needs a little help with the day-to-day.

By Jenny Scott 

I recently put my dog, Jack, into assisted living. I knew it was time: he has escalating hygiene needs, he wanders, he is confused and he often puts himself in harm’s way.

The assisted living facility is lovely. It has wide windows, many of them facing south and east, which let in the warm, chunky beams of sunlight in which Jack loves to nap. There is a pleasant, fenced-in green lawn where he can amble about and pee on flowers. The food is delicious: grain-free kibble twice a day and healthy treats like bits of apple, chicken, carrots and peas. The caretakers are generous, loving people.

The best thing about the facility, though, is the cost. Some assisted-living facilities can be price-prohibitive, but the one we put Jack in is downright affordable. That’s because my husband and I are his caretakers and the assisted living facility is our home.

Jack is a Pug. A bug-eyed, brachycephalic, low-riding Pug. He’s always been a happy, bright, if somewhat confused little character. But at the age of 13, he began marking his territory, not only outdoors, but indoors as well—piano legs, sofa legs, chair legs. (If nothing else, the anthropomorphic use of the word “legs” for these furniture extensions tells us how wrong it is to pee on them.)

It’s not that Jack didn’t have the occasional accident when he was younger. It happened. One morning, my husband, rushing out of the house for work, left a note by the coffee machine that read, “Poop by bookcase.”

Of course, that note wasn’t a directive, an order for me to poop by the bookcase. No, no. It was a straightforward statement of fact, letting me know that there was a pile of poop in front of the bookcase.

I looked at that note and thought, This is just perfect, this is so us. Some spouses might leave a note that said, “Have a nice day,” or maybe, “Dinner out later?” But we have our communication down to the nitty-gritty essentials. (I saved that note, in case I ever begin to put on airs. If I start to think, Gosh, we’re cool people, I can always pull out the note, “Poop by bookcase” to bring myself back to reality.)

When Jack began marking his territory inside, it was clear he didn’t know what he was doing. I scolded him in the beginning but realized it was mean and senseless to scold a senile dog. It was like scolding a baby, or a fish.....



©2015 B.W. Cooper

You have my permission to reproduce anything you see here as long as you give me credit and it is not for commercial purposes. If you do. I want a piece of the action.

Contact and Comments


Independence and Depression

One day last week, while waiting for breakfast in the lobby here at the Center, a fellow resident posed an interesting question. After a couple of minutes of idle chit chat, he came out with this statement. “Do you think anybody here is really happy?”. And, right off the top of my head I said “No. Thinking that I may have answered too fast, I thought about it for an additional few seconds. “Not really happy, but resigned to their situation.”, I said. He shook his head in agreement. For the rest of the day, I thought of why not many (if any*) of the residents here are really happy and what I came up with, in a very unscientific study, was the following.

For many people, a situation such as the one they are suddenly thrust into when first arriving here comes as a shock. Not only are their surroundings unfamiliar, but there is a definite sense of loss associated with the transition from a private residence to one where there are small rooms, lots of different people, structured eating times (including strange food) and a definite loss of independence. It is that loss of self-reliance and autonomy that may come as the greatest shock of all. Think about it.

One day you are sitting in your home or apartment, cooking and eating when and what you want, handling your day to day chores, going to bed when you want, playing the TV as loud as you want and even walking around the house naked if you want. And now, you don’t and can’t do any of those things. And, not only can’t you do any of those things, they make sure you don’t do any of those things because there is somebody watching you at all times. Even much of your privacy has been eliminated. 

All of a sudden, there is another person living in the same room as you. His sleep schedule is different from yours as are his bathroom habits. While your prostate has been nothing to brag about in recent years, this guy pees every hour on the hour, all night. And, he insists on doing it with the door open. You complain, to no avail. You’re stuck with this dude until they can find you another roommate. But, the lack of privacy does not end there.

Let’s say that you, after a year of begging and pleading, have managed to secure a private room for yourself. “Ah”, you say, thinking that now this room will be your own hideaway where all is secure and safe from prying eyes. If you believe that, you would be incorrect. Just because you are alone, and just because you no longer have to put up with another human being sharing your space, you will never have complete privacy. You are still being monitored. And this “observation” does not stop just because you shut the door. Au contraire, it gets worse. You will find that staff will come into your room whenever they want. And, despite all of your protests, they will keep coming in unannounced any time of the day or night. But the lack of privacy plays only a small part in why people are not happy here. It really has to do with doing for yourself, which is why you are here in the fist place.

For one reason or another, someone has determined that you can no longer take care of yourself. You may have suffered some major or minor disability that precludes you from carrying out the activities of daily living. And, though you might think that you can still do everything you have always done, in reality, you can’t. And it is this failure to deal with reality that has you pissed off. 

In your head, you are still 22 years old. You have convinced yourself that you will never be one of “those” people who use a walker or a cane. Unfortunately, the rest of your body didn’t get the memo and decided to wear out all by itself. One day you find yourself on the floor unable to stand up. Surprise, you’re going to a “home” and you are not happy about it. This is not the life plan you had for your golden years and you are not happy about it. In fact, you are so unhappy about it that you have actually gone into a form of depression. Not the clinical depression they talk about where one needs to be heavily medicated for fear that they might do themselves harm, but that form of depression that makes you feel lousy all day. It is that kind of desolation and despondency that I believe affects many of the residents here. They suffer from a sense of loss. Loss of, not only their youth and health but more importantly, their loss of independence which has sustained them for 60, 70 or 80 years. And, what makes it worse is the failure of assisted living facilities to recognize this removal of independence from once active and viable human beings, as a real contributor to depression. Unfortunately, correcting this situation is not an easy task. It will take some very modern thinking on the part of the management of these facilities. In fact, it may be necessary to do a complete 180 on how residents are treated and, more importantly, how residents are classified. In other words, we (residents) are not all alike.

This is an “assisted” living facility. This means that they are supposed to assist the resident with accomplishing his basic needs of daily living. For some, this means a complete take-over of everything from cleaning his room to bathing him to help in getting him dressed every day. But not everyone needs or wants that kind of help. While you may not walk as well as you used to or hear like you once did or even see as well, it does not mean that you can’t wash, dress, cook, make a cup of coffee, or use a microwave oven to warm leftovers. There has and must be a way of distinguishing among those that can and those that can’t. It will take some flexibility on the part of not only facility management but on the governing bodies as well. They have to realize that not everybody is the same, and to cubbyhole people into categories whose guidelines are so stringent that one must suffer for the differences of his peers is ridiculous. Unfortunately, because of difficulties the state had many years ago with institutions it had oversight of where people were literally kept in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, the New York State Department of Health has gone overboard with their rules and regulations regarding how places like ours are operated. Consequently, because of the underlying fear that somehow we will revert to that former condition, that they have declined to even entertain the thought of allowing some form of independence to those that can manage it. And what is worse is that there does not appear to be a way to get the DOH to at least take a look at possibly easing some of those regulations. This leaves the residents stuck between a rock and a hard place with the need for independence on one hand and the inability of the governing agency to recognize this inadequacy in the rules on the other. No wonder none of us is really happy here.

*Editor’s note: To be fair, not every resident is unhappy here. Many have learned to adapt to their situation, while many have come from situations that were more intolerable than this.


An Intolerable Situation

Med-room Confusion

The situation in regards to the distribution of medication to our residents has become intolerable, and getting worse. Morning after morning, day after day, residents must put up with long lines, surly neighbors and even surlier med-techs who are understaffed, under-trained and under supervised. In fact, the med room has not had a proper supervisor for months, and it shows.

Confusion of medication times, and lines has caused crowding and confusion in the lobby with long lines of residents waiting for their meds at the med room windows while others wait at the nurses office for blood pressure and sugar testing while still others are cued up for breakfast. Shoving, pushing and b,locking of aisles and doorways is the norm, and nobody seems to want to do anything about it, especially management whose failure to hire a new supervisor has become a joke.

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What We like/Dislike

We like the idea of a shiny new cup dispenser conveniently located next to the ice machine. However, we don’t like the idea of it being empty most of the day. A cup dispenser is only useful if it is actually filled with cups.

A Splash of Fall Color

Senior Living Providers Brace for Labor Cost Surge

 by Kourtney Liepelt 

Between minimum wage hikes occurring across the country and the prospect of extending overtime pay to currently exempt workers, senior living providers are facing wage pressures that could take a direct toll on their bottom line.

Most senior living communities already pay more than minimum wage levels by an average of $0.75 to $1.50 per hour, according to Moore Diversified Services (MDS), a Texas-based organization that provides operations analysis, marketing development and investment advisory services. But even a modest increase could result in lower net operating profit margins and more conservative cap rates.

A recent White House proposal aims to increase the minimum pay for overtime-eligible employees from $455 a week to $970 a week, according to the Obama administration. If the proposal goes into effect, salaried employees making up to $50,440 a year will become eligible for overtime compensation. Currently, only hourly and salaried employees making less than $455 a week or $23,660 a year can generally be compensated for hours worked over 40 each week.

And efforts across the country to bump up the minimum wage are quickly gaining momentum, with Los Angeles becoming the largest city to mandate a $15-an-hour minimum wage by 2020 and New York state recently setting minimum wage for fast-food workers at the same rate.

“When other industries raise the minimum wage, that creates more pressure [on senior living providers] to retain workers,” Roy Barker, director of special projects at MDS, tells Senior Housing News....


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What’s Needed to Help Americans Age in Place

Many of us want to grow older where we now live. Will our homes let us?

Part of the Transforming Life as We Age Special Report

By Richard Eisenberg

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about aging in place — the ability to live in your own home and community safely, independently and comfortably as you get older. Maybe it’s because my 93-year-old dad just broke his arm, has nearly no leg strength and is now pretty much bound to the confines of his apartment. Or maybe it’s because my wife and I, who love our suburban split-level, recently talked about how suitable it would be as we age.

If you’re in your 50s or 60s — especially if you’re that age and your parents are still living in their homes — maybe you’ve been thinking or talking about aging in place, too.

Most Want to Age in Place

According to AARP, 73 percent of people 45 and older say they want to stay in their current residence as long as possible and roughly 90 percent of those over 65 do.

But will they be able to? And are we, as a nation, doing enough to help let them? After attending a recent HomeAdvisor Insights Forum in New York City on aging in place, I’m dubious.

“To most seniors, aging in place is a dream and it needs to be a plan,” said panelist Marty Bell, executive director of the National Aging in Place Council. His timely question: “How can we work together to make it happen?”

The largest demographic bulge in America is processing through to a place where their homes will become a threat.


Baby boomers slow to make sensible home improvements 

By Christine Brun

The main issue is that no one wants to talk about or think about himself or herself in a reduced state of mobility or function. I have found to my amazement that middle-aged people do not want to even discuss the installation of safety grab bars in their showers during remodels. That was my first clue that the building industry got this subject wrong.

In all my years working as a designer, I have only encountered one client who wanted to plan around her eventual decline. She was more attuned to mobility issues because her own adult daughter suffered from multiple sclerosis and was already in a wheelchair. My client not only wanted her downsized home to welcome her daughter but also wanted the space to be suitable for unknown changes in her own health.

There are various ways to look at the challenges of aging, and many 

people downsize before they are physically debilitated. For others, the best answer is to stay in their larger home and make renovations that will enable another family member to move into the house to share maintenance duties.

Other families sell Mom and Dad's home and their own house in order to purchase a larger property with room for a traditional "granny flat" or separate apartment for a relative. Still others end up living on the ground floor of a larger home and make certain there is a functional bathroom downstairs.....

There are obvious and simple things that anyone can do to make a part of a home more appropriate for an impaired person.

• Remove area rugs, as they make people trip.

• Improve lighting in dark passageways and bathrooms.

• Rearrange furniture so there are clear pathways and traffic patterns.

• Install grab bars in showers or tub areas.

• Inspect tile flooring that is slippery when wet and cover it with a nonslip material.

• Install a side rail on a bed.

• Put a shower bench in showers or tubs.

• Paint a bedroom with a fresh color.

• Bring family photos and personal items for a family member who moves in.


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Boomer alert: You need better lighting to compensate for aging eyes

But with all the new LED lights coming on the market, it's an easy fix.

By: Lloyd Alter

Most people have thermostat wars. In our house, we have lighting wars, especially since we converted all our bulbs to LEDs and our main fixtures to Hue RGB LEDs, which we can control on our phones. I am always turning up the light to the absolutely highest level and sitting right under the fixture; my wife keeps changing it to a more pleasing color temperature and lower intensity. When I chose lights for everywhere else in the house that required fixed bulbs, I picked far brighter ones than she would. (We could do surgery in the bathroom, is a common complaint.) 

And it turns out that there's a good reason for all of this. As you get older, the amount of light that gets to the retina is significantly reduced. According to Eunice Noell-Waggoner, president of the Center of Design for an Aging Society — who was interviewed in Light Logic — by age 65 the amount of light is reduced to 33 percent compared to young people. Those at the high end of the boomer cohort are also going to have increased sensitivity to glare and have longer adaption times from bright to dim. I'm surprised they still let us on the roads at night. 

Most of our homes have terrible lighting. Developers would cheap out by not having ceiling fixtures when they could simply switch an outlet on the wall, making the purchaser have to pay for the lamp. Most people chose fixtures for how they look rather than the quantity or quality of light. 

Fortunately, at the same time that baby boomers are getting to the age where they have to worry about lighting levels, there are wonderful new options. You can replace old fixtures and bulbs with new LEDs, increasing lighting levels while dropping electrical consumption at the same time. Controls can be programmed to individual needs and set up in our phones. You can walk into a room and say to your watch “Siri, set the lights for me.” 

So what should you do? According to Noell-Waggoner, there are a number of changes we should think of. In the kitchen, think not only of the counters but also make sure the insides of cabinets are illuminated. ....



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Tech steps in to help aging boomers

By Jonathan Takiff

Boomers are not aging without a fight. We crave exercise and culture, aim to stay independent. The body and mind do not always cooperate. But with help from today's "silver-centric" electronics, staying active and on top of the game is in our grasp.

 Powered TV speaker systems such as the Zvox SoundBase 670 and Cambridge Audio TV5 (both $399) that fit under a TV set offer a special voice-enhance listening mode that clarifies dialogue some.

Bicyclist's best friend. Aging boomers are a big part of the market in Europe and United States for the newest breed of "pedal-assisted" electric bikes, said Larry Pizzi, Accell Group North America exec (and former Philadelphia bike store owner).

Snapfon, a cell phone for seniors, offers a thoughtful combination of features at an attractive price. The phone (ezTWO) is free with any Snap Mobile 3G GSM service (starting at $10 a month) or $79.99 if used with AT&T or T-Mobile plans.

 It has big buttons, large fonts and simplified menus for easy use, and can speak a phone number out loud as entered. When depressed for five seconds, a red "SOS" button on the rear sends text messages to up to five contacts, then calls them in order until someone answers.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20151004_Gizmo_Guy__Tech_steps_in_to_help_aging_boomers.html#PC0uTRIztlMzQuLa.99

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While many seniors are relatively new to computers, many more or us have been using ours for years. And, just like their owners, old laptops, PC’s and Macs get old too. But a new computer is expensive and if you are on a fixed income the last thing you want to buy is a new computer. For that reason, we present this article on how you can keep your old friend working like new.

How to Squeeze More Life From Your Aging Laptop

By Doug Aamoth

Cheap cures for common ailments

Looking to squeeze another year out of your aging portable? The common ailments below can be cured for $150 or less. And if you’re not sure what the trouble is, these sites can help diagnose the problem for free. Tech Support Guy lets you pose questions to volunteer tech experts; iFixit features repair guides that show how to take gadgets apart, upgrade them, and put them back together; and  CCleaner is an app that speeds up your computer by getting rid of junky, unneeded programs.

Dismal Display

Problem: Your screen is so murky, it looks like it’s been smeared with Vaseline.

Solution: If your laptop is mostly desk bound consider adding an external monitor. Look for an IPS LED (in-plane switching, light-emitting diode) version with a 1920×1080 resolution in the 21- to 23-inch range, which is the size where you’ll get the best bang for your buck.

What it costs: $150 for a decent 23-inch IPS LED

Pitiful Productivity

Problem: Your computer grinds to a halt when you open too many programs at once.

Solution: Upgrade your RAM so that it tops out at eight giga-bytes (anything past that is overkill). It’s relatively cheap, and one of the most effective ways to squeeze more performance out of your machine. Any repair or electronics shop should be able to sell it and install it within minutes, provided your machine has an accessible upgrade port. (Check your user’s manual for more information. Many newer Macs and ultra—portable Windows machines aren’t RAM upgradable.)....


Aging has an upside — happiness

By Carolyn Scott Kortge 

Most of my friends have been marking double-digit birthdays for decades with significantly less enthusiasm, so as I witnessed the rampant exhilaration of a 10-year-old, questions floated through my mind.

At what age do we begin to shed this joyous anticipation of an upcoming birthday? When does celebration give way to dread as the calendar turns? 

Maybe age 21 is a turning point — a legal and cultural coming-of-age in our society. Is it all downhill after this? 

By age 30, jibes and taunts spill from birthday cards. By 40, black balloons float above the cake. No wonder the annual rite fills us with anxiety. Does life get bleaker with each passing year?

Well, not according to research on human happiness. The results of United States and international happiness studies spread a sweet frosting on late-decade birthday cakes. 

It appears that happiness levels make a dramatic U-turn as we travel the course of life. For those of us in Western cultures, studies suggest that happiness levels peak in the early 20s. Then they take a nosedive through the mid-life decades. 

Around age 60, the dip reverses itself and edges upward into a climb. By age 70, happiness levels reach the heights felt at 21. And they keep going up, giving us statistical encouragement to rethink attitudes toward advancing age. 

For those of us who grumble about sagging jowls, faulty memories, and arthritic knees, this rose-tinted optimism might provoke as much skepticism as elation. It’s hard to deny, after all, that advancing years also deliver a progression of losses physical, emotional or mental. 

But beneath all that, a wellspring of contentment seems to rise as we age, bringing balance to the trials of life after Medicare. It brings what we’ve spent decades seeking — a sense of satisfaction and well-being.   

The pursuit of happiness is etched in the DNA of America, but an emphasis on evaluating happiness and measuring the success of that pursuit has been gathering worldwide momentum since Bhutan launched a program of Gross National Happiness in the 1970s. ....


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No Spouse, No Kids, No Caregiver: How to Prepare to Age Alone

A growing population of ‘elder orphans’ lack a built-in support system. What to do if you become one.  

By Anna Medaris Miller 

When Carol Marak was in her 30s, she asked herself whose life she wanted: her brother's – the life of a successful and well-traveled businessman – or his wife's – the life of a woman whose career better accommodated raising three children.

The answer was a no-brainer: "My brother was in a position I wanted," says Marak, now a 64-year-old editor at SeniorCare.com who lives in Waco, Texas. Although she had been married and divorced earlier in life, at that point she had no kids and "made a very conscious decision" to keep it that way, she says. 

Plenty of Marak's peers did the same thing. According to a 2012 study in The Gerontologist, about one-third of 45- to 63-year-olds are single, most of whom never married or are divorced. That's a whopping 50 percent increase since 1980, the study found. What's more, about 15 percent of 40- to 44-year-old women had no children in 2012 – up from about 10 percent in 1980, U.S. Census data shows. "My career was No. 1 in my life," says Marak, who worked in the technology industry for years.

But today, Marak and her single, childless contemporaries are facing a repercussion of their decision that never crossed their minds as 30-somethings: "How in the world will we take care of ourselves?" she asks. 

Dr. Maria Torroella Carney, chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York, is asking the same thing. In research presented this year at The American Geriatric Society's annual meeting, Carney and her colleagues found that nearly one-quarter of Americans over age 65 are or may become physically or socially isolated and lack someone like a family member to care for them. Carney calls them "elder orphans." 

"The risk of potentially finding yourself without a support system – because the majority of care provided as we get older is provided by family – may be increasing," she says. 

The consequences are profound. According to Carney's work, older adults who consider themselves lonely are more likely to have trouble completing daily tasks, experience cognitive decline, develop coronary heart disease and even die. Those who are socially isolated are also at risk for medical complications, mental illness, mobility issues and health care access problems. ...


What to know about Medicare open enrollment

By Marci Vandersluis

Celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Medicare open enrollment must mean it’s October. Open enrollment is the period (Oct. 15 through Dec. 7) when Medicare recipients have the opportunity (should they choose) to select a plan more conducive to their health needs and budget.

This time can also serve as a reminder to individuals turning 65 who will not be filing for social security to enroll in Medicare. If employed and receiving employer benefits, it would be of benefit to contact Medicare to ensure that current coverage is sufficient per Medicare guidelines. This will ideally minimize the risk of long-term financial penalties which may be incurred should there not be timely enrollment. The initial enrollment period starts three months before the month you turn 65 and ends three months after the month you turn 65. To receive coverage as soon as able, it is best to enroll within the three-month period prior to one’s birth month.

Generally speaking, throughout the open enrollment time frame, Medicare recipients are able to change from Original Medicare (Part A and B) to a private Medicare Advantage Plan (part C) and change, join or drop a Medicare Part D (prescription Drug Plan). Individuals with a Medicare Advantage Plan can also switch back to Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans most often include prescription drug benefits combined with Parts A and B along with additional benefits that may also some vision, dental and hearing coverage (new for 2016). Opting to return to Medicare will, therefore, require enrolling in a stand alone Part D plan (don’t delay to avoid penalties) and also, if more comprehensive financial coverage is preferred, a Medigap (or supplemental health insurance) policy.

If you are currently enrolled in a Medigap plan and choose not to change plans, the policy will continue as long as premiums are paid on time. Beneficiaries can change Part C and D plans as often as desired during open enrollment. The final plan chosen during this period will be the policies that become active Jan. 1, 2016.


 What Hollywood Says About Our Changing Views on Aging


It is always tricky proclaiming zeitgeist shifts, difficult enough to pinpoint in retrospect, much less while the winds of change are swirling still. Yet when it comes to the ideal for later life and retirement, there is an argument to be made that profound change is in the air.

More than 50 years have elapsed since the last great shift in the norm for later life. As the 1950s dawned, the labor leader Walter Reuther described retirees as “too old to work, too young to die,” consigned to a Whistler’s mother-like existence, idling away in a “roleless role.” Then, in rapid succession, we turned that around, transforming this leftover phase into the golden years, an extended vacation focused on carefree fun and epitomized by retirement communities with names like Leisure World.

A half-century later, the old dream is collapsing, ill-suited to a longevity revolution that is stretching the length of life and a demographic transformation reshaping the makeup of society. No surprise that a new, more sustainable vision for the post-midlife period is in the midst of being fashioned, not by grand policy but by myriad developments from far-flung sources.

Prominent among these is the purposeful second act characterized by renewal and engagement, with examples that include New York’s former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Jimmy Carter to Bill Gates. And they are far from alone. Research suggests that some 4.5 million ordinary people are focusing their later years on purpose and giving back....


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Successful Aging: Movies are growing up too  

By Helen Dennis

Question: Is it my imagination or am I seeing Hollywood finally featuring older people as stars with something to offer rather than appearing weak, silly and needy? If I am right, it’s about time! Thanks for your take on this.

Answer: Dear N.S.,

Hope springs eternal and part of that hope is linked to demography. The baby boomers are getting older and are between 51 and 69 years. They are 78 million strong, which translates into a lot of discretionary income and buying power. Many of us in that stage of life and older would like to see a balance between the challenges facing older persons and the portrayal of older adults that inspire us.

The late David Wolfe, author of the classic book “Serving the Ageless Market” (McGraw-Hill, 1990) wrote about effective marketing strategies to reach older adults. One strategy is to provide images and experiences to which older adults would aspire. That logic transfers to movies.

AARP identifies movies for grown-ups that feature older actors and actresses as well as themes that an experienced generation would enjoy and appreciate. Two recently released movies on their list highlight the possibilities, roles and capacities of older people. (Note this column is not a movie review; rather it is a focus on the message.)

The first movie is “A Walk in the Woods” starring 79-year-old Robert Redford and 74-year-old Nick Nolte. It is based on travel writer-humorist Bill Bryson’s memoir of walking the Appalachian Trail. 

Redford plays the role an older man who has had a semi-successful career, a good family life yet finds something missing to the point of having a meltdown. It’s a movie about age, time left, friendship and taking on a challenge to find out “what’s next?”.... 


From Colum McCann, a novella and 3 short stories about aging, memory, and forgiveness 


"Thirteen Ways of Looking" (Random House)

Each chapter of the title novella in Colum McCann's hauntingly beautiful new collection of short stories begins with a stanza from Wallace Stevens' poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird."

But instead of blackbirds, the sky above retired judge Peter Mendelssohn is filled with cameras, tracking his movements on the fateful day when he is assaulted outside a Manhattan restaurant. Later, detectives will pore over the footage, seeking to solve the mystery. Detectives, poets — both know "the truth is laborious ... chiseled and worked into being."

The 82-year-old Mendelssohn is a vibrant character whose personality is revealed in a stream of consciousness as his mind jumps from thought to thought, often pausing to rant about modern life.

He complains about the heat in New York apartments — "All these underground steam pipes and oil trucks and board meetings about boilers, and Nobel-winning engineers, and smarty-pants architects ... and still all you get is a terrible clack clack clack in the morning." He laments the lost art of reading newspapers on commuter trains — "perfect folds right along the storylines, four little corridors of broadsheet." He worries about his memory; he misses his late wife.

Another story features a single mother raising her deaf son in a cottage along the Irish coast. She is a translator, struggling to find the precise word in English for the Hebrew word "sh'khol" — "losing a child." Her linguistic labors track the story's heart-wrenching developments.

Like the novella, the story "Treaty" also deals with "slippages of memory" — in this instance in a Maryknoll nun who believes she has seen in a brief TV clip the paramilitary commander who tortured and raped her decades ago. Now he has a new name and an invitation to participate in peace talks. Over the years, she has struggled to forgive him. Now she feels compelled to confront him....



Write and Get Your Book Published


Senior adults often have the best stories because they’ve experienced so much in life. Whether it’s stories of war, adopting children from overseas, maintaining interracial friendships during segregation, or barely surviving the Great Depression, I’ve been inspired by the rich history contained in many stories. A key component to strengthening families and communities is to tell those stories beyond your family and social circles. Have you thought about writing your own book? Perhaps you want to write one on behalf of a cause or organization you’re passionate about? Maybe you’re a fiction writer and want to publish novels. Why not write a book and get it published?

Start building your platform to attract a publisher’s attention, and to demonstrate your marketing strength. A platform is your public visibility and reputation. How well known are you online, in publications, on radio or on television? Do you have a following when you give speeches or conduct seminars? Publishers look at your audience associated with your blog, publications, social media outlet or public appearance to determine if you have enough people who are care about you to buy your books. Marketing a book requires time and energy. Enlist the help of family members, caregivers, students and others now. Even if you land a publishing deal, you’re going to be your best, and maybe only, marketer. I interviewed a celebrity author recently who outlined her daily activities to market her book. No matter who you are, you are responsible for sales. A publishing deal helps with distribution and open doors to press interviews. Understanding that now will help you get a publishing deal and sell books....


Is Decision Making Impaired With Aging?

By Lynda Shaw 

Age-related changes in decision making is a topic that is increasingly becoming an important consideration as we embrace working past traditional retirement age.

Evidence suggests that as we grow older there are cognitive and effective changes in the way we process information. All decisions whether small or large can be disadvantaged or enhanced dependent upon our age.

Many believe that there is a strong correlation between getting older and cognitively slowing down. This, however, is not accurate as it’s by no means the whole story and if we want to make the most of our workforce it is worth collecting all intelligence regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each generation working for us.

A comprehensive book Aging and Decision Making combines the latest research with established considerations to highlight implications of this delicate subject.

For instance, we can consider intelligence in two different categories – fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence, originally accredited to the work of research psychologist Raymond Cattell....


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Do You Know What Dementia Is? 

Probably Not, According To A New Study

Aging can be a complicated, mysterious process. We’ve been trying to find the key to staying youthful since the dawn of time, and though we’ve managed to prolong the aging process, the fountain of youth is still evasive. Though some parts of aging are inevitable, a common myth is that dementia is one of them.

Dementia describes a severe decline in cognitive abilities and does not refer to a single disease. It is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms from memory loss to a decrease in reasoning and judgment. It’s hugely costly and is a leading cause of disability and dependence. The public often incorrectly refers to dementia as “senility,” which reinforces the belief that serious dementia is a normal part of aging.

This just isn’t true, but according to a new study by researchers at Trinity’s School of Social Work and Social Policy, the public still believes it. The review of 40 research articles from 15 countries revealed that the general public has a limited understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The most common misconception that appeared was that dementia is a normal part of aging. People showed confusion over when exactly normal age-related memory loss becomes severe enough to indicate dementia. Yet another concern was the absence of awareness surrounding preventable risk factors for dementia and their role in contributing to the disease.

“Lack of public understanding of dementia has negative consequences for both the individual coping with the symptoms and for family caregivers,” said Suzanne Cahill, director of the Dementia Services Information and Development Centre, and associate professor of Social Work and Aging at the School of Social Policy at Trinity, in a statement....


The Benefits of Peppermint

By Cathy Wong, ND

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a plant used for medicinal purposes. The plant's oil is often taken in dietary supplement form while peppermint leaf is frequently used to make herbal tea. One of the most common uses of peppermint is to ease digestive troubles.

When taken in dietary supplement form, peppermint oil usually comes in enteric-coated capsules. Enteric coating is used to prevent peppermint oil from being released in the stomach and causing such side effects as digestive upset.

Uses for Peppermint

In alternative medicine, peppermint is said to aid in the treatment of the following health problems:

•the common cold




•irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

•menstrual problems 

•morning sickness 


•sinus infections

Peppermint oil is also said to act as a carminative agent (a type of substance used to eliminate excess gas in the intestines).

In addition, peppermint is purported to improve mental function....


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Cooking for seniors not so simple

On the surface, it seems like a simple job, open a Betty Crocker cookbook, find a recipe and follow the instructions. No problem, right? Well, if you’re cooking for 20 to 50 senior citizens it’s not that easy. By the time one gets to be 60 years old, most have some special dietary needs. So to work at the West Linn Adult Community Center as the chef can be a daunting task. 

Here are some things you won’t find in the Betty Crocker cookbook. Things as simple as serving grapefruit as a side dish, for example, can be a serious problem. Many seniors take drugs called statins. Statins are prescription drugs used to lower cholesterol. They prevent your body from making more cholesterol and can help your body reabsorb the cholesterol already present in your artery walls. 

The major risk of mixing statin drugs and grapefruit is increasing the side effects of the statin drug. The FDA reports that this could put you at risk for muscle breakdown, liver damage, and kidney failure. 

Presbyphagia is a term used to describe swallowing difficulty of the sort that can be associated with the aging process. 

Swallowing can be made easier by adding a sauce or gravy to the dish. The French learned this hundreds of years ago. 

Another big issue is sodium content of foods....



Promoting Inclusion in an Aging World

By Kim Samuel 

Imagine you find yourself living on your own, after years of being surrounded by loved ones and friends. Your house is devoid of conversation. The television is your closest companion. Even an encounter with a sales clerk would be a welcome relief from the solitude. But while you may want to venture into the world, you are physically limited from doing so. And so, each day just brings more of the same. You have never felt so alone.

It is time to have an honest conversation about combating social isolation in an aging world. By 2050, older citizens will account for over 20 percent of the global population; in Canada, my home country, they do already. This graying of the population is happening fastest in the developing world. According to Global AgeWatch, "of 15 countries that currently have more than 10 million older people, seven are in developing countries." 

What can we do to ensure older people in every country stay connected and engaged in their communities?

Those aging in place--growing old in the homes they currently occupy--have a natural community to turn to each other. AgeWell, an inspirational program in South Africa, pairs older people who are physically able with others who cannot easily leave home. The visitors, called AgeWells, provide supportive health monitoring, and both sides benefit from companionship. Those who receive visits from AgeWell companions often exhibit a reduction in depression. And the AgeWells themselves say they love having the opportunity to continue to work and fulfill an important need within their community. 

The Village to Village Network uses a similar concept. Their "Village Model"--already active in more than 150 communities across the U.S., Australia, and the Netherlands--provides seniors aging in place with a support network of other local seniors....


What Old Age Is Really Like

By Ceridwen Dovey

Old age is perplexing to imagine in part because the definition of it is notoriously unstable. As people age, they tend to move the goalposts that mark out major life stages.

What does it feel like to be old? Not middle-aged, or late-middle-aged, but one of the members of the fastest-growing demographic: the “oldest old,” those aged eighty-five and above? This has been the question animating me for a couple of years, as I’ve tried to write a novel from the perspective of a man in his late eighties. The aging population is on our collective minds; a statistic that intrigued me is that the average life expectancy in the U.K.—and, by extension, most of the rich West—is increasing by more than five hours a day, every day. I’m in my mid-thirties but felt confident that I could imagine my way into old age. How hard could it be, really?

Somewhere along the way, though, things went wrong. My protagonist became Generic Old Man: crabby, computer illiterate, grieving for his dementia-addled wife. Not satisfied to leave him to his misery, I forced on him a new love interest, Eccentric Old Woman: radical, full of energy, a fan of wearing magenta turbans and handing out safe-sex pamphlets outside retirement homes.

In other words, I modelled my characters on the two dominant cultural constructions of old age: the doddering, depressed pensioner and the ageless-in-spirit, quirky oddball. After reading the first draft, an editor I respect said to me, “But what else are they, other than old?” I was mortified and long before I’d written the opening word.

The first was: Why did I so blithely assume that I had the right to imagine my way into old age—and that I could do it well—when I would approach with extreme caution the task of imagining my way into the interior world of a character of a different gender, race, or class? Had I assumed that anybody elderly who might happen to read the book would simply be grateful that someone much younger was interested in his or her experience, and forgive my stereotyping?

The conundrum of who has the authority to write about old age is that, unlike the subjective experience of most imagined Others, seniority is something that many of us will eventually experience for ourselves. By contrast, I can imagine what it might be like to be a man, for example, but won’t ever know for sure. As the literary scholar Sarah Falcus writes, building on the work of Sally Chivers, “We may all have a more mobile relationship to age than to other perspectives or subject positions … 


IMAGES: What Presidential Candidates Would Look Like 

After Two Terms In Office

The presidency of the United States – arguably the most demanding job in the world – exacts a significant toll on those who serve, seemingly advancing the speed of the aging process, as reflected in these original images.

Sachs Media Group today unveiled the gallery of portraits, which starkly project the potential visual and physical impact the presidency could have on the man or woman who ultimately succeeds in 2016.

The age-progressed images reflect the unforgiving pressures of an unyielding 24/7 job – the most pressurized job on the planet.

“The candidates who aspire to be president face an unenviable task if they win – and the costs likely include entering a virtual time machine that seems to double the rate of the aging process,” said Ron Sachs, president and CEO of Florida-based Sachs Media Group. 


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Prevalence of Marijuana Use Among U.S. Adults

 Doubles Over Past Decade

Surveys show 9.5 percent of Americans use marijuana; 30 percent of users meet criteria for a disorder


The percentage of Americans who reported using marijuana in the past year more than doubled between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, and the increase in marijuana use disorder during that time was nearly as large. Past year marijuana use rose from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent of the U.S. adult population, while the prevalence of marijuana use disorder rose from 1.5 percent to 2.9 percent, according to national surveys conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Based on the current study, approximately 30 percent of people who used marijuana in the past year met criteria for marijuana use disorder during 2012-2013, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This includes symptoms such as taking the drug in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended by the user; the persistent desire to cut down or control use/unsuccessful efforts to do so; failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home as a result of marijuana use; and tolerance and/or withdrawal.

“These findings highlight the changing cultural norms related to marijuana use, which could bring additional public health challenges related to addiction, drugged driving and access to effective treatment,” said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which contributed funding to the study. “NIDA will continue to work with our partners at NIAAA and across the federal government to educate the public and policymakers on these and other issues related to the use of psychoactive drugs.” ...



Contact and Comments

The “Gray” Apocalypse

Are there no brains out there?

Scene: A high school classroom in the year 2037. Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds are at their desks watching a “Virtual teacher” on a big screen TV. The teacher is in another city and has a national classroom of about 10,000 students. Suddenly, the screen starts to flicker and eventually goes dark. Less than a minute later the principal comes into the classroom and tells the students to lock the doors and stay away from the windows. 

“They’re here”, he announces. “The day is upon us.” He closes the door behind him and goes to the next classroom. 

Ignoring the principal’s orders, the students gather at the windows. In the distance the faint sound of a hacking cough coming from what only can be described as a hoard of living beings shuffling slowly towards the school. As the “hoard” gets closer, the sound of aluminum scraping on pavement becomes prevalent, almost deafening. Horrified, many of the students just stare, too traumatized to even look away. 

The throng gets closer and closer until they have reached the outskirts of the student parking lot. Now they can be plainly seen from the school itself. And, as they get closer, the horrifying specter of reality sets in. THE GRAY APOCALYPSE HAS ARRIVED. And they are here with a vengeance, taking over everything.

Not only is the senior center full up, but so is the hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and almost everything else. Malls, parks, playgrounds, RV parks and zoos are bursting to capacity. Walkers, Rollators, wheelchairs, and canes are everywhere taking up valuable space. Where once cars parked, now only scooters fill the spaces.

Even restaurants have changed. Dinner starts at 4:30. Where once giant portions and overstuffed sandwiches bursting with spicy barbecue were served, now only half sandwiches and salt-free, spice free fair can be found. And you better have two-for-one specials or you are out of business.

It’s no longer safe to drive after dark because THEY are all out there. Out there in their 20-year-old SUV’s using up every last gallon of fossil fuel left on earth while the rest of the people have to contend with quirky electric cars.

Who are they? Who are this menace that has so ravaged our resources and strapped our economy. They are us, or you 20 years from now. They are all us baby boomers who have reached the age of 65 at the rate of 10,000 a day. They are the real undead. They are all of us who refused to succumb to old age. Contrary to what everybody hoped would happen, we didn’t just get up and drop dead at 70 or 75 like the actuaries predicted. And because we had the audacity to stick around way past our expiration date, we (the nation) are in trouble. We are in trouble because we failed to prepare for what some are calling the “Silver Tsunami.”* That wave of people who are and will be, putting undue stress on all of our social and financial infrastructures. And all of it is not necessarily going to happen in the future. Much of it is happening right now.

Already, there has been a housing shortage for the elderly. Rents are rising every day and those of us who are on a fixed income cannot keep up with it all. And very few cities, towns and municipalities are preparing for this. Instead, they continue to build block after block of luxury high-rises and condominiums. Even those so-called “senior communities” are priced out of the reach of most seniors. 

The strain is also visible in our healthcare system. Medicare, which was the gold standard of medical care for citizens over 65, is having difficulty sustaining itself as an alternative to the high cost of private health insurance. An increase of around 13% is already in the works for most Medicare recipients. And all this, without an increase in Social Security benefits. And, what are our legislators (including many of the latest crop of presidential hopefuls) doing about it. Nothing. If anything, they are doing the opposite. They are telling us that we don’t deserve more money or more services and that it’s our fault because we are living too long.

They moan and groan about how the “system” is going bankrupt. They tell us that by 2037, there will be no money left to pay out Social Security benefits. They tell us that we aren’t entitled to all that money. And they say it with a straight face. They never mention that it’s our money and they are the ones who squandered it on wasteful programs and outrageous military spending. But all is not gloom and doom. There is still time to turn the tide. 

We old folks, as a collective body, are a force to be reckoned with if only we can overcome our apathy and unstick ourselves from voting into office the same people because we are comfortable with them. It’s time to realize that the old guard has not served us well. Ageism is rampant among many on Capitol hill. Every time a program that would be beneficial to seniors comes up for a vote, a group of clueless legislators tries to block it stating that it costs too much or we don’t deserve it or because it smells like another welfare scheme and god forbid anyone in this country should receive welfare. 

There’s a national election next year. An election that will determine how we, as seniors, will be living for years to come. If you aren’t registered to vote, do it now. If you haven’t voted in a while, now is the time to begin again. I know the passion you had when you were younger is still in there somewhere. It’s time you let it out.

*Editor’s note: I find the term “Silver tsunami” too gentle. 

A plea to the governor

As most of you already know, there will be no cost of living increase to our Social Security Allowance this year. Without getting too detailed, it all has to do with the national cost of living index. If it doesn’t go up, we don’t get a raise. Unfortunately, when we don’t get a raise, neither does the facility in which we live. Because of the special circumstances with which our facility operates, they are dependent on both SSA and SSI payments in order to provide the services we need. While there is not much we can do about obtaining an increase in our Social Security checks on a federal level, we can do something about our SSI (Supplemental Security Income) on a state level. As a way of encouraging our state legislature (And Governor Cuomo) to include an increase in the SSI to the 2016-17 Executive Budget, we will soon be asking you, as a resident, to sign a petition to the Governor to that effect.

Here are some of the reasons why we need this increase...

We encourage all residents to sign this petition when it is presented to you.

Where Should You Live As You Age: 

At Home Or In A Senior Community?

By Howard Gleckman 

“We should not view the residential separation of the old from the young as necessarily harmful and discriminatory, but rather as celebrating the preferences of older Americans and nurturing their ability to live happy, dignified, healthy and autonomous lives.”

Older adults may be better off living in age-segregated communities than in neighborhoods or buildings filled with young adults or families with kids. They may have better support, access to more services, and even a better sex life. That, at least, is the conclusion of a University of Florida professor Stephen Golant, an environmental gerontologist and expert in the housing of aging populations.

Golant is no shill for senior communities. And he notes that many older adults end up in age-segregated communities through simple inertia rather than moving to formal senior living. Often, they age in place surrounded by other older adults doing the same thing. Big cities, for example, are full of apartment buildings populated by widows who were once young mothers. Their children moved on, their husbands died, but they stayed.

Many older adults, of course, do move to  planned senior housing—communities for “active seniors, ” independent living, assisted living, nursing homes, or continuing care communities that combine all of the above. Some sit behind walls and guardhouses. Others enthusiastically open themselves to the broader community. But in nearly all cases, their ever-smiling marketing staff argue that mom will be “happier here” and their half-guilty adult children struggle to believe the sales pitch.

But Golant argues that it may, in fact, be true. For a detailed explanation, take a look at his book Aging in the Right Place. But for a brief summary of his message, read this essay from the website The Conversation (also reposted on the Huffington Post site). He concludes:....


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Checklist for Managing Aging-in-Place

This in-home safety breakdown is a great place to start when evaluating home access needs

by Kay E. Koch, OTR/L, ATP

The following home safety checklist is in no way intended to replace, if needed, a thorough home assessment completed by an occupational or physical therapist or Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) or other aging-in-place professional. 

Entrance to the home

Steps and walkways are in good repair, with no crumbling edges or broken boards

A place for a ramp if a wheelchair is used in the future

Secure railing that is easy to grasp with both hands

Lights that illuminate a wide area of yard and walkway

Peephole in the front door is low enough for all residents to use

Deadbolt lock that does not require a key to open from the inside (unless wandering is an issue)

Living Areas

Doorways wide enough to pass through when using a walker or wheelchair, or carrying a load

No electric or phone cords running under rugs or carpeting or across open areas

Sofas and chairs are high and firm enough for easy sitting and rising, without wheels

Light switches that can be turned on without walking across a dark room

Working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor

Carpets, rugs and mats lie flat; remove small throw rugs

Adequate lighting


Doorway wide enough for walker or wheelchair if needed

Toilet seat at appropriate height

Adequate lighting at night

Removal of area rugs

No-slip surfaces in tub or shower

Grab bar mounting areas are different from towel bars....



The Aging Issues Every Presidential Candidate Needs To Address

By Carol Marak 

The 2016 presidential election is crucial for programs that affect 44.7 million Americans. Which candidates will stand up for the issues that have a significant impact on our fast growing aging population? 

What do the experts and professionals in senior care think the presidential candidates should focus on if elected? Should they fight for Medicare, easy access to care, Alzheimer's research, supports and services for family caregivers? 

SeniorCare.com believes it's time for the candidates to address what matters most to our aging citizens. Every month, they ask leading experts and professionals several questions to help shed light on hard-hitting topics that consumers need to know about concerning long-term care. In this questionnaire, they spotlight the presidential candidates and their campaigns. Here's what they asked: 

What's one crucial aging topic that the presidential candidates should add to their platform and campaign?

17 aging experts replied: 

1. Conversations about research and a cure for Alzheimer's are important. What is equal if not more important is helping people live well with the disease. A cure could be a long while off, but that does not mean people can't live a quality life. Anthony Cirillo, 4wardfast.com. 

2. Denial around aging. The denial leads to accidents and health emergencies. Waiting for an acute occurrence creates decision making in crisis mode, in the midst of panic, emotional and time-critical overwhelm. Those decisions end up being less logical, and too many times much more expensive than they needed to be if they'd planned ahead. Aaron D. Murphy, Empowering the Mature Mind.

3. The number of doctors who no longer accept Medicare patients. What alternatives do they propose for older folks to receive medical care in their community? Rhonda Caudell, Endless Legacy. 

4. Social Security reform is a vital topic that presidential candidates need to add to their platform. Baby boomers impact a significant piece of our economy, and we can't continue without Social Security reform unless we're comfortable with exhausting the social security fund some 20 years from now. Rebecca Arciaga, Advisors Mortgage Group.

5.It's our care culture. It affects everything we do, and all that we are. Leading by example, modeling tolerance, inclusion and respect of all is a must if we are going to turn this country around. It should be a mandate, of any candidate or government position, not an option. Effective and authentic change needs a proper care culture to have "staying" power to address priorities. Lori La Bey, AlzheimersSpeaks.com....


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Our Unavoidable Issues:

 Aging, Immigration, Growth 


The unavoidable issues candidates are avoiding

We have all manner of policy proposals from the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, but there's a sobering disconnect between what they're advocating and the large problems the country actually faces. The candidates seem caught in a time warp. Democrats plug new entitlements (college subsidies, paid family leave). Republicans embrace tax cuts. All this is familiar; it's also a flight from reality.

Whoever wins next November will inherit three major domestic problems that, although obvious, are downplayed because the politics are so unfavorable. (I'm excluding foreign policy and climate change.) Together, these three realities will go a long way toward defining 21st-century America.

First, we are an aging society. "The number of people aged 65 or older is expected to increase by 76 percent between now and 2040," says the Congressional Budget Office. The 65-and-over share of the total population has already expanded. It's now 15 percent, up from 11 percent in 1980. By 2040, it's projected at 22 percent.

Inevitably, the costs of Social Security, Medicare (federal health insurance for the elderly) and nursing home care under Medicaid (a federal-state insurance program for the poor) will grow dramatically. From 1965 to 2014, spending on Social Security and the major federal health care programs averaged 6.5 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). By 2040, the budget office projects this spending to exceed 14 percent of GDP.

If we do not trim Social Security and Medicare spending — by slowly raising eligibility ages, cutting benefits and increasing premiums for wealthier recipients — we face savage cuts in other government programs, much higher taxes, bigger deficits, or all three.

Second, America is an immigrant society. And it's not mainly the 11 million undocumented, illegal immigrants. They constitute only a quarter of today's 45 million immigrants, reports a Pew study....


To Age Well, Change How You Feel About Aging

Negative stereotypes about getting older can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

How to improve your mind-set—and well-being. 

Scientists are discovering something very peculiar about aging: How we feel about getting old matters. A lot. 

By Anne Tergesen 

In test after test, researchers are finding that if we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health likely will suffer. If, on the other hand, we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in kind.

Scientists are discovering something very peculiar about aging: thinking about getting older in terms of decline or growth can dictate how our bodies respond. WSJ's Anne Tergesen has details on Lunch Break With Tanya Rivero.

That research holds out the possibility for much healthier aging. But it also points to a very big obstacle: Negative stereotypes about aging are pervasive in America. Even many older adults embrace the idea that getting old is a bad thing—which means they’re doing potentially serious harm to their health without realizing it.

Can we change the way we feel about aging—and improve our prospects for healthier senior years? A growing body of research offers hope.

Psychologists and neuroscientists are identifying strategies that individuals can use to improve their mind-sets about aging, with benefits for their health and well-being. In a recent study, for example, researchers at institutions including the Yale School of Public Health found that older individuals who were subliminally exposed to positive messages about aging showed long-term improvements in self-image, strength and balance. Other recent studies have shown that it’s possible to achieve similar results with tactics that psychologists, cognitive therapists and educators use to treat depression, combat race and gender bias, and break people of harmful habits, such as smoking. 

Negative stereotypes about aging “are a public-health issue,” says  Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health and lead author of the Yale study. “What people aren’t aware of is that they have the ability to overcome and resist negative stereotypes” and “compensate for the ill effects of automatic ageism.”

With that in mind, here are four ways people can better protect themselves from the potentially harmful effects of stereotypes about aging.....


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Healthy Aging: Memories are made of this

By Sharon Johnson

“The conditions that produce “temporary” memory loss are many — some say there are hundreds of reasons for memory problems we experience as we age that do not end in a diagnosis of dementia. With that in mind, here are some other ways to keep your memory strong and intact.....”

Experts within the American Psychological Association say memory difficulties are to be expected as we get older.

Losing your keys, misplacing your purse or your iPhone or forgetting someone’s name completely can be “common experiences for people nearing or over age 65.”

It’s darn frustrating when your memory doesn’t serve you well, but it’s not necessarily a serious condition. Although when it happens to you or to a loved one — and it happens repeatedly, you start to think otherwise. Your mind quickly jumps to “Could this be some form of dementia?” “Oh. My. Gosh. Could this be Alzheimers?”

And then someone says, “You know, our family always thought that grandfather on dad’s side had really bad dementia.”

And so it goes.

But, consider this, the culprit may be something else entirely — a condition you can easily remedy. Dehydration, for example, can cause memory loss. So grab a big glass of water or a piece of fruit (eat your water!) and consider that possibility. Maybe you could sit down and have a snack. Nutrient-dense eating is another huge part of ensuring reliable cognitive function as you age.

There are other things to consider. Infections masquerade as memory difficulties. Let’s say your Uncle Harold has abruptly occurring and substantial memory loss and the whole family is worried. May I suggest that he pee in a cup?

Undiagnosed or untended urinary tract infections can sometimes be an easily resolved reason behind memory dysfunction. Why, even your anxious overreaction to the possibility of your uncle’s memory difficulties can exacerbate the situation; stress and anxiety are often linked to recurring memory problems. Links exist in other arenas, too. People who have mild or moderate depression often have memory lapses, and people with severe memory lapses may be depressed.

Medications or medication interactions can cause a reduced ability to remember things. Talk to your pharmacist and ask, “Does this new medication have any side-effects involving reduced cognition?” If the answer is yes, at least you’re prepared for that possibility. And maybe you could even ask the pharmacist if there’s an equivalent medication that does not cause memory difficulties or confusion....

More... http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20150819/ENTERTAINMENTLIFE/150819603  

Want to Keep Your Mind Sharp? 

Try Cocoa. Or Sex.

Sure, word games and the like might help boost your brain power.

 But some unconventional methods are likely to be more fun. 

By Beth Howard 


Sure, crossword puzzles and mind teasers can boost your brainpower. But a movie, cocoa, and sex might be more fun.

Recent research has highlighted what appear to be several intriguing ways to counter the effects of aging on gray matter. Consider these tactics if you’re looking to gain a cognitive edge: 

Art instruction also increased participants’ scores on measures of psychological resilience. “Resilience means that you cope well with stress and negative environmental and social factors,” says study author Christian Maihöfner, a physician and professor of neurology at the university.

Go to the mat. A recent study supported by funding from the National Institute on Aging compared a group of people ages 55 to 70 who practiced hatha yoga three times a week and a similar group who did simple stretching and toning exercises. After eight weeks, the yoga group was speedier and more accurate in cognitive tasks and less apt to be distracted.

“The meditative exercises in yoga aim to help you focus and be aware within the moment by trying to keep distracting thoughts away,” says researcher Neha P. Gothe, assistant professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies at Wayne State University in Detroit. “These mental exercises seem to affect the way you think outside of yoga practice.”

Drink cocoa. Scores on basic cognitive tests jumped 30% during a one-month study that involved drinking two cups of cocoa a day. The Harvard Medical School study looked at older adults with hypertension and diabetes. Researchers credit cocoa’s flavanols—compounds also found in red wine and tea—for helping to increase blood flow to the brain.


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Is my depression a natural part of my aging?


While depression can start for the first time at any age, it is important to know that clinical depression is NOT a normal part of the aging process. 

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote in 500 B.C. that “change is the only constant in life.” And of all periods of human life, our senior years can contain some of the most challenging changes. Retirement, long-distance moves, worsening health, or death of a spouse or other loved ones can cause tremendous upheaval even for the strongest of us. Sometimes these changes are associated with serious declines in mood or other important functions — a term physicians call depression. 

Older people are often rightly proud of being “survivors,” and depression may be viewed as a sign of weakness or a source of shame. However, there are very practical reasons to move past that point of view!

Treatment of depression can not only improve your quality of life, it can lengthen your life as well. Having depression doubles your risk of developing heart disease and cuts your risk of surviving a heart attack in half, so treating depression can be lifesaving in more ways than one.

All people suffer ups and downs in their lives. However, over their lifetimes, somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of all Americans will suffer from a depression so severe and enduring they cannot function as they normally would. About 6 million older Americans suffer with that level of depression, but only about 10 percent of them ever receive treatment. 

We know that sadness and low energy are symptoms of depression. In older patients, however, other symptoms, such as disrupted sleep, poor self-care and hygiene, irritability and short-term memory loss, may be more prominent symptoms than any sense of sadness or the blues. And many people who experience depression-related memory impairment may worry they have the start of Alzheimer’s disease. However, memory impairment associated with depression usually can be reversed with treatment of the depression. ....


Please be advised that any health advice presented here is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as professional medical advice. Please consult your health care professional before you start any health-related regimen.

Aging Spine: 

So Many Ailments They Need a New Name

Author: Dava Stewart

A range of disorders, diseases, and dysfunctions can cause problems with the spine. Lindsay Tetreault, HBSc, of the Division of Neurosurgery and Spine Program at Toronto Western Hospital, along with several colleagues reviewed the any degenerative spinal disorders that lead to progressive cervical spinal cord compression, and have proposed a new term: degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM). Their review was published in Neurosurgery in October 2015.

As people age, the spine changes. As a result of the degeneration of the disks, the spinal canal narrows and begins to compress the spinal cord. According to the authors, “Chronic mechanical compression of the cord causes a flattening and widening of the spinal cord and results in a cascade of pathophysiological events, including ischemia, endothelial cell impairment, disruption of the blood-spinal cord barrier, neuroinflammation, and apoptosis.”

Even people who are asymptomatic are likely to have some degenerative changes, particularly after the age of 60. Another prevalent condition is ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament, which is nearly always accompanied by other degenerative changes. These conditions are generally diagnosed through clinical assessment, imaging, or electrodiagnosis....

more... http://www.hcplive.com/medical-news/aging-spine-so-many-ailments-they-need-a-new-name

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Calcium Supplements Might Not Be so Useful After All  


Calcium supplements have a positive reputation for various health problems. They have been recommended to senior citizens as a method of improving bone strength and solidity while preventing bone fractures. However, two new studies have concluded that they have little on either of these health problems.

Recommendations for older people indicate a daily dose of 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium minerals, and many patients take dietary supplements to meet these medical suggestions. A whole industry was built around additional minerals and vitamins administered to elder people or even to healthy adults.

Collectively, the results show that physicians, health organizations and policymakers do not have to indicate higher calcium consumption for protection against bone fractures, either by intake of foods based on calcium or dietary supplements. For most sufferers who are worried about bone health and avoiding further problems, they do not have to be concerned about daily calcium consumption.

The first research, released in the English medical publications, researched if nutritional or additional calcium minerals helped to improve bone strength and solidity in patients over the age of 60.

Specialists examined 60 controlled tests; 20 were focused on nutritional calcium in 1,500 people and 45 analyzed the effects of supplements in 12,000 individuals. The studies discovered that minerals obtained through balanced diet and supplements improved bone strength between 0.5% and 2% over the a period of 3 years. This way, scientists determined that such a low number is unlikely to generate an important reduction in danger for bone affections....


Saw palmetto: Secret weapon for aging men

by Cory Black

As men, we really should take actions to take care of ourselves now for the future, not just for longevity but also a fuller one with a healthy and active life. One area that is not especially glamorous but we need to think about is our prostate.

A very effective natural supplement to support prostate health is saw palmetto. Extracts from the plant saw palmetto have been traditionally used by the American Indians as an herbal medicine for centuries and it is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols, a steroid compound similar to cholesterol. Unlike the cholesterol that comes with a diet high in saturated and trans fats, phytosterols that we get from plants have many health benefits.

Many issues with men’s health can be linked to loss of testosterone with age and its conversion to estrogen and other androgen hormones. One of the key benefits for men is that saw palmetto seems to inhibit the production of an enzyme called 5- alpha reductase, which is involved in the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. As men age, it is this androgen hormone that leads to conditions such as prostate enlargement, often referred to as Benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The negative effects to the health of BHP often involve urinary problems, from frequent urination to even difficulty of urination. Saw palmetto could be effective in preventing the condition....


Let's Talk About Sex ... and Senior Citizens

As STD rates rise among the elderly, health-care providers and public health departments continue to shy away from discussing their sexual health. Is it time for a sexual revolution?

by Mattie Quinn

People face many health issues as they age: loss of hearing and sight, sore joints, memory loss. Many of those are common (and commonly discussed), but medical providers often sweep health issues related to sex under the rug -- and it's hurting the growing population of seniors.

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates among people over the age of 65 are rising. Between 2007 and 2011, rates of chlamydia increased 31 percent, and syphilis cases rose 52 percent. Sexual health campaigns and providers, however, overlook the elderly even though 53 percent of people between 65 and 75 years old and more than 25 percent of people between 75 and 85 are still sexually active, according to a 2007 survey.

It's also easier for seniors to catch STDs because of their lowered immune systems and menopausal effects on women like the thinning of vaginal walls -- and harder for doctors to detect them because the symptoms, such as the worsening eyesight and arthritis caused by chlamydia and gonorrhea, can often be attributed to aging and go undiagnosed and untreated.

But public health departments don't seem to be paying attention: A 2005 study of sexual health pamphlets in departments across all 50 states, for example, found only two that focused on aging adults.

“It’s almost like an ignorance. We have plenty of research and knowledge, but providers just continually don’t discuss sexual health with older adults,” said Maggie Syme, assistant professor at Kansas State University’s Center on Aging. “Sexuality can be tough to talk about, and doubly so when dealing with the elderly. But there needs to be a movement to educate providers that it needs to be done.”...



Planning for the future


Color at the Garden Level

While living down in the “Garden Level” of our facility may not be a most ideal location, one advantage is its easy proximity to the out of doors. This year, as in others, the fall colors are at their best.


Alone with my eggs

This week’s Faceless Foodie is not so much about food as it is about dining.

One of the good things about assisted living is never having to dine alone. For many years (at least since the late 1980’s) I had eaten breakfast alone and while I didn’t mind it, I did often wish that I had someone to talk to while slurping down my coffee, juice and eggs. Even in the nursing home I had my breakfast alone, in bed no less. So that is why, after coming here, I found eating with a group of regulars to be not only fun but comforting as well. Therefore, I was really disappointed when, last Friday, when I found myself to be the lone diner at my table, I lapsed into a state of semi-depression. My mind went back to those days after my divorce when most of my meals were taken, alone, in a booth at my local diner. Or to the time after my mom passed away and, all those years when I lived alone in my Queens apartment. 

I often wonder why I continue to see some residents eating alone in the country kitchen, some of them on a regular basis. Community and companionship are so much a part of living and even more so when you reach the late part of your life. Perhaps there should be a concerted effort by the staff to encourage more solitary diners to find a table, make friends and enjoy dinner more.

5 Things I Learned About Aging From My Dog

Dogs teach us to love and are often the one constant in our lives.

By Ann Brenoff

I have had dogs in my life ever since I graduated college. In fact, I bought my first house after a landlord banned pets and I couldn't imagine living without my Olde English Sheepdog. Dogs have taught me to love, been my best friends, been the one constant in my life; long before my husband and children, there was always a dog who I rushed home after work to care for. I've walked the last mile with many of my dogs and here is what I've learned about aging from them.

1. Even when body parts hurt, it's always good to let your loved ones know you are happy to see them.

We appreciate how hard this is to do sometimes, yet dogs consistently manage it.

2. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

When the vet discovered a small cancerous tumor on our Golden girl Chloe's lip, we were thrown into the throes of despair. We Googled her cancer, we questioned the vet, and we cried mightily knowing that her end undoubtedly would be near. She, on the other hand, just wanted to play ball at the beach. On the day we got the news, my husband and I sat sobbing in our beach chairs, throwing and throwing and throwing that ball to our obviously oblivious dog. Chloe felt good until the day she didn't. She enjoyed every long walk, every extra treat, every car ride where she got to feel the wind in her face.

3. We can all learn new ways to do things when the old ones don't work so well anymore.

Aging is a gradual process, not something that comes upon us all at once. You agree to wear reading glasses, you get your hearing tested, you buy a pair of comfort shoes. No, not all on the same day....



Contact and Comments

When COLA means no Coke

For all purposes, it’s a lock. There will be no Cost of Living increase for Social Security recipients this year. In fact, this is the fifth year in a row that seniors have not seen a raise. Why? Because the rest of America is saving money on gas. Huh? You say. Americans are spending less on gasoline, so we don’t get a little extra cash every month. Hey! Wait a minute. I don’t even drive anymore. I don’t even own a car. And even if I did I couldn’t afford it. There’s more to owning a car than putting gas in it. When was the last time you drove over Mr. Verrazano’s Bridge? Do you know that it costs $16.00 to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island and $15.00 for the other bridges and tunnels? Even one of those little tree car deodorants that hang from your mirror has gone up to $2.00. And only the heavens know what a new battery and tires cost these days. Big deal, so gas hasn’t gone up. Since when did we drink a gallon of Texaco or slurp down a can of Valvoline? 

Every couple of weeks I get a chance to go to the supermarket. Since we don’t cook here at the Asylum and eat our meals in a dining room, I don’t do much in the way of food shopping. However, I do have a small refrigerator where I keep things like soft drinks and fruit which I purchase either online or on one of those infrequent trips to the A&P. On those trips, I usually take with me $40.00 in cash figuring that I would never spend more than that for the very few items I would buy. After all, I’m not buying any meats, or snack foods or Captain Crunch or even anything from the appetizing counter. All I’m getting is a 12 pack of Diet Coke, some Cheddar Cheese, salad dressing, and a can of Spam*. In addition, I went Walgreen's and bought some mouthwash, antacid pills, and some hydrogen peroxide. ** All in all, the whole thing fit into one shopping bag and cost me nearly $35.00. I barely had enough with me. So much for your “But it costs less for gas” cop-out. So where is everybody on this?

While most of the Democratic candidates commiserate with seniors on the topic of “Linked Cost of Living” and want to see seniors benefits increased, none of them seems to have a plan for doing this. And, as far as the Republicans are concerned, anything that seniors get in the way of cash is a handout or entitlement or welfare and should be cut back or eliminated. Even the great AARP, while not agreeing with the Republican’s, is not as vocal on the subject as they should be. And some people even think that it’s our fault.

You see, Social Security was never intended to do what it does for such a long time. Simply put, we old folks have the audacity not to just “get up and die already.” We were supposed to only receive benefits for ten or fifteen years after we retired at 65, and then pass peacefully into history and leave all that excess cash to the government. Unfortunately, we refused to just roll over and expire. You see, we are baby boomers, and we want to live forever, or at least as long as we can. To die before we reach 85, 90 or 100 is unthinkable now and science is working to that end. The only problem is that the government refuses to acknowledge or plan for this event. And it’s not like the U.S. Doesn’t have the money. It’s there because we put it there. Remember those W2 forms we would get from our employers at tax time. Remember those boxes that had things like “Social Security Wages Withheld and FICA and all that other stuff. And remember how you bitched when you saw your actual after-tax wages shrink and remember how the government told you that, “Yes, those taxes may be high, but it’s for your old age”, and it made you feel a little better? It appears that the government seems to have forgotten this. They think it’s their money to do what they want with it like spend it on the following... 


$30 million to help Pakistani Mango farmers: This was part of a four-year, $90 million effort to boost hiring and sales among Pakistani businesses funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development.

$765,828 for pancakes: Federal funding went to the Anacostia Economic Development Corp to build an International House of Pancake franchise (and train its workers) in an "underserved community." The underserved community, however, turned out to the a toney area of Washington D.C. - Columbia Heights, which is termed "one of Washington's most desirable neighborhoods."

$120 million in retirement and disability benefits to federal employees who have died: The Inspector General for the U.S. Office of Personnel management found that "the amount of post-death, improper payments is a consistent $100 million - $150 million annually, totaling over $601 million in the last five years."

$652,740 to create an Oklahoma "visitor's center": The scenic highway that runs from Talihina, Oklahoma to Mena, Ark., already has three visitor centers, but this federal grant would create a fourth. The abandoned rock house that the government proposes to turn into a new visitor's center will cost more than 14 times the median value of a home in the area. That would be bad enough, but the Talimena Drive area is in good shape while the rest of eastern Oklahoma's roads could use some serious attention. The area ranks 8th in the nation for its number of "structurally deficient" bridges.

$113,277 for video games: The International Center for the History of Electronic Games got the money to conduct a detailed conservation survey of video games. 

$484,000 for pizza: A private developer was giving federal grant money to build Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, an Arlington, TX., outlet known for its tongue-in-cheek references to drug and hippie culture. 

$100,000 for a celebrity chef show in Indonesia: The Washington State Fruit Commission asked for the grant to help promote their fruit and cooking recipes in "an emerging market." Can you spell "Boondoggle?"

$10 million for the Pakistani Sesame Street: We must really love the Pakistanis. We must have a close and trusting relationship with the country that somehow managed to miss the fact that Osama bin Laden was living within spitting distance of a Pakistani military base for years. Because, after funding the Pakistani Mango growers, the government felt it needed to spend some time and money remaking big bird and the other Sesame Street characters into a show called "SimSim Humara" for the Pakistani market. 

$550,000 for "Rockin' the Kremlin: A documentary on how rock and roll contributed to the end of the cold war. 

$702,558 to bring television to Vietnamese villages: No, it wasn't just for the sitcoms. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University wanted to know how television affects family formation and reproductive health. So where better to study the problem than 14 remote Vietnamese villages, where the government paid to bring the TVs and gas generators, because, of course, these villages also don't have electric power?

And that’s not to mention the amount spent on congressional perks and salary raises and the billions spent on defense.

Now I like mangoes, pancakes, and dead government employees as much as the next guy, but not in lieu of presently living American citizens. The money is there for us and for generations to come. It’s just a matter of our government having a little compassion for their elderly, poor and disabled. We pretend to be a nation based on Judeo-Christian principles. Perhaps we should have a good look at those principles and abide by them

* Sorry, but yes, I love Spam. It’s cheap, tastes great and lasts forever.

** I know what you are thinking. Why don’t you buy the house brand items instead? Well...

1. They didn’t have house brand subs for any of the items I wanted or...

2. The house brand was only available in small sizes, making the national brand cheaper, and...

3. Why shouldn’t I have the choice of buying what I want like every other American?

*** From “MarketWatch”


Here is a better, and briefer, explanation than I 

could ever give of how the Cost of Living Index impacts Social Security benefits.

“While millions of retirees won't see an increase in their Social Security checks next year, it's not a new phenomenon. Seniors have been feeling pinched for decades, and critics have a culprit: the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or the CPI-W.

The issue is how changes to Social Security benefits are calculated, with the system currently tying increases to the CPI-W. That index tracks the cost of buying typical consumer goods and services, such as food and housing. 

But that index is geared for spending by younger consumers and underestimates the type of price inflation experienced by seniors, mainly due to increases in healthcare costs, according to The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan advocacy group. The past five years have brought cost-of-living increases in Social Security benefits of only 1.4 percent annually, which is less than half the 3 percent average from 2000 to 2010, the group said.

As a result, seniors have lost 22 percent of their buying power since 2000, according to a survey from the group. 

The issue for older Americans is that Medicare premiums, which can be a big expense for some retirees, aren't included in the index's calculations. The pain may become even more intense next year, given the combination of flat Social Security benefits and a projected increase in Medicare premiums for the 55 million people on the program.

Some Medicare recipients could see their premiums jump by as much as 50 percent. For Americans who rely on Social Security payments for the bulk of their retirement income, that could prove very painful.” 

Learn more...http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-retirees-are-feeling-pinched-and-its-getting-worse/


Despite the recently installed “No Smoking Signs” dotting the facility, and the admonishments handed out by staff members and the clearly marked official smoking area, there is still a group of recalcitrant residents here at the Asylum who refuse to obey the rules. They have been spotted blatantly disregarding the facility's rules by lighting up directly under the no smoking signs themselves. Which begs the question, “Why do they still keep smoking at all?” After all, with the price of cigarettes skyrocketing because of high taxes and the obvious and well-publicized health concerns, what makes older smokers want to keep smoking at all. The following article further reinforces the reasons why senior smokers should think of quitting........................... Ed.


Cigarette taxes and older adult smoking

The health consequences of tobacco use fall disproportionately on the elderly, some of whom have spent much of their lives smoking. While long-term users cannot avoid the damage caused by many years of smoking, there are substantial benefits to quitting even at an advanced age. A 2000 report published in Age and Ageing suggests that smokers who stop after age 60 regain improved pulmonary and lung function. However, many older smokers are less likely to try quitting than younger ones. At the same time, studies indicate that health professionals are less likely to recommend that older smokers try to quit. Cessation programs do not often target older smokers specifically.

A team of researchers sought to determine whether older adults might change their smoking habits if cigarette prices increased. Their 2015 study published in Health Economics, “Cigarette Taxes and Older Adult Smoking: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study,” relied on data collected through a longitudinal survey of older adults between 1992 and 2008. Researchers Johanna Maclean, Asia Kessler and Donald Kenkel — based at Temple University, the University of Nebraska and Cornell University, respectively — tested whether a $1 tax increase would prompt older adults to smoke fewer cigarettes per day. At the time of the study, the additional $1 represented a 131.6% increase in the cigarette tax.

The study’s key findings include:

• The adults in the study sample had been smoking an average of 42.4 years and smoked an average of 16.9 cigarettes a day.

• Smokers over age 50 cut back slightly in response to the $1 tax increase. They reduced the number of cigarettes smoked per day by 3.8%–5.2%.

• Smokers older than 65 years reduced their daily cigarette usage 2.7%–8.5%.

• The researchers found evidence indicating that women curb their smoking more in response to a tax increase than men. White smokers appeared to be more responsive to tax increases than non-white smokers.

- See more at: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/public-health/higher-cigarette-taxes-older-adults-stop-smoking#sthash.8pW2sY9I.dpuf

Aging parents, caregivers differ on best place to live

By Amanda Keim-Morrison

Close to half of all caregivers said their aging parents would never want to move out of their homes, according to a press release detailing a recent survey from Caring.com.

And yet, the same survey found caregivers are most likely to be satisfied with their loved one living in an assisted living community, not living on their own.

Twenty-four percent of caregivers and older adults caring for themselves surveyed said they or their loved one was in assisted living. Yet for caregivers, assisted living was frequently viewed as the best situation: 50 percent of those caring for someone in assisted living said they were either extremely or very satisfied with their loved one's living situation, versus 23 percent who cared for someone living on their own or who was living with them, according to the survey results.

Thirty-eight percent of caregivers whose loved ones lived on their own said they worried about their loved one's safety, and 48 percent had some kind of paid caregiving help. One-quarter could live at home without any help at all, according to a Caring.com article on the survey....


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Four Unexpected Ways You'll Save by 

Moving into a Senior Living Community

By Jamison Gosselin

As aging adults move into their golden years, having a comfortable and safe home where they can be active, social, healthy, and enjoy life becomes more and more important. And a great deal of these factors depends on where a senior lives. When choosing whether to move into a senior living community or age in place, many choose the latter. 

It should not surprise you that 75 percent of older adults plan to live in their current homes for the rest of their lives, according to the 2015 United States of Aging Survey, a joint project of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the National Council on Aging, and UnitedHealthCare. But is that the smartest move for everyone? 

In fact, tens of thousands of seniors make another choice. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, slightly more than 5 percent of the 65+ population occupies nursing homes, congregate care, assisted living, and independent senior living.

Every day I hear from residents who say, "I wish I would have moved into my community years ago!" What they did not realize during the early years of retirement is what they would save by moving into a senior living community. 

Here are some simple considerations to make when determining where to spend your retirement years. After all, they are supposed to be the most relaxing and fun years of your life, right?

1. Save on home expenses.

Gone are the years of having a mortgage-free retirement. More than 70 percent of homeowners ages 50 to 64 were still paying their mortgages in 2010, according to U.S. News & World Report. That means less of the money you saved over the years is going toward golf and more of it is spent paying off your home. On top of that, you can add in the day-to-day expenses of owning a home. 

Property taxes, utilities, and homeowners insurance can add up to more than $6,000 per year for homeowners, which does not include the laundry list of renovations your home may require as you age, including reducing stairs, widening doorways, and eliminating fall hazards.

When seniors move into senior living communities, these expenses are virtually wiped away. Yes, you will pay for living arrangements, but every other maintenance expense, like lawn care, home maintenance, adding safety rails to bathrooms, and more is taken care of by the retirement community. 

2. Save your nutritional well-being. 

As we age, our nutrition can suffer. Eating well is important for any age group, but health issues can sometimes make it difficult for seniors to maintain a balanced diet. Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15 to 50 percent of the aging population. This is especially true after a senior's spouse has passed away. 

When seniors do not maintain adequate nutrition, it can affect their overall health and have long lasting effects. Retirement communities offer nutritional meals based on a senior's lifestyle. Each meal is carefully planned to meet the unique nutritional needs of the senior population, helping ensure that residents live longer and healthier lives.

I often receive notes from seniors' loved ones about how happy they are to see mom or dad eating well and enjoying their meals! 


Carl Jung And The Art Of Aging Well

By Kathy Gottberg

The late afternoon has always been my favorite time of day. So when I recently found a certain quote by Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of Analytical Psychology, it grabbed my attention. He said, "The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different...." Intrigued I continued to read how Jung believed that the approximate time between ages 56 and 83 offer each of us the opportunity to make the process of aging a positive and life-enhancing experience. Regardless of whether we find ourselves only approaching that "afternoon" of life, or deep within it, the SMART perspective is to learn and stay conscious about what we can do to live an ongoing life of quality and purpose.

Dr. Carl Jung was known for seeing the mystical, metaphorical, archetypical and cyclical aspects of life and then teaching, writing and using them in practical and relevant ways for a meaningful experience. So it's no accident that as he aged he explored what that meant from those various viewpoints. Another quote that sums up his introspection states, "A human being would certainly not grow to be 70 or 80 years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species to which he belongs. The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life's morning." For Jung, the aging process was not one of inescapable decline of body, mind and relevancy, but instead a time of progressive refinement of what is essential....


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Age is such a funny thing, and I don’t mean funny ha ha! I mean funny, when the heck did I become the oldest person in the room?

There are clear signs of aging along the way and I can do a “Jeff Foxworthy” rendition and point a few out such as:

You may be getting old…… if you keep your medications in a long pill boxed marked with the seven days of the week.

You may be getting old if……. the giddy anticipation of who will be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine has been replaced with a less energetic expectation of who will be on the cover of AARP Magazine. 

You may be old if…… you glance down, jump and scream because without your granny glasses, the thread on the floor looks like a spider.  hour, you pass the same thread on the floor and you jump out of your skin again because you forgot it was just a thread.

I’m confronted daily with many reminders of my age and together with age recognition I may have an opposite brain flash every now and then as I wonder if I’ve lived too long.

A recent example of that notion came to me when I witnessed an advertisement for a (2012) movie entitled “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” 


Perhaps I have I lived too long.

Most recently, my age was brought home to me when I was watching a 60’s Pop-Rock Reunion special on PBS. ....


Natural Metabolite Might Reset Aging Biological Clocks

Weizmann Institute researchers show that our daily rhythms are

 governed by a substance that declines with age

As we age, our biological clocks tend to wind down.  A Weizmann Institute research team has now revealed an intriguing new link between a group of metabolites whose levels drop as our cells age and the functioning of our circadian clocks – mechanisms encoded in our genes that keep time to cycles of day and night.  Their results, which appeared in Cell Metabolism, suggest that the substance, which is found in many foods, could possibly help keep our internal timekeepers up to speed.

Dr. Gad Asher’s lab in the Weizmann Institute’s Biological Chemistry Department investigates circadian clocks, trying to understand how these natural timekeepers help regulate, and are affected by, everything from nutrition to metabolism. In the present study, he and his research student Ziv Zwighaft were following clues that certain metabolites called polyamines could be tied to the functioning of circadian clocks. We get polyamines from food, but our cells manufacture them as well. These substances are known to regulate a number of essential processes in the cell, including growth and proliferation. And the levels of polyamines have been found to naturally drop as we age.

Working with mice and cultured cells, they found that, indeed, enzymes that are needed to manufacture polyamines undergo cycles that are tied to both feeding and circadian rhythms of day and night. In mice engineered to lack a functional circadian clock, these fluctuations did not occur....


Retirement Might Not Agree With Your Health

Report found seniors who stayed in

 the workforce were better off physically

By Steven Reinberg

Seniors who keep working appear healthier than those who quit the workforce, new research suggests.

The study of more than 83,000 Americans 65 and older found that being unemployed or retired was associated with the greatest risk of poor health, even after taking into account predictors such as smoking and obesity.

"We know that remaining in the labor force is good for us," said Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health and a spokesman for the American Federation for Aging Research.

Olshansky, who had no part in the study, added, "Not working can lead to overall poorer health."

However, Olshansky said, the study doesn't prove that working keeps you healthy.

"You can't say that because you retired [it] caused you to lose your health, or the fact that you continued to work caused you to stay healthy," he said. "Of course, people who are unhealthy tend to quit working."

But if you can work, you should keep on working, Olshansky said. "Your chances of remaining healthy longer are better if you continue working," he added.

The report was published in the September issue of Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the study, led by Diana Kachan from the University of Miami, researchers used government survey data on more than 83,000 adults aged 65 or older from 1997 through 2011.

According to the study, workers in the most physically demanding jobs had the lowest risk of bad health. Service workers, for example, had the lowest risk of suffering from conditions that limited their functioning. Blue collar workers had the lowest risk of having chronic conditions and limits to functioning, the researchers found.

The better health among blue-collar workers may be because of the amount of physical activity these workers do, compared with the sedentary work of white collar jobs, the study authors suggested.

Olshansky said that "The only way these workers can stay in the labor force is to have better health."


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Where Will 78 Million Boomers Retire? Facing the Challenge of Aging in Place 

By Eric Pianin 


With roughly 78 million baby boomers at or near retirement and average life expectancies climbing, many independent-minded seniors are resisting the pressure to move to often costly retirement communities or assisted living facilities and are instead making plans to stay at home.

“Aging in place” is the new mantra for many older Americans and there has been a surge in community-based programs and activities to help them remain in their homes. Indeed, the rate of homeownership among people 65 and older is a remarkable 78.5 percent, compared with a homeownership rate of 63.5 percent among the general population. And that isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

The challenge for many to both stay relatively healthy and hang onto their homes is formidable. An estimated 80 percent of seniors in the U.S have chronic health conditions that potentially could force them into nursing homes or assisted living without adequate health care support. And while 87 percent of seniors said in an AARP survey that their fondest desire is to remain in their homes and communities, depleted incomes and savings are making that harder and harder for many Americans.

So what to do?

A new report by a task force of the Bipartisan Policy Center released on Thursday is calling for a “more strategic approach” to linking health care and housing policies to help millions of seniors realize their desire to stay put in their homes as long as possible.

The report is highly critical of federal, state and local health care and housing officials operating in isolation from each other and calls for a more collaborative effort.

“By more tightly linking health care and housing policy, the U.S. has the potential to improve the health outcomes for seniors, reduce the costs incurred by the health care system, enable millions of seniors to 'age in place' in their own homes, and improve their quality of life,”   Vin Weber, a former Republican House member from Minnesota and co-chair of BPC’s Health and Housing Task Force, said in a statement. “Making these connections is critical as federal government spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs is projected to grow much faster than the overall economy over the next 25 years.”...



See all “At The ALF” cartoons here...



Why You Should Avoid Wearing Heavy Earrings

This gives a whole new meaning to "Do your ears hang low?"

By Dana Oliver

According to Edward Miranda, a board-certified plastic surgeon, there are three major risks tied to wearing heavy earrings:

1.Mild and self-limited infection can occur, generally shortly after initial piercing.

2.Since earrings worn at the earlobe add weight across a thin strip of skin, wear and tear from gravity will stretch the earlobe piercing from a round hole to an oval. The earlobe elongates and thins from the weight and ultimately can 

rupture and split.

3.Large, hoop and dangling earrings can get caught on objects or tugged by children and pets, and can cause the earring to be ripped off the ear producing a laceration and earlobe rupture.

Back in 2011, saggy earlobes gained attention among surgeons focused on anti-aging. Women flocked to their offices for a "lobe lift" in an attempt to reverse signs of elongated or sagging lobes. The procedure includes two options: one is for an earlobe where the piercing has become elongated, and the second is for earlobes that have simply become thinner and longer with age.

"If the piercing is part of the problem, the surgeon can reduce or eliminate the piercing and use the available skin to lift and plump up the earlobe with minimal scarring," said Miranda. "Stitches are generally in place for five to seven days and stud earrings can be worn after healing. However, if the piercing is not part of the problem, and elongation of the lobe itself is the issue, a small incision can be made behind the ear and the earlobe can be lifted. Earrings can be worn after healing is completed." He added that costs for both procedures are in the $1,500 to $3,000 range.....


ObamaCare, Aging Patients 

Spur Hospitals To Outsource



With hospitals amid a takeover frenzy, many are cutting costs by outsourcing duties such as information technology, billing, laundry, food service and lab work.

Employers are faced with increasing health care expenses and are pushing more of them onto their workers. Accordingly, there is a greater need for health care providers to cut costs while expanding service and maintaining high levels of care.

ObamaCare is piling on the pressure too.

Under the 2010 law, hospitals are getting more paying patients overall. But many are low-rate Medicaid patients.

And hospitals will see their Medicare payments cut if patients with certain health conditions — heart failure or a total knee replacement, for example — are readmitted within 30 days.

Facing these factors, hospitals and other health care providers — large and small — are addressing inefficiencies.

"The amount of money available is not expanding significantly, but the cost curves continue to rise," said Robert Roller, vice president of health care strategy at Sodexo, which provides technical service to hospitals and health care providers.

As a result, hospitals are re-examining their expenses and are looking to cut back on non core costs. For example, Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC) last year signed a national contract with Sodexo to outsource housekeeping — such as cleaning operating rooms....


The secret to aging is in the title of Dick Van Dyke’s memoir ‘Keep Moving’

By Jen Chaney

When someone mentions Dick Van Dyke, the first image that pops to mind is probably the actor in motion: pratfalling across the living room he shared with Mary Tyler Moore on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” or shuffling like a penguin in a candy cane-striped blazer in “Mary Poppins.” One of his greatest gifts as a performer has always been his ability to stretch his lanky body in ways that look graceful and funny.

In his new book, “Keep Moving,” Van Dyke says that gift — specifically, his ability to dance — has kept him young and still vigorous at nearly 90. (He’ll celebrate that milestone birthday in December.)

“If I am out shopping and hear music playing in a store, I start to dance,” he writes. “If I want to sing, I sing. I read books and get excited about new ideas. I enjoy myself. I don’t think about the way I am supposed to act at my age — or at any age.” 

“Keep Moving” — a follow-up of sorts to his 2011 autobiography, “My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business” — is filled with similar advice about how to think and feel young well into one’s senior years: Be curious. Travel. Eat light, but also treat yourself to dessert at the end of every day. None of it is earth-shattering, and at times, Van Dyke, who collaborates here with celebrity-scribe Todd Gold, repeats ideas using only slightly different words. But there’s something so amiable and incurably optimistic about Van Dyke’s attitude that one can’t help but be inspired by portions of this memoir-meets-self-help hybrid....



UI research links moderate alcohol use with healthy aging

New DNA assessment tool could be at UIHC in a year

Although they linked all levels of smoke exposure to significantly premature aging, moderate alcohol use — about one to two drinks a day — correlated with the healthiest aging. The findings showed high alcohol consumption and very low alcohol use accelerate aging.

Among the reasons researchers believe moderate alcohol use can be good are associated “protective behaviors,” like socialization and stress reduction.

The new DNA testing techniques could be used for other lifestyle factors, like healthy eating — although Dogan said that’s not something the UI lab is looking into right now. She said the UI research does, however, extend beyond gauging past smoking and drinking and has practical proactive uses.

For example, it could allow doctors to objectively identify patients at risk of future heavy alcohol use or smoking when they are young, helping them “prevent future problems, improve the quality of life, and reduce later medical costs.”

More stories from Vanessa Miller...

More .....http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/education/higher-education/


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A bottle of water before each meal could help in weight reduction, researchers say

Researchers from the University of Birmingham have shown that drinking 500ml of water at half an hour before eating main meals may help obese adults to lose weight. They believe that the simple intervention could be hugely beneficial, and be easily promoted by healthcare professionals and through public health campaigns. 

Obese adult participants were recruited from general practices and monitored over a 12 week period.

Each of the participants, all adults with obesity, were given a weight management consultation, where they were advised on how to adapt their lifestyle and improve their diet and levels of physical activity. 41 of those recruited were asked to preload with water, and 43 were advised to imagine that they had a full stomach before eating.

Those in the group who were instructed to 'preload' with water lost, on average, 1.3kg (2.87lbs) more than those in the control group.

Those who reported preloading before all three main meals in the day reported a loss of 4.3kg (9.48lbs) over the 12 weeks, whereas those who only preloaded once, or not at all, only lost an average of 0.8kg (1.76lbs).

Dr Helen Parretti, NIHR Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham, explained, "The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity. Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight."

"When combined with brief instructions on how to increase your amount of physical activity and on a healthy diet, this seems to help people to achieve some extra weight loss - at a moderate and healthy rate. It's something that doesn't take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives."

Participants were encouraged to drink tap water. Sparkling water, sodas or sweetened drinks were not allowed as part of the study.


Aging Workers, New Technology

The number of workers over 65 is growing fast. Technologists see a big business in helping the aging workforce. 

By George Anders 

As recently as 1992, less than 3 percent of the American workforce consisted of people age 65 and over. Today that proportion has nearly doubled, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it’s expected to reach 8.3 percent by 2022. Most of these 13.5 million older workers will be between 65 and 74, but nearly 2.6 million will be 75 and over.

One reason for this demographic shift is improved longevity. American men who reach 65 can expect to live another 17.9 years on average, the National Center for Health Statistics calculates while women can count on 20.5 years. Both figures are up more than a third from the norms of the 1950s. With so much life still ahead, high-status workers may not want to be idle, while low-paid workers often find that meager savings won’t let them quit. At the same time, thanks to the service sector’s steady ascendancy over manufacturing, many jobs require less physical stamina.

While it’s easier to wield a stapler than a rivet gun at age 70, some aspects of office life can still vex people beyond a certain age. “Many products are designed with younger users in mind,” says Sara Czaja, scientific director of the Center on Aging at the University of Miami. “Designers don’t always think about older people.”

Consider smartphones’ tiny screens. Office workers who frequently text or check their news feeds and e-mail may switch between near and far vision 100 or more times a day, say researchers at Germany’s Carl Zeiss Vision, a leading manufacturer of eyeglass lenses. That’s a particular strain for older workers with a diminished ability to focus on nearby objects, a condition that typically begins between ages 40 and 50 and then gets steadily worse.

To minimize digital eyestrain, Zeiss shifts the reading area in its progressive lenses higher and closer to the eyes, taking into account the position in which people hold their smartphones.

Older workers also often need more back support, Anderson says, which creates problems if sustained use of laptops or tablets tempts people to lean forward at their desks. One Herman Miller solution: a desk with a sliding surface that can be drawn nearer to the user, making it possible to sit upright and rest against a chair back while using a mobile device at close range.

For older workers who stand—rather than sit—on the job, specialized floor pads better balance the load on ankles, knees, and hips. These “anti-fatigue mats” have been common since the 1980s, but inventors keep refining the concept. One version, with arrays of hollow rubber cylinders fused in place under the mat’s surface to provide a mild springiness, was patented in 2009. Hospitals are major buyers. The average age of U.S. nurses climbed to 50 in 2013, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, up from about 47 in 2004.....


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Israel’s High Tech Aims to Help the Elderly

By Robert Swift 

Applications raise questions for society as a whole

“We are taking the latest technologies and making it relevant for the senior citizens...”

More and more elderly people worldwide are joining the technology revolution, and technology is coming to meet them halfway. In Israel, one of the world’s high-tech capitals, companies are racing to develop new applications and products for the senior citizens set.

“The population is getting older and this creates a lot of challenges as people are living alone and not being involved in society as much as younger people,” Eran Gal, CEO of Xorcom a company developing a home monitoring solution, told The Media Line. Called Amity, the software is capable of monitoring both location and behavior patterns to ensure that an older person has not fallen or wandered away from their home in cases of dementia. The idea is to give elderly more independence while keeping them safe.

A second startup, E2C has developed a simplified operating system that works with off-the-shelf hardware to create a smartphone that is more user friendly for older customers. The program responds to longer presses on the touch screen (to prevent accidental calls), always uses a full screen keyboard, and collects pictures and messages from different programs into one easy-to-find location. The program is aimed at reconnecting elderly people to friends and family and allowing a smartphone to be an aid rather than an obstacle. Currently, only around 20% of seniors in the US are using smartphones, E2C’s co-founder Amir Alon, told The Media Line, and he hopes his application could increase that number.

“We are taking the latest technologies and making it relevant for the senior citizens, and we can change the life of the senior,” Alon said. “Our flagship product is our smartphone for seniors. We take off the shelf hardware, and we make our own kind of Android for seniors.”...


Retirees Are Feeling the 

Financial Burden of Rent

By Robert McGarvey 

The report out of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies is a gusher of bad news about apartment rentals, and the worst news is about the grim future that awaits senior citizens living on fixed incomes. Entitled “Projecting Trends in Severely Cost-Burdened Renters: 2015–2025,” the study projects that rents will keep climbing - faster than inflation - and the pains that will cause seniors on fixed incomes are obvious and sharp. 

 The study focused especially on renters who are “severely burdened” by rents -- amounting to one in four renters in 2013 who paid over half their income for a place to live. “Roughly twice” as many renters now are “cost burdened” compared to 1960, said Harvard. But the numbers just may be about to go up. 

The report grimly predicted: “As the population of older people grows, so will the number of rent-burdened older households.” 

Why so bleak? Supply-demand equations are in play. Said Harvard: “Vacancy rates have fallen to their lowest level in two decades, and rents have soared.” A reason is that there just is not much construction of affordable housing. The other reason: “Over the last decade, the share of renter households in the United States has increased significantly as homeownership rates have fallen from a high of 69.2% in the second quarter of 2004 to 63.4% in the second quarter of 2015, the lowest level since 1967," said the Harvard report. "We are now seeing more renters than at any other time in U.S. history.” 

As rents have gone up, Social Security has stagnated. Do the math. The average Social Security benefit now is $1,328. For a couple, it is $2,176. For a single paying half of his/her income that caps rent at $664. For a couple, $1,088. Not that much is available in many cities at either level. 

Worse: seniors have been flocking to rentals. ...



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The Average American Household’s Income by Age: 

Where Do You Stand?

Brian Stoffel

Housing is enormously important in the country's economy.

The Census Bureau just came out with its most-recent report on income in America, and it supports this broad generalization. Last week, we investigated the different levels of income in America and helped you figure out where you fell when compared to all other households.This week, we'll focus on earnings over time.

A clear and present danger to your retirement

Between the mid-fifties and retirement age, household income plummets by almost 50%. Obviously, that's primarily the result of senior citizens exiting the workforce, and relying on a combination of retirement savings, Social Security, and a pension to fund their lifestyles.

A general rule of thumb states that if you can replace 80% of your pre-retirement income after leaving work, you'll be able to continue living the same lifestyle. I think this rule of thumb ignores those who find their own level of "enough" while saving and investing large sums of money. But admittedly, the vast majority of Americans spend the bulk of what they earn and don't save enough for retirement.

If the typical American household is earning about $60,580 before retirement, it should hope to have about $48,500 in income -- from Social Security, pensions, retirement savings, and any other income streams -- post-retirement.

Clearly, that's not the case. The typical American family is falling well short of this standard -- by about 25%, or $12,000 per year. That means that, when retirement hits, senior citizens have to make drastic changes to their lifestyles in order to make ends meet.

That leaves Americans with two options

If you're looking at these numbers and starting to realize the trouble on the horizon, you have two options moving forward....


“Italian” themed dinner misses the mark

As mandated by our Commander in Chief (aka Facility Administer), we were presented with what is the first of International Cuisine Night dinners last week. And, as usual, it fell far short of its target.

Dubbed, “Italian Dinner Night”, this rehash of the same old same old, left a bad taste in the mouths of many residents, mine included. While so much could have been done with Italian food, the Chef decided to do what was, if not easier, at least familiar. Aside from the tacky Italianesque decorations, there was a complete lack of imagination. Even the one item that we have never had before was done wrong.

Chicken Schiaparelli can be made in a variety of ways, but the ingredients that most of the recipes have in common are chicken, peppers, onions and sausage. There was none of any of that in the chicken we were served. Instead, we got the usual under-cooked chicken legs covered with some nondescript sauce. And the rest of the meal was not much better. There was a spaghetti and meatball appetizer of all things and a soggy salad. All of which we have had before on non-theme days. What a waste. Here is what should have been served.

An antipasto salad appetizer consisting of pepperoni, tomatoes, roasted peppers etc.

Real garlic bread.

The main course could have consisted of Veal Milanese or veal scallopini with a side of linguine with garlic and butter sauce.

For dessert, some tiramisu or tutti-frutti ice cream with  espresso coffee.

Next month we will be treated to “Greek Night”. Let's hope there is some mussaka, stuffed grape leaves and feta cheese in there somewhere.

Our picks for the coolest senior citizens

Enough of those “40 under 40” or “20 under 20” lists Today is Senior Citizen’s Day, and we’re all about respecting our elders. Here’s our list of our favorite seniors who would never tell us to get off their lawn. (We don’t mind if they start a story or two with “Back in my day,” though.) Scroll through the gallery of photos to find out more.


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16 senior citizens who are having the time of their lives

By Jack Sommer and Sarah Jacobs

People are living longer than ever before.

A recent study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that global life expectancy for both men and women increased from 65.3 years in 1990 to 71.5 years in 2013.

Senior citizens with big personalities — for example, 87-year-old grandma Baddie Winkle, who's earned more than 1.6 million followers for her hilarious posts on Instagram — are slowly changing the stereotypes surrounding those over 60.

The United Nations has even designated a day in October to honor the older people who have made contributions to our world. Dubbed the "International Day of Older Persons," October 1 is a day when we "recognize that older persons are an enormous asset to society and make a significant contribution to global development," UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon writes.

The following senior citizens are definitely still living life to the fullest — following the famous quote attributed to Mark Twain: "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."




Contact and Comments

How did I wind up here?

The indignant truth about assisted living

My friends and I here at the ALF were reminiscing about the good old days, which for us meant the days before we came here. For many of us those “good old days” may have been 4 years ago or just last month. That is how quickly things can change for a person. One day you are a viable member of the community. You are contributing to the tax base. You are out there buying stuff at stores with money you earned from a job you went to. At work, you are respected for your knowledge and your guile. You were even respected at the supermarket. 

When people saw you at the checkout counter they would line up behind you because they knew you would be quick to take your stuff out of your cart, quick to pay and quick to pack. And out in the parking lot, you could always find space because you didn’t mind walking two blocks to the store. Your apartment was only a place you slept at. You weren’t there very much. Your friends would always want to hang out with you. You could go to a bar and drink more than one beer and eat three slices of pepperoni pizza without worrying about cholesterol or carbs or conflict with medications you are taking. But that was then and this is now. What happened? Where did it all go to? Why am I here eating second-rate food, at a second rate facility surrounded by people who are just like me. Was it something I did wrong? Why am I being punished?

The truth is, you did do something wrong. You got sick and old. Maybe it wasn’t your fault, but it happened anyway. One day you are walking around doing your thing and next you are in the back of an ambulance with a pain you didn’t think was possible and still be alive. But it’s OK, you tell yourself. They’ll find out what’s wrong with you. Dr. House will come in and diagnose you. They’ll give you some pills and you’ll be on your way home in a couple of hours. And as far as the bill is concerned, why that’s what I have all that expensive health insurance for. Wasn’t it? Unfortunately, for many Americans it doesn’t work that way. 

You quickly find out that some illnesses cannot be fixed with pills. Sometimes they don’t even know what’s wrong with you. That overnight stay turns into a week or a month. And all that expensive health insurance doesn’t cover s%&t. If you survive, you can’t go home because all that time in the hospital has left you too weak to walk. You are in a wheelchair on your way to a nursing home where the nightmare has just begun. And it all occurred in the flash of an eye. So what happened? I can only speak for myself, but I’ll bet that many of my fellow inmates here at the ALF have similar stories. 

Let’s talk money. It’s not the root of all evil. It’s good to have money. You get respect when you have money. You can buy freedom with money. You would not be here if you had money. So, where did it go? 

It went to a system that makes it so expensive to get sick that even the best health insurance in the world doesn’t pay for it all. It goes to the doctors that did procedures for you that you thought were covered by that expensive insurance but weren’t. It went to the nursing home ($13,000 a month thank you) that you were not covered for. It went to paying off debts that have accumulated while you were sick. Your car was towed away by the sanitation department and they send you a bill for storage that is twice the amount of what the car is worth. You lose your car. But that’s OK. You are too disabled to drive it and besides, it cost money to own a car. The money you no longer have. Do you recognize a trend here? Does this story sound familiar? Let us continue.

You haven’t spoken to any of your friends in months. They think you’re dead. But you might as well be. They won’t come to visit because they are caught up in their own lives with their own problems. Your relatives, while sympathetic and concerned, live too far away to be of any help. The apartment you once had is gone too. They had to evict you because you couldn’t pay the 11 months back rent. They sell your stuff to cover the balance. You are, in all sense of the word, homeless. You start to have thoughts about what kind of refrigerator box you would like to live in and what subway grating would be the warmest in the winter. I chose Maytag and East 59th Street. And then, mercifully, you wake up one day and realize that somehow you are 65 years old. I say “mercifully” because at 65 a whole new set of rules kicks in. You are now eligible for Medicare. And, since you have no money, you are also eligible for Medicaid and a bunch of benefits provided by Social Security. A nice social worker at the nursing home tells you about a place, not exactly a nursing home, that will take you in. You immediately think “THE POOR HOUSE”. Visions of long ward rooms with cots and people walking around in baggy pants eating gruel out of a tin cup swirl around in your head as if you were caught in some Dickensian nightmare. You remember a line from Oliver Twist, “Can I have some more gruel please sir?” You shudder at the thought of being “institutionalized.”

“No, it’s nothing like that”, the nice social worker lady explains. “It’s just a senior residence, you know, a retirement community.”

A retirement community. I know what that is. I’ve seen the ads on TV. You know the one. Lots of happy active old folks swimming, golfing, playing tennis. They all have those cute, neat little apartments and have dinner in a luxurious dining room with other happy, jovial old folks that look like they just stepped out of a Sears catalog. Is that a lobster on that old dudes plate?

“When do I leave?”, I said.

Two weeks later you are moving into your new home. It’s not a bad looking places. It sort of reminds you of the countless cheap motels you stayed at when you went on business trips or vacations with your buddies. You walk in the door, leaning on a Rollator because they determined that any more physical therapy would be a waste. There are other folks in the lobby that look just like you. You go to your room and try to settle in. 

The room they put you in is not bad although the bed is not what you have been used to. It’s lower than your nursing home hospital-type bed. The back doesn’t adjust and it’s a little narrower. You notice that there is another bed in your room just like yours. Does someone else live here? You’re damn right somebody else lives here. He’s called your “roommate”. And, depending on his mental state, might turn out to be your best friend or your worst nightmare. But you are too tired to worry about it tonight. You try to get some sleep, to no avail.

The bed is too low and the mattress too hard. Your back begins to ache. An hour later you have to get up and pee, but for some reason your legs don’t work. Then in comes your roomie. He sees you in the other bed but doesn’t say hello. Instead, he farts and scratches his crotch and gets undressed. He turns on his TV. Because he is hard of hearing and refuses to wear his hearing aid, he has to turn the volume up to 52. You try to pull the covers over your head to block out the sound, but the thing blanket doesn't do much. 

The next day, after a fitful night in abject pain, you decide to do a little exploring. It’s August and it’s warm outside. The sunlight feels good against your skin. The nursing home from which you came had a small, dark backyard with little sunlight. “This is nice”, you think to yourself. You walk...er...roll a bit further. There are benches to sit on and railings to hold on to but where are the tennis courts, the swimming pool, the jovial happy old folks enjoying the best years of their lives? I’m evidently in the wrong place. This isn’t anything like on TV. Nobody is outside. They are all huddled together in the lobby because it’s too f&^%#*g hot for old people to sit outside. Never mind, it’s dinner time.

Even though it’s only 5 pm, the residents are lined up for dinner. 

“Wow, the food must be good”, you think. “They line up so early for dinner”. Of course, you don’t realize that dinner is served at 5:30. 

“I just ate lunch”, you mutter.

Fifteen minutes later you enter the dining room. A server directs to an empty seat at one of the tables. The table is set with genuine ceramic dinnerware and real utensils, unlike the nursing home which only used plastic knives and forks and paper plates. Things are looking up. Then the rest of your tablemates show up.

They don’t acknowledge your presence. To them, you are the German army and they are Poland. You assert yourself. 

“High, I’m B----” you say. 

“Mumble, mumble, grunt, mumble”, say the other diners. 

You realize later that they are not being discourteous. They are merely sizing you up. The last person who sat in that seat was a well-respected man in his 80’s. He died last week and you are an intruder. They wonder if you will be a fun tablemate or one of those sullen, humorless, nose picking, phlegm emitting people they have seen at other tables. Only time will tell. You look at the printed menu. Tonight’s dinner features broiled chicken with rice and broccoli. Sounds good. Unfortunately, what comes out of the kitchen is not what you had in mind. 

Instead of a half (or even a quarter) of a chicken, all you get on your plate is a single chicken leg surrounded by a mountain of white rich and some over-boiled broccoli florets. You look around at you fellow diners. By their sour expressions, they are as disappointed with the food as you are. You dig in any way. 

Your disappointment is reinforced by the rubbery texture and lack of seasoning of the chicken. The rice too is unflavored and cold. You pick at the meal. What happened to the lobster I saw in that ad? For that matter, what happened to all those happy, jovial diners. Was that commercial merely a myth? A product of some 20 something Madison Avenue whiz kid whose only goal was to entice gullible seniors into thinking they are going to old folks Disneyland? Not really.

Yes, there are actually places like that one you saw on TV. They really do have tennis courts, swimming pools, luxurious lounges, even bars and soda fountains. Gourmet meals are served to happy, healthy seniors. But that’s for the other old folks. The one’s with money. For you, you poor misguided schnook, you’re lucky to have a roof over your head and a Bingo game once a week. You see, you are now a ward of the state. Not unlike an inmate serving a stretch in Dannemora. You are here because you are poor, old and infirm. Your stay here is being subsidized by various state, federal and local funding in an effort to keep more people out of very, very expensive nursing homes. And, in order to accomplish this, they have had to cut back on some of what the assisted living industry likes to call “amenities.” Most of which you will never see here. You are in the bargain basement, the Filene's if you will, of assisted living facilities. It’s like comparing a Motel 6 to a Hilton. You have landed in the land of Mediocrity and there is no escape. 

Now, I don’t want to leave you in a state of melancholy and hopelessness. It’s actually O.K. here. It’s just not what you probably had in mind as the place to spend your golden years. Eventually, you will, unfortunately, get used to the food. Your roommate may finally talk to you. My advice to you is to “go with the flow”. Try to fit in. Don’t play the part of “miserable old bastard”. Find and avocation to keep you busy so you won’t feel like blowing your brains out. And, if that doesn’t work, there’s always TV. Oh, and one other thing “Welcome to assisted living.”


A better floor

Sometimes less is more

After numerous cleanings and at least two replacements, it appears that the Center has finally come to its senses and removed the carpeting in the elevators altogether. 

Under normal circumstance, it would be nice to have carpeting in the elevators, but not here. Unfortunately, we seem to have an incontinence problem with one or more of our residents who prefer to use the enclosed space of an elevator for a rest room. Whether by accident or maliciousness, soggy, urine soaked carpeting was felt (as well as smelled) underfoot by a number of residents and staff last week. Instead of cleaning the carpet again, the Center simply removed the carpeting completely leaving only the original flooring which is a rather tacky imitation wood finish. Hopefully, they will not consider replacing the carpeting and just leave the floor as is. The most unpleasant thing is to be stuck in a slow moving elevator with the thick scent of urine (or worse) filling the air.

* * *

A Place in the Sun

As the days dwindle down to a precious few, the shadows grow longer and finding a place to sit and take in the fading rays of sunlight before the cold winter sets in becomes more difficult. Fortunately, these benches remain in sunlight for most of the day.

Design Trends that will Dominate the Future of Senior Living

by Stephanie Aanenson


It’s more important than ever for communities to be on the cutting edge of design. Gain insight from award-winning experts on the latest trends in architecture and design in this Q&A series leading up to the 2015 Senior Housing News Design & Architecture Awards exclusively sponsored by Kwalu. 

In the next five years, we fully expect to see the following trends really take hold and dominate in regard to senior housing design and architecture:

1.An influx of short-term rehabilitation environments.

2.The replacement of skilled nursing care with assisted living.

3.An increase of “Aging in Place” models

4.A strong movement toward the renovation of facilities versus new design and construction.

What design elements are today’s communities lacking that they need to have? 

Through our constant interactions with senior living providers and in reviewing current senior housing communities, we’ve identified a few design areas that seemed to be lacking on a consistent basis. Those areas are:

1.Elements of hospitality, which include having a variety of dining options and models, social spaces, and a wellness/fitness/recreational component

2.Connections to the outdoors

3.The ability and flexibility to quickly adapt (both systems and operations) to the continual evolution in technology

What are the top three changes you have seen in senior housing design and architecture in the last year?

From our perspective, there have been a number of changes in the past year in senior housing design and architecture. Our top three would be:

1.More of a focus on aging in place.

2.An emphasis on short-term rehabilitation.

3.A demand for higher-quality environments.


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Specialized services can help seniors relocate

By Jim Miller

DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: I need to find help with selling my elderly mother's house, where she's lived for almost 50 years, and relocating her to an apartment or condo closer to where I live. Can you recommend any businesses or services that specialize in helping seniors relocate?

— Overwhelmed Daughter

DEAR OVERWHELMED: The process of selling a house and moving to a new home, or downsizing to a condo, apartment or senior housing facility, is a big job for anyone. But it can be especially overwhelming for seniors who are moving from a residence filled with decade's worth of stuff and a lifetime of memories. Fortunately, there are several specialized services available today that can help make your mom's move a lot easier...


Common eye problems and diseases in aging adults

There are all kinds of changes that occur as the years pass, some we need to monitor more than others. Besides greying hair and wrinkling skin, there are many health worries tied to aging; one of the most important areas for concern is your eyesight.

Eye problems and diseases in aging adults generally occur after the age of 50. If caught early, vision problems in older adults do not have to affect your life and you can continue to see all the world has to offer! As long as you know the warning signs of age-related eye problems, you can prevent damage from stealing your vision.?If you??e over the age of 50 and are concerned about maintaining your eye health, here are eight of the most common eyes problems and diseases. The more you know and understand about them, the more preventative measures you can take to keep your vision strong and clear.

Age-related eye problems

Presbyopia: If small print and close-up text is starting to become blurry, you may have presbyopia. A common eye problem after 50, presbyopia is the inability to focus close-up. With aging, the elasticity of the eye?? lens becomes weaker. When this occurs it becomes more difficult for the lens to focus on close-up objects. Presbyopia has been deemed a normal part of aging and no one is excluded from developing it. So, if you??e now holding your morning paper further away, get yourself checked.

Presbyopia can often be treated with corrective lenses, so don?? worry ??you won?? require intense surgery or medications. Without corrective lenses, though, those with presbyopia may experience headaches, eye strain and a decrease in focus.

An ophthalmologist can diagnose presbyopia through a regular eye exam, unfortunately, there are no known prevention methods in the case of presbyopia. Corrective lenses are an effective means to maintain proper focus, so you don?? have to sacrifice doing the things you love.

Glaucoma: Glaucoma, over time and untreated, may lead to vision loss and blindness ??early detection is necessary to keep your eyes healthy. Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve when the fluid which passes through the eye moves too slowly and eventually builds up. This, in turn, leads to an increase in pressure, which leads to optic nerve damage. A person can have an influx in eye pressure but not necessarily have glaucoma; it is only when the optic nerve becomes damaged that glaucoma occurs.

Although glaucoma caused by an increase in eye pressure is the most common form, there are also low-tension and normal-tension glaucoma which can occur without the eye pressure. However, these two are less common.

As an age-related eye problem, glaucoma usually affects those over 50, so your age definitely puts you at risk. Furthermore, if you have a family history of glaucoma you should be more inclined to get your eyes checked regularly.

Treatment of glaucoma can range from medications to surgery, all depending on when it is diagnosed.

Cataracts: Another common eye problem after 50 is cataracts, which is the clouding of the eye. This can very much impair vision and although it can occur in both eyes, it does not spread from one eye to the other.

In a healthy eye, light passes through the lens to the retina. When it reaches the retina, it is changed into nerve signals, which are sent to the brain. In an eye with cataracts, the light cannot reach the retina because it is not clear. So when the nerve signal is sent to the brain, it appears blurry or cloudy.....



Eye Drops Promise Nonsurgical Treatment for Cataracts

Eyes clouded by cataracts may one day be treated with drops rather than surgery, a new animal study suggests.

Today, surgery is the only means of treating cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the world. Doctors extract cloudy lenses and replace them with artificial lenses.

But researchers have discovered that an organic compound called lanosterol can improve vision by dissolving the clumped proteins that form cataracts, said study lead author Dr. Kang Zhang, chief of ophthalmic genetics with the Shiley Eye Institute at the University of California, San Diego.

Eye drops containing lanosterol completely cleared the vision of three dogs with naturally occurring cataracts after six weeks of treatment. The drops improved vision for four other cataract-afflicted dogs, according to findings published July 22 in the journal Nature.

"The results we have point to a new nonsurgical treatment of cataracts that can be used for people who might have moderate cataracts or do not have access to surgery," Zhang said.

These findings "point to a new direction in cataract research," at a time when there's huge pressure to come up with a better way of treating cataracts, said Dr. J. Fielding Hejtmancik, a senior investigator at the U.S. National Eye Institute (NEI).

The aging of the baby boom population is expected to fuel a huge increase in cataracts since most occur as part of the aging process, Hejtmancik said.....



See all “At The ALF” cartoons here...



Normal Aspects of Aging and Cognitive Decline

Mild cognitive impairment' characterizes 

a person who has memory complaints 

but still functions independently. 

By Jessica Leigh Zwerling, M.D.  

Mrs. N is a 72-year-old woman active in the community who notes it's increasingly difficult to keep track of all the phone conversations and calls she receives and makes for her social groups. While she reports an increase in forgetfulness, she's easily able to drive to all her activities, and according to close friends, she looks "normal."

Mild cognitive impairment – also known as MCI – characterizes a person who has memory complaints but still functions independently. As we get older, the speed of processing slows down. Performing the basic activities of daily living and procedural skills, such as driving a car or playing the piano, are preserved, but the speed of the activity may decrease. Recognition of this stage is crucial, as it can represent a symptom of dementia. It has been called the "gray zone" or a "transitory state." This is to be differentiated from the "tip of the tongue" phenomenon that one may experience when trying to recall an actor's name in a movie recently seen, only to remember during a later time.

The American Psychiatric Association recently redefined MCI as mild neurocognitive disorder and published new criteria for diagnosis and identifying two major types of impairment which fall into this category. Memory predominant, or "amnestic MCI," is characterized by persistent forgetfulness. Patients themselves – or their friends – will show frustration that they have no recollection about conversations that have taken place. This form of MCI is what is recognized as an early sign of possible Alzheimer's. The non-memory or non-amnestic type represents difficulty, for example, with multitasking, and can occur for example in people with depression... 


* * *

Brain changes: What’s normal as you age?

By Rachel Nania 

From the time you are born until the day you die, your brain is constantly evolving. And it’s critical to know that not all age-related changes are a sign of concern... 

There is no magic pill, app or puzzle to prevent your brain from changing as you age.

From the time you are born until the day you die, the brain is constantly evolving. It’s a process known as “brain plasticity,” and brain health expert Jane Tilly says it’s critical to know that not all age-related changes are a sign of concern.

“It’s important to know that most older adults do not have dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, but a lot of people fear of getting it because of the loss of independence and other things that can come with that disease,” says Tilly, who is with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.

With boomers caring for aging parents, and many boomers aging themselves, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are top of mind for many Americans. According to a Roper survey, 71 percent of adults say they “worry most” about not being alert and experiencing memory loss as they get older.

“Functions begin to decline over time, but it’s very slow and very gradual, unless someone has a brain disease or some kind of other condition that affects their thinking and learning and remembering,” Tilly says.

“By and large as we get older, people slow down a little bit, but if they don’t have any disease, they’re able to manage their lives and operate just like the rest of us do in our lives.

In recent years, supplements, games and resources claiming to prevent age-related dementia have flooded the market. And while puzzles and games may be entertaining, Tilly says not to waste your money on their health claims....


Saw palmetto: Secret weapon for aging men

by Cory Black

As men we really should take actions to take care of ourselves now for the future, not just for longevity but also a fuller one with a healthy and active life. One area that is not especially glamorous but we need to think about is our prostate.

A very effective natural supplement to support prostate health is saw palmetto. Extracts from the plant saw palmetto have been traditionally used by the American Indians as an herbal medicine for centuries and it is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols, a steroid compound similar to cholesterol. Unlike the cholesterol that comes with a diet high in saturated and trans fats, phytosterols that we get from plants have many health benefits.

Many issues with men’s health can be linked to loss of testosterone with age and its conversion to estrogen and other androgen hormones. One of the key benefits for men is that saw palmetto seems to inhibit the production of an enzyme called 5- alpha-reductase, which is involved in the conversion of the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. As men age, it is this androgen hormone that leads to conditions such as prostate enlargement, often referred to as Benign prostatic hyperplasia....


Researcher explores the science of aging

by Matt Windsor 


The longest-lived human on record didn't make it much past 120 years. That's nothing compared to the ocean quahog, a fist-sized clam found off the coast of Maine. "They can live 500 years or longer," says Steven Austad, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biology in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences and associate director of the UAB Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging. "They've been sitting out there on the seafloor since before Shakespeare was born." 

Austad's research focuses on understanding the underlying causes of aging at the molecular level. Although his studies take him in many fascinating directions, it's the ancient clams that everyone remembers. "I'm known in the field as the guy who works with weird animals," Austad says.

So what do animals like the quahog know about healthy aging that we don't? That question drives Austad's studies in comparative gerontology, which look to long-lived animals to identify new molecular targets to help humans.

Clams—technically, bivalve mollusks—live longer than any other animal group; more than a dozen species have lifespans of a century or more. But they are not all masters of aging. Austad's lab is studying mitochondrial function, protein stability and stress resistance across seven species of clams, with lifespans ranging from one year to the ocean quahog's 500-plus years.

Austad's research has convinced him that one key to slowing aging is to protect the proteins inside our cells. "Proteins make everything work in the cell, and to do that, they have to be folded precisely like origami," Austad says. "But as we get older they get battered about, and ultimately lose that precise shape."

That's why Austad is so excited by what he's found in ocean quahogs. "They keep their proteins in shape century after century," he says....


* * *

Why It’s Time to Prepare to Live to 100

By Michael Hodin

In Geneva this week the World Health Organization (WHO) sent a wake-up call to its 194 member governments and its fellow global institutions to open their eyes to what’s staring them in the face: a world that will soon have more old than young; a world where people over 80 is the fastest growing demographic segment; a world where planning for 100 years of life is for the first time in history the norm.

This is massive.  

The exhaustive new report from WHO provides guidance for policymakers by framing a 21st century understanding of what healthy aging is. In the process, it re-defines the course of public health from the 20th century’s “absence of disease” to today’s “functional ability.” WHO has given us this framework through the prism of 21st-century longevity.  

The successful 100-year life span is about function and ability, and contribution and participation in social and economic affairs. As Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO says, “The greatest costs to society are not the expenditures made to foster this functional ability, but the benefits that might be missed if we fail to make the appropriate adaptations and investments.”

At its heart, healthy aging is about future generations -- not just Baby Boomers and the octogenarians of today. Think of it this way: How will the children born in the 1990s in live through two centuries their lives will touch? And how will they thrive in a world with more old than young? A world where the proportion of society – the first time in the history of humankind – has an inverted age structure. The age pyramid is on its tip and widens with aging. This is new. As with any pyramid balancing on its point, it will require enormous global efforts to restructure the social contract for this global society. ...


Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)

by Bill Gifford (Grand Central Publishing, $27, 384 pages)

by Harvey Freedenberg

I decided to review journalist Bill Gifford’s new book about how we age after hearing his witty, informative talk at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg earlier this year. Looking around the room that day, at an audience that ranged in age from a high school foreign exchange student to club members well into their 80s, I realized we all had one thing in common: we all were growing older, and I felt compelled to learn more about that sometimes mystifying, often troubling, process.

Gifford, a contributing editor at Outside magazine and a former editor at Philadelphia magazine, among others, has gone searching for answers to the question “why some people age more slowly than others.” Blending lucid reporting on the latest scientific discoveries with engaging snippets of refreshingly self-deprecating memoir, he has produced a lively work that will enlighten readers on why and how we age, while describing some sensible steps that may help slow time’s inevitable march.

In a quest for cutting-edge research that took him into laboratories and doctors’ offices all over the world, Gifford (who’s never precise about his age beyond confessing he was spurred to investigate this subject by the unsettling results of his physical exam around age 43) doesn’t shrink from turning himself into something of a guinea pig, a common technique of anti-aging researchers. He was successful in enrolling in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (he calls it the “Blast”), a well-regarded study that’s been around since 1958, and currently is tracking more than 1,300 subjects between the ages of 20 and 105. Gifford was subjected to a three-day battery of tests that collected six thousand pieces of data, to be updated in return visits every few years. He makes abundant and intelligent use of this and other scientific studies that have explored the role of culprits that include cell damage and inflammation in causing maladies like heart disease and cancer, which remain our two major killers....


Last surviving ‘Honeymooners’ star remembers iconic show

By Meg Wagner

“The Honeymooners,” the beloved sitcom that introduced America to working-class Brooklyn, celebrates its 60th anniversary Thursday.

But for the sole surviving Honeymooner — and the show’s dedicated fans — the legendary comedy never grows old.

“Back then, we never knew for a second that we’d last for all these years, that the show would endure,” Joyce Randolph, who played Trixie, told the Daily News. “People loved it at the time, and it just has gone on and on. Here we are, 60 years later, still talking about it.”

The 90-year-old Detroit native was just 18 when she moved to New York City in 1943. Jackie Gleason cast her in “The Honeymooners” — first a skit on his variety show and later its own half-hour series — after he spotted her in a chewing gum commercial.

The black-and-white sitcom, which featured Gleason as blowhard Brooklyn bus driver Ralph Kramden, aired just 39 original episodes between 1955 and 1956.


How Sleek Design Is Transforming Senior Living Tech

Written by Amy Baxter


The magic of technology isn’t only for the young and bold. As the largest demographic group of Americans enters retirement, many entrepreneurs are creating new designs to make life easier and more comfortable for seniors. One of the latest products that has created a lot of buzz in the tech world is the Apple Watch, which can hold a host of health data and even act as its own medical alert system.

But Apple isn’t the only tech titan making great, design-forward gadgets and other products for older adults.

Here are three ways innovators are adding flair to senior living settings with simple and sleek solutions that can also improve resident wellness:

Lighting the Way...

Falls are one of the most common causes of serious injuries for older adults — as senior living providers well know. One out of five falls among seniors causes a serious injury like a broken bone or head injury, resulting in 2.5 million emergency treatments for older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Luna Lights is a Chicago-based startup company that designs nighttime lighting for older adults, and already has completed pilots in senior living communities. It is seeking to reduce the devastating impact of falls with an innovative system that improves visibility during the night in a very simple way.

Luna System (1)

“We found that within [senior living] communities, these falls were especially concerning due to reduced staffing at night to actually respond if someone were to fall, as well as reduced resident visibility,” says Donovan Morrison, CEO and co-founder of Luna Lights. “We heard many stories of someone who had fallen in the night behind closed doors and wouldn’t be found until the next morning when someone noticed they hadn’t shown up to breakfast or a scheduled activity.”

There are many fall monitoring systems that can track the movements of seniors to alert caregivers, family members or physicians and indicate when a person is more likely to fall. Tracking devices can also alert caregivers after a person has fallen. Some of these products require adults to wear clunky, unattractive tracking devices at all times, even when they may feel safe in bed.

Using a small pressure sensor that lies on top of a mattress and under the covers, the Luna Lights system can sense when a person gets out of bed and automatically turns on a series of lights that can lead him or her to a destination. When a person returns to bed, the lights turn off.

The system is innovative because it requires no action from a person and requires no lifestyle changes, a common complaint among older adults using fall prevention systems.....


Nutrition needs change for older adults

By Sara Perovich

Look around and you will notice that the American population is aging.

The proportion of U.S. adults older than 65 is growing. According to the Census Bureau, life expectancy is now 78.

The aging process doesn’t begin at a specific time, such as age 65. From the time you are born, you grow older every day. To some extent, a person’s genes will determine the aging process. Lifestyle, however, is a big factor. It can determine how quickly aging occurs.

Good nutrition is part of optimal well-being throughout life. In the early stages of life, proper nutrition can promote growth. When we stop growing, nutrition can continue to promote health and slow aging.

No ideal diet can be recommended to a person entering retirement. A group of 65-year-olds could vary physiologically along a wide spectrum from poor to excellent health. Past experience plays a part in a person’s health status. At any given time, health can be dependent on such things as dietary patterns, physical fitness, chronic health conditions and mental health.

In general, people older than 60 should focus on getting adequate intakes of some key nutrients which may help ensure a healthy aging process.

Key nutrients

Energy: In my work with retired patients, many are quick to point out that they cannot get away with eating as much as they did during middle-age without seeing an increase in weight. Certain things bring about this decreased need for energy or calories, notably, hormonal changes, a decrease in physical activity and a loss of muscle mass.

Despite the decreased need for energy, most nutrient needs are the same as in the middle years. Some nutrient requirements increase upon reaching 70. Packing nutrients into meals and snacks with fewer calories is important.

Protein: While the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is at the same level for all adults older than age 19, some researchers would argue that it should be set higher for adults older than 65. The reason for increasing protein with age is to help combat the skeletal muscle loss, sarcopenia, that occurs in more than 15 percent of people older than 65....


Taking Sides

Pizza with a side of beans?

I think I may have said this once before, but it’s worth repeating. “I have never gone into a pizzeria and ordered a slice with a side of beans. In fact, I can’t remember every having a side of anything with my pizza. Pizza is a finger food, a nosh, a quick meal and needs no companion food to make it complete. And, even if I did have the urge to have something else with my slice, it certainly would not be beans. Maybe some lettuce and tomato, but not beans. BTW, although the pizza looks a bit yucky, it as actually pretty good. The mushroom (yes that’s what it is) and onion topping went well with the gooey cheese and sauce. It was a nice rest from the usual pepperoni.

I love when seniors protest

“Police Called When Senior Citizens 

Show Up On CEO's Door To Protest Ouster” 

By Ariel Cheung

LAKEVIEW — Senior citizens being ousted from Presbyterian Homes affordable housing were tired of waiting for answers from the nonprofit's CEO, so they traveled to Evanston on Monday to see him.

Almost 50 residents — out of about 100 — took a school bus and car pools to the Presbyterian Homes headquarters at Huss Pavilion, 3200 Grant St., in Evanston.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th), state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and community supporters joined the seniors to deliver letters of protest to CEO Todd Swortzel asking he commit to selling the three apartment buildings to developers who would keep the residences affordable. 

About 20 minutes later, Evanston police and security guards arrived on the scene, ordering Cappleman, Feigenholtz and members of the press off the private property.

Residents were told they could stay and speak with Keith Stohlgren, the vice president and executive director who oversaw the affordable housing program, and Robert Werdan, vice president of marketing.

Swortzel, they said, was not in the office.

Presbyterian Homes told residents the rent-subsidized apartments were no longer financially sustainable. Anticipated maintenance and capital expenditures, "along with current operating deficits," would overwhelm its Geneva Foundation Outreach Fund, which supports the program....



The opinions expressed in the editorial sections of this blog are my own and in no way are dictated by or reflect the policies or opinions of the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living, Yonkers, NY.


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Baby Boomers: Have we lost the dream?

Although I skew a little older than those who demographically are considered to be true baby boomers (I was born in 1946) I still identify with all of us that were conceived shortly after the end of World War 2. We were brought into a world of great prosperity in America (at least for white people) and we believed that America could do no wrong. Unfortunately, and although we did not realize it at the time, we became somewhat of a bully in our relationship with third world countries. We were having such a good time basking in affluence and good fortune that we could not understand why the rest of the world could and should not be more like us. If we found a country that did not lean towards a western (I.E., American) form of democracy we damn well were going to make sure they learned what it was.  This is how we lost the Middle East, much of South America and Africa. Our paranoia with Communism clouded our perspective as to foreign policy. You were either with us or against us. There was no middle ground. The will of the people in some of those countries was never considered. “We don't care if they did vote fair and square for those commies, they didn't know what they were doing”, was our attitude. “Let's find and give those anti-communists some money and arms and maybe some of our boys as “advisers” to show them how to use all that stuff”, became our foreign policy. Hence, the Vietnam war, which brings me to the topic at hand.

Coinciding with the Viet Nam era was the peace movement in this country. There was a new awakening in our society. And while the face of this new movement may have been what, in some people's minds, were just a bunch of long-haired dirty hippies, there was something fresh and wonderful about it. But despite its message of peace the times, although they might have been “A 'Changing” were anything but peaceful. 

If you believe that nothing good that happens comes easy, then the 60's and 70's was the era for you. One had only to look at the headlines to wonder where the real war was and who we were we really fighting. Hardly a day went by that there were no stories about riots, anti-war protests and radical political movements who thought nothing of setting off some bombs in government buildings. And then there was the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that nurtured stories like this...

“Chicago's mayor, Richard J. Daley, intended to showcase his and the city's achievements to national Democrats and the news media. Instead, the proceedings became notorious for the large number of demonstrators and the use of force by the Chicago police during what was supposed to be, in the words of the Yippie activist organizers, "A Festival of Life. Rioting took place between demonstrators and the Chicago Police Department, who were assisted by the Illinois National Guard.”*

As a young man, of draft age, I was never more proud of my fellow boomers than I was at that time. We were flexing our muscles and our voices. We would show the country that we would not be taken for granted and that our policies towards emerging nations needed to be changed. It was clear that no matter what happened in the Far East, America was going to change. So what happened to all those protestors. What became of the “Movement”? What became of the Woodstock generation? How did we get so complacent? Unfortunately, I have to partially blame it on our parents. They loved us too much.

Most (if not all) of our parents were children of the great depression. They remembered the hardships of the times. The breadlines, the unemployment and national despair. Naturally, they did not want this for us. Therefore, they went overboard when it came to giving us everything they did not have. They made sure we had all the trappings of a prosperous society. The clothes, the cars, the homes, the education. In general, the good life. The trend towards consumerism became our mantra, and we enjoyed every minute of it. 

Before long, we found ourselves in the 1980's. The 20th century's ode to opulence and commercialism. We bought everything we could get our hands on. Greed was good and Yuppies were the new Hippies. Unfortunately, with our desire for “stuff” came complacency. We became the “Me” generation. And, if we had any perception of the real world it was lost in a sea of materialism. Sadly, this persists to this day and manifests itself in today's politics. If you listen to the lineup of presidential candidates all we hear is a get-tough attitude. Get tough on immigrants. Get tough on welfare recipients, get tough on the creepy old folks who are looking for a social security handout. The hell with providing decent health care to every American. Corporations are good for America, so let's give them more tax breaks so all that money can trickle down to the poor folks.“Raise the minimum wage. What are you nuts? That will kill our profits. How will the corporation that I am CEO of be able to afford to pay me 750 times more than the people who work for me.” Regrettably, this is the mainstream thinking of many Americans today. Not all, mind you, but enough to put thoughts in the minds of many who think that all of America's problems are generated by outside forces. Does this mean that America will finally go over to the “dark side” and actually vote for one of those gaggle of clueless geese? Probably not. However, if we don't turn the tide soon and begin to realize that the only thing that makes a nation great is a compassion it has for the lowliest of its citizens than we truly have lost the dream.

*Quote from Wikipedia.


More Unused Space

Continuing with our little exploration of unused and wasted space around the Center, I turn your attention to what I like to call “The Crossroads”. This area is marked by a slab of concrete and is located at an intersection of two walkways. While there is no shade, there is a great deal of sun there most of the day. Unfortunately, it is too close to the buildings to make this into a designated smoking area and too far from a building exit to use as a sitting area. So what should this area be used for? A couple of suggestions have been batted around.

It would be a perfect spot for a shuffleboard court, a bocce court, or a putting green. A covered gazebo could be erected on this spot for residents who would like to play board games out of doors. If you have any other suggestions, drop me a line and perhaps we will present your idea at the next Resident's Council meeting.

* * * 

A $3,000 Ice Machine...

...And it Leaks

After suffering through a couple of years of a totally inadequate ice maker which was out of order more than it was in service, the Center decided to shell out the BIG BUCKS for what must be the Rolls Royce of Ice making machines. Without pretension, it is called “The ICE-O-MATIC”. This epitome of water transformation devices set the facility back nearly three grand. It has the capability of producing 300 lbs of ice cubes a day and, unlike its predecessor it has a drain. Yes, it has everything but the ability not to produce a leaky mess every morning. Somebody must know how to fix this thing.

Editor's note: Shortly after writing this, repairs were begun to the machine. Hopefully, the problem will be solved.

* * *

Lights, Camera....


Trying to corral a group of 65 year-old plus people into joining a group activity is tantamount to getting a pack of hyenas  to calm down.  And yet that is exactly what was done last Thursday when the Center was turned into a movie set of sorts.

It seems that for some reason (we still don't know why), the administrator ordered that a short video be made using the facility as the background and the residents as actors. Of course we were to make this video with no budget, no costumes and no props. To add to the confusion, the project had to be completed by Oct. 1 leaving little or no time for rehearsal. Amazingly, we were able to do it. And, while we don't yet know how it turned out (It's still being edited as we go to press) we can say that we did our best under the circumstances. If I can, I will post this video when it becomes available.

* * *

There are places around the facility where you can get away from everybody. Everybody except the Faceless Photog that is.

Residents of the Westchester Center should visit our information page for a complete directory of personnel as well as resources available to seniors in Westchester County. Go to page....http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/residents-bill-of-rights-and-more.php

“Never forget that assisted living is a for-profit business”

3 Must-Have Technologies to Maximize Senior Housing Revenue

by Christian Sweetser

Every business sector is searching for the opportunity to increase revenues. One solution that is currently being embraced by seniors housing is the eponymous revenue management approach pioneered by the airline industry in the 1970s.

The computerized/mathematical functioning of the model is complex, but the concept is simple: by carefully orchestrating pricing and available inventory, an organization can maximize revenues and thereby profits. The seniors housing industry cannot afford to be short-sighted, as its future of revenue management actually lies in population health management.

As health care continues to extend, necessarily, beyond the hospital and physician’s office, seniors housing is uniquely positioned to make population health management part of its care and business strategy. There are several technology solutions gaining larger health market acceptance that will enable residents to be connected more frequently and effectively to their own health and its management.

By embracing the technology infrastructure to support electronic medical records, wearable health monitors, and telemedicine, seniors housing will further differentiate the value proposition of the industry, improve potential health outcomes, increase lengths of stay, generate positive word of mouth, and possibly lead to recognition and partnership with area health systems, all of which enhance revenue potential....


Trapped in the System: A Sick Doctor’s Story

By Aaron E. Carroll

I have ulcerative colitis and have had it for many years. When it was poorly controlled, I lived in constant fear of not being near a bathroom. The half-hour commute to my job often necessitated a stop on the way to work because I feared I would lose control of my bowels. My wife could tell you many stories about how I made innovative use of my babies’ diapers in cases of emergencies.

But a number of years ago, after I found that drug after drug didn’t work, my gastroenterologist suggested an older immunosuppressant. I’m a doctor, and I recognized it as a drug often used to treat cancer. It carried with it some significant side effects, most notably a small chance of myelosuppression, in which your bone marrow shuts down and produces too few blood cells.

That horrified my wife. But she didn’t appreciate that this was, to me, a small price to pay for the opportunity not to be constantly worried about my proximity to a toilet. I weighed the benefits versus the harms. I decided to give it a go.

The medicine changed my life. I have few, if any, symptoms anymore. It’s gotten to where I can now feel annoyance when my children need to go to the bathroom when we’re out. By my last colonoscopy, my ulcerative colitis had gone into remission. I feel as if I have the bowels of a normal person, for which I am utterly grateful.

The medicine is old and it’s generic. It costs about $80 for three months even though I haven’t met my deductible. But this story isn’t about money. This is about the nightmare of how hard it is for me to get the drug.

Every three months, I run out of my medication. In order to get more, I need a new prescription. In order to get the prescription, I need to have lab testing to prove to my doctor that I don’t have anemia. This all sounds simple, and it’s the same process every three months. But it’s never the same, and it’s never easy.

Let’s start with the lab testing. At various times, my insurance plan (which is excellent, by the way) changes which laboratory facilities it will cover fully. Often, these are not labs that are housed in the huge health care system for which I work. I often have to go elsewhere to have my blood drawn. If I change facilities, I have to get a new prescription for the labs, since they can’t share with one another....



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Manopause and Male Aging: 

Just Say No to Those Drugs 

by Gavin Polone

For THR's annual Doctors Issue, the producer bemoans the health risks of a town taking medications to stay forever young and vigorous, despite industry-generated images and messaging.

We've all heard, "you're as young as you feel" many, many times. That's sort of true, but in a way I think you're as young, or old, as TV commercials tell you that you are. Sadly, what I'm seeing during the breaks as I watch CNBC's Squawk Box, BBC World News America, 60 Minutes, anything about World War II on History or Smithsonian is pretty clear: I've passed my sell-by date.

Daily, I'm bombarded with messages telling me that I should be taking Viagra or Cialis as well as medications for low testosterone, or "low-T" as it's called (also for something called COPD, but I don't know what that is and am afraid to look it up).

The most resonant of these advertisements is a sort of combination testosterone/boner program called Cenegenics, which features images of shirtless men (usually physicians who run their own Cenegenics franchises) in their late 40s, 50s and even 70s who are incredibly muscular and defined, kind of like a senior version of The Thunder From Down Under. The men in the commercials give testimonials explaining how they not only look younger but also feel younger. They make clear how much more desire they now have for their wives, who are sitting next to them, beaming. Male viewers like me in their 50s and above find ourselves feeling inadequate and wondering if we should be gettin' some of what they're sellin'. In my case, so I can be more fit, not because I have trouble in the erection department … 'cause I don't. Not at all. Not even a little. No, sir … or ma'am....


Today’s aging minorities most impacted by poor finances

By Shantella Y. Sherman

Even as the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, and the 80th anniversary of Social Security, issues of race, class, and access remain recalcitrant barriers to elder security. Particularly among blacks, living longer has often meant subsisting on meager funds and with limited material resources.

“When Social Security was signed into law, far too many seniors were living in poverty. When Medicare was created only a little more than half of all seniors had some form of insurance. Before Medicaid came along, families often had no help paying for nursing home costs,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference on July 13th. “Today, the number of seniors in poverty has fallen dramatically. Together we declared that every citizen of this country deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.”

Obama said that as more Americans live to reach retirement and then live longer as seniors, reassessing how the nation responds to the increased need will ultimately work to protect the solvency of elder care.

Ben de Guzman, national managing coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition, addressed several key concerns related to the aging of the American population and the increased number of non-white seniors among them. “Despite advances that our communities have achieved on the road to equality, there remain considerable barriers to their full participation in every facet of public life. It is often difficult enough to move through the world as a person of color, or an LGBT person; the additional barriers that age places on the individual complicates the picture even further,” Guzman said. “Communities of color continue to experience de facto, if not de jure, discrimination and have unequal outcomes as a result.”

One key component of providing quality, non-discriminatory treatment to black elders is ensuring they receive proper care from health and home care professionals. 


Time to expand Social Security 

By Bernie Sanders

It has paid every nickel owed, through good times and bad

Now some Republicans want to cut it

A better idea: Lift cap so wealthy pay higher Social Security taxes 

Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before it was signed into law, nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, the elderly poverty rate is less than 10 percent. Although still much too high, that’s a dramatic improvement.

Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid every nickel owed to every eligible American – on time and without delay. As corporations destroyed the retirement dreams of millions over the past 30 years by eliminating defined benefit pension plans, Social Security was right there paying full benefits. As millions of Americans lost their life savings after Wall Street’s recklessness crashed the economy in 2008, Social Security was right there paying full benefits.

Today, Social Security is more important than ever. Over half of workers between the ages of 55-64 have no retirement savings. More than a third of senior citizens depend on Social Security for virtually all of their income. One out of every five senior citizens is trying to scrape by on an average income of just $8,300 a year.

Given these facts, our job cannot be to cut Social Security. Our job must be to expand it so that every American can retire with dignity and respect.

Virtually every Republican candidate for president disagrees. Many of them claim Social Security is “going broke,” that it’s causing the deficit to explode, and its trust fund is full of IOUs. They want the American people to believe Social Security is in crisis and must be cut.

They are dead wrong....

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article36486309.html#storylink=cpy

Victims of Our Age 

By Franco Cortese

Death & Anti-Death Volume 13: Sixty Years After Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Aging is truly the travesty of our age. It constitutes the largest source of in-principle-preventable death in existence today – a toll of 100,000 real, feeling, hoping and daring human beings lost irreversibly for all time, per day. That’s a million human lives lost every one and a half weeks. A loss equal to the entire population of Canada every year, and to the entire U.S. population every decade. It accounts for three-quarters of all deaths globally and for nine-tenths of all deaths in most developed countries. 

We all die before our time, still as children, some old but none old enough, and rightly scared for the time when we will be no more. Born into the tumult of existence for so short a time, only to be washed away in a grit of sand and time before any one of us can truly come of age. The world will be a better place when, finally, a slow and fetid decay into death will be our birthright no longer. 

I implore you, whoever you are, whatever your skills and aptitudes, lend your head, hand and heart to this most important cause: the eventual eradication aging and age-related diseases, the slow death of a true calamity of our age that has not yet seen anything approaching the kind of funding that the largest medically-surmountable source of death and suffering at large in the world today most deservedly warrants. Whether your aptitude is science, scholarship, activism or advocacy, you can have an impact on how long it takes to stop the preventable death of 100,000 men and women per day, and the long course of suffering, debilitation, and dissolution that often precedes each one of those deaths for many years. ...


Seniors face their own set of temptations


Do senior adults really deal with temptations? Yep, no one is exempt. Everyone has been tempted at some time or another. Even Jesus was tempted. But are the temptations for senior adults — the 70-, 80- and 90-year-olds, any different than those that young adults and middle-agers deal with?

Although any temptation can occur at almost any stage in life, some temptations are more likely to occur at one stage than another. For example, the younger generation is more tempted with drugs, steroids, violence and sex. Middle-agers have some of the same temptations that young people deal with, but they also have temptations in the areas of prestige, amassing wealth, gaining control or power at the expense of others or having extra-martial affairs.

Senior adults are more apt to be apathetic, arrogant, prideful and judgmental. Apathy is likely to set in when senior adults become disinterested in the world around them, and they begin to turn their focus inward toward themselves. This may be brought on by physical limitations. They may not be able to go places or participate in social events, so they become apathetic and give up on life, believing they no longer have anything to offer. Social isolation may be so subtle that they don’t even realize what is happening. My senior friend says apathy can also happen when we become indifferent or downright lazy!...


Stressless Aging

 By Mike Verano 

I don’t mean to stress you out, but according to a growing number of scientific reports, stress makes us age more quickly. Research suggests that from our skin to our hearts, brains, and even cells, the more we stress, the older we get. The question, “Do we age because of stress or is getting older stressful?” leaves us with yet another chicken and egg scenario.

We’re a nation that is collectively losing its mind over the whole stress issue. We’re told that it’s a natural response, an evolutionary act of survival to fight or flee from harm. We’re also told that this response itself can kill us. One side says that we have to control life events in order to reduce stress, while the other states that we only need to control how we think about stress to reduce its damaging effects.

It would be nice to think that we grow out of being stressed. There does, in fact, seem to be some evidence that our “this is going to be bad” meter operates at a different level after a certain age. When we take a hard look at the “aging is stressful” campaigners, we find that they have a lot in common with the “younger is better” crowd. I have created a slogan for these folks: Stress doesn’t make us old, aging 

I came up with a list of ideas people have suggested to support this notion:

◾Worrying about something bad happening can actually keep the bad thing from happening.

◾Expecting things to go bad makes it hurt less when it actually happens.

◾Fighting against what is already happening makes us stronger.

◾Thinking that we’re right and the situation is wrong makes us morally superior to whatever is happening.

◾Resistance keeps us from getting pushed around by life.

◾If I accept what is, nothing will ever change.

◾Stress energy is the only thing that gets me through my day.


7 Keys To A Happy, Healthy Brain

Take care of your noggin and you'll be sharp as a tack at age 95!

By  Carolyn Gregoire 

Why are some people sharp as a tack at 95 years old, while others begin struggling with mental clarity in their 50s?

A lot of it has to do with genetics, but certain lifestyle factors also play an important role in how our brain ages. So while you can't control your genes, you can take advantage of the latest science to keep your grey cells strong:

What about the brain? Well, some research has suggested that high levels of stress hormones can increase an individual's risk for age-related brain damage.

"Over the course of a lifetime, the effects of chronic stress can accumulate and become a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease," Howard Fillit, a clinical professor of geriatric medicine at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, wrote in Psychology Today. "Several studies have shown that stress, and particularly one's individual way of reacting to stress (the propensity to become 'dis-stressed' often found in neurotic people for example), increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease."

If you're feeling stressed out, try picking up a meditation practice. Research has shown that meditation is effective in lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol and protecting the brain from aging.


Linda Evans: Courageous state of mind

By Erica Curless

Aging gracefully is a choice that takes courage and the ability to embrace change, advises award-winning actress Linda Evans who is known for playing Krystle Carrington in the 1980s drama “Dynasty.” 

Evans, who has lived in Rainier, near Olympia, for 30 years, is keynote speaker for the annual two-day Boomers and Beyond: Aging Successfully Conference on Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Convention Center. The conference, which includes presentations and resources for the elderly and their families, is a fundraiser for the Senior Assistance Fund of Eastern Washington that awards grants to nonprofits that provide services to low-income seniors.

“Doing something out of the box is very stimulating,” said Evans, 72, in a recent telephone interview.

Evans, who also played Audra Barkley in the television show “The Big Valley” in the 1960s, is passionate about traveling the country encouraging people, especially aging women, to “jump in” and live their dreams and not let fear rule. She wants to inspire baby boomers and bring hope and inspiration in a culture that often doesn’t value aging. 

Evans decided in her 60s to start overcoming her fears and insecurities by trying new things, such as acting on the live stage. In 2006 and 2007, Evans starred with Joan Collins in “Legends!,” a comedic play about two aging rival film stars. It was a challenge that remained terrifying every time she got on stage. On “Dynasty,” Collins played the vengeful ex-wife of Evans’ television husband, oil tycoon Blake Carrington. The two women’s on-screen catfights helped boost ratings and overtake the rival nighttime soap opera “Dallas” to become the No. 1 show in the Unites States....


Low-fat milk and yogurt consumption 

may help prevent frailty in aging, study finds

By Hal Conick

Milk could also prevent bone mass loss and has bioactive peptides that may work to decrease levels of blood pressure, a study says. 

Consumption of low-fat milk and yogurt is associated with a decreased risk of frailty among the elderly, according to a recent study.

The study recommended protein supplementation for those who are aging, as it may also be able to help with walking speed and preventing unhealthy weight loss.

Increasing the consumption of low-fat yogurt and milk may need further studying to find its adverse impacts to health, but the study said it has been shown to help reduce levels of frailty.

Dr Alberto Lana of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Oviedo in Spain told DairyReporter that low-fat milk could also protect against precursors of frailty in the elderly, such as cardiometabolic events.

“The biological mechanisms of the association are not entirely clear, but it seems reasonable to hypothesize that milk consumers become less frailty due to the effect of milk proteins and certain minerals, which could improve muscle and bone quality,” he said.

What the study found...


Eggplant Parmesan

A Worthwhile Substitute for Lasagna

Dieting is difficult no matter where you are and even more so when one has little choice but to eat institutionally prepared meals which have a tendency to lean towards the fatty or high carbohydrate foods. Therefore, a dieter is constantly looking for foods that, if not totally devoid of fat or carbs, have as few of them as possible. Often this means that one has to give up or deny himself of one or more of his favorite things to eat. For me, it's pasta. 

What can I say, I'm a pasta, addict. I would bathe in pasta if I could. I would wear a pasta suite if it were possible. As far as I am concerned there is no better, more comforting source of fuel than a giant bowl of al-dente spaghetti with thick, rich sauce and three golf ball size meatballs floating on top like the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Unfortunately, they haven't come up with a decent no or low carb pasta or a non-fat meatball. So what does one do if he needs his pasta-addiction satisfied? He turns to a substitute for relief. And a good substitute just happens to be something that they do here at the Center really well. Eggplant Parmesan.

First of all, eggplant parm gives you what you really want whenever you eat pasta or pizza. After all, isn't it that combination of cheese and tomato sauce that you really crave. And what better way to get it than a nice serving of something that is relatively low in carbs and fat. In fact, eggplant Parm. Has only about 14-16 grams of carbs in a 5 oz serving, and only 4 -6 grams of fat (most of which is the good, polyunsaturated kind). And, as a bonus, the eggplant is high in fiber which aids in digestion. 

So, the next time you see eggplant Parmesan on the menu, order it. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Here's Why Some Men's Beards Are A Different Color Than Their Hair

You're not a freak of nature. You're just multi-pigmented.

By James Cave

So with all this hair flying around, we were reminded of one of life's great mysteries: Why are some guys' beards a different color than the rest of their hair?

We turned to dermatologist Dr. Bobby Buka, founder of Greenwich Village Dermatology in New York, who said it basically comes down to pigments and genetics.

"The difference between red hair and blonde hair or brown hair is different types of melanin," Buka said, referring to the pigment packs that bring color to our hair (without it, our hair is white).

One type of melanin, a very light type called pheomelanin, is responsible for blonde or red hair, and eumelanin is the darker melanin found in darker-toned hair. How it gets distributed through the shaft of each hair and in what combinations is what determines our hair color, and it can vary by each individual follicle.

"The other component that contributes to color is the distribution of the melanin from the base of the hair follicle to the rest of the shaft," Buka said. "That transfer process is genetic, and so redheads have more pheomelanin and their pigment stays at the base of the hair follicle, and black-haired people have more eumelanin and transfers throughout the shaft."...




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The Change of Seasons Changes Me

I don’t know if it’s barometric, cyclical, cultural or just psychological, but my body goes through changes every time summer changes to fall. And it’s not a gradual change either. It comes upon me like a ton of bricks. Oddly, the change from winter to spring or spring to summer has little or no effect on me. Certainly not to the extent that the advent of the autumnal equinox seems to have. Let me tell you what I feel.

Generally, I feel lousy. I get the chills, headaches, upset stomach and joint pain. A lightheadedness wafts over me like an L.A. smog. People seem distant and unattached. I have a tendency to forget things more than normal and I even think my sleep is affected too. It’s just plain weird. Or is it?

We have all heard the saying, “In the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.” Perhaps we should consider that in the fall, “An old codgers fancy turns to thoughts of impending doom.” because, at times, that’s what it feels like.

Now I realize that these feelings may not be universal and that all old people don’t feel this way. Perhaps I am the only one, in which case I will feel even more isolated than I usually do at this time of year. However, there may be an actual reason for my malaise. That’s because nothing good has ever happened to me in the fall. I have given this much thought and have even made a list.

1. School always starts in the fall. It’s not so much that I hated school, but I liked not going to class even more. I think it had to do with the other kids. In general, I hated kids. I preferred the company of grownups. Kids are, as we all know, disgusting. They are nasty, tribal, germ-laden and malicious. Just the thought of having to meet new kids made me physically ill. I suppose some of that has carried over into adulthood.

2. Cold weather clothes. Along with the change of season, I always got a new wardrobe. This meant things like sweaters, jackets, coats and bulky corduroy pants. 

So, what’s wrong with new clothes? Well, nothing except that I was a fat kid and wearing cumbersome clothes made me look even fatter. Just what I needed. So good for my self-esteem.

3. Jewish holidays. Forgive me if I sound blasphemous, but I am not a big fan of the Jewish holidays. It’s not a religious thing, it’s just that I never felt that I had anything to atone for. Certainly nothing so bad that I needed to fast for 24 hours just to apologize for it.

4. My marriage. There is not much that I can say about this other than it was the beginning of fall when my wife of eight years decided it was enough marriage (at least enough of me) and told me she wanted a divorce. The words cut through me like the dull side of a Ginsu knife. I admit it. I was emotionally scarred.

There are some other unpleasant things that happened to me at this time of year like the death of my father and getting laid off from a job I had for 13 years, but that’s another story.

Look, I really don’t hate the fall. Actually, weather-wise, it’s the best time of the year. Cool days, brisk nights (good for sleeping) and nature in all its leaf-changing glory. But you have to admit that fall, unlike its cousin spring, means the end to things rather than renewal. And at this time in my life when the end is closer than the beginning, it’s the last thing I want to think about.

Photos from around the Center

(With Comments)

Unused Space

Actually, this is more a matter of space wasted than unused. As reported a few months ago, work was supposed to begin on the construction of a new assisted living facility right across the parking lot from our present location. The facility was to be separate and distinct from the WCIAL. The building shown in the photo above was to be torn down as part of the new construction. Though some preliminary survey work was done, it appears that any further work has either been canceled or suspended. This leaves us with a perfectly good building doing nothing. 

At the present, the split level brick structure contains apartments, office space and storage. The building is air conditioned and has all the proper plumbing and electricity as well as fire prevention equipment. As our current quarters become more populated every week, and the need for additional space for recreation and meetings increases, it seems a shame that this building cannot be used to alleviate some of the overcrowding.........................................Ed.

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The Wood Pile

Unfortunately, a couple of our trees did not survive this past winter and failed to bloom in the Spring. Eventually, the trees died and had to be cut down leaving 
us with some very large tree appendages. These remnants of a once mighty oak (or whatever that tree was) is piled up near the garage in back of the Franklin Bldg. My question is, since as far as I know, we do not have any wood burning fire places anywhere on our premises, what the heck are they going to do with this wood. Perhaps we could organize a residents wood shop and actually make something out of this stuff.

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Chips Ahoy

Besides the pile of branches, as another product of the cutting down of dead trees, we were left with a rather large pile of wood chips. Hopefully, the gardeners will use this as a winter ground cover for some of our more vulnerable flora and plants. We would hate to see this become a condo for some of our less desirable furry friends.

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Hidden Garden

It appears that somebody or some bodies have been busy this summer out in back of the garden level. In this space, usually only occupied by a group of inveterate smokers who use the only official smoking area at the facility, the previously unused flowers boxes have been planted and lovingly cared for, with a variety of flowers. Among the plants are African violets, petunias, peonies, and gladiola. I wonder if they will offer these for sale.

At this month’s resident’s council meeting the question of having our own bus came up once again. Here is one reason why we don’t and can’t have our own bus.

A 24-passenger bus with a wheelchair lift 

costs $58,907.34.

That’s not including insurance, maintenance, gas, oil, and a driver.


Don't Overlook the Big City for Your Retirement Home

Not everyone wants to live in a suburban retirement community. 

Find out why you may want to spend your golden years in the big city.

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Big City Living Offers More Culture, Services

While housing prices can be a drawback in many metropolitan areas, advocates of urban living say that negative is outweighed by the many city services and social opportunities available to seniors. 

"It's senior-friendly," Hoffman says. "There are more goods and services in New York City than any other city in the country, maybe even the world." 

Those services include coordination of benefits for those who are homebound, bus and van programs for transportation and senior centers for social activities. 

"Another huge advantage [of retiring to a big city] I see is the opportunity to be engaged mentally," says Cecilia Beach Brown, a certified financial planner with Lincoln Financial Services in Annapolis, Maryland. "There are volunteer activities, cultural events and access to the arts. Of course, transportation is key [to accessing opportunities]." 

When it comes to transportation, some cities run specialized van and bus systems for seniors. Others are making improvements to public transportation that benefit both younger and older riders alike. For instance, Cleveland's HealthLine bus transit route runs 24/7 and goes by both the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Buses feature level boarding stations which may be easier for older Americans to navigate, and they arrive as often as every five minutes during peak periods. 

Plan Carefully to Ensure a Successful Retirement ...


How to Grow Older With Comfort and Purpose 

As baby boomers reach retirement age, many are 

rethinking what the later stages of life should look like. 

Roughly 44 million people in the United States are now 65 years or older. By 2050, the Census Bureau expects that figure to double as the largest generation in American history lives longer than any before it.

The generation of baby boomers has drawn criticism—from themselves, among others—for holding overly high expectations for their lives and for pushing too hard to meet them. These are qualities, however, that could serve them nicely as they strive to grow older with some comfort and purpose. Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964 aren’t as likely to settle for simply retiring to Florida to play mahjong. “They recognize that the current systems in place are not only inadequate to meet the demands of aging but woefully inadequate to meet their expectations,” says Joseph Coughlin, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab (http://agelab.mit.edu/), which studies this fast-coming demographic upheaval. “Now that we’re living so much longer, we do not know what we will be doing with all that time.”

Happily filling their time, while continuing to contribute to the economy, will be one major challenge for these new senior citizens. Here’s another: money. Having enough of it to remain solvent past retirement is especially worrisome for low-income workers and for anyone without substantial savings or pensions.

The Great Recession upended expectations about economic security in the U.S. and changed the way we work and live. This initiative from the Atlantic and National Journal asks: How are Americans adapting?

But for anyone lucky enough not to worry about money, the challenge involves rethinking the way retirement looks. Do baby boomers want to give up their jobs entirely, or shift to part-time or flexible work, as some companies  allow? They may prefer to reinvent themselves and embark on a second, “encore” career in the nonprofit sector. Others may want to become entrepreneurs and small-business owners or to involve themselves in a volunteer project so intensively that it amounts to a part-time job.

So far, however, no comprehensive national policy or consensus among experts has emerged on how to regard employment past the traditional age of retirement.....


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Why The Term 'Aging Gracefully' Is Akin To A Cultural Corset

By Wendi Knox

Don't get me wrong.

"Aging gracefully" is lovely. In a quiet, refined, elegant kind of way.

Which is great, if that's "You."

But it's definitely not "Me."

I was never particularly graceful when I was younger. So, why would I suddenly become that way as I age?

To me, the term "aging gracefully" feels like a cultural corset that holds women to one tight standard.

I'd prefer to age gratefully. To have reverence for the truth of who I am and all the changes that are taking place within and around me.

I intend to age exuberantly. Colorfully. Creatively. Bravely. Boldly. Healthfully. Honestly. And un-apologetically.

As someone who has risen up from the muck of self-doubt and fear, I'm trying to retrain my brain to celebrate the wisdom, confidence and

self-love that I've worked like hell all these years to attain (with the therapy bills to prove it).

Older women in our society often complain about feeling invisible. But I wonder if that's because we don't see our own value.

What if, instead of zeroing in on the wrinkles under our eyes, we started appreciating the light within them?

What if, in choosing to honor our experience, our wisdom and our gifts, the outside world rises up to meet our inside world?

What if, instead of just looking out there for anti-aging foods, supplements, lotions, potions and treatments, we started cultivating a

pro-aging mindset within?

But how?...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendi-knox/aging-gracefully-cultural-corse... 9/24/2015

Let’s keep the faith in Social Security’s future

By Lenard W. Kaye

Every few weeks, without fail, I hear someone proclaiming that Social Security is near collapse, teetering on the edge of insolvency, poised to bankrupt our nation and destroy the economic futures of our children and our children’s children.

These assertions suggest a rapidly expanding aging population will inevitably cause the collapse of Social Security and America’s future economic well-being. But they run counter to the lessons learned from history. This mentality reflects, at least in part, a measure of anti-aging thinking that can create divisions between the young and the old. It also reflects plain old historical ignorance. It does not encourage thoughtfulness and rationality when it comes to planning for and, ultimately, enacting the needed refinements to Social Security policy that will position the program for a healthy and stable future.

The concept of Social Security, or old age social insurance, was first put forward in Germany in 1881 and became law in 1889 under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. In the United States, it remains what is undoubtedly one of the most successful and enduring policy mandates ever enacted. A doomsday mentality about Social Security’s insolvency does little more than risk creating antagonism across the generations — pitting younger, working-age Americans against retirees and those approaching retirement age.

Past presidents, members of Congress and special interest groups have attempted to dramatically change — and, in effect, greatly harm — Social Security only to fail when confronted with broad bipartisan and public disdain. Surveys repeatedly confirm that large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents of all ages feel Social Security must be preserved for future generations, and that includes working Americans who say they would be willing to pay additional Social Security taxes to ensure its survival.

It remains one of the most efficiently run federal programs, spending  less than one cent of every dollar on administrative functions even though it collects taxes from 94 percent of working Americans and distributes benefits to approximately 60 million individuals....


You Know You Are Losing It When ...

What? You have never put the remote in the laundry?

By Ann Brenoff

Part of the aging process involves those "senior moments" we like to joke about and how you occasionally are given an opportunity to see yourself through the eyes of others. Of course, there's nothing to do about any of it other than laugh in aging's face -- and appreciate that it beats the alternative. Thanks to our Facebook friend Wendy Cushing for sharing these gems:

Wendy Cushing, a Connecticut teacher on the cusp of turning 50, told us how she went for two x-rays in the span of a week and neither technician asked if she could be pregnant. "Because, really? You look that old," she jokes. She doesn't. 

Then again, she also drove 40 minutes to a doctor's appointment, sat in the waiting room growing irritated because her name wasn't being called -- and then realized her appointment was for the following week. Slink-out-with-tail-between-legs-time.

Wendy, clearly not having a great week, also proudly produced two gift cards at Bed, Bath and Beyond thinking she was going to get a fabulous bargain, only to have the cashier say, "Um, ma'am, these are for Bath and Body Works." That's right, he called her "ma'am." Oh yeah, and she was in the wrong store....


Intestinal bacteria provide clues to aging

Robin Wulffson, MD

The intestine acts as a barrier to protect our organs 

and tissue from environmental damage

Most of us strive for a long—and healthy life. However, some individuals maintain excellent health in their 80s and beyond while others develop significant health problems decades earlier. A new study by researchers at the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles found some clues for this disparity in the makeup of intestinal bacteria. Their study suggests that analyzing intestinal bacteria could be a valuable method to predict health outcomes as we age. They published their findings online in the journal Cell Reports.

“Age-onset decline is very tightly linked to changes within the community of gut microbes,” explained senior author David Walker, a UCLA professor of integrative biology and physiology. He added, “With age, the number of bacterial cells increase substantially and the composition of bacterial groups changes.” In a previous study, he and his colleagues discovered that five or six days before flies died, their intestinal tracts became more permeable and started leaking. The new study entailed analysis of more than 10,000 female flies; the investigators found that they were able to detect bacterial changes in the intestine before the leaking began. Some of the fruit flies were given antibiotics that significantly reduce bacterial levels in the intestine, and the researchers found that these medications prevented the age-related increase in bacteria levels and improved intestinal function during aging. They also found that reducing bacterial levels in old flies can significantly prolong their life span.

“When we prevented the changes in the intestinal microbiota that were linked to the flies’ imminent death by feeding them antibiotics, we dramatically extended their lives and improved their health,” explained Dr. Walker said. (Microbiota are the bacteria and other microorganisms that are present in humans, other mammals, fruit flies and many other animals.) The fruit flies with leaky intestines that were given antibiotics lived an average of 20 days after the leaking began, which represented a significant portion of the insect’s life span. On average, flies with leaky intestines that did not receive antibiotics died within a week. “The health of the intestine, in particular the maintenance of the barrier protecting the rest of the body from the contents of the gut, is very important and might break down with aging,” explained lead author Rebecca Clark, PhD.


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Healthy Aging: Dealing With Diabetes

Survival tips and resources for seniors.

By Lisa Esposito

Getting older doesn't have to mean getting diabetes, but it does mean your risk increases. The majority of Americans with Type 2 diabetes are over 60, and rates rise sharply with age. While 11 percent of middle-aged adults have diabetes, it's nearly 22 percent for seniors 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The upside is, if you are diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, there are steps you can take and plenty of resources to help you stay as healthy as possible. 

Exercise, exercise, exercise: That's the best way keep prediabetes from progressing, says Linda Haas, a diabetes consultant in Seattle who specializes in gerontology. No need to become a mountaineer, Haas says: A doable 20 minutes of brisk daily walking may turn prediabetes around.

A major U.S. study found exercise worked particularly well for adults age 60 and older, reducing their risk of moving on to diabetes by 71 percent. And if you have diabetes, exercise helps keep your blood sugar under control. 

"Exercise and being active is one of the best things you can do for yourself, both psychologically and physically," says Haas, a former president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. One tip she often gives: Get a dog to guarantee daily walks for both of you. 

Group or gym activities have an added perk – interaction with others, which wards off isolation. SilverSneakers, a gym-based fitness program for seniors, is covered by some insurers, including Medicare. Senior centers also have classes to keep people healthy and connected.

Devices from pedometers to Fitbits allow you to measure steps, gauge your progress and gradually build endurance.

Mind your muscles: As people age, their bodies change in several ways that contribute to diabetes. "People become more insulin-resistant so that their own insulin doesn't work as well," Haas says. With age and less activity, abdominal fat increases, waistlines can widen and sarcopenia, or muscle-wasting, can occur. 

When patients reach 75 and older, age-related issues really come into play, says Dr. Medha Munshi, director of the geriatric diabetes program at Joslin Diabetes Center. Even frail seniors with diabetes benefit from increasing their activity, she says. ...



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Beat Aging : The Secret of those living past 100

Scientists crack the secret of centenarians

editor’s note: While this piece speculates on drug therapies, there are many ways to reduce inflammation — including exercise and micro-nutrients– that don’t involve pills.

For the first time, a team of experts from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, explored which biological and pathological processes may be the most important for successful aging after 100 years of age.

They identified that to live past the age of 100 you must keep inflammation down in the body and telomeres long – which are the part of human cells that affect how our cells age.

Severe inflammation is part of many diseases in the old, such as diabetes or diseases attacking the bones or the body’s joints, and chronic inflammation can develop from any of them.

Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, led the UK part of the study. He said: “Centenarians and supercentenarians are different – put simply, they age slower. They can ward off diseases for much longer than the general population.”

In groups of people aged 105 and over (semi-supercentenarians), those 100 to 104 (centenarians), those nearly 100 and their offspring, the team measured a number of health markers which they believe contribute towards successful ageing, including blood cell numbers, metabolism, liver and kidney function, inflammation and telomere length.

Scientists expected to see a continuous shortening of telomeres with age, however what they found was that the children of centenarians, who have a good chance of becoming centenarians themselves, maintained their telomeres at a ‘youthful’ level corresponding to about 60 years of age even when they became 80 or older....



Miss Manners Blames Boomers for Ruining Aging

4 ways she says we denigrate aging, and what to do instead

By Deborah Quilter

Syndicated etiquette columnist Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, may be about to ruffle feathers in certain circles, including cosmetic surgeons and dentists, hair colorists and all who favor enslaving themselves to the pursuit of finding eternal youth.

But Martin, once again, opts to uphold her principles in the face of prevailing fashions and speak out in favor of good manners.

In her latest book, Miss Manners: On Unabashed Aging, Martin cuts through the sometimes well-intentioned and frequently insidious way we disrespect our elders and disparage the process of aging itself.

Here is how she suggests we handle four fraught situations:

On Being Offered a Seat

So, dear reader here’s a test for you: let’s say you’re a very fit 65 or even 70. You take great pride in going to the gym, running marathons and watch your diet like a hawk. Your doctor tells you that your biological age is far younger than your chronological age. Your friends celebrate how youthful you look. Now, put yourself on a very crowded bus.

Someone in his 20s or 30s gets up to offer you a seat.

Your response is:

1.“I’m not old and feeble!”

2.“Thank you.”

3.“No, thank you.”

According to Martin, either B or C is correct. These days, among certain older people who pride themselves on their youthfulness, being offered a seat on a public transportation is interpreted as a “sneering commentary on one’s mental and physical fitness,” rather than a courtesy from a younger person who simply hopes to make an older person’s journey more pleasant. “The smallest signs of respect or consideration are often taken as insults and rudely rejected,” Martin declares.

Martin disapproves of the neo-Puritanical ethic among some boomers that holds that no one grows older and it’s a crime to do so. 

Using This Phrase and Wanting Others to, Too: ‘You Look GREAT’

Martin disapproves of the neo-Puritanical ethic among some boomers that holds that no one grows older and it’s a crime to do so. Older people are the instigators, Martin says. By insisting that people view them as youthful when they are not, they are encouraging the very thing they object to....


Who Needs the Internet: 

Senior Citizens are Being Left Behind

By Seth Anthony

There is a common misconception, the world over, that older adults are not interested in technology and eschew using the internet. I myself have been partial to this bias. I found myself being surprised at the people in my life who were using email, Facebook, and other social media services to stay in touch. This shouldn’t come as a shock, as I wrote in a previous blog post that women over the age of 50 are now the fastest growing demographic of social media users. Yet, there still remains a stigma of sorts around seniors using technology, especially the internet.

I’ve encountered many active seniors who choose not to use the internet, or even a computer. That’s perfectly fine, as it’s a choice they’ve made. On the other hand, there are many older adults who are actively embracing technology and using it to keep in touch with their friends and family, shrinking distances and building connections. But, there’s a gap in this population and I find it very disturbing.

Recently, the Pew Research Center released a report called “Who’s Not Online” that discusses internet adoption. It stated that 84% of adults are now online, which seems great! However, when one drills down into the statistics, we find that only 39% of adults 65 and older have access to the internet. Yes, some of this can be accounted for in those who choose to not use the technology. This still leaves a large subset of seniors who aren’t opposed to the internet but don’t have access to it. Why might that be?

The answer is simple – cost. Adults over the age of 65 are usually operating on a limited income. Purchasing the latest computers, tablets, and smartphones can be an expensive proposition, especially when knowing they will be obsolete in three to five years. 

Why should we care, though? What does it matter if grandma can’t get on the internet? She has a TV and a phone, right?.....


Rib Night at the Asylum

Although they may not be the center cut ribs one would be served in a real restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter, the pork ribs we get here at the Asylum are always a welcome treat. Though generally on the fatty side and more bone than meat, what there is of it is tender, well seasoned and juicy. This months ribs were even accompanied by still another rarely seen item, corn on the cob. And, while the piece of corn is only about the size of a dill pickle (I guarantee they got four of these out of a regular ear of corn), It was still a nice change from the usual baked potato, or rice. I would like to, see one thing. Perhaps they could serve some extra BBQ sauce on the side.........................................ff

What's Up With Fidel's Tracksuits?

Octogenarian former dictator finds comfort in his Fila’s

By Joshua Keating

If you haven’t been following Fidel Castro’s odd post-presidency, you might have been surprised to see the former Cuban leader wearing a blue Adidas tracksuit during his meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday. You shouldn’t be. Since his retirement, comfy athletic-wear has replaced military fatigues as the aging revolutionary’s signature look.

Castro has a collection that includes Nike, Puma, Fila and Reebok, but Adidas seems to be his favorite. A representative for the German sportswear manufacturer told the New York Times in 2006 that the company views Castro’s endorsement as “not a positive, not a negative.”

So why does Castro dress like he’s on his way to a shuffleboard engagement when world leaders come to pay a visit? There are a few possible explanations. The Marxist ex-leader may view business-wear as a bit too bourgeois; he rarely wore suits when he was in office with his drab olive fatigues symbolizing the continuing revolutionary struggle.

It may be something of a power play, making clear to foreign heads of state, many of whom were young children when he took power, that he feels no obligation to get dolled up for them when they come to pay their respects.

It may also be a sign of respect to his little brother Raul, the current president. When Fidel retired, many wondered if he would continue to exercise power behind the scenes. The outfits send a signal that he is very much retired. (Raul also keeps it pretty casual by world leader standards, but he did put on a suit and tie to greet the pope.)

Or maybe Fidel just likes to stay comfortable. 



Contact & Comment


It’s a matter of privacy. Again

It seems that every six months or so, I feel the need to complain about the lack of privacy one encounters in institutions such as assisted living facilities. This deficiency of reticence appears to be inherent in all facilities of this kind and something that is never discussed when one is looking for a place to spend one’s latter years. The marketing people who take you on a tour of the facility will never mention that any staff member can come into your room at any time, day or night. And, no matter how much you complain, scream, threaten or lament, the bottom line is, if they want to come into your room, they will.

Some residents, including myself, have gone so far as to put signs on their doors with specific instructions in regards to who, what, when and where someone may enter. And, while there is some respect afforded by some staff members to these requests for privacy, most of the time they are ignored. So what else can one do?

The first thing that any new resident should do is to establish himself as the kind of person who demands that his need for privacy be respected. This can be accomplished by having a heart to heart chat with the Case Management supervisor. Make it known to them that any disregard of your desire for privacy will be considered a matter tantamount to abuse. Believe me, the word “abuse” frightens the heck out of ALF administrators. Also, make it clear that you understand that there may be times when it is absolutely necessary for someone to enter your room unannounced. And that it is OK to do so only if it appears that there may be an emergency situation present. These would be times when you do not respond to numerous requests to enter or when it is known that you should be in your room and you are not.

Some states (N.Y. Included) require a nightly bed check. This means that a staff member may knock on your door (usually before 11 pm) and make note of your presence. This does not mean that they should come into your room if you don’t answer. They will tell you that it is against state regulations for you not to permit them to enter, whereby you should tell them that “Breaking and Entering” are also against state regulations and that they should stay the hell out of your room. The next morning make sure you speak to Case Management and tell them that you were very upset by someone entering your room while you were in bed. Don’t let them intimidate you. You are an adult human being who deserves that same respect as any other person regardless of their circumstances. Ask them how they would feel if someone came to their home and just walked in under the pretense that they were “just checking”. This puts the ball in their court and they will be at a loss to return the serve.

Fort the most part, this course of action has worked well for me. Essentially, they leave me alone. There are no more nightly bed checks and only some new housekeeping staff have acted otherwise. The most important thing is not to become a sheep. Make it known that you are an individual and not part of some stereotyped group whose feelings are no longer worth respect.



Nothing annoys residents more than having to wait on long lines for their medications. For some, it means waiting on line two or even three times a day. While we understand that at times the med room may be short staffed, there is no excuse for what was observed last Saturday morning.

In order to improve service, the recent installation of an additional window was supposed to cut in half the line of residents waiting for their meds. Unfortunately, the staff has failed to understand the proper use of these two windows as evidenced by one window almost completely empty while the line grows at another. (see photo above).

Frustration was increased even further when, as seen in the photo, it appears that one of the two med room techs on duty decided that it was more important to do whatever she was doing on the computer than to distribute medication to residents. This has got to stop. It must be made clear that Residents needs come first, and if that means putting aside some clerical work in order to speed up service then so be it.


Whose money is it anyway?

We need to have resident’s accounts explained

Many institutions that house seniors have what is known as a Personal Need or “Resident’s Account”. While regulations regarding these accounts may vary from state to state, basically they are alike. The purpose of these accounts is to safely keep and make available, cash that the resident (or family member) has deposited into such an account. This money is regardless of any funds the resident may have in his or her private checking or savings accounts. There is usually a specific staff member assigned to distribute these funds during regular business hours whenever a resident requests them. This cash is usually used for the purchase of incidentals from an in-house commissary or, from an outside source such as take-out food. The manner in which these funds are dispensed ordinarily does not present any problems. That is until it comes to explaining such things as why we (residents) don’t get ATM cards for these accounts. Why we don’t get monthly statements (we get only quarterly statements, and NOT from the bank which holds our funds). Also, if there are individual account numbers associated with these accounts, why are we not made aware of them for reference purposes? Finally, and something that really bothers me and something that has not been fully explained is “WHY DON’T WE GET ANY INTEREST ON THESE ACCOUNTS?” 

When we have asked to have this seemingly simple question answered by our accountant/bookkeeper, his only explanation is “Because you don’t, that’s why”. But, doesn’t it seem strange to you that, since all ALF’s and all nursing homes in our state are required to have such accounts, and that the total amount of money accumulated in these accounts must be in the millions (if not billions) of dollars, where is all that interest going to? And don’t tell me that there is no interest attached to these accounts. No bank or financial institution would keep and administer any money placed in their bank without charging a fee of some kind. And if it is not coming from any interest accumulated, then where is the money coming from to pay for the banks holding this money?"

While I am not saying that there is anything fishy going on here or that any banking regulations are being ignored, but what I would like is an explanation from a professional (preferably an administrator from the bank where these funds are held) to explain the details of this kind of account. It’s our money and I think we have the right to know where it is.

10 things assisted living won't tell you

By Jim Rendon 


Hidden fees, untrained caretakers and misleading marketing 

1. We’re a short-term solution. 

Since 1981, when assisted-living homes first made their debut as a sort of midpoint between home and a nursing home, they’ve only grown in popularity. Meanwhile, as the number of facilities and residents served has ballooned, so has the diversity of needs. Some homes cater to those who have trouble cooking or doing their own laundry; others, to those with dementia, loss of mobility and even more serious issues. But government regulations that could help protect families with a loved one in an assisted-living facility who is suffering from a chronic or degenerative illness are still few and far between.

Existing rules vary immensely from state to state, and even within a given state. In Florida, for instance, there are four different types of licenses for varying levels of care. There is no national standard for training: While some states require upwards of 25 hours of training for staffers, others have no minimum, only requiring that certain topics be covered. Furthermore, cautions Eric Carlson, directing attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center, though most facilities are required to keep at least one person on site overnight, in some cases that person may not be required to be awake.

Still, many people choose assisted-living facilities over nursing homes precisely because they offer residents more freedom in a less institutional and far less expensive setting. Indeed, residents who value their independence are often loath to give it up: People with severe health problems who in the past would have been moved to nursing homes are now staying longer in much less expensive assisted-living facilities, says Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care and former director of Florida’s long-term-care ombudsman program. And since the staff isn’t required to be trained to handle these health issues, he says, “assisted-living facilities can be more dangerous than nursing homes.”

2. If we don’t like you, you’re out. 

Knowing the limits of the care a facility can provide — and the thresholds of behavior or health that will lead to eviction — is as simple as looking at its contract, says Dave Kyllo, executive director of the National Center for Assisted Living. But who decides when those thresholds have been met? Not residents or their physicians. Management. People may be asked to leave because they are disagreeable, their health needs have become unpleasant, or they are transitioning to a less lucrative payment source (read: Medicaid), says Carlson. In those cases, it’s easy for a facility to claim that they can no longer care for an individual, whether or not that is actually true.

Unlike nursing homes, assisted-living facilities don’t have an industrywide process for appealing such decisions. California is one of a handful of states that require facilities hoping to evict someone to go to court (most states are silent on the process for eviction). But residents do have protections, even in states that do not have laws that pertain directly to evictions from assisted-living facilities, says Rajiv Nagaich, an elder-law attorney in Washington state. Local landlord-tenant laws and the Americans With Disabilities Act can be used to fight an unwanted eviction.

3. Ailing residents are cash cows. 

Three-quarters of facilities charge residents extra for a variety of services — from bringing meals and delivering packages to making the bed and administering pills. “There is no limit on what you can charge for,” says Jody Spiegel, director of the Nursing Home & Assisted Living Advocacy Project.

Here are several other thoughts (I've been through this with three elderly relatives in the past 15 years). 1) Some of these places are not financially sound, and it can be difficult to find that out. I recommend trying because you don't want to have to deal with a bankrupt assisted living facility.  Check their occupancy rate, for one thing. If less than 85-90% full, that could be a danger sign. And some of them are willing to show you their financials if you insist on it. 2. Medicare rates many of these facilities, as well as nursing homes and senior living facilities (especially continuing care facilities). Check out their web site.  3) Tour the place and look closely, as recommended in the article. Look for adequate numbers of staff, adequate staff training, appetizing meals, and absence of unpleasant odors (to name just a few things).  4) If the resident is more physically able, you might want to try a senior living or continuing care facility that has an assisted living section. A lot of the better places will offer several levels of care and will try to keep you in the most independent level possible. For example, they will keep you in senior living and out of assisted living by offering things like medical and assisted living services in your senior living apartment. That's usually a lot more comfortable and a lot less expensive than full-service assisted living, which may have much smaller rooms and fewer amenities.  The trick is getting the elderly individual to accept moving into such a facility while they are still reasonably healthy and thus eligible for admission. Usually, they would rather be in their own home (even if it is deteriorating from neglect). I had the best luck in this regard when the individuals were recovering from some sort of medical procedure and more open to the concept of a living facilities that doesn't require maintenance, pays all the bills, and provides maid service, laundry, companionship (other residents), and meals. 

My father, who was a very intelligent man, voluntarily chose to go into senior and, later, assisted living after my mother died while he was recovering from surgery. It was a very good decision on his part.  By contrast, another relative insisted on staying in her house until it nearly collapsed around her....


A romantic way to slow down Alzheimer’s?

By  Fredrick Kunkle

A new study has found tantalizing evidence that a highly concentrated form of a compound found in red wine and dark chocolate might be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

But it may be because the compound tricks the body into acting as if it’s not eating at all.

Scott Turner, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center and the study’s lead investigator, emphasized caution in interpreting the results of the trial, saying further research is needed to determine whether the compound is beneficial.

He also said people should not up their consumption of wine or take over-the-counter supplements.

But Turner said researchers were excited to find that resveratrol produced a measurable effect on an important biomarker of the disease’s advance in people who have mild or moderate Alzheimer’s: the level of an abnormal protein known as beta amyloid became stabilized in patients who consumed 2 grams of resveratrol a day.

Normally, the level of beta amyloid, which can be found in the bloodstream and in brain and spinal fluids, declines and changes in composition as Alzheimer’s advances because the protein instead forms toxic beta amyloid plaques in the brain.

But in the patients taking resveratrol, the rate of decline in beta amyloid levels slowed. The reason is unclear, Turner said.....



Lower Blood Pressure Guidelines Could Be 

‘Lifesaving,’ Federal Study Says


Declaring they had “potentially lifesaving information,” federal health officials said on Friday that they were ending a major study more than a year early because it has already conclusively answered a question cardiologists have puzzled over for decades: How low should blood pressure go?

The answer: way lower than the current guidelines.

For years doctors have been uncertain what the optimal goal should be for patients with high blood pressure. The aim of course is to bring it down, but how far and how aggressively remained a mystery. There are trade-offs — risks and side effects from drugs — and there were lingering questions about whether older patients needed somewhat higher blood pressure to push blood to the brain.

The study, called Sprint, randomly assigned more than 9,300 men and women ages 50 and over who were at high risk of heart disease or had kidney disease to of two systolic blood pressure targets: less than 120 millimeters of mercury, which is lower than any guideline ever suggested, or less than 140. (Systolic pressure is the higher of the two blood pressure numbers and represents pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts.)

The study was expected to conclude in 2017, but considering the results of great importance to public health, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute announced them Friday morning, saying a paper with the data would be published within a few months.

“This study provides potentially lifesaving information,” Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, director of the institute, said in a statement announcing the decision.....




When do aging drivers need help off the road?

By Robert Mentzer

On my way to and from work most days I pass a house where, in the front yard, a section of wrought iron fence is still bent and mangled from the car that smashed into my wife's car a few weeks ago.

That was not a fun text message to receive in a work meeting: "Accident. Car." I left in a hurry that day.

She was bruised up but no broken bones, no long-term injuries as far as we can tell. Her car was nearly totaled, though, and is still being repaired.

The man who hit her, an 85-year-old retired farmer, was uninjured. Approaching the red light, he said, he'd mistaken his gas pedal for his brake pedal, flooring the accelerator into traffic. He received a citation. He was very apologetic and he had insurance.

Car crashes happen every day, and though the damage to the vehicles was severe, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about what happened to Laura. Driving is a risk that almost all of us take each day. Anyone who has been in a crash knows that even a minor incident can shake you emotionally — but if you walk away, you're likely to be back behind the wheel, perhaps the next day.

In most places, there's just no other good way to get around.

That is part of the problem....




...and marriage

So Mom Wants to Remarry?

Dealing with Love and Marriage in Assisted Living

By Shayne Fitz-Coy

The golden years in assisted living facilities are rich with romance and friendship. Married adults are healthier than non-married ones. Ipso facto love leads to longer lives.

Late life marriages by an elderly family member can create tension and confusion. Sure, it’s true love, and who can begrudge that? But when Mom is tying the knot, your stomach may end up feeling like a pretzel.

Before mom leaps into a new union, make sure you look into the personal and legal aspects of remarriage.

Read on and follow these tips to celebrate the new relationship with the joy that it (hopefully) deserves.

Take stock and move forward.

·       Take time to process how you feel.

·       Think about this new union from Mom’s perspective. She doesn’t need your permission to get married, but she would like your support. Ask yourself: Are you able to give her that support? 

·       Remember that your mother has a right to be happy and so do you.  

Treat her like an adult. 

·       Honor your mother and respect her choice. Your role is not to debate her selection of partners. Your job is to love and support her. Stay in your lane.

·       Resist the urge to compare her new spouse to previous ones. This isn’t a bake off. This is your mother making a decision. Be a friend.

·       Exception to the Rules Above. If you suspect that your mother is in an abusive or fraudulent relationship or witness anything untoward, you have a duty to act. Savvy, loving caregivers protect loved ones against elder abuse.

Strengthen your relationship with Mom. 

·       Stay connected. Call her and set up a visit. Spend some alone time with her.  

·       Talk openly with her about how you feel. Own your feelings. You’re not 15 anymore. How you feel is your responsibility, not her fault. She may just be a great source of answers and confidence......



Erica Jong’s ‘Fear of Dying:’ life crisis, late middle-age version

Erica Jong’s new novel “Fear of Dying” follows a woman with an ailing husband and two aging parents who decides to cope by having an extramarital affair. Jong appears Sept. 18 at the Seattle Public Library.

By Misha Berson

You could call the poet and novelist Erica Jong the mother of sexy chick-lit.

Back in 1973, in the heyday of the second-wave feminist movement, Jong conjured an appealing protagonist named Isadora Wing. Attractive, bold, clever and unbridled, Isadora sought the kind of no-strings sexual freedom usually reserved for men, in novels and real life.

Her humorous, shameless search for satisfaction was a delectable feast for many female readers and made Jong’s “Fear of Flying” an international phenom that to date has sold 27 million books in 40 languages. The book launched an enduring catch phrase that’s unprintable in a family newspaper but has something to do with zippers.

Jong went on, some years later, to chronicle her own upbringing and aging in the memoir “Fear of Fifty.” But some reviewers didn’t take kindly to what they considered the author’s self-aggrandizing self portrait as a feminist trailblazer and an irresistible hot tomato with four marriages and many affairs to her credit.

In her latest fiction, “Fear of Dying,” (St. Martin’s Press, 228 pp., $26.99) Jong checks in again with women of her generation. She depicts a beautiful, former actress in her 60s named Vanessa Wonderman, who, when forced to face her own mortality, yearns for an extramarital affair to spice up a faded sex life. 

Her beloved husband, Asher, has had a heart attack and isn’t up to much in the sack. Her decrepit parents are dying slowly and miserably, and not sparing her from the “fetid aroma” of their Manhattan apartment, their deteriorating minds and the assaults performed by doctors on their withering bodies.....


What You Don't Know About Aging Could Kill You

By Sue Chen

Years ago, when I began visiting assisted living communities, I wanted to get to know my company's customers--older adults who would use stylish mobility equipment. I vividly recall a wall of pictures of the residents in their early 20s graced the entrance of one home. Many of the pictures showed handsome men and women in uniform, World War II veterans. Their eyes, like their futures, were hopeful and bright. I felt like I needed to know these people, to understand what they all must have experienced in life. 

But as I interacted with the residents, they all seemed surprised at my enthusiasm and interest. Some even told me that no one--even family members--had asked them about those "good old times" in years. I was saddened to hear that, but I know that this is the reality. As people age, those around them generally engage less and less--even when those people are war heroes who have flown fighter jets and nursed and saved the wounded.

In our society, adults 65 and older are often overlooked, and sometimes even mistreated. "There is mounting evidence to suggest that older adults constitute a stigmatized group in the United States (and in most Western societies)," according to a study by National Research Council (US) Committee on Aging Frontiers in Social Psychology, Personality, and Adult Developmental Psychology. If we behaved toward any other segment of the population the way we do toward older adults--imagine we engaged this little with toddlers--there would be a public outcry. Unfortunately, their needs, rights, and lives are regularly pushed aside, and most people seem to be unaware of it.

Aging is rarely talked about, even though it happens to all of us, every day. Even people who are 70 or 80 don't really think of themselves as aging. Why is it that we're so reluctant to talk about aging and the needs of aging adults? Why do we ignore and cast aside the older adults in our lives? 

The reason is simple: We're scared to think about getting older. Studies have shown that painful events cause more stress when they're further in the future. That may be why, in a recent survey by Aegis Living, young Millennials were just as scared of aging as older Boomers and Gen-Xers. 

But why does the idea of aging have to be a painful event at all?......


* * *

For Healthy Aging, Less Is More

By Timi Gustafson, RD

Several recently published studies on aging all seem to lead to the same conclusion: when it comes to diet and lifestyle choices, older adults are well advised to practice moderation. Whether it concerns weight management, physical activity, or alcohol and tobacco use, health experts urge people to consider their limitations and changing needs as they approach their senior years.

One such study, led by researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), found that gradual calorie restriction in mid-life could help lower the risk of many diseases later on. The findings confirm what has previously been shown only in animal studies, namely that reducing food intake could have a positive impact on aging and longevity, thereby supporting the message that weight control becomes ever more important in the second half of life.

Similarly, experts recommend age-appropriate behavior when it comes to exercise. While physical activity is crucial for healthy aging – as it is for good health in general – there are limits to what people can endure as they grow older. Of course, much depends on a person’s individual fitness level, but certain precautions should be observed regardless. The good news is that even smaller doses of regular exercise (emphasis on regular) can produce significant benefits, not only for the aging body but, equally as important, for the mind. As studies have shown, even less strenuous activities like walking, bicycling, or swimming can help improve heart health as well as cognitive abilities. But for seniors, trying harder may not necessarily lead to better results.

It has often been suggested that drinking alcohol, particularly red wine, may be beneficial for the heart. To be sure, those claims are not beyond dispute, and the jury is still out on what alcohol actually does for people’s well-being other than make them feel good. What is well established, however, is that consuming high amounts is dangerous and can have enormously detrimental consequences in multiple ways, including for aging. As it gets older, the human body becomes increasingly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol and is less able to handle its toxicity, according to research. That is why the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends for seniors no more than one glass of alcoholic beverages per day.....


* * * *

Getting Older? Here Are 7 Ways To Do It Right

By Erika Andersen

In 1900, the average 30 year old in the U.S. could expect to live another 35 yearsin other words, to die by age 65.  Today, the average 30-year-old can expect another 50 years of life; to live until age 80. And by the time those 30 year 0lds actually are 80, who knows what their life expectancy will be?

Our ideas about aging, and what it means to be over 50 – or 60, or 90 – seem to be stuck somewhere back in the middle of the 20th century. We still consider 65 (or 55, in some sectors) as standard retirement age, and we expect everyone to start slowing down and moving aside for the next generation as their age ticks past the half-century mark.

Ever since I turned 60 a few years ago, I’ve been realizing that these standard societal notions of what it means to be old – especially for women – just aren’t applying to me.  And most important, that I can craft my later years to be what I want them to be, rather than what anybody else tells me they must be.

I just read a wonderful article by Bonnie Hammer, a friend and client, at Fortune.com; an honest, feisty, bold rumination on being a 65-year-old woman in the media industry.  It felt like a lighthearted manifesto (if there can be such a thing), a quick poke in our collective assumptions about aging. It really resonated for me, and made me think about how we can live the life we want, rather than the one that’s prescribed for us. 

So let’s get practical.  If you find yourself on the AARP side of 50, and you don’t want to follow the path laid down for you by society’s expectations, here are seven things you can do to age like a fine wine or a great violin, vs. a can of diet coke or a cheap car:

1. Think about yourself.  I’ve been coaching an executive lately, an extremely bright and successful woman in her early 50s, who is realizing that she never really focused on what kind of life she wanted to create for herself. As a younger person in the work world trying to juggle a marriage, two kids, a career, an extended family, and community commitments, she spent decades just trying to do what was in front of her as well as she could. As we get older, many of us have the luxury of choice for the first time. When you don’t have so many things and people clamoring for your attention on a daily basis, you can think about what you’d like the rest of your life to look like.  Want to keep working? Figure out how to make that happen on your terms.  Want to stop working? Figure out how to make that happen on your terms.  Want to create some new version of work/not work? Figure out how to… you get the idea. Don’t assume you have to do or can’t do anything. Get clear about what you love and what you’re good at, and make a life that you truly want to live.

2. Wear purple. There’s a wonderful poem that starts, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.”  One of the truly great things about getting old is that you can, in ways subtle and grand, thumb your nose at convention with fewer consequences than when you were younger.  For instance, when my husband and I got married in our mid-fifties, we did it precisely when and how we wanted.  We said what we wanted to say, we invited who we wanted to invite. I felt like wearing a very wedding-ish white dress, never having done that before, and so I did. There were no parents to frown us down, and our kids may have rolled their eyes at some of our choices – but they weren’t the deciding vote.  And they all ended up having a grand time. It’s true at work, too.  A friend of mine who is nearing 60 and has always been a very by-the-book executive decided that he wanted to move south to be near his kids and grandchildren, and proposed to his boss, the CEO of their NYC-based company, that he could do his job 3 days a week long-distance and two days a week in New York.  The boss said yes.

3. Use everything. Most traditional cultures revered older people as the carriers of wisdom and the archivists of the group’s knowledge and experience.  In the modern world – not so much.  We tend to assume that any knowledge older people have is outdated or downright irrelevant, and to dismiss the value of their contributions. You, however, can think differently about this. You can value what you bring to the party. You’ve amassed a great deal of experience, skill, and knowledge that isn’t time-sensitive: how to deal with people; how to get stuff done; how to navigate complex environments; how to teach others and support their success.  And age also often brings a specific kind of wisdom: when you’ve seen and heard and experienced a lot, if you’re a reasonably reflective person you’re going to be able to extract some useful patterns from all that living, and offer those insights to those around you.  You’ll probably tend to be less reactive, and to be more interested in hearing what other people have to say.  Even if others dismiss you, don’t dismiss yourself: bring all that your life has taught you to everything you do, and you’ll be able to use it to accomplish great things for many years to come.



Why Technology Is The Catalyst For A New Era Of Aging In Place


In Stanley Kubrick's epic 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey," Hal, the defiant onboard computer, foreshadows a future of runaway artificial intelligence. More recently, fears about machines making work obsolete and apocalyptic visions of robot revolts have been subjects of discussion in think tanks, academic institutions and media outlets. As futurists debate the merits and risks of new technologies, we know today that technological progress is providing solutions for a new generation of older adults who seek to remain active, contributing and connected to their families, friends, and communities. As we note in our recent Milken Institute "Best Cities for Successful Aging" report, an overwhelming majority of older adults express a desire to age at home and in place. Technological advances may be an answer to that challenge.

The proliferation of the "Internet of things" is in full swing, and older adults will be beneficiaries. Wearables and digital devices monitor health and movement data and enhance safety. Phones, computers and social networks provide connections to family, friends, physicians and caregivers, and almost instant access to a wide range of products and services. Virtual workplaces and distance learning elevate knowledge, productivity and purpose. Thoughtful architecture and computer-assisted design create new-generation homes that are built to accommodate aging, with navigable floors, doorways and rooms, counter heights for standing or sitting, thermostats that are easy to set and entertainment options that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Older adults can look to technology for help in preparing meals and ensuring that the right medicine is taken at the right time. Tuned to particular needs and preferences, home environments will be customized and personalized as technological innovation brings out the best of both human and machine. ...


SENIOR POWER: Amend the Constitution?

Helen Rippier Wheeler

When the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally signed, women were provided the right to vote in 1920. It had been introduced 42 years earlier. Sixteen other nations had already guaranteed this right… 

Why then, is an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution necessary? Because it would be designed to guarantee equal rights for women and men. Alas, that guarantee continues to be needed.  

Eleven states have adopted constitutions or constitutional amendments providing that equal rights under the law shall not be denied because of sex. Most of these provisions mirror the broad language of the ERA, while the wording in others resembles the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Fourteenth Amendment. 

It was Congressional Representative Bella Savitsky Abzug who said, “The inside operation of Congress—the deals, the compromises, the selling out, the co-opting, the unprincipled manipulating, the self-serving career-building—is a story of such monumental decadence that I believe if people find out about it they will demand an end to it.”  

Seventy-eight year old Bella (D-NY) introduced in Congress legislation designating August 26 annually as Women's Equality Day in the United States of America. Women's Equality Day this year is Wednesday, August 26. A few years ago there was a poll that queried, should Women's Equality Day be a federal holiday? The results were: 

• Yes, make it a federal holiday on August 26 (69%)

• Yes, but make it a moveable feast, something like the last Monday in August (25%)

• No federal holiday---just leave it (6%)

What does all this have to do with senior power, with old Americans? One might well also ask whether old people vote. In the United States, the oldest citizens are the most likely to cast their ballots, which gives us political clout beyond our numbers alone. ....



How to Get a Social Security Lump Sum Benefit

This little-known goodie comes with some drawbacks

By Bob Rosenblatt

You probably don’t know it, but Social Security can give you a big, lump-sum check for $40,000 or $50,000 or even more — a bonus, like winning a lottery. Should you take the bucks?

It’s a complex business and depends on your age, your health, whether you are married and how much money you have in the bank or your stock portfolio. One more thing: If you take the lump sum, you may be giving up an even bigger retirement check from Social Security for the rest of your life.

The lump-sum bonus is a gift available to people who reach what’s known as Social Security’s Full Retirement Age without having begun collecting benefits. (Full Retirement Age, in 2015, is 66 if you’re between age 61 and 72; 67 for those age 55 or younger and somewhere in between 66 and 67 for people age 56 to 60.)

The File-and-Suspend Strategy for a Lump Sum

One way to get the lump sum from Social Security is by doing what’s known as “file and suspend.”

That means claiming your benefits after you reach Full Retirement Age and before age 70, but not taking them. Meantime, you’ll be accruing an 8 percent bonus in the size of your monthly checks, until age 70 — those are called delayed retirement credits. If, after you suspend benefits, you decide you’re ready to start collecting, you can get a lump sum from Social Security for the amount you would’ve received between the date you filed and now....

More Questions to Answer Before You Pull the Retirement Trigger.....


Dietitian Magician: Excess salt speeds aging


Scientists already have determined high levels of body fat are known to hasten the aging process, and the new study found salt seems to work hand-in-hand with obesity to speed the effect further still. The scientists found even among teens, high sodium intakes and obesity appeared to act synergistically to accelerate cellular aging.

Why be concerned?

Children are ingesting a worryingly high amount of salt, and dietary habits in childhood and teen years influences eating patterns later in life. Luckily for the parents of teens, liking salt and salty foods is a learned behavior and can be altered.

What to do

• Lower your sodium intake, especially if you are overweight or obese. This may slow down the aging process and reduce the development of heart disease.

• The majority of sodium in the diet comes from processed foods (with breads, pizza crust, buns, pancakes and waffles taking top honors), so parents can help by reading food labels on these items and making a lower sodium switch when possible.

• Substitute cantaloupe cubes for chips.

• Snack on pistachios instead of pizza rolls.

• Try frozen yogurt with peach slices instead of pretzels.

• If cooking a boxed meal, omit some of the seasoning packet.

• Make your own taco seasoning.

• Buy string cheese instead of cottage cheese......


The Best Meal of the Day

Too many seniors are missing out on a good thing

I guess I have been a breakfast person all of my life. I can’t even remember the last time I did not eat something for breakfast. Even when I was deathly ill, I forced down whatever I could. There is something very comforting about this meal which goes far beyond the need to nourish oneself. 

During my working years, breakfasts weren’t what I would have liked them to be. Usually, it was a quick bagel with a schmear and a cup of coffee or, if I had time, a fried egg on a roll from one of the pushcarts on the street. But now that I have all the time in the world, I like to savor every minute of the “King of meals”. Unfortunately, and something that I find very odd, the one meal of the day residents seem to forget here at the Asylum is breakfast.

Personally, I like to begin with cereal, in my case oatmeal. The Center actually makes some of the best hot oatmeal I have ever had. It’s creamy, smooth and oaty, all at the same time. Just what I need to kick things off.

The eggs are next. And, even if we can’t get soft boiled, poached or anything with “runny” yolks, the scrambled eggs or omelets are quite good. Combine this with toast, orange juice and a cup of nice hot coffee, I am ready to take on the challenges of the day. 

That is why I am surprised when I notice many of my fellow residents, either skip breakfast altogether or eat such meager fare as to make it almost like having nothing at all. I can understand not eating lunch (which is often strange and incomplete), or dinner, which is filled with carbs and overcooked meats. But breakfast? Perhaps what we need is a little more nutrition information from our do-nothing dietitian. Meanwhile, I’ll have another western omelet please.


What doesn’t belong here?

The photo above shows perfectly tasty sea bass fillets degraded by imitation crab meat which, when heated, becomes a soft, mushy glop reverting back to its origin as surimi. Below, you will find a brief explanation of what surimi is (From Wikipedia).

Surimi :Japanese:  literally refers to a paste made from fish or other meat, as well as multiple Asian foods that use surimi as its primary ingredient. It is available in many shapes, forms, and textures, and often used to mimic the texture and color of the meat of lobster, crab, and other shellfish.

Who owns "Happy Birthday Now"?

Why Should We Pay for ‘Happy Birthday’?

The famous birthday song—more than a century old and still protected by copyright—shows how copyright law has become a corporate welfare program.

The oldest person in the world, a New Yorker named Susannah Mushatt Jones, recently celebrated her 116th birthday. But the song they sang to commemorate the event, the familiar “Happy Birthday to You,” is even older. That song dates back to 1893, six years before Ms. Jones’s birth.

And therein lies a peculiar tale. The people who organized the birthday celebration at a senior citizen center in Brooklyn may owe money for the privilege of serenading this most senior of senior citizens. Believe it or not, “Happy Birthday to You” is still protected by copyright.

It’s a lucrative copyright. Warner Music Group allegedly earns $2 million per year from this 19th-century song. Whenever the birthday melody is sung on television or a film, or even in a public performance (including restaurants and possibly senior citizen centers), money is due to the copyright holder.

The use of the song in a film is rumored to cost as much as $10,000. The steep price tag has inspired some filmmakers to look for less expensive alternatives. Don’t be surprised if you see a birthday scene on screen with revelers singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” instead. That song, dating back to 1709, is in the public domain......



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An Old Codger (Me), Looks at The State of

American Presidential Politics Today

I remember walking into the basement of the little church near my home in Queens to cast my vote for the President of the United States of America. It was a proud day for me and, I think, for my father who accompanied me to the polling place that Tuesday morning before work. I was 18 years old and this was my first time voting in a real election. I don’t think that there was a prouder person in that room that day. As a registered voter, I now had an actual say in how my country would be governed for the next four years. I stepped into that voting booth with reverence as if it were some holy place where only the pious were allowed. I remember reading the list of candidates for the various elected positions both nationally and locally. Judges, councilmen, congressmen and state senators and, of course, president. The only names on that ballot that I was familiar with were the names of the two people running for the highest position in the land. For months I had been listening to the TV ads, reading the papers and watching the debates, but it was not until the last couple of weeks of the long and tedious campaign that I truly made up my mind.  

Traditionally, my family were Democrats, so flipping the lever down next to all the Democratic nominees was a no-brainer. However, before I flipped the lever down next to the line that read “For President of the United States”, I paused for a moment to reflect. This was important, I thought, I needed to be sure. For me, the decision was not that black and white. Both candidates had made their points known. And, although one made out better in the debates and spoke of America being able to do great things, the other was a steady, tried and true leader and former Vice President who had served under one of America’s great heroes. Both, I thought, were decent men who would do right by us and the nation. However, here I was, a young man just starting out in life and the exuberance of that man from Massachusetts stirred something in me. Maybe what we needed were some new ideas. The old guard had, for years, represented old thinking and old thinkers. This man with the chiseled good looks, the shock of hair and the hot wife represented the future. I pulled the lever and John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States. It was a simple choice back then. It was the old vs. the new. Today, unfortunately, the choice may not be so clear. It isn’t a matter of old or new anymore. It’s not even a matter of what is best for the country. Today’s politics has become much more personal. It’s all about “How is this going to affect ME and my family. Will I be better off if this person becomes president? Are MY convictions being ignored?” 

On one side, we have a group of candidates who want America to return to it’s pre-1960 values. Values that, unfortunately, ignored much of our population. On the other side, we have one candidate that appears to have a problem with authority and not able to take a positive stand on anything. Combine that with the other candidate of that party who would like us to give up many of our Judeo/Christian beliefs for the benefit of some socialist Utopia where everybody will be equal to everybody else. Will this election boil down to two candidates, one with a misguided sense of morality or the other who would like a better distribution of our personal wealth? For some, this distinction is clear, for others, not so much. I don’t want to be looked upon as the “bad guy” because I think America’s borders should be better secured or that “stop and frisk” should be continued.  While on the other hand I don’t want to be labeled a “Commie” just because I think the minimum wage should be raised to $15 and hour or that a woman has the right to have jurisdiction over her own body.

I have voted in just about every election, whether it was local or national since Kennedy and Nixon went at it in 1961. Sometimes my guy won sometimes he didn’t. Was America ruined because the candidate who’s views I didn’t agree with got elected? No, of course not. We have checks and balances to take care of that. But this time I am not so sure. The person that we elect as the leader of our country, and the congress who will undoubtedly be elected on his coattails, will signify to, not only us Americans, but to the rest of the world what kind of country the U.S.really is. Will we still be admired as the country with welcoming arms ready to set your huddled masses free or, will we be looked at as an introverted, dispassionate society where, unless you are a certain color or speak a certain language “Your kind ain’t welcome here”. You will need to cast your ballots wisely my friends because today, we are what we vote.


Tag Sale 2015

The Center held its annual tag sale last Wednesday and by all indications it was a success. While not everything was sold, much of what was offered found a good home with a new owner. The Center’s Residents (an some of their friends and relatives) donate unwanted, slightly used or new merchandise for sale. The proceeds go to a resident’s general fund which is used for the purchase of various “favors” for the residents. In the past money from this fund has purchased an air hockey table and dart board for resident’s use. 


Twice Weekly “Shuttle” Service a Big Hit

Transportation to and from shopping centers has always been a problem for the residents here at the Center. In fact, until a few weeks ago, the only way for us to get to a supermarket, drugstore, bank or even just a pizza parlor, was to either wait on the phone for hours for a Paratransit operator or sign up for one of a few monthly trips to places you may not want to go. But now, through the efforts of our management, we have a regularly scheduled “shuttle” service that takes residents to a shopping center where many essential stores and services are located. The service is free and operates twice a week every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons ay 2pm. It’s nice to be able to report on something that actually works here.

Is your house too young for you?

By Michele Parente

If you’re among the estimated 90 percent of older Americans who want to stay put, or “age in place,” you might want to look around. Are all the bedrooms upstairs? Do you have to climb into the tub? Are the cabinets too high and the appliances too low?

Any of those could lead to a fall and, experts say, that could mean aging in place — at a hospital or nursing home. 

“We’re dealing with an enormous segment of our society and what concerns me is that people are not safe on their own,” 

Only two cities in the country, New York and Portland, have been designated age-friendly by the World Health Organization, which studies how communities around the globe are responding to the graying and urbanization of the world’s population.

Everything from the availability of public seating to well-maintained, paved sidewalks with tapered curbs to buildings with elevators, affordable transit and event times scheduled to suit older people’s schedules, can contribute to an age-friendly community, according to the WHO....



Assisted living facilities nurture the mind, 

body, and spirit of their residents

By Gary L. Calligas

Every third week in September, assisted living facilities across the country have a week long celebration to share the countless ways they nourish the lives of their residents, their mind, body, and spirit, each and every day.

A senior living option between retirement apartment and a nursing home is an assisted living facility. Assisted living facilities are a combination of housing, personalized supportive services and health care designed to respond to individual needs of those who require help with activities of daily living. Assisted living facilities provide care for senior citizens and others who need some help with activities of daily living yet wish to remain as independent as possible. A true middle ground between independent living and nursing homes, assisted living facilities aim to foster as much autonomy as the resident is capable of, but offer a variety of dining services, housekeeping, laundry, assistance with medications, transportation to shopping and medical appointments, exercise and fitness facilities and classes; social programs and educational presentations, and often programs to stimulate the brain and mental health.. Most facilities offer 24-hour supervision and an array of support services, with more privacy, space, and dignity than many nursing homes — and often at a much lower cost. An assisted living facility helps seniors with personal care (also called custodial care), such as: bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, grooming, and getting around. Residences in assisted living facilities can be very different in size, appearance and the types of services offered.

Each residential unit generally has living area and a bedroom with a cooking device/microwave*, refrigerator and private bathroom. Assisted living residences typically offer different levels of care at different costs. Residents may have to move to a higher level of care if the assisted living facility can permanently no longer meet their needs. Residents and/or families pay for services privately, but there is limited financial assistance including possible VA coverage and possible private long-term insurance coverage. Medicare does not cover the cost of living in an assisted living facility, but may cover needed skilled services, hospice services, and other health care needs.


*Editor’s note: Microwaves (or other “heat producing” appliances are not permitted in resident’s rooms in some facilities. This varies from state to state and from facility to facility.

“Because sometimes, you just don’t know everything”

What's The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid?

Medicare and Medicaid are both government-sponsored programs designed to help cover healthcare costs. Because the programs have similar names, people are often confused about how the programs work and what coverage they offer. While both were established by the U.S. government in 1965 and are taxpayer funded, they are actually very different programs with differing eligibility requirements and coverage. In the most basic sense, Medicare is designed to help with long-term care for the elderly, while Medicaid covers healthcare costs for the poor, but there is much more to it than this.

Read on as we cut through the jargon and provide some basic insight on what each program covers and exactly who is eligible. 

Medicare is a federal program attached to Social Security. It is available to all U.S. citizens 65 years of age or older and it also covers people with certain disabilities. It is available regardless of income. The four-part program includes: 

•Part A: Hospitalization coverage

•Part B: Medical insurance 

•Part C: Privately purchased supplemental insurance that provides additional services and through which all Medicare services offered by Part A and Part B can be accessed

•Part D: Prescription drug coverage (For specific information on prescription drugs, see Getting Through The Medicare Part D Maze.) 

Parts A and B are paid for by payroll taxes and deductions from Social Security income. Parts C and D are paid out-of-pocket by program participants. In 2006, prescription drug coverage (Part D) was added to the program to address the growing concern over skyrocketing drug costs. (For additional information about the Medicare program's coverage and eligibility rules, see Medicare: Defining the Lines.)


Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps low-income individuals and families pay for the costs associated with medical and long-term custodial care. The federal government funds up to 50% of the cost of each state's Medicaid program, with more affluent states receiving less funding than less affluent states. Because of this federal/state partnership, there are actually 50 different Medicaid programs, one for each state.

Unlike Medicare, which is available to everyone, Medicaid has strict eligibility requirements. The rules vary by state (beyond the basics set forth in the federal guidelines), but the program is designed to help the poor, so many states require Medicaid recipients to have no more than a few thousand dollars in liquid assets to participate in the program. There are also income restrictions. For a state-by-state breakdown of eligibility requirements see these websites Benefits.gov and BenefitsCheckUp.org.

While the program is federally mandated to serve the poor, just being poor may not be enough to qualify for Medicaid. Other eligibility requirements are in place to ensure that the program serves specific groups, such as families, pregnant women, children, caretakers of children, the disabled and the elderly.

Services vary by state, but the federal government mandates coverage for the following services when they are deemed "medically necessary":  


•Laboratory services


•Doctor services

•Family planning

•Nursing services

•Medical and surgical dental services 

•Nursing facility services for people aged 21 or older 

•Home healthcare for people eligible for nursing facility services 

•Clinic treatment 

•Pediatric and family nurse practitioner services 

•Midwife services

•Screening, diagnosis and treatment services for persons under age 21 

Each state also has the option of including additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, optometrist services, eyeglasses, medical transportation, physical therapy, prosthetic devices and dental services. People covered by Medicaid pay nothing for these covered services.

Medicaid is also often used to fund long-term care, which is not covered by Medicare or by most private health insurance policies. In fact, Medicaid is the nation's largest single source of long-term care funding. The high cost of such care and the requirement that Medicaid recipients have virtually no assets has even fostered a cottage industry of attorneys that specialize in helping people divest their assets so that they qualify for Medicaid. (To learn what you can do now to keep your options open in the future, see Long-Term Care Insurance: Who Needs It? and Long-Term Care: More Than Just A Nursing Home.)

Working Together For Your Health

The Medicare and Medicaid programs work together to provide medical coverage to elderly and poor people. Medicare is the primary medical coverage provider for many persons aged 65 and older and for those with a disability. Eligibility has nothing to do with income level. Meanwhile, Medicaid eligibility is designed for people with limited income, and it is often a program of last resort for those without access to other resources.


Read more: What's The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid? http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/medicare-vs-medicaid.asp#ixzz3lLNWLyMO 

The Surprising Differences Between How Men and Women Age

by Renee Jacques

Have you ever noticed that as men age, they often develop deep wrinkles on their foreheads but don't seem to get quite as many lines around their mouth? Well, there's an explanation for that. And it might not be what you think.

"When it comes to aging, your gender plays a large role," says Terrence Keaney, a Washington, D.C.–based dermatologist who runs the country's first cosmetic, hair, and laser surgery center for men. (He's also a spokesman for Dove Men + Care.) "The opening in the skull around the eyes is actually larger in men, and there's less bony support, which makes it more likely for men to have hollow, deep-set eyes that will potentially start to develop bags as they age." These structural differences between men and women play an important role in aging, agrees Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "The bony structures of men and women have consistent structural differences and change differently with age, which helps explain why men and women have characteristic patterns of aging," he says.

Though the wrinkles men develop on their faces may be deeper than those women might get, men seem to have an advantage when it comes to fine lines around the mouth. The reason, according to Keaney? They have beards. He cites a 2009 study suggesting that men have a higher number of sebaceous glands around the mouth area, making the skin thicker and more resistant to movement. "When you think about how we form wrinkles, it all comes down to the skin's elasticity," says Keaney. "When we smile, the skin moves with the muscle movements. When you're young, the skin moves back into place. But when you're older, you lose that elasticity. You don't see many fine lines around the mouth in men because their hair follicles are a big, rigid protein sitting four millimeters below the skin's surface. These thick proteins protect the skin when it moves and provide structural support."....


“... ursolic acid, which is found in apple peel, and tomatidine, which comes from green tomatoes, as small molecules that can prevent acute muscle wasting caused by starvation and inactivity.”

Keeping older muscles strong

University of Iowa scientists discover cause of a potential treatment for muscle weakness and loss due to aging

By: Jennifer Brown

As we grow older, we lose strength and muscle mass. However, the cause of age-related muscle weakness and atrophy has remained a mystery.

Scientists at the University of Iowa have discovered the first example of a protein that causes muscle weakness and loss during aging. The protein, ATF4, is a transcription factor that alters gene expression in skeletal muscle, causing reduction of muscle protein synthesis, strength, and mass. The UI study also identifies two natural compounds, one found in apples and one found in green tomatoes, which reduce ATF4 activity in aged skeletal muscle. The findings, which were published online Sept. 3 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, could lead to new therapies for age-related muscle weakness and atrophy.

"Many of us know from our own experiences that muscle weakness and atrophy are big problems as we become older," says Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine in the UI Carver College of Medicine, and senior study author. "These problems have a major impact on our quality of life and health."

Previously, Adams and his team had identified ursolic acid, which is found in apple peel, and tomatidine, which comes from green tomatoes, as small molecules that can prevent acute muscle wasting caused by starvation and inactivity. Those studies set the stage for testing whether ursolic acid and tomatidine might be effective in blocking the largest cause of muscle weakness and atrophy: aging.

In their latest study, Adams' team found that ursolic acid and tomatidine dramatically reduce age-related muscle weakness and atrophy in mice. Elderly mice with age-related muscle weakness and atrophy were fed diets lacking or containing either 0.27 percent ursolic acid, or 0.05 percent tomatidine for two months. The scientists found that both compounds increased muscle mass by 10 percent, and more importantly, increased muscle quality, or strength, by 30 percent. The sizes of these effects suggest that the compounds largely restored muscle mass and strength to young adult levels.


 Choosing a Dog in Your Golden Years

By Daphne Mallory

One way to stop loneliness and depression in your golden years is to get a companion dog. A study conducted by the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA showed that just having a dog around can improve your mood. It can make a difference, but the wrong dog might be more trouble than it’s worth. A few dog breeds have proven to be a good match for aging adults.

A Shih Tzu can live up to 16 years and weighs on average 10 pounds. They’re not aggressive like some small breeds, but they do require a grooming routine. Regular brushing is required, but that’s the point. The responsibility of looking after one will keep you focused on the joy of caring for your dog, instead of a long-term problem or illness. If you decide to buy or adopt one, make sure it’s house broken first. You may not have the strength (or want the hassle) to train one on your own.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is another small breed that’s recommended for seniors. Most dogs weigh about 15 pounds. The good news about owning one is that they don’t require a lot of exercise. However, a light amount of exercise will help with weight control and will encourage you to get outdoors. Shedding is also a challenge. You’ll be forced into a routine to control it. The upside is that these dogs are friendly and make great companions.

Smaller breeds are often recommended because they can be easier to handle. They can also be a fall risk for some seniors. ...


The Silent Crisis of Aging

By Cody Fenwick

Our society is plagued by a crisis of aging that is weakening, infecting and killing hundreds of millions of us every year. We rarely think of it this way - aging is seen as a natural part of life rather than a crisis - but many serious researchers and philosophers argue that our typical views on the naturalness and acceptability of death are mistaken.

Philosopher Nick Bostrom wrote a fable, initially published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, as an analogy to our acceptance of aging as natural. In the story, a dragon-tyrant rules over humanity, demanding 10,000 victims to be consumed daily. But the dragon has been around as long as anyone can remember, and the taking of victims is a well-established and accepted facet of life. While they find the losses of the victims tragic and the victims' families mourn, it is simply understood that this is just the way things are and the way they have always been.

Should they, if they had the opportunity, rid themselves of the dragon, thus saving countless lives? Of course, it seems obvious to us that they should. Suppose there's no obvious way to defeat the dragon - shouldn't they spend significant resources investigating and developing plans to defeat the dragon? Again, the answers seem obviously to be yes.

But this story, Bostrom argues, is exactly the situation we are in with regards to death. We have no obvious solution to the problem of aging, but it takes it's toll on each of us and is responsible for untold deaths every moment. It may be in our nature, a fundamental part of who we are and our societies, but that doesn't mean we have to accept it, just as we shouldn't have to accept a dragon-tyrant.....



The 85-and-over population is projected to increase 351% between 2010 and 2050.

The most interesting thing about that trend, the report notes, is that it was totally unexpected: "The progressive increase in survival in these oldest age groups was not anticipated by demographers, and it raises questions about how high the average life expectancy can realistically rise and about the potential length of the human lifespan."

'One of society’s greatest achievements' — 

in a simple chart of the past 175 years

By Lauren F Friedman

If you were born in 1900, you had a pretty good chance of dying by your 50th birthday. Today, thanks to improved health and safety around the world, that would be — in many countries — a life cut short by at least a few decades.

"The dramatic increase in average life expectancy during the 20th century ranks as one of society’s greatest achievements," notes a report from the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

That dramatic increase — approximately three additional months in life expectancy each year — is clear in the chart below (which looks only at women in a subset of developed countries, though trends are similar among men):

These gains have not been universal; the average life expectancy in the world's least developed countries is still about 61.

But overall, people are living longer. A number of factors have contributed to this upswing in our longevity, including declining infant deaths, better management of infectious diseases, and more widespread access to clean water. In the decades leading up to the nineteenth century, much of the improvement in life expectancy was not because people were living into what we now consider old age — it's because fewer children were dying before they reached adulthood.

In the 20th century, we finally began to see the trend that's continuing now: fewer deaths at older and older ages.  

Most scientists agree that there is in fact a limit on how long, physically, we can live: rising averages aside, no one has ever been documented as living beyond 122. "Getting to about 110 is really approaching the limit of the human lifespan," explains Thomas Perls, an attending geriatrician at Boston Medical Center and professor at the Boston University School of Medicine....

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-has-life-expectancy-changed-throughout-history-2015-6#ixzz3lRCXF3He

US President Candidate's Platform To Fight Aging And Death

By Darlene Tverdohleb

The usual topics debated in American presidential elections are going around unprecedented national debt levels, undocumented immigration, clean energy, social security, unemployment, the economy, Medicare, taxes, international politics, the role of the U.S. on the global state, North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs and climate change. 

To these, we could expect this year to add the increasing tensions with the Russians, after their involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. On this kind of issues, we expect to hear political debates from both Democratic and Republican candidates during their presidential election campaigns. However, in case of Zoltan Istvan, he is a very different type of candidate for the presidency of the U.S. and his electoral platform might be surprising for most of us.

Zoltan Istvan, despite the fact that his name is not well known to the mainstream media, is the founder and the president of the American Transhumanist Party. This political organization is promoting on using science and technology advances in order to solve most of the world's problems. And one of the ambitious goals of the transhumanist movement is nothing less than to solve the issues of death and aging. The Transhumanist Party of America has the aim to transform research for anti-aging and longevity solutions in a political issue as big as social security, Medicare or immigration.

For Istvan and the transhumanist movement, aging and death are not natural phenomena but rather the biggest plagues of our times. Since the big advancements in science and technology in the 21st century, humankind can find the cure, according to them. According to the president of the Transhumanist Party, most of his presidential campaign is focused on explaining to the electors that aging is actually a disease and as any disease it can be cured.


Hunger- Obesity Paradox for Older Americans

By Joel Berg

Given that older adults sacrificed so much to establish and protect life in America as we know it, why do we allow millions of them to face the threat of hunger? And why do we allow millions of older adults—some of whom also face hunger—to suffer, against their will, from obesity?

The answer is that our national policies are fundamentally broken and our national priorities are fundamentally skewed. Instead of raising income, reducing expenses and providing more subsidized food for our elders, national leaders have funded wars and tax cuts for the wealthy, and proposed cuts to Social Security.

Federal USDA/SNAP benefits. Formerly the Food Stamp Program, SNAP is a federal program funded by the USDA. In 2012, overall program funding was $78.4 billion, but only 9 percent of SNAP recipients were older adults. Program participants use an electronic benefit card to buy any food they want (excluding prepared foods for immediate consumption) at food stores and farmers markets. Given that the average benefit for older adults equals only about $1.44 per meal, many older SNAP recipients report trouble affording the healthiest, most expensive, foods. The USDA also funds a small program ($21 million per year) to increase the purchasing power of elders at farmers markets.

Food Insecurity by the Numbers

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2013, 2.9 million (9 percent) of households with older adults experienced food insecurity—meaning they couldn’t always afford an adequate supply of food. Fully 1.1 million (9 percent) of households of elders living alone experienced food insecurity. Meaning, in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, nearly 1 in 10 older adults lacks sufficient food.

Such food insecure elders, according to a 2009 University of Kentucky study sponsored by the Meals on Wheels Association of America, are at increased risk for chronic health conditions, even when controlling for other factors such as income. Sixty percent are more likely to experience depression, 53 percent are more likely to report a heart attack, 52 percent are more likely to develop asthma and 40 percent are more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure....


The Challenges of the Aging Industry

By Carol Marak

The aging business has grown extensively over the past decade. There are more services and products that help older adults live a better life today than ever before, and research and development indicate more growth and advancement. The next decade will supply health care and financial benefits to keep the boomer population thriving.

But despite the promising future, senior care providers remain suspicious that consumers don’t fully comprehend the effort it takes to prepare for this stage. Thought leaders and professionals recognize that the population shift will have a remarkable effect on society. And the question that stops them dead in their tracks, “How do we convince people that preparation is essential to living a comfortable life during the elderly years?”

After reviewing several studies by the Inquiry, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, the AgeWave/Harris Interactive study, and Gauging Aging, SeniorCare.com discovered unsettling data:

• 7 out of 10 Americans will need some level of long-term care after age 65.

• 67% of Americans don’t believe they will need aging care—ever.

• One in 20 Americans will spend over $100,000 out-of-pocket for health care after 65.

• 33% will depend on family members for care.

• 50% will have private out-of-pocket expenditures for long-term care.

• 41% have discussed senior care preferences with family members.

• 35% have set aside money to pay for future needs.

• And the rest? They underestimate the costs of nursing home care and overestimate the role of Medicare in paying for that care.

The data implies that the world is not ready to handle the aging-associated concerns. But for the individuals who think it through, here’s how they plan to tackle the challenge.

• 79% will save money.

• 60% will work longer.

• 56% will cut expenses.

• 38% will relocate.

• 34% will downsize.

• 8% will move in with family.



Reauthorization of Older Americans Act

needed to show our nation's elderly population is a priority

By Victoria Wasserman

This summer is shaping up to be a historically victorious season for health-care reform. With the Supreme Court's decision to uphold a major provision of the Affordable Care Act and the celebration of the 50th anniversaries of both Medicare and Medicaid, high spirits and optimism abound for the future of our country's health-care system. Steamrolling on the success and optimism of recent months, it's the perfect time to bring Medicare's forgotten cousin, the Older Americans Act, back into the conversation. Also celebrating its 50th anniversary, the OAA administers health-related programs to help America's elderly population age gracefully in the comfort of their own homes and communities. And there's only one item on the OAA's birthday wish list this year: reauthorization. 

The OAA's most recent authorization ended in 2011, and since then it has been squeaking by on a relatively stagnant budget that has been appropriated by Congress to sustain its programming activities. While these appropriate funds are better than nothing, they do not reflect inflation or the rapidly aging population of this country. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are approximately 45 million Americans over the age of 65, a number that has more than doubled since the OAA was enacted into law. It's a statistic that's easy to feel: we all probably have at least one friend or relative who may need these or similar services. Baby Boomers, for example, are entering older adulthood and dealing with the effects of aging themselves, while still trying to support their own aging parents, who are living longer on ever-diminishing pensions, often with multiple chronic diseases. The need for services is compounding, and, with the elderly population expected to reach 100 million by 2060, will only grow.

Currently, 11 million older adults rely to services such as Meals on Wheels, caregiver training classes, adult day care and senior citizen resource centers, benefits enrollment support, transportation services; the list goes on. In my work as a social work intern at South Mountain Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, ...



As you may know, The Faceless Foodie is on a diet. Low carbs, lots of protein and all that. Unfortunately, I live in a place where carbs are king due to some misguided thought that all old people are undernourished and that it looks better on the monthly report if there is an increase in, rather than a decrease in the overall weight of its residents. The following is an article about an ALF that takes different look at how their residents are fed.

A Mediterranean flair on the menu

By Cynthia McCormick

Assisted living center focuses on foods that promote heart and brain health

Cape Cod Senior Residences has put residents in its assisted living center on a diet — the Mediterranean diet.

The eating plan is less about calorie restriction than about filling residents with tasty, good-for-you foods that promote heart and brain health, according to officials from Senior Living Residences, the parent company of Cape Cod Senior Residences and 11 other senior communities in Massachusetts.

"We chose the Mediterranean diet because of its health benefits," said Pamela Maloney, Senior Living Residences spokeswoman. "You want it to be delicious and good for you. We feel our residents are worth it."

Senior Living Residences has partnered with Oldways, a nonprofit organization, to integrate the dietary principles into its meals plan. Oldways, together with the Harvard School of Public Health, unveiled the Mediterranean diet at a conference in Cambridge in 1993.

The eating program puts an emphasis on plant-based foods, local seafoods and whole grains in muffins and pastas as well as fruits and healthy oils. Salt and pepper are joined on the dining tables by cinnamon, which reduces inflammation and is a tasty alternative to sugar, and the Senior Living Residences' proprietary blend of herbs and spices called "Spice of Life."

"It's something we put together," said Kim Smith, corporate director of Senior Living Residences' dining program. "It's our special blend."

Senior Living Residences' chefs cook from scratch and rely on locally grown produce as much as possible in addition to local fish markets, Smith said.

"We don't buy anything prepurchased," she said.

Meals are served with two vegetables and salads that incorporate berries, seeds, nuts and fruits, Smith said.

"We'll use kale. We'll do Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli," she said.

Many of the ingredients in the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, also unveiled in 1993, contain anti-inflammatory properties associated with cognitive health, Smith said.

"We call it brain healthy cooking," she said.

While Cape Cod Senior Residences has been incorporating elements of the Mediterranean diet since 2009, this year it partnered with Oldways to "bolster the integrity of the program and give chefs a true understanding of the Mediterranean Diet," Maloney said.

"Plants are really the center of the diet," said Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways.

Olive oil is on the daily menu and pasta and healthy desserts are featured regularly, she said. The point is to "eat smaller amounts of great tasting food and really enjoy it."

These dietary changes fly in the face of the menu of heavily processed foods many senior citizens have come to rely on.

Cape Cod Senior Residences chef Brendon Forrest said by the time residents enter the assisted living center they have been eating a steady diet of foods relatively low in nutrients, such as ham sandwiches and canned soups.

Forrest gets residents used to the healthier menu by introducing his own version of old favorites, such as fish sticks.

"We don't advertise all the ingredients," he said.

Residents have reported improvements in blood pressure and heart conditions on the low-sodium, less sugary food plan, Smith said. One woman even said "Look at my feet!" because she was so thrilled at how her swelling had gone down, Smith said.



Chicken Parmesan

  Diet Helper

One of the worst things about being on a diet, especially one that restricts the number of carbs one is permitted to consume every day is having to give up your favorite things. For some, it’s ice cream or cake for dessert, or mounds of pasta or even potatoes. For me, one of the things that I crave most and whose cravings seems to intensify when I am on a diet which inhibits such things is pizza. 

To be more accurate, it’s not so much pizza per se that I crave at those moments when everything around you looks like pizza, but rather the gooey, delicious substances that sit atop what in reality is only a wedge of bread. Admit it, what you really want is not pizza, but pizza toppings, right?

It’s the cheese, the sauce, the sausage, the pepperoni or even anchovies that set your salivary glands into overdrive. I know some people who order a slice of pizza and eat only the toppings, leaving the crust part behind. However, scraping off the toppings, to me, seems like a waste. So, instead, I order or make the one thing that seems to satisfy my pizza Jones. Chicken (or veal) Parmesan. After all, isn’t what you really want is cheese and tomato sauce? So why not eat something that is nutritious as well. And, if you go one step further and add your favorite extra topping to that chicken Parm like sausage or mushrooms or, yes, anchovies, you get an extra jolt of what you crave. It’s a win-win situation. You get your fix of viscous, mucilaginous protein plus the advantage of a healthy low-carb meal.

See Your Favorite Old-School Cartoon Characters As Senior Citizens

By Joe Berkowitz 

A new project brings classic Looney Tunes and Disney characters into retirement age. It’s a little sad, but at least now we have closure.

The Looney Tunes and Disney cartoon characters many of us grew up with would be old enough by now to enter nursing homes. Lucky for them, most cartoon characters tend to age like the Simpson family—that is, not at all. They spend their lives in a literal state of suspended animation. Recently, however, an artist decided to see what it would look like if those characters physically begin to act their age.

Perhaps the greatest thing about illustrator Andrew Tarusov’s collection is that he’s drawn all of the classic cartoon pairings as ongoing twosomes. Even the ones who antagonized each other are still togethe

r. Witness wrinkly old liver-spotted Tom and Jerry. The fact that they're posted up side by side, presumably in a bingo tavern somewhere, means they must have buried the hatchet at a certain point. Aside from being funny an

see slide show...d perhaps a little sad, these illustrations provide closure on whether Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner would ever work out their differences.




Cane-fu teaches senior citizens self- defense moves

Senior citizens in Florida are using their canes for more than walking. They are learning how to use the item they thought was a crutch a

s a weapon.

It's part of a martial arts class called "extreme cane defense" or cane-fu. The instructor, Buck Buckmaster, teaches his students how to use their cane to defend themselves.

Many seniors in the class say they've also learned to be more aware of their surroundings.

"Every time I come out of the grocery store, I use my peripheral vision. You never know who's going to be there," one cane-fu student said....



See all of the "At The ALF" cartoons on our cartoon page.



©2015 B.W. Cooper

You have my permission to reproduce anything you see here as long as you give me credit and it is not for commercial purposes. If you do. I want a piece of the action.

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The Westchester Center:

Where Censorship is Alive and Well

Internet censorship here at the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living has always been present. For whatever reason, the administration here believes that it is important to protect us from ourselves. Therefore, since the Center opened in 2012, there has always been a ban on so-called adult websites where (god forbid) one should be able to view pornography or other material deemed salacious by our administration whose minds are firmly implanted in the 19th century. Now, while I thought that their (the admins) views on pornography were dated, and it bothered me that they should censor anything, I let it go for the most part because I wasn’t a big viewer of porn. However, something that occurred just this past weekend really raised my hackles and sent a shock-wave of dismay if not outright abhorrence around the computer users at the Center.

Youtube.com is a site viewed and used by millions of people every day. And, while it is possible to watch videos of what may be considered to be “adult content”, most of what appears on that site is benign, entertaining and informative. That is why residents here at the center were surprised to find that, over the weekend, their access to Youtube was blocked by “Sonicwall”, the Centers firewall/censor. To show you how ridiculous this was, I first found out about the block when I tried to open a video about dogs and children playing together. Upon attempting to run the video, I received this warning.....

It is important to note the reason for the block, “Administrative Custom List Settings”. Essentially, what that means is that some administrator here at the facility, bowing to pressure either from inside or outside sources, decided to take measure's into his own hands and block this site while admitting that he was not that familiar with its content.

As a member of the Resident’s council, me and our council chairperson went to speak with our administrator, personally, on Monday morning. We expressed our indignation and concern that such a benevolent and friendly website should come under the heavy thumb of censorship. We went on to ask why any site should be blocked. After all, are we not all adults here who, I dare say, have seen and done everything. The answer we received attests to the smugness with which this administration (and indeed all previous management) view us residents. 

“We received complaints”, he said.

“Complaints from who”, we asked.

“I can’t tell you, various people”, he said.

“What specifically were they complaining about”, we asked.

“I don’t know”, was the reply. 

Whether there was an actual complaint by a residents or staff member, I don’t know. For all we know it might only have been a rumor of some misdoings that set the wheels of disproportionate righteousness in motion. But I believe I know the real reason.

Simply put, we residents are looked upon as children who must be protected from ourselves lest our brains explode in a pink mist of blood and gray matter. No matter that most of us here are viable, modern thinking mature people whose only reason for being here is a physical infirmity combined with certain financial matters which make it impossible to remain, alone in our own homes. There should be no censorship of anything here. As soon as the powers that be realize this, the dream of independence (as stated in the very name of this facility) will truly be attained. 


Labor Day Lament

It’s Labor Day once again here at the Asylum and that can mean only one thing. Another tedious, confused, repetitious and downright boring barbecue. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love barbecue’s. I just don’t love the barbecue’s held here anymore. Sure, at one time they were a novelty. A well-needed respite from the daily grind of institutional fare we are served in our dining room. But now, not so much as the very thing we were glad to partake in has become as humdrum and tiring as the kitchen-cooked food it was meant to replace. 

Yes, I know that barbecues are supposed to have as their basic cuisine the usual hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken with, perhaps, corn on the cob thrown in. However, when this becomes THE ONLY thing we get at EVERY SINGLE barbecue we hold, even these staples of American outdoor cookery can become monotonous. And the food isn’t the only thing I find upsetting. It’s the way the whole thing is produced. 

There we are, a group of old folks broiling in the noonday sun forced (because of seating constraints and because there is only one sitting) to eat with people we don’t know or even like at rickety tables and uncomfortable seats. The service is spotty at best with servers, not used to the seating arrangements and the awkward way the food is given to them, run around like headless chickens. The food itself is poorly cooked. Or should I say overcooked. Burnt burgers, shriveled hot dogs (no sauerkraut available) and cooked to death chicken are a constant reminder that this is a rush job. “Feed ‘em fast and get them out so we can clean up” is the order of the day as it becomes clear that these barbecues have become as taxing on the staff as well as the residents. So what can they do about this?

First, change the time. Why do we have to have a barbecue for lunch when the sun is high in the sky? How about moving the time to the late afternoon, say 5 pm or later. And how about keeping to some sort of pre-determined seating arrangement that would end the wandering and confusion by residents who might not know what was going on. And then there’s the food.

We have about six barbecues a year. Each a mirror image of the previous one. And, while I understand the budget restrictions placed upon the food service department of our little old people’s paradise, one would think that perhaps a small steak (skirt steak comes to mind) would be a welcome variation from the mundane al fresco cuisine we have been getting.

In conclusion, I don’t want them to end having barbecues, just stop making them so gosh darn predictable.


Is it nice to fool old people? Sometimes It's Necessary

‘Bus stops to nowhere’

By Gail Besse Ryberg

A recent call from Hingham police asked town residents to be on the lookout for an elderly woman dressed in bright clothes who was wandering, possibly barefoot. Thankfully, she was found safe, but the scenario is one feared by those who love or care for memory-impaired people. What to do when a disoriented person feels the urgent need to move: to go to work, to visit his or her children, just to go somewhere?

One solution to the problem is proving effective at Bridges by EPOCH, a memory-care assisted-living facility in Hingham. There are two “bus stops to nowhere” inside enclosed open-air garden courtyards.

There is a “stop” sign on one side of the wooden “bus stop bench,” a laminated map of Boston’s MBTA routes on the other. A patio umbrella shields the bench, where an Alzheimer’s patient might sit for a minute or two before a nurse comes to join him or her.

The “need to move” is most common in Alzheimer’s cases, said Alicia Seaver, EPOCH’s regional memory-care specialist.

“The bus stop is just a great diversionary tool,” Seaver said. “It’s a nice distraction, and it’s empowering. Bus stops are good places to reminisce and take a trip down memory lane.”

The benches, with their real signs and transit maps, gently redirect and calm frustrated residents, ...


Medicare News

Feds Win, Seniors Lose

by Woodrow Wilcox

On August 28, 2015, I wrote a letter to a client to explain why she may have to pay for a chest x-ray that Medicare refused to cover.

On that day, I received a phone call from a billing person who told me that Medicare usually does NOT pay for a pre-operation chest x-ray. That is an x-ray which our client’s doctor and hospital wanted done in order to make sure that the patient had a heart that was healthy enough to withstand the stress of an operation.

Medicare did not cover the service. With the client in my office, I compared the bill with the Medicare Summary Notice and what our client remembered about the matter. A few “red flags” appeared. The medical billing person understood the “red flags” that I noted in a letter to the medical service provider. But, neither the doctor nor the hospital could change a policy of the federal government to push some medical service costs onto senior citizens in order to save money for the federal government.

In past articles, I warned that the federal government would start changing rules of Medicare to do exactly that – save the federal government money. A Government Accounting Office study that was published in July 2012 stated that the “Obamacare” law would cut $716 billion of Medicare benefits to America’s senior citizens. The federal government would use that money to pay for health care for other people under the new “Obamacare” law.....


FED’s artificially low rates unfair to CD owners

By Bill Crawford

Are you a senior citizen or other conservative saver frustrated with the low rates banks have been paying on CDs?  Since the Federal Reserve (FED) controls these rates, now may be the time for you to weigh in with your senator and congressman.

The FED is charged by law “to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.”

So, what’s the status of these goals?

The FED regularly sets targets for “maximum employment” by establishing a threshold or range for “natural unemployment.” In December 2012, as part of its rationale to keep rates near 0.0 percent, the FED set 6.5 percent as the short-term unemployment rate threshold that would have to be reached before raising rates. Unemployment then was 7.9 percent. It is now 5.3 percent. At this level, the unemployment rate has moved to the bottom of the 5.2 percent to 6 percent range set by the FED as its long-term goal. What all this means is that employment levels today meet the FED’s historic definition of “maximum employment.”...




These Glamorous Older Women Prove Aging Has Rarely Looked Better

Style has no expiration date

By Yagana Shah

Worried about aging gracefully? A new photo series by photographer Tirzah Brott reveals just how glamorous old age can be. 

Brott's collection, titled "Pentimento," is composed of photos she took of stylish women of a certain age who she spotted on the streets of New York City. Brott, a 20-something herself, says as a child she developed a fascination with the glamour of Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, set in the 1950s. The style of that era, she says, has been lost on the younger generations.

“These women grew up in an era where 'dressing up' didn’t mean quite the same thing that it does now," Brott said in an email to The Huffington Post. "This was just the way you dressed on a daily basis. It’s part of their identity -- the way they grew up. An engrained attitude of: 'Show your best face to the world, and you’ll begin to absorb that confidence you project.'"

The women are thought to be in their 60s and up, though Brott made it a point not to ask them their age or to find out their entire life story. She wanted to leave a little to the imagination. 

She says these women are like "a time capsule," showing the younger generations how to age gracefully one day. "I see that determination, to hold on to a level of classical grace, beauty, style, that you just don’t see anymore," she said. "I’m not sure how many of these women even realize how incredible they are, walking through a crowd of American Apparel-clad 20-somethings who are wearing the exact same outfit but in different colors. They are like a very rare breed of bird. And we best start taking notes before it’s too late."...


Your Heart Is Aging Faster Than You

A new report says 69 million Americans’ hearts are 

outpacing them when it comes to aging, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday revealed 69 million Americans aged 30-74 to have a heart age five years older than their actual age—a number that puts them at significantly higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

The data comes from the Framingham Heart Study, a long-term cardiovascular study that began in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 1948. “Heart age”—the age of an individual’s heart and blood vessels based on their risk of disease—is calculated using things like high blood pressure and smoking history.

On a call Tuesday, CDC Director Thomas Frieden stressed that external threats like Ebola should not distract from the danger that is “right within us.” An estimated 85.6 million Americans are living with a form of cardiovascular disease or the aftermath of a stroke. The condition kills roughly 2,150 Americans each day from cardiovascular diseases, or one person every 40 seconds.

“To know that your heart is de facto older than you are is scary—and it should be because it means you have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke,” said Frieden. “You can’t turn back the clock in general but you can turn back the clock on your heart age.”

Studies on heart age have been performed in the past, but none analyzing it through the lens of population data. The result showed variations in heart age that are influenced not simply by gender and region but—most significantly—by race and ethnicity.

Half of U.S. men and nearly half of women presented heart ages five years older than their age. In men, this phenomenon was worse, with males registering an average heart age eight years higher than their actual age (for women it stayed at five). Geography influenced the numbers as well, with states in the South shown to be particularly susceptible to higher rates. Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Alabama earned the unenviable title of most adults with a heart age five years older than their own. Utah, Colorado, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts came in at the lowest.

The biggest discrepancy was found among race/ethnic groups. While all were shown to have heart ages superseding their biological one, African Americans came in significantly higher. Both African-American men and women averaged a heart age 11 years higher than their own. Frieden called the numbers “distressing and truly shocking,” emblematic of “racial disparities” in cardiovascular health....


With Age Comes Wisdom, and Some Concerns for Candidates

By Murali Doraiswamy

What are the odds of a president’s cognitive abilities declining substantially while in office? 

The Constitution has a lower age limit of 35, but no upper age limit. Even one of the 55,000 American centenarians alive today could still legally run for president. 

Risks of mental impairment can increase with the years, but effects are variable and many gain in knowledge and resilience as they get older. 

Some have expressed concern that an older president could become cognitively impaired, forgetful and inattentive. Indeed, aging — as well as age-related diseases including hypertension, mini-strokes and diabetes — can be associated with reductions in brain volume and changes in the connections between brain cells. This can lead to a decline in mental quickness, attention, memory and the capacity to learn new information.

Even among high functioning subjects over 65, new scans suggest that about 20 percent, usually those with a family history of dementia, have early signs of Alzheimer’s in their brains. Moreover, this subset of individuals, despite their high scores on memory and attention tests, seem to have an increased risk for developing mild cognitive impairment – in one preliminary study that risk is almost 25 percent over 18 months. 


Aging Casefully: 9 Things That Happen to Your Body (Some Aren’t So Bad!)

 By: Scott LaFee

TV commercials and certain actresses to the contrary, everybody gets old. Or at least, that’s the goal. The trick is to age well, which isn’t so much a mystery as a set of well-reasoned and reasonable rules and habits for living a healthy, long life.

You can learn more at the Healthy and Active Aging seminar October 3 at UC San Diego’s Medical Education and Telemedicine building. The free, half-day event will feature discussions on the future of aging, aging and sex, bone health, vision and diabetes prevention and management. For more information and to register to attend, click here.

In the meantime, put on your reading glasses (the old peepers are among the first things to go) and peruse the items below. Old age is a mix of caused effects, some good and some, well, not-so-good. The last one, though, should make you smile, if you aren’t already.

1.You sweat less. Well, to be precise, you sweat differently, particularly if you’re a woman. Part of the change is related to menopause, i.e. hot flashes, but researchers have found that sweat glands (especially under the arms) shrink and become less sensitive as we age, which translates into reduced perspiration production. 

2.You’re less buff. Muscle mass in both men and women begins to decline as early as one’s 30s, replaced by – gasp! – flab. By age 75, the average person’s fat content is twice that of their youth.

3.Your teeth are less sensitive – and not just because you might have fewer of them. The reason is that over time more dentin – the hard inner tissue – is built up between the outer enamel of a tooth and its central nerve. The added insulation diminishes sensitivity. The bad news, though, is that our gums recede over time, exposing roots a different way.

4.Your brain is smaller. As you get older, certain parts of the brain shrink, most notably the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, both important to learning, memory, planning and other complex mental activities. It’s been estimated that the brain begins losing neurons at a rate of 50,000 per day after age 30 – more if you listen to certain politicians. But not to fret. For one thing, the average human brain contains more than 100 billion neurons and research has shown that aging brains learn quite well how to adapt. That wizened brain of yours is also likely to be wise beyond its years


Average life span has increased around the world but living longer isn’t everything

Pamela J. Hobart

When it comes to aging, 30 might be the new 20, but changes in human longevity and resulting changes in our life paths are even more pervasive than that. New demographic data shows that once again, life span has increased around the world, with people in 188 countries living an average of 71 years. This represents a whopping six-year increase from figures for 1990, and researchers publishing in The Lancet also report that healthy life expectancy has climbed by five years as well.

What has caused this most recent bout of life expectancy growth? The world has made strides in fighting diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDs, and in remedying nutritional deficiencies. Improved mother and baby health also has a large impact on average life span, because women of reproductive age (and obviously their babies) have many years left, assuming they survive the birth ordeal. Road injuries, diarrhea, and malaria are still killing many people prematurely, possibly providing suitable targets for new public health efforts that could impact life expectancy greatly (especially in less-developed countries, which still lag behind the top life expectancy countries by about 30 years).


Robert Redford On Aging, Curiosity And ‘A Walk In The Woods’

Robert Redford stars as Bill Bryson in the film, “A Walk in the W

oods.” The movie comes out in U.S. theaters on Sept. 2, 2015. (Frank Masi, SMPSP/Broad Green Pictures via AP)

Robert Redford may be 79, but the actor, director and environmental activist isn’t slowing down. His new film “A Walk in the Woods” opens in theaters tomorrow. The movie is based on Bill Bryson’s memoir about attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Redford tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that although he and co-star Nick Nolte didn’t hike the trail, “it felt like we did because we would hike sections going uphill – and because it’s film, you do one take and you’d go back and do it again, then you do it again. After six, seven, eight takes, you’re really pooped.”


Aging Survey

Once again, older Americans’ concerns about their latter years are clearly spelled out in a new national report, The United States of Aging Survey, released in July.

Not surprisingly, older Americans’ concerns about their latter years differ from those of the professionals who support them.

Let’s take a closer look.

For adults age 60 and older, physical health is the No. 1 concern, while for professionals in the aging field, financial scams are the top concern.

When it comes to concerns about aging, older America