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


Friday, April 24, 2015


Brooklyn: New street safety initiative

By Nelson A. King

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on Tuesday joined dozens of senior citizens outside the AMICO Senior Citizens Center in Borough Park, along with local elected officials and community advocates, to launch CROSS (Connecting Residents on Safer Streets) Brooklyn, his new initiative to improve street safety for the borough’s vulnerable pedestrians.

Adams said the effort includes a commitment of US$1 million in capital funding from Brooklyn Borough Hall in Fiscal Year 2016 to construct sidewalk extensions, known as “bulb-outs” or “neck-downs,” at intersections determined to be dangerous, based on crash data from the New York City Department of Transportation.

“The foundation of One Brooklyn is built on safety, and I am focused every day on finding new ways to advance the safety of every Brooklynite, especially our most vulnerable,” Adams told a press conference in Borough Park, flanked by senior citizens.

“CROSS Brooklyn is literally putting our money where our mouth is to make safe streets a reality for all. We want to shorten the distance it takes for our seniors, disabled, and youngest Brooklynites to cross dangerous intersections; by installing more sidewalk extensions, they will benefit from more of their commute being spent out of the street,” he added.



The Demon Barber of Stratton St.

I went for my tri-monthly haircut yesterday at our Center’s hair salon, or as I like to call it, “The Demon Barber of Stratton Street.” Now, I don’t want to say that Ms. P. is a bad hair cutter, but when I asked why she cut my hair so short, she said “I didn’t, nature beat me to it”. Ms. P. has only two haircut styles for men, Marine recruit or Turkish prison. In all fairness, I asked for my hair to be cut short because, at $15 a shot, I can’t afford to have it cut more than once every three months. Personally, I think the price of a haircut should be based on acreage. I am at least 50% bald and should be charged accordingly. After all, if you have a 100X100-foot lawn, but half of it is a bare brown patch, should the gardener charge for cutting the whole lawn? I guess I really can’t complain though. After all, she does come to us in all kinds of weather and she does have a special rapport with old people who tend to view the beauty parlor as a Psychiatrist’s office, which is a great help to a blogger who is always on the lookout for some good gossip. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any yesterday.......................Ed.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Helping to stop


The Social Security Number Is Dead. Long Live the Social Security Number?

By Adam Levin 

Take a close look at a Medicare card. The identification number? It's a combination of the cardholder's Social Security number and one or two letters.

Health insurers no longer include Social Security numbers on the cards they issue to people. The concern was that using SSNs needlessly increased the risk of identity theft, which was, and continues to be, rising exponentially. And when they did this, they stopped being co-conspirators in what has become a national epidemic.

According an article by reporter Robert Pear in New York Times, private insurers under contract with Medicare are not permitted to use SSNs on insurance cards when providing medical or prescription drug benefits. But in a serious case of "Do as I say, not as I do," Medicare has used Social Security numbers on more than 50 million benefit cards heedless of the warnings of privacy advocates, consumer protection officials, federal auditors and investigators working on identity theft cases.

Section 501 of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, a bipartisan provision authored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), signed into law last week by President Obama, finally mandates the removal of Social Security numbers from our Medicare cards. (Well, let's just say it begins the process -- and like all processes in Washington, let's hope it actually gets done before my toddler is eligible for Medicare.) The new law is clear: Social Security numbers must not be "displayed, coded or embedded on the Medicare card.



New friends

For Earth Day

Edna and her new friend, Ed.


Up in smoke

Yesterday was Earth Day, and here at the Center we celebrated by having residents decorate and pot some cuttings which they would be able to take back to their rooms. Needing a plant to keep my current plant company, I participated in the activity (One of the few I attend). Actually, I arrived a little late because I misunderstood where this activity would be taking place so I, and another resident, waited outside of the wrong room. While waiting, we began to talk about, instead of potting plants, we should be planting pot. As we joked about the “good old days” of our youth and about how just now people have figured out that there might be some medical benefits attached to the use of marijuana, a young member of our maintenance staff overheard our conversation which, by this time, had turned to talk of how they would make sure that there were no seeds or twigs mixed in with the pot. The young man’s ears perked up.

“How do you guys know about weed, seeds, and twigs”, he said as if pot had only been around for the last ten years.

“Who do you think invented it”, I snapped back.

Now don’t get me wrong. I was not what you would call a pot head. I participated in the occasional passing around of a joint or two back in the 70’s. It was as about addictive as beer except, instead of getting drunk, I just got funnier. And besides, the very act of passing a joint around, makes one more social. And, if the experts are to be believed, the more sociable old folks are, the better it will be for their mental well being.

Should pot be allowed in nursing homes and other senior residences? I don’t know. Is more formation and study needed on the subject. Absolutely...........Ed.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

There but for the grace of god....

I heard a disturbing story on the news this morning. It was reported that the homeless population of New York City has reached an all-time high of over 53,000. And that’s only the people who have taken advantage of NYC’s shelters. There are many more who prefer to find shelter in tunnels or underpasses or over a subway grate. And it’s not because these people have no money. Some o them even have steady jobs or collect social security. The problem is that the rents in New York have become so outrageous that normal working families cannot afford to live in the city. The truth is, there are no “poor” neighborhoods left in NYC. Even the traditional lower class areas like Harlem, the South Bronx and Bed-Sty Brooklyn have been taken over by speculators who gentrify the neighborhood and price out lower income people who normally would have found affordable places to live. 

One of my greatest fears, perhaps abnormally so, has been that one day, I too, would be homeless. It almost came to that a few years ago when I found myself in a nursing home. Although I had an apartment, because of my illness, I was not able to go back there to live. I stopped paying rent because I could not afford to pay the nursing home and my landlord at the same time. Eventually, I was formerly evicted. At that point, officially. I was without a home of my own. Thank heavens that I had some money that enabled me to pay for my nursing care. Eventually, my money ran out. Thankfully, Medicare and Medicaid kicked in and paid for my stay. So now, I was poor and homeless. A year later I found my way here, to the assisted living facility. While it’s not really the home I had hoped to be in at this point in my life, I am thankful to be here. That is why when I hear some of my fellow residents bitch, complain and bemoan their fate, I think of how I was just one Medicare payment away from living on the street. Yes, this place may not be the best place in the world, but I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and someone to talk to. That’s more than I can say for many of my fellow New Yorker’s.


Earth Day

The only other living thing in my room (besides the occasional spider) is a plant which I have named Edna. Edna doesn’t give much but doesn’t ask for much either. I water her a couple of times a week and she manages to sprout a new leaf every now and then. We have a symbiotic relationship of sorts. Edna needs me for water and I need Edna to keep me attached to the natural world. 

At one time, I had a house with a garden, flowers, and a lawn. I actually loved taking care of those plants. Even mowing the lawn didn’t bother me. It really bothered me to have to give that up. Now, it;s only me and Edna. But today, Earth Day, our recreation director is conducting a flower planting session. And, while I don’t usually take part in most of those activities, I think I’ll drop by and see if I can get my hands dirty. Edna will be proud.



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:    


The Weekly WCenterBlog begins below

The following editorial was written during the height of our most recent health crisis here at the Center. Facility-wide restrictions were in place that put a burden on all of our residents. Fortunately, those restrictions were lifted shortly after this editorial was written and we are, at least for now, back to normal. However, due to the inherent nature of most ALF’s and nursing homes, we can expect to see similar occurrences in the future. This editorial goes to that point.

Reflux Redux

As the great philosopher, Lawrence Peter Berra once said, “It’s deja vu all over again”. Once more, and for the fourth time this year, we, the lowly peasant/prisoners of the Westchester Center, were subjected to a battery of indignities unknown to most adults who don’t reside in an assisted living facility. You see, because someone, or a group of someones (they don’t tell us how many), came down with what might be a stomach virus (they are not sure which one), we have been asked to give up our rights to, if not life, at least liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the right to have hot food served in an environment conducive to enjoying a meal. Instead, our contact with other residents and staff was limited. Our activities were canceled and we were barred from the dining room. Our meals were brought to us, usually cold, in Styrofoam containers. All this, because this pathogen-infested facility cannot figure out how to keep this place free of these virulent infestations that cause so much turmoil, aggravation and upheaval amongst the residents, most of whom are not comfortable with change. 

As I mentioned, this is the fourth time that we have been put on what I like to call “limited isolation”, proving that experience does not perfection make. In fact, they have learned very little from the recent past. Additionally, it appears that the county and state department’s of health also don’t know what they are doing when it comes to preventing these kinds of outbreaks. The last time this happened (only a couple of months ago) we were visited by both of those departments whose only ostensible solution was to have hand sanitizers installed in some strategic locations around the facility. A solution that evidently has little merit. You see, most of the people here are too dense or apathetic to care about disease prevention. As to this point, I have spoken about the lack of personal hygiene prevalent among some of our residents and the lack of the administration’s ability to do something about it. On a number of occasions, it was I, or another resident, that had to ask Case Management to resolve a problem concerning a particular resident’s “wholesomeness”.

There is a prevalent feces and urine smell which permeates the lobby and other public areas of the facility. And, as we know, where there is poop, there is the possibility of spreading a gastrointestinal infection, the results of which we are now experiencing. The last time this occurred, a group of us had a meeting with the facilities former administrator and the head nurse. At that time we asked that the facility make a complete accounting of, not only what had happened that we had to virtually shut down for three weeks and, a full report on what will be done in the future to prevent such a disruption again. Both of those requests have not been met with a reply. Most likely this is because they don’t actually have a plan other than the current intolerable procedure. I think it’s time we (resident’s council) revisit management again and maybe wait there until we get a reasonable answer. Because as sure as I am sitting here writing this, you and I know this will happen again.



Continuing on our photo tour of our facility, this week we take a look at one of the dual purpose rooms located in the main building. At first glance, this well-appointed room appears to be you average corporate boardroom complete with carpeting, comfortable upholstered chairs, and a long mahogany table. In actuality, the room serves two functions. While it is indeed a board room, used by the facilities management and others, it is also the “friends and Family” room. The room may be “booked” by residents for private activities such as birthday parties, religious services or just some lunch, in private, with loved ones. 


One challenge in assisted living or nursing facilities: 

losing belongings

By Elizabeth Bewley

"How could you not know that my mother's jacket is missing? She's worn it nearly every day in the spring and fall for five years. What has she been wearing outside instead?" Jill's frustration was clear to the caregivers at the skilled nursing facility (SNF) where her mother lived."

This excellent facility received the highest possible ratings from Medicare and other certifying agencies, and when Jill visited unannounced, she was always heartened to see the obvious care and concern directed towards her mother and other residents.

Still, over time, she had replaced a huge amount of missing clothing:

• 43 pairs of knit slacks (her mother owned eight pairs, so Jill had replaced them five times over)

• 35 shirts

• 24 camisoles

• 13 sweaters 

• 1 winter coat

That didn't count the socks, scarves, hats, and gloves. Now she'd have to replace a jacket. And the previous year, her mother's expensive wedding ring had disappeared right off her finger. 

Why do belongings vanish?...



Architect: Age-friendly design should be stylish, colorful, fun

by Chris Kenrick

Growing old is "hard work" but it can be fun, insists Berkeley architect Susanne Stadler.

Stadler is co-founder of At Home with Growing Older, a group that includes social workers, psychologists and designers interested in promoting home-like settings, rather than institutional ones, a

s a "major contributor to healthy aging."

Age-friendly design goes well beyond ramps and traditional grab bars to include beautiful, "human-centered" design for all generations, playfulness and integration into the larger community, Stadler said, showing photos that included senior housing attached to a Swiss sports complex and a bathroom conceived as a "living room," with places to sit down and colorful, sporty-looking grips to provide support.

"If we can get past our denial and avoidance — not look at aging as a weakness but as a fact of life — then we can talk about what we need and ask for help when we need it," she said. "Home is the base for our well-being, and it should support the physical and emotional changes that age brings."



Medication management is 

critical to a senior’s welfare

The wrong medications. The wrong dosage. The wrong timing. Any of these scenarios of skipped medications or taking too much or too little can cause medical complications or even death. The nation’s seniors are particularly at risk for medication-related difficulties. Some healthcare experts rank medication problems among the top five causes of death for people over age 65 and as a source of confusion, falls and loss of independence.

In a 2013 report on aging and health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported, “More than a quarter of all Americans and two of three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions, and treatment for this population accounts for 66 percent of the country’s healthcare budget … People with multiple chronic conditions face an increased risk of conflicting medical advice, adverse drug effects, unnecessary and duplicative tests, and avoidable hospitalizations, all of which can further endanger their health.”

The more medications a person takes, the greater likelihood of adverse drug interactions or a mix-up in dosages. A nurses’ handbook available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website states that seniors discharged from the hospital on more than five drugs are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within six months after discharge.




Kate Mulgrew on Aging in Hollywood


With a new memoir coming and a role on a hit TV series, actress Kate Mulgrew isn't holding back on how tough it's been for women in Hollywood. 

The actress, who plays prison cook Red on Orange Is the New Black and starred as Capt. Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, says it's "absurd" that women are still fighting for the same pay as men. 

"I should've been paid every cent [Patrick] Stewart was paid," Mulgrew told PEOPLE, referring to her counterpart on Star Trek: The Next Generation. "Not to mention the three and a half hours I spent in makeup and hair, and somebody fooling around with my bosoms and somebody fooling around with my shoes." 

Mulgrew's book, Born With Teeth, fearlessly details her personal struggles, including giving up a daughter for adoption, as well as her decades-long career as a performer. 

"I'll be 60 this month [on April 29]," Mulgrew tells PEOPLE. "For most of my life I was very pretty and played the heroine. You’re really boxed in when you’re pretty. They don’t see anything else." 



Congress reshapes Medicare payments

 with bipartisan bill

By Alan Fram

Conservatives hated that it's expected to swell federal deficits over the coming decade. Liberals complained that it shortchanged health programs for children and women.

But after years of complaints and failed efforts, huge majorities of lawmakers from both parties banded together and Congress approved legislation permanently recasting how Medicare reimburses physicians.

Fueling the bill's overwhelming support was backing from potent interest groups including the American Medical Association and AARP, the lobby for senior citizens.

Though AARP tried unsuccessfully to change the bill to ease costs for some Medicare recipients, chief executive Jo Ann Jenkins hailed its passage as "momentous" Wednesday and said the measure would help Medicare beneficiaries "rest assured that they'll be able to keep seeing their physicians each year."

The Senate gave final congressional approval late Tuesday to the $214 billion bipartisan measure, which rewrites how Medicare pays doctors for treating more than 50 million elderly people.

It also provides extra money for health care programs for children and low-income people, which Democrats coveted, and imposed higher costs on some higher-income Medicare beneficiaries, which Republicans touted as a victory....


More medicare news...

Medicare at 50: 

An Aging Program Shows Signs of Wear

Would President Lyndon Johnson even recognize his grand entitlement plan today?

by Joshua Cohen MD, MPH

What began as a heroically heralded attempt at assisting seniors struggling to pay prescription drug bills devolved into partisan posturing amidst national unease. While the bill ultimately provided outpatient prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, it did so at some expense.

Beneficiaries were forced to choose between existing prescription drug coverage and a new Medicare Part D program, and those eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare were required to receive drug coverage through Medicare.

Additionally, beneficiaries could not buy supplemental policies to cover expenses not covered under Part D. While initially these changes seemed reasonable to obtain some type of coverage for seniors, it led to a system that discouraged employers to provide prescription benefits for retirees, created a "doughnut hole" in which seniors increasingly found themselves unable to afford the rising cost of medications, and provided a buffer upon which pharmaceutical companies could escalate their rate of price increases.

Since 2006 when Part D launched, premiums for Part D plans have increased by 50% and cost-sharing for brand name drugs had increased by 50% or more. With drug costs rising every day, more and more Medicare recipients find themselves unable to afford the treatments their doctors prescribe.

With cost-sharing increasing at every turn, many on Medicare constantly make tough choices between healthcare and other expenses. Beneficiaries without supplemental coverage are 65% more likely to forego a needed doctor's visit, primarily due to cost of care.

I do believe that Lyndon Johnson's grand social insurance plan began as, and for a long time was, a commitment to provide seniors the best that our American healthcare system has to offer.

But with the cost of Medicare consuming an ever higher percentage of the federal budget and falling prey to the political pressure to reduce government expenditures, I fear the current system will increasingly find seniors shouldering more of the healthcare burden than they can afford to bear.



What happens if we live to be 150 years old?

By Yuh-Mei Hutt

It is very possible that I will live to be 150 years old — and my kids can be expected to live even longer!

Researchers at Human Longevity are trying to extend human life an additional 30 years within the next decade. If you can believe that living to 150 is possible, would you also believe that living to 1,000 is also possible?

Currently, scientists have been able to prolong human life 0.2 years for every year that passes. As they begin to unlock the code of senescence (the process of aging) they will be able to increase the rate. Once researchers can prolong life 1 year for every year that passes, called longevity escape velocity, humans can pretty much live indefinitely.

What if our concept of old age is wrong? What if they can redefine your meaning of old age? What if they extend the most vibrant years of your life? What if you could be 29 for 50 years? Haven’t you heard that 40 is the new 30? What if 80 becomes the new 40?...


More on this topic...

This Google Executive is Apparently Taking

 $1000 Worth of Pills a Day to Live Forever

The Financial Times

Last month, we reported that Bill Maris, managing partner and president of Google’s investment fund, believes that people will be able to live to 500 in our lifetime. It appears that Maris is not the only person from Google who is interested in living for a long time.

Ray Kurzweil, the 67-year-old director of engineering at Google, believes that he’s found the secret to living forever, and it all lies in diet. He told The Financial Times:

“We’ve learnt to accept it, the cycle of life and all that, but humans have an opportunity to transcend beyond natural limitations […] Life expectancy was 19 a thousand years ago. It was 37 in 1800. Everyone believes in life extension. Somebody comes out with a cure for disease, it’s celebrated. It’s not, ‘Oh, gee, that’s going to forestall death.’”

   Here’s what he eats for breakfast every day:

  • Berries (85 calories)
  • Dark chocolate infused with espresso (170 calories)
  • Smoked salmon and mackerel (100 calories)
  • Vanilla soy milk (100 calories)
  • Stevia (0 calories)
  • Porridge (150-350 calories)
  • Green tea (0 calories)

Then for the rest of the day, ....



Wearable technology may enhance physical strength of an aging population

At the moment, the most common forms of wearable technology are worn on the wrist in the form of fitness trackers and smartwatches, or even on the face as smartglasses and headsets, but a new type of exoskeleton tech is now suggesting that simple devices could one day be worn in order to boost physical strength.

The design of those wearables would be such that they would use an individual’s own muscle power to its best potential.

The idea is that people who are currently in the baby boomer age group will be particularly able to take advantage of this wearable technology, as it will extend their physical ability to keep up their favorite activity for a number of years longer. Devices have already entered into the prototype phase to help individuals to be better capable of jogging, hiking, and taking on other types of activity beyond what they would naturally be capable of achieving. These incredible gadgets were described in the latest volume of the Nature journal....



Everything ages, even your brain. Don’t worry so much.

 It’s probably not Alzheimer’s.

By Lenny Bernstein 

In a wide-ranging report released Tuesday morning, the Institute of Medicine -- the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences -- recommends that you relax a bit. Everything ages, even your brain. There are things you can do, and disaster is most likely not around the corner.

"Cognitive functioning in older adults can improve in some areas, such as those related to wisdom and experience, and [it] can decline in others, such as memory, attention and speed of processing," the panel of experts wrote. "Individuals vary widely in the specific cognitive changes that occur with age, in the nature and extent of cognitive aging, as well as in the ways these changes affect daily life."

Which isn't to say that you can't fight back or that the world around you shouldn't adapt as a growing population of older folk copes with aging brains. "Cognitive decline affects not only the individual, but also his or her family and community, and an array of health, public health, social, and other services may be required to provide necessary assistance and support," the panel wrote.



How to Choose a Car to Make Aging Easier

New features for older drivers:

by Amy Goyer 

“Whether you’re shopping for a new car for yourself, with an eye toward future needs or are caring for a loved one, be clear with your car salesperson about your goals and constraints. Mine were amazed by my attention to detail, but they also seemed to appreciate what I was doing for Dad.”

Here are some of the essential car features and extras I looked for to make life easier for us on the road.

Higher seats, to make it easy to get into and out of the car.

Adequate backseat leg room and space between the seat and door frame for Dad to swing his legs into the car. Also, back doors that open wide enough for him to get in.

Electric seats, so I’m not straining my back to bend over and pull the front seat forward to make more room for Dad’s legs.

Reclining back seats, so Dad can lean back as he swings his legs in.

Electric locks, windows and “child safety” doors that I can lock if needed, so Dad can’t open the door unexpectedly.

Adequate and easy-access cargo space for walkers, wheelchairs, dogs and groceries. A push button to open the tailgate hatch saves wear and tear on my back.



The aging adventure: What's next,

by Owen Houghton

April is my birthday month, so as I pass another milestone (78) I contemplate my aging adventure and ask “What’s next?” Is my aging a natural process of decline, or more the entrée to what Dr. Bill Thomas calls “Life’s Most Dangerous Game?”

His thinking is the inspiration for the new Green House idea being advocated by the Maplewood Nursing Home Task Force. Many folks now understand that the negative effects of aging can be modified with affordable long-term quality care in small home-like environments.

What makes “aging danger” a possibility is outlined in a book that has been all the rage among my friends lately. “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande MD examines the limits and failures of medical practices at the end of life, which too often limit patient integrity and choices.

He suggests that aging doesn’t have to be a physical, spiritual and emotional disaster if later-life planning and appropriate conversations prepare for the final stages of life. Physician-patient conversations about the hard decisions we all will face is also increasingly being urged by others in medicine.



Don't Assume Erectile Dysfunction Is A Natural Part Of Aging -- 

It's Often A Sign Of Undetected Disease

  By Anna Almendrala


(Warning: This article discusses erections and the male anatomy in explicit and candid terms, and there's a graphic, too.)

Question: When is erectile dysfunction a sign of something more serious?

Answer: Pretty much always.

More and more researchers are recognizing the link between sexual health and long-term, chronic (and, as many people, unfortunately, think, inevitable) diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. The more advanced these diseases are, the more at risk a man is of erectile dysfunction, which means not being able to sustain an erection for as long as he would like, or not being able to get an erection at all.

Men are less likely to be proactive about their health or see a doctor when they have these chronic health problems. It’s partly the reason why men tend to die about five years earlier than women, and are more likely to die from chronic disease like cancer and cardiovascular disease. But one thing that does bring patients to the doctor, said Dr. Kevin Billups, is erectile dysfunction.

“My whole practice is based on using sexual dysfunction as an early clinical indicator of increased risk of chronic disease,” said Billups. “[Erectile dysfunction] is the canary in the coal mine; it’s a barometer of health that not only men, but their partners can notice too.” And once Billups’ patients understand the link between sexual dysfunction and overall health, they’re often more motivated to go out and make the lifestyle changes that will benefit the rest of their body, as well.



I did not want you to think that this blog has forgotten the ladies. It’s just that there has not been any new women-specific health related stories coming through the wires lately. I even did a specific search for anything that has not already been done to death, but all I found were articles about breasts. Women seem to think that men have an obsession with breasts. Maybe so, but the majority of health related articles specifically designed for women to read are about breasts. Besides the obvious (and important) cancer related stories, women seem to be concerned about size, shape, and nipples even more than most men’s magazines. It’s not that I think you may not be interested in that stuff, but I am sure you have read it all before. However, I did find a website (A government website no less) that may be of some value for you now or in the future. You might want to pin this address to your desktop.



Chef’s salad

In an effort to delusionally fool myself into thinking that I can actually lose some weight around this carbohydrate infested venue, I passed on the turkey burger and went for the chef’s salad. Knowing that the fat-laden slices of lunch meats are not really what one would consider diet food, I felt it was a better choice than the turkey burger which came with a roll, cheese, and French fries. I also knew that the size of the chef salad served here as a lunch alternate would not amount to a hill of beans (which might have been a healthier choice if indeed a “hill of beans” was on the menu). In any event, I found the chef’s salad strangely satisfying and nicely constructed. Someone had gone to the trouble of actually rolling the various slices of meat into an appetizing “viande roulée” (I’ll bet you didn’t know that we had viande roulée here at the Center did you?), which I ate with gusto, which may have not been better than the ketchup (America’s condiment) that I would have covered the French fries with, but with a whole lot less salt. When it comes to dieting, everything is a trade-off.


Sausage and peppers

In my youth, not a year went by when I did not attend the great San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy in NYC. While it is essentially a religious festival, its main attraction is the food. Some of it can be found at one of the many first class Italian restaurants on Mulberry Street or better yet, at one of the impromptu mobile outdoor food stands that dot the neighborhood. Besides the cannoli and zeppole, the number one food has always been the sausage and pepper sandwiches on a piece of crisp Italian bread. It’s the ultimate sandwich and it’s always made right, like they have always done it. The sausage is moderately spicy and tender, and the peppers and onions are always sauteed to perfection. The sauce has that essential old world flavor that reminds many Italians of home. Unfortunately, the sausage and peppers served her have none of that. It was, I am sorry to say, a colossal failure.. The sausage was dry and devoid of any spice whatsoever. The peppers, what there were of them, were over cooked and the sauce, well, was non-existent. Calling a dish sausage and peppers, and then just throwing some garbage on a plate is a good way of wasting my time. Somebody in that kitchen has to know how to cook this.


Styrofoam Turkey Meatloaf

(spécialité de la maison)

As a reviewer of food made for human consumption, it would be unfair for me to rate this truly awful meal. 

Tatted Up: Senior Citizens Reveal How Body Art Still Looks Amazing On Aging Skin

By Lizette Borreli 

To get a tattoo or to not get a tattoo, that is the question. The decision to go under the needle and adorn your skin with symbols of beauty, strength, and rebellion is usually driven by beliefs you hold (at the time). But it becomes a permanent mark on your skin — a canvas that is continuously aging — which for some leads to tattoo regret.

In the U.S, one out of every five adults — 21 percent — has at least one tattoo, according to a recent Harris Poll. This number is closer to 40 percent among those ages 18 and 19. The rising popularity of tattoos means a large portion of this generation will grow old with skin art.

Aging skin changes the shape, composition, and elasticity of tattoos because they are embedded in the skin. Tattoo aging is comparable to a faded colored cloth; the tattoo begins to lose its detail in terms of color and definition. The ink particles in older tattoos tend to move deeper into the skin over time, says The Evergreen State College, which makes the tattoo look bluish, faded, and blurry and harder to remove with laser treatment. Moreover, the ink of older tattoos has been found in local lymph nodes, which supports the theory that phagocytic cells — cells that engulf and absorb foreign bodies into the bloodstream and tissues — are the cause of ink movement....






“Nirvana” comes at a price.

Perhaps “Nirvana” is not the correct phrase. After all, I still have a sense of self and I don’t believe that I have been released from “The effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth.” But lately, I have found an inner peace that I have not experienced before, or at least not since I was three years old. For the first time, in my adult life, I am without stress. This is not to say that I am completely worry free or even happy, but I feel that any problems that may arise, are nothing that I cannot handle. This all came to me the other evening as I crawled into bed, put on my glasses and picked up a book that I had been reading. As I opened the covers of the book, a novel by James Patterson, I suddenly felt extremely peaceful and dare I say, calm.

I put the book down for a minute and looked around my room. There was the dresser with the TV on it. My desk with my laptop on it, a small nightstand and my bed. That’s it. I don’t even have a picture on my wall. It was then that I realized that I had nothing of any great value and that I was fine with it. I know that some might find  this strange. After all, wasn’t the goal in life, in everybody’s life, to collect as much stuff as possible so you can say at the end “I win”. Isn’t that what we live for. And then, I realized something else. It wasn’t the actual accumulation of all that stuff that was disturbing to me, it was the process involved in the accumulation of all that stuff that I did not like. And it’s that process which causes stress.

Here are some quick facts about stress from the University of California Health Education Dept. (http://www.healtheducation.uci.edu/stress/quickfacts.aspx).

  • Stress affects both the mind & body, and impacts overall health & well-being.
  • Unmanaged stress can lead to an increased risk of both mental & physical problems, such as infection, illness, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, as well as depressive and anxiety disorders. 
  • There are both healthy & unhealthy ways that people deal with stress. Learn healthy ways to manage your stress and avoid the negative consequences of stress.

Looking at the above list, I realized that I have nothing to be stressful about. Now, for the first time since I stopped living at home, I have nothing to worry about. Living here, at the assisted living facility, most of the weight of daily living has been lifted from my shoulders. Most of the annoyances of daily life have been eliminated.

I don’t have a job, so no more trying to please my boss, the customers, or myself. I don’t have to worry about being late, traffic or parking. They’re not my problem anymore. And, since I no longer have any earned income, the IRS can go f%#$ itself.

Then there’s food shopping again, it’s not my problem. I no longer cook. I’m not permitted to cook even if I wanted to so therefore I don’t worry about what to make for dinner, how much it will cost, where will I go to get the food, the long lines at the checkout counter, none of that. 

I shop for clothes and personal items online. They deliver it to me, right to my door. I do my banking (What there is of it) online too. I can even do it at 2 AM, in my underwear if I want, now that’s stress-free! 

Thank god, I have no serious health problems and the ones I do have are being taken care of by a doctor that I don’t have to pay for (at least not directly). 

My rent gets paid directly to my “landlord” who only gets to raise my rent if I get a raise. My room is cleaned every day, my bathroom gets scrubbed every week and my laundry gets done (by someone else) twice a week. Utilities are included so no more Con Ed bills, telephone bills, or water bills. Even the WiFi is free. Oh, did I mention that cable is included. 

Now, before you say to yourself “I can’t wait to get old and slightly infirm, so that I can partake in the joys of assisted living”, there is something you should know. Although there may be a reduction of the routine activities that bring on stress, you will be giving up one very important aspect of your life, freedom. You see, my friends, freedom does not come free, it unfortunately, comes with a price. When you give up stress it means that you have relinquished that which is stressful to you, to someone else. In this case the people that own and run this facility. They, for a price, have taken on those chores that can slowly eat away at your nervous system. However, the price you pay for this “service” is not always in the form of money. It may come at the price of being treated as something less than a normal human being. And, depending on the laws, rules and regulations set forth by the state you are living in may be a steep price indeed.

For instance, we are watched constantly. There are security cameras everywhere, except in our rooms. We are told where and at what time to eat. We are told that we can’t be trusted to use a microwave oven, a Mr. Coffee, a hair dryer, a steam iron, a curling iron or a blender. We can’t have OTC medications in our possession without the consent of a doctor. Our comings and goings are closely monitored and, if we want to be away from the facility for more than two days (medical leave notwithstanding) we are charged for it. We also must demonstrate “competency” if we want control of our own prescription drugs and even our own money.

I mentioned that I no longer have to shop for food. This sounds great until you see what’s for dinner and realize that you are being fed the cheapest crap around. And, while nobody stops you from ordering takeout, it becomes prohibitively expensive to do on a regular basis. This is the price one pays for living a stress-free life. 

Is there any way to get around this? Yes, there is. Be rich. Be very, very rich. Because nothing relieves stress like the sound of one hundred dollar bills being fanned through your fingers.

Nirvana, heaven, paradise (Call it what you want) may be the next stop on the line, but chances are, you will have to get off the freedom train to get there.


New Feature

For new residents and the curious alike, I thought, that in the next few weeks, I would take you on a tour of our humble abode. 

One of my favorite places in the entire facility is our library. It may be the most pleasant and home-like places in the whole building. Its warm, wood paneled shelves, comfortable furniture and quiet atmosphere make it the ideal setting to read, write or just meditate. 

The library features an eclectic collection of books and magazines with many contemporary titles. While fiction dominates the shelves, there are many biographies, sports and even “How to” and “Self Help” books. And, if you prefer to read in the comfort of your own room, the books are available for takeout. There’s no librarian or card catalog so residents are on their own when trying to find a particular title. 

BTW, we welcome any and all contributions.


The following three articles are of great importance to people who, at some point in their lives will need to leave their homes and enter a place where they can receive help in dealing with life’s everyday routine. The cost of this help will depend on how much care you are in need of. As both a long term patient in a nursing home and a three year resident of an assisted living facility, I am well aware of what each level of care costs and what you get for your money. The first story, which deals with the cost of nursing home care, is of particular interest to my fellow residents here at the Center. Many of the more “independent” residents have complained about the increased number of seemingly markedly disabled or even chronically ill people being admitted here. Many of those complaining residents feel that these people don’t belong here. I urge them to read the following articles and see why they chose assisted living over a nursing home.

Elder Care Costs Keep Rising; 

Nursing Home Bill Now $91,000


“The cost of staying in a nursing home has increased 4 percent every year over the last five years, according to Genworth Financial's annual Cost of Care report, released Thursday, April 9, 2015. Last year, the median bill was $87,600.”

The steep cost of caring for the elderly continues to climb. The median bill for a private room in a nursing home is now $91,250 a year, according to an industry survey out Thursday.

Most people don't realize how expensive this care can be until a parent or family member needs it.

"Most people don't realize how expensive this care can be until a parent or family member needs it," said Joe Caldwell, director of long-term services at the National Council on Aging. "And then it's a real shock."

So, who pays the nursing-home bill? "A lot of people believe Medicare will step in and cover them, but that's just not true," said Bruce Chernoff, president and CEO of The Scan Foundation, a charitable organization. Medicare will cover some short visits for recovery after a surgery, for instance, but not long-term stays....

Less-intensive care remains much cheaper than staying at a nursing home, according to Genworth's survey. One year in in an assisted-living facility runs $43,200. A year of visits from an agency's home health aides runs $45,760.


 Related story...


5 Most Expensive States for Home Health Care in 2015

By Tim Mullaney

The cost of home care services continues to grow more slowly than the cost of assisted living and nursing home care, according to newly released findings from insurance company Genworth.

These are the five most expensive states for home health aide services, based on median annual cost:

1.North Dakota—$62,142


3.Massachusetts, Minnesota (tied)—$57,200

4.Rhode Island—$56,925



Another related story...

10 Most Expensive Places for Assisted Living in 2015

By Tim Mullaney

With the cost of assisted living care, increasing dramatically on a national basis, this senior living option remains most expensive in Washington, D.C., according to the 12th annual Cost of Care Survey from Genworth.

The 10 most expensive places for one-bedroom, single-occupancy assisted living care are:

1.Washington, D.C.—$94,050


3.New Jersey—$68,700



6.Rhode Island—$63,900


8.New Hampshire—$61,230





Aging is less pleasant 

If you succumb to the numbers 

By Sharon Johnson

Satchel Paige, the legendary baseball player, once said, "How old would you be if you did not know how old you were?"

At the recently held American Society on Aging Conference in Chicago, the new chief executive officer of AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins, used this quote to introduce the topic of "Disruptive Aging."

The premise is: As you age, it is going to be a less positive experience overall if you succumb to the number — or even the circumstance.

"Embrace aging with open arms and upend your thinking about getting older" is the message put forward by AARP. "Stir things up a little."

When our granddaughter had a birthday a few years ago, she said, "I've never been 8 before, I wonder what it's like."

And then she proceeded to have "a tremendous year" engaged in school and sports activities she had never experienced before. She even was given the kitten she had been hoping to get; she named him Paige.

When we are young, the world is full of creative anticipation. In later decades, not so much. Why is that?



Where's the replacement 

To the (Obama) health law?

By Ken Newton

"Medicare is in much better shape today than it was just a few years ago, just because we have had some success in helping with some of those costs," Ms. McCaskill said. "Not that (the costs) aren't still increasing, but they're increasing at a much lower level than they were before we did all the health-care reform."

Senator Claire McCaskill insists the "repeal and replace mantra" of fellow federal lawmakers leaves her cold for a variety of reasons but one in particular: Where's the replacement?

Those members of Congress wanting to get rid of the Affordable Care Act have yet to explain what they will do if they find success in that, she said.

"Has anybody seen 'replace?' If you have, I would like to take a look at it," the senator said during a stop in Chillicothe on Wednesday morning. "They've never explained how they would 'replace.' ... I worry that if they are successful in doing away with (the law), there is no plan."

Ms. McCaskill, the top Democrat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, came to the Livingston County seat as part of her statewide tour of listening sessions targeting issues related to older Americans.



Taking Care of Aging Teeth


With all the medications older adults take nowadays, a common side effect is xerostomia, or dry mouth. Saliva is a necessary component to wash away food particles and debris. When the amount of saliva is decreased, plaque can stick to the teeth and lead to more cavities. To combat dry mouth, we recommended and over the counter mouth lubricant, such as Biotene. It may also be necessary to brush more often or to rinse with water after meals if brushing is not possible. The key is to clear food from the mouth so it does not stick to teeth.

BRUSH AND FLOSS!! In a poll, the American Dental Association discovered that people brush for an average of 45 seconds a day. The recommended time is 2-3 minutes, twice a day. Just think of the amount of time you spend eating each day. How can you keep your teeth clean by brushing for only 45 seconds? Just the simple act of actually timing how long you brush for or getting an electric toothbrush with a built in timer will do wonders for the health of your mouth. 


More health news...

How You Can Cope with Declining Senses as You Age

What you can do about hearing and vision loss

If you find yourself saying, “Huh?” a lot, you’re probably aware that your senses are declining with age. While that’s normal, there are things you can do to help yourself.

As you age, you may notice that your eyes aren’t quite as good as they used to be or that you’re often asking people to repeat themselves because you didn’t quite catch what they said.

You may also notice that your ability to perceive where your body is in relation to other people or objects (what is known as proprioception) also declines.

“When proprioception declines, you may feel more unsteady when walking and have difficulty with balance,” says Ronan Factora, MD. “Hearing, vision, and proprioception all decline as a part of normal aging.”

What you can do to diminish hearing loss......



6 ways Federal Reserve policy hurts retirees

By Chris Kissell

In late 2012, then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke fessed up and revealed the worst-kept secret in finance: The low rates the Fed has maintained in an attempt to ignite the U.S. economy are badly hurting retirees and others who rely on fixed-income.

"My colleagues and I know that people who rely on investments that pay a fixed interest rate, such as certificates of deposit, are receiving very low returns, a situation that has involved significant hardship for some," Bernanke said in an October speech in Indianapolis.

Such sympathy is probably small consolation to millions of Americans who saved diligently over the years but now find themselves struggling, thanks to rates that have remained near zero percent for more than six years.

How does Fed policy hurt retirees? Bankrate counts six ways.....



Candice Bergen on Aging & Weight Gain 

By Donna Giachetti

US Weekly reports that Candice Bergen, 68, has a bone to pick with the bone-thin Hollywood crowd.  In her upcoming memoir, A Fine Romance, Bergen makes it clear that she’s perfectly happy about herself, and doesn’t care what others think.

“Let me just come right out and say it:  I am fat,” the Murphy Brown star writes. “In the past 15 years… I have put on 30 pounds.”  She continues, “I live to eat.   I am a champion eater. No carb is safe—no fat, either.”

Growing Old Is a Privilege

Bergen started her career as a fashion model, but soon achieved fame in Hollywood and later, on television.  She has been outspoken about reversing the stigma associated with aging.  For her, aging is a natural and inevitable part of life, not something to be feared or surgically reversed.

“People complain about parts for women, people complain about getting old, but it’s a privilege to get old,” Bergen told New York magazine in 2012.  ”The reality is that I don’t look like I used to look.  I just don’t care enough, and in a way it’s saved me.”



12 Pieces of No Bull Sex Advice From the Older 

Women Who Know Better Than We Do

The impression you'd get from looking at our culture around us (save for a few Cialis commercials) is that sex is for young people only. Take most TV shows, and you'll see sweaty young things writhing around with one another while anyone over 40 gets cut away as soon as they kiss.   

But getting older doesn't mean sex leaves your life. In fact, a recent National Opinion Research Center survey of 3,005 adults found that of those between ages 57 and 64, 84% of men and 62% of women reported having sex in the past year. Of those 75 to 85 years old, 38% of men and 17% of women had done it. (We're seriously impressed.)

And those older men and women enjoying sex lives? They've been doing it for a long time. So it would stand to reason that they have countless pieces of sexual wisdom to benefit the young and the curious. Thankfully, we have these 12 women to fill us in.

  • Dolly Parton: "God gave us the ability to do it — so let's do it"
  • Dr. Ruth: "Speak up! "
  • Helen Mirren: "Seek out what turns you on."
  • Sophia Loren: "Sexiness is about how you feel, not how you look."
  • Goldie Hawn: "The best partner is someone who makes you feel sexy."



I am always pleased when I see articles like this. I have been an advocate of garlic for years. Unfortunately, here at the Center, the use of garlic as a flavor enhancer is curtailed due to the supposed “delicate” nature of some of the digestive systems of a few of our residents. Maybe if we thought of it as a medicine they would use it more.

Garlic Slows Down Aging And Can Prevent Alzheimer’s, 

Researchers Claim

While the health benefits of eating garlic have been well known for a while, according to new research, garlic not only helps slow down the aging process, but could also be effective at preventing brain disease like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The research, carried out at the University of Missouri, found that a carb found in garlic is key to its classification as a “superfood.”

Other health benefits of garlic include treating acne, hair loss, the common cold, lowering blood pressure, and lowering the risk of heart disease.


Related story....

Using diet to combat 

Alzheimer’s disease

By Sarah Schafer

If your doctor said to you, “Here is a diet; if you follow this, it decreases your chances of Alzheimer’s disease,” would you follow it?

If that convinced you to take a look, here is the basic idea. With the MIND diet, a person would eat at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine — snacks most days on nuts, has beans every other day or so, eats poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week.

You also must limit intake of the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three), to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of AD, according to the study.



Behold the humble meatloaf

There are some foods that, while they are so simple in their inception and construction, also have the opportunity to be dismissed as something that needs no skill to make. Staples such as Mac and cheese, tuna casserole, and meatloaf are three of those foods. However, it is just that very simplicity, that affords the opportunity for disaster. Disaster, in the form of seasoning, or the lack of it.

Now, when people know that they are being served meatloaf as a main course, they don’t expect much. They know that meatloaf is the humblest of all foods being made up of, essentially, chopped meat and some bread-like filler used to “extend” the portion size. However, what they do expect is for that unpretentious dish to be properly seasoned. Something that has always been lacking here at the Center. 

The basic seasoning for meatloaf is just that, basic. The mixture should contain all or most of the following: dried mustard, paprika, salt, dried thyme, basil, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in quantities sufficient enough to produce a flavor that both compliments and enhances the simple ingredients for which the dish was named. Unfortunately, the appropriate use of seasoning has eluded our kitchen staff here for many years. And, while they say that they must limit the use of spices in the food because of the delicate nature of some resident’s digestive tracts, you will notice that the above seasonings are neither hot or spicy. 

In order to make last Wednesday’s dinner a bit more palatable to my finely tuned epicurean pallet I had to add salt, pepper and the finest of all condiments, ketchup, in copious amounts so as to render the meal edible. I’m sorry I have to do this, but until the cook staff, well, learns to cook it will be up to me to make what I eat good enough to eat. 


Why I'll Never Lie About My Age

By Linda Wolff 

"You are denying your very existence by trying to lie about your age." -- Oprah Winfrey

I was at a dinner party recently, chatting up a small group of men and women, all of us around the same age, when someone made a joke about aging. My ears perked and I blurted that I had turned The Big 5-O.

They were stunned. Sadly, not for the reason I had hoped. A "No way! Seriously? I thought you were 35!" would have been nice, (a girl can dream...), but what I heard was equally shocking.

One of the men leaned in, like talking to a naive child, and said, "You should never EVER share your age." The rest agreed. My first thought was to blame it on the wine, though my glass was full, or claim to have holiday-seasonal-social Tourette's. (I have used this tactic before. Successfully.) I smiled. My lip twitched.

Apparently, aging is a bad thing. Admitting it is even worse.

When told she didn't look her age, Gloria Steinem declared, "This is what 40 looks like!"




Contact and Comments

Editor’s preface: Age discrimination is rampant throughout many segments of our society. Stereotypes seem to take precedence over reality. While it is bad enough that these inequities persist among the general population, it is even worse when they are present in a place supposedly dedicated to the welfare of older people. This week’s editorial is written by a resident whose frustration regarding this subject is quite apparent.

Life Around Here

I need to engender a form of discrimination. I am a person – an individual with discrete characteristics. I have my own mind and my own abilities. I should not be put in a generalized category of “older person.” should not be put in a generalized category of “older person.” 

Lumping people of vastly different cognitive capacities and then managing to the lowest level of function is simply unacceptable. Being impervious to resident feedback and issues is the rankest form of paternalism and, benevolent in intent or not, has negative consequences. Among other such outcomes is to say that our individuality and selfhood is irrelevant.

It is a commonplace in social psychology that not having an effect on one’s human and the nonhuman environment provokes defenses against anxiety and depression which are not good for anyone. People turn on themselves and one another. A child who is ignored acts up. He is frustrated and that provokes a tantrum or misbehavior of another kind.  Here in this setting there may be fewer tantrums, but more depression – a self-devaluation reactive to the devaluation experienced in the response of the setting itself.

Ultimately you can get a frequent symptom of depression in older adults – a kind of pseudo-dementia that only differs from organically engendered depression by the fact that it can be alleviated. The person regresses in level of function.  When the depression is alleviated, the dementia recedes rapidly. Making a difference is more solid and sustainable than taking medication. That means a responsive environment and we don’t have one here. Everything is reactive instead of proactive. There is no “adult” way of making change happen because the perception is that nobody in charge gives a fig for anything anyone offers. Depending on life history, people either erupt or cave in.depression by the fact that it can be alleviated. The person regresses in level of function.  When the depression is alleviated, the dementia recedes rapidly. Making a difference is more solid and sustainable than taking medication. That means a responsive environment and we don’t have one here. Everything is reactive instead of proactive. There is no “adult” way of making change happen because the perception is that nobody in charge gives a fig for anything anyone offers. Depending on life history, people either erupt or cave in.depression by the fact that it can be alleviated. The person regresses in level of function.  When the depression is alleviated, the dementia recedes rapidly. Making a difference is more solid and sustainable than taking medication. That means a responsive environment and we don’t have one here. Everything is reactive instead of proactive. There is no “adult” way of making change happen because the perception is that nobody in charge gives a fig for anything anyone offers. Depending on life history, people either erupt or cave in.

The notion that I am treated either as a child or, worse, a “cute little old person” is deeply troubling and makes me want to make noise, but constructively, wondering if anyone who can do anything about issues can hear the noise and respond. I do know that every time I am symbolically patted on the head, my skin crawls. I don’t think I’m far from the norm. See me for who I am, warts and all, but see me as an individual and not part of an indistinguishable lump.




A 9 cent envelope raises a question of trust

It all started when, for the last two months, our rent statements have been arriving without being enclosed in an envelope. Ever since the opening of this facility, these statements have been hand delivered to us inside a standard business size un-printed window envelope. Residents have found this convenient, not only for returning our rent checks but also as a way to keep unauthorized eyes from reading what should be kept confidential. While the question of whether or not our rent statements should be placed in an envelope may seem relatively unimportant, the incident that ensued is not.

When one of our residents found her monthly rent statement left on a table in her room, open for anybody to see, she became angry. Normally, this statement would have been stuffed into an envelope by an office worker and delivered, unopened, to the resident's room like any other mail. The fact that the resident’s privacy had been violated had taken this oversight to another level.

The resident decided that she would confront the party in charge, (the facilities bookkeeper) and ask him why the envelopes had been discontinued. She found him in the main building the next day. His reply was “We never put the statements in an envelope”.

“Of course we did,” replied the resident.

“No, we don’t”, he replied indignantly.

“Are you calling me a liar”, she said.

“Are you calling ME a liar”, he responded, to which our resident turned around and asked the people sitting in the lobby “How many people have had their statements delivered in an envelope.” Of course, everybody raised their hands.

This apparently caught the little bookkeeper person off guard. He could not believe that a resident could be right and he could be wrong. This goes to what is inherently disturbing about these kinds of facilities. It’s the “Holier than thou” attitude that builds a wall between management and residents. This is part of the intrinsic management style that says “We are always right, and you are always wrong”, and it has to stop. If there is ever to be any trust between those of us who need assistance and those who are entrusted with that responsibility, then management has to think twice before dismissing our suggestions and concerns as just the rantings of some senile old people.........Ed.



Last week’s editorial focused on the use of security cameras watching everything residents in assisted living do. A proposed new law in California would allow such cameras inside resident’s rooms. While this sounds like an out and out invasion of privacy, what if the tables were turned and the residents could spy on the staff. The following article addresses just such an issue.

Turning the tables

Do nursing home cameras protect or intrude?

As suddenly as he lost his ability to speak last fall, Stuart Sanderson’s connection to the world outside his Philadelphia nursing home room was severed because of anxiety over a simple webcam.

A compact video camera on his computer monitor allowed him to speak to family even without a voice. Stu, as he prefers to be called, has cerebral palsy, but video calls put him in touch with his ailing father and his brother, who would take the time to read his lips.Stu, as he prefers to be called, has cerebral palsy, but video calls put him in touch with his ailing father and his brother, who would take the time to read his lips.

But to Inglis House, the nursing home where he has lived for decades, the camera was a watchful eye, scrutinizing its staff’s every move and capturing images of people whose privacy they’re responsible to protect.

Stu’s computer equipment was abruptly removed in mid-December, and he was asked to write a note defending his access to it. Family members called it a “cruel hurdle” for a man with limited mobility who selects each letter by pushing the back of his head against a switch.

On another note pleading for his webcam to be returned, Stu, 59, wrote: “WE ARE NOT SPYING ON ANYBODY!”....



Challenges, rewards come with cooking for assisted living residents

By Linda Tuccio-Koonz

Carol Koty cooks in the kitchen at an assisted living facility in Newtown. But if you think that means the food is bland or unappetizing, think again.

"I've been cooking in health care facilities and retirement communities for 12 years now. The food I cook is equal to that of a restaurant."

Koty, 28, is a chef supervisor at Lockwood Lodge at Masonicare at Newtown. She's also an award-winning chef and works part time at The Waterview banquet hall in Monroe.

"We cook (at Lockwood Lodge) for people in assisted living apartments," Koty said. "They are fully functioning adults who just need some kind of help. ... Part of the challenge is that we're serving three meals a day, every day. So we have to make sure they have a variety of selections while keeping everything nutritional and fitting in with their dietary restrictions.

"I would not use the term institutional cooking; it's assisted living cooking. It's its own entity -- different from a restaurant," she said. "Residents make their own choices and we just assist them with those choices."

Koty said while a regular restaurant may keep the same menu for two years and no one would have a problem with that, Lockwood Lodge's menu must change daily. And offerings must be adjusted for residents' allergies and even for dexterity problems.

"When there are people who have trouble cutting food, we cut it up for them. But we still plate it restaurant style so it's still a beautiful dish," she said.



 Elections have consequences; ask a senior citizen

By Barbara Christy

 “Voters, nonvoters get as they deserve.” So the newly elected Republican U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have released their budgets and, predictably, they are a blueprint for all their favorites: tax cuts for the wealthy; more money for the already bloated Pentagon; and, of course, cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and welfare.”nonvoters get as they deserve.” So the newly elected Republican U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have released their budgets and, predictably, they are a blueprint for all their favorites: tax cuts for the wealthy; more money for the already bloated Pentagon; and, of course, cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and welfare.”

They will continue to try to take away health insurance from millions of citizens — some of whom have it for the first time, thanks to Obamacare.

Good luck trying to get health insurance if you have a pre-existing condition if the right wing gets its way.

The House also made it a priority to pass a rule making it harder to transfer money from the regular Social Security fund to the Disability Insurance Trust Fund, which will be depleted in 2016. That could mean a 20 percent cut for those of us on disability.

While I am extremely grateful to receive disability, it is no windfall. It is a lifeline, but it is also used — by me, at least — to pay my supplemental insurance plan, Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket costs for medications......



Airline travel trips for seniors

Everyone deserves an enjoyable flight experience, especially seniors who may be looking forward to a vacation.

Some airlines provide cheaper airfare for senior citizens, but this is certainly not the case across the industry. The best way to find out about special offers or discounts is to simply ask your airline.

Keep in mind that you may need to book directly with the airline rather than a third party to be eligible for any special discounts. By simply calling the airline’s customer service department or checking with your travel agent, you may be able to save yourself a nice chunk of money.

Airport Assistance

As a senior citizen, you are able to request assistance in the airport from the time you arrive to the time you board. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your bags, especially if you have mobility issues or a large number of items.

Airport personnel are standing by to fulfill your requests for a cart or wheelchair, too. Take advantage of these offerings to ensure a stress-free airport experience.

Eased Restrictions

Seniors can request assistance at security, where they may be able to go through a shorter line. ....



I'm Not Trying To 'Age Gracefully' -- So Stop Pressuring Me To

By Ann Brenoff 

I am apparently guilty of one of the last social offenses against humanity: I am aging while female.

I plead guilty. I am 65 and a few months ago had that day that everyone eventually has -- the one when you look in the mirror and see a stranger, a stranger who looks much older than you feel.

I immediately turned to my husband and asked him if I looked any different. Fearful that this was a trick question, he moved straight to Swiss-neutral territory, "You look good. Uh, you got your hair cut?"

A good guess, but no, not a haircut. What I saw when I looked in the mirror were a few extra chins and a body that is succumbing to the forces of gravity -- exacerbated by a few back-to-back nights of insomnia which accentuate the puffiness under my eyes.

Truth is, I'm fine with it -- all of it except maybe the nights of insomnia. What I'm not fine with is the pressure exerted on women my age to "age gracefully."......



5 Ways You Can Live Forever

Or perhaps just a little bit longer.

By Indre Viskontas

Last summer, at the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, I sat in a room full of scientists, innovators and thought leaders. Someone asked how long everyone would like to live. To my great surprise, most people agreed that somewhere in one's 90s was a good time to kick the bucket. Given that this was a collection of curious and optimistic people whose religion is science, I was shocked that—unlike me—more of them didn't want to live forever.

I later found out that this reaction is actually representative of the general population: Among the attendees was fellow science writer David Ewing Duncan, who has asked this question online and at the beginning of numerous talks, collecting more than 30,000 responses. The consensus? About 85 percent of people wouldn't want to live past 120, and more than half agreed that 80 years was about how long they'd like to live. The number of people who would like to live forever? Less than 5 percent.



In Men’s Fight Against Aging, How Much Risk to Take?

The FDA is weighing whether testosterone-replacement therapy is safe


“All men want to feel younger and more virile, and they somehow have come to believe that low-T medication is the fountain of youth. But we don’t know whether it’s safe,” 

Aging brings less energy, strength and sex drive for most men. The Food and Drug Administration is trying to decide whether taking hormone supplements, which promise to battle that natural decline, is safe.

More than 2.3 million American men used testosterone gels, patches, pellets and injections last year—twice the number as in 2008. Some experts say these men may be increasing their chances of having a heart attack.

An FDA advisory panel in September urged the agency to require testosterone-product manufacturers to study if there are cardiovascular risks. The panel also recommended new labeling to say testosterone drugs, which were first approved in the 1950s to treat severe hormonal deficiencies, haven’t been shown to be safe and effective for boosting age-related drop in testosterone. Only about half of men filling testosterone prescriptions have been formally diagnosed as deficient in the hormone, according to an FDA review.

It isn’t clear what the FDA will do. But whatever the agency decides, doctors will still be able to prescribe the drugs “off-label.” And for many men, the benefits of boosting testosterone levels, a condition often referred to as low-T, are worth the risk.



"I’m now older and wiser", says Dustin Hoffman on aging

Dustin Hoffman has opened up about the great parts to aging.

The 77-year-old actor is widely thought of as one of the most respected actors in Hollywood, with roles in classic movies such as “The Graduate” and “Rain Man” under his belt.

And as Dustin gets older, he feels his brilliance increasing.

“There are great parts to aging,” he told the Globe and Mail newspaper. “Being around longer than other people, you can’t help but have a certain amount of wisdom.”

While Dustin is known for his acting skills, the star admitted he would have liked to explore another career had he been given the opportunity. But Dustin says he lacks the talent required for his dream job.

“If God tapped me on the shoulder now and said, ‘No more acting or directing, but you can be a decent jazz pianist,’ I’d do it. I love it more than anything,” he smiled....

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/showbiz/article/im-now-older-and-wiser-says-dustin-hoffman-on-aging#sthash.uHCifODo.dpuf


Downsizing the home: Tips for seniors and family caregivers

“For older adults, decades of memories are typically built around their home, Also, one’s personal identity can be closely tied to a home and belongings, so living without these valued possessions is distressing. Navigating the downsizing process for seniors involves recognizing the emotions and planning for the practicalities of transitioning from the familiar to the unfamiliar.”

Fortunately, there are workable solutions for the elderly, leaving a long-term house for the smaller square footage of a condo, apartment or townhome. Ways to help seniors tackle downsizing include the following:

Plan for the reduced space. Realtors or apartment managers can help with the square footage of the rooms in the new home. Use this to gauge which essentials will fit. Consider the older loved one’s future lifestyle. If group entertaining is not in the plan, then it’s time to pare down the cookware, tableware and kitchen gadgets.

Recruit family and friends. Moving is meant to be a team effort. Every bit of help makes the process more manageable. Downsizing is often the perfect time to make legacy gifts, of special belongings to children, grandchildren, friends and others. Hearing the stories behind the bequeathed treasures is a gift to recipients, too.



Stretch your iPhone's battery life

By Heather Neal

While these tips apply to all mobile devices, the instructions for changing settings are iOS specific. Please note, these instructions assume that your device is equipped with the latest iOS. If you’ve been neglecting your iOS updates, note that Apple recommends keeping your iOS up to date to improve battery life because new software often includes “advanced energy-saving technologies.”

Starting with average Joe users, there are several modifications you can make right now to squeeze the most juice from your battery.

Brightness settings. Lighting up your screen takes a lot of battery power, and the brighter the screen the more juice it drains. Manually adjust the brightness of your iOS mobile device by swiping up from the bottom of your screen and moving the bar next to the little “sun” picture as far to the left as you are able to with your current lighting. Obviously, if you’re in bright sunlight, the bar will need to be further to the right, but inside you should be able to get away with dropping it all the way down. Also, under settings > display and brightness, you can toggle on auto-brightness and the phone will automatically adjust for you.......



Aging with respect and dignity: The right to quality of life

By Jonelle Roberts

“Quality of life is defined by each individual differently. If you or your loved one feels that he or she is not receiving the health care necessary to ensure the quality of life, talk to facility staff. If you still have concerns, call your ombudsman and we will work with you to find a solution.”

Both federal and state laws guarantee all residents of long-term care facilities rights that were developed to ensure both "Quality of Life" and "Quality of Care." This assures that Sally has the right to ask for or to refuse medical treatment. Our elders should have as much control over their own lives and deaths as possible.

Keep advanced directives updated. Does it still make sense to receive CPR if they stop breathing? When the ability to swallow is impaired, should tube feedings be started?

If you have a loved one in long-term care, please ask what "quality of life" means to them. It is much easier on the family if these things have been discussed in detail.



Your Aging Brain is Brilliant: The Myth of Cognitive Decline

By Misty Jacobs 

“The myth of cognitive decline has been established by psychometric tests that do not measure how human knowledge grows with experience. Rather, the tests measure for rapid answers.”

Do you sometimes take a few extra seconds to think of just the right word? Forget a name? Do you blame your absentmindedness on your age?

In "The Myth of Cognitive Decline: Non-Linear Dynamics of Lifelong Learning," scientists challenge the long-held belief that cognitive decline is inevitable as we age.

Scientists formerly thought that human cognition reaches its peak in young adulthood and decelerates from there. But that doesn't seem to be the case. What does slow down is our memory and word retrieval.

Since an older person’s experience is more vast, it makes sense that accessing information takes longer. Gossamer, anti-penultimate, nadir. . . Ask any fifteen-year-old if he or she knows those words. The answer is probably no. It’s like comparing a leaflet to a library....



Requiem for a burger

There has always been some controversy over where exactly the hamburger was born. Some say it was at a place near the Yale campus in Connecticut while others says it was invented by some dude in Missouri. Others even have the audacity to claim it was invented in (shudder) Europe. But, while there is a question of where the humble burger was born, there is no question where it died. It died on the grills and frying pans of fast food restaurants and institutional ovens of places like ours.

The very first thing I ever cooked by myself, on my mothers stove top, was a grilled cheese sandwich. That relatively simple excursion into the culinary world taught me one thing about cooking. And that was, “DON’T OVERCOOK THE FOOD.” I took this lesson with me as I worked my way up to the second thing I learned to cook, the hamburger. This one very important method of cooking seems to have been lost somewhere over the years. Perhaps it comes from the well meaning meddling of various government agencies who warned us against under cooking some foods for fear of fostering some kind of contamination. Thus we, as a society, are doomed forever to suffer the ravages of dried out, tasteless, leather-like burgers, steaks, and chicken. While there are some restaurants that will still prepare for you a medium-well burger, that’s as about as big a risk they are willing to take.

Perhaps, someday we will come back to our senses and realize that if a food has been properly refrigerated and stored, and if we keep our kitchens and food prep areas clean and we don’t cross contaminate what we eat, there should be no problem with cooking the occasional juicy burger or medium-rare sirloin.


Chicken dinner

A most disturbing meal

I could not have planned or prepared a worse dinner than I had last Monday evening if I had worked on it all day. Practically nothing about it was any good. From the dry overdone pitifully small chicken pieces covered with a sickly sweet right-out-of-the- jar barbecue sauce to the Frankenstein-like side dishes.

Potato salad should only be served at either lunch or at a picnic or, better yet, never. But to use it as a side dish in place of an authentic vegetable may border on the criminal. And, if I could have come up with the worst combination of two vegetables, I could not have even envisioned the pairing of carrots and cauliflower. Somehow, I managed to finish the chicken, downing copious amount of water as I chewed upon its dried out flesh. However, I left the dining room still hungry and the only food around here is the salty snacks, available at a usurious price, in the vending machine downstairs. Bad dinner, bad dinner.


There’s something missing here.

It wasn't so much that the meatballs tasted like they were made by “Peoples Meatball Factory # 12”, or that the bland, red sauce was devoid of almost any authentic Italian seasonings like basil and oregano. Nor was it the soapy-tasting generic Parmesan cheese I had to sprinkle over the dish to at least add some flavor to this humdrum meal that was missing from Wednesday’s lunch. No, it was what wasn't presented here that singles our food out from anything we can even remotely call “good”. And that one ingredient is the one ingredient that should be in great abundance, garlic. Hardly a trace of this essential element can be detected. Not in the sauce or in the meatballs. At the very least there should have been a nice piece of garlic bread to go along with this food. Is it too much to ask for. 


March may have gone out like a lion, but April came in like a lamb, dinner that is. For the first time, here at the Center, diners were treated to sliced lamb. And, while it lacked imagination as far as seasoning was concerned it made up in tenderness. Perhaps a little mint jelly would have added to the total lamb experience, but, all in all, it wasn't bad. The only fault I have is with the baked potato. It was cold as it usually is. This is due mainly because they insist on cutting the potato open before it's served. I would prefer to do it myself.

Mark Knopfler Says Aging ‘Ain’t for Wimps’

by Dave Lifton 

Many of the songs on Mark Knopfler‘s new album, Tracker, deal with older characters reflecting upon their past. In a new interview, the 65-year old Knopfler says that he’s fine with the idea of aging, because there’s no point in trying to fight it.

“You’ve got no choice,” he told Salon. “I just try to stay fit. That’s important — just to try to stay physically fit so you can go out there and play. You do need to be in reasonable shape. When you’re a kid, you’re not even thinking about that stuff. You’re just ramming through everything. I did learn eventually — perhaps far too late — to respect the talent I have. For a lot of years out there, I was just bashing on to the next thing and not really thinking about it too much. That’s what we do. But I’m learning to appreciate the moment.”

Read More: http://ultimateclassicrock.com/mark-knopfler-aging-aint-for-wimps/?trackback=tsmclip




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Does security outweigh privacy when you’re old?

I recently came across this headline...

....And it got me to thinking. Why is it that the level of privacy appears to diminish as one gets older?

Privacy, to me, has always been a big issue. I admit it, I am a very private person. This is not to say that I won’t bare my soul to someone, but only to those that I choose. To the rest of the world, I say “Mind your own business.” This is why when, a few years ago, I was thrust into a position where my privacy was compromised, I went ballistic. Just get yourself in a situation where you have to rely on social services to provide for your well being and you will understand what I mean. For some reason, they feel that it’s OK to ask you anything, and become indignant when you don’t want to answer them. 

A couple of weeks ago, while we were still on lockdown from a virulent form of stomach virus which whipped through this place, I answered a knock on my door. There were two women there whom I did not recognize. One woman introduced herself as one of our house doctors. I told her that I never saw her before, to which she said “I’ve been here all the time”.

“OK, what do you want.”, I asked.

“May we come in, ” she said. “I just want to ask some questions.”

“No, you can ask me from where you are.”

That prompted an indignant look from the woman. in any event, she began her questions. 

“Age, date of birth, any surgeries, medication, height and weight”, she asked.

I, like a sheep, began to answer her questions, and then, when she got to the weight part, I balked. 

“None of your business” I said. In fact, I’m not answering any more of your questions.”

Second indignant look from the woman. 

“I have been asked and I have answered these questions a dozen times before. All this info is on file, go find it.” I said. I closed the door.

As I said, I have never met this person. She may or may not have been the “house doctor.” So what gives her the right to ask some very personal questions. I’ll tell you. It’s because they no longer think of me as an individual. I am nothing more than some old dude who, if you tell him that you are someone in authority, will answer anything you ask. And this pervasive attitude does not stop at asking questions. Here, at the ALF, it goes much further which is why the above headline caught my attention. While we do not (yet) have cameras in our rooms we have the next best thing. It’s what the admin. likes to call “Room checks”.

Room checks involve a staff person (at the management level) coming into your room, whether you are there or not, and going through your stuff. They do this under the guise of security. They are looking for things that may be harmful to us. Things like hair dryers, non-prescription OTC meds, steam irons etc. They have even confiscated stuff like bleach and mouthwash containing alcohol (as if I’m going to make a Scope and Listerine Margarita). Things are done here, that would never be done if there were young people here. But, as long as we are old and dependent on others for our daily needs, it’s OK to meddle, snoop and admonish us for doing what everyone else is freely allowed to do. The very fact that the folks in California are even thinking about putting cameras in the rooms of residents is abhorrent. Prisons don’t even have cameras in individual cells. It’s the “They’re old, they won’t care” attitude that prevails in all places like this. One’s privacy goes right out the window.

True story. A couple of years ago, I was moved from a hospital to a nursing home. Upon my arrival, late at night, I was taken to my room where I was assisted into bed. A few minutes later, a woman, dressed in street clothes, came in and asked me a few questions. So far, so good. I noticed that she had a small point and shoot digital camera in her hands. 

“I’m going to take your picture for Identification purposes,” she said, and proceeded to snap away. 

While I did not like it, I kind of understood the purpose of doing it. I said nothing. Then the strangest thing happened. 

Without drawing the curtains, or ever so much as a “May I”, the LPN that accompanied the street clothed woman, began to roll me over on my side, untie my hospital gown and expose my butt to the world. As soon as my gown was completely opened, the street clothed woman, who I understood to be an office worker, began to snap picture after picture of my naked ass. As soon as I heard the first camera click, I rolled over, stared at the woman and said, “What the f--k are you doing”. 

“We want to see if you have any sores,” she said.

“In other words, you’re covering your ass.” I said. “Get the hell away from me, you’re not a doctor or even a nurse and you have no right to do this without my consent.”

“It’s for your own good," she said with a surprised look on her face. Evidently, nobody ever refused her before.

“No, it’s for YOUR own good, now get out.” Whereby she left in a huff.

I was sick and I was old and they thought it would be OK to do whatever they wanted to do. After that, I became very aware of what was going on around me. I answered questions that only I thought was relevant. I even threw the house shrink out of my room when the first question out of his mouth was “Have you ever had thoughts of killing yourself.”

The law, proposed in California, to allow cameras in resident’s rooms, like all of the cameras that are on the streets of our cities and in our workplaces, is perceived as being OK as long as they are there under the guise of security. Please folks, don’t fall for this. It’s just a way of eroding your civil liberties at a time in life when you need all the “liberty” you can get.

For the entire story behind the headline, go to...http://www.mcknights.com/california-mulls-assisted-living-cameras/article/396243/



With a new Administrator, expectation may outweigh reality.

Everyone here at the Center was licking their collective chops over last week’s announcement that we will soon have a new administrator. And with this new blood we are expecting some changes that are sorely needed around here. Unfortunately, this temporary euphoria may be short-lived when we find out that a new ass in the manager's seat does not necessarily mean a new change in thinking. 

Unlike newly elected U.S. Presidents, administrators are not expected to be trendsetters. Generally, they do not initiate new policies or set the direction in which the facility will go in the future. They are expected to keep the facility on an even keel, with course corrections occurring only when corporate management says so. So what good, if any, can we expect from this change?

Hopefully, we will see someone whose management style is not firmly planted in the 19th century. The feudal form of governing does not work anymore. Also, we would like to see an unclenching of the managerial anus and the uptight attitude that has prevailed here for some time. In addition, we need to have a more open and inclusive policy on board when it comes to making decisions that affect the lives and well-being of the residents. And finally, we need any new administrator to realize that most of us here are viable, bright, intellectually mature adults who do not want to be governed by a set of rules made for senile old farts who don’t know what day it is or where they are.


A closed door meeting, but why?

It was about five minutes before lunchtime Friday and I was hurrying down the corridor towards the dining room. It was pizza day, and I was in a hurry to see what this month’s offering was going to look like. Passing the resident’s library, I couldn’t help but notice that the door was closed and that a meeting was taking place inside. This, in itself, was not unusual. Many groups use the library for meetings, although it is not supposed to be used for that purpose. The library is meant to be a quiet sanctuary for the sole use of residents who need a place to read or think in a quiet environment, 24 hours a day. And, while this covenant is often overlooked on special occasions, it certainly was never meant to be a staff meeting room where closed door meetings were held. 

Even in my haste, I had to stop for a second to see who was in that room and who had the audacity to close the door. What I found disturbed me no end. In that room was the lady from the DOH (the same lady who I had a talk with a couple of days before) and some members of our management staff including our director of Case Management and others. They were evidently going over the findings of that talk, which I, and other residents, had with her. If indeed that was the case, how come the closed door and how come we (residents) were not informed or invited to be at that meeting. What was management hearing that they did not want us to hear. A member of the resident’s council should be at any meeting that involves the DOH. 

I hurried through my lunch in hopes of going back to the library and walking in and demanding that I be allowed to stay. Unfortunately, by the time I got back there, the room was empty and the meeting over. This will not happen again. The next time I see a private meeting going on in the library I’m walking in no matter who’s in there.

Editor’s note: There is a perfectly good, and unused at the time, board room available for executive level and staff meetings. Why that room was not used I don’t know.


And then there were none

To say that amenities are lacking here at the Center may be an understatement. We are deficient in so many extras that many assisted living facilities take for granted, but at least we had the basics. We did, that is, until now. First to go was the crushed ice/ ice water dispenser. After months of waiting for a replacement, it’s still not here. Now, the two remaining conveniences which residents found indispensable, have also gone MIA with no time given for their return. 

There are approximately 180 residents here at the Center with no way to obtain ice, boiled water or a way to warm food. That means that 180 people must suffer with cold tap water, cold leftovers and (because we are not permitted appliances in our rooms) no way to make coffee or tea or hot chocolate when the kitchen is closed. This is a disgrace. Management tells us that all of these will be replaced or repaired, but we have heard this before. Five months have gone by and still no ice machine. 

“It’s on order”, says management. 

“From where, Tibet?”, says I.

We don’t know what the problem with the boiled water dispenser is or when it will be fixed. The microwave oven’s motor burned out and, while we are told that a new one has been ordered, we wonder why it takes so long to arrive. We know we are not at the top of the ALF food chain and that we cannot expect the luxuries that other ALF’s are privy to, but in today’s day and age, these three basic amenities are commensurate with providing a homey environment for our residents.


As Providers Ready for Baby Boom, 

Senior Housing Set to ‘Explode’

By Jason Oliva 

“All of the fireworks are about to start, It’s time for us to think about how maturity is going to be resculpted, reformed and how it will shape-shift in the years to come. As maturity shifts, the services, products, programs and housing needed to embrace it and nourish it are going to have to change also.”

Senior care providers have long been tasked with anticipating the wants, needs and preferences of tomorrow’s resident. But now, they’ll have to re-imagine what maturity and growing older really means as they prepare for the new wave of their most demanding consumers.

Boomers have had fewer children compared to their parents, inadvertently creating a short supply of caregivers for when they will need such attention. This coincides with the AARP and Harvard’s JCHS findings, which also indicated that a significant share of the youngest Boomers, aged 50 to 59, don’t have children who might take care of them as they age.



An assisted living nightmare

By Jeremy Meyer / The Denver Post

“Cathy Greway said staff at Atria told her about her husband's confrontation with Homer Castor a few weeks before that left marks on his neck, but she said they downplayed it.”

Cathy Greway made the torturous decision about a year ago to place her husband, Gerald "Jerry" Propp, into an assisted living facility.

She had been caring for her husband of more than 20 years on her own in their Golden home, a task becoming overwhelming as Jerry's Alzheimer's disease progressed.

Cathy looked at more than 20 places to find the right fit, searching for a facility that wasn't too depressing, was clean and would provide assistance with her husband's daily living.

"I just wanted to find the perfect place," she said.

Of course, she couldn't have predicted that 10 months later, her 76-year-old husband would be beaten to death while sleeping in his bed at the Atria Applewood assisted living facility.



Senior citizens with back pain often get quick x-ray or MRI that may be a waste

Early imaging of those age 65-plus does not seem to improve the outcome

“Adverse consequences of early imaging are more substantial among older people because the prevalence of incidental findings on spine imaging increases with age, which may lead to a cascade of subsequent interventions that increase costs without benefits, according to background information in the article.”

The older adults who had spine imaging within 6 weeks of a new primary care visit for back pain had pain and disability over the following year that was not different from similar patients who did not undergo early imaging, according to the study in the March 17 issue of JAMA.

The researchers were led to this study because there have been many questions about when to image senior citizens with back pain. Many guidelines recommend that seniors undergo early imaging because of the higher prevalence of serious underlying conditions.  However, there has not been strong evidence to support this recommendation.


More health news...

Cataracts are associated with aging

By Ronald Brzahler, M.D.

Cataracts, which are related to aging, diminish vision by clouding the lens of the eye. It is a common condition as more than half of all Americans age 80 or older have had a cataract or corrective surgery, according to the National Eye Institute of the National Institute of Health.

The major parts of the eye include the lens, cornea, iris, pupil and retina. The lens, which is comprised of water and protein, acts similarly to a camera lens, focusing light on the retina to record an image. It also focuses the eye.

The protein in a healthy eye is precisely arranged to keep the lens clear, allowing light to pass to the retina. However, over time, the protein may clump together with the result being a cataract. The lens slowly becomes yellowish-brown, adding a tint to a person’s vision. As the cataract enlarges, more of the lens gradually becomes obscured further, limiting vision.

Other factors besides age that affect vision include smoking, diabetes, obesity, certain medications, previous eye injury or surgery, continued sunlight exposure and family history.



Calico, QB3 Launch Longevity R&D Partnership

Google-backed Calico said Tuesday it will partner with the University of California institute QB3 to study longevity and age-related diseases, as well as create and foster an interdisciplinary community of scientists in those fields.

Calico and QB3 have agreed to a broad sponsored research agreement intended to enable collaboration between the company and multiple QB3 labs on specific research programs related to aging, as well as a grant mechanism to support innovation in longevity research led by QB3.

"We are all aging, and we will all benefit from the discoveries made in this program and the therapies that will result,” QB3 director Regis Kelly said in a statement. “We are grateful to Calico for recognizing the deep expertise at the University of California that attracts so many scientists of exceptional ability.”

QB3 teamed up with Calico a week after the company launched a collaboration with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard that is intended to advance understanding of age-related diseases, and propel the translation of these findings into new therapeutics. In September 2014, Calico launched an up-to-$1.5 billion R&D collaboration with AbbVie to discover, develop, and bring to market new therapies for patients with neurodegeneration and cancer, as well as other age-related diseases.



Living on a fixed or reduced income is difficult for everybody, and it’s even more difficult for senior citizens. It amazes me at times, to see the ways in which we are able to survive on what we get. With that said, any information that will allow you to extend the money you do have is worth repeating. I found some amazing food saving “hacks” that will reduce the amount of food you throw away. These tips are from a great website called “QUORA.COM”

1. Oil up your eggs. 

Rub egg shells with vegetable oil before refrigerating. The oil will keep the eggs fresh for an additional three to four weeks.

2. Spoon your ginger.

Even the lumpy bumps of a ginger root are easy to peel with a spoon, and you’ll be left with a beautiful piece of peeled ginger and almost zero waste.

3. Have your cake and a slice of bread too.

After cutting into a cake, use toothpicks to cover the exposed portion with piece of bread. The bread will get hard and stale, but the cake will stay nice and soft.

4. Poke your lemons.

For recipes that just require a bit of lemon juice, puncture the rind with a toothpick and gently squeeze out what you need. Then cover the hole with a piece of tape and store the still-fresh lemon in the fridge for later use.

5. Reuse cheese wrappers for storage.

Cut the chunk you want right through the package. Remove delicious cheese. Slide now-empty end back over the remaining cheese. Vanquish dried-out cheese ends forever!



Why NYC Wants to Put Old People to Work    

'Many of the older adults that we speak with want and need to work'

A skilled-labor shortage has left small businesses across the country scrambling to fill positions and New York City health organizations say there’s a simple solution: hire older workers.

“Hiring, retaining and using older workers strategically can solve a variety of pressing problems that employers in our city face,” said Shauneequa Owusu, a health policy expert at the New York Academy of Medicine, which co-produced a new report with the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University and the Mayor’s office’s Age-Friendly New York City.

The report, published Wednesday, suggests that workers 55 or older can bring skill and expertise while only requiring minimal adjustment on the part of small businesses (technology training can get older workers up to speed quickly, the report found). At the same time, research suggests the workplace can benefit from age diversity, too. “There is evidence that mixed age teams in the workplace are more productive than teams of workers of the same age,” the authors write.

“Many of the older adults that we speak with want and need to work....


More lifestyle news...

Two new studies associate aging with

 increased trust and well-being

"Our findings suggest that trust may be an important resource for successful development across the life span." 

Hollywood has given moviegoers many classic portrayals of grumpy old men. But new research suggests that getting older doesn't necessarily make people cynical and suspicious.

Instead, trust tends to increase as people age, a development that can be beneficial for well-being, according to two new large-scale studies by researchers at Northwestern University and the University at Buffalo.

"When we think of old age, we often think of decline and loss," said study co-author Claudia Haase, an assistant professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy.

"But a growing body of research shows that some things actually get better as we age," Haase said. "Our new findings show that trust increases as people get older and, moreover, that people who trust more are also more likely to experience increases in happiness over time."



Malnutrition in elderly often undetected

Mary Kaye Dolan-Anderson

Obesity is certainly one of America's leading health issues, and the elderly are not immune from the dangers of carrying too much body fat. The good news is recent studies have shown that older adults who are a few pounds over their ideal weight may actually receive some protective health benefits in the event of a major illness. The bad news is 30 percent of Americans over the age of 65 are well over a few pounds overweight and classified as clinically obese. In addition to all of the health risks associated with obesity, many of these seniors also are malnourished.

Classically, the malnourished are thought of as underweight stick figures (and many times this is still the case). However, researchers are quickly realizing that hidden beneath layers of life-threatening fat, many of the obese are also suffering from malnutrition. Just because they are eating a lot, does not mean they are eating the right foods in the proper amounts.



End-of-Life Care Forms Cause Confusion Among Providers

by Emily Study

Senior living providers often rely on forms that communicate residents’ end-of-life choices, but once a resident leaves the community for medical care, those forms don’t appear to be doing their job. 

In fact, there is “significant confusion” among emergency physicians and prehospital care providers in interpreting the universal end-of-life care documents, called Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), new research shows. 

These POLST documents detail patients’ choices regarding resuscitation — either “do not resuscitate” (DNR) or full cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — and other treatments, with options for full treatment, limited treatment or “comfort measures” only.

But according to a pair of studies in the March edition of the Journal of Patient Safety, POLST documents are commonly misinterpreted by emergency doctors and paramedics. 



Male appetite drives sexual

 activity among older adults

Sexual activity among older adults is fuelled largely by male appetite – women are less likely to be active if their partners do not experience much desire and more likely if their partners do, new research has highlighted.

“In other words, our studies suggest that women’s desire is not decisive for how active they are,” said Nils Beckman from Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“One reason may be the gender roles that these generations grew up with, which dictate that men always take the initiative,” Beckman said in his doctoral thesis.




Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying)

From acclaimed journalist Bill Gifford comes a roaring journey into the world of anti-aging science in search of answers to a universal obsession: what can be done about getting old?

SPRING CHICKEN is a full-throttle, high-energy ride through the latest research, popular mythology, and ancient wisdom on mankind's oldest obsession: How can we live longer? And better? In his funny, self-deprecating voice, veteran reporter Bill Gifford takes readers on a fascinating journey through the science of aging, from the obvious signs like wrinkles and baldness right down into the innermost workings of cells. We visit cutting-edge labs where scientists are working to "hack" the aging process, like purging "senescent" cells from mice to reverse the effects of aging. He'll reveal why some people live past 100 without even trying, what has happened with resveratrol, the "red wine pill" that made headlines a few years ago, how your fat tissue is trying to kill you, and how it's possible to unlock longevity-promoting pathways that are programmed into our very genes. Gifford separates the wheat from the chaff as he exposes hoaxes and scams foisted upon an aging society, and arms readers with the best possible advice on what to do, what not to do, and what life-changing treatments may be right around the corner.

Read More...http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spring-chicken-bill-gifford/1119921234?ean=9781455527441


When the Chef’s away, the diners pay

You can always tell when our chef is not in the kitchen supervising the preparation of our meals. The food suffers. The clueless staff will permit anything to be served, hoping that no one will notice. Well, a couple of us do notice.Monday’s dinner was a good example of some of the stuff that goes on here. I only wish that our new administrator was already installed here so that I could show him some of the stuff that we have to put up with. Food like this should never have been let out of the kitchen. They should have thrown it out and ordered pizza.

*Editor’s note: I didn’t actually eat this food. This photo was of a neighbors plate right before she sent it back. However, a brief survey of the other diners confirmed my suspicions. This food sucked.


Fish sticks

It was like I was in a time machine, whirling through space, back to the year 1960 and the lunchroom of Junior High School 217 in Queens. Before me were the same bland, mass produced, previously frozen, uniformly proportioned fish sticks and French fries of years gone by. I almost thought I heard my friend John S. whispering some off-color pubescent joke in my ear. Unfortunately, reality got hold of me and I realized that, except for the food, I was no longer in junior high and the guy sitting next to me barely knows where he is. Such was my lunch last Tuesday. 

The fish sticks served that day were just one in a series of incarnations of fish sticks that have flown by here in recent months. As if trying to find the ultimate in bad fish cakes, they just keep coming. However, these were of particularly poor quality, having hardly any taste whatsoever. The only redeeming feature were the fries which were big and hot. The cole slaw wasn’t bad either which is why I gave this lunch “treat” two foodies instead of one.


This was the fourth, or maybe the fifth, incarnation of what they call pizza here at the center. And at first sight I thought it would be more of the same cold, bland doughy pizza we have come to know and despise. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite its nontraditional (for New York) shape and size, and the overly thick crust, the taste of the cheese, sauce and even the pepperoni did not turn me off. The cheese was hot and gooey and the sauce was more akin to real pizza sauce that I have experienced before. The thin slices of tangy pepperoni added to the authenticity. That same combination, if spread on a thin crust base, would have made for one really good pie. 

Editor’s note: Lovers of Chicago style pizza (a la Pizzaria Uno) will probably love this pie just as is. As a New Yorker who is believes that the only way a pie should be made is with a thin crust, I can’t wrap my lips around the deep dish kind. 


Most Popular Names in Assisted Living

By : Ami Noss

At A Place for Mom has noticed some distinct trends in the names of seniors they've served. Specifically, similar names tend to pop up over and over again, with Mary being the most popular female name, and James, Robert and John dominating the male side of the charts.

This makes us wonder about names and the popularity of a name in general. Relatively speaking, how popular were the most frequently chosen names of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, compared to names of recent decades? How does gender play into naming trends? Are people with certain names more likely to enter assisted living? Let’s take a look at  some of the most popular male and female names in assisted living pulled from APFM data spanning 2000 – 2014.

The Popularity of Mary Over Time...




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Bloodied, but unbowed

By now, most of you know about my disastrous bid to shake things up as far as how meal times in the dining room would be implemented. Without getting into too much detail, I had proposed that, instead of a strict seating time when residents HAD to come in for their meals, they could come in at any time during the dining room’s hours of operation, sit anywhere and eat. I figured that this would give residents an additional amount of sorely needed freedom. Unfortunately, my usual good sense of judgment and ability to read people went horribly astray. I found myself to be a lone wolf among a pack of yelping dogs. I was lambasted and yelled at for even proposing such a radical new idea. At one point, I feared that furniture would start flying and I could see myself being pummeled by cane-wielding residents hell bent on causing me harm. Fortunately, none of that occurred and I merely had to put up with some very outspoken people. And, despite the fact that the group decided (wrongly in my opinion) not to go ahead with the proposed changes, one very good thing did happen at that meeting. For the first time I saw, what had previously been an apathetic and lethargic group of senior citizens, get up off their backsides and stand up for something they strongly believed in. And because of that new interest in what goes on here at the Center, my hope for the possibility of change has been renewed. Yes, I may have lost a battle, but we now have an army that I know is willing to fight for what they believe to be right. And this new interest in their surroundings, will be even more important to them in the near future.

A couple of hours before the monthly resident’s meeting last Thursday, we were informed that in four weeks time we will have to deal with a new administrator. While this change in management has long been overdue, the swiftness at which it was announced came as somewhat of a surprise. The incoming administrator, briefly addressed the assembled crowd with the present administrator looking on. The new guy left without giving us any idea who and what he was about. He did say that he wanted to meet with members of the resident’s council beforehand to address our concerns. We are already drafting a “Manifesto” of sorts to present to him when such a meeting occurs. This, together with a new resurgence of resident involvement exhibited at this month’s meeting, may have ushered in a new era whereby residents will no longer sit idly by while decisions are made for them. I only hope that the blood remains as hot as it was at that meeting and that the residents don’t fall back into the same detached indifference that has been the norm here for so long.



A couple of weeks ago I ran a post about how executives of the largest assisted living facility operator in the country sold their stock in the company and collected millions, proving that old people have an actual cash value. I personally have written articles expressing my concerns that we (seniors) are thought of as nothing more than a cash cow or at worst, inventory, when it came to filling beds in ALF’s and nursing homes. 

The other day, I came upon this article written by a man and what happened to his wife as a patient in a nursing home. Quite frankly, it frightened the hell out of me, and it should do the same to you....


We're not senior citizens, we're cash commodities

By Don Siedenburg

“Did you know that President Obama has allowed his U. S. Department of Health and Human Services to accommodate the Wall Street private equity firms, who own and operate area nursing homes, in transforming their patients into cash commodities? Now they can void a senior citizen's health care directive in their facilities and keep them alive, indefinitely.”

How do I know about this tragic event is happening? On Nov. 10, 2009, I placed my 89-year-old wife, unknown to me, in one of these nursing homes. She had a health care directive that said, "I direct that NO MEDICAL TREATMENT be given just to keep me alive when I have a condition so bad (including substantial brain damage or brain disease) that there is no reasonable hope that I will regain a quality of life acceptable to me."

This request was straightforward and common in most health care directives, and before entry into this nursing home, my wife was diagnosed with terminal (incurable) Alzheimer's disease. Her other ailments were atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, diabetes, gout, high cholesterol, edema (heart failure) and arthritis.

On April 27, 2010, she fell and badly broke her shoulder that in an injury could not be treated. She was in terrible pain and immobile. Nursing home staff members never removed the medications as the health care directive requested and continued to give her more than 515 physical therapy treatments in a six-month period, at a billing cost of $15,000 to Medicare.

It appeared to me they were committing fraud by violating the False Claim Act and definitely violating my wife's civil rights.....



House unanimously passes 'observation status' bill

“You are in the hospital for three or more days and then referred to a skilled nursing facility, but are told that these services are not going to be covered by Medicare as you expect because you were not really admitted to the hospital but had been there under a status called "observation." You never knew. The costs you are facing may wipe you out financially. The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a Consumer Voice supported bill proposing to end this practice by requiring hospitals to tell you your status, a step in the right direction.”

Long-term care leaders firmly applauded members of the U.S. House on Tuesday for unanimously passing a bill that would put tighter control over the designation of “observation status” for hospital patients.

The House voted 395-0 to pass the measure, which mandates timely notification to patients, many of whom have unknowingly not accrued enough inpatient days to qualify for Medicare-covered long-term care services.




A new direction, or the same old, same old.

A knock on my door and a quick “They need you in the auditorium” began what might have been the most tumultuous day here at the Center since they opened their doors three years ago. 

Shortly after 10 am, we were ushered into the auditorium to meet and greet the man who would soon be our new administrator. Though little was said at this time, the demise of our present administrator may be an opportunity to bring the way this place is managed out of the 19th century. The current administrator would only say that he was “retiring” his position. The question now remains, is the new guy going to actually do something to keep, as he said, “the residents happy and safe” or will he take the same position as “corporate toady” that the present admin. has done so well. Here is an opportunity for the members of the Resident’s council to really do some good. We will have to decide on an agenda to present to the new administrator in a couple of weeks. His response to this agenda will most likely set the tone for how things will get done here for years to come..........................................Ed.


Necessity is the mother of invention, and nowhere is there a need to improvise more than here at the Westchester Center. For those of you who are not familiar with our little facility, let me briefly fill you in on some amazing facts. 

While this facility claims to be suitable for residents who consider themselves to be independent, in reality, any independence is stifled at every opportunity. One of those roadblocks towards self-reliance is the prohibition against having even the most basic food preparation appliances in our rooms. These include microwave ovens, convection ovens, coffee makers and even electric tea kettles. Nothing that would permit a resident warming or re-heating food is permitted. The facility has only one microwave oven designed for use by residents. This is located in a small kitchen area in the main building. There is also a hot water faucet that dispenses boiled water. Residents have to travel from far parts of the facility just to warm up takeout or leftover food. The same is true if one wants a cup of coffee or tea. A resident has to get fully dressed, walk with his cup or container to the main building just to use the microwave or hot water. 

Many reasons have been given as to why we are not allowed these safety-proven apparatus’ in our rooms. Management tells us “it’s for our own safety”. However, the real reason is that our insurance policy won’t cover the facility if a fire is started because of such appliances. In other words, the cheap S.O.B.’s won’t pay the extra premium. Therefore, as a way of helping my fellow residents survive while we try to think of a way to get some satisfaction in this matter, I have a temporary solution. Please be aware that this method will not heat things up to anything compared to a microwave oven. But It is a way of taking the edge off of ice cold food. 

Follow these 3 simple directions:

1. Place food in a suitable container. Takeout Chinese food containers are perfect. Place food on the top of your radiator.

2. Remove any lid or covering and use cardboard, aluminum foil or just plain paper to form a “tent” over the food.

3. Set temperature for as hot as you can stand it. (You might have to leave the room to prevent you from fainting).

The tent acts to circulate the warm air over the food, like a convection oven. Depending on how cold the food is, it may take a couple of hours for the food to become edible. Does not work too well with frozen food. Unfortunately, this method cannot be used in the warmer months when the heat is turned off. 

I will have more  “Survival Guide” tips as the need warrants.



Where Wal-mart Meets Health Care, Senior Living Must Find Its Place

By Tim Mullaney 

Senior living leaders recognize the importance of forging strong ties with hospitals and health care systems, but it appears many operators have been complacent and might now lack the tools to seize on partnership opportunities that would give them a competitive edge in a brand new health care landscape.

International design, planning and consulting firm Perkins Eastman recently surveyed about 200 senior living stakeholders, including industry consultants and leaders at major not-for-profits, primarily continuing care retirement communities. Nearly 80% of respondents said that health system reforms will cause senior living and health care to converge, and 50% said that partnerships will be the most important type of relationship for senior living operators to have with health care systems such as hospitals and physician groups.

However, only 10% of respondents said they currently have a partner relationship. About three-quarters said they have either no relationship or only get an occasional referral from a hospital.

Policies implemented under the Affordable Care Act are meant to transform the U.S. Healthcare system to better manage population health. New Medicare payment mechanisms incentivize providers across the continuum of care to partner up and coordinate services, with the goal of improving beneficiaries’ health outcomes and lowering costs of care.....



Last week we ran a story about how chimps at the San Francisco zoo were looking for a new home. Well, it looks like at least some of the funds are on their way. Why they need 10 million dollars for a bunch of monkeys

 I’ll never know, but who am I to judge what a monkey needs.

Anonymous donor gives $1 million to SF Zoo for aging chimps

An anonymous donor has given the San Francisco Zoo $1 million to build a home for aging chimps, according to NBC Bay area.

The zoo had previously set a goal of $10 million to build a habitat for the great apes and so far had not raised near enough to do so.

The chimps’ names are  Cobby, Minnie and Maggie. At 57, Cobby is one of the oldest in captivity anywhere.

The zoo had previously looked to move the apes elsewhere, but worried that the oldest chimp would have a hard time adjusting.


As someone who writes about senior living facilities, I get numerous questions concerning the costs of living in such facilities. Most people are afraid that they won’t be able to afford to live in any kind of dignity when they can no longer take care of themselves in their own homes. My answer to them is to find out about what entitlement programs are available in their communities. Unfortunately, many seniors look upon these programs as some form of welfare, not realizing that they paid for it during their working lives with their sales taxes and withholding taxes. The important thing is to take advantage of these safety net programs before we lose them.

5 things American seniors should be entitled to


The U.S. National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) shows that more than half of today's households won't have enough retirement income to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living, even if they work to age 65. The Employee Benefit Research Institute indicates that among workers of age 55 and older, nearly 60% have saved less than $100,000 for retirement, and 24% have saved less than $1,000. A recent Gallup Poll shows that 57% of current retirees consider an average monthly benefit of around $1,290 their major source of income. This all points to an alarming number of American seniors headed for the poorhouse.

Seniors over the age of 65, number over 40 million — and that number will increase to 50 million by 2020. The U.S. Government should take note that such a considerable portion of the U.S. Population comprises a major voting power block, able to influence political change for the betterment of their standard of living.

Here are five essential benefits that a certain class of seniors over the age of 65 should be entitled to. These benefits should be considered rightfully earned privileges given the fact that it was the present-day seniors who built the U.S. to become the number one economic power in the world.

1. Housing supplement

Every senior citizen over the age of 65, whose savings, assets or equity in their home is less than $10,000, should be entitled to a government supplement equaling the difference of their basic housing costs exceeding one-third of their household income. The basic housing cost should be construed as the rental payment or mortgage payment in cases where seniors own a home or condo.

2. Free public transportation

Every senior citizen over the age of 65, regardless of their disposable income or assets, should be entitled to use the public transportation system within the Municipality they live in, free of charge and on an unlimited basis. Local Municipalities whose transportation system aren't fully used can afford such an arrangement. The ones that have their transportation fully used, should receive subsidies from the State and Federal governments to compensate for the extra cost......

More..... http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-things-american-seniors-should-be-entitled-to-2015-01-20


Twist, Buy, or Spice It Up; Just Don't Go Without!

I hear complaints every day about how bodies just are not working the way they should. As someone who spends an extreme amount of time with the aging population of Mountain Home, this is quite a common occurrence. "My memory, my blood pressure, my weight... my, my, my." The first question I always ask is "have you been drinking enough water?"

I admit, I do not drink enough myself. However, I do make a conscious effort to try. As the body ages, the percentage of fluid in a body decreases. Therefore, aging adults need to make their best effort to fill that bodily requirement. Some common complications of not drinking enough fluid are blood pressure abnormalities, urinary tract infections (UTI), and weight changes. In the aging population, these concerns grow into worry and sometimes unreasonable behavior.

I was told by a facility manager that when an elderly patient starts acting differently than what is typical, they choose to check them for urinary tract infections immediately to either rule out reasons for the new behavior, or get treatment going for positive test results. .......



The upside of aging

Should we be pessimistic or optimistic about the aging process?

Birth and death are two ends of our life book and aging is in between. We began aging the day we were born and aging is a process, not something at which we arrive.

The very act of staying healthy requires courage to let go of the negativity associated with aging and accept that we are in the second half of our life. At this point, our blinders are taken off. No matter which way we cut it, we definitely see the finiteness of life and the aging process becomes personal.

Before you get too pessimistic, recite to yourself these observations and see if you agree that they ring true for you. And keep in mind that research supports these very positive aspects of aging:

"I can let go of stuff that doesn't matter and focus on what does.”

"I realize tranquility is within me waiting to be uncovered.”

“I have tools in my toolbox that bring me wider perspective on life.”

“I can retrain my brain for outcomes that are important.”

“I have more choices in life than when I was constrained by the demands of others.”

“Vulnerability is comforting and not shameful anymore.”

“I can focus on myself (and my health) without feeling guilty.”

“I have more compassion for others.”

“I can slow down and just be — for the joy of being.”

“I understand better what love means.”

"I can let go of fear of failure and be grateful for what it taught me.”

“I am aware of my legacy. Knowing what I am leaving behind is an opportunity to change what I can, let go of what I can't and the wisdom to know the difference.”

“I know that aging is a journey — not a destination or a label.”



Scientists' new goal: Growing old without disease

Some of the top researchers on aging in the country are trying to get an unusual clinical trial up and running.

They want to test a pill that could prevent or delay some of the most debilitating diseases of old age, including Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. The focus of the project isn’t to prolong life, although that could occur, but to make the last years or decades of people’s lives more fulfilling by postponing the onset of many chronic diseases until closer to death.

“Aging is the major risk factor for all these diseases—heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s,” said Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City who is leading the proposed study. “If you want to make a real impact you have to modulate the risk of aging and by that the risk for all those diseases of aging.”



Vitamin D fights and treats diseases associated with aging

A new study has found that vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by aging.

“The researchers observed that adults up to 70 years of age take 600 IU of vitamin D daily and adults over the age of 70 consume 800 IU of the nutrient daily, but these need to be properly monitored and accurate dosing of vitamin D supplements should be taken to prevent the chronic diseases of aging.”

The study is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Aging and Gerontology...



A Test To Measure Our Bodies' Risk of Death and Disease

By Lisa M. Krieger

The moment will come, we know, when we're whisked off life's stage. But when? It's a mystery that has haunted humans since the dawn of civilization. If it's soon, we can cancel that dental appointment, quit the job and take a dream vacation. If not, plan for decades of decrepitude.

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

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

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



Do mole rats hold the key to immortality?

By Joselin Linder

Someone alive today will live to celebrate a 1,000th birthday — or so says gerontology theorist Aubrey de Grey, who has been snickered off many podiums during his controversial career.

His theory, which he calls SENSS, or “Strategies for Engineering Negligible Senescence,” contends that one day we will be able to engineer aging out of cells. Once we can implement de Grey’s idea to clean our cells of “aging garbage,” a kind of cellular housekeeping, then lifespan could even become infinite.

De Grey has a hopeful admirer in journalist Bill Gifford, author of the new book, “Spring Chicken.” In it, Gifford points out that MIT and the Technology Review have offered scientists $20,000 to try and refute de Grey’s theories. So far, three teams of scientists have tried. None, Gifford writes, has succeeded.

Long live rats!

If the idea of exponentially increasing human lifespan sounds like the stuff of science fiction, consider this: Scientists have already doubled the lifespans of other species in the lab, including mice, worms and flies.....

more.... http://nypost.com/2015/03/15/do-mole-rats-hold-the-key-to-immortality/


Hollywood Is Finally Changing Its Script on Aging


Can entertainment be the industry that’s changing aging culture for the better? Just maybe.

When we think of industries projecting a positive image of older adults, it’s hard to imagine that entertainment would top the list. Isn’t this a business that defines youth culture and reinforces ageist stereotypes? Music gave us The Rolling Stones’ “Mother’s Little Helper” and its refrain, “what a drag it is getting old, “and The Who’s “My Generation,” with the lyrics, “I hope I die before I get old.” Movies portrayed Gloria Swanson’s tragically aging Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” and showcased Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in “Grumpy Old Men,” and again in the sequel, “Grumpier Old Men.”

The 57th annual Grammy Awards show is a case in point. Who would have expected music’s fresh outlook on older artists and intergenerational collaboration? The Grammy’s featured powerhouse teams like Eurythmics’ veteran Annie Lennox and Hozier, a millennial sensation. Tony Bennett was paired with Lady Gaga and Jessie J performed with Tom Jones. Paul McCartney formed a trio with Rihanna and Kanye West. The message about the artistic potential of intergenerational teams could not have been clearer.

The movie business is doing its part, too..... 

more..   http://blogs.wsj.com/experts/2015/03/16/hollywood-is-finally-changing-its-script-on-aging/


How to Talk to Your Parents (or your friends) About Tech

By Dan Tynan

Age against the machine

As you grow older, using a computer or a smartphone might not be so easy. Screens are hard to read; typing is difficult. Even operating a mouse can be challenging at first.

“People underestimate the dexterity required for a double-click or the nuances of swiping and tapping,” says Brenda Rusnak, producer of the documentary Cyber-Seniors. “Then there’s the knowledge gap. We take the meaning of words like ‘icon’ for granted. Seniors want to know what an icon is and why it’s called that.”

But simply introducing seniors to, technology doesn’t always work, Rusnak says. Many lose interest and give up long before they master the intricacies of Instagram or learn how to Google. Here are four ways to keep them in the game. 

1. Make tech relevant

You may have difficulty persuading your parents to use a cell phone instead of a landline or to get their newspaper delivered via pixels instead of paper. But you’ll have an easier time once you explain how using a computer will let them stay in touch with their grandchildren....



Age-Related Memory Loss Worse in Men: Mayo Study

 “...men consistently had worse memories than women, and (proportionately) a smaller hippocampus, at all ages, the findings showed.”

Don't fret: a new study finds that nearly everyone will suffer more memory lapses as they age, with men being more vulnerable to failing memory than women.

The study also reported that people's memory skills and brain volume typically decline with age -- and, surprisingly, it seems to have little to do with the buildup of brain "plaques" that mark Alzheimer's disease, the study suggests.

...men's higher rate of cardiovascular risk factors -- which have been increasingly linked to the development of memory problems -- might be one reason why men have poorer recall than women. Or, it may be some protective effect of the hormone estrogen in women...”



Senior citizens increasingly satisfied with their sex lives

Provided by University of Gothenburg 

"Caregivers must be broadminded and open to the fact that love, desire and sexuality do not dissipate as people grow older," Dr. Beckman says. "Doctors and nurses should never hesitate to ask patients whether they are experiencing sexual problems, no matter how old they might be."

Senior citizens have experienced a considerable improvement in their sex lives since the 1970s. A doctoral thesis by Nils Beckman at Sahlgrenska Academy has found that six out of every ten women and seven out of every ten men over 70 are highly satisfied with their sex lives.

Based on data from the large H70 and women's population studies, researchers at the University of Gothenburg Center for Aging and Health (AgeCap) have examined the sexual attitudes of senior citizens and identified the factors that determine whether or not they remain sexually active.

Childhood experiences

Childhood experiences have a major impact on the sexuality of senior citizens. The studies, which offered a unique opportunity to monitor women from middle age to 70 years old, showed that a history of childhood poverty, parental squabbling or divorce, and corporal punishment may reduce sexual desire and activity even in middle age....



Thank heavens for condiments

If it were not for one of my table mates remembering to bring some condiments he saved from a recent Chinese takeout meal, Tuesday’s lunch of shrimp and rice would have been a total disaster. The meal was billed as shrimp teriyaki, which normally would mean that besides shrimp, the main flavor agent would be the teriyaki sauce. The shrimp, of which there were only a few were overcooked and flavorless while the teriyaki sauce was bland and almost non-existent. The addition of a few packets of soy sauce and hot Chinese mustard, made this dish at least palatable.


Sloppy, yes. Joe, no

The idea was alright. Chopped meat, spicy BBQ sauce, soft bun. But this pseudo sloppy Joe missed the mark by a couple of yards. Not that it was not tasty, it's just that it showed no imagination. Something that's sorely missing here. Because, with just a little tweaking, this mundane sandwich could have been so much more. It could have been a real sloppy Joe. A little onions, some red and green peppers mixed with some crumbled chopped meat ladled over a toasted bun would have shown some modicum of cooking ability.



Please inform your staff, that this is the correct way to install a new roll of TP.

This 124-Year-Old Patent Reveals The Right Way To Use Toilet Paper

By Jenny Che

The eternal debate over bathroom conventions seems to have actually been answered more than a century ago.

According to an 1891 patent by New York businessman Seth Wheeler, the end of a toilet paper roll should be on the outside, or in the “over” position. (Advocates of the “under” position, take note: better flip that roll over when you get home.)

Writer Owen Williams shared the discovery Monday on Twitter, posting a picture of Wheeler's patent for the toilet paper roll:

Wheeler, the man behind the Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company, is also the reason we’re able to tear off perfect squares in the first place: Albany Perforated originally patented the idea for perforated "wrapping" paper (a more modest name for toilet paper) in 1871.






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A reason to complain

Removing the mask of invisibility

Until a few years ago, I spent my whole life, keeping a low profile. And, for the most part this approach served me well. Not being known as a trouble maker or big mouth or rebel-rouser, has kept me out of difficult  situations

One of the advantages of being invisible is that, in this invisibility, one has a chance to observe. And what one observes, is often not pretty. One of those things was how people get treated when they decide to say nothing. And when a group of people decides to say nothing about how they are treated, that mistreatment becomes systemic within the society in which they live. Therefore, it was with this in mind that I decided, a couple of years ago, not to stay in the shadows of anonymity, not to keep my mouth shut and to say what’s on my mind. And, it is with that new (to me) attitude that I decided last week to confront management and demand answers to some questions that needed to be addressed.

A couple of weeks ago, after more than a week of non-information regarding an all but complete quarantine of this facility due to an outbreak of influenza, me, and two other members of the Resident’s Council, demanded an appointment with management to find out what exactly was going on in regards to a situation which apparently had no end in sight. Not having any contact with management for over a week was starting to weigh heavily on the residents of this facility. Things were taking place here, without explanation, that were causing much confusion and concern. Why were we having meals served in our room? Why was the furniture removed from all public places in the facility? Who were the strange people walking around the building asking health related questions and, when was this all going to end. These were some of the questions that we needed and demanded answers to at last week's meeting. 

I have to admit, that I came to that meeting with an attitude. I felt that the facility was purposely keeping us in the dark, which would explain the lack of communication. What we found out was quite the opposite. The lack of communication was due mainly to management’s inability to treat us like adult human beings. It’s not something that they do spitefully or out of laziness. It is something that they think they know about who we are and what we are capable of understanding. Hopefully, after that meeting, their attitude, as well as minds, will have changed. I walked into the meeting ready to admonish and accuse. Instead, I walked out with a couple of questions answered, and a policy changed. And I did it by removing myself from the “Quiet Zone” and making my displeasure known in no uncertain terms. The annoying little bastard in me finally came out to play and, it felt good.

So here is a lesson for all of you who older folks who have, like me, have spent their lives in the neutral zone when it came to things that affects your wellbeing. Time is running out. Don’t let yourself get pushed around. Demand answers and state your opinions. It will, at the very least, make you feel good.



A need for dining room reform.

Too many rules, too many seating's, and too many confused diners.


A proposal

At our next resident’s council meeting, I will ask that the following changes to the hours and manner of operation of our dining room, be considered by the residents of the Westchester Center.


In an effort to streamline and modernize the antiquated dining room schedule now in place, and to reduce much of the confusion exhibited by some of our residents and to improve the general dining experience, we request the following changes to the current dining room schedule.

     1. Elimination of the “two seating’s” arrangement now in place.

     2. In its stead, there will be only one seating for each meal. Diners may be seated and served at any time during the 1 hour and 45 minutes allotted for each meal. A resident may enter the dining room at any time and sit wherever they like. Either at their regular table or with friends at another table. For example...

Breakfast would be served from 7:30 am to 9:15 am. Residents may enter at any time during those hours and be served. This would eliminate the need for two seating's and also accommodate those “late risers”. No resident will ever be late for a meal again. In addition, the confusion over which table to sit at would be eliminated. This would be better for the staff who would no longer have to act like traffic cops, directing confused residents. The staff would be able to “bus” tables as they become vacant.

Exact times for lunch and dinner will be adjusted accordingly. Exact times may be subject to change as circumstances warrant.

We believe that these changes will alleviate some of the tension now experienced by our residents and will make dinner times more enjoyable.

Residents will have an opportunity to vote on this issue at this month's council meeting.

I urge all residents to consider this proposal. We desperately need change now.

What are the limits of assisted living

Families report issues with elderly residents at assisted living centers

"In my mind, they made my mother homeless," Shelley said. "They put us, as a family, in a duress-type situation, having to find somewhere to go. Not giving us the opportunity to even come back in."


A Midstate family was forced to move their 100-year-old uncle out of an assisted living center and into another home.

Frank Burse did not want to leave the David Jones Jr. Assisted Living Center. His family said he shouldn't have been asked to leave.

But Monday, they moved him while the state was still investigating the situation. After several exchanges with the assisted living center, Burse's family decided to stop fighting.

The assisted living center terminated Burse's residency last month.

"For them to move him now, it would be horrible," said Bernice Goodman, a friend of the family. "He won't be long with us."

Read more: http://www.wsmv.com/story/28315318/families-report-issues-with-elderly-residents-at-assisted-living-center#ixzz3Tz9Kg4mu


Social Security Sued for Discriminating Against Married

 Same-Sex Couples

BOSTON, Mass.—Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Justice in Aging, and Foley Hoag LLP today filed a class action lawsuit, Held v. Colvin, against the Social Security Administration (SSA) on behalf of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients married to someone of the same sex in or before June 2013. The suit charges that SSA discriminated against these individuals for months, and in some cases more than a year, after that discrimination was held unlawful by the Supreme Court when it struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013.

Well after DOMA was struck down, SSA did not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples, even in cases where SSI recipients informed SSA that they were married. Benefits for unmarried individuals are higher than for married individuals, but SSA continued to issue benefits as if the married individuals were single. And now the agency is demanding that recipients refund the benefits they were paid as a result of the discrimination. 



Human beings are not the only species that succumb to the ravages of old age. Our pets, some  whom we depend on for our companionship and livelihood, grow old too. Many suffer from the same age related illnesses that have plagued mankind for ages. Fortunately, for us as well as our animal friends, science has discovered much about why we age and how we can, not only reduce the aches and pains, but to extend the lives of our pets as well as ourselves.

My own dog lived to the ripe old age of 18, and was in fairly good shape for most of those years. While much of that can be attributed to the fact that he was a mixed variety dog, with all of the best genetic traits of six different breeds, I believe that it was my mothers cooking that kept him alive that long. While he also ate dog food, my mom would cook special meals for him. Essentially, he ate the same thing as my father, who also lived well into his 80’s.

Following are some recent articles about how we are helping our four and two legged animal companions.

'Furever' Young: 5 Tips for Caring for Older Dogs

By Sean Conlon

Beau, my Golden Retriever, came into my life as a 15-pound puppy. Eight years later, he's 115 pounds, and as charming as ever. This big fella has been by my side through it all, and it's only fair that I do the same for him. Beau is a part of the family, and we want to make as any memories with him as possible.

It's easy to add happiness, health, and years of life to your aging pup. Here are five ways to care for your older dogs:

1 - Schedule regular checkups. As dogs age, they're more prone to health issues, including arthritis, heart, and kidney disease. Stay on top of your pet's health by taking them for checkups twice a year. Beau's vet and I are on a first name basis so that I can keep as up to date on his health as possible.....



                    Prevent your aging cat from becoming

                                                        a sourpus

      Follow these tips to help your feline friend age gracefully:

Stay current on vital vaccinations. As a cat grows older, it is essential to keep Cat Flu and Feline Infectious Enteritis in check. Though sometimes tempting to overlook, an older cat has a less efficient immune system and is thus more susceptible to disease. Most older cats will only require booster shots. However, if no vaccinations are on record for a cat, or if you are unsure, you can begin vaccinations at any age.

Vaccinations can be found for Cat Flu, Enteritis, FeLV, Chlamydia, FIP and Rabies in most areas. Consult your veterinarian for specific details.

* Don't hold your breath on oral health care. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 70 percent of cats have some form of oral disease by age three -- by age 10, it's safe to presume that cats' mouths can be rife with infection.

* Eliminate pesky parasites. Fleas are the most common skin parasite of cats, leaving many cats with an itchy reaction. To prevent flea bites, use a flea spray or flea powder specifically formulated for cats. ....

more... http://www.wptz.com/prevent-your-aging-cat-from-becoming-a-sourpuss/31692944


OK, so maybe chimps are not household pets, but even they need a place to live when they get old. If they were eligible for Social Security, they would be welcome here.

Wanted: Better home for San Francisco's aging chimpanzees

The Associated Press

The chimps are called Cobby, Minnie and Maggie and live at the San Francisco Zoo. At 57, Cobby is among the oldest in captivity anywhere.

Zoo director Tanya Peterson tells the San Francisco Chronicle that the zoo's accrediting body is urging San Francisco to move the chimps to a different zoo that has more chimps (http://bit.ly/1BmmEVB).

But Peterson says she's worried the older chimp would have trouble adjusting to a new group of primates. For now, Peterson is trying to raise $10 million to give the chimps a whole new site at the 85-year-old San Francisco Zoo.




By Global Animal 

Check out these five great tips on keeping your aging dog comfortable and healthy.

1. Let them eat a nutritious diet

During your pet’s younger years, you might be giving them the traditional calorie-rich kibbles easily bought from major pet stores. However, as your dog ages, a high-caloric diet might be inappropriate. Since older dogs are typically less mobile or active, he/she might be prone to getting fat with the same dog diet.

2. Don’t forget the exercise

Along with a nutritious diet, you shouldn't forget helping your dog with their exercise regimen. Going up and down the stairs serves as a good indoor exercise for aging dogs. If stairs are not within reach, you could provide him/her with a ramp to walk on....



I usually don’t post articles on scams. I think that people who read the news and use computers are more than aware that seniors in particular, are prime targets for con artists. However, every once and a while, something new comes down the pike that I think you ought to be aware of.

Bogus check scam targets senior citizens

A scam targeting seniors is making its way around central Indiana.  The ploy involves getting older residents to deposit a bogus check and then pay legal fees to claim a big monetary prize.

The scheme begins when a senior citizen gets a letter in the mail stating they have won $2.5 million from Publishers Clearing House. The letter instructs the recipient not to tell anyone they won the contest. One elderly woman got such a letter and had a few doubts – so she showed it to Valerie Moore, the Indianapolis Housing Agency Senior Program Coordinator.  Moore noticed a few red flags.....



Achieving Immortality: How Science Seeks to End Aging


The dream to live for ever has captivated mankind since the beginning. We see this in religion, literature, art, and present day pop-culture in a myriad of ways. But all along, the possibility that we'd actually achieve such a thing never quite seemed real. Now science, through a variety of medical and technological advances the likes of which seem as far fetched as immortality itself, is close to turning that dream into a reality.

This hour, we talk with experts who are on the cutting edge of this research about the science and implications of ending aging.

Read and listen...



Your Brain's Not as Old as You Think

Univ. of Cambridge

Brain areas with rich blood supply lower their vascular reactivity with aging. Imaging: Kamen Tsvetanov. Our standard way of measuring brain activity could be giving us a misleading picture of how our brains age, argues Kamen Tsvetanov from the Univ. of Cambridge’s Department of Psychology.

How “old” is your brain? Put another way, how “aged” is your brain? The standard, scientific answer, suggests that the older you get, the greater the changes in the activity of your neurons. In fact, and Tsvetanov and colleagues have found out that this isn’t necessarily the case: older brains may be more similar to younger brains than we’d previously thought.

In the study, published recently in the journal Human Brain Mapping, they’ve shown that changes in the aging brain previously observed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) – one of the standard ways of measuring brain activity – may be because of changes in our blood vessels, rather than changes in the activity of our nerve cells, our neurons. 

More..... http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2015/03/your-brains-not-old-you-think


Paths to Healthy Aging

By Dr. Mehrdad Ayati M.D., Dr. Arezou Azarani Ph.D.


How can you stay healthy as you age so that you can continue to live a long and happy life? It is easy to find advice on the topic in books, magazines, and online sources as well as from friends and family, but so often the advice is contradictory, confusing, or difficult to follow. This simple workbook, a collaboration between a geriatrician and a scientist trained in physiology and molecular biology, cuts through the confusion to resolve many of your unanswered questions. It covers key topics in aging-nutrition, mental health, physical health, medications and choosing the right physician-with suggested action plans for each. It contains clear explanations of important aspects of the science of aging based on current research combined with practical advice that is punctuated with vivid and inspiring stories. This book is not only informative, but also transformative, guiding you toward creating a joyful and sustainable lifestyle to take you along the path to healthy aging.




(All apps available on i-Tunes, for free)

Unfortunately, only 18% of senior citizens use smart phones. Hopefully, in the future, more will find value in having this electronic companion available. Meanwhile, for those of you who do have a smart phone, here are three free must have apps.

1. Pillbox is an easy way to manage medication lists. Created by Community Health Network, Pillbox allows you to keep track of you and your family’s medication list on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Stay on Schedule

Pillbox presents a weekly view, allowing patients to see each day what medication they need to take and when they need to take it. Once the medication is taken as prescribed, a simple touch allows the user to mark that it’s been taken– no more trying to remember!

Medication Information

Pillbox links each medication to an informative database giving you information on each medication entered into the application (Internet Connection Required)

Allergy List

Users can list allergies. In case of an emergency, they or a family member can easily provide medical personnel with Pillbox providing them this key information, along with the patient personal home medication list.

Multiple Profiles

Keeping track of your own medications can be a difficult task, but keeping track of your family’s medications can be even more difficult. Pillbox allows you to keep separate lists for each family member.

Doctor List

Keep a list of physicians and their specialty associated with each profile.

Pillbox is a free application, and is intended to make tracking multiple medications easier and more convenient.


2.CareZone Mobile, available in the Apple App Store today When you’re caring for someone, chances are you’re constantly on-the-go. I know that’s the case here.

To ensure that you’re always connected and in touch with what’s happening with your Loved Ones’ care, we’re thrilled to announce the official release of the CareZone iPhone app.

What does it do?

Our iPhone app has a great deal to offer. With it, you can:

access, add to, and edit your Journal

track medications

manage and invite Helpers

access a shared contacts list (added bonus: import your iPhone contacts, too!)

add, assign, and complete to-dos

write and edit notes

access your uploaded files

send a CareZone Broadcast message, an exciting new feature that lets you easily record a voice message and send it to up to 100 recipients at once. It’s currently a CareZone Mobile exclusive (only for iPhones).


3. Elder Care 911.A must-have app for any family caregiver of an elderly relative

You get the call: "Your mother has fallen and is in the hospital. How soon can you get here?" As you rush for the airport, you ask yourself: "What do I do? Who can I call? What do I ask? How do I know? What if they're wrong? What's going to happen?"

No one is prepared for this, but now there's an app to help you and your elder loved one get through it. Elder 911 takes Doctor Marion's 35+ years of experience and puts it in the palm of your hand as you navigate the complexities of being prepared before a crisis, combating transfer trauma, knowing what to ask the doctor, planning hospital discharge and life after the event, plus much more.



Last week, a friend and I were talking about how many new medications are being advertised on TV. This made me think about how TV drug advertising has come a long way since I saw my first commercial. The drug names, themselves, have changed as well. Drugs like “Abilify”, “Cialis”, “Nasonex”, and “Lyrica” now occupy the screen to name just few. In “The good old days” , things were simpler. “Vick’s Vapo-Rub”, “Carter’s Little Liver Pills”, and “Alka Seltzer” were as well known as our own names. You knew, just by its name, what the medication was used for. Try to figure out what “Humira” is good for. This brings us to one of my favorite remedies of days gone by, Geritol. There was hardly a TV program of which Geritol was not a sponsor. The commercials were done by the hosts of the programs. Men like Arthur Godfrey, John Daley and Gary Moore, were associated with the products they pitched. Even venerable Betty White, pitched her share or various products.

Just in case you were wondering if Geritol was still around, I am happy to say that it’s alive and kicking. While it no longer advertises on TV, it still has a following. Did you ever wonder what was in that stuff that seemed to be marketed to older people. Here is a list of ingredients in today’s Geritol.

While not a comprehensive as some of the newer vitamin supplements like Centrum, it does contain some worthwhile vitamins and minerals.


A soup that’s a meal

Chicken Minestrone

Had I known that the soup on last Tuesday’s menu was going to be so hardy and loaded with tender bits of chicken, I would have had a second bowl and forgotten about the tuna sandwich I ordered. 

Contrary to the quantity and quality of the regular meals served here, the soups are remarkably decent. They are usually thick and well stocked with whatever the chef has on hand. Sometimes it’s beef, or veggies or even fish. Tuesday, it was chicken. And lots of it. Large pieces of white meat chicken along with rough cut string beans, carrots and peas in a tomatoey broth with wide pasta noodles made this soup a true afternoon delight.


7th Inning stretch

Hot dogs and beans

If you are a fan of New York City greasy water hot dogs fresh from the bowels of a sidewalk vending cart, then Wednesday’s hot dog lunch will be right up your alley. And I do mean “alley”. 

The only good thing I can say about these franks is that they bring back memories of those quick, on-the-go lunches I used to have in my younger, more ambitious days when time was money and there wasn’t enough hours in the day. They also have the same rubbery texture and the mystery meat flavor of a ball park hot dog, thrown to you by a vendor who thinks he’s Eli Manning going long. The off-brand generic yellow mustard added to the authenticity of the moment as did the tasteless, watery bean side dish. Nostalgia is great, but not with hot dogs.

Editor’s note: Yes, I know they look great. But that’s due to my photographic skills and not the quality of the food. Caveat emptor.


Chicken pot pie

Not homemade, but not bad

For months, perhaps for years, we here at the Center have been in search of a decent chicken pot pie. After all, pot pies are now a staple of American cuisine, with both KFC and Boston Market featuring them as a main course. Unfortunately, up until now, the various incarnations of this dish have been, to say the least, disappointing. Either they have been too small, too doughy, too dry, too wet, too well done or contained a filling whose ingredients were vaguely familiar to that of a can of Campbell’s chicken soup. Therefore, when I noticed that pot pie was on our menu after a respite of a few weeks, I was hesitant to try it. But, the reporter in me won out, so I took a chance and ordered it. I’m glad I did. This installment was different from anything we ever had here. And, while it was far from anything that any fledgling chef could not have done better by, it was quite tolerable and even tasty. 

The first thing I noticed was that part of the filling had actually made its way through the top crust, giving us a delightful preview of what was to come. I could actually see the creamy part of the filling speckled with colorful veggies and chunks of white meat chicken. As I broke through the flaky crust, I could see steam rising from the center of the aluminum pie tin signaling that, at last, A hot meal was in store. After a minute or so cooling off period, I dug in. And, I was pleasantly surprised at the decently seasoned filling and the tenderness of the generous pieces of chicken. The most noticeable thing about this pot pie was that the filling did not automatically become absorbed by the crust, which remained intact throughout the meal.  I learned later that this pot pie was made from scratch in our kitchen. I hope they don't lose the recipe.


The 10 Worst States For Aging Americans

Wayne Duggan 

A recently released independent analysis by 24/7 Wall St ranked the best and worst states in which to grow old. The analysis includes "a range of income, health, labor, and environmental indicators."

According to the analysis, here are the 10 states aging citizens should avoid.

10. South Carolina

The analysis mentions South Carolina's high violent crime rate and the fact that more than 10 percent of residents over the age of 65 lived in poverty in 2013 as two reasons the state falls in the bottom 10....

9. Kentucky....

Read and see 8 more: 



5 Things About Aging Nobody Ever Tells You

  By Ann Brenoff

We all knew to expect hot flashes, maybe even some prostate issues. But nobody ever warned us about these aging-related things:

1. You will want to nap more.

Naps, it turns out, aren't just for cranky toddlers. It is popularly believed that our need for them returns, in earnest, in our later years. But while you may feel the need to sleep through the NFL game on TV every Sunday, that's not related to aging. The core of the problem is more likely your inability to sleep at night.

2. Your face can still break out like a teenager's.

While most aging skin tends to dry out, adult acne can be a case of junk-in/junk-out. Like with teenagers, breakouts in adults can often be traced to hormonal fluctuations. Acne is a clogged follicle or pore. It begins when the pore is blocked and the sebum or oil in your skin can't work its way out. Bacteria forms, followed by inflammation. Adult acne can sometimes be triggered by hormonal shifts, food and improper cleansing that allows oil buildup.

3. Cataract surgery is a treatment of last resort, even if you hate wearing glasses.

You probably bought your first pair of drugstore reading glasses somewhere around age 50. From there, you wound up with the optometrist recommending you wear glasses when you drive. And then somewhere around 62, you realize that you have an assortment of eyewear for computer use, reading, watching TV, driving at night and driving during the day. You have glasses on every horizontal surface, and generally have a pair stuck on top of your head. You never go anywhere without your glasses and wonder why you can't just go and have cataract surgery done -- like now -- to be able to see once again.....




Contact and Comment

To really be free,

We need to be better “defined”

Where do we fit in?

The lack of information about what was going on during a recent flu outbreak here at the Center, and management’s subsequently admitting that, they could have done a better job in that regards, started me thinking. “How much information are we entitled to”. This, in turn, brings us to an even more provocative question, who are we in the scheme of things here. What, exactly, is our status.

Going back to that period a couple of weeks ago when we residents were kept almost completely in the dark about an outbreak of influenza, which kept us in a virtual quarantine for over more than 8 days. At that time, the only information we were getting came from second or third party rumors. Why was the Center being so quiet. Was there something they wanted to hide. Or, were they just clueless as to the wants and needs of the people they take care of? Most likely, it was a little of both. There has always been a separatist attitude taken here, pitting management against residents, especially when it comes to what most people would consider basic freedoms. This brings me to my other point. What, in the eyes of management, are we here. Are we patients, residents, guests, wards of the state, renters? Are we all of these or none. Or are we, as the N.Y. State Dept. Of Health considers us, in some special “Guardianship Limbo”, not quite patients and not quite tenants. The lack of a proper definition of our status, goes a long way into what makes our lives here difficult at times.

You see, if we were patients, we would know exactly where we stood. We would have specific patients' rights, while at the same time we would have to adhere to doctor's orders in order to remain where we were. Given that we are not under any doctor's orders to stay here, we are definitely not patients although, some of us need expert medical care. If we were tenants, like in an apartment house, we would pay rent and have all of the freedoms and rights as any other citizen of this state. We could eat when we wanted, and we could cook the food we wanted. Management would keep their noses out of our business and could only enter our apartments if there were an emergency. Anything else would be considered breaking and entering. Since the management of our little paradise on the hill has a key to every bodies room and can come and go as they please and can even remove certain objects they find objectionable, we certainly do not come under the heading of a “tenant” even if we do pay rent.

Maybe we are like “guests” in a hotel. Hotel guests don’t pay rent per-say, they merely lease the room for a few hours or days and are expected to comply with the rules and regulations set forth by the management of that facility. Just like here at the Center, but wait. This place is certainly not a hotel. Hotels go out of their way to accommodate their guests. Good hotels will provide special services for their guests, many having a concierge on staff to provide these services. Many hotels have vans and even cars to take their guests anywhere they want to go. So, I guess, we are not in a hotel either. Now that leaves us with us being “Wards of the state” which doesn’t sound like fun in anyone’s book. “Ward”, “State”. What does that mean for us? Let's first define "Ward".

“In law, a "ward" is someone placed under the protection of a legal guardian. A court may take responsibility for the legal protection of an individual, usually either a child or incapacitated person, in which case the ward is known as a ward of the court or a ward of the state.”

O.k., so we are not quite “wards” even if we are treated like someone under one’s guardianship. And, while I am still free to make my own decisions, some of those decisions may be contradictory to what the state and this facility had in mind for me. Therefore, some of my freedoms are being infringed upon. Unfortunately, if I wish to stay here, I have to agree to have my freedoms curtailed. This takes us down to something very basic and something more relevant today than ever before. The divide between rich and poor. 

You see, if I were rich, I would not have to live here. I could go anywhere. However, circumstances have made it impossible for me to do that. I am completely dependent on Social Security for my well being, and believe me, that monthly check does not buy much in the way of “well being.” Consequently, I have to live under someone else’s guidelines. This brings me back to my original question. If we are, indeed, under the watchful eye of a third party, how much are we entitled to know. How much should your child be allowed to know. Not much I’ll bet. But every day, we here at the Center are treated like children. We have to obey children’s rules, are fed children’s food and are spoken to like children. So, I ask you. "WHAT IS OUR STATUS HERE?". A new definition is needed here before any of us can be really free.

About every six months or so, I go on a tirade about how the smell around here rivals that of the men’s room in Penn Station. It seems that every time we get a new crop of residents in, it takes a couple of weeks before the place starts getting ripe. You, know what I mean by “ripe” don’t you?. It’s that odor that is particular to old people. It is a combination of urine, poop, over use of perfume or deodorant and moth balls.

In times past, it would be up to Case Management to call these people out and remind them of the hygiene requirements that are expected here. Unfortunately, since our former CM manager left to pursue other endeavors, the present staff are not as diligent in this regard. And it shows (or should I say “smells”). Therefore, since it is not recommended that residents themselves tell other residents that they stink face to face, I will do it for them. 

Last week I posted an outline photo whom I call “Mr. Smelly Dude.” While I do not mean to single this one guy out, I do mean to use him as an example

 of a handful of individuals who think it’s alright not to bathe. I am also asking that all staff members look for, identify and council all residents that walk around here offending every nerve of my olfactory system. There is no reason why residents should be in this condition. Many of the offender’s are not incapacitated and are perfectly able to clean themselves. If they can walk around here without a cane or walker, they can spend 5 minutes in the shower every day.

One of my main missions in life is to dispell the myths and stereotypes associated with older people, to which "That old peoples smell", is one. There is no need for it.


EDITORS NOTE: While the information in the following article is true, for the most part, how much independence you will be allowed depends on the individual facility. Before going to visit an ALF, write down the activities you cannot do without. This may include playing music, smoking, having a beer now and then and cooking. Many assisted living facilities have prohibitions against some of the things I just mentioned. Ask if your favorite activity is allowed, and get it in writing.

If I move into assisted living, will I lose my independence?

By Michael Bradford 

Most people who consider assisted living worry that they will lose their independence. They fear they can no longer drive or eat out or attend the restaurants and functions they have done for years.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Assisted living does not mean giving up your independence. Assisted living residences are a safe living environment for seniors and can accommodate residents who need little or no care, up to someone who needs 24 hour care. Seniors that drive and with approval of their family and primary care physician can come and go each day just like they are at home because this is their home.

At most assisted living residences there are regular outings and activities planned. Every day there is something new to enable residents to remain active and engaged......



 Hearing loss affects relationships with others

By Starr Mayer

“Struggling to hear takes up a lot of brain power that could be used for other things. And clearly hearing loss affects relationships with others, limiting important social stimulation.”

Hearing issues are the most common condition affecting older adults. We know that hearing loss begins in our 20s and 30s. For most of us, the hearing loss is gradual. Not only does that mean that we don't always recognize it, but we have developed methods to cope with the loss or to disguise our difficulty. Often we don't even know we are doing that.

There are two kinds of hearing impairment:

conductive or mechanical hearing loss can be corrected

sensory neural loss, caused by damage to the nerves, 

cannot be corrected.

Sometimes people have a combination of causes for the loss. There can also be a problem with auditory processing, which can seem like a hearing issue. This is really a brain issue, in that people "tune in" late to words that are being spoken and only hear the latter part of a sentence. For all of these types of hearing loss, the solution for the speakers is to be certain we have the listener's attention before talking, to speak at a reasonable speed and to moderate our voice.....



Bullying: A Problem Behavior That Spans Generations

By Nancy K. Crevier

“The proximity of people in an assisted living situation or senior housing can create anxiety for some seniors,” said one director. “Seeing other people in walkers and wheelchairs when they get together increases worries that have always existed.”

Bullying takes many forms, whether a person is 8 or 80. The AARP lists behaviors such as name calling, being bossy, being argumentative, and physical aggressiveness as bullying. The National Center of Elder Abuse includes invasion of privacy, verbal threats or harassment of another, destruction of or use of personal property without permission, unwanted sexual behavior, and ostracism as additional forms of bullying seen in elder situations. Even negative body language can be seen as a form of bullying.

Men are more likely than women to use face-to-face verbal assaults, or to bully physically. Women tend to use a passive/aggressive approach, talking behind others’ backs or excluding from groups. Because the percentage of aged women outnumbers that of men, women are more apt to be on both the giving and receiving end of mean-spirited attitudes.....

More... http://newtownbee.com/news/news/2015/02/20/bullying-problem-behavior-spans-generations/254508



A stunning display of icicles forming on the glass enclosure of the Franklin Center’s all-purpose room. A look from the back of the annex completes the picture.


Last week I ran a story about all of the abandoned shopping malls there were in this country. For one reason or another, they remain unused. This is a shame, because they have so much to offer. First of all they are conveniently located. There is plenty of parking and room expansion. They are ready made with plumbing, escalators and elevators. There are even movie theaters in some of them. These places could easily be converted to housing, especially for seniors. Here is one company that sees some value in this.

Atlantic Realty eyes residential for aging 

Sterling Plaza Shopping Center

By Michael Neibauer

It's not uncommon in this age of mixed-use for the owners of stale, commercial-only suburban campuses to breathe life into their developments with residential and retail additions.

Same goes for stale shopping centers.

Vienna-based Atlantic Realty Cos., which acquired Sterling Plaza late in 2013 for $26.5 million, has submitted plans with Loudoun County to "enhance the overall aesthetic appearance" of the Safeway-anchored, 154,000-square-foot center, to add 9,400 square feet of new retail in two buildings and to construct 30 stacked multifamily units.

Existing Sterling Plaza tenants include Safeway, Advance Auto Parts, Little Caesar's, Dollar Tree and Harbor Freight Tools.

Atlantic, according to its application, "intends to enhance retail/restaurant opportunities with the existing shopping center as well as create a more connected and active environment to reinforce the neighborhood identity and increase the viability of existing retail uses."



Q:    Social Security is my only income; must I file taxes?

I am 69 years old. I retired from my job in 2013 and started collecting my Social Security benefits. Now that it is my first year with only Social Security benefits as my income, I am confused about if and how I should file my taxes.

Signed, Nettie

A. Dear Nettie:

Seniors like you, age 65 and older, often have questions about their income tax obligations. Because your income has changed, you have questions and concerns about what will be taxed, how it needs to be reported, and what credits you may qualify for.....



Medicaid program faces long-term risk congresswoman

“Decades of stagnancy on issues facing older Americans have left some long-term care stakeholders skeptical about the prospects for change, particularly at a time when 78 million baby boomers are moving into old age in a profound societal shift with a host of economic implications.”

Congress and various long-term care industry stakeholders need to work better together to ensure the viability of services in the coming years, seniors and their advocates were told Thursday in the first of a series of nationwide forums designed to shape public policy.

"The last budget [Congress] passed really put at risk our long-term care system, funded by Medicaid,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) said during the three-hour conference in Tampa. “We have a growing challenge on how to take care of older Americans in the last decades of their life. Is the answer to say 'Let's cut back on Medicaid services?' I don't think so. We've got to find a way to work together to ensure long-term care is available for everyone. That requires planning ahead and sometimes Congress doesn't do that very well.”



Did you ever wonder what the hit tune was on the day you were born (or conceived)?

Here’s a website that knows what was hot on that date. Just enter your birth date.


This was mine back in 1945


Aging, romance and sex: It's never too late

By Ellen Waldman

We are finally seeing a change of attitude on this subject, as evidenced by the American Society of Aging in America’s conference in Chicago, March 2015. Here are some the topics they will cover: Older Adult Experiences of their Sexuality; Sexual Health and Functioning in Later Life; Sex in the Head: Aging, Sexuality and Emotional Well-Being; and many more like these.

The knowledge that aging includes love, intimacy, romance, and sexuality allow for more open discussions. Being aware of important health and disease-related issues, and talking about them to your physician, makes good sense. If this choice is a part of your well-lived life, then why not enjoy it, regardless of your age?



Affordable housing options for low-income seniors

Janet Kidd Stewart

Study explores explores the new realities of 

retirement and homeownership

Q. If my income is only $20,000 per year, can I get a subsidy toward my mortgage payments or condo maintenance payments?

A. Many states offer property tax breaks to senior citizens, and at that income level you could potentially qualify for the federal tax credit for the elderly (65 and up), but that credit isn't specific to homeowners.

Most federal housing subsidies go to renters with average incomes of about $11,000 a year, but even those have become very difficult to find because production of low-income senior housing has dropped dramatically in the last few years, said Alayna Waldrum, housing legislative representative for LeadingAge, an association of not-for-profit aging service providers.

"Waiting lists are longer for properties, and there are just fewer options for communities to address senior housing," .....

More... http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/yourmoney/sc-cons-0226-journey-20150222-column.html


Paul and Ringo Are Good Role Models for Aging Boomers

By Candy Leonard

As role models, the Beatles may have been a mixed bag back in the sixties. But today, Ringo at 74 and Paul at 72 are excellent role models for their aging fans. Here are five reasons baby boomers looking for a health and happiness boost -- and who isn't? -- should consider emulating Paul and Ringo again.

1. Paul and Ringo are vegetarians

Paul has been a vegetarian since the seventies and has been very outspoken about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet -- for people, for animals and for the planet. Ringo, too, says he feels healthier being a vegetarian and that he "eats broccoli with everything." It's never been easier to be a vegetarian and the health benefits are irrefutable.

2. Paul and Ringo work out regularly

For Paul, every show is a three-hour workout. He said recently, "I've been having cardiovascular exercise for years, but it's on stage." Ringo says he works out "most days" and also sees a trainer three times a week. Not everyone can spend time or money on a trainer, but adding exercise to our daily routines isn't that difficult. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or leave the car home and walk whenever possible. Try hula-hooping while watching television. Quoting Sir Paul again: "I can't believe I do a three-hour show without taking a breath. You assume you would be feeling it now but it's the opposite." If we're healthy enough to get started, increased energy and stamina will follow. Maybe a new pair of Sketchers Relaxed Fit shoes -- Ringo is the brand spokesperson--would be motivating......



Why Senior Living is a Prime Target for 


by Jason Oliva

Because senior living facilities also store financial information on residents such as credit card or other banking info, they increase their exposure to hackers; however, hackers can fetch a higher price on the black market for personal health info compared to something like credit card data, Stimmell says.

There is also the argument that the health care industry in general has been much slower at adopting new tech protection compared to other industries. And as national, big-name retailers like Target (NYSE: TGT) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD) have fallen prey to data breaches —two highly-publicized hacks that leaked credit card information of 40 million and 56 million shoppers, respectively — smaller corporations are just as vulnerable to hackers.

“Companies don’t have to be high profile retail operations to be susceptible to a breach,” says Peter Smith, senior vice president at Willis’ FINEX division, a specialty practice that focuses on financial and executive risk, including cyber risk.

Senior living has not been completely untouched from data breaches, albeit those reported have been on a much smaller scale than Target- or Home Depot-sized attacks.



Sorry May*

Your meal missed the mark

What excited me most about dinner Tuesday night was, not so much what it was, but who made it. It is very rare that someone actually takes credit for what they cooked here, let alone put their name on it. Therefore, when I saw that one of our cooks decided to make a signature dish, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, the meal missed its mark by a mile.

The dish was proclaimed as “May’s rice and beef”, not thrilling, but with possibilities. After all, so many great things can come out of simple ingredients like rice and beef. It’s too bad that this was not one of them. The meat was nothing more than plain ground beef. Unflavored and tasteless. The rice, although it had color and beans and olives, was a disappointment because of its lack of seasoning. And that’s too bad, because it could have been so much more.

The simple addition of some sauteed veggies like red and green peppers, onions and even mushrooms would have improved this dish by 100%. Even a mild chili paste could have done wonders. I had to add to what seemed like a gallon of soy sauce just to make the meal palatable. They could have just opened a can of Hormel Chili and done better.

The lack of knowledge about what makes food taste good amazes me. To run, what is supposed to be a professional kitchen, and not to have a clue what the spice rack is for, tells me that the cooks here don’t have any pride in what comes out of those doors.

*Editors note: May is a lovely young woman who tries her best, but she is not a trained chef. And, while I applaud her quest for knowledge and her attempts to better her position, this is not the place to learn how to be a cook. 


Beef and Broccoli

"More broccoli, please"

have a pretty good set of choppers for a guy my age, and even I had a tough time chewing my way through this utterly contemptible dinner of beef and broccoli. For the second time this week, the failure of our kitchen to understand even the basics of food preparation, has provided us with a meal that was impossible to eat. 

I ordered this instead of the alternate meal which was breaded Tilapia (The worlds cheapest fish) because, well, I hate Tilapia. And besides, I was interested to see what they would do with what should be a very simple dish. Expecting the worst, I was not disappointed. The beef was as tough as elephants hide. My jaws began to ache from trying to chew this crap. I don’t know how they cooked this meal, but it certainly was not the way any Chinese restaurant cooks it. I have never had a tough, un-chewable dish of Beef and Broccoli in a Chinese restaurant. Fortunately, the broccoli portion of the meal was OK, so at least I had something to eat. I passed on the rice because I had rice once this week and, according to the way my pants have been getting lately, I don’t need more.


Mac and Cheese

The way God and Kraft intended

Bravo and huzzah. After years of suffering through a variety of obscure versions of mac and cheese, the chef finally got it right. And by right, I mean the way it was meant to be. And by “The way it was meant to be”, I mean the way it came out of a box of venerable Kraft Macaroni and cheese. 

Past experiences with the mac and cheese served here have ranged from “disappointing” to “W.T.F. Is this”. Interpretations of this dish have included adding ham and other meats, baking it with a breadcrumb coating which absorbed all the cheese, which at times has included such non mac and cheese cheeses as Swiss, Parmesan and, I think, Munster. But last Friday’s lunch was different. It was as I have always remembered mac and cheese. Hot, cheesy and gooey with the cheese part being slightly on the sharp side. Nothing fancy or expensive, but basic cheddar they way the Maker (Kraft) intended it to be. The only difference being, the pasta itself. The Chef decided to use rotelle pasta instead of the traditional tubular macaroni. This was not a problem as the rotelle actually holds the cheese better than macaroni. I finished this dish right down to the last cheesy morsel and would of had seconds had it not been for my pants getting tighter with every bite.


Why older drivers actually are the safest


Despite stereotypes to the contrary, drivers 65 and older are among the safest drivers on the road.

They are more likely to wear seat belts and less likely to drink or text while driving compared with any other age group, according to the Insurance Institute for Traffic Safety. Yet they are more likely to die if they are involved in a crash.

The reasons are complicated by individual circumstances and medical conditions, but with 25 percent of all U.S. drivers expected to be 65 or older in just 10 years, balancing the health and mobility needs of an aging population with public safety is a topic of increasing interest.....

More... http://www.ocregister.com/articles/drivers-649816-older-driving.html


Contact and Comment

An open letter to the New York State Dept. Of Health

(A copy of this letter was emailed to the DOH)

March 2, 2015

Re: Restricting activities of residents in an assisted living facility.

To whom it may concern:

Dear sirs,

I am a resident of an assisted living facility located in the city of Yonkers, Westchester County, NY. During the week of February 16, 2015, a variety of restrictions were placed on the residents of this facility due to an outbreak of influenza. While I understand the reason for wanting to protect the health of residents and to minimize the possibility of an even wider spread of the virus, the extraordinary actions placed upon the people who call this home, is beyond the DOH’s understanding of the impact that such restraints have on the well being of the seniors who reside here.

A clueless state agency

I hate to say this, but you guys don’t have a clue. As the primary governing agency that oversees and regulates all that goes on in these kinds of facilities (nursing homes, hospitals and ALF’s) the N.Y. State DOH is responsible for the implementation of hundreds of rules and regulations which are meant to protect the residents of these facilities from abuse, illness and endangerment. And, while I understand the need for the DOH to be strict and ever observant, in many respects the DOH does not have a clue as to what it’s like to be a resident in one of these facilities. And, that in an effort to be diligent, your actions were disproportionate to the actual event.

You have to understand that people who live in these kinds of places are here, not because they want to be, but because they have to be. Very much like inmates in a prison. And, while I do not in any way want to compare this facility or any assisted living facility to a prison, to an older person, the rules and regulations that are put in place for the so-called “good of the resident” make that resident feel that, indeed, he is in some sort of restrictive environment. Take, for example, the constraints and stipulations that were executed during the 9 day period in question. You, the DOH, did not consider, in any way, how great an impingement to normalcy this was to nearly 200 residents who depend on human contact and interaction with one another for their well being if not their sanity. And to impose such broad restrictions for such a relatively small number of residents who were actually infected with the flu virus (less than 20) was, at least, inordinate and at most, unreasonable.

Who are you actually trying to protect. 

Sometimes, it is very hard to distinguish between the phrase “For your own protection” and “I’m just covering my ass”. In today’s litigious society, where everybody sues everybody else at the drop of a hat, state agencies become likely targets for both serious and frivolous lawsuit's, all of which have to be dealt with. Therefore, in an effort to be pro-active and to cover all bases, agencies such as the DOH must overcompensate, often to the impairment of the very people who they think they are protecting. Take, as an example, one of my “favorite” restrictions that is imposed only on residents of assisted living facilities. 

Food and the DOH

Food, and the consumption thereof, is one of the great pleasures in life for many people. And nowhere is this more evident than in a facility where one of the major activities is sharing a meal with other residents. Enjoying a meal means, not only with whom you eat, but what you eat as well. And, while no one living at a state subsidized facility such as ours expects to be served gourmet food, we do expect the food too, at least, be cooked properly. Unfortunately, due to the over regulation by the DOH, a properly cooked meal is impossible. The most noticeable of these regulations comes in the way eggs must be cooked.

The 160 degree rule

We live in a great country. We are able to travel with relative freedom. We can stay where we want, visit who we want and eat where we want. In fact, in every state in the union and in most countries around the world, you can go into any eating establishment, visit any food truck or sidewalk vendor and have your food cooked pretty much the way you would like it. If you want your burgers cooked medium, you can have them cooked medium or well-done or any damn way you want. The greasiest diner or restaurant is permitted to cook soft boiled, poached or sunny-side up eggs with runny yolks. Everyone in the United States is allowed to have eggs cooked the way they like. Everybody, except residents of assisted living facilities that is. Among all freedom loving citizens of this country, only we are singled out as those people who are prohibited from eating eggs with runny yolks. This is the result of just one agency’s failure to thoroughly recognize the needs and wants of the people they allege to serve, the Clueless New York State DOH. That is because, you, the DOH, have an unwarranted fear that an outbreak of salmonella will descend upon us and devour every living thing in its immediate vicinity. And, in an effort to thwart this terrible plague (which is very rare in this state) you have imposed, on ALF’s only, a rule that says food, including eggs, cannot be cooked at a temperature lower than 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which negates the preparation of all soft boiled, poached or sunny side up eggs which are available anywhere else in the world. This rule also pertains to other foods, which means that we (residents) have to endure dry, overcooked, lifeless food for the rest of our lives. Why this arbitrary rule is aimed only at residents of assisted living facilities, is not clearly understood. However, what is understood is that you, the DOH is uninformed as to what constitutes the lifestyle of an average resident of an ALF.

Meet the people

The problem is, that you at the DOH, never have any dealings with the people you are protecting. The only people that I have ever seen anybody from the DOH having contact with when they visit our facility is management. Don’t you realize that management has an entirely different agenda than we residents and, often, that agenda is directly opposed to what is good for us or what we need. Why don’t you talk to us? I know we would love to talk to you. Who knows, you might even learn something.

In conclusion

My dear friends at the DOH. We (residents) don’t ask for much. We only ask that we be treated like any other resident of the great State of New York. Free to enjoy our remaining years in relative comfort and safety. And, while the DOH, has come a long way in how institutions under their watchful eye, are regulated, you have failed to recognize the very people that you are supposed to protect. While we may have some years on us, and some of us may not be as quick or as sharp or as mobile as we used to be, we are your parents and grandparents and we need to be respected as well as protected. Don’t make arbitrary rules without thinking of what the consequences of those rules do to the spirits as well as the bodies of the individuals you are imposing them on. Before making a new rule or regulation that directly affects the behavior of the individuals under your care, ask yourself “Do I want to be treated this way when I’m old. Do I want my loved ones to be treated this way”. It will amaze you how much of a difference this will make.


Bruce Cooper, 


The Westchester Center for independent and

Assisted Living. Yonkers, NY


Signs of the times

This sign isn’t posted here, but it should be.

“You ever eat in a room full of just old people? The smells and sounds make eating impossibleHeavy perfume, burping,gas, it's like a refinery in there. Hope the cider house rules help.”

Maintaining order among seniors


The rules posted in the dining hall of the Sherman Oaks East Valley Adult Center's dining room are alarming.

  • Participants will maintain good hygiene and will be free of objectionable odors. Any wounds must be bandaged.
  • Participants will dress in reasonably clean, appropriate clothing and wear shoes.
  • Senior citizens also should leave their guns and knives at home. If they shout or fight, they'll be asked to leave.

So is there a major crime problem at the senior center? Not exactly.

Staff at the Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks War Memorial Park facility say the rules are needed to keep a calm and welcoming environment for the hundreds of seniors who visit and eat meals there each week....



Here’s another story that will make you feel depressed

Grandma’s Meat Loaf? Hardly. Her Retirement Home Now Has a 3-Star Chef.

Elder homes are serving fine food as the baby-boom generation arrives. Montgomery Place in Chicago has a farmers’ market.

By Nathan Weber

Some of the toughest reservations to get in this affluent suburb of Chicago are for the early tables at the Mather, a senior community of $1 million condominiums near Lake Michigan. Citrus-dressed duck breasts and “tomahawk” pork chops are on the menu, along with vegetables from a cooperative farm in upstate Wisconsin and house-made gelato.

Across town, aging nuns at the Mercy Circle retirement center drink fruit-enhanced spa water at “hydration stations,” spread whipped European butter on house-baked rolls and discuss the prices at the farmers’ market set up in their courtyard.

In a nation where food has become a cultural currency and the baby-boom generation is turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 people a day, it was only a matter of time before expensive ingredients, elevated cooking techniques and old-fashioned food snobbery hit the nursing home.

Residents at the Merion in Evanston, Ill.,have a cocktail lounge.

“A very important part of the issue for elderly people of this generation is choice,” he said. “The people here are cultured people. They’ve had experience. They are not about to be treated as a herd.”


Assisted living out of many seniors' reach

DEAR ANNIE: I was interested in the letter from "Still Stressed Out," who is the caregiver for parents who insist on remaining at home. You urged seniors capable of making their own decisions to look into continuing-care communities.

Do you realize how much these communities cost? I have been doing research. Most CCRCs require a hefty buy-in fee and then a monthly fee. The fees increase as one moves from independent living to assisted living and then to nursing care.

For those who cannot afford CCRCs, the financial burden might fall on the family. There are seniors who cannot depend on that support. There are others whose families are not in a position to help. These seniors may opt to stay in their own homes because they feel they have no other options.


Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/lifestyle/ci_27572966/assisted-living-out-many-seniors-reach#ixzz3SsW1yz7s 


So you just got a new roommate...

Alzheimer’s Patient Beats Roommate To Death At Assisted Living Facility

An 87-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is facing murder charges after beating his roommate to death at a suburban Denver assisted living facility.

Homer Castor was originally arrested for crimes against an at-risk adult after he assaulted 76-year-old Gerald Propp in their room at the Atria Applewood assisted living facility in Lakewood, Colorado. Propp died from his injuries late Monday, resulting in the assault charges being changed to homicide.

The assault took place early Saturday morning. One of the nurses at the facility heard screaming from the room occupied by the two men, and saw Castor walking away from Propp’s bed.

The nurse told police that Castor said, “If he says one more word, I’m going to kill him.”

More....  http://www.inquisitr.com/1875107/alzheimers-patient-beats-roommate-to-death-at-assisted-living-facility/#TpTm6tema75SCcYe.99 

Your Medicare Notice

You may have received (or will be receiving) an envelope from Medicare. It will contain forms like this.Here is what you should do with it.

If you are a Medicare recipient, you will be receiving your quarterly Medicare Summary Notice. You will open it and see numbers and dollar amounts printed on page after page. Do not be frightened. As it says on the form “This is not a bill. You don’t have to send money to anybody. This form only shows what services you have received from Medicare. These services may include those from Doctors, hospitals and technicians. They also may include things like x-ray’s, tests and procedures in or out of a doctors office or hospital. Once again, this is not a bill. The figures merely show what your doctor, hospital etc. Charged Medicare for their services to you. There is nothing you can do about these charges unless you never actually received these services or procedures or you were never treated by this doctor. 

You will also notice that there is a column showing what Medicare will actually pay the doctor. It is often very different from what the doctor asked for. Don’t worry about it. This is the little game they play. The service provider knows that Medicare will only approve a certain percentage of what they ask for, so they ask for more. Unfortunately, it is a game in which we are unwilling participants. So why should we care about this summary at all?

We should care bout what is summarized in this form, because eventually, all of us will end up paying more for our health care. But the real reason to carefully scrutinize this summary is to make sure that Medicare is not being charged for services you did not receive. Billing Medicare for unperformed services is a fraud, and it costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year. Here is what you should do.

Look over the summary. If something looks out of place such as a test you don’t remember receiving or a doctor you don’t know, double check your records. Dates are clearly marked. You may have just forgotten that visit. Also, your doctor's name may appear as a corporation such as “Acme Medical Associates” rather than Dr. Smith. Then, and only then, if you are sure that you never received those services, report the incident to Medicare. The number for this is: 1-800-581-1790 or better still go to: http://www.medicarefraudcenter.org/ for information. You will not get in trouble and you may even be eligible for a reward. Also, the Center’s Case management dept. Can assist you in your understanding of this summary.


Nursing Home And Assisted-Living Expenses Can

 Decimate Retirement Savings

Seniors need to educate themselves about ways to protect their nest eggs, financial advisor says

Long-term care can burn a hole retirement savings

Long-term care, especially, can burn a hole in savings accounts. In 2012, for example, nursing home care averaged $74,800 a year, according to a report by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Meanwhile, assisted living facilities averaged $39,500 per year, and home-health services averaged $21 per hour.

More than 10 million Americans need some sort of long-term care, the Kaiser report said. That number covers all ages, even children, but about half are people 65 and older.

“Those older Americans had looked forward to enjoying their golden years,” Lowrey says. “They should be able to have actual golden years instead of what can end up being scary years, both personally and financially.”


More money news

The Challenge of Aging Clients’ Shrinking Assets


This fact-of-life for aging clients has created a dilemma for many financial advisers: Should they drop their elderly clients if their assets fall below the practice’s account minimums?

It is a tricky question for many advisers with long-time clients with whom they have built a personal relationship. While downgrading or even firing a client who ignores advice or drastically overspends can be pretty straightforward, lowering the level of service or even ending it for older clients can be difficult.

“Many of us feel loyal,” says Tom Orecchio, a principal and wealth manager at Modera Wealth Management in Westwood, N.J., which manages about $1.6 billion. “They helped us grow our business so we just continue to do what we were doing for them, even though their assets are at a lower level.”



17 Ways To Age-Proof Your Brain

By Amanda Gardner

What's good for your body is good for your brain. That means eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies and not much sugar, saturated fat or alcohol, as well as getting enough exercise and sleeping about eight hours a night. But evidence is accumulating that a whole host of other activities can help keep our brains, young even as we advance in chronological age. There is no one magic activity that you need to take on, but trying a handful of the following will help.

More... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/01/brain-anti-aging-memory_n_6566566.html


Grannies gone wild? 

New study examines sex lives of senior citizens

Over half of all men and nearly one-third of women over the age of 70 are still enjoying active sex lives, with many of them frequently engaging in intercourse, according to new research from the University of Manchester and NatCen Social Research.

While the findings are likely to make those of us who would rather not envision our grandparents “getting it on” a little uncomfortable, it’s a landmark study, being the first to examine the sexual health of individuals over the age of 80.

The research also found that overall health and conflicting partnership factors were more closely linked to a decline in sexual activity and functioning, not just due to increasing age, they added.

“The fact this is the first time that people over 80 years old have been included in this kind of research highlights how often the public health needs of older people, including sexual health, are ignored or overlooked,” said Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK.

“With an ageing population, it is important that providers of sexual health services understand the needs of older people in both clinical settings and when developing information and advice,” she added. “These recent findings now need to be used to improve sexual health advice and information for older people.”

More... http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113324933/grannies-gone-wild-new-study-examines-sex-lives-of-senior-citizens-013015/


Is Great Sex Finished For Aging Boomer Men?

By Ken Solin

Is sex the same nearing 70 as it was at 50? No, but that's not necessarily bad news. The lessons I've gleaned over the past few decades have actually made sex a better experience. My body took care of my sexual needs without any help from my heart until I turned 50. Just thinking about sex was enough to arouse me and I didn't need strong feelings to perform. Even sex in my relationships was casual because there wasn't a deep enough emotional connection to make it intimate. I wasn't unique. Sex wasn't always an act of love for lots of boomers who came to manhood in the late 1960s.

The change in my sexuality didn't occur overnight. It was subtle yet noticeable. I talked with my men friends to find out if they were experiencing any changes in their sexuality. Most were, and some felt getting off of the relationship roller coaster was a positive result.



The Taboo That Still Surrounds The Aging Woman

Skylar Liberty Rose

Vintage wine is savored. Vintage cars exclaimed over. Vintage clothes coveted. Yet the vintage woman remains uncelebrated

Nobody tells the carefree 25-year-old female that in another 25 years she'll be invisible. 

In Western cultures, women of a certain age are not revered. They are subjected to the swipe of a metaphorical hand that casts them aside and signifies to them that they have all but expired.

After a female has played out the parts society dictates she may fulfill, routinely a brief career stint followed by motherhood, her requirement is rendered redundant. She is no more.

At a time in her life when she is evolving emotionally and psychologically she is rejected physically. The ultimate blow is that if she should attempt to halt the physical aging process, she is likely to be ridiculed for her efforts.

Society has closed a door on these women for daring to age past the characters portrayed in their much loved movies. Yet when they have tried to keep a foot in the door by seemingly conforming to the ideals that our culture celebrates they are shunned in the worst possible way.

Why are we not commending older women for their strength and longevity? Why are we not paying tribute to their achievements and accomplishments? ....

More.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/skylar-liberty-rose/taboo-aging-woman_b_6716386.html


Socializing Boosts Health Literacy


Older adults can maintain a good understanding of health if they regularly use the Internet and take part in social events, new research suggests.

Information on health and disease is now widely available, and people expect to be participants in the process of diagnosis and treatment. But age-related changes in the brain risk compromising the ability of older people to utilize the health care system, warn Professor Jane Wardle of University College London, U.K., and colleagues.

They add that, during aging, adults often have increased contact with the health care system as the risk for several chronic diseases increases.

But age-related cognitive changes may “compromise the ability to navigate the health care system and use health information,” they state in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. This is linked to poorer self-care, especially regarding long-term conditions, a higher chance of needing emergency care services, less preventive care, and a higher mortality risk.

Health literacy can be defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions,” say the researchers.....

More.... http://psychcentral.com/news/2015/02/02/socializing-boosts-health-literacy/80646.html


The True Advocates for Social Security

by Bud Meyers

Last week members of the Alliance for Retired Americans (the Alliance) met with over 120 members of Congress and staffers in their home districts to take a stand on Social Security, Medicare and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Organizations such as the Alliance and Social Security Works are by far, two of the best advocates for older Americans, those on disability, retirees and seniors (as opposed to those who mostly front for insurance companies).

People such as Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are also very strong advocates for Social Security, as well as progressives who caucus with the Democrats. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the last Republican advocating for (and expand) Social Security. Currently, no Republican politician supports Social Security or Medicare as a government program (at least, not in its current form.)

The White House recently kicked off the 2015 White House Conference on Aging in Tampa, Florida with a panel on retirement security. Three Alliance members attended the conference sessions, while others gathered offsite in Tampa and South Carolina to discuss the importance of strengthening Social Security, Medicare and pensions — the three essential components of a secure retirement.....

More... http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/true-advocates-social-security-5690

Judi Dench Says Retirement Is A Rude Word

By Ann Brenoff

We all have trigger words -- you know the things that send us flying over the top. And for 80-year-old Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench, that trigger word is "retirement," reports The Telegraph. Dench said she works actively to prevent symptoms of aging -- including learning a new fact every day and taking preventative supplements to keep memory loss at bay. She stars in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which premiered Feb. 16.

But the word “retirement” is the rudest word in Dench's dictionary, wrote The Telegraph. "And 'old' is another one," she said. "I don't allow that in my house. And being called 'vintage.' I don't want any of those old words. I like 'enthusiastic' and I like the word 'cut' because that means you've finished the shot."

Dame Judith would be pleased to know that she holds this belief in good company.Ernest Hemingway once said, "Retirement is the ugliest word in the language."

More.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/23/judi-dench-rudest-word-retirement_n_6736030.html


Without Regrets: A Nurse's Advice About Aging and Dying

By Helen C. Emmott

Although Helen and David Emmott are a medical family – she is a registered nurse and he, a doctor – when they became caregivers for their aging mothers, they were surprisingly unprepared for the questions and challenges that lay ahead. What exactly does the role of caregiver entail? How do you choose a healthcare decision maker? How do you make medical decisions that honor a loved one’s wishes? As a caregiver, is it possible to make everyone happy? What Helen learned from caring for her mother and mother-in-law, from friends and their parents, and from her patients was the importance of conversation, sorting out family dynamics and caregiving roles, choosing a decision maker who can navigate the maze of an often daunting healthcare system, and taking care of oneself along the way. In Without Regrets, she shares both heartfelt stories and lessons learned that help anyone needing to guide loved ones through frailty and illness and ultimately death. ....


 I’ve been doing it wrong all this time!

Warren Buffett's secret to staying young:

 "I eat like a six-year-old."

By Patricia Sellers


The world’s most successful investor stays youthful by drinking at least five Cokes a day. Turns out, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s bizarre diet is highly strategic.

How does the world’s top investor, at 84 years old, wake up every day and face the world with boundless energy?

 “This morning, I had a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream,” Buffett says.

Asked to explain the high-sugar, high-salt diet that has somehow enabled him to remain seemingly healthy, Buffett replies: “I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old.” The octogenarian adds, “It’s the safest course I can take.”



After a week’s respite from reviewing the food here at the asylum, I am back with a vengeance. I promise to pull no punches and show no mercy. 

A bean soup the bean counters left alone

After passing on the soup all last week (drinking cold soup out of plastic cups is not my thing) I was thrilled with having the opportunity to dig into a steaming bowl of soup, served in a soup bowl no less. And what I dug into, was not disappointing. The navy bean soup was thick, rich and full of nice big veggies. The broth was seasoned to perfection and needed no salt or pepper. The fact that it was served in a real bowl-sized bowl, added that extra touch I had missed for a week.


It’s the food most craved by Americans

Evidently, they haven’t eaten it here

A recent report states that 97% of Americans rank pizza as their number one most craved food. Fortunately, we live in an area where good pizza can be found on almost every corner. In fact the number of places you can get pizza is outranked only by the number of people who consider themselves pizza aficionados. Unfortunately, the one place in New York, where pizza seems to be a mystery to the chef is here at the W. Center.

I don’t know whether it’s the crust, the toppings, the cheese or the sauce, but somehow they have found a way to make the perfect lousy pizza. Perhaps some foods should best be left to the experts. I gave this 2 “Foodies” only because it was actually delivered to the table hot.


I just ate the best dinner I’ve had here in 2 years...

So why am I suspicious?

We have seen things that purported to be steak on the menu before. And, always, it turned out to be something else. Therefore, when the menu proudly announced that there would be “Sliced N. Y. Strip Steak” for dinner, we were naturally skeptical. Even if it were actually real steak, we knew it was going to be cooked to death, or fatty, or stringy, or of such small portions as to make it almost not worth ordering. We could not have been so wrong. Last Friday’s steak dinner was one of the best meals I have had here in over two years. Which makes me ask the question, “Why”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not going to look a gift cow in the mouth, and I really don’t care where it came from. Even if it did fall off the back of a truck, it’s Ok with me. The only thing that I am worried about is that this grand gesture will turn into something more sinister in the weeks to come. Why then, am I so suspect. It’s in my nature, that’s why.

Good things rarely come to us here at the Center. We are at on the bottom rung of the assisted living ladder. We are so low down, that we don’t even receive charitable donations. Nobody gives us anything. Consequently, when something good comes our way we wonder what the ulterior motive is, that’s all.

You will notice that I gave this dinner a 41/2 “Foodie” rating. The highest I have ever given anything cooked or served here. The meat was almost perfectly cooked. It was tender and tasty with just the right amount of fat to make it juicy too. Even the spinach side was worthy of a steak house dinner as were the silky mashed potatoes. Additionally, the apple pie desert was, for a change, not smashed or crumbled. Other diners expressed the same feelings, that it was too good to be true. Are we going to “pay” for this at some future date. Or maybe a corner has been turned here. Are we to see more meals like this. Only time will tell. I just hope that I don’t have to wait another two years for another one.


A few weeks ago, I suggested that some credence should be given to building senior residences and assisted living facilities in or very near existing shopping malls. This would be a win-win situation for all. The mall would have ready-made customers and the residents would have a convenient place to shop, stroll and enjoy all year around and in all weather. Now, there may be a better way to accomplish this. 

Photographers at Buzzfeed.com, have taken some great photos of abandoned shopping malls all over the country. Look at the photos and tell me that you would not like to live in a place like this. Fixed up, of course. Think of the possibilities. 

Completely Surreal Photos Of America’s Abandoned Malls

An inside look at nine abandoned malls. There is nothing creepier and more fascinating.

By Matt Stopera

More photos and story.. http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/completely-surreal-pictures-of-americas-abandoned-malls#.gpvXkBOjL1


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Residents need to “Warm things up”

More on one of my favorite topics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safer cooking options for seniors in assisted living

Michael Chotiner

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

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

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

They heat faster and can cut cooking time

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

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


More on this topic

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

Praise and condemnation

Itchy rash

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

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

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

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

Flu comes to the W. Center

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


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

How to Find the Best Assisted Living Community for You

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

By Teresa Mears

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

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

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

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

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

More..... http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/02/13/how-to-find-the-best-assisted-living-community-for-you


There’s gold in them thar Old Folks

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

Posted by Reagan

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

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

More.... http://www.lulegacy.com/2015/02/16/insider-selling-brookdale-senior-living-cao-sells-181600-00-in-stock-bkd/


The Cancer That's Poised To Explode

Michael Hodin

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

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

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

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

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

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

More..... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-hodin/cancer-poised-to-explode_b_6603854.html

More on health

The Truth Behind Your Supplements

Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D

Supplements Done Right

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

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

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

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

More..... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-j-cederquist-md/truth-supplements_b_6678188.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000030


Senior citizen says guardianship left her 'absolutely broke'

Susannah Frame

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

families stay connected

John Brandon

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

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



How Reducing Social Isolation Protects Older Adults

John Feather, PhD

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

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

Lonely hearts at risk

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

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

More.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-feather-phd/how-reducing-social-isolation-protects-older-adults_b_6647674.html


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

The aging traveler

By John Philipp 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

More... http://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/2015/02/11/gridlock-over-fixing-social-security-disability-would-mean-benefit-cuts-warns-t-a-592648.html#.VOIl4_nF_a8

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

By Dan Caplinger

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

more... http://www.fool.com/retirement/general/2015/01/18/social-security-the-conspiracy-theory-98-of-retire.aspx


Poll: Yesterday’s Democrats are today’s Republicans

Bob Collins

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

They’ve become Republicans.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Let us begin

Lunch Tuesday

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

Dinner Tuesday

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

Breakfast Wednesday

Dinner Thursday

Dinner Friday

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


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

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

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

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

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




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The man who ate ziti alone

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

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

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

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

“We’re divorced”. I said.

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

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

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

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

On the subject of...


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

Flu season typically puts limits on close-quarter facilities



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

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

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

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

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



Good help is hard to find

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

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


Flying Fish story

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

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

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


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

Listen to this story. Then answer this question.

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

Investigation: Food withheld at an Idaho care facility

Andrea Lutz, KTVB

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

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

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

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

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

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



New rules to let frail elders stay in assisted living

Regulators also mandate training, evacuation plans

By Kay Lazar

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

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

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

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

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


The Vampire Cure for Aging

Watch out Millennials! Baby Boomers are out for blood.

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

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



What the proposed 2016 budget would mean for senior living

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

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


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


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

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

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


More health news

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


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

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

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

Follow doctor’s orders

Don’t ignore symptoms

Reduce risks of falls and accidents

Stay active physically and mentally

Maintain a healthy diet

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



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

SuperAger Brains Yield New Clues to Their Remarkable Memories

Brains of cognitively elite look 

distinctly different than their elderly peers

Marla Paul • Northwestern University

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

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

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

More.... http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2015/02/why-do-some-people-including-several-prominent-haredi-rabbis-live-well-into-old-age-without-showing-567.html


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

Scans show aging brains can leak

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


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

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

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

More.... https://student.societyforscience.org/article/scans-show-aging-brains-can-leak


Federal program helps senior citizens find jobs

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

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

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



Women shaving their faces to fight aging

Skin experts weigh in on whether it really works

Author Sandra Ali,

More women shaving their faces to smooth skin, look younger

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

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

Shaving exfoliates, which can make skin look more youthful.

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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