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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Old folks are driving the real estate market

ALF Real Estate Investment 

“It is common for the ALF tenant to pay significantly higher than normal area rents, sometimes as much as double. Locating a 6+ bedroom home with as many bathrooms or ability to convert and add bed and bath spaces can provide a handsome return on investment.”

The baby boomers are coming, and smart investors are checking out real estate investment opportunities. Current estimates are that 10,000 boomers are turning 65 every day.

The big investors are already getting heavily involved in large institutional nursing facilities. This allows them to participate as passive investors, and they are also heavily buying into REITs, Real Estate Investment Trusts.

This is great for the big players, but what about smaller investors, or those who want to take a more active role for higher returns? Called ALFs, Assisted Living Facilities, in most states, there isn't usually a minimum size requirement.

If you're a rental property investor or a fix & flip investor, there is plenty of opportunity out there for conversion of larger homes into ALFs. Sure, there will be more state and local regulation and codes will be stricter, but it can be well worth the extra work.



What Is the Scientific Answer to "Why Do Living Things Die?"

You’re not aging, you just don’t know how to “divide”.

Answer by Paul King

“It may be possible to slow or stop some of the genetically determined aging processes. While this may not be good for an overpopulated planet, it is sure to be popular with those that can afford the medical intervention. Let's just hope the social security system holds out!”

It's not that living things die; it's that multicellular organisms die. But why.

Every single-celled organism alive today has been in existence since life began over 3 billion years ago. This is because individual cells do not give birth, they divide. After cell division, the two cells that result are each as old as the single cell that preceded them. The cell does not become younger by dividing. (Although this may not be exactly true, see: 

Thus, every cell in your body is over 3 billion years old.

The strategy that multicellular organisms such as humans use to project themselves into the future is to create new cell colonies from a single undifferentiated cell rather than maintaining existing colonies indefinitely. The main reason is that reproduction is more flexible and robust than maintenance, and it provides a way of starting over with a "clean slate" and slightly different genes. Complex organisms accumulate billions of errors and problems over their lifetime. Most of these errors are fixed as fast as they happen, but life takes a toll and not all problems are reversible. Just as reinstalling Microsoft Windows every so often fixes accumulated system issues, so does generating a new organism every so often from a single cell.



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Live Longer by Acting Like a Kid

It is commonly reported that little kids laugh 400 times a day while adults only laugh 17 times a day. I don’t know who did this research or how they did, but those are the numbers that are always quoted, so I am quoting them here.

Why do kids laugh so much? They laugh because everything is the world delights them. They are discovering how the world works and it is a source of great delight. Additionally, they laugh because they are not afraid to be silly.

Put more fun in your life to increase your years.

Here are 30 ideas for ways to act like a kid. Have fun!

If it is raining, put on your boots, and stomp your feet in a puddle.

If it is snowing, lie down in the snow, fan your arms from hip to above your head, and make a snow angel.

If it is sunny, take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot in the grass.

Get a bottle of bubble solution and a bubble wand and blow bubbles.

Eat a tootsie-roll lollypop, slowly licking the hard candy away until you get to the chewy center. Chew away. Or how about a great big all-day sucker. I bet you can't eat the whole thing.

Watch a block of Saturday morning cartoons. Silly, stupid cartoons. Laugh out loud.

Eat a bowl of Froot Loops or whatever cold cereal you most enjoyed as a kid. (Maybe the one your mother would never let you have because it wasn’t healthy. Your mother was right, it’s not healthy. And that’s part of the fun.)



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Drinks a Day May Damage Aging Heart

Cardiotoxicity more apparent in older women

by Diana Swift 

Despite the reported cardioprotective effects of moderate alcohol consumption, seniors who consume two or more drinks a day may be doing some damage to their hearts, according to a large imaging study published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging on May 26.

.... the analysis correlated weekly alcohol consumption in almost 4,500, mainly white, subjects -- average age 76, 60% women, 20% black -- to the size, structure, and function of the heart. While excessive alcohol consumption is clearly associated with cardiomyopathy, the influence of moderate alcohol use on cardiac structure and function is largely unknown.

"Women appear more susceptible than men to the cardiotoxic effects of alcohol, which might potentially contribute to a higher risk of alcoholic cardiomyopathy, for any given level of alcohol intake,

 "In spite of potential benefits of low alcohol intake, our findings highlight the possible hazards to cardiac structure and function ....



Continuing with our campaign to wipe out clandestine smokers and smoking, I present another in my series of hidden camera shots of residents smoking where they shouldn’t. As usual, I have not blurred the faces.

Previously exposed offenders


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Aging promotes trust

(And that’s not good)

 By John Grimaldi

With all those restrictions that come with growing old, it's hard to believe that aging can be an experience that sets you free, says the Association of Mature American Citizens.  Some think the older folks among us are more poised and self-assured because they say what they think, dare to be grumpy when they feel like it and cranky when the situation calls for it.  Those traits can be a liberating experience.

But, no, according to new research.  Studies by the University of Buffalo and Northwestern University suggest that it's because we become more trusting, in a good way, as we age.  The researchers "found a positive association between trust and well-being," says UB associate psychology professor Michael Poulin.



Reply: Tell me something I don’t know. I tried everything, outside of taking out a full-page ad in the Times, to get people to that FB page, but to no avail. I even went as far as printing cards and handing them to friends and relatives of our residents to at least get them interested. Again, nothing. That is why we have decided to go another way. A low-tech version, if you will. We believe that an old-fashioned cork board (like in the supermarkets), strategically hung, would be better for resident to resident communication. It amazes me that the world’s number one way of interacting with one another (Facebook) is so foreign to our residents. And it’s not because they are stupid or feeble or apathetic. They feel they have no use for it (or any computer-related devices or apps). Technology, for most of them, stops at a cell phone. ..........................................................Ed.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Thanks to our Vets

I was never a soldier. Call it luck, karma, or whatever, I drew a high number in a draft lottery back in 1969 (#332). It was the only lottery I ever won. However, even though I never personally put on a uniform, many of my friends did and many of them did not return from that stupid fiasco in South East Asia. What a waste. They died for nothing. So why should we remember those vets. Why is there a beautiful memorial wall in Washington D.C. with their names engraved on it. We remember them because they were Americans. They went with the sense of duty that only a person with a true love of country can. Despite the politics and greed and stupidity of our leaders at the time, they went. They went because that's what Americans do. They saw a country that was about (so we thought) to descend into some sort of communist hell and we felt a need to stop it. Unfortunately, we underestimated the resolve of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army who thought they ought to be able to determine that for themselves. It took us over nine years and over 53,000 lives to realize that. 

Therefor, on this Memorial Day I will honor those contemporaries of mine who didn't make it back, not for what they may have accomplished or did not accomplish, but rather for their dedication and sense of duty. May god rest their souls.............................Ed.



I’ll bet you’re thinking that hot dogs or hamburgers are the All-American food, but they’re not. Both of those items have their roots in Europe or another foreign culture. However, if you are looking for something that is uniquely American, look no further than you nearest ear of corn. Yes, corn, and all of its incarnations is what can be truly called American. 

At one time, of course, corn was fed only to animals. But as the years went on, people started to see the benefits that are derived from the cultivation of corn for human consumption. Corn meal, corn flakes, corn oil and, of course, corn on the cob. Which brings me to this question. “How come we never get to eat corn on the cob here at the center?’’

That’s right, along with the other restrictions that are placed on us like no runny yolks and overcooked food, corn on the cob is a no-no here at the home. Why?, Here’s the explanation we get. “Most of the people here won’t be able to chew corn on the cob because they have false teeth or no teeth at all. To which I say. “That’s a crate load of B.S. 

First, let me tell you that plenty of our residents have their own teeth (I do). Also, who says that you can’t eat corn on the cob with dentures. What do you think dentures are for anyway. And finally, even if you can’t eat corn on the cob, you can still scrape the kernels off the cob. Why should the rest of us be deprived of this treat just because some of us can’t eat it. This is just another form of ageism that is practiced here, and at many seniors living facilities. 

Note to the chef: Now that summer is here, and we will be eating out more often, how about doing the right thing and cook some corn on the cob. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend...............................Ed.


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

Are you happy now?

(Or is it just the medication)

I mull the question of whether or not I am happy over in my mind sometimes when I’m alone in my 10X20 foot room or sitting out on the patio catching some rays. Offhand, one would think that the answer to such a singular question would be easy. After all, you are either happy or you are not. But, if one really begins to think, that very simple word, “happiness” has complexities far beyond its three syllables.

Looking up the word “happiness” in a book doesn’t help much. Happiness, as defined by most dictionaries, only tells you that it is “The state of being happy”. Some help that is. Perhaps some of the synonyms would be helpful in narrowing down what happiness is. Let’s see, there are pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness, delight, enjoyment, satisfaction and a bunch of others. And, while these are all good words, none of them seems to get to the heart of it all. If happiness can mean all of those things maybe the opposite of happiness would be more defined than its similarities. Antonyms, that’s what I need. That will give me a good idea of what happiness is all about. 

Oops, I spoke too soon. According to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Happiness, the opposite of happiness is “misery”. That’s right. While there are a dozen synonyms for happiness, there is only one word for the opposite of happiness. And, I can say for sure that not being happy does not automatically make me miserable. It means that I am just a little less happy. Darn! We are back to defining happiness again. O.K., Let’s give it another try. Perhaps there is no universal definition for “happy”. Just as there is no universal interpretation of beauty, perhaps happiness too, is in the eyes of the beholder. That actually makes more sense. What is a happy state for me may be a miserable (or at least an uncomfortable) situation for you? Therefore, in order to answer the question of whether or not we are happy, we must try to find the last place, time, activity or state of being that made us happy. Unfortunately, at least for me, this will take some work.

Five, yes, I think I was five (or maybe 7 or 8) years old when I last was happy. And why shouldn’t have I been happy. I was living rent free, no job to speak of, eating some really good food, no money worries, no boss, no ex-wife and absolutely no responsibilities except to put my toys away and not to cross the street alone. But that was 65 years ago. 

No, that can’t be the last time I was truly happy. And besides, being a happy 5-year-old doesn’t count in the happiness tournament. Only adults can really know what happiness is. Kids have not had the a qualifying amount of unhappiness to be considered as serious contenders. Now let me think. Happy..happy, when, as an adult was I last happy? Oh, I know. When I first got married. Surely that was a wondrous time in my life. A pretty new wife who laughed at my stupid jokes, my partner in life. Someone who would be at my side, forever and ev.., Hmmm, well, maybe I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was. Maybe I was confusing happiness with infatuation. I will have to look at the more recent past for a time when I was happy. Now, I am starting to worry. Could it be that I have never known happiness as an adult? That can’t be true. I distinctly remember being happy at times. I know there were times of laughter, love and good cheer. I remember them, I think. Yes, I definitely remember myself laughing. But was I happy? No, happiness must be something that sustains itself over a qualified period. A month, maybe or a year, not just a brief moment of hysteria. To be happy, there has to be a period of time in which the happiness is present. A moment, a juncture is not long enough a period to define something so important as happiness. Maybe no time period is long enough. Maybe happiness is truly “of the moment”. Perhaps the question should be not “are you happy”, but “ARE YOU HAPPY NOW”. Right now, in the last five minutes, where you happy. I was. And, as it turns out. I have been happy during the five minutes before that and before that. In fact, now that I think about it, I have been relatively happy for a lot of five minutes recently. So how come I am still not able to define my own happiness. Because, for me, there is one thing that has always eluded me. And that is “peace”. And right now, I am at peace. I am at peace with myself and my surroundings. I know I would not be any happier anywhere else, right now. Tomorrow is something we can only speculate about, and that would make me very unhappy. Nobody really wants to know the future, it never ends well. Peace, my friends, that’s what happiness is. I wake up every morning in a state of peacefulness. Not the Hare-Krishna kind of ethereal peace that comes from transcendental meditation and a “mantra”. I’m talking about the peace of a hassle-free existence where my only worries are whether or not all my socks will come back from the laundry and the happiness I feel when I find that yes, they are all present and accounted for. Now, that’s peace.



A new directory containing all of our staff’s telephone extensions and email addresses is now available only on this website. This list will not be printed or handed out to residents. If you ask for a printed copy, you may not get one. While we do not know why there is so much secrecy related to this list, we here at THEBLOG are not bound by such matters. Please click on the link below to this directory...



I was asked to post this notice online by our Recreation Director. While I don’t mind posting anything of interest to our residents, I think there may be some confusion about who exactly reads this blog. The majority of people who follow this blog on a regular basis are from out of town, sometimes far out of town like India, Brazil and some place called California. Now, while I would love to meet you all, I doubt that you will be in the area on June 18th. However, if you are, you are welcome to attend as my guest (sort of). It will cost you $10. Remember, you have to make a reservation with our chef. 

At one time, there was a Resident’s Facebook page. It was designed as a way to communicate with residents and their families by listing upcoming events and happenings around the Center. It would have also been a way for residents (and relatives) to ask questions and express concerns. I spent many hours designing and editing that page. I posted photos of all of our events as well as notices such as the one above. Unfortunately, only 14 people “friended” us, nobody cared. Finally, out of frustration, I stopped attending to it. No sense beating a dead (and unwanted) horse. The page, though unused, still exists....



Providers Weigh In On Tobacco, 

Booze in Senior Living

By Cassandra Dowell

As senior living communities increase efforts to promote resident and employee wellness, providers are balancing policies that both ban and permit tobacco and alcohol products. 

More than 75% of senior living communities are smoke-free, according to a recent Ziegler CFO Hotline survey. The survey by specialty investment bank Ziegler included responses from 152 chief financial officers nationwide.

Another CFO said the community is considering going smoke-free “due to many complaints from current residents.” 

When it comes to alcohol, communities are much more accepting.

More than 71% of respondents say they serve alcohol in their dining venues, social areas or at special events.

Sixty-one percent have been doing so for more than 10 years, and about 7% said serving alcohol was a new policy that went into effect within the last two years.....

Full story...http://seniorhousingnews.com/2015/05/18/providers-weigh-in-on-tobacco-booze-in-senior-living/?_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_3kTKvGx9wDaMv8PvtAP2A86bfdgJ5CYfqmtOqYyD1Yi_nM5tt4obMgc4dXvtjHuSjgJ2K4U7Kh_EM2MR7L1yQIE5j9A&_hsmi=17761067


The latest info on stories we have recently posted

Residents rally for future of Park Slope assisted living facility

BROOKLYN - People rallied outside the Supreme Court building in Downtown Brooklyn ahead of a hearing over the future of a Park Slope assisted living facility. 

Only seven tenants remain in Prospect Park Residence, which was once home to 130 people in their 90s.

Family members say a year ago, they were given a 90-day notice to start relocating their relatives.

Since then, they claim quality of life has deteriorated for the remaining residents.

Community members rallied to demand a new receiver or person take over the building.

They claim the landlord, Haysha Deitsch, wants to sell the building and knew about it long ago, while still accepting applications for new residents.

In court, attorneys for the facility operator argued that the Department of Health should pay for the receiver due to a lack of funds.

However, attorneys for the DOH say the department doesn't want to help residents that are actually suing the agency.

Read more here...



Alzheimer's patient deemed incompetent, 

won't be charged in killing at assisted living center


Prosecutors say they will not file criminal charges against an 87-year-old Alzheimer's patient accused of killing his roommate at an assisted living facility in Lakewood.

The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office said Friday the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo had deemed Homer Castor incompetent. Prosecutor Scott Storey says Castor will likely spend the rest of his life in the institute.

Police say Castor beat 76-year-old Gerald Propp to death on Feb. 21 in the room they shared at Atria Applewood.

Staff at the facility said Castor's mental illness made him difficult to understand and at times aggressive. An earlier encounter between the roommates left Propp, a fellow dementia sufferer, with scratches on his neck.



Go to website....http://www.aoa.acl.gov/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/


The Wonder of Aging: 

A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty

By Michael Gurian

The New York Times bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys offers a holistic and uplifting look at the emotional, spiritual, and cognitive dimensions of aging—and how to celebrate life after fifty. The years after fifty are generally discussed in terms of health: what are the physical symptoms that come with advancing age, and what can we do about them? The Wonder of Aging goes beyond these topics to serve as both a spiritual, meditative guide and a practical exploration of the emotional and psychological dimensions of the second half of life. This profound book looks at aging as something positive, life-giving, and miraculous. In his characteristically accessible and moving prose, family therapist Michael Gurian shows how we become elders. The world needs our wisdom, he argues, and he shows us how to develop and share it. Called “the people’s philosopher” for his ability to apply scientific ideas to our ordinary lives, 



You know you are getting old when… 

you notice these physical changes.

Aging is accompanied by a lot of physical changes. It’s not fair.You finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.

You know you are getting old if…

It takes two tries to get up from the couch.

It takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.

It takes twice as long to look half as good.

Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.

You give up all your bad habits and still don't feel good.

You sit in a rocking chair and can't get it going.

Rocking in a rocking chair feels like a roller coaster ride.

Your knees buckle, and your belt won't.

You have that “morning after” feeling when you wake up, but you didn’t party the night before.

You know you are getting old when… you notice these changes in your attitudes and behaviors.

You might be getting old if you are now the age you used to think was old, but now it doesn’t seem so old anymore. People over 50 always think that old age is ten years older than they are now. There are some other attitude changes as well.....



Sex is hot topic in care for seniors

By Encarnacion Pyle 

The Hebrew Home developed its policy after a nurse stopped R..... in a hallway and asked what she should do after walking in on two residents having sex.

“I told her to tiptoe out and close the door,” he said.

Many long-term-care centers don’t have sex-related policies; risks of ignoring the topic can be heartbreaking and lead to legal battles.

Sex in nursing homes.

The very idea makes some people squirm, yet sexuality isn’t just for the young. Senior citizens often enjoy intimacy, from hand-holding and kissing to, yes, sex, well into their 80s and beyond.

Many long-term-care centers don’t have sex-related policies and rarely raise the issue for fear it will make residents or their loved ones uncomfortable. But the risks of ignoring the topic, experts say, can be heartbreaking and could lead to legal battles.

“There’s a dark side to having your head in the sand,” said Daniel Reingold, the president and CEO of RiverSpring Health, operator of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York City.

Reingold pointed to the case of Henry Rayhons, 78, a longtime Iowa lawmaker, who was accused last fall of sexually abusing his wife, Donna, who had Alzheimer’s and was living in a nursing home.....



Decluttering senior households

By Dawn Feldhaus

“Clutter is personal, and it’s a moving target. Make sure to take some time to think about your clutter and your shopping behaviors. Take those baby steps, and soon you’ll be clutter-free and proud.”

Spring cleaning can provide motivation to reduce the amount of stuff that is taking up space.

LaRhea Steele, of Camas, recently cleaned out linen and clothes closets.

She donated some full size sheets to Arc of Southwest Washington, and clothing that is no longer being worn will go to a church rummage sale.

She will keep sentimental items, such as her daughter’s first Communion dress from 1979.

“It had a large orange stain on the skirt and underskirt,” Steele said. “When I took it to our local cleaners, she did not think it would come out but she would try. It now looks brand new.”

Steele, 73, and her husband, Jerry, raised their five children in the home they moved into 42 years ago.

“Furniture has been moved to different rooms, as our needs changed,” she said. “That helps the de-cluttering.



 A need for stylish clothing for ‘gray’ consumers

By Helen Dennis 

Q: I read with interest your article on ads finally recognizing the gray dollar (Feb. 22, 2015). As a fellow “gray,” my friends and I have been feeling increasingly invisible. Ever walk through a department store where samples are offered to all who walk by except us “grays?” My personal pet peeve is that stores have discontinued all the brands and styles of clothing most suitable for us 40 and older. My friends and I have gone clothes shopping with a purse full of money only to return home empty-handed. We need to dispel the myth that women in our age group are sitting at home with a cat in our lap. How can we encourage marketing and the design of appropriate clothing for mature, active women interested stylish clothing— R.D.

A: Dear R.D.,

Let’s try to understand what’s going on.

Perhaps the underlying issue is the role of women in the marketplace and particularly older women. There are now about 40 million boomer women ages 51 to 69 who control a net worth of $19 trillion, according to MassMutual Financial Group. Relatively few designers, marketers and advertisers have acted on this fact.....



Myths of aging: 

Aging and loneliness do not go hand-in-hand

By Sarah H. Kagan PhD, RN

Myth: You’ll always have family who lives with you in your old age.

There’s an American ideal that says you get married when you are young, have kids, and age into a place in your children’s home when you are old and incapable. This vision of family life in America is about 50 years out of date and a diversion from reality.

Our reality today is that, in those 50 years, the percent of Americans who live in single person households has jumped from 17 to 27%. More women of any age, compared with men, live by themselves.

Younger women are choosing this living situation in greater numbers than men - by preference or challenge - as we all marry or partner later in life. Women have a survival advantage - meaning they likely will outlive their male partners. Interestingly, the statistics on older women living alone show a slight decline in recent decades as men are living longer.

Improving life expectancies aside, about 10 percent of women aged 65 to 74 live by themselves and that figure increases to 15 percent for those over the age of 75. By comparison, about 5 percent of men who are 65 to 74 - the young old - live alone. And 5.5 percent of men older than 75 do so. The future of single person households in our aging society is an open question. The numbers of men as well as women living alone as young and midlife adults is creeping up as the ages of marriage and life partnerships similarly increases....


Related article...

Chronically lonely seniors likely

 to turn to physicians for social contact

More doctors' office visits by older adults suffering chronic loneliness

"We often assume that if a person has enough friends and relatives they are doing OK. But loneliness is not the same as being alone. You can be lonely in a crowded room. It's very much about how you feel about your actual social relationships." 

Experiences of loneliness and social isolation can lead to increased health care use among seniors, finds new research from the University of Georgia College of Public Health.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Public Health, found that the frequency of physician visits was particularly influenced by chronic loneliness--and suggests that the identification and targeting of interventions for lonely elders may significantly decrease physician visits and health care costs.

"Logically, it makes sense that people who are in poorer health because of loneliness would use health care more," said study co-author Kerstin Gerst Emerson, an assistant professor of health policy and management.

"But we wondered, could people also be visiting their doctor or making those extra appointments because they were lonely?"

To answer this question, Emerson and co-author Jayani Jayawardhana, also an assistant professor in health policy and management, looked at how loneliness impacted the number of physician visits and hospitalizations reported by senior adults living among the general population and not in a retirement community.



Elders React To Snapchat: They Get The Appeal, 

But That Doesn't Mean They Want To Use It

By Cameron Koch

What is Snapchat?

From Wikipedia

"Snapchat is a video messaging application created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, then, a Stanford University student. Using the application, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients. These sent photographs and videos are known as "Snaps". Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps (as of March 2015, the range is from 1 to 10 seconds), after which they will be hidden from the recipient's device and deleted from Snapchat's servers."

For senior citizens, the world must be a terribly confusing place*. As soon as they start to understand Facebook and iPhones, a new app or social media platform comes and turns everything on its head.

Such is the case with Snapchat. The popular app took the world by storm and is now worth an estimated $19 billion, with millions of users across the globe.

The folks in the latest Elders React video from TheFineBros are not any of those millions of users. A few of the men and women seen in the video had heard of Snapchat before, but most knew absolutely nothing. Some had never even downloaded an app before.

Oh boy. You can probably guess what comes next: old people struggling to figure out how to take a picture of themselves. There are also plenty of typos and spelling errors abound as the senior citizens attempt to add captions to their selfies. Many in the group also have a strange affinity for the app's drawing functionality. Do people actually use that? Weird.


*Editor’s note: A ageist statement if I ever heard one.


Michael Caine to Young Men: 

You Will Someday Have My Body

By Jada Yuan

One of the most frequently viewed sights in Paolo Sorrentino's lush new film, Youth, which screened this morning in Cannes to rapturous applause and a smattering of boos, is Michael Caine's naked body. The 82-year-old plays a former orchestra conductor holding up at a Swiss spa hotel with his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and old movie director friend (Harvey Keitel), and who is often lounging in a pool or getting a massage from a girl who has braces. Caine is far from bashful at this point in his life. "It didn’t matter to me because it’s the only body I’ve got," Caine said at the movie's hard-truths-filled press conference. "An aging body, also, to people who are not old, this is what’s going to happen to you. So don’t get too smart about it." Hear that, bros? Someday you'll have Michael Caine's body. Enjoy what you've got while it lasts....




Good or great food stands on its own and bad food can always be improved, but food that is just mediocre means that there is something lacking in the way the food is prepared. To sit at the dinner table and not be impressed or to even have an opinion on what you have just eaten means that what you have been served was cooked with a minimum of thought, caring and skill. To my dismay, this is the state of the food we have received here at the Center as of late. Not good, not terrible, but just mediocre.

While it is true that at one time the food was so poorly cooked and presented that there were many occasions where I had to get up from my seat, go to the kitchen’s entrance and personally admonish who was ever responsible for dishing out such disgusting swill, but not anymore. Now, not only has my own ardor for food descended into the dark abyss of apathy, but it has made its presence known in the kitchen as well. To put it simply, the food is BLAH. There is no passion in what comes through those doors. Any pride or dignity or satisfaction of turning out something worthy of praise has fallen by the wayside.

Let me be clear about this. I didn’t want the food to return to that point many months ago when practically nothing good came out of that kitchen just to be able to say “Well, at least the food isn’t mediocre anymore.” I want to see the food change from “blah” to “Ah.” This means discovering the spice rack, preparing foods in different ways instead of the same tired old boring manner. It’s O.K. to use the food we get now like chicken and fish and beef, but use a sauce that at least shows some knowledge of seasoning. Serve the sauce on the side if you must for those diners who might find it a bit too “flavorful” for their tastes. In other words, give us the option. Even the addition of some garlic or onion powder on the table or some crushed dried oregano (like in many pizzerias) would at least give the individual diner a way of adding much needed flavor to an otherwise boring and bland dish. Anything would be better that what we have now.................................FF.


Sausage and Peppers Open Sandwich

A new twist on a tired old classic

It’s not as if we have not had sausage and peppers here before. The truth be told, it seems as though we have some form of this stuff at least once a week. However, this was the first time we have had it presented as an open-faced sandwich, and it wasn’t half bad. 

Instead of pairing the sausage and peppers and onions with the usual bland pasta and tomato sauce, this time the carbohydrate portion of the meal was represented by a slice of Texas toast which added its own special factor to the meal. Whether it was planned or not, the nice, thick slice of bread actually “soaked up” a goodly portion of the sausage fat and onion liquids to make a very tasty addition to what could have been just another blah dish.


Because chickens in California and the Midwest* haven’t learned to cover their beaks when they sneeze causing a widespread (and spreading) outbreak of Flu, which in turn will result in the mass culling of egg laying chickens and will exponentially cause egg prices to rise, I have decided to pack away as many eggs as I can. As you can see from the picture of last Friday’s breakfast, I ordered a double portion of scrambled eggs (my favorite).

Meanwhile, breakfast lovers can take heart from the fact that, because of an overabundance of coffee in Brazil and Columbia, coffee prices will decline over the coming months.



This couple is ready to rent you a couple of chickens

By Steve Urbon

“Assisted-living homes have rented chickens so that their residents can enjoy having birds around like the ones they owned years ago.”


If Alexander and Ella Magnuson have any luck, rented chickens may soon be the next status symbol. 

In these health-conscious days, more and more people want to know where their food is coming from, the Magnusons say. They have turned their small hobby farm, Twin Cedar Farm in Acushnet, into a fledgling business enterprise that enables people to take eggs from their own backyards to the kitchen and then to their breakfast plates.

A six-month rental, which includes a 6-by-3-foot custom-built enclosure, two grown chickens and 100 pounds of chicken feed, costs $450. There is a buyout offer of $250 at the end of the rental period.

If each chicken lays an egg a day, eggs will end up costing you $1.25 apiece. But there is the hobby value to consider, and it’s still a lot cheaper than, say, golf.

Is it worth it? Only your taste buds can tell you that.





Contact and Comments

The “National Consumer Voice for Long Term Care” is celebrating “Resident’s Rights Month 2015” by holding an essay contest. The following is my entry to that contest. For more information on this, go to: http://theconsumervoice.org/events/residents-rights-month-2015#resident's voice


And that’s no “yolk”.

“What would you like for breakfast”, said the young women server. “We have fried eggs this morning.”

This, being my first morning in my new home here at the assisted living center, I thought for a moment and proclaimed, “I’ll have two eggs, sunny-side up please.” What I heard next, I was not prepared for.

“Sorry”, said the young lady in a voice that can only be described as embarrassed, “No sunny-side up, no poached no soft boiled eggs.”

“Huh, what?”, I stammered. “Why not.”

“I’ll let the chef explain it to you”, she replied.

After a few minutes a man, dressed in the typical garb of a person who had been trained in the culinary arts, came to our table. Extending his hand, he said, “Hi, I’m M---. I understand you have a question about the eggs.”

I introduced myself and asked if what the server had told me was true that “NO SUNNY-SIDE UP, SOFT BOILED OR EVEN POACHED EGGS WERE SERVED HERE.”

“That’s correct sir, and I’ll tell you why.” He said.

The story that ensued me made me angry, appalled, frustrated and downright mad. 

The chef explained to me that, because of a 20 year old rule set forth by our state department of health (the agency which certifies and inspects and implements all the rules governing nursing homes and assisted living facilities), no food can be cooked at a temperature lower than 160 degrees F. This means that, besides meats, poultry, and fish, eggs cannot be cooked with “runny” yolks which preclude anything that would even approach the likes of a sunny-side up egg.

“That’s insane”, I said indignantly. “Do you mean to tell me that every other place in this state, every greasy spoon diner, every food truck, every soup kitchen that serves eggs has to cook their eggs to 160 degrees?”

“No, only assisted living facilities, sorry”, said the chef.

I was flabbergasted. Why were we being punished? Do we not have the same rights as every other person in our state? Does the fact that we residents, because of whatever circumstances brought us here, are singled out as the only people in our state that can never again eat an egg the way we like it. 

Efforts to get a clarification of this rule from the Department Of Health proved futile. I was referred to the D.O.H. website where, indeed, it stated what the chef had told me. Further efforts to find out how to get this rule rescinded proved equally unproductive. I even went as far as to contact our state legislators. That was weeks ago. I am still waiting for a reply.

The bottom line is not the fact that we are being deprived of eating eggs with runny yolks. The principle embodied here goes much further. It goes to some very basic rights as an individual. It also says something about an agency which in its attempts to protect us has produced just the opposite. By not allowing us to be subject to the same rules and regulations afforded every other citizen of our state, they have said to us that we (seniors) are somehow less of an individual than others. We are being singled out as a group, and not for a good reason. And, believe me, the one thing senior citizens do not want to be is singled out. Remember, we are you, just older.

Editor’s note: Yes, I know that you have most likely read other articles, essays and editorials I have written on the same subject regarding food prep here at the Center. Unfortunately, and I admit it, this topic has become an obsession with me. It is not so much that I will die if I can never eat another poached egg, It’s more like, “Who the f&^k do they think they are that they should be allowed to dictate what we can or cannot eat. 


Foto Fails

Is the patio too far?

We guess there are a couple of reasons why residents prefer to schlep the heavy wrought iron patio chairs from their preferred location (on the patio) to a spot in front of our main entrance. 

One reason, we suppose, is that there is some shade under the transom and, as we all know, like vampires, old people don’t like the sun. The other reason could be that some residents find the patio, with its wide open spaces and tables and umbrellas, too confining. For whatever reason, you can be assured that if you are looking for a chair on the patio, you will find it somewhere else.


The sign says it all

Saving a spot

While we are not sure if this maneuver is ethical or not, we sure do admire the Chutzpa. The question, of course, is can a handicapped person save a handicapped parking spot by putting his wheelchair in that spot while he is away in his car? If one were to believe the sign, which clearly has a glif of a man in a wheelchair on it, then parking your wheelchair there is exactly the right thing to do.


How Senior Living Providers Capture 2 Price Points

 by Emily Study 

“Serenade offers residents luxury suites, which are larger than the average Brandywine unit and include a host of concierge-type services in addition to a dedicated butler and a private dining room.”


Senior Living providers have found plenty of success in their respective price and product niches. But some operators are finding that even while they excel in targeting one particular price point, they can capture another price point by developing new products that are branded and marketed independently from their existing model.

Most recently, Senior Lifestyle Corp. launched a higher-end senior housing brand, The Sheridan, with a 19- to 26-property pipeline that could top $650 million in development. Senior Lifestyle already successfully manages 165 properties across the country at competitive assisted living prices that match the markets where it operates.

Though The Sheridan communities will cost $1,000 more per month than the operator’s middle-market product, they will provide residents with higher levels of staffing, more dining options and additional care services.

“As we continued to talk to our customers and their adult children, what we found was there was a growing desire for more concierge-type services,” says Brenda Bacon, president and CEO of Brandywine. “We have to adapt to the needs and desires of our customers and their families, rather than saying this is how you fit into our box of the services we offer. Very customized services are going to become more the norm than the exception.”



Is Culture Aging Out of Ageism?

by Chris Sosa

Last week, Netflix unveiled a new comedy called “Grace and Frankie,” starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The show is a quietly revolutionary dramedy about the fallout after two business partners leave their wives for each other. But the truly unique aspect of the show is that these women over age 70, and they’re portrayed with the same seriousness and personal agency usually only afforded younger stars.

This show may be starting a trend in media, but it’s following a trend in culture.

Right now, the most likely candidate for president is Hillary Clinton, who would be in her mid-70s by the completion of her first term. Critics who contend that her age is an issue have been roundly dismissed as ageists who are out-of-touch with the times.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) writes:

The dramatic increase in average life expectancy during the 20th century ranks as one of society’s greatest achievements. Although most babies born in 1900 did not live past age 50, life expectancy at birth now exceeds 83 years in Japan—the current leader—and is at least 81 years in several other countries.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/is-culture-aging-out-of-ageism.html#ixzz3a7obUn64


If you are older than 60 years of age and have not had a colonoscopy, WTF are you waiting for. Yes, I know it’s (no pun intended) a pain in the ass, but it will save your life or, at the very least, save you a life of discomfort. Take it from someone who knows this first hand. DO IT ASAP....................Resident-X

Colonoscopy a potential lifesaver

Anita Curpier

A topic often discussed among boomers is the test known as a colonoscopy, which in terms of popularity ranks right up there with a root canal. But, like a root canal, it's not nearly as bad as you think, and it's very important to your overall health.

However, unlike a root canal, there is an age-related issue involved with the colonoscopy: If you are 50 or older, you should be screened for colorectal cancer.

The test uses a colonoscope. It's a thin flexible tube that is at least 4 feet in length with a light and small camera attached so that your doctor can examine the lining of the colon. One of the main purposes of a colonoscopy is to detect polyps.

A polyp is nothing more than a small clump of cells that form on the lining of the colon. Most polyps are harmless, but some can develop into colon cancer, a very serious form of cancer that often is fatal if it is allowed to advance too far.

This brings us back to the age issue. Anyone can develop polyps, but the risk increases with age, especially beyond age 50, and that's why the test should be repeated every 10 years. Besides age, risk is increased with smoking, being overweight or having a family history of colon cancer.....



Variety Strengthens Aging Brains

By Mehmet Oz, M.D. and Michael Roizen, M.D.   

If you want to clear out the cobwebs from your playing field, here's how: Put yourself in situations where you have to deal with complex, new circumstances (the ever-changing demands of playing soccer certainly qualifies). 

That's what researchers from Johns Hopkins University discovered when they examined the brains of participants in Baltimore's Experience Corps — a program that brings retired people (65 and older) into public schools to serve as mentors to young children.

The scientists used MRIs to track what happened to the memory centers in the volunteers' brains. 

They were surprised that the brain volume of the participants stayed the same or grew (up to 1.6 percent over 24 months). That's contrary to what happens to the aging brain if it's not stimulated with changing situations and challenges; it loses from 0.4 percent to 2 percent of its volume annually.

So what’s the takeaway? Your enduring brain health is given a real boost when you challenge yourself by learning new things in new situations. 



Deciphering the neural code that links food to aging


Diet exerts a major impact on health and aging. The nervous system plays an important role in this process but, thus far, how food signals are interpreted by the nervous system has been a mystery. This is an important question because the perception of food by the nervous system impacts not just aging, but also other processes associated with health and disease, including metabolism, reproduction, and development.

'By having biologists work closely with engineers, we could bring to bear a combination of biology, automation, and computation on the issue of neural coding that's fundamental to neuroscience. It's the first time neural gene expression has been analysed with this level of detail in a multicellular animal, which was critical in calculating the accuracy of this neural gene expression code and how it was affected by different genes.' 



Culture Schlock: Age against the machine

By Malcolm Fleschner

I'm old enough to remember when getting old meant, well, getting old. You know what I'm talking about: At a certain point in life, older individuals feel an inexplicable drive to relocate to a warm-weather climate and while away their remaining years in a rocking chair complaining about the government, that today's music sounds like "garbage," and, of course, the heat.

Even the term "active senior" was usually used more as a punch line than anything else.

At one time, being "active" in your old age merely meant that you occasionally took a break from watching "Matlock" reruns to review which grandchild hadn't called recently enough and update your will accordingly.

Not anymore. These days, seniors are increasingly giving up the rocking chair in favor of rocking out. At least that's the conclusion I've drawn from what appears every day in my Facebook feed. I can't count the number of posts I've seen depicting today's energetic seniors tearing it up, whether it's a group of 80-year-olds forming a bungee-jumping club, viral videos of elderly grandparents breakdancing at wedding receptions, or news stories about senior citizens running with the bulls in Pamplona or winning gator-wrestling tournaments.

Frankly, the elder lifestyle has become so hyperinvigorated that, any day, I expect ESPN to announce the addition of Extreme Scooter Riding to the roster of events at this year's XGames. But instead of Red Bull, Beats by Dre headphones and GoPro cameras, sponsors will include Ensure, MiracleEar and GoFlo catheters.



Online scams: Senior citizens 

are especially vulnerable

In the eyes of con artists, the Internet and World Wide Web are just more tools in their bag of deceits to separate people from their money and personal information.

Because nothing is sacred to thieves, the people often most susceptible to technological chicanery have been senior citizens. Their relative inexperience with technology, combined with a perceived vulnerability make them prime targets.

Meanwhile, area residents of all ages should:

Regularly take the time to create new passwords for all online accounts.

Shred paper statements from banks or other accounts before throwing them into the trash.

Delete suspicious-looking emails. You can often — though not always — tell by misspellings or nonsensical wording in the subject lines.

Report to law enforcement officials when people call claiming to be government agencies or even private businesses asking for money or personal account information. Immediately ask for the caller’s name and number and say that you’ll call back after speaking to attorney or trusted family member. We bet they’ll hang up first.



Women, Aging and the Badges of Midlife

So much has been made about women and the manner in which some of us lash out against the demon we know to be aging. Our culture is one of anti-aging. Present ourselves to a critical and judgmental world actually looking our age? Oh hell no. We arm ourselves with an array of accoutrements from our arsenal and prepare to enter into battle. We lavishly smear thick, creamy emollients on skin ravaged by an evil scythe-wielding Father Time. We frolic about in pants too tight (displaying camel toes at an embarrassingly alarming rate), skirts so short that bending over simply is not an option and slide seductively into blouses cut so low, baring breasts unnaturally round and far too perky, that they totally bypass the titillating come hither suggestion and screech head-first into look at me, touch me, suck me territory.

All of this because our bodies are following the path set by nature: We're getting older. Aging is about change. We know this to be an inevitable downward slope, yet we frantically dig our perfectly manicured nails in and hang on tight. We may not be able to go backwards, but we'll put up a damn good fight to make time stand still....



Senior citizens and young adults are an earthquake

 apart on sexual attitudes

(The research report was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior online.)

Researchers find generational shift in beliefs about sex; biggest divide came between Boomers and Greatest Generation

Most of today’s senior citizens – generally people born before the end of World War II, with a flood of baby boomers joining their ranks – are still shocked every time they turn on TV to see how sexual attitudes have changed. Acceptance of premarital sex is at an all-time high, along with an acceptance of homosexuality, and that is just the beginning, according to new research.

"The changes are primarily due to generation - suggesting people develop their sexual attitudes while young, rather than everyone of all ages changing at the same time," said Twenge, who is also the author of "Generation Me."

The research report was published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior online.



Ex-Astronaut John Glenn feeling effects of aging

Former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn said Thursday that he’s come through a year of health difficulties. Glenn, who is the first American to orbit the Earth, appeared with his wife, Annie, at a Statehouse news conference in Columbus, Ohio. Now 93, he said he suffered a small stroke after heart-valve replacement surgery last year.

Glenn, 95, said he has about half his eyesight now as a result of some macular degeneration and has lost some of his hearing. He might have a corrective operation on his eyes soon, he said.



The Chicken Trilogy

Three Chicken Lunches in Three Days

(Oh what I do for journalism’s sake)


I rarely give anything made here a four foodie rating. For those not familiar with my system, a rating of four means that the dish is at least as good as one would get in most medium priced establishments like diners or fast food restaurants like KFC or Boston Market. Last Wednesday’s lunch of “Overstuffed” (As the menu stated) Chicken Pot Pie certainly bested both of those restaurants and then some. Not only was the filling chock full of nicely sized chicken and veggies in a creamy white sauce, but the flaky crust (bottom and top) was perfectly baked to a golden brown. The only reason that I did not give this a five foodie rating was that the filling, like most things made here, was under seasoned. I had to add salt and pepper in copious amounts to round out the otherwise decent filling. Otherwise, this pie could stand up with the best of them.


I would have liked to have been able to give Thursday’s lunch more than a two foodie rating, but because the teriyaki covered chicken breasts were so tough and served so cold that I just couldn’t do it. And that’s too bad because the tangy teriyaki sauce (possibly the only good thing about this dish) was really pretty good. Come to think of it, the fries were pretty good as well. Now if they could only have brought the whole thing together they might have come up with a decent lunch.


If this were any other meal but lunch, I would have labeled last Friday’s midday meal skimpy. However, what it lacked in substance it made up  in flavor. And, while I cannot say that this Chicken Caesar Salad was filling, it did leave me satisfied. 

The fairly tender slices of chicken coated in an almost crispy coating combined with a rather tasty Caesar dressing actually made me wish there were more. I would have liked to see a couple of extra cherry tomatoes and maybe an extra slice or two of chicken, but what was there was O.K. If you have ever ordered a salad at Micky D’s or Burger King, this was not too far from what you would get. For this reason, I gave this meal 3 foodies.


If Picasso were a chef, would his eggs look like this.

Come to think about it, Salvador Dali had an obsession with eggs.


Aging Prime-Time TV Demographic

 Forcing Advertisers to Adapt

By: Molly Soat

Prime-time TV is an aging medium. According to Nutley, N.J.-based media research firm Media Dynamics Inc., the average viewer who watches prime-time TV on NBC, ABC and CBS is 57, while the average age of the total population is 38.

Adults between the ages of 50 and 64 spend 191 hours per month watching traditional (rather than time-shifted) TV, according to Nielsen, and those over 65 watch more than 223 hours per month. Teens, by contrast, spend 84 hours per month watching TV.

Most marketers are focused on the millennial audience, and those who get tunnel vision will run the risk of alienating an older demographic that still has significant purchasing power, 

- See more at: https://www.ama.org/publications/eNewsletters/Marketing-News-Weekly/Pages/aging-prime-time-tv.aspx#sthash.8rjpzZ08.dpuf 


Senior Citizen Smuggled Booze to Pay for Prostitutes

His operation was discovered when a prostitute was found under his bed.


A 70-something Montcoman has lost his spot at an assisted living facility after a prostitute was discovered under his bed, The Intelligencer reports via the Morning Call.

That discovery led authorities to realize the man — unidentified in news reports — had been making "booze runs" for his fellow, less-mobile residents of the home, selling liquor to them at a profit. As for the profits...

"He was using his profits for prostitutes and one was found hiding under his bed," Montgomery County Chief Financial Officer Uri Z. Monson said. The incident was mentioned at a Montgomery County Commission meeting last week.

Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/news/2015/05/12/montco-senior-prostitutes-booze/#5KlDDcGXFaffY54P.99 




Contact and Comment

Five Lives

(An Essay)

As I approach the seventh decade of my time here on earth (more rapidly than I would have liked), I find myself as curator of my own retrospective. As I rummage through the dog-eared, smudged and brown-with-age parchments of non-achievement that have made up much of my life, wondering what I would like to exhibit in the museum of me, I came to realize that it is not just one life I have led, but a series of individual, but related lives, each distinct in its own, often painful, way. Amazingly, most of us have experienced the same differentiation's.

Primarily, we all go through the initial period of life’s journey the same way. As infants and toddlers. In many ways, this part life is the best part. Never again will we be so loved, protected, or doted upon as when we are growing up under our parents wing. Unfortunately, it’s mostly all down hill from here.

I will skip over the pre-teen years. We exist in this era for such a short time that trying to explain it would take longer than it is worth. Just let’s say that it is a time of the “wannabees”. It is a time when all we want is to be grown up, like our older siblings who were just so cool and seemed to have the world by the nads and could do anything they liked. Surprisingly, as much fun as being a teenager looks from the outside, it is probably the worst time in our lives. At least it was for me.

Essentially, the teen years are a mistake. They should never have been considered as a period in one’s life. In fact, if we go back to very ancient times, when humans rarely lived past the age of 35, people 18 0r 19 years of age would be considered middle age, like 40 or 50-year-olds are thought of today. You got married at 12, had a baby at 13 and worked until you died 15 years later, thus eliminating any teenage angst. Regrettably, today, we still look upon teenagers as adults and expect them to act as such. We tempt them with the same goodies that adults indulge in like cars and sex and expensive toys while at the same time expecting them to act like the kids they are. Of course their hormones are running wild, nature still thinks they only have a few more years to live not realizing that we have have extended the lifespan way beyond what it was supposed to be. We expect them to be accomplished human beings while not allowing them to learn how. No wonder teens can’t wait until their 21st birthday.

The next part of our little dissection may be the most challenging and, at the same time, the most rewarding part of our lives. For lack of a better designation, we call it “middle age”. This is one of the biggest misnomers there are. If we consider middle age at 50, does that mean that we are not considered old until we reach 100? Of course not. Truthfully, for most people, 50 is the beginning of the end. But I digress. Let’s go back to when we were 21. We have pretty much finished with our formal education. Some of us have graduated college, some of us have learned a trade. Guys are looking at girls for more than just a casual relationship. Women start thinking about starting a family. Hopefully, we are working at a job we like and are making a living wage. Society, in the form of marketing demographics, looks upon this group as gods. Wrong or right, the people who make the goods and services, then think this group controls all the money and influences all of the buying trends. TV and most other entertainment, as well as fashion, are geared towards this group (at least the younger part of this group). As we reach the latter part (50 plus) our consumer-ability drops off sharply. Sure, the 50 and sixty year-olds are still buying the “hip” clothes, but we don’t look good in them anymore.

While we may be at the prime of our lives, middle age comes with a very big price tag. If we have not made it by the time we are fifty, we will never make it. Yes, we are given a relatively long time to acquire all the amenities (at last 30 years), but if we don’t get them (or worse, get them and squander them) we are considered losers. A state worse than being poor. Think of the man who had a good job at 25. Got married to the trophy wife at 30, divorced the trophy wife at 40 and had to pay her alimony and then losing his job to a younger guy. No matter how well he played the game. No matter how high his batting average was, he lost the big game. Sorry to put it so bluntly, but he is a loser. Which brings us to the 5th life. OLD AGE.

Being old is the scariest “life” we will lead. It’s scary because, if you are reading this (or worse, writing this) you know how it will end. You might not know when, which makes it even more frightening, but you know it is inevitable. It’s like living life in a casino. Even if you are doing well, racking up the points, surrounded by glitz and glamour, you know the house always wins and that the next hand might not be that King high straight you were looking for and that the only thing left to do is to fold em, order a Martini and go quietly into the night.

So, my weathered old friends, you see, it’s not one long life you have led, it was a series of lives, all connected with you as a part of all of them and yet, separate because each life was so well defined. For better or worse, you are not the person you were 30 years ago. So what. While the seasons you have left may be truncated by time take heart in the fact that you were able to experience what you did. As for me, while I may not have played my last hand, I can see the deck growing smaller. And, while I may leave with a losing hand, I know I at least cut the cards.

Mt. Vermin

At first glance, this may look like a bucolic scene of some little old lady feeding the birds. However, it is something quite different. What this resident is doing is jeopardizing the health of every person who lives or works at our facility. Throwing bits and pieces of bread or other foods onto the driveway, not only attracts those seemingly nice little sparrows that cohabit with us here on the hill, but that “garbage” also attracts mice and rats and other vermin as well. Additionally, what makes this even worse is that, there appears to be nothing we can do about it. Much like trying to get our smokers from clandestinely sneaking a puff in unauthorized locations, there is no punishment for violating these rules. Yes, we admonish them, we try to explain to them how inconsiderate it is to the other residents here, but to no avail. I guess we will have to put up with this until we get overrun with mice or some smoker starts a fire.


Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Assisted Living

By  Sarah Stevenson

“The differences between non-profit assisted living and for-profit assisted living can be confusing for the consumer, so the best advice is to do your research when checking out long-term care options.”

When seniors and families first begin the process of searching for senior living options, it can be daunting to pinpoint the best option from among the wide array of different types of communities. Those who are particularly concerned with finding senior housing that fits into a socially conscious, ethical care model may decide to research the possible differences  between non-profit and for-profit senior care, in order to aid their decision-making. But the differences between non-profit and for-profit senior care extend beyond simply who owns the business and how they are structured – non-profit and for-profit aging services may have marked differences in overall quality of care, particularly in the case of nursing homes and long-term care.

Understanding Types of Assisted Living

Indeed, some trends are visible in the data pertaining to quality of care in different types of nursing homes, with for-profit facilities trailing non-profits in various areas like staffing ratios, cited deficiencies and hospitalization rates, as reported by the Center for Medicare Advocacy.

It can be tempting to extrapolate and assume the trends also apply to assisted living or other types of senior housing, but that is not necessarily the case. That’s why it is critically important for consumers to do their due diligence in researching specific senior housing options, looking at the data for individual communities rather than generalizing.

“There certainly is a perception that nonprofits can be a better choice,However, the data needed to show that the care is actually better is harder to come by.....


More Senior Housing News:

Real Estate or Health Care—How Do Financiers View Senior Housing?

 by Elizabeth Ecker

“From a development perspective, I can help someone put a building up in a decent place, but if that [partner] is a good operator, that is what is going to make me look really good,” said Ron Hastie, company president. “From that perspective it’s an operational deal.”

Part real estate and part operations, senior housing has always counted on both components for success. And financing providers who invest in the space say it’s important to understand that both still play important roles when operators are approaching new projects.

The business overall is based on strong fundamentals that are not subsiding, panelists said during a National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care conference this week. But with an influx of new investors taking advantage of the growing demographic demand for senior housing options, financiers say it’s ever important to remember the operations side of the business.

“Every part of the capital stack is attractive for the space,” said James Scribner, managing director for RED Capital Markets. “You can access smart capital, and there’s no better time than the present.”....




5 Distressing Skin Problems That Worry Baby Boomers

As you age, your skin will go through significant changes. Various skin problems that seniors face are a result of exposure to the sun over a lifespan. Deprived of appropriate defense from the sun, skin problems are to be expected.

Even with protection from sun exposure, the aging progression produces deviations in your skin. Even people who have the most youthful skin will still find a few problems that can be exasperating during the aging process.

The most common problem and one of the most obvious is wrinkles. Wrinkles are areas were the skin has lost elasticity and creases where it folds. The most common places to see wrinkles are around the forehead, eyes, mouth and neck area due to facial expressions.

Gravity also takes its toll on skin that has lost its elasticity. As gravity naturally pulls skin in a downward direction, the ability to bounce back into shape is lost. There are many products designed to help prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and some that can help reverse them....

Read more....http://www.tomfit247.com/2014/08/skin-problems-baby-boomers.html


Aw shucks!

Say yes to fruits, veggies and no to booze to protect aging brain

Recent study finds that people whose diets were most healthful were least likely to experience cognitive decline over the five-plus years they were followed.

By Melissa Healy

It’s official, no matter where you live: Healthful eating is among the best ways to protect your aging brain against slippage. Conversely, a diet that skimps on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish and includes lots of fried foods, red meat and alcohol is highly likely to pave a road to cognitive ruin.

That’s especially true if you already have some risks for developing cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, worrisome cholesterol levels or diabetes.

So says a new study that for slightly more than five years tracked the diets and mental states of 27,860 people, age 55 and older, in 40 middle- and high-income countries.

The authors of the latest research, published Wednesday in the journal Neurology, suggest the quality of one’s diet might affect cognitive aging in a number of ways: Poor nutrition is likely to rob body and brain of vitamins and minerals that promote the generation of healthy new cells and help guard against inflammation, help break down fats and protect cells from stress....


But then, there is the French Paradox.....

The French Paradox refers to the low rate of coronary heart disease (CHD) in France despite the diet being rich in saturated fat.

2002 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), showed that although the intake of saturated fat in France was higher than in the United States (US), 108 grams (g) compared to 72g per day, France had a 30–40% lower risk of CHD. Over the years, studies suggest that one of the reasons the French have a lower rate of CHD, despite higher saturated fat intakes, may be related to their regular consumption of red wine.




Caffeine Boosts Memory and Has Positive Impact on Aging of The Brain!

For all you java lovers out there, there’s no need to put down your beloved cuppa just yet! Despite all the negative information we often hear about coffee, the different perks of java (besides the scent, obviously) just keeping on popping up daily. Coffee has been one of the most well-loved beverages for many people for a long time now and with good reason. It’s not only delicious, but also rich in B vitamins, chromium to stabilize your blood sugar, and offers a good source of magnesium and potassium to relax the nervous system and relieve tension. 

How caffeine can boost your memory and positively impact aging of the brain

Caffeine seems to work its magic due to the way it blocks a molecule in the brain known as adenosine. Adenosine has been found to block norepinephrine in the brain, which is a hormone that has been shown to enhance memory function; therefore the intake of caffeine allows norepinephrine to move in the brain easier, enhancing memory and overall brain function. (2)

How much caffeine does it take?

Research from John Hopkins University in Baltimore studied 160 people who all took either a 100-300 milligram supplement of caffeine, or a placebo. The subjects were 18-30 years of age and were asked to look at photos of indoor and outside objects. The results of the study showed that those taking at least 200 milligrams of caffeine were able to remember more than those taking a placebo or a lower dose of 100 milligrams of caffeine supplements. Those who took up to 300 milligrams didn’t remember more than those taking 200 milligrams, suggesting that more caffeine isn’t always the better option. (2)



3 Most Important Things You Probably Should Know About Social Security

By Dan Dzombak

Social Security is one of the most widely used federal programs, providing 64 million Americans -- about one out of five -- with a basic income. You will be claiming your own share one day, so make sure you're prepared when the time comes. Read on for the three most important facts you should know about Social Security.

1. Social Security benefits are a major source of income for most senior citizens

For one, Social Security benefits are crucial as they are adjusted for inflation every year. This means that the purchasing power of your Social Security benefits will stay the same, while your savings will likely lose purchasing power each year.

One of the greatest challenges of retirement is the loss of earned income. You have to live on your savings, your investments, and your Social Security benefits for the rest of your life, which can be a long time. The average 62-year-old male is expected to live another 20 years, while the average 62-year-old female will live another 22 years. That's nearly half most peoples' working lives. For 36% of senior citizens, Social Security benefits provide 90% or more of their income, and the program pulls an estimated 14 million elderly Americans out of poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

You may think you won't fall into that 36%, but Social Security is the main source of income for most elderly Americans. For 65% of senior citizens, Social Security provides over 50% of their income.



Blythe Danner reveals how she stays 

vibrant through loss, aging


“It's a lot better than it's been. When I started out, if you were older than 35, that was it. But it's changed with Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, much richer roles. I see it as much more positive than it used to be.

In case you haven't been paying attention, Blythe Danner is a lot more than just Gwyneth Paltrow's mom. The 71-year-old actress, who stars as a widow who finds love unexpectedly coming back into her life in the new film "I'll See You In My Dreams," is an Emmy ("Huff") and Tony ("Butterflies Are Free") Award winner. She has enlivened shows like "Will and Grace" and appeared in a slew of movies, including "The Great Santini," "The Prince of Tides" and "Meet the Parents" and its sequels. Danner has also been a regular performer at the Williamstown Summer Theater Festival, and is on its board of directors. Lewis Beale spoke to the Philadelphia native during a phone interview.



Life Is Not a Premortality Condition,

 and Death Is Not Treatment Failure

BY Allen Frances

Western medical science has changed life into a premortality condition and death into a failure of treatment.

We are all more or less afraid of illness and death. Mankind always has been. Shakespeare describes it beautifully in Hamlet: "The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn, no travelers return".

Even though our western world is the safest place ever to live and we are living longer than ever before, people have paradoxically never been more afraid of death and disease.

It has become a truism that the earlier the medical intervention, the better. We see the same message everywhere: in newspapers, on the web, from patients' organisations, from specialists, and health authorities: 'Do not hesitate, see the doctor for this and that, for every pain, every little swelling, every little rash. Go see your doctor. Whatever you have, however slight and fleeting, might be dangerous and even cancer. Get every possible test. Better safe than sorry.

The inevitable changes wrought by aging are as commonplace inside our body as on our skin. Most are just incidental and have no clinical meaning. Best not to notice.

But the wondrous technical developments in medicine allow us to find tiny tumors that are impossible to distinguish from quite normal variations in the aging human body.....



 Nearly half of America's aging parents 

have no legal will

Research by companies like Rocketlawyer.com indicate that nearly half of Americans with children don't have a drafted will, and 41 percent of those are baby boomers.

This scenario often leaves families and loved ones in very difficult circumstance in the event of a death.

Local attorney Casey Schnack of Schnack Law Offices in Quincy points out that many states, such as Illinois, have regulations like the probate act that can allow the state to dictate where your assets end up if you die without leaving a will behind.

While many Americans are dying without a will to distribute belongings and assets, a growing number of adults are spending their final years of life with little to no money or assets at all.

A recent report conducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute finds some worrisome numbers for Americans post-retirement, specifically those 85 and older. 

The research shows one out of five had no assets other than a single house....



I often wonder who comes up with some of the side dishes we get around here. Some of them are so outrageous as to be comical. Take last Monday’s dinner as an example. Of all the things that would accompany a plate of sausage and peppers with pasta, why did the chef choose steamed cauliflower as a side dish. As it is, cauliflower is rarely welcome. I don’t know any human being, young or old, that likes this anemic relative of broccoli. Are there Cauliflower festivals anywhere?. If there are it has to be one of the dullest conventions anywhere. I can picture it now. A bunch of cauliflower farmers standing around asking other cauliflower farmers if they have heard of anything new in the world of cauliflower. After fifteen minutes of staring at their shoes, they all agree to try to come up with a way to make cauliflower palatable. They shake hands and agree to meet the same time next year. Please, unless you are going to deep-fry it (frying makes everything taste good) never serve cauliflower again, with anything.


The only thing wrong with Wednesday’s dinner was the ratio of carbs (in this case, mashed potatoes) to meat. You would not have to take out a measuring device to confirm that the pile of potatoes was larger than the thin slice of meatloaf. Considering that the meatloaf also contained some form of carbs (bread), this meal was just one big carbohydrate festival. Normally, this is an easy fix. All the kitchen has to do is to increase the amount of meat. Unfortunately, in the institutional food game, it’s the other way around. The ratio will be improved by just reducing the portion size, meat included. And you wonder why your pants don’t fit.

Editor’s note: I gave this meal three “Foodies”. The meatloaf was actually pretty decent.


Cheap, clueless or just stupid?

There were two things wrong with the eggs last Friday morning. The first thing (that cannot be helped) was that the fried eggs were cooked beyond recognition. The second thing just confounds the heck out of me.

First let me tell you that, unlike any other food establishment in America, the regular serving of eggs here is one (1). You have to ask for two. Last Friday, because I am a normal human being who has always eaten more than one for breakfast as is my god-given right as an American, I ordered two eggs. The menu said, “Fried egg(s) with cheese.” I took that to mean that for every egg, there would be a slice of cheese melted on it. However, stupidity or ineptitude or lack of common sense infested the kitchen staff who understood the menu to read, “Only one slice of cheese per order no matter how many eggs the diner wants”. Naturally. I sent it back and got my other slice. Jeeeze!



Aging prisoners:

 An American crisis

By Matthew T. Mangino

America’s prisons are facing a growing crisis. The number of elderly and infirm inmates are on the rise, as are related prison healthcare cost.

According to the Washington Post, prisoners age 50 and older represent the fastest-growing population in federal correctional facilities. The number of AARP eligible inmates has swelled by 25 percent since 2009.

The Bureau of Prisons saw healthcare expenses increase by 55 percent from 2006 to 2013, when it spent more than $1 billion, according to the Justice Department’s inspector general. The inspector general is conducting a review of the impact of the aging inmate population on prison activities, housing and costs.

There are about 2.3 million adults in state and federal prisons. According to the National Institute of Corrections, about 246,000 are 50 or older. The U.S. currently spends more than $16 billion annually caring for these aging inmates, and their numbers are projected to grow dramatically in the next 15 years.....



The real story behind the demise of 

America's once-mighty streetcars

by Joseph Stromberg 

Back in the 1920s, most American city-dwellers took public transportation to work every day.

There were 17,000 miles of streetcar lines across the country, running through virtually every major American city. That included cities we don't think of as hubs for mass transit today: Atlanta, Raleigh, and Los Angeles.

Nowadays, by contrast, just 5 percent or so of workers commute via public transit, and they're disproportionately clustered in a handful of dense cities like New York, Boston, and Chicago. Just a handful of cities still have extensive streetcar systems — and several others are now spending millions trying to build new, smaller ones.

So whatever happened to all those streetcars?


Editor’s note: One of my fondest memories as a kid growing up in Brooklyn was taking the streetcar (or “trolley” as we called it) on Church and Flatbush Avenues. I loved the sound and the smell of those old cars. Now, one of my favorite day trips from NYC, is a visit to the Trolley Museum in East Heaven Ct. ....http://shorelinetrolley.org/



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The D.O.H. Is watching out for us, but...

Who’s watching the D.O.H.?

Some of you may remember this. In 1972 a then young reporter for New York’s channel 7 by the name of Geraldo Rivera presented a series of reports that won him a Peabody award. The documentary exposed the gruesome conditions that existed at the Willowbrook State School for mentally disturbed children. The watchdog agency responsible for those conditions was the New York State Department of Health (formerly The N.Y. State Dept. Of Social Services). The uproar that resulted from that report sent shock waves through a system that was supposed to be looking out for the welfare of those kids. As a result, the powers that be, started to look at what else the D.O.H. was responsible for and how that department handled other institutions under their control. Eventually, an entire revamping of the way various health related facilities were being overseen by the D.O.H. went into effect. Thankfully, we now have one of the strictest and most stringent State health regulatory agencies in the country. But being tough does not necessarily make it good. In fact, in its effort to be the protector, instead, it has become the antagonist. And there is very little we can do about it. Many of you already know the problems I have with the D.O.H. One of those has to do with how what I, as a resident of an assisted living facility (Regulated by the D.O.H.) am allowed to eat. You see, in an effort to protect us from the ravages of disease and malnutrition, the D.O.H. has initiated such a ridiculous set of rules as to make the dining experience in these places grim at best. Take, for example, what I call the “160 rule”. Simply stated, it says that all food cooked in the kitchens of an assisted living facility MUST be cooked at a temperature no lower than 160 degrees, essentially rendering most foods less than edible. This means that we (residents) are not permitted to be served soft boiled, poached or sunny-side up eggs, ever. Our burgers, fish, poultry and other meats have to have the life cooked out of them as well. All this because the D.O.H’s over reaction to an incident that happened over twenty years ago when, because of an egg distributor’s carelessness, some tainted eggs caused an outbreak of salmonella.

 “So what’s wrong with that”, you say. “They are just looking out for your well-being.” 

Yes, but this rule applies ONLY to A.L.F’s. Every two-bit diner, food truck, chuck wagon or dirty water hot dog stand, doesn’t have to adhere to this rule. Only ALF’s. Another way the D.O.H. Showed its lack of knowledge when it comes to stopping the spread of contamination was revealed a couple of weeks ago when this facility was hit (for the fourth time this year) with a facility-wide stomach virus. The D.O.H.’s only solution was to quarantine everybody, keeping us out of the dining room and forcing us to eat cold, poorly prepared food served in Styrofoam containers, completely disregarding any hardships that this may have on the residents who depend on the dining room for socializing as well as food. This is bad enough, but here is what really sticks in my craw. There is nobody to contact at the D.O.H. if we have a grievance. Apparently, the D.O.H. answers to nobody. Just try to find someone to speak to at the D.O.H. You can’t. There is no list of email addresses for any of their departments. No central complaint number or email address. There is an information number, but they take only complaints from the public regarding a particular business or facility, not if you have a complaint against the D.O.H. The D.O.H. Is one of the most important (and most complicated to navigate) as well as the least transparent agencies in the state. Trying to get something changed at this agency is tantamount to changing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Nobody could tell me who I could go to get the “160-degree” rule changed or even re-assessed until I spoke to a D.O.H. agent who happened to be doing an inspection of our facility last week. He told me that the only way to get  rule changes at the D.O.H. was through the state legislature.** In its attempt to be the all-seeing, all-encompassing, great protecting overlord of everything health-related in our state, the D.O.H. has turned out to be what, in my opinion, is a benevolent despot doling out their little tomes of wisdom in an attempt to keep us safe and healthy without realizing that they are infringing on our rights. After all, they don’t call this “The Empire State” for nothing you know.

** I have started the process by contacting our state assembly person. We will see how this pans out.


See more about the D.O.H. In this week’s “Around the Center now” section below

In a related article....

This article deals with a group of very elderly residents of a senior living facility in Brooklyn. The residents of this building have been fighting a battle over eviction proceedings brought on them by an unscrupulous landlord who, in an attempt to get the residents to move, has cut services to them to the bone. Unfortunately, it appears that our illustrious D.O.H. May have unwittingly rubber-stamped approval for such action by the landlord. You can read the entire disgusting, story by clicking on the link below...




A Busy Week.

A Frustrating Week.

I don’t believe I have had a busier, more fruitful week and, at the same time, a most frustrating week, as I had here last week. We had two lengthy meetings, ending with more questions than answers. Being a member of the executive board of our Resident’s Council, I have the privilege of being able to sit in on discussions with our new administrator and present the concerns of our residents for consideration and possible resolution. Such a meeting took place last Wednesday when we discussed topics ranging from microwave ovens to clandestine smoking. Unfortunately, even though, our new admin. listened intently and assured us that the answers to our questions would be forthcoming, I got the feeling that not much was accomplished. Perhaps going in I knew that our concerns would most likely be met with negativity. Not so much because our new administrator was unwilling to listen or even commiserate with us, but because we were stymied at every turn by the rules, set in stone, by the Department of Health. It was not until the next day when we met, in person, with an agent from the D.O.H., that my fears were bolstered by even more antagonism. Lamentably, we were once again read the rules and regulations (Sec. 18, part 487 and 494, yadda yadda yadda), of the codes regulating assisted living facilities, and finding out that we signed up for the wrong place. Of course, at the time, I did not know the difference between an enhance ALP and a regular ALP. It appears that the people living in EALP’s, get all the goodies. Yes, they pay for it, but they do get them. This irks me even more because, once again, we poor schnooks get the short end of the deal. Evidently, only rich people get to live like human beings while the rest of us have to live in conditions not much better than an army barracks. There were, however, a number of things I did come away with this past week.

1. Residents have only a limited say over how they are recognized and treated. 

2. As unfair as it seems, no matter what our physical or mental or cognitive abilities may be, we will always be perceived of as disabled, feeble-minded old people who cannot be trusted with even the simplest of appliances. 

3. There is no way in hell that anything will ever change unless... ...

4. Somehow, we can get The N.Y. State Legislature to change the law. Fat chance of that. 

The only positive thing I can say about last week is that, as a board member, I earned my “pay”. I don’t think that I have seen a more dedicated group of people more willing to go the extra mile for their fellow residents. Unfortunately, they best thing we came away with is, “We tried”....................................Resident-X


Assisted living center uses scent machines 

to boost residents moods, appetites

By Kylie Conway

“We try to create an environment that’s like home,”

A trip to Vegas turned into a revolutionary idea for a local assisted living center.

Austin Steele says he kept noticing how good some of the hotels smelled so he decided to bring those scents to Indiana.smelled so he decided to bring those scents to Indiana.

Now, five months after he installed the scent machines at Spring Mill Meadows on Indianapolis’ north side, the executive director says the assisted living center has seen all kinds of improvements from residents’ moods to even their appetites.

Four strategically placed scent machines spread a mild perfume through the hallways. Residents and visitors are greeted with white tea and fig. Fresh chocolate chip cookies can be smelled seeping from the dining halls.

“We’re trying to create that environment for our residents here. That they’re hungry. That they want to eat because part of that aging process that we’re trying to battle is that loss of appetite,” said Steele.



The Surprising New Realities of

 Today’s Older Americans


Over time, as life expectancy increases and people become healthier, older people can do things which were previously the domain of those younger. Indeed, no one would be surprised if, within the next decade, both the above records were broken.younger. Indeed, no one would be surprised if, within the next decade, both the above records were broken.

Well, perhaps not exactly no one.

People who analyze population aging using conventional measures assume that none of the attributes that are important for understanding aging change over time or differ in localities. But a wide variety of attributes can be used to study aging. An important one for 65-year-olds, for example, is their projected remaining life expectancy. Another one is how well those 65-year-olds can remember things.


More on this topic...

These Amazing People Over 50 

Bust Every Aging Stereotype You Can Think Of

 By Damon Scheleur and Shelley Emling

Sophia Loren once said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” To prove that age is just a number, here are some amazing people over 50 having crazy fun and accomplishing incredible feats.

They are pilots, pole dancers, runners, tango enthusiasts and world champions. One of them, Jack Nicklaus, scored a hole-in-one at the 2015 Masters Tournament at age 75. Mark Jordan, 54, set a record this year for the most pull-ups in a 24-hour period. The winning number? 4,321. Phyllis Sues, 92, still does a headstand every day. "I intend to be, and probably will be, standing on my head, doing pushups and leg splits, as long as the sun comes up! That's my plan," she said.

So check out some of the incredible images below -- and be inspired.



At 79 and counting, Social Security faces some

 Challenges of aging

By Erica Palmer

On the countdown to its 80th anniversary, Social Security is feeling its age — with grave concerns about precarious finances, political squabbling and skepticism among young Americans about ever seeing a return on the 6.2 percent tax deducted from their paychecks.

But acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin is optimistic the program providing benefits to some 60 million people has a long, full life ahead of it.

"Social Security is the basic program that provides financial security for the American public," she said in an interview Thursday in Salt Lake City. "I don't see it going away. Now will there be changes, of course, because there are demographic changes and other kinds of changes. But I don't ever see it going away. It's the underpinning of financial security in the country."

That's not to say there aren't serious challenges, she acknowledged during a Utah stop that included visiting the Cooperative Disability Unit and the Salt Lake City Social Security field office.

Insolvency » According to the 2014 annual report by the Social Security and Medicaid board of trustees, the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance program trust-fund reserves will be depleted by 2037 and the Disability Insurance reserves by next year. "Neither Medicare nor Social Security can sustain projected long-run program costs in full under currently scheduled financing, and legislative changes are necessary to avoid disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers," states the report summary.financing, and legislative changes are necessary to avoid disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers," states the report summary.


More Social Security News...

Social Security Announces Vision 2025, a Long-Range Service Delivery Vision

Ensures a Commitment to Local Field Office Presence Nationwide

Embarking on its 80th Anniversary of being a key piece of the Nation’s fabric, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today officially released Vision 2025. The vision will serve as a “North Star” to guide Social Security and show how the agency will accomplish and deliver three key priorities: superior customer experience, exceptional employees, and an innovative organization over the next decade and beyond.

“We must be prepared to adapt as technology and society changes at an unprecedented rate,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said.  “Vision 2025 is our way of making sure we keep up with these changes, and how we position ourselves to best serve the public in the future.”

When employees, customers, and partners are given the right tools to help them work better together, wonderful things happen.  In shaping Vision 2025, Social Security reached out to as many individuals and organizations as possible for input.  The agency engaged in active listening and communicating with internal and external stakeholders.  Internally, the agency engaged employees, labor unions, and management associations.  The agency encouraged and received feedback and ideas from the public through an online survey accessed on the agency’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov.  The agency also worked with the National Academy of Public Administration, members of Congress, advocacy groups, and the Social Security Advisory Board.  The input Social Security received resulted in “emerging themes” that led to the development of the three key priorities.

Vision 2025 reflects Social Security’s full commitment—now and in the future—to offering customers choices in how they do business with us. This commitment includes sustaining a field office structure that provides face-to-face service and is responsive to members of the public who need or prefer face-to-face service. 

“Vision 2025 represents the agency’s commitment to continuous long-term planning.  It will guide our more than 65,000 employees who continue to provide exemplary service to our customers,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said.  “We are proud of our longstanding commitment to customer service and continual efforts to improve efficiency.  We are also excited about our vision for serving the public in the next 10 to 15 years.”

For more information, you can access the Social Security Vision 2025 interactive website here: 



4 Tips for Managing an Aging Parent’s Finances

Source: Thinkstock

For aging seniors, managing finances only becomes a greater burden with each year. The mental and emotional toll of sifting through documents, paying bills, managing investments, and keeping track of spending can cause undue stress and even impact seniors’ physical health. Elderly Americans are also a frequent target of financial abuse and fraud. In many families, the solution is for a child to take over the finances of his or her aging parent.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), approximately 22 million people age 60 or older have named someone as a power of attorney to make financial decisions on their behalf. Millions more have court-appointed guardians, trustees, or other fiduciaries. Seniors can also have government fiduciaries, such as Social Security representative payees or VA fiduciaries. 

The CFPB provides a useful resource to help agents under power of attorney manage money for a loved one. According to the CFPB’s guide, fiduciaries have four basic duties.

1. Act in the person’s best interest

The most important thing to remember is to always act on behalf of the person whose financial affairs you’re handling. As the CFPB puts it, “It’s not your money.” Carefully read the power of attorney document to make sure you only do what it allows, and make an effort to involve your loved one in decisions as much as possible. If your loved one has trouble expressing wishes, do your best to do what he or she would have wanted based on past behavior or statements.

more: http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/budgeting/4-tips-for-managing-an-aging-parents-finances.html/?a=viewall#ixzz3YngDByrE 


With Holocaust survivors aging, keeping memories alive falls to their children, grandchildren


The great majority of Jewish children who arrived at the Auschwitz death camp were killed. But about 700 survived and were liberated.

Now senior rabbi at Charlotte’s Temple Beth El, Schindler, 48, also traces her passion for social justice to another family member targeted by the Nazis: Her grandfather, Eliezer Schindler, a Yiddish poet, activist and newspaper writer in Germany who spoke out against Hitler in the early 1930s and managed to flee the country before the Nazis came to his home to arrest him.

Schindler is among 88 adult children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who contributed essays for a new book called “God, Faith & Identity from the Ashes” (Jewish Lights Publishing).

“For us – the children and grandchildren of survivors – the remembrance of the Holocaust is simultaneously a broad responsibility to the millions who were murdered, but also a very individual obligation and commitment to our own family. We need to ensure as best we can that not only their death, but also their having lived, not be forgotten.”

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/religion/article18142778.html#storylink=cpy


LETTER: Christie’s reform plan another bow to the rich

Gov. Chris Christie’s so-called reform of Social Security and Medicare is less a rescue of the systems than a strong message to his well-heeled supporters that he will sacrifice the health of retired people and senior citizens throughout the country before he asks any of his supporters to open their own wallets.

His grand plan is to destroy the benefits of the people who need it the most — elderly people of retirement age. His attempt at “balancing” the pain by denying Social Security benefits to people earning over $200,000 per year is laughable; of course they don’t need it. And that’s exactly why a more rational — and fair — way to eliminate the Social Security and Medicare crises once and for all is to simply eliminate the income cap on Social Security and Medicare payroll deductions....



Depression and diabetes combined may create an even higher risk of cognitive decline

Diabetes and depression have each been identified as independent hazards to healthy brain aging - and depression is also known to raise the likelihood of diabetes. But what is the risk of poor cognitive fitness later in life for those people who have both diabetes and depression?

“We found that depression and diabetes mellitus were both associated with a greater risk for all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia.

"These associations appeared to be stronger among those individuals with depression alone compared with those with diabetes alone."

"The interaction between diabetes mellitus and depression tended to be particularly strong for individuals younger than 65 years.

Why is depression linked to dementia?

Why depression is linked to diabetes may be an easier question to answer and offers clues to the more difficult question of why depression is linked to dementia. ....



Take good care of the aging digestive system

By Dr. Michael Camardi

Dear Dr. Camardi,

You are the only doctor I ever had who talked about food. You told me about my Florida grapefruit juice and my blood pressure medication, and since you told me to try lactose-free milk, I don’t suffer with gas. But what turned out to make a really big difference was what you said about the water I wasn’t drinking. Could you go over it again, because I know other people would find it very helpful.

— Roanoke

Easily one-third of the complaints I see have in some way to do with the aging digestive system. As we age, our gastrointestinal system becomes less efficient on multiple levels. Our challenge is to recognize these changes and adapt to them.

It begins from the top, as many do not understand the key contribution our mouths make to successful digestion. Poor oral care leads to tooth loss and gum disease, which lead to inefficient chewing. It can also prevent foods from adequately mixing with the digestive enzymes in saliva that help the body to absorb nutrients. Keeping teeth healthy for as long as possible is critical to well being......



Will science let you live forever? 

The genetics of immortality say yes!


Believe it or not, immortality has been observed in nature on countless occasions. A rare genetic condition has left a handful of people around the world free from the ill effects of aging. On top of that, many organisms are protected

by similar mutated genetics. For example, the lobster never stops aging–but it still eventually dies due to disease or predation.

How do we confer the genetics of immortality to humans?

According to statements made by futurist Michio Kaku four years ago, the doubling of computer power every 18 months would lead to the sequencing of human genomes for about $1000 within ten years. Of course, he was off by quite a bit–because we can pretty much already do that.


Related story...

Population Clock: People Are Growing Old At Slower Pace Than Expected

By Susan Scutti

If you measure age simply as time already lived, things are pretty darn simple for population statisticians. Yet, if age is adjusted to take into account the time left to live, well, the status quo flies out the window and things begin to get interesting. Faster increases in life expectancy do not produce faster population aging, say researchers who developed new measures of aging and applied them to projections of residential lifespans in Europe.

“If you don't consider people old just because they reached age 65 but instead take into account how long they have left to live,” Sergei Scherbov, a researcher at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, stated in a press release, “then the faster the increase in life expectancy, the less aging is actually going on.”

Today, most everyone over the age of 50 is arguing (rather loudly) that traditional measures of age no longer work. Age is not a number and what once was considered middle-aged is still young. (You heard me!) And though people in their 20’s might disagree — at least they do for now — it is pretty clear to everyone, no matter where they find themselves along the time-on-earth continuum, that people vary a lot in terms of health and ability at every age. Exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, protecting your skin against sun damage, remaining present, as the yogis say, in your life, you can look and feel awfully good well into and beyond middle-age.

So how do we measure our precious lives? ...



'Grace and Frankie' Offers Fresh Look at Aging, Says Stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

The comedy centers on two women in their 70s, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin), brought together after their husbands suddenly announce that they're leaving them for each other and that they plan to tie the knot.

"There are more older women in the world. Its the fastest growing demographic in the globe and so its good to tell a more realistic and upbeat story about older women," said Fonda, who also serves as an executive producer on the Netflix original. "The whole question of same-sex marriage is in the news so its great we're tackling that as well."

The series not only handles the more predictable challenges of being newly single like bad dates and family drama with humor and, yes, grace. It also addresses aging specific concerns like the death of a close friend and breaking a hip, both of which are tackled head-on. "It doesn’t just make it funny. It makes it real," said Fonda. "Its not the stereotyped view of what it is to be an older woman which is why I like doing it."...



Alzheimer’s trial in Iowa stirs talk of senior sexuality

By Stacey Burling

“Our need for touch is universal, from birth to death,”

Experts from the Widener University-based Sexuality and Aging Consortium say a groundbreaking Iowa court case illustrates why consumers and long-term care facilities should do more thinking about sex — before they get into trouble.

Whether their parents still want sex probably isn’t at the top of the minds of most people choosing a nursing home for their loved ones.

But experts from the Widener University-based Sexuality and Aging Consortium say a groundbreaking Iowa court case illustrates why consumers and long-term-care facilities should do more thinking about sex — before they get into trouble.

In the Iowa case, Henry Rayhons, 78, a former member of the Iowa House of Representatives, is charged with sexual abuse for having sex with his wife of seven years in her nursing home. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. A doctor at the Garner, Iowa, facility where Donna Rayhons lived, and her two daughters from a previous marriage, concluded she was too impaired to consent to sex.

The case raises complex questions about what constitutes consent for a person with dementia and how nursing homes should prepare for the inevitable: People of all ages want and need sexual contact....



Free iPads to seniors in Japan

 great, but why not here?

IBM, Apple, Japan Post tackle aging

By Edward C. Baig

IBM, Apple and Japan's largest employer Japan Post are joining forces to deliver iPads and software on those tablets to help improve senior's lives in Japan. Under a pilot program kicking off in the second half of this year, the companies plan to deliver up to 5 million iPads to seniors there by 2020.

The global elderly population will increase from 11.7% in 2013 to more than 21% by 2050. In the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65 every day.

The custom built apps targeted at the older population under the partnership will help folks remember to take medication, manage doctor's visits, handle household maintenance chores, monitor diet and exercise and stay in touch with loved ones who live miles away, often via Apple's FaceTime video calls. 


Double ribs.....Please

The above photo represents a “double” portion

One of the infrequent “treats” we get here, and one that is a favorite of many of our residents, is the occasional BBQ rib dinner. While these pork parts are not what one would call “prime” they usually are of a decent quality. Unfortunately, as of late, the quality, as well as size of the portions for this offering has been abysmal.

We diners last Sunday were surprised to find that BBQ ribs had made its way to the menu for the second week in a row. There was much speculation about the reason for this back to back duplication. Perhaps it was because the quality of the previous week’s ribs was so poor that Chef decided to try his hand at it again. The ribs foisted upon us at that time were of a decent size but were mostly fatty and grizzled. However, when this most recent rib dinner came to our table we could easily see that, not only had the meat's quality gone down hill, but so had the size of the ribs as well. 

Knowing who and what we are dealing with, most diners know to order a “double” portion of ribs instead of the regular serving size. Ordering the standard portion would put only three ribs on your plate. Hardly a decent size serving for an adult. Doubling the order should, by all accounts, mean that at least six ribs would be brought out, making the meal a decent, adult serving of ribs. Unfortunately, what “double” meant to the geniuses in the kitchen last Sunday was not six ribs , but four ribs. This means, using simple math, that the regular portion would have been only two ribs each per diner. TWO RIBS EACH. W.T.F. What cook in his right mind would consider two ribs a decent size serving for a group of adult diners. And, to make things worse, the ribs were small, burned and devoid of almost any trace of BBQ sauce. Which makes this diner ask, why even bother?


Maybe it’s just me

Hot open Roast Beef

I am usually in accord with my fellow residents when it comes to the food served here at the Asylum. When the majority of the diners tell me that what they had for dinner was over or under cooked, or too salty or too bland or too tough or too stringy, I most likely would agree with them. After all, if something is not good, it’s not good for all. However, last Friday’s lunch of roast beef over rye bread with gravy gave me reason to question my ability to judge what is good and what is not. Contrary to what my own table mates said, I thought that roast beef was actually quite acceptable. Notice that I did not say it was great or even just OK. But it really was not that bad. Complaining that the meat was dry and tough, many diners pushed it away. I, on the other hand, devoured it with gusto (and a little salt). People around me could not believe that I actually finished the entire meal. Was I eating the same food? It certainly looked the same. So what’s going on here. Could there be something else afoot. Could it be that, unlike some of the people in that dining room, I have teeth. Hmm, I wonder. 

 According to a recent report, senior citizens are getting wrecked at  Orlando theme parks

Posted By Colin Wolf 

Long lines, excruciating heat and mobs upon mobs of happy children can tear down even the most robust individuals, and so, it should come as no surprise that according to a recent quarterly injury report to the state of Florida, a large portion of theme park injuries are happening to our nation's elderly.  

Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey took down three victims so far this year. As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, "a 69-year-old man described feeling chest discomfort, a 51-year-old man with a pre-existing condition had difficulty moving his extremities and a 76-year-old woman experienced 'altered mental status."

Disney's Magic Kingdom claimed a 64-year-old man's ankle after he stepped out of a car at the Indy Speedway,...





Contact and Comments


At the ALF it's 

Separate and divide For a better life

This week, the members of the executive board of the Resident’s Council will have a one on one meeting with our new administrator, at which we will present some of our resident’s major concerns. While it is presumed that not much will be accomplished at this meeting, it will give us a chance to, at least, make our wishes known and present ourselves in a manner that shows that we are not just a group of senile old biddies whose unwarranted demands should be dismissed as just so much wishful thinking.

The one change, or should I say “adjustment”, that is needed here most is what is at the root of many of this facilities ills. The Center must have a method of distinguishing between the two or three different classifications of residents who live here under the same roof. In my opinion, residents should be divided into three categories. And, while these categories are in no way “official” or scientific, they are a realistic way of making a point. 

1. The “Can do it’s”.

These are residents who are of a relatively sound mind and body. They have no severely debilitating conditions or illnesses or cognitive disabilities. These residents should be permitted the use of basic life assisting appliances in their rooms. This would include such items as microwave ovens, coffee makers, and hair dryers etc. Let me make this perfectly clear. I do not condone the use of any open flame appliance or actual cooking be allowed by anyone.

2. The “Maybe’s”.

These residents are borderline. While they may be able to perform some tasks such as turning on a microwave oven, they may have trouble with pouring hot beverages. These folks should be evaluated to determine the limits of their abilities and may be limited to the kinds of appliances they can use.

3. The “Absolutely never ever."

Finally, we have residents whose mental and or physical conditions or both, make them incapable of using any of the aforementioned appliances correctly or safely. These people should receive special care and be separated from the mainstream population. This goes for the dining room as well.

In brief, “All of us should not be penalized by the disabilities of a few”. Residents can and should be evaluated on their individual abilities and treated accordingly. The facility has to decide what kind of residence it wants to be. If they are going to take in cognitively impaired people (And I have no problem with that) they must also be able to properly care for them irrelevant of the rest of the population. And, at the same time, be allowed to cater to the needs of the remainder of the population who would just like the dignity and respect that is afforded to every other resident of the State of New York.



One of our facilities least used spaces is the lounge area located in the Franklin Center Annex. Although this lovely, sunny and quiet room is attached to the main facility, it is rarely used by residents who do not live in the Franklin building. While some think that it is too far a walk, others don’t even know it’s there. Besides the space’s obvious attributes, the area boasts an air hockey table and dart board as well a a semi-complete kitchen.facilities least used spaces is the lounge area located in the Franklin Center Annex. Although this lovely, sunny and quiet room is attached to the main facility, it is rarely used by residents who do not live in the Franklin building. While some think that it is too far a walk, others don’t even know it’s there. Besides the space’s obvious attributes, the area boasts an air hockey table and dart board as well as a semi-complete kitchen.


6 Things You Must Know About Aging in Place

Planning to stay put in retirement? Get your home ready now.

By Pat Mertz Esswein

1. It pays to retrofit.

Basic design and structural modifications to a one-story home cost an average of $9,000 to $12,000, according to The MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0. Contrast that expense to the cost of assisted living, which averaged $3,500 per month in 2014, according to Genworth Financial, or $42,000 a year.

2. Think small.

Start with replacement hardware, such as lever-handled doorknobs and sturdy handrails along stairs. Install grab bars, single-handled faucets and "comfort height" toilets in the bathrooms. Upgrade your kitchen by adding rollout shelves and better undercabinet lighting. (For a comprehensive to-do list, see the "Aging-in-Place Remodeling Checklist" at www.nahb.org.)

3. Make it accessible.

Other modifications will cost more, and you may want to consult an expert. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) -- who have completed a program developed by the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP -- can create a prioritized to-do list suited to your budget and resources (to search by zip code, visit the NAHB Web site at www.nahb.org and search for "CAPS Directory"). If, for example, your home has entry steps, consider installing a ramp; it will run $1,200 to $2,500, according to www.costowl.com. A curbless modular shower will cost $2,000 to $3,000 to install; a custom tiled one could run $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the level of finish materials, fixtures, and fittings, says Vince Butler, a builder in Clifton, Va., and a CAPS program instructor......

Go to article.... http://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T047-C000-S002-6-things-you-must-know-about-aging-in-place.html

More Senior Housing News...

Editor’s note: We do not endorse this or any other commercial product or enterprise. We present this article purely for informational purposes.

The Elms Assisted Living Announces “Try Us…You’ll Love Us” 30-Day Trial Stay Program in Coastal New England

A leading assisted living community in Rhode Island offers a short-term stay option.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, The Elms Retirement Living is offering seniors an unusual opportunity to try out luxury assisted living on The Elms campus without a long-term commitment.

“Short stay residents can experience a beautifully furnished hotel-like suite for one month and receive any or all of our professional services.”

Basic short-stay rates start at $3,995 with additional specialized Personal Care and Assistance services available. Administrator Mark Taylor notes, “The community fee and security deposit are waived for the 30 day stay trial program. It’s great for seniors having work done on their homes, transitioning after making a long distance move, or who just aren’t sure if the assisted living experience is right for them.”



More People Dying of Heart Disease, 

Stroke Worldwide

By Randy Dotinga

Despite medical advances, a new study shows that more people are dying of heart disease and stroke worldwide than did a quarter century ago because the global population is growing, and growing older.

The good news is that the death rate -- the number of deaths in relation to the size of the population -- fell in most regions of the world.

The declining death rate reflects better diets, less tobacco smoking and improvements in medicine, said Dr. Simon Capewell, a professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Liverpool in England.

However, the numbers are still too high, said Capewell, who was not involved in the study.

"A lot of these deaths are premature, meaning they kill people below the age of 75," Capewell said. "Ninety percent of these premature deaths are preventable and avoidable through healthy diets and zero smoking."

In the study, researchers led by Dr. Gregory Roth, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, examined data from a 2013 global analysis of disease statistics from 188 countries. They focused on the numbers of cardiac deaths and death rates from 1990 to 2013.

go to story....    http://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/misc-aging-news-10/more-people-dying-of-heart-disease-stroke-worldwide-study-698037.html

More Health News...

Reducing hip fractures in U.S. senior citizens

 would cost $2 billion

Study predicts 357,656 lifetime hip fractures after wrist fracture in all U.S. females age 65 and older

The lifetime cost of a hip fracture is estimated at $81,300, of which approximately 44 percent of the costs are associated with nursing facility expenses. Hip fractures cause an estimated 300,000 unplanned hospital admissions in the U.S. each year, according to this new study presented this week at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Researchers reviewed existing literature and Medicare data to determine distal radius fracture incidence and age-specific hip fracture rates after distal radius fracture with and without bisphosphonate treatment. A model was then created to determine future fracture rates with and without treatment, and related costs.

The cost of routine bisphosphonate treatment, including the cost for treating associated atypical femur fractures, comes to a lifetime total of $19.5 billion, or approximately $205,534 per avoided hip fracture....




Who’s responsible in caring for aging parents?

by Charlie Sewell

In a recent conversation, a woman grumbled that her elderly father squandered his money, didn’t make good career decisions and now he expected her to provide for his financial support. Some people say adult children are obligated to support their elderly parents just as the parent supported them when they were little. People who have personal financial issues, those that were reared in a dysfunctional family or those who have a host of other reasons, may not agree with that philosophy. 

Licensed care facilities have a legal obligation to care for the wellbeing of their clients, but what legal obligation does an adult child have toward an indigent elderly parent? The answer to that question is hotly debated, surrounded by deep-rooted emotions, and there are probably as many opinions as there are elderly parents.

Society today makes it real clear that it is a crime when a parent neglects to give adequate nourishment to a child. But what if an adult child neglects to give adequate nourishment to an indigent elderly parent? 



Healthy Relationships in Your Golden Years

By Daphne Mallory 

Building healthy relationships should be a top priority because it impacts both your mental and physical health. We all have a need for emotional connection. Aging can make it difficult for reasons that include limited mobility and memory loss. There are also ageless reasons why men and women do not experience healthy relationships.

Gossip destroys trust and ruins relationships. No matter how old you are, no one likes the experience of finding out that the personal experiences you shared with a “friend” is being talked about at the water cooler, in the common room or on the golf course. It’s even worse when you have to live in close proximity with Mr. or Mrs. Gossiper in a senior-living community, or if that person provides health care services to you and your family. The key to gossip is to not engage in it, and stop it from taking place in your presence. Let gossipers know that you’re not interested, and make a note of others who are like-minded. Slowly, but surely, share your life with those who prove themselves trustworthy with your daily struggles and victories.

Building friendships based only on a person’s social status may not be fulfilling. This works both ways. Befriend only working-class seniors and stereotype wealthy seniors in the community, you may miss out on opportunities for healthy relationships. Likewise, if you’ve generated wealth for your family and limit your social circles to those with a similar net worth, you may miss out on building healthy relationships with seniors in a low- or middle-income bracket.....



What are some great 

"When I was your age" statements?

By Dan Knight, writing on http://www.quora.com/

"When I was your age, a man could be fond of children and not be considered a sexual predator."

"When I was your age, I would go to the pub to find a girlfriend, now I open an app."

"When I was your age, my phone battery would last over a day."

"When I was your age, I would go to a shop, hunt up and down the aisles, queue for ages, wait for assistance when the barcode cannot be found, use bits of metal and paper to pay for my goods and carry them home. Now I go to a website, click a button and wait for someone to deliver.

"When I was your age, cigarettes didn't need batteries."

"When I was your age, I'd carry round one book at a time."

"When I was your age, Santa didn't need a background check."

"When I was your age, AIDS was one of the biggest viral killers in the world. 3 decades and 35 million infections later, it looks like HIV may be evolving into being less deadly and less infectious" 

"When I was your age, I'd have to wait to hear my favourite song on the radio. Now I click a button."

"When I was your age, I'd need to take my turntables, vinyl, needles, cables, adapters, cleaning cloths and spares of everything. Now I need a tablet and a pair of headphones."

"When I was your age, I had to close my eyes and use my imagination to fantasize about a beautiful woman. Now I click a button."

"When I was your age, everyone thought we'd be living in space by now."

"When I was your age, the technology in films was a fantasy, now it's reality."

"When I was your age, I'd discuss quandaries with my mates down the pub. Now I just use Google."

"When I was your age, I'd never make groaning noises every time I stand up or sit down."

"When I was your age, there were 4 television channels (in the UK)."

"When I was your age, my watch only told me the time and date."

"When I was your age, I'd write a letter to my favourite celebrity, now I tweet them."

"When I was your age, teenagers weren't half as annoying as I find them now."


Peter Thiel’s quest to find the key to eternal life

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is funding, through his nonprofit, research on anti-aging projects.

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

Why aging?

I’ve always had this really strong sense that death was a terrible, terrible thing. I think that’s somewhat unusual. Most people end up compartmentalizing, and they are in some weird mode of denial and acceptance about death, but they both have the result of making you very passive. I prefer to fight it.

Almost every major disease is linked to aging. One in a thousand get cancer after age 30. Nixon declared war on cancer in 1971, and there has been frustratingly slow progress. One-third of people age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s or dementia, and we’re not even motivated to start a war on Alzheimer’s. At the end of the day, we need to do more.

“I worry the FDA is too restrictive. Pharmaceutical companies are way too bureaucratic. A tiny fraction of a fraction of a fraction of NIH [National Institutes of Health] spending goes to genuine anti-aging research. The whole thing gets treated like a lottery ticket. Part of the problem is that aging research doesn’t always lend itself to being a great for-profit business, but it’s a very important area for a philanthropic investment.”.....


More on this topic...

We are not prepared for longer life expectancies

By Celeste Loia

The current structure of the U.S. holds that we are born, go to school, find a steady career, retire around age 62 (according to the Gallup Poll in 2014) and then enjoy retirement bliss until our bodies or minds begin to fail and death claims us.

Longer life spans could result in a serious threat to the well-being of humanity. Longer life spans mean that more people stay on Earth longer. This translates to more people needing food, housing, clean water and other essentials for extended periods of time.

In the U.S., the average life expectancy for those born in 1950 is 68 years old, according to the CDC. This means that the average baby boomer will spend six years in retirement. 

We, as a society, are not ready to support a generation for sixteen years in retirement. Perhaps an equal increase in the retirement age would solve the problem or perhaps a revamped Social Security, but the current structure is not sustainable...



AARP project promotes 

tech needs of aging Americans


The AARP is partnering with Pfizer Inc. and UnitedHealthcare to launch a program called Project Catalyst that will help technology companies better understand the needs of the nation’s aging population and improve their products accordingly.

Project Catalyst’s first study focuses on sleep trackers and activity trackers, two types of health-monitoring technology that are growing in popularity.  

“Technology that is designed well – designed for all – can be used by a 5-year-old and a 95-year-old, alike. We are thrilled about starting this study and commencing the launch of the Project Catalyst program,” said Jody Holtzman, AARP senior vice president of Thought Leadership. "The goals of Project Catalyst are in direct alignment with the mission of AARP – to identify challenges and determine solutions to improve the quality of life for people as they age."



5 safety lessons about senior

 identify theft and fraud

BY Nina Lincoff

“Senior citizens are incredibly at risk when it comes to falling victim to identity theft and fraud.”

5 lessons from the first 5 years of Obamacare

Seniors looking to protect themselves from fraud should follow these five tips:

• Don’t carry your Medicare card or number with you:“[Don't be] a little bit loose with the information on your Medicare card because you carry it around with you...that has your social 

security number on it,” Wasserman Shultz said. “If thieves get a hold of your social security number, they can rob you blind.”

• Hide your Medicare card or number at home: If you have nurses, caretakers, or other staff coming to your home, do not leave your Medicare card out on the table. In a matter of seconds, a visitor in your home can snap a picture of your Medicare number, and therefore your social security number, with their phone, Wasserman said.

• Never send money in response to “sweepstakes” mailings:“Seniors are so often willing to believe anything they see in print,” Wasserman Schultz said. Don’t take something that comes in the mail as gospel. If someone on the phone or via mail is asking for money and offers to transfer lottery winnings to you, don’t respond......



 Aging Out of My Bra: Why Lingerie Brands 

Should Target Women Over 50

By Elisabeth Dale

“I aged out of Victoria's Secret push-up padded bras sometime between the birth of my second and third child. None of their styles seemed to fit my post-baby body.” 

Fashion websites have been falling all over themselves to celebrate the latest advertising trend: Women over 50, 60 and even 80, fronting for brands in the fashion world. Joni Mitchell, Joan Didion, and now Twiggy, are the current hot senior commodities selling stylish designer products.

I love to see older women celebrated and honored in this way. Now in my late 50s, I'm content, and even more in love with life. But I'm curious to know what these mature models are wearing underneath their outfits. Are they still able to find pretty, feminine and well-fitting lingerie?

Look at any bra brand -- including those championing diversity in lingerie like the recent Lane Bryant #ImNoAngel campaign -- and you rarely see a model who looks over the age of 30. It's great for younger women, but it doesn't do much for those of us who only see our daughter's bodies reflected in these ads.



Eating in, now and forever

My table mate and I, here at the Asylum, were lamenting over a particularly depressing dinner last night of sausage and peppers.I recounted the story of my younger days when a sausage and pepper hero was a thing of beauty and flavor. The spicy Italian sausage with the grilled peppers on a crisp, fresh piece of Italian bread was a staple at many Italian street festivals and bar-b-ques alike. As we sat there, trying to make the best out of what was on our plates, I was suddenly struck with the realization that "This was the best it was going to be for the rest of my life". Except for an occasional dinner in a restaurant or take-out, I am never going to have a real good meal again. And, unless my circumstances change, I will be destined to eat institutional food for the remainder of my days.

Here at Happy Acres Rest Home, we are not permitted to cook (or even re-heat) food in our rooms. We can't even bring outside food into our dining room which means that the only food there is, is what comes out of the facilities kitchen. It also guarantees that what we will be eating will be bland and boring. Why is this? What makes our circumstances so different from people in the "outside" world. Is it the fact that it is very difficult to cook hot, fresh, tasty food for a large group. I think not. After all, the military has been doing it for years. So what’s the real problem with the food.

The real problem is two-fold. On one hand we have the dreaded and clueless D.O.H. (The N.Y. State Department of Health). The D.O.H. Is the controlling body that regulates and oversees everything that goes on in Nursing Homes and A.L.F’s. Unfortunately, they also direct what takes place in the kitchen of these institutions. Not only do they make sure that we are obtaining the proper nutrition, but they also dictate how the food should be cooked. And that means that they want our food virtually cooked to death. Nothing that can be considered rare or medium will ever pass over the lips of anyone in an ALF. No runny eggs and no juicy burgers. Never! And to make things worse, we have no way of ever having this changed. The other problem with the food has to do with the residents themselves. To put it bluntly, most of them wouldn't know good food if it bit them in the ass. Either their taste buds have been worn away by years of salt-free, sugar-free, fat-free, spice-free, portioned controlled garbage or they are afraid of trying new things especially if it sounds too foreign or ethnic. Taco’s, sorry, too Mexican and besides they use all that hot stuff. Wraps, sorry, I like my sandwiches made with real white bread please. Garlic, oregano. Basil, oooh no, much to spicy for my delicate digestive system, it’s my ulcer you know. So what. Why should I have to suffer because your intestines have decided to rebel. Maybe it’s all that white bread and mayo you have been eating all your life. If you had grown up with real people you would have been eating foods like Kim chi, which could take the paint off a Buick, or wasabi, that could power a rocket ship to Mars. I’m sorry that you don’t like those foods.I’m sorry that you have dedicated yourself to a life in the bland lane, but please don’t take it out on me. Once and a while it’s good to get heartburn. It shows that you are still alive. Now shut up and pass the Tums................................................................The Faceless Foodie


The lazy chef’s ham & cheese omelet

Even the most unworldly, naive, ignorant, unsophisticated, simple ignoramus knows that the ingredients go ON THE INSIDE OF THE OMELET. For instance. 

The cheese in a cheese omelet goes on the inside of the folded eggs.

The mushrooms in a mushroom omelet goes on the inside of the folded eggs.

Spinach, peppers, sausage, bacon, crickets, asparagus or anything else you can think of when making an omelet goes on the inside, not thrown haphazardly on the outside of the folded egg. To do so is not only a sacrilege, but shows how utterly lazy the cooks in our kitchen are. It also shows the lack of professionalism exhibited here. Such was the case Friday when the ham and cheese omelet came to our tables inside out.

What if the cheese stuffing in the “Stuffed Shells” was on the outside of the shells. 

What would happen if, when you ordered a taco the meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato were not stuffed inside the taco?. 

What would you call stuffed cabbage if the stuff were outside of the cabbage leaves?


5 Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil

Gone are the days when the topic of cannabis in skin care was met with apprehension or, even worse, snickering. These days everyone's aware of the tremendous health benefits of hemp seed oil, from treating acne to fighting cardiovascular diseases. Contrary to popular belief, hemp is not marijuana. Hemp is more like a close cousin, derived from the same Cannabis genus plant family. Most hemp seed oil comes from industrialized hemp that has next to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. However, the distinction can be confusing — even the DEA can't get it right.

“ ...hemp won't save your life, but it can definitely save your skin.”


Rich in the same essential fatty acids that's present in skin lipids, hemp seed oil improves moisture and elasticity to the skin by lubricating beneath the surface. Unlike other oils that simply coat the skin, hemp seed oil's penetrative properties dry naturally while locking in moisture and improving skin's quality.

Problem Skin

Good news for eczema sufferers. Hemp seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties that are perfect for those with sensitive skin, eczema or rosacea. This 2005 study reported that hemp seed oil used on eczema sufferers gradually improved their skin for dryness and itchiness, thanks to an increase of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The acids also help to reduce redness and irritation associated with acne and rosacea.......



Tips for better sleep


Lack of sleep will make you say and do things you regret. If worry and stress about caregiving are keeping you awake at night, here are some suggestions:

Try over-the-counter sleep aids for a few nights to help you establish a better sleep cycle and get the rest you need. These often work as well as stronger sleep medicines available by prescription.

Try a glass of warm milk, which contains an amino acid th

at releases relaxing serotonin. It might lull you into a sleepy state.

Try a bowl of oatmeal. You’ll elevate your blood sugar in a way that triggers sleep-inducing brain chemicals while also getting a natural source of melatonin, which is often used as a natural sleep aid.

Have a banana. The potassium and magnesium in bananas relax muscles and produce serotonin (associated with relaxation) and melatonin.

Don’t count on that relaxing glass of wine or hot chocolate to do the trick. Alcohol can interfere with your ability to attain deep sleep, and cocoa contains caffeine.....





Contact and Comment

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




Contact Us

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