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Let me preface this piece by telling you that I have not been to a mall, a supermarket or a bank in over five years. In fact, I have only been beyond the gates of this facility three times in the last two years. Once was via ambulance to the emergency room, the next on a trip to the Cheesecake Factory and the third was when my cousin Bob and I had lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. This is due to a number of reasons, most having to do with my decreased mobility over the last few years and partially due to a lack of transportation afforded to us here at the asylum. Unfortunately, we have to rely on the kindness of others anytime we need to venture out beyond the gate.

My visit to the Cross County Mall here in Westchester county was made possible by the Yonkers Preservation Society, whose bus kindly goes out of its way to pick us up once a month for trips to the mall. The round trip costs us $4.00 and is well worth it. And, for me, very timely.

For reasons that I will explain at some other time, I had to make a personal visit to my bank, a branch of which is located in the mall. As I said, I have not personally visited my bank in years. All of my deposits are made directly to my account and any transfers are done via the internet. Cash is withdrawn from various ATM’s around town. However, this time, I had to go in person so, when I saw that there was a cheap trip to the mall, I jumped at the opportunity. I really could have cared less about the mall, it was just the bank I was interested in. But, when I was informed by the bus driver that he would pick us up in three hours, I decided to make an adventure out of the situation and, I found it eye-opening. I felt as if I was someone who had just awakened from a five year coma and had to cope with a new world. The mall, being a microcosm of that world, was as good a place to start as any.

After being dropped off at Sears, I made my way across the parking lot and straight for a familiar location, Cinnabun. Not really in the mood for coffee and a sticky roll, I sat on one of the seats out front to get my bearings. According to a kindly native of whom I asked directions, I was informed that the bank I wanted was at the other end of the mall, through Macy’s and across another parking lot. I knew I was in for more walking than I have done in many years. I tightened up my cane and ventured forth. 

Macy’s was pretty much as I remembered it. I stopped, briefly, at the men’s fragrance counter for a couple of free squirts of Drakkar Noir (much too fruity for my taste). I intended to head straight for the rear entrance but was distracted by the men’s clothing department which had a headless mannequin wearing what appeared to be a very very well worn pair on jeans. I mean those things had actual real holes in them, and not just in the knees either. There was a matching vest which was equally shredded. “Are things that bad out here in the world that people are now forced to wear used clothing?” I continued on to the exit.

Failing to notice the handicapped ramp nearby, I made my way down a precarious flight of stairs, taking each one cautiously until I reached the bottom. I sighed a sigh of relief, glad that I didn’t fall. The last thing I wanted to be was “that old guy with the cane” sprawled out on the sidewalk. I saw my destination, the bank, across the parking lot and walked towards it, being mindful of the traffic. I had forgotten what traffic was like because here, at the Center, there is no traffic. I concluded my bank business in a few minutes and glanced at my watch, it was only 11:15. I had over two hours to kill. I figured some window shopping would be in order but first, I needed to find a men’s room. 

Having a prostate the size of a basketball, frequent trips to the porcelain appliance are not uncommon. I remembered that most malls have restrooms conveniently located throughout the premises so I should not have had trouble finding one. Unfortunately, this mall only has one public restroom, inconveniently located at the end of a long walkway. Having forgotten my regular glasses, everything looked a bit fuzzy and out of focus so making out the little stick figures which indicated where the nearest toilet was on the mall map was not easy. I found my way to what I believed was the place indicated on the sign and found what I hoped was the urinal. I know it was something cold and white and I heard the sound of flushing water as I walked away from it. My apologies If I made a mistake but they should have bigger signs. I looked at my watch again, still two hours left. 

I had intended to do some window shopping but this mall has only two kinds of stores. Women’s apparel and stores that appeal to something called “metrosexuals” who are apparently, not only gender confused but, very young and very skinny. Just perfect for a fat old dude like me. I sat down on one of the mall benches. If there weren't any windows to look in to, at least I could do some people watching. Malls, as I remembered, are great for that. I was not disappointed.

Now, before I go any further, let me say that even though I may be an old man, I am still a man and can still appreciate the sight of a well turned ankle. However, the sight of, not only ankles but butts, thighs and more, this I was not prepared for. Since when did skirts get so short? I mean, I know that women wear skirts above the knees nowadays, but when did they start wearing them above the thigh. And then, there were these pants.“Pants” may not be the right word, they are more like tights, very tight tights. So tight that I could have been looking at a first year gynecology textbook. I averted my eyes, briefly. After all, I still had over an hour to kill. 

The rest of my visit was spent at a Shop&Stop supermarket. I had forgotten what these places were like. They were filled with people pushing carts filled with food. Food that they were going to take back to their homes and COOK. Cook in their own kitchens using a STOVE with flames and heat and stuff. There were cheeses and steaks and ice cream that did not come in little cups, There were giant bags of Ruffles with Ridges and real Oreo cookies. I was all choked up and had to leave, this was more than I could bear. I haven’t cooked anything in over five years and, I miss it. Glancing at my watch, I noticed that my time in this fantasy world was almost over. A quick trip inside Sears to look at the power tools, not to buy but as a way of reaffirming my manhood, and it was time to leave. As promised, I was picked up and driven back here to the Center, my adventure over. It was nice getting out, but a bit scary. I have been isolated and protected for such a long time that I had forgotten that there is a life beyond these walls and that I have to get back into it somehow. Therefor, the next time there is a trip somewhere, anywhere, I’ll be the first to sign up.


Pain and dignity

By Karen Silver*

We are all here because of pain.  In one way or another, it has made our lives difficult enough to require outside assistance and a move from our former lives.  Whether it is loss of visual sharpness, bones that remind us of their presence whether we want to remember them or not, plumbing that is not behaving the way good plumbing  behaves, air that is harder to get than before, we are all held by pain somehow.  How can we live the best possible lives we can in the face of distress and keep our dignity?

One strategy that does not work is stoically denying that it hurts and not taking steps to reduce it. That is not courage.  There are doctors who specialize in the treatment of pain who can use powerful medications to give you relief. Some of them are not sedating. The doctors can also teach you self-suggestion so that you can take more control of your own experience and be less helpless and depressed. Make an appointment or get a referral from your primary doctor.

One problem with pain that keeps it in place is that we are not only dealing with the pain we are in now but the memory of yesterday’s pain and dread of tomorrow’s. That means you are actually tripling the misery.  For example, I know that rain will make my joints ache terribly and I often dread the weather forecast.  I am therefore making myself more miserable.  Orwell made a comment that’s apt here: who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future.  Pain is our version of Big Brother and we can’t let it control any dimension of our lives.

But how to go about it?  How do we tame a monster?  The answer I came to is amazingly simple; do all you can and no more.  Get as involved as you can and spend as much time with others as you can.  Do not do more than you can.  If you need to pull back, to rest and retreat, do it.  For me, it’s crossword puzzles. I find them comforting when I’m really distressed but other people have their outlets.  Sometimes just going to your apartment and taking a nap is enough to give you the energy to get going again.  Don’t drive yourself – it won’t do much good and it may do harm.

Above all, don’t get mad at yourself for being afraid.  Martyrdom is not the way forward and the martyrs were probably as scared as anyone as they faced the lions. Pain is a lion – a very big, very hairy lion.  You don’t have to prove you’re a good person by “toughing it out.”  Honor yourself, do what you can do, let others help you when you can’t and you may find the lion is tamer. It won’t purr but it won’t eat you up, either.

*Karen Silver is a regular contributor to our in-house newsletter and this blog.



Odd juxtaposition dept.

We didn’t know we needed a “plan” for this. I usually just drop my pants.


Be Wary Of Diabetes Symptoms Masked By Normal Aging

By Julia Little

A recent press release from the American Association of Diabetes Educators shined a light on some Type 2 diabetes symptoms that you may have been in the dark about. Many signs of the disease resemble the normal effects of aging, making it especially important to seniors to be mindful. Older adults who have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, are overweight, or have a family history of diabetes are the most at risk. A good senior care program can help to control these issues....


Discover 25 powerful reasons to eat bananas

You'll never look at a banana the same way again after discovering the many health benefits and reasons to add them to your diet. Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes. 


==========More Senior eats==========

As far as I am concerned, there is nothing better to eat for lunch than a bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. However, somewhere along the way, the art of making a proper grilled cheese sandwich has been lost. And, while some purists would thumb their noses at sandwiches with additional ingredients, there is much to be said for tweaking this venerable staple just a bit.

New Takes on Grilled Cheese

With a few creative ingredients, you can elevate the classic grilled cheese sandwich from childhood favorite to a comforting and ... 

Read more at:

The thing about having to eat in a communal dining room is that meals have to be made in bulk. Unfortunately, this is contradictory to the way most foods should be prepared. While things like stews or soups or even roasts are suited to this kind of cooking, foods like grilled sandwiches are not. If a food is intended to be grilled, individually, throwing said sandwich into an oven to be melted just ain’t the same. However, this does not keep some folks from trying...

How To Make 10 (Or More) Grilled Cheese Sandwiches At Once

By Julie R. Thomson

Everyone knows that grilled cheese sandwiches are created in a skillet -- with lots of butter and lots of love. But when you've got more than a couple people to feed, and if you all want to eat together, making grilled cheese the traditional way gets to be a little tricky (read: impossible). That's when you've got to think outside the skillet and start entertaining new possibilities, like the oven.....

more.. .


Are you a baby boomer or planning to retire soon or are already retired. Here's some good news just for you...

Aging Of America: Internet To The Rescue

We're running out of money, not technology solutions.

"We're about to embark on the Great Generational War -- the older people versus the younger. Those in the middle are going to have to decide: Support our parents... or our kids. There's not enough money to do both.”

The Internet to the rescue. Since a hospital operating room has to be kept super-clean, the old method was to scrub it religiously. But if a robot could use high-energy wavelengths to clean it in three minutes, why not substitute an Internet-connected method to let the chief of surgery know when it's safe to reuse? And if this $100,000 robot could do that, couldn't it clean my (aged) mother-in-law's house? Certainly a lower-cost version; certainly a shared .....


It’s good to know you’re not the only one....

Nearly Half of Senior Citizens Need Some Help with Care Needs

"Although 51 percent reported having no difficulty in the previous month, 29 percent reported receiving help with taking care of themselves or their 

households or getting around," .....


Worried gen-x’s dept.

Generation X’s and Millennials (or as we old folks call them “whippersnappers”) are worried. They are worried about getting old , or should I say that they are worried about looking and feeling old. They are concerned that their lifestyles will be drastically changed because they will no longer look young. They look around and see their aging parents (us) and see fat, wrinkled, gray, people, some using walkers or canes and say, “I’m never going to look like that, not if I can help it. Now, more and more we see stories like this appearing in the media. Google, who’s workforce is mostly made up of young techno-geeks, is tackling the aging problem head on by acquiring a lab which we dedicate its resources to ending aging. Now another one of those nerds has gone one step further...


A Stanford radiologist turned Silicon Valley investor is donating a $1 million prize for scientists who crack the code of aging.

By Kristen Sze

Imagine Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter maintaining his top athletic form or singer Beyonce holding on to her incredible beauty or you keeping your heart healthy and body limber all for years, or maybe decades longer than previously thought possible.

Ten teams have already entered to compete. Organizers of the contest hope they'll get many more, from around the world, after the official launch....



U.S. unprepared for housing needs of aging population

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP Foundation release disturbing new report

America’s older population is experiencing unprecedented growth, but the country is not prepared to meet the housing needs of this aging group, concludes a new report released today by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and the AARP 

Foundation. According to “Housing America’s Older Adults — Meeting the Needs of an Aging Population,” the number of people in the United States aged 50 and over is expected to grow to 133 million by 2030, an increase of more than 70 percent since 2000 (click to view interactive map). But housing that is affordable, physically accessible, well-located, and coordinated with supports and services is in too-short supply.



I would like you to watch this video for two reasons. First, it’s very uplifting and fun. Second, I’d like you to see what some ALF’s can be like if you have money.

I Had NO Idea Grandma Was Doing *This* At The Retirement Home! OMG

By Barbara Diamond

This video put the biggest smile on my face, and I guarantee you’ll have the same reaction! Residents from the Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids, MI, teamed up with university students, alumni, and professors to create thiswonderful video that proves age ain’t nothin’ but a number.

Watch video on youtube...

Read more at....

   A bar that’s well-aged

Drinks and glasses fill up a table at Bailey’s Pub, a bar inside the Quail Creek assisted living home in Lynnwood.

By Andrea Brown, Herald Writer 

Residents at Quail Park of Lynnwood get two free drinks a day at an on-site pub.

It's not a rowdy slurp fest, but there's lots of clinking at the assisted living center with apartment living for 117 residents.



Man with ‘assistance cats’ has eviction reprieve


A disabled man who sued the assisted-living center where he lives with his two "assistance cats" can stay in his apartment while negotiations in his case continue.


U.S. Department of Justice Launches the Elder Justice Website

The site offers resources for victims, family members, prosecutors, researchers, and anyone who works with older adults.

Victims and family members will find information about how to report elder abuse and financial exploitation in all 50 states and the territories.

Federal, State, and local prosecutors will find three different databases containing sample pleadings and statutes.

Researchers in the elder abuse field may access a database containing bibliographic information for thousands of articles and reviews.

Practitioners -- including professionals of all types who work with elder abuse and its consequences -- will find information about resources available to help them prevent elder abuse and assist those who have already been abused, neglected or exploited.

Go to site....


New feature: Products beneficial to a senior lifestyle.

While I do not personally endorse any of the products or the companies that sell them, I do believe that they may have some value to people with limited mobility. I have scoured the internet to try and find the lowest prices available for each product, but please feel free to check for yourself.

This weeks product is a super length "grabber". One of the things that people forget about those in wheel chairs is that not only is their mobility diminished but their height as well. Reaching things from the top shelf or a really tight space is almost impossible. This is something that might make reaching things a little easier.


I will be the first one to admit it, I complain a lot. I complain about the condition of the facility and the surroundings in which I live. I complain about the way medications are ordered and dispensed and which pharmacy they are ordered from. I complain about the condition of the carpeting and why it hasn't been properly washed or replaced in years. But most of all I complain about the food. And for a good reason. It sucks. And lately, it has been sucking even more.

In the last few weeks not only has the quality of the ingredients been going downhill, but also the way it is cooked, prepared and served. The attitude of the staff,  both in and out of the kitchen, has been on the decline and last Sunday it came to a head, at least for me.

I skipped lunch Sunday. I was just not hungry, having just had breakfast three hours earlier (Another problem I have with this fine institution). And besides, the main meal was one of my favorites, a hot open roast beef sandwich. In the past, this dinner had been rather decently prepared so I was really looking forward to having it. Therefore, you can imaging my surprise (and dismay) when I saw what was being served to me this night. Before me was a single slice of overcooked beef, on a single slice of whole wheat bread and very little gravy. I looked with utter amazement at what they thought was a proper meal to be served to adult human beings. Naturally, I picked upon my plate and took it to the kitchen entrance to complain, and possibly throw, the plate of food at somebody. 

Using a great deal of restraint, I proceeded to tell the cook what I thought of him and his food. Admittedly, I used a couple of colorful words, to which he took exception.  I raised my voice, as I have raised it in the past, and finally received a proper portion of food. I urged my fellow diners to do the same but, as usual, only a couple of people joined in my protest. 

As some of you know, I have been writing the food portion of this blog for almost as long as I have been here. Longer than the kitchen staff, cooks and manager have been here. And certainly longer than the current administrator and his assistants have been here, so I think that I am qualified to make suggestions  and point out any problems that may occur. What some of you may not know is that I am also a member and chairmen of the resident's food committee, a job that I do not take lightly. In my capacity as chairman, I have tried to convey to management my feelings about the way food is cooked here and in some instances, I have gotten my message across and things have been changed. Unfortunately, as of late, the quality and variety of the food, as well as the general attitude of the staff and the dining experience as a whole, has changed. There is a much more adversarial approach being taken by the staff and management. Instead of trying to accommodate the residents, every effort is being made to try an make us conform to a set of rules that puts the residents at a disadvantage. I could, and will, innumerate what these prohibitions are and why they are unfair and inconvenient for some residents to adhere to, but that is for another time and place. As for now, I have a food and dining issue to deal with. I will be calling a meeting of the food committee for  sometime this week. at that time I will express my complaints directly to management. And also, at that time, I will tender my resignation from the food committee. I have done all I could  and, I'm afraid it wasn't very much.


We knew where the red bell pepper was, we could see traces of it floating around in this thing. We assumed there was an egg in there too, after all, something had to hold this thing together. We did taste a trace of onion and perhaps some salt. We definitely knew where the mayonnaise* was as well as the predominant ingredient which were bread crumbs. However, we did not know where the star of this thing was which would be, the crab. So, I ask the question, “Is a crab cake allowed to be called a crab cake if “crab” is not the main ingredient?”

* recipe for “easy crab cakes may be found at Hellmann’s website...



If this was meant as a joke, the joke’s on me, and I’m not laughing. From the first time I laid eyes on a pile of corn niblets sitting on my plate or mixed with (shudder) succotash, I knew that I preferred my corn as god intended it to be eaten, on the cob, dripping with butter and lightly salted. Unfortunately, life here at the asylum does not have room for such a frivolity. The main reason that was given for not having corn on the cob, either in the dining room or at Bar-b-cues, is because of the lack of teeth that may of our residents suffer from. To that, my suggestion was “let those who can’t handle the cob, cut the kernels off the core and eat as usual.” This was met with a shrug of the shoulder. And now, comes this little attempt to humor me, a very little attempt in deed. I don’t know from where they get this pygmy corn or why anyone would bother growing such a vegetable. In fact, it doesn’t even taste like corn. All I can say is, I get the joke, you made your point, now lets start cooking some real food for real people.


The only thing missing was the clown

Since my very first review of the food here at the asylum almost two years ago, the one thing that I have consistently said is “All I want is for the food to be as good as the food served in any diner on route 17 or fast food joint.” Today, unfortunately, I got my wish. 

With the serving of what the menu unashamedly called a Filet-O-Fish sandwich, the kitchen has finally reached its low point. The only thing that made this sandwich differ from its Mickey D’s counterpart was the flavor. This sandwich, if you can believe it, was even more bland and tasteless than the name brand. Even my concoction of tarter sauce, ketchup and mustard could not make this thing taste any less boring. And, although there was no Ronald McDonald around we do have our share of clowns, in the kitchen. 


This meatball sandwich is not my hero

have said this before, but I believe that anything bad is worth repeating. "THIS MEATBALL HERO SUCKS". And it does so on so many levels.

First of all, any seven year old knows how a meatball Parmesan hero sandwich should be made. It is one of the biggest no-brainers in the world of no-brainers. There are essentially only four ingredients. Amazingly, our kitchen could only get two of them right.

While it's true that the sandwich had meatballs and tomato sauce, the other two things that make a meatball parm sandwich what it is were missing, or should I say, substituted. I am talking primarily about the roll. The very definition of a "hero" sandwich is that it should be made with a real hero roll. For some reason our cooks thought that an ordinary round sandwich bun would be OK. Next, and perhaps the most important part of any meatball Parmesan hero is the cheese. Yes, I know what you are saying. "I see cheese there on that thing. What are you complaining about". To which I say, "Whatsamattayoucrazyorsomethin". THE CHEESE ON A MEATBALL PARMESAN HERO SHOULD BE MELTED ON THE SANDWICH, NOT SPRINKLED ON BY THE DINER YOU NITWIT.

Sometimes I just do not know what goes on in the minds of the people who cook and plan our meals. Why do they do things in such a half-assed way. How much more expensive or how much more trouble would it have been to make this very simple sandwich correctly. No wonder everyone complains about the food. Pazzo, no?


What Joan Rivers Taught Us About Dying

Susan R. Dolan

When you think of Joan Rivers, any number of great lines come to mind (my personal favorite is her rant against housework: "You make the beds, you do the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again"). But perhaps her best lines included powerful advice on aging, articulating our wishes, and dying well.



Your never too old....

81-year-old flasher arrested. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, 81-year-old Fred Reede came to his bedroom window Monday afternoon at the Vista Grand Assisted Living Facility, which overlooks a swimming pool. Reede allegedly was wearing a bright red bra and panties, and he then exposed himself, shaking his genitals at the residents in the pool area....


<:::::::Senior briefs:::::::>

Semi-nude calendar of elders spurs book on aging

By Cindy Cantrell


The men’s calendar came six years after one that featured 12 mature church women in similar stages of undress. The women’s calendar sold out its printing of 2,000 copies to raise $24,000 for the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Framingham Centre. With the benefit of social media and national attention, including mentions on “Good Morning America” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” the men’s calendar — covering ages 64 to 87 — sold 2,250 copies worldwide for a net profit of $26,000.

Reaction to the calendars ranged from support, appreciation, and glee to disgust and accusations of sacrilege. For Hollerorth, the experience was thought-provoking......




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9/11...We will never forget.

On a beautiful Tuesday morning in September thirteen years ago, everything changed forever.

Remembering 9/11

As an aging baby boomer I have been witness to a lot of history. Among those events have been wars, assassinations, race riots, Woodstock, the rise of Viet Nam, hippies, beatniks , yuppies and the Edsel. But those happened somewhere else or I was not directly involved, so my interest in those things were that of an observer rather than a participant. Unfortunately, the one event that I was a witness to was also the most significant event in American history since the revolution. That, of course, was the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and unfortunately, I was there. My office was located about one mile north and directly in line with the twin towers of the World Trade Center. But my familiarity with those two amazing structures goes back many years.

I worked in downtown Manhattan virtually all of my life or at least from the time I was 12 years old and I knew the neighborhood very well. I remember the area that would eventually be torn down to make way for what was supposed to be the tallest buildings in America. And it was not going to be just one building but two giant towers that would dominate the skyline for years. The 23 acres that were cleared was a run-down area comprised of two, three or four story 100 year old buildings, many of them made of wood. As soon as construction began in 1966, the downtown community buzzed with excitement. With the coming of these structures would also come thousands of prospective customers which would mean that more jobs and more stores and restaurants that would be needed to serve them. The small mom and pop printing and stationery store that I worked for was ecstatic at the prospect of things to come, and come they did. In the years that followed the completion of the WTC, the very closed, almost village-like atmosphere of the area changed overnight. New businesses, new transportation and even new apartments sprouted up like mushrooms. Even the rubble removed from the excavation added additional land to the narrow tip of the island. Eventually, I got a new job and I moved from lower Manhattan to Greenwich Village, about a mile north of the WTC site. But despite being further away from the towers, I could still see them looming majestically in the horizon. The Towers were so big that even from a mile away they looked like they were right next door. Than came that sunny day in September of 2001 when everything changed forever.
I was already at my desk, working at 8:45 when I heard (but did not see) a very loud and low flying jet wiz past my office window which overlooked the Hudson river. Fifteen minutes later a co-worker came into the area and announced that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Not having a TV or radio at my desk, I brought up one of the local news radio stations on my computer. I, and my co-workers, listened intently as the news 
unfolded. Some people left their desks and went downstairs to the street and walked the half block to West Street where they had a clear view of the WTC. They could clearly see the smoke streaming out of the upper floors of the building. I stayed at my desk taking phone calls mostly from our branches in other parts of the country who wanted to know what was going on. It was not until about a hour later, at approximately 9:45 that I was able to take a break and go outside to take a look for myself. It seemed that I was there for only a few seconds when I saw a sight that stays with me to this day. I saw the south tower of the WTC collapse before my eyes. At first I thought I was watching a movie or even a cartoon. This could not be real. What I’m seeing? A giant building just doesn’t collapse like a stack of cards. It took awhile for it all to settle in. I took the elevator back up to my office to tell everybody what I saw, but they already knew. We all stood there, in silence and disbelief.
“MY GOD, BARBARA” I said out loud. “AND JACK” said somebody else. We were referring to two people, two of our customers, who worked for two different companies who had offices on the upper floors of that tower. I knew that they were gone because both liked to get into work early. Barbara was Barbara Etzhold who worked for Fred Alger & Co. , she was 43 years old. John (or Jack) Andreacchio worked for Fuji Bank, he was 52 years old. The World Trade Center was not just concrete and aluminum. It had a face and a voice.
For the rest of the morning, that day, I was in a dream state. Finally, at about 10:30, after the second tower fell, we were told to go home. I had driven to work that day but I chose not to try and drive home as most of the bridges and tunnels had been closed. The subway was not running so I decided to walk as far as I could. I headed downtown to the Williamsburg bridge. There, together with thousands of my fellow New Yorker’s, I crossed that very long bridge in almost utter silence. The only sounds came from the F-16 fighter jets screaming overhead and the sirens of countless emergency vehicles heading to what must have looked like hell. I walked into Brooklyn and eventually was able to squeeze on to a bus which took me to another bus which took me home to Forest Hills. It was 3pm. That was a Tuesday. We did not return to work until Friday. Everything looked almost normal except that the two monoliths that took up most of the sky were no longer there. Thirteen years have gone by, and since that day America grew up. A shiny, new building now sits on that infamous site, but my memory of that day has not diminished one bit.

I am sure that you have noticed the increased activity last week in regards to light bulbs and fixtures and the changing thereof throughout the facility. This is  means better lighting conditions for us residents However, there is another very good reason why the facility would go to all the cost and trouble to replace all of the regular light bulbs with new LED bulbs. The Center will be saving money over the next few years and a lot of it....

How Senior Living is Saving Big With LED Lighting

Cassandra Dowell

LED lights will reduce energy consumption, lowering utility bills in the long run, “the difference in price between LED and regular light fixtures will be paid back within five years time.” LED fixtures can be one and a half to twice as much as regular, or fluorescent, lights.
Some light solution providers are also zeroing in on assisted living facilities (ALFs), taking note that ALF’s supply and demand continues to outpace other sectors of senior living.



They never listen to me....

New signage is useless.

The primary reason for having a sign outside the dining room was so that last minute changes to the menu could be disseminated to the residents as they entered. The only way for this sign to be of any value is if IT IS ACTUALLY CORRECTED EVERY TIME THERE IS A CHANGE. Unfortunately, this is rarely done. And the reason for that is, it’s too cumbersome to change the signage quickly. This is not the way it was supposed to be.
I originally suggested that the sign be either a dry erase board or a chalkboard that could be updated by any member of the dining room staff. This would have been better and cheaper. Instead, the powers that be decided on something fancy and useless. Now, if there is a change, the old sign has to be removed from its frame (by unscrewing it no less) and replaced with the corrected information. In the days since this new sign was installed, there have been numerous changes to the menu but only a very few of these have been posted. They never listen.

There is a war going on inside this seemingly placid institution, a war as insipid and destructive as any Middle East conflict or urban confrontation. And, like any other war, it has its cast of characters.
There is, of course, the obligatory dictator, who’s omnipotent edicts echo throughout the halls and strikes fear into the hearts of all that would disobey. There are too, the spies who carry out their covert operations under the very noses of those who are trying to carry out the dictators orders. The guerrillas are here too. These are the people who strike quickly and get out fast with their spoils. Than there are the profiteers who prey on the civilians, charging inflated promises for a meager portion of their horded lucre. And finally, there is the civilian population who’s only wish is return to a time of normalcy when there was abundance for all and the need for conflict was unnecessary. Unfortunately, instead of a de-escalation of the situation, the reverse has become true. There are now even less cups available in the country kitchen than ever before.

At one time the land was prosperous and cups were plentiful. Never would a citizen have to hunt high and low for a cup from which to drink. There was always an abundance of pure, white Styrofoam cups available for both cold and hot beverages. Than came the refugees. Those immigrants from other lands who inflated the population and devastated an already strained cup-to-resident economy. 

The relentless hoarding characteristics of these “invaders” made it necessary for the Dictator to issue an edict that all Styrofoam cups shall be removed from the area of the water machine except for those times when beverages were “officially” served by staff. This meant that if a resident wanted a cold drink of ice water during any other time, there would be NO CUPS AVAILABLE. This prompted large scale hording of said cups by thirsty residents who would take four, five and even six cups back to their rooms for future use causing an even greater shortage. Naturally, as in any wartime economy, a black market of sorts sprung up from amid the rubble causing both the scarcity and desire for the cups to rise. Citizens who hoarded vast amounts of cups began to share them with a select number of so-called comrades who would gladly do a favor for even the mere mention of the word “Styrofoam”.

Eventually, the Dictator ordered his secret agents known as the “Staffies” to check on suspected hoarding residents and, when necessary, retrieve the cups and return them to stock. However, these Staffies too, became corrupt and began a black market of their own hiding cups in secret locations throughout the facility. Now, this conflict has reached a crescendo. The cup shortage has spread beyond the country kitchen and into the heretofore sanctity of the MED ROOM.

Up until now, the med room used its own cups (smaller, clear plastic cups) when distributing medication to residents. But now, due to some mix up or foul up with purchasing, it has become necessary for the med room staff to impose the law of imminent domain and commandeer the precious cups for their own nefarious use. This new escalation in the conflict, whether brought about by edict or subterfuge, has, in at least one situation, caused a staff/resident confrontation. I was witness to that confrontation.

A resident, parched with thirst and wanting nothing more than a cup so that he might collect a small amount of cold water from the machine, entered the med room and took a cup from the counter. In an attempt to stop said resident from removing one of the precious cups from the med room, the tech on duty raised her voice and began to admonish the resident for his brazen attempt to appropriate the vessel. A volley of words were exchanged ending in the resident using stern language. Realizing that she was outclassed, the tech reluctantly let the resident leave with his purloined booty. The resident proudly displayed his “trophy” for all of the other residents to see. A victory, of sorts, was won but at what cost? How long with the “Battle of the Cups” wage on. Unfortunately, this observer can see no end in sight..............Ed.

Usually in decline this time of year, many of the flowering plants around the facility have sprung back to life mainly due to the unusually warm weather to which we have been treated . The bees and other pollinating insects were enjoying it too and there were plenty of them buzzing around this plant outside the Franklin Center.


Retired? Or soon will be. Check out this new site...


Empty Space

After a story that appeared in this blog last week regarding the unused, empty wasted space in a corner of the dining room, we noticed this little tableau set up in that very area. While nothing official has been said about a permanent use of this area possibly as an additional lounge area for residents, we hope this small arrangement of furniture marks a stepping off point for that future venue. 

Though it’s been a while since my last suggestion for the “Wacky Suggestion Box” it does not mean that I have not been thinking wacky thoughts. In fact so many wacky thoughts infest my brain every day that I have had to completely delete most of my memory  leaving behind only that much free brain space needed to function. The upside to this is that there is room now for my thoughts and ideas to slosh around. Now, after a considerable amount of sloshing, I have come up with what I think could solve many of the problems facing, not only an aging population in general, but the entire ALF industry as well.

The latest idea in assisted or senior living is the “village” concept of community. Don’t they know that, in a way, this already exists?

Why not build assisted living communities inside shopping malls?

Building, or using existing space inside new or established urban or suburban shopping malls would solve many of the problems facing seniors every day. Here’s what such a plan would accomplish.

Need for housing: As the number of baby boomers reach retirement age, the demand for housing will grow by leaps and bounds. With new construction costs rising out of control, the renovation of existing space becomes a more viable option. Shopping centers and malls, especially those with empty retail space, are perfect for these renovations mainly because the existing infrastructure is already in place. All the electric work, the A.C. and even the plumbing are already in there. A space the size of Target or Walmart store would be perfect for renovation and subdivision into individual rooms or apartments.

Mobility: One of the major problems facing older people is their lack of mobility. Whether their disabilities force them to use a walker or a wheelchair or even a scooter, not being able to get “out and about” can lead to depression and other “sociability” problems. Having all stores within walking (or wheeling) distance from the ALF would open a whole new world to these people.

Transportation: One of the problems here, and with many other senior living communities, is the poor quality or even the lack of transportation. Only a very few ALF’s have proprietary transportation options which means that most of the elderly and disabled have to rely on inefficient Para Transit systems or expensive cab and livery services to take them shopping, to the movies or even the bank. Having most of their shopping needs within walking distance would virtually eliminate the need for external transportation. Very large malls could provide, either free or for a nominal cost, the use of a golf cart or riding scooter to aid residents in getting around.

Food: Residents  would have the option of eating at the ALF or one of the restaurants in the malls food court.

Security: The ALF would have the advantage of the mall’s own security force and devices and systems 24 hours a day.

Parking: The problem with many urban ALF’s is the lack of on street parking. In many cases there is no visitor parking at all. The usually huge parking lots that surround most malls would solve that problem. Plus there would be an added advantage. Having an ALF in a mall or shopping center would encourage the kids to visit granny more often.

Finally, there would be an advantage for the mall’s existing tenants (merchants) who would have a ready source of customers nearby. A win-win situation for all.

I know that this is a radical idea and that there would be many hurdles to overcome before such a scheme could be implemented. It would take a combination of bold and innovative landlords, administrators and legislators to make this a reality. And it is just those kinds of people that will be needed as the number of baby boomers reaching retirement age continues to grow........................................................................Ed.


Maybe my wacky idea ain’t so wacky after all......

Mixed-use development would include hotel, apartments, restaurants and assisted living.

Bob Sandrick/Northeast Ohio Media Group).

"We do believe this will be a wonderful development, almost a destination location,"
BRECKSVILLE, Ohio -- Wojno Development in Uniontown wants develop 23 acres near I-77 and Ohio 82, west of a proposed MetroHealth System outpatient center, with an extended-stay hotel, restaurants, stores, luxury "senior-oriented" apartments and assisted living.



We all know how limited the space here is and, if you happen to have a single room of your own, it can be even more of a challenge to make the place look more like a home and less like a cheap motel room. The following article gives some practical an inexpensive ways to get more storage space and make your room look larger.

11 Ways To Make A Tiny Bedroom Feel Huge 

By Suzy Strutner

We already know that a small space can be a great space, but that doesn't mean decorating your tiny bedroom is easy. It's tough to fit all the basics (a bed, a desk, a closet, a hamper, AHH!) into so little square-footage....



As health insurance costs rise it is up to all of us to help prevent unscrupulous people from taking advantage of funds that rightfully belong to you.

Tips to prevent medicare fraud


Do protect your Medicare number (on your Medicare card) and your Social Security Number (on your Social Security card). Treat your Medicare card like it's a credit card.
Do remember that nothing is ever "free." Don't accept offers of money or gifts for free medical care.
Do ask questions. You have a right to know everything about your medical care including the costs billed to Medicare.
Do educate yourself about Medicare. Know your rights and know what a provider can and can't bill to Medicare.
Do use a calendar to record all of your doctor's appointments and what tests or X-rays you get. Then check your Medicare statements carefully to make sure you got each service listed and that all the details are correct. If you spend time in a hospital, make sure the admission date, discharge date, and diagnosis on your bill are correct.
Do be wary of providers who tell you that the item or service isn't usually covered, but they "know how to bill Medicare" so Medicare will pay.
Do make sure you understand how a plan works before you join.
Do always check your pills before you leave the pharmacy to be sure you got the correct medication, including whether it's a brand or generic and the full amount. If you don’t get your full prescription, report the problem to the pharmacist.
Do report suspected instances of fraud.


Don't allow anyone, except your doctor or other Medicare providers, to review your medical records or recommend services.
Don't contact your doctor to request a service that you don't need.
Don't let anyone persuade you to see a doctor for care or services you don't need.
Don't accept medical supplies from a door-to-door salesman. If someone comes to your door claiming to be from Medicare or Medicaid, remember that Medicare and Medicaid don't send representatives to your home to sell products or services.
Don't be influenced by certain media advertising about your health. Many television and radio ads don't have your best interest at heart.
Don't give your Medicare card, Medicare number, Social Security card, or Social Security Number to anyone except your doctor or other authorized Medicare provider.


 Hating my cell phone

To be fair, I really didn't love my previous cell phone, either. What I loved was the old, black, rotary-dial phone I stole from Ma Bell years ago. It’s now down in the cellar, boxed up with a lot of other stuff I won’t use again, but can’t part with. Mementos of a bygone era when things were so easy to operate they came without instructions. People simply knew how to use them; it was obvious. There weren't enough features to confuse a child.
The rotary dial was easy: You picked up the handset and heard a dial tone,..... 


Tech-shy baby boomers get low-cost tablet from AARP, Intel

“Technology can be daunting for users of a certain age, but Intel and AARP are offering help with a simple-to-use tablet. The tablet, which has a 7.85-inch screen and is based on the Android OS, will sell for US$189 starting in mid-October through Walmart’s website......”


Practically every man over a certain age has, is, or will be experiencing this annoying phenomena. Around here, one only has to listen carefully and they will hear the sounds of toilets flushing at all hours of the night. You can rest assured that those frequent trips to the john are being made by one or more of us old dudes who just can’t go without going for more than a couple of hours. Now, while there may not be cure for this affliction there may be a way of reducing the need for these frequent nocturnal excursions...

Men Who Exercise Least are Most Likely to Wake Up to Urinate

Those physically active one or more hours per week were 13% less likely to report nocturia, 34% less likely to report severe nocturia

“Combined with other management strategies, physical activity may provide a strategy for the management of BPH-related outcomes, particularly nocturia,”

There are several possible mechanisms by which physical activity can protect against nocturia, including reducing body size, improving sleep, decreasing sympathetic nervous system activity and lowering levels of systemic inflammation.....


Interactive map shows movement of aging population

by Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

These two maps, created by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

. show the share of U.S. county population aged 50 and over (percent) in 1990 (left panel) and 2010 (right panel). Slide the vertical bar left and right to see the changes over time. To view detailed county information, click the county....

Go to....


I love this story

Retired Sisters of Charity Now to Receive Care at Jewish Home


“Jewish Home Lifecare met our criteria on every level and has proven a very collaborative partner. The opportunity it offers is an act of God’s Providence and we feel blessed,” said Sister Eileen, who is a member of the congregation’s leadership team, in a statement.

Twenty-six Sisters of Charity of New York are planning to move into assisted living facilities at Jewish Home Lifecare in the Bronx this month after a multi-year study conducted by the religious congregation found it was “no longer feasible to continue doing our retirement ministry on our own.”....


I don’t usually talk about deserts....'s why

Cookie cake?

Chicken pot pie

Right on.

The last time we had chicken pot pie for lunch was a couple of weeks ago. At that time I wrote that, although the pie had improved considerably over previous attempts, it was not quite there yet and that it needed improvement. Well, evidently someone in the kitchen was listening because last Tuesday’s chicken pot pie was very close to the mark.
The problem with the too sweet filling was resolved as well as its consistency. Tuesday’s pie was not only perfectly seasoned but there was an abundance of actual chicken in there too. The flaky crust was almost perfect (although mine came slightly burnt around the edges). This is a complete meal with everything a meal should have. Now, if they learned to do beef stew this way, they would really have something to be proud of.



It’s been a couple of months since the “Great popcorn shrimp disaster”, an incident that will go down in W.Center dining history. That encounter was a shameful attempt at trying to cook something that the chef knew nothing about and, the results showed it. Little pieces of almost shrimp-less fried niblets of breading were scattered haphazardly on diners plates. I even went around to various tables and collected the leftovers to show to the chef the next morning. Evidently something hit a nerve because the popcorn shrimp served at last Thursday’s dinner was made the way popcorn shrimp should be made. Not only were the shrimp meaty and tender but, they were lightly breaded and fried to perfection. This dish deserved every one of the four “Foodies”I gave it.


If diners were expecting the As Advertised “French Dip” roast beef to be sandwich with hardy slices of roast beef on a french bread roll with a bowl of au jus sauce (beef juice) on the side, they were very disappointed.
While the sandwich was not really that bad, its presentation left much to be desired.
In addition, as I looked around the dining room to see how this new (to our menu) sandwich was received, I saw that very few diners had ordered it, preferring the standard chicken Cobb salad instead. Perhaps it was the name “French Dip” that turned them off. Knowing the aversion to strange sounding foreign food that many of the residents have, they probably should have just called it a Roast Beef on a roll. The side of chick peas were interesting though.  

And now, straight from the chicken nursing home......

Stewed chicken.

The reason that the above photo of last Saturday’s chicken dinner looks like it 

was ravaged by a pack of hungry wolverines is because that’s what it took for me to try to find a piece of that disgusting feed that was even remotely edible. This atrocity of a meal featured a chicken that tasted like it was brought to the kitchen on a respirator with a medicare card in its beak and a toe tag, it was just that tough and old. Adding insult to this already injured old bird was the way it was cooked, or should I say overcooked like everything else around here. Combine this together with the world’s worst tasting 
vegetable, cauliflower, and you got a meal fit for the finest dumpster in Yonkers. Oh, and by the way, sweet potatoes suck.

I’m only posting this story because of its “shock value” headline



When Nora Ephron at age 65 penned her collection of essays on aging, I Feel Bad About My Neck, she despaired: "Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth." And yes, back in 2007, crepey necks were the dead giveaway of age -- even with the best face-lifts. Cut to 2014, when experts finally have mastered how to youth-enize the neck, matching the shoes, if you will, to the clothes -- hallelujah.....



To begin....

Anyone who is a caregiver, a staff member, operator or manager of an ALF should be made to watch this film.
Any prospective resident or loved one of a resident who will be entering into or already is in an ALF should watch this film. It’s about life in an assisted living facility as a disabled person and the problems one encounters on a daily basis. But, most of all it is a film about dignity. It’s twenty minutes well spent. Click directly on link to view on YouTube.


Officially, summer does not end for a few weeks, but in our hearts we all know that Labor Day signals the end to the carefree lifestyle we have enjoyed the last couple of months. And for us here in the northeast, this summer season was particularly beautiful. For some reason, while much of the country has been either under four feet of water, blown away by tornadoes, boiled in record breaking temperatures or shake’d and baked by a passing earthquake, we here in the tri-state area have encountered the best weather in decades.

It seemed that there was just the right amount of rainfall, which came mostly at night, and just the right amount of brilliant sun with just the right temperature for doing everything we easterners rarely get a chance to enjoy, like a temperate climate. Bar-b-cues were never rained-out, beach days were always sunny and bright, and even the usual hot blasts of a summer wind was tempered by a gentle cooling breeze. Yes, we had all the good stuff this summer, which can mean only one thing. WE ARE GOING TO GET SLAUGHTERED THIS WINTER.

The Farmer’s Almanac, which has an 80% accuracy rate in its forecasts, says this about the coming winter around here..
“Winter will be colder and slightly wetter than normal, with above-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will be in late December and early and mid-January. The snowiest periods will be in mid- and late December, mid-January, and early to mid-February.” Of course the real question is, “Do I really care?”, and the answer is a resounding NO.

As a kid I would watch the weather forecast like a hawk. I would hope that the “Slight chance of precipitation” predicted by the weather lady on TV would turn into “Six feet of drifting snow” closing the schools for the day. As an older kid I would pray for less snow since I was the one who had to shovel the stuff from the sidewalks around my parents house. Later on, when I became a “commuter” I would pray for no snow at all, having knowledge of what the Brooklyn-Queens expressway would be like if even a trace of the white stuff fell on the road. Now, as I sit here in this little microcosm of an ideal society we call assisted living, the weather, the news and especially Labor Day has absolutely no meaning for me at all. Holidays, especially those that close one’s workplace, are for other people. People with jobs. People who wear suites or uniforms. This is not to say that I don’t celebrate the American workforce. Nobody works longer hours with less days off than Americans. The truth be told, we are crazy for work like no other country.

The Germans get a minimum of six weeks vacation a year no matter how long they have been with the company. The French, god bless them, work only a 35 hour week and go on strike at the drop of a chapeau. Only we crazy Americans (And the equally crazy Japanese) get only two weeks vacation and many of us don’t even take them. I left my job with six weeks of paid time off that I never used, although I did get compensated for them when I left. Not only does this Labor Day mean nothing to the residents here but it means nothing to most of the staff here too. Taking care of old people means that there are no holidays off, at least not for some. Someone has to be here all of the time. This place would fall into chaos if we were all left to our own devises. Can you imagine 170 old folks cooking, cleaning, washing and providing their own entertainment. It would be like..,like the end of the world. Just like there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no Labor day in assisted living.

Therefore, to the rest of you poor suckers, I say “Enjoy your meager day off. Stuff yourself on the burned flesh of a large mammal. Drink beer until it comes out of your nose and drive home in bumper to bumper traffic.” I’m just glad that I won’t be part of it.




It’s frustrating for us residents that actively participate in all the Center has to offer, to have to watch some residents sit all day in one place apparently not caring or even aware of what’s going on around them. These people never attend resident’s meetings or join committees or participate in anything. At first I just chalked this apathy off to boredom or sleep deprivation or just an uncaring attitude that these folks probably had all their lives. However, this article shows me that there may be a pathological reason for this apathy.

"Just as signs of memory loss may signal brain changes related to brain disease, apathy may indicate underlying changes,"

Researchers find link between aging brain and apathy

By Tom Valeo, Times Correspondent

Some people become calmer and less troubled by life's frustrations as they age.
Does apathy promote brain shrinkage, or does brain shrinkage promote apathy? The researchers don't know, but they point out that brain shrinkage is often found in people with Alzheimer's disease, suggesting that it could be a sign of brain deterioration.
Apathy also occurs in older people suffering from depression; .....

Captain Mike at the helm of what may be the last BBQ of the season


Annual Labor Day Downhill Rollator and Wheelchair Race

The administration has announced that, for the third year in a row, the annual resident’s Rollator and wheelchair race has been canceled due to insurance reasons. Although eagerly awaited upon by the residents, the wimpy management thought, that for some reason, having half demented, fragile octogenarians seated precariously on a small seat of a Rollator with poor handbrakes was dangerous. The bales of hay positioned at the bottom of the hill, which would have stopped any run-a way contestants, will, instead, be use to feed the horses of the Yonkers P.D. Mounted Unit...................................................Ed.


Necessity is the “mutha” of invention.

Not wanting to sit out in the hot sun on this unusually warm August day and, finding no seats indoors, I decided that my best alternative was to take my hot-off-the-grill Italian sausage back to my room. However, manipulating a constantly rolling tube of sausage around a flat paper plate with one hand and a cane in the other was a task akin to a circus act. Therefore, out of necessity, I have this 25th day of August in the year of our lord 2014, invented the “Cup-O-Sausage”®. Pictured here is the working prototype with standard yellow mustard. Future versions of the C-O-S ® will include ketchup, hot mustard and bar-b-cue sauce. Also in the works...”Cup-O-Hot Dog” and “Cup-O-Burger”.


We are not sure who the person or persons are who does this, but we are pretty sure it’s not a resident. Unfortunately, once again we have to remind people that the “drain” on the water/ice dispenser in the country kitchen is not a waste drain. The collected water does not empty out into the sewer, it stays exactly where it is. Leaving a mound of ice cubes in that tray or spilling waste water into it only causes the reservoir to overflow leaving a dangerous puddle on the floor. I think it’s time that management put a sign up on the dispenser reminding people not to pour water or ice cubes in that tray.  


“If you believe that you or your loved one have been subjected to medical malpractice, there are two things that you must do immediately.”


When you are under the care of a medical professional, you assume that you are receiving the best care for your condition. This same pattern of thinking takes place when you seek medical care for a loved one. You want to be tended to by someone who is knowledgeable and has a good track record of the treatment or type of procedure that you will be getting. However, there are times when the actions of the medical provider just seem to be questionable. You get that “gut” feeling that something is wrong. Do you listen to your gut? What do you do if you think the current care you are receiving is causing more harm than good?.....


Looking for more on retirement and beyond. Go to...


Ever wonder why older people sleep less?
By Karen Weintraub

People in their 70s and beyond seem to need so much less sleep than they did when they were younger. New research from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center may finally explain ....



Hand pain not inevitable with aging
Written by Brian Kilen

Chronic hand pain and dysfunction aren’t inevitable aspects of aging, but hands are vulnerable to injury and degenerative conditions after years of wear and tear. The August issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter includes an eight-page Special Report on Hand Pain, including common causes and strategies to alleviate, manage and even prevent hand pain.
Health concerns covered included arthritis, tendon and nerve conditions, trauma and infections. ....


Marijuana May Halt or Slow Alzheimer’s Disease Says Florida Study

THC in marijuana known to be potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties, first report that the compound directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels

By Anne DeLotto Baier

Extremely low levels of the compound in marijuana known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, may slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study from neuroscientists at the University of South Florida shows....



Driving Miss Crazy: Taking the Keys from an Aging Parent, or yourself.
Written by Mark L. Chapman

“I understand her desires, and respect her wishes. However, I have qualms and serious concerns about her resuming her to-and-fros, for her sake and for that of the motoring public with whom she shares the road.”

I've been talking to my mother (e-mailing, actually: she's a proud denizen of the digital domain). It's about her driving. Mom has been sidelined for a few months with a broken arm, and is chafing at the bit to get back behind the wheel of her little red Honda. She is waiting for the green light from her occupational therapist, anxious to reassert her independence.....



 Stun Canes for AARP Members, Senior Citizens and Baby Boomers Who Want to Get a Handle on Self-Defense via Affordable Tactical, Non-Lethal Protection Stun Canes

Stun Guns Are Perfect for People That Want to Protect Themselves Against Danger While Shopping, Traveling, and/or Driving Around Town and Help Prevent Assault, Carjacking, Robbery and Home Invasions.

Arc Angel Industries(, a leading tactical stun cane, stun flashlight, stun gun andstun stick manufacturer, announced the roll out of a new patented Stun Cane designed forAARP members, senior citizens and other active adults who will find comfort in knowing that they can use Conductive Electronic Device (CED) technology to defend themselves in public and at home against a wide variety of perpetrators....


Who wouldn’t smile with a breakfast like this. Two fried eggs over a mound of corned beef hash. Combined with a hardy bowl of oatmeal, orange juice and a hot cup of coffee, Carpe Diem.


Usually, my aversion to anything designated as “fingers” when describing food would preclude me from  even reviewing such a dish. However, since Monday afternoon’s offering of chicken fingers and home made Parmesan potato chips was the only edible thing on the menu, I decided to, not only eat it but offer my opinion on the thing. Amazingly, what I found turned out to be surprisingly good.

Instead of the usual soggy, overcooked fried fingers we have become accustomed to on previous occasions, today’s offering was, not only crispy and properly seasoned, but was tender and juicy as well. A swift bite into the perfectly fried battered strip of chicken revealed a moist slice of tender white meat. Additionally, the accompanying home made potato chips were, today, actually as equally crisp as the chicken. My only complaint is that there should have been a dish of honey mustard sauce available for dipping, but my old stand-by ketchup came to the rescue.

Question, if they can fry chicken like this for lunch, why can’t they do it for fish (or chicken) for dinner?


After a couple of mishaps with a previous meatball Parmesan hero sandwich, where the cheese part of the sandwich consisted of some sprinkled-on processed Parmesan cheese from a plastic jar (that we had to sprinkle on the meatballs ourselves no less) I was hesitant to try this latest offering. However, after being assured by the server that the cheese was in deed real, honest-to-goodness melted on mozzarella, I ventured forward and ordered it. Of course, true to form, the sandwich was far less that what I (and the world) knows to be a meatball Parmesan hero.

If you were ever in the service, you will be familiar with the saying, “There are two ways to do things, the right way and the army way.” Here, it appears, there is yet another way to do things, the “Westchester Center way”.

My primary problem with this sandwich was the bread. As you can see, the roll is not a regulation hero roll. It was nothing more than a regular Kaiser-type roll, better suited for cold cuts than hot sandwiches. My other complaint lies with the meatballs themselves. These factory made meatballs had absolutely no resemblance to an Italian meatball. Instead, they were more akin to the Swedish meatballs we had the other night, meaning that they were bland and almost completely devoid of Italian seasoning. Where was the oregano, the basil, the garlic for gods sake? However, the real shame here is that it would take no more effort to make this sandwich the way it should be made. All it takes is a cook that knows what their doing.


All last week the hot cereals like oatmeal, cream of wheat, grits and farina have suffered from a lack of thickness. As any died in the wool hot cereal lover knows, the golden rule when it comes to consistency is “thicker is better”. Therefore, when a bowl of soupy oatmeal is placed before me I can only assume one thing, “THE PENNY PINCING BASTARDS ARE WATERING DOWN THE CEREAL AGAIN”. Whether or not this is true I don’t know. At this point I will give them the benefit of the doubt and just attribute the looseness of the cereal to improper preparation methods. However, in an effort to properly (and scientifically) rate the thickness of hot cereals, I have devised the “Spoon Test” method of cereal consistency. The test is a simple one and can be performed by anyone and anywhere, all you need is a standard stainless steel soup spoon and a bowl of cereal.

Place the soup spoon in the center of your favorite bowl of hot cereal. If the spoon can remain standing on its own for a minimum of three seconds before toppling over, it passes the test. In fact, just this morning I performed this test on my own oatmeal and , low and behold, the spoon remained in the upright position for almost thirty seconds, far surpassing the three second rule. The truth be told, the oatmeal was so thick that it could have been used as an emergency caulking medium if your boat springs a leak. Actually, despite it thick consistency, the oatmeal tasted a bit under-cooked.

“Sentenced” to an ALF.....
Woman arrested for kidnapping father from assisted living facility

“Police received information that Vesenta Fierro had made comments in the past that she would assist Apolonio Fierro in committing suicide if he were ever placed in an assisted-living facility.
A 35-year-old Colorado Springs woman has been arrested in connection with the early Sunday morning kidnapping of her father from a local assisted-living center......


Naked bike ride ought to feature better representation for senior citizens
John M. Hingst,

Well, Missoula’s first tryout in the naked bike ride has come and gone without incident, and the younger generations were able to strut their stuff without quite bringing down Western Civilization. However, I am told that my fellow octogenarians were not well represented in the event. Next year, in fairness to our senior citizens, we could replace the bike ride with a well-publicized naked gurney ride, to provide easier access for all....


Happy Labor Day....................


Comments will be posted unless you say otherwise.


This past Friday marked my 69th birthday. And, while I have never made a big thing about birthdays, I feel that I should comment on this rather unwanted milestone. 

You see, the thing about attaining the age of 69 means that next year I will be seventy, and seventy means that I will truly be an old man. Nothing says “old” like “70.” It means that I will be beginning my eighth decade on this planet and, nobody in my immediate family, not my father, not my mother and not my brother has made it into their 9th. Therefore, according to my calculations and considering my pre-destined genetic code, I have about 15 to 20,years left to go before the sweet sting of death removes me from this twisted coil of a planet. But, perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. It’s too early to start worrying about the end when there is still so much crap to get through before that happens. Just the fact that I will be 70 next year is filled with trepidation of its own. Take, for instance, the way people start treating you when you are 70.

In 2010, the time of the last census, there were 4.2 million men between the ages of 70 and 74 in this country. That’s about 10.5%, which makes us old geezers a minority and, you know how minorities are treated in this country. At the very least, we become invisible and, in the worst case scenario, we will be treated with hostility and disdain because, unlike many countries that revere their older citizens, the U.S.A. hates us. We are called everything from “old coots”, “senile”, “out of touch” and my favorite “fragile” as if we were a warning label on a carton of Christmas ornaments from Walmart’s. If you don’t think that this is true, just listen to the news. Just the other day there was a report about a man being assaulted on the streets of Greenwich Village. The reporter began her story with “An elderly seventy-two year old man....” as if the number seventy-two was not enough, the reporter found it necessary to enforce the fact that the man was old by using “elderly”. I guess I could go on and on about age discrimination and the way people think about us seniors but that would be a waste of the little time I have left. I would much rather spend that time trying to convince myself that I am not getting older, just better. You know, more seasoned like a fine Bordeaux. I want to be able to look around at all of the Millennials and Gen-X’ers and realize that I know so much more about life and living than they ever will. I want to look back at them when they look at me with that condescending smirk, scowling at the wrinkles on my face, with a smirk of my own. A smirk that says, “You’ll be old like me one day, except that, instead of being older and wiser, you’ll just be old.”


How long will you live?

Check out this website....

 While I’m flattered that they think I only look 55 I am a little disturbed by their assumption that I only have a 56% chance of making it to 85. But then I guess it’s better than no chance at all.

Harvard Researcher on Aging: There's no 'limit on the human lifespan

By Katie Couric

My peers of a certain age will remember an Oil of Olay commercial about deciding not to grow old gracefully, but rather to "fight it every step of the way." And while we spend billions trying to turn back time, the Fountain of Youth has yet to be found at the bottom of a lotion bottle. But one researcher from Harvard Medical School, David Sinclair, believes the secret to stopping the aging process is closer than we think.....

Read more, see video...



“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”.....Kurt Vonnegut



Last week we spoke about how the most uptight firewall in the world prevented one resident from accessing a food related website. In response to that I filled out the form requesting that the designation of “alcohol and tobacco”* be withdrawn and replaced with the proper category number. Well, low and behold, it appears that Sonicwall has seen the error of their ways and has removed this website from its banned list.

*The mystery remains why “Alcohol and Tobacco” is considered to be inappropriate material for adults.


Ever since the Center converted to having two seating's for meals, there has been a large, unused space in the dining room and, we think it’s about time something was done about it. We think this space would best serve the residents if it were used as a lounge area where people could talk quietly away from the noise an transient nature of the Country Kitchen or lobby. It could be a place where residents could have a cup of coffee or tea, read a magazine or discuss the events of the day with fellow residents. There would be no card or board games allowed and no food except for beverages which would be dispensed from the already existing window. In addition, this area would be the perfect place for the vending machines which are now inconveniently located on the lower level. Owing to the fact that this area already has its own entrance, it could easily be separated from the rest of the dining room by a simple accordion door partition. Owing to the desire that many of the residents have for such a lounge area, and that the space is readily available, we see no reason why this could not be immediately implemented.


One of the primary goals of many of the long-time residents here at the asylum has been to acquire proprietary transportation in the form of a van or bus. As of now, residents must depend on either Satco vans (which provide us with only a few trips per month) or Yonker’s Preservation that graciously loans us their bus once a month for which we must pay. The only other means by which residents are able to get out of facility to go shopping, the movies or a restaurant, is to depend upon the very spotty service provided by Westchester ParaTransit, also not free. However, as I have proposed here in the past, there is another way that we can get our own transport and that is by having a van or bus donated by a local merchant or group of merchants that would like to be able to extend their customer base to a group of people who are ready, willing and able to buy.

I last proposed this in this blog a few months ago without any real precedence in the matter. However, I just came across a case that just such a thing was done, by Walmart's no less, in another community. Read story below..... 

Walmart Donates Van to Senior Citizens Center for Meal Delivery

The Area Agency on Aging has been awarded $30,000.00 through a Walmart Foundation grant for the Monticello Senior Center. The money will provide the center with a much-needed food service delivery vehicle and kitchen equipment.

Financial support is sought as many meals for seniors programs across the country are struggling to survive’ as the aging population continues to increase with more elderly in need of services.

The “Walmart Foundation Grant” is intended to help continue to meet the long term equipment needs of providing meals to seniors in Monticello and Drew County.

“Thanks to the Walmart Foundation Grant,” Betty Bradshaw, President and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging stated, “This grant will help in providing meals to many of our clients in need, and will truly make a difference for the seniors of Monticello and Drew County.”

Although, this van is used primarily for the transportation of meals, it goes to show that such a donation by a corporation is possible an that the Center should pursue this avenue as soon as possible.



...’nuff said?


Part 2

Fancying up the fare at retirement communities

By STACEY BURLING - Associated Press

Many of us think of food aimed at the elderly as the bland, dated stuff that might show up on an early-bird-special menu: meat loaf and mashed potatoes. So, it may be

 a bit of a surprise to learn what dinner was like on a recent weeknight at Normandy Farms Estates, a Blue Bell retirement community that is home to more than 500 people. Average age at entry: 80.

The menu at the Fireside Grille included marinated salmon on sautéed fresh spinach,.....

Read more: 

It’s not a rat’s nest or a shag carpet or an Angora sheep. It’s not an alien virus, although it does look like something from another planet. In fact, we don’t even know if it’s natural or man made. What we do know is that it has found a good home here at the asylum.

Taking on life, death and aging.

In last week’s blog we ran an article about Google’s new website. At that time it was not clear as to what its purpose was or even what the URL of the website was. This week some more information has come to light including an actual link to the new site.

While it’s still a bit mysterious, it sounds very promising.


Pour on the Salt? New Research Suggests More Is OK


New research suggests that healthy people can eat about twice the amount of salt that’s currently recommended — or about as much as most people consume anyway. The controversial findings could potentially undercut widespread public health messages about salt....

Read more....

A Great PDF download

With all the wild weather around the country (flooding, tornado's, forest fires) this year, it always pays to be prepared. New York State is offering this free download for people anywhere. It’s a great place to get started with emergency preparedness.

Download here....


Three Common Myths About Senior Assisted Living

Senior assisted living communities can be a great opportunity for seniors, as they are able to downsize into a more manageable space and avoid the hassles of living on one’s own, while still maintaining their independence. However, there are some commonly believed myths about assisted living that can make some seniors hesitate when deciding whether or not a move to an assisted living home is right for them....

Read all...

You Might Be a Baby Boomer if……….

You took family vacations in a “station wagon”.

You wore a tie-dyed tee shirt to your high school graduation

You ever “bet your sweet bippy” and lost it!

You vote, you’ve always voted.

You believe medicare and social security will cover your retirement costs.

You know you are a baby boomer if:

You are wearing reading glasses right now!

Read more:

If you qualify go to.....


To beat inflation, shop and save smarter

Deals for seniors on retail, health care and travel

By Elizabeth O'Brien, MarketWatch

There’s some good news on the economic front: wages are rising. Yet here’s the bad news: for workers, these increases are just barely keeping pace with inflation. Retirees on Social Security face an even tougher predicament: Their increases in monthly income have lagged behind the rise in cost-of-living expenses....

Read on...

Heterochronic Parabiosis: Reversing Aging With Young Blood?

Transfusions to older mice cause their hearts and muscles to rejuvenate.

The dream of rejuvenating the aged by the infusion of young blood is much older than anyone living. It is said that the Scythians thought to make themselves strong by drinking the blood of their enemies killed in battle. And Dracula kept himself youthful by drinking the blood first of young maidens visiting Transylvania and later of maidens in England once he had moved there....


Another one from.....

“Thanksgiving” turkey sandwich

I knew from bite one that this had to be ranked among the worst things I have ever eaten here at the asylum, or maybe the worst thing I have ever eaten anywhere. What possessed the chef to come up with this concoction I don’t know. However, what I do know is, IT DOESN'T WORK. What the thinking behind this monstrosity was I can only imagine. 

I’m sure that it sounded good to someone. After all, who doesn’t like turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. The only thing is, to put it all together, on rye bread no less, and serve it as a closed sandwich turns out to be absolutely disgusting. The combination of the sweet jelly-like cranberry sauce. the mushy stove top stuffing and less-than-fresh slices of turkey was more than my tongue, and my brain, could take. Not only did it taste bad , it was a tactile affront to my senses. Bread based stuffing on rye bread? To put it bluntly, crap is too good a word to describe that crap.


Eggplant Parmesan

....and there was sauce too.

It appears that, after hearing from residents that there was never enough sauce put on the pasta dishes served here, Chef Michael got to work immediately to remedy the situation. Not only was there more sauce on the eggplant we had for dinner last Tuesday evening but, the rotini pasta also was deluged with nice, hot tomato sauce. Why, in the past, there was an aversion to “pouring on the sauce” I do not know. All I do know is that the whole purpose of pasta is to be a conduit for the sauce. The very reason why pasta is shaped the way it is is to make sure the sauce sticks to it. Eating pasta without sauce is like taking a bath with your socks on. 

It must also be noted here that the eggplant Parmesan was made just as it should be. Not only was there an adequate amount of SAUCE but, there were multi-layers of eggplant and sauce and hot, gooey cheese. As long as they keep making it this way, I’ll eat it every time it shows up on the menu.


Last Wednesday’s lunch brought about the third, or maybe the fourth, generation of chicken pot pie to our tables. And, while other versions of this venerable offering have been less than successful, what was presented to us this time was, at least, an improvement.

Previous offerings of what should be a “no-brainer” dish have come up short in one department or another. Some were lacking filling, some were lacking the crust, some were very small in size while still others were almost completely devoid of chicken. However, this week’s adventure into the wonderful world of chicken pot pies was more of what a chicken pot pie should be. There was an actual crust both on top and on the bottom of the pie. The filling, although a bit sparse as far as I’m concerned, was at least edible with a fair amount of chicken. My only qualms with this latest variant would have to be that the filling tasted a bit too sweet. But perhaps that’s just me. 


I would have liked to  been able to say something good about this dish other than that there was more than enough meat stuffed into a tender, perfectly cooked pepper but, unfortunately I can’t. 

I would like to have been able to say that the sauce was nothing more than a blend of tomato juice and water or that the ground beef was nothing more than a tasteless glob of chopped meat but again, I can’t. Unfortunately, the inability of the cooks to know how and when to properly season the food has plagued this dish as it does so much of the food served here. There was none of the usual seasonings usually present in stuffed peppers. For instance, where were the onions, the oregano, the garlic, the basil or the celery. Even a dash of salt and pepper would have been appreciated. Instead, once again we residents who know what food should taste like had to endure food that has been brought down to the level of those people who wouldn’t know an onion from and olive. Perhaps one day we will get a cook who knows where the spice rack is.


Why it’s not a good idea to have a pond, a pool, or a lake at an assisted living facility.

Man's body, wheel chair pulled from pond at Perrysburg assisted living home

by Amulya Raghuveer

PERRYSBURG, Ohio -- The body of a 94-year-old man and his wheel chair were pulled from a pond at a Perrysburg assisted living facility Thursday morning.

John C. Voland was a resident at St. Clare Commons, 12469 Five Point Road. Perrysburg Police said officers found the facility's staff members attempting to remove Voland's unresponsive body from .....



Comments may be publishedunless otherwise instructed

A reader's e-mail says it all....

From a reader who wishes to remain anonymous...

“I volunteer in an independent living senior facility. I wanted to find out exactly how these places work. So far, I have discovered it's just like high school. No privacy, cliques beginning to form. Rules. lots of rules. I dread ever having to live in one of those places. Lack of privacy and having to make small talk around lunch tables is not for me I dread ever leaving my home for one of these places. Some are shiny and new with all sorts of activities touted. Well I have visited more than one cruise ship assisted living home, and not one resident, or shall I say inmate, was in the pool,bowling alley, sauna, knitting room or art space. What I saw was a bunch of lonely heads looking my way as I walked into the dining room. The whole time I was in these homes, I felt trapped, squeezed in and empty. It was like walking through the credits of a long sad movie. I realize that some seniors actually look forward to living in senior facilities where everything is taken care of, but I see it as being incarcerated. Most of my friends agree we don't want to leave our paid for homes unless we have to, and if we have to, we see nothing that fits our lifestyle so far. So what is the alternative to living in senior homes? The best idea so far is staying in your own home with assistance from outside help, as in a group of people exchange assistance according to their individual skill set. Other than that, I'd rather live in a tiny home on wheels. Alone.”

Resident-x replies....

While I understand your not wanting to leave your home and move into what you perceive as a stagnant pool of lethargic old people waiting for the undertaker, for some people living in an assisted living facility is better than where they are living now. Oft times the elderly are, if not abused out right, are subject to neglect and disdain by neighbors and relatives and coming to an A.L.F. means that they are in a place of relative safety with readily available services. 

As a resident of an A.L.F. myself, the way I have been able to adapt to what I consider to be not the most pleasant of situations, is by surrounding myself with things I like to do and finding a group of like-minded residents that I can carry on a meaningful conversation with. I fill my days by serving on committees and by being a thorn in the side of management whenever I can. I communicate with friends on the “outside” as much as possible and find solace in the little privacy I do have. However, there is an alternative on the horizon for those that may find the typical A.L.F. too restrictive. They call it “The Senior village”. 

The concept of a place where seniors can live, outside of any regulated health care system, and still be near all of the services that people with limited mobility and chronic health concerns need and want is something new. These places would have, within walking distance of the senior's residence, a medical facility, a general store, restaurant or communal dining room as well as entertainment alternatives like movies and games. They would also be near transportation or have proprietary transportation of their own. Such a “village” would afford the independently minded senior an opportunity to live as they have always lived and be treated with the respect they deserve and still have access they will most definitely need as the years go by. While this concept is not as yet widely available, the future holds bright for such an arrangement.


An anniversary not planned for.

This week marks my second anniversary here at the Center, an anniversary that I neither planned for or wanted. 

Two years ago this week, I walked through the doors of this facility feeling very alone, aprhensive and bent over my Rollator, a twinge of pain accompanied every step. I had just arrived from a nursing home where I had been a patient for nearly two years. There, I was attended to constantly. I had nothing to do but watch as somebody helped me get dressed, get out of bed and into a wheelchair where I sat all day until somebody else came and helped me back into bed. Fortunately, after months of grueling physical therapy sessions, I was able to do a lot for myself. It was then that I realized that I needed to be out of the nursing home environment and into a place where I could gain some matter of independence and more importantly, get my dignity back. So, it was on to something new. On to assisted living.

The term “assisted living” was new to me. I really knew nothing about it. All I knew was that I would expected to do a lot for myself. Something I had not done for months. Little did I know how difficult that was going to be. My first night here was a nightmare. The bed was lower than the adjustable hospital bed I was used to and just getting out of it was a challenge unto itself. There was no urinal jar which meant that I would have to make my way to the bathroom on my own. The next morning, racked with pain from an unforgiving mattress, I managed to get dressed (it only took me an hour to get my socks on) and make my way to the dining room for breakfast, somehow, I managed. 

As the weeks and months went by, I acclimated myself to the situation. I made friends and began to use a computer again. Eventually, the aches and pains lessened and the Rollator went into storage and, while I still need a cain to get around, I feel 100% better. And, I owe it all to the Westchester Center. 

No, it’s not the greatest ALF around, but it is far from the worst. It’s one of those places where it is up to the individual to make of it what they need to get out of it. For some folks this is easy, while others struggle every day. For me, well, I am thankful for what I have. I could be living over a subway grate somewhere waiting for the soup kitchen to open. Instead, I have a roof over my head, a few nice people to talk to, a quiet room of my own and decent, if not outstanding, food. What my future will be is anybody’s guess. For now, I am in the right place at the right time.


Another one bites the dust

Case Management loses another administrator.

We are now on our fourth manager in two years.

Residents feel they are being hung out to dry.

Addie, Vanessa and now Marilyn. The list of Ex- Case Management managers grows longer by the month. As of last Monday (August, 11) the latest person to take the helm of this Titanic of case management departments, has been made to walk the plank of unemployment. After only a little more than a month at the job, Marilyn can now be counted as a former employee of the Center. While the details of her dismissal remain, and will always remain sketchy, a disagreement with management is said to be at the cause. This is unfortunate for Marilyn, who we perceived to be a competent and more importantly, a compassionate person who was willing to go all out for the residents. It was probably this compassion and her inability to be a corporate toady, which led to her rather abrupt demise. Keri, who has been an assistant in the Case Management department for over a year, has been appointed as the new department head. As we have done to all of those who preceded her, we wish Keri and her staff the best of luck.

Note: As fast as Keri took over, that's how fast there was already somebody sitting at Keri's old desk. Evidently, Marilyn's firing was planned well in advance. I now believe that this facility will never attain its full potential as long as the tenure of its staff remains in flux. How can any facility hope to exist when the ability to hire decent staff is at question.


Once again the worlds most anal retentive firewall has deemed it fit to block a perfectly innocent website for no good reason. Evidently “Sonicwall” thinks that the Food Network’s Giada is too hot for old folks to look at. Or perhaps they think she’s doing something kinky with the guacamole.

In any event, here is what they are censoring. (obtained through the use of a proxy server).


The W. Center Slob Strikes Again

Not content with leaving their garbage on the patio tables, the W. Center Slob has moved indoors. Evidently, the four foot trek to the trash bin was too much for this resident to endure.


Although it was different and a change of pace, something we can all be thankful for, having a bar-b-cue in the evening presents some problems and it has nothing to do with the darkness. Unfortunately, it’s all about the timing. You see, here at the asylum, we have two seating's for meals. The early-bird seating at 4:30 and the second seating at 5:30. Although I think that both of these times are much too early to eat and confusing to many, combining the two seating’s into one seating for all at 5pm, as is done on theses special BBQ days, is even worse. 

The problem is that the 4:30 people start lining up for food at 4:45 (15 minutes after their usual starting time (because, god forbid they should have to wait 15 extra minutes to eat). This means that by the time the people who are used to eating at 5:30 and show up at 5 or 5:15, are out of luck. Such was the case last Thursday evening when, by the time 5:30 rolled around, all of the BBQ ribs, and most of the chicken were gone, leaving many of my fellow second seaters short. The solution to this is easy, when they say 5pm, mean 5pm and don’t start serving food until then. This would give everybody a fighting chance at the good stuff,


Not ready for assisted living? This might be of interest.....


Senior Citizens Who Walk Slowly Can Expect Dementia to Catch Up with Them

Series of research reports in recent years have dire predictions for slow walking seniors, including a shorter life

If you are a senior citizen and you walk very slowly, you have some things to worry about. The latest is a report from a study of 27,000 seniors age 60 or older that declares it can predict dementia in the future of those who walk slowly and have cognitive complaints. Another study early this year says slow walking seniors are less happy and have shorter longevity. In fact, a study of seniors in 2011 says how fast they walk is a better gage of how long they will live than trying to do a more complicated analysis of their medical condition and history.

The new study involving older adults on five continents found that nearly 1 in 10 met criteria for pre-dementia based on a simple test that measures how fast people walk and whether they have cognitive complaints.....

Read story....


Why do Americans seem to be so scared of a European/Canadian style health care system?

Dan Munro, knows some healthcare stuff...

In a word - fear - which is largely fueled by four things.

1.A false assumption (with big political support) that a system based on universal coverage is the same thing as a single payer system. It isn't. Germany is a great example of a healthcare system with universal coverage and multi-payer (many of which are private insurance companies).

2.A fear of "rationing" - which was set ablaze by Sarah Palin and her cavalier remarks about "death panels." The reality is that ALL healthcare (globally) is rationed - but other systems at least work toward a more equitable middle-ground. Our system is largely based on who can afford to BUY health insurance - and if it's provided through employment (about 150 million Americans) you're chained to your employer...

Read More.....


Senior Citizens 75 and Older Can Now Board Airlines a Lot Easier

Transportation Security Administration helping elderly free but others can move through check-in lines even faster… but it cost money.

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Most of us senior citizens who fly on commercial airlines wish for the good old days – the days before 9-11 - when airline boarding and travel was simple. Those days are gone forever but the Transportation Security Administration has taken steps recently to make air travel at least a little bit easier for senior citizens age 75 and older. And it is totally free!

Passengers 75 and older receive modified screening procedures as part of TSA's “overarching risk-based security methodology......"

Read more....

Ready to pre-enroll? Visit the TSA Pre-application website.


What’s going on at Google?

Google Inc.’s Mysterious Anti-Aging Company Calico Now Has A Web Presence

By Krystle Vermes, 

Last September, Google revealed Calico, a new company that focuses on health and the aging process. Now Calico officially has a website to provide more insight into what Google has in store for the healthcare industry. 

Although the website is just now receiving attention, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that it may have launched a few weeks ago. The homepage describes Calico as “a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan.” ....

Read more....

Editors note: I believe that in the future, we will depend on Google for everything in our lives.OMNICORP lives


Operators: Addressing Sex in Senior Living is a Balancing Act

By Emily Study

Senior living communities have long focused on resident safety — just not as it relates to their sex lives.

But failing to address issues related to sex among residents, experts say, can have widespread implications for senior living communities, particularly when it comes to handling memory care residents and non-consensual behaviors......

Read on....


Or...Where did my life go wrong

“The monthly fee for a one-bedroom unit with den starts at $5,100, plus a one-time entrance fee starting at just over $1.1 million. A two-bedroom unit with den costs $6,780 monthly, plus an entrance fee starting at nearly $2 million.” 

Check Out What Life is Like at Luxury Senior Living Communities

By Shelly K. Schwartz

The braised salmon was just delivered poolside with your favorite bottle of Bordeaux. Next stop: a trip to the spa, or maybe an art class, while your husband gets in 18 holes on the professionally designed golf course.

It's not a resort. It's home for a growing contingent of well-heeled retirees who may need help with housekeeping chores or personal care, but they aren't willing to sacrifice their taste for luxe to get it......



Senior citizens get good news

By Jim Beam/AmericanPress

Senior citizens who want Congress to keep its hands off their Social Security and Medicare benefits were given some powerful ammunition this week from the trustees who oversee both programs. The long-term future of both still isn’t good, but immediate prospects look promising.

The Strengthen Social Security Coalition and Social Security Works, two promoters and protectors of the programs, were singing praises after hearing the trustees say the immediate financial outlook is good.

“Today’s Social Security Trustees Report should give workers and their families renewed confidence,” said Nancy Altman, co-chair of Strengthen Social Security. “Social Security ran a surplus last year, is on track to run one this year, and has an accumulated surplus of $2.8 trillion. If Congress listens to the American people and requires millionaires and billionaires .....

Read more.....

News Release

Social Security Board of Trustees: No Change in Projected Year of

Trust Fund Reserve Depletion

The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2033, unchanged from last year, with 77 percent of benefits still payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund will become depleted in 2016, also unchanged from last year's estimate, with 81 percent of benefits still payable.

In the 2014 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

The combined trust fund reserves are still growing and will continue to do so through 2019. Beginning with 2020, the cost of the program is projected to exceed income.

The projected point at which the combined trust fund reserves will become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, comes in 2033 – the same as projected last year. At that time, there will be sufficient income coming in to pay 77 percent of scheduled benefits.

The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.88 percent of taxable payroll -- 0.16 percentage point larger than in last year's report.

"The projected depletion dates of the Social Security Trust Funds have not changed, and three-fourths of benefits would still be payable after depletion.  But the fact remains that Congress can ensure the long-term solvency of this vital program by taking action," said Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.  "The Disability Insurance Trust Fund's projected depletion year remains 2016, and legislative action is needed as soon as possible to address this financial imbalance."

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

Income including interest to the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $855 billion in 2013. ($726 billion in net contributions, $21 billion from taxation of benefits, $103 billion in interest, and $5 billion in reimbursements from the General Fund of the Treasury—almost exclusively resulting from the 2012 payroll tax legislation)

Total expenditures from the combined OASDI Trust Funds amounted to $823 billion in 2013. 

Non-interest income fell below program costs in 2010 for the first time since 1983. Program costs are projected to exceed non-interest income throughout the remainder of the 75-year period.

The asset reserves of the combined OASDI Trust Funds increased by $32 billion in 2013 to a total of $2.76 trillion.

During 2013, an estimated 163 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.

Social Security paid benefits of $812 billion in calendar year 2013. There were about 58 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year. 

The cost of $6.2 billion to administer the program in 2013 was a very low 0.7 percent of total expenditures.

The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 3.8 percent in 2013.

The Board of Trustees is comprised of six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor. The two public trustees are Charles P. Blahous III and Robert D. Reischauer.

READ MORE:!/post/7-2014-2


       OK, but will they end up here....

Former prison commissioner says let more aging inmates go

by Rick Karlin, Capitol bureau in General

It may seem counter intuitive that someone who spent his career running prisons would say this, but retired state Corrections Commissioner Brian Fischer believes there are too many aging inmates in our prisons who should be released.

“Why are we keeping people who are not a risk to society in prison?” ....

Read article....


Crime in Assisted Living: What Happens After

(Rachael Myrow/KQED)

When families place a loved one in an assisted living facility, there’s an expectation that if something goes wrong, there will be consequences. Mistakes will be addressed. If crimes are committed, they will be prosecuted. Or at least investigated by law enforcement.

But that’s not always what happens.....

Read article....


If one of your Medicare claims has ever been denied, think about this....

 Study: Medicare Pays Billions Of Dollars For Wasteful Procedures

As many as 42 percent of U.S. Medicare patients were subjected to procedures providing little if any medical benefit, costing the government program up to $8.5 billion in wasteful spending, according to a study published on Monday.

The research, reported in JAMA Internal Medicine, is the first large-scale analysis of what Medicare spends on procedures widely viewed as unnecessary, from advanced imaging for simple lower back pain to pre-operative chest X-rays and putting stents in patients with stable heart disease. The study looked at the frequency at which doctors used 26 such procedures in 2009.

It builds on the growing body of work in the field of evidence-based medicine, which applies rigorous scientific scrutiny to common procedures. Using that approach, oncologists, cardiologists and other specialists have identified several hundred questionable procedures as part of the "Choosing Wisely" campaign, which began in 2012.

Although many of the questionable procedures are completely useless (arthroscopic surgery for knee arthritis is no better than pretend surgery, for instance), some might benefit a very few patients.

Read article.... 


Robin Williams’ death highlights sharp rise in suicides among baby boomers

By Jackie Farwell

Robin Williams’ death from an apparent suicide has the nation talking about a public 

health problem we often avoid.

Suicide now claims more American lives each year than car crashes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 100 people die from suicide every day in the U.S. ...


Read article...

Every week we get new and often very bewildered residents who come here, sometimes against their desires. With so much in the news today about depression and suicide, I though it would be an opportune time to take a look into suicide amongst the elderly. 

Elderly suicide prevention: Focus on housing transition

By: BRUCE JANCIN, Clinical Psychiatry News Digital Network

“Older adults have the nation's highest suicide rate, but little research has been done on the epidemiology of suicide risk in these senior residential communities”

Transition to an assisted-living facility or nursing home is a period of high risk for suicide among the elderly – as well as an opportunity for preventive intervention.

In scrutinizing all 3,451 suicides among persons aged 50 years or older recorded in the Virginia reporting system during the 9-year study period, she was able to identify 109 suicides related to life in a senior community. Fifty-two decedents lived in an assisted-living facility or nursing home at the time of their death. Another 38 were getting ready to move into a long-term facility – and were demonstrably unhappy about it. And 19 Virginians over age 50 who committed suicide had a family member who had recently entered long-term care, most often a spouse.

Read more....


Stinkin’ Linkin’

Car Maker Lincoln Tackles Senior Citizens' Scent Issue 

According to World Car Fans, American car maker Lincoln has created a showroom scent called "The Essence of Lincoln" which is meant to enhance emotional connection to the brand, but also - and this is to be further verified - to mask senior citizens' smell...

Lincoln Essence has notes of green tea, jasmine and tonka.....

Read more at ..... 


When I first gazed upon what appeared to me to be just another half-hearted attempt at breakfast last Wednesday, I thought to myself  “It’s really only a slice of bread and a couple of bacon strips, not really much of a start to the day.” But then, I began to think, perhaps I am injecting too much of my own preferences into this review. Maybe it’s just me that believes that no breakfast is complete without eggs and that this is enough to eat for most people. Therefore, instead of chastising the food I have decided to just tell you about it. 

As a piece of French toast, it was not bad at all. It appears that the kitchen has switched over to a challah-type bread instead of whatever they were using before. This made for a much denser and tastier piece of toast which seemed to absorb the butter, egg and syrup better. However, I’m just glad I had a nice hot bowl of oatmeal beforehand. Otherwise this would have been just another meager breakfast. 


Fish and Cheaps: Arthur Treacher must be rolling over in his grave


Why Zagat is out of touch with reality.

Recently, Zagat’s, a dubious organization that purports to use actual diners opinions as basis for its reviews, published a list of overrated foods or restaurants that were just too "yesterday." This list included such concoctions as “The Raman Burger”, a hamburger and raman noodles on a bun, and the “Cronut” a combination of a croissant and a doughnut, amongst others. While I have never tasted the likes of those obviously looser foods, I have had my fair share of Nathan’s hot dogs both at the original location and at their franchise stores and for Zagat’s to say that Nathan’s “just isn’t cutting it anymore” goes to show how far the “snob stick” is stuck up their butts. Not only is Nathan’s the quintessential hot dog, it is the quintessential American food. The Lower east Side yuppies can keep their Crif Dogs, I’ll stick with Mr. Handwerker’s creation.

See entire list...



Why we will never be able to compete with the Chinese

# 3457 in a series


Chinese takeout containers are actually made to fold out into plates

The containers actually are meant to unfold into a makeshift plate, which you can easily reassemble into a box for storing leftovers.




contact and comments

All comments and emails are subject to publication unless you end with "Do Not Publish"

What I am about to say applies to not only for the ALF in which I am a resident, but for many assisted living facilities around the country. I am writing this as much for informational purposes as a warning. If you are looking into assisted living facilities either for yourself or for a loved one, take heed. All that glitters is not gold. Behind the crystal chandeliers, the well maintained grounds, the paintings on the wall, may lurk more than you bargained for. In addition, what you thought was a shining beacon of light at the top of the hill, a place where you will be with like minded people and be able to pursue all the freedoms that you were afforded in your previous situation, will, most likely turn out to be something quite different.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do not mean to say that these places are hell-holes or that the residents are mistreated in any way. In fact, the opposite may be true. There may be too much supervision, all to the detriment of those individuals who don’t need it and find it an abuse of their basic freedoms. Let me be more specific about some of these “surprises”.

Primarily, today’s ALF’s, have become an alternative to a nursing home. It is very important that you understand this. You must understand that many of the residents are there for a reason and not all of them are there because they just need “a little help”.

 The way ALF’s are chartered to operate today makes it impossible to deny admission to anyone who has been deemed fit enough not to be in a nursing home or hospital or hospice. All most people need is the ability to pay (either with insurance, cash or Social Security) and not to exhibit any overt signs of dementia or life threatening illness. However, the criteria used in one ALF may differ greatly from what is considered acceptable in another. It is this disparity that you must look out for. 

Essentially, many of these facilities have turned into dumping grounds for, not just the elderly or physically impaired but for demented, psychotic and seriously ill individuals with personality disorders and health issues that are far beyond the ability of the ALF to properly deal with. Take, for instance, the facility in which I am a resident.

Not a day goes by without seeing two, three, four or more residents being taken away in an ambulance. And , for ,many of them, this is not the first time. Some of these people have serious chronic illnesses and the facility and the one doctor they have here, is unable to treat them because that is not what they are here for. Unfortunately, many people who have elected to place their loved ones in these facilities are unaware of this practice and are dismayed when their loved one complains about what they perceive to be mistreatment, mishandling or neglect. On the other hand there are those residents who believed that they would be able to live their lives as they chose fit. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth. In most ALF’s the policy is "what is good for one is good for everybody." This means that all residents are treated as if they have they same abilities as the least able resident in that facility. Once again, I must use my facility as an example.

Because there are residents here that cannot, with good reason, be allowed to use a microwave oven or a electric coffee maker or even a curling iron, ALL residents, regardless of their abilities, are prohibited from having these appliances in their rooms. In fact, all residents are prohibited from using most all appliances anywhere in the facility without supervision. And then there is the issue of privacy. 

For those people who think that once they are in their rooms (or apartments as they are called in some places) that they can expect a reasonable amount of privacy and security, they are wrong. The management has, and will, exercise their right to come into your room anytime they want to to “check” on you or the condition of your room and to look for, and confiscate, all contraband items such as the aforementioned coffee makers, steam irons etc. In addition, residents are not permitted to have non-prescribed over the counter medications in their possession. Things like cough syrup, Advil, nasal sprays are also not permitted and will be confiscated. This has turned many of the residents here into moles or pack rates who have become quite adept at hiding things. 

When I first came here, this facility was a place where I was among mostly bright, mostly healthy and cognitive older individuals who were well dressed and alert and who, like me, just needed some assistance with my daily chores and medications. Unfortunately, to my dismay and to the consternation of many of the “original” residents here, this situation has changed over the last few months. It has become very apparent that the “quality” of the newly admitted residents has dropped dramatically causing a certain underlying turmoil among the residents. This turbulence manifests itself mostly in behavioral problems where confrontations between residents become part of the daily routine. Additionally, now more than ever before, there are more residents being admitted with advanced dementia and cognitive abilities. It is not uncommon to see un-escorted residents wandering aimlessly around the facility not knowing where to go for dinner or where their rooms are. There are residents here that do not have the ability to even use the elevator, know what time meals are served or where to go or who to see for assistance. All this, notwithstanding the fact that these people were supposed to have been “assessed” by professionals for their ability to acclimate themselves to the facilities rules and regulations. This is supposed to be an “ASSISTED LIVING” facility, not a constant care facility. And, it is just that which I am asking you to look out for before you decide on a ALF. Try to find out just what the criteria for admitting such people are and, if the facility has the ability to properly take care of these people. As for our facility, it has become quite evident that when it comes to who gets in, all you need is a pulse and a check. And I am not so sure about the pulse part.

Remember, as competition in the ALP industry increases, the need for more aggressive marketing strategies also increases. When The Center opened its doors three years ago, it was a sellers market and places like this could afford to be choosy. Now, with more choices for those seeking ALF’s, the need to be more discriminating has lessened. Therefore, it appears that here, as elsewhere, management is depending on the law to prop up its reasons for admitting everyone and anyone. 

Official W. Center website....

Editor’s note: One of the better articles that I have read on what to look out for in an assisted living facility is this one from the New York Post.....

10 things retirement communities won’t tell you

By Elizabeth O'Brien




By now, most of you know the problem I have with some of the residents here who for some unknown reason have forgotten the basics of daily hygiene. For the life of me, I cannot understand why at a certain age some people feel that it’s OK to forgo a shower for a few days or longer. Additionally, I cannot understand why those residents who use adult diapers use them like portable toilets and don’t change them immediately when they get soiled. Now, it appears that other people are puzzled by this phenomena too.

 Dealing with body odor, house smells

By Helen Dennis, Long Beach Press Telegram

Q: I recently visited my 85-year-old parents in their home. Both are in good health and quite independent. I noticed that both had body odor and the house didn’t smell so good. How do I tell my parents they need to tend to their personal hygiene — as well as their home?

— Y.N.

A: Dear Y.N.,

You are addressing a personal and important issue. Let’s begin by discussing possible reasons for odors related to older adults as outlined by Melanie Haiken, senior editor of

1. Closed windows: In later age, the body does not regulate temperature very well. Older people often feel cold; wanting to avoid drafts, they keep their windows shut. Others may feel vulnerable to intruders with windows open. Both are reasons that living quarters may be closed off, often leading to hot and airless rooms, which is great for mold and bacteria.

2. The cleaning problem: With age, it can become harder to bend down, stoop or kneel — all necessary to clean one’s room, home or apartment. To prevent falls, step stools often are avoided and, consequently, higher shelves are ignored. Without periodic thorough cleaning, dust and mold can accumulate, causing air to smell stale.

3. Doing the laundry: Throwing a load of laundry in the washer and dryer typically requires little effort. For an older person with limitations from normal aging, arthritis or other conditions, washing and drying clothes may require much of their energy or mobility. As a result, doing laundry may occur only occasionally rather than regularly. Odors can come from an open closet where clothes need washing or shoes need airing.

4. Sensory decline: The sense of smell diminishes with age, especially after age 70. Body odor, bad breath and unpleasant smells in the house may go unnoticed because of a lack of awareness rather than a lack of concern.

5. The saliva issue: With age we produce less saliva, which is why dry mouth is common among older adults. Saliva is a protection against bad breath, clearing food particles and bacteria. Snoring and mouth breathing adds to the dry mouth problem.

6. Not feeling thirsty: As we get older, the sense of thirst lessens. When you don’t drink enough, odors that emanate through pores become more concentrated. And with dehydration, one often feels cold, all the more reason to keep a room overly warm and the windows shut.

7. A bathing concern: With frailty or weakness, taking a bath or shower may be a lot of work. Then there is the fear of falling and not being able to get up. Sponge baths may become a substitute, and an insufficient one.

8. A smell of medicine: Taking over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause a chemical body or breath odor — and older adults take lots of drugs. According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, on average, individuals 65 to 69 years old take nearly 14 prescription drugs per year; those ages 80 to 84 take an average of 18.

A comment on body odor: Some research suggests that body odor among older people may be related to changes in their skin glands and the accelerated rate of cell decay. When cells die at a fast pace, they may give off a different odor unique to older people — all the more reason for good personal hygiene.

So what to do? Assuming you have a good relationship with your parents, a conversation might begin something like this:....

Read article....


free Plug


It has always been my belief that somewhere, out there in the antediluvian forests of the world, there is some plant, tree, fruit, animal or even bug, that has the cure for all the ailments of mankind and all we have to do is find it.

A “Miracle” Plant from the jungle and it ain’t marijuana

Analysis of African plant reveals possible treatment for aging brain

For hundreds of years, healers in São Tomé e Príncipe—an island off the western coast of Africa—have prescribed cata-manginga leaves and bark to their patients. These pickings from the Voacanga africana tree are said to decrease inflammation and ease the symptoms of mental disorders......


Does Coffee Deserve Credit for Boom in Senior Citizen Population?

Massive study declares coffee drinkers have lower risk of death; seniors have declared coffee more important that sex

No wonder the U.S. is being over-run by old people. Research from the National Cancer Institute and AARP says the senior citizens that drink coffee - 

caffeinated or decaffeinated - have a lower risk of death. Combine that with earlier research that says seniors had rather give up sex than coffee drinking and you have a an explosion of older people.....

Read Article......


Unknowingly, I guess I have been doing this for years and continue to do it. The second thing I do after getting out of bed is to boot up the old laptop and do a little writing and research....

Senior Citizens Should Schedule Mentally Challenging Tasks in the Morning

Older adults have ‘morning brains’ finds study showing noticeable difference in brain function across the day

Senior citizens facing a challenge that will require their brain to be working at its best should schedule it for the morning hours. A new study finds older adults have “morning brains.” They not only perform better on demanding cognitive tasks but also activate the same brain networks responsible for paying attention and suppressing distraction as younger adults, according to Canadian researchers....

Read article...

Older adults sharpest in the morning, study finds.

Canadian researchers used functional MRI to monitor the brain activity of 16 younger adults (aged 19 to 30) and 16 older adults (aged 60 to 82) as they did a series of memory tests while subjected to distractions.

When the tests were conducted between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., older adults were 10 percent more likely to be distracted than younger adults. But that gap narrowed when the tests were conducted between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., according to the study recently published online in the journal Psychology and Aging.

The findings offer strong evidence that older adults' brain function can vary widely during the day, according to the researchers at the Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care in Toronto.....

Read on....


Evidently, “Trickle-down” economics only trickles so far...

The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) Warns of Low 2015 Cost of Living Adjustment

PR Web

Social Security recipients may be in for another record low cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year, warns The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). The Social Security Trustees recently forecast that benefits would grow by only 1.5% in 2015 -- the same amount beneficiaries received this year. "A COLA that low further weakens the buying power of tens of millions of beneficiaries," says TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates. Yet COLA reductions remain a key proposal under consideration in Congress to reduce Social Security deficits.

According to a recent national survey by TSCL, the majority of Social Security recipients indicated that their benefits rose by less than $19 in 2014, yet their monthly expenses rose by more than $119 in 2013.

Since 2010 COLAs have been at record lows, averaging just 1.4%. That's less than half the 3% average during the decade prior to 2010.....

Read the full story at ....


If assisted living does not appeal to you, there is always “aging in place”. However......

Aging in place presents unique challenges


“Most of us, most of the time, just want to remain in our own homes as we age.”

Debra Street, professor and chair, Department of Sociology

As a large contingent of Americans retire and enter their senior years, many will choose to face the challenges of their golden years by “aging in place” — staying in their homes instead of moving into a retirement or assisted-living facility. 

Aging in place, however, presents unique challenges to Americans’ health, independence, psychological state and social lives.....

Read more at: ...


Senior Citizens, Medicare Reaping Big Benefits from Obamacare, $11.5 Billion Saved on Drugs.

New report says per capita Medicare spending growth averaged 2% over 2009 – 2012, and nearly 0% in 2013

More than 8.2 senior citizens and people with disabilities covered by Medicare have saved $11.5 billion since 2010 as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to data released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Obamacare was just yesterday credited with extending the life of Medicare benefits. This news also comes on the heels of continued historic low levels of growth in Medicare spending.....

Read article...,_Medicare_Reaping_Big_Benefits_from_Obamacare.htm


“According to the research, between 42-50 percent of the general population surveyed expressed a desire for these top four amenities –”

Seniors … What Do They Want in Community Amenities?

Now that Baby Boomers are the dominant home buyer profile for senior housing, they are sounding off loud and clear on what amenities they want. It’s no longer just about what’s inside the gates of the community, but also how close is that grocery store?

The traditional retirement community is still thriving. The golf course, clubhouse, concierge services and exercise facilities are still a requisite in retirement communities. However there seems to be a trend of retirees desiring to age in place in their current communities.

Research conducted by AARP discovered that the discerning retiree/senior, whether in a retirement community or aging in place, is looking for other conveniences besides the recreational or social.

So what are these savvy Baby Boomer buyers wanting in their new surroundings? According to the research, between 42-50 percent of the general population surveyed expressed a desire ....

Read article...


Assisted living...


This story came across my desk from KPBS in San Diago, CA. Anyone who has ever tried to find out information about a particular assisted living facility has met with little or no information. In fact, ALF’s are marketed more like cars or vacation property rather than places that you hope will take care of you or your loved one. Naturally, I had to add a comment which appears at the end of the letter...

Online Information About Assisted Living Facilities Hard to Come By

April Dembosky, KQED

Lorchid Macri wasn’t sleeping. Her elderly mother was wandering out of the house in the middle of the night, forgetting to turn the stove off. Macri had to keep watch over her 24/7.

“Dementia is a cruel disease,” Macri says.

She says the stress of caring for her mother was overwhelming. It wasn’t until she landed in the hospital herself — losing the sight in her right eye for 10 days — that she was ready to confront the fact that it was time to place her mother in assisted living.

“It’s gut wrenching to put someone that you love and who has cared for you in a facility with strangers,” she says.

Macri lives in central Oregon. But she wanted to find a home for her mother in Southern California where all of her friends and extended family live. Her search started where all consumer searches start these days: on the internet. She wanted to make sure the places she considered had no complaints lodged against them, no violations for neglect or abuse.

“There’s nothing,” she says. “You cannot find anything.”

Macri would have had to travel to a regional state office in Southern California and request paper copies of these reports. But from her home in Oregon, California’s website proved useless.

“I was dumbfounded at the fact that there were no methods to see if there were any reasons that I would not want to put my mom in any of these facilities,” she says.

She says the lack of meaningful information made an already difficult decision even more painful.

“You’re placing this individual that you love in a situation where you can only hope and pray that they’re going to be safe, secure, and well cared for.”

About a dozen states in the U.S. — including North Carolina, Florida and Ohio — make details about facility violations readily available online. California lawmakers say it’s an embarrassment that a state with the technical genius of Silicon Valley is so far behind.

At a press conference in January, Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) introduced a bill, AB 1571, that would require the state to build an online rating system where consumers can compare facilities on quality.

“We should not depend on Yelp when a loved one needs help,” she said.

The bill is one of several proposed assisted living reforms currently pending at the State Capital. Lawmakers will vote on it this month, but it’s unclear if they –- or the governor –- will sign off on the million-dollar price tag.

“I don’t see how we afford not to do this,” Eggman says, though she conceded that the political will to back technology projects is lacking. “There’s always more needs than there is money. And the state’s encountered budget problems for awhile now. So upgrading technology is not at the top of anyone’s list.”

Prior Attempt ‘Mind-blowingly Bad”

This isn’t the first time the state has tried to build a consumer website for assisted living facilities. Several years ago, the Department of Social Services (DSS) received a grant to help collect information from facilities that could be posted online.

“The result was mind-blowingly bad,” says Tony Chicotel, an attorney with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, an advocacy group that monitors the assisted living industry and is backing more than a dozen reform bills.

The site only listed names and addresses of facilities. There were no details on services, cost, or past problems.

“For consumers, it was completely useless,” Chicotel says.

Part of the problem was resistance from the assisted living industry. Most facilities refused to provide information for a website, partly because the technology deployed by the Department of Social Services to collect the information was so bad. But facilities also objected to publishing anything about their rates, says Benson Nadell, program director for the San Francisco Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

“They want interested parties to call up and have an appointment with their marketing person,”  he says, adding that some sweet-talking salesmen want to prey on peoples’ guilt around placing their parents in a facility. “It’s like buying a car, particularly the nice looking places. They are quite enticing. And suddenly, money is no object.”

Will Lawmakers Greenlight the Funding?

After more than eight years, the California’s Department of Social Services finally added a new feature to its website in June. It now lists the number of complaints and citations lodged against a facility, but doesn’t say for what.

“It lacks specificity,” Nadell says.

Nadell says a database is only as good as the information entered into it. And here California has another problem. Current law only requires inspections of assisted living facilities every five years — more frequently only if there’s a complaint. But there’s a constant backlog of complaints that haven’t been investigated. So a lot of helpful information isn’t even being gathered.

“Right now it’s pretty hopeless,” Nadell says.

The Department of Social Services says it’s trying. Chief deputy director Pat Leary says the agency wants to post more information online, but it’s hamstrung by outdated technology. The department uses Lotus Notes, a database program developed before the internet took off.

“We have an antiquated computer system that requires human beings to go in and collect data and create reports by hand,” Leary says.

A complete overhaul of the entire system is what’s really needed, advocates say, but the cost of that far exceeds what lawmakers are willing to spend.

So consumers like Lorchid Macri are basically on their own. She found a facility in San Bernardino that she thought ....

My comment.....

As a blogger and a resident of an ALF as well, I can commiserate with Ms. Macri. Here in New York, the NY State department of Health governs all Alf's and nursing homes. While their online website does list results of quarterly inspections it does not rate the facilities or give any other information about them. My suggestion to anyone who is in need of an ALF, is to find one nearby, take a tour, listen to the sales pitch and then, after the salesperson has left, find a group of residents and talk to them. They will tell you the truth.

from article at....


(c)2014 resident-x

Have a seat.......

Disgusting bird poop has been on bench for months.

It’s not as if we needed the seating, after all there are plenty of benches and chairs around the property to rest on. However, just the fact that there is one bench that cannot be used because it is literally encrusted with bird droppings goes to the fact that perhaps maintenance in this area is not what it should be. There are two possible solutions to this problem. We could try putting diapers on all of the indigenous birds in the area or, they could try doing a little power washing on the bench in question.   

Last week I complained that the carpets here needed a proper cleaning and that some other threadbare items needed repair or replacement. Well, while we are waiting for someone to respond to these inquiries, we would like to remind the powers that be, as well as the residents here, not to let things stand neglected too long . Here is a story about one facility who were not vigilant in this matter.

Health inspection closes kitchen at assisted living home

Canterbury Gardens, an assisted and independent living facility in Aurora, was forced to shut down their kitchen this week after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found serious flaws in sanitation and food preparation.

The inspection began after several complaints came into the department about Canterbury Gardens. The facility is cooperating with the health department by agreeing to "significant repairs and upgrades," said Randy Kuykendall, director of Health Facilities and Emergency Medical Services.

One resident who wished to remain anonymous said he's not surprised by the department's findings.

"Well, things are run down. The carpets are worn out, there are places that aren't repaired. The roof leaks and ice forms on the walkways," the resident said.

There is an ongoing investigation so the department could not elaborate on what specifically shut the kitchen down. They did say ...

See more....

Editor’s  note... Perhaps, some of last week’s message concerning how shabby the facility has become did get through. Last Friday we caught a glimpse of a little fresh up painting happening in the country kitchen. There is, still no sign of any carpet cleaning being done however.


What do lightening bugs do during the day?

Apparently not much according to this photo. I just happened to be passing one of the planters we have back in the garden level sitting area and came across this little fellow sitting peacefully on some plant of unknown origin. In recent years there has been a decline in the number of these photo chemical flying lanterns. As a kid, even on the steamy streets of Brooklyn, I remember seeing hundreds of these guys everywhere lighting up the night air. Perhaps they use the daylight hours to recharge their batteries.


Her name was Phoebe and, maybe it was because of a couple of posts here on this blog, or perhaps the Center finally came to its senses but, however how it happened, a milestone occurred this Sunday. For the first time, a regular session with a "therapy" dog was scheduled and by all appearances, the residents loved it.


(c)2014 resident-x

Mac & Cheese &...Succotash?

I am not a big fan of Mac and cheese, at least not the way it’s prepared here. I prefer the more traditional, out of the box, powdered cheese Kraft foods version of this old staple. However, in a pinch or, when the main meal does not appeal to me, I’ll force myself to go with the Mac du jour. Such was the case the other evening when the main course was the most dreaded Tilapia, breaded and baked no less. My disdain for W. Center Mac and cheese is only trumped by my hatred for Tilapia. In addition, my loathing of succotash outweighs any misgivings I might have about Mac and cheese. Therefore, when Mac and cheese AND succotash are combined on the same plate, you can imagine how PO’d I get. Why they decided on this detestable duo, I do not know. I quickly scooped the S-tash into an unused cup so it would be out of sight while I ate my Mac and Cheese. Some of you might say that this is petty and a waste of food and, you may be correct. But those probably are the same people who like macaroni salad and cucumbers and...succotash.


The origins of the Reuben Sandwich are not clear. One account holds that the Reuben's creator was Arnold Reuben, the German owner of the famed yet defunct Reuben's Delicatessen in New York City who, according to an interview with Craig Claiborne, invented the "Reuben special" around 1914. The earliest references in print to the sandwich are New York–based but that is not conclusive evidence, though the fact that the earliest, from a 1926 edition of Theatre Magazine, references a "Reuben special", does seem to take its cue from Arnold Reuben's menu. Though the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich may not be clear, one thing is. “A Reuben sandwich should always be made from corned beef. To do otherwise is not only wrong but, in some places, a sacrilege. Unfortunately, here at the Asylum past attempts at this sandwich, using off-the-wall ingredients have resulted in catastrophic results. Turkey Reuben’s don’t work. The consistency and blandness of the turkey does not go well with the sharpness of the sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The same goes for meats like ham or tongue. In fact, the only other meat that could possibly be substituted for corned beef would be Pastrami (a close cousin to corned beef). However, the long wait for a real Reuben has come to an end. Finally, after considerable cajoling, rancor and pleading, a Reuben, made the way Reuben’s should be, has come to the W. Center dining room, and it was good. 

The corned beef, though not as plentiful as one would get in a real deli, was lean and tender. In addition, just the right amount of Swiss cheese and sauerkraut and dressing accompanied the meat. All of this wound up between two slices of grilled rye bread and served hot. In short, it was right on. 


Paella, A mistake gone bad.

Last Tuesday night's dinner was a train wreck, a head-on collision, a building collapse, an Indonesian ferry disaster, a mid air collision. I could go on and on, and I will. This food thing they called paella was nothing more than a mish-mash of thrown together stuff that would have been better off never having met. While the combination of chicken and sausage dates back to the mid nineteenth century and is well accepted as a good way to serve a lot of people cheaply and well, the concoction prepared by our world renowned chefs here at the Asylum fell far from the mark. Where were the ingredients that make this dish unique. Where was the garlic, the onions, the paprika, the oregano and all the other flavorings that would have added flavor to the rice. They were certainly missing from this mess. And then too, where were the tender moist pieces of chicken and spicy chorizo sausage, not in our paella. Our paella consisted of one (1) dry hunk of chicken thigh and some bits of breakfast sausage mixed into an even drier tasteless mound of yellow colored rice. Even the gobs of hot sauce I spooned over it did not help. This was a science experiment gone horribly wrong and somehow escaped from the


They serve a lot of pasta here at the Center, and practically all of that pasta is covered with some sort of tomato based red sauce. There are probably a couple of reasons for this. First, red tomato sauce is by far the most popular, especially when served to a group of unsophisticated diners who have always had red sauce with their spaghetti and are afraid to try anything different. Next, anything other than tomato sauce is not easy to make well. One can either go with a cheese and cream type sauce as in a Fettuccine Alfredo or a white seafood sauce as in linguine in white clam sauce. There is, however, a third choice, a white sauce made with another kind of seafood, fish. Such was the sauce diners at last Wednesday's lunch were treated to. In place of the usual clam or shrimp white seafood sauce , Chef Michael substituted bits of salmon which actually worked quite well. The sauce was indeed creamy with a pleasant, but not overpowering, seafood flavor. I would have liked to have tasted a little more garlic, but that’s just me. All in all, it was a pleasant and surprising respite from the red.


Serving dry, overcooked food here at the Asylum is a matter of fact. For some reason, known only to the food assassins who inhabit the inner depths of that dark hole of a culinary nightmare called a kitchen, they just can’t seem to make the food any other way. With that being said, and with the provision that the cooks KNOW that the food is dry, I don’t understand why for the life of me, don’t they at least serve the food with enough gravy to mask the dryness. It was not until I asked for some gravy on the side and poured it liberally over that atrocity was I able to swallow the stuff. Oh, by the way. Hot open turkey sandwiches don’t belong over toasted rye bread with stale crusts. White bread would have been better.


I love my eggs in the morning, and I love them even more when they are chock full of good stuff. Good stuff like ham and cheese and peppers inside of a fluffy omelet. Combine this with some tasty home fries and perfectly toasted rye bread and I am in assisted living heaven. The one thing I pride myself on, when I cook, is that I make spectacular omelets. I can say, without equivocation, that I could not have done much better.



Transformed Celebs, Including Ryan Gosling, Beyonce & More Into Old People!

How a little age progression software see’s our favorite celebs.

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Comments and Questions

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“Where am I, politically?”

I asked myself that question after reading this headline online.

Two leading senior advocacy groups join together


“WASHINGTON, DC – The conservative voice of America's senior citizens "has just gotten a little louder," according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), and Michael Young, founder of Generation America, who issued a joint announcement on the combining of the two powerful senior advocacy organizations.”

So, where am I, politically? To which side do I lean when it comes to the issues of the day? The answer is not as simple as one might think, while I like to think that I am as politically liberal as I have always been, every once and a while I find that a conservative zit has popped out unexpectedly at an inopportune time.

When it comes to the way I dress or how I handle my finances, I know where I am. I dress conservatively and spend my money the same way. I have always been that way, leaning towards the “tried and true” rather than taking a risk on more trendy things. I never owned a Nehru jacket or leisure suite or invested in fly-by-night get rich quick schemes. However, on issues concerning the rights of individuals I am often conflicted. Take same sex marriage for instance.

On one had I feel that everybody has the right to love whomever they want and enjoy the benefits that are afforded to all married couples. However, I also feel that the official stamp of “marriage” should be bestowed on those only of the opposite sex. There is just something so endearing and intimate and wonderful about that very special bond a man and a women have and, while the same feelings may be attributed to same sex couples, I can’t get past that feeling that something is not as it should be. Then there is the subject of illegal aliens.

I feel for everybody that wants to be free to enjoy the wonderful things that this country has to offer like our Constitution which guarantees the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all American citizens. Unfortunately these rights were fought for and paid for by my forefathers, some of whom died to protect those rights and I don’t want someone who just decided he doesn’t like where he lives to enjoy those rights by illegally sneaking into our country. I always ask myself “If they don’t like what’s going on where they come from, why don’t they fight for change like we did over 200 years ago.” It’s what I like to call the Rosie Ruiz rule. If you remember, Ms. Ruiz was a marathon runner who inserted herself into the group of leading runners in both the NY Marathon in 1979 and the Boston Marathon in 1980 and then claimed victory even though she did not run the whole race. The same analogy goes for illegal immigrants. Why should they have the same advantages as those of us who were here from the beginning, who paid our taxes for 50 years, who served in our military and voted for our legislators? You can’t enter the race in the middle and expect to get a medal.

I also believe that women should have a right to have a say in what is done to their own bodies but on the other hand, I don’t believe in abortion as a substitute for birth control. I am all for the legalization of marijuana but I don’t want to be in a car with someone who has a joint hanging from his lips. This has caused me to come to this conclusion. Although I consider myself a liberal, my liberalism has been tempered somewhat over the years. I guess you can say that, in my old age, I have become a moderate and, if that that sounds wishy-washy so be it. I consider it to be “flexible”. One has to realize that there is no black and white, only gray and that it is alright to be conservative on some issues and liberal on others. I fact, If we were all a little less rigid and a bit more wishy-washy, the world might be in better shape.

(c) 2014 resident-X

Why they won’t clean the carpets.

Any resident that has lived here for a while is aware of the deteriorating condition of the facility . After only about three years in operation the physical plant is beginning to show signs of wear, tear, and neglect. At first glance some of this neglect may not be noticeable. However, upon closer examination, one quickly becomes aware of the reality. The facility has become a nightmare of oversight and indifference, manifested most noticeably in the carpeting. 

In order to give the place the feeling of a hotel/residence rather than a health care facility, wall to wall carpets were installed throughout the building, a nice touch indeed. Unfortunately, the need for this carpeting to be shampooed on a regular basis has been lost somewhere in the corporate mindset. In fact, the only piece of carpet that gets a regular scrubbing is that one section strategically located at the main entrance where visitors are greeted. Evidently, the management doesn’t believe that there are actual human beings living here and would like to be able to reap the benefits of clean carpets and a cleaner facility in general. So, what’s the big deal with cleaning the carpets? I’ll tell you.

During the day there are almost 200 people roaming about this place involved in various activities.In order to get to those activities one must walk on the carpets and use the elevators which makes cleaning them during prime use hours (7am-9pm) difficult. Therefore, the only practical time to thoroughly clean the carpets etc. Is during the overnight shift and, in that lies the problem. Since the regular shift for maintenance ends at 7pm, any work done after that time is considered overtime and overtime equals $$$, hence dirty carpets. Stupidly, what management does not understand is that by maintaining the carpets, vis-à-vis shampoo, the carpets will not only look better but last longer too as dirt is the number one reason why carpets wear out. Therefore, we can expect that until holes start to appear in the carpeting or the Board of Health condemns the place, we will just have to live with the schmutz.

And then there’s this...

On the surface, the outdoor BBQ held last Wednesday would appear to be just another brief respite from the mundane lunches served daily here at the Asylum. However, after some investigation which included a brief walk inside the facility that day I found that the reason for the rather impromptu outdoor festivities was not so much for the entertainment and edification of the residents but rather that management wanted us out of the building for a few hours. But why, you ask? There may be a couple of reasons. One of which is a fact and the other, for now, a rumor.

The “fact” part results from the maintenance crew doing a quick spruce-up of the main floor including shampooing the little carpet at the entrance to washing ALL the tiled floors including the country kitchen. A veritable army of Mike Acevedo’s crew swarmed all over the main floor polishing and vacuuming. (not shampooing). Everything in sight. They even moved the couches to clean underneath them, something I have never seen done here before. At first I was bewildered by this sudden need for cleanliness until I discovered one of the reasons. I appears that today, in the auditorium, a seminar of some kind was being held and attended by out of town guests. Naturally, management wanted these people to see all of the nice clean tinsel. And, of course, there is a bonus. By having us disgusting, smelly, disabled and sometimes quirky residents nicely out of the way munching happily on our overcooked hamburgers, dried out hot dogs (without sauerkraut I might add) and lukewarm soft drinks, there would be no possibility of those visitors ever coming in contact with us. But there may be yet another reason for the clean-up.

For days, rumors have been flying around here attaining to the fact that there may have been a shift or change of some kind in the facilities management. As I said, this is only an unverified rumor from a source that has, in the past, been accurate.

Treating us like little children who are best left out of those important grownup decisions as if we don’t matter makes me mad as hell.


Some residents still don’t get the message

While I can understand that it is difficult for some of our residents who smoke to travel all the way down to the garden level and then outside to light up, it is even more of an inconvenience for those of us who do not smoke to have to put up with the foul odor of cigarette smoke. It is especially annoying when that smoking is done in the one place that should be a refuge from indiscriminate clouds of noxious smoke, the patio. Last Wednesday morning, the familiar scent of burning tobacco from a clandestine cigarette wafted across the patio, where I was sitting. I turned around to see one of our residents, sitting on a bench, happily puffing away. At first, I felt like telling her, in no uncertain terms, to put the damn thing out. However, after thinking twice, and not wanting to get into an argument, I thought better of it, this time. All I can say to people who insist on smoking where they are not supposed to is this. "You are low-life swine who care nothing about your health or worse, you care nothing about the heath of others around you." 


It’s not often that I have the opportunity to say something good about a particular department let alone two departments but, this week I have decided to break with tradition and give long overdue accolades to two departments here at the Center.

While the maintenance department usually is the best run department in the facility, equal praise must be given to the housekeeping staff who, in recent weeks, has improved considerably. Although there are still some problems with weekend (housekeeping) staffing, overall things have been much better. Besides doing a more thorough job, quickly and professionally, there has been a marked improvement in courtesy and respect for privacy. 

(c)2014 resident-X


Many seniors are well aware that they may not be getting the nutrition they need. For some reason, known only to our maker, as we grow older our appetites wane. We not only eat less, but have a tendency to eat the wrong foods (perhaps 60 years of broccoli is enough). With that in mind, the consuming of vitamin and mineral substitutes have been an important part of our daily routine with most of us on some vitamin regime. However, overloading ourselves with stuff we don’t need may actually have negative results. 

5 vitamins and minerals that are actually worth taking

Science tells us that taking most vitamins is worthless -- but here's a few that buck the trend


Recently, a number of studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine underscored a fact that scientists have become increasingly sure of: The vast majority of vitamins and mineral supplements are simply not worth taking. “Enough is enough: stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements,” declared an editorial that was published in the issue.

This goes for a tremendous range of supplements that you might imagine to be beneficial. Multivitamins don’t reduce the chance of cancer or cardiovascular disease. Controlled, randomized studies—where one group of people take supplements and another takes placebos, and the groups are compared—have produced little evidence that antioxidants protect against cancer. Study after study has shown that vitamin C does nothing to prevent common cold, a misbelief that dates to a theoretical suggestion made by a scientist in the 1970′s.

Of course, our bodies do need these vitamins to live—it’s just that the diet of most people who live in developed countries in the 21st century already includes them in abundance. In many cases, taking high amounts of them in a refined form (especially vitamins A, C and E and beta carotene) can actually be harmful, increasing the risk of cancer and other diseases by excessively inflating the concentration of antioxidants in the body.

Nevertheless, there are a handful of vitamins and supplements that, studies suggest, are actually worth taking for people with specific conditions. Information is Beautiful, a data visualization website, has a thought-provoking interactive that shows supplements charted by the strength of evidence that indicates they’re beneficial. Here’s our rundown of some of the most promising. 

Vitamin D

Of all the “classic” vitamins—the vital organic compounds discovered between 1913 and 1941 and termed vitamin A, B, C, etc.—vitamin D is by far the most beneficial to take in supplement form.

A 2008 meta-analysis (a review of a number of studies conducted on the same topic) of 17 randomized controlled trials concluded that it decreased overall mortality in adults. A 2013 meta-analysis of 42 randomized controlled trials came to the same conclusion. In other words, by randomly deciding which participants took the supplement and which didn’t and tightly controlling other variables (thereby reducing the effect of confounding factors), the researchers found that adults who took vitamin D supplements daily lived longer than those who didn’t.

Other research has found that in kids, taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the chance of catching the flu, and that in older adults, it can improve bone health and reduce the incidence of fractures.

Of course, even though they’re widely recognized as the best way to test a treatment’s effectiveness, randomized controlled trials have limitations. In this case, the biggest one is that these studies can’t tell us much about the mechanism by which vitamin D seems to reduce mortality or provide other health benefits. Still, given the demonstrated benefits and the fact that it hasn’t been shown to cause any harm, vitamin D might be worth taking as a supplement on a consistent basis.


A mounting pile of research is showing how crucial the trillions of bacterial cells that live inside us are in regulating hour health, and how harmful it can be to suddenly wipe them out with an antibiotic. Thus, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that if you do go through a course of antibiotics, taking a probiotic (either a supplement or a food naturally rich in bacteria, such as yogurt) to replace the bacteria colonies in your gut is a good idea.

In 2012, a meta-analysis of 82 randomized controlled trials found that use of probiotics (most of which contained bacteria from the Lactobacillus genus, naturally present in the gastrointestinal tract) significantly reduced the incidence of diarrhea after a course of antibiotics.

All the same, probiotics aren't a digestive cure-all: they haven’t been found to be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome, among other chronic ailments. Like most other supplements that are actually effective, they’re useful in very specific circumstances, but it’s not necessary to continually take them on a daily basis.


Vitamin C might not do anything to prevent or treat the common cold, but the other widely-used cold supplement, zinc, is actually worth taking. A mineral that’s involved in many different aspects of your cellular metabolism, zinc appears to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the microbes that cause the common cold.

This has been borne out in a number of studies. A 2011 review [PDF] that considered 13 therapeutic studies—in which patients who’d just come down with the common cold were given zinc supplements, and compared to those who’d been given a placebo—found that the mineral significantly reduced the duration of the cold, and also made symptoms less severe. So if you feel a cold coming on, avoid overdosing on vitamin C, but take a zinc lozenge or pill to get better sooner.


Also known as vitamin B3, niacin is talked up as a cure for all sorts of conditions (including high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and headaches) but in most of these cases, a prescription-strength dose of niacin has been needed to show a clear result.

At over-the-counter strength, niacin supplements have only been proven to be effective in helping one group of people: those who have heart disease. A 2010 review found that taking the supplement daily reduced the chance of a stroke or heart attack in people with heart disease, thereby reducing their overall risk of death due to a cardiac event.


Garlic, of course, is a pungent herb. It also turns out to be an effective treatment for high blood pressure when taken as a concentrated supplement.

A 2008 meta-analysis of 11 randomized ......

Read entire article.....

Remember, before starting or changing any vitamin regime, allways consult your health care professional.


Hey, all you hep cats out there, Are you jiggy with it yet. Are all of you dudes and dudettes out there hip to the jive. Do you think everything is “Da Bomb”. Like when you do the text or twitter or IM thing on you smarty phone are you still using up all of those precious characters by actually spelling out all of the words. When you text your kids or grand kids do you wonder why they don’t reply. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand the language you are using, English. Therefore, as a public service we present.... 

33 Cool Abbreviations You Should Know (JIC You Didn't Already)

The Huffington Post  | By Hadley Walsh

BYOB, OMG, and FYI are just soooo yesterday. New abbreviations pop up on social media every second, so it's normal to feel lost and confused about the origin and correct usage of letters like “JIC” (just in case).

So we’re here to help you learn 33 acronyms floating around. Behold, the DoMA (Dictionary Of Modern Abbreviations):

Note: One major difference between the out-of-style acronyms of 10 years ago and the new, hip ones is that acronyms are no longer always used in place of the words they stand for. Instead, the acronym can become a name of the thing it is referencing, for example:

  • .BAE: Before Anyone Else. Instead of saying, “My love comes BAE,” one might say, "My BAE and I are staying in tonight." The acronym stands as a complete symbol of what each letter actually stands for. I know, doesn’t make a lotta sense. Just go with it.

  • Now, on to the rest of the list:
  • .FaTH: First and Truest Husband. But it doesn’t necessarily refer to one’s actual husband.
  • .
  • Ex. “This relationship has been so incredible, you’ll always be my FaTH.”
  • .IRL: In Real Life. It's usually used to refer to someone you speak to over the Internet but haven’t actually met.
  • Ex. "Your blog post was so interesting, I would love to meet you IRL."
  • .TBH: To Be Honest. This is often said after something controversial.
  • Ex. "I just don't really like cupcakes anymore, TBH."
  • .OTP: One True Pairing. These are two characters that you feel are meant to be together.
  • Ex. “Sookie and Eric are my OTP.”
  • .DFTBA: Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. Popularized by John Greene and Brothers Hank, the meaning is self explanatory.
  • Ex. “See you later, DFTBA!”
  • .RT: Re-tweet. This one's not so new but maybe confusing to non-twitter users. It means someone has essentially re-posted your tweet for their followers to see.
  • Ex. “RT @personwhotweeted: I love acronyms!”
  • .OAN: On Another Note. It's mostly used in informal emails.
  • Ex. “Hi Grandma! School’s been great, but OAN we’re getting a puppy!”
  • .IMO or IMHO: In My (Humble) Opinion. This is used usually in the comments section on websites.
  • Ex. “I liked this article, but IMO, there should have been more emphasis on why he didn’t get the rose.”
  • .DAE: Does Anyone Else. It's used to frame a question.
  • Ex. “DAE sometimes dip their pasta in ketchup?”
  • .FTW: For The Win. This one is meant to emphasize the end of a comment, sometimes sarcastic.
  • Ex. “It’s pouring out today, wet socks FTW!”
  • .YSK: You Should Know. Use this to provide context about something you’re posting.
  • Ex. “We had a family dinner, and YSK we rarely get together as a family.”
  • .HMU: Hit Me Up. It's like saying contact me, but with a little flair.
  • Ex. “You’re kinda cute…feel free to HMU.”
  • .IANAD: I Am Not A Doctor. It's almost like a disclaimer if you’re going to say something bordering on medical advice.
  • Ex. “IANAD, but wouldn’t doing a juice cleanse slow your metabolism?”
  • .SMH: Shaking My Head. Said to express disappointment.
  • Ex. “You got another fedora?! SMH.”
  • .WDYMBT: What Do You Mean By That? This ones cool ‘cause its actually a full sentence.
  • Ex. “WDYMBT?”
  • .LMK: Let Me Know. A very relaxed way of asking for information.
  • Ex. “Alright if you find it LMK, no rush.”
  • .BTAIM: Be That As It May. For very specific acronym users to make a formal argument in an informal context.
  • Ex. “BTAIM, I still need to have the shoes shined.”
  • .ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5 (years old). This one is often seen on Reddit, and it's used to ask a question about a complex idea.
  • Ex. “ELI5, how does gravity work?”
  • .ASL: Age/Sex/Location. Another oldie, typically used in an anonymous context, often starting an interaction.
  • Ex. “Hey. ASL?”
  • .MTFBWY: May The Force Be With You. Borrowed from "Star Wars," it's another way of saying good luck.
  • Ex. “MTFBWY on your date tonight.”
  • .GTR: Getting Ready. This one is counter-intuitive 'cause you wouldn’t think "get" and ‘ting’ would be two different words, but alas.
  • Ex. “I’ll be there soon, GTR now.”
  • .FUTAB: Feet Up, Take A Break. So it’s not just a regular break, its like a really relaxed break.
  • Ex. “One more hour till the weekend, I think I deserve a FUTAB.”
  • .FTFY: Fixed That For You. This is used in Internet comments to correct the grammar of a person that commented earlier, or can be used to be funny.
  • Ex. “‘Staying up all night will be a great idea!’ ‘Staying up all night will be a horrible idea! FTFY.’”
  • .TL/DR: Too Long/Don’t Read. Often written in a comment, if a person writes a post that is extremely long, they may end the post with TL/DR, and then provide a quick summary.
  • Ex. “TL/DR Basically just had a bad day.”
  • .TIL: Today I Learned. It may start a post on Facebook or Reddit, and is used to introduce new information.
  • Ex. “TIL people use their whole brain, not just 10%.”
  • .TIFU: Today I Fudged Up. Often seen on Reddit, it's used to explain that you messed up trying something.
  • Ex. “TIFU trying to flirt.”
  • .NSFW: Not Safe For Work. This signifies that a post or article is typically inappropriate for the workplace.
  • Ex. “This video contains nudity, NSFW.”
  • .NSFL: Not Safe For Life. Alternatively, some things are just gross in general so a post might let you know that before you click.
  • Ex. “This photo features dead bugs, NSFL.”
  • .MCM: Man Crush Monday. Monday is a day to Instagram the man you have a crush on.
  • Ex. “Gotta love Leo. #MCM.”
  • .WCW: Woman Crush Wednesday. Wednesday is a day to Instagram the woman you have a crush on.
  • .TBT: Throw Back Thursday. You probably know this one by now but it's worth clearing up just in case -- it’s when you Instagram a picture from a while ago on a Thursday.
  • Ex. “I’m gonna TBT this picture of myself holding a monkey at the zoo.”
  • .FBF: Flash Back Friday. Did you forget to throwback on Thursday? Have no fear, you have another shot on Friday.
  • .Ex. “‘I know it’s not Thursday but can I insta this picture of me in kindergarten?’ ‘Sure, just do a #FBF instead!'"

Disclaimer: Many of these acronyms have alternate definitions, these are just some new ways they’re being used around the Internet.



Hike in minimum wage would benefit senior citizens

BY WAYNE BURTON / Special to the Sunday News

According to our American values, people who work hard and play by the rules should not have to live and retire in poverty.

The current generation of workers face a looming retirement security crisis, which is not helped by the fact that many who work full time still make a poverty wage. Raising the minimum wage would not only benefit these low-wage earners, but it would also benefit senior citizens — now and in the future. That is why the organization I lead, the PA Alliance for Retired Americans, endorses an increase in the minimum wage.

Current projections about the future of the Social Security trust fund are made with certain assumptions in mind, such as economic growth, job growth and wage growth (or lack thereof). If we increase wages for millions of low-wage workers making less than $10 an hour, that will mean more revenue for the Social Security system, and likely a  rosier financial picture for its future.  Yes, it also will mean higher future payments to those workers. But we have seen that economic booms and downturns always affect Social Security's solvency. More jobs and more revenue will certainly help shore up the system, just as higher than expected economic growth in the past has added years to Social Security's solvency.

Of course, a minimum-wage increase will have the greatest impact on the next generation of retirees — today's workers. Under the current minimum wage, a lifetime minimum- wage worker who retires early at the age of 62 will receive $686 per month.  (A likely scenario, because minimum wage jobs tend to be too demanding for workers in their 60s, meaning that they will be more likely to retire before age 67 and incur the penalty for doing so.)

How can we expect someone to pay their mortgage, utility bills, out-of-pocket health care costs and other expenses with this low ....



Read these excerpts from this story by a Dennis Miller of concerning the minimum wage.

Rising Minimum Wage Could Create a Scary Scenario for Senior Citizens

Greedy corporations is the reason why they don't want to see a rise in the minimum wage.

"Minimum wage increases and the accompanying price hikes disproportionately affect seniors as a group. If you’re still working, your wages should increase with prices. But if you’re not, your income might not keep up, particularly if you depend on Social Security. Simply put, Social Security’s cost of living increases do not keep up with, well, the cost of living. Each time minimum wages go up, they push the buying power of a fixed income down."

"...retailers have to cut back to cover minimum wage increases as best they can. My wife and I recently went into a fast-food restaurant and stood in line for 10 minutes. Talk about a redefinition of fast food: McDonald’s reported in April that their same-store sales rose 1.2%, and yet their lines and wait times have increased a lot more than that."

Now let me tell you why I have a problem with this....

While the authors assumption .....

- See more at:


(c)2014 Resident-X

Every once and a while we get comments from readers who are concerned that I am not eating well.

I know that there is an aversion here to any food that is enclosed in a wrap, burrito, taco or tortilla. Past meals which included these universally accepted bread substitutes have met with residents rejecting them to the point where they will remove whatever is inside and discard the wrap. However, here is an item that is more akin to lasagna than anything Mexican and, it includes everything that has become so beloved here at the Asylum such as tomato sauce, chicken and cheese. In addition it is a dish that can be made in advance and reheated. 

For a recipe...Read more at:

Seeing how the waffles served here at the Asylum are always served cold, are smaller than a playing card and, in general, useless as food, I thought I would have some FOOD FUN this morning. I call this “Groucho Waffle”.

“Wow”, I said, goose liver paté for dinner. Of course I was being factitious, I knew it wasn't paté. However, the way this stuff was presented to us, it was barely meatloaf. The above photo shows exactly how the turkey meatloaf dinner was served to me. There was not a drop of gravy anywhere to be seen and the meat was cold. Naturally, I sent it back to have it warmed up and have some gravy ladled on it. After an additional gallon of ketchup and little salt and pepper, I finally got it to taste somewhat like meatloaf. But the real problem does not lie in the way it tastes but rather in the lack of caring in what comes out of that clown kitchen. To serve a meal that looks as unappetizing as this one did, is not just a shame but borders on the criminal. While I won’t go as far as saying that there is a case of elder abuse going on here, I will say that the way food is served certainly exhibits a degree of disdain and loathing for us residents. 

Despite the fact that I am trying to cut down on the pasta (I put on 4lbs last month), I cannot resist my favorite pasta dish, plain old spaghetti with meat sauce. A meal like this used to be one of my favorite go-to dishes when there was nothing in the fridge to eat. It’s quick, easy and, if made fresh and simple with decent ingredients, can actually be very satisfying. That is why I am awarding this particular lunch 4 “Foodies”. Not because it is a great culinary achievement, but because the cooks had the decency NOT to fool around with it. No fancy pasta (just plain UNCHOPPED spaghetti) and no fancy sauce. In addition, the meal was served in a bowl, as spaghetti should be, and it arrived at my table HOT.

We residents have been receiving pancakes like the ones pictured above for some time now but, it has not always been that way. In fact, the pancakes we used to get had been a bone of contention with us for many months. Previously, what passed for pancakes here were two very small, very tough, pre-frozen pancakes more akin to hockey pucks than food. It was not until the protests from a vocal group of concerned residents became so load and frequent did the chef realize that perhaps we deserved the same pancakes as the rest of the world. This shows how important it is for people to speak up, something that has been lacking here as of late. Apathy reigns supreme here, with a majority of people here who are afraid to voice their opinion either out of an unwarranted fear or the belief that nothing ever changes. Well, I’m here to tell you that it does change, slowly yes, but change it will if we stick together and present our dislikes in a constructive and sober manner. Pancakes were just the start. Just think of what can be achieved here in the future.


The surprising thing, which should come as no surprise, about last Thursday’s dinner was that the salmon, for a change, had not been cooked to death. For our cooks, who use the criteria of  “Is it dry enough yet?”, to tell when the food is done, this reversal of methodology comes as pleasant surprise for us fish lovers who haven’t seen a decently prepared piece of fish here in years. In addition to the salmon being gently cooked, there was an adult size portion served. The Au Gratin potatoes were a nice compliment to this surprisingly good dinner.


What’s this for?

If you have ever signed up online for something or attempted to enter a contest or send a comment to a website, you have probably come across one of these little puzzles in which you are asked to copy the letters in the box into another box. Many times it takes two or three tries until you find one that you can actually read. Like me, you probably hate these things but, as I have found out recently, they are necessary.

For those of you who read this blog until the end you have most likely noticed a comment submission form. Up to this time I have opted not to include one of those annoying puzzles so that it will be easier for those who wish to send me something. Unfortunately, I may have to start including this intrusive little app in my comment box. Here’s why.

Recently my inbox has become inundated with what I can only call spamaladegoop, which is electronically produced spam. Although there is no actual intelligible  message received, just opening the email may cause certain information to be obtained. Fortunately, it is my web host whose email they are actually accessing so my info is intact. However, this junk still clogs up my inbox. Therefore I am afraid I will have to go back to using the encryption generator. Hopefully, those of you who have something to say will not be discouraged by this minor inconvenience.





The following from the HHS is so important to me and says what I have been saying (and asking for) for years, that I am forgoing my usual self centered editorial comments in favor of this article...

HHS Offers New Guidance on Person-Centered Planning, Self-Direction

The nation’s Health and Human Services Department issued new guidance on person-centered planning and self-direction in June and a top official with the Administration for Community Living has offered some additional thoughts on guidance in a new blog.

Sharon Lewis, ACL principal deputy administrator and HHS senior adviser on disability policy, offers insight and shares stories on the new guidance, which requires the HHS secretary to ensure all states develop systems for home and community-based services and support (HCBS) and achieve a more consistent and coordinated approach to the administration of policies and procedures across programs providing HCBS.

Lewis said when person-centered planning is done thoughtfully it creates empowerment allowing for consideration of personal preferences as well as health and safety needs without restricting freedoms. “The best person-centered planning helps people live better lives, with support to do the things most important to them.”

Self-direction allows the person maximum control over HCBS including the amount, duration and scope of services and supports as well as choice of providers which may include family and friends. “…Self-direction embraces the values of freedom authority, autonomy, and responsibility to allow the person to participate in a community life with necessary supports.”

Each HHS agency has been tasked with implementing these new standards as they develop or revise regulations, policies and guidance, provide technical assistance, offer funding opportunities or take other actions, according to Lewis.

She added that ACL is currently developing a training program on person-centered counseling for people working in state No-Wrong Door systems along with developing a set of credentialing standards for person-centered planning. The No-Wrong Door System (   is an effort to streamline access to long-term services and support options for older adults and people with disabilities.

This article, and subsequent suggested reforms, goes to the heart of the matter for me and for many of my fellow residents who do not want or need to be “lumped” into the “one size fits all category” of health care and senior living. Yes, some of us need assistance, but not to the point of having our freedoms restricted. The sooner these reforms are acted upon the better it will be for all of us who for one reason or another are forced to live in assisted living communities.


OK, so last week in this blog I commented on how a new policy here at the Asylum of providing only one towel per day to each resident was both petty and counterproductive and, in some cases, even dangerous and should be reversed. Well, let me tell you how much difference a week (and a little blog) makes. Yesterday, upon returning to my room, I found five, (count ‘em, five) clean, fluffy towels hanging on the rack. Touche!

Although this article was intended mainly for lawyers litigating cases concerning the rights of residents in ALR’s, there is much useful information for those of us who have to live in these facilities.

Understanding Protections for Assisted Living Residents

Sean J. Doolan and Jeffrey M. Adams , New York Law Journal

As life expectancy rises, resulting in an increase in the population of seniors, there is a heightened demand for long-term care facilities. One type of facility where statutory protections differ from those of nursing homes are assisted living residences (ALRs). With approximately 30,000 ALRs serving almost 750,000 residents, assisted living is the fastest growing form of residential housing for older Americans.

This article will focus on statutory protections for residents at assisted living residences and what practitioners need to know when litigating claims on behalf of residents.

Between 2000 and 2010, people aged 85 to 94 increased approximately 30 percent; those 95 years old or older increased approximately 26 percent; and individuals 65 or above increased approximately 15 percent (over 40 million). By 2020 those aged 85 and older are projected to increase from 5.5 million to 6.6 million.


Unlike nursing homes, there are no federal regulations or standards that are applicable to assisted living residences. 

Article 28 of the Public Health Law, for instance, applies to nursing homes and not ALRs.

Recognizing the need to protect vulnerable citizens who reside in these facilities, the New York State Legislature enacted the Assisted Living Reform Act (ALRA) on Feb. 23, 2005.4 

The ALRA defines an ALR as "an entity which provides or arranges for housing, on site monitoring, and personal care services and/or home care services (either directly or indirectly), in a home-like setting to five or more adult residents unrelated to the assisted living provider." An ALR is not a hospital, nursing home, continuing care retirement community, mental health facility, independent senior housing, or an adult care facility. However, if a facility uses the term "assisted" in its marketing materials, it is subject to ALRA and Title 10.

The legislative intent of the ALRA is to further the "philosophy of assisted living emphasizing aging in place, personal dignity, autonomy, independence, privacy and freedom of choice…that contains consumer protections…[and] that enunciates and protects resident rights; and that provides adequate and accurate information for consumers…"

Traditional negligence claims are typically based upon a common law theory of liability. The Legislature has added a separate and distinct statutory cause of action against an ALR.

Licensing and Certifications

Prior to the passage of the ALRA, there were adult homes and enriched housing programs. The ALRA maintains both, but requires ALRs to first be licensed as an adult home or enriched housing program prior to applying for licensure as an ALR (exceptions exist to apply simultaneously). Once licensed for assisted living, the facility can apply for enhanced assisted living or special needs certification. With enhanced assisted living certification, the ALR may retain residents that are non-ambulatory (i.e., bed-bound). With special needs certification, the ALR may maintain a dementia unit.

Certification allows an ALR to retain a resident whose condition declines and needs additional care to complete daily activities (i.e., dementia that requires greater supervision). Consistent with the idea of aging in place, these certifications allow residents to remain in the same facility.


To become a resident of an assisted living residence, a person is required to undergo pre-screening and approval for admission by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. Such steps are to be repeated annually and when there is a change in the individual's condition. See Section 4657.

An enhanced assisted living facility must meet the following requirements to admit residents:

• An assessment by a qualified person within 30 days prior to admission;

• A medical evaluation within 30 days of admission, when there is change in the resident's condition, and once every 12 months thereafter;

• Recording of information on significant medical history and current conditions, allergies, prescribed medications, ability to self-administer, recommendations for diet, exercise and recreation, frequency of medical examinations, cognitive and mental health statistics, and assistance with activities of daily living;

• A statement that the resident is suited for assisted living, Special Needs Assisted Living Residence (SNALR) or Enhanced Assisted Living Residence (EALR);

• A statement as to whether long-term medical needs or nursing care require placement in a nursing home;

• A statement as to whether nursing care is needed.

• Development of an individualized service plan (ISP) unless a doctor waives;

• The development of an ISP in accordance with the medical, nutritional, rehabilitation, functional, cognitive and other needs—implemented within 30 days of admission;

• An explanation as to how and by whom the services will be provided and accessed.

• Review and revision of the ISP every six months, as necessary, due to a change in needs, and/or as ordered by the physician; and

• At admission, development of a written ISP, with the assistance of the resident's physician.

Individualized Service Plans

Pursuant to New York Public Health Law 4659, an ISP must be developed for each resident upon admission. It must be created "with the resident, the resident's representative, the resident's legal representative, if any, the assisted living operator, and [if appropriate] a home care services agency." The resident's physician must also be consulted.

The law requires ISPs be implemented within the first 30 days of admission and reviewed and revised every six months, whenever ordered by a physician, or as necessary to reflect a change in care needs. To the extent necessary, the creation needs to be undertaken in consultation with the resident's physician, developed in accordance with the medical, nutritional, rehabilitation, functional, cognitive and other needs of the resident, include the services, how and by whom those services will be provided, and reviewed and revised as frequently as necessary to reflect changes in the resident's needs, but not less than once every six months.

Under the ALRA, residents have the right that their dignity, autonomy, independence and privacy be promoted, in the least restrictive and most home-like setting, commensurate with preferences and physical and mental status.

Any waiver of rights is void as against public policy. Residents are to be fully informed of their medical condition and proposed treatment; receive courteous, fair, respectful care and treatment; receive adequate and appropriate assistance with activities of daily living; be able to refuse treatment or medications (but only "after being fully informed of the consequences of such actions"); have private consultations with their lawyer; and be given the opportunity to provide their version of an accident/incident. The ALR must provide, and have conspicuously posted, a written statement of residents' statutory rights; their right to counsel; their right to obtain the facilities' licensure; and a consumer guide with the Health Department's toll free complaint number (866-893-6772).

There is no independent measure of damages for a violation of a resident's rights as exists in a nursing home case. A common defense is that the resident refused care, such as turning and positioning, or was non-compliant. The ALRA helps to defuse this defense. If a resident refuses care or is non-compliant, the ALR must inform the resident of the consequences of such actions.

For lawyers:

In addition, demand the Resident's Council minutes. The Resident's Council is where residents can state grievances.

Case management of the Individualized Service Plan requires oversight and coordination, as well as the ability to meet the resident's needs at the time of admission and at least every 12 months thereafter. Case management also provides referrals on an ongoing basis, coordinates services to be provided, and develops a formal mechanism between the case manager and staff to identify abrupt or progressive changes in behavior or appearance.11

Requirements include maintaining complete and accurate personal records for each resident, providing personal care to enable the resident to maintain good hygiene and health, carrying out activities of daily living and participation in activities. Sections 1000.12 and 1001.7(h) of Chapter X of Title 10 of the New York Codes Rules and Regulations.

Safeguards to properly manage medication require compliance with the regulations. This includes physician orders for all PRN medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, which shall identify resident behaviors or symptoms warranting the need for mediation.12

The operator of an enhanced assisted living facility providing services normally given by a home health care agency shall develop appropriate policies and procedures, including, but not limited to, service-specific delivery standards consistent with the current professional standards of practice, staff supervision (reviewed and revised as necessary), and documentation of service delivery.

Additional requirements for the operator of a Special Needs ALR require vigilance of the general whereabouts of each resident. If a resident becomes absent, certain procedures must be followed and family and law enforcement must be notified. To insure proper supervision and care, all shifts must be properly staffed.

Case management records and the ISP in SNALRs shall identify resistance to care and include a care plan to address it. Food is to be offered outside of usual meal time and in a manner acceptable to special needs. The care plan should reflect functional abilities, preferences and diet. Unless contrary to orders, prescribed nutritional supplements shall be provided between meals. In addition, weather permitting, residents must be provided daily outdoor activities.

Once suit based upon a violation is filed it is necessary to proceed with all resources available to the practitioner.

Practice Points: In discovery, demand all policies and procedures of the facility, and copies of all contractual agreements between health care providers and the facility.

A claim for breach of contract under appropriate consumer protection laws should be considered as it may allow for additional damages and broader discovery.

Weigh a claim for breach of contract under appropriate consumer protection laws. This may allow for additional damages and broader discovery.

Read more: 



By John Fryters /The Prince Albert Daily Herald

Since the beginning of the 21st century, in more and more countries around the world, particularly in the more progressive countries in Europe, there is a growing movement by senior citizens wanting to form or forming their own political parties. 

For instance, we have the Senior Citizen Party of Finland, Senioren 2000 in The Netherlands, the Swedish Senior Citizen Interest Party, the Senior Citizen Party in the United Kingdom, the Scottish Senior Citzens Unity Party -- just to mention a few.

As in Canada, most of these countries are facing an increasing population of seniors over the next few decades.  For instance, the Senioren 2000 Party in The Netherlands estimated that by 2010 more than 28 per cent (almost one third ) of the Dutch population would be over 55 years of age.

Though these movements are pretty young and most of the established political parties are looking at them as “fringe movements”, they have made steady gains from 2000 to today.  For instance, the SSCUP (Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party), at the 2011 Scottish elections, placed sixth among all the running parties. Pretty impressive!!!!!

Elections are decided by the people who show up at the polls. For instance, in the United States, the oldest citizens are the most likely to cast their ballots, which gives them political cloud beyond their numbers alone.  Some 61 per cent of citizens age 65 and older voted in the November 2010 US elections.

With all levels of government having to find ways to pay for all services and programs, senior citizens have a vested interest in protecting the valuable benefits they receive from governments.  

In Canada, the federal government is already forced to start tinkering with some of these benefits.  If these popular government programs for senior citizens were to change, it would dramatically affect the lives of most retirees.  

Andrea Louise Campbell, a political science associate professor, puts it well: “Because senior citizens vote at very high rates, many politicians feel they need to be very careful about the stances they take on pensions and the provision of health care, and those issues can dominate the conversation.  Programs that benefit the working class are often more hidden.”

In Canada, though we do not have (as of yet) any political movement by seniors themselves, we do see that they are gradually starting to organize themselves socially and otherwise.  

We also see pressure within existing political parties to start paying particular attention to this growing segment of the population. Don’t forget that the combined group of politicians are also looking at a segment within their own ranks who are over the age of 55.  

There is a general agreement among most politicians that older citizens should receive “more respect” because of the investment they made in their respective communities. However, this is counter-acted by more and more seniors who feel isolated from the general population.  Therefore, the 1997 slogan of the Dutch party for seniors was “Seniors, worthy and equal.”  

Consequently, that same party called for to increase the pressure and influence by all seniors on all levels of government.

The Seniors Party in Scotland has been calling for an index-linked basic weekly state pension of 160 English pounds for all senior citizens, the removal of all senior citizens from poverty in Scotland, the abolition of means-testing for senior citizens, free nationwide travel for all seniors, and other policies -- by no means simple demands for most politicians to handle.  Did you know that this party, in fact, elected a sitting member of the Scottish parliament prior to 2007?

So, what can we do in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Canada?  The options are unlimited:

• Put due pressure on your elected representatives (municipal, provincial and federal). As already said -- ask questions, questions, and questions and demand appropriate answers and actions.

consider running for office yourself and truly represent your age group.  Become involved with the policy developers within the established political parties.

• Join a movement to start a new political party especially for seniors.

• Become an advocate for the weakest in your age group.

• Ban together in any forum, not only politically (church, social club, service club, etc ...) because together you will be stronger and able to access that Grey Power.

 Read more...,-2013/1

As far as I know, an incident such as this has never happened here. I am presenting this to you as a reminder that people do make mistakes and pharmacies are not always that diligent. If your meds are not distributed to you on time, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN.

Report: Without key meds, seizure kills Twin Cities assisted-living resident

Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune

Disabled resident went 10 days without key medication, then had a 15-minute seizure.

A disabled resident at a south Minneapolis assisted-living facility suffered a seizure and later died after going for 10 days without a key medication, according to a state investigation that cited the facility’s staff for failing to restock the prescription.

The March 6 death is being blamed on St. Paul-based Accessible Space Inc. for failing “to adequately supervise staff to ensure medications were available,” according to a summary of the Health Department report.

The medication, phenobarbital, had been keeping the resident’s seizures in check “for several years” before he missed his twice-a-day prescription 19 times over a 10-day period, the report noted. The client last took the drug on Feb. 23, the report said. On March 5, he “had a seizure that lasted for 15 minutes” and died the next day in a hospital, the report continued.

The death certificate said the seizure brought on respiratory failure.

We urge you, please tell someone if your meds are not delivered on time or are incorrect. In the end, you are responsible for yourself.


A substitute for the MS WORD blues

There’s no question about it. For text writing and formatting, there is nothing better than MS Word. MS Word is the go-to product for writers mainly because of it’s user friendly interface. It’s very WYSIWYG. However, MS Word is not cheap and, unless it came free* with your computer, it can cost around $300 to get the software, too expensive for us non professionals. But there is a solution.

For some reason the starter version of MS Word that came with my laptop stopped working properly. It crashed often and I was losing data. Normally, when that happens, I would just re-install the software. Unfortunately Microsoft, in all of its wisdom, does not offer a download for “Wordstarter”, opting to sell you the full version instead. I started looking for substitutes, and found some good ones.

The first MS Office sub I tried was Apache Openoffice While it has all the bells and whistles of the Microsoft version, they are hard to find and manipulate. The interface is generally confusing and is not really user friendly. I used this for a while but I was not happy with it.

Next, I went to an old standby, IBM Lotus Symphony.  This is the granddaddy of word processing software and it shows. While it works, it too is harder to use and a little quirky especially when attempting to add graphics to text. However, it was a little easier than the OpenOffice software. And then I found this.

WPS, is the closest thing I have found to Word. The interface is familiar and it has many of the same features, in the same place, on the tool bar where it belongs. Graphics are easy to manipulate and edit with many of the same features found in MS Word. The spreadsheet program is similar to Excel and the “Presentation” sub for Power Point has many nice templates as well.

My suggestion is, keep your present word processing software and download the WPS. Switch between the two and see if you don’t like. You can always uninstall at any time.


New Survey by The Senior Citizens League Finds Two Medicare Fixes that Seniors Hate Most

PRWEB.COM Newswire

An overwhelming majority of seniors oppose two Medicare changes that are among the most widely - discussed reforms in Congress, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Eighty one percent of seniors strongly oppose a proposal that would impose a significantly higher annual deductible while restricting supplemental Medigap plans from covering the cost. Only 1 percent of those responding favored the idea. Seventy four percent also strongly oppose replacing Medicare with a premium support system of private health plans, and giving beneficiaries a premium subsidy or voucher to shop for a new health plan. Just 5 percent said they favored this idea. "Both plans shift costs to seniors, something the vast majority can ill afford," says TSCL Chairman Ed Cates.

Sixty seven percent of seniors participating in the survey said they already spend up to one third of their Social Security benefits on Medicare costs. Another 21 percent said they spent up to one half. "Because health care costs are rising more rapidly than Social Security benefits, spending on Medicare takes an increasing share of senior income as seniors age," says Cates.

Nevertheless, Congress is considering ways to "redesign" Medicare. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that changing the cost-sharing rules for Medicare and restricting Medigap coverage would save the federal government $114 billion over the next ten years. Medicare supplements, better known as Medigap, cover Medicare's deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. The plans are popular with seniors because they provide financial certainty by reducing unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.

New research, however, suggests that Medigap substantially increases Medicare spending, because seniors with the policies are insulated from costs. Those with polices tend to receive more medical care than people who are required to pay some or all of the costs of their care out-of-pocket. According to the CBO, a 2010 study found that Medicare beneficiaries responded to increases in their cost sharing by reducing visits to physicians and use of prescription drugs. "Making seniors pay higher initial Medigap cost-sharing affects both senior budgets, and senior health -- especially if seniors forego necessary care," Cates notes.

The CBO estimates that replacing Medicare with a premium support system would save the federal government as much as $275 billion over ten years. The CBO also estimates that premiums paid by affected beneficiaries, however, would be about 30 percent higher on average by 2020 than the current projected Part B premium. In addition, the CBO said that shifting seniors to private plans would affect access to providers, a problem that many seniors are experiencing with Medicare Advantage plans now.

The TSCL survey found that, to improve Medicare's finances, seniors strongly support ramping up anti-fraud efforts, and better integration of care to reduce duplication's of tests, services, and expensive imaging. What do you think? Take a poll. Visit TSCL's website at

With about 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest non-partisan seniors groups. Located just outside Washington, D.C., its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of TREA The Enlisted Association. Please visit or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.

Read the full story at:

It’s been a couple of years now since doctors detected a fungal infection on both my retinas. Fortunately, they were able to treat it but not before some scaring took place which effects how I see. Although I am far from blind, reading small print for long periods of time causes my eyes to become “tired” and irritated. Reading books on Kindle, where I can increase the size of the type is a big help. All of this got me to thinking about what it must be like to be blind or have vision so poor as to make everyday life difficult to the point of impossibility. How depressing it must be not to be able to read a book, a label on a can, watch TV or go online and, in the case of the elderly, it can be even worse. The NIH realized that there is a correlation between eye site and depression as put forth in this article...

Rehabilitation helps prevent depression from age-related vision loss

NIH-funded study brought together eye care and mental health professionals

AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in the United States. About 2 million Americans age 50 and over have vision loss from AMD, and about 8 million have an earlier stage of the disease, with or without vision loss. AMD causes damage to the macula, a spot near the center of the retina that is needed for sharp, straight-ahead vision. It can affect one eye or both, which is called bilateral AMD. As the disease progresses, it can cause a growing blurred area near the center of vision, and lead to difficulty with everyday activities, including the ability to drive, read, write, watch television, cook, and do housework

Activities that used to be fun and fulfilling may begin to seem burdensome or even impossible. With loss of the ability to drive and navigate unfamiliar places, it becomes easier to stay at home than to see friends or meet new people. All of this can take a toll on mental health, and past studies have found that as many as one-third of people with bilateral AMD develop clinical depression.

“The depression is a response to disability, so we reasoned an effective treatment would be to reduce the disability through rehabilitation,” Dr. Rovner said. In the Low Vision Depression Prevention Trial (VITAL), he led a team of psychologists, ophthalmologists, optometrists, and occupational therapists to test an approach called behavior activation.

“Behavior activation involves helping people to focus on activities they enjoy, to recognize that loss of those activities can lead to depression, and to re-engage in those activities,” said Robin Casten, Ph.D., a co-author and an associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Jefferson. Helping people maintain an active social life is an important part of the approach, she said.

The trial recruited 188 participants with bilateral AMD from an ophthalmology practice affiliated with Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. “We felt that this trial addressed an important need. Ophthalmologists have many tools at the ready for treating AMD, and we are continuing to forge links with other health care providers to effectively treat the whole patient,” said Allen C. Ho, M.D., director of the Clinical Retina Research Unit at Wills Eye Hospital and professor of ophthalmology at Jefferson.

The participants were 84 years of age on average, 70 percent were women, and 50 percent lived alone. All had a best-corrected vision of less than 20/70. (A person with 20/70 vision sees an object from 20 feet away as clearly as a person with normal vision sees it at 70 feet away.) Each participant had mild depressive symptoms and was at risk for developing clinical depression, based on a nine-item depression sub test of the Patient Health Questionnaire, or PHQ-9.

During the trial, the participants had two visits with an optometrist, during which they were prescribed low-vision devices such as hand held magnifiers. After those initial visits, the participants were randomly split into two groups.

One group received behavior activation from an occupational therapist specially trained in the approach. The occupational therapist worked with participants to guide them on using the low-vision devices, to make changes around the home (such as using brighter lights and high-contrast tape), to increase their social activities, and to help them set personal goals and break these down into manageable steps.

“Blending the behavior activation with low-vision rehabilitation was straightforward and natural,” said Mark Hegel, Ph.D., also a co-author and a professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine in Hanover, New Hampshire. “Occupational therapy helps people regain valued activities in their daily lives, and behavior activation capitalizes on this through formal goal setting and reinforcement of progress.”

The second group of participants served as a control group. They talked about their difficulties to a therapist, but did not receive behavior activation or low-vision occupational therapy. Both groups had six one-hour therapy sessions in their homes over a two-month period. All participants were allowed to take antidepressants, but less than 10 percent did so. All received medical management of AMD as prescribed by their primary eye care providers.

By four months, 12 participants in the control group and seven participants in the behavior activation group had withdrawn from the trial or passed away. Of the remaining 169 participants, 18 (23.4 percent) in the control group and 11 (12.6 percent) in the behavior activation group developed clinical depression, based on retesting with the PHQ-9. Behavior activation had the most benefit for participants with the worst vision (less than 20/100), reducing the risk of depression by about 60 percent compared to controls. When the data were adjusted for vision status, physical health and baseline PHQ-9 score, behavior activation reduced the risk of depression by 50 percent compared to the control treatment.

“AMD is typically diagnosed and treated in primary eye care settings, where there is no defined standard of care for depression. This study was a unique and compelling effort to address that issue by strengthening teamwork between eye care professionals and mental health professionals,” said Eleanor Schron, Ph.D., group leader for clinical applications at NEI.

Dr. Rovner said he hopes the study will serve as a model for similar approaches to preventing and treating depression in AMD. When approved by a physician, occupational therapy is reimbursable through Medicare.

“Stronger links between primary eye care and mental health care workers would be needed to make behavior activation more widely available for AMD patients,” Dr. Rovner said. Specialized instruction would also be needed for occupational therapists, who are not typically trained in behavior activation.

“We built this to be an affordable treatment. Now we would like to see it become accessible,” he said. The study is continuing to follow participants to see if the benefits of treatment are maintained out to one year.

Other study authors were Robert Massof, Ph.D., of the Wilmer Eye Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore; Benjamin Leiby, Ph.D., at Jefferson; and William Tasman, M.D., at Wills Eye Hospital.

VITAL is funded by NEI grant EY018819. For more information, visit (NCT00769015). For more information about AMD, visit For more information about living with low vision, please visit

For a copy of the Ophthalmology article, please contact the American Academy of Ophthalmology press office at

I know that there are sooo many of you who can’t wait to leave your home and move into an assisted living facility. I also know that you may have questions about protecting your eligibility for assisted living housing as if it were some great bargain. Evidently, others also have questions about this subject so here is the answer.

 Does Selling Your House Affect Eligibility For Assisted Living?

By Michelle Andrews

Q. I’m a Realtor who’s listing a client’s home. She is on Social Security and is moving into assisted-living housing. Will the proceeds from the sale of her home affect her eligibility for housing, which is based on her income?

A. This is an unusual question because assisted-living facilities typically do not have special eligibility criteria for low-income residents, experts say. 

In general, assisted living is privately funded, paid for by people with their Social Security benefits and other income, supplemented when necessary by other resources. 

“It’s common to sell your home to finance your care,” says Maribeth Bersani, senior vice president of public policy at the Assisted Living Federation of America, a trade group.

Assisted-living facilities enable people who need help with daily activities like bathing or eating to remain in a residential setting rather than a nursing home. The average monthly cost for a private one-bedroom apartment was just over $3,000 in 2009, according to ALFA.

However, some assisted-living facilities accept a certain number of low-income people who meet income and/or asset standards and could not afford the regular fees, says Bonnie Burns, a consultant for California Health Advocates, a Medicare advocacy organization. It appears that this facility may be one of them, she says.

If that’s the case, it is possible, according to Burns, that this homeowner would be ineligible for housing if the proceeds from the sale push her beyond the income or asset limits set by the facility.

“It depends on how the assisted living facility evaluates her income and assets,” she says.


I have never purported myself to be a fashion maven or even to have good taste when it comes to clothes. I am certainly not an expert on haute couture, or low couture for that matter. However, I think I know the difference between what is acceptable and what isn’t. Anybody who has read this, or some other senior blogs is aware of how important it is that we (seniors) are not perceived as a group of senile, out of touch wacko’s who walk around in muumuu’s and sweat pants with soup stains on our pants and white patent leather belts with shoes to match. One of the ways to dispel this myth is to dress our age. The problem is that most of us are wearing the same clothes we wore when we were teenagers and, while it was good back then, you ain’t 17 anymore and you can no longer pull of the tight jeans, the short skirts or tube tops, and that goes for you ladies too. The editors at have gone around the city and collected what they think hip seniors should be wearing. While I can’t say that I agree with all of them (sorry, I’m not wearing an orange zoot suit), some of the fashions are quite stylish.

10 Fabulous Style Tips From Senior Citizens

Angela Vitello/BuzzFeed Staff

SEE 8 MORE....



It was a week of chicken dinners here at the Asylum, each presenting its own unique problems.

I know it was just lunch, which means that not much attention is paid to what comes out of the kitchen here because many residents skip lunch or order out. But even for here, this lunch was just plain nasty. And, what is even more sad is that, when I took it back to the kitchen to show to the cook, I was met with “Yea, so what’s wrong with it?” as if a cold piece of overcooked chicken with a ketchup-laden bar-b-cue sauce baked into it needed any further explanation. In addition, when I asked why the sauce was baked into it and not poured on top like any respectable BBQ sandwich should be, the explanation was as equally inane. “The last time I poured sauce over a BBQ sandwich, everybody said they didn't like it” , said the cook, to which I can only say “Those people wouldn't know a decent BBQ sandwich if it came up and bit them in the ass.” To serve inedible food like this because there are a couple of malcontent residents whose most exotic meal was a grilled cheese sandwich with mayo is not an excuse for poorly cooked food. More pride has to be taken with what comes out of the kitchen here. If the food is something that you, in all consciousness (as a cook) would not eat, it should not be served.

Every time I have gone to KFC, stepped up to the counter and ordered a bucket, I have been asked the question, “Would you like that regular or extra crispy?” To the best of my recollection, I have never been asked if I would like that chicken “Extra Soggy”, mainly because they don’t feature that particular style on their menu. In fact, I don’t think that you could order the chicken that way even if you insisted. It appears that only here, within the confines of the Center, can one find this rare delicacy. Actually, chicken made in this manner was the Colonel’s favorite. No, not Colonel Sanders, Colonel Rudolf von Schnitzel of the third Panzer division whose last words were “I don’t care if the chicken is soggy Fritz, Patton just crossed the Rhine.” However, just because the chicken was not as crispy as I would have liked it, I did not say it wasn’t half-way decent. In fact, the batter, despite its lack of crispness, was properly seasoned and did not overwhelm the tender pieces of chicken beneath. In addition, I was served a decent three piece portion and, although I would have preferred corn on the cob, the creamed corn side dish was well worth the effort.

Chicken week came to an end with this little offering, Chicken Fricassee, and a lesson. If you have a choice, never order the breasts. For some reason the breasts are always tougher and drier than the legs or wings. This may be due to a number of reasons. Either the meat on the breasts is denser than that on the legs and therefore must cook longer to come up to that magic 160F temperature or, the legs are from younger, more tender birds while the breasts are from chickens receiving social security. Whatever the reason, if the chicken you get is tough, send it back. Perhaps, if enough of us do this they will get the idea and “Do chicken right”.

* I gave this 3 “Foodies” only after I exchanged the breasts for a leg.

There were other dishes besides chicken...

Greetings Comrade, for lunch today, Russian pork sandwich. Is just like regular pork sandwich except in Russia, sandwich eats you. Ha ha!, just a little Russian humor, why you no laugh? 

All kidding aside, Wednesday’s lunch offering was not bad at all. The truth is, I rather enjoyed it even if the sandwich would have tasted better had the meat been corned beef instead of a very leathery slice of roast pork. Maybe it was the name that confused people, as the servers were having trouble describing what exactly this sandwich was all about to those less adventurous diners who insist on knowing what’s in the food before they eat it. But for the rest of us who have been brought up on Jewish Deli sandwiches, the combination of meat, Russian dressing and sauerkraut was not all that strange. Those residents who are more of the white bread and mayo crowd, might have found this combo a bit too exotic for their tastes. However, for those of us who appreciate a combination of unlikely ingredients, this sandwich hit the spot. Dosvedanya.

The burgers here at the Asylum are rarely good and the fries not much better, but for a quick lunch they are usually tolerable, until last Friday. For some reason the burgers were a little smaller, a little more overcooked and served at barely room temperature. All this, plus the plain, tasteless bun, made this lunch reminiscent of a McDonald’s Kids Happy Meal. In addition, adding insult to injury, the “tater tot” style potatoes fell apart at the very touch of a fork. There was absolutely no attention paid to making this meager offering anything better then a handout at a homeless shelter. Even a toy would not have made this burger any better.

Imagine, if you will, that you were told that, by law, you could never eat a poached, soft boiled or fried egg over easy, again. Imagine also, that you were prohibited form having a hamburger cooked medium or that all of the food that you will ever eat for the rest of your life can only be cooked within an inch of its life. I suppose that you would be pretty angry and have some questions for whomever perpetrated this abomination. Well, this is exactly what every resident of an assisted living facility (and nursing home and probably prison) in the state of New York has to put up with at every meal that is cooked here which, for most of us, means every meal we eat. Here’s the problem.

Even though the last major outbreak of salmonella in New York State occurred in 1994* and only minor localized cases since then, the antiquated rules governing how food in assisted living facilities must be cooked (to a temperature not lower than 160F) still persists. However, my problem is not so much with at what temperature the food must be cooked but rather that we, the residents of these facilities, have been singled out. Therefore, I question why the N.Y. State Department of Health (the governing body in this case) which permits every other restaurant, fast food, diner, food truck or food stand in the state to cook eggs over easy or medium rare burgers etc., does not permit it here, where we (seniors) live. To me this is defacto discrimination in its purest form. The mere fact that I can go beyond the gate, here where I live, and have a poached egg at any diner in the county but not here where I live, says something about how a certain group of people are considered second class citizens.

*From the NIH.

Long Island Senior-Citizen Softball Beef Includes Almost Every Old-Person Cliché Ever

By Jen Kirby/ NY Post

Two Long Island septuagenarians could not handle the competitive intensity of their "Super Senior" softball league, letting a little squabble over team uniforms escalate into a probably very-slow-motion, bench-clearing brawl. The New York Post reports that 72-year-old Robert Willis is now suing his former teammate, 74-year-old Ronald Tagliaferri, over threats following the incident, including a voice mail from Tagliaferri warning Willis to “look out” because he knows where he “gets his prescriptions filled.”

Willis switched teams, and hopefully pharmacies, but Tagliaferri kept at it, needing to be restrained at another game because Willis, whose hearing isn’t what it used to be, didn’t hear the umpire call him out after a play. It all escalated beyond Grumpy Old Men territory when Taglieferri allegedly left another message saying he was he was going to beat Willis’s “brains out with a baseball bat."

Tagliaferri, who, not surprisingly, is very passionate about softball, denies the charges. “He has osteoporosis. He doesn’t walk too great. I wouldn't do anything to [hurt] this guy,” he said, stressing some very geriatric-themed excuses as his defense.



All comments and emails will be kept confidential unless otherwise noted

Customer or Product

Which are we?

Something really bummed me out the other afternoon. On my way back from lunch, and a particularly poor one at that, I was startled to see our administrator hurriedly exiting the little conference room carrying what appeared to be a platter of shrimp and cocktail sauce. He dashed across the lobby holding the tray like a waiter on a cruise ship and disappeared into the office. It appears that, once again, someone or some group of “special” non-residents were being rewarded with an offering of food that we (residents) will never see here. All this comes on the heels of a function given here last week to a group of social workers who were wined and dined with a buffet of salmon in Champagne sauce and Chicken Francaise as well as wine. To me, this is a testament to an archaic marketing plan devised by someone who’s only regards is to the bottom line and, rather than to improve things around the facility itself, things that would be beneficial to the people that live here and pay for that “privilege”, has decided that pandering to the supply side is a better route to take. Which leads to the question “What exactly is our position here.” Are we the “customer” or the “product.” if the events of the last couple of weeks mean anything, I can only believe we are the latter. Let me elaborate.

If this were a real business, that was really interested in profits, they would concentrate their efforts on building a better customer experience and thereby gain market share through word of mouth which leads to a lower dollar to sales ratio. Simply put, if you make a good product customers will be lined up at your door to buy it. If the product is poorly made and the customers become dissatisfied with it, the word gets out and sales fall no matter how much advertising and marketing they do. Such, I believe , is the case here. Once thriving, this facility has become a place with a declining occupancy rate and unsatisfied residents because they have forgotten one thing. They have forgotten who their customer is. They wrongly believe that their customer base lies in that vast unknown land of social workers and senior living recommendation services while subjugating us residents to the other part of the marketing mix, the product. Take, as example, the automobile industry.

Beginning with the 1960’s and lasting until the new century, American cars were on the decline both in quality and sales. They had been happily resting on their laurels while the foreign auto makers were producing better cars. The “Big Three” were mired in their own complacency and had lost sight of how to please a customer. They were producing a product nobody wanted while treating their customers as if they did not matter. After a while, those customers began to look elsewhere for cars and found the Japanese more than willing to accommodate their wishes. Now. After decades of declining sales, the U.S, auto industry is making a comeback. The same will hold true for this facility as well. That is as soon as management realizes who is important here and stops looking at the residents as the “product” and starts seeing us as the customer. After all, how far do you think Ford would get if the asked every Crown Vic what color it would like to be painted or whether or not it wanted floor mats. It is time management (and I’m talking about corporate management here) starts to accept the fact that it is us residents who will eventually decide on whether or not this facility, or any other ALF, thrives or fails.

Professional Sales Trainer Mike Miller of Primo Solutions, who is the author of "Stop Selling and Start Caring" and "Selling at Combat Speed," will present a half-day sales training seminar May 19 before ALFA's 2014 Conference & Expo in Phoenix.

What Does It Mean to Stop Selling and Start Caring?

By Mike Miller -sales training

Helping a prospective resident and family find the right senior community is serious business that must be well crafted by sales and marketing professionals to ensure everyone reaches the collective goal of finding the right community for each individual.

Professional sales trainer Michael Miller has been studying the intricacies of how families make choices when it comes to senior living and how sales staff can understand that process in a deep and effective way.

“One of the things we’ve learned over the years is that we have some of the greatest people in the world who work in this industry,” said Miller, who also taps into his skill set garnered from years in the military.

From conducting “mystery shopping” by listening to sales staff describe communities to prospective residents, he’s noticed that sales counselors might have a set list of questions, but there’s “not a lot of drill down,” he said. While it’s good to have guidelines “once sales staff has asked that first question, you really don’t know what the next question will be until you hear their answer. …Really listening is key.”

It’s critical to build a rapport with every prospect. If someone calls and says I want pricing information on one bedrooms, Miller recommends a sales person just doesn’t rattle off “here’s what we have and this is what it costs,” but to really build a relationship and find out about that person’s situation. “Invite them in for a community event,” he said or if they eventually choose another community, send a card to them there. You never know when they may want a new experience.”

He also is seeing the trend that adult children are getting more involved in the decision making process than before. But these families are often hearing “the same spiel as if they were shopping for a car…and typically a prospect will call seven to 10 communities but visit two to three. They are looking for reasons not to come and visit as they try to narrow the list down,” Miller said.

Sales staff can really show they care by reaching out and connecting on an emotional level. “When an adult child calls, 98% of the time that counselor doesn’t ask how they are handling this. Many sales people make the mistake of almost trying to prequalify someone over the phone rather than really come up with a solution that meets their needs,” he said.

He’s learned that many families voice objections about a particular residence such as cost or readiness, but “the majority of the time that’s not the real objection although sales staff spend a lot of time trying to overcome that objection.”

Miller will explain techniques and strategies to determine the gravity of those objections among many other things at a four-hour sales training boot camp Monday, May 19 in Phoenix, Arizona. Registration for this event is separate from the registration for the ALFA’s Conference & Expo ALFA’s Conference & Expo, May 20-22 in Phoenix. 

More information, including registration is available at the ALFA Conference website. Miller welcomes registrants to suggest topics they would like covered, including challenges they may be facing.

“Even if attendees implement just one of 10 things we talk about, they will do better in overcoming challenges and expanding their approach,” he said.



Remember, although you are a resident of an assisted living facility you are also a customer, something that people who run these facilities seem to forget. They also forget that happy employees make happy customers (residents). Therefore if you are not treated with the respect you deserve perhaps your HHA, med room tech or housekeeper is not treated with respect either. Although the following article pertains to the travel industry the ideas presented here bode well for any business that serves people.

The better a company treats their employees the better employees treat their customers.

By...Alexander Kjerulf/ The Huffington Post

Rosenbluth International, a corporate travel agency since bought by American Express, took it even further. CEO Hal Rosenbluth wrote an excellent book about their approach called Put The Customer Second - Put your people first and watch'em kick butt.

Rosenbluth argues that when you put the employees first, they put the customers first. Put employees first and they will be happy at work. Employees who are happy at work give better customer service because:

  • They care more about other people, including customers
  • They have more energy
  • They are happy, meaning they are more fun to talk to and interact with
  • They are more motivated

On the other hand, when the company and management consistently side with customers instead of with employees, it sends a clear message that:

  • Employees are not valued
  • Treating employees fairly is not important
  • Employees have no right to respect from customers
  • Employees have to put up with everything from customers

When this attitude prevails, employees stop caring about service. At that point, genuinely good service is almost impossible -- the best customers can hope for is fake good service. You know the kind I mean: courteous on the surface only.

Read more:


How a $6 floor mat could save your life

recently learned of a very disturbing accident which took place here last week. It seems that one of our residents, a lady who shall remain nameless due to HIPPA regulations, slipped and fell in her bathroom and was taken to the hospital with 2 broken hips.* Unfortunately, although this particular incident represents the worst that can happen, it is not an isolated one. Practically every week we hear of one of our neighbors slipping and injuring themselves in their bathrooms. While some of those injuries are minor resulting only in a bruised bum and ego, some are more serious requiring medical attention. On numerous occasions I have come across someone here with a sprained wrist, twisted ankle or a tell-tale black and blue mark somewhere on their bodies, all as a result of bathroom mishap. 

Let's face it, bathrooms are dangerous, especially for older adults whose balance and mobility are not what they used to be and whose injuries are compounded by brittle bones and previous mishaps, and the bathrooms here are particularly dangerous because of the very slippery vinyl tile floors. 

Now let me make this clear. When I talk about the floors, I am speaking of the floor outside of the shower, not the shower itself which has a built-in non-stick surface, plus a facility provided bath mat** in addition to sturdy handrails in the shower itself. Unfortunately, when a resident steps out of the shower and, even if he dries himself, the floor may still be wet due to improper closing of the shower curtain. This wetness, combined with the natural slipperiness of a vinyl floor is an accident waiting to happen. But there is a solution.

After a number of near misses myself, I began to put a towel down on the floor next to the shower. This helped somewhat, but the towel was dangerous in itself, not having anything to keep it from slipping. After realizing that it would be up to me to be responsible for my own safety, I decided to purchase a bathroom rug on my own. Now, when I step out of the shower, I put my feet down on a nice, plush shag carpet with a safety-grip back and, it only cost me $6.00 at Walmart. Therefore, I urge everyone here, who does not already have one (or even better, two)   to order them immediately. In the meantime, until your rug arrives, make sure the floor is dry. Don't be afraid to ask for an additional towel to wipe the floor. The resulting injuries from  these falls will almost always result in a painful injury, or worse.

*As of this writing, the resident in question has already undergone  successful surgery on one hip and is awaiting surgery on the other. We can only wish her the very best.

** The facility is required by state law to provide each resident's shower with a shower/bath mat. They are not required to provide you with a bath rug. 

Another penny-pinching move that will come back to haunt them.

I'm just going to come right out and say it, “This is the most asinine, petty, stupid, non- productive dictum to come down the pike since I have been here at the Asylum.”  A rumor, later confirmed, that residents will be limited to only one towel and one washcloth per day has been circulating around the facility. This is so stupid because, once again, the management has failed to fully think about the repercussions of such a ridiculous move. In addition, they have failed to recognize the ingenuity of the residents to get what they want when they want it. Because, as we all know, the residents will always be smarter and more cunning than management or staff because we  just have so much more experience doing it. Here is what is going to happen if this new “rule” is initiated.

First, there will be an outcry from the residents. An angry mob will congregate outside the office with pitchforks and torches in hand. Next, there will be hoarding of towels by the residents, causing a shortage and more outcries from both residents and housekeeping. Third, residents will not be able to pass one of housekeeping's carts without grabbing a bunch of towels for themselves. Again, causing a shortage. And then, there is the problem of personal hygiene.

It is a well known fact that many people in this facility are, how shall I put it without offending, just plain smelly. They either forget to bathe or just don't like it, and the lack of a proper and abundant source of drying devices, i.e, towels, will just be another excuse to stay away from the shower. Believe me, this will not be good for anybody especially since we still have many week's of warm weather ahead of us. Therefore, management must stop this affront to our general well-being before it becomes a problem, the ramifications of which will (if this blog has anything to do with it) go far beyond the chain-link fence that encloses this institution.

As I pulled back the sheets on my bed the other evening, in preparation to lay my weary old head down to rest, my eye quickly caught a glimpse of something dark on my fresh, new bed sheet. At first I thought that it might be one of the stink bug things that seem to like my room above all others. Or perhaps it was just some dirt that failed to succumb to the Incredible Hulk-like handling that our laundry subjects our clothes and linens to. However, upon closer examination, what was on my sheet was none of the above instead, it was an indelible stamp with the words “Property of South Nassau Communities Hospitals”. Something that I did not expect to see here. 

Now, while I realize that our large commercial laundry takes in wash from institutions all over the area, I did not expect that I would see a sheet that was used in a hospital, where who knows what slept on it, used on a bed here. In addition, what makes this even more disturbing is the way it makes me feel more like an inmate of an institution than I already feel. The only thing worse is something that happened to me when I was recuperating in a nursing home a couple of years ago. I found a towel hung over the rack in my bathroom with the words “Property of the New York City Medical Examiners Office”. Very creepy.


I am departing from the usual enigmatic photos of our little piece of paradise here on the beautiful hill overlooking Yonkers New York to show a picture of a somewhat less esoteric nature. It appears that some slob, some low-life, some self centered numb-nuts (most likely a resident) who cares nothing about the environment in which they live  and, probably even less about themselves, has decided that it would be OK to leave their half eaten dinner on the patio all night. Not only does this show disdain for their fellow residents, who have to look at this mess, but it does not do well for the increasingly persistent vermin population which has plagued our facility for months. It behooves  me to understand what the big deal is with disposing of your trash. When you are finished eating something (whether on the patio or country kitchen) take your trash to one of the many trash receptacles around the facility. And, don't give me the excuse that, because of some disability you have, it is too difficult for you clean up after yourself. After all, you managed to bring the food out there, didn't you?


America’s 5th Worst Company to Work For

(And guess what kind it is)

The following is part of an article from 24/7 Wall, which lists the 11 worst companies to work for. As you can see, the soon to be largest operator of assisted living facilities in the nation*, ranks as the 5th worse place in the nation to work for, according to its employees. However, to be fair, the authors of this article singled out Brookdale because of its size. They could have just as easily asked employees of any other facility (including ours) and received similar results. Please pay particular attention to the highlighted area of the story below.

5. Brookdale Senior Living

> Rating: 2.3

> Number of reviews: 322

> CEO approval rating: 51% (T. Andrew Smith)

> Employees: 49,000

> Industry: Senior living facilities

Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD) is an operator of assisted-living communities. Employees of the company are among the most miserable. Numerous current and former employees reported poor management, understaffing and high turnover. A large proportion of the company’s nearly 49,000 employees are considered part-time. Yet, several reviews cited hours well in excess of traditional part-time schedules. Some employees have expressed concern over the company’s increased focus on profits. “They’ve lost sight of their values — the bottom line comes first and the residents are last,” one reviewer said on Despite these complaints, however, CEO Andrew Smith had a better approval rating than his counterparts at any of the other companies on this list, at 51%.

Brookdale recently announced it would merge with Emeritus Corporation, another senior living company. The companies said that after the merger, 6.5 million Americans 80 years of age and older will live in relative proximity to one of the two companies’ facilities.

Find the whole list at....

*Please note: Brookdale is NOT the operator of the Westchester Center.

The following is exactly the reason why our facility exists.

Nursing home inventory shrank, assisted living hit highest-ever growth rate, quarterly data shows

Tim Mullaney, Staff Writer/

Assisted living inventory growth reached a historic high in the second quarter of 2014, while nursing home inventory continued its slight downward trajectory, according to data released Friday by the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry.

Seniors housing construction has been moderate, and this trend continued in the second quarter, noted Charles W. Harry Jr., NIC's managing director and director of research and analytics. The annual inventory growth rate for the quarter was 1.5%. 

“But the resulting rates of inventory growth for independent living and assisted living are quite different,” Harry said. “Annual inventory growth for independent living registered only 0.5%, while assisted living's inventory grew by 3.1% and marks its fastest rate of growth ever within the NIC MAP® time series which dates back to 2007.”

Inventory growth for nursing care was minus-0.1%, from minus-0.2% in the first quarter of the year. Nursing home occupancy was down slightly, going from 88.4% in the first quarter to 88.2% in the second.

Overall, seniors housing occupancy ticked up 0.1 percentage points, to reach 89.9%.

An improving economy likely is driving demand for seniors housing, NIC Chief Economist Beth Mace said. The unemployment rate reached its lowest levels since 2008 and household confidence is on the rise, she explained.


EDITOR'S NOTE”: Although using assisted living facilities as alternatives to nursing homes is economically sound, it presents some problems for the facilities themselves who may not be equipped to deal with residents who are only marginally able to live in a place like ours. Just because a person does not need constant nursing care, does not mean that they can be left alone. This is something that has to be addressed as we proceed, sometimes blindly, into the future.

Eating disorders not uncommon among seniors

By Karen Dandurant /

PORTSMOUTH — When thinking about eating disorders, most people immediately relate it to teenagers suffering from bulimia or anorexia nervosa. But eating disorders are common among senior citizens, and they can be life threatening.

There are many reasons for eating problems in the elderly. Sometimes illness prevents them from having an appetite, or they may have difficulty swallowing. Certain medications can result in eating disorders because it makes the food taste different, and there are seniors who may have suffered from a true eating disorder earlier in life and that body image problem can carry through their entire lives.

"This is often very difficult to diagnose," said Jessica LaFleur, a registered dietician at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. "Patients present with multiple symptoms. It can be a lack of desire to eat or taste changes. Depression, the loss of a spouse or a friend impacts eating. Maybe they live alone and don't want to prepare a meal for themselves."

Eileen Behan is a registered dietitian for Core Physicians. She has written several books on dietary issues and is administrator of a Web site,

"For many, it probably carried through from when they were teens," Behan said. "But the elderly are more frail and vulnerable. The psychology of the food component becomes crucial. Many are already small, so keeping the proper nutrition in their bodies is really important."

LaFleur said it is important to figure out an eating problem sooner rather than later to prevent an unhealthy weight loss.

Brinn Chute is senior services coordinator for the city of Portsmouth. She said senior citizens suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's disease can be a challenge.

"If you say, you need to eat today, they think you are crazy because they are sure they already have eaten," Chute said. "Their long-term memory tells them they eat every day. It tells them they shower and get dressed every day because that's what they always did. Their short-term memory is not good so they assume you are the one who is wrong."

Rachell Tessier, a clinical dietitian at Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Mass., said the problem can be with their teeth.

"They may have lost some teeth, or their dentures do not fit so well anymore," Tessier said. "Then we look to changing the texture of the food. We can use ground or pureed food to get a texture they can better tolerate. We can add yogurt or cottage cheese to food to bulk them up. We use butter, whole milk and cream to add calories."

Caregivers should make it a priority not to miss an eating opportunity, because even a small meal is helpful.

"Something is always better than nothing," Behan said. "It's also important to do frequent weight checks. That's the best way to track progress. It's as important in the elderly as checking blood pressure."

Chute suggests taking the time to eat a meal with the senior. She said even those with dementia issues may participate if they perceive it is meal time for everyone.

That's a big part of why assisted living places try very hard to make eating a social event," Chute said. "They encourage residents to come to the dining room for meals, to create a social mood."

Sometimes the preparation can be the problem. Tessier said it may be helpful to open cartons for the patient. Family members or home health aides can prepare single-serving meals that can be frozen and heated easily in a microwave later on.

If faced with an elderly person who is not eating, many turn to prepared nutrition drinks like Ensure, which are high in calories and can add needed nutrition.

"But a lot of the elderly simply do not like the drinks," Behan said. "If they don't like them, they are not going to drink them."

Instead, Behan said to try whole milk mixed with instant breakfast drinks, which are often better received. Smoothies made with yogurt are also a good source of calories and nutrients.

"Add cheese whenever possible to meals," Behan said. "Just a teaspoon of butter adds 45 calories to a meal and can be significant. Throw peanut butter on toast for protein. Use evaporated milk in baking dishes that call for milk."

People may avoid eggs because of a long perceived concern for cholesterol. Behan said that should not automatically be an issue in the elderly.

"An egg adds 75 grams of protein to a diet," Behan said. "Even adding egg whites can beneficial. Eggs are a powerhouse of protein. Seniors should have at least 20 grams of protein at breakfast."

For some, the problem with eating can be financial. Chute said there is a cost associated with food, and faced with paying the bills, some seniors will choose not to stock the refrigerator. She advises caregivers to check to make sure there is food available.

"If all they can afford is tuna, and they have eaten it every day for months, they are not going to be real excited about mealtimes," Chute said.

When does a senior citizen have to file a tax return? Not always...

Andre Malok the star ledger 

Q. I am 85 and my income is less than $10,000 a year, not including Social Security. Do I have to file a state or federal tax return? Many of my fellow senior citizens file tax returns even though they pay no tax.

— John

A. There are situations when you should file a federal or state return, or both, even though your earnings are under $10,000 a year.

The 2013 federal filing requirement for most single individuals over the age of 65 is gross income in excess of $11,500, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. That number is expected to increase to $11,700 in 2014, she said.

But as always with taxes, there are some exceptions.

Wolfe said you should first figure out your gross income by including all taxable income. Do not include losses reported on Schedule D or the expenses from a business reported on Schedule C or F, she said. Also, you would not include Social Security income unless half of your Social Security benefits plus your other gross income and any tax-exempt interest is more than $25,000, she said.

"If that is the case there is a special formula that calculates how much of your Social Security benefit is taxable," she said. "In no case would the taxable amount exceed 85 percent of the total benefit."

Even if you’re below the threshold for required filing, you have some other things to consider.

"If you owe no tax but you had monies withheld from your income, or made estimated tax payments during the year, then you should file to get that money refunded to you," she said.

Another reason to file is if you received a Form 1099-B for the sale of stock or other holdings and the amount reported on that form, when added to your other gross income, exceeds the $11,500 threshold, Wolfe said.

"In this case, filing a return will allow you to declare your cost basis in the holding and may keep you from getting a notice from the IRS," she said.

Wolfe said there are other situations specifically listed by the IRS when you must file a return even if your gross income is below the threshold, such as if you owe any special taxes, including but not limited to the alternative minimum tax or the household employment tax, or if you received a distribution from a medical savings account or a health savings account. You’d also have to file if you had net earnings from self-employment of $400 or more, or you had wages of $108.28 or more from a church or related organization that is exempt from employer Social Security and Medicare taxes.

For New Jersey, Wolfe said the filing requirement for a single filer is $10,000 of gross income, or $20,000 if you are filing jointly.

Additionally, the state does not tax Social Security benefits, and there’s a pension exclusion for taxpayers over the age of 62 with income less than $100,000 that will keep many seniors under the filing threshold, she said.



Retirees Who Go Online are Less Depressed

By Abbey Smith 

Depression in elders According to a recent study, American retirees who spend time on the Internet are less likely to develop depressions. The study compared senior citizens who go online and their peers who don’t know how to use the Internet.

Shelia Cotten, lead author of the study, said that the biggest factor that contributes to depression is living alone. She added that spending time online allows them to connect with others, feel less isolated, and not feel lonely. The study stated that eight percent of Americans 50 years old and older suffer from depression.

Cotten said that senior citizens are more probable to get depressed, experience social isolation, and feel loneliness compared to younger people. They wanted to determine whether getting retirees online will help reduce the risk.

The researchers analyzed polls collected over six years by the US Health and Retirement Survey that focused on the transitions Americans undergo when they retire. It involved data from around 3,000 retired men and women who were not living in nursing homes.

The researchers found signs of depression through the answers of the questionnaire. They respondents were also asked about their Internet use for email and other purposes. 30 percent of the participants said they go online. Researchers then compared the depression scores and discovered that people who were Internet users had a 33 percent lower risk of suffering from depression compared to people who were not going online.

The researchers didn't find out the effects of various Internet uses but previous studies suggested that retirees go online to communicate with their family and friends through email. Cotten said that older adults with heath and mobility problems can’t travel to visit their family. They use email to see photos of their grandchildren and their kids and to keep in touch with their family and friends.



 Social Security Extends Access to Benefit Verification

Multiple Options Available

Last week, the Social Security Administration announced that local Social Security offices would continue to provide benefit verification letters until further notice.  Providing services when and where the public needs them remains central to Social Security’s efforts, while continuing to encourage federal, state, and local agencies to take advantage of Social Security’s data exchange programs that can serve customers more efficiently and effectively.

“We appreciate the feedback from members of Congress, our community stakeholders and agency partners. We want to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers in a way that is convenient for them and also cost-effective and secure for all,” Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin stated. “I believe that government agencies can work closer together to assist our mutual customers.”

Over the last few years, Social Security has invested in technology that allows most government agencies and many other organizations to verify their clients’ Social Security benefits electronically without requiring them to visit a local Social Security office.

“We recognize that some members of the public may require in-person assistance and we will have a presence in local communities,” said Acting Commissioner Colvin. “We also want to ensure that the public is aware that they can access many of our services without making a trip to a local field office.”

Members of the public with Internet access can obtain benefit verification information by creating a my Social Security account at ...



I am at loss for words on how to describe the stuff that we were served for lunch last Friday afternoon. Expletives would not do justice to how poorly cooked, poorly thought out and poorly executed it was. Unfortunately, I have to begin somewhere, so here goes. Let's start with the pizza. 

First let me say that the pizza served here is never really good, just barely passing the criteria for pizza anywhere in the world. However, though it may not be “pizzeria” style, it is usually edible. Not so today. The crust was thick and hard, stale actually. People had to use knives to cut into it and many of them finally had to give up and order something else. The cheese was tasteless and cold and the sauce, so sweet, that it was sickening. I sent it back in favor of the other main offering, a meatball Parmesan something. We have had meatball Parmesan hero sandwiches in the past and, they were not bad. Therefore, thinking that is what we would be having, I sent the pizza back and ordered the sandwich. BIG MISTAKE. This is what passes for a meatball Parmesan sandwich here at the Asylum.

Three small meatballs, which taste like they were kept in an old lady's sock drawer for a week, covered, not with hot, melted slices of Parmesan cheese, but with a sprinkling of generic, soapy tasting grated cheese and the same, overly sweet tomato sauce that graced the pizza. And here is the final insult. The whole miserable concoction was placed, not on the customary Italian-style hero bread, but on...wait for it... a hot dog bun. But that was not the worst part.

The worst part of that afternoon's fiasco came when nobody, not one, of my fellow residents had the gumption to send it back despite the moans and groans which emanated from every corner of the dining room. To which I say “You get what you deserve.” Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To further illustrate how badly this lunch was, the alternate item listed on the menu was supposed to be Quiche which somehow magically turned into a soggy-crusted chicken pot pie at lunchtime. 

And then there was dinner...

More meatballs and a desert cookie, yum!

Actual breakfast menu

Last Tuesday's breakfast menu left nothing to speculation. There it was, in black and white, an accurate description of what was to come. No sugar coating or veiled innuendo's here. They said what they meant and meant what they said. THE EGGS WERE GOING TO BE FRIED AND OVER COOKED and, true to form, they were. Unfortunately, while I applaud the refreshing honesty of the kitchen, I cannot give high marks to the breakfast, which was disappointing to say the least.

Editor's note: I figure, that by forewarning us of the impending doom, it would forestall any subsequent complaints from the diners using the “I told you so” attitude  as a “cop out.”

I usually don't comment on the lettuce based salads we have here because, quite frankly, they're just boring. That is not to say that they are bad or inedible, they just don't have the mystery and intrigue necessary to stir the blood and get the senses riled up. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I must break from routine and report on a particularly poorly made salad.

For the rest of the known culinary world it is almost impossible to F&#k up a simple salad, but somehow the geniuses in our kitchen have managed to do it. Not only had the green stuff that passes for lettuce here wilted and the chunks of tomato  become mushy, but the only crisp, fresh item in this mess, the cucumber, was cut so thick that it was impossible to enjoy. It appears, that in our kitchen at least, the basic class on proper vegetable slicing was skipped over by our staff in cooking school, or they are using a chain saw to cut the veggies again.

But there was a bright spot on last week's menu...

Expecting less and receiving more is always a pleasure. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I can report that, at last, we were treated to a hot open turkey sandwich that meets most of the specifications set forth by HOSAA  (the Hot Open Sandwich Association of America).*

All of the required elements were present starting with a generous portion of turkey. In addition, the turkey was seated on a nice thick slice of fresh rye bread and liberally drenched in a rich turkey gravy. The side dish of French fries added just the right accompaniment to this New Jersey diner favorite. The only drawback was the turkey itself, which was of the processed variety instead of fresh sliced. Now, if they can make a hot open sandwich like this, with turkey, they should be able to do the same with roast beef, brisket or ham.

*The HOSAA may not be a real organization, but it should be.

bon apetite

[Please forgive me if this story offends anyone, but stories like this just kill me]

Ridiculous Study Says Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer

By Laura Stampler / Time,com

Scientists out of the University of Exeter insist that smelling farts could actually prevent cancer, among other diseases. Uh, okay.

“Although hydrogen sulfide gas”—produced when bacteria breaks down food—”is well known as a pungent, foul-smelling gas in rotten eggs and flatulence, it is naturally produced in the body and could in fact be a healthcare hero with significant implications for future therapies for a variety of diseases,” Dr. Mark Wood said in a university release.

Although the stinky gas can be noxious in large doses, the researchers seem to think that a whiff here and there has the power to reduce risks of cancer, strokes, heart attacks, arthritis, and dementia by preserving mitochondria. Researchers are even coming up with their own compound to emulate the stinky smell’s health benefits.

“‘We have exploited this natural process by making a compound, called AP39, which slowly delivers very small amounts of this gas specifically to the mitochondria,” Professor Matt Whiteman, who worked on the study to be published in the Medicinal Chemistry Communications journal, said.

So thank the guy in the elevator. While it might have seemed like the ride from hell, IT MIGHT JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE. Or not.


patent pending



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Second Class Citizens

At what point did I become a second class citizen. When were my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness dismissed as ranting's of a disturbed old man. I certainly do not remember renouncing my U.S. Citizenship when I moved in here and yet, ever since I became a resident here I have been made to feel like something less than 100% adult human. Time after time, I am told by one staff member or another why I can't do something or what I can or can't have in my room, the place that I pay to live in. I am told, for no good reason, that I can't have a microwave or a Mr. Coffee maker in my room because I cannot be trusted not to set fire to myself. Day after day I am told I am not allowed to have any over the counter medications (or prescription meds) in my room unless approved by a nurse who is young enough to be my granddaughter. Forbidden too, is anything that contains alcohol in it, like Listerine, let alone a real alcoholic beverage, I thought prohibition was abolished in 1933. 

My mail is opened on a regular basis in fear that I may be too overwhelmed by the complexities of daily life to take care of my own affairs. My room is subject to random inspections as if I were cooking crystal meth in there. I am forced to put up with a pharmacy that has as much respect for us, their customers, as the Orkin man has for a cockroach. And it doesn't stop there. Perhaps the worst offense to my viability as a living person takes place in the dining room, where there is an almost complete disrespect for who we are. Although there has been a slight improvement in the variety of food served here (something that only came about after much negotiation and gnashing of teeth) the disdain that the staff has for us (both in the dining room and in the kitchen)  is quite apparent. On more than one occasion, food, not fit for a feral cat, has been served to us as if we were all demented old people who wouldn't know a tough piece of meat from a dish towel because, they know that we won't complain. “Overcooked and poorly prepared” are the key words here, with hot food served cold and cold food served just slightly above room temperature. I rarely get served a glass of ice tea with ice in it and receive dirty looks when I complain about it. 

Residents are disrespected in other ways too. We are never consulted in advance of any changes to policy that may directly affect our every day lives here. Only after we complain about something is anything done to correct a wrong. God forbid they should ask our opinion of anything beforehand preferring instead, just to go ahead and worry about the fallout later. Improvement of the facility itself, as far as anything the residents would like done, are put on a slow track to oblivion. Most suggestions are not even entertained or take so long to decide that they are forgotten about.  All of which goes to a basic lack of respect for who and what we are. As I have said many times in the past, I look for no special treatment for myself or any other resident here. All I want is to be treated as they (the management) would like to be treated, with the same respect and privileges that they and their families enjoy.



Anything that cancels Bingo here is cause for further investigation. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I had to find out what was the reason for that drastic action the other day and, what I found was very interesting. It seems that the auditorium was closed for a thorough cleaning. “Cleaning for what?”, I asked myself. After all, nothing gets “thoroughly” cleaned here unless it's very important, and by “important” I mean there is financial gain involved, and I was not wrong. After a brief talk with a staff member who shall remain nameless, I discovered that the reason for all the cleaning and all the preparation was because some sort of “marketing event” was to take place that evening, an event closed to residents* by the way.

Now don't get me wrong. As one who has a degree in marketing and advertising, I have no problem with people making money. After all, this is not a non-profit organization. What I do have a problem with is the way this promotional event and the cleaning that proceeded it, took precedence over the cleaning that is so badly needed in other parts of the facility. 

It takes only a quick look to notice that the carpets in the hallways and especially in the dining room are badly in need of a good shampooing. They are, in a word, disgusting. The carpeting in the elevators needs to be replaced and the area of the elevator lobby needs to be shampooed. But, evidently the management believes that the money and time is better spent sprucing up only the places that visitors can see rather than doing something for the residents that have to live here every day. This is just another of the thoughtless, inconsiderate approaches to "quality of life" issues that is prevalent here and which is bolstered by the number of promises made and broken. 

As I said, I am a marketing expert, and as a resident of an assisted living facility I have a  unique insight into how to sell this place and, although I usually get a fee for my expertise, I will give them this for free. Just like selling an old house or a used car, a little paint and polish goes a long way. And doing something about the smell in here wouldn't hurt either.

* Residents are never given a “heads up” by management, when events of this kind are going to take place, we are just kicked out, which makes us feel invisible.

Editor's note: Except for the baked ziti, nothing on that menu is anything we (residents) have ever seen in our dining room. That night, instead of Chicken Francaise and salmon in champagne sauce, we had meatloaf in brown gravy. Word also has it that wine was served at that dinner. They won't let us even have real wine at our Friday Sabbath Services.


Remember when we were encouraged to save?

One of my best memories of childhood, and beyond, was taking part of my allowance (and later on, my paycheck) and going to my local friendly neighborhood savings bank, passbook in hand,walking up to the teller's window and handing the teller my hard earned cash. The delight came when she handed me back my passbook, freshly stamped with my deposit and, in the last column, my balance, now x-dollars larger. It seemed like everybody I new had some sort of savings account. In fact, we were encouraged to save by our parents and by our schools, which had a school savings plan in cooperation with a local bank. Interest rates, though not terribly high, would guarantee a nice return (about 5% back then) at the end of the year. In addition there were special “Christmas Savings “ accounts with special short term rates. People became used to saving, even if was only a couple of dollars a week and, amazingly, the country did OK, in fact the unemployment rate was at its lowest point during the 80's when the interest rates were close to 9%. Now, just the opposite is taking place. It now is considered “unpatriotic” to save. The order of the day is “spend-spend-spend” with the theory being that all that spending aids the overall economy. Unfortunately, what it doesn't aid is our emergency fund. The “Spend it all” theory of economics depends on everybody having a steady, cost of living adjusted source of income, which would be great if everybody had such a guarantee. However, as we all know, we live in the real world where jobs are fleeting and raises few and far between. Of course, all of this is even more compounded if you are a senior on a fixed income. Below are the pros and cons of a new “Zero interest rate policy” which would discourage saving even more. Do you agree or disagree with this. Personally, I think that ZIRP is based in some unproven voodoo economic policy set forth by the Reagan regime.


Pros and Cons of Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP)[edit]


1) By lowering the cost of capital, cheap money encourages businesses to lever up and invest the proceeds and consumers to borrow and spend to boost the economy.

2) Refinancing existing debt becomes highly attractive.

3) Lifts asset prices if you happen to own them as about 50% of households don’t own any stocks or mutual funds.

4) With a lower discount rate, the present value of future cash flow turns higher.


1) Negative real interest rates is killing savers in order to bailout over indebted borrowers.

2) Pension funds are becoming more and more dangerously underfunded, threatening the retirements of many individuals and the balance sheets of companies and governments.

3) Artificially set interest rates misallocates capital, results in mal-investment, and distorts and manipulates markets.

4) The pricing mechanism/discovery is damaged if the cost of money is fake.

5) Debases the US$ (CPI index, aka cost of living, is less than 1 pt from a record high).

6) Massive monetary inflation is price inflation tinder box.

7) Deeper the Fed digs, the harder it will be to climb out.

8) The wealth effect is fleeting and so is its economic impact.

9) Cost of money doesn’t matter when huge de-leveraging needs to take place.

10) Fed engineered easy money creates illusory feel of an economic fix.

11) Cheap money is candy to the Federal Gov’ts love for spending money.[4]

Silent Spring

Some plants, like some people, are just late bloomers. And so, we were not immediately surprised when not all of the facilities trees and flowers came in to bloom this spring, some just took longer than usual but some, unfortunately, did not make it at all. As the first full week of summer came and went, we realized that at least two of our relatively young trees did not survive the winter. Whether it was the constant cold or just one of the many blights that effect some trees, we do not know. We only know that we have lost two of our flowering trees. 

Now, while I am not an arborist or tree surgeon and cannot tell if the tree is really dead or just dormant, I do suggest that the Center get a tree doctor down here to check them out. It would be a shame to have to replace these trees, which are probably expensive or worse, to let them stand there, dead.

By now, most everyone knows that America will soon become inundated with aging Baby Boomers like (us) me. The problem is, will America be ready for us? There are many changes that will have to be made to accommodate an increasingly older population.

NIH-commissioned Census Bureau report highlights effect of aging boomers

Data on individual, economic, social changes linked to dramatically aging population

While rates of smoking and excessive drinking have declined among older Americans, prevalence of chronic disease has risen, and many older Americans are unprepared to afford the costs of long-term care in a nursing home, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau commissioned by the National Institutes of Health.

The report highlights those trends and others among America’s older population, now over 40 million and expected to more than double by mid-century, growing to 83.7 million people and one-fifth of the U.S. population by 2050. Population trends and other national data about people 65 and older are presented in the report, 65+ in the United States: 2010(PDF - 1.7MB)  External Web Site Policy. It documents aging as quite varied in terms of how long people live, how well they age, their financial and educational status, their medical and long-term care and housing costs, where they live and with whom, and other factors important for aging and health.

Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of NIH, the report draws heavily on data from the 2010 Census External Web Site Policy and other nationally representative surveys, such as the Current Population Survey External Web Site Policy , the American Community Survey  External Web Site Policy and the National Health Interview Survey  External Web Site Policy. In addition, data from NIA-funded research was included in the report.

“This report shows how aging in America is changing in fundamental ways,” said Richard Suzman, Ph.D., director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research. “Not only does it provide the number of older people and their age, sex, and race, it also tells us about their health, families, communities and future problems with caregiving, vital data to consider as we seek to meet the needs and address concerns of an aging population. The older population today is increasingly diverse, on a number of fronts.”

A key aspect of the report is the effect that the aging of the baby boom generation — those born between 1946 and 1964 — will have on the U.S. population and on society in general. Baby boomers began to reach age 65 in 2011; between 2010 and 2020, the older generation is projected to grow more rapidly than in any other decade since 1900.

The report points out some critical health-related issues:

Rates of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have declined among those 65 and older, but the percentage of overweight and obese people has increased. Between 2003-2006, 72 percent of older men and 67 percent of older women were overweight or obese. Obesity is associated in increased rates of diabetes, arthritis, and impaired mobility, and in some cases with higher death rates.*

Research based on NIA’s Health and Retirement Study suggests that the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and diabetes, increased among older people between 1998 and 2008. For example, in 2008, 41 percent of the older population had three or more chronic conditions, 51 percent had one or two, and only 8 percent had no chronic conditions.

The cost of long-term care varies by care setting. The average cost of a private room in a nursing home was $229 per day or $83,585 per year in 2010. Less than one-fifth of older people have the personal financial resources to live in a nursing home for more than three years and almost two-thirds cannot afford even one year. Medicare provides coverage in a skilled nursing facility to older and disabled patients for short time periods following hospitalization. Medicaid covers long-term care in certified facilities for qualifying low-income seniors. In 2006, Medicaid paid for 43 percent of long-term care.

“Most of the long-term care provided to older people today comes from unpaid family members and friends,” noted Suzman. “Baby boomers had far fewer children than their parents. Combined with higher divorce rates and disrupted family structures, this will result in fewer family members to provide long-term care in the future. This will become more serious as people live longer with conditions such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”

Other areas covered in the report include economic characteristics, geographic distribution, social and other characteristics. See highlights below.

“We hope this report will serve as a useful resource to policy makers, researchers, educators, students and the public at large,” said Enrique Lamas, the Census Bureau’s associate director for demographic programs. “We sought to develop a comprehensive reference with up-to-date information from a variety of reliable sources.”


*One very apparent reason for this obesity is the high carb diets that older people are forced to eat because, essentially, these foods are cheap and filling.

New Analysis of Senior Citizen Population Released by U.S. Census Bureau

From population growth, to living arrangements, to work force participation it’s a complete picture of the citizens age 65 and older

Graph, showing senior population from 1900 to 2050 and percent of total population

June 30, 2014 - A new report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau provides the latest, comprehensive look at the nation's population aged 65 and older (senior citizens), comprising 40.3 million in 2010.

The 65+ in the United States: 2010 report contains many findings about the 65-and-older population on topics such as socio-economic characteristics, size and growth, geographic distribution, and longevity and health. For example, Americans 65 and older living in a nursing home fell 20 percent between 2000 and 2010, from 1.6 million to 1.3 million. Meanwhile, the share in other care settings has been growing.

"In the United States, older men and women are increasingly participating in the labor force," said Enrique Lamas, the Census Bureau's associate director for demographic programs. "The findings released today with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health provide the most detailed information available on the demographic, economic, and health and wellness characteristics of this rapidly growing dynamic population."

The Division of Behavioral and Social Research at NIA commissioned this report and has also supported three earlier editions, the first published in 1993.

"The National Institute on Aging is pleased to support this 65+ in the United States report," said Richard Suzman, director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at NIA.

"This report series uniquely combines Census Bureau and other federal statistics with findings from NIA-supported studies on aging. The collaboration with Census has been of great value in developing social, economic and demographic statistics on our aging population with this edition highlighting an approaching crisis in caregiving — since the baby boomers had fewer children compared to their parents."

In the report, a number of trends and characteristics are separated by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin for the older population. The report incorporates research and findings from many recent studies that draw heavily from the 2010 Census and nationally representative surveys, such as the Current Population Survey, American Community Survey and National Health Interview Survey.

Economic statistics from the Census Bureau's 2012 County Business Patterns also show changes in health care-related industries. For example, the number of employees in long-term care facilities, such as continuing care communities, grew by about 12 percent between 2007 and 2012.

Socio-economic Characteristics

Labor force participation rates of our nation's 65 and older population varied across states in 2009-2011. Major retirement destinations, such as Arizona and Florida, had lower rates compared with Midwest states, such as Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, where a higher share of the older population was still part of the workforce.

This report also includes an assessment of the impact of the December 2007 to June 2009 recession on older Americans.

   • Following 2006 and the peak in housing prices, homeownership rates remained stable for older householders at 81 percent in 2011, compared with the under-65 population who experienced declines.

   • Many older workers remained employed during the recession; 16.2 percent of the 65-and-older population were employed in 2010, up from 14.5 percent in 2005. In contrast, 60.3 percent of the 20-to-24 age group were employed in 2010, down from 68.0 percent in 2005.

Between 2000 and 2010, Internet usage for the 65-and-older population increased from 14.3 percent to 44.8 percent. While Internet usage among the older population made steady gains, it remained lower than among the younger population as 75.8 percent of those age 3 to 64 went online in 2010.

Size and Growth

   • In 2010, there were 40.3 million people 65 and older, 12 times the number in 1900.

   • Diversity among the older population is increasing, though the majority (nearly 85 percent) still reported as single-race white in the 2010 Census.

   • In 2010, 50 countries had a higher proportion of people age 65 and older than the United States. By 2050, this number is projected to reach 98, almost half the countries in the world.

Geographic Distribution

Florida was among the states with the highest proportions of older people in their populations in 2010, along with West Virginia, Maine and Pennsylvania (all above 15 percent).

   • Eleven states had more than 1 million people 65 and older in 2010.

   • The West and South regions experienced the fastest growth in their 65-plus and 85-plus populations between 2000 and 2010.

At a more local level, the Census Bureau's recent population estimates showed Sumter county, Fla. — home to a large retirement community — had the nation's highest median age among all U.S. counties in 2013, at 65.5 years.


Senior communities in Florida have long known of the benefits of giving their residences fancy names that have nothing to do with what goes on inside. Hence, there are names like “Palm Acres Estates” and The Glades at Boca Vista Meadows”. Now, it appears that other places that are primarily senior residences are taking up the gauntlet of change and have decided to give their facilities fancy names. This, of course, got me to thinking about what would be a good new name for this place and what I came up with was, “ Sparrow Hill at Westchester Heights”, dropping the “Assisted and Independent” nomenclature entirely.

© 2014 BWC

Name Changes in Senior Living are Big Business — But Worth the Risks?

By Emily Study 

Senior. Retirement. Assisted living. All are terms familiar to senior housing marketing. But a new wave of name changes is taking communities and companies away from their traditional branding.

These name changes, some say, have both advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, providers may find a broader market reach and an overall better reflection of residents.

On the flip side, name changes may not be the best idea when it comes to online searchability.

Willow Valley Communities, a Pennsylvania-based continuing care retirement community, has recently dropped the word “Retirement” from its name with an aim to better reflect the energy of its residents.

Read the entire article.....


Every once and awhile we get a letter from a reader who gives us permission to reprint what they have to say. The following is such a letter.

To the WcenterBlog:

We are all adults, residents in the same facility. It seems sad that there is so much childish behavior.  There is among some people an attitude that says “me first and the heck with you.”  I see it on line near the med room and it’s bothersome because we are all essentially rowing the same boat so nobody is really going to get anywhere first. There are people who rush into the Dining Room after staring into it for fifteen minutes. The most dangerous place in the facility is between them and their tables. How awful that a long life has come to that.

It’s painful to watch supposed grownups acting childish, throwing temper tantrums over something so petty.  One would think that the years behind those gray hairs should have taught us about the need for cooperation and its value in getting what we want in life. Whatever happened to the Golden Rule admonition that we are all supposed to use as a lodestar for our behavior for all of our lives?  Instead, we have temper tantrums and flouncing out of events when we don’t get what we want – even when the problem has been explained at least once. 

Everyone gets impatient from time to time, often rightfully so. There are things the facility does that shouldn’t be done and things that aren’t done that should.  Whining about it is absolutely the least effective strategy. It gets others up in arms, among other things, and it accomplishes absolutely nothing except to mark off the whiner as someone to avoid.

The way to go about getting things done is to go to the person in charge of the area you want to affect. If it’s physical plant, Michael Acevedo and Yossi are in charge of that. If it’s paperwork, Case Management takes care of appointments, paperwork and the numerous bureaucracies that drive everyone nuts. If there is a problem with HHA staff, go to Eric or one of the supervisors. Just don’t mutter about it and do nothing. And don't whine...whatever else you do, don't whine. 

Thanks, K.

Editor's Reply:

Dear K, thank you for your letter. You are, unfortunately, correct in what you say. There are many residents here that act like children. However, you have to remember one thing, there is a reason why those people are here. And not all of them are here because of physical disabilities. Many residents of this, and most other ALF's are here because they cannot cope with the rigors and complexities 

of daily life (as minor as they may seem to us), whether that be waiting on line for meds,obeying rules, or interacting with other people. Hopefully, after spending some time here, these people will learn to adapt to their situation and become integrated into our community. As for those that can't, well, we just have to have patience and give them their space.


I'm here, in front of my computer, on a day that promises to be a scorcher with temperatures hovering near the 95 degree mark. Certainly hot enough to be dangerous no matter what your age but especially dangerous if you are getting up in years. There are many reasons why seniors are affected by the heat more than others. Most of which are heart related, but no matter what the cause it is important for us to stay cool. Fortunately, here at the Center, the one thing that works well and is never skimped on is the AC. Which runs night and day during the summer. Unfortunately, not all people in our age bracket are afforded or can afford this necessity, the lack of which can lead to hyperthermia and even death. Here are some things to look for if you suspect that an individual, or yourself, might be overheating.

Hyperthermia: Too hot for your health

NIH provides advice on heat-related illness for older adults

Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms in the body to deal with the heat coming from the environment. Heat stroke, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat fatigue are common forms of hyperthermia. People can be at increased risk for these conditions, depending on the combination of outside temperature, their general health and individual lifestyle.

Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors, preferably with air conditioning or at least a fan and air circulation, on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect. Living in housing without air conditioning, not drinking enough fluids, not understanding how to respond to the weather conditions, lack of mobility and access to transportation, overdressing and visiting overcrowded places are all lifestyle factors that can increase the risk for hyperthermia.

People without air conditioners should go to places that do have air conditioning, such as senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries. Cooling centers, which may be set up by local public health agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities, are another option.

The risk for hyperthermia may increase from:

Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands

Alcohol use

Being substantially overweight or underweight


Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever

High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a physician.

Reduced perspiration,caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs

Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening form of hyperthermia. It occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and is unable to control its temperature. Heat stroke occurs when someone’s body temperature increases significantly (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit) and shows symptoms of the following: strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, mental status changes (like combativeness or confusion), staggering, faintness or coma. Seek immediate emergency medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.

If you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge the person to lie down.

If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.

Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.

Help the individual to bathe or sponge off with cool water.

If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water or fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) within the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helps eligible households pay for home cooling and heating costs. People interested in applying for assistance should contact their local or state LIHEAP agency or go to External Web Site Policy.

For a free copy of the NIA’s AgePage on hyperthermia in English or in Spanish, contact the NIA Information Center at 1-800-222-2225 or go to or



(Yonkers, NY July 11 2014) It is with deep regret that we must report on the passing of what could have been a fine roast beef dinner, murdered by the cooks at the Westchester Center. The murder scene in the dining room was a gruesome one as plate after plate of over cooked, too thickly sliced roast beef was returned to the kitchen. It took only one glance at the roast beef slices to realize that a dastardly deed had taken place. And, as usual, it was the innocent bystanders that suffered the most. At times, the disappointment on the faces of the residents, who were expecting so much more, was pitiful to watch. This reporter could only stand-by, helpless to do anything about it because all of that nights roast beef had been cooked to death in the same ghastly manor.

My only question is this, “Why, was what started out as a perfectly decent piece of meat allowed to end up in this manner”. Is there no one in that kitchen that cares about the food that is presented to the residents here. Is there no one person who has the authority to say “STOP” it's too well done. Evidently not. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. The inability to admit that the food was ruined  runs rampant here. Ultimately, the blame must be put on the food service manager who's instructions to his cooks either go unheard or unheeded. I am sure that this meat was expensive because it is rare indeed that we ever see this on our menu. What a shame that nobody knows how to cook it.

I don't know what it is about bacon that drives people to eat anything that has bacon in it. Maybe it's the smokey taste or maybe we really crave all those sodium nitrates. In any event, bacon makes everything taste better, and the soup we had the other day was no exception as if I needed and excuse to eat split pea soup in the first place. However, with the addition of smokey chunks of bacon, a certain “magic” was released which gave this rather humble soup a down-home flair reminiscent of soups usually found only in country farm houses. While  most of the soups we get here are very good, this one rates high on my list of favorites.

Mac and cheese used to be one of my go-to foods. You know, the stuff we go to when we crave something but we don't know exactly what it is that we want. I always knew that, when my cupboard was bare and I had to have something hot and filling and I had to have it NOW, there was always a box of Kraft Macaroni and cheese in the closet, and it was good. 

Yes, I know that most of the stuff in that box was made up primarily of chemicals and preservatives with the shelf life of a pre-historic fossilized dinosaur egg, but there was something about it that appealed to me. Therefore, the other day when I saw that the alternate to the main dish of  dreaded baked Talapia was mac and cheese, I jumped at the chance to, at least for the moment, relive my humble past. Unfortunately, any resemblance to that familiar box of macaroni and powdered cheese was in name only because, for some reason, they decided that it was necessary to try and improve on perfection by adulterating something that is already adulterated.

Although I find it difficult to put my finger on the problem, perhaps it's the processes by which it is cooked that turned me off. You see, instead of making mac and cheese the traditional, in the pot, method, they bake it which defeats the purpose of why mac and cheese is what it is. They one thing that makes M&C that food we crave has been baked out of it and that thing is the creaminess of the cheese. Balking this dish removes any vestige of that nice creamy, slightly sharp, cheddar flavor. Instead, what we get is baked ziti without the tomato sauce which, believe me, is not good for anybody. The next time, just boil the pasta, mix in the cheese, stir and serve, hot.

I was just thinking about how nice it would be to, once again, sink my tooth into a nice, juicy skirt steak. How about it chef, do you think we could swing it?

On second thought, forget it. The cooks will murder this just like the Roast Beef.


In last week's blog, I related a story about an assisted living facility that has a branch of a local pub located right in the facility as a way to get residents to better connect with the community. This week I came across a story which, at first glance, appears to have just the opposite approach to serving drinks. However, upon closer observation it becomes apparent that this particular facility had no problem with residents drinking at all.

Headline:Retirement communities can no longer serve alcohol to residents

From the Bloomington, IN Times

The weekly social hours at the Meadowood Retirement Community and in the Bell Trace Independent Living and Assisted Living building are now semi-dry.

At the weekly gatherings, social staples at Meadowood and Bell Trace for many years, alcoholic beverages are no longer served along with snacks. Now, the only drinks offered to the 50 or more regular attendees are soft drinks, punch and floats. But residents can bring their own booze if they want.

It's that last line that gives me hope.



The continuing story of why seniors need pets

Emma Lou belongs on assisted living center's payroll

By Jean Brody Winchester Sun columnist 

Her name is Emma Lou and, if you ask me, they ought to pay her to live here at Brookdale Assisted Living. She has more to do with the mood and morale of the residents here than any pill or planned entertainment and I am her biggest fan!

Emma Lou is a 6-year-old boxer dog who lives here with Bob, her best friend. The relationship between the two of them is beautiful. Actually, the day I moved to my new apartment, the very first person I met, sitting on the front veranda, was Bob, and sitting by his side was Emma Lou. Because I am so drawn to animals, I laid my head on hers and stroked her warm body and I can tell you, having that encounter before I ever entered the building made the beginning of my new life much, much easier.

Bob and Emma Lou became my first and closest friends here. Every single day, after making the bed and eating breakfast, I always try to find Emma Lou. Now, after two months here, next to her beloved Bob, I think I am her closest friend. When she sees me coming each day, she goes bananas. She makes a bee-line for hugs and kisses

Many evenings, after an early supper, Bob and Emma Lou go to our inner courtyard so she can run and exercise. Often I go there to spend time with them. One evening last week, I found them out there so I sat down on a bench to chat. Emma Lou, who is a big dog, put her head in my lap and, before you know it, she had pulled herself all the way up and got into my lap. She had to drape her sleek body across my lap and hang off both ends. It was the closest she could get to me and she stayed almost an hour like that. 

 My whole day changed. I felt calm and peaceful, something not easy for me to feel these days. It hit me that if she did that for me, I’ll bet she does this for other residents. I began to observe her closely.

From the time Bob and Emma Lou get up in the early morning, residents begin to leave their apartments to visit with each other. I began to hear people ask, “Where is Emma Lou?” They set out to find her. I am convinced that laying one’s hands on her body and feeling the unconditional love of a dog makes life sweeter for most of the residents who live here.

Bob tells me that from the moment they emerge from their apartment, there is someone who wants to be with Emma Lou. They knock on his door when they go back to rest, wanting to see the dog. She makes a huge difference in the lives here.

Emma Lou has become the house therapy dog. Though her heart belongs to Bob, she is filled with love and affection for everyone here. She sort of makes one forget they are ill or old or just plain struggling to adjust to a new life.

Frankly, I think Bob and Emma Lou should be on the payroll here as the official greeters and fixer-uppers when one is having a hard day. I know Emma Lou is a blessing in my life. She and Bob, who so generously shares her, have made this transition in my life far easier. Oh, how I wish humans could learn from animals about unconditional love and acceptance without judgment.

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Why holidays don't mean that much to me anymore.

Someone once used the phrase “More fun than a month of Sundays”. That man must be crazy.

It's Monday, and now that the big July fourth weekend is over, what's next. For most of you it's back to work or school with thoughts of this holiday fresh in your heads and thinking about when the next big holiday will come. In fact, if you were like me when I counted myself among the great unwashed minions of the gainfully employed, all I thought about was when my next paid day off would be. 

Now don't get me wrong, I liked my job, but I cherished my free time more because, well, there was just so little of it. It seemed as if any free time I did have was taken up with stuff even more boring and mind numbing than work. There was cleaning, doing the laundry, home repairs, taking the car in for servicing, taking myself in for servicing (doctors, haircuts etc.) as well as the obligatory visits with family and friends leaving a very narrow band of time left to do the things that I liked to do. But now, all that is different. I have nothing but free time. I have the time to explore anything that interests me, but I can't. I can't because things did not work out exactly as I had hoped. My dreams of travel, adventure and 

even romance dissolved in a flash of pain, illness and a subsequent downward trend in my finances. Therefore, now that I have that wonderful free time I worked all my life for, I can't enjoy it. In addition, those long holiday weekends, which I looked forward to, mean absolutely nothing to me anymore and I daresay, they mean nothing to the majority of my fellow retirees either. Today will be pretty much the same as tomorrow which is 

pretty much the same as yesterday and next week as well. Life now consists of nothing but free time so why should I care about the fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Labor Day or any day when alternate side of the street parking is lifted. 

I guess it would be different if there were those big family gatherings we used to have. At least that would be a change from the tedium of having a perpetual vacation. But those days are gone too because most of the people I celebrated with back then are also gone and, even though the Center had a great barbecue this weekend, it just wasn't the same and never will be again which makes everything all that sadder. So I guess the next big scheduled non-holiday for us is Labor Day, unless you celebrate Bastille Day or Tisha B'av and, I suppose there will be the usual trappings of forced festivity around here, but for me, it has become meaningless. Maybe I should get a job so that I can enjoy holidays again.

Most of you probably know by know that I am a stickler for privacy. It's not that I have anything to hide, after all my life has been an open book via this blog for the last two years. However, that does not mean that I wish to share my personal information like my health status, my finances or my personal relationships with any body unless I want that information known. Therefore, when I get a piece of mail that has obviously been opened by someone, It makes me mad. Take the last bit of correspondence from the government agency that administers my Medicaid insurance. 

I arrived back in my room the other day to find a thick envelope on my desk. The envelope  had been delivered by one of the staff during the day. I do not usually get thick official looking envelopes so when I saw this one I grabbed it and went to open it immediately. I was even prepared to reach for a letter opener which I keep on my desk however, that proved to be unnecessary because, not only did I not need a letter opener, I did not even need to open it at all. It had already been opened for me. And this is not the first time.

It seems that anytime I get a piece of mail that is not an advertisement or junk mail, it has already been opened and, I presume, read. The question now is, who opens it, who reads it and why do they think it's OK to do this? Unfortunately, the answer may lie in something I foolishly did on the day that I arrived at the Center.

Upon arrival here, even before you have a chance to unpack, you are ushered into the Case Management office where you are presented with a mind boggling array of rules and regulations, do's and dont's and, form after form to sign. There were forms authorizing the facility to do this or that with my life (presumably for my own good). I believe there were even forms stating that I had signed the other forms and, I imagine that among those forms there was a form authorizing the center to open all “official” looking mail on my behalf. But, what constitutes “official”? Is my Social Security official, are my health records official or my banking information? At what point do they stop? In the recent past I have received open mail from my pharmacy, the City of New York and the Social Security Administration. In fact the only thing that does not get opened are letters offering me a subscription to the National Association of Airedale Breeders magazine. 

I know from talking to other residents that this phenomenon of clandestine letter-opening is not confined just to me nor is it confined to so called official correspondence only.  I also know that there is talk of at least one lawsuit in the works to prevent just this thing from happening when the facility sees fit to overstep their authority and open everything. Now that I have been here for awhile, and have had time to digest all of the information I was hastily given upon my arrival, I want to know “How can I un-designate the Center as a proxy for opening my mail. In other words, I want to opt-out.

Why is this necessary?

It's not as if parking is at a premium here. There are usually more than enough spaces within a short walk of the facilities main entrance for anybody who wants one. The only problem is that there are only two handicapped only parking spaces directly in front of the building. While there are not many residents here who

 have cars, all of those that do certainly fit into the category of "Handicapped". Therefore, I ask you, why is necessary that a parking space has been newly designated as reserved for "The Administrator"  and that this space is located right next to the only two handicapped spaces. The last time I looked, it was quiet apparent that our administrator was certainly not handicapped and has no reason to have such  prime location when an alternate space is just a few feet away. While I have no problem with our admin having his own parking spot, i believe that there are better and more resident-friendly locations.



As real estate gets more expensive (especially in an urban areas) we are forced to build up rather than out which means that, like it or not, we must use elevators. And, like all mechanical things, elevators break down causing an inconvenience t

o everyone concerned. When these breakdowns occur in places where the elderly live, the inconvenience is compounded. Siting the number of elevator breakdowns we have had here as of late it is interesting to note that we are not the only facility to encounter such a problem.

ATLANTA — Residents in a senior living high-rise in southwest Atlanta say the elevators break down frequently, and they’re concerned for their safety.

Jarrell Smith is wheelchair-bound and lives on the 11th floor of the Baptist Towers apartments. He says he wasn't able to get to his apartment for hours last week after two people got stuck on the elevator.

"I'm so afraid to even get on there because I don't know when it's going to break down," said Smith.

He says he's even more concerned about the thought of getting stuck upstairs during an emergency.

"I'd have to do what I know as a safety method of getting myself down that means rolling on my back or on my buttocks," he said.

Apartment staff on site referred Channel 2 Action News to their corporate office in Ohio.

A spokesperson says they have an elevator vendor that makes repairs quickly, and the elevators in question are working again.

They also say they do have an evacuation plan in place.

"In the event of a fire they tell us to go to the nearest exit and wait for the firemen to come and get us," said Inez Aylck.

See story...


Chances are, if you are like me, you scrimped and saved all of your working life just so you could enjoy a comfortable retirement. And, perhaps like me, those dreams were crushed by an unexpected expenditure such as an illness, accident or just plain misfortune. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that, when confronted with unexpected expenditures later in life, we find ourselves falling short. The editors at sites a survey they took explaining that most people have no idea how much they will need when they retire.

Survey: Most Americans Greatly Underestimate Nursing-home Costs

Confronting the costs of retirement is often like driving on a quiet road that leads toward a cliff. Everything seems just fine -- until it suddenly doesn't.

One of the biggest "cliffs" of this sort appears when the time comes to enter an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Unfortunately, few Americans seem to be preparing for this possibility: A new survey conducted for finds that most Americans badly underestimate the costs of nursing-home care and are neglecting the need to save for it.

An overlooked expense

Here are some of the important issues raised by the survey's results:

Most people underestimate the cost of nursing-home care. According to the survey, nearly 57 percent of Americans believe a year in a nursing home would cost less than $75,000. A study by MetLife found that the actual cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home comes to an average of $81,030 a year. For a private room, that jumps to $90,520. So most people are in danger of saving less than is necessary to meet this need.

People in some regions may be drastically underestimating the cost. Nursing-home costs vary greatly from region to region, so not only is the average person underestimating the cost of a nursing-home stay, but in some areas they may be off by tens of thousands of dollars. For example, while the national average for a semi-private room is $81,030 a year, in the New York City area the average cost is $141,620.

People are confused about the relative costs of assisted-living and nursing-home care. Survey responses about the estimated cost of assisted living were almost identical to those about the cost of a nursing home, when in fact assisted-living care costs roughly half of what nursing-home care costs. Why is it important for people to realize this? Some wise planning could allow you to stay in assisted living longer and thus preserve more of your savings.

Two-thirds of Americans do not have enough set aside for one year in a nursing home. Forty percent of survey respondents have set aside nothing for elder care, and a total of 67 percent have less than $75,000 set aside. There are safety nets such as Medicaid to help in these situations, but Medicaid applies only after you have substantially depleted your net worth. Plus, paying for assisted living with Medicaid can limit your options, including which facilities will accept you. It may also only pay for a semi-private room instead of a private room.

Long-term care insurance may or may not be the answer. Twelve percent of respondents are counting on long-term care insurance to take care of their elder care expenses. Insurance can be a good way of meeting the rising costs of this kind of care, but be sure you check the details, such as how much your policy will provide annually, and what types of care are eligible. Also, if you are receiving long-term care insurance through work, find out what will happen to your coverage when you retire. This is when you are most likely to need it.

Men and women are about equally naive about nursing-home costs. Fifty-six percent of women and 58 percent of men incorrectly believe that a year in a nursing home costs less than $75,000. In other words, men and women are both usually wrong about this.

Men are more likely to have money set aside for elder care. While men are slightly more likely than women to underestimate the cost of elder care, at least they are more likely to have saved for it. Fifty percent of women surveyed have set aside nothing for this eventuality, compared to 31 percent of men.

"We grow too soon old, and too late smart." That phrase is an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying, and it accurately describes how people tend not to recognize the full cost of elder care until it is too late. Most people age 55 and older recognize that a year of nursing care costs more than $75,000. Unfortunately, in each of three younger age groups surveyed, most believe the cost is less than $75,000. Why is it important for these younger groups to accurately assess the costs, when their need for nursing care is likely to be decades off? Because time is your most valuable ally in saving the money necessary to meet these expenses. Starting to save when you are young greatly increases your chance of having enough to afford the proper care when the time comes.

Having to enter an assisted living or skilled nursing facility can be a very emotional decision. Knowing what costs to expect and how you will pay for them can prevent financial stress from adding to these difficult emotions.



Senior citizens find it difficult to cut expenses

“Unlike the standard CPI, which measures the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services, the chained CPI assumes that, as prices go up, people in many cases will substitute cheaper items and thus their spending won’t go up as much.”

The Wednesday Dispatch editorial “No dodging fiscal reality” supported changing the way cost-of-living increases are calculated under Social Security, including the change from a standard consumer price index to chained consumer price index.

As the editorial stated, “Unlike the standard CPI, which measures the cost of a fixed basket of goods and services, the chained CPI assumes that, as prices go up, people in many cases will substitute cheaper items and thus their spending won’t go up as much.”

As increasing property taxes, utility costs and gasoline prices continue to hammer senior citizens who have only Social Security, just what cheaper items does the newspaper suggest? Perhaps a less expensive brand of cat food for dinner?



“Yes, I know your old and you are thinking “Why the f@#K should I care if smoking is bad for me, I'm going to die soon anyway”. This is exactly the same convoluted reasoning that made you start to smoke in the first place, you were just plain young and stupid, so what's your excuse now that you know better. It's true, you don't have all the time in the world left but why should those years be lived in sickness and misery. Do you think gasping for every breath is going to be fun or maybe you think it's cool dragging one of those portable oxygen concentrators around every place you go. Wise up people, stop smoking now.

New Online Effort Aimed at Helping Older People Stop Smoking

Seniors have to know cigarette smoking is leading cause of preventable, premature death and illness in U.S., responsible for almost half a million deaths yearly

From the NIH

 June 27, 2014 – For most seniors it is probably hard to believe that there are senior citizens who still smoke. Older Americans lived through the smoking era and saw the hard-fought battle by the medical profession to prove how deadly the habit can be. It is almost startling to learn that the National Institutes of Health has launched a new online effort to help older adults stop smoking.

“Most older adults know that smoking is harmful, and many have tried unsuccessfully to quit, often a number of times. But stopping smoking is a difficult goal that still eludes many older smokers,” says Erik Augustson, program director of the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which developed the topic for NIHSeniorHealth.

“This new topic, which offers a mix of tips and tools geared to the needs and experiences of older smokers, is an important, easy-to-use resource that can benefit those trying to quit for the first time as well as those who have tried before.”

Quitting Smoking for Older Adults is the new topic one NIHSeniorHealth.  It offers videos, worksheets, interactive features, strategies, quizzes, and more for older smokers who want to or are thinking of quitting.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable, premature death and illness in the United States, responsible for almost half a million deaths each year.

In addition to lung and other cancers, smoking can cause heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD. The recent Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress, provides new data that links smoking to bone disease, cataract, diabetes, macular degeneration, and erectile dysfunction.

Research shows that people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness. Although the rates of smoking have declined in recent years for all age groups, nearly 10 percent of adults over 65 - almost 4 million older Americans - continue to smoke.

NCI, which based the topic on its resource, Clear Horizons: A Quit Smoking Guide for People 50 and Older, has also included information about the challenges and advantages of quitting when you’re older, smoking’s effect on medications, and how to handle withdrawal, cravings, and more.

Quitting Smoking for Older Adults joins a growing roster of research-based health topics geared toward older adults, including exercise and physical activity, long-term care, safe use of medicines, and management of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease.

NIHSeniorHealth, a joint effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), components of NIH, is designed to be senior friendly and tailored to the cognitive and visual needs of older adults. The short, easy-to-read segments of information, large print, opened captioned videos, and simple navigation make the information on the site easy for older adults to find, see, and understand.

About NCI: NCI leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the prevalence of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI website at or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

Stroke: It can happen to you

BY PIEDTYPE on JUNE 25, 2014

This is important no matter how old you are. Anyone can have a stroke, so we all need to know what they look like. Stacey Yepes, 49, realized what was happening to her and used her cell phone to record the event for her doctors, who had previously dismissed her symptoms as “stress.” This is a minor stroke, a TIA (transient ischemic attack) recorded as it happened:

Symptoms of a TIA are the same as symptoms of a stroke. But symptoms of a TIA occur suddenly and don’t last very long. Most of the time, they go away in 10 to 20 minutes. They may include:

    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or paralysis in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
    • If you experience these symptoms, or observe them in someone else, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Note the time symptoms began, as clot busters can be used within 3 to 4 hours to dissolve the blood clot that caused the stroke and reduce or prevent permanent damage. Remember the mnemonic F.A.S.T. and get help FAST.



Supplement or Whole Nutrition for Aging Adults

by Randy Brittell

As we age, our body requires more or less of certain foods and the nutritional requirements are based on how much exercise one may do, the chronic diseases we may acquire and the body’s metabolic rate. There could also be certain barriers to eating properly as an older adult, but a healthy diet and getting the right nutrition is essential to maintaining the quality of life one desires, and to prevent certain illnesses.

Which is recommended, a supplement or whole nutrition for aging adults? This is an important question for the aging. Let’s examine the answer to the question.

Whole Nutrition for Aging Adults or a Supplement

One factor that can assist people who are 55 and older in maintaining optimal levels of health and preventing or delaying the onset of disease is dependent on a nutritious daily diet.

As one ages, it is a must to eat appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and drink enough water to minimize your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and certain age related cancers.

Most elderly people need fewer calories, because they are less active. Vitamins D-3, B-6, and calcium are exceptions and are needed in greater amounts.

Zinc also declines as a person ages. A low level of zinc in the body makes an elderly person more susceptible to pneumonia and influenza, according to a 2009 study reported in  “Immunity and Aging.”

A liquid zinc supplement would be recommended to stave off the consequences of low zinc levels.

One of the mistakes an elderly person makes is thinking they need to eat less because they are elderly. But this is a misconception.  An elderly person over 70 still requires as many nutrients as younger adults do.

Many elderly individuals will encounter dietary problems, and those problems being less able to select, purchase, prepare, eat, digest, absorb, and use food. Because of these problems the elderly person may choose not to eat as often or not eat at all.

If an elderly person has difficulty chewing or swallowing than they should choose fruit and vegetable juices, soft canned fruits, and creamed or mashed cooked vegetables. Include eggs and milk dishes in the diet, such as creamed soups, and soft foods like cheese, and yogurt. Also cooked cereals are a great choice when chewing meat or fresh fruits and vegetables are difficult. It is recommended to chop, stew, steam, or grate harder foods.

The flavor of food can be enhanced by adding spices, herbs, or lemon juice. If you are taking medications and you note a change in your appetite or taste, discuss your medications with your physician if this does become a problem, but never stop eating or chose a poor diet because of the medications you are taking.

Elderly people who live alone tend to have a less nutritious diet than those living with a partner. Programs like “Meals-On-Wheels” (USA based program) can help prevent poor nutrition caused by loneliness. Five days a week one to two meals are brought daily to the home and the person dropping off the meals will visit for a while.

It is advisable to get your nutrition, including vitamins and minerals through food. If taking a supplement, make sure it is one that uses whole food extraction and not synthetics. Also do not rely on the supplement solely for your nutrition.

Lastly, it is best to stear clear of prepackaged liquid supplements like “Ensure”, though it is reported that liquid supplements such as energy drinks and protein shakes can make it easier for older adults to remain healthy. These dietary aids also help ward off dehydration, a problem often experienced by the elderly. Speak with your doctor before taking such liquid supplements (

Keep in mind such liquid supplements do contain some synthetic vitamins and minerals, which your body absorbs little to none. Stick to a whole clean foods diet as long as possible for better health.

Remember, before starting any vitamin supplement regimen always consult your health care provider. Many so-called natural vitamins conflict with other medications you may be taking.


It's great to see so many more of the residents here using tablets and smart phones. Whether they are using them to connect to social media, reading email or just playing games, at least they are becoming connected. Realizing this as something that is not only a thing of the present but an up and coming thing of the future, more and more applications are being created just for older people. Here are just a few of the best ones.

Top 10 Android Apps for Seniors

There are many Android apps available through the Google play store on your Android device, but what about android apps for seniors? Seniors can download a variety of apps that will make navigation much easier. Some apps are designed specifically with large fonts for people with vision problems.

There are other apps on the market that make it easier for seniors to access their medical records, and manage their medications. These apps create convenience for seniors with easy organization, and easy access to important files, and documents.

The top ten apps for seniors promote convenience, learning, and entertainment. There are game apps available for download that can enhance brain function, social interactions, and communication. Many of these apps are free, and some offer free demos, or trials with a one-time fee.

    • Big Launcher: An app for people with vision problems. Ideal for children, seniors, and the legally blind. Features a simple Android interface with an SOS button. Pick your theme, choose your features, and manage shortcuts. Available at
    • Blood Pressure DB: Easily record your blood pressure with this free Android App. Blood pressure charts available. You can manage your blood pressure from your smart phone, or computer. Available at
    • My Life Record: This app keeps track of all medical records including medications, charts, imaging, lab results, and more. You can add notes to your medical records, and keep track of your doctors with this app. Available at
    • Big Digital Clock: This app is available in the Google play store. It is a large digital clock that allows you customize your font, color, and background.
    • Med Watcher: This app tracks side effects of vaccines, drugs, and other medical devices through social media, and other user reports. Available at
    • Words with Friends: This app is a game, similar to scrabble, that can be played with friends via Facebook, etc. Ideal for brain stimulation. Available at
    • Remember the Milk: This free app is a to-do-list for your smart phone. Create, and manage your daily to-do lists, and set important reminders. Available at
    • Dragon Dictation: This app creates hands free texting, e-mailing, status updates, incoming calls, and more. Features voice-dictation replies. Available at
    • Eye Reader: This app is a PDF reader that allows you to tilt your smart phone up and down to scroll pages. No swiping is needed to scroll through documents. Available at
    • Facebook: This app allows you to create, and manage your social networking profile. View and post status updates, photos, videos, links, and more. Connect with your friends, and loved ones. Browse businesses for coupons, promotions, and other discounts. Available at  

Navigating through the labyrinth of government bureaucracy can be challenging to say the least. At last, one government agency has decided to do something about it, and it's long overdue. As more Americans reach that certain age, the SSA will become even more overwhelmed than it is now.

News Release

Social Security Leads Efforts to Improve

Customer Service across Federal Government

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has published the plan for the Customer Service Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal on the website.  This CAP Goal is one of 15 CAP Goals developed to support President Obama’s management agenda.  Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, serves as a Goal Leader with Lisa Danzig, the Associate Director for Personnel and Performance at OMB.

“Customer service is part of our DNA here at Social Security, and we are happy to provide leadership in this important area,” said Acting Commissioner Colvin.  “For all the federal agencies that interact with citizens or businesses, our customers expect and deserve world-class customer service.  Through this CAP Goal, we renew our commitment to improve service to the American people.”

Staff from Social Security and OMB identified the high-level CAP Goal strategies after consulting with dozens of other federal agencies and external organizations. 

Highlights of the plan include:

An online and in-person network that federal employees anywhere can join and share ideas and tools for improving customer satisfaction

A nationwide award program for teams and individuals who excel at customer service

A better way to improve transparency and measure customer satisfaction across the federal government

For more information on the CAP goal, please click here

I love this story because it's just so wacky and out of character with anything that would be permitted here.

Keep this in mind when reading this story: Our in-house general store only sells non-alcoholic mouthwash.

Pub hopes to connect assisted living residents with community

“It’s almost like a ‘Cheers’ bar,” Tuminello said. “Everyone knows your name, there are plenty of friendly people; it’s just a great place. It’s nice for Lorien residents too, to have somewhere to go with visitors that isn’t off site.”

By Darcy Costello Times Correspondent

"TANEYTOWN* — A new pub opened recently in Taneytown, but it’s not where you’d expect. It’s in an assisted living community.

Flick’s Restaurant and Pub, which sits inside Lorien’s Taneytown location, opened May 1 to both Lorien residents and the public. The establishment seeks to provide a location for community interaction, as well as change society’s perception of nursing homes and aging care in general, Lorien Health Systems CEO Louis Grimmel said.

“Part of being healthy is being happy and socialization is a major key to that,” Grimmel said. “Why should we associate seniors with bingo when before that, they were going to bars, doing karaoke, having a good time? As earth-shattering as a bar in a nursing home might sound, it’s really just common sense. It’s not treating seniors as martians.”

*Taneytown is located in Carroll County Maryland

It was last Monday and, as I sat down for my midday repast of what promised to be just another form of hamburger, I thought “What if I used my imagination to make this rather mundane meal more exciting.”  Now, before you go off on a tangent and start imagining all sorts of ridiculous meal items let me advise you of the proper way to imagine food. 

First, the food that you imagine you would like to have has to be, in some way, related to the actual food that is on your plate, for instance. If you have been served a plain old piece of overcooked fish with a pat of margarine, it is perfectly acceptable for you to imagine that what you have before you is a 2lb steamed Maine lobster with drawn butter. What you cannot do is try and imagine that your fish is a plate of baby back ribs, get it? The same holds true for hamburger.

Hamburger can be “imagined” into being a vast cacophony of assorted meat related items. In my case it was steak, but not just any steak. After all, as long as you are dreaming you might as well dream of the best.

I transported myself back to the last time I had dinner at the Old Homestead steak house here in NYC. I remembered I ordered a sirloin steak, medium-well with a baked potato, creamed spinach and some crispy garlic bread. The steak, both in my dream and in reality, cut like butter and the juicy liquid that ran from its succulent meaty goodness was like a sanguine river flowing into an ocean of creamy green spinach. The dream was so real that I imagined the humble slab of chopped meat before me to be more than what it was and, for just a instance, I was back on 9th Avenue with a steak knife in one hand and a piece of garlic bread in the other. Unfortunately, I was snapped back to reality when the server came over to ask if I wanted diet butterscotch pudding for desert instead of the Old Homestead's world famous cheesecake, but it was a nice dream anyway.

Therefore, the next time you have dinner here, or anywhere, try to imagine that what you are eating was akin to the best thing you ever ate, but be careful. Don't let the dream go any further than the dining room because, after all, there is a thin line between dreams and insanity.

I do right by people who do right by me and the baby back ribs presented to us for dinner last Thursday were very very right. In fact, they were so good that I can say that there are so-called rib joints around the county that could take a cue from this que and learn how to make ribs. 

Besides being tender (something very important here where teeth are spit out faster than watermelon seeds) these ribs were thick and meaty with a flavorful, moderately smoky barbecue sauce. My only problem was with the sweet potato fries. They were soggy and cold. Real potato fries or a baked potato would have been a better choice here but I refuse to let that minor point bring me down from this high I am experiencing right now. As I walked around the dining room after I had finished wiping the sauce off my mouth, chin, eyebrows and shirt, I noticed plate after plate of denuded rib bones  tossed aside like the remains of a slow-footed gazelle after a hungry lions dinner. My hat's off to the cook who made these and the pigs to whom these delicious ribs once belonged.

The sandwich pictured above is not real. It is a figment of my imagination or maybe even an hallucination I had the other evening while chowing down on the Centers own version of a corned beef dinner. I know that at least some of that dinner was real because I distinctly remember bringing a tender, lean and quite tasty slice of real corned beef to my mouth and exclaiming how good and authentic tasting it was. I also remember saying, to everyone I met, how nice it would be that, if one afternoon, the same corned beef that graced our plates on this Friday evening could become the basis for a nice corned beef sandwich on rye al la Katz's or the Second Avenue Deli. The New York deli experience could be further enhanced with the availability of some Russian dressing (ketchup and mayonnaise) on the side along with a nice sour pickle and some cole slaw. And, while I do not expect the overstuffed version of this venerable deli staple which customarily has at least a pound of meat in it, even a small portion, properly served, would bring tears to the eyes of so many of the residents here who have been alienated from the food they grew up with.

The "Ich" factor

The "Ich" factor 2

KFC Chicken Turns Out To Be Deep-Fried Paper Towel 

From: The Huffington Post  | By Hilary Hanson

Finger wipin' good!

A mother in Newcastle, England was horrified when her stepson bit into a deep-fried blue paper towel, the Mirror reported last week.

Krystal Henderson, 29, and 7-year-old Oliver Hallam purchased takeout from a KFC branch in Killingsworth, according to the Express. At home, Oliver took a bite out of what he assumed was chicken, but recoiled seconds later.

kfc towel

"He pulled it out of his mouth and when he did, it pulled away the batter - you could see the blue roll inside," Henderson said, according to the Daily Mail.

Henderson said that realizing Oliver had bitten into a paper towel was worse than if it had just been bad chicken.

"If it was bad chicken they might have just had a bad batch or something," she said. "But the blue roll could have been used for anything - it could have bleach or disinfectant on it … Had someone wiped their hands on it, had it been used to wipe the floor?"

KFC investigated the incident and, in May, sent Henderson an apology letter, explaining

"the blue tissue has most likely originated from a tissue roll used for KFC hygiene purposes. The store assume it must have fallen unseen into the breading lug that is under the sieve and was not noticed by the cook."

A spokesperson for KFC made the following statement, obtained by the Mirror:

We're very sorry for Ms Henderson's experience and apologized to her immediately, as well as giving her a refund at the time of the incident.

We take food quality and hygiene very seriously and unfortunately, on this extremely rare occasion, our restaurant failed to meet the high standards that both we and our customers expect.

We have retrained staff on our stringent food preparation procedures at this store to ensure this doesn't happen again.

The company also offered Henderson a free meal.

*Answer to this week's senior FUN FACT: As of last July, Florida had by far the highest percentage of people 65 and older, followed by Maine with 17.7 percent.


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The Complexities of Old Age

It's harder to be old today than it ever was.

    • There is just so much more to deal with.
    • Daily life causes more stress than it used to.
    • The more high tech things get the more stress there is for seniors.
    • You need more money to be old today that in years gone by.
    • Everything is disproportionately expensive.
    • More unscrupulous people are ready to steal your money.
    • There is less help from friends and relatives who have their own problems.
    • Society respects old people less than they used to.
    • Old people live longer than they used to, which compounds everything.

I was thinking about my grandparents the other day. Maybe it was a TV show or something I read that reminded me of them. It brought me back to a different time and a much different era. My maternal grandparents (the only grandparents I really knew) left this earth in the early 1960's when America, and the world, was very different. We were, in some ways, more naïve than we are today and less compassionate towards people different than ourselves. Racial prejudice was rampant and social welfare, especially for older folks was nonexistent. If you were old and sick and poor, you either remained, miserably, in your home or went in to a state sponsored “Old folks home” or “The Poor House”. Social Security barely met your daily living expenses and health insurance was just a dream, so why is it that I think the old days for old folks were better than they are today? Perhaps I'm the one that's naïve, but things seemed simpler.

There was just so much less to deal with. Essentially, all you had to do when you reached 65 was to go down to your local Social Security office, see a knowledgeable counselor, fill out a form and that was that. You got your check, in your mailbox not directly deposited in your bank which meant that you always knew when it was actually available to be accessed. There were no ATM's or debit cards. You went to a bank, where they knew you, and deposited or cashed your check, sometimes without even showing I.D. No computers or websites that crash, nobody hacking into your personal information and stealing your identity. There were no PIN numbers or passwords to remember. All you needed was your little bank passbook to access your money. Everything today seems to be just one big hassle. Going faceless and paperless has just added to the stress of everyday life, especially for seniors who are not used to living in a digital world. If you had trouble when making a call, there were real live operators to help you, for free. A telephone repair man would come to your home, for free. And if your phone was broken, you would get a new one, for free.

Transportation was easier. If you didn't have “Exact Change”, the bus driver or token booth clerk would gladly make change for you. Now, you need exact change or a “Metrocard” just to get on the bus. And, while we are on the subject of transportation, cars were simpler too. There was less electronics and more muscle and they were simpler to operate. Turn the key, put it in “D” and go. No remote, keyless, horn-honking, alarm-screeching security measures to worry about. Tune-ups were not the tech-driven nightmares they are today. Throw in a new set of plugs and points and your car ran great for the rest of the year, and cheap. Gas, even relatively speaking, was still a bargain. Paying less than $1.00 for anything was the norm back then. In fact everything, at least the important things, was just cheaper. Staples like eggs, bread and milk were considered sacred cows and were rarely subject to radical price jumps. Today, raising the price of milk by 30% is no big deal, hitting those on fixed incomes the hardest. And then there's rent.

For those of us who rent rather than own, we have seen prices rise so disproportionately high as to be unaffordable for many people. At one time rent amounted to about 25% of one's monthly income. We signed long leases and did not expect an increase of any more than a few dollars. Now, the rent for unregulated apartments can reach as high as 40% or more per month, which means we are working for the landlord rather than for ourselves. In addition, today, when things get tough, there are less and less people we old folks can depend on for help. 

Years ago it was not uncommon for mom to move in with the kids (or in-laws) when it became too costly or too difficult  to live alone, at home. Today, unfortunately, the kids are not doing as well, and you might actually have more money and more room than they do. I fact, more and more adult children are moving back into their parents houses to save money which often leads to stressful living conditions for all concerned. 

Adding to this stress is societies attitude towards the elderly. Seniors, as far as the business, fashion, finance, entertainment and electronics industries are concerned, barely exist. We are usually left out of the mix when it comes time for these industries to design clothing, produce shows, and manufacture the latest gadgets. The world's stuff is getting smaller. In fact, except for TV's, everything is getting smaller like  telephones and keyboards which makes it harder for sight impaired and dexterity  challenged older folks to access. In short, we are being dismissed as being too insignificant of a demographic to make any difference. However, this lack of insight on the part of business today may come back to bite them in the corporate ass. Soon, there will be more of us old folks around as all those baby b

With healthcare improving and new medications being developed every day and people learning to eat healthier and, in general, taking better care of themselves, we can expect us (old folks) to be around much longer than our predecessors which, if industry is not ready for, they will find themselves lagging behind those companies that have had the foresight to think ahead. Therefore, what does the future hold in store for older people. oomers turn 65, and we will be around a lot longer than our grandparents.

Eventually, today's really old people will no longer be with us and only a generation of  older people who have the ability to use the technology and access the information seniors need will be around. Today's seniors are more active, both physically and politically than they used to be. Additionally, if they ever find a cure for Alzheimer's, it will mean that, as the numbers of seniors increase, they will be more of a force to deal with than our grandparents were. What this will mean for society is left to be seen but, all I can say now is “Watch out you whippersnappers, we're old, we're bold, get used to it.

Keeping the cool heats up tempers

The latest thing to make the dining experience here even more annoying than it already is has to be the constant battle over the air conditioning. 

Unfortunately, instead of the usual central air conditioning which is prevalent throughout the rest of the facility, the dining room uses the same individual in-wall units found in the resident's rooms which means that tables near the windows get a full blast of cold air, while those in the middle of the room are a bit warmer. Given the vast swings in body temperatures of seniors, this makes for out and out both verbal and physical battles among residents and staff. Even more unfortunate, Chef Michael has to be called out from the kitchen to act as referee to these fights. However, there may be a simple solution to this problem. 

Differences of opinion arise when one resident, sitting directly in front of an AC unit feels a blast of cold air on their heads or back prompting the resident to turn the AC off which in turn infuriates other diners whose body temperatures approach that of rabbit in heat. Therefore, in my opinion, the solution is not to shut the AC off but rather to deflect the stream of cold air so that it does not blow directly on anybody. This can easily be accomplished by using a low-tech device called a “deflector”. These clear, Lucite barriers cause the air to blow in an up and out direction, over the heads of nearby diners. The approximate retail cost of such an item varies, but one, the size necessary to cover our AC units would range in the $20 to $40 area, a small price to pay for peace.

Suggestions for the Center's most Unused Space

     East Wing Patio needs to be used. 

It's rarely visited and most of the residents don't even know it's there. It's the most forgotten and unused spot in the whole facility. It's the patio located at the far east end of the main building and accessible only from the outside. To the best of my knowledge this area has never been used for anything and yet,there it sits, literally rotting away. It was more than a year ago that I alerted the staff to a dangerous condition on that very patio. The wooden covering had rotted out and some of the beams had fallen on to the deck. The situation was corrected and safety restored but still the area remains abandoned. This got me to thinking about what could be out there that would benefit the residents of, not only the east wing of the building, but the entire population as well. Many things came to mind. The easiest would be to just place benches and chairs on the patio and invite residents to use it. It could be used for outdoor parties and Bar-b-Que's. Unfortunately, the remoteness of this area and it's difficult access and the fact that it could only be used in good weather would mean that it probably would remain unused. Therefore, the only answer is to enclose the area, open up the fire exits and make a mixed use venue out of the place. One of the things that could be done is to erect a greenhouse. A structure such as the one shown here could offer year around gardening opportunities for residents and provide a warm, tropical-like seating area on those cold winter days. 

“That's great,” you say, “but who's going to pay for it.” To which I reply, a grant or a donation from either a nursery, greenhouse construction company or private benefactor who would have his or her name or a dedication on said structure. It would have to be up to management to pursue these avenues. If you have a better suggestion as to how this space can be used I would be glad to hear from you. 

Could this mean better para-transit for Westchester County?

The worst transportation system in the area needs all the help it can get.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces the Availability of $100 Million for New Ladders of Opportunity Initiative to Connect More Americans with Jobs

On June 4, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the availability of approximately $100 million in competitive grant funds through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Ladders of Opportunity Initiative.

These funds may be used to modernize and expand transit bus service specifically for the purpose of connecting disadvantaged and low-income individuals, veterans, older adults, people with disabilities, youths, and others with local workforce training, employment centers, health care, and other vital services.

A key evaluative factor as identified by FTA will be the extent to which the applicant forms strong federal and local partnerships to address the mobility challenge. This includes bringing local workforce development, training, education, veterans, transportation, and planning stakeholders together with representation of key customer groups (people with low-incomes, people with disabilities, youths, veterans, older adult populations, etc.) to formulate a plan to address building Ladders of Opportunity in an area.

We urge the Westchester County government to assess its transportation needs and if necessary , apply for this grant.

See also:

Senior Housing Construction Tapers, But Assisted Living Not Slowing Down

By Cassandra Dowell 

“While recent data show senior living construction starts have decreased by 65% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same quarter last year, senior housing experts say increasing occupancy rates, expanding demographics and other indicators reveal a formidable future for the senior housing industry. "

“Construction activity has moderated slightly, which might be weather-related, but there is a lot of capital in the sector, so we’re expecting there will be more product coming into the market as we go forward,” said Beth Burnham Mace, chief economist and director of capital markets for the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC), during a recent webinar hosted by National Real Estate Investor.

Assisted living’s expected supply increase and absorption rates over the next four quarters outpace those of independent living, data show.

“In assisted living the dynamics are considerably different, there’s much more supply and demand than in independent living,” said Chris McGraw, senior research analyst with NIC.

Analysts expect a significant uptick in supply and demand for assisted living compared to past quarters.

Over the next four quarters NIC leaders expect assisted inventory growth of about 6,700 units, or an increase supply of 3.4%; and absorption of 5,900 units, or 3.9%. Those projections surpass the last four quarters’ numbers, during which supply increased by 2.3% and absorption by 2.8%, according to NIC data.

At sometime or another, if you are a resident here or in any other senior living environment that keeps an eye on you health, you will be asked to take a blood test. In fact, here at the Center, blood tests are administered on a regular and frequent basis, so often that the phlebotomist who is assigned to this facility knows people on a first name basis, but are we getting the blood tests we really need, read on...

5 Blood Tests That Are Worth The Prick

These quick, easy tests can reveal hidden risks, explain mystery ailments and help you make better decisions about your health.

By Corrie Pikul

The Test That Can Help You Avoid a Heart Attack

What it does: A CRP test identifies the presence of C-reactive proteins, which are indicators of inflammation in the body.

Why this matters: Chronic inflammation can do serious damage to healthy tissue, eventually leading to blood clots and accelerate the buildup of plaque in the arteries. According to the American Heart Association, people with high C-reactive proteins are twice as likely to suffer cardiac arrest as those with low levels.

Who should get it: If you are over age 40 and you have slightly high cholesterol, a large waistline, a family history of heart disease or are a little overweight. All of these factors could mean that you're at "intermediate" risk for a heart attack or stroke and can help your doctor decide if you should start a statin drug, says Janet Pregler, MD, the director of the Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center. (Statins, which are widely prescribed, usually involve a lifelong commitment and can have significant side effects, like muscle pain, cataracts and liver damage.

What else you should know: This is not a standard test for women, and most insurance plans don't cover it, Pregler says.

The Blood Test That Could Discover Why You're Not Feeling Quite Right

What it does: A vitamin B12 level test measures the amount of vitamin B12 in your blood.

Why this matters: A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to anemia, nerve issues, memory problems (and dementia), crushing fatigue, mood disorders—many of the vexing ailments that can seriously disrupt a woman's life, says Sandra Adamson Fryhofer, MD, an adjunct clinical associate professor at Emory University.

Who should get it: Vegans and vegetarians are more likely to be deficient in B12 because they don't consume animal products, which are among the best sources of this vitamin. People who have low stomach acid—whether due to age or medication for acid reflux—are also at risk, because the acid helps absorb the vitamin, says Fryhofer. She checks her patients as part of their wellness visits, but if your doctor doesn't, get your B12 and your D levels assessed if you're just "not feeling right."

What else you should know: More vitamins aren't always better, Fryhofer says. An excess of vitamin B12 can overload your kidneys, and too much vitamin D can increase your risk of kidney stones.

An Essential Blood Test for Women

What it does: A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test can check for thyroid gland problems. A higher-than-normal level of TSH could mean your thyroid is under active (hypothyroidism), while a lower-than-normal level could mean it's overactive (hyperthyroidism).

Why this matters: The thyroid affects everything women really care about, says Fryhofer, including weight, menstrual periods, hair, skin, muscles, energy levels and mood.

Who should get it: Women who just had a baby or are over 60 are more likely to have an underactive thyroid, but many doctors routinely do TSH tests on patients to make sure the gland is working properly (ask your doctor to be sure).

What else you should know: Untreated for long periods of time, hypothyroidism can bring on a myxedema coma, a rare but potentially fatal condition. But thyroid issues are usually straightforward and can be addressed with prescription supplements, says Fryhofer, so it's never a bad idea to get this test.

The Blood Test for the Vitamin Most of Us Lack

What it does: A 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test is used to determine how much vitamin D is in your body.

Why this matters: As well as helping your bones absorb calcium and keeping your muscles strong, vitamin D provides crucial support for your immune system and may lower your risk of developing cancer and depression.

Who should get it: Anyone who worries they might not be getting the right amount of it, which covers an awful lot of us: 53 percent of women, 41 percent of men, and 61 percent of kids have insufficient levels.

What else you should know: The daily dietary allowance recommended by the Institute of Medicine is around 600 IU for most adults. Fryhofer likes for her patients take a vitamin D1000 IU supplement. She usually checks on them once a year to make sure their levels are balanced (the test isn't always covered by insurance, but it's not expensive, she says). Other doctors don't do this as part of a routine visit, so you'll need to ask.

The Blood Test That Can Save Your Liver (And Your Life)

What it does: The Hepatitis C test detects a liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus.

Why this matters: While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that more than 3 million Americans are living with the virus, 75 percent don't know that they're infected. Over time, untreated Hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and cancer.

Who should get it: The CDC guidelines are still new, so you may need to prompt your doc, says Pregler. Hepatitis C can affect anyone, but those born between 1945 and 1965 have the highest rates of infection, and younger people may want to talk to their doctor about risk factors to see if the test makes sense for them, too, says Pregler.

What else you should know: Treatment for Hepatitis C used to involve a grueling regimen of drugs with unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. But late last year, the FDA approved two drugs that make treatment not only easier but also faster and more effective.


Perhaps you no longer like where you live or for some reason you have to get out of town (we won't ask any questions). But how will you know if where you want to live is better or worse than where you live now. Well, it appears that someone has done that for you, at least for 25 towns that may be better than yours.

25 Retirement Spots: How They Stack Up To Your Hometown

Compare your hometown to one of these popular retirement towns.

You will have to go to the article to find link to comparison calculator

CFPB Helps Assisted Living and Nursing Facilities Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse

One recent study estimated that older Americans lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation by a broad spectrum of perpetrators in 2010. Another study concluded that about 5 percent of Americans over the age of 60 experience financial mistreatment by a family member each year.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a guide to help assisted living and nursing facility staff better protect the people in their care by preventing and addressing financial abuse and scams. The guide helps staff recognize, record, and report financial mistreatment by family members or other trusted people handling the finances of an incapacitated adult. The guide also addresses prevention of a wide variety of financial exploitation and scams.

The guide (in PDF form) can be found at:

carb free

Award Winner shows how it should be done

Regular readers of this blog know of the problems I have with the woman (employed by the Center) who purports to be a registered dietitian and yet has never tasted the very food she recommends we eat. Her lack of knowledge in the field of proper diet and nutrition often reaches legendary proportions as is evident by the number and amount of carbohydrates she recommends to be served to us. It has always appeared to me that the primary goal of this (and many other institutions where seniors are fed) is to keep the population as carb-loaded and fat as possible so as to appease the state inspectors. (Hence the need for those pointless monthly weigh-ins.) This article from the ALFA newsletter describing how one particular senior living facilities is at the forefront of serving healthy food to its residents.

“The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) recently announced at its annual conference that New Perspective Senior Living and the Lighthouse Communities had won an annual Best of the Best Award in the Health and Wellness category.

“After a year spent consulting with biochemists, neurologists, and researchers at the University of Minnesota, UCLA, and elsewhere, NPSL reworked its recipes and menus. They increased the use of Omega 3 fatty acids* and antioxidant-rich foods*, decreased the use of refined carbohydrates and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and anticipated the FDA’s interest in eliminating trans-fatty oils by more than a year. They increased the use of nutrient-rich snacks, and introduced a Kefir*-based, protein-enhanced smoothie for digestive health. As part of the new program, NPSL also improved training for chefs and servers and produced a nutrition guide for residents and family members.”

*Hey,I looked it up...


(New Perspective is based in Eden Prairie, Minn.)

Breakfasts, as are all the other meals served here, operate on a rotation, meaning that we can be assured of getting at least one of our favorites every week. Unfortunately, it also means that we will get our least favorite breakfasts as well which, for me, means waffles. I cringe when I see that these previously frozen, credit card sized, cardboard tasting small, and always served cold, little bastards are what's for breakfast. Every other thing we get here for breakfast is actually very good. I love the scrambled eggs, the “Egg McWestchester”, the cheese omelets and the pancakes (which rival any made at Ihop), all of which I hope never change, but those waffles must go. They are just awful. I hated them when I was a kid (they would always get stuck in the toaster) and I hate them even more now. These things should be removed from the menu or find a waffle that is at least edible.

Maybe you call them tube steaks, Franks, Coney Island red hots or just plain hot dogs, but no matter what they are called, Americans have a passion for them. And nowhere is the passion for these questionably-stuffed sausages than right here in New York. As a jaded, sophisticated New Yorker one would expect me to be worldly when it came to the various ways these quick snack items are prepared but you would be wrong. Amazingly, people on the east side of the Hudson are notoriously naïve and geocentric when it comes to their hot dogs. While the rest of the country is enjoying their frankfurters with relish, ketchup, chilli, cheese, salsa and just about everything else you can think of, we New Yorker's rarely venture beyond the traditional mustard and sauerkraut. In fact, it was only a few years ago that some of us have ever tried sauteed onions on our dogs and this is only because the dirty water hot dog street vendors offered it as an alternative to kraut. Amazing too, is the fact that when I am away from my native land to, lets say, the southwest, I find myself ordering such delights as cheese dogs and my favorite, corny dogs. The reason for this inhibited behavior probably manifests itself in the fact that I just don't want any of my neighbors back home to see me stray from the fold and transgress in to “one of them damn tourists”. In any event, while I like and probably prefer the classic hot dog from my ancestral home (Brooklyn), I would not think it too out of bounds to have something different for a change. Did I hear somebody say chili?

You know that old Foodie likes his food “full flavored”* and has never shied away from anything spicy so, when I say that the BBQ sauce poured over what was purported to be a “Hot open BBQ roast beef sandwich”, was so hot and spicy that it ruined the meat, you know I'm not kidding. In addition, not only was the sauce inappropriate for these diners who are used to salt-free, bland, unseasoned foods, but this sauce does not go with roast beef. The only beef that BBQ sauce, whether it be home made or store bought, should be used with is beef brisket. The brisket has the ability, because of its fibrous consistency, to soak up any sauce poured over it, flavoring the meat instead of covering it up. This open RB sandwich would have faired better had it been left plain with a little brown roast beef gravy and a side of mashed potatoes with the spicy sauce best left to its beefier big brisket brother.

I have been know to eat a hot jalapeno taco with wasabi sauce and Chinese mustard just for fun.

Chinese food is all about the sauce. In the absence of any real sauce from the kitchen we diners (me) must resort to furnishing our own sauces, or in this case, condiments. Unfortunately, the only condiments I could find in one of the drawers in the country kitchen were a couple of packets of left over soy sauce and a package of hot sauce. What I really would have liked on my very dry concoction of shrimp, pork and fried rice, would have been some nice hot Chinese style mustard. Despite my pleas for the kitchen to carry this inexpensive condiment, a staple with every Chinese take-out order, it still remains unavailable here unless one can find a packet or two hidden away in a drawer somewhere. It would be a very simple thing to make sure there was some soy sauce and hot mustard packets on the table whenever Asian-style food is served. I don't think it's asking for too much and it would add considerably to the dining experience.

bon appetite

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This is an editorial that I have been wanting to write for a while now. Why I have decided to write it at this time comes as a result of an article I came across from the National Institute of Health about how to stop smoking and especially how to help seniors, in particular, to stop smoking.

I will be the first one to admit it. There is nothing more annoying to a smoker than a reformed non-smoker. We tend to have that superior, holier-than-thou attitude that makes peoples skin crawl. We don't understand why if “We can quit, why can't you”. Well, let me tell you, as a person who used to smoke 2 packs a day and hasn't had a cigarette in over 30 years, it ain't that easy. Tobacco is as addictive as any dose or Percocet or Oxycodone. But unlike those much prescribed painkillers, today's tobacco products will rot your lungs and eventually deprive you of your health and life. Now, if that doesn't sound like a former smoking talking, I don't know what does. So why is it that, no matter how old you are, not smoking is better than smoking. The following, from the NIH, is a good place to start to stop. I would like all of those smokers here at the Center to pay particular attention to the highlighted area on secondhand smoke. Although there is a designated smoking area set up for those residents who still smoke, there are some of those who, for one reason or another, pay no attention to the rules and smoke wherever they want, causing some of us to pass through a cloud of smoke on our way to various parts of the facility. Besides leaving there cigarette butts all over the place, they pose a health hazard to those of us who still care about breathing. Read the article from the NIH.

Smoking: It's Never Too Late to Stop

No matter your age, quitting smoking improves your health. If you quit smoking, you are likely to add years to your life, breathe more easily, and save money. You will also:

Lower your risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke, and lung disease

Have better blood circulation

Improve your sense of taste and smell

Stop smelling like smoke

Set a healthy example for your children and grandchildren

Many people say the first step to stop smoking is to make a firm decision to quit and pick a definite date to stop. Then make a clear plan for how you will stick to it.

Your plan might include:

  • Talking with your doctor
  • Setting a quit date, when you stop smoking completely
  • Developing a plan for dealing with urges to smoke
  • Reading self-help information
  • Going to individual or group counseling
  • Asking a friend for help
  • Taking medicine to help with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal
  • Calling your state quitline (1-800-784-8669 or 1-800-QUITNOW) or visiting  on the internet

Secondhand Smoke Is Dangerous

Secondhand smoke created by cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can cause serious health problems for family, friends, and even pets of smokers. Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for people who already have lung or heart disease. In adults, secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer. In babies it can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Children are also more likely to have lung problems, ear infections, and severe asthma if they are around secondhand smoke.

Good News About Quitting

The good news is that after you quit:

    • Your lungs, heart, and circulatory system will begin to function better.
    • Your chance of having a heart attack or stroke will drop.
    • Your breathing will improve.
    • Your chance of getting cancer will be lower.

More info at..........

Editors note: One of the stupidest things that I have ever seen (even for here) is a resident(s), who uses a portable oxygen concentrator, sneaking a smoke. Over the two years that I have been here, I have observed this phenomenon a number of times. 

Have Assisted Living Facilities Forgotten About Dads?

“The ladies are everywhere… it is the ladies who fill the dining hall, the ladies who while away the afternoon chatting and doing crossword puzzles in the sitting room, and the ladies whose photos are on display next to the needlepoint and paintings in the resident art gallery.”

As a man living in a facility dominated by women, I can certainly commiserate with what the author of this article has to say. However, let me say this about old men, we are not “participators”.  As a rule we don't join groups or engage in most of the activities that women seen to thrive on. In her effort to get more men involved here at the Center Carmen, our recreation director, has started a Men's Club. And, although it is sparsely attended, it has managed to draw out some of the more sociable men in our facility. I am sure there is some deep sociological motive why older men seem to be more isolated. Perhaps they feel that their manhood is threatened by younger, more virile males, or perhaps it's because that now, they have to depend on someone else (usually a woman) for aid and support. 

 By Ami Noss/

No matter what the specifics of the situation, the move from independence to assisted living can be emotionally fraught for both parents and children. Often, this stress is multiplied for children of aging single men for reasons that may surprise you. Learn more.

Seniors often feel reluctant to relinquish control over their surroundings and daily routines, and adult children may feel guilty over not being able to manage their parents’ care without help. Those not familiar with retirement home dynamics may not know that according to the National Center for Assisted Living, women outnumber men three to one in the average elder care setting. With more men moving to assisted living communities, this gender gap can make things more challenging for adult children to find a community that caters to men’s interest and will make dad happy.

In describing the scene at Irvine senior home Atria Woodbridge, Los Angeles Times reporter Rick Rojas notes,

“The ladies are everywhere… it is the ladies who fill the dining hall, the ladies who while away the afternoon chatting and doing crossword puzzles in the sitting room, and the ladies whose photos are on display next to the needlepoint and paintings in the resident art gallery.”

Columnist Pam Gerhardt of the Washington Post has referred to these imbalances as the “doilies and chintz” problem. “Every place I visited, I was overwhelmed with potpourri and teddy bears with bows,” Gerhardt lamented of her recent search for the right assisted living facility for her father.

While an excess of women might seem like an “embarrassment of riches” type issue to the untrained eye, in actuality, it can lead to men feeling excluded from the main flow of a community’s social life, overwhelmed by female attention at group events, or both. Rojas, for example, quotes one resident as saying that the women of Atria Woodbridge are actually hard to get know, since they “have a world of their own.” On the other hand, we have the example of St. Andrew Estates in Boca Raton Florida – a retirement home that resorted to hiring “older male dancing enthusiasts as well as volunteers from a local college fraternity” to staff a Valentine’s Day dance in order to keep dance cards full without overwhelming the in-house male population.

Given the intractable nature of the contributing factors to retirement home population imbalances – in a nutshell, women live longer and are less likely to insist on living alone – can senior living communities do a better job of helping men feel at home? Here are a few things that could make a difference:

Use modern, gender-neutral décor: There are plenty of furnishings with broad appeal, thus Pam Gerhardt recommends that retirement homes “lose the chintz,” along with the “crystal chandeliers and fleur-de-lis wallpaper.” She recommends using earthy hues, jewel tones, as well as bold, abstract artwork in place of “pastel sunsets.”

Keep staff ratios balanced: Senior living facilities should make sure that there are plenty of male staff members available to assist men with personal care. Some men may prefer to have a male attendant help them with grooming and dressing.

Create social opportunities that appeal to men: From designing appealing gathering spots such as club-like game rooms replete with overstuffed leather chairs and poker tables (another of Gerhardt’s suggestions), to organizing regular card games, men’s breakfasts, woodworking clubs, and similar activities, assisted living facilities should make a concerted effort to engage male residents in community life.

At Atria Woodbridge, resident Al Ladine worked with staff to create a “Man Cave”– a workshop where seniors craft everything from clocks to model railroads and airplanes. According to Rojas, women are welcome, but the shop is “much more of a gathering place for men.” A sign bearing the words “Boys Will Be Boys” hangs on the door.

“There are too many people sitting around doing nothing,” Ladine is quoted as saying.

Read article...

Walking back from lunch the other day I observed  a workman standing on a ladder, pulling cable through the tiles of the suspended ceiling. I knew this could mean only one thing, more TV cameras. It was only a month or two ago that we were “treated” to an influx of those big brother devices lurking in what I thought, was every nook and cranny of the facility. Evidently, I was wrong, they found even more places to hang these things, but for what purpose.  We all know that there has been an increase in theft of resident's property as of late and, if this is the way the Center is trying to combat this all I can say is that it's a noble, but useless, attempt. Installing more cameras to watch what is going on in the halls does nothing to stop what goes on in the resident's rooms while they are away. The answer to better security is more watchfulness by management and a better vetted staff.

If it's been looking even more gloomy than usual around the Center this week, don't despair, and don't take more Lexapro, your depression has not returned. It's just the facility trying to save energy. The string of ultra hot day's here last week, resulting in an extraordinary use of the air conditioning, prompted maintenance to actually swap out the light bulbs in the corridors for lower wattage bulbs. Despite the fact that those low-energy fluorescent bulbs were in place to begin with, I guess they were not low-energy enough. As an extra added attraction, the new bulbs cause the glass globes to cast an interesting light pattern on the ceiling giving the place the look of a 19th century boarding house rather than that institutional look we have become some used to. 

We are sure that in the convoluted minds of the powers that are in charge of things here at the Sunny Acres Home for the Incurably Perturbed, there is a good reason why these two benches, originally meant to provide seating for resident’s waiting for transportation in front of the main building, have been relocated to a place where nobody would ever sit. And, even if there were someone at sometime that would actually want to walk all the way down the hill to sit, alone, on a bench in the middle of the driveway in the blazing sun, why is there a need for two of them?

Apparently I've been doing it all wrong. 

Until recently, one of those taboo and rarely discussed subjects, has been senior citizens and sex. Fortunately, both seniors, facilities that take care of seniors have come to realize that older people are as interested and actively pursue sex just like any other group of horny people. Dr. Ruth Westheimer (86) who has been giving sex advice to people for years has finally told* me something I did not know...

Advice From Dr. Ruth: Seniors Should Have Sex In The Morning...

“For those people who want to engage in that activity, they have to know not to engage in sex in the evening, when they are tired. But to engage in sex in the morning. Go for breakfast, go back into bed, because the testosterone level is highest in the morning. And also, if one of the partners at [a] later stage in life wants to have some sexual satisfaction, that’s what they should engage in. If the other one doesn’t want to, just lie there and think about the next meal.” 

Actually, I probably did know this but have forgotten. The truth is, I don't remember too much about sex at all except that I think I liked it.


6 Safer Sex Tips for Seniors

Just like anyone of any age, seniors deserve clear information on how to protect sexual health.  So here it is – seven important do's and do not's.

Talk it out. A recent study found that only 38 percent of men and 22 percent of women have discussed their sex life with their health care provider after reaching the age of 50 (click here to read about the study). Silence limits honest patient-doctor conversation, which lessens the health info that you can get. End the silence by talking to your doctor about your sex life.

Get tested! Be your own health advocate and ask to be tested for STIs and HIV. Do it at the doctor’s office. Research shows that people over 50 at risk for HIV are 80 percent less likely to be tested than at-risk 20- to 30-year-olds.

Safer partners.Choose sex partners who you can have open and honest conversations with about sexual health. Discuss HIV/STI testing and safer sex practices before the lights go out. If you don’t feel comfortable, stick to less risky, non-penetrative orgasms. Click here for some examples.

Condoms for men and women! Think you know how to use a condom? Click here to watch a refresher video on YouTube. Or click here to learn and watch a video about the Female Condom (FC2) option.

Lube. After menopause, many women experience a natural thinning of the vaginal wall; you may notice a reduction in natural lubrication. Use water-based lube to help reduce micro abrasions that can increase the chances of infection. (Follow “the wetter the better” mantra if you’re experimenting with butt sex too!)

Spit, don’t swallow. Bleeding or sores in the mouth from dental work, gum issues or ill-fitting dentures can provide opportunities for infection. The safest way to give a BJ is to avoid contact between your mouth and your partner’s semen. If you do get a mouthful, spit, don’t swallow.



Top Travelling Tips for Senior Citizens


Travelling is an amazing experience regardless of whether you are 3 or 99 years old. Travelling can mean both the fact that you discover amazing places and the fact that you discover (and re-discover) things within you. If you ever thought that your age should stop you from seeing the world and if you ever thought that there is no place for seniors in the travelling world out there, then you should know that you were completely wrong. There is no reason to give up on your life-long dream of travelling the world now that you are a senior and if you are determined to make this happen for yourself, then you should definitely keep in mind the following tips.

Choose the Senior Options

Many of the travelling agencies out there actually offer travel packages that are specifically aimed at those who are over 65. This means that in most of the cases, these packages will come as an all-inclusive offer and that they will contain everything you will need during your travels (from transportation to accommodation and so on). If you do go for one such package, remember to see exactly what is covered and what is not covered.

Even more, these special packages are created especially for senior citizens from other points of view as well. Usually, they will include destinations you will find attractive and they will also include facilities that make your life easier during the trip. All in all, such packages can make for a wonderful, safe and hassle-free option when it comes to senior travelling.

Plan Ahead

If you want to save money and to make sure that you don’t forget about anything, plan everything well ahead. This will enable you to think through the options thoroughly, to analyse all the offers, to make lists of things you should not forget and to get ready to see your dream come true. Even more, you can save important sums of money if you book well in advance, which is definitely a plus for everyone out there.

Don’t Forget about Travel Insurance

It is important that you purchase a travel insurance policy as well, because this means that accidents such as losing your luggage at the airport, cancellations you have to make due to bad weather or special situations, having luggage with medication in it lost and many other unfortunate situations will be covered in case they arise. This can actually save you money and the trouble of running around when all you should have to do is relax and enjoy your trip. When you purchase insurance do keep in mind the fact that there are special types of travel insurance for the over 65s that will definitely work to your advantage.

This post was written by:

 More Traveling Tips for The Elderly

By: Leonard J. Hansen

Travel may be one of the greatest gifts you can give Mom or Dad.

The trip may be to visit other family and, particularly, grandkids and great grandchildren. It may be an adventure to a destination, aboard a cruise ship or even a return to a home of long ago.

You may accompany your parent; or, if he or she can maintain some independence, the trip may be solo. Either way, there are 10 important steps to take:

1. Request and Reserve Special Services

Request seat assignment in the rows designated for disabled travelers. And, importantly, request cost-free wheelchair service at every airport origination, connection and arrival location. If you don't make and confirm all of these requests at the time of reservation, the airline, train or bus line has no obligation to make them available on check-in or while en route.

2. Prepare Documentation

A government passport is accepted as the highest level of identification by federal TSA security officers. If you or your parent do not already have a passport, consider applying for such months prior to your travel. Your local post office will have the application forms; or you can go online to access the information and forms. 

Request copies of prescriptions and/or statements of medical conditions from each physician and medical treatment center.

3. Be Practical When Packing

Pack light. For a person traveling with at least some limitation, aim to pack everything necessary in a roll-aboard suitcase plus a medium-size over-the-shoulder carry-on. 

All prescription and over-the-counter medications should be placed in a one quart zip-lock freezer bag, including also copies of any prescriptions and/or physician statements in the hand-carry bag. Do not place the pill combinations separately into a separate plastic box as "the next co

mbined dosage." Such will never get through security. Enclose also any medical appliances such as extra braces or first-aid needs.

4. Think about Safety, Security and Comfort

Mom should not carry a purse but, instead a money belt worn under a blouse or a neat Passage 

5. Arrange Medication ManagementWallet hidden under her coat by a neck cord.  Dad should not carry a wallet in his back pocket but, instead, the same Passage Wallet from the neck cord or as a hidden wallet tucked into his pants and secured by a cord to his belt.

6. Plan for Security Checkpoints

If Mom or Dad is in a wheelchair at transportation centers, access to and through TSA (transportation security administration) security may actually be quicker than through the long line of other travelers. Before traveling, explain to Mom or Dad that the security process is vital to her or his safety.

7.Consider Destination and Travel Options.

 Start a discussion with Mom or Dad to learn her or his travel wishes. 

8.Consider Tours and Cruises

There are thousands of tour and cruise possibilities. Tours and cruises offer a unique service, in that they are totally planned, operated and staffed to deliver the promised program and destination discovery. 

9. Ensure Those at The Destination are Prepared

For more details on the above tips, go to...

We have had almost the perfect combination of rain and sun this past week which has made the grass green and luscious. The gardeners were out mowing the lawn this morning and I could not help but notice how sweet everything smelled. As a former home owner with a lawn of my own, I actually miss mowing the grass. 

Seniors use of potent meds via Medicare jumps

“Just another reason why I think we (seniors) are over medicated.”

WASHINGTON – The number of senior citizens getting narcotic painkillers and anti-anxiety medications under Medicare's prescription drug program is climbing sharply, and those older patients are being put on the drugs for longer periods of time, a USA Today examination of federal data shows.

From 2007 to 2012, the number of patients 65 and older getting Medicare prescriptions for powerful opioid pain medications rose more than 30 percent to upward of 8.5 million beneficiaries, the data show.

Use of some of the most commonly abused painkillers, such as hydrocodone and Oxycodone, climbed more than 50 percent. And the supply of each narcotic provided to the average recipient grew about 15 percent to about three months.

The figures suggest that 1 in 5 of the nation's 43 million seniors gets Medicare prescriptions to take pills like Vicodin or Percocet for their aches and pains, often on a long-term basis.

Meanwhile, the number of seniors getting Medicare prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications, such as alprazolam (also sold as Xanax), busipirone and lorazepam (also sold as Ativan), rose about 25 percent to more than 700,000. By 2012, the average patient got about five months' worth — about 10 percent more than in 2007.

The data for anti-anxiety medications are less comprehensive than for narcotics because one of the most popular classes of anti-anxiety drugs, benzodiazepines, got very limited coverage until last year under the Medicare drug benefit, known as Part D.

'Need to be concerned'

While often helpful on a short-term basis, many narcotic painkillers and anti-anxiety medicines carry considerable risks of abuse and dependence if their use is not closely supervised over longer periods. They also can contribute to confusion and physical injuries. As a result, public health officials have been urging prescribers to be far more judicious in determining which patients should be put on the drugs.

The increased prescribing to seniors "is something we really need to be concerned about," says Michael Von Korff, an investigator for the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.

Von Korff says seniors on the drugs risk injuries from falls, impaired breathing and cognitive problems, and those risks often are magnified when the medications are used in combination. What's more, he says, "misuse and abuse of these medicines is not uncommon among the elderly. They do get into trouble with these drugs."

Growing use

Last month, USA Today found that the number of seniors misusing painkillers and anti-anxiety drugs climbed substantially over the past decade. In 2012, an estimated 336,000 seniors had misused or become dependent on prescription pain relievers, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The rise in such prescriptions reflects "old teaching" that led many physicians to over-prescribe the drugs, especially for long-term treatment, says Jane Ballantyne, anesthesiologist and pain medicine expert at the University of Washington Medical Center.

The newer consensus is that the drugs' use should be much more limited, particularly in patients with a history of substance abuse or among groups, such as seniors, who are more vulnerable to side effects, she adds.

"But it takes a lot of time and effort to turn the old teaching around."

Huge increases

By drug type, the data show:

• Hydrocodone-acetaminophen, also sold as Lortab, Norco and Vicodin, has consistently been the most prescribed opioid painkiller for seniors under Medicare's drug program. It was prescribed to more than 5 million patients in 2012, up 52 percent from 2007, and the average patient got more than two months' worth — 20 percent more than in 2007.

• Among other popular painkillers, the use of oxycodone acetaminophen, also sold as Percocet, grew 58 percent to 1.2 million patients. The average patient got about a month's worth — 12 percent more than in 2007.

• Use of Tramadol grew the most. It was prescribed to 2.4 million patients in 2012, up nearly 140 percent since 2007.


Officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services declined requests for an interview. In a statement, CMS said: "Medicare takes instances of prescription drug misuse very seriously and recently put in place aggressive new rules that take further steps to prevent drug abuse and over utilization."


A senior citizen cell phone contingency plan

by Matt Sherer/

The one piece of modern technology that practically every resident here has is a cell phone and, while they may not know how to use all of the functions, they sure know how to talk on them. Unfortunately, cell phones like any mass marketed instrument has its problems which, in the hands of the elderly, are compounded. Here is some information on how to help a loved one or yourself keep safe.


“If you are over the age of 55, may I suggest that you give someone in your immediate family your cell phone password and other prompts. If something happens, they have the capability to deal with your phone service provider.

After recently trying to resolve some cell phone issues for my 80-something father-in-law, the experience has convinced me that senior citizens should have a plan to help their spouse or children deal with the major phone carriers to resolve an issue.”



The Pasta That Never Ends

Just when I thought that we had finally won, if not the war, at least a battle against the humongous amount of carbs served here, a reversal of the trend, it appears, has taken place. Not only are the carb-laden pasta's, rice, and potatoes back, they are back with a vengeance. This increase in the carb-to-protein ratio became quite noticeable when, last week we were not only served two pasta dishes on Monday but it was was followed on Tuesday by two more pasta dishes in the form of sausage and peppers over PASTA for lunch and BAKED ZITI for dinner. In addition, adding insult to injury, even the soup served with Tuesday's lunch contained copious amounts of, you guessed it, PASTA. Unfortunately, this trend might continue for a while due to an alarming across the board rise in food prices with beef taking a particularly hard hit. 

From the USDA...

“Beef and veal prices for the whole of 2014 are now forecast to increase by 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent, a sharp advance from last month's forecast for a 3 to 4 percent rise. Pork prices are set to rise by 3 percent to 4 percent, up from a 2 to 3 percent advance expected a month ago.

The USDA said overall U.S. food price inflation for 2014, including food bought at grocery stores and food bought at restaurants, would rise by 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014.”

The rise in prices is blamed on a drought in California and Texas. 

Therefore, we here at the Center, being at the lower end of the poverty level, can expect to see less beef and pork and more pastas and rice and potatoes and, of course,chicken. All I can say is push the carbs aside and eat your greens and ask for an extra helping of proteins if you can.

Editor's note: How do you know if you are eating too many carbs, it's easy. Remember those shorts you put on last year and noticed that they were getting a bit tight but you could still wear them. Well, try them on a couple of weeks from now and see if you can still button them up.

While I won't say that this was the best turkey club sandwich I have ever eaten, there is a case for it being the best that I have eaten here. At least there was a generous amount of turkey in it as well as the other ingredient that make a club a club, bacon. In addition, the large, properly grilled, slices of rye bread was the perfect wrapper for this Monday afternoon lunch. Although I would have liked to see a pickle or some cole slaw on the plate, that slight oversight was not enough to give anything but a two thumbs up to this sandwich.  

You may argue about whether McDonald's or Burger King or even Red Lobster's food is any good, but the one thing you cannot question is their consistency. You can travel anywhere in the country and know exactly what you are going to get because all of these PROFESSIONAL food service establishments follow one golden rule, “Never Vary”. This “quality of equality” is true for just about everything with a brand name that we buy. Dewar's Scotch even has the words “Never Varies” in their ads, they are that proud of it. Unfortunately that pride in what is served here has not carried over from the outside world and never is this culture of inconsistency more evident than when we are served pizza. From one time to the next, we can never be sure of either the quality, the size of the slice or the ingredients. Sometimes the pizza may be gooey and cheesy with a nice thin crust and a pizzeria size slice. Then, as it was last Friday, it could be a small wedge with and over baked, thick crusted slice and a  mysterious topping of unconventional ingredients. While I appreciate the fact that as bad as it is the pizza here does satisfy my primal pizza jones, I just wish it would do it the same every time.

Somewhere in the bowels of what the New York State Department of Health calls its rules and regulations, there is some piece of paper that says “No matter how food is traditionally prepared and no matter how stupid it sounds to prepare it differently, we know what's best and that's the way you are going to make it even if it's the wrong way and people won't eat it.” I have to believe this because it's the only explanation for the beef stew dinner we had last Friday evening. Never before have I seen a baked potato* and peas and carrots used as a side dish for beef stew. As I have said at least a dozen times in this blog over the years, beef stew is one of those dishes that, if made in the traditional manner, needs no side dishes. 

As far back as can be remembered, man has been preparing beef stew by including all of the ingredients in one dish. That is, the beef, the potatoes, the veggies should all be cooked together, that is what makes a stew, a stew. Cooking all of the ingredients together is why people make stew in the first place. It is a way of combining all of the necessary food groups together and, by doing so, having each ingredient add its own unique flavor to the stew. Unfortunately, what we get here is nothing more than stewed beef (and today some carrots) with the rest of the fixin's left on the side adding nothing to the flavor or texture of the stew. 

Look, I know that the cook has to follow the regs, strictly limiting his ability to cook things the way that they are supposed to be cooked but please, don't make a mockery out of something so basic as good old beef stew.

*Editor's note: I know that some people like sour cream on their baked potatoes, but I don't. I also do not like my baked potatoes placed on my plate already opened. First of all, I can open a baked potato by myself. Opening beforehand allows the heat to escape from the potato and there is niothing worse than a cold baked potato. Secondly, a baked potato should never be opened with a knife. Baked potatoes should be split open with a fork and the ends squeezed together exposing its fluffy innards.

Murder most fowl...

Yonkers, NY. June 21, 2014:  Diners at the Westchester Center were stunned last night over the sudden and outrageous death of the chicken, dinner that is. What began as a typical Saturday night meal, turned into something quite different when an innocent, relatively simple to make pineapple roast chicken was wantonly murdered before the eyes of dozens of horrified residents. 

It all started when the chicken (whose origin has not been released pending next of kin) was removed from the refrigerator located in the Center's kitchen. The chicken was prepared in the usual manner and placed in the oven to cook. That is when, according to local authorities, “All hell broke loose”. 

“It was horrible”, said one diner, “It was dry and we could hardly cut into it”.

“I turned away in horror”, said another diner who did not want to be identified.

“I sent it back”, said a third woman who told us her name was  “Lucretia”.

In a brief statement, investigators would only say that “Although the chicken was of the finest quality, as evident by the whiteness of its meat, somewhere between taking it from the refrigerator and removing it from the oven, it was cooked to death.

Also injured, were the overcooked broccoli and the ever present rice. both sides are expected to make a full recovery.

No explanation for this heinous act has been given, but investigators believe it was the work of amateurs.

bueno appetito

A Well Traveled Package

Due to some recent thefts here at the asylum, I ordered a cable lock for my laptop from Staples. Staples usually delivers stuff to me within a day or two so I was surprised when, after three days, I had still not received it. A quick look at the UPS tracking info told me why. This item has done more traveling in the last week than I have done in ten years.


Shipment Progress

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As I sit here, opening yet another erroneous statement from the pharmacy* that supplies our assisted living facility, staring at a “Balance Due” amount that I do not owe because all of my meds are covered by Medicaid and Medicare, I wonder if these incorrect statements which I have been receiving for the last few months are just the result of poor bookkeeping or an out and out attempt to defraud. I also wonder how many of my fellow residents have received similar statements and have unwittingly paid them. which causes me to ask the question,"why is it that a pharmacy which has consistently shown to be as inept as this one is permitted to continue servicing our facility unabated. "

If just sending out false or incorrect statements was the only thing which this pharmacy did wrong it would not bother me that much, after all it's only money. However, when said pharmacy begins to endanger the health of the residents they serve, ineptitude takes on a whole new meaning. Upon personal review and an impromptu survey of some of the other residents I have noted the following.

Said pharmacy is constantly late with deliveries. Medications that are faxed over in the morning are rarely delivered the same day or even the next day. (I have personally waited for six days to get a badly needed pain medication.

There appears to be no system in place to deliver medications on a “rush” basis (That is, between regular deliveries or off hours). A “We'll have it when we have it” attitude prevails.

At times, residents are told that said pharmacy does not have a particular medication in stock causing an additional two, three or even longer delay. Many of these meds are antibiotics whose course of treatment depends on starting the drug immediately.

In addition, this pharmacy is not open 24/7/365, (They are closed on Saturday and many holidays), putting residents at further risk. 

There are other stories of residents receiving incorrect medications and/or incorrect dosage amounts that were caught by our med-tech staff. Countless requests from residents (and even one supervisor) to replace the current pharmacy have been dismissed without reason. This undue loyalty by our management towards a vendor that has such a poor track record, gives me thought as to whether or not there is something more going on here. 

*Fearing any possible litigation I have refrained from mentioning the name of the pharmacy in question.

Long Waiting Line for Nurse irks Resident’s

By 8:30, the line of resident’s waiting at the nurses door had grown so long that it extended as far down as the library entrance, and this is not the first time this has happened. In fact, residents who must wait on this line every day to receive such nursing services as insulin injections, wound care and blood pressure monitoring, have reported this to be an ongoing occurrence. The problem all stems from the fact that these resident’s must rely on the one nurse being there, on time, something that has become increasingly rare as of late. Unfortunately, like everything else here, management has failed to address the problem in a timely manner, allowing a “wait and see” attitude to prevail. 

In an effort to reduce the size of the line at the med room every morning, a plan was initiated about a year ago to separate those resident’s who needed nursing services from those who only required regular medication. The plan, which worked well at the beginning, fell apart when the regular nurse left and another was hired. Unfortunately, the new nurse does not live nearby and has to make a long commute to work which is compounded during bad weather and traffic delays. And, while we don't like to see anyone lose their job, the needs of the resident’s must come first. It is time to correct this problem.

Elevator problems persist despite recent repairs

While last weeks incident where two resident’s were stuck in, and had to be rescued from one of our elevators was bad enough unfortunately, it was not the end to the problems that are continuing to plague our elevators. Following the the “rescue”, which caused the closing of one of the two cabs, the only remaining elevator went out of service stranding all of those resident’s who live on the upper floors of the main building, causing those people to congregate in the lobby until 9 PM when emergency repairs were made. And just this past Friday, the elevator in which another resident was riding, dropped from the second floor to the basement stranding him for over forty minutes. It should be noted that, at the time this article was written, one of the elevators is, again, out of service.

The elevators here are the main lifeline for the majority of the resident’s who are not fortunate enough to have rooms on the first floor. The elimination of even one of the elevators causes overcrowding which only adds to the anxiety of those resident’s who are dependent on those elevators to take them to activities, medications, rehab and, doctors visits as well a meals. While minor problems have impaired these elevators for years, it is not until recently that these incidents have increased dramatically. In addition, the down-time has also been getting longer. Where, at one time, repairmen were able to come and fix the problems almost immediately, it now takes up to a week before we see any service. Thus far, nobody has been injured, but it might only be a matter of time. Either we need a new elevator repair service or some new elevators.

Senior Discounts Are Out There If You Ask

By LORRAINE BLOETH VALERINO/ In the Lakeland Florida Ledger

Restaurants and stores set their own rules, so check before buying

Graying around the edges does have some advantages, at least when it comes to casual and fine dining for  senior citizens.

"In many cases, discounts might be available, but you have to ask," said Gretchen Artman, of Lakeland,Fl. 

Another caveat is that businesses set their own age restrictions for those who can receive "senior discounts."

It is suggested, for instance, patrons ask the server or restaurant hostess what the policy is at that location. Some are offered for specific days of the week and for specific meal times.

While it remains up to the discretion of the individual location, nationally recognized AARP restaurant discounts include those at Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Papa John's Pizza and Denny's -- among others -- that range from 10 percent to 25 percent.

For those seniors who haven't joined AARP, there are also some other restaurants that offer discounts for patrons who provide a current photo ID.

Carrabba's Italian Grill, for example, offers a 20 percent discount for seniors on Wednesdays.

Fast-food establishments like McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger-King, often offer seniors a discounted beverage.

Recognizing that some seniors are on fixed incomes while others have smaller appetites in their golden years, some restaurants feature 55+ and/or senior menu selections. IHOP, for example, has a separate 55+ menu featuring some of its most popular menu items.

Like IHOP, Bob Evans -- in business for some 60 years -- has its own 55 and Over menu with prices ranging from $7.49 to $10.79 with portions geared to smaller appetites.

In addition to meals, seniors can take advantage of discounts on merchandise and services ranging from clothing to appliances -- but again, you sometimes have to ask to receive the discount.

Stores like Beall's, Belk's, Kohl's, Ross Stores, Goodwill and Hancock Fabrics, all offer senior discounts.

Those who enjoy traveling can get discounts at various hotels and rental car agencies.

Walgreen's is offering additional savings for its Balance Rewards program members who link their AARP membership to the pharmacy's program. Members will receive email alerts with changing discount opportunities.

Michael's Craft Store offers 10-percent discount for AARP* members on Tuesdays. Sear's Optical and Lens Crafters also has discounts for a variety of products.


I have included the description why a hot dog is no good for you only to show you where the author of this article was headed. Except for the jelly beans and instant noodles, everything listed is served here at the center on a regular basis. However, to be fair, these foods are usually served on a rotating four to five week rotation. Unfortunately, margarine (never butter) and mayonnaise is available at all meals. To view details on why the other 10 foods are the worst, please click on the link. But keep in mind, man does not live on wheat grass alone, sometimes you just got to have a cheeseburger.

1. Hot dog

Hot dog, the most dangerous food on this list is also one of the most consumed ones.

It is deeply rooted in our culture and if you’re not eating hot dogs you’re just not American enough.

Not! We must fight in order to save if not ourselves, than our children.

The sausages were culturally imported from Germany and popularized in the United States, where they were a working class street food sold at hot dog stands that came to be associated with baseball and America.

Now lets focus on its ingredients:

1. Flavorings – Just let your imaginations run wild with this one

2. Preservatives – This item needs further analysis

Preservatives are typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite.

We already talked about nitrates and various preservatives in our analysis of hamburgers, but this substance is so toxic that it deserves another run. Here’s a fun fact: a 65 kg person would have to consume at least 4.615 g of sodium nitrite to result in death of that individual.

An American Institute for Cancer Research report found that consuming one 50-gram serving of processed meat, that’s about one hot dog every day, increases risk of colorectal cancer by 20 percent.

Hot dogs are also high in fat and salt and have preservatives sodium nitrate and nitrite, which are possible contributors to nitrate-containing chemicals believed to cause cancer.

Other no-no foods are...



4. Mayonnaise

5. Jelly beans


7. Popsicles

8.Instant noodles

9.Whipped cream

10. Margarine

11.Bologna or Baloney

Unfortunately, these food goody-goody know-it-all's would have you eat nothing but tofu and soy protein with a side of grass clippings belying the fact that we are sweet-toothed, meat eating carnivores and always will be.

Find out why these foods are not good for you. Go to...


by Frank M. Samson--


Each and every day seniors are being taken advantage of and getting ripped off.   Con-artists exploit their vulnerability, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say "no" or just hang up the telephone. You don't think it can happen to your family? Well, think again. The only way to stop these horrible incidents from occurring is to educate seniors, their families and friends of these scams so they are not taken advantage of. Following are just five scams to be aware of:

#1: The Long Lost Grandchild

The Set-Up: The phone rings and a person on the other end of the line claims to be a grandchild. They invariably need money, either to pay for tuition, car repairs, or bail to get out of jail. Often times, they insist that the money needs to be wired to them immediately and beg you not to tell their parents, especially if the set-up involves jail.

The Facts: Confirm with another member of the family, such as parents or a sibling, that the grandchild did in fact call you. Insist that, prior to sending them any money, you need to let the parents know. You can also look up the number of the police station or mechanic - do not use any phone number that the caller gives you - and ask to speak with the supervisor to confirm the situation.

#2 The Census Taker

The Set-Up: You receive a telephone call, a letter (on official-looking stationary), or even a knock on the door from someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau. They ask you to fill out a form that includes your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and possibly even your banking information.

The Facts: According to the Census Bureau, official Census employees "will not ask you for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number. They are also required to show you a badge and provide you with the phone number to the local Census office to verify their identity (you can double check this number in the phone book).

#3 The Creditor

The Set-Up: Someone calls claiming to be a collection company, credit card issuer, or attorney representing a client to whom you or someone in your household owes money. Scammers are known to target recent widows by reading the obituary pages and then claiming that the deceased owed them money.

The Facts: Collection companies do, in fact, call to recover debt and are allowed to do so within certain practices as defined by Federal law. If you are contacted about a debt, never give out financial information or send money. Instead, ask the caller to send you a "debt validation letter." Legitimate collectors are required to comply with this request within five days. If you are contacted about a recently deceased loved one, refer to the caller to your estate attorney or the executor of the estate.

#4 The Charity

The Set-Up: Someone posing as a charity - including a charity you may already contribute to - may contact you on the phone, by letter, or by email asking you to make a contribution.

The Facts: If you have never heard of or have never contributed to the charity before, verify their identity through either GuideStar (, an organization that verifies non-profits and lets you analyze their financial reports. Do not give out credit card numbers or bank account information. Legitimate charities will understand - and appreciate - your caution.

#5 The Contractor

The Set-Up: A contractor knocks on the door and informs the resident that they need major repairs to the roof, storm drains, or other structures. The contractor offers to provide a discount - because he likes to help out seniors - but says that he needs an advance payment to purchase materials and get started.

The Facts: If a contractor approaches you and offers work, do not give any advance fee. Ask him to write up a bid and to bring it the following day. Obtain at least one other bid prior to beginning any work.


 Read more....

Increase In Scams against elderly

by Javier Simon, Pelham

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Cell phones, social media and new payment systems are among tools that scammers are using to trick senior citizens in Westchester County out of thousands of dollars, according to officials.

U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D- 17th District) warns senior citizens, caretakers and families of a spike in financial scams aimed at senior citizens.

“My constituents have been talked into giving thousands and thousands of dollars, because they've been told "a grandchild is in serious trouble,” said Lowey in a press release. “Some have even spoken to someone they are sure is that grandchild. It is not. It’s an impostor who knows, as grandparents always tell me, information that only their grandchild would know, which generally, the crooks have learned from the Internet.

The scam Lowey spoke of usually involves an impostor impersonating a grandchild, who calls a grandparent and seeks financial assistance to escape a bad situation in a foreign country. A recent news report highlighted such a scam in which a grandparent gave up $20,000.

According to the New York State Attorney General’s Office, elderly victims across the state lost $441,000 to the "Grandparent Scam" in 2012.

The uses of voice mimicry, attainable personal information from the Internet, and simpler ways to pay have made the scam more sophisticated, according to a press release.

“It’s hard to imagine a scam worse than one that preys on senior citizens,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I am committed to doing anything I can to prosecute consumer fraud across our state and to educating New Yorkers on how to avoid scams that target older adults. Programs like our state wide “Smart Seniors” initiative help seniors avoid becoming victims in the first place. I am pleased to join Congresswoman Lowey in getting the word out to seniors about how to recognize scams and stay safe."

If you or a senior citizen you know suspects that he or she is being scammed, or has been a victim of a scam, call the state Attorney General's Office hotline at 1-800-771-7755 or visit...

There were not too many photo ops around here this week so I decided to dig deep into my private archives and pull out some photo I took a few years ago. The camera is a Nikon D-80 DSLR with a 300mm telephoto lens edited on Photoshop. The photo, of course, is of the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk.

New gadgets for high tech senior citizens

A vibration detector or motion detector can be placed on the floor to sense if a person has fallen. Family members or friends can then track the movement or non-movement from their computers without being too intrusive.

"If you put them by the bedside or by the bathroom door, you know that mom has gotten up in the middle of the night," said Krotish.

Research shows 30 percent of nursing home residents go to assisted living facilities because they cannot manage their medication.

But today's pill dispensers have come a long way from the past. A caregiver can load several days' worth of medicine in a machine that then delivers the right amount at the right time.

A blood pressure cuff and scale sends data by Bluetooth to an online system that family members and caregivers can access.

Additional PERS (personal emergency reporting systems) devices 

• Temperature sensors can provide alerts to update central stations of hazardous conditions.

• An activity timer can be programmed to send a signal if a preset amount of time elapses before either an activity transmitter is triggered or the console’s “home” button is pressed.

• Audible reminder messages can be set on a recurring schedule to highlight doctor’s visits, when medication should be taken or even social activities.

• Some consoles can serve as speaker phones, allowing for convenient communication.

• Take note of the range between a transmitter and a console. For example, if your mother likes to garden, be sure the range of the PERS is wide enough to include the yard.

• Transmitters can be wristbands, pendants, belt attachments or even appear as jewelry. 


Senior Citizens at High Risk of Bone Fractures May Find Safety Taking Vitamin D with Calcium

As people age, they tend to get less vitamin D from natural sources such as sunlight or foods such as fish and milk

June 4, 2014 - For seniors over the age of 65, taking a daily supplement of vitamin D with calcium - but not vitamin D alone - can offer some protection against the risk of common bone fractures, according to an updated review from The Cochrane Library. A new study found Vitamin D supplements with calcium lowered the risk of hip fractures in older people, especially high risk people living in nursing homes or hospitals.


The following excerpt is from a talk given by author Jared Diamond entitled:

Growing old in traditional societies

How societies grow old:

"Now in our society, most old people end up living separately from their children, and away from the friends they grew up with. In traditional societies everyone lives out their lives among their children and friends. That said, their treatment varies wildly.

At the worst extreme, many get rid of the elderly by one of several methods:

Neglect and not feeding them.

Abandoning them when the group moves.

Encouraging suicide.

Killing them.

This happens, says Diamond, mainly under two conditions: Nomads that are incapable of physically carrying them, or people living in marginal or fluctuating environments, such as the arctic or deserts. To us it sounds horrible, “But what could those traditional societies do differently?”

On the opposite extreme are the New Guinea farming societies he has been studying recently and most other sedentary farming societies. There the elderly are fed, remain and live in the same hut or a nearby hut to their children.

Elizabeth Lindsey: Curating humanity's heritage Elizabeth Lindsey: Curating humanity's heritage

What does this mean?

There are two reasons for this variation, the usefulness of old people and the society’s values. There are many things that elderly people contribute to their societies: They may be effective in producing food. They can babysit grandchildren, freeing their children to hunt and gather. They can craft things. And often they are the leaders and the most knowledgeable. The last point has a huge significance that would never occur to us in literate societies, “It’s their knowledge that spells the difference between survival and death.” In other cases, the society places an emphasis on respect for the elderly, as in East Asia. That contrasts strongly with the United States. Here, the elderly are at a huge disadvantage. For example in job applications, or in hospitals — in that case there is an explicit policy to treat younger people first.

Read more...Highlights of the entire talk may be found on TEDBLOG by clicking here...

New twist to assisted living.

An Indoor Park? Hobby Farm, with animals?

A Tavern?

Every time I read a story like this I wonder what the hell I'm doing here. While I have long ago given up any hope of ever living the life I once had, when I see what others of my age have I must admit, I get jealous. In addition, I wonder where the people who can afford to live in such places come up with the money every month. What kind of pensions or savings or investments did they have when they were working to be able to afford things that I now consider luxuries. What did I do wrong? While we here at the Asylum have to beg for even the most meager of amenities, the folks at this facility in Ripon Wisconsin seem to have an owner that wants to make things better for the resident’s.

Read on...

Bingo and a beauty shop. The calling cards of a traditional assisted living home,they’re beloved by many. But what about those who want something more from the place they’ll spend their golden years? Indoor park? Hobby farm? Ice cream parlor and tavern? Those are not pipe dreams for an assisted living home. In fact, it’s all going to be available at Ripon’s newest assisted living and memory care facility.

Copper Leaf Village will open by fall in the building vacated last winter by Sheltered Village. But, while Copper Leaf Village will be housed at 1002 Eureka St., as Sheltered Village was, little else will seem familiar. Copper Leaf management are heavily renovating the site to make it much more homey.

"The updated building will feel like an entire community under one roof, where residents can stroll to the (indoor) park, participate in activities they loved while living on their own, or even help take care of the animals out back."

Krista and Jim Mendyke of Copperleaf describe it as a “uniquely familiar living experience,” with the idea being that residents may need to leave their home, but not the activities that make them feel alive.

Read the full story in the June 12, 2014 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press..


Every once in a while a bout of schizophrenia creeps into the food service here. It's as if there were two different kitchens operating under the same roof. I offer as an example of this phenomena, the two completely different turkey pot pies we have been served just one month apart. 

In a review on May 5, I wrote of how finally, they got the formula for pot pie right.

“...before us sat a pie not only covered with, but encased in a flaky pie crust right out of mama’s oven and in addition, the inside was just as authentic. The filling (turkey and not chicken this time) was plentiful and hot as pot pies should be. There was a fair compliment of veggies along with large chunks of tender turkey. The liquid part of the filling had been absorbed, as it should have, into the crust that lined the bottom of the ceramic serving container. In addition, the portion size was more than adequate to satisfy of even those with the most voracious appetites. This, finally, was a no-nonsense pie made the way it should be made. Congratulations.”

There will be no congratulations this time.

Therefore I ask you, what the f—k happened. How come that thing we were served for lunch on Saturday turned out to be crap. It was all dough and no filling, and what there was of the filling was dry and devoid of turkey to the dismay of the diners who, like myself , had expected something else. Why the hell didn't they just make it the same way they did it last time or, at least order it from the same vendor. And this is not the only example of this  irrational turnaround. We have seen it in the pizza and a number of other items where something good turns out to be something else the next time it's served. While I can appreciate the need to economize, they should stop screwing with the food. 

Admittedly, it has been some time since I have had one so, when I saw and subsequently bit into it, I became a bit giddy. 

The last time I ate a legitimate potato knish was perhaps five or six years ago when I bought a package of Gabila's knishes at Waldbaums. And, while Gabila's heavy potato-sodden dough wrapped bomb is not my idea of what a real knish should look like, it does have some of the qualities that make a knish, a knish. Primarily, a knish should have a slightly peppery taste. In addition, there should be a trace of salt, chopped onion and parsley, all items that were missing in tonight's I.P.O. (Initial Potato (knish) Offering). However, this is not to say that, despite its shortcomings, I am very glad to have had once again. It is a privilege to taste one of the basic foods of my people, “The Wandering Brooklynite.” Now, for some nice gefilte fish and borscht.

Maybe it's because I just don't care any more, and have completely lost my sense of propriety or maybe the burgers have actually been better lately but I thought today's cheeseburger deluxe (lettuce, tomato's and fries) was actually good. It was at least as good as any I have had in most fast food joints which means that there was the same flat, well-done meat disc, the same slice of partially melted cheese, and the same nondescript bun.  available at any Mickey D's. Way to go!

Maybe I'm just a jaded New Yorker, or maybe I've eaten in too many diners and too many New York deli's and have come to expect that, what I order here should look like what I have ordered practically everywhere else. Therefore, it should have come of no surprise when the hot open turkey sandwich offered on last Thursday's lunch menu did not meet my expectations. My mind's eye view of what I consider to be a proper hot open turkey (or any other hot open sandwich) is one of multi-layers of tender sliced turkey placed over two slices of white bread, smothered in hot turkey gravy with a side order of mashed potatoes or fries (equally smothered in gravy). What we received here was two slices of OK turkey on one slice of white bread and some stuffing all of which was painfully missing all but a very meager amount of gravy. Why this sandwich was lacking in the one thing that makes an open sandwich of this kind genuine, I do not know. I can only imagine that neither the cook or the chef has ever eaten a real hot open sandwich or has never eaten one in a real restaurant. Perhaps next time we could get a little more gravy on top, and skip the stuffing. 

Foody's note; This is the second time we have had a hot open sandwich and both times they have been of the turkey variety. I need to remind the chef that there are other kinds of hot open sandwiches such as roast beef, brisket and even ham. Variety is the spice of life.

Continuing with his promise to give us a more varied menu, Chef Michael came up with something not seen here, or perhaps anywhere. While we have had quiche many times, this was the first time we have had the Greek variety of this traditional recipe, spinach pie.

Actually, the Greeks call it “spanakopita”, spanaki (spinach) and pita (pie) and, while Chef Michael followed the traditional recipe, he did add one thing, chicken. While the addition of meat, in the form of chicken, rendered this vegan dish no longer vegan, it was a pleasant change from what could have been just another boring vegetarian meal. Thoughtfully, the chef did not use the actual Greek name of this dish, knowing full well that anytime something exotic or foreign sounding is put on the menu, noses turn up an scowls form on the resident’s faces. However, whether it's called spanakopita or spinach pie, I will look for it the next time it comes around. Yassou!

Last week I told you about the fried fish fiasco in the dining room when we were served “burnt to a crisp” fried fish. I also mentioned that I  collected samples of this burnt offering from other diners and said that I would present this to the chef, which I did the very next day. 

The chef, who was not on duty when this dish was forged, was very dismayed at what he saw in that zip-lock bag and promised to speak to the cooks about it. Later that day the chef came to my table to tell me that he told the cooks this. “If a decision has to be made whether or not to serve a poorly cooked meal to the resident’s, the answer should always be NO.” The chef went on to say that he told the cooks that “if it is not something that you would eat yourself , don't serve it. It is better to offer a substitute than serve some poorly cooked food”. It was encouraging to hear these words and we can only hope that the Chef's message will be heeded.

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l love<|>Yonkers

I was picking through yet another institutionally crafted dinner the other night when it suddenly occurred to me, I have not had a home-cooked meal for almost five years. I Can't believe it has been that long since I sat down at a dinner table that was not either here at the Shady Acres Reat Home, on a tray overhanging a hospital bed, a nursing home room, or in  some nondescript restaurant. The very thought that I, who loved to cook, have not held a frying pan, a pot, or a spatula in such a long time was something I once thought could never happen and yet, here I am in a place where having any cooking appliance in my room is not only frowned upon, but would be confiscated immediately. We can't even make a cup of coffee in our rooms for fear that we will either burn the pace down or injure ourselves. Now don't get me wrong, I know that there are residents here that should not be allowed to get near anything hotter than a light bulb however, not ALL of the residents are like this. In addition, seeing how important meals and their preparation are to this community, it behooves me why there can't be some exceptions to the rule. I don't mean that we should be allowed to have an oven or stove top in our rooms but we should be allowed something. Even a microwave oven and a simple Mr. Coffee machine or a crock-pot would be a godsend to many of the people here who would like some soup or coffee or some warmed-up leftovers at those times when the kitchen is not open. I believe that those that would be allowed to have these appliances in their rooms should be decided upon on an individual basis. It is time that both the state and the management* realize that we are not all helpless, demented and feeble individuals and that some of us would benefit greatly by, once again, being able to cook for ourselves.

*A few weeks ago a petition, signed by many of the residents, was presented to management. The petition asked for the very things that I mentioned in the above editorial. As of the writing of this blog, there has been no indication from management whether of not any action will be taken in granting out wishes.

Editors note: There is another way that residents to be able to experience the joys of cooking is to have a supervised communal-type kitchen where residents could buy their own food and help in its preparation with the assistance of trained personnel. Of course this makes too much sense and will never be implemented.

Study: Americans Doubt They Can Rely on Family as They Age

The one thing I learned over the last five years of what I like to refer to as “my incarceration” is that in the end, they one person that you can truly rely on is yourself. And, while I realize that sometimes you need assistance from others, it is ultimately one's own responsibility to plan for and execute the systems that will be in place when it is time for us to pack it in and give up the life we now lead. This is why I cannot stress enough on the importance of doing research on the various options that are available to you when making, what will ultimately be, the most important decision of your life. I, unfortunately, did not have this option. I was thrust into the system by the sudden onset of an illness which forced me to make life altering decisions almost immediately. I know that many of those decisions were made in haste and out of desperation, but what could I do. There was nobody to council me on the best route to take. There were no “experts” to appraise me of the consequences of my actions. I was swimming in a sea of forms and past-due notices without a life jacket. Social workers were only able to help me with my immediate needs. They could find me a place to recuperate and even a place to live afterwords (a nursing home) but they could not tell me what it would be like once I made that decision. Nobody ever discussed the possibility of me returning to my apartment until it was too late for me to do so. Therefore, I urge you, while you are still in good health and are in a position to make decisions on your own to get the facts. Go online, ask questions.    make sure your finances are secure and don't sign anything until you are sure of what you are signing. If you don't have a trusted third party to help, get a lawyer who specializes in “elderlaw” , and do it now.

Read on...

“Americans age 40 and over who have personal experiences with long-term care are more likely to be concerned about planning for it but less likely to think they can rely on family as they age, according to new report. 

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research recently released the results of a survey on long-term care in the United States focusing on how Americans are planning for long-term care. It is the second study in a series on the issue, with the first conducted in 2013 to establish a “baseline of knowledge about what older Americans think about long-term care,” said the study’s authors.

Thousands of American’s Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day and learning the hard way that there isn’t a good system in place to meet aging and long-term care needs,” said Bruce Chernof, president and CEO of the SCAN Foundation, which funded the study. “This poll shows that a majority of Americans support system improvements to create the kind of care we want for older loved ones now and for ourselves in the future.

Other findings include:

One-third of Americans age 40 or older are deeply concerned that they won’t plan enough for the care they might need as they age, but two-thirds report having done little or not planning for assistance; and

Six in 10 Americans 40 and older have some experience with long-term care either as caregivers, recipients of care or financial providers of care. Those experiencing long-term care tend to be female Baby Boomers who fall into the lower-income bracket. Those findings are consistent with the 2013 survey.

Compared to 2013, Americans are more supportive of a government-administered long-term care insurance program similar to Medicare.

Americans lack information about ongoing living assistance and the information that they have usually comes from friends, family or co-workers. However, they have more trust in long-term care information they receive from experts.”

While the author of the following article works for an assisted living corporation, her experience and advice should be well taken.


Waiting for the words “I’m ready” for Assisted Living

By Rachel Nader, Sunrise Senior Resource Counselor 

As a senior resource counselor, I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a family say, “I know it’s time to move mom, but I am waiting until she says she’s ready.” The sad realization is that families are listening to their loved ones say they aren’t ready and leaving them in their homes, sometimes in a very dangerous situation. In my experience, there is a very small percentage, only around 10%, of seniors that finally say, “I’m ready to move.”

Many seniors come to Sunrise with 30+ years of memories in the same house – children running through the hallways, their late spouse’s favorite, worn out chair and the closet in the spare bedroom with hundreds of properly folded pillow cases. These are all great memories and for many, the only memories their mind will allow them to keep.  

To make the situation “easier” and to avoid this difficult conversation, you try bringing someone in for a few hours per week, then each day. But what about at night? What about the dangers during those hours they are alone? How can you really know they are in good hands? All of these questions fill one with anxiety… until you take the next step.

The next step is choosing a community and finding a better solution for your loved one. You now can tell Mom or Dad, “I know this is hard for you to understand, but I love you and need you to be safe. This is what we are going to do and I will be there to support you.”   

If you think that, in retirement, your living expenses will be less than they were when you were working, you are sooo wrong. The truth is, they will probably be more. Remember, leisure-time costs money and, even if you are the type who defines leisure as lying on the couch watching TV all day, you still have to pay the bills, buy clothes and eat and, If you own a car you still have to pay for gas, insurance and those repairs. Most likely, unless you own your own home free and clear, the most costly thing you will have to pay for is the roof over your head. If the roof in your future is an assisted living facility, here is some information that may be of some help.


Assisted Living Deductibility

“Can an individual deduct the cost of living in an assisted living facility (ALF)? "

This is controlled by Section 7702B of the Internal Revenue Code. 

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the cost of room and board is deductible under schedule A of your income tax return, if certain conditions are met. The cost is added to other health related expenses and must exceed seven and one half (7.5%) of your adjusted gross income to be deductible.  

The person must qualify as a chronically ill individual. There are two ways to qualify the care as deductible personal care services.  

1. The first test for determining if a person is chronically ill relates to the federal guide of Activities of Daily Living (ADL). These activities are eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing and continence. It must be certified that the individual is unable to do two of the above activities without substantial assistance from another person for at least 90 days due to the loss of this functional capacity. 

2. The second test of qualification requires that the individual have substantial supervision to be protected from threats to health and safety due to severe cognitive impairment. 

The certification of this fact must be made in writing by a certified licensed care practitioner. This can be a physician, a licensed social worker or a professional nurse. The certification must be made upon personal examination within the preceding twelve months of using the deduction. The examination should be completed before entering the assisted living facility. This is not a requirement, but would be needed if an audit brought the deduction into question.  

This article relates to the deductibility of room and board. An individual may always deduct actual nursing services provided in the facility and any medical expense. Many facilities can give a statement of the percentage of deductible care provided. 

Very few individuals enter into an assisted living facility solely for convenience. Normally, a person makes the transition when they can no longer independently take care of themselves and they do not want to burden their children. It is important to calculate the tax savings that may be available if a move is considered. 

Jeff Roth is a partner with David Bacon and associate Jessica Moon of the firm ROTH and BACON with offices in Port Clinton, Upper Sandusky, Marion, Ohio and Fort Myers, Florida. All members of the firm are licensed in Ohio and Florida.  Mr. Roth’s practice is limited to wealth strategy planning and elder law in both states. Nothing in this article is intended for, nor should be relied upon as individual legal advice. The purpose of this article is to provide information to the public on concepts of law as they pertain to estate and business planning. Jeff Roth can be reached at”

America will soon be crawling with aging baby boomers. Those of us who were born in the years following WW2 will be turning 65 and will be putting a strain on those services currently available to aging citizens. Of course this trend has not gone unnoticed by those who's business is to spot trends and find a way to profit from them. While real estate has taken a beating lately, it is returning to the good graces of the investment community and the one segment of that market that is gaining in leaps and bounds is the future of housing for the elderly. 

Elderly Housing gets a Thumbs Up from Real Estate Developers

By: Sarah (no last name given with this article)

“Retirement, Real Estate, DevelopersReal estate developers in the US are placing big bets on housing for the aged, planning well ahead for the rise in demand as the senior citizen population is set nearly to double up in the coming 35 years.

A hike in supply is expected to bring down increase in net operating earnings of senior housing to 1.8 percent in the year 2015 and 1.4 percent in 2016. According to Green Street Advisors, there will be a drop from the current year’s figure of 3.3 per cent. The investments and trusts of real estate companies in the healthcare sector may be not be positively impacted. They face some unfavorable changes as a result of the increase. This includes the likes of organizations such as the Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD), which is looking to purchase Emeritus Corp (NYSE: ESC) for almost 1.4 billion US dollars. This will make it the principal proprietor of senior properties.

According to Jim Sullivan, Green Street MD, an increase in supply is usually a cause of worry in all types of real estate associated with commercial properties. As far as elderly housing is concerned, new building construction has come up over the past two years.

Healthcare Real Estate Investment Trusts, which climbed up the records in the beginning of 2013, have performed the worst in the market for property-trust in the last one year. The elderly housing units in the US were 526,144 in the biggest 31 markets in the opening quarter. The National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry revealed that another 16,181 units are already in the process of construction.

Rise in senior citizen population

With the aging of baby boomers, the construction and ownership of elderly housing has become extremely popular. As mentioned earlier, the United States Census Bureau predicts that the number of individuals of the age of 65 or more is expected to rise to 83.7 million by 2050.

There is a lot of variation in the type housing for the senior citizens. Those who need minimum assistance and support for everyday living are guided by ‘Independent-living’ community groups. These communities may also provide meals to the elderly along with certain other activities as shown in the website of Brookdale Senior Living.

At the properties for assisted-living, different kinds of facilities such as bathing, transport, management of medications and drugs and so on are offered to the residents as revealed by the Assisted Living Federation of America based in Virginia.”



Of course there are some people who ONLY look at the bottom line and never see beyond it. The city council of Falls Church seems to think that a fast food joint or some other commercial space (like a mall) is better than a place for seniors in which to live in dignity.

Divided Council Approves Assisted Living Project for Burger King Site

By Stephen Siegel , Falls Church Times Staff

“The new project will feature 83 beds for senior citizens needing varying levels of care, including some reserved for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. There will be underground parking and two retail spaces fronting Broad. Dunkin’ Donuts has signed a letter of intent for one space, and the other has been required by officials to be reserved for some kind of art space.

The project will bring in significantly more revenue than the fast-food restaurant. But the Council still wavered over the proposal for months because it was concerned about just how much additional revenue it would provide, and because some thought the assisted living facility was not the best use for a prominent corner on the City’s main commercial street.”


One of the rare treats we have here at the farm is the yearly arrival of our roses and other flora. Due to many rainy days this spring followed by warm, sunny days this years crop is spectacular.

Remember, when you were young, how difficult it was to find a date or just someone to hang out with. Well, I'm here to tell you that it doesn't get any better when you get older, but have faith. Here is a new website that may be of some help and, it's just for older folks.

Stitch is Tinder for senior citizens, but not just for hooking up

By Ellis Hamburger 


“Stitch is like Tinder, but for your grandma. Well, not exactly. Stitch isn't just meant for hooking up — it's meant for finding a companion to go to the movies or ballroom dancing with. For many "mature adults," as Stitch calls them, that might be just what the doctor ordered. "Believe it or not, for seniors loneliness is a bigger killer than smoking or obesity," founder Andrew Dowling told Vice. "The reality is that we need to stay socially connected, if we want to stay healthy."


Dowling found previous success building Tapestry, a news feed that let seniors keep up with their loved ones' updates, no matter where they posted them. Stitch, on the other hand, is a lot like other dating services, but a few wrinkles could make it feel a lot different. First, the site verifies the identity of every user, and also only shows results for matches close to you. "Almost half the users we interviewed brought up their experiences with scammers on online dating sites," says Dowling. "Someone from the other side of the country would message them and strike up a conversation, try to get to know them and then ask for money."

Additionally, you must take your profile photo using the app, and you can't message other users. There's only a button to make a phone call, which Dowling says is all Stitch needs. And unlike most services today, Stitch lives mostly on the web, and not yet inside a mobile app. Stitch is very much like Tinder, however, in that you'll only be notified if a person you've chosen also likes you back. Stitch is only available in limited beta in California and in New South Wales, Australia, but should be rolling out more widely soon. For now, you can register in advance if you're interested.”


INFORMATION FOR RESIDENTS OF THE W.C.I.A.L. (and all interested gourmands)

------------------------------------------------------------------At press time------------------------------------------------------------------

This zip-lock plastic bag contains the remains of Sunday's dinner. These bits of burned, over cooked, over fried pieces of what was supposed to have been fried fish was collected from the plates of diners who found this meal mostly inedible. In most cases what was supposed to be bits of fried fish was nothing more that fried bits of batter. In addition,  what fish there was turned out to be dry and tasteless. Even the oven baked potato slices were burned and served cold. I am going to take this bag of crap to management on Monday morning. Evidently the commitment to better food stopped  at  the board room.


Almost nothing that was advertised in Monday afternoon's lunch menu was true. The “Grilled” tuna sandwich with bacon, cheese, and tomato contained almost no bacon, a thin slice of tomato, a thin slice of American cheese. In addition, not only wasn't the sandwich properly grilled but the tuna part was hardly there at all. The only tuna that adorned my sandwich was a thin schmear. It was not until I had the server bring my sandwich back to the kitchen to have a proper amount of tuna put on it, that I finally got a decent sandwich. What a crock of s—t. What's the matter,did they not think anybody would notice or do they believe us to be so feeble and apathetic that we would  shrug this off as just another kitchen error. Well, as far as I am concerned these little kitchen mistakes have been happening much too often and it's about time we did something about it.

Too much rice ain't nice

When is too much, too much?

The truth is, I haven't seen this much rice in one place since Kim and Kanye's wedding. This begs me to ask the question, “Since when is more rice an appropriate side dish for rice?”

Stuffed cabbage, my almost number one favorite thing to eat, was properly made with ground beef and rice so why then did the geniuses in the kitchen decide that rice would go good with something that already had rice in it, were they drunk. There was no need to have a side dish with the stuffed cabbage at all (carrots did not exactly knock my socks off either). Stuffed cabbage, like a properly made stew, is a stand-alone food, complete with everything needed for a well rounded meal. That one roll of stuffed cabbage has a protein (ground meat), a carbohydrate (the rice), and a vegetable (the cabbage). Please, stop trying to kill us with all the extra carbs because some no-nothing dietitian says it's OK.

This eggplant needs to be planted

The words best used to describe the eggplant Parmesan the other night are “too well done and too little sauce”. While I appreciate that this week at least, the eggplant was constructed with more than one layer, I was a disappointed by the lack of sauce both on the eggplant and the pasta side dish. In addition, when I asked for some tomato sauce on the side I was informed that there was none to be had. Some nice hot sauce would have made this meal edible.

Who sat on the apple pie...

...and what happened to it?

The size and shape(s) of the deserts we get here varies from meal to meal. Sometimes we get large chunks of cake or pie, perfectly formed and sometimes, we get something that looks like an elephant sat on it.  A slice of what was supposed to be apple pie last week had all the makings of having been a in a pie throwing contest and losing.

A Pizza With almost Everything.

Having pizza for lunch on a Friday is the perfect way to end the week and, when it's a pizza loaded with topping, it's twice as good. Now before you think that I have become so complacent as to no longer care about the authenticity of what I put in my mouth, you are wrong. Although I said the pizza was loaded, and even good, I did not mean that It was GREAT. Remember, I am still a jaded New Yorker who is accustomed to a certain standard in my pizza, preferring a thinner crust and a little more tomato in my sauce. A touch more of garlic and oregano would have added to the legitimacy of this pie as well. So as not to be mean, I will praise this pizza by saying that it's the best tasting pizza available, in Budapest.

It was a forgone conclusion that the “Hot” wings advertised on Sunday's lunch menu would not be hot, a fact that was confirmed by an announcement from the cook that indeed “The hot wings were not hot or spicy but, sweet”. Because of the perceived (or real) conception that the digestive systems of most of the residents here cannot tolerate any foods with a Scoville* rating of anything over a “2” I knew that the  wings would not have any heat at all, which was alright. The wings that were presented to us were tender, meaty and nicely “sauced” with a sweet and sour type BBQ sauce. A small dish of blue cheese dressing was available as both a dressing for the salad or as a dip for the wings. I guess as long as we have to have chicken 12 times a week, it might as well be something we like.

*The Scoville scale is a measure of the 'hotness' of a chilli pepper or anything derived from chilli peppers, i.e. hot sauce. The scale is named after Wilbur Scoville who developed the test in 1912. For example a Pimento has a Scoville measurement of 100-500, a Jalapeno pepper 2500-5000 units and the hottest pepper of all, a Naga-Bih Jolokia pepper has a Scoville rating of a whopping 1,000,100,000 plus. 


bon appetite

Photos by B. Cooper for the Westchester Tribune

Two residents of the Westchester Center were rescued by staff members after spending nearly a half hour stranded in one of the Center's two elevators. 

The ordeal began shortly after the first lunch seating, around 12:15. After the Center's maintenance crew was notified of the mishap they quickly jumped into action and devised a plan that would soon free the two residents. 

It was decided that the best way to remove one of the residents (who uses a Rollator to get around) was to have her climb a ladder which was place between the elevator and the main floor. Fortunately, the unnamed female resident was able, with the help of staff, to slowly climb the ladder thus freeing herself in just a few minutes. The other resident who is confined to a wheelchair had to be lifted out of the elevator by the staff. Both residents are doing fine and are none the worse off for the ordeal. Although the elevators do occasionally break down, it does not happen that often and are usually quickly repaired.

Contact me

What have you learned that you can share with the younger generation?

The older I get, the more I seem to spend in reflection and, as I reflect, I  myself  “What would I have done differently if I knew what I know now”. When the answer comes back “everything” I try to keep in mind that twenty-twenty hindsight can often lead to depression. Therefore, instead of dwelling on what might have been I like to think about how I can make the best of the present while, at the same time, passing on knowledge that could be of help to the present younger generation.

It would be easy to say “Save your money” as the best advice I could give someone and be done with it, but that would misleading. Money is not the be all and end all of existence. That is not to say that saving it or investing it wisely is not admirable or not beneficial or necessary.  However, holding on to every dollar you ever made just to be “comfortable” later in life is ridiculous. You will have missed out on so many experiences that only money can buy. I would have never forgiven myself if I had not spent money on travel to Europe and other places. In addition, had I not spent money on a car I would have missed out on all of the great places in the U.S.A. that I have visited over the years. Therefore, my advice to the young, “Yes, save some of your money and spend the rest on things that will enrich your life. Spending $180 on Air Jordan sneakers will enrich nothing except Mr. Jordan's bank account. Now that we have gotten the obvious out of the way we can get down to stuff that is really important like your health and specifically, your teeth. 

First, let me say that I still have most of my teeth, losing only a couple of them to various extractions over the years. I have tried my best to take care of my teeth by brushing regularly and watching those sweets and I am very glad I did. Living here among people, some older and some younger than me who have a full set of dentures, makes me wonder what happened to them. It has to be more than just old age that causes tooth loss. Why hasn't the dental profession* addressed this? It seems that it is easier just to plop a set of false teeth into the mouths of the elderly than to try and prevent tooth loss in the first place, which brings us to the topic of your health in general.

There is an old saying “There is no wealth like health” and this is true. However, this is not to say that you should be obsessed with it. It's just that what you do to improve your health now, in your youth, will sustain you when you get older and, it's very easy to do. Just visit your doctor on a regular basis and take those tests when your doctor tells you it's time. Because I rarely ever got sick, I thought that going to a doctor was a waste of time, after all “If it ain't broke, don't fix it”, right? Wrong!. If I had gone for that routine colonoscopy when I reached the appropriate age I would not be in the situation I am in now. 

 Another piece of advice I can give is this “It's O.K. to want to experience everything as long as you do it in moderation. This is not to say that you should rush out a try every narcotic and hallucinogen available. Believe me, you will have a chance to try every pain killer and controlled substance legally when you get older. 

Finally, this might be the most important thing I can tell you. “Your relationship with your friends and family is the one thing that will sustain you in your old age.” The more people you have around you the better off you will be. Get yourself a core of good friends, people you can trust, people that will always be there for you. The one thing I regret in life is that, although I have a few good friends and loving relatives, I don't have more.

*I have always had a problem with the Dental Profession. While medical science has advanced by leaps and bounds the the methods used to treat and prevent tooth problems have lagged behind. Research in dentistry seems to focus on better ways to fix  or replace teeth after the fact than how to eliminate tooth decay and tooth loss once and for all. It's 2014 and the best thing they have come up with is an electric toothbrush and dental floss.

What is the most difficult thing to learn and accept about life?

  • Life is unfair and success may elude us but it really does not matter to a good person.
  • Happiness is within ourselves.
  • Bad things may happen to good people but good people will not allow those bad things to suppress them.
  • Good things may happen to bad people but they would not be able to keep enjoying (truly)  the good things happening to them.
  • You need not control other people.

Something else to worry about...

Although rarely spoken of, at least among the management and staff, is the disturbing rise in the number of thefts of resident's personal belongings lately. While petty crime has always been a problem here, this is the first time that the thief or thieves have moved into the realm of Grand Larceny. It is only recently that we have seen expensive items such a laptops being taken from resident's rooms. One resident reported that, while she was in the hospital, her laptop was removed from her room and, just the other day, a resident reported that she too had an expensive laptop stolen while she had gone out of the building for a while. 

Up until now most of the items reported missing were small and inexpensive costume jewelry and small change which were haphazardly left on a dresser or bureau, last week all that changed, big time. The most recent theft involved a laptop computer that was locked in a safe in the resident's room. Not only was the laptop stolen, but so was the safe where it was kept. The safe reportedly contained other items of value. All of this becomes even more disturbing because the center has gone through an extensive security upgrade in the form of the installation of a dozen new video cameras. Hopefully, a review of the security “tapes” will shed further light on who may have been involved in these thefts.

One of the problems with security here is that every member of the staff has a key to every resident's room. In addition, because residents are so used to having staff members come into their rooms unannounced that, seeing a uniformed staff person emerge from someone's room is not uncommon. There are always carts or cleaning equipment being wheeled down the halls and it would not be a problem for even the bulkiest of items to be hidden in them. So what is being done?

As I said, there has been no official word from management confirming any of this but private conversations with the victims  has revealed that an extensive investigation is ongoing. To the best of my knowledge, the police have not been notified of these thefts. In a place that puts so much emphasis on the safety and security of its residents, one would think that incidents of this kind would not occur.

Editor's note; Please understand that this problem is not unique to this facility. Every day I get news reports delivered to my Inbox with reports of crimes, including theft, against residents of nursing homes and ALF's. It appears that we are just very tempting targets for those that are looking to make a quick buck with little chance of ever being caught. I can only imagine how many of these thefts go unreported.

According to the Minnesota Board on Aging, the most common crime reported in nursing homes and assisted living centers is theft. Elderly people are often targeted as victims due to their inability to fight back. Residents of assisted living centers and their family members can take steps to minimize their chances of becoming a victim by learning how to stop thefts in assisted living homes. Have a question? Get an answer from a handyman now!



Ask about security before moving in. You should begin thinking about the security available at assisted living homes before you even move in. When touring different assisted living homes don't be afraid to ask what measures the facility takes to protect residents from theft of personal property by other residents and employees. Find out what their policy is for handling employees that have been accused of or caught stealing.


Find out the number of thefts the assisted living home has had in recent years. Most assisted living homes will make statistics available about the number of crimes that occur in their facility each year, and this is a great way for you to learn how many thefts are reported. However, if the assisted living home doesn't make this information available feel free to contact your state's elder abuse organization, since they often keep statistics on theft, neglect, abuse and other crimes against the elderly.


Create a list of the belongings you have with you in your assisted living home. This list serves as an inventory of what you have and can help if something goes missing. Make sure to include on the list any identifying features of each item, such as a serial number or distinctive mark. In addition, keep the list current by removing things from the list that you no longer have and adding items when you make a purchase or receive a gift.


Label all your personal belongings. Items with your name or initials are less likely to be stolen since they can easily be identified. Take the time to label each item you have with you in an assisted living center in a manner that makes it impossible for your name or initials to be removed.


Obtain insurance to cover the value of your property. As the need to protect personal property in assisted living homes increases, insurance companies are responding by creating policies to specifically meet this need. Personal property may also be protected by homeowner's insurance if the resident of the assisted living home still owns an insured home.


Check with the facility to determine if they offer secured storage. Some assisted living homes offer residents a secured storage area where personal belongings can be kept. Often this is in the administration offices and is unavailable to nurses and general staff of the assisted living home.


Leave irreplaceable valuables with family members. Assisted living homes may not be the right place for items with a high monetary value or an irreplaceable personal value since they can be stolen. It may be better to leave these items with family members or in a safe deposit box at a bank.


Report theft immediately if it does occur. As soon as you discover a personal belonging is missing you need to report it. Inform the staff and administration of the assisted living home as well as file a report with the police. If you choose, you can seek legal action against the person responsible or the facility itself.

Read more:


Strategy: Securing Property of Seniors in Long-Term Care FacilitiesStrategy Securing the property of seniors helps provide the safest possible living and working environment for staff and residents . . .


Securing the property of seniors helps provide the safest possible living and working environment for staff and residents of long-term care facilities, including assisted-living, retirement, and independent living communities.

Community Problem Addressed

Elderly people can be particularly vulnerable to the crimes of burglary, purse snatching, theft, and fraud. This strategy combines prevention education with risk management to ensure the safety of residents, staff members, family members, visitors, and vendors.

Key Components

One of the most predominant problems in a care facility is lost, misplaced, and stolen items. Personal items can be stored in a convenient location within a resident's room.

On-going education is key to the success of the strategy. This component consists of educating all department heads and managers and setting standards for staff behavior. Service level employees must be educated on how to secure residents' belongings and should be responsible for teaching residents how to prevent the theft of their belongings. Because of high turnover rates in most facilities it is important to screen and educate new employees as they are hired. Notifying the families of senior residents helps give everyone peace of mind that the facility is taking steps to protect their loved ones. A letter can notify family members of whom to contact if they experience any problems.

A tip line and cash reward component can help confront the fear seniors may feel. After an incident has occurred, posters displayed around the property give information about the crime. Residents, family members, and staff can place an anonymous call to a tip line where they can report any information they may have about the crime. A cash reward is assigned based on the value of the item stolen.


It's about time

No doubt about it, New York is an expensive city where the divide between between rich and poor is widening daily and, while it is possible to find bargains for the everyday necessities in life, the one thing that is never a bargain is housing. While most working people have managed to keep up with the rent, those of us on fixed incomes have found it difficult, if not impossible, to stay in the city which we love. That is why I am happy to see that at last, a politician has recognized this juxtaposition and has begun to do something about it. 

New York City has traditionally been landlord friendly where rent increases were a matter of fact. This year, for the first time in my memory, the rent stabilization board denied landlords their bi-annual rent increases. This, together with NYC's new mayor signing a bill that would extend senior citizens breaks on their rent, make me hopeful that we have turned the corner on affordable housing. Now if the city could only find a way of providing affordable housing for seniors in places that are not low income projects, New York City would truly be the greatest city in America.


Affordable housing bill helps more low-income senior citizens

Tenants must be at least 52 years old and make less than $50,000 per year to be eligible. 

NEW YORK - Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed updated legislation that he says will help prevent low-income senior citizens from being priced out of their homes. 

The new affordable housing bill will give rent breaks to an additional 6,000 senior households citywide by raising the income ceiling for those eligible. 

Tenants must be at least 52 years old and make less than $50,000 per year. The maximum income level was previously $29,000. 

I take only two medications a day and an occasional Tylenol when necessary however, every morning while waiting in the med room for my pills I notice that, for many of my fellow resident's, swallowing 10, 12, or even 14 pills (sometimes three times a day) is not uncommon. While I do not know  what kind of medications they are taking or why they are taking them, I do know that many of those meds are for the relief of pain. Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin and a myriad of other narcotic pain pills are tossed around here like so many manhole covers. If you want to know where the real “junkies” are, don't go looking for them in dark ally's, just find the nearest senior citizen.

From the National Institute of health

Federal pain research database launched

Multi-agency effort combines pain research information in easy-to-use database

The Interagency Pain Research Portfolio (IPRP), a database that provides information about pain research and training activities supported by the federal government, has been launched by six federal agencies.

Pain is a symptom of many disorders; chronic pain can present as a disease in of itself. The economic cost of pain is estimated to be hundreds of billions of dollars annually in lost wages and productivity.

The Interagency Pain Research Portfolio website. Users can search the database for information about federally funded pain research projects.

“This database will provide the public and the research community with an important tool to learn more about the breadth and details of pain research supported across the federal government. They can search for individual research projects or sets of projects grouped by themes uniquely relevant to pain,” said Linda Porter, Ph.D., Policy Advisor for Pain at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “It also can be helpful in identifying potential collaborators by searching for topic areas of interest or for investigators.”

Users of the database easily can search over 1,200 research projects in a multi-tiered system. In Tier 1, grants are organized as basic, translational (research that can be applied to diseases), or clinical research projects. In Tier 2, grants are sorted among 29 scientific topic areas related to pain, such as biobehavioral and psychosocial mechanisms, chronic overlapping conditions, and neurobiological mechanisms.

To access the IPRP database, please visit: 

For information about the IPRCC, please visit: 

For general information about pain, please visit:

Another reason why old people need pets

German Shepherd helps keeps things light, happy at the Inn at Deerfield assisted living facility

“Dog contact appears to facilitate a positive mental attitude, and appears to reduce the negative impact of living in” an assisted living facility, a group of Australian researchers wrote in 2004."

“It has been suggested that animals communicate better than humans with people with dementia who may have impaired language skills, because animals rely more on body language,” they wrote. In fact, “the non-verbal communications of dogs were reportedly more friendly, non-judgmental, and conducive to sociable behaviors than those of the best-intentioned staff members.”

Michael's Angels

Bar-b-Que's would be nothing without the people who serve it to us therefore, this week we honor the unsung heroes of this year's Memorial Day BBQ. Thanks gals*

*Names withheld to protect the innocent.


Mysterious stickers appear on some resident's doors

A walk back to my room the other afternoon revealed an interesting new development, I noticed bright orange stickers placed on some of the door jams on some of the resident's rooms. An initial inquiry of one of the members of the housekeeping staff was met with a blank stare and no explanation. Further investigation by a member of this blog's crack staff of investigative reporters revealed the truth about these mysterious new additions, and it is nothing nefarious.

The stickers are an indication to the staff that the resident within prefers to do his or her own laundry and that a pick-up from these rooms on laundry day is not necessary. This will hopefully replace those unsightly homemade signs that have popped up on many or the resident's doors.

Breakfast Sandwiches That Make Us Wonder Why We Ever Eat Anything Else

Chef Michael is always asking the residents for menu suggestions therefore, this week I decided to lead off Foodie's reviews with some breakfast suggestions I gathered from the net.

1.Reuben Breakfast Sandwich 

2.Blue Cheese Biscuit Breakfast Sandwich

3.Mushroom Breakfast Torta

4.Sharp Cheddar and Mustardy Greens Breakfast Sandwich

5.Sausage, Egg & Cheese Sandwich with Maple Butter

6.Poached Egg & Bacon Sandwich

7.Sweet Potato Breakfast Sandwich

8.Toast with Squash, Prosciutto and an Egg

9.Toasted Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

There are more interesting breakfast sandwiches to be viewd. Check them out here...

Remember when your mom said to you “Hey dumb ass, stop playing with your food and eat already”, followed by “Don't you know kids in Europe are starving?”. Of course little did we know that, while we were chowing down on Corn Flakes and Yoohoo, the kids in Europe were having Croissants, brioche and a glass of Château Margaux with dinner. In any event, now that I am semi grown up, I feel that I have earned the right to indeed, play with my food and what better way to show my creative side than by using my two favorite mediums, ketchup and eggs. The combination of the dark red ketchup on a bright, yellow cheese omelet canvas is a perfect way to start the day. 

The term “Asian” has come to mean anything from someplace over near China or maybe Japan or maybe Thailand, so when I see something on the menu that begins with the word “Asian” everything is up for grabs. Such was the case with Wednesday's “Crispy Asian Chicken salad.” However, the “Asian” part had to do not with what was on the salad , but what was in it.

Underneath the chicken, which wasn't much more than coated nuggets and some wilted lettuce, there was a surprise. Crispy chow mein noodles and sweet Mandarin oranges popped up, unexpectedly, on my fork which added a complex mixture of flavors to what could have been a boring dish. Not knowing about the Mandarin oranges, I chose a blue cheese dressing as a topping thinking that the blue cheese would go well with the chicken. Therefore, when the Mandarin orange segments, which were hidden beneath the chicken morsels popped up, I thought that my choice of blue cheese had been a horrible mistake, fortunately I was wrong. The cool tartness of the creamy dressing made a fine accompaniment for, not only the chicken, but the sweet oranges as well. In fact, it was so tasty that I wound up putting even more blue cheese dressing on what was left of my salad. 

I used to do a lot of driving, mostly here in the Northeast, and whenever I got hungry I would get off the interstate and look for a neighborhood restaurant, preferably the greasiest greasy spoon diner I could find. I did this because I knew one thing, the meatloaf had to be great.

Recipes for this staple of American cuisine vary from state to state and from region to region but all have one thing in common. The meatloaf is meaty, fairly spicy and firm enough to keep it recognizable as a “loaf”. There should be a slight ketchupy crust and the portion size should be commensurate with the actual size of the slice which, is usually the size and shape of a thick slice of white bread hence the name “loaf”. Unfortunately, the people who cook meatloaf here have never heard of any of this because, what passes for meatloaf here at the Asylum, is like no other meatloaf on the planet earth.

Meatloaf here, in this vast gastronomical wasteland, is the opposite from what the rest of the world has come to know as meatloaf. The meatloaf here is neither firm or seasoned correctly. It is neither ketchupy or shaped like a slice of meatloaf. What it is, is a formless scoop of ground beef covered in some sort of strangely flavored brown sauce as far from any roadside hash house as one could imagine. Why the formula for a dish that almost any newlywed housewife can master is so elusive to our cooks I do not know. The one thing I do know is that this place will never have to worry about having its parking lot filled with over-the-road truckers, and that's a big 10-4 good buddy.

Failure to identify breakfast frightens residents

Perhaps the use of the word “failure” is bit strong however, there was a fair amount of confusion as to what the contents of this breakfast combo was. 

According to the description told to us by our server the THING was a combination of egg, cheese, sausage, made into a patty and fried. Unfortunately, the combining of these ingredients into one blended mass just does not work, our tastebuds are afforded too much information. It is the same as when a kid mixes all the colors in their paint box together and, instead of achieving something brilliant, what results is a brownish mess of indistinguishable flavors and textures. This THING didn't just leave the kitchen, it escaped.

The latest offering from uncle Mike's kitchen is a stew, but not just any stew. Tonight we were treated to something completely different, veal stew. Actually, veal “stew” is a misnomer. In reality, it should be called “stewed veal”. If this were a stew in the real sense of the word there would have been, besides the veal, a mixture of the usual stew ingredients like potatoes, carrots, celery etc. Instead, the stewed chunks of tender veal was, as seems to be the norm here, ladled over something starchy which today was rice. Why the need for everything to be accompanied by either pasta or rice alludes me. The only reason that I can think of for the “heavy on the carbs please” mentality is that it looks better on some report to the state if they show steadily expanding waistlines instead of the other way.

bon appetit

This is why I love dogs

“US Airways flight bound for Philly makes emergency landing after dog poops in aisle" 

"Fly the smelly skies: Flight from L.A. to Philadelphia makes emergency touchdown in Kansas City, Mo., after a dog twice defecates in the center aisle. Passengers become nauseated, and a cleaning crew is called in."


"Flight 598 was already two hours late when it took off from Los Angeles International Airport. Things went downhill from there. A terrible smell spread through the cabin. And it got worse.

The source? A service dog, belonging to a passenger, heeded nature’s call smack in the center aisle. And then the mutt pooped again.

Disgusted passengers took to Twitter Wednesday to voice their displeasure. Especially after the pilot announced they would be making an emergency landing in Kansas City, Mo., because the plane had run out of paper towels and the mess was clogging the aisle.”

"The second time after the dog pooped they ran out of paper towels.”

Read more:

It's been a while getting here, but finally it's June which means warm weather, picnics, day's at the beach, bikinis and and a pair of Speedos for me, sorry no pictures.Our next blog squeezes into this space on Monday June 9th.


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The following blog is meant to be informational in purpose. Please understand that I am speaking from personal experience and that any statements I make are what I have observed over the last two years at one particular assisted living facility. This is not to mean than all ALF's are the same, they are not. Some are better and some worse. However, I do believe that the facility in which I live represents a level of care and amenities somewhere in the middle of the field.

A Resident’s View of Assisted Living.

The good, the bad, and the Ugly.


What you don’t know, until it’s too late.


 Before you or your loved one decides moving into an assisted and/or independent senior living facility you should read this.


It’s a decision that nobody wants to make, leaving the home you have lived in most of your life, leaving the memories, the stories, the joy and yes, the heartaches that make up one’s existence. Unfortunately, for many of us the need for more care than we can give ourselves or the need to simplify one’s life prompted us to realize that we can no longer make it alone and as well-meaning as our loved ones may be, they can't  or won't be able to help. Most people are not equipped to handle the needs of older Americans. There are the special needs like washing and dressing and feeding that, after a while, can take a toll on even the most loving of caregivers. Even if your older loved one is capable of taking care of their personal needs, a myriad of other daily chores await them. Things that seem simple now will become major obstacles in years to come. Cooking, cleaning and doing the wash pose impediments to living a normal life. Many of these reasons are why ALF’s (Assisted Living Facilities) were created. They are here as an alternative to living alone in loneliness misery. ALF's enable people to be viable members of a community of people whose needs are similar to theirs. ALF’s are here to act as a bridge between normalcy and a nursing home. However, many of you may have a distorted or uninformed view of what an ALF is. That is why , to the best of my ability, I will try to give you an unbiased view of what one can expect when they decide to leave behind one life in favor of another. Before we begin, let me give you my qualifications.

As I said, I have been a resident here for the last two years. I am here of my own free will although I would rather have been back in my nice two bedroom rent stabilized apartment. I am here because, at the time of my admittance, I was not able to take care of many of my personal needs. I had difficulty walking and even getting out of bed was a chore, standing up in the shower was painful. It would take me a half hour just to put my socks on, in short, I needed help. I came directly from a nursing home, where I received extensive physical therapy which allowed me to make the move to the less restrictive environment of an ALF. I no longer needed the constant looking after that only nursing homes can afford. To put it bluntly nursing homes, for many, are the end of the line and I was not ready for that, yet. I needed to get back into the real world and an ALF seemed like just the right place. However, what I learned after living here for a couple of months is that all that glitters is not gold, sometimes it's just glitter. 

I mentioned that all ALF's are not the same and this is true, but the one thing they all have in common is the bottom line. They are all in business to make money. They cannot continue to operate if they can't cover their bills. Their primary, if not the only source of cash is you. Therefore the greater the occupancy rate in any particular facility, the more money they make and, just like a used car dealer, they may do or say anything to get you, and your check, in to one of their rooms. To do this, ALF's, like any good businesses, have a sales force. In the ALF biz they are called marketing people. These folks are trained to “close the sale” and in doing so they will have a tendency to “accent the positive and eliminate the negatives and don't mess with mister in-between”. Here is what you may be told when you are given the “tour”.

Although I came here directly from a nursing home, this place was not the first place I looked at. I toured three other facilities in my area before settling on this one. In all of the places I visited there was one common denominator among the marketing personnel, “Everything was just peachy and all of the residents are thrilled to be here”. Having been in sales for most of my life I knew a “pitch” when I heard one so I relied on what I observed rather than what I was told and what I observed did not mesh with the Pollyannaish spiel of the marketing person.

The quest

In one of the places I visited I saw many of the residents walking around in their bed clothes, PJ's, nightgowns and robes and it was nearly noon time. This told me that neither the residents or the staff cared too much about grooming and hygiene. This was not the place I wanted to live in. A visit to a second ALF, although the residents were better dressed, had long, dark gloomy corridors and even darker rooms with very small prison-like windows. A third place looked very nice. It was situated in a former hotel near LaGuardia airport with good transportation nearby. However, while waiting in the lobby for my “tour guide” to arrive I had a chance to check out the facility on my own. I immediately noticed a long line at the med room. Most of the people there were also not appropriately dressed for the time of day. There was only one small elevator to accommodate all of the residents and there was a line for that too. But what really turned me off to the place was what I noticed about the residents themselves. Most of them seemed to be in another world. Many of them were walking around the lobby in an apparently confused state while others just sat in the few chairs in the lobby doing nothing. When my “guide” finally arrived I told her that I had seen enough and could they please call for my transportation back to the home. I was starting to worry that there may not be a place for me after all. That is until I came here. Let me tell you what attracted me to this place. It was almost three months after my last tour of an ALF that the social worker in the nursing home came up with the place I now call home. She asked if I minded moving out of the city, to which I said “no.” So it was off to yet another strange place, this time in a strange town. 

First impressions

I arrived here, unescorted and sporting a walker. As the van that carried me from the nursing home entered the premises I noticed the neat, park-like setting. It was summer and there were people sitting, outside, on benches enjoying the sunny weather. I hobbled into the lobby and immediately noticed that the residents, some having animated discussions with other residents, were all very well dressed, hair combed, faces scrubbed. There was not a dressing gown or a mumu in site. The place was light and airy with two big elevators. I immediately felt comfortable here. Since the place was fairly new, they had not as yet hired professional marketing people to sell me. I was escorted by a young lady from Case management. Essentially, she didn't try to sell me on anything except to say that I was exactly the kind of person they wanted as a resident. I had no idea what that meant other than perhaps they were looking for people who might not need as much personal care as some others. Maybe it was all a bunch of bull s--t, but it sold me, two weeks later I moved in. Perhaps I should have asked more questions but I was so eager to get out of that nursing home environment, where hopelessness and depression was all around me, that I would have agreed to anything they told me.

The good, the bad and the reality

I told you that this place was fairly new. It had been operating as an ALF for only a little over a year. The facility was originally constructed as a home for the blind and required a ten million dollar renovation to make it suitable as an ALF. There were 145 rooms and 195 beds which meant that most of the rooms were doubles. When I arrived here there were only 85 residents and no available single rooms. Fortunately, I had a very nice gentleman as a roommate so I did not mind too much although I did have my name on a list for a single room whenever one became available. However, not everyone was as fortunate as I. As the place started to fill up, not a day went by without some sort of roommate problem popping up. In fact, as the director of case management confided in me, having double rooms was the biggest mistake they could have made when redesigning the place. This is just another sign that money comes first. The more people you can cram into a place, the better the bottom line.

My advice, try to get a private room. At the very least try and get first refusal as to who you want as a roomy. No matter how nice an ALF may seem, there will always be people who do not get along well with others. If you or your loved one craves privacy, a double room is not for you. I have seen out and out, punch throwing, knock-down, drag out fights among roommates. Many times I was awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of yelling in the corridors usually followed by a squad of policemen. If the marketing person promises you a private room, make sure it's in writing.

Fortunately for me I did not have these problems and after about a year in a double, a private room became available in a new wing. Finally, I had a place that I could feel was mine. I can stay up all night, play the TV until 3 am or pound away at my laptop until dawn. I can sleep in the nude if I want and I don't have to worry about waking anybody up on one of my  increasingly frequent trips to the bathroom. Yes, single rooms are better. And speaking of the rooms, now may be a good time to discuss the physical aspects of most rooms in an ALF. The size, shape and contents of the rooms will vary from place to place and from state to state but essentially, the kind of room you will have depends, once again, on how much you are willing to spend.

A castle or a cell

There are many factors that will determine what kind of rooms, or apartments, will be available to you. Rooms range from very simple, motel-like single rooms with nothing more than a bed, bath and shower, a dresser and night table and a very small closet, to a one bedroom affair with kitchen. What determines the kind of place you will be living in is how the facility is  chartered and who is footing all or part of the bill. 

If money is not a problem, the sky's the limit. There are luxury facilities that will set you back anywhere from $5000 per month and up. The “apartments” in these places usually include a full kitchen and large bath and enough room for a queen size bed, a sofa and large closets. The facility is more a luxury hotel than an ALF and space in these places are usually not a problem. However, most ALF's are not like this and here's why, and it's not always the money. Take my place for instance.

The rent here is approximately $3500 per month of which I pay out of pocket about $1300 of that (That's all of my Social Security). The balance comes from Medicare, Medicaid and a subsidy from the state and county. What this means is that there are many restrictions placed on the facility that are not put on other, similar ALF's. For instance, cooking, or having an open flame in any of the rooms is prohibited. This includes a microwave oven or a Mr. Coffee. Also prohibited are items such as hair dryers, curling irons, blenders or any other appliance that the state deems “hazardous”. Also on the list are such items as over the counter medications, alcohol and even chlorine bleach. If they find any of these in your room, they will be confiscated, just like in jail. In my facility, despite my constant objections, they do periodic surprise room inspections to make sure there are no contraband items. The reason for all this is that this is not an “enhanced facility”. That is to say that there is no special wing or section that caters especially to those residents with dementia or Alzheimer's even though these kinds of people are allowed here. What this means is that, those residents that do not have dementia are treated like the ones that do. If this arrangement is OK with you, fine. But just make sure that you are told about it and understand this before you sign. Persistent disobeying of the rules like drinking or smoking in your room, can and will result in your eviction. It has happened here.

The food and feeding

The number one thing that residents complain about, whether they live in an upscale facility or  in a more modest situation, is the food and foodservice, here's why.

Mealtime represents more than just food, it is the main gathering place for residents three times a day. In most senior resident facilities, breakfast, lunch and dinner is considered a recreational activity and is as important as any needlepoint or woodworking class. The dining room is the venue where information is exchanged and gossip perpetuated, where the actual food acts as the spoon with which all of this is stirred. Therefore, when the food is sub par it puts a damper on the whole dining experience.  Here's the lowdown on the food situation as I see it.

Food is the most costly single item in any ALF . More money is spent satisfying, not only the residents but the state dietary regulations as well and, it is to these regulations that much of the ire of both residents and management is directed. Though regulations vary from state to state there are some rules that must be followed. Besides making sure that residents are receiving at least the basic nutritional requirements, the way the food is prepared also comes into question. Because of the fear of an outbreak of  foodborne  diseases such as salmonella, all food must be cooked to within an inch of its life or 160 degrees. This means nothing here is medium-rare not even the eggs, much to the displeasure of the residents who may like runny yolks and soft boiled eggs. However, the method by which meals must be cooked is only part of the reason why food is the number one cause for dissension, the other is budget.

Basically, the goal of most facilities of this kind is to spend about $10 per meal on each resident. There are food suppliers whose only job it is to meet or better that dollar amount. One company, which also supplies food to prisons, has managed to guarantee that no meal will cost more than $9.50 per, and this goes for whether residents pay $5000 or more per month or $3000 per month. Obviously, trying to stay within that budget and trying to satisfy the tastes of the residents is a constant thorn in the side for management. My word to the wise is this. While the food in most of these facilities is good, it is by no means “gourmet” or even diner quality. Do not be fooled by slick photos in fancy brochures, the reality falls somewhere between a fast food restaurant and the Bowery Mission.

Privacy vs. Security vs. watching out for the corporate ass.

Some residences say that they honor your independence and your privacy, in reality they don't . While they try to be as unobtrusive as possible, you have to remember one thing, you are under their roof and they are responsible for your well-being. Most ALF's operate under state licensure which means that they are accountable to the state for their actions. If someone is injured in their facility, the state wants to know why. A ton of paperwork follows every incident and too many of those “incidents” may result in the facilities losing their license. This “enforced paranoia” is the reason why these facilities will only allow just so much independence. The bottom line here is “they don't trust you”. In their minds you have the common sense of a child and cannot be trusted to act responsibly.  The facility therefore, will take measures that you may not like. These measures come in many forms from unannounced room searches when you are out of your room, to so-called “bed checks” at strange hours. What they are looking for, besides making sure that you have not died on them, are contraband items such as hair dryers, coffee makers, over the counter medications etc. This results in many residents becoming adept at hiding things. Unfortunately, the staff is aware of most of these hiding places and are as good at finding your stash as any prison guard. My advice to you is to make sure, in advance, of what the policies are for insuring your privacy. Let them know that you value your privacy and that you do not intend to break the rules and do not appreciate being treated like a prisoner. If the facility cannot agree to this, then maybe you should look elsewhere.


Assisted living is not for everybody. It is better for you to be in your own home and have the “assistance” come to you. Unfortunately, this is impossible in some cases and that's where ALF's come in. Just remember, most ALF's will never feel like home. If you are a person that can't get along with other people, you will not like living in one of these places.  All kinds of people are residents here. They represent all walks of life, all creeds and all colors. If you or your loved one have any prejudices and only like living among “your own kind”, you will not like it here. If you like your food cooked a certain way or you only like certain foods, no matter what they tell you, you will have to eat what is available to you and everyone else. This means that you probably won't be eating any of the ethnic or regional foods you have been used to. To this I say “get used to it”, the majority rules here and remember, there is always take-out.

As I have mentioned before, the best method of finding out what living in one of these places is like is to ask the residents. You might have to do this on the sly because the facility most likely will not allow you to interview any of them. Tour these facilities on a good weather day when residents will be sitting outside. Casually  walk over, introduce yourself and tell them that you or your loved one are considering moving in and can they tell you how they like it, the answers will open your eyes. 

It is important for you to know that the majority of these facilities are fine places. They care about their residents and do their best to keep them happy and safe. The main reason why some people find that they don't like living here is that they feel isolated from the rest of the population. My advice is that as soon as they can, make a few good friends. Become involved in clubs or committee's. Be nice to the other residents and especially the staff. If you have a problem, act like an adult and explain, without accusing or shouting, what the problem is and how you would like it resolved. Show that you are still the same viable person you were when you were living alone. Be firm and don't let them push you around. If you think that you are being treated unfairly, state your case in a calm manner. Come armed with facts. Nothing  makes a point better than the truth. If the need arises, most states have an ombudsman program. Ombudsmen act as mediators and can be very helpful when it comes  to resident/management disputes.

Finally, remember that these places are what you make of them. You can choose to live a solitary life or one that fills your days with joy and, while this may not be the way you wanted your golden years to be, for now, this is the best place for you, adapt to it.

Impact of Medicaid Assisted-Living Policies: New Issue Brief Series

A significant number of frail elders with Medicaid coverage choose to live in an assisted-living facility as an alternative to a nursing home. Yet, low-income older adults who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (known as dual eligibles) face many challenges in obtaining Medicaid coverage for high-quality assisted living services.

In addition, though Medicaid has been paying for assisted living services for over 20 years, either through Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers, demonstration waivers, or state-plan services, to this day there exist no federally established standards for assisted living facilities. This lack of federally established standards leaves some residents in danger of discriminatory practices. As the program grows it becomes more important to address how Medicaid funding for assisted living operates in practice in order to identify the appropriate consumer protections required to rectify existing problems.

With support from The Commonwealth Fund, the National Senior Citizens Law Center undertook an extensive study of federal and state Medicaid policies for assisted living coverage, with a special focus on how such policies affect the lives of dual eligibles. The research included a survey of respondents in the 37 states that pay for assisted living services through a federal Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waiver, as well as more in-depth research of policies and practices in five of those states: Arkansas, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. The research was conducted in cooperation with the University of California at San Francisco.

Policy briefs and white papers from this study, the “Medicaid Payment for Assisted Living Policy Issue Brief Series,” are published as a resource for advocates, policy makers, state Medicaid officials, assisted living facility operators, and others on ....

The publications include:

Transfer of Assets: Making Assisted Living Residents Ineligible Forever. Focuses on policies in some states that impose a permanent ineligibility as a transfer-of-assets penalty for people seeking Medicaid coverage for assisted living services.

Refusing to Admit Eligible Applicants. Looks at facilities that deny admission to applicants with greater care needs or that reject Medicaid-eligible applicants to save space for residents with private insurance.

Using Medically Needy Eligibility to Prevent Resident Evictions. Addresses the need for more states to offer medically needy eligibility, which extends coverage to those whose income is over the income limit but still insufficient to cover health care expenses. 

Requiring Families to Supplement Medicaid Payment. Examines assisted living facilities that attempt to obtain payment above and beyond that authorized by Medicaid and/or SSI from residents’ family and friends.

To read these publications, visit...

We here in the Northeast  had a bad winter and some of the shrubs and bushes that jot the premises did not make it. Unfortunately, some of the dead flora died a year ago and has never been replaced or even removed. With a spike in the number of residents passing here in recent weeks, the presence of these dead plants only reinforces the fact that life is indeed a fragile thing. Spring should be a time of rebirth, it's not too late to plant some new shrubs.

After months of promises we still do not have better lighting in the country kitchen. Improved lighting is needed in this area because of an increased use by residents both day and night. Brighter lights are needed too, because the room is now being used for purposes other that the casual afternoon snack or coffee. Lately, the room is used as both a place to eat, play games and  craft projects and as much as the management does not want the room to be used in this manner, it is what the residents want. Management should realize that this room is for use by the RESIDENTS and not to please some eclectic view management had in mind.

While we wait for better lighting in the country kitchen we noticed today, that something new has been added to the space in front of the main entrance to the building. After almost a year of promises and delays, nice new wrought iron park-like benches have been placed under the transom, away from the ravages of sun and rain. Now, people waiting for transportation, have a place to sit and not  worry about getting wet or sunstroke. 

The new benches, while catering to those waiting for their rides, have a dual purpose. Before, the only way to sit under the protection of the marquis, was to pull one of the heavy patio chairs all the way over to the entrance area. Doing that not only was a hardship for the residents but also promoted unnecessary wear and tear on the furniture. The wheels of progress turn slowly here, but they do eventually turn.

I am responding to a number of emails lauding the institution in which I live for denying its residents  the pleasure, if not the right, to eat watermelon as god intended us to eat watermelon and that is, complete with its rind. Many people felt that what we were receiving was some pre-sliced, factory made watermelon-like product. Today, I am here to inform you that the watermelon served here is indeed real and fresh from the vine and all we have to do is ask that it be served in its natural state.

The protein vs. carbs  ratio has improved greatly here over the past few weeks. After a meeting that I and some other residents had with our chef and our dietician we came to an agreement to cut down on the pastas, rice, and potatoes and increase the amount of meat, fish and fowl. However, every now and again a lapse into culinary amnesia overtakes the kitchen and they revert back to their old ways. Such was the case last Tuesday evening when and extraordinarily large amount of artificially yellowed rice completely overwhelmed the protein portion of the meal. The small, parakeet size chicken leg could barely be spotted amid the copious amounts of rice and peas. Even the overcooked, over garlicky broccoli had a hard time finding a place on the plate. Hopefully this is just a temporary glitch and is not the beginning of a trend. I don't want to have to have “the talk” again.

The Legend of Fishcake Island goes back to lunch Thursday, and a chilling tale it is too. It is a site that this old gourmand hopes never to see again. 

There it was, an island of protein in a sea of carbohydrates. I gasped in horror at the site of that poor little fish cake sitting helplessly amid an all-encompassing sea of rigatoni and marinara sauce. I could have sworn that the menu said that lunch would be fish cakes (signifying a plurality of fish cakes) and spaghetti but unfortunately I was taken in by a typical landlubbers mistake, I believed the menu, which is why I should not have been surprised to find that what really was being served was in actuality a plate of pasta with a solitary fish cake sitting on it.

Yes, I admit that I was taken in by it's sheer beauty, the sunrise colored fish cake floating like a raft on a sea of golden pasta but unfortunately, all the glitters is not fishcake or pasta because when you get right down to it, what this represents is another disproportionate amount of protein to carbs. So, I'm asking you, my fork wielding compatriots, beware, and don't be taken in by those who would rob you of your proteins. I urge you to order a second fish cake and push aside half of the pasta. Your waistline will thank you for it.

I often praise the food, not  so much for its execution but rather for its creativity. I applaud the fact the our chef tries his best, with limited resources, to add variety to our often mundane fare. Such was the case the other evening when a new item was introduced to a throng of eager residents. Beef Wellington made  its debut with generally favorable reviews, mine among them. While this particular version of a venerable dish may not have been true to the classic recipe, which features a whole piece of tenderloin instead of ground beef, what it lacked in authenticity it made up for in flavor and spirit. The ground beef was encircled by a dough which turned soggy because there was nothing between the meat and the crust to keep it from getting soggy. However, what it lacked in crispness it more than made up for in seasoning, for a change. I would have no trouble with having this entrée back for a return engagement. Now, all we need is some black pudding and a pint.

The bacon cheeseburger was a surprise last week, more because of its shape than for its content. While it is rare that a BACON cheeseburger graces our plates, even more strange was the free-formed shape of the hamburger itself. Placed before us was not the usual  machine made frozen gray hamburger  patty on a flavorless bun but instead, there was an oddly shaped piece of meat that could only mean one thing, A HUMAN BEING MADE IT, BY HAND. Upon further inquiry, the reason for this  became clear. What had happened was this.  An order of what was supposed to be hamburger patties was in actuality a shipment of veal patties, a vendor error. However, it was nice to see that somebody still knows how to make a hamburger from scratch.

bon appetit



We all love to send emails  and maybe even text messages and we all love those cute little emoticons that our email service provides but the are so many more little expressions of our emotions that are available and you don't have to download a thing, you can make them yourself. Perhaps you have already done some like the standard smiley face done with a colon and a parenthesis... :) or maybe something fancier like :-), the possibilities are endless as this from Wikipedia shows...

This is a  partial list of notable and commonly used emoticons or textual portrayals of a writer's mood or facial expression in the form of icons. The Western use of emoticons is quite different from Eastern usage, and Internet forums, such as 2channel, typically show expressions in their own ways. In recent times, graphic representations, both static and animated, have taken the place of traditional emoticons in the form of icons. These are commonly known as emoji.

>:[ :-( :(  :-c :c :-<  :っC :< :-[ :[ :{ Frown, sad

>:\ >:/ :-/ :-. :/ :\ =/ =\ :L =L :S >.< Skeptical, annoyed, undecided, uneasy, hesitant

@}-;-'--- @>-->-- Rose

=:o] Bill Clinton

There are dozens more. For a complete list go to this Wikipedia page...

I hope this edition of the BLOG will be of some help in deciding if an assisted living facility is appropriate for you or a loved one. Remember, I do  not claim to be an expert on the subject and can only speak from my personal experiences and observations. If you have any questions about assisted living, I beg you to do your homework. Moving into one of these facilities is a life changing proposition. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Next week's blog will appear before your eyes on Monday, June 2.

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Today, May 19th, marks the fifth anniversary of the day my life changed forever. What happened on that day and for many weeks and months thereafter, profoundly changed my views on what life, love and, happiness is all about. Back in 2009, on a rainy day in May I found myself lying on a stretcher in a crowded hospital emergency room in Queens, N.Y. I was in pain, frightened and alone. I had recently retired from work and believe me when I say that this was not my idea of how I wanted to begin that retirement.

The spring of my discontent actually began a few days before the 19th of May. I had been experiencing some intestinal discomfort which I discounted as a stomach virus which, if left to its own devices, would go away by itself in 24 hours, so I thought. However, after three days of spending most of my time in the bathroom, I realized that perhaps what I had was not simple stomach flu, but I was still not convinced that there was something more serious going on. Even the 103-degree fever I spiked did not convince me otherwise. However, what did convince me that perhaps what was going on down there was not normal was the bloody stool I observed when I got up from my umpteenth trip to the toilet. Even I knew this was not good. I had a decision to make. Should I drive myself to the hospital and risk the chance of having an “accident” on the seat of my car or should I call an ambulance. I opted for the latter. At least they would get me right into the E.R, immediately. 

I waited a long time in that E.R. listening to the moans and groans of my fellow patients and asking myself what I was doing here. I was given a gown to put on and laid back on my stretcher waiting for the doc to come by which he did after about an hour. Following a series of brief questions and some stomach poking I found myself being rolled into a C.A.T. scan machine where I was given a shot of something and scanned from head to toe, then back to the ER. By this time my left lower quadrant felt like the smoldering remains of last July’s bar-b-que briquettes. Eventually the doctor came back with the results of my cat scan. “I don’t know what exactly is going on but it sounds like you might be having a bout of colitis, we need a colonoscopy to be sure. There it was the dreaded “C” word. I knew that sooner or later I would have to schedule one of those procedures but not quite this soon. “Oh well, let’s get it over with and maybe I can get out of here by dinnertime with some pills or elixir or whatever they give you for colitis”, I thought. Little did I know that I would never sleep in my own bed again.

The colonoscopy revealed that I had Ulcerative Colitis, about as bad a case of it, in the GI doc’s words “That I have ever seen.” 

“It’s not cancer is it doc”, was my first question to which I was told that it was definitely not cancer, but what I had was not good. 

“When can I go home” I asked next. 

“You won’t be going anywhere soon, I’m going to admit you for some tests,” he said.

“What about the pain,” I asked.

“Can’t give you anything right now until we know the extent of the colitis, sorry”, he replied. I was wheeled to my hospital bed, one of many I would be in for the next few years.

At this point I am going to stop and relieve you of the boring “Let me tell you about my operations” story. You don’t need to hear it and I don’t want to relive it. What I will tell you is this. Weeks went by trying to cure what I had with medication when it became clear that surgery was my only option. By that time I had been in hospital for almost a month whacked out on morphine, steroids and Percocet, which only briefly relieved my gut wrenching pain, after all that, surgery sounded OK.

The surgery went well. The pain was gone, along with most of my colon but unfortunately I was still sick. That rotten colon screwed up my body to a point where other systems were going south in a hurry. My white blood count was rising and my kidneys were not doing their job too well. I was given transfusions and a couple of dialysis treatments. In addition, spending all that time in bed caused blood clots to form in my legs for which the cure was to install a “screen filter” in my carotid artery to keep any clots from entering my heart and killing me. I still have it and it drives x-ray technicians crazy when they see it. I tell them I was visited by aliens who implanted that in there and that I can't tell them anything more because I was contacted by men in black who told me not to say anything. Hey, I got to have some fun.

June had come and gone and finally, my doctor told me that I was well enough to leave the hospital, but, because of my delapidated condition I would need nursing care. I agreed but where will I get such care, certainly not at home, alone. A visit from the social worker made my mind up for me; I was off to a nursing home, but for how long. Unknown to me at that time was that over the next two years I would be a patient in not just one, but three different nursing homes. I also could not have foreseen that I would have lost not only my apartment and my car but my ability to walk and would be dependent on a wheelchair to get around. Nor could I have predicted that I would need assistance getting in and out of bed, as well as having to be washed and showered. In a blink of an eye my independence, my privacy, my self-respect and most of my money was gone, but the bottom was still a long way off. After two more colon surgeries, which left me wearing a colostomy pouch, together with some intensive and painful physical therapy I was able to stand on my own with the help of a walker. Not only was I now officially an invalid but, for the first time, I felt old, very old. After all, only old people use walkers, don’t they?

This story is not meant to be a lesson or an appeal for sympathy, it is just my way of telling you how fragile life can be and that the things we think are important now, may not be worth anything when the chips are down. If you enjoy good health, be thankful for it. It is the one thing all the money in the world cannot buy.

Give me the simpler life.

Life without tchotchkes**

Moving into a nursing home means that you have to leave everything behind. Most people have family that will look after your stuff while you recuperate. Unfortunately, that was not so in my case. All my relatives were gone or lived way out of town. Therefore, I had to leave all of my stuff behind in my apartment. The only problem was I could not afford to live in a nursing home and pay rent at the same time. Medicare had not kicked in yet and I was paying for the nursing home out of pocket, at more than fifty grand a year, the money I had saved for my “golden years” was gone in a flash. Finally, after more than a year my landlord wanted to know what I intended to do about my apartment and the back rent, which had by that time amounted to quite a lot of money which I could not afford to pay. I told him I was going to give up the apartment which I had lived in for 13 years and that he could sell my furniture to pay for what I owed. He accepted the offer which made me happy (he could have sued me for the back rent) leaving me with only a few personal possessions. Everything that me, and my mother, who lived in that apartment before me, had collected over the years were gone. All the little nick-knacks, the photos, the lamps, the ashtrays, the bric-a brac, the detritus of one’s life piled in a heap waiting for a crowd of tag sale nosy bodies. I was homeless, and worse, I was “stuff-less.”

When I refer to stuff, I mean all of the junk that one collects over the years, usually none of which is expensive or important. Stuff does not add anything to the decor. Believe me, that little ceramic figure of a cat does nothing for the room. Neither does the ugly mismatched stereo equipment that you haven’t listened to since disco died as well as the lamps on the end table whose shades have yellowed with age and other people’s cigarette smoke. Gone too, was a collection of cooking utensils that I had accumulated through the decades, most of which went unused because only one or two of them actually worked. The rest were thrown into a drawer or under the sink where only the mice and an occasional cockroach could appreciate them. All of this stuff was gone leaving me with stuff that was important, the things that mattered. 

After my stint in an out of a number of nursing homes I moved here to the center. Having toured the facility beforehand, I knew that space was at a premium, storage space was practically non-existent. I knew that I would have to adjust my priorities and, my lifestyle. I would have to go from an accumulator of junk to a minimalist. I would have to live like a monk.

Every week I see new residents move in here and with them comes a wagon-load of possessions. They have taken everything but their living room furniture thinking that somehow sixty years of memories will fit into 9-foot wide L-shaped room. Many of these newbies, mostly women, find it difficult to let go of this stuff not realizing that “stuff” is not what’s important to life anymore. What is important is your health and the support of the people around you. Try getting advice on Medicaid from that Lladro figurine or medical advice from that collection of ceramic bells that adorned your shelf since 1957. You will soon find that your most treasured possessions from the past have been replaced by things you must have rather than want. The sepia picture of Aunt Frieda in that ornate frame has been replaced by an aluminum walker  without which you can’t make it to the dining room. That set of canisters that sat, unused, on the kitchen counter has now become plastic knives and forks and Styrofoam cups and your most prized possession is a “grabber” which aides you in putting on your socks in the morning. It’s all about priorities. My priorities now consist of having a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, a clean change of clothes and three squares a day, everything else is crap. Moreover, to further enforce this life style I have kept the space I live in as unadorned as possible.

On my walls you will find no pictures, except for one which covers up a small patch of peeling paint. There are no little figures of animals or busts of people or photos of dead relatives. There is literally nothing to remind me of my possession-filled past. The life I once knew, the one I thought I enjoyed means nothing to me now. The de-cluttering of my space has also de-cluttered my mind. I can do more things in a day than I ever could before. My appetite is better and my writing has become more prolific if not more coherent. I only have 7 drawers and no shelves. I never cannot find something. Everything is close at hand, so close that it takes me less than 4 minutes to dress in the morning. I have a great minimalist bathroom too. There is no cluttered medicine cabinet with 3-year-old pills and jars of leaking salves and creams; everything I need is on one shelf. It takes housekeeping only five minutes to “straighten” my room, I am beloved by all of them. “But, Resident-X, you must miss some of your old stuff” you say, and you would be right. 

I do miss some of my clothes, the pants, and shirts which, over years of gentle wear conformed nicely to my rather disproportionate body. I miss too, some of those nice stationery items that I got free from work*. You know how it irks me to actually have to go out and buy a stapler or a ballpoint pen at retail yet. Except for that, I miss nothing. I buy only what I need when I need it. I weigh my purchases very carefully. Before I buy something I ask myself, “Will this purchase make my life better.” If the answer is no, I put away the credit card and go on to something more important, like a nice afternoon nap.

Now don't  get me wrong. I am not advocating that you give away all of your possessions and crawl into a cave, it's all about priorities. I am just asking you to remember that the less you have, the less you have to worry about.

* No, I did not steal supplies from work. I worked all of my life in the office supply business and had access to enough free samples to open a store of my own.

** Tchotchke; Yiddish word meaning knickknack or trinket.

An unnerving statistic hits home


“The Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Home (Senior Living) industry currently houses approximately 2,000,000 people across 60,000 facilities in the United States. This represents one of the biggest components of our country’s health care system and as an industry; these facilities experience the impact of “Life Expectancy Compression” on a daily basis. Average “length of stay” is a carefully tracked industry benchmark for determining turnover and occupancy metrics. In the annual State of the Senior Housing Industry report released by the American Senior Housing Association (ASHA) the Senior Living industry reported average length of stay in 2008: Assisted Living (21 months), Independent Living (38 months), CCRC (77 months), and Alzheimer’s Care (17 months). According to the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), of those currently residing in an assisted living community 34% will move to a skilled nursing facility due to deteriorating health and 30% will die. The mortality rate of individuals moving into a skilled nursing facility is death within the first 12 months by as much as 50%-60%. The mortality rate is even higher in the first 6 months.”

The preceding paragraph from Life Care Funding is full of statistics but the one that hit home the most is the statistic concerning the 30% death rate among residents of ALF’s. This figure came to life these last couple of weeks when we lost more than our fair share of long-time residents. The loss is compounded even more when those people were those who you talked to, laughed with, and commiserated with every day.  Adding to the catastrophe of the loss is the swiftness with which these people were taken. Residents who did not appear to be critically ill suddenly dropped dead. Adding to this tragedyis the failure of the facility to acknowledge any of these deaths. It is as if these people never existed or were never part of our community. While I understand the need not to dwell on death, especially in a place where the end is closer than the beginning for most of us and that as a marketing strategy the very idea that someone might actually die here is not mentioned, the demise of our friends should not go unrecognized. I don’t see why a simple memorial ceremony could not become part of our monthly Resident’s Council meeting. At the very least it would stop us from wondering, in the words of singer Sam Roberts, “Where have all the good people gone.”

Read more:

How are we doing compared to the rest of the world as far as how long we live?

Although we don’t make a bad showing (next to best) it is significant to note that the countries that come out ahead of the U.S. are those with some form of socialized medicine. There is however, an anomaly. Russia and China, who have had socialized health care for eons, do not fare as well as the U.S. , can this mean that socialism works best when it’s part of a democracy? It should also be noted that the U.S. spends more on medical care than any other country in the world which means that we are not getting all the bang for our bucks.

As far as a state-by-state look at longevity it appears that the worst place to live, or at least get sick, is the southeastern chunk of the country. The divide is even more pronounced when you separate longevity by traditional north vs. the Deep South. Only two things that are significantly different about these places is the weather, and the food. 

The end of an era, of sorts

OK, I admit it, I’m a nostalgic old person of the Jewish persuasion, and anytime part of my cultural heritage is taken away I feel the loss, personally. That is why, when I came across this headline and story from an upstate N.Y. newspaper, my heart sank a little.

“Kutsher's transformation will begin in week or two”

By Nathan Brown/Times Herald-Record

"TOWN OF THOMPSON — The wrecking ball will swing in a week or two on an iconic piece of Catskills history, as Kutsher's moves into its future as a health and wellness resort. Last year, the Kutsher family sold the property to Veria, a company owned by billionaire Indian media mogul Subhash Chandra. He plans to spend $90 million to build a getaway that will include a 37,000-square-foot spa and a 200-room hotel made of all-natural materials, and offer its guests everything from golf and tennis to "yoga sciences," "ayurvedic medical treatment" and "biodynamic restaurants."

Anyone who grew up in the New York area during the 40’s and 50’s remembers the “Catskills” and by Catskills I mean the resorts not the mountain range. The “Jewish Alps” or "Borscht Belt" as they were lovingly called, hosted some of the most iconic resorts in the nation. Places like Grossinger’s, The Neville, The Concorde, and Kutsher’s to name a few were the places where my parents went to vacation. The Caribbean, Cancun, or Princess Cruise Lines were unknown to them. However, that did not mean that they were not treated to all of the amenities that are now found at every luxury resort in the world, and by amenities, I mean the food. 

There were two main reasons why people went to the “mountains.” One was to take in the great entertainment and the second (or maybe it was the first) was the legendary and copious amounts of food set before them at every meal. In fact, I believe the food was the entertainment. Therefore, you can imagine how I felt when I saw, in the above story, that the resort will be transformed into a luxury spa with a “biodynamic restaurant.” 

While I don’t know what a biodynamic restaurant is I am sure that the fare will not include bagels and lox, pickled herring, mounds of corned beef brisket or a never-ending desert cart. I can also guarantee that they will not have a waiter that, for a few dollars tip, will keep the food coming until you plotz.


Courtesy of my cousin Judy.

We are the first generation who 

played video games and the last 

to record songs off the radio onto

a cassette tape. We learned how

to program a VCR before anyone

else, we were the first to play from

Atari to Nintendo…We are the 

generation of Tom & Jerry, Looney 

Toons, & Captain Kangaroo. We 

traveled in cars without seat belts 

or air bags, lived without cell phones 

and caller ID. We did not have fax