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Friday, March 27, 2015   10:00 AM

It's a hard luck life

If you were a resident in an assisted living facility in the State of New York, you would not be treated the same as any similar person your age who was living on his own. That's because the Dept. of Health has singled out ALF's as special entities where different rules apply. One of those rules pertains to the way food must be cooked. While the state allows every food service body (including restaurants, food carts, diners etc.) to prepare their food anyway the chef sees fit, only at an ALF does the food have to be cooked to a meal-ruining 160 degrees (F). Proof of this can be found in the way eggs are cooked. Because of the 160 rule this is the way eggs are served to us. Yummy, huh? I have written and complained, to no avail. I guess nobody else really cares. In which case they get what they deserve.............Ed.


Fire in the furnace dept.

A 91-year-old man escapes assisted living home to be with girlfriend (or maybe he just didn't like the eggs)

Real L'Heureux suffers from dementia. He was found safe and sound.

It's the battle of balancing the safety of a sick loved one while still allowing them their independence.

L'Heureux lost three wives to cancer and as he proved Tuesday, he'll do just about anything to be with his girlfriend.....



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

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


The Weekly WCenterBlog begins below

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Bloodied, but unbowed

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

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



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

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


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

By Don Siedenburg

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

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

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

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

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



House unanimously passes 'observation status' bill

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

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

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




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

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

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


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

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

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

Follow these 3 simple directions:

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

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

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

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

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



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

By Tim Mullaney 

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

5 things American seniors should be entitled to


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

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

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

1. Housing supplement

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

2. Free public transportation

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

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


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

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

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

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



The upside of aging

Should we be pessimistic or optimistic about the aging process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Vulnerability is comforting and not shameful anymore.”

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

“I have more compassion for others.”

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

“I understand better what love means.”

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

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

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



Scientists' new goal: Growing old without disease

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

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

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



Vitamin D fights and treats diseases associated with aging

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

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

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



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

By Lisa M. Krieger

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

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

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

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



Do mole rats hold the key to immortality?

By Joselin Linder

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

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

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

Long live rats!

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

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


Hollywood Is Finally Changing Its Script on Aging


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

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

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

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

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


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

By Dan Tynan

Age against the machine

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

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

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

1. Make tech relevant

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



Age-Related Memory Loss Worse in Men: Mayo Study

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

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

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

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



Senior citizens increasingly satisfied with their sex lives

Provided by University of Gothenburg 

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

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

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

Childhood experiences

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



Thank heavens for condiments

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


Sloppy, yes. Joe, no

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



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

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

By Jenny Che

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

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

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

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






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A reason to complain

Removing the mask of invisibility

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

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

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

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

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



A need for dining room reform.

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


A proposal

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the limits of assisted living

Families report issues with elderly residents at assisted living centers

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Social Security Sued for Discriminating Against Married

 Same-Sex Couples

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

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



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

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

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

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

By Sean Conlon

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

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

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



                    Prevent your aging cat from becoming

                                                        a sourpus

      Follow these tips to help your feline friend age gracefully:

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

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

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

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

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


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

Wanted: Better home for San Francisco's aging chimpanzees

The Associated Press

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

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

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




By Global Animal 

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

1. Let them eat a nutritious diet

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

2. Don’t forget the exercise

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



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

Bogus check scam targets senior citizens

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

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



Achieving Immortality: How Science Seeks to End Aging


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

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

Read and listen...



Your Brain's Not as Old as You Think

Univ. of Cambridge

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

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

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

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


Paths to Healthy Aging

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


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




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

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

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

Stay on Schedule

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

Medication Information

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

Allergy List

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

Multiple Profiles

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

Doctor List

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

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


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

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

What does it do?

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

access, add to, and edit your Journal

track medications

manage and invite Helpers

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

add, assign, and complete to-dos

write and edit notes

access your uploaded files

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


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

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

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



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

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

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


A soup that’s a meal

Chicken Minestrone

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

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


7th Inning stretch

Hot dogs and beans

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

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

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


Chicken pot pie

Not homemade, but not bad

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

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


The 10 Worst States For Aging Americans

Wayne Duggan 

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

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

10. South Carolina

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

9. Kentucky....

Read and see 8 more: 



5 Things About Aging Nobody Ever Tells You

  By Ann Brenoff

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

1. You will want to nap more.

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

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

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

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

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




Contact and Comment

To really be free,

We need to be better “defined”

Where do we fit in?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

By Michael Bradford 

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

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

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



 Hearing loss affects relationships with others

By Starr Mayer

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

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

There are two kinds of hearing impairment:

conductive or mechanical hearing loss can be corrected

sensory neural loss, caused by damage to the nerves, 

cannot be corrected.

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



Bullying: A Problem Behavior That Spans Generations

By Nancy K. Crevier

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

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

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

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



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


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

Atlantic Realty eyes residential for aging 

Sterling Plaza Shopping Center

By Michael Neibauer

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

Same goes for stale shopping centers.

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

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

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



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

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

Signed, Nettie

A. Dear Nettie:

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



Medicaid program faces long-term risk congresswoman

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

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

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



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

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


This was mine back in 1945


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

By Ellen Waldman

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

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



Affordable housing options for low-income seniors

Janet Kidd Stewart

Study explores explores the new realities of 

retirement and homeownership

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

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

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

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

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


Paul and Ringo Are Good Role Models for Aging Boomers

By Candy Leonard

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

1. Paul and Ringo are vegetarians

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

2. Paul and Ringo work out regularly

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



Why Senior Living is a Prime Target for 


by Jason Oliva

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

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

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

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



Sorry May*

Your meal missed the mark

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

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

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

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

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


Beef and Broccoli

"More broccoli, please"

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

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


Mac and Cheese

The way God and Kraft intended

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

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


Why older drivers actually are the safest


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

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

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

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


Contact and Comment

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

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

March 2, 2015

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

To whom it may concern:

Dear sirs,

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

A clueless state agency

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

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

Who are you actually trying to protect. 

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

Food and the DOH

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

The 160 degree rule

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

Meet the people

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

In conclusion

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


Bruce Cooper, 


The Westchester Center for independent and

Assisted Living. Yonkers, NY


Signs of the times

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

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

Maintaining order among seniors


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

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

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

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



Here’s another story that will make you feel depressed

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

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

By Nathan Weber

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

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

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

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

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


Assisted living out of many seniors' reach

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

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

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


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


So you just got a new roommate...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Medicare Notice

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

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

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

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

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


Nursing Home And Assisted-Living Expenses Can

 Decimate Retirement Savings

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

Long-term care can burn a hole retirement savings

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

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

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

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


More money news

The Challenge of Aging Clients’ Shrinking Assets


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

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

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



17 Ways To Age-Proof Your Brain

By Amanda Gardner

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

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


Grannies gone wild? 

New study examines sex lives of senior citizens

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

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

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

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

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

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


Is Great Sex Finished For Aging Boomer Men?

By Ken Solin

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

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



The Taboo That Still Surrounds The Aging Woman

Skylar Liberty Rose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Socializing Boosts Health Literacy


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

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

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

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

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

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


The True Advocates for Social Security

by Bud Meyers

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

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

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

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

Judi Dench Says Retirement Is A Rude Word

By Ann Brenoff

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

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

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

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


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

By Helen C. Emmott

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


 I’ve been doing it wrong all this time!

Warren Buffett's secret to staying young:

 "I eat like a six-year-old."

By Patricia Sellers


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

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

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

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



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

A bean soup the bean counters left alone

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


It’s the food most craved by Americans

Evidently, they haven’t eaten it here

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

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


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

So why am I suspicious?

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

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

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

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


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

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

Completely Surreal Photos Of America’s Abandoned Malls

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

By Matt Stopera

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


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Residents need to “Warm things up”

More on one of my favorite topics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safer cooking options for seniors in assisted living

Michael Chotiner

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

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

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

They heat faster and can cut cooking time

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

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


More on this topic

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

Praise and condemnation

Itchy rash

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

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

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

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

Flu comes to the W. Center

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


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

How to Find the Best Assisted Living Community for You

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

By Teresa Mears

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

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

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

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

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

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


There’s gold in them thar Old Folks

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

Posted by Reagan

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

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

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


The Cancer That's Poised To Explode

Michael Hodin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on health

The Truth Behind Your Supplements

Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D

Supplements Done Right

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

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

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

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

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


Senior citizen says guardianship left her 'absolutely broke'

Susannah Frame

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

families stay connected

John Brandon

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

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



How Reducing Social Isolation Protects Older Adults

John Feather, PhD

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

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

Lonely hearts at risk

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

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

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


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

The aging traveler

By John Philipp 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

By Dan Caplinger

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

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


Poll: Yesterday’s Democrats are today’s Republicans

Bob Collins

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

They’ve become Republicans.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

Let us begin

Lunch Tuesday

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

Dinner Tuesday

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

Breakfast Wednesday

Dinner Thursday

Dinner Friday

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


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

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

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

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

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




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The man who ate ziti alone

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

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

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

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

“We’re divorced”. I said.

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

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

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

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

On the subject of...


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

Flu season typically puts limits on close-quarter facilities



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

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

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

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

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



Good help is hard to find

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

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


Flying Fish story

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

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

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


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

Listen to this story. Then answer this question.

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

Investigation: Food withheld at an Idaho care facility

Andrea Lutz, KTVB

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

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

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

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

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

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



New rules to let frail elders stay in assisted living

Regulators also mandate training, evacuation plans

By Kay Lazar

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

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

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

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

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


The Vampire Cure for Aging

Watch out Millennials! Baby Boomers are out for blood.

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

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



What the proposed 2016 budget would mean for senior living

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

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


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


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

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

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


More health news

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


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

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

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

Follow doctor’s orders

Don’t ignore symptoms

Reduce risks of falls and accidents

Stay active physically and mentally

Maintain a healthy diet

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



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

SuperAger Brains Yield New Clues to Their Remarkable Memories

Brains of cognitively elite look 

distinctly different than their elderly peers

Marla Paul • Northwestern University

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

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

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

More.... http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2015/02/why-do-some-people-including-several-prominent-haredi-rabbis-live-well-into-old-age-without-showing-567.html


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

Scans show aging brains can leak

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


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

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

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

More.... https://student.societyforscience.org/article/scans-show-aging-brains-can-leak


Federal program helps senior citizens find jobs

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

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

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



Women shaving their faces to fight aging

Skin experts weigh in on whether it really works

Author Sandra Ali,

More women shaving their faces to smooth skin, look younger

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

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

Shaving exfoliates, which can make skin look more youthful.

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BTW: The knishes were actually good.


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

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

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

Proof: America has the healthiest mice in the world.

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

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

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



Seniors At Jewish Home Give The Best Dating Advice

By Ann Brenoff

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

more.... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/10/dating-advice-from-seniors-at-jewish-home_n_6648074.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

Watch video......https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v



New Resident



Contact and Comments


                          Community or Commodity: The Future for old people

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

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

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

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

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

To read the story behind the headline cited in this editorial go to...http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241369



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

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

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

No patio for old men (or women)

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

The Business Case for Culture Change

By Anthony Cirillo

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

The Anatomy of Experience Management

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



 Assisted living salaries solid, vacancy rates stable

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

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

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



Social Security Announces New Online Service for

Replacement SSA-1099s

Available to Recipients with a my Social Security Account

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

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

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

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

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

In fact, a new my Social Security account is created every six seconds.  For more information, please go to......www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.


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




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

By Lisa M. Krieger

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

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

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

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

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

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



Americans Skipping Medications Due to High Costs

By James Maynard,

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


More lifestyle news

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

 By Samantha Olson

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

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

More....... http://www.medicaldaily.com/can-people-really-die-old-age-318528


Microsoft Guide For Aging Computer Users 

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



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

Esther Entin, M.D.

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

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

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

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

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


Forgetful? Study finds new drug that could help

Brett Smith

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

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

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

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

Read more at    http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113304656/forgetful-study-finds-new-drug-that-could-help-122314/#FVeBoww6t2m2R3eg.99 


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

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

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

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

1. You're not sleeping enough. 

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


Sleep patterns and aging


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

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

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

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

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

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



Cheech and Chong Talk Retirement, Aging, and Pot

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

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


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


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

 More...  http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlaura/2015/01/29/cheech-and-chong-talk-retirement-aging-and-pot/


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

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


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


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

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

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

by Christiana Lilly

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

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

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



Contact and Comment. All comments will kept anonymous

No plan is a good plan

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

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

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

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

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

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


Following up on a couple of open issues from past blogs

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

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

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

It's nice to have a cheering section

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

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


A case of shpilkes*and a great idea

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

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

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

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

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


What You Need to Know About Guns 

in Senior Living Communities

By Andrea Watts

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

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




Aging can be adventurous fun

Paul C. Anderson

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

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

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


More lifestyle news

Seniors ready for tougher driving laws to protect them from themselves

By Chris Bruce

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

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

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



To protect senior citizens, protect Social Security

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

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

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

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



More on my favorite topic

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

 By Steven Goodstein No 

Cannabis for anti-aging

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


More health news

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

All men and most women 66 to 75 qualify for statins

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

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

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

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


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

By: Raul Reyes

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

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

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


10 Best Websites For Seniors

By suziecat7

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



The top tax breaks for senior citizens?

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

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

Standard versus Itemized Deductions

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

By Ann Brenoff

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

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



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

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

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

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



Is It Normal Female Aging, or a Heart Condition?

By Amy Kraft

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

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

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

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


Nice Comeback

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

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

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

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


At least the fries were good

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

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

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


I’m only showing desert, because...

...the rest is too horrible 

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

Eggplant Parm.


Senior Citizens React To Kim Kardashian And They Are Not Impressed

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


- See more at: http://fatcatwebproductions.com/ThePaper_2014/md-thenews/content/senior-citizens-react-kim-kardashian-and-they-are-not-impressed#sthash.2j7EHR4q.dpuf 


Contact and comment - All comments will remain anonymous

A Request

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

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

 as to how something like this could have been handled more 

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

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

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


Guinea pigs

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

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

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




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