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

Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015

 Medicare’s continued use of SSN puts seniors at risk

By Meg Haskel

WASHINGTON — In a public hearing before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on Wednesday, committee chairwoman Sen. Susan Collins took aim at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, for putting senior citizens at risk by using their Social Security numbers as enrollment identification.

Last year, more than 330,000 Americans reported having their identities stolen, Collins said, and almost a third of those reports came from seniors.

Despite rising rates of reported personal and medical identity theft linked to the fraudulent use of Social Security numbers, Collins said, Medicare officials have failed to comply with federal recommendations to develop and implement an alternate system for identifying enrollees. The concern was first identified by the Government Accountability Office more than 10 years ago, she said, but the agency has failed to act.

“As a consequence,” she said in an opening statement, “the 55 million Medicare cards in use today still clearly display an individual’s Social Security number.”

Social Security numbers stored electronically as part of a patient’s medical record have long been recognized as easy pickings for scammers who hack into health provider or insurance company computer systems, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

“Every institution in this country is moving to get the Social Security number off their documents and out of their records,” he said. “I simply do not understand the delay [within CMS].”....

“Scam artists are always ready to take advantage of people in every state in this country, especially vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities,” she said. “They are experts at gaining trust and stealing money and benefits from unsuspecting victims.”


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A comment from a reader regarding this week’s editorial.


Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

A Crime is Being Committed Against

Senior Citizens and Its name is COLA

No Annual Cost Of Living Adjustment Expected For Next Year

New Analysis By The Senior Citizens League Confirms

(Washington, DC) – A new analysis of government price data confirms there won’t be any Social Security cost - of - living adjustment (COLA) next year, according to The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).  “There’s been a drop in inflation driven by an on-going drop in gasoline prices,” says TSCL Chairman Ed Cates.  According to the most recent government data, gasoline prices continued a downward decline in September. “We expect that the overall inflation data through September will be lower than it was a year ago and that no COLA will be payable,” Cates adds.

This would be the third time since 2009 that inflation is too low for the annual Social Security boost.  And, since that year, COLAs have only averaged 1.4 percent annually, but over the same period beneficiaries have reported big increases in their real costs.  A survey conducted by TSCL earlier this year found that 87 percent of respondents said that the 2015 COLA raised their benefits by less than $29 a month.  Yet 90 percent of the survey participants reported that their real monthly expenses had increased by more than $39 a month over the past 12 months.  A study by TSCL has found that Social Security benefits have lost about 22 percent of their buying power since 2000.

The Social Security Administration will confirm whether there will be a COLA the middle of October,” Cates says.  The lack of a Social Security COLA would trigger an unusually steep increase in Medicare premiums due to a special provision of law, according to the most recent report from the Medicare Trustees.  About one out of three beneficiaries may be hit with Part B increases of an estimated 52%.

When there is no COLA, a law known as the “hold harmless provision” protects the majority of Medicare beneficiaries, who have Part B premiums automatically deducted from their Social Security benefits.  About 70% will pay the same amount that they paid in 2015.  The special “hold harmless” provision of law protects people from a reduction to their Social Security benefits when the dollar amount of increase in the Part B Medicare premium exceeds the dollar amount of the COLA increase.  

But when the provision is triggered, the overall Medicare Part B premium costs are shifted over the much smaller remaining base, about 30% of beneficiaries who aren’t protected by the hold harmless provision.  Although the base Part B premium has not been announced yet by the government, Medicare Trustees have estimated that it will rise from $104.90 per month in 2015 to $159.30 per month in 2016.  According to the Medicare Trustees, the following categories of people would be affected by higher premiums:

People who do NOT have Medicare Part B premiums automatically deducted from Social Security payments, including people who are still working and haven’t started benefits. 

Nine million low-income people who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Because their Part B premiums are paid for by state Medicaid programs, the Part B premiums of these beneficiaries aren’t deducted from their Social Security benefits.  

People enrolling in Medicare for the first time.  

Medicare beneficiaries with incomes above $85,000 (individual) or $170,000 (joint). 

The federal government will be notifying beneficiaries and verifying what they will pay in Part B premiums later this year.  TSCL intends to work for emergency legislation to provide COLA and Medicare premium relief for seniors in 2016 should there be no COLA. The Senior Citizens League also supports legislation that would provide greater retirement security by basing COLAs on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E).  

To learn more, visit www.SeniorsLeague.org.



With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association.  Visit www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.

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Letter: Socialization key at assisted living facilities


Assisted living facilities (ALFs) look great: meals, housekeeping. But meeting emotional needs are also important. Leaving home means losing identity and emotional problem. ALF life is a new identity. To acclimate, social activity is necessary.

As an elder care adviser, I know positive emotions are key to acclimating to ALF life, acquiring a sense of belonging and preventing loneliness.  Some activities are ineffective. For example, knitting groups that nobody attends, or dropping off residents at stores, leaving them confused.

Socialization improves emotions — not just listening and watching, but also sharing common interests and experiences, including themes like “Trips to Florida,” “First Time I Drove.”  Encourage them. Walk them to activities, encouraging along the way. Push wheel chairs; otherwise the weak stay behind. Elderly people require attention. ALFs don’t include attention.

Food affects emotions. Some ALFs have fresh meals; elsewhere it is frozen or canned. If food isn’t good, they leave the dining room, missing meals, and socialization.

ALFs should adopt these suggestions, creating industry competition and contented, longer-term stays for residents. This is the last chapter in life; let’s turn the page and end it with dignity. Do you want your parent to be just safe, or happy?


Editor's note: Amen!


Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

Ageism in America

At times, life can be harsh for older people. Comedians joke about “senior moments.” Corporations downsize, particularly letting go of employees over age 55. Hair products press for covering up the gray while anti-aging cream and Botox® promise to smooth wrinkles. Or, there’s the well-meaning conversation with the store cashier: “Oh, that’s OK. You don’t need to pull out your driver’s license or AARP card. I can tell by looking at you that you qualify for our senior discount.”

Getting older in America carries its own set of stereotypes and discrimination which physician, and gerontologist, Robert Butler coined in 1969 as “ageism.” Ageism includes negative views of a person or group of people based on their age, but predominantly, ageism is considered prejudice toward older adults. Regardless of their age, most seniors stay physically and mentally active, but insults and generalizations about aging run deep in our culture leaving many elders feeling disrespected and undervalued.

Some young people mock the older generation as slow and confused. Others talk past a senior as if the person were not even in the room. TV commercials often depict aging people as out of touch with modern conveniences and fumbling to keep up. While hit movies like “Grumpy Old Men,” “Gran Torino” and “The Bucket List” portray aging individuals as everything from cantankerous to cute, Hollywood films can perpetuate the view that older people are eccentric and fading into the sunset. Or, elders are only called upon to dispense mystical wisdom.

A Duke University survey of 84 people ages 60 and older reported that 58 percent of respondents encountered ageism when told a joke about older people. In the same survey that appeared in the journal The Gerontologist, 31 percent of participants reported that they were not taken seriously or were ignored because of their age.

“Our culture seems desensitized to uncomplimentary comments and actions against seniors,” said Brian Maroney, President of Right at Home in Linwood, New Jersey. “Sometimes ageism is more subtle, like assuming an older person can’t remember things, and at other times, it can be more jarring, like labeling someone as ‘senile.’ We all are aging. And we can all use reminders to treat others with respect regardless of how many birthdays they’ve had.”....



Monday, Oct. 5, 2015

Ageism: Politically Alive & Well

Wisconsin GOP Passes Bill Banning 

Poor People From Buying Shellfish, Potatoes And Ketchup

By Stephen D Foster Jr


Wisconsin Republicans are following through with their plan to be the cruelest state in the nation when it comes to the way poor people are treated by passing a bill that would ban them from eating a multitude of foods.

On Wednesday, Wisconsin Republicans in the statehouse took the first step in their agenda to punish people who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Assembly Bill 177 seeks to ban people who rely on food stamps to survive on a daily basis from buying a huge list of products deemed unworthy for the mouths of poor people and their children.

The legislation specifically bans poor people from buying any kind of shellfish, including lobster, shrimp, and crab. This particular ban, perhaps coincidentally, has a strong religious connection to it since the Biblical Book of Leviticus outlaws shellfish. So perhaps without meaning to, it appears conservative lawmakers are not only banning these foods for poor people, they are forcing only poor people to abide by an unconstitutional biblical law written thousands of years ago in a foreign land. That sure sounds like Sharia law to me.

But the bill goes on to mention a list of groceries that poor people will no longer be able to purchase and let’s just say it takes the war on the poor to a whole new level of heartlessness and stupidity.

And that’s not all. If you think this is bad, you haven’t seen nothing yet.

The list of “disallowed” foods, which you can view here, also includes the following:

◾Cranberry sauce and pie filling. (Poor people can forget about making dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.)

◾Creamed vegetables

◾Baked beans


◾Pork and beans

◾Frozen veggies that come in packages featuring pasta, nuts, rice, cheese, or meats

◾French fries and hash browns

◾Sharp cheddar cheese, Swiss, and fresh mozzarella, shredded and sliced cheeses (except American cheese of course), cheese food, spreads, and products. Even Kosher cheese is banned unless you apply to get a specific check for it which basically could identify who the poor Jewish people are.

◾Canned peas and green beans

◾Albacore tuna, red salmon, and fish fillets

◾Bagels, pita bread, English muffins

◾White rice and wild rice

◾Taco shells

◾Almond, rice, goat, and soy milk.

◾Brown eggs and any eggs produced by cage-free or free range chickens, which basically helps corporate chicken farms

◾Several kinds of infant food

◾Anything in bulk

◾Anything organic or natural



Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015

Must-Read: Consumer Reports' Cover Story on Elderly Scams

By Sherwin Sheik

Most people know Consumer Reports for its product tests and unwavering integrity. What most don't realize, however, is that it can also at the forefront of identifying critical trends. The November issue makes the point very well with its cover story on con artists preying on senior citizens (to the shameful tune of $3 billion a year).

Among the alarming statistics it shares:

• Approximately 1 in 5 seniors has been taken advantage of financially (2010 survey of seniors by the Investor Protection Trust)

• 4.7 percent of seniors reported that they had been financially (Journal of General Internal Medicine study). To put that in perspective, the researchers noted that if a disease struck the same percentage of Americans, "a public health crisis would be likely declared."

• Fraud complaints by individuals 60 and older rose at least 47 percent between 2012 and 2014 (The Federal Trade Commission)

The problem is only going to get worse as the population of elderly increases. Baby boomers are turning 65 at the rate of about 10,000 a day, with the Census Bureau estimating that nearly 20 percent of America will be 65 or more by 2030. 

Consumer Reports covers the elder scam crisis with considerable restraint. Their cover story headline highlights the $3 billion estimate of money swindled from seniors annually when there are estimates that say the actual number is ten times the amount. The magazine also features more than a half-dozen seniors who bravely agreed to tell their heart-wrenching stories despite the embarrassment and shame they experienced. 

Beth Baker, 87, is one of them. She received a call one day saying that her beloved grandson was in trouble in Peru and a lawyer representing him needed some money to get him out of jail. She ultimately sent $65,000 - most of her liquid savings -- to help her family member supposedly in need. The problem was that he was never in any trouble. She was swindled....



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

Baby Boomers: Have we lost the dream?

Although I skew a little older than those who demographically are considered to be true baby boomers (I was born in 1946) I still identify with all of us that were conceived shortly after the end of World War 2. We were brought into a world of great prosperity in America (at least for white people) and we believed that America could do no wrong. Unfortunately, and although we did not realize it at the time, we became somewhat of a bully in our relationship with third world countries. We were having such a good time basking in affluence and good fortune that we could not understand why the rest of the world could and should not be more like us. If we found a country that did not lean towards a western (I.E., American) form of democracy we damn well were going to make sure they learned what it was.  This is how we lost the Middle East, much of South America and Africa. Our paranoia with Communism clouded our perspective as to foreign policy. You were either with us or against us. There was no middle ground. The will of the people in some of those countries was never considered. “We don't care if they did vote fair and square for those commies, they didn't know what they were doing”, was our attitude. “Let's find and give those anti-communists some money and arms and maybe some of our boys as “advisers” to show them how to use all that stuff”, became our foreign policy. Hence, the Vietnam war, which brings me to the topic at hand.

Coinciding with the Viet Nam era was the peace movement in this country. There was a new awakening in our society. And while the face of this new movement may have been what, in some people's minds, were just a bunch of long-haired dirty hippies, there was something fresh and wonderful about it. But despite its message of peace the times, although they might have been “A 'Changing” were anything but peaceful. 

If you believe that nothing good that happens comes easy, then the 60's and 70's was the era for you. One had only to look at the headlines to wonder where the real war was and who we were we really fighting. Hardly a day went by that there were no stories about riots, anti-war protests and radical political movements who thought nothing of setting off some bombs in government buildings. And then there was the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago that nurtured stories like this...

“Chicago's mayor, Richard J. Daley, intended to showcase his and the city's achievements to national Democrats and the news media. Instead, the proceedings became notorious for the large number of demonstrators and the use of force by the Chicago police during what was supposed to be, in the words of the Yippie activist organizers, "A Festival of Life. Rioting took place between demonstrators and the Chicago Police Department, who were assisted by the Illinois National Guard.”*

As a young man, of draft age, I was never more proud of my fellow boomers than I was at that time. We were flexing our muscles and our voices. We would show the country that we would not be taken for granted and that our policies towards emerging nations needed to be changed. It was clear that no matter what happened in the Far East, America was going to change. So what happened to all those protestors. What became of the “Movement”? What became of the Woodstock generation? How did we get so complacent? Unfortunately, I have to partially blame it on our parents. They loved us too much.

Most (if not all) of our parents were children of the great depression. They remembered the hardships of the times. The breadlines, the unemployment and national despair. Naturally, they did not want this for us. Therefore, they went overboard when it came to giving us everything they did not have. They made sure we had all the trappings of a prosperous society. The clothes, the cars, the homes, the education. In general, the good life. The trend towards consumerism became our mantra, and we enjoyed every minute of it. 

Before long, we found ourselves in the 1980's. The 20th century's ode to opulence and commercialism. We bought everything we could get our hands on. Greed was good and Yuppies were the new Hippies. Unfortunately, with our desire for “stuff” came complacency. We became the “Me” generation. And, if we had any perception of the real world it was lost in a sea of materialism. Sadly, this persists to this day and manifests itself in today's politics. If you listen to the lineup of presidential candidates all we hear is a get-tough attitude. Get tough on immigrants. Get tough on welfare recipients, get tough on the creepy old folks who are looking for a social security handout. The hell with providing decent health care to every American. Corporations are good for America, so let's give them more tax breaks so all that money can trickle down to the poor folks.“Raise the minimum wage. What are you nuts? That will kill our profits. How will the corporation that I am CEO of be able to afford to pay me 750 times more than the people who work for me.” Regrettably, this is the mainstream thinking of many Americans today. Not all, mind you, but enough to put thoughts in the minds of many who think that all of America's problems are generated by outside forces. Does this mean that America will finally go over to the “dark side” and actually vote for one of those gaggle of clueless geese? Probably not. However, if we don't turn the tide soon and begin to realize that the only thing that makes a nation great is a compassion it has for the lowliest of its citizens than we truly have lost the dream.

*Quote from Wikipedia.


More Unused Space

Continuing with our little exploration of unused and wasted space around the Center, I turn your attention to what I like to call “The Crossroads”. This area is marked by a slab of concrete and is located at an intersection of two walkways. While there is no shade, there is a great deal of sun there most of the day. Unfortunately, it is too close to the buildings to make this into a designated smoking area and too far from a building exit to use as a sitting area. So what should this area be used for? A couple of suggestions have been batted around.

It would be a perfect spot for a shuffleboard court, a bocce court, or a putting green. A covered gazebo could be erected on this spot for residents who would like to play board games out of doors. If you have any other suggestions, drop me a line and perhaps we will present your idea at the next Resident's Council meeting.

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A $3,000 Ice Machine...

...And it Leaks

After suffering through a couple of years of a totally inadequate ice maker which was out of order more than it was in service, the Center decided to shell out the BIG BUCKS for what must be the Rolls Royce of Ice making machines. Without pretension, it is called “The ICE-O-MATIC”. This epitome of water transformation devices set the facility back nearly three grand. It has the capability of producing 300 lbs of ice cubes a day and, unlike its predecessor it has a drain. Yes, it has everything but the ability not to produce a leaky mess every morning. Somebody must know how to fix this thing.

Editor's note: Shortly after writing this, repairs were begun to the machine. Hopefully, the problem will be solved.

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Lights, Camera....


Trying to corral a group of 65 year-old plus people into joining a group activity is tantamount to getting a pack of hyenas  to calm down.  And yet that is exactly what was done last Thursday when the Center was turned into a movie set of sorts.

It seems that for some reason (we still don't know why), the administrator ordered that a short video be made using the facility as the background and the residents as actors. Of course we were to make this video with no budget, no costumes and no props. To add to the confusion, the project had to be completed by Oct. 1 leaving little or no time for rehearsal. Amazingly, we were able to do it. And, while we don't yet know how it turned out (It's still being edited as we go to press) we can say that we did our best under the circumstances. If I can, I will post this video when it becomes available.

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There are places around the facility where you can get away from everybody. Everybody except the Faceless Photog that is.

Residents of the Westchester Center should visit our information page for a complete directory of personnel as well as resources available to seniors in Westchester County. Go to page....http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/residents-bill-of-rights-and-more.php

“Never forget that assisted living is a for-profit business”

3 Must-Have Technologies to Maximize Senior Housing Revenue

by Christian Sweetser

Every business sector is searching for the opportunity to increase revenues. One solution that is currently being embraced by seniors housing is the eponymous revenue management approach pioneered by the airline industry in the 1970s.

The computerized/mathematical functioning of the model is complex, but the concept is simple: by carefully orchestrating pricing and available inventory, an organization can maximize revenues and thereby profits. The seniors housing industry cannot afford to be short-sighted, as its future of revenue management actually lies in population health management.

As health care continues to extend, necessarily, beyond the hospital and physician’s office, seniors housing is uniquely positioned to make population health management part of its care and business strategy. There are several technology solutions gaining larger health market acceptance that will enable residents to be connected more frequently and effectively to their own health and its management.

By embracing the technology infrastructure to support electronic medical records, wearable health monitors, and telemedicine, seniors housing will further differentiate the value proposition of the industry, improve potential health outcomes, increase lengths of stay, generate positive word of mouth, and possibly lead to recognition and partnership with area health systems, all of which enhance revenue potential....


Trapped in the System: A Sick Doctor’s Story

By Aaron E. Carroll

I have ulcerative colitis and have had it for many years. When it was poorly controlled, I lived in constant fear of not being near a bathroom. The half-hour commute to my job often necessitated a stop on the way to work because I feared I would lose control of my bowels. My wife could tell you many stories about how I made innovative use of my babies’ diapers in cases of emergencies.

But a number of years ago, after I found that drug after drug didn’t work, my gastroenterologist suggested an older immunosuppressant. I’m a doctor, and I recognized it as a drug often used to treat cancer. It carried with it some significant side effects, most notably a small chance of myelosuppression, in which your bone marrow shuts down and produces too few blood cells.

That horrified my wife. But she didn’t appreciate that this was, to me, a small price to pay for the opportunity not to be constantly worried about my proximity to a toilet. I weighed the benefits versus the harms. I decided to give it a go.

The medicine changed my life. I have few, if any, symptoms anymore. It’s gotten to where I can now feel annoyance when my children need to go to the bathroom when we’re out. By my last colonoscopy, my ulcerative colitis had gone into remission. I feel as if I have the bowels of a normal person, for which I am utterly grateful.

The medicine is old and it’s generic. It costs about $80 for three months even though I haven’t met my deductible. But this story isn’t about money. This is about the nightmare of how hard it is for me to get the drug.

Every three months, I run out of my medication. In order to get more, I need a new prescription. In order to get the prescription, I need to have lab testing to prove to my doctor that I don’t have anemia. This all sounds simple, and it’s the same process every three months. But it’s never the same, and it’s never easy.

Let’s start with the lab testing. At various times, my insurance plan (which is excellent, by the way) changes which laboratory facilities it will cover fully. Often, these are not labs that are housed in the huge health care system for which I work. I often have to go elsewhere to have my blood drawn. If I change facilities, I have to get a new prescription for the labs, since they can’t share with one another....



Check out our Cartoon Page for more “At The ALF” cartoons...


Manopause and Male Aging: 

Just Say No to Those Drugs 

by Gavin Polone

For THR's annual Doctors Issue, the producer bemoans the health risks of a town taking medications to stay forever young and vigorous, despite industry-generated images and messaging.

We've all heard, "you're as young as you feel" many, many times. That's sort of true, but in a way I think you're as young, or old, as TV commercials tell you that you are. Sadly, what I'm seeing during the breaks as I watch CNBC's Squawk Box, BBC World News America, 60 Minutes, anything about World War II on History or Smithsonian is pretty clear: I've passed my sell-by date.

Daily, I'm bombarded with messages telling me that I should be taking Viagra or Cialis as well as medications for low testosterone, or "low-T" as it's called (also for something called COPD, but I don't know what that is and am afraid to look it up).

The most resonant of these advertisements is a sort of combination testosterone/boner program called Cenegenics, which features images of shirtless men (usually physicians who run their own Cenegenics franchises) in their late 40s, 50s and even 70s who are incredibly muscular and defined, kind of like a senior version of The Thunder From Down Under. The men in the commercials give testimonials explaining how they not only look younger but also feel younger. They make clear how much more desire they now have for their wives, who are sitting next to them, beaming. Male viewers like me in their 50s and above find ourselves feeling inadequate and wondering if we should be gettin' some of what they're sellin'. In my case, so I can be more fit, not because I have trouble in the erection department … 'cause I don't. Not at all. Not even a little. No, sir … or ma'am....


Today’s aging minorities most impacted by poor finances

By Shantella Y. Sherman

Even as the nation commemorates the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, and the 80th anniversary of Social Security, issues of race, class, and access remain recalcitrant barriers to elder security. Particularly among blacks, living longer has often meant subsisting on meager funds and with limited material resources.

“When Social Security was signed into law, far too many seniors were living in poverty. When Medicare was created only a little more than half of all seniors had some form of insurance. Before Medicaid came along, families often had no help paying for nursing home costs,” President Barack Obama said at a news conference on July 13th. “Today, the number of seniors in poverty has fallen dramatically. Together we declared that every citizen of this country deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.”

Obama said that as more Americans live to reach retirement and then live longer as seniors, reassessing how the nation responds to the increased need will ultimately work to protect the solvency of elder care.

Ben de Guzman, national managing coordinator for the Diverse Elders Coalition, addressed several key concerns related to the aging of the American population and the increased number of non-white seniors among them. “Despite advances that our communities have achieved on the road to equality, there remain considerable barriers to their full participation in every facet of public life. It is often difficult enough to move through the world as a person of color, or an LGBT person; the additional barriers that age places on the individual complicates the picture even further,” Guzman said. “Communities of color continue to experience de facto, if not de jure, discrimination and have unequal outcomes as a result.”

One key component of providing quality, non-discriminatory treatment to black elders is ensuring they receive proper care from health and home care professionals. 


Time to expand Social Security 

By Bernie Sanders

It has paid every nickel owed, through good times and bad

Now some Republicans want to cut it

A better idea: Lift cap so wealthy pay higher Social Security taxes 

Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before it was signed into law, nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty. Today, the elderly poverty rate is less than 10 percent. Although still much too high, that’s a dramatic improvement.

Through good times and bad, Social Security has paid every nickel owed to every eligible American – on time and without delay. As corporations destroyed the retirement dreams of millions over the past 30 years by eliminating defined benefit pension plans, Social Security was right there paying full benefits. As millions of Americans lost their life savings after Wall Street’s recklessness crashed the economy in 2008, Social Security was right there paying full benefits.

Today, Social Security is more important than ever. Over half of workers between the ages of 55-64 have no retirement savings. More than a third of senior citizens depend on Social Security for virtually all of their income. One out of every five senior citizens is trying to scrape by on an average income of just $8,300 a year.

Given these facts, our job cannot be to cut Social Security. Our job must be to expand it so that every American can retire with dignity and respect.

Virtually every Republican candidate for president disagrees. Many of them claim Social Security is “going broke,” that it’s causing the deficit to explode, and its trust fund is full of IOUs. They want the American people to believe Social Security is in crisis and must be cut.

They are dead wrong....

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article36486309.html#storylink=cpy

Victims of Our Age 

By Franco Cortese

Death & Anti-Death Volume 13: Sixty Years After Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Aging is truly the travesty of our age. It constitutes the largest source of in-principle-preventable death in existence today – a toll of 100,000 real, feeling, hoping and daring human beings lost irreversibly for all time, per day. That’s a million human lives lost every one and a half weeks. A loss equal to the entire population of Canada every year, and to the entire U.S. population every decade. It accounts for three-quarters of all deaths globally and for nine-tenths of all deaths in most developed countries. 

We all die before our time, still as children, some old but none old enough, and rightly scared for the time when we will be no more. Born into the tumult of existence for so short a time, only to be washed away in a grit of sand and time before any one of us can truly come of age. The world will be a better place when, finally, a slow and fetid decay into death will be our birthright no longer. 

I implore you, whoever you are, whatever your skills and aptitudes, lend your head, hand and heart to this most important cause: the eventual eradication aging and age-related diseases, the slow death of a true calamity of our age that has not yet seen anything approaching the kind of funding that the largest medically-surmountable source of death and suffering at large in the world today most deservedly warrants. Whether your aptitude is science, scholarship, activism or advocacy, you can have an impact on how long it takes to stop the preventable death of 100,000 men and women per day, and the long course of suffering, debilitation, and dissolution that often precedes each one of those deaths for many years. ...


Seniors face their own set of temptations


Do senior adults really deal with temptations? Yep, no one is exempt. Everyone has been tempted at some time or another. Even Jesus was tempted. But are the temptations for senior adults — the 70-, 80- and 90-year-olds, any different than those that young adults and middle-agers deal with?

Although any temptation can occur at almost any stage in life, some temptations are more likely to occur at one stage than another. For example, the younger generation is more tempted with drugs, steroids, violence and sex. Middle-agers have some of the same temptations that young people deal with, but they also have temptations in the areas of prestige, amassing wealth, gaining control or power at the expense of others or having extra-martial affairs.

Senior adults are more apt to be apathetic, arrogant, prideful and judgmental. Apathy is likely to set in when senior adults become disinterested in the world around them, and they begin to turn their focus inward toward themselves. This may be brought on by physical limitations. They may not be able to go places or participate in social events, so they become apathetic and give up on life, believing they no longer have anything to offer. Social isolation may be so subtle that they don’t even realize what is happening. My senior friend says apathy can also happen when we become indifferent or downright lazy!...


Stressless Aging

 By Mike Verano 

I don’t mean to stress you out, but according to a growing number of scientific reports, stress makes us age more quickly. Research suggests that from our skin to our hearts, brains, and even cells, the more we stress, the older we get. The question, “Do we age because of stress or is getting older stressful?” leaves us with yet another chicken and egg scenario.

We’re a nation that is collectively losing its mind over the whole stress issue. We’re told that it’s a natural response, an evolutionary act of survival to fight or flee from harm. We’re also told that this response itself can kill us. One side says that we have to control life events in order to reduce stress, while the other states that we only need to control how we think about stress to reduce its damaging effects.

It would be nice to think that we grow out of being stressed. There does, in fact, seem to be some evidence that our “this is going to be bad” meter operates at a different level after a certain age. When we take a hard look at the “aging is stressful” campaigners, we find that they have a lot in common with the “younger is better” crowd. I have created a slogan for these folks: Stress doesn’t make us old, aging 

I came up with a list of ideas people have suggested to support this notion:

◾Worrying about something bad happening can actually keep the bad thing from happening.

◾Expecting things to go bad makes it hurt less when it actually happens.

◾Fighting against what is already happening makes us stronger.

◾Thinking that we’re right and the situation is wrong makes us morally superior to whatever is happening.

◾Resistance keeps us from getting pushed around by life.

◾If I accept what is, nothing will ever change.

◾Stress energy is the only thing that gets me through my day.


7 Keys To A Happy, Healthy Brain

Take care of your noggin and you'll be sharp as a tack at age 95!

By  Carolyn Gregoire 

Why are some people sharp as a tack at 95 years old, while others begin struggling with mental clarity in their 50s?

A lot of it has to do with genetics, but certain lifestyle factors also play an important role in how our brain ages. So while you can't control your genes, you can take advantage of the latest science to keep your grey cells strong:

What about the brain? Well, some research has suggested that high levels of stress hormones can increase an individual's risk for age-related brain damage.

"Over the course of a lifetime, the effects of chronic stress can accumulate and become a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease," Howard Fillit, a clinical professor of geriatric medicine at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, wrote in Psychology Today. "Several studies have shown that stress, and particularly one's individual way of reacting to stress (the propensity to become 'dis-stressed' often found in neurotic people for example), increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease."

If you're feeling stressed out, try picking up a meditation practice. Research has shown that meditation is effective in lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol and protecting the brain from aging.


Linda Evans: Courageous state of mind

By Erica Curless

Aging gracefully is a choice that takes courage and the ability to embrace change, advises award-winning actress Linda Evans who is known for playing Krystle Carrington in the 1980s drama “Dynasty.” 

Evans, who has lived in Rainier, near Olympia, for 30 years, is keynote speaker for the annual two-day Boomers and Beyond: Aging Successfully Conference on Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Convention Center. The conference, which includes presentations and resources for the elderly and their families, is a fundraiser for the Senior Assistance Fund of Eastern Washington that awards grants to nonprofits that provide services to low-income seniors.

“Doing something out of the box is very stimulating,” said Evans, 72, in a recent telephone interview.

Evans, who also played Audra Barkley in the television show “The Big Valley” in the 1960s, is passionate about traveling the country encouraging people, especially aging women, to “jump in” and live their dreams and not let fear rule. She wants to inspire baby boomers and bring hope and inspiration in a culture that often doesn’t value aging. 

Evans decided in her 60s to start overcoming her fears and insecurities by trying new things, such as acting on the live stage. In 2006 and 2007, Evans starred with Joan Collins in “Legends!,” a comedic play about two aging rival film stars. It was a challenge that remained terrifying every time she got on stage. On “Dynasty,” Collins played the vengeful ex-wife of Evans’ television husband, oil tycoon Blake Carrington. The two women’s on-screen catfights helped boost ratings and overtake the rival nighttime soap opera “Dallas” to become the No. 1 show in the Unites States....


Low-fat milk and yogurt consumption 

may help prevent frailty in aging, study finds

By Hal Conick

Milk could also prevent bone mass loss and has bioactive peptides that may work to decrease levels of blood pressure, a study says. 

Consumption of low-fat milk and yogurt is associated with a decreased risk of frailty among the elderly, according to a recent study.

The study recommended protein supplementation for those who are aging, as it may also be able to help with walking speed and preventing unhealthy weight loss.

Increasing the consumption of low-fat yogurt and milk may need further studying to find its adverse impacts to health, but the study said it has been shown to help reduce levels of frailty.

Dr Alberto Lana of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Oviedo in Spain told DairyReporter that low-fat milk could also protect against precursors of frailty in the elderly, such as cardiometabolic events.

“The biological mechanisms of the association are not entirely clear, but it seems reasonable to hypothesize that milk consumers become less frailty due to the effect of milk proteins and certain minerals, which could improve muscle and bone quality,” he said.

What the study found...


Eggplant Parmesan

A Worthwhile Substitute for Lasagna

Dieting is difficult no matter where you are and even more so when one has little choice but to eat institutionally prepared meals which have a tendency to lean towards the fatty or high carbohydrate foods. Therefore, a dieter is constantly looking for foods that, if not totally devoid of fat or carbs, have as few of them as possible. Often this means that one has to give up or deny himself of one or more of his favorite things to eat. For me, it's pasta. 

What can I say, I'm a pasta, addict. I would bathe in pasta if I could. I would wear a pasta suite if it were possible. As far as I am concerned there is no better, more comforting source of fuel than a giant bowl of al-dente spaghetti with thick, rich sauce and three golf ball size meatballs floating on top like the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Unfortunately, they haven't come up with a decent no or low carb pasta or a non-fat meatball. So what does one do if he needs his pasta-addiction satisfied? He turns to a substitute for relief. And a good substitute just happens to be something that they do here at the Center really well. Eggplant Parmesan.

First of all, eggplant parm gives you what you really want whenever you eat pasta or pizza. After all, isn't it that combination of cheese and tomato sauce that you really crave. And what better way to get it than a nice serving of something that is relatively low in carbs and fat. In fact, eggplant Parm. Has only about 14-16 grams of carbs in a 5 oz serving, and only 4 -6 grams of fat (most of which is the good, polyunsaturated kind). And, as a bonus, the eggplant is high in fiber which aids in digestion. 

So, the next time you see eggplant Parmesan on the menu, order it. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Here's Why Some Men's Beards Are A Different Color Than Their Hair

You're not a freak of nature. You're just multi-pigmented.

By James Cave

So with all this hair flying around, we were reminded of one of life's great mysteries: Why are some guys' beards a different color than the rest of their hair?

We turned to dermatologist Dr. Bobby Buka, founder of Greenwich Village Dermatology in New York, who said it basically comes down to pigments and genetics.

"The difference between red hair and blonde hair or brown hair is different types of melanin," Buka said, referring to the pigment packs that bring color to our hair (without it, our hair is white).

One type of melanin, a very light type called pheomelanin, is responsible for blonde or red hair, and eumelanin is the darker melanin found in darker-toned hair. How it gets distributed through the shaft of each hair and in what combinations is what determines our hair color, and it can vary by each individual follicle.

"The other component that contributes to color is the distribution of the melanin from the base of the hair follicle to the rest of the shaft," Buka said. "That transfer process is genetic, and so redheads have more pheomelanin and their pigment stays at the base of the hair follicle, and black-haired people have more eumelanin and transfers throughout the shaft."...




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The Change of Seasons Changes Me

I don’t know if it’s barometric, cyclical, cultural or just psychological, but my body goes through changes every time summer changes to fall. And it’s not a gradual change either. It comes upon me like a ton of bricks. Oddly, the change from winter to spring or spring to summer has little or no effect on me. Certainly not to the extent that the advent of the autumnal equinox seems to have. Let me tell you what I feel.

Generally, I feel lousy. I get the chills, headaches, upset stomach and joint pain. A lightheadedness wafts over me like an L.A. smog. People seem distant and unattached. I have a tendency to forget things more than normal and I even think my sleep is affected too. It’s just plain weird. Or is it?

We have all heard the saying, “In the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.” Perhaps we should consider that in the fall, “An old codgers fancy turns to thoughts of impending doom.” because, at times, that’s what it feels like.

Now I realize that these feelings may not be universal and that all old people don’t feel this way. Perhaps I am the only one, in which case I will feel even more isolated than I usually do at this time of year. However, there may be an actual reason for my malaise. That’s because nothing good has ever happened to me in the fall. I have given this much thought and have even made a list.

1. School always starts in the fall. It’s not so much that I hated school, but I liked not going to class even more. I think it had to do with the other kids. In general, I hated kids. I preferred the company of grownups. Kids are, as we all know, disgusting. They are nasty, tribal, germ-laden and malicious. Just the thought of having to meet new kids made me physically ill. I suppose some of that has carried over into adulthood.

2. Cold weather clothes. Along with the change of season, I always got a new wardrobe. This meant things like sweaters, jackets, coats and bulky corduroy pants. 

So, what’s wrong with new clothes? Well, nothing except that I was a fat kid and wearing cumbersome clothes made me look even fatter. Just what I needed. So good for my self-esteem.

3. Jewish holidays. Forgive me if I sound blasphemous, but I am not a big fan of the Jewish holidays. It’s not a religious thing, it’s just that I never felt that I had anything to atone for. Certainly nothing so bad that I needed to fast for 24 hours just to apologize for it.

4. My marriage. There is not much that I can say about this other than it was the beginning of fall when my wife of eight years decided it was enough marriage (at least enough of me) and told me she wanted a divorce. The words cut through me like the dull side of a Ginsu knife. I admit it. I was emotionally scarred.

There are some other unpleasant things that happened to me at this time of year like the death of my father and getting laid off from a job I had for 13 years, but that’s another story.

Look, I really don’t hate the fall. Actually, weather-wise, it’s the best time of the year. Cool days, brisk nights (good for sleeping) and nature in all its leaf-changing glory. But you have to admit that fall, unlike its cousin spring, means the end to things rather than renewal. And at this time in my life when the end is closer than the beginning, it’s the last thing I want to think about.

Photos from around the Center

(With Comments)

Unused Space

Actually, this is more a matter of space wasted than unused. As reported a few months ago, work was supposed to begin on the construction of a new assisted living facility right across the parking lot from our present location. The facility was to be separate and distinct from the WCIAL. The building shown in the photo above was to be torn down as part of the new construction. Though some preliminary survey work was done, it appears that any further work has either been canceled or suspended. This leaves us with a perfectly good building doing nothing. 

At the present, the split level brick structure contains apartments, office space and storage. The building is air conditioned and has all the proper plumbing and electricity as well as fire prevention equipment. As our current quarters become more populated every week, and the need for additional space for recreation and meetings increases, it seems a shame that this building cannot be used to alleviate some of the overcrowding.........................................Ed.

* * *

The Wood Pile

Unfortunately, a couple of our trees did not survive this past winter and failed to bloom in the Spring. Eventually, the trees died and had to be cut down leaving 
us with some very large tree appendages. These remnants of a once mighty oak (or whatever that tree was) is piled up near the garage in back of the Franklin Bldg. My question is, since as far as I know, we do not have any wood burning fire places anywhere on our premises, what the heck are they going to do with this wood. Perhaps we could organize a residents wood shop and actually make something out of this stuff.

* * *

Chips Ahoy

Besides the pile of branches, as another product of the cutting down of dead trees, we were left with a rather large pile of wood chips. Hopefully, the gardeners will use this as a winter ground cover for some of our more vulnerable flora and plants. We would hate to see this become a condo for some of our less desirable furry friends.

* * *

Hidden Garden

It appears that somebody or some bodies have been busy this summer out in back of the garden level. In this space, usually only occupied by a group of inveterate smokers who use the only official smoking area at the facility, the previously unused flowers boxes have been planted and lovingly cared for, with a variety of flowers. Among the plants are African violets, petunias, peonies, and gladiola. I wonder if they will offer these for sale.

At this month’s resident’s council meeting the question of having our own bus came up once again. Here is one reason why we don’t and can’t have our own bus.

A 24-passenger bus with a wheelchair lift 

costs $58,907.34.

That’s not including insurance, maintenance, gas, oil, and a driver.


Don't Overlook the Big City for Your Retirement Home

Not everyone wants to live in a suburban retirement community. 

Find out why you may want to spend your golden years in the big city.

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Big City Living Offers More Culture, Services

While housing prices can be a drawback in many metropolitan areas, advocates of urban living say that negative is outweighed by the many city services and social opportunities available to seniors. 

"It's senior-friendly," Hoffman says. "There are more goods and services in New York City than any other city in the country, maybe even the world." 

Those services include coordination of benefits for those who are homebound, bus and van programs for transportation and senior centers for social activities. 

"Another huge advantage [of retiring to a big city] I see is the opportunity to be engaged mentally," says Cecilia Beach Brown, a certified financial planner with Lincoln Financial Services in Annapolis, Maryland. "There are volunteer activities, cultural events and access to the arts. Of course, transportation is key [to accessing opportunities]." 

When it comes to transportation, some cities run specialized van and bus systems for seniors. Others are making improvements to public transportation that benefit both younger and older riders alike. For instance, Cleveland's HealthLine bus transit route runs 24/7 and goes by both the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Buses feature level boarding stations which may be easier for older Americans to navigate, and they arrive as often as every five minutes during peak periods. 

Plan Carefully to Ensure a Successful Retirement ...


How to Grow Older With Comfort and Purpose 

As baby boomers reach retirement age, many are 

rethinking what the later stages of life should look like. 

Roughly 44 million people in the United States are now 65 years or older. By 2050, the Census Bureau expects that figure to double as the largest generation in American history lives longer than any before it.

The generation of baby boomers has drawn criticism—from themselves, among others—for holding overly high expectations for their lives and for pushing too hard to meet them. These are qualities, however, that could serve them nicely as they strive to grow older with some comfort and purpose. Americans who were born between 1946 and 1964 aren’t as likely to settle for simply retiring to Florida to play mahjong. “They recognize that the current systems in place are not only inadequate to meet the demands of aging but woefully inadequate to meet their expectations,” says Joseph Coughlin, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab (http://agelab.mit.edu/), which studies this fast-coming demographic upheaval. “Now that we’re living so much longer, we do not know what we will be doing with all that time.”

Happily filling their time, while continuing to contribute to the economy, will be one major challenge for these new senior citizens. Here’s another: money. Having enough of it to remain solvent past retirement is especially worrisome for low-income workers and for anyone without substantial savings or pensions.

The Great Recession upended expectations about economic security in the U.S. and changed the way we work and live. This initiative from the Atlantic and National Journal asks: How are Americans adapting?

But for anyone lucky enough not to worry about money, the challenge involves rethinking the way retirement looks. Do baby boomers want to give up their jobs entirely, or shift to part-time or flexible work, as some companies  allow? They may prefer to reinvent themselves and embark on a second, “encore” career in the nonprofit sector. Others may want to become entrepreneurs and small-business owners or to involve themselves in a volunteer project so intensively that it amounts to a part-time job.

So far, however, no comprehensive national policy or consensus among experts has emerged on how to regard employment past the traditional age of retirement.....


* * *

Why The Term 'Aging Gracefully' Is Akin To A Cultural Corset

By Wendi Knox

Don't get me wrong.

"Aging gracefully" is lovely. In a quiet, refined, elegant kind of way.

Which is great, if that's "You."

But it's definitely not "Me."

I was never particularly graceful when I was younger. So, why would I suddenly become that way as I age?

To me, the term "aging gracefully" feels like a cultural corset that holds women to one tight standard.

I'd prefer to age gratefully. To have reverence for the truth of who I am and all the changes that are taking place within and around me.

I intend to age exuberantly. Colorfully. Creatively. Bravely. Boldly. Healthfully. Honestly. And un-apologetically.

As someone who has risen up from the muck of self-doubt and fear, I'm trying to retrain my brain to celebrate the wisdom, confidence and

self-love that I've worked like hell all these years to attain (with the therapy bills to prove it).

Older women in our society often complain about feeling invisible. But I wonder if that's because we don't see our own value.

What if, instead of zeroing in on the wrinkles under our eyes, we started appreciating the light within them?

What if, in choosing to honor our experience, our wisdom and our gifts, the outside world rises up to meet our inside world?

What if, instead of just looking out there for anti-aging foods, supplements, lotions, potions and treatments, we started cultivating a

pro-aging mindset within?

But how?...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wendi-knox/aging-gracefully-cultural-corse... 9/24/2015

Let’s keep the faith in Social Security’s future

By Lenard W. Kaye

Every few weeks, without fail, I hear someone proclaiming that Social Security is near collapse, teetering on the edge of insolvency, poised to bankrupt our nation and destroy the economic futures of our children and our children’s children.

These assertions suggest a rapidly expanding aging population will inevitably cause the collapse of Social Security and America’s future economic well-being. But they run counter to the lessons learned from history. This mentality reflects, at least in part, a measure of anti-aging thinking that can create divisions between the young and the old. It also reflects plain old historical ignorance. It does not encourage thoughtfulness and rationality when it comes to planning for and, ultimately, enacting the needed refinements to Social Security policy that will position the program for a healthy and stable future.

The concept of Social Security, or old age social insurance, was first put forward in Germany in 1881 and became law in 1889 under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. In the United States, it remains what is undoubtedly one of the most successful and enduring policy mandates ever enacted. A doomsday mentality about Social Security’s insolvency does little more than risk creating antagonism across the generations — pitting younger, working-age Americans against retirees and those approaching retirement age.

Past presidents, members of Congress and special interest groups have attempted to dramatically change — and, in effect, greatly harm — Social Security only to fail when confronted with broad bipartisan and public disdain. Surveys repeatedly confirm that large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents of all ages feel Social Security must be preserved for future generations, and that includes working Americans who say they would be willing to pay additional Social Security taxes to ensure its survival.

It remains one of the most efficiently run federal programs, spending  less than one cent of every dollar on administrative functions even though it collects taxes from 94 percent of working Americans and distributes benefits to approximately 60 million individuals....


You Know You Are Losing It When ...

What? You have never put the remote in the laundry?

By Ann Brenoff

Part of the aging process involves those "senior moments" we like to joke about and how you occasionally are given an opportunity to see yourself through the eyes of others. Of course, there's nothing to do about any of it other than laugh in aging's face -- and appreciate that it beats the alternative. Thanks to our Facebook friend Wendy Cushing for sharing these gems:

Wendy Cushing, a Connecticut teacher on the cusp of turning 50, told us how she went for two x-rays in the span of a week and neither technician asked if she could be pregnant. "Because, really? You look that old," she jokes. She doesn't. 

Then again, she also drove 40 minutes to a doctor's appointment, sat in the waiting room growing irritated because her name wasn't being called -- and then realized her appointment was for the following week. Slink-out-with-tail-between-legs-time.

Wendy, clearly not having a great week, also proudly produced two gift cards at Bed, Bath and Beyond thinking she was going to get a fabulous bargain, only to have the cashier say, "Um, ma'am, these are for Bath and Body Works." That's right, he called her "ma'am." Oh yeah, and she was in the wrong store....


Intestinal bacteria provide clues to aging

Robin Wulffson, MD

The intestine acts as a barrier to protect our organs 

and tissue from environmental damage

Most of us strive for a long—and healthy life. However, some individuals maintain excellent health in their 80s and beyond while others develop significant health problems decades earlier. A new study by researchers at the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles found some clues for this disparity in the makeup of intestinal bacteria. Their study suggests that analyzing intestinal bacteria could be a valuable method to predict health outcomes as we age. They published their findings online in the journal Cell Reports.

“Age-onset decline is very tightly linked to changes within the community of gut microbes,” explained senior author David Walker, a UCLA professor of integrative biology and physiology. He added, “With age, the number of bacterial cells increase substantially and the composition of bacterial groups changes.” In a previous study, he and his colleagues discovered that five or six days before flies died, their intestinal tracts became more permeable and started leaking. The new study entailed analysis of more than 10,000 female flies; the investigators found that they were able to detect bacterial changes in the intestine before the leaking began. Some of the fruit flies were given antibiotics that significantly reduce bacterial levels in the intestine, and the researchers found that these medications prevented the age-related increase in bacteria levels and improved intestinal function during aging. They also found that reducing bacterial levels in old flies can significantly prolong their life span.

“When we prevented the changes in the intestinal microbiota that were linked to the flies’ imminent death by feeding them antibiotics, we dramatically extended their lives and improved their health,” explained Dr. Walker said. (Microbiota are the bacteria and other microorganisms that are present in humans, other mammals, fruit flies and many other animals.) The fruit flies with leaky intestines that were given antibiotics lived an average of 20 days after the leaking began, which represented a significant portion of the insect’s life span. On average, flies with leaky intestines that did not receive antibiotics died within a week. “The health of the intestine, in particular the maintenance of the barrier protecting the rest of the body from the contents of the gut, is very important and might break down with aging,” explained lead author Rebecca Clark, PhD.


* * *

Healthy Aging: Dealing With Diabetes

Survival tips and resources for seniors.

By Lisa Esposito

Getting older doesn't have to mean getting diabetes, but it does mean your risk increases. The majority of Americans with Type 2 diabetes are over 60, and rates rise sharply with age. While 11 percent of middle-aged adults have diabetes, it's nearly 22 percent for seniors 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The upside is, if you are diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, there are steps you can take and plenty of resources to help you stay as healthy as possible. 

Exercise, exercise, exercise: That's the best way keep prediabetes from progressing, says Linda Haas, a diabetes consultant in Seattle who specializes in gerontology. No need to become a mountaineer, Haas says: A doable 20 minutes of brisk daily walking may turn prediabetes around.

A major U.S. study found exercise worked particularly well for adults age 60 and older, reducing their risk of moving on to diabetes by 71 percent. And if you have diabetes, exercise helps keep your blood sugar under control. 

"Exercise and being active is one of the best things you can do for yourself, both psychologically and physically," says Haas, a former president of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. One tip she often gives: Get a dog to guarantee daily walks for both of you. 

Group or gym activities have an added perk – interaction with others, which wards off isolation. SilverSneakers, a gym-based fitness program for seniors, is covered by some insurers, including Medicare. Senior centers also have classes to keep people healthy and connected.

Devices from pedometers to Fitbits allow you to measure steps, gauge your progress and gradually build endurance.

Mind your muscles: As people age, their bodies change in several ways that contribute to diabetes. "People become more insulin-resistant so that their own insulin doesn't work as well," Haas says. With age and less activity, abdominal fat increases, waistlines can widen and sarcopenia, or muscle-wasting, can occur. 

When patients reach 75 and older, age-related issues really come into play, says Dr. Medha Munshi, director of the geriatric diabetes program at Joslin Diabetes Center. Even frail seniors with diabetes benefit from increasing their activity, she says. ...



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Beat Aging : The Secret of those living past 100

Scientists crack the secret of centenarians

editor’s note: While this piece speculates on drug therapies, there are many ways to reduce inflammation — including exercise and micro-nutrients– that don’t involve pills.

For the first time, a team of experts from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, explored which biological and pathological processes may be the most important for successful aging after 100 years of age.

They identified that to live past the age of 100 you must keep inflammation down in the body and telomeres long – which are the part of human cells that affect how our cells age.

Severe inflammation is part of many diseases in the old, such as diabetes or diseases attacking the bones or the body’s joints, and chronic inflammation can develop from any of them.

Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, from Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, led the UK part of the study. He said: “Centenarians and supercentenarians are different – put simply, they age slower. They can ward off diseases for much longer than the general population.”

In groups of people aged 105 and over (semi-supercentenarians), those 100 to 104 (centenarians), those nearly 100 and their offspring, the team measured a number of health markers which they believe contribute towards successful ageing, including blood cell numbers, metabolism, liver and kidney function, inflammation and telomere length.

Scientists expected to see a continuous shortening of telomeres with age, however what they found was that the children of centenarians, who have a good chance of becoming centenarians themselves, maintained their telomeres at a ‘youthful’ level corresponding to about 60 years of age even when they became 80 or older....



Miss Manners Blames Boomers for Ruining Aging

4 ways she says we denigrate aging, and what to do instead

By Deborah Quilter

Syndicated etiquette columnist Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners, may be about to ruffle feathers in certain circles, including cosmetic surgeons and dentists, hair colorists and all who favor enslaving themselves to the pursuit of finding eternal youth.

But Martin, once again, opts to uphold her principles in the face of prevailing fashions and speak out in favor of good manners.

In her latest book, Miss Manners: On Unabashed Aging, Martin cuts through the sometimes well-intentioned and frequently insidious way we disrespect our elders and disparage the process of aging itself.

Here is how she suggests we handle four fraught situations:

On Being Offered a Seat

So, dear reader here’s a test for you: let’s say you’re a very fit 65 or even 70. You take great pride in going to the gym, running marathons and watch your diet like a hawk. Your doctor tells you that your biological age is far younger than your chronological age. Your friends celebrate how youthful you look. Now, put yourself on a very crowded bus.

Someone in his 20s or 30s gets up to offer you a seat.

Your response is:

1.“I’m not old and feeble!”

2.“Thank you.”

3.“No, thank you.”

According to Martin, either B or C is correct. These days, among certain older people who pride themselves on their youthfulness, being offered a seat on a public transportation is interpreted as a “sneering commentary on one’s mental and physical fitness,” rather than a courtesy from a younger person who simply hopes to make an older person’s journey more pleasant. “The smallest signs of respect or consideration are often taken as insults and rudely rejected,” Martin declares.

Martin disapproves of the neo-Puritanical ethic among some boomers that holds that no one grows older and it’s a crime to do so. 

Using This Phrase and Wanting Others to, Too: ‘You Look GREAT’

Martin disapproves of the neo-Puritanical ethic among some boomers that holds that no one grows older and it’s a crime to do so. Older people are the instigators, Martin says. By insisting that people view them as youthful when they are not, they are encouraging the very thing they object to....


Who Needs the Internet: 

Senior Citizens are Being Left Behind

By Seth Anthony

There is a common misconception, the world over, that older adults are not interested in technology and eschew using the internet. I myself have been partial to this bias. I found myself being surprised at the people in my life who were using email, Facebook, and other social media services to stay in touch. This shouldn’t come as a shock, as I wrote in a previous blog post that women over the age of 50 are now the fastest growing demographic of social media users. Yet, there still remains a stigma of sorts around seniors using technology, especially the internet.

I’ve encountered many active seniors who choose not to use the internet, or even a computer. That’s perfectly fine, as it’s a choice they’ve made. On the other hand, there are many older adults who are actively embracing technology and using it to keep in touch with their friends and family, shrinking distances and building connections. But, there’s a gap in this population and I find it very disturbing.

Recently, the Pew Research Center released a report called “Who’s Not Online” that discusses internet adoption. It stated that 84% of adults are now online, which seems great! However, when one drills down into the statistics, we find that only 39% of adults 65 and older have access to the internet. Yes, some of this can be accounted for in those who choose to not use the technology. This still leaves a large subset of seniors who aren’t opposed to the internet but don’t have access to it. Why might that be?

The answer is simple – cost. Adults over the age of 65 are usually operating on a limited income. Purchasing the latest computers, tablets, and smartphones can be an expensive proposition, especially when knowing they will be obsolete in three to five years. 

Why should we care, though? What does it matter if grandma can’t get on the internet? She has a TV and a phone, right?.....


Rib Night at the Asylum

Although they may not be the center cut ribs one would be served in a real restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter, the pork ribs we get here at the Asylum are always a welcome treat. Though generally on the fatty side and more bone than meat, what there is of it is tender, well seasoned and juicy. This months ribs were even accompanied by still another rarely seen item, corn on the cob. And, while the piece of corn is only about the size of a dill pickle (I guarantee they got four of these out of a regular ear of corn), It was still a nice change from the usual baked potato, or rice. I would like to, see one thing. Perhaps they could serve some extra BBQ sauce on the side.........................................ff

What's Up With Fidel's Tracksuits?

Octogenarian former dictator finds comfort in his Fila’s

By Joshua Keating

If you haven’t been following Fidel Castro’s odd post-presidency, you might have been surprised to see the former Cuban leader wearing a blue Adidas tracksuit during his meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday. You shouldn’t be. Since his retirement, comfy athletic-wear has replaced military fatigues as the aging revolutionary’s signature look.

Castro has a collection that includes Nike, Puma, Fila and Reebok, but Adidas seems to be his favorite. A representative for the German sportswear manufacturer told the New York Times in 2006 that the company views Castro’s endorsement as “not a positive, not a negative.”

So why does Castro dress like he’s on his way to a shuffleboard engagement when world leaders come to pay a visit? There are a few possible explanations. The Marxist ex-leader may view business-wear as a bit too bourgeois; he rarely wore suits when he was in office with his drab olive fatigues symbolizing the continuing revolutionary struggle.

It may be something of a power play, making clear to foreign heads of state, many of whom were young children when he took power, that he feels no obligation to get dolled up for them when they come to pay their respects.

It may also be a sign of respect to his little brother Raul, the current president. When Fidel retired, many wondered if he would continue to exercise power behind the scenes. The outfits send a signal that he is very much retired. (Raul also keeps it pretty casual by world leader standards, but he did put on a suit and tie to greet the pope.)

Or maybe Fidel just likes to stay comfortable. 



Contact & Comment


It’s a matter of privacy. Again

It seems that every six months or so, I feel the need to complain about the lack of privacy one encounters in institutions such as assisted living facilities. This deficiency of reticence appears to be inherent in all facilities of this kind and something that is never discussed when one is looking for a place to spend one’s latter years. The marketing people who take you on a tour of the facility will never mention that any staff member can come into your room at any time, day or night. And, no matter how much you complain, scream, threaten or lament, the bottom line is, if they want to come into your room, they will.

Some residents, including myself, have gone so far as to put signs on their doors with specific instructions in regards to who, what, when and where someone may enter. And, while there is some respect afforded by some staff members to these requests for privacy, most of the time they are ignored. So what else can one do?

The first thing that any new resident should do is to establish himself as the kind of person who demands that his need for privacy be respected. This can be accomplished by having a heart to heart chat with the Case Management supervisor. Make it known to them that any disregard of your desire for privacy will be considered a matter tantamount to abuse. Believe me, the word “abuse” frightens the heck out of ALF administrators. Also, make it clear that you understand that there may be times when it is absolutely necessary for someone to enter your room unannounced. And that it is OK to do so only if it appears that there may be an emergency situation present. These would be times when you do not respond to numerous requests to enter or when it is known that you should be in your room and you are not.

Some states (N.Y. Included) require a nightly bed check. This means that a staff member may knock on your door (usually before 11 pm) and make note of your presence. This does not mean that they should come into your room if you don’t answer. They will tell you that it is against state regulations for you not to permit them to enter, whereby you should tell them that “Breaking and Entering” are also against state regulations and that they should stay the hell out of your room. The next morning make sure you speak to Case Management and tell them that you were very upset by someone entering your room while you were in bed. Don’t let them intimidate you. You are an adult human being who deserves that same respect as any other person regardless of their circumstances. Ask them how they would feel if someone came to their home and just walked in under the pretense that they were “just checking”. This puts the ball in their court and they will be at a loss to return the serve.

Fort the most part, this course of action has worked well for me. Essentially, they leave me alone. There are no more nightly bed checks and only some new housekeeping staff have acted otherwise. The most important thing is not to become a sheep. Make it known that you are an individual and not part of some stereotyped group whose feelings are no longer worth respect.



Nothing annoys residents more than having to wait on long lines for their medications. For some, it means waiting on line two or even three times a day. While we understand that at times the med room may be short staffed, there is no excuse for what was observed last Saturday morning.

In order to improve service, the recent installation of an additional window was supposed to cut in half the line of residents waiting for their meds. Unfortunately, the staff has failed to understand the proper use of these two windows as evidenced by one window almost completely empty while the line grows at another. (see photo above).

Frustration was increased even further when, as seen in the photo, it appears that one of the two med room techs on duty decided that it was more important to do whatever she was doing on the computer than to distribute medication to residents. This has got to stop. It must be made clear that Residents needs come first, and if that means putting aside some clerical work in order to speed up service then so be it.


Whose money is it anyway?

We need to have resident’s accounts explained

Many institutions that house seniors have what is known as a Personal Need or “Resident’s Account”. While regulations regarding these accounts may vary from state to state, basically they are alike. The purpose of these accounts is to safely keep and make available, cash that the resident (or family member) has deposited into such an account. This money is regardless of any funds the resident may have in his or her private checking or savings accounts. There is usually a specific staff member assigned to distribute these funds during regular business hours whenever a resident requests them. This cash is usually used for the purchase of incidentals from an in-house commissary or, from an outside source such as take-out food. The manner in which these funds are dispensed ordinarily does not present any problems. That is until it comes to explaining such things as why we (residents) don’t get ATM cards for these accounts. Why we don’t get monthly statements (we get only quarterly statements, and NOT from the bank which holds our funds). Also, if there are individual account numbers associated with these accounts, why are we not made aware of them for reference purposes? Finally, and something that really bothers me and something that has not been fully explained is “WHY DON’T WE GET ANY INTEREST ON THESE ACCOUNTS?” 

When we have asked to have this seemingly simple question answered by our accountant/bookkeeper, his only explanation is “Because you don’t, that’s why”. But, doesn’t it seem strange to you that, since all ALF’s and all nursing homes in our state are required to have such accounts, and that the total amount of money accumulated in these accounts must be in the millions (if not billions) of dollars, where is all that interest going to? And don’t tell me that there is no interest attached to these accounts. No bank or financial institution would keep and administer any money placed in their bank without charging a fee of some kind. And if it is not coming from any interest accumulated, then where is the money coming from to pay for the banks holding this money?"

While I am not saying that there is anything fishy going on here or that any banking regulations are being ignored, but what I would like is an explanation from a professional (preferably an administrator from the bank where these funds are held) to explain the details of this kind of account. It’s our money and I think we have the right to know where it is.

10 things assisted living won't tell you

By Jim Rendon 


Hidden fees, untrained caretakers and misleading marketing 

1. We’re a short-term solution. 

Since 1981, when assisted-living homes first made their debut as a sort of midpoint between home and a nursing home, they’ve only grown in popularity. Meanwhile, as the number of facilities and residents served has ballooned, so has the diversity of needs. Some homes cater to those who have trouble cooking or doing their own laundry; others, to those with dementia, loss of mobility and even more serious issues. But government regulations that could help protect families with a loved one in an assisted-living facility who is suffering from a chronic or degenerative illness are still few and far between.

Existing rules vary immensely from state to state, and even within a given state. In Florida, for instance, there are four different types of licenses for varying levels of care. There is no national standard for training: While some states require upwards of 25 hours of training for staffers, others have no minimum, only requiring that certain topics be covered. Furthermore, cautions Eric Carlson, directing attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center, though most facilities are required to keep at least one person on site overnight, in some cases that person may not be required to be awake.

Still, many people choose assisted-living facilities over nursing homes precisely because they offer residents more freedom in a less institutional and far less expensive setting. Indeed, residents who value their independence are often loath to give it up: People with severe health problems who in the past would have been moved to nursing homes are now staying longer in much less expensive assisted-living facilities, says Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care and former director of Florida’s long-term-care ombudsman program. And since the staff isn’t required to be trained to handle these health issues, he says, “assisted-living facilities can be more dangerous than nursing homes.”

2. If we don’t like you, you’re out. 

Knowing the limits of the care a facility can provide — and the thresholds of behavior or health that will lead to eviction — is as simple as looking at its contract, says Dave Kyllo, executive director of the National Center for Assisted Living. But who decides when those thresholds have been met? Not residents or their physicians. Management. People may be asked to leave because they are disagreeable, their health needs have become unpleasant, or they are transitioning to a less lucrative payment source (read: Medicaid), says Carlson. In those cases, it’s easy for a facility to claim that they can no longer care for an individual, whether or not that is actually true.

Unlike nursing homes, assisted-living facilities don’t have an industrywide process for appealing such decisions. California is one of a handful of states that require facilities hoping to evict someone to go to court (most states are silent on the process for eviction). But residents do have protections, even in states that do not have laws that pertain directly to evictions from assisted-living facilities, says Rajiv Nagaich, an elder-law attorney in Washington state. Local landlord-tenant laws and the Americans With Disabilities Act can be used to fight an unwanted eviction.

3. Ailing residents are cash cows. 

Three-quarters of facilities charge residents extra for a variety of services — from bringing meals and delivering packages to making the bed and administering pills. “There is no limit on what you can charge for,” says Jody Spiegel, director of the Nursing Home & Assisted Living Advocacy Project.

Here are several other thoughts (I've been through this with three elderly relatives in the past 15 years). 1) Some of these places are not financially sound, and it can be difficult to find that out. I recommend trying because you don't want to have to deal with a bankrupt assisted living facility.  Check their occupancy rate, for one thing. If less than 85-90% full, that could be a danger sign. And some of them are willing to show you their financials if you insist on it. 2. Medicare rates many of these facilities, as well as nursing homes and senior living facilities (especially continuing care facilities). Check out their web site.  3) Tour the place and look closely, as recommended in the article. Look for adequate numbers of staff, adequate staff training, appetizing meals, and absence of unpleasant odors (to name just a few things).  4) If the resident is more physically able, you might want to try a senior living or continuing care facility that has an assisted living section. A lot of the better places will offer several levels of care and will try to keep you in the most independent level possible. For example, they will keep you in senior living and out of assisted living by offering things like medical and assisted living services in your senior living apartment. That's usually a lot more comfortable and a lot less expensive than full-service assisted living, which may have much smaller rooms and fewer amenities.  The trick is getting the elderly individual to accept moving into such a facility while they are still reasonably healthy and thus eligible for admission. Usually, they would rather be in their own home (even if it is deteriorating from neglect). I had the best luck in this regard when the individuals were recovering from some sort of medical procedure and more open to the concept of a living facilities that doesn't require maintenance, pays all the bills, and provides maid service, laundry, companionship (other residents), and meals. 

My father, who was a very intelligent man, voluntarily chose to go into senior and, later, assisted living after my mother died while he was recovering from surgery. It was a very good decision on his part.  By contrast, another relative insisted on staying in her house until it nearly collapsed around her....


A romantic way to slow down Alzheimer’s?

By  Fredrick Kunkle

A new study has found tantalizing evidence that a highly concentrated form of a compound found in red wine and dark chocolate might be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

But it may be because the compound tricks the body into acting as if it’s not eating at all.

Scott Turner, director of the Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center and the study’s lead investigator, emphasized caution in interpreting the results of the trial, saying further research is needed to determine whether the compound is beneficial.

He also said people should not up their consumption of wine or take over-the-counter supplements.

But Turner said researchers were excited to find that resveratrol produced a measurable effect on an important biomarker of the disease’s advance in people who have mild or moderate Alzheimer’s: the level of an abnormal protein known as beta amyloid became stabilized in patients who consumed 2 grams of resveratrol a day.

Normally, the level of beta amyloid, which can be found in the bloodstream and in brain and spinal fluids, declines and changes in composition as Alzheimer’s advances because the protein instead forms toxic beta amyloid plaques in the brain.

But in the patients taking resveratrol, the rate of decline in beta amyloid levels slowed. The reason is unclear, Turner said.....



Lower Blood Pressure Guidelines Could Be 

‘Lifesaving,’ Federal Study Says


Declaring they had “potentially lifesaving information,” federal health officials said on Friday that they were ending a major study more than a year early because it has already conclusively answered a question cardiologists have puzzled over for decades: How low should blood pressure go?

The answer: way lower than the current guidelines.

For years doctors have been uncertain what the optimal goal should be for patients with high blood pressure. The aim of course is to bring it down, but how far and how aggressively remained a mystery. There are trade-offs — risks and side effects from drugs — and there were lingering questions about whether older patients needed somewhat higher blood pressure to push blood to the brain.

The study, called Sprint, randomly assigned more than 9,300 men and women ages 50 and over who were at high risk of heart disease or had kidney disease to of two systolic blood pressure targets: less than 120 millimeters of mercury, which is lower than any guideline ever suggested, or less than 140. (Systolic pressure is the higher of the two blood pressure numbers and represents pressure on blood vessels when the heart contracts.)

The study was expected to conclude in 2017, but considering the results of great importance to public health, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute announced them Friday morning, saying a paper with the data would be published within a few months.

“This study provides potentially lifesaving information,” Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, director of the institute, said in a statement announcing the decision.....




When do aging drivers need help off the road?

By Robert Mentzer

On my way to and from work most days I pass a house where, in the front yard, a section of wrought iron fence is still bent and mangled from the car that smashed into my wife's car a few weeks ago.

That was not a fun text message to receive in a work meeting: "Accident. Car." I left in a hurry that day.

She was bruised up but no broken bones, no long-term injuries as far as we can tell. Her car was nearly totaled, though, and is still being repaired.

The man who hit her, an 85-year-old retired farmer, was uninjured. Approaching the red light, he said, he'd mistaken his gas pedal for his brake pedal, flooring the accelerator into traffic. He received a citation. He was very apologetic and he had insurance.

Car crashes happen every day, and though the damage to the vehicles was severe, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about what happened to Laura. Driving is a risk that almost all of us take each day. Anyone who has been in a crash knows that even a minor incident can shake you emotionally — but if you walk away, you're likely to be back behind the wheel, perhaps the next day.

In most places, there's just no other good way to get around.

That is part of the problem....




...and marriage

So Mom Wants to Remarry?

Dealing with Love and Marriage in Assisted Living

By Shayne Fitz-Coy

The golden years in assisted living facilities are rich with romance and friendship. Married adults are healthier than non-married ones. Ipso facto love leads to longer lives.

Late life marriages by an elderly family member can create tension and confusion. Sure, it’s true love, and who can begrudge that? But when Mom is tying the knot, your stomach may end up feeling like a pretzel.

Before mom leaps into a new union, make sure you look into the personal and legal aspects of remarriage.

Read on and follow these tips to celebrate the new relationship with the joy that it (hopefully) deserves.

Take stock and move forward.

·       Take time to process how you feel.

·       Think about this new union from Mom’s perspective. She doesn’t need your permission to get married, but she would like your support. Ask yourself: Are you able to give her that support? 

·       Remember that your mother has a right to be happy and so do you.  

Treat her like an adult. 

·       Honor your mother and respect her choice. Your role is not to debate her selection of partners. Your job is to love and support her. Stay in your lane.

·       Resist the urge to compare her new spouse to previous ones. This isn’t a bake off. This is your mother making a decision. Be a friend.

·       Exception to the Rules Above. If you suspect that your mother is in an abusive or fraudulent relationship or witness anything untoward, you have a duty to act. Savvy, loving caregivers protect loved ones against elder abuse.

Strengthen your relationship with Mom. 

·       Stay connected. Call her and set up a visit. Spend some alone time with her.  

·       Talk openly with her about how you feel. Own your feelings. You’re not 15 anymore. How you feel is your responsibility, not her fault. She may just be a great source of answers and confidence......



Erica Jong’s ‘Fear of Dying:’ life crisis, late middle-age version

Erica Jong’s new novel “Fear of Dying” follows a woman with an ailing husband and two aging parents who decides to cope by having an extramarital affair. Jong appears Sept. 18 at the Seattle Public Library.

By Misha Berson

You could call the poet and novelist Erica Jong the mother of sexy chick-lit.

Back in 1973, in the heyday of the second-wave feminist movement, Jong conjured an appealing protagonist named Isadora Wing. Attractive, bold, clever and unbridled, Isadora sought the kind of no-strings sexual freedom usually reserved for men, in novels and real life.

Her humorous, shameless search for satisfaction was a delectable feast for many female readers and made Jong’s “Fear of Flying” an international phenom that to date has sold 27 million books in 40 languages. The book launched an enduring catch phrase that’s unprintable in a family newspaper but has something to do with zippers.

Jong went on, some years later, to chronicle her own upbringing and aging in the memoir “Fear of Fifty.” But some reviewers didn’t take kindly to what they considered the author’s self-aggrandizing self portrait as a feminist trailblazer and an irresistible hot tomato with four marriages and many affairs to her credit.

In her latest fiction, “Fear of Dying,” (St. Martin’s Press, 228 pp., $26.99) Jong checks in again with women of her generation. She depicts a beautiful, former actress in her 60s named Vanessa Wonderman, who, when forced to face her own mortality, yearns for an extramarital affair to spice up a faded sex life. 

Her beloved husband, Asher, has had a heart attack and isn’t up to much in the sack. Her decrepit parents are dying slowly and miserably, and not sparing her from the “fetid aroma” of their Manhattan apartment, their deteriorating minds and the assaults performed by doctors on their withering bodies.....


What You Don't Know About Aging Could Kill You

By Sue Chen

Years ago, when I began visiting assisted living communities, I wanted to get to know my company's customers--older adults who would use stylish mobility equipment. I vividly recall a wall of pictures of the residents in their early 20s graced the entrance of one home. Many of the pictures showed handsome men and women in uniform, World War II veterans. Their eyes, like their futures, were hopeful and bright. I felt like I needed to know these people, to understand what they all must have experienced in life. 

But as I interacted with the residents, they all seemed surprised at my enthusiasm and interest. Some even told me that no one--even family members--had asked them about those "good old times" in years. I was saddened to hear that, but I know that this is the reality. As people age, those around them generally engage less and less--even when those people are war heroes who have flown fighter jets and nursed and saved the wounded.

In our society, adults 65 and older are often overlooked, and sometimes even mistreated. "There is mounting evidence to suggest that older adults constitute a stigmatized group in the United States (and in most Western societies)," according to a study by National Research Council (US) Committee on Aging Frontiers in Social Psychology, Personality, and Adult Developmental Psychology. If we behaved toward any other segment of the population the way we do toward older adults--imagine we engaged this little with toddlers--there would be a public outcry. Unfortunately, their needs, rights, and lives are regularly pushed aside, and most people seem to be unaware of it.

Aging is rarely talked about, even though it happens to all of us, every day. Even people who are 70 or 80 don't really think of themselves as aging. Why is it that we're so reluctant to talk about aging and the needs of aging adults? Why do we ignore and cast aside the older adults in our lives? 

The reason is simple: We're scared to think about getting older. Studies have shown that painful events cause more stress when they're further in the future. That may be why, in a recent survey by Aegis Living, young Millennials were just as scared of aging as older Boomers and Gen-Xers. 

But why does the idea of aging have to be a painful event at all?......


* * *

For Healthy Aging, Less Is More

By Timi Gustafson, RD

Several recently published studies on aging all seem to lead to the same conclusion: when it comes to diet and lifestyle choices, older adults are well advised to practice moderation. Whether it concerns weight management, physical activity, or alcohol and tobacco use, health experts urge people to consider their limitations and changing needs as they approach their senior years.

One such study, led by researchers at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), found that gradual calorie restriction in mid-life could help lower the risk of many diseases later on. The findings confirm what has previously been shown only in animal studies, namely that reducing food intake could have a positive impact on aging and longevity, thereby supporting the message that weight control becomes ever more important in the second half of life.

Similarly, experts recommend age-appropriate behavior when it comes to exercise. While physical activity is crucial for healthy aging – as it is for good health in general – there are limits to what people can endure as they grow older. Of course, much depends on a person’s individual fitness level, but certain precautions should be observed regardless. The good news is that even smaller doses of regular exercise (emphasis on regular) can produce significant benefits, not only for the aging body but, equally as important, for the mind. As studies have shown, even less strenuous activities like walking, bicycling, or swimming can help improve heart health as well as cognitive abilities. But for seniors, trying harder may not necessarily lead to better results.

It has often been suggested that drinking alcohol, particularly red wine, may be beneficial for the heart. To be sure, those claims are not beyond dispute, and the jury is still out on what alcohol actually does for people’s well-being other than make them feel good. What is well established, however, is that consuming high amounts is dangerous and can have enormously detrimental consequences in multiple ways, including for aging. As it gets older, the human body becomes increasingly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol and is less able to handle its toxicity, according to research. That is why the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommends for seniors no more than one glass of alcoholic beverages per day.....


* * * *

Getting Older? Here Are 7 Ways To Do It Right

By Erika Andersen

In 1900, the average 30 year old in the U.S. could expect to live another 35 yearsin other words, to die by age 65.  Today, the average 30-year-old can expect another 50 years of life; to live until age 80. And by the time those 30 year 0lds actually are 80, who knows what their life expectancy will be?

Our ideas about aging, and what it means to be over 50 – or 60, or 90 – seem to be stuck somewhere back in the middle of the 20th century. We still consider 65 (or 55, in some sectors) as standard retirement age, and we expect everyone to start slowing down and moving aside for the next generation as their age ticks past the half-century mark.

Ever since I turned 60 a few years ago, I’ve been realizing that these standard societal notions of what it means to be old – especially for women – just aren’t applying to me.  And most important, that I can craft my later years to be what I want them to be, rather than what anybody else tells me they must be.

I just read a wonderful article by Bonnie Hammer, a friend and client, at Fortune.com; an honest, feisty, bold rumination on being a 65-year-old woman in the media industry.  It felt like a lighthearted manifesto (if there can be such a thing), a quick poke in our collective assumptions about aging. It really resonated for me, and made me think about how we can live the life we want, rather than the one that’s prescribed for us. 

So let’s get practical.  If you find yourself on the AARP side of 50, and you don’t want to follow the path laid down for you by society’s expectations, here are seven things you can do to age like a fine wine or a great violin, vs. a can of diet coke or a cheap car:

1. Think about yourself.  I’ve been coaching an executive lately, an extremely bright and successful woman in her early 50s, who is realizing that she never really focused on what kind of life she wanted to create for herself. As a younger person in the work world trying to juggle a marriage, two kids, a career, an extended family, and community commitments, she spent decades just trying to do what was in front of her as well as she could. As we get older, many of us have the luxury of choice for the first time. When you don’t have so many things and people clamoring for your attention on a daily basis, you can think about what you’d like the rest of your life to look like.  Want to keep working? Figure out how to make that happen on your terms.  Want to stop working? Figure out how to make that happen on your terms.  Want to create some new version of work/not work? Figure out how to… you get the idea. Don’t assume you have to do or can’t do anything. Get clear about what you love and what you’re good at, and make a life that you truly want to live.

2. Wear purple. There’s a wonderful poem that starts, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.”  One of the truly great things about getting old is that you can, in ways subtle and grand, thumb your nose at convention with fewer consequences than when you were younger.  For instance, when my husband and I got married in our mid-fifties, we did it precisely when and how we wanted.  We said what we wanted to say, we invited who we wanted to invite. I felt like wearing a very wedding-ish white dress, never having done that before, and so I did. There were no parents to frown us down, and our kids may have rolled their eyes at some of our choices – but they weren’t the deciding vote.  And they all ended up having a grand time. It’s true at work, too.  A friend of mine who is nearing 60 and has always been a very by-the-book executive decided that he wanted to move south to be near his kids and grandchildren, and proposed to his boss, the CEO of their NYC-based company, that he could do his job 3 days a week long-distance and two days a week in New York.  The boss said yes.

3. Use everything. Most traditional cultures revered older people as the carriers of wisdom and the archivists of the group’s knowledge and experience.  In the modern world – not so much.  We tend to assume that any knowledge older people have is outdated or downright irrelevant, and to dismiss the value of their contributions. You, however, can think differently about this. You can value what you bring to the party. You’ve amassed a great deal of experience, skill, and knowledge that isn’t time-sensitive: how to deal with people; how to get stuff done; how to navigate complex environments; how to teach others and support their success.  And age also often brings a specific kind of wisdom: when you’ve seen and heard and experienced a lot, if you’re a reasonably reflective person you’re going to be able to extract some useful patterns from all that living, and offer those insights to those around you.  You’ll probably tend to be less reactive, and to be more interested in hearing what other people have to say.  Even if others dismiss you, don’t dismiss yourself: bring all that your life has taught you to everything you do, and you’ll be able to use it to accomplish great things for many years to come.



Why Technology Is The Catalyst For A New Era Of Aging In Place


In Stanley Kubrick's epic 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey," Hal, the defiant onboard computer, foreshadows a future of runaway artificial intelligence. More recently, fears about machines making work obsolete and apocalyptic visions of robot revolts have been subjects of discussion in think tanks, academic institutions and media outlets. As futurists debate the merits and risks of new technologies, we know today that technological progress is providing solutions for a new generation of older adults who seek to remain active, contributing and connected to their families, friends, and communities. As we note in our recent Milken Institute "Best Cities for Successful Aging" report, an overwhelming majority of older adults express a desire to age at home and in place. Technological advances may be an answer to that challenge.

The proliferation of the "Internet of things" is in full swing, and older adults will be beneficiaries. Wearables and digital devices monitor health and movement data and enhance safety. Phones, computers and social networks provide connections to family, friends, physicians and caregivers, and almost instant access to a wide range of products and services. Virtual workplaces and distance learning elevate knowledge, productivity and purpose. Thoughtful architecture and computer-assisted design create new-generation homes that are built to accommodate aging, with navigable floors, doorways and rooms, counter heights for standing or sitting, thermostats that are easy to set and entertainment options that would have been unimaginable a generation ago. Older adults can look to technology for help in preparing meals and ensuring that the right medicine is taken at the right time. Tuned to particular needs and preferences, home environments will be customized and personalized as technological innovation brings out the best of both human and machine. ...


SENIOR POWER: Amend the Constitution?

Helen Rippier Wheeler

When the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally signed, women were provided the right to vote in 1920. It had been introduced 42 years earlier. Sixteen other nations had already guaranteed this right… 

Why then, is an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution necessary? Because it would be designed to guarantee equal rights for women and men. Alas, that guarantee continues to be needed.  

Eleven states have adopted constitutions or constitutional amendments providing that equal rights under the law shall not be denied because of sex. Most of these provisions mirror the broad language of the ERA, while the wording in others resembles the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Fourteenth Amendment. 

It was Congressional Representative Bella Savitsky Abzug who said, “The inside operation of Congress—the deals, the compromises, the selling out, the co-opting, the unprincipled manipulating, the self-serving career-building—is a story of such monumental decadence that I believe if people find out about it they will demand an end to it.”  

Seventy-eight year old Bella (D-NY) introduced in Congress legislation designating August 26 annually as Women's Equality Day in the United States of America. Women's Equality Day this year is Wednesday, August 26. A few years ago there was a poll that queried, should Women's Equality Day be a federal holiday? The results were: 

• Yes, make it a federal holiday on August 26 (69%)

• Yes, but make it a moveable feast, something like the last Monday in August (25%)

• No federal holiday---just leave it (6%)

What does all this have to do with senior power, with old Americans? One might well also ask whether old people vote. In the United States, the oldest citizens are the most likely to cast their ballots, which gives us political clout beyond our numbers alone. ....



How to Get a Social Security Lump Sum Benefit

This little-known goodie comes with some drawbacks

By Bob Rosenblatt

You probably don’t know it, but Social Security can give you a big, lump-sum check for $40,000 or $50,000 or even more — a bonus, like winning a lottery. Should you take the bucks?

It’s a complex business and depends on your age, your health, whether you are married and how much money you have in the bank or your stock portfolio. One more thing: If you take the lump sum, you may be giving up an even bigger retirement check from Social Security for the rest of your life.

The lump-sum bonus is a gift available to people who reach what’s known as Social Security’s Full Retirement Age without having begun collecting benefits. (Full Retirement Age, in 2015, is 66 if you’re between age 61 and 72; 67 for those age 55 or younger and somewhere in between 66 and 67 for people age 56 to 60.)

The File-and-Suspend Strategy for a Lump Sum

One way to get the lump sum from Social Security is by doing what’s known as “file and suspend.”

That means claiming your benefits after you reach Full Retirement Age and before age 70, but not taking them. Meantime, you’ll be accruing an 8 percent bonus in the size of your monthly checks, until age 70 — those are called delayed retirement credits. If, after you suspend benefits, you decide you’re ready to start collecting, you can get a lump sum from Social Security for the amount you would’ve received between the date you filed and now....

More Questions to Answer Before You Pull the Retirement Trigger.....


Dietitian Magician: Excess salt speeds aging


Scientists already have determined high levels of body fat are known to hasten the aging process, and the new study found salt seems to work hand-in-hand with obesity to speed the effect further still. The scientists found even among teens, high sodium intakes and obesity appeared to act synergistically to accelerate cellular aging.

Why be concerned?

Children are ingesting a worryingly high amount of salt, and dietary habits in childhood and teen years influences eating patterns later in life. Luckily for the parents of teens, liking salt and salty foods is a learned behavior and can be altered.

What to do

• Lower your sodium intake, especially if you are overweight or obese. This may slow down the aging process and reduce the development of heart disease.

• The majority of sodium in the diet comes from processed foods (with breads, pizza crust, buns, pancakes and waffles taking top honors), so parents can help by reading food labels on these items and making a lower sodium switch when possible.

• Substitute cantaloupe cubes for chips.

• Snack on pistachios instead of pizza rolls.

• Try frozen yogurt with peach slices instead of pretzels.

• If cooking a boxed meal, omit some of the seasoning packet.

• Make your own taco seasoning.

• Buy string cheese instead of cottage cheese......


The Best Meal of the Day

Too many seniors are missing out on a good thing

I guess I have been a breakfast person all of my life. I can’t even remember the last time I did not eat something for breakfast. Even when I was deathly ill, I forced down whatever I could. There is something very comforting about this meal which goes far beyond the need to nourish oneself. 

During my working years, breakfasts weren’t what I would have liked them to be. Usually, it was a quick bagel with a schmear and a cup of coffee or, if I had time, a fried egg on a roll from one of the pushcarts on the street. But now that I have all the time in the world, I like to savor every minute of the “King of meals”. Unfortunately, and something that I find very odd, the one meal of the day residents seem to forget here at the Asylum is breakfast.

Personally, I like to begin with cereal, in my case oatmeal. The Center actually makes some of the best hot oatmeal I have ever had. It’s creamy, smooth and oaty, all at the same time. Just what I need to kick things off.

The eggs are next. And, even if we can’t get soft boiled, poached or anything with “runny” yolks, the scrambled eggs or omelets are quite good. Combine this with toast, orange juice and a cup of nice hot coffee, I am ready to take on the challenges of the day. 

That is why I am surprised when I notice many of my fellow residents, either skip breakfast altogether or eat such meager fare as to make it almost like having nothing at all. I can understand not eating lunch (which is often strange and incomplete), or dinner, which is filled with carbs and overcooked meats. But breakfast? Perhaps what we need is a little more nutrition information from our do-nothing dietitian. Meanwhile, I’ll have another western omelet please.


What doesn’t belong here?

The photo above shows perfectly tasty sea bass fillets degraded by imitation crab meat which, when heated, becomes a soft, mushy glop reverting back to its origin as surimi. Below, you will find a brief explanation of what surimi is (From Wikipedia).

Surimi :Japanese:  literally refers to a paste made from fish or other meat, as well as multiple Asian foods that use surimi as its primary ingredient. It is available in many shapes, forms, and textures, and often used to mimic the texture and color of the meat of lobster, crab, and other shellfish.

Who owns "Happy Birthday Now"?

Why Should We Pay for ‘Happy Birthday’?

The famous birthday song—more than a century old and still protected by copyright—shows how copyright law has become a corporate welfare program.

The oldest person in the world, a New Yorker named Susannah Mushatt Jones, recently celebrated her 116th birthday. But the song they sang to commemorate the event, the familiar “Happy Birthday to You,” is even older. That song dates back to 1893, six years before Ms. Jones’s birth.

And therein lies a peculiar tale. The people who organized the birthday celebration at a senior citizen center in Brooklyn may owe money for the privilege of serenading this most senior of senior citizens. Believe it or not, “Happy Birthday to You” is still protected by copyright.

It’s a lucrative copyright. Warner Music Group allegedly earns $2 million per year from this 19th-century song. Whenever the birthday melody is sung on television or a film, or even in a public performance (including restaurants and possibly senior citizen centers), money is due to the copyright holder.

The use of the song in a film is rumored to cost as much as $10,000. The steep price tag has inspired some filmmakers to look for less expensive alternatives. Don’t be surprised if you see a birthday scene on screen with revelers singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” instead. That song, dating back to 1709, is in the public domain......



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An Old Codger (Me), Looks at The State of

American Presidential Politics Today

I remember walking into the basement of the little church near my home in Queens to cast my vote for the President of the United States of America. It was a proud day for me and, I think, for my father who accompanied me to the polling place that Tuesday morning before work. I was 18 years old and this was my first time voting in a real election. I don’t think that there was a prouder person in that room that day. As a registered voter, I now had an actual say in how my country would be governed for the next four years. I stepped into that voting booth with reverence as if it were some holy place where only the pious were allowed. I remember reading the list of candidates for the various elected positions both nationally and locally. Judges, councilmen, congressmen and state senators and, of course, president. The only names on that ballot that I was familiar with were the names of the two people running for the highest position in the land. For months I had been listening to the TV ads, reading the papers and watching the debates, but it was not until the last couple of weeks of the long and tedious campaign that I truly made up my mind.  

Traditionally, my family were Democrats, so flipping the lever down next to all the Democratic nominees was a no-brainer. However, before I flipped the lever down next to the line that read “For President of the United States”, I paused for a moment to reflect. This was important, I thought, I needed to be sure. For me, the decision was not that black and white. Both candidates had made their points known. And, although one made out better in the debates and spoke of America being able to do great things, the other was a steady, tried and true leader and former Vice President who had served under one of America’s great heroes. Both, I thought, were decent men who would do right by us and the nation. However, here I was, a young man just starting out in life and the exuberance of that man from Massachusetts stirred something in me. Maybe what we needed were some new ideas. The old guard had, for years, represented old thinking and old thinkers. This man with the chiseled good looks, the shock of hair and the hot wife represented the future. I pulled the lever and John F. Kennedy became the 35th President of the United States. It was a simple choice back then. It was the old vs. the new. Today, unfortunately, the choice may not be so clear. It isn’t a matter of old or new anymore. It’s not even a matter of what is best for the country. Today’s politics has become much more personal. It’s all about “How is this going to affect ME and my family. Will I be better off if this person becomes president? Are MY convictions being ignored?” 

On one side, we have a group of candidates who want America to return to it’s pre-1960 values. Values that, unfortunately, ignored much of our population. On the other side, we have one candidate that appears to have a problem with authority and not able to take a positive stand on anything. Combine that with the other candidate of that party who would like us to give up many of our Judeo/Christian beliefs for the benefit of some socialist Utopia where everybody will be equal to everybody else. Will this election boil down to two candidates, one with a misguided sense of morality or the other who would like a better distribution of our personal wealth? For some, this distinction is clear, for others, not so much. I don’t want to be looked upon as the “bad guy” because I think America’s borders should be better secured or that “stop and frisk” should be continued.  While on the other hand I don’t want to be labeled a “Commie” just because I think the minimum wage should be raised to $15 and hour or that a woman has the right to have jurisdiction over her own body.

I have voted in just about every election, whether it was local or national since Kennedy and Nixon went at it in 1961. Sometimes my guy won sometimes he didn’t. Was America ruined because the candidate who’s views I didn’t agree with got elected? No, of course not. We have checks and balances to take care of that. But this time I am not so sure. The person that we elect as the leader of our country, and the congress who will undoubtedly be elected on his coattails, will signify to, not only us Americans, but to the rest of the world what kind of country the U.S.really is. Will we still be admired as the country with welcoming arms ready to set your huddled masses free or, will we be looked at as an introverted, dispassionate society where, unless you are a certain color or speak a certain language “Your kind ain’t welcome here”. You will need to cast your ballots wisely my friends because today, we are what we vote.


Tag Sale 2015

The Center held its annual tag sale last Wednesday and by all indications it was a success. While not everything was sold, much of what was offered found a good home with a new owner. The Center’s Residents (an some of their friends and relatives) donate unwanted, slightly used or new merchandise for sale. The proceeds go to a resident’s general fund which is used for the purchase of various “favors” for the residents. In the past money from this fund has purchased an air hockey table and dart board for resident’s use. 


Twice Weekly “Shuttle” Service a Big Hit

Transportation to and from shopping centers has always been a problem for the residents here at the Center. In fact, until a few weeks ago, the only way for us to get to a supermarket, drugstore, bank or even just a pizza parlor, was to either wait on the phone for hours for a Paratransit operator or sign up for one of a few monthly trips to places you may not want to go. But now, through the efforts of our management, we have a regularly scheduled “shuttle” service that takes residents to a shopping center where many essential stores and services are located. The service is free and operates twice a week every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons ay 2pm. It’s nice to be able to report on something that actually works here.

Is your house too young for you?

By Michele Parente

If you’re among the estimated 90 percent of older Americans who want to stay put, or “age in place,” you might want to look around. Are all the bedrooms upstairs? Do you have to climb into the tub? Are the cabinets too high and the appliances too low?

Any of those could lead to a fall and, experts say, that could mean aging in place — at a hospital or nursing home. 

“We’re dealing with an enormous segment of our society and what concerns me is that people are not safe on their own,” 

Only two cities in the country, New York and Portland, have been designated age-friendly by the World Health Organization, which studies how communities around the globe are responding to the graying and urbanization of the world’s population.

Everything from the availability of public seating to well-maintained, paved sidewalks with tapered curbs to buildings with elevators, affordable transit and event times scheduled to suit older people’s schedules, can contribute to an age-friendly community, according to the WHO....



Assisted living facilities nurture the mind, 

body, and spirit of their residents

By Gary L. Calligas

Every third week in September, assisted living facilities across the country have a week long celebration to share the countless ways they nourish the lives of their residents, their mind, body, and spirit, each and every day.

A senior living option between retirement apartment and a nursing home is an assisted living facility. Assisted living facilities are a combination of housing, personalized supportive services and health care designed to respond to individual needs of those who require help with activities of daily living. Assisted living facilities provide care for senior citizens and others who need some help with activities of daily living yet wish to remain as independent as possible. A true middle ground between independent living and nursing homes, assisted living facilities aim to foster as much autonomy as the resident is capable of, but offer a variety of dining services, housekeeping, laundry, assistance with medications, transportation to shopping and medical appointments, exercise and fitness facilities and classes; social programs and educational presentations, and often programs to stimulate the brain and mental health.. Most facilities offer 24-hour supervision and an array of support services, with more privacy, space, and dignity than many nursing homes — and often at a much lower cost. An assisted living facility helps seniors with personal care (also called custodial care), such as: bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, grooming, and getting around. Residences in assisted living facilities can be very different in size, appearance and the types of services offered.

Each residential unit generally has living area and a bedroom with a cooking device/microwave*, refrigerator and private bathroom. Assisted living residences typically offer different levels of care at different costs. Residents may have to move to a higher level of care if the assisted living facility can permanently no longer meet their needs. Residents and/or families pay for services privately, but there is limited financial assistance including possible VA coverage and possible private long-term insurance coverage. Medicare does not cover the cost of living in an assisted living facility, but may cover needed skilled services, hospice services, and other health care needs.


*Editor’s note: Microwaves (or other “heat producing” appliances are not permitted in resident’s rooms in some facilities. This varies from state to state and from facility to facility.

“Because sometimes, you just don’t know everything”

What's The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid?

Medicare and Medicaid are both government-sponsored programs designed to help cover healthcare costs. Because the programs have similar names, people are often confused about how the programs work and what coverage they offer. While both were established by the U.S. government in 1965 and are taxpayer funded, they are actually very different programs with differing eligibility requirements and coverage. In the most basic sense, Medicare is designed to help with long-term care for the elderly, while Medicaid covers healthcare costs for the poor, but there is much more to it than this.

Read on as we cut through the jargon and provide some basic insight on what each program covers and exactly who is eligible. 

Medicare is a federal program attached to Social Security. It is available to all U.S. citizens 65 years of age or older and it also covers people with certain disabilities. It is available regardless of income. The four-part program includes: 

•Part A: Hospitalization coverage

•Part B: Medical insurance 

•Part C: Privately purchased supplemental insurance that provides additional services and through which all Medicare services offered by Part A and Part B can be accessed

•Part D: Prescription drug coverage (For specific information on prescription drugs, see Getting Through The Medicare Part D Maze.) 

Parts A and B are paid for by payroll taxes and deductions from Social Security income. Parts C and D are paid out-of-pocket by program participants. In 2006, prescription drug coverage (Part D) was added to the program to address the growing concern over skyrocketing drug costs. (For additional information about the Medicare program's coverage and eligibility rules, see Medicare: Defining the Lines.)


Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps low-income individuals and families pay for the costs associated with medical and long-term custodial care. The federal government funds up to 50% of the cost of each state's Medicaid program, with more affluent states receiving less funding than less affluent states. Because of this federal/state partnership, there are actually 50 different Medicaid programs, one for each state.

Unlike Medicare, which is available to everyone, Medicaid has strict eligibility requirements. The rules vary by state (beyond the basics set forth in the federal guidelines), but the program is designed to help the poor, so many states require Medicaid recipients to have no more than a few thousand dollars in liquid assets to participate in the program. There are also income restrictions. For a state-by-state breakdown of eligibility requirements see these websites Benefits.gov and BenefitsCheckUp.org.

While the program is federally mandated to serve the poor, just being poor may not be enough to qualify for Medicaid. Other eligibility requirements are in place to ensure that the program serves specific groups, such as families, pregnant women, children, caretakers of children, the disabled and the elderly.

Services vary by state, but the federal government mandates coverage for the following services when they are deemed "medically necessary":  


•Laboratory services


•Doctor services

•Family planning

•Nursing services

•Medical and surgical dental services 

•Nursing facility services for people aged 21 or older 

•Home healthcare for people eligible for nursing facility services 

•Clinic treatment 

•Pediatric and family nurse practitioner services 

•Midwife services

•Screening, diagnosis and treatment services for persons under age 21 

Each state also has the option of including additional benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, optometrist services, eyeglasses, medical transportation, physical therapy, prosthetic devices and dental services. People covered by Medicaid pay nothing for these covered services.

Medicaid is also often used to fund long-term care, which is not covered by Medicare or by most private health insurance policies. In fact, Medicaid is the nation's largest single source of long-term care funding. The high cost of such care and the requirement that Medicaid recipients have virtually no assets has even fostered a cottage industry of attorneys that specialize in helping people divest their assets so that they qualify for Medicaid. (To learn what you can do now to keep your options open in the future, see Long-Term Care Insurance: Who Needs It? and Long-Term Care: More Than Just A Nursing Home.)

Working Together For Your Health

The Medicare and Medicaid programs work together to provide medical coverage to elderly and poor people. Medicare is the primary medical coverage provider for many persons aged 65 and older and for those with a disability. Eligibility has nothing to do with income level. Meanwhile, Medicaid eligibility is designed for people with limited income, and it is often a program of last resort for those without access to other resources.


Read more: What's The Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid? http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/medicare-vs-medicaid.asp#ixzz3lLNWLyMO 

The Surprising Differences Between How Men and Women Age

by Renee Jacques

Have you ever noticed that as men age, they often develop deep wrinkles on their foreheads but don't seem to get quite as many lines around their mouth? Well, there's an explanation for that. And it might not be what you think.

"When it comes to aging, your gender plays a large role," says Terrence Keaney, a Washington, D.C.–based dermatologist who runs the country's first cosmetic, hair, and laser surgery center for men. (He's also a spokesman for Dove Men + Care.) "The opening in the skull around the eyes is actually larger in men, and there's less bony support, which makes it more likely for men to have hollow, deep-set eyes that will potentially start to develop bags as they age." These structural differences between men and women play an important role in aging, agrees Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "The bony structures of men and women have consistent structural differences and change differently with age, which helps explain why men and women have characteristic patterns of aging," he says.

Though the wrinkles men develop on their faces may be deeper than those women might get, men seem to have an advantage when it comes to fine lines around the mouth. The reason, according to Keaney? They have beards. He cites a 2009 study suggesting that men have a higher number of sebaceous glands around the mouth area, making the skin thicker and more resistant to movement. "When you think about how we form wrinkles, it all comes down to the skin's elasticity," says Keaney. "When we smile, the skin moves with the muscle movements. When you're young, the skin moves back into place. But when you're older, you lose that elasticity. You don't see many fine lines around the mouth in men because their hair follicles are a big, rigid protein sitting four millimeters below the skin's surface. These thick proteins protect the skin when it moves and provide structural support."....


“... ursolic acid, which is found in apple peel, and tomatidine, which comes from green tomatoes, as small molecules that can prevent acute muscle wasting caused by starvation and inactivity.”

Keeping older muscles strong

University of Iowa scientists discover cause of a potential treatment for muscle weakness and loss due to aging

By: Jennifer Brown

As we grow older, we lose strength and muscle mass. However, the cause of age-related muscle weakness and atrophy has remained a mystery.

Scientists at the University of Iowa have discovered the first example of a protein that causes muscle weakness and loss during aging. The protein, ATF4, is a transcription factor that alters gene expression in skeletal muscle, causing reduction of muscle protein synthesis, strength, and mass. The UI study also identifies two natural compounds, one found in apples and one found in green tomatoes, which reduce ATF4 activity in aged skeletal muscle. The findings, which were published online Sept. 3 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, could lead to new therapies for age-related muscle weakness and atrophy.

"Many of us know from our own experiences that muscle weakness and atrophy are big problems as we become older," says Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine in the UI Carver College of Medicine, and senior study author. "These problems have a major impact on our quality of life and health."

Previously, Adams and his team had identified ursolic acid, which is found in apple peel, and tomatidine, which comes from green tomatoes, as small molecules that can prevent acute muscle wasting caused by starvation and inactivity. Those studies set the stage for testing whether ursolic acid and tomatidine might be effective in blocking the largest cause of muscle weakness and atrophy: aging.

In their latest study, Adams' team found that ursolic acid and tomatidine dramatically reduce age-related muscle weakness and atrophy in mice. Elderly mice with age-related muscle weakness and atrophy were fed diets lacking or containing either 0.27 percent ursolic acid, or 0.05 percent tomatidine for two months. The scientists found that both compounds increased muscle mass by 10 percent, and more importantly, increased muscle quality, or strength, by 30 percent. The sizes of these effects suggest that the compounds largely restored muscle mass and strength to young adult levels.


 Choosing a Dog in Your Golden Years

By Daphne Mallory

One way to stop loneliness and depression in your golden years is to get a companion dog. A study conducted by the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA showed that just having a dog around can improve your mood. It can make a difference, but the wrong dog might be more trouble than it’s worth. A few dog breeds have proven to be a good match for aging adults.

A Shih Tzu can live up to 16 years and weighs on average 10 pounds. They’re not aggressive like some small breeds, but they do require a grooming routine. Regular brushing is required, but that’s the point. The responsibility of looking after one will keep you focused on the joy of caring for your dog, instead of a long-term problem or illness. If you decide to buy or adopt one, make sure it’s house broken first. You may not have the strength (or want the hassle) to train one on your own.

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is another small breed that’s recommended for seniors. Most dogs weigh about 15 pounds. The good news about owning one is that they don’t require a lot of exercise. However, a light amount of exercise will help with weight control and will encourage you to get outdoors. Shedding is also a challenge. You’ll be forced into a routine to control it. The upside is that these dogs are friendly and make great companions.

Smaller breeds are often recommended because they can be easier to handle. They can also be a fall risk for some seniors. ...


The Silent Crisis of Aging

By Cody Fenwick

Our society is plagued by a crisis of aging that is weakening, infecting and killing hundreds of millions of us every year. We rarely think of it this way - aging is seen as a natural part of life rather than a crisis - but many serious researchers and philosophers argue that our typical views on the naturalness and acceptability of death are mistaken.

Philosopher Nick Bostrom wrote a fable, initially published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, as an analogy to our acceptance of aging as natural. In the story, a dragon-tyrant rules over humanity, demanding 10,000 victims to be consumed daily. But the dragon has been around as long as anyone can remember, and the taking of victims is a well-established and accepted facet of life. While they find the losses of the victims tragic and the victims' families mourn, it is simply understood that this is just the way things are and the way they have always been.

Should they, if they had the opportunity, rid themselves of the dragon, thus saving countless lives? Of course, it seems obvious to us that they should. Suppose there's no obvious way to defeat the dragon - shouldn't they spend significant resources investigating and developing plans to defeat the dragon? Again, the answers seem obviously to be yes.

But this story, Bostrom argues, is exactly the situation we are in with regards to death. We have no obvious solution to the problem of aging, but it takes it's toll on each of us and is responsible for untold deaths every moment. It may be in our nature, a fundamental part of who we are and our societies, but that doesn't mean we have to accept it, just as we shouldn't have to accept a dragon-tyrant.....



The 85-and-over population is projected to increase 351% between 2010 and 2050.

The most interesting thing about that trend, the report notes, is that it was totally unexpected: "The progressive increase in survival in these oldest age groups was not anticipated by demographers, and it raises questions about how high the average life expectancy can realistically rise and about the potential length of the human lifespan."

'One of society’s greatest achievements' — 

in a simple chart of the past 175 years

By Lauren F Friedman

If you were born in 1900, you had a pretty good chance of dying by your 50th birthday. Today, thanks to improved health and safety around the world, that would be — in many countries — a life cut short by at least a few decades.

"The dramatic increase in average life expectancy during the 20th century ranks as one of society’s greatest achievements," notes a report from the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

That dramatic increase — approximately three additional months in life expectancy each year — is clear in the chart below (which looks only at women in a subset of developed countries, though trends are similar among men):

These gains have not been universal; the average life expectancy in the world's least developed countries is still about 61.

But overall, people are living longer. A number of factors have contributed to this upswing in our longevity, including declining infant deaths, better management of infectious diseases, and more widespread access to clean water. In the decades leading up to the nineteenth century, much of the improvement in life expectancy was not because people were living into what we now consider old age — it's because fewer children were dying before they reached adulthood.

In the 20th century, we finally began to see the trend that's continuing now: fewer deaths at older and older ages.  

Most scientists agree that there is in fact a limit on how long, physically, we can live: rising averages aside, no one has ever been documented as living beyond 122. "Getting to about 110 is really approaching the limit of the human lifespan," explains Thomas Perls, an attending geriatrician at Boston Medical Center and professor at the Boston University School of Medicine....

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-has-life-expectancy-changed-throughout-history-2015-6#ixzz3lRCXF3He

US President Candidate's Platform To Fight Aging And Death

By Darlene Tverdohleb

The usual topics debated in American presidential elections are going around unprecedented national debt levels, undocumented immigration, clean energy, social security, unemployment, the economy, Medicare, taxes, international politics, the role of the U.S. on the global state, North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs and climate change. 

To these, we could expect this year to add the increasing tensions with the Russians, after their involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. On this kind of issues, we expect to hear political debates from both Democratic and Republican candidates during their presidential election campaigns. However, in case of Zoltan Istvan, he is a very different type of candidate for the presidency of the U.S. and his electoral platform might be surprising for most of us.

Zoltan Istvan, despite the fact that his name is not well known to the mainstream media, is the founder and the president of the American Transhumanist Party. This political organization is promoting on using science and technology advances in order to solve most of the world's problems. And one of the ambitious goals of the transhumanist movement is nothing less than to solve the issues of death and aging. The Transhumanist Party of America has the aim to transform research for anti-aging and longevity solutions in a political issue as big as social security, Medicare or immigration.

For Istvan and the transhumanist movement, aging and death are not natural phenomena but rather the biggest plagues of our times. Since the big advancements in science and technology in the 21st century, humankind can find the cure, according to them. According to the president of the Transhumanist Party, most of his presidential campaign is focused on explaining to the electors that aging is actually a disease and as any disease it can be cured.


Hunger- Obesity Paradox for Older Americans

By Joel Berg

Given that older adults sacrificed so much to establish and protect life in America as we know it, why do we allow millions of them to face the threat of hunger? And why do we allow millions of older adults—some of whom also face hunger—to suffer, against their will, from obesity?

The answer is that our national policies are fundamentally broken and our national priorities are fundamentally skewed. Instead of raising income, reducing expenses and providing more subsidized food for our elders, national leaders have funded wars and tax cuts for the wealthy, and proposed cuts to Social Security.

Federal USDA/SNAP benefits. Formerly the Food Stamp Program, SNAP is a federal program funded by the USDA. In 2012, overall program funding was $78.4 billion, but only 9 percent of SNAP recipients were older adults. Program participants use an electronic benefit card to buy any food they want (excluding prepared foods for immediate consumption) at food stores and farmers markets. Given that the average benefit for older adults equals only about $1.44 per meal, many older SNAP recipients report trouble affording the healthiest, most expensive, foods. The USDA also funds a small program ($21 million per year) to increase the purchasing power of elders at farmers markets.

Food Insecurity by the Numbers

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2013, 2.9 million (9 percent) of households with older adults experienced food insecurity—meaning they couldn’t always afford an adequate supply of food. Fully 1.1 million (9 percent) of households of elders living alone experienced food insecurity. Meaning, in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, nearly 1 in 10 older adults lacks sufficient food.

Such food insecure elders, according to a 2009 University of Kentucky study sponsored by the Meals on Wheels Association of America, are at increased risk for chronic health conditions, even when controlling for other factors such as income. Sixty percent are more likely to experience depression, 53 percent are more likely to report a heart attack, 52 percent are more likely to develop asthma and 40 percent are more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure....


The Challenges of the Aging Industry

By Carol Marak

The aging business has grown extensively over the past decade. There are more services and products that help older adults live a better life today than ever before, and research and development indicate more growth and advancement. The next decade will supply health care and financial benefits to keep the boomer population thriving.

But despite the promising future, senior care providers remain suspicious that consumers don’t fully comprehend the effort it takes to prepare for this stage. Thought leaders and professionals recognize that the population shift will have a remarkable effect on society. And the question that stops them dead in their tracks, “How do we convince people that preparation is essential to living a comfortable life during the elderly years?”

After reviewing several studies by the Inquiry, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs, the AgeWave/Harris Interactive study, and Gauging Aging, SeniorCare.com discovered unsettling data:

• 7 out of 10 Americans will need some level of long-term care after age 65.

• 67% of Americans don’t believe they will need aging care—ever.

• One in 20 Americans will spend over $100,000 out-of-pocket for health care after 65.

• 33% will depend on family members for care.

• 50% will have private out-of-pocket expenditures for long-term care.

• 41% have discussed senior care preferences with family members.

• 35% have set aside money to pay for future needs.

• And the rest? They underestimate the costs of nursing home care and overestimate the role of Medicare in paying for that care.

The data implies that the world is not ready to handle the aging-associated concerns. But for the individuals who think it through, here’s how they plan to tackle the challenge.

• 79% will save money.

• 60% will work longer.

• 56% will cut expenses.

• 38% will relocate.

• 34% will downsize.

• 8% will move in with family.



Reauthorization of Older Americans Act

needed to show our nation's elderly population is a priority

By Victoria Wasserman

This summer is shaping up to be a historically victorious season for health-care reform. With the Supreme Court's decision to uphold a major provision of the Affordable Care Act and the celebration of the 50th anniversaries of both Medicare and Medicaid, high spirits and optimism abound for the future of our country's health-care system. Steamrolling on the success and optimism of recent months, it's the perfect time to bring Medicare's forgotten cousin, the Older Americans Act, back into the conversation. Also celebrating its 50th anniversary, the OAA administers health-related programs to help America's elderly population age gracefully in the comfort of their own homes and communities. And there's only one item on the OAA's birthday wish list this year: reauthorization. 

The OAA's most recent authorization ended in 2011, and since then it has been squeaking by on a relatively stagnant budget that has been appropriated by Congress to sustain its programming activities. While these appropriate funds are better than nothing, they do not reflect inflation or the rapidly aging population of this country. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are approximately 45 million Americans over the age of 65, a number that has more than doubled since the OAA was enacted into law. It's a statistic that's easy to feel: we all probably have at least one friend or relative who may need these or similar services. Baby Boomers, for example, are entering older adulthood and dealing with the effects of aging themselves, while still trying to support their own aging parents, who are living longer on ever-diminishing pensions, often with multiple chronic diseases. The need for services is compounding, and, with the elderly population expected to reach 100 million by 2060, will only grow.

Currently, 11 million older adults rely to services such as Meals on Wheels, caregiver training classes, adult day care and senior citizen resource centers, benefits enrollment support, transportation services; the list goes on. In my work as a social work intern at South Mountain Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, ...



As you may know, The Faceless Foodie is on a diet. Low carbs, lots of protein and all that. Unfortunately, I live in a place where carbs are king due to some misguided thought that all old people are undernourished and that it looks better on the monthly report if there is an increase in, rather than a decrease in the overall weight of its residents. The following is an article about an ALF that takes different look at how their residents are fed.

A Mediterranean flair on the menu

By Cynthia McCormick

Assisted living center focuses on foods that promote heart and brain health

Cape Cod Senior Residences has put residents in its assisted living center on a diet — the Mediterranean diet.

The eating plan is less about calorie restriction than about filling residents with tasty, good-for-you foods that promote heart and brain health, according to officials from Senior Living Residences, the parent company of Cape Cod Senior Residences and 11 other senior communities in Massachusetts.

"We chose the Mediterranean diet because of its health benefits," said Pamela Maloney, Senior Living Residences spokeswoman. "You want it to be delicious and good for you. We feel our residents are worth it."

Senior Living Residences has partnered with Oldways, a nonprofit organization, to integrate the dietary principles into its meals plan. Oldways, together with the Harvard School of Public Health, unveiled the Mediterranean diet at a conference in Cambridge in 1993.

The eating program puts an emphasis on plant-based foods, local seafoods and whole grains in muffins and pastas as well as fruits and healthy oils. Salt and pepper are joined on the dining tables by cinnamon, which reduces inflammation and is a tasty alternative to sugar, and the Senior Living Residences' proprietary blend of herbs and spices called "Spice of Life."

"It's something we put together," said Kim Smith, corporate director of Senior Living Residences' dining program. "It's our special blend."

Senior Living Residences' chefs cook from scratch and rely on locally grown produce as much as possible in addition to local fish markets, Smith said.

"We don't buy anything prepurchased," she said.

Meals are served with two vegetables and salads that incorporate berries, seeds, nuts and fruits, Smith said.

"We'll use kale. We'll do Swiss chard, spinach, broccoli," she said.

Many of the ingredients in the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, also unveiled in 1993, contain anti-inflammatory properties associated with cognitive health, Smith said.

"We call it brain healthy cooking," she said.

While Cape Cod Senior Residences has been incorporating elements of the Mediterranean diet since 2009, this year it partnered with Oldways to "bolster the integrity of the program and give chefs a true understanding of the Mediterranean Diet," Maloney said.

"Plants are really the center of the diet," said Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways.

Olive oil is on the daily menu and pasta and healthy desserts are featured regularly, she said. The point is to "eat smaller amounts of great tasting food and really enjoy it."

These dietary changes fly in the face of the menu of heavily processed foods many senior citizens have come to rely on.

Cape Cod Senior Residences chef Brendon Forrest said by the time residents enter the assisted living center they have been eating a steady diet of foods relatively low in nutrients, such as ham sandwiches and canned soups.

Forrest gets residents used to the healthier menu by introducing his own version of old favorites, such as fish sticks.

"We don't advertise all the ingredients," he said.

Residents have reported improvements in blood pressure and heart conditions on the low-sodium, less sugary food plan, Smith said. One woman even said "Look at my feet!" because she was so thrilled at how her swelling had gone down, Smith said.



Chicken Parmesan

  Diet Helper

One of the worst things about being on a diet, especially one that restricts the number of carbs one is permitted to consume every day is having to give up your favorite things. For some, it’s ice cream or cake for dessert, or mounds of pasta or even potatoes. For me, one of the things that I crave most and whose cravings seems to intensify when I am on a diet which inhibits such things is pizza. 

To be more accurate, it’s not so much pizza per se that I crave at those moments when everything around you looks like pizza, but rather the gooey, delicious substances that sit atop what in reality is only a wedge of bread. Admit it, what you really want is not pizza, but pizza toppings, right?

It’s the cheese, the sauce, the sausage, the pepperoni or even anchovies that set your salivary glands into overdrive. I know some people who order a slice of pizza and eat only the toppings, leaving the crust part behind. However, scraping off the toppings, to me, seems like a waste. So, instead, I order or make the one thing that seems to satisfy my pizza Jones. Chicken (or veal) Parmesan. After all, isn’t what you really want is cheese and tomato sauce? So why not eat something that is nutritious as well. And, if you go one step further and add your favorite extra topping to that chicken Parm like sausage or mushrooms or, yes, anchovies, you get an extra jolt of what you crave. It’s a win-win situation. You get your fix of viscous, mucilaginous protein plus the advantage of a healthy low-carb meal.

See Your Favorite Old-School Cartoon Characters As Senior Citizens

By Joe Berkowitz 

A new project brings classic Looney Tunes and Disney characters into retirement age. It’s a little sad, but at least now we have closure.

The Looney Tunes and Disney cartoon characters many of us grew up with would be old enough by now to enter nursing homes. Lucky for them, most cartoon characters tend to age like the Simpson family—that is, not at all. They spend their lives in a literal state of suspended animation. Recently, however, an artist decided to see what it would look like if those characters physically begin to act their age.

Perhaps the greatest thing about illustrator Andrew Tarusov’s collection is that he’s drawn all of the classic cartoon pairings as ongoing twosomes. Even the ones who antagonized each other are still togethe

r. Witness wrinkly old liver-spotted Tom and Jerry. The fact that they're posted up side by side, presumably in a bingo tavern somewhere, means they must have buried the hatchet at a certain point. Aside from being funny an

see slide show...d perhaps a little sad, these illustrations provide closure on whether Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner would ever work out their differences.




Cane-fu teaches senior citizens self- defense moves

Senior citizens in Florida are using their canes for more than walking. They are learning how to use the item they thought was a crutch a

s a weapon.

It's part of a martial arts class called "extreme cane defense" or cane-fu. The instructor, Buck Buckmaster, teaches his students how to use their cane to defend themselves.

Many seniors in the class say they've also learned to be more aware of their surroundings.

"Every time I come out of the grocery store, I use my peripheral vision. You never know who's going to be there," one cane-fu student said....



See all of the "At The ALF" cartoons on our cartoon page.



©2015 B.W. Cooper

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

Contact and Comments

The Westchester Center:

Where Censorship is Alive and Well

Internet censorship here at the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living has always been present. For whatever reason, the administration here believes that it is important to protect us from ourselves. Therefore, since the Center opened in 2012, there has always been a ban on so-called adult websites where (god forbid) one should be able to view pornography or other material deemed salacious by our administration whose minds are firmly implanted in the 19th century. Now, while I thought that their (the admins) views on pornography were dated, and it bothered me that they should censor anything, I let it go for the most part because I wasn’t a big viewer of porn. However, something that occurred just this past weekend really raised my hackles and sent a shock-wave of dismay if not outright abhorrence around the computer users at the Center.

Youtube.com is a site viewed and used by millions of people every day. And, while it is possible to watch videos of what may be considered to be “adult content”, most of what appears on that site is benign, entertaining and informative. That is why residents here at the center were surprised to find that, over the weekend, their access to Youtube was blocked by “Sonicwall”, the Centers firewall/censor. To show you how ridiculous this was, I first found out about the block when I tried to open a video about dogs and children playing together. Upon attempting to run the video, I received this warning.....

It is important to note the reason for the block, “Administrative Custom List Settings”. Essentially, what that means is that some administrator here at the facility, bowing to pressure either from inside or outside sources, decided to take measure's into his own hands and block this site while admitting that he was not that familiar with its content.

As a member of the Resident’s council, me and our council chairperson went to speak with our administrator, personally, on Monday morning. We expressed our indignation and concern that such a benevolent and friendly website should come under the heavy thumb of censorship. We went on to ask why any site should be blocked. After all, are we not all adults here who, I dare say, have seen and done everything. The answer we received attests to the smugness with which this administration (and indeed all previous management) view us residents. 

“We received complaints”, he said.

“Complaints from who”, we asked.

“I can’t tell you, various people”, he said.

“What specifically were they complaining about”, we asked.

“I don’t know”, was the reply. 

Whether there was an actual complaint by a residents or staff member, I don’t know. For all we know it might only have been a rumor of some misdoings that set the wheels of disproportionate righteousness in motion. But I believe I know the real reason.

Simply put, we residents are looked upon as children who must be protected from ourselves lest our brains explode in a pink mist of blood and gray matter. No matter that most of us here are viable, modern thinking mature people whose only reason for being here is a physical infirmity combined with certain financial matters which make it impossible to remain, alone in our own homes. There should be no censorship of anything here. As soon as the powers that be realize this, the dream of independence (as stated in the very name of this facility) will truly be attained. 


Labor Day Lament

It’s Labor Day once again here at the Asylum and that can mean only one thing. Another tedious, confused, repetitious and downright boring barbecue. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I love barbecue’s. I just don’t love the barbecue’s held here anymore. Sure, at one time they were a novelty. A well-needed respite from the daily grind of institutional fare we are served in our dining room. But now, not so much as the very thing we were glad to partake in has become as humdrum and tiring as the kitchen-cooked food it was meant to replace. 

Yes, I know that barbecues are supposed to have as their basic cuisine the usual hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken with, perhaps, corn on the cob thrown in. However, when this becomes THE ONLY thing we get at EVERY SINGLE barbecue we hold, even these staples of American outdoor cookery can become monotonous. And the food isn’t the only thing I find upsetting. It’s the way the whole thing is produced. 

There we are, a group of old folks broiling in the noonday sun forced (because of seating constraints and because there is only one sitting) to eat with people we don’t know or even like at rickety tables and uncomfortable seats. The service is spotty at best with servers, not used to the seating arrangements and the awkward way the food is given to them, run around like headless chickens. The food itself is poorly cooked. Or should I say overcooked. Burnt burgers, shriveled hot dogs (no sauerkraut available) and cooked to death chicken are a constant reminder that this is a rush job. “Feed ‘em fast and get them out so we can clean up” is the order of the day as it becomes clear that these barbecues have become as taxing on the staff as well as the residents. So what can they do about this?

First, change the time. Why do we have to have a barbecue for lunch when the sun is high in the sky? How about moving the time to the late afternoon, say 5 pm or later. And how about keeping to some sort of pre-determined seating arrangement that would end the wandering and confusion by residents who might not know what was going on. And then there’s the food.

We have about six barbecues a year. Each a mirror image of the previous one. And, while I understand the budget restrictions placed upon the food service department of our little old people’s paradise, one would think that perhaps a small steak (skirt steak comes to mind) would be a welcome variation from the mundane al fresco cuisine we have been getting.

In conclusion, I don’t want them to end having barbecues, just stop making them so gosh darn predictable.


Is it nice to fool old people? Sometimes It's Necessary

‘Bus stops to nowhere’

By Gail Besse Ryberg

A recent call from Hingham police asked town residents to be on the lookout for an elderly woman dressed in bright clothes who was wandering, possibly barefoot. Thankfully, she was found safe, but the scenario is one feared by those who love or care for memory-impaired people. What to do when a disoriented person feels the urgent need to move: to go to work, to visit his or her children, just to go somewhere?

One solution to the problem is proving effective at Bridges by EPOCH, a memory-care assisted-living facility in Hingham. There are two “bus stops to nowhere” inside enclosed open-air garden courtyards.

There is a “stop” sign on one side of the wooden “bus stop bench,” a laminated map of Boston’s MBTA routes on the other. A patio umbrella shields the bench, where an Alzheimer’s patient might sit for a minute or two before a nurse comes to join him or her.

The “need to move” is most common in Alzheimer’s cases, said Alicia Seaver, EPOCH’s regional memory-care specialist.

“The bus stop is just a great diversionary tool,” Seaver said. “It’s a nice distraction, and it’s empowering. Bus stops are good places to reminisce and take a trip down memory lane.”

The benches, with their real signs and transit maps, gently redirect and calm frustrated residents, ...


Medicare News

Feds Win, Seniors Lose

by Woodrow Wilcox

On August 28, 2015, I wrote a letter to a client to explain why she may have to pay for a chest x-ray that Medicare refused to cover.

On that day, I received a phone call from a billing person who told me that Medicare usually does NOT pay for a pre-operation chest x-ray. That is an x-ray which our client’s doctor and hospital wanted done in order to make sure that the patient had a heart that was healthy enough to withstand the stress of an operation.

Medicare did not cover the service. With the client in my office, I compared the bill with the Medicare Summary Notice and what our client remembered about the matter. A few “red flags” appeared. The medical billing person understood the “red flags” that I noted in a letter to the medical service provider. But, neither the doctor nor the hospital could change a policy of the federal government to push some medical service costs onto senior citizens in order to save money for the federal government.

In past articles, I warned that the federal government would start changing rules of Medicare to do exactly that – save the federal government money. A Government Accounting Office study that was published in July 2012 stated that the “Obamacare” law would cut $716 billion of Medicare benefits to America’s senior citizens. The federal government would use that money to pay for health care for other people under the new “Obamacare” law.....


FED’s artificially low rates unfair to CD owners

By Bill Crawford

Are you a senior citizen or other conservative saver frustrated with the low rates banks have been paying on CDs?  Since the Federal Reserve (FED) controls these rates, now may be the time for you to weigh in with your senator and congressman.

The FED is charged by law “to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.”

So, what’s the status of these goals?

The FED regularly sets targets for “maximum employment” by establishing a threshold or range for “natural unemployment.” In December 2012, as part of its rationale to keep rates near 0.0 percent, the FED set 6.5 percent as the short-term unemployment rate threshold that would have to be reached before raising rates. Unemployment then was 7.9 percent. It is now 5.3 percent. At this level, the unemployment rate has moved to the bottom of the 5.2 percent to 6 percent range set by the FED as its long-term goal. What all this means is that employment levels today meet the FED’s historic definition of “maximum employment.”...




These Glamorous Older Women Prove Aging Has Rarely Looked Better

Style has no expiration date

By Yagana Shah

Worried about aging gracefully? A new photo series by photographer Tirzah Brott reveals just how glamorous old age can be. 

Brott's collection, titled "Pentimento," is composed of photos she took of stylish women of a certain age who she spotted on the streets of New York City. Brott, a 20-something herself, says as a child she developed a fascination with the glamour of Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, set in the 1950s. The style of that era, she says, has been lost on the younger generations.

“These women grew up in an era where 'dressing up' didn’t mean quite the same thing that it does now," Brott said in an email to The Huffington Post. "This was just the way you dressed on a daily basis. It’s part of their identity -- the way they grew up. An engrained attitude of: 'Show your best face to the world, and you’ll begin to absorb that confidence you project.'"

The women are thought to be in their 60s and up, though Brott made it a point not to ask them their age or to find out their entire life story. She wanted to leave a little to the imagination. 

She says these women are like "a time capsule," showing the younger generations how to age gracefully one day. "I see that determination, to hold on to a level of classical grace, beauty, style, that you just don’t see anymore," she said. "I’m not sure how many of these women even realize how incredible they are, walking through a crowd of American Apparel-clad 20-somethings who are wearing the exact same outfit but in different colors. They are like a very rare breed of bird. And we best start taking notes before it’s too late."...


Your Heart Is Aging Faster Than You

A new report says 69 million Americans’ hearts are 

outpacing them when it comes to aging, putting them at risk for heart disease and stroke.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday revealed 69 million Americans aged 30-74 to have a heart age five years older than their actual age—a number that puts them at significantly higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

The data comes from the Framingham Heart Study, a long-term cardiovascular study that began in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 1948. “Heart age”—the age of an individual’s heart and blood vessels based on their risk of disease—is calculated using things like high blood pressure and smoking history.

On a call Tuesday, CDC Director Thomas Frieden stressed that external threats like Ebola should not distract from the danger that is “right within us.” An estimated 85.6 million Americans are living with a form of cardiovascular disease or the aftermath of a stroke. The condition kills roughly 2,150 Americans each day from cardiovascular diseases, or one person every 40 seconds.

“To know that your heart is de facto older than you are is scary—and it should be because it means you have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke,” said Frieden. “You can’t turn back the clock in general but you can turn back the clock on your heart age.”

Studies on heart age have been performed in the past, but none analyzing it through the lens of population data. The result showed variations in heart age that are influenced not simply by gender and region but—most significantly—by race and ethnicity.

Half of U.S. men and nearly half of women presented heart ages five years older than their age. In men, this phenomenon was worse, with males registering an average heart age eight years higher than their actual age (for women it stayed at five). Geography influenced the numbers as well, with states in the South shown to be particularly susceptible to higher rates. Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Alabama earned the unenviable title of most adults with a heart age five years older than their own. Utah, Colorado, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts came in at the lowest.

The biggest discrepancy was found among race/ethnic groups. While all were shown to have heart ages superseding their biological one, African Americans came in significantly higher. Both African-American men and women averaged a heart age 11 years higher than their own. Frieden called the numbers “distressing and truly shocking,” emblematic of “racial disparities” in cardiovascular health....


With Age Comes Wisdom, and Some Concerns for Candidates

By Murali Doraiswamy

What are the odds of a president’s cognitive abilities declining substantially while in office? 

The Constitution has a lower age limit of 35, but no upper age limit. Even one of the 55,000 American centenarians alive today could still legally run for president. 

Risks of mental impairment can increase with the years, but effects are variable and many gain in knowledge and resilience as they get older. 

Some have expressed concern that an older president could become cognitively impaired, forgetful and inattentive. Indeed, aging — as well as age-related diseases including hypertension, mini-strokes and diabetes — can be associated with reductions in brain volume and changes in the connections between brain cells. This can lead to a decline in mental quickness, attention, memory and the capacity to learn new information.

Even among high functioning subjects over 65, new scans suggest that about 20 percent, usually those with a family history of dementia, have early signs of Alzheimer’s in their brains. Moreover, this subset of individuals, despite their high scores on memory and attention tests, seem to have an increased risk for developing mild cognitive impairment – in one preliminary study that risk is almost 25 percent over 18 months. 


Aging Casefully: 9 Things That Happen to Your Body (Some Aren’t So Bad!)

 By: Scott LaFee

TV commercials and certain actresses to the contrary, everybody gets old. Or at least, that’s the goal. The trick is to age well, which isn’t so much a mystery as a set of well-reasoned and reasonable rules and habits for living a healthy, long life.

You can learn more at the Healthy and Active Aging seminar October 3 at UC San Diego’s Medical Education and Telemedicine building. The free, half-day event will feature discussions on the future of aging, aging and sex, bone health, vision and diabetes prevention and management. For more information and to register to attend, click here.

In the meantime, put on your reading glasses (the old peepers are among the first things to go) and peruse the items below. Old age is a mix of caused effects, some good and some, well, not-so-good. The last one, though, should make you smile, if you aren’t already.

1.You sweat less. Well, to be precise, you sweat differently, particularly if you’re a woman. Part of the change is related to menopause, i.e. hot flashes, but researchers have found that sweat glands (especially under the arms) shrink and become less sensitive as we age, which translates into reduced perspiration production. 

2.You’re less buff. Muscle mass in both men and women begins to decline as early as one’s 30s, replaced by – gasp! – flab. By age 75, the average person’s fat content is twice that of their youth.

3.Your teeth are less sensitive – and not just because you might have fewer of them. The reason is that over time more dentin – the hard inner tissue – is built up between the outer enamel of a tooth and its central nerve. The added insulation diminishes sensitivity. The bad news, though, is that our gums recede over time, exposing roots a different way.

4.Your brain is smaller. As you get older, certain parts of the brain shrink, most notably the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, both important to learning, memory, planning and other complex mental activities. It’s been estimated that the brain begins losing neurons at a rate of 50,000 per day after age 30 – more if you listen to certain politicians. But not to fret. For one thing, the average human brain contains more than 100 billion neurons and research has shown that aging brains learn quite well how to adapt. That wizened brain of yours is also likely to be wise beyond its years


Average life span has increased around the world but living longer isn’t everything

Pamela J. Hobart

When it comes to aging, 30 might be the new 20, but changes in human longevity and resulting changes in our life paths are even more pervasive than that. New demographic data shows that once again, life span has increased around the world, with people in 188 countries living an average of 71 years. This represents a whopping six-year increase from figures for 1990, and researchers publishing in The Lancet also report that healthy life expectancy has climbed by five years as well.

What has caused this most recent bout of life expectancy growth? The world has made strides in fighting diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDs, and in remedying nutritional deficiencies. Improved mother and baby health also has a large impact on average life span, because women of reproductive age (and obviously their babies) have many years left, assuming they survive the birth ordeal. Road injuries, diarrhea, and malaria are still killing many people prematurely, possibly providing suitable targets for new public health efforts that could impact life expectancy greatly (especially in less-developed countries, which still lag behind the top life expectancy countries by about 30 years).


Robert Redford On Aging, Curiosity And ‘A Walk In The Woods’

Robert Redford stars as Bill Bryson in the film, “A Walk in the W

oods.” The movie comes out in U.S. theaters on Sept. 2, 2015. (Frank Masi, SMPSP/Broad Green Pictures via AP)

Robert Redford may be 79, but the actor, director and environmental activist isn’t slowing down. His new film “A Walk in the Woods” opens in theaters tomorrow. The movie is based on Bill Bryson’s memoir about attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Redford tells Here & Now’s Robin Young that although he and co-star Nick Nolte didn’t hike the trail, “it felt like we did because we would hike sections going uphill – and because it’s film, you do one take and you’d go back and do it again, then you do it again. After six, seven, eight takes, you’re really pooped.”


Aging Survey

Once again, older Americans’ concerns about their latter years are clearly spelled out in a new national report, The United States of Aging Survey, released in July.

Not surprisingly, older Americans’ concerns about their latter years differ from those of the professionals who support them.

Let’s take a closer look.

For adults age 60 and older, physical health is the No. 1 concern, while for professionals in the aging field, financial scams are the top concern.

When it comes to concerns about aging, older Americans and professionals share similar concerns about loss of independence. However, professionals are most concerned about financial pressures for older adults.

The survey identified seven leading issues for older adults, ranked in order:

Physical health (40%)

Memory loss (35%)

Mental health (32%)

Managing chronic health conditions (27%)

Living independently (25%)

Financial abuse, fraud and scams (21%)

Access to affordable housing (12%)

Professionals — who work directly with older adults and caregivers — are considered “influencers.” They represent a sampling of the aging field and include gerontologists and geriatricians, social workers, healthcare specialists, academic researchers in many fields of study, staff from the Area Agencies on Aging including Pima Council on Aging (PCOA), financial services managers, primary care physicians and pharmacists.

This group says the ranking of top seven issues differs: loss of memory (38%), living independently (37%), getting around to run errands (37%), financial abuse, fraud and scams (43%), and access to affordable housing (38%).

The National Council on Aging conducts the survey each year with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), and United Healthcare.


Boomers Resisting Aging in Place Technology

Just 21% Plan to Incorporate It

By Anthony Cirillo

Aging in Place is something that older adults say they want but to achieve it takes more than good health. Aging in Place can only happen when technology solutions help it to happen. But those solutions need to be embraced and it seems boomers and seniors are resisting.

Philips and the Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business released their second study that sheds light on the widening technology innovation gap for aging boomers.

The study found most people want to live in their own homes as they get older (91 percent), but most do not plan to take the necessary steps to ensure they can maintain their desired lifestyle. In fact, while 96 percent of respondents say it’s important to be as independent as possible as they get older, only 21 percent of respondents plan to incorporate technology solutions, or to remodel and retrofit their homes in order to stay in place as they age. 

The Philips/GSEI study shows that nearly 80 percent of 60-80 year olds are not thinking about, or are not sure, whether they will upgrade or update their homes. In addition, more than one-fifth of respondents (23 percent) simply do not know where to start or what is useful to them when it comes to upgrading their homes with smart technologies.

“The projected growth of the aging population constitutes a real need to focus on preparing for the future today,” said Brent Shafer, CEO of Philips North America.

• Nearly three in five respondents (59 percent) say they are not interested in upgrading their home

• One-third (33 percent) say upgrades are too costly

• 42 percent say upgrading in-home technology is too expensive

• One fourth (25 percent) of respondents are not interested in upgrades at all

Familiar Technology Finds Favorability

Aging Americans are willing to invest in new technology for things that they use regularly and are most comfortable with....


Meatloaf: Out of this world?

Or just from another planet?

I don’t know what the Klingon’s call meatloaf or what it tastes like on Rigel 5, but I do know what meatloaf is supposed to taste like on planet Earth, and this was not it. In fact, not only did it not have any resemblance to any meatloaf (beef, turkey or moose) I have ever eaten, I am not sure whether it was actually food. The chalky, mushy, granulate-like consistency of this beast combined with a floury pseudo-mushroom gravy whose seasoning resembled that found in a can of Alpo, combined to make one rotten meal. If you are going to substitute real beef (and I don’t know why you would), at least learn to do it right. Try, at least, to season it like meatloaf. Turkey burgers are bad enough, but at least you can doctor it up with cheese, onions and lots and lots of ketchup and a bun. But this stuff, the best thing you can do with it is to throw it in the nearest Dumpster.


If you like apple pie, you’ll love this pork

Cinnamon, a flavor that doesn’t work with pork

I tasted this dish even before I put the first bite in my mouth. The scent of cinnamon permeated the room with its sickeningly sweet aroma. It was as if I had awoken in my grandmother’s kitchen on baking day and she had just removed one of her amazing overstuffed apple pies from the oven. Unfortunately, it was not an apple pie that emerged from the kitchen here at the Asylum, but rather an odd combination of pineapple, cinnamon and roast pork. Now, while I know that some people like a sweet glaze on their pork roasts and that pineapple is as good a glaze as any for that purpose, why the introduction of a spice better left for pies and breakfast cereals was put on this dish is beyond my comprehension. It just doesn’t work. A better choice, if indeed a glaze was necessary at all, would have been the pineapple mixed with a simple sugar reduction. Or better yet, just some pork gravy on its own would have been preferable to what amounted to a meal and dessert all in one. Of course, the worst vegetable in the universe cauliflower was severed with this making for a thoroughly un-enjoyable dining experience.



What was that stuff, really?

I was really stoked for this meal. Having had a slight teaser the previous Sunday when the chef substituted the announced “Sesame/Ginger glazed chicken” for some sea bass with the same name. In fact the sea bass was so good, I did something I usually never do when it comes to fish dinners around here. I actually enjoyed it. And so the stage was set for what I hoped to be a memorable piece of chicken equal to the flavoring afforded to the sea bass. Unfortunately, like so many flopped Broadway shows, hopefully, this one will close after only one performance. Not only did the chicken have the consistency and tenderness of a Goodyear steel-belted radial tire, but whatever that glop on top of it was it certainly had no connection with anything either sesame, ginger or glaze. In fact, the sauce ladled on top of the tough pieces of overcooked chicken had a flavor that can only be described as otherworldly. Both me and my tablemates were at a loss to identify any of the ingrediants in that stuff. 

One of two things must have happened here. Either the chef bought a prepared glaze that said it was sesame -ginger and something went wrong when mixing it or, it was made from scratch by someone who does not have a clue what sesame - ginger glaze is supposed to taste like. This was one of the most disappointing meals I have had here.


8 Things We Wish Our Mothers Had Told Us About Aging

Aging is full of unpleasant little surprises. Fair warning would have been nice!

By Ann Brenoff

We learned many things from our mothers, but here are a few things they forgot to tell us about aging:

1. Your feet will hurt.

Between bunions and plantar fasciitis and the occasional ingrown toenail, you will eventually feel completely betrayed by your feet. You will come to despise every minute spent in an uncomfortable pair of shoes, starting with heels. Even Princess heels will stop being your friend. Eventually, every pair of shoes turns on you. You will, however, develop a deep personal relationship with Zappos akin to that which you have with your therapist. "Just keeping trying, don't give up, we will find you a good fit," is both their mottos.

2. One day, you too will have sagging skin.

Gravity is a bitch. It may show some favoritism to a hand-picked few in the beginning, but eventually gravity trumps every remedy known to (wo)mankind. From turkey wad to flabby arms and boobs that seem to relocate under our armpits, our bodies change. While we probably didn't need Mom to tell us this would happen, as reader Brenda English noted, "I wish she had! I thought only Moms had that, not their kids."

3. You will slow down gradually, not abruptly, and only when something happens to remind you will you notice you've aged.

Old age isn't a brick wall that you go crashing into making an abrupt stop. The ride is slow and generally steady, although an illness or loss of a loved one can send you spiraling downward faster. Most of us plod along day after-day unaware of any dramatic or sudden change in our age. And then along comes an old photograph from when you were 33 and seeing Greece for the first time and all of a sudden you're standing in front of a mirror and stretching your jowls back, making the this-is-what-a-facelift-would-look-like face.

4. The day will come when you feel invisible.

You will feel like you are the oldest person in the room and no one sees you. It only gets worse if a few charitable souls make a pity stop and ask if you are having a good time. Gee, why wouldn't you be? Standing by yourself, all invisible-like.




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Contact Us or Comment

This week we take time out to let someone else have their say. 

Unfortunately, living in the close environment of an assisted living facility where one is confronted by different people with different backgrounds and personalities around them all day, there may come a time when you just can’t help but become involved in some sort of confrontation. This week’s guest editorial is written by a fellow resident here at the Asylum who believes she has a solution for dealing with those people who, not only have a propensity to annoy, complain and upset, but want to involve you in their problems. 

Dealing with Difficult People 

By Karen Silver (Guest Editorial writer)

Face it, we are all difficult people and there are some people who would rather be chased down the street by a rabid raccoon than deal with us. However angelic and reasonable we fancy ourselves to be, we bug others just by the fact we're breathing the same air they are. That said, there are people who set our teeth on edge and we here at the Lalaland Assisted Living Residence are stuck with dealing with them without descending into outright cannibalism.

We sit at the same table. They share the line for medications and treatments. Some are nasty, some are sticky, adhering to us like barnacles on a boat. They say nasty things and do nasty things. Some are outright thieves, stealing whole sleeves of Styrofoam cups and leaving people no way to get their coffee. Some are motor mouthed and talk only about their own interests.  There are some who would talk to a paper plate if you drew eyes, nose and a mouth on it leaving you totally irrelevant to any discussion. 

Then there are the really scary ones who explode into tantrums, shouting and cursing loudly, oblivious to the shaken and shaking people around them. They shove chairs around and glare at you if you speak up. There are the certifiable crazies who babble about this or that or who discuss what they are going to do to people who abuse them -- meaning everyone who avoids them. They corner you for long diatribes while you only want to get to the bathroom as fast as possible to avoid an accident. 

We are thrown into their existence willy-nilly by a shared experience; we all have limitations imposed by disease or accident and unable to provide what we need for ourselves to a certain extent. Orthopedically, neurologically or endocrinologically, we need assistance as do they.  We owe them respect for their otherness even if that otherness is totally alien.  They are who they are and we lack the capacity or the right to change them to meet our specifications. 

What we do have the right to do is to protect ourselves from the worst effects of their behavior. We have the right to detach ourselves from them and walk away while doing as little damage to their self-esteem as we can. This means smiling and saying "thank you for sharing that" rather than "are you bleeping nuts???" We don't need to befriend them. 

The truly scary ones are above our pay grade, of course, and are best left to the professionals in the Lalaland social work office. The best policy is the quick and safe retreat from the situation and removal of self to a neutral and distant corner until our pulses return to normal.  

For those who try to get you involved in their melodramas, don't fall into it. You can offer respect at a respectful distance. It's your choice to listen or not listen but do not offer agreement, offer referral. "Of course that's terrible and I'm sure the social workers will be able to assist you." "I wish I could help but I can't. I'm so sorry." Whatever you do, do not interpret, explain, moderate, mediate or intervene. Whatever you do, even with the best of intentions, will be wrong. 

There is a good reason Sigmund Freud told analysts not to say much until they understood what was going on -- which sometimes took years even with five sessions a week -- and not to take sides in arguments. He knew that the root of what goes on in someone's life is often deeply hidden and that many people are looking for playmates, not for clarity. 

There are people whose behavior toward others is truly reprehensible and who just about demand a response. People like that make everyone's lives miserable because they are. If you encounter someone behaving in a way that makes you want to get out a noose, take yourself to the Lalaland social work office and dump your anger there. The nice people who work there will be able to get you some perspective, help you cool down and also can act on the situation. 

It may help to remember that you are rarely the target of the behavior. Unless you have done something that rates an apology, and apologizing when you have actually done wrong is essential to living with others, the wrath, the attention seeking, the manipulation and other outrages are not directed at you personally. They are not your problem and do not take them on. Be compassionate and recognize that the person is suffering but do not fall into pity. You may hope for a good outcome, of course,  and do nothing to return a hurt but do not become a victim yourself. It's no fun being chased down the halls of Lalaland by a rabid raccoon.



What we are sad about

Although it was quite obvious that one of the three shade trees that graced the lawn in front of the Franklin annex did not make it through the winter, it’s loss is still hard to take for many of us who have had the pleasure of enjoying both the beauty and shade of the three matching trees. While its sisters are thriving, unfortunately, the one tree had been in bad health for a couple of seasons. Last summer it was very late to bloom and, when it did, its leaves were sparse at best. While we hoped that this year it would eventually give forth with its leafy umbrella, it was not to be. Finally, last Monday morning the crew from the local tree service cut it down and fed it to the wood chipper. This is the fourth or fifth tree we have lost in the last couple of years.

Aging homebuyers fall into different classifications

By Tom Kelly

Why are potential homebuyers in this country age 50 and older typically lopped into an active adult group even though some of them could be worlds away from being “active”?

This bunch could include some of the different buyer types you’ve heard about – move-down, empty-nest, last-time … any moniker you would like to place on a resident older than 50. 

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey on behalf of Pulte Homes’ Del Webb Division that included 1,802 adults aged 41-69 who live in 10 different regions of the U.S. Of the group in the 60-69 age bracket, 46 percent said they would consider moving to an active adult community. The numbers were about the same for the 50-59 group – 47 percent said they would consider the active adult community while 41 percent of respondents age 41-49 would consider the move.

Others, with the kids gone and work finally slowing, have shifted their activities and energies onto themselves and have become more aware of their diet, physical fitness, eagerness to learn new skills and hobbies. They now are seeking a home that can better accommodate those changes and allow them to age in an area with more security and comfort with people their same age.

According to Irvine, California-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a national leader in property analysis, the term “active adult” has become linked with the large communities where thousands of retirees flee their friends and families to join a resortlike club in a sunny climate. In the future, active adult will apply to a much wider profile of homebuyers who will buy locally, as well as in the amenity-laden resort communities.


"Within the first year most people are tapped out. Middle-class families just aren't prepared for these costs."

The high price of aging

Families face tough decisions as cost of elder care soars


Doris Ranzman had followed the expert advice, planning ahead in case she wound up unable to care for herself one day. But when a nursing-home bill tops $14,000 a month, the best-laid plans get tossed aside.

Even with insurance and her Social Security check, Ranzman still had to come up with around $4,000 every month to cover her care in the Amsterdam Nursing Home in Manhattan. "An awful situation," said her daughter, Sharon Goldblum.

Like others faced with the stunning cost of elderly care in the U.S., Goldblum did the math and realized that her mother could easily outlive her savings. So she pulled her out of the home.

For the two-thirds of Americans over 65 who are expected to need some long-term care, the costs are increasingly beyond reach. The cost of staying in a nursing home has climbed at twice the rate of overall inflation over the last five years, according to the insurer Genworth Financial. One year in a private room now runs a median $91,000 a year, while one year of visits from home-health aides runs $45,760.

Goldblum estimates that she and her mother spent at least $300,000 over the last two years for care that insurance didn't cover.

"If you have any money, you're going to use all of that money," Goldblum said. "Just watch how fast it goes."

How do people manage the widening gap between their savings and the high cost of caring for the elderly? Medicare doesn't cover long-term stays, so a large swath of elderly people wind up on the government's health insurance program for the poor, Medicaid. For those solidly in the middle class, however, the answer isn't so simple. They have too much money to apply for Medicaid but not enough to cover the typical three years of care.

Some 60 percent of Americans nearing retirement - those between the ages of 55 and 64 - have retirement accounts, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The median balance is $104,000.

Combined with other savings and income, that amount might provide some retirees with all they need for decades. But everything changes when, for instance, an aging father struggling with dementia requires more help than his wife and children can manage. Plans that looked solid on paper are no match for their bills....


Your Brain, Your Disease, Your Self


WHEN does the deterioration of your brain rob you of your identity, and when does it not?

Alzheimer’s, the neurodegenerative disease that erodes old memories and the ability to form new ones, has a reputation as a ruthless plunderer of selfhood. People with the disease may no longer seem like themselves.

Neurodegenerative diseases that target the motor system, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, can lead to equally devastating consequences: difficulty moving, walking, speaking and eventually, swallowing and breathing. Yet they do not seem to threaten the fabric of selfhood in quite the same way.

Memory, it seems, is central to identity. And indeed, many philosophers and psychologists have supposed as much. This idea is intuitive enough, for what captures our personal trajectory through life better than the vault of our recollections?

But maybe this conventional wisdom is wrong. After all, the array of cognitive faculties affected by neurodegenerative diseases is vast: language, emotion, visual processing, personality, intelligence, moral behavior. Perhaps some of these play a role in securing a person’s identity.

The challenge in trying in determine what parts of the mind contribute to personal identity is that each neurodegenerative disease can affect many cognitive systems, with the exact constellation of symptoms manifesting differently from one patient to the next. For instance, some Alzheimer’s patients experience only memory loss, whereas others also experience personality change or impaired visual recognition.

The only way to tease apart which changes render someone unrecognizable is to compare all such symptoms, across multiple diseases. And that’s just what we did, in a study published this month in Psychological Science.....


More on this topic...

Dementia rates have dropped, despite aging population

By Clare Wilson 

It’s one public health message that has seeped in. There’s a dementia tsunami on the way, an inevitable consequence of our steadily greying population.

Those spreading the word range from medical researchers to charities, and even the UK prime minister David Cameron.

But the figures tell a different story. And this misunderstanding may be contributing to a dementia strategy that is taking a cruel toll on those affected, some doctors say.

Four out of five large studies in different European countries have now suggested that our chance of getting dementia by any particular age is less than that of previous generations.

The UK study found that this sufficiently counterbalanced the rise in the number of people living into their 80s and 90s so that the total number of people with dementia stays roughly stable.

So why has the risk of dementia decreased? There are several possible contributing factors. ..


Nature's Anti-Aging Pill Is Your Pillow

By Joel Kahn, M.D.

I was lying in bed last night pondering a heavy question. What is the most important practice to boost our energy and extend our life? Is it avoiding the bad habits of smoking, sitting, and isolation? Is it adding in the good activities of eating leafy greens, walking 10,000 steps, or meditating? Or is it in a capsule full of resveratrol, PQQ, or astragalus (all of which I take)? 

The irony was that the answer was under my head all along. We can control so much of our environment while striving for health and long-life. We can filter our water, use apps to stand up, by organic produce, do cleansing breaths, and go on wifi detoxes. One need we share with all of the animal kingdom however is our need for sleep. In fact, we are the only species that willfully limits our sleep and even completely alters it by doing shift work that has been shown to substantially increase risks for cancer. At the end of the day, we are called to perform the most primitive activity that our body must have for optimal function, pillow time and enough of it. We must surrender our smart phone, our Excel spreadsheets, and our plans for exponential growth for long enough to restore and rejuvenate for an amount of time at night. The beast must be rested.

How important is sleep? It turns out your very life may depend on it, at least the quantity and quality. Recently two large studies have examined the role of sleep duration and survival and the findings are instructive. In the first study researchers at the National Cancer Institute studied 239,896 U.S. men and women followed for 14 years. In that time over 44,000 subjects died. ...


...and drink.

Elderly People Are Drinking a Ton and Loving It

By Hilary Pollack

A new study from King’s college London recently published in BMJ Open has some surprising findings about the drinking habits of the elderly—our friends and relatives who are 65 and older.

Researchers combed through the anonymous health records of almost 28,000 people in this age group and focused on 9,248 senior citizens who had self-reported on their alcohol consumption. Within this pool, 1,980 were drinking at unsafe levels, at more than 21 units of alcohol for men or 14 units of alcohol for women per week. In other words, one out of five old people are party animals.

And before you assume that the boozers at hand are destitute alcoholics who are drinking to the escape of pain of poverty, think again: most of the drinkers at hand were “of higher socio-economic status.” The demographic of unsafe drinkers also skewed predominantly male (about 65 percent) and white (a whopping 80 percent of the top drinkers, despite accounting for just 59 percent of the study subjects). Looks like old, rich, white men and heavy pours of Scotch are still the best of friends.

And the real bottle-hitters were going for it hard: the top 5 percent of drinkers from the study said that they consumed more than 49 units of alcohol per week for men and 23 for women. ...


Testosterone Doesn't Improve Men's Sex Lives: Study

“Testosterone therapy has become big business in the United States, as baby boomers seek ways to counter the effects of aging,”

Sales of testosterone amounted to around $20 million a year in the early 1990s, but by 2012 it had grown into a $2 billion industry, he said.

However, recent studies have cast a pall on testosterone therapy, indicating it may increase risk of heart attacks and strokes, said Bhasin, who also serves as director of the hospital's Research Program in Men's Health: Aging and Metabolism.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March started requiring all prescription testosterone products to carry a label warning about possible increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

"Testosterone has become a blockbuster drug," he said. "It's just extraordinary growth, and there's been growing concern among the regulatory agencies about the potential for the increase in risk of cardiac events."

To assess the safety and effectiveness of testosterone treatment, Bhasin and his colleagues enrolled 308 men older than 60 with testosterone levels in the low or low-normal range, or about what you'd expect in normally aging males.

As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decline, on average by 1 percent a year after age 40, researchers said. Testosterone, a hormone primarily secreted by the testicles, plays a key role in male reproduction, muscle growth, bone mass and body hair.


Honor Blackman turns 90: 

Hollywood's tough-women owe a debt to The Avengers star 

Neil Norman on the pioneering actress, 90 today 

As she enters her tenth decade, Honor Blackman can still mix it with the best of them. Never mind the "glamorous granny" tag, she has retained the looks and the moxie that first struck us in the early 1960s when, as Cathy Gale in The Avengers, she not only aced the partnership with Patrick McNee's John Steed, but introduced the previously little seen screen character of a woman who could take care of herself.

Clad in leather right down to her kinky boots, she karate-chopped her way into the nation's consciousness over two years and 43 episodes of the groundbreaking series. Later cast as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, she was the first Bond girl – though at 38 she was more Bond woman – to give 007 a run for his money. As she rolled in the hay with Sean Connery, it was never certain which of them would end up on top. America had its fair share of femmes fatales but Britain had the ultimate man-eater – and Blackman was the kind any man would be happy to be eaten by.

As a female role model she is without peer. Who else of her era has been so sexually primed and yet retained her dignity and sense of self-worth? What other actress would recall the days of "wobble shots" with a mischievous grin and still be a champion of gender equality? The screen tough-women who came after Blackman – Weaver, Thurman, Jolie et al – owe a debt to her.


Find Stats on Chronic Diseases of Aging and Medical Innovation at

 Newly Designed Silver Book® Site

The Silver Book® site includes data on cancer, diabetes, heart disease, vision loss, and other diseases and conditions. It also has stats on the impact of an aging population and the value of medical innovation and research.

Finding statistical information on conditions that affect seniors has now become quicker and easier. The Alliance for Aging Research has launched a new version of the highly-respected Silver Book® reference website that offers users convenient access to its vast library of stats, facts, and infographics on diseases and conditions of older age. The site, silverbook.org, ( http://www.silverbook.org/ ) also highlights the impact of an aging population and the value of medical innovation and research.

With an emphasis on visualization of data, the website takes statistically dense information and breaks it down into well-referenced, consumable sound bites on cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, atrial fibrillation, osteoporosis, thrombosis, persistent pain, healthcare-associated infections, infectious diseases, vision loss, and other diseases and conditions that have a significant human and economic impact on individuals and our aging nation.

“The Silver Book® site has grown significantly since its launch in 2006 to include more than 3,000 facts and statistics from hundreds of sources,” says Alliance Vice President of Health Programs Lindsay Clarke. “Our primary goal with the redesign was to make the site easier to navigate for the policymakers, thought leaders, and public health advocates from across the nation who turn to the site as a respected source for data.” 

Both the site’s search tool and navigation allow visitors to customize their search and experience. It also includes infographics that can be easily downloaded and reused in presentations, reports, blogs, and social media.

Seniors have a high rate of taking their own lives

Suicide is often thought of as disproportionately affecting teenagers.

However, they are not the only ones at significant risk of taking their own lives, as senior citizens are increasingly vying for that position.

Men 85 or older have a rate of suicide greater than four times that of the overall population. That is 45.23 per 100,000, compared to 11.01 per 100,000 for all ages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The World Health Organization reports that one in five of those 55 or older experiences some type of mental health concern, which has been implicated as a factor in suicide.

“Older adults are two to three times more likely than teens to commit suicide, primarily because of loneliness, isolation, and undiagnosed depression,” wrote Dr. Patrick Arbore, founder of the Friendship Line, part of the Institute on Aging. “In addition, seniors are six times more likely to be successful than teens in their suicide attempts, because they are less ambivalent about the decision to take their own lives, and because they have access to more lethal methods.”

And the numbers may actually not reflect the entire story. Doran Williams, associate director of Wasatch Mental Health in Provo, said there could easily be more seniors who take their own lives.

“Oftentimes it is labeled as something different because of the labels and stigma,” he said.

With 14 deaths by suicide annually for males 75 and older in a recent study by World Life Expectancy, Utah ranked 25th in the nation for the suicide rate in the category.

Maybe Happy Valley and the surrounding area are not so happy after all.

Seniors have a view of depression different from their younger counterparts. They are more likely to be irritable than sad, and to complain about physical ailments for which a doctor cannot find a cause, the Institute on Aging indicates.

Seniors may express their thoughts or concerns about not having a place or not wanting to be a burden on others. Warning signs or triggers may be the death of a spouse, a chronic or mental illness, or a lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed.

Those indicators may be considered a natural part of aging, but the response of seriously considering suicide does not have to follow. ...


When you’re on a carb-free* diet...

This becomes your:

Pizza, Lasagna, Meatballs and Spaghetti, Cheeseburger

With fries, Baked Potato, Foot long sub sandwiches, Ice Cream Sundae,

New York Cheesecake, Stack of Pancakes, Bag of Cheeto’s and

Captain Crunch Cereal.

* Fortunately, I like tuna salad.


Damn Good Fish

A little bit of honey-ginger makes the fish go down.

After my suggestion that the chef would do well to introduce ginger (and sesame) into his arsenal of spices and flavorings he treated us to what turned out to be perhaps the most flavorful, properly seasoned fish fillets we have ever had here. 

Billed as honey-ginger sauce, Friday evening's offering was a last minute change in the menu which would have been a carb-loaded potato coated fish monstrosity. Instead, what we got was, in my opinion, magic. The sweetness of the honey flavor combined with the tangy bitterness of the ginger did what no mere squeeze of a lemon could do, make it edible. 

A brief, and unscientific survey of diners who had the fish produced a generally positive response although one said that they did not care for the ginger flavor that much. Some people are just white bread and mayo folks.

Editor’s note: The dinner was served with a squash and pepper medley which I passed on.



I used to post these phony emails as a reminder to some seniors and computer novices not to fall for anything like this. Most of you got the message (I hope). Recently, I have been receiving a slew of these nondescript pleas for help which I promptly discard. However, this one was so involved, so detailed and so absolutely ridiculously funny, I had to share it with you...


Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2015 14:25:51 +0100

From: wendXXXXXXXXX@gmail.com


I am writing this mail to you with tears and sorrow from my heart. With due respect trust and humanity, I appeal to you to exercise a little patience and read through my letter, I wish to contact you personally for a long term business relationship and investment assistance in your Country so I feel quite safe dealing with you in this important business having gone through your remarkable profile, honestly I am writing this email to you with pains, tears and sorrow from my heart, I will really like to have a good relationship with you and I have a special reason why I decided to contact you, I decided to contact you due to the urgency of my situation, My name is Miss Wendy Kipkalya Kones, 23yrs old female and I held from Kenya in East Africa. My father was the former Kenyan road Minister. He and Assistant Minister of Home Affairs Lorna Laboso had been on board the Cessna 210, which was headed to Kericho and crashed in a remote area called Kajong,

in western Kenya. The plane crashed on the Tuesday 10th, June, 2008.

You can read more about the crash through the below site:


After the burial of my father, my stepmother and uncle conspired and sold my father's property to an Italian Expert rate which the shared the money among themselves and live nothing for me. I am constrained to contact you because of the abuse I am receiving from my wicked stepmother and uncle. They planned to take away all my late father's treasury and properties from me since the unexpected death of my beloved Father. Meanwhile I wanted to escape to the USA but they hide away my international passport and other valuable traveling documents. Luckily they did not discover where I kept my fathers File which contains important documents. So I decided to run to the refugee camp where I am presently seeking asylum under the United Nations High Commission for the Refugee here in Ouagadougou, Republic of Burkina Faso.

One faithful morning, I opened my father's briefcase and found out the documents which he has deposited huge amount of money in one bank in Burkina Faso with my name as the next of kin. I traveled to Burkina Faso to withdraw the money for a better life so that I can take care of myself and start a new life, on my arrival, the Bank Director whom I met in person told me that my father's instruction/will to the bank is that the money would only be release to me when I am married or present a trustee who will help me and invest the money overseas. I am in search of an honest and reliable person who will help me and stand as my trustee so that I will present him to the Bank for transfer of the money to his bank account overseas. I have chosen to contact you after my prayers and I believe that you will not betray my trust. But rather take me as your own sister or daughter.

Although, you may wonder why I am so soon revealing myself to you without knowing you, well I will say that my mind convinced me that you may be the true person to help me. More so, my father of blessed memory deposited the sum of (US$11.500, 000) Dollars in Bank with my name as the next of kin. However, I shall forward you with the necessary documents on confirmation of your acceptance to assist me for the transfer and statement of the fund in your country. As you will help me in an investment, and I will like to complete my studies, as I was in my 1year in the university when my beloved father died. It is my intention to compensate you with 30% of the total money for your services and the balance shall be my capital in your establishment. As soon as I receive your positive response showing your interest I will put things into action immediately. In the light of the above. I shall appreciate an urgent message indicating your ability and willingness to

handle this transaction sincerely.

AWAITING YOUR URGENT AND POSITIVE RESPONSE, Please do keep this only to your self for now un till the bank will transfer the fund. I plead to you not to disclose it till I come over because I am afraid of my wicked stepmother who has threatened to kill me and have the money alone, I thank God Today that am out from my country (KENYA) but now In (Burkina Faso) where my father deposited these money with my name as the next of Kin. I have the documents for the claims.

Yours Sincerely

Miss Wendy Kipkalya Kones

And just in case you forgot...

How to Keep Seniors Safe From Internet Scams


There are a lot of reasons Internet scammers and identity thieves target senior citizens, with factors ranging from their sense of trust in others, to income availability, to concerns for personal safety. And while scammers may be counting on older adults’ fears of looking like they can’t take care of themselves — and therefore not reporting that they’ve been victimized — the sad reality is that Internet scammers can go after anyone.

This list includes only a few of the red flags that seniors should keep in mind when it comes to avoiding scams:

1. Wiring Money or Money Transfers

The ability to wire money is a vital economic tool, but it’s also a dead giveaway of a scam since thieves know it is hard to trace the money. Whether it’s the age-old “grandchild has been arrested in a foreign country” scam or a threat of bill collections, alleged fines that are owed, or a missed credit card payment, if you are ever asked to wire money or use a prepaid credit card to make a payment, STOP. Whatever you do, don’t just fall for it and wire the money without verifying the cause.

2. Asking for Your Social Security Number

Anyone who asks for a Social Security number, especially over the phone or online, should make you think twice. Only in recent years have we really started to raise awareness about keeping your SSN secure, so scammers know that a senior citizen is more likely to give it out than a younger consumer. If anyone ever contacts you by phone and asks for your SSN, hang up immediately and contact the company directly. Your SSN can be used to open new accounts in your name and commit identity fraud that you may not become aware of until you check your credit. (Editor’s Note: You can check two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.)

3. Clicking a Link to be Redirected

Some of today’s senior adults are relatively new to computers, smartphones, social media, email and other handy tech tools. Unfortunately, that just means it’s easier than ever for scammers to reach out to senior citizens with what’s known as “phishing” emails. 





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So now what? Life after 70.

That’s it. It’s all over now. Everything will be going downhill from here on in, so I thought. The day that I have been dreading came and went without fanfare this past Saturday. I thought it would be different somehow. I thought that, upon turning 70*, I would finally, and officially, be an OLD, MAN. However, here I am, one day “over the hill” so to speak, and I don’t feel any different. Where is all this “old age” stuff I heard about. How come I’m not fitting the stereotype. Should I be worried?

It’s not that I thought a giant finger would come down from the heavens and bestow upon me a badge or sash or at least a certificate proclaiming the fact that I had reached this milestone, but there was nothing. Well, maybe not nothing. I did feel a slight twinge in my knee as I stood in front of the mirror shaving my unwrinkled face. Strange, I thought, I don’t look gnarly at all. Wasn’t I supposed to have those brown age spots with hairs growing out of them all over my face. In fact, there’s not too much hair growing out of anywhere. Oh wait, there’s one on my ear lobe. Why would I need hair on my earlobe? Whew, I was getting scared there for a moment. Finally, a sign of how old I really am. I’ll have to work on the errant hair thing. I wouldn’t want to disappoint the stereotypers. Wrinkles are another thing. I’m not sure how to get them. Is there a book like “Wrinkles for dummies?” There’s something else I’ll have to work on also. My wardrobe.

Looking in my closet I am discouraged not to find at least one white patent leather belt or one pair of white patent leather loafers. Missing too, are the high-rise pants made to fit over my beer-bloated belly and come up somewhere just below my man boobs. And where the heck is that old man’s cap I’ve seen all old men wear. Not even a loud sports shirt or mismatching shorts that land mid calf in there anywhere. I’ll have to do something about that too. There must be a store in south Florida that sells that stuff. And speaking of south Florida, shouldn’t I have moved there by now? What the hell am I still doing in New York. It’s much too dynamic and much too liberal for a man my age. And speaking of “liberalism”, aren’t I supposed to be getting more conservative in my thinking by now? So how come Bernie Sanders seems so appealing to me? This “Old” thing isn’t working out at all.

I mean, It’s not like I don’t know I’m old. All I have to do is to think back to my childhood in Brooklyn to realize just how friggin’ old I really am. After all, how many of you can say they actually saw Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese and Duke Snyder play baseball, in Ebbet’s Field no less. How many of you can remember the ice man walking up four flights of stairs to refill your icebox? Can you remember a time that there was no TV, I can. How about cars without air conditioning or power steering or gasoline that cost 11 cents a gallon, I do. And not to mention passenger planes with propellers. My brain aches just thinking about all that stuff. It should be time for a nap by now, but I don’t feel tired. And besides, there’s too much to do. But I will promise you this. I will try to act my age. I’ll try to be a little more “crotchety”. I’ll try to wave my cane at children a little more and cough up a phlegm ball now and then just for effect. But if you really want me to act my age you’ll have to be around 10 years from now. Maybe by then I’ll have a pair of those white patent leather shoes.

*Editor’s note: I promise you that this will be the last editorial I will do regarding my turning 70.


What we like

After a couple of years and at least two administrations and some half-hearted attempts, an effort was made last Tuesday evening to clean (properly) the carpeting in the dining room. It is my pleasant duty to announce that, finally, the job was done right. Michael Acevedo’s crew worked diligently all evening making sure there would be enough time for the carpet to dry before breakfast the next morning. Early breakfasters were treated to a clean, fresh carpet. 

However, what we don’t like...

This mess still remains

To the best of my knowledge, this section of carpeting has never been cleaned (other than an occasional vacuuming), and it’s disgusting. And, what makes it worse, is that it is on the main floor where not only residents have to look at it, but visitors as well. While the carpeting in the elevators has been changed, this carpeting immediately outside of the elevators remains an eyesore. I realize that cleaning this area presents a particular problem but it has to be done sometimes.

Although most of the so-called amenities at this ALF are a bit too “Big Brother” for my taste, they do have some good ideas as far as locks and safety are concerned.

New senior living community offers latest in design, technology and security

By Kristin Austin

By combining the latest in design, technology, and security, the new First & Main at Metro Health Village is offering a one-of-a-kind health care experience.

The new senior living community, at 5812 Village Drive SW, features assisted living and memory care. The 101,000-square-foot community has an upscale "main street town feel" with numerous amenities such as a movie theater, fitness center, raised-bed gardens, bistro and courtyard with a putting green.

Instead of door keys, residents have radio frequency wristbands that are digitally encoded to unlock their suites. 

That innovation includes the newest in technology and security for residents. Instead of door keys, residents have radio frequency wristbands that are digitally encoded to unlock their suites.

Also featured is interactive engagement software called It's Never Too Late, which can be used for activities ranging from trivia games to vintage radio shows to using Street View to tour a resident's hometown.

For care, the community uses Point of Care Solution, which is a hand-held mobile device that allows for real-time documentation for staff so more time can be spent with residents; Quiet Care, which patterns residents' nighttime behavior and alerts staff when there is a change in that pattern; Real Time Location Service Pendants, which alert staff to a resident's location if assistance is needed; special spectrum lighting, which helps reset the natural Circadian rhythms for memory care; and LG CNS Electronic Health Records and Medication Management Systems for a detailed electronic record for each resident.


More on this subject...

Biggest Fears of Senior Living

By Frank De Raffele

1. Independence

While some seniors fear that assisted living is equal to a loss of independence, the truth is in fact much the opposite. Yes, you’ll have help with cleaning, cooking, and other chores that only become more onerous over time. What senior living offers is greater freedom with the precious time you do have. To make that time happy and rewarding, communities provide ample opportunity for social activities on-site as well as transportation around the area when you need it.

2. Forgotten

It’s natural to worry about being alone, especially if you define yourself wholly or in part by those relationships you value. However, moving into senior living doesn’t mean you’ll lose those relationships. In fact, you just might value them even more. At the same time, a senior community provides new venues for social contact, not to mention on-site help when where’s an emergency.

3. Get Old and Sick

Whether you’re old or young, it’s being alone or isolated that leads to anxiety and depression, while the social contact a senior community provides is key to better health and quality of life. If a senior loved one is already ill—with Alzheimer’s disease, for example—memory care offers daily stimulation, planned activities, and customized care, all of which can actually slow down the progress of an illness or even improve health and behavior.

4. Bored

With the amenities and activities offered by today’s senior living communities, there’s no time to be bored. Senior housing nowadays offers everything from field trips and outdoor excursions to fitness and personal enrichment classes. There are even unusual types of assisted living communities that cater to specific tastes—imagine living on or near a college campus and taking lifelong learning to its ultimate extreme!


Want To Live to 120? Look to the Jews.

By Rachel X. Landes & Thea Glassman

When it comes to meeting or exceeding the average life expectancy in the United States, which is 76 for men and 81 for women, most scientists agree that environmental factors like exercise and diet play a significant role. Israeli scientist Dr. Nir Barzilai, who started his Longevity Genes Project in 1998, contends that genes play a role, too, and that it’s just a matter of time before the effects of aging can be reversed synthetically. His test subjects: centenarian Ashkenazi Jews and their relatives.

Barzilai believes the secret to longevity lies in the genes of long-living Ashkenazis like Karan. One day, he hopes to manufacture drug therapies to mimic those genes associated with long life and resistance to classic old-age ailments such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

To be clear: Ashkenazi Jews do not live longer than other people. Barzilai studies Ashkenazi Jews because of their unique gene composition. Geneticists prefer isolated groups, such as the Icelandic (“half a million people in Iceland are all children of four Vikings and five Irish women,” said Barzilai), the Amish and Ashkenazi Jews, whose move to Europe led to a bottleneck effect, which refers to a sudden reduction in the population. These groups trace their lineage back to a small number of common ancestors, resulting in a smaller gene pool. This makes it easier to identify genetic variants, such as those associated with particular diseases or longevity, because there are fewer variants to study....


The Real Cost of Supporting Grandma and Adult Children 

One fifth of Americans financially support a parent and/or an adult child, according to a TD Ameritrade survey

Financially supporting an aging parent or an adult child is costing some Americans as much as $12,000 a year.

A new study from TD Ameritrade examines the struggle of financially supporting an adult family member, through its survey of 1,000 American adults, all who have financially supported a parent and/or adult child in the past 12 months.

According to TD Ameritrade’s Financial Support Survey, one in five Americans provide financial support to a parent and/or an adult child. And, on average, a survey respondent who has financially supported either an adult child or aging parent in the past year reports having spent $12,000 to do so.

The survey also uncovers who Americans spend more money on, in regards to financial support.

According to the survey, financial supporters are are almost twice as likely to be supporting a mother (42%) than a father (23%) – and mothers receive $5,000 more support.

Clients supporting both parents and kids pose unique challenges and opportunities....


More Senior Money News...

Aging with respect and dignity: The right to avoid spousal impoverishment

By Jonelle Roberts

Bob and Betty have been married for 55 years. They've always been a good team. Betty worked until Bob got his plumber's license. After Bob's plumbing business was established, Betty stayed home with the kids. Now they live on social security and $300,000 that they were able to save.

Over the past year, Bob has had a heart surgery, pneumonia, and some kidney problems all requiring hospitalization. These medical issues resulted in Bob spending 110 days in a nursing home. Medicare co-payments and non-covered days added up and Bob had a large bill to pay. Bob's son advised him to "give away" his retirement savings so that he would qualify for Medicaid the next time he needs rehabilitation or skilled nursing care. 

Bob trusts his son's advice and sees the wisdom in protecting his retirement savings from being spent on nursing home care. Bob wants to protect Betty financially because it seems inevitable that he will continue to need nursing home care. Bob and Betty "gift" the money to their son for safekeeping.

About three years later, Bob was diagnosed with cancer. The chemo treatments left him weak. Bob was moved to a nursing home, probably for the rest of his life. Betty was able to pay the $6,500 monthly cost from savings for the six months after Bob's Medicare coverage ended. When she told the nursing home that she was having difficulty paying for Bob's care, the nursing home's business office helped her apply for Medicaid. 

Bob and Betty felt that Betty's future was secure until Medicaid asked questions about the $300,000 gift made to their son years ago. ... 


No matter your age, live your passions

Ben D. Mahaffey

When I first moved to St. George, I thought the city was misnamed. It should have been called Wrinkle City. When asked if I wanted to buy a home in Sun River, I responded: "No, everyone out there looks exactly like me!" I live in a mixed community. There are so many kids that I call our neighborhood "fertile flat." But I enjoy all of the activities of families of all ages.

I used to look younger than I was; now I look older than I am. I can't help what time has done to a perfectly good body. I was visiting with a female acquaintance the other day and she giggled and asked: "Ben, how old are you? I replied, "I'm so old I cleaned up the dishes from the last supper." She giggled again and asked: "How old do you think that I am?" I responded: "I think you cooked the last supper!" She hasn't been too friendly with me since that day.

A younger person asked me recently "What can I do about old age?" I replied: "Nothing, everything will take care of itself." And so age seems to take care of us, whether we cooperate or not.

Our culture doesn't place much value in old people. We place them in warehouses, called care centers, over-sedate them, and make vegetables out of them. Strangely, most of us go along with that procedure whether we want to or not. It doesn't have to be that way.

Our spirits are ageless; but we let society and imposed propriety dictate our behavior. No one dares mention older people engaging in sexual activities; it's assumed that love is limited to younger people. A frank discussion with older couples might surprise you!

Successful aging depends on five conditions:....


At Home, Many Seniors Are

 Imprisoned by Their Independence

By Paula Span

What she mourns most, says Solange DeLaPaz, are the mundane pleasures and rituals of her once-active life. A weekly manicure at the corner nail salon. Saturday excursions to Macy’s shoe department.

“I miss going to Sunday brunch on Second Avenue with my friends,” she said. “I miss going to church.”

Though only 67, Ms. DeLaPaz retired early with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and now struggles to leave her Manhattan apartment. She needs constant oxygen, and carrying even a portable oxygen unit troubles her breathing.

Climbing or descending the few steps from the elevators into her building’s lobby presents another obstacle. “I wouldn’t dare do that on my own,” she said.

About every three weeks, therefore, the home care aide who provides 12 hours of city-subsidized weekly assistance accompanies Ms. DeLaPaz outdoors. They walk to the corner and back, perhaps a six-minute expedition. Other outings are largely limited to medical appointments, with an escort from the social service agency Dorot.

Unlike some homebound older people, Ms. DeLaPaz doesn’t feel isolated, she said. Friends and relatives stop by; between a son’s and a grandson’s visits from Texas and California, she stays in touch online and by phone. A hairdresser and a priest make house calls. A volunteer helps with grocery shopping; a pharmacy delivers prescriptions.

Being homebound in rural areas can be harder and lonelier. Even for Ms. DeLaPaz, however, “being inside the house all the time is stifling. I’m confined.”....

Almost two million people over age 65, or nearly 6 percent of those Americans (excluding nursing home residents), rarely or never leave their homes, researchers recently reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. The homebound far outnumber the 1.4 million residents of nursing homes....


Do senior moments mean memory loss?

By Amey Vance

Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that's why they call it the present."

Patrick Sapio, MSW, who works at Intermountain's LiVe Well Center and facilitates several support groups throughout the community, said Roosevelt's quote is among his favorites. He has a passion for life and feels that "senior moments" are simply a part of a busy life replete with thoughts, memories and ideas.

Senior moments do not necessarily indicate a memory problem. Instead they indicate a lack of focus on the present moment.

"No joke," said Sapio, "on my bathroom wall hangs a sign that says: 'Now what did I come in here for?' We all experience those split seconds when the thought that we had escapes us temporarily."

This happens to everyone, not just senior citizens.

"The key is not to get upset or agitated," counseled Sapio. "People these days have a lot to think about. If you draw a momentary blank, smile about it, forgive yourself, and soon you will remember and everything will go back to normal."

Sapio is referring to the absentmindedness of not knowing where the car keys are located or a coworker's name. Short-term memory loss such as not knowing what the keys are for or not being able to recognize a familiar person is cause for concern and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

"I want to challenge everyone to learn to live one second at a time," said Sapio. "If everyone was completely focused on each second, we would not have the temporary moments of memory loss that occur when we start thinking about other things."


10 Things You Should Know About Medicare

Here’s how to maximize the value of this health insurance program for retirees.

By Emily Brandon 

Other out-of-pocket costs. There's a $147 Medicare Part B deductible in 2015, after which you will be charged 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for most services with no annual limit on out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Part A has a $1,260 deductible if you are hospitalized, and additional costs apply if your hospital stay exceeds 60 days. "Medicare Part A and Part B pays a portion, but you are responsible for a portion of that bill," says Ronald Kahan, a medical doctor and author of "Medicare Demystified: A Physician Helps Save You Time, Money, and Frustration."

Free services. Medicare beneficiaries qualify for a free wellness doctor's office visit once every 12 months. Many preventive care services also don't have any cost-sharing requirements such as flu shots and mammograms. However, if a problem is discovered during a wellness visit or additional tests are required, it may trigger other out-of-pocket costs.

Prescription drug coverage. Retirees get to choose between an average of 30 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in their area, each with different premiums, covered medications and cost-sharing requirements. Prescription drug plans are allowed to change their covered medications and costs each year. "Every year the insurance companies change their formularies, which is the drugs they cover, and how much they charge for those drugs," says Joseph Matthews, an attorney and author of "Social Security, Medicare & Government Pensions: Get the Most Out of Your Retirement & Medical Benefits." "Each year you have to figure out if the D plan that you have is still the best one for you, both in terms of cost and coverage." You can shop around for a new Medicare Part D plan once a year during the open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7, and consider switching if you can find a plan that better meets your needs.

How to supplement Medicare. A Medigap plan can be used to cover traditional Medicare's out-of-pocket costs. "You can minimize deductibles and copays if you sign up for a Medigap policy," ...


More Medicare and Medicaid News...

Costs mean Medicare, Medicaid may not be best approach

By Cyril Morong

Medicare helps senior citizens financially, but is the program really the best policy prescription?

George B. Hernandez’s column on health care (“Medicare, Medicaid offer Americans security,” July 31) touted benefits but made no mention of costs.

These programs and the Affordable Care Act do provide insurance for millions, many with low incomes. Senior citizens no longer live in fear of financial calamity.

But these programs are, partly, economic policies. They all benefit someone, but costs matter, too.

If you take money from people in group A and give it to people in group B, the latter are better off. But does that make it a good policy?

That’s a more difficult question. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Medicare benefit payments totaled $597 billion in 2014.” That report also said “net Medicare spending will grow from 3.0 percent of GDP in 2015 to 4.2 percent of GDP in 2030, 5.1 percent in 2040, and 5.9 percent in 2050.” 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported “Medicaid spending grew 6.1 percent to $449.4 billion in 2013.”

A recent Senate Finance Committee report projects that “Medicare’s 75-year total spending in excess of dedicated revenues is $27.9 trillion.” Where will that extra money come from?

Possibly from higher tax rates. One might argue that it would be worth it, but taxes are a negative incentive that slows economic growth. Even if higher tax rates reduced economic growth slightly, over 75 years this becomes a serious cost due to compound interest....


Social Security, Vietnam War

“Social Security and Medicare are not “entitlements,” in the pejorative sense of the word. Those who receive these benefits paid into the funds that support these programs for our entire working lives, and many will never get back what they put in...”

In his letter to the editor (R-J, 8-17), Matthew Galligan writes, “We citizens should be willing to accept a reduction of benefits in Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlements, as sacrifice for the good of our country.” Sadly, the writer reflects the attitudes of many conservative thinkers who would rather see senior citizens deprived of income than the obscenely wealthy pay more taxes. Most objectionable is the reference to the word “entitlement.” Social Security and Medicare are not “entitlements,” in the pejorative sense of the word. Those who receive these benefits paid into the funds that support these programs for our entire working lives, and many will never get back what they put in. Many of us rely on Social Security and Medicare for basic survival, in part because the heroes of the Ridiculous Right have pillaged the pension funds of many companies in the course of corporate acquisitions and “restructuring” in order to line their own pockets, and reduced or eliminated the access of millions of working class people to a livable pension to supplement Social Security.

Perhaps the writer might consider instead having the billionaire and multi-millionaire candidates of his party, as well as their equally obscenely wealthy business partners and contributors, “sacrifice for the good of our country” by paying the Social Security tax on their entire incomes, instead of just the first $118,500. ...


Portable vehicle is ideal for senior citizens.

(Or maybe not)

Something popular this weekend came from Tokyo based company cocoa motors. the engineers there think walking is to hard work, so they’ve come up with the ‘Walkcar’, –  a slim aluminum tablet with four wheels that is controlled by electric motors that can traverse small curbs, light slopes and simple cityscapes. weighing 6.6 pounds, the invention works by simply standing on it to go and can be steering by plainly shifting weight from side to side while riding. the ‘Walkcar’ is powered by lithium-ion batteries, and can travel 12 km and go up to 10 km/h. charging it takes only three hours, and is a smaller improvement of the popular Segway because of its portable size. since it does fit any bag, this would be great for the elderly commuting between subways, buses and trams. cocoa motors ‘walkcar’ plans to start shipping in japan by spring 2016. 

more pics...http://www.designboom.com/technology/cocoa-motors-walkcar-personal-vehicle-08-10-2015/

Editor’s note: If this is for real, it’s downright dangerous for seniors and regular people alike. Better yet, add two handle bars on it like a walker and they may have something.

Flavor warning ahead

Chicken, with a little help from our friends

I shouldn’t be publicizing this, but I did something illegal (At least as far as this facility is concerned) yesterday. I brought into the dining room, and used, a clandestine item in the form of salad dressing. However, this was no ordinary salad dressing. In fact, this is a dressing that could change the way salads (and many of the foods we eat here) are accepted and consumed. It is a dressing so good that you will wonder why you have not been flavoring your food with this all of your life.

My use of this remarkable seasoning began many years ago when I discovered it in a Japanese restaurant where I was served some snow peas as a side dish. The peas, (a rather bland tasting veggie by itself) was amazingly transformed into a marvelous treat for my pallet with the single addition of a simple, but highly flavorful, dressing which was lightly drizzled on top of the tiny hulls. And, although I recognized the ingredients immediately, I wondered why the combination was not more widely used. Was it purely an Asian condiment, or could I get it anywhere. My search did not take long. A Japanese supermarket in Edgewater New Jersey became my primary source for this pungent delight until I spotted a bottle of it in my local Pathmark. What is this super flavorful accompaniment to many a mundane food? It’s a combination of two very simple, easily obtainable items, ginger, and sesame oil. A little vinegar and garlic round out the flavor of this all-in-one meal saver. Therefore, the next time you are forced to look at another dull lettuce and tomato salad or some ho-hum veggies or even some chicken or fish, try a little ginger and sesame dressing on it. Your mouth will throw a party for your tongue. Perhaps I could persuade the chef to add this to our regular dressing selection.


You know there is something wrong when...

...the potato is the same size as the chicken.


You need to take this test...

Amazing, yes?



Contact and Comment

This Saturday (Aug. 22) will be my 70th Birthday. Because I am much too tired and much too old to write something new, I dug into the archives for something I wrote a few months ago...

Many Lives

I-70: A trip on the expressway of life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, my weathered old friends, you see, it’s not one long life you have led, it was a series of lives, all connected by you being a part of all of them and yet, separate because each life was so well defined. For better or worse, you are not the person you were 30 years ago. So what. While the seasons you have left may be truncated by time take heart in the fact that you were able to experience what you did. As for me, while I may not have played my last hand, I can see the deck growing smaller. Most of the good cards are gone. And, while I may  leave with a losing hand, I know I was, at least, in the game. Happy 7-0, I could not have made it without me.

My third anniversary

I knew, three years ago this week, when I first stepped foot in this place that I would never really be able to call this home. At the time, I considered it only another stop in the bazaar journey I had begun six years earlier. From hospital to nursing home, back to the hospital, back to a nursing home, back to a hospital and then, to another nursing home and finally, here. It was all just one unfamiliar bed and an unfamiliar roof over my head after another with which I needed to contend. The only difference about this place was that I actually had a say in selecting it. Although this was the last place I wanted to be, it was the best place in which to be. After nearly six years of supervision, control and oversight, I was finally to be on my own, or so I thought. I did not realize that instead of returning to some semblance of my former life, I would be dependent on strangers for my everyday needs. But, here I was, in a 10x15 room, sparsely decorated with institutional furniture and my only possession, a 37” flat screen TV.

Now, three years later, although I haven’t changed my mind about this facility not being “home”, I can say that at least I am content. I am content in the knowledge that I will be safe from harm. This place is far off the beaten path so the chance of strangers walking in is slim. I am content in knowing that I will be fed three meals a day, something that many older folks are dearly missing. I know that my medical needs will be attended to and emergency help is near if I need it. I’m glad to be in a place that’s fairly well maintained with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. The vermin which many city dwellers have to contend with is kept to a minimum and there is even a group of people with whom I can talk without wondering what loony bin I was in. But I still will never be able to call this home. Perhaps because the place is too sterile. Not in the clinical sense, but in the ambient sense. You know you are in an institution, and they don’t let you forget it. It’s the rules and regulations.

Just think about it. If you are an adult, living in your own apartment or house, how many rules and regulations do you have to contend with on a daily basis. For instance, are there any rules or regulations that say you can’t do any basic cooking in your home? Or, does anyone tell you where and when and with whom you can eat? Does someone dictate what kind of food you can eat and how it is cooked and served? Does someone come into your apartment, unannounced to “check on you” or to search for so-called contraband items like over the counter medications or a curling iron?. See what I’m getting at. A man’s home is his castle, and also his freedom, and as long I am not permitted some of those basic freedoms, I will never be able to think of this place as truly being my home. 

A New Wave of Hospitality Innovations

 Hits Senior Living

BY Cassandra Dowell

Wine cellars, pizza ovens and other high-end amenities typically seen in the hospitality sector have been making a splash in senior living in recent years, but these may be just the tip of the iceberg of what's to come.

Former hospitality leaders are making a notable mark on the industry, and they are showing that there are many more opportunities for senior housing to take cues from the hospitality sector in operations, development and design

Senior living providers today are challenged with many concerns, managing the needs and desires of an emerging demographic and balancing those with an ever changing health care system and an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Creating spaces that give the end user a unique experience and the efficient use of square footage to create those spaces are two key lessons taken from the hospitality sector Korbas says she applies daily in senior housing.

As designers who specialize in senior living we can learn a lot from this approach.

The challenge is, she says, is that square footage is at a premium in many senior housing buildings.

Being creative about how we flex those spaces from day to night to change the experience of that resident is key...

Go to article....http://seniorhousingnews.com/2015/08/10/a-new-wave-of-hospitality-innovations-hits-senior-living/?_hsenc=p2ANqtz-842ShqiLjYPHL6reKhSMvMs7t2b6w4sSzHzRiArG85lK8ZXR5cCEucDz-4Er4yCxwZtVbJTpbr50xGN-oZo3h6SCH7EA&_hsmi=21202586

Study: If You Want To Reach 100, Keep Your Inflammation Levels Low

By David DiSalvo

In a new study on aging, researchers have identified which health markers play the most crucial roles in people reaching 100 and beyond. More than any other, chronic inflammation surfaced as the most important, changeable factor for both reaching the century mark and enjoying better physical and mental health on the way.

The study included more than 1,500 people, with ages ranging from 50 to 110. About 680 of the participants were centenarians and 167 others were pairs of offspring from that group. The researchers measured several health markers known to contribute to aging, including metabolic rate, inflammation levels, liver and kidney function, and telomere length (telomeres are the protective “caps” at the ends of chromosomes that are linked to aging and susceptibility to disease).

The researchers found that offspring of centenarians have the best chance of keeping telomere length “youthful,” which seems to give them a better-than-average shot of hitting 100. But telomere length isn’t a malleable factor for most of the population. If one of your parents lived to 100 or beyond, it’s good news for you, but less so for everyone else.

Inflammation, on the other hand, is malleable, and it’s the factor this study identified as playing the biggest role in how long people live and their mental sharpness as they get there.


Cancer and hospice patients denied medication

Congresswoman calls for hearing on prescription access problem

By Matt Grant

In a matter of days, the Florida Board of Pharmacy will meet to address the issue of pain medication being denied to patients in need, and already one lawmaker is speaking out.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown said she will call for a congressional hearing to investigate the problem.

After meeting with senior citizens, Brown spoke with WESH 2 News to talk about the prescription access problem.

For months the DEA said its agents would never tell pharmacists not to fill legitimate prescriptions based on where a patient lives, but that's what Jacksonville pharmacist Bill Napier said three DEA agents told him in 2013.

"It is just not acceptable the way this is working. It was not our intent," Brown said.

Brown said she's heard from at least 100 constituents, including cancer and hospice patients, who have been denied access to legitimate pain medications. She said she has met with pharmacists and other lawmakers, who have also expressed their frustrations.

Brown said she plans on holding that meeting with or without the DEA.

"I'm going to have it in August whether we have some empty chairs there or not," she said....


Gadgets helping older adults live independently, safely

By Jim Wilson

Jean Dickow, 78, never wanted the latest whiz-bang technology. But her gadget-friendly daughter, who lives in Norway, was worried that Dickow would fall in her apartment and no one would know.

So Dickow was persuaded to put on an Apple Watch look-alike called the Lively safety watch (http://www.mylively.com/how-it-works) which has an alert button to push if she falls. Wearing a medical alert pendant that screamed old age was not an option, she said.

Besides displaying the time, the safety watch is also a step counter and even has a medication alert. But Dickow especially likes the watch’s chic look. “My club members ask me where I got the Apple Watch,” said Dickow, who lives in Oakland, Calif.

“This is a new wave of electronics and how your kids can watch over you,” said Dickow, who does not own a smartphone. “It’s a wonderful time for seniors.”

Gadgets that can ease the burdens of aging are slowly beginning to appear in older adults’ homes and communities. They are designed to respond to vital needs, including caregiving, transportation and living more safely at home. Technology specialists say that these new devices can help older adults stay in their homes longer and more cheaply, and even help prevent serious illnesses.

“In three to five years, aging will be transformed,” said Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “We are in the early stages of seeing what technology can do.” Nursing homes will become like the poorhouses of yore as technology makes living at home easier, she said....


These Swaggy Old Men Dress Better Than Most Young Dudes

By Cameron Wolf

Advanced Style is a blog founded Ari Seth Cohen that documents incredibly fashionable older women. The blog was a huge success and lead to a book and documentary centered around stylish women that can cash in on senior citizen deals. Now, after being pestered about profiling male subjects, Cohen has released a short film documentary five fashionable older men with Nowness. 

The subjects in the documentary include Cohen's own fahsion idol Derrill Osborn, a former executive at Neiman Marcus, and a magician named Mal Cross. While we can't endorse all the style tips shared by these men—one man's style essential is a "self tanner"—their youthful approach and attitude towards style and life is admirable. 

When asked why men came along so much later in the process of Advanced Style Cohen said it partially had to do with society's sexism. "The reason that I chose to focus primarily on women is not only due to the fact that my grandmother was my best friend, but I have always felt that women are judged way more harshly than men in terms of aging," he told Nowness.

Watch Advanced Style: Men above. http://www.complex.com/style/2015/08/advanced-style-men-looks-at-well-dressed-senior-citizens

For those of you that believe that the Social security system is in danger, this may help explain why...

This Social Security Survey 

Exposes a Hidden Danger

By Sean Williams

After more than seven decades of divvying out benefits payments to eligible Americans, the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Trust, or OASDI, is set to run out of its reserve cash by 2033. If Congress is unable to come to a solution that entails raising additional revenue, cutting benefits, or some combination of the two, then benefits paid will fall by 23% to ensure the survival of the program through 2087 -- at least according to estimates from the Social Security Administration.

Why is the program in such dire straits? It primarily pertains to two major demographic shifts.

First, baby boomers are retiring in greater numbers and putting pressure on the worker-to-beneficiary ratio. Between 2014 and 2040, this ratio will fall from 2.8-to-1 to an expected 2.1-to-1. In plainer terms, with more people being paid benefits there simply aren't enough people coming into the labor force to counteract the cash outflow from the OASDI.

The other major component is that we're living longer than ever. Average life expectancy in the U.S., based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has nearly reached 79 years compared to five decades ago when life expectancies in the U.S. was roughly 70 years. Having to make payments to seniors for a longer period of time is acting as a cement block on the feet of the Social Security program.

But apparently these aren't the only problems the Social Security program and seniors are currently facing.


Prescription for aging: Take one pragmatic approach


“In your mid-70s, unless you are very fortunate, you find yourself spending about half your waking hours figuring how to continue your existence.”

The nightstand covered with “morning” and “evening” pills, sometimes not knowing whether you suffer more from a disease or the pills you take for it.

Welcome to the sere and yellow leaf, the mellowing world of the mid-70s.

Now, we are not talking about the racy 60s — bronzed couples with no obvious defects, tennis racket and golf clubs much in evidence.

The mid-70s are another world. People you know seem to disappear; some are home and too tired and too shaky to go out alone, or no longer able to see to drive, first at night and then in daylight. Some are in homes often spirited away to places “close to the children,” and others are simply dead, cremated, urned or perhaps scattered.

In your mid-70s, unless you are very fortunate, you find yourself spending about half your waking hours figuring how to continue your existence.

When you enter the new golden age, there are sharp changes. People speak to you in a louder voice and in words of one syllable, the assumption apparently being that the recipient is old and deaf and operating with a seriously diminished mind.


Immortality research is a pet interest of the super-rich — 

but that doesn't mean it's selfish or unethical

By Kevin Loria

Scientists are working on a way to repair the human body like we've never been able to before

Tech billionaires such as Peter Thiel, Larry Ellison, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into research projects designed to slow or even stop aging.

These projects delve into important science — the slow march toward death is something we all have in common — but some question whether this quest to defeat mortality is more hubris than anything else.

Even Bill Gates, when asked about life extension and immortality projects in a Reddit AMA, weighed in: "It seems pretty egocentric while we still have malaria and TB for rich people to fund things so they can live longer." (He did add: "It would be nice to live longer, though, I admit.")

The majority of Americans said in 2013 that they weren't interested in living longer, adding further fuel to the idea that this isn't something for the general public.

In a Pew survey, 70% of Americans said the average ideal lifespan was between 79 and 100 years old, and 51% said they thought that scientific developments that slowed aging so that people lived to 120 would be bad for society.

But the idea that spending money on research to prevent or stave off death is a waste or only for the wealthy isn't fair, says bioethicist James Hughes of Trinity College.....

Read more: http://www.techinsider.io/how-immortality-and-life-extension-research-could-help-the-world-2015-8#ixzz3ihiA8ehk

“A good workplace is one in which you can look around and see versions of yourself five years from now, or ten. But for women, this exercise in mirroring gets harder and harder as they push toward 40, and 50..”

Why We Need Older Women in the Workplace

By Lisa Miller 

They show us who we want to be.

When I was about 30, I was hired to be an editor at The Wall Street Journal. There was no good reason for this. I was a pretty good writer, and I knew the rules of grammar and was in general interested in a lot of stuff. But nothing on my résumé would have pointed in the direction of a coveted job at the No. 2 daily paper in the land; I’m guessing there were lots of people more qualified in line for (and deserving of) that job.

But the person who hired me — ten years older, tough, funny, brilliant — saw something in me. Thank God. She could see that I was smart. She probably sensed that I had (have) a tolerance, and even an appetite, for punishing amounts of work. She probably liked that I wasn’t an apple-shiner. (She wasn’t an apple-shiner.)

I fell for her completely. How could I not? My boss was wicked. Sharp. Hilarious. Quick-witted. Irreverent. Also: kind, responsible, ethical, serious. Direct. A meritocrat. She loved people who made her laugh or think. She followed rules carefully and broke them knowingly. She loved wielding her power.

She wasn’t afraid. We worked in a newsroom, at desks arrayed like a kindergarten classroom, so as I edited stories at what seemed to me like a lightning pace, I could watch her transact business. She was intimidating — not a person to piss off — a fact that everyone at the company knew. In an organization full of swaggering men, she didn’t holler. She never pulled punches. She just told you what she thought of your boneheaded mistake and then moved on.

I admired her. I wanted to please her. They say that younger women evaluate their female elders both in terms of their achievements at work and the way they manage their lives at home, and I suppose the fact that my boss was also a mother and a wife (who left the office promptly at 6 p.m. no matter what little fires were erupting on deadline) appealed to me. But that wasn’t the first thing. The first thing was her relentlessness, her comfort with her own hunger, and the good humor with which she wore it all. It was she, more than anyone I’d ever met, who gave me the gift of a vision of a future in which I might be sustained by work, comfortable (if often extremely frustrated) competing with men, in an office full of impatient, profane, curious, demanding, creative people whose company I loved. Love.

A good workplace is one in which you can look around and see versions of yourself five years from now, or ten. But for women, this exercise in mirroring gets harder and harder as they push toward 40, and 50, .....


Higher Income Senior Citizens Expect Premium Hike In Medicare In 2016

by Yen Palec

Some senior citizens might end up paying more for their Medicare starting in 2016. The Part B Medicare premiums are expected to rise to as much as 52 percent next year.

Despite of the increase in premiums, only 30 percent of the program's beneficiaries will be affect affected, according to Time. The remaining 70 percent will receive no premium hike at all.

While the looming premium price hike is inevitable, many analysts still believe that federal officials will always find appropriate steps in order to somehow lessen the hike. The premium rates that will be imposed in 2016 will be finalized in October.

Based on the price hike terms, senior citizens whose income is above $85,000 will be affected. People who are not currently enrolled to Medicare, as well as those who are not paying Part B through their Social Security will be affected as well. The reason cited was because they have not yet claimed their benefits. ...

Read more: http://en.yibada.com/articles/50801/20150803/higher-income-senior-citizens-expect-premium-hike-medicare-2016.htm#ixzz3ihfbLoWJ

Dear Abby: Technology, medicine grease senior’s slide into infidelity 


DEAR ABBY: Are senior citizens having more affairs these days? I used to laugh at the “old couples’ sex letters” I’d see in your column until it hit home.

 My husband (age 68) ran into a 38-year-old ex-waitress friend. They had lunch, which led to emails and texts, which led to sexts and then a full-blown affair. I think these personal/secretive forms of communication make going from texting to sexting much too easy.

 Our generation didn’t have much sexual freedom growing up. I think men of that generation have a “go for it before it’s too late” mentality, and the combination of the Internet and Viagra is making it possible.

 Should every couple insist on access to their spouse’s devices? How do you broach the subject? I wish I had seen the number of texts being sent early on. Then this whole ugly affair might have been averted. Now my trust, my respect and our marriage are all in crisis. — 

....Sharon in Naples, Fla.

DEAR SHARON: Technology and medicine are extending the sex lives of many seniors these days. ...


Related article...

Changes in sexual function as we age

Dr. John L. Pfenninger 

 “Physicians are less likely to be concerned about sexual functioning in the elderly and will prescribe drugs to treat their problems which have the adverse effect of inhibiting full sexual enjoyment.” 


I remember many years ago prescribing a heart medication for an 84-year-old patient. As he took the prescription he asked if the medication was going to interfere with his sex life. I was a young physician then and thought that he was just joking. Several years later when I attended his funeral, his 45-year-old wife told me that he was “still good in bed” although always worried about any medication that could interfere with his functioning. He had been serious.

Many elderly people do enjoy an active sex life, although they often encounter obstacles to do so. It’s a matter of perspective as to what the definition of “elderly” is. Presumably, that is always someone older than you are.

Thirty years ago, I wrote several articles on sexuality and aging for a lay press magazine “Mature Health.” At that time, I bemoaned the fact that little research was focused on this topic. What was normal? What was abnormal? What was acceptable? What effects did the prejudices of being old, yet sexual, have?

A contemporary review article on aging and sexuality cites many of the same concerns that I had had. Research in the area is minimal and saddled with the difficulties of embarrassment, self-reporting biases, poor response rates and limited good quality. However, what research is available consistently suggests that increasing age is associated with a decreased interest in sex, although sexual interest does remain strong overall. In a Swedish study, 98 percent of 50- to 59-year-olds gave at least “some importance” to sex, compared to 72 percent of 70- to 80-year-olds. In an Italian study, all 38 of those surveyed over 100 had completely lost interest in sex. In a U.S. study, 59 percent of 75- to 80-year-olds still attributed importance to sex.

There is great variability and diversity in sexual practices. In one survey, a 73-year-old woman regularly used a sex aid since her husband’s death. There are gender differences with 41 percent of males aged 71-85 having an interest in sex, with only 11 percent of females in that age group expressing the same. Research suggests that interest in sex among older men has increased over the last 10 years, possibly due to the availability of effective drugs to treat erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra, Cialis and others.....


Faceless Foodie is on a medically ordered diet. Therefore he will be foregoing his usual food reviews and instead discuss food in general. Today I would like to talk to you about menu changes and food description.

Menus should be more than just a casual listing of what’s available for dinner. People depend on the accuracy of menus as a way of planning a meal for themselves. Many people have an aversion to certain ingredients in food, either because of an allergy or just a downright hatred of that particular ingredient, for instance. If the menu says “Cheeseburger”, one would expect to receive a hamburger patty with a slice of cheese melted on top. Any person who does not want or like cheese on their burger knows to order something else. A no-brainer, right. The same my be said for more complicated dishes like the the one featured on our Saturday evening menu, “Chicken Cacciatore.”

In what way was the above chicken dish anywhere near Chicken Cacciatore. It should have been called what it was. Stewed chicken with mushrooms and carrots. Any resemblance to anything remotely like chicken cacciatore is purely coincidental. 

As I said, I am not going to review this dish based on taste or quality. However, if I were to rate it on authenticity, it would receive a failing grade. What’s in a name. Everything when it comes to food. If they can’t be authentic, at least be honest.


Not that our kitchen uses any of this stuff in cooking our meals, but now I know that at least I am not alone in my thinking...

Science Explains Why Cilantro Tastes Like Soap For Certain People

By  Carly Ledbetter

When people say they hate cilantro, they often attribute this food feeling to a soapy aftertaste. Thanks to a new video from SciShow, we finally know why cilantro tastes like soap for some 4-14 percent of the population. 

"How cilantro tastes to you has a lot to do with your genes," says SciShow's Hank Green. He explains that after conducting a few separate studies, scientists were able to pin down most cilantro haters as people with a shared group of olfactory receptor genes, called OR6A2, that pick up on the smell of aldehyde chemicals. Aldehyde chemicals are found in both cilantro and soap. Uh, yummy? 

If you are one of those anti-cilantro folks, at least you know that it's not really your fault and you can blame your parents. To avoid that soapy taste in your dishes, we suggest swapping parsley for cilantro...


Feds Spend $1.2 Million for Robots to Dress Old People

BY:  Elizabeth Harrington

‘Fruitful collaborations between robots and humans’

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending roughly $1.2 million to use robots to dress the elderly.

Citing an aging population, the federal agency issued a grant this month that will teach robots how they can assist old people in picking out an outfit.

“The aging population, rising healthcare costs, and shortage of healthcare workers in the United States create a pressing need for affordable and effective personalized care,” the NSF grant said. “Physical disabilities due to illness, injury, or aging can result in people having difficulty dressing themselves, and the healthcare community has found that dressing is an important task for independent living.”

“The goal of this research is to develop techniques that enable robots to assist people with putting on clothing, which is a challenging task for robots due to the complexities of cloth, the human body, and robots,” the grant said.

The work will involve a computer simulation that can mix and match numerous outfit combinations.

“A key aspect of this research is that robots will discover how they can help people by quickly trying out many options in a computer simulation,” the grant said. “Success in this research would make progress towards robots capable of giving millions of people greater independence and a higher quality of life.”...




Contact and Comment

Prepping for the BIG 7-0

As you know, I am plummeting head first into truly becoming an old man. In a couple of weeks I will have begun my 7th decade as an inmate on this penal colony we call earth, and, although I am serving a life sentence I have recently realized that I am totally unprepared for what is to come next. There is so much preparation to be done and such little time to do it in. 

Checking my closet, I realized that I have no “Old man clothes”. This, I decided must be remedied immediately. After all, how would it look, that on my 70th birthday, I come out of my room wearing jeans and a denim work shirt? It’s just not done. Therefore I oiled up my credit card and did some shopping, but not before I did a little research online. Recognizing that I had no idea what a person of my advanced years should wear, I Googled “Old man clothes”. Google came up with something other than what I was looking for. I was directed to the site of a merchant called “Buck and Buck” which stated that they had clothes for the elderly. Thinking that “elderly” was just another word for “old”, I opened the site. No! No!. They didn’t have old men’s clothes. They had clothes for old folks with various disabilities. They call it “Adaptive Clothing”. It’s clothes that have such things as Velcro closures and linings for the incontinent. Not what I need (yet). The clothes looked like everyday street clothes, not what I expected to see. I would have to look further.

Next on the list was a company called “Zazzle” which said they had over 8000 items for “old man”. However, when I clicked on the site, again, it was not what I was looking for. All they had was T-shirts with sayings like “ CAUTION-GRUMPY OLD MAN” and the word “CURMUDGEON” Emblazoned on them. I don’t need to advertise my advanced years, I just need to fit in. I could see that this might be a problem. There does not seem to be any one-stop-shopping for old men’s styles. I would have to put this wardrobe together myself.

First, the pants. All of the pants in my closet have a “rise” that comes up to my natural waist or just below. I would have to find something (preferably with a checkered pattern) where the waist ends just below my man boobs. This would cover my ever-expanding waistline. Of course, I would need either a pair of suspenders or, the ultimate in old man apparel “THE WHITE PATENT LEATHER BELT’’. Now, at least I had a place to start. What’s next? I know, it’s the shoes. Up until now, my life has been spent in sneakers. Mostly REEBOK’S or NU-BALANCE. This would never do for my new look. I need something to match my belt. I needed white patent leather shoes. Believe it or not, there are plenty of places that sell these. OK, so I have the shoes, the pants, the belt. A shirt, I need the shirt. But what do old men wear in shirts? More research.

A site called “Love to know” suggested that a good look for men over 60 is “crew-necked sweaters layered over button-down shirts”. Nice, but not the look I was looking for. Again, I would have to rely on my own bad taste to find the right look. I know that the shirt had to have a pattern (preferably, a loud one). I knew that the collar could not be the button-down kind. It also had to have no complementary relationship with the belt, pants or shoes. Enter the Hawaiian shirt. Perfect. Now, for one last item to complete and complement my new ensemble. A hat. 

If I lived in the Southwest United States, this would be a no-brainer. All I would need is one of those Lyndon Johnson almost cowboy hats. If I lived in one of the northern states like Minnesota or Maine or Vermont, anything with ear flaps would be oh so shiek. But here, in urban NY, It could only be one thing, a cap. You know the one. It has a little brim on it and it may or may not have a buckle in the back. Last seen worn by race car driver Stirling Moss. 

My wardrobe is now.complete. Whew! That’s a load off my mind. Now, the only things left to do is perfect a thick Jewish accent, buy a giant 1970’s era Cadillac and move to Florida.

Things we wonder about

What is the health status of our A/C

With the death of 10 people in the South Bronx, 

How safe is the air we breathe?

As of the writing of this article, at least 10 people have died from the effects of the legionella pneumonia virus or, as it is better known, Legionnaire’s Disease. While all of these cases have been centered around the area of the South Bronx

the incubator of this virus is found all over the country in the cooling apparatus of many central air conditioners.

Of course, while there is no reason to believe that our Central AC unit is contaminated we would like to know if there is any regular maintenance done to ensure that these units remain that way. Remember, the South Bronx is not that far away.

Is assisted living For You?

By Alicia Manzo

Are you one of the many people who drive by an assisted living residence on a daily basis, but have no idea what's inside the front door? Then it's time you stopped in. 

Assisted living was developed as a housing option for seniors in the mid-1980s, to provide a retirement lifestyle that supports and promotes an individual's quality of life, right to privacy, dignity, and independence. Personalized services are emphasized to meet the particular needs and lifestyle choices of each resident in a warm, secure, home-like environment. 

Tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and maintenance are provided, plus as-needed assistance with daily personal routines. This allows more time for a person to enjoy the social and recreational activities available at the residence and family outings. The isolation and boredom often experienced by an older adult living alone is replaced with a caring staff, a safe, pleasant environment, and if desired, new friends. In addition, licensed nurses in the building or on call 24 hour per day, provides peace of mind for the resident and their loved ones.

Parking is available for residents who still drive, and transportation is scheduled for shopping trips and special activities. Although nursing and physician services are available at the residence, transportation for medical appointments may also be arranged.

Assisted living residences have a variety of apartment styles, the majority being studio apartments, with a 30-day notice usually required if a resident wishes to relocate. Short-term or trial stays are also available and helpful to those who need time to recover after a hospital stay or require care while their caregiver is on vacation or unavailable. 

Most assisted living residences have an area within the residence dedicated to the treatment of Alzheimer's and other memory related impairments. In addition to the cost of basic room and board, additional fees are determined after personal assessments are conducted. Consultations with physicians, nursing staff and family members help determine if personal care or medication management is needed.... 

more.... http://www.nj.com/hunterdon/index.ssf/2015/07/is_assisted_living_for_you.html


Advantages of a stay in assisted living

By Mary Rintoul

“Life in an assisted living complex isn’t what it’s cracked up to be – it’s better. And if you learn that, you’ll be far more adaptable to growing old with dignity and beauty. My new friends taught me that."

Everyone, and I mean everyone from age 30 to 55, ought to live a week, a month or six months in an assisted living complex or nursing home.

I say this for the simple fact that it would do your hearts and souls good, add depth and dimension to your lives and give you a glimpse of your possible future living arrangements.

As some of you know, at age 60 I am the youngest resident of apartment life at Dillon Living Center. I never expected to be here at my age. In fact, I’d hoped I’d still be working as managing editor of The Hutchinson News. But sometimes our futures are handed to us with little or no notice. I am awaiting a liver transplant and DLC is the best place for me while I wait out my fate.

Gosh, though, I wish I’d had the smarts years ago to live in an assisted living apartment for a month or so. But I am learning how to live by observing the deftness of several residents and staff whom I have come to love.

I began this adventure in high spirits, mostly because the liver disease had taken its toll on my thinking and health. Rest was needed and necessary and DLC met my needs. But I am healthier now than I’ve been in years – yet the need for a new liver is always just one thought away.

And that is one of many reality checks that I’ve encountered recently. Just a couple months ago I used to respond when someone at DLC asked if I missed work: I miss the people, I’d say, but not the pressures of the job. Today when asked I respond with a resounding and no-doubt-about it “Yes, I miss work.” I miss the newsroom hubbub, the give-and-take of management team meetings and the daily debates and discussions with colleagues.....



Families face tough decisions as costs soar for elder care


The median bill for a private room in a U.S. nursing home now runs $91,000 a year, according to a report from the insurer Genworth Financial. One year of visits from home-health aides runs $45,760.

Doris Ranzman had followed the expert advice, planning ahead in case she wound up unable to care for herself one day. But when a nursing-home bill tops $14,000 a month, the best-laid plans get tossed aside.

Even with insurance and her Social Security check, Ranzman still had to come up with around $4,000 every month to cover her care in the Amsterdam Nursing Home in Manhattan. “An awful situation,” said her daughter Sharon Goldblum.

Like others faced with the stunning cost of elderly care in the U.S., Goldblum did the math and realized her mother could easily outlive her savings. So she pulled her out of the home.

For the two-thirds of Americans over 65 who are expected to need some long-term care, the costs are increasingly beyond reach. The median bill for a private room in a U.S. nursing home now runs $91,000 a year, according to a report from the insurer Genworth Financial. One year of visits from home-health aides runs $45,760.


“Over 50 percent of our seniors live at or below the poverty level. Without the funding from the Older Americans Act, where would these seniors go? How would they get access to services? How would they know what services are available to them? Who would determine whether or not they are getting ill?” 

Despite successes, Older Americans Act 

faces uncertain future in Congress

By Dennis Sadowski

The Older Americans Act, under which millions of Americans have enjoyed services in nutrition, health and employment, turned 50 on July 14 with little fanfare.

The programs funded under the act — such as Meals on Wheels, senior centers, health screenings, adult day care, respite services, transportation services, elder abuse prevention and a long-term care ombudsman program — have become a part of the everyday lives of millions of seniors.

About 11 million seniors, one-fifth of the country’s senior population, receive services through an Older Americans Act-funded program.

From 2008 to 2012, the act provided more than 130 million rides to doctors’ offices and other places; more than 1 billion meals; more than 60 million hours of homemaker services; nearly 20 million hours of case management; more than 30 million hours of respite care, nearly 248 million hours of community service, and more than 1.5 million individual consultations to long-term care residents and their families, statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living show.

Such programs allow older Americans — those 60 and older — to remain independent later into life, saving billions of dollars in institutionalization and hospitalization costs.

Despite the success of the programs that are largely funded through area agencies on aging, reauthorization of the act and the $2 billion it provides for senior services is not assured....


“...business owners who are given special benefits in the name of economic development initiatives, have a social responsibility to give back to the community where those taxes were collected.” 

Why Companies Getting Tax Breaks

 Should Help Fight Senior Poverty

By Daphne Mallory

Is your town or city experiencing growth? Economic development can be a great gift to residents.The creation of new jobs and the amenities that local government officials offer to attract corporations can increase property values and improve the quality of life for residents. Some officials offer major corporations tax breaks as an incentive to move all or portions of their operations to the area. These tax breaks and other incentives can total millions of dollars for one corporation, while some senior adults in those same communities suffer because they do not have consistent access to food or transportation.

I do not believe that business owners should be strong armed into supporting any cause or program. As I wrote in an earlier article, many entrepreneurs are vessels of love. We strive to share our profits to do good in the world. That's the true calling of an entrepreneur. At the same time, business owners who are given special benefits in the name of economic development initiatives, have a social responsibility to give back to the community where those taxes were collected. I believe that one of the best use of corporate donations and sponsorship dollars should be to help eradicate poverty, especially among senior adults. 

Too many senior citizens are struggling to live on a fixed income. Some are homeless. Some are forced to make decisions about using what money they have to pay for medicine or for food. Some are homebound, and don't have children or an adult caregiver to help them with bathing and other activities of daily living. Some corporations give back to programs that are aimed at the youth or college students. What about senior citizens?

What about veterans? There are men and women who sacrificed their lives and left their families so that all of us in the business community can have the freedom to work for ourselves. Some of them are living in poverty, while corporations are enjoying million dollar tax breaks. ...


Senior Citizens Get Prescribed Mental Health Drugs

 At Twice The Rate Of Younger Adults

By Ed Cara

It’s almost become a cliché at this point to claim that Americans are too overly medicated for their mental health issues. However, a new  study  from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests that it may very well be true for the elderly.

The study found that adults over the age of sixty-five were twice as likely to be prescribed psychotropic medication during an outpatient visit than their younger counterparts (those between the age of 21 to 64), despite the fact that the rate of diagnoses related to mental health was only slightly higher among the former. Older adults were also less likely to either receive care from a psychiatrist or be given psychotherapy.

"Our findings suggest that psychotropic medication use is widespread among older adults in outpatient care, at a far higher rate than among younger patients," said study author Dr. Donovan Maust, a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan Health System, in a  statement.  "In many cases, especially for milder depression and anxiety, the safer treatment for older adults who are already taking multiple medications for other conditions might be more therapy-oriented, but very few older adults receive this sort of care."

Because these visits often result in a prescription, older adults are much more likely to encounter complex and possibly dangerous drug interactions....


Want the Fountain of Youth? Eat less

Dr. David Lipschitz

“I hate to say it, but the mice on these calorie-restricted diets aren’t happy mice. They are overly active and agitated, and always hungry, which makes them pretty grumpy. Researchers on the study say mice are always trying to bite the hands that are not feeding them. Not much of a life, I’m afraid.”

Thank goodness older persons don’t want to live forever. When I tell my patients I have no wish to prolong their lives, but assure that the life they have is of the highest possible quality, the answer is almost always the same: “Thank you, doctor, that’s exactly what I want.”

But yet, many naïve baby boomers are desperately seeking the magic approach that will prolong their lives to age 100 and beyond.

Well, there really is a way to achieve this, but it’s so rigorous only the truly committed “nuts” will accomplish it. For almost 30 years, scientists have known animals fed a diet that restricts food intake by 30 percent prolongs their average and maximal life expectancy by 30 percent. Restricting calories also improves health, with less kidney disease (the major cause of death in rats) and a dramatic reduction in cancer.

Calorie-restricted mice stay healthy for a long time. Then, when they’re much older than the average, they gradually lose weight, get less active and eventually lie down in a corner and die peacefully. At autopsy, they have truly died of “old age” as no specific illness or cause of death can be identified.


Survey looks at aging concerns

People who are 60 or older and those who work with them differ on top concerns about the country’s aging population and growing older. 

Older adults said their top three worries about the aging process were maintaining their physical health (40 percent), preventing memory loss (35 percent) and maintaining their mental health (32 percent), according to the United States of Aging Survey. 

People who work with older Americans were most worried about protecting members of this group from financial scams (43 percent), finding them affordable housing (38 percent) and protecting them from memory loss (38 percent). 

The survey, now in its fourth year, involved more than 1,650 phone interviews that were conducted between March and May. It is a collaboration between the National Council on Aging, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and United Healthcare. 

The results show how varied society’s views are when it comes to getting older and “the importance of addressing many concerns simultaneously to ensure we all fully support the rapidly growing senior population,” said Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of United Healthcare Retirement Solutions....


Thought-provoking novel raises questions on the aging process

If you could live forever, would you soak up atmosphere by traveling to every country in the world, or would you fret over having the same desk job until the end of time?

That sense of existential ennui was what John Farrell, an otherwise amiable 29-year-old corporate lawyer, had before given "The Cure" -- a single injection dose of gene therapy that will stop biological aging at the cellular level -- in "The Postmortal," a darkly satirical novel by Drew Magary.

Best known for his columns at the sports website Deadspin as well as nonfiction books like "Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First Century Parenthood," Magary was a 2011 Philip K. Dick Award finalist for "The Postmortal," his debut novel.

"The Postmortal" was also the book given to all freshman Morningside College students during summe"(President) John Reynders was the first person to recommend the book," said Rick Wollman, Morningside vice president for public relations and marketing. "Incoming freshmen were asked to read ('The Postmortal') this summer and will participate in book discussions when they return to campus for orientation Aug. 22-25."

"The interesting thing about 'The Postmortal' is that it doesn't begin hundreds of years in the future," Yaneff added. "The book begins in 2019, when our incoming freshmen will, in fact, be graduating. The future is already here."....


Relief from the menopause blues

Do women suffer from an acute Prozac deficiency when they hit menopause? Or do their blood levels of Xanax suddenly drop? And what about weight gain, poor sleep, fatigue, and loss of sex drive – is that just something they have to deal with after menopause? The answer is a resounding no! 

For many women, despite being in previously great health, and continuing good diet and exercise habits, their body goes “out of control” at menopause. In addition to the symptoms on the surface, silent aging processes such as thinning bones and artery plaque begin after menopause. With the correct type of hormone replacement women can safely and effectively treat the symptoms of declining hormone levels, not only to feel better but also to prevent disease. 

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)...


Faceless was told by his doctor the other day that he’d better lose some weight. In recent months, I have been eating like a pig, packing away the pasta, the potatoes, the rice, the desserts and the bread. Faceless knows what to do to drop the tonnage, cut out the carbs, not an easy thing to do around here. However, Faceless also knows a challenge when he sees it and will face this one as he has faced so many others in recent years, head on. Therefor, I am foregoing my usual reviews for awhile. I don’t think it is fair to review a meal if I am not eating all of it. Instead, we’ll try to fill the void with stories about how you can eat better without sacrificing flavor.

Ever since I started doing reviews here at the Center, I have complained about the lack of seasoning in our food. The meals are usually bland versions of the original recipes. The answer that I get as to why the cooks use such a lite hand with the spices is “Old folks don’t like (or can’t eat) spicy food”. I, of course, beg to differ...


 Spicy Food Makes You Live Longer

To have a longer life, eating spicy food twice a week might be the answer.

It may be time for you to spice up your eating habits and experience the health benefits of living longer! (Say hello to curry, chili sauce, and more extra hot dishes)

Recent studies showed that eating spicy food is not only one of the best anti-aging diets, but it could also help increase the mortality rate of aging individuals.

Last August 5, 2015, BMJ announced a good news as to how eating spicy food can make people live longer. Forbes reported that not only will incorporating spicy food in your diet will enable you to live longer, it could also help you reduce the risks of acquiring serious health conditions such as cancer, ischematic heart disease and diabetes among other things.

Although the study is not fully confirmed by experts and patients, there is sufficient evidence that suggests a compound in chilli peppers, capsaicin to be exact, that contributes to the health benefits indicated above....



OK, maybe one comment on the food

Breakfast, Saturday, Aug. 8

Breakfast last Saturday morning was a mish-mosh of mixed signals and unavailable food items. Not only was breakfast served late, but we were informed that neither whole wheat or rye bread was available. Not that big of  deal, but we wonder why that was. Also, while I got my two (over) fried eggs and an English muffin (subbed for the whole wheat I asked for) I received only one slice of bacon. One slice, really?

Serendipity: The joys of aging: smoothies, sturdy flip flops and hot flashes

By Kelly Epperson Simmons

I haven’t joined the cool kids with the kale and the coconut water, but I am into the smoothie. Mine is what I call the Old Geezer: frozen strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, hemp hearts for my digestion, magnesium powder for my legs and tart cherry juice for my joints. Good Lord, what has become of me?

My body is not falling apart and I’m healthy, but I’m pretty sure when I was 25, my ankles were not stiff when I got up in the morning.

And when I was 25, I wouldn’t have invested $80 in a pair of flip flops. I prided myself on my shoe collection and eighty bucks could snag me plenty of cute flip flops. My sturdy flops with arch support were worth the investment. Two summers strong now, and they still feel so good. And no more foot cramps.

When I was younger and worked with women who were more mature, I didn’t understand some of their conversations. I’d fit right in now. Ah, the circle of life.

I’ve come a long way from a donut and Dr. Pepper for breakfast. The evolution of no breakfast to Greek yogurt with granola makes me think I’m hippie cool. Then I learn that even that is not a healthy way to start my day. Jeepers, give a girl a break.

Then something happened that I thought never would — or at least not yet. ..


More afterwords...

Grandmas Examining Sex Toys Will Scar You For The Rest Of Your Life (Video)


Cosmopolitan posted a video Tuesday called “Grandmas Review Sex Toys” because it’s important to keep the senior community educated on technological advancements.

The video features three women between the ages of 64 and 70 who are tasked with sharing their opinions on five relatively run-of-the-mill tools for adult entertainment.

The women are particularly unimpressed with the We-Vibe 4 Plus, a remote-controlled couple’s vibrator.

Deborah, 70, expresses her concern about the product’s risks during river-adjacent sex romps....




Contact andComment

A Member of Society @70

This is the month I was dreading. In a way I guess I have had anxiety about it most of my life. You see, this is the month that, through no fault of my own, I will have reached a true milestone in my life. This is the month that I will turn 70 years old. It was on a hot summer day (according to my mother) back in August of 1945 that I arrived screaming and kicking (again, according to mom) into this world. The atomic bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima just two weeks previous which made me a true baby of the Atomic Age. This meant that everything I would ever eat or drink or breathe would contain a certain amount of Strontium-90* in it. Just great for the nads I was told. Another thing that I was told was that there would be a great new world and a great new life ahead of me and that I would see and experience things so fantastic and wonderful that my feeble brain could not even imagine. Well, on that point they were right. 

In my 70 years, there have been more wonders than in any period of time ever. Let me bore you with a partial list. Some of them you may not have thought of.


I guess I could have added such things as Reddi Whip, Banlon, The Sleep Number Bed, and Brooklyn Decker to the list, but that’s just me. In any event, that’s a pretty eclectic list. What can it be that accounted for all of this advanced technology? I’ll tell you. It’s old people. You see, most of the inventions that we think are so new and so wonderful and so modern were invented by or have their roots in the technology of another era. The TV remote was invented in 1955. Microwave technology was a WW2 invention. Computers date back to the 1930’s. The cellphone was invented by Martin Cooper who was born in 1928 and was in his 70’s when he came up with the cell phone idea. And the list, I’m sure, goes on. So you see, it ain’t all about the kids. It takes a little seasoning and, I’m guessing a less-than-lethal dose of Strontium-90 to accomplish greatness. So where does that leave me? Nowhere. For the last few years, I have been up the creek without the paddle floating precariously on a raft of Social Security checks and generic medications. Have I wasted 70 years? According to Leviticus 12, in another couple of weeks I will have come to the end of my allotted “Threescore and Ten” which means that from then on I will be living on borrowed time, but I don’t believe that I have wasted any of it. After all, I was a contributing member of society. I mean, only heaven knows how many reams of paper, toner cartridges, ball point pens and three-ring binders I have sold. That must account for something in the vast scheme of things. 

I know that I have used up my fair share of fossil fuels and contributed my waste to countless landfills and recycling centers. I have gone through six or seven cars, TV’s, three or four computers and an immeasurable amount of underwear and socks and not to mention at least one wife. If that ain’t contributing to society, I don’t know what is.

*Strontium-90: The perils of strontium-90 - or, indeed, a host of radioactive isotopes that are strontium's travel companions - did not cease with the ban on atmospheric nuclear tests. Many of the hazards of fallout could also be associated with the radiological pollution that is part-and-parcel of nuclear power generation. The controlled fission in a nuclear reactor produces all of the elements created in the uncontrolled fission of a nuclear explosion. This point was brought home by the RPHP work, when it found strontium-90 was 30- to 50-percent higher in baby teeth collected from children born in "nuclear counties," (PDF) the roughly 40 percent of US counties situated within 100 miles of a nuclear power plant or weapons lab.

Did something finally stick?

I’ll admit it. There is nothing more annoying than an ex-smoker. We are more bothersome than a Sunday morning charismatic evangelist. When we see someone smoking we can’t help but stop and preach to them about the evils of demon tobacco and cigarettes. And we cannot understand why we get dirty looks and smoke blown in our face. I haven’t smoked in over 30 years, and I was a two pack per day cigarette junky. Every time I see one of my fellow residents here at the Center lighting up I want to rip the butt from their lips. But, of course, I don’t and can’t. We are discouraged from such activity. We are supposed to let the staff admonish people for smoking in non-smoking areas. Unfortunately, the staff has been lax in this area, or they were ignored by those residents who think it is their given right to smoke wherever they please. That is until recently. After months of trying to get those clandestine smokers to go to the designated smoking area do indulge their habit, to no avail, it appears that something said at the last residents meeting hit the right note. And it was so simple. Only use the smoking area or lose the privilege to smoke altogether.

That’s right. The management has threatened to make this entire facility a no-smoking venue which would put the end

 to smoking anywhere inside the gates. This would mean that not only would present smokers have to quit (or walk down a long hill to the main gate) and also that all new residents would have to adhere to the no smoking policy. In addition, management has assured us that they mean what they say. Well, that statement seems to have done some good. By my personal observation as a resident of the Franklin annex where most of the illegal smoking was done, I can say that since that resident’s meeting last week, not one person has been seen smoking where they are not supposed to. In addition, the number of cigarette butts strewn about the sidewalks and gutters has dropped significantly. Of course, we will have to see if this sticks and that the offenders won’t return to their covert behavior. But, for now, the threat seems to be working.

How does wine affect the aging brain?

Douglas De Jesus

Q: I'm an older gentleman who stills works a job requiring mental acuity and memory. I eat healthy and drink wine moderately. Does wine have an adverse effect on memory and motor skills as you get older?

A: As the Baby Boomer generation ages, researchers are increasingly interested in the intersection of diet and brain health. Many dietary choices involve a complex evaluation of risk versus benefit—and that’s especially important when it comes to alcohol.

We all know what too much alcohol does to our motor skills and memory, no matter our age, and abuse in middle age can lead to increased risk for dementia and long-term 

memory impairment later in life. But when it comes to light to moderate consumption, numerous studies—albeit many on lab rats—have shown that drinking may improve memory (one looked at Champagne in particular!), is linked to better brain health in older women and, with its high level of antioxidants, might even help with certain neurological illnesses.

More recently, a study published in the May 2015 journal Alcohol investigated an important question: Does a moderate amount of alcohol impair brain function in older adults? University of Florida researchers focused on the effects of low- and moderate-dose alcohol on psychomotor skills, set-shifting and working memory performance in men and women ages 55 to 70....


Older Americans Need Protein to Keep Muscles Strong, Study Says

By Steven Reinberg

Older adults need a protein-rich diet to maintain muscle mass and strength, a new study suggests.

Protein should come from animal and plant sources, since each type of protein appears to play different roles in maintaining lean muscle mass and leg strength. Plant protein helps preserve muscle strength, while animal protein is linked to muscle mass, the researchers said.

"With aging, there is loss of muscle mass and strength," said lead researcher Shivani Sahni, director of the nutrition program at the Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research in Boston.

She said that protein is the body's building block that produces muscle. "After 50, people start to lose muscle mass. Between 50 and 60, muscle strength declines by about 1.5 percent a year. After 60, the loss can be 3 percent a year."

Losing muscle mass and strength affects the ability to move and do daily activities, Sahni said. In addition, loss of muscle can affect balance and increase the odds of falling, leading to broken bones and head injuries. 

"Overall protein intake is important for maintaining muscle mass and muscle strength," she said. "You should have protein as part of every meal."

The researchers found that men needed nearly 3 ounces of protein a day to maintain muscle mass and strength, and women needed 2.6 ounces. Lean muscle mass was highest among those who ate the most total protein and the most animal protein. 

The diets of many older people lack an adequate balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, Heller said.

"Research suggests that we may need more protein as we age," she said. There are many reasons why older adults may consume too little protein, from being less active or less hungry to poor dental health, lower income or limited access to food, she added.


Aging Americans need eyecare most,

 but do they have benefits?

"The single most important thing anyone 50 years or older can do for their vision and eye health is to book an annual eye exam," he said. "Once you pass the 50-year mark, your risk for several serious eye diseases increases and the odds of you requiring vision correction also climbs. What's more, your optometrist may see signs of a serious physical health condition you never associated with an eye exam."

"The average optometrist sees 2,500 to 3,000 patients annually. And it's not uncommon for there to be hundreds of times each year you have someone in the optometrist's chair who hasn't had a physical in a while. You take a look at the back of their eye and you see early signs of something potentially serious," said Dr. Lahr. "More often, eye doctors recognize symptoms of serious eye disease when it's early enough to correct the condition or manage long-term vision issues."

Ironically, for many aging Americans, an annual eye exam becomes harder to access at a time in life when they most need to see an eye doctor regularly. According to The Vision Council, less than half of Americans age 65 or older have vision benefits. Studies show that this aging population will double to 71.5 million by 2030. Regular adult eye health and vision care is not provided through original Medicare or the Affordable Care Act. Plus, an increasing number of Americans in their 50s and early 60s are without access to employer-sponsored health benefits due to self-employment or circumstances. 


Given the enormous rate of employee turnover here and at many other assisted living facilities, this article mat be of help to both residents and administrators alike.

The New Program Giving Senior Living Execs an Edge

by Cassandra Dowell

The impact of high staff turnover can reverberate throughout a senior living company—from costing providers millions of dollars to affecting crucial relationships between caregivers and residents.

While many companies focus on helping staff maintain and develop new technical skills, little is done to promote team building and further develop leadership skills among executive staff, LeeAnn Mallory, a leadership and organizational development consultant for Presbyterian Communities and Services (PC&S), tells SHN.

“There is not a long history in the culture of senior housing and long-term care to focus on leadership development,” she says.

PC&S executives underwent a third-party management program before deciding to implement one in-house.

“Everyone on our executive team found it so beneficial,” Mallory says of the third-party program. “So, they made a commitment to bring it in-house. There were a lot of changes made to the program to make it more relevant for senior housing.”

The Irving, Texas-based nonprofit senior living provider created a practice-based program spanning 12 months. It is divided into three sections: self, others and organization. The class commenced in June.

PC&S is the parent company of Grace Presbyterian Village and Presbyterian Village North (pictured), senior living communities; Faith Presbyterian Hospice; and the soon-to-be completed T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center.

Mark Lenhard, PCS corporate director of organizational development, was among the first group of 21 “students” to participate in the program, Leadership That Matters: Equipping Exemplary Leaders (LTM). The second class will kick off in fall of 2015.

“How are we promoting employee retention?” Lenhard says of one of the topics examined through LTM. “It’s more than salary and benefits. We need to think about how we are helping that individual grow personally and individually.”

Key traits of being an effective leader include being able to manage emotions and give and receive feedback, Mallory says, adding that the program also focuses on “mindfulness” to help achieve these goals....


The Long Game: Google-

Backed Calico Partners With Ancestry.com 

By Mark Bergen

How much would you pay to live longer? What if Google were making the pill to do it?

On Tuesday, Calico, the medical research company Google incubated in 2013, announced it had cut a deal for access to genetic information from Ancestry.com, the largest family tree website. It’s among the first public moves from Calico, the secretive division born to (gasp!) extend human life. With its new DNA data — properly anonymized — Calico will look for genetic patterns in people who have lived exceptionally long lives, then make drugs to help more of us do that.

The deal also marks another step in the next chapter of tech’s ambitious experiments with biology: After collating medical data, it’s marching the research to market. In January, 23andMe — the Ancestry.com competitor run by Anne Wojcicki, now ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin — inked a similar deal with Genentech to parse the genomes of Parkinson’s disease patients. Genentech is the former company of Arthur Levinson, the CEO of Calico. (It’s a small world.)

These companies are good at grabby headlines, but the commercial model for such ambitious research is unproven, and will likely remain so for several years.

Tim Sullivan, Ancestry.com’s CEO, said his privately held company has fielded requests from multiple medical research firms. It has spent over 20 years amassing its databank. He told Re/code: “We have been looking at, and frankly responding to, inquiries from a number of parties about ways that we can collaborate to take the data that we’ve aggregated historically, and that we’re starting to aggregate now, and get some real scale.”

Sullivan’s company had some scale from the get-go. Its subsidiary that partnered with Calico, AncestryDNA, has genotyped the DNA sequence of over one million customers. Two weeks ago, the company launched AncestryHealth, a portal for its customers to track personal health and wellness, and marry that with their genetic data.

But its treasure trove — and what Calico really wants — is the extensive, detailed genealogical data. Ancestry.com claims to have more than two million paying subscribers, who have created some seven million historical family trees. It’s a rich well for tracking longevity trends. 

Neither company shared financial terms of the deal. Sullivan also dodged a question on any future deals between the two. “We have a lot of business relationships with Google, but nothing else that I can speak to,” he said.


“Social Security is projected to run a surplus again this year. And next year. And the year after that. And the year after that. These annual surpluses simply add to its large and growing accumulated surplus.”

Social Security Has Enough Money to Expand Benefits Now,

 Trustee's Report Shows

By Nancy Altman

The Social Security Board of Trustees has just released its annual report to Congress. The most important takeaways are that Social Security has a large and growing surplus, and its future cost is fully affordable.

It is sometimes reported that Social Security's current costs exceed its revenue, but if that happened, we wouldn't need a report to tell us. The whole country would know, because 59 million beneficiaries would not get their earned benefits as they now do every month. By law, Social Security can only pay benefits if it has sufficient revenue to cover every penny of costs - administrative as well as benefit costs. The claim that Social Security is running a deficit counts only Social Security's income from its premiums, often called payroll contributions or taxes, and disregards one or both of its other two dedicated sources of income: investment income and dedicated income tax revenue. When income from all of Social Security's revenue sources is counted, Social Security ran a $25 billion surplus in 2014.

Social Security is projected to run a surplus again this year. And next year. And the year after that. And the year after that. These annual surpluses simply add to its large and growing accumulated surplus.


Retirees Represent Major Marijuana Market

By Laura Brodbeck

As marijuana legalization spreads across the U.S., the public perception of a marijuana user is slowly changing from a young

, unambitious kid to an elderly person with a cup of tea.

That's right, marijuana use is becoming more and more common among retirees who say the drug helps them deal with some of the ailments associated with growing older.

Forget Florida 

Retirees have long flocked to states with sunshine and great healthcare in order to live out their golden years, but marijuana legalization is becoming a top priority for many seniors who use the drug to cope with things like chronic pain or insomnia. Oregon has seen an influx of new residents over the past year as its relaxed marijuana laws drew in people who want to get high without worrying about legal consequences.

Many dispensaries say at least 50 percent of their clientele is made up of elderly people suffering from varying illnesses and looking for relief.


The aging population of baby boomers has also contributed to increased marijuana use among seniors. As that generation lived through the 1960's and 1970's when drug use was common among teenagers, the decision to use marijuana as a retiree is often more comfortable.

Pushing For Legalization 

The growing popularity of medical marijuana among retirees has created a powerful voice in the campaign to legalize marijuana in the U.S. Groups like Grannies for Grass paint marijuana use as a safe, effective way for the elderly to manage their pain in lieu of traditional medicine.

Many believe that as more and more retirees adopt medical marijuana, states like Florida with large elderly populations will be pushed to legalize the drug.


Jeb Bush pushes to ‘phase out’ Medicare

By Steve Benen

The Florida Republican is convinced that “people understand” the need to get rid of Medicare. He’s mistaken. Given the polling from the last several years, what people understand is that Medicare is a popular and successful program, and a pillar of modern American life.

Previous attempts to “phase out” the program have met with widespread public scorn and if Jeb Bush believes he can “persuade people” to get rid of Medicare, he’s likely to be disappointed.

As for the policy, there’s no point in denying that the Medicare system faces long-term fiscal challenges, but to argue, as Jeb Bush does, that Democrats have ignored the conversation is plainly incorrect. On the contrary, while Republicans fight to eliminate the Medicare program, Democrats have had great success in strengthening Medicare finances and extending its fiscal health for many years to come.

The secret, apparently, was passing the Affordable Care Act.

Before “Obamacare” was passed, Medicare was projected to face a serious fiscal shortfall in 2017. As of yesterday, Medicare trustees now believe the system is fiscally secure through 2030.

Six percent! That’s half what we thought a mere decade ago. If that isn’t spectacular, I don’t know what is.

Obviously, all of these projections come with caveats because no one can say with certainty what will happen in the future, but the projections are encouraging – and far more heartening than they were before the ACA passed.

But Jeb Bush is under the impression that Medicare is, without a doubt, doomed, so we might as well get rid of the program now and see what Paul Ryan has in store for seniors in his far-right bag of tricks.


Although this article is directed towards an adult child of a senior citizen, the implications brought forth should be of interest to people of all ages.

Assisted Living:The Weakest Part

 Of America's Healthcare System

By Anne Tumlinson   

So, you've navigated your frail parent's hospital stay and now it's time to go home. You probably can't wait to leave but ... what's coming next is extremely uncertain. Leaving a hospital with a frail older adult in tow is like stepping off a cliff blindfolded. 

The hospital discharge process is arguably the weakest part of our entire healthcare system. I know this sounds backwards, but the less time your parent is in the hospital, the more Medicare money the hospital gets to keep. Your mom's safe transition home is not the hospital discharge planner's priority. It's her job to get you out as quickly as possible. 

 Here are five concrete things you can do that will fill this gap so that leaving the hospital will not feel like such a free fall. 

Get a Good Plan BEFORE You Leave

 The very first thing is to have the hospital to make you a "discharge care plan" that clearly lays out what you need to do, how to do it and when. 

 Be Pro-Active on Rehabilitative Care 

 Now, there's a decent chance that the hospital or your doc will tell you that your parent needs to go to another facility for "rehabilitative" care. There are two main types of places where that usually occurs: a special rehabilitation hospital or a skilled nursing facility (i.e., nursing home). Of those two, the vast majority of patients, getting rehab care in a facility, get it in a nursing home. 

Prepare to Get Help at Home 

You're certainly going to need some help when you get home. Managing a frail elderly parent at home directly after a hospitalization is really challenging. Please try and arrange for some help in the home at least for a short period of time. ....


Aging Adults Benefit From Exposure

 To Green and Blue Spaces

“While younger generations may use green and blue spaces more to escape and rejuvenate from their busy work life, our participants used nature to be active physically, spiritually, and socially in later life. Many overcame barriers due to chronic illness, disability, and progressing old age to connect regularly with green and blue spaces.”

Natural environments are known to promote physical, mental, and spiritual healing. People can attain health benefits by spending time outside, often in remote places to “get away from it all.” Now research conducted by a University of Minnesota graduate student with a team in Vancouver, B.C., shows that green and “blue” spaces (environments with running or still water) are especially beneficial for healthy aging in seniors. The research team interviewed older adults aged 65 – 86 years who lived in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. All study participants were low-income, represented 8 different self-identified racial and ethnic groups, and experienced a range of chronic conditions and health status.

Published in the journal Health and Place, the study – “Therapeutic landscapes and wellbeing in later life: Impacts of blue and green spaces for older adults” – demonstrates that by incorporating smaller features, such as a koi pond or a bench with a view of flowers, public health and urban development strategies can optimize nature as a health resource for older adults. Throughout the research, green and blue spaces promoted feelings of renewal, restoration, and spiritual connectedness. They also provided places for multi-generational social interactions and engagement, including planned activities with friends and families, and impromptu gatherings with neighbors.  


Senior citizens should consider success of wireless health apps – life-saving idea

Apple leading with help of many others to promote better health through smartphones

By Tucker Sutherland, editor

Senior citizens, often not on the leading edge of using new technology, may want to push themselves a little to look at the rapidly growing use of health apps, often for smart phones, that thousands of seniors and others are using to achieve better health and avoid deadly events like heart attacks.

“Smartphone apps are the latest tools to emerge from the intersection of health care and Silicon Valley, where tech companies are also working on new ways of bringing patients and doctors together online, applying massive computing power to analyze DNA and even developing ingestible ‘smart’ pills for detecting cancer,” according to Brandon Bailey, a technology writer with the Associated Press.

He has just published a news report, Software turns smartphones into tools for medical research, that reports “More than 75,000 people have enrolled in health studies that use specialized iPhone apps, built with software Apple Inc. developed to help turn the popular smartphone into a research tool,” he writes. 

“Once enrolled, iPhone owners use the apps to submit data on a daily basis, by answering a few survey questions or using the iPhone's built-in sensors to measure their symptoms.”

Apple is deadly serious about the use of smart phones to achieve better health. 


Lesson: Never listen to your server

I don’t usually listen to what other people think about the food we get here, at least not before I get to eat it. However, Tuesday evening might have been a good time to start.

My tablemate, who is much more “ballsy” than I am, asked our server flat out “How’s the ziti?”. To which the server, in a quiet voice, replied “It looks yucky”. That should have been a clue. But me, being the adventurous soul that I am, went right ahead and ordered it anyway. And, while a fist glance at my plate haphazardly spewn with a mash-mosh of pasta, sauce and heavens-knows-what, might have looked yucky, in actuality it wasn’t half bad. 

The dish, served hot for a change, contained all of the ingredients that make a nice baked ziti what its supposed to be.The tender macaroni and the tomatoey sauce were in the proper proportions. And, while there could have been a bit more cheese added to the mix, what the dish lacked in looks, it made up for in substance. The only negative thing I can say about this meal is that, as all the Italian-style food we are served here, there is a noticeable lack of Italian seasoning like basil, oregano and, of course, garlic.


Not exactly like the Outback, but...

As I entered the building last Thursday evening on my way to dinner one of my fellow residents shouted out to me, “You’re going to love the ribs. Just like at Outback.” Being the cautious person that I am, I tend to take these impromptu food reviews with a grain of salt. Very little of what we get here is cooked the way restaurants cook their food so I was not expecting very much. In the past, the ribs have varied from large, meaty and tender to small, overcooked and grizzly. However, I was pleasantly surprised when what was presented to us was better than usual. And, while I would not go as far as to describe them as “restaurant quality”, I will say that they were quite acceptable to the point where I actually enjoyed them. In fact, the only problem I had with the meal was not the ribs but the poor choice of side dishes. As far as I am concerned, the only think that should be served with ribs is either a baked potato or steak fries (not sweet potatoes and a string bean medley). Also, why I can’t get a little side dish of barbecue sauce, is beyond my comprehension.

Funny name for a fun game

By Bob Burrows


Some describe it as table tennis on steroids, while others label it mini-tennis. However you choose to describe pickleball, it’s no doubt gaining popularity across the country, including right here in Hudson.

About 12-14 local players, mostly senior citizens, try to get together as often as they can to play the game, described as a cross between tennis, ping-pong and badminton.

“I played a lot of racquetball and squash but now that’s too hard on the shoulders and knees,” 69-year-old Mike Mayer said. “This is a little more sedentary.”

Pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court, ideally with the net lowered to about 34 inches at the center. Players wield composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping-pong paddles and hit perforated plastic balls similar to whiffle balls back and forth across the net.

Games are played as either singles or doubles, with a three-person game called cutthroat another option. Serves must be made underhanded and the receiving team must let it bounce before returning. The serving team must then let it bounce again before returning. After that, both teams may either volley the ball or let it bounce.




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Sudden Departure

I lost a friend last week. And I will miss him. He was someone I have known for almost three years. He, hopefully, is in a better place. Which, considering what he had here, would be anywhere. . No, he didn’t die. And the “better place” he is in is a YMCA not far from here. He, in a way, represents the goal of many of the residents here at the Center. Getting out. And, while I don’t wish to make this place sound like a minimum security prison, there are many aspects of life in an assisted living facility that have an eerie similarity to such facilities.

First, make no bones about it. You are living in  an institutionalized environment. Although they try to make it as “homey” as possible, the reality of it falls far short. One can never entirely feel “at home” if you are being monitored 24 hours a day. One cannot feel at home if your day, at least in part, is structured so as to fit into a schedule that is best for the staff and not necessarily for the resident. A new resident will soon realize that things they used to do at the time when they wanted to do them such as taking their meds or eating are a thing of the past. These things are set to a strict regimen. And then there is the matter of privacy.

Some of the privacy that most adults enjoy may still be afforded to an assisted living resident who is fortunate enough to have his own room. Unfortunately, most ALF’s are designed to accommodate as many people as possible in as small an area as possible. This means that many, if not most, of the rooms are doubles. This also means that most likely you will be thrown in with a roommate who may, or may not, have a similar temperament, hygiene regimen, or sleep cycle as you. This can cause an untold amount of tension and stress at a time in one’s life that stress should be avoided. Months, or years can go by before a private room becomes available. And then there’s the food.

Food at most ALF’s is legendary, and not in a good way. Even the more affluent facilities may serve meals that are contrary to what a resident may have encountered on the “outside”. The first thing one will notice is the portion size. Most restaurants in America serve abundant, adult portions to adults. Not so in an ALF. The size of the meals served here (except for high carbohydrate foods like pasta and rice) are about the size of what most of us would consider to be a “Kid’s” meal. In addition, due to the dietary restrictions of many of the residents, the food is prepared with a minimum of seasoning. But you probably already know this and I don’t want to digress from the main reason for this week’s editorial which is to make you aware that life, as you may have known it, will change forever after moving to an assisted living facility. Such was the case for my friend who, because of an unyielding management whose main concern is the bottom line and not necessarily the well-being of its residents, caused my friend to incur more stress than he was prepared to handle. And, considering his relative young age and his various medical conditions, was something he did not need in his life right now. And so, after much soul-searching, weighing the pros and cons, he decided that in order to maintain his sanity and health and add some dignity to his life (something that one loses a great deal of living in places like this) he decided to leave. And, though I am sorry to see him go (especially under a cloud of duress) I feel that he made the right decision. But a decision like this does not come easily. There are so many factors that must be considered before one decides to take back control of their life, which is exactly what you are doing if you leave here, and for many of us, doing things on our own may prove to be a bigger task than we are prepared to take on.

Finding a place to live might be more difficult than you think. The cost of apartment rentals, especially in urban areas, will blow your mind. Next comes the realization that you will actually have to buy, store and cook your own food. Also, you most likely will be eating alone, a lot. There may not be anybody to help with the housework, laundry, bed linen and those “accidents” that happen in the bathroom. You will have to be responsible for paying your rent on time and possibly even your own maintenance. And lastly, unless you have some sort of emergency communication device, there is nobody there to help you if you fall or feel sick or worse. Those are the cons. The pros may not be so clearly defined.

The word “independence” means different things to different people. To some, it means the freedom to do as you like. To eat what you want, sleep when (and with who) you want and to come and go as you please as well as being able to enjoy the privacy you might have been deprived of in an institutional setting. But you also must remember, with independence comes stress. And with stress comes the always present danger of a decrease in one’s health. And finally remember, you are not getting any younger. Even if you are in relative good health and of sound mind, these things could change rapidly. You have to ask yourself, “How long will I be able to continue this lifestyle?”

Yes, there are difficult decisions to make if you are going to make it on your own, but don’t let these choices discourage you from making a break for it. For some, staying in a situation that becomes more intolerable for you every day is more of a strain on your body and mind than any exercise or illness can ever be. All I ask is that you think over your decision very carefully and then go forth and be free.

On a Personal note: Since moving into the Center three years ago my stress level has been reduced to nearly zero. To me, this means a lot. It means that the only thing I need to concentrate on is my health. Something that I have neglected for many years. Thank heavens that as of now I have no major health problems and any minor ones are well controlled with some mild medication. I see a doctor(s) on a regular basis and I am delighted that I have someone to go to if I have a health related question. In addition, there are professionals on staff here that, if I need them, can help me through the vagaries of the various health care systems that one confronts in old age. Therefore, for me, I am in a better place.



 The latest trend in home building lives up to the motto

 “less is more.”

By Rachel Slavik

Tiny homes are popping up all over the United States. The small houses are usually around 200 square feet and include all the necessities of a standard-size home.

NextDoor Housing, a Twin Cities-based company, believes the tiny homes can help families with aging seniors by offering an alternative to assisted living. 

Shirley Louiselle knows she can live comfortably in a 240-square-foot house.

“I wouldn’t need any more than this,” Shirley said.

After all, the 80-year-old is the inspiration behind one company’s tiny home movement. 

Shirley’s grandson, John Louiselle, and his life-long friend Jesse Lammie came up with the idea for NextDoor Housing a year ago.

“The Lord forbid if something were to ever happen, I would want my grandma near my family when she needs us most,” John said.

John and Jesse realized the little-living-space boom offered more than just a chance to downsize.

“It gives your family the ability to bring their loved ones closer to home versus outsourcing the care,” Louiselle said.



7 Habits of People Who Age Well

By Abigail Wise 

Strong social ties can increase your chance of living longer

Exercise, diet—even attitude—can be as important as genetics when it comes to growing old gracefully. “Old age,” as Bette Davis once said, “is no place for sissies.” But that doesn’t mean you need to chicken out. Sure, growing older affects nearly every part of your body—including your hair, skin, heart, muscles, and more—but aging well may be as simple as adopting these (mostly) easy everyday habits.

1. Maintain a positive attitude.

You are what you think you are when it comes to aging. Seniors who think of age as a means to wisdom and overall satisfaction are more than 40 percent more likely to recover from a disability than those who see aging as synonymous with helplessness or uselessness, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association.

2. Watch what you eat…

Nutrition plays a major role in how your body ages. “The latest research shows that a low-glycemic diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is healthiest,” says Dr. Jeffrey Benabio, Physician Director of Healthcare Transformation at Kaiser Permanente Primary Care. One great example is the Mediterranean diet, rich in plant-based foods, whole grains, nuts, and red wine (in moderation!). It also involves eating fish twice each week and cutting back on salt. Research shows that this type of diet may help you age better by warding off heart attacks, strokes, and premature death, according to Harvard Medical School. An added bonus: Benabio says that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, salmon, and flaxseed, help your skin manufacture the essential oils it needs to protect itself and can help skin look younger. In contrast, sugary, carbohydrate-heavy, and fatty foods—think, chips, soda, and white bread—can speed up the aging process, says Benabio. “So, when shopping or dining out, opt for whole grains and natural sweeteners,” he says.....



How today’s boomers are aging in place

As adults stay in their homes longer, they’re making sure they’re prepared for the years ahead

By Patricia V. Rivera

Like everything else, baby boomers are redefining what it looks like to age in place. Forget the traditional grab bars for bathroom safety that stick out like a sore thumb. They’re opting for bars that are hidden inside of towel racks, soap holders and toilet paper dispensers. After all, the rest of their home is stylish, too.

“After years of hard work, many have achieved a certain level of comfort and would like to maintain their quality of lifestyle as they get older,” says Lisa Bobulinski Bixler, a Houston architect with a Certified Aging in Place Specialist designation from the National Association of Home Builders.

A booming aging-in-place industry is starting to offer an array of options, including active adult communities with homes that take into consideration the needs of seniors and offer different levels of care.

But when thinking about the home, the key is to consider adaptability, the ability of spaces to be modified for future needs, and “visitability,” the minimum level of accessibility that will allow someone with a disability basic access to the ground floor of a home....



Will Obama Expand Social Security Benefits For Seniors?

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren Demand More Money For Elderly

By Cristina Silva

Democratic lawmakers urged President Barack Obama Monday to expand Social Security benefits for millions of seniors nationwide. In a letter to be delivered to the White House Monday, the lawmakers say shrinking employer retirement packages have made it more difficult for retirees to survive without additional Social Security dollars.

"As employers continue moving from a defined benefit model to a defined contribution model of retirement savings, it is critical that we fight to protect and expand Social Security -- the only guaranteed source of income in retirement," the lawmakers wrote. The letter came as the Obama administration announced Monday new programs and proposals at the White House Conference on Aging aimed at improving the quality of life and care for elderly Americans, including improving the health of family caregivers and free online courses for healthcare professionals about how to prevent patient falls.

"More than half (53 percent) of today's working Americans are not expected to have sufficient resources upon retirement to maintain their standard of living," the Democratic lawmakers wrote. An expansion of Social Security benefits would be enormously popular, they argued. "This support crosses party lines: 90 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Independents, and 73 percent of Republicans favor expanding Social Security," the letter said....



Serious impact on health for senior citizens who don't drive

By WUSA 9 Staff

According to a new study from AAA, when older adults give up their keys, 

they are twice as likely to suffer from depression.

A new AAA study shows that older adults who stop driving, voluntary or involuntary, are twice as likely to experience depression and five times as likely to enter a long term health facility than those who continue driving.

In fact, the AAA study examined older adults who have permanently given up driving and the impact it has on their health and mental well-being. 

The importance of understanding the effects this lifestyle change has on older adults is essential, as the number of drivers aged 65 and older continues to increase in the United States with nearly 81 percent of the 39.5 million seniors in this age group still behind the wheel.



NIH Body Weight Planner added to USDA

 SuperTracker food and activity tool.


Science-based technology provides users greater customizing to help reach and sustain a healthy weight 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Institutes of Health have partnered to add the NIH Body Weight Planner to USDA’s SuperTracker online tool as a goal-setting resource to help people achieve and stay at a healthy weight. Created in 2011, the SuperTracker tool empowers people to build a healthier diet, manage weight, and reduce risk of chronic disease. Users can determine what and how much to eat; track foods, physical activities, and weight; and personalize with goal setting, virtual coaching, and journaling. With science-based technology drawing on years of research, the Body Weight Planner will enable SuperTracker’s more than 5.5 million registered users to tailor their plans to reach a goal weight during a specific timeframe, and maintain that weight afterward. 

“We originally intended the Body Weight Planner as a research tool, but so many people wanted to use it for their own weight management that we knew we needed to adapt it with more information about how to achieve a healthy lifestyle,” said Kevin Hall, Ph.D., who led creation of the Planner and is a senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the NIH. “The Planner is a natural fit within the SuperTracker as it lets people accurately determine how many calories and how much exercise is needed to meet their personal weight-management goals.”

The Planner’s calculations reflect the discovery that the widely accepted paradigm that reducing 3,500 calories will shed one pound of weight does not account for slowing of metabolism as people change their diet and physical activities. More recently, the math model was further validated using data from a two-year calorie restriction study of 140 people. With those data, Hall and colleagues showed the model can also provide accurate measurements of calorie intake changes by tracking people’s weight. Researchers are examining how to apply this method for public use. 

Go to:  https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/bwp/index.html


3 Smart Ways Senior Citizens Can Save Money

By Matthew Frankel

If you're a senior citizen, one of your primary financial goals should be to make sure the money you've saved lasts as long as you do. Of course, the most obvious ways to do this are to save as much as possible before you retire, and to use the money from your nest egg wisely. With that in mind, here are three smart ways you may be able to lower your expenses in retirement, and make your savings last as long as possible.

Take advantage of senior discounts

Don't be afraid to ask for a senior discount when you're out shopping or dining. Many establishments offer senior discounts, and not all of them are advertised.

Just as a reference, according to theseniorlist.com, there are about 100 restaurant, retail, and grocery store chains that offer senior discounts, and some are quite generous. To name just a few, seniors are entitled to


You can join AARP as early as age 50 at a cost of just $16 per year, and your membership can pay for itself many times over. For starters, many businesses offer additional discounts to AARP members beyond what is discussed above, such as 25% off at Papa John's and 20% off at Denny's.

AARP members are entitled to other potentially money-saving resources including:

Free tax help -- the AARP Foundation's Tax Aide helps 2.6 million taxpayers with their returns each year

Financial planning and estate planning resources

Free webinars covering topics such as Social Security and Medicare

Member-exclusive insurance programs offered through companies such as The Hartford and New York Life

Spend your money wisely

One of the smartest ways seniors can save money is with some responsible tax planning. Specifically, many seniors have their retirement savings spread among several different types of accounts, and the order in which you tap into these can make a big difference.

The $60K Social Security bonus most retirees completely overlook

If you're like most Americans, you're a few years (or more) behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could ensure a boost in your retirement income of as much as $60,000...



How to make an aging brain feel less stupid 

by Patricia Marx 

Of late I’ve been a bit worried about my brain. When I ask it a simple question like “What is the word for that thing that’s sort of a harmonica but more annoying and looks like you could smoke pot with it?” or when I look for my glasses while wearing my glasses, I think, “My, my, it’s going to be a very smooth transition to dementia.”

How is it that certain minds seem able to forestall senescence, while others succumb?

You may have read in some magazine whose name I can’t recall that we can affect the resilience of our brains by investing in it early on, banking mental health as if in a 401(k) — to borrow an analogy from the psychologist Sherrie All. This notion hinges on the widely accepted theories of brain reserve and cognitive reserve.

Kenneth Kosik, a neurologist and neuroscience professor at UC Santa Barbara, explained these two kindred concepts to me during a rapid discourse that he called “The History of Alzheimer’s in Thirty Seconds,” which lasted about half an hour.

Here’s the short version: In 1988, autopsies of several elderly people revealed the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease. However, these individuals, during their lifetimes, had displayed no signs of dementia. It has been hypothesized that they’d been buffered from the effects of the disease by the extra neuronal capacity that they had been born with (brain reserve) or accrued through years of intellectual and physical pursuits (cognitive reserve).



10 Worries Older Americans Face

By Tom Sightings

The National Council on Aging has conducted a survey of Americans age 60 and over, along with various professionals who work with the elderly, to assess the concerns and needs of America's aging population. As you might expect, many of the issues revolve around finances and health. But what is especially interesting is that the professionals, ranging from doctors to counselors to credit union managers, often expressed different views from regular people when it comes to issues that should be addressed. Here are ten significant findings from the survey:

1. Maintaining good health. People are focused on maintaining their physical and mental health as they get older, and are particularly concerned about memory loss. Professionals are more worried about the financial lives of seniors as well as the accessibility of affordable housing.

2. False confidence. Older people have more confidence in themselves than professionals do. Only 10 percent of professionals think that seniors are "very prepared" to face old age, while over 40 percent of seniors feel they are reasonably well prepared for what lies ahead.

3. Staying in your current home. Almost 60 percent of seniors have not changed residence in the last 20 years, and 75 percent say they "intend to live in their current home for the rest of their lives." However, the majority of seniors say they would like to see more services available to help them adapt their homes for their developing needs. Many people admit that they will need help maintaining their homes, but most of them do not believe that their communities have the ability to help them out. 

4. Giving up driving. Many people anticipate that they will have to give up driving as they get older, and so they want access to better public transportation. About a third of those surveyed said that providing better public transportation is the single most important thing their community could do to make it easier for them to get around. ...



New website launched for older Americans

By Jessie Wagoner

Last week at the White House Conference on Aging the website www.aging.gov was launched. Aging.gov is designed to provide older Americans, their families, friends, and other caregivers, a one-stop resource for government-wide information on helping older adults live independent and fulfilling lives.

“Finally, one website to go to with all the information we need,” said Nancy Williams, 70 of Emporia. “I used to have to go to the social security administration website, then another for insurance information and so on and so on. Now one site to visit saves time and frustration.”

The Web site links to a broad spectrum of Federal information, including how to find local services and resources in the community for everything from healthy aging to elder justice to long-term care, as well as how to find key information on vital programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Services for older adults can vary greatly from state to state. In 2013, 61 percent of people over the age of 65 lived in 13 states — California, Arizona, Texas and Florida among the most popular.

“Many of my friends and family members have retired and moved to Florida,” Williams said. “I’ve held out. I love Kansas. And so far I’m pleased with the the services and information I have received in Kansas.”

Williams says that in reviewing aging.gov she was pleased to see information about healthy aging as well as information about retirement planning. She says that, frequently, information for older adults focuses on treating health issues rather than preventing them....



More “Seniors online”...

“If you can get them away from thinking about the technology and into the app, it’s all about what it’s enabling,” he said. “That’s the key. And then technology sort of disappears for them.”

Care.com, Peapod and the Future of Aging Technology

by Emily Study 

From giants like Google and Apple to Uber and other burgeoning start-ups, tech companies are lining up to cash in on a swelling senior population that’s increasingly living longer and requesting more services to help them age in place.

However, seniors’ tech demand often seems much different from that of younger generations, which raises the question: How will companies effectively reach both demographics over time?

That’s exactly the question Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy, posed to a group of c-suite tech execs during Monday’s White House Conference on Aging, a once-a-decade event that’s been credited for giving birth to such programs as Medicare and Medicaid.

“There is still a gap between older Americans’ use of technology and younger people’s [use]. What drives this gap and what do we expect to happen across time?” he asked. “How should companies respond to these differences? Do we need to plan for a future with two digital markets [or] will things converge over time?”

Based on the experience of companies like Care.com, Peapod and Uber, the demographic gap in technology use closes if that technology enables a valuable service to seniors....



Courtney Love's Fresh Start

The former grunge queen on beauty, aging, and turning over a new leaf.

As told to: Charlotte Cowles

The best beauty advice I ever got was from Polly Bergen when I was 11 years old. I was watching her on TV at my stepfather's house, and she said something like, "I wish someone had told me when I was younger to start taking care of my skin." So even though I was in the fifth grade, I did what she said. My stepfather was married to a Ford model at the time, and she would let me use some of her products but never her Erno Laszlo, so I started sneaking the Erno Laszlo soap. I got into huge trouble for it. This was around 1977, when Erno Laszlo was, like, all the shit. She had brought it from New York. These days I use SK-II products and ReVive moisturizer. If a product doesn't work, it goes straight into the moisturizer bucket in the sky. And no matter what, I always take my makeup off at night—that's important. But for whatever reason, I have genetically good skin. People in my family can become overweight, but they don't wrinkle. I'm blessed that way.

For me, vanity trumps bad habits. There was a period when I got quite heavy, and I had to do a magazine shoot. They Photoshopped the pictures, but I got ahold of the un-Photoshopped versions and put them on my fridge. After that I went to great lengths to lose the weight. I put my daughter's carbs in a secret drawer where I couldn't find them and went on the Zone diet, and I got back to a healthy size.

I've really turned a corner in the past three or four years. It began when I decided to get back into acting, and to do that you need to look as good as you can—even if you're aging. There are a lot of wonderful actresses who are getting older and look fantastic. I want to be in that club. To me, aging gracefully is to let it happen and accept it. In my experience, fighting it always seems to backfire and make people look ridiculous. You see actresses get work done and it makes them unrecognizable. I look at these actresses like Diane Keaton, who has never had anything done, and I think that's cool. It's sexy, really.

"Aging gracefully is to let it happen. Fighting it always seems to backfire and make people look ridiculous." —Courtney Love



Bone dry

If the goal is to cook pork chops until every bit of juice and moisture is baked out of them, then our “cooks” hit their mark. Pork chops, especially thin ones like we get here, have to be cooked very carefully. There is a delicate balance between under-cooking the chops to a point where the centers remain bloody and heating them to where the meat is dry and inedible. Now, while we certainly don’t want bloody, underdone pork and we know that our cooking staff is lacking the skills to cook it correctly, we think the least they should know is that they should have covered this monstrosity with some, dare I say it, GRAVY! Even a basic canned gravy would have been better than serving us a bare-breaded hunk of bone dry meat. 

In addition, although not pictured above because I did not order it, the yellow rice which came with the meal was as tasteless and dry as their porcine companion.


What it lacked in flavor, it made up in its visual presentation...lol


Seniors Gambling for Toilet Paper?

 Thank Heavens the Government Is Here to Stop It!

By Scott Shackford

Who knows what sort of slippery slope could result?

Consider this just another version of the regular “Officials Force Kids to Shut Down Lemonade Stand” story coming from other end of the life experiences spectrum. Periodically government officials step in to screw with the older folks in small communities for the crime of having fun in unapproved fashions. Typically this means low-stakes casual gambling. How low? This low:

Two or three days a week, 88-year-old Berylda Wilson and her friends get together to play euchre at the Delaware County Senior Citizens Center.

But because they pay a couple of bucks to play and take home prizes like packs of cookies or toilet paper, they're breaking Indiana law — and state officials have ordered an end to the illegal gambling.

The Indiana Gaming Commission last week contacted officials of the senior center — where the most common regular activities, besides euchre, include bridge and line dancing — and told them the pay-for-play must stop.

This was in Muncie, Indiana, reported by The Star Press. It is obvious that nobody is in this for the prizes. The center itself takes in about $30 from three hours of play per session. But it’s not government permitted gambling! It must be stopped. If these folks want to gamble legally they should do it the right way, by going to a facility fully authorized by the friendly government there to protect us all.....




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Food Fraud

Last week, in part one of this fooditorial, I told you how inept the preparation (and preparers) of our food were. I mentioned how good quality ingredients go in one end of our kitchen and leave the other end transformed into tasteless, overcooked and uninspired crap. This week I am dispensing with the niceties and calling a spade a spade. What is perpetrated in that clown college of a kitchen is nothing short of fraud, period.

Our kitchen is a joke. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragically and pathetically clueless . And the most tragic part of it all is that I, and many of my fellow residents are helpless to do anything about it. We can complain, we can send food back, we can point out its faults to management, but in the end it is quite obvious that they do not care one iota what we think. After all, they are of the opinion that because we are living in the “bargain basement” of assisted living facilities in this state, we deserve nothing better to eat than what sometimes amounts to nothing more than pig slop. 

You are probably asking why am I so pissed off right now. Let me tell you. Sometimes you just reach a breaking point. The point where things stop being a matter of bumbling incompetence and starts to become cruel and unusual punishment. That point was achieved last Thursday when lunch proved to be, not only disgusting but a total misrepresentation of the truth. And what is worse, they expect us to take it sitting down. Well, I won’t, because the one thing I don’t like is having the wool pulled over my eyes. Like Judge Judy says, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” Don’t tell me you’re serving crab and shrimp with fried rice when all there is is cauliflower. Did they honestly believe I would not notice? Did they believe that, when I brought my plate to the kitchen entrance, I would challenge them to find an actual piece of crab or shrimp in my rice? Did they believe that I would acquiesce when they tried to tell me that those little orange colored pieces of who knows what WAS the crab meat? Did they think that cauliflower (the world's worst vegetable) would take the place of actual seafood? I am tired of being made a fool of. I am tired of the amateur ineptness of what passes for cooking here at the center. Our residents deserve better. Management has to learn that feeding us subsistence level food, while it may be nutritionally balanced is nothing more than soulless twaddle served up in a sauce of apathy and indifference.



Things we like

Some of the entrants at this year’s Resident/Staff Art Show

Things we don’t like

Bargain basement

A few times every month the Center invites vendors to come to the facility and set up a table-top show and sale much to the delight of many pf our residents. These sales give residents who are not normally able to get to a store a chance to “accessorize”. Normally, these sales are held in our auditorium. However, this past Saturday the auditorium was being used for another purpose forcing the vendor to ply his wares in our already overcrowded lobby. While a small table would have been OK, they took it upon themselves to set up a couple of clothing racks right in the center of the seating area making the place look more like Filene’s basement than a residence. Because it was a weekend with no real management present, there was nobody in authority to tell them not to do this. I don’t think the lobby should be used for this purpose.......................................Ed.


An Expert Weighs in on Reverse Mortgages


Senior citizens who are unable to get by on Social Security alone are exploring other options for paying the bills. The reverse mortgage is a solution that some lenders offer as a guaranteed source of income. It’s equivalent to getting a home equity line of credit based on the appraised value of the home. The idea of having a monthly source of income is tempting to seniors who may not be able to work due to lack of mobility and other health issues. Some even use it as a retirement option. Is a reverse mortgage a good idea for supplementing your income?

Certain major lenders that once offered reverse mortgages have stopped offering this option to customers. One of the problems that seniors face in addition to losing equity in their homes, is the inability to pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes. If property taxes are raised, senior citizens still have to find ways to pay for it. Seniors who borrow more than the house is worth may also find themselves in worse financial trouble.

A reverse mortgage may eliminate your heirs from an inheritance. Hall recalls an example where a bank benefited from a reverse mortgage when the property was sold, but the heirs got nothing. One of the best investments you can make is seeking wise counsel from a financial advisor. They can help steer you in a direction that will protect you and your heirs.



Feeding Friendsy

The sparrows and other wildlife that cohabit our 14 acres are never at a lack for food as long as this lady is a resident here. Although the facility discourages the feeding of our woodland neighbors there is very little they can do about it. The photo shows one last feeding before bedtime. (The resident’s, not the birds).


Memories slip away when stressed 

after losing half a night of sleep

By Tucker Sutherland

Significant problems among senior citizens are memory loss and inability to sleep. A new study has found a clear link between the two. Many seniors may be too quick to blame their memory problems – particularly when stressed - on Alzheimer’s and other dementia's.

It is known that sleep facilitates the formation of long-term memory in humans. In this new study, researchers from Uppsala University, Sweden, now show that sleep does not only help form long-term memory but also ensures access to it during times of cognitive stress.

It is well known that during sleep newly learned information is transferred from short-term to long-term memory stores in humans. 

In the study that is now being published in the scientific journal SLEEP, sleep researchers Jonathan Cedernaes and Christian Benedict, sought to investigate the role of nocturnal sleep duration for this memory transfer, and how long-term memories formed by sleep remain accessible after acute cognitive stress....



Playgrounds: not only for kids!

By  Laura Willard

Senior citizens like to have fun, too. And these playgrounds are built just for them.

Playgrounds can be a lot of fun. Kids love them. Parents are into them because physical activity is good for kids. (And let's be honest: It's also because we know they'll sleep well later). But you know who else playgrounds are good for? Senior citizens!

Yep, that's right. Playground equipment isn't just for little ones. 

In Spain, where the population is aging, senior-citizen playgrounds have been popping up for a while. Not only do they provide a place for folks to enjoy physical activity, they also offer an opportunity for socializing. 

"Play is a great connector for adults and seniors and the children in their lives. In addition to the cognitive and physical benefits of play, it can also reduce stress in adults and is proven to help combat toxic stress in kids," Sarah Pinsky, director of client services for KaBOOM!, told Huffington Post. 



My aging brain makes me feel stupid

By Patricia Marx

Of late I've been a bit worried about my brain. When I ask it a simple question like "What is the word for that thing that's sort of a harmonica but more annoying and looks like you could smoke pot with it?" or when I look for my glasses while wearing my glasses, I think, "My, my, it's going to be a very smooth transition to dementia."

How is it that certain minds seem able to forestall senescence, while others succumb?

You may have read in some magazine whose name I can't recall that we can affect the resilience of our brains by investing in it early on, banking mental health as if in a 401(k) — to borrow an analogy from the psychologist Sherrie All. This notion hinges on the widely accepted theories of brain reserve and cognitive reserve.

Kenneth Kosik, a neurologist and neuroscience professor at UC Santa Barbara, explained these two kindred concepts to me during a rapid discourse that he called "The History of Alzheimer's in Thirty Seconds," which lasted about half an hour.

I can't reveal that secret. Actually I can, it's on Page 182 of my new book. But here is a list of self-improvement endeavors that purportedly vitalize your mind. I have culled them from various books and websites. Some I have invented. Can you figure out which ones are bona fide? (Answer "real" or "fake.")

How to Be Brainier

1. Write backward with your weaker hand.

2. Rearrange your furniture.

3. Make your bed using the flat sheet for the fitted sheet and vice versa.

4. Create "top 100" lists.

5. Eat dinner under the table.



Bo Derek Says She Hates Aging


Bo Derek isn't a fan of aging and is pretty honest about it.

"I'm 58 and a half," the former sex symbol told Entertainment Tonight earlier this week. "How do I feel? I feel like I'm aging like other people. I feel it's not fair. I don't mind the years, I just mind the look." 

She continued, "I miss my skin." 

Derek opened up about the aches and pains of aging, as well.

"Arthritis, injuries, my neck," she added. "There's a lot!" 

Derek, who became a sensation in "10," which hit theaters more than 35 years ago, also spoke about ageism in Hollywood. 



Boomer Talk: We are all getting older, but aging is optional 

By Angelena Craig  

Like most of us, you are probably none too happy at the idea or the actuality of getting old.  

Our generation simply dismissed the premise that one day we, too, would arrive at “old age.” But the good news is never before have we had this much control over how we age. The aging process may be slowed down or accelerated, depending, largely, on how well we take care of ourselves. This is not to say that unexpected, uninvited health challenges don’t happen to some, but actually, the human body is meant to age slowly.

When we were younger, perhaps before we turned 50, we took it for granted that our body worked as it should and could easily repair itself. But as boomers and beyond, there may no longer be an automatic repair. It becomes more important than ever to prevent illness or accidents, as best we can, in order preserve the vitality of youthfulness.

However, no one says it is easy to take control of our own good health. To willingly do “the work” of making the necessary changes to feel good in our body, mind and spirit can be hard work, requiring educating ourselves about self-care and having some self-discipline. Also required is a good attitude about getting old. 

A leading authority in women’s wellness, Dr. Christiane Northrop, cleverly makes this distinction: “Birthdays can be seen as milestones, or they can become millstones.”

“A millstone around your neck” indicates a problem you have, all the time, one that prevents you from doing what you want. When you reach a milestone birthday of perhaps 60 or 65, and you entrench yourself in negative thinking such as, “I’m definitely over the hill” or “Why bother?” you then can feel burdened, and miserable.....



Can aging be treated with drugs?

By Andrew Porterfield


Alfred Russel Wallace, the British naturalist edged out by Charles Darwin as the first to introduce the world to modern evolutionary theory, also had an idea about aging. He theorized that elderly senescence was caused by the need to “weed out” the old and make more resources available for younger, reproductive-age individuals.

The idea was definitely fodder for science fiction movies, from Soylent Green and its use of the elderly to provide, well, resources for the young, to Cocoon, in which the senescent elderly became useful to another planet (once their diseases were cured). Wallace was criticized for assuming, as in Soylent Green, that the diseases of aging were an inseparable part of aging. Today, more scientists are looking at aging like the writers and directors of Cocoon: as a disease state that can be cured.

Outside the worlds of science fiction and evolutionary theory, medical scientists have led the way to proper treatment of the diseases that come along with aging: cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease (and other dementias), and cancer. Some have also searched in vain for a drug or other magic substance that could extend lifespan.

Testing the first anti-aging pill.

On June 24, however, one group of researchers took another step toward producing the first anti-aging treatment. They met with the US Food and Drug Administration for permission to start a clinical trial. This trial, called TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin), was set up to test a drug for aging. As in, they wanted to treat aging as a chronic disease.

Nir Barzilai, a physician and researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and his colleagues sought to test metformin, a drug already approved to treat so-called “adult” diabetes (otherwise known as type 2), on a group of elderly participants. If approved, 3,000 elderly participants with cancer, heart disease or cognitive impairment will take metformin and the researchers will monitor them to see what ultimately becomes their causes of death. This experiment, Barzilai claims, will then be able to determine if the causes of aging can indeed be removed. at least in part, from the aging process.

As for metformin, it has been used to increase sensitivity to insulin and reduce glucose production in the liver for 60 years. It also has been shown to prolong life in mice and roundworms (specifically, C. elegans, a worm that’s been used in longevity and aging research). But the meeting with the FDA is significant, because the agency does not consider aging itself to be a disease.

Is being old an illness?

Supporters of the study of aging treatments say that they’re not looking for an El Dorado, but instead want to improve “health span,” as in the length of time before a person succumbs to chronic illness and death. ...



On Social Security

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

As workers get older, the likelihood they’ll become disabled increases dramatically. Social Security Disability Insurance is the only way many of these workers stay out of poverty. But House Republicans have manufactured a Social Security crisis to attack benefits for millions of disabled Americans – and if they have their way, disabled Americans could suddenly face a 20% cut in their Social Security checks next year. Watch this recent Aging Committee hearing and speak out: We can’t let the House Republicans dismantle Social Security inch by inch.




Cyber security: Fears for an aging population

By Raj J. Patel

With one simple click, you can expose yourself to cyber criminals.

While cybercrime is a threat to everyone, I’m especially concerned for those senior citizens who’ve been slower to adapt to technology. This group is more likely to fall prey to cyberbullying and be emotionally abused, harassed or threatened online. Embarrassed by their lack of knowledge, they’re often reluctant to discuss cyber incidents with family members — allowing situations to escalate.  

Cyber criminals target people with offers for free prizes and vacations, discounts on prescription medications, letters that appear to be from government agencies, and urgent emails warning that an account will be closed. These fraudulent emails contain links that install malware on the user’s computer.

It’s important to educate our less-tech-savvy loved ones about cybercrime and what they can do to protect themselves. Following are a few things all computer users should be aware of:

Phishing emails. These are emails that appear legitimate yet attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients. In one example, a woman received an email “from” her friend Jack claiming to have been robbed and left penniless in the Bahamas. “Jack” asked her to send money. Luckily, she was savvy enough to realize it was scam. The rule is simple: never click on suspicious links or respond to these emails. Just delete them.

•Personal and sensitive data should be stored on an encrypted external hard drive, not on a computer or online. Leave the hard drive in a safe location, and only plug it into the computer when documents are needed.

•Always backup your information. When a computer is corrupted, the backup files can be reloaded after the computer is restored.

•Make sure your technology is secure. Set passwords on computers, routers, smartphones, tablets and social media accounts — and make sure to update generic passwords entered by a third-party provider, like a cell phone or cable company. Also consider setting restrictions or customizing security options on internet and social media sites.....


More Senior Tech..

Simple is always the best for all customers,” “Technology should be about connecting us and not dividing us,”

White House aging conference: Don’t assume seniors are technophobic.

By Neil Versel

IT developers, don’t assume that seniors are anti-technology or even technophobic.

“Education is a stronger predictor of Internet usage than age,” Susannah Fox, CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services, said Monday at the White House Conference on Aging.

That was a common theme among a group of six panelists in a late-afternoon session on technology and the future of aging. Donna Levin, co-founder of Care.com, an online marketplace for finding caregivers and other family services, said that the company’s fastest-growing business segment is the 50-plus age group.

While 50 or even 60 is not exactly elderly these days, consumers of all ages just want to buy things that work. “It’s not about the technology, it’s about the service,” said Tom Parkinson, senior vice president and CTO of grocery delivery service Peapod.



White House Conference On Aging 2015: 

Elder Justice


Financial Abuse

“Older people are attractive targets, because they have money, homes or both; they may have impaired mental capacity and they’re often socially isolated.”

As you likely sadly know, elder financial abuse is a tragic problem in America. As Richard Cordray, director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said at the Elder Justice in the Twenty-First Century panel of the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA): “Older Americans all too often fall prey to financial exploitation.”

In a recent Wells Fargo survey of 1,005 investors, 32% of respondents said they know someone who has been the victim of investment scams or financial abuse targeted at the elderly.

The moderator of this panel, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathleen Greenlee, who’s the administration’s de facto point person on elder abuse (“it’s in my DNA”) said: “It’s an outrage against humanity.” President Obama seems outraged, too. He railed against elder abuse in his morning remarks at the July 13th conference. It may have been the first time a president has ever mentioned “elder abuse,” Greenlee said.




Your Questions Answered: Food And Anti-Aging

By Erica R. Hendry 

Q: Does the current research point to the possibility of some reversal, or at a minimum, a stop, to the progression of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s?

Q: I heard that Americans eat too much protein. Is that too much protein overall? Or animal protein?

Q: I am epileptic and have been told that a ketogenic diet is beneficial.  Can you explain how? 



Senators request GAO report on 

Medicaid oversight of care in assisted living facilities

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office requesting a report on Medicaid oversight and quality of care in assisted living facilities, according to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). 

Many states cover assisted living services through Medicaid home and service waivers, and others cover services through state plans or Medicaid comprehensive demonstration waivers. Although the federal government oversees some of the care through the Medicaid and Medicare program, the care has been mostly overseen by states. 

"Given the growth in federal Medicaid spending for long-term care services and expected program growth caused by the aging and expansion of the population and program, information to understand federal and state spending and oversight of care provided in these settings is needed," the senators wrote....



Editor's note: The Faceless Foodie decided not to review any of the meals served here this week. He told me, "Why beat a dead horse."


"You can get 10 percent off your Ben & Jerry's ice cream. That TOTALLY makes turning the big 6-0 worth it."

Getting old pays off: 

Wonderful discounts for seniors

By Jane Wells

Travel, Retailers, Food, Groceries and drugstores

The higher your age, the lower the price.

Kinda makes getting older sound better.

Even as companies chase millennial spending dollars, they recognize that older Americans ACTUALLY HAVE MONEY. They know baby boomers appreciate a good value.

Here are some of the Top Best Most wonderful discounts for seniors. By the way, can we pick another word? Senior sounds so old. Maybe we should call them Smarter Citizens?...




New Feature

Use this space to Buy, Sell, Trade, or show us your photos

It’s your personal FREE advertising space

It’s easy. Just go to:


 Leave a message. We will post it as soon as we get it.

Although we will try not to censure anything, please try and keep your messages relevant and sane.



Where exactly are those “gourmet” meals?

Every once and awhile I find it necessary to say something concerning the food and food service here at the Center aside from the reviews I do of individual dishes in another section of this blog. This is one of those times.

Food, the preparation, cooking, presentation and serving of which, is very important to the residents of our facility. Not only must it nourish our bodies, but it must fulfill our social, psychological and even spiritual needs as well. Those of us who, out of necessity, are compelled to eat every meal in our dining room are entitled to what should be a pleasant experience. While the food here has never been anything to write home about, in the last few weeks it has been going downhill faster than a wagon full of fat kids. The signs that things are not as they should are obvious.

First let me say that I believe that the basic ingredients of our meals are quite decent. The quality of most of the meat, poultry and fish we get here is as good, if not better, than that available in any supermarket. The problem arises when our staff of “cooks” get their hands on it. What often comes out of that kitchen amounts to culinary murder or foodicide. And, as of late, it is getting worse. Not only is the food overcooked, under or incorrectly seasoned and poorly plated and often served cold, but it has become unimaginative as well. This can easily be seen by the repetitive nature of the menus.

The preponderance of chicken, either whole, in pieces or as part of a soup or salad has been well documented in this blog. Not a day (or should I say, not a meal) goes by without some dreary, tasteless piece of dry chicken appearing on the menu. At least if it were properly, and by “properly” I mean professionally, seasoned with even the slightest bit of thought or attention to detail, it would go a long way in making this dull white meat less of a redundant experience for our residents. To put it simply, we’re tired of eating this stuff. And the fish is no better.

I cannot remember the last time I have had a piece of fresh fish. All of the seafood we get here is frozen. Not only has it been frozen, but it probably has been frozen, thawed, refrozen and thawed again. Most of the filets we eat here are either battered or coated with some sort of breading and then baked until the flesh is unrecognizable as the species of fish it is supposed to be. Tilapia (the most often served fish here) tastes like the catfish which tastes like the sea bass which tastes suspiciously like pollack. In other words, they can call it whatever they like, but it most likely is all the same fish. God forbid they should serve us a plain piece of flounder, seasoned with a little salt, pepper and maybe paprika, cooked gently so as not to ruin it. But, you see, they can’t. They can’t because either they don’t know how or they just don’t care. And this is so stupid because it should be no costlier or more difficult to cook food correctly than to cook it badly. There certainly would be less waste not to mention the benefits to the diners.

One of the first things a cook should know is, even if you can’t cook, at least learn how to make a good sauce or gravy. A properly prepared sauce, whether it be for meat, poultry or pasta, can make up for many a cook’s mistakes. This is a skill that is sorely lacking here at the Center. Sauces here, like the food they cover, are bland, tasteless and uninspired. The word “reduction” (or the reducing of the natural juices with some stock or other liquid) is unknown here. The juice, if there is any, is as flavorless as the meat or fowl it came from. Even the pasta sauce is devoid of the usual ingredients (oregano, garlic, basil) that one associates with Italian food. And this is a shame too because pasta appears on the menu as often as chicken. The only thing they do right here as far as pasta goes is that they cook it al dente, as it should be. Otherwise, they might as well open a can of Chef Boyardee and be done with it.

Unfortunately, problems in the dining room extend far beyond that of the food. Insufficient, poorly trained and often absent servers and cooks are all part of the general dining experience. Stupid rules and regulations regarding seating and serving times, what can or cannot be brought in or taken out of the dining room adds to the desperation of eating here. 

Last week, on two occasions, lunch and dinner were late because most of the serving staff decided not to come to work. Exactly why is not known, but obviously a staff that is properly compensated for their labor and is properly motivated by management does not go AWOL when they are needed the most. This is an obvious and systemic problem that has been ongoing here for quite some time.

All of the aforementioned problems reflect directly on management both at the local administrative level and by the big wigs at HQ who’s books are more properly cooked than the food. If their goal is to make this place feel more institutional than it already is, they are doing a great job. And here’s the kicker.

The Center employs a staff of marketing people who are responsible for pointing out to prospective tenants the various amenities available to residents if they sign up. Last week, a fellow resident overheard one of these marketing people tell a touring prospect about the “gourmet” meals severed here. After recovering from my hysterical laughing jag, I realized that in some respect she may have been right in calling our meals “gourmet”. It’s all a matter of perspective. To a Syrian refugee living in a Turkish refugee camp whose last meal was porridge with dung beetles, I guess our food is gourmet.



Bathroom safety rails. Anchored to what!

Every bathroom in our facility is equipped with safety handrails both in the shower and around the toilets. One would think that these very important pieces of equipment would be securely fastened or anchored to something solid like the studs in the wall. That’s what I believed, until last Friday when I, unfortunately, put some pressure on one of the rails surrounding my toilet and felt the awful feeling one gets when something bad is about to happen. Silently, and without warning, the railing gave way under what I considered light pressure. The screws holding the metal rails failed and pulled out from the wall. Happily there was no harm done, at least to me, having never lost my balance. However, upon closer inspection I discovered something quite unnerving. THE SCREWS ARE NOT ANCHORED TO ANYTHING. THEY ARE MERELY SCREWED INTO THE PLASTER WALL-BOARD WITH MOLLIES AND NOT ANCHORS. I believe that there is something basically unsafe about this and needs to be addressed immediately.

Editor’s note: To the credit of our maintenance department, the railing was repaired within one hour of my request.


Follow up...

This is the latest update of a story that I have been following for the last year. It has everything I like in a story. There’s the dishonest landlord. The brave tenants of an ALF (In Brooklyn, land of my birth no less), and the uncaring N.Y.S. Department of Health....

Judge Rules In Favor of Seniors Forced Out of Assisted Living Facility

By Leslie Albrecht 

PARK SLOPE — Residents of an assisted living facility who are being forced out so the building can be converted into luxury condos will have their day in court, a judge has ruled.

The Hon. Wayne Saitta sided with the seven remaining seniors at Prospect Park Residence and threw out a motion to dismiss their case against the facility and owner Haysha Deitsch.

"This was a wise and fair decision by Judge Saitta, and will allow the courageous seniors of the Prospect Park Residence to have their case heard at trial, despite the request of the despicable owner Haysha Deitsch and the Cuomo Administration's NYS Department of Health to dismiss the case,” said City Councilman Brad Lander in an announcement about the ruling.

The seniors, who include a Holocaust survivor and a 100-year-old, sued after Deitsch abruptly announced that he was closing Prospect Park Residence, leaving residents just 90 days to find new homes.

Since then most of the 130 residents have left, but a handful remain. They say they've been subjected to harassment as Deitsch has tried to get them to leave the building so he can sell it to developers for $76.5 million.

Though residents, their families and attorneys have pleaded with the state Department of Health to intervene, the agency has "abandoned" the seniors, advocates say.

Saitta repeatedly ordered Deitsch to maintain services at the facility, but residents say those orders were ignored. Recently Saitta had to order Deitsch to keep the air conditioning on in the building on hot days.



4 Obamacare Benefits Many Seniors Don't Know About

By Dan Caplinger

...Beyond providing insurance for those of working age, there are also lesser-known Obamacare benefits for senior citizens that some Americans have no idea exist. Let's look at four of the most important benefits of Obamacare that many seniors don't know about at all.

1. Closing the "donut hole" for Medicare prescription drug coverage. 

Medicare Part D provides prescription drug coverage for those seniors who are eligible for Medicare and choose to participate. Yet many seniors have faced one of Medicare Part D's biggest shortcomings: a coverage gap that most people refer to as the donut hole. Before Obamacare, Medicare Part D paid the bulk of drug costs up to a certain amount, which was $2,800 in 2010. Above a higher amount -- $4,550 in 2010 -- the out-of-pocket spending limit would apply, and participants would bear only a tiny amount of the cost for prescription drugs. But between $2,800 and $4,550, Medicare Part D covered nothing, leaving seniors responsible for the entire $1,750.

Obamacare set up a schedule of discounts for brand-name and generic drugs within the donut hole. In 2011, Medicare participants got a 50% discount on brand-name drugs and a 7% discount on generics. For 2015, those discounts have risen to 55% and 35% respectively, and the end goal is to leave seniors responsible for only 25% of their drug costs by 2020. That will effectively match basic coverage under the standard Part D model, making the donut hole disappear in the eyes of most policymakers.

2. Annual wellness and preventive care exams for seniors under Medicare.

Many health experts have noted that providing coverage for preventive care can head off more costly treatment for injury or illness later. That's a big motivation for Obamacare's provision of preventive services for seniors through an annual wellness exam.

The wellness visit is intended to review your medical and family history, with the goal of taking routine measurements on your physical condition and building a list of current healthcare providers and any prescription drugs you take. By providing personalized health advice, the wellness visit can establish lists of risk factors and treatment options for any conditions you have. In addition, a wide variety of screenings are available, ranging from vaccinations and cancer checks to obesity treatment and glaucoma tests. Many of these services come at no cost, although a few of the screenings require you to cover the ordinary 20% co-payment under Medicare Part B.....



Seniors and the minimum wage

3 Surprising Beneficiaries of a Minimum Wage Boost

The minimum wage debate has a clear impact on low-income workers, but it could also have three surprising beneficiaries as documented by of our analysts. 

Boosting state and federal minimum wage laws is getting a lot of attention at the moment -- especially following Seattle and Los Angeles' laws, which are set to make $15 the baseline wage within each major city. Both wages are being phased in over the course of many years.

But workers aren't the only ones set to benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. One potentially surprising beneficiary that many people forget about are senior citizens.

Why senior citizens? Simple: eligible seniors receive income on a monthly basis from the Social Security program. The trust that pays monthly benefits checks (collectively known as the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance Trust, or OASDI)* is funded through payroll tax dollars from workers. It's also set to face challenging times in the years ahead. Due to the retirement of baby boomers in increasing numbers and the longevity of Americans (the average life expectancy is up nearly nine years over the past five decades), the OASDI is set to burn through its remaining cash reserves by 2033. If this happens and Congress passes no solutions, benefits checks will be cut by 23% across the board in order to keep the program functional for an estimated 54 more years.

However, if minimum wages rise, then the amount workers are paying into the Social Security program rises as well. More payroll tax revenue being collected could push out the cash reserve depletion date well past 2033, giving current seniors and pre-retirees a little breathing room for when they do collect a benefits check. It also gives Congress even more time to hash out a solution.


*This blog or its editor neither owns or endorses any stock, trust or fund.


If Social Security Were Cut 20%, Majority Wouldn’t Be Able To Afford Basic Essentials, 

Says New Poll By The Senior Citizens League

A new poll by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) found that there would be serious financial repercussions for beneficiaries if Congress does not act in time to fix the Social Security Disability Insurance program. The poll asked “How would a 20% Social Security benefit cut affect you?” 

57% of participants said they wouldn’t be able to afford one or more basic essential needs like housing, food, or medicine. 

27% said they would have to spend through savings faster than planned, and,

14% said they would be forced into debt. 

Only 2% said “no big deal.”

The poll was open to current Social Security recipients and anyone with an interest in Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits. The scenario is not as hypothetical as some may think. The Social Security Trustees project that by the end of 2016 the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund, which operates separately from the retirement and survivors trust fund, will be insolvent, and unable to pay disability benefits in full. When that happens disability benefit payments would have to be reduced by about 20% to match tax revenues coming in. “So far Congress has not made public any plan to prevent this from occurring,” observes TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates.

Social Security disability benefits are paid for through payroll taxes. Benefits are calculated based on the disabled worker’s earnings history and the length of time worked. A total of 10.9 million disabled beneficiaries receive a monthly benefit averaging about $1,017. 

According to TSCL’s annual “Senior Survey” conducted earlier this year, nearly one in three survey participants, 31%, said they had no other retirement income, like pensions or savings, in addition to Social Security. The survey found no support for fixing the Social Security disability or retirement programs by cutting benefits, other than measures to reduce fraud and abuse. The survey found instead that 70% of respondents support raising the taxable maximum wage cap to apply the Social Security tax to all earnings. Currently the highest income workers, earning more than $118,500 per year, pay nothing on earnings over that amount. In addition, the survey found that 45% favored very gradually increasing the payroll tax rate by 1% each for all workers and employers versus 30% who opposed the proposal.



Is It Time For Tax Credits 

To Help People Age In Place? 

By Rosanna Fay

Survey after survey shows that most Americans over 50 want to age in place — that is, remain in their homes as they get older. Problem is, most of their homes aren’t geared for the reality of senior living. And retrofitting can be expensive. A recent MarketWatch article said widening a doorway can cost $1,700 to $2,500 and making a shower more accessible could run around $10,000.

Is it time to tweak the tax code and create federal tax credits to help people afford the cost of aging in place?

Louis Tenenbaum, one of the nation’s foremost thinkers about aging in place, who’s also a former contractor and the founder of the grassroots advocacy group, HomesRenewed.org,  thinks so.

“Just as it did for the solar industry, a robust tax credit program can recognize a shared interest between homeowners and housing professionals,” says Tenenbaum. Targeted tax credits, he notes, would heighten consumer awareness of the types of products needed to age in place well.



Aging: No laughing matter

By Jean Tanner

Guess what? If we live long enough, we are going to get old.

Getting old, to most folks, ain’t no fun (bad grammar, but used purposely because aging is not a laughing matter!).

You inadvertently overuse those once-workable joints engaging in the fun activities of life, like bowling, jogging, casting a shrimp net, playing ball and climbing a tree house with the grandchildren, just to name a few.

You clean the shelves at the hardware store of WD-40 to spray those stiff joints in hopes of keeping them lubricated (like the commercial on TV advised). You practically own stock in every OTC pain medication at the drug store that doesn’t really seem to work.

Then it’s hello, orthopedic doctor, surgery or weeks of physical therapy.

In reality, getting old is the pits, so we might as well look on the lighter side and laugh.

I did when coming across an old saved clipping from a Dear Abby column in the newspaper that reads, Old folks are worth a fortune, with silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet and gas in their stomachs....



Here’s Why You May Be Aging Faster Than Your Friends

By Alice Park

Researchers zero in on more than a dozen factors that can predict how fast you’re aging—and have some ideas about what makes people age more slowly

We all have friends who were born in the same year but look years younger (or older) than we do. Now researchers say that such perceptions aren’t just about outward appearances but about something deeper—the different pace at which each of us ages, and what that means for our health.

Most studies on aging, and the factors that affect aging, come from investigations of older populations, says Belsky. And in most cases, the chronic diseases or physiological changes that come with aging are already well established in these groups. But it’s clear that aging doesn’t happen overnight; rather, it occurs gradually over a period of decades, much like water affects the shape of riverbanks or stones over time. It’s not obvious on a day-to-day basis, but can be dramatic if several years have passed.

In the study, 954 people born in 1972 or 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, agreed to participate in a study that followed them from age 26 to age 38. Each participant agreed to be tested on a range of 18 different factors that earlier studies have linked to aging, including blood pressure, lung function, cholesterol, body mass index, inflammation and the integrity of their DNA. Based on their scores on these measures, researchers calculated a biological age for each volunteer. They did this again when the people in the study were 32 and 38 years old, and combined them to calculate the pace at which each person was aging.



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A recent visit to a podiatrist made me wonder about other problems old folks may have with their feet.

Foot Care for Seniors

By Chris Woolston, M.S.

How can seniors take care of their feet?

Foot problems are especially common in older people, for a variety of reasons. Feet lose cushioning as they age, and the skin and nails can grow dry and brittle. Many seniors have poor circulation, and this can slow the healing of foot sores.

Finding comfortable shoes that fit is the best thing you can do for your feet. It's especially important to avoid tight or high-heeled shoes that put undue pressure on the foot. The constant rubbing and pinching from this "fashionable" footwear are a major cause of corns, calluses, and bunions. (Not surprisingly, these conditions occur four times as often in women as in men.) Keep in mind that feet can become wider in your later years, so you should always have them measured before buying new shoes.

Another way to protect your feet is to keep your blood flowing freely. If you usually spend much of the day in a chair, you can improve your circulation by stretching, walking, and other exercises. Avoid wearing tight socks or sitting too long with your legs crossed. And here's yet another reason to avoid tobacco: Smoking narrows the arteries and can hamper blood flow.

You can also avoid problems such as foot odor by alternating what shoes you wear each day, and by washing your feet every day and drying them carefully. (Drying between your toes and elsewhere will also help you ward off irritating problems like athlete's foot.)

What are the foot problems seniors commonly face? ....



Common Ground: Aging expensively in the USA

Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas

50-year-old Medicare and Medicaid programs cry out for reform.

Cal Thomas is a conservative columnist. Bob Beckel is a liberal Democratic strategist. But as longtime friends, they can often find common ground on issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot.

CAL: Fifty years is enough time to judge whether a government program has lived up to its promises. Last year in this column, we agreed that 50 years after the Great Society was launched by President Lyndon Johnson, his anti-poverty programs had failed to significantly reduce the number of poor people in America, and that other approaches should be tried. Today, we look at Medicare and Medicaid a half-century after these programs began. I'm not feeling good about either.

BOB: You should. In 2008, before the Affordable Care 

Act, 44 million Americans received Medicare health insurance, and 47 million received Medicaid. Medicare covers those over 65 who have paid into the program, while Medicaid provides health care for the most vulnerable Americans, especially poor children. Before these programs, most poor and elderly did not receive health care, except those who paid for it out of pocket or received it through their employers. Since 2010, 16.5 million additional people who had been uninsured have health insurance thanks to Obamacare.

CAL: Johnson said Medicare would cost $500 million a year, but in 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee projected a cost of $12 billion annually by 1990. In 1990, Medicare cost $110 billion. By 2014, the price had ballooned to $600 billion. It has been the same with Medicaid: $1 billion in 1966, and today it's over $450 billion. By 2019, the cost is projected to be $704 billion. There doesn't seem to be any way of stopping the hemorrhaging without major reform.

BOB: That's because health care costs per capita have increased 2.4 percentage points faster than annual gross domestic product since 1970. Medical breakthroughs allow people to live longer. They need more health care as they age. Obamacare has increased Medicaid eligibility for people who make less than 138% of the poverty level, allowing millions of Americans to qualify.

CAL: President Obama cut $500 billion from Medicare spending over 10 years in order to claim that Obamacare was "paid for." A better option, writes Forbes columnist Merrill Matthews, "would have been to aggressively target Medicare and Medicaid fraud, which could have provided the same amount of savings." Like so many other government programs, Bob, politicians are less frugal with our money than their own.

BOB: I agree with you on waste. The federal government has been lax in pursuing those who abuse the system. The New York Times reported that one Brooklyn dentist filed 991 claims for Medicaid in one day! The same Forbes article you mentioned said that in 2011, states recovered over $1.7 billion in fraudulent Medicaid claims.



"When you are four weeks old, a week is a quarter of your life," Kiener's site explains. "By the end of your first year, a week is just a fiftieth of your life. By the time you turn 50, a whole year will be a fiftieth of your life."

Experience The Effects Of Aging On Your Perception Of Time

As we get older, a year becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of our overall lives.

If you buy into the theory put forth by French philosopher Paul Janet in the 19th century, then the first week of our lives is also the longest. Designer Maximilian Klener clearly agrees, which is visualized ingeniously in his new interactive digital project, Why Time Flies.

As you scroll down the page, childhood and adulthood squeeze into the screen as time condenses, meant to illustrate the phenomenon of time passing more quickly as you get older. Kiener illuminates this numerically, by listing the decreasing influence each year has on your overall life, and visually, by creating increasingly narrow bars to represent the passing years. "When you are four weeks old, a week is a quarter of your life," Kiener's site explains. "By the end of your first year, a week is just a fiftieth of your life. By the time you turn 50, a whole year with be a fiftieth of your life."



58-year-old actress Frances McDormand

 has an amazing outlook on aging

By Aly Weisman

Actress Frances McDormand is 58-years-old and unlike most of her Hollywood peers, she has decided to age naturally and gracefully without the help of a plastic surgeon.

In a new Yahoo interview with Katie Couric, the "Fargo" and "Almost Famous" star says it's hard to watch her colleagues alter their faces to look younger because "it erases everything."

McDormand, who has been married to director Joel Cohen for 32 years, says aging in Hollywood is a topic she often discusses with her husband.

"We have a lot of conversations about aging and how difficult it is in our culture," McDormand tells Couric. "I go on rants about it, I get a little too zealous about it and he cautions me to remember that not everyone ages the same way and I've been fortunate that I'm happy with the way I look and how I age."

After not doing any press or promotion for her films for ten years, McDormand is finally putting herself back in the spotlight because of a message she wants to send younger women....

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/frances-mcdormand-on-aging-2015-7#ixzz3ekXxZH5t


Face aging one breakout at a time

As menopause approaches, many women experience teen-like levels of acne, and the treatment isn’t exactly the same as it was in your 20s.

Though obviously not pleased, most women are prepared for certain changes that happen to their skin as they age. However, along with the dreaded wrinkles sometimes comes the unexpected scourge of acne. 

“Many women in perimenopause who haven’t had acne since their teens or maybe never had it at all suddenly start to break out,” says Dr. Rebecca Baxt, a dermatologist at Baxt CosMedical, located in New York and New Jersey. 

Women’s natural decline in estrogen as menopause approaches is to blame. Less estrogen means there’s a relative increase in testosterone in the bloodstream. Testosterone stimulates the production of sebum, which not only can cause acne but also can stimulate facial hair growth.  

At the same time, a drop in the reproductive hormone progesterone can cause sleep disturbances. “This can then result in increased cortisol levels, and increased cortisol (a steroid hormone) can also cause acne.... 



The less eaten, the better

Why I ordered this for dinner the other evening I don’t know. The regular beef meatloaf around here is bad enough (poorly seasoned and overcooked) so why did I think the (god save us) turkey meatloaf would be any better. Maybe it was because there was nothing else on the menu I wanted to eat. I fact, as of late, the meals have become uninspired at best and just plain lousy at worst. In any event, I went about the business of trying to actually sat this monstrosity of a meal. For some reason, in the last few years, turkey has become a replacement for beef. And, while in some cases it may actually be a suitable substitute for those who want to cut back on fat, meatloaf should not be among them. I have had turkey bacon, which was not bad at all, and even turkey franks that actually had an authentic hot dog taste, but when the ground turkey is pressed into service as a meat substitute for things like hamburgers and meatloaf, I have to draw the line. The consistency and texture of turkey just do not work and all the seasoning and ketchup in the world can’t make up for its rather slimy and chalky taste. 

Traditional meatloaf is usually made with equal amounts of ground beef, pork and veal, properly seasoned and cooked so that it remains juicy. Turkey, I’m afraid, cannot stand up to the rigors of that recipe. The garlic mashed potatoes were the only redeeming factor of this dinner.


Philosophy of Everyday Life

How can I get over the fact I am going to die?

By Lesli Messinger

True story- About 20 years ago I found myself in a hospital room with a Neurosurgeon looking down on me.  

He said, " You are going to die."  

I said, "I know. So are you."  

Long story, short, the brain tumor stopped growing (obviously!) and I am living until I die, just like everyone else.  

It always puzzles me when people act like dying is an option.  Dying is absolutely inevitable.   Having your child die before you... the mind simply cannot accept that. It is not the natural order of things. 

But none of that answers your question, does it?  Okay, here's the deal.  

Once you die, you aren't going to be all, "Life was so beautiful. I really miss it."  It will be over.  No worries. You will be in a "better place". 

However, when people in your life die, you will miss them terribly and regret all the things you didn't do for them or say to them.  Your grief will take you to very dark places. 

So stop wasting time worrying about your own death and show your loved ones how much you love them every day. You will not regret it.




Contact and Comment

“No” on bulletin board: 

What are they afraid of?

One thing that is sorely lacking here at the Center is communication between residents. While word of mouth, rumors and innuendos abound, residents really have no way of communicating with their peers when it comes to matters that affect us all. While it is true that we have a regularly scheduled residents meeting, only about 50 or 60 residents (out of nearly 200) are in attendance and, it’s only once a month which limits the spontaneity of anything important that needs to be disseminated amongst the population. The addition of a resident’s bulletin board, strategically located, would solve this problem. Unfortunately, when such a solution was proposed by the residents council, it was met with a resounding “NO” from management.

Of the reasons given for categorically denying this request for a simple cork board to be placed near the Case Management office, was the fear (by management) that such a free and open forum would lend itself towards messages of an off-color or vitriolic nature being posted by residents. Even when the offer to have the messages monitored by a staff member was proposed, the answer still remained “NO”. This gives rise to the question “What is management afraid of?” Regrettably, the only answer I have to this is that they are afraid of free speech. Why do I say this?

A veil of secrecy and complicity abounds here (As in many institutions of this kind). Little or nothing of what goes on administratively is disseminated to the general population. Personnel changes, as well as changes in policy and procedures, are rarely discussed, preferring to wait until the last minute so as not to provoke the wrath of any objecting residents. A bulletin board would alleviate worry over some of these decisions by allowing residents to possibly form groups where these matters could be discussed outside the bounds of the regular resident’s meeting. But, that is exactly what they are afraid of. By controlling information, they control us. And, by having a bulletin board, where any resident could post a notice is a definite threat to that control. Decidedly, this is not the intention of this bulletin board.

In this day of mass communication being available to all in the form of social media like Facebook, Instant Messaging, and Twitter as well as blogs, you would think that such a simple medium like a bulletin board would not be needed. But one must remember who the audience here is. The majority of the residents here have no idea what Facebook is or how to access it. In fact, any form of electronic communication except for TV and cell phones is as unfamiliar to most of our residents as any foreign language. Thus the need for a bulletin board. Seniors are used to seeing bulletin boards at senior centers, houses of worship, and supermarkets.

Here are some of the things that a bulletin board would be used for:

  • Information regarding non-facility sponsored social events like birthday parties, anniversaries or just a private dinner group or trip.
  • The buying or selling (or giving away) of unwanted items like a TV or refrigerator or camera etc.
  • Notification of the whereabouts of former residents who may have moved, been hospitalized or confined to their rooms. And, yes, even death notices and memorial information could be posted.
  • Sometimes a resident could just be looking for someone having the same interests as they do such as music, photography or a game of chess. In fact, anything of a social or even personal nature could be posted just like in a supermarket. 

All perfectly benign reasons for having a bulletin board. So management, what’s the real problem here?



Things we like

Mum's the word

The Center is blessed with some great flora. Among which are some spectacular Chrysanthemum bushes scattered around the premises. Every spring residents look forward to these beautiful balls of flowers which stay around until late in the fall. The right combination of bright sunlight and soaking rain really made them pop out this past week.

Things we don’t like

Where are the awnings?

While residents “roost” like overheated pigeons under the main entrance transom, blocking the doorway like a group of South Bronx juvenile delinquents, the lovely patio remains virtually unused because, for some reason, the colorful umbrellas have not been out in days. 


Some of the best meals are at ALFs

(Other ALFs, that is)

By Rick Allen

They are the Breakfast Club at Windsor of Ocala — who meet for lunch and dinner, too. They are a retired insurance agent, school teacher, electrical engineer, another school teacher and a couple of home executives.

Mealtimes at this community at 2650 SE 18th Ave., one of 34 licensed assisted living facilities in Marion County, find the Breakfast Club gathered around a table in a corner alcove with a view the greenery outside.

What they eat is up to them: if it's on Chef Herb Santiago's menu, no problem. And if it's not, well, still no problem. “If we don't have it, we'll come up with something similar,” said the Johnson & Wales trained chef. “We want the residents to feel like they're at home.

We don't want them to feel institutionalized.”

This is restaurant-style dining. Residents show up mostly when they want, servers take their orders, food is diligently whipped up in the kitchen and a chef in whites often emerges to greet his diners. So it has been the past decade at ALFs, the middle stage of residential living for seniors between their own homes and round-the-clock care of nursing homes.

And it is a trend well established in Marion County. One local community was somewhat of a pioneer nearly 15 years ago, five years before it began catching on elsewhere: Brookdale at Pinecastle, then Chambrel at Pinecastle, has offered this type of dining to residents since at least 2001.....



Childless Seniors Need to Build a Safety Net

"It is critical to plan ahead. Among your tasks is to create a support system, 

build a team of professional advisers and find aging-friendly housing."

By Susan B. Garland, From Kiplinger's Retirement Report, July 2015

Aging seniors face all sorts of uncertainties. But older childless singles and couples are missing the fallback that many other seniors take for granted: adult children who can monitor an aging parent and help navigate a complex system of health care, housing, transportation and social services.

As baby boomers age, the number of childless seniors, both couples, and s

ingles, is rising. Close to 19% of all women ages 80 to 84 will fall into that category in 2050, up from 16% in 2030, according to a study by the AARP Public Policy Institute. Recent research by a geriatrician at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York coined a name for these seniors: "elder orphans."

People without children "need to start thinking early about their future housing and future caregiving," says Lynn Feinberg, senior strategic policy adviser with the AARP institute and a co-author of the study. She suggests that they consider "what life will be like when they can't live without assistance."

One of the first steps childless seniors should take is to draft legal documents that will protect them if they become incapacitated. On the financial front, you should create a durable power of attorney and choose an agent who will manage your financial, legal and tax affairs should you become unable to handle these tasks yourself. Childless seniors often pick a niece or nephew to whom they are close -- or a trusted friend, cousin, sibling or clergy. Because of the potential work involved, "include in the document that the person should be compensated," says Wynne Whitman, an estate-planning lawyer at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, in Florham Park, N.J.

If you do not have someone reliable who can take on the job, you could set up a revocable trust and assign a bank or trust company as trustee, 

Read more at http://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T023-C000-S004-childless-seniors-need-to-build-a-safety-net.html#7pQZovQiOeOc5i7r.99


“Dogs are constant companions, full of unconditional love – it doesn’t matter what you do or what kind of day you had,” said Stevens, who works part time and whose 70-year-old husband is a volunteer firefighter. “They look at you, they keep you going, keep you active.”

Aging population considers pet conundrum

By Sue Manning

Denise and John Stevens have had pets their whole lives – then they retired.

“After our last dog passed away, we decided not to get another one. We like the freedom from worrying about her,” Denise Stevens, 63, said of the Long Island, N.Y., couple whose Jack Russell terrier died last year. “We tend to treat these dogs like children.”

Baby boomers are retiring in record numbers and many wonder whether a dog or cat belongs in their golden years. Some seniors want the companionship, but others worry about declining health, failing to outlive a new pet, moving to a facility that doesn’t allow animals and tighter budgets. Some, like the Stevenses, just want a break from the responsibility of owning a pet.

For retirees who want a dog or cat – at least sometimes – there are unique programs to help connect older people and pets, said Kristen Levine, a pet living and lifestyle expert who works with those over 50.

Organizations are toying with pet rentals, having senior citizens foster animals, arranging for several families to share a pet, or bringing therapy dogs to homes instead of just hospitals.

“Dogs are constant companions, full of unconditional love – it doesn’t matter what you do or what kind of day you had,” said Stevens, who works part time and whose 70-year-old husband is a volunteer firefighter. “They look at you, they keep you going, keep you active.”




   “Like it or not, the 2016 presidential campaign is now with us and candidates are scrambling to find their positions on the "issues." A seminal topic, if under-appreciated and misunderstood, is the relationship and impact longevity and population aging can have on economic growth.”                                                                                                                         

Longevity Changes Everything...or Should

 By Michael Hodin 

As the 2016 American presidential campaign gets rolling, it will be interesting to see how the candidates outline their strategies for population aging. The candidate who gets it right will not talk about "how to deal with more old people," but how to drive economic growth as aging demographics shape productivity, labor participation, and financial planning. 

Indeed, America's aging population -- triggered by longer lives, lower birth rates, and the graying of 78 million baby boomers -- is a question of how to manage a society with as many "old" as "young." This is fundamentally a question of economics. 

Enter Blackrock. Their new white paper -- and an accompanying roundtable to launch it in New York last week -- brings a compelling set of new ideas to the table. Blackrock joins other leading businesses who have been shaping this debate for years, ranging from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Aegon, to Nestle Skin Health and Pfizer, to Home Instead Senior Care and Intel. But make no mistake: Blackrock's entry is no small matter. 

Because if there's one group out there that knows a little something about investing, saving retirement, and, economic growth, it's Blackrock - who manages $4.77 trillion in assets (a trillion more than its nearest competitor), who serves 89 percent of the largest US retirement plans, 80 percent of the largest US endowments and foundations, and 94 percent of Fortune 100 companies. 

When they have something to say about population aging, we should pay attention..... 



"Age shame, ironically, may dissipate with age. “The people who have the hardest time with aging are the 20- and 30-somethings,” said Ari Seth Cohen, 33, who is the founder of Advanced Style, a popular street-style blog dedicated to women over 60. “They freak out with the first wrinkle under their eyes.”

An Age-Old Dilemma for Women


For some, age-claiming is a feminist issue. Suzanne Braun Levine, 74, the first editor of Ms. Magazine, says numeric honesty is a matter of principle.

“Whenever I am with groups of women, I always try to make a point of urging them to be courageous about their age,” she said. “It’s basically a variation on the theme of what has kept the Women's movement moving forward: telling the truth about our lives.”

Ms. Braun Levine said her mother starting lying about her age at 50. “When she died at 94, as far as the world was concerned, she was in her 70s,” she said. And when Ms. Braun Levine’s mother received her Ph.D. from Adelphi University at 82, she was unwilling to take recognition for the being the oldest Ph.D. at the university.

“I just keep thinking what she could have done for women of her generation in terms of making them feel less invisible,” Ms. Braun Levine said.



8 simple tips to designing safe living spaces for seniors

The saying goes, “With age comes wisdom,” but oftentimes, it also comes with a new set of physical challenges, such as limited mobility and difficulties with hearing and seeing. That’s why when designing living spaces for seniors, whether in an assisted living community or in your life-long home, safety and comfort take a front seat.

Certain furniture or design elements in your home that made sense before may no longer be practical. Fortunately, experts share there are many options available to address common aging factors, including increased risk of falling or declining vision. It starts by getting a little creative and designing a living environment that promotes continued independence, with form and function

Andrea Owensby, senior director of Design for Sunrise Senior Living, explains, “Ensuring your aging loved one’s safety can seem overwhelming at times, but there are a lot of simple changes you can make to help prevent accidents and improve quality of life so that seniors feel more at ease in their homes.”

1. Finesse the furniture: Create an open living space with larger pathways between furniture, which allows walkers or wheelchairs to easily maneuver the space. Strategically place larger pieces of furniture so they can be used for balance while moving throughout the room.

2. Think lightweight and sturdy: Furniture should be light enough to easily be moved, but also needs to be heavy enough that it won’t slip out from under someone when they’re sitting down or standing up. Having arms on chairs, for example, assists with balance.

3. Take into account shapes: Having round furniture keeps the layout open and protects your loved one from bumping into sharp corners. Switch out round knobs for pulls and levers, which can greatly help those experiencing arthritis.



“We’ve lost some of our eyesight; we’ve lost some of our manual dexterity; but mostly we’ve lost the patience to deal with stuff that doesn’t work right,” said Gary Kaye, the founder of Tech50+, a review site with an eye for smart senior gadgets.”

A Tablet for Aging Hands Fall Short

By Jennifer Jolly

A tablet can be the perfect gateway gadget when it comes to connecting an aging mom, dad or tech-reluctant grandparent with the rest of the wired world. Small, light and simple, a tablet requires less technical skill and manual dexterity than, say, a laptop or a smartphone.

If, that is, an older adult can figure out how to turn it on.

That is what my 70-year-old mom was trying to do with the AARP RealPad. I asked her to help me evaluate the $149 tablet as the potential starting point to modern technology for someone born long before the Internet was a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye.

My mom is not Internet-illiterate by any means. She is already a tablet-toting senior who not only owns an iPad, but knows how to use it. She plays a wicked game of Words With Friends and posts photos on Facebook (not always a good thing), and has even been known to binge-watch a season of “Downton Abbey” or two. But this relatively inexpensive, made-for-seniors slate had her stumped.

The RealPad’s pitch is: “No confusion and no frustration.” But out of the box there seems to be plenty of both....



"As we age, our desire for sex may diminish, but our need for caring, comforting and intimate touch is as strong as ever," 

One woman's message to seniors: 

Stay sexy

By Stacia Friedman

Sex is probably the one subject you don't bring up with your parents, but it's the main topic of conversation when Theresa Clark, 56, visits senior centers in Philadelphia.

Funded by a grant from Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Clark's workshop helps seniors understand the distinction between sex and sexuality. "It's not just what's going on between our legs," says Clark. "It's about the ongoing need for intimacy, affection, warmth and sensuality."

Sexuality a lifelong journey

The workshop dispels the myths about sexual health and aging. Think sex ends with your Medicare card? Guess again.

"Sexuality begins in utero as we are developing as human beings and ends with our death," says Clark. "It is the total expression of who we are as human beings. It encompasses our whole psychosocial development — our values, attitudes, physical appearance, beliefs, emotions, attractions, our likes/dislikes, our spiritual selves, and is influenced by our values, culture, socialization, politics, and laws."...


More on this topic....

7 Ways To Stay Attracted To Your Partner,

 According To Senior Citizens Who've Been Married Forever

By JoAnna Novak

Do you ever catch your grandparents squeezing hands? I don’t mean a polite paw graze in public: I mean one of those desperate clenches that can either mean, “Get me out of this lame family room” or “Get me out of this lame family room and into that freaky bed.”

If you’re grossed out just thinking about gramps and gram doing it, you’re not alone. In his book 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage, gerontologist Karl Pillemer explains that it’s actually really common to be turned off by intimacy in older people. He traces that feeling back to some pretty early memories — when you’re a kid, catching your babysitter making out on your family’s couch, for instance. Your reaction, as a kid in footie-jammies, isn’t to usually to think, “how sexy.” Your feeling was more like … EWWWWW.

But just because our grossed out reaction may be rooted in something probably biologically advantageous, we still have a lot to learn (yes, sexually) from couples who’ve been together for decades. Pillemer’s book collects opinions from “the experts,” a group of more than 700 Americans who answered questions about how they led long, satisfying marriages and partnerships. Lo and behold, those older folks believe sexual attraction is a crucial part of any relationship. Some of these “experts” have been married 70 years — so here are their top tips for keeping it fresh.

1. Keep It Tight(ish)

“Don’t let yourself go” sounds like antiquated advice, but the experts see good grooming as more than vanity. Self-care is sexy, after all: you’ll remain appealing to your partner and to yourself if you eat well and maintain a level of physical fitness that works for you. 

2. Remember That Size Does Matter — And Smaller Is Better

Minds, out of the gutter! I’m talking gestures; tiny joyous ones, like bringing candies or flowers, writing love notes, or opening doors, even boosting the music during a favorite song. Pilllemer observed, “there is nothing more effective in keeping a relationship warm, supportive, and fun than making a habit of doing small, positive things.” The senior experts believe that, in order to remain sexually attracted to your partner, you both must stay attuned to each other’s efforts to shower one another with affection. 



Arnold Schwarzenegger embraces his aging Terminator as 'Genisys' is set for action

By Amy Kaufman

"Old, but not obsolete.".

That's the refrain a graying, creaky Arnold Schwarzenegger repeats throughout the new "Terminator" film, attempting to reassure his comrades that, though his machinery has aged, he can still get the job done.

The 67-year-old is seeking to disprove similar doubts after suffering a string of box-office flops following his exit from the California governor's office in 2011. On Wednesday, he'll reprise his most iconic role for the fourth time in "Terminator Genisys," the latest installment in the sci-fi franchise that helped to establish the actor as a big-screen action hero in the 1980s.

But the gears are showing some signs of rust. The $155-million production is projected to take in a disappointing $55 million during its first five days in theaters over the busy Fourth of July holiday. And many critics have panned the fifth film in the "Terminator" series — though Schwarzenegger's performance has been cited as one of the movie's few redeeming elements.

"He loved having gray hair and the idea that the character was becoming more human," says the producer. "He didn't want this to be a retreat. There are other parts in franchises you can swap out; multiple actors have played Bond. But with Tom Cruise in 'Mission Impossible' and Schwarzenegger as Terminator, those are very special situations."



Love is a many layered thing

We have eaten and reviewed this dish many times over the last couple of years and I don’t think I have ever given the same review twice. The inconsistency’s in the preparation and serving of this Italian staple is as varied as it’s ingredients. I have never received the same dish, made the same way twice here.

One of the major deviations I have noticed is the cheese which has ranged from a strange ricotta-like glop to a pseudo Parmesan to a gummy mozzarella. Sometimes there are as few as two layers of eggplant, breading, cheese and sauce, while at other times (like last Monday) a multi-layered mound of stuff. If push comes to shove, I prefer the multi-layered affair which at least gives the diner a decent portion of food. All in all, I like the way the dish was made this time, the only trouble is that we never know what it will be like the next time it passes our way.


Close, but no cigar

Ever since its introduction by McDonald’s in 1981, and periodic reappearances since 1989, the McRib sandwich has become an iconic classic. Here in the USA, usually in the Fall, Mickey D’s brings out the McRib to the ooh’s and Ahh's of drooling customers who can’t wait to sink their teeth into these tasty morsels of a reformed pork patty*. Thus, due to the notoriety of this fast food favorite, impostors have sprung up in various forms and places. Not wanting to miss out on a trend, the good people here at the Mickey P’s have come up with their own version. Unfortunately, although they have the Chutzpah to use the name “McRib”, the Center’s offering is far from the spicy goodness of its original namesake.

First comes the bun. Here its a regular hamburger bun. The original sports a miniature Italian hero roll. Two additional ingredients that are missing from the Center’s sandwich ( besides a tangy BBQ sauce) is onions and a pickle. Something to think about if they are going to offer this again. All in all, for a fast, out of the ordinary lunch, this sandwich was not bad. And, with the addition of a those two extra condiments, could be a classic here as well.

BTW: The large steak fries were served hot and delicious. The perfect side for this kind of meal. Nice going on this one.

* Mostly pork shoulder


“It's not that bad. When you hit 70, you can still call it the new 60 if you want. In fact, a crapload of people have already declared it the new 50, anyway.” 

90 Is the New Deal

We live in a wondrous age of age-defying wonder. If you've made it to 30, hey, it's pretty much the new 20. Then comes that other big milestone, 40. Have no fear; it's the new 30. For a while now, 50 has been either the new 40 or the new 30, depending upon just how invigorated one can claim to feel when hitting the big 5-0. Even more incredibly, 60 has itself been declared the new 40 as well, which is a boon and a half to folks entering what used to be called the golden years but have now, if the names of vitamins are any indication, been reclassified as silver. 

In any case, you may be experiencing some confusion as to how all this will apply to you, as you get older. While it is true that you are as young as you feel, and it is perfectly acceptable to shave as much as 20 psychological years off your actual progression on this planet, it can be comforting to know that, when all is said and done, it's a fairly good bet that 90 is the new dead. 



The Punchline



Contact and comments

How (Financially) well off are you?

It’s all about timing

First read this...

Seniors enjoying greater security


All I can say about the above article is “What fairyland is the author living in”. While it may be true that some seniors are financially secure, in actuality most middle-class and lower middle-class seniors qualify as living a poverty level existence. And, if the current crop of legislators has anything to do with it, it is only going to get worse. The legislation is already being written to make drastic cuts in Social Security benefits and other so-called “entitlement” programs for seniors. The problem lies not so much about what you have managed to save or how much is in your 401K or other retirement plan, but rather in the fact that, for most seniors, there is no safety net. Here is what happens when and unexpected event befalls you before you are ready to retire or just recently retired. Here is a scenario that may sound familiar. It’s also a true story.

A 62-year-old man loses his job when the company he worked for moved out of state. Relocating was not an option for this employee of 13 years. Losing his job not only means a loss of salary, but more important, a loss of his health insurance as well. The “COBRA” plan (That allows him to keep his group insurance rates) is too expensive for someone with no job, so he is forced to buy a cheaper plan. A plan that does not cover doctor visits or long hospital stays or nursing homes etc. Being only 62, he is not qualified for Medicare and because he has too much in his bank account, Medicaid is not available. He can’t even get food stamps. Also, at the ripe old age of 62, nobody will hire you. At least not a job that will pay enough to cover you day to day expenses. So, what does this 62-year-old person do? He reluctantly applies for early Social Security, even though he knows he is taking a big loss in benefits. There is nothing else he can do.

Despite his lower income, he manages to make ends meet. He buys fewer clothes, he doesn’t eat out as often, he drives his car less. He looks for work that is not there. Even part-time jobs are few and far between. As his bank account dwindles, he looks further for ways to cut back. He raises the deductible on his auto insurance. He buys generic brand food items. He walks more (not a bad thing, he thinks). He excuses himself from going out to dinner with friends. He declines invitations to weddings and Bar Mitzvah’s so he won’t have to give a gift. He’s late with his rent for the first time in the 15 years he has lived in that building. But, despite it all, he still manages to live a somewhat normal life. That is until something goes wrong, terribly wrong. He gets sick.

Spend more than a few days in a hospital, and you will learn how pitifully under-insured you are. See what happens to all of your savings when two and then three months go by lying in a hospital bed. See what happens to that nest egg you were counting on to get you over the rough parts when you have to spend a year in a nursing home at $13,000 per month and only a portion of that cost is covered by insurance. Where is that Senior Citizen Financial Security they were talking about? Don’t kid yourself folks. Unless you manage to stay healthy (very healthy) or you are very well off, you will not have enough money to live comfortably in your old age. The author of the article either spoke to the wrong people or the surveys she quoted were completely off. I want to know where all these financially secure old people are and, more important, how did they manage to stay that way.


Things we like

New Washing Machines

After months of complaining about the loss of one of our two resident washing machines, it appears the Center’s management has heard our pleas and purchased two new (and hopefully more user-friendly) machines. These new machines are “Uni-Mac” commercial grade washers and should last a long time. BTW, they are free to use.


Things we don’t like

Cigarette butts in Planter

Smokers are annoying enough when they puff away in non-smoking areas of the premises, but when they use the newly filled (By residents) planters scattered around the area as an ash tray that’s the last straw. I think it’s time we make this place a NO SMOKING facility. 

More things we don't like...

Crowded conditions in hallway

The idea was to alleviate having residents travel from the nurses office (near the library) after receiving insulin and other procedures, all the way back to the med room for their pills. Unfortunately, they didn’t take into account the limited amount of space there is. One day last week, the corridor was so clogged with wheelchairs and walkers, that people could not get through. 


Today, seniors are more accepting of assisted living


Al and Gladys Mitchell lived in their West Toledo home for six decades before they moved in early 2014 to senior housing in the Browning Masonic Community in Waterville.

For the Mitchells, both 93, assisted living simply made sense.

“The house and yard were more work than pleasure. You would think that after 61 years you would miss the house,” Mrs. Mitchell said of her former three-bedroom ranch. “We don’t miss it. We’ve made it work.”

Now she and her husband of 74 years live in a one-bedroom apartment at Browning.

Before they moved, they considered the effect of their care on their family. Mr. Mitchell was prone to falling, and when he did, their son Michael, who lives in Whitehouse, would go to Toledo to check on him.

“After eight falls, it was time to leave,” said Mrs. Mitchell, a homemaker who became a manicurist when their sons Martin, who now lives in Tennessee, and Michael went to high school. “We moved here because we knew that one day we would need more help.”

Though they each have some ailments, they keep busy, as Browning makes sure of that.

“This place lacks nothing,” said Mr. Mitchell, who in 1965 took over the company his father started. Al Mitchell has since sold Mitchell Electric that was once on Upton Avenue.

According to the Assisted Living Federation of America, about 1 million elderly people live in more than 36,000 assisted-living facilities nationwide. .....

Read more at https://www.toledoblade.com/Culture/2015/06/21/Today-seniors-are-more-accepting-of-assisted-living.html#7hVXXsQTwu6epS2q.99


3 Ways Senior Living Steers Clear of Sex Abuse

By Cassandra Dowell

Sex abuse cases involving senior living staff against residents often are as baffling as they are complex, making it difficult for operators to respond effectively and humanely to the incidents, and ensure that they do not occur again.

And of course, the way a senior living provider reacts to allegations of abuse at the hands of a staff member is just as important as the steps taken to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place.

Given the sensitive and serious nature of these cases, the need for senior living providers to have strong policies and procedures in place is obvious — and has been further highlighted as several providers recently have had to deal with the issue in public, following news reports.

Complicating research efforts are often residents, who may be too frail or lack the mental capacity to report crimes. But the more steps providers take to prevent abuse against residents, the better equipped they will be to respond to allegations of abuse.

1. Screen for ‘Bad Actors’

The first line of defense operators have against “bad actors” entering their communities is through their hiring practice, says Meredith Duncan, attorney with Polsinelli P.C. Duncan specializes in legal and regulatory matters relating to senior living.

“Screen your staff as required by law and by using every tool in your arsenal to make sure the [applicant] doesn’t have a history of sexual offense,” Duncan tells SHN. “Ultimately, you have to do everything you can to make sure staff are the proper, qualified people to be there.”

2. Implement Ongoing Training

One way to ensure employees understand what is expected of them and provide the highest quality of care is through ongoing training.



How Boomers Can Provide A Triple Win For America

By Ann MacDougall

Boomers Making a Difference

Take Larry Jemison, a retired career postal worker in Cleveland, Ohio, who has spent three years as an AARP Experience Corps volunteer, tutoring young children in basic literacy. Jemison says: “When they tell me, ‘I passed, I passed!’ that’s better than a paycheck.”

Or Garrett Moran, a one-time top manager in a global private equity firm who now uses his business and executive skills as President of Year Up, an amazing organization that helps at-risk youth get on track for skilled jobs or college.

These individuals and millions more like them comprise an ad-hoc “Boomer Corps” — a Peace Corps analog that’s loaded with skills and experience. This army of experienced talent could be an enormously powerful asset in response to some of our country’s biggest challenges: working with at-risk youth, fighting poverty and climate change, and yes, addressing the needs of our frail elderly.

That’s good news for society — and it’s good news for Third Agers, too. Ample scientific evidence shows that purpose-driven work is good for communities and for the people who do it.

Let’s Start a Boomer Corps



This is why I ask you to check your Medicare statement carefully and report any discrepancies.


Doctors and nurses busted for

$712 million Medicare fraud

By Katie Lobosco

The FBI arrested 46 doctors and nurses across the country this week in the largest Medicare fraud bust ever.

In total, 243 people were arrested in 17 cities for allegedly billing Medicare for $712 million worth of patient care that was never given or unnecessary. 

In one of the most egregious cases, owners of a mental health facility in Miami billed tens of millions of dollars for psychotherapy sessions based on treatment that was little more than moving patients to different locations, said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. 

Four people are charged for mass-marketing a talking glucose monitor and sending the devices to Medicare patients across the country who didn't need or request them. They billed Medicare for the devices and received more than $22 million. 

In some cases health care providers paid kickbacks to fraudsters who could get their hands on Medicare patients' personal information. They would then use that info to bill Medicare for bogus care. 

Sometimes fraudsters, known to the Feds as "patient recruiters," will go to places like homeless shelters and soup kitchens and offer money to those who would share their Medicare patient numbers, a Department of Justice spokesman said. ....



Successful Aging: Breaking down myths about age

By Helen Dennis

Last week we addressed some apparent stereotypes assumed by a saleswoman who was shocked when her female customer bought a nightgown as a birthday present for her 75-year-old friend. The column suggested the saleswoman was somewhat biased in suggesting that such a gift would not be age-appropriate. To influence more realistic views of aging, we need to begin with ourselves. So here is a brief true-false Myths Quiz.

These are just 10 facts. The key is to keep informed and to speak up (politely) when a stereotype is being announced. In most cases, a negative age comment is not meant with malice, it’s just that we are used to this “ism” called ageism because it is socially acceptable. One by one, let’s change the conversation. 


1. The U.S. population of those 65 and older has nearly tripled since 1900. T or F

2. People who reach age 65 have an average life expectancy of about 10 more years. T or F

3. The mandatory retirement age in the U.S. is 65 years. T or F

4. In some cases, it is legal for employers to make employment decisions based on age. T or F

5. More than 70 percent of Americans older than age 65 will need long-term care services at some point during their lives. T or F

6. About 1 million Americans have entered their encore careers combining purpose, passion and often a paycheck for the greater good. T or F

7. Older adults are financially ruining our economy. T or F

8. Learning is lifelong. T or F

9. Most caregiving for older persons occurs independent of institutions. T or F

10. Little can be done to slow the aging process. T or F




It’s not often microsoft gives away something for free.

Just click on the icon on your toolbox for more information or go to...




Everyone grows older, but few are prepared to deal with it.

"Aging Wisely," the new book from Viola Mecke, PhD, ABPP, serves as a guide for navigating the emotionally challenging situations that come with growing older. Mecke examines the myriad life changes that lead many older adults to feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

"Growing older often presents very paradoxical situations," Mecke said. "Just at the time we feel comfortable with the experience and knowledge gained throughout life, we become less able to use them."

Mecke wrote the book using her experience as a psychotherapist and scholar, as well as life itself, to understand the challenges of aging. Four distinct phases, beginning at age 50, are marked by normal as well as unanticipated challenges. Each phase - containing difficulties such as physical changes, retirement, and illness - challenges one's self-awareness, relations with family and friends, and happiness. To approach these challenges with equanimity, resilience, and acceptance brings contentment, integrity, and peace.


Editor’s Note: Look for a review of this book in an upcoming blog.


Mourning the Death of a Spouse

What Can You Do?

Do Men and Women Feel the Same Way?

Taking Charge of Your Life

Is There More To Do?

When your spouse dies, your world changes. You are in mourning—feeling grief and sorrow at the loss. You may feel numb, shocked, and fearful. You may feel guilty for being the one who is still alive. If your spouse died in a nursing home, you may wish that you had been able to care for him or her at home. At some point, you may even feel angry at your spouse for leaving you. All these feelings are normal. There are no rules about how you should feel. There is no right or wrong way to mourn.

When you grieve, you can feel both physical and emotional pain. People who are grieving often cry easily and can have:

◾ Trouble sleeping

◾ Little interest in food

◾ Problems with concentration

◾ A hard time making decisions

If you are grieving, in addition to dealing with feelings of loss, you may also need to put your own life back together. This can be hard work. Some people may feel better sooner than they expect. Others may take longer. As time passes, you may still miss your spouse, but for most people, the intense pain will lessen. There will be good and bad days. You will know that you are feeling better when the good days begin to outnumber the bad....



The Evidence Points to a Better Way to Fight Insomnia

By Austin Frakt

One weekend afternoon a couple of years ago, while turning a page of the book I was reading to my daughters, I fell asleep. That’s when I knew it was time to do something about my insomnia.

Data, not pills, was my path to relief.

Insomnia is common. About 30 percent of adults report some symptoms of it, though less than half that figure have all symptoms. Not all insomniacs are severely debilitated zombies. Consistent sleeplessness that causes some daytime problems is all it takes to be considered an insomniac. Most function quite well, and the vast majority go untreated.

I was one of the high-functioning insomniacs. In fact, part of my problem was that I relished the extra time awake to work. My résumé is full of accomplishments I owe, in part, to my insomnia. But it took a toll on my mood, as well as my ability to make it through a children’s book.

When it comes to insomnia, comparative effectiveness studies reveal that sleep medications aren’t the best bet for a cure, despite what the commercials say.watching TV, for example). C.B.T. adds — 

...through therapy visits or via self-guided treatments — sticking to a consistent wake time (even on weekends), relaxation techniques and learning to rid oneself of negative attitudes and thoughts about sleep.



6 Top Health Threats to Men

What puts a man’s health at risk as he gets older?

By Matthew Hoffman, MD

More boys than girls are born every year in the U.S. But any lead in health men start with vanishes with the first dirty diaper.

From infancy to old age, women are simply healthier than men. Out of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead women in all of them except Alzheimer's disease, which many men don't live long enough to develop. Although the gender gap is closing, men still die five years earlier than their wives, on average.

Why Men's Lives Are Shorter Than Women's 

Listen up, guys. It may be time to drop the bravado and consider these sobering statistics: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is three times higher among men who are clinically depressed. Male suicides outnumber female suicides in every age group. Homicide and suicide are among the top three causes for death among males between the ages of 15 and 34. By the age of 85, women outnumber men in the U.S. 2.2 to 1; this rises to 3 to 1 if they reach their 90s. ...

While the reasons are partly biological, men's approach to their health plays a role too, experts tell WebMD.

"Men put their health last," says Demetrius Porche, DNS, RN, editor in chief of the American Journal of Men's Health. "Most men's thinking is, if they can live up to their roles in society, then they're healthy."

Men go to the doctor less than women and are more likely to have a serious condition when they do go, research shows. "As long as they're working and feeling productive, most men aren't considering the risks to their health,"...



Murder in the kitchen

A serial killer is loose in our kitchen. He is responsible for murdering perfectly good food who asked for no more than to be cooked correctly. This hideous cuisinecidal maniac has, in the last two days, killed at least two different kinds of fish and at least one chicken leg. He did his “finest” work last night on an unsuspecting piece of catfish by completely overcooking and already over-battered filet. The coating (most likely meant to be deep fried rather than “oven fried”) was too thick to begin with as was the batter on the chicken leg I ordered. However, the chicken did not suffer as horrible a fate as the fish which so overdone that it was all but impossible to cut or chew. 

I said there were two meals involved in this crime spree. The night before, the filet of soul was equally maimed in the same manner as the catfish rendering the meal inedible. We hope the scoundrel will be caught, tried and executed before he can do to any other food what he has already so shamefully done.


Some like it, not so hot

Curry is one of those seasonings you either love or hate. Some curries are so hot and so spicy and exotic that western pallets revile at the very thought of having it around their food. Consequently, other curries, made for the sensitive Gastrointestinal tracts are usually not worth even mentioning. However, the curry seasoning used on last Saturday evening’s chicken dinner was, surprisingly, just right. While the distinct curry flavor was quite noticeable, the “kick” that usually accompanies most curries and that tends to repeat itself at 2 am, was omitted from this dish altogether. And, while we are on the subject of chicken, I can say that for once the chicken was properly cooked. The meat on the two legs I had was all but falling off the bone. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that, as you can see from the picture, I cleaned the plate. 31/2 Foodies for this nearly perfect meal.

These 3 kinds of shoplifters cost Wal-Mart a ton of money

By Tim Dees

How much theft goes on depends on the location of the store. Some stores get victimized more than others. The non-employees who steal from Walmart fall into several categories:

•Petty thieves who steal one or two items relatively low-cost items at a time. 

•Serial thieves who stole mostly in order to return the items at the service desk for cash, one item at a time. 

•Theft ring members who would come into the store and take single items every day, or would take a lot of items out in a single haul. 

One theft ring was composed of senior citizens who all lived within a few doors of one another. One would steal an item like an appliance or a tool, and another would return it for cash. They were pretty good at what they did, and the few times they got caught, the courts were reluctant to punish a senior citizen too severely. 

Walmart has a "prosecute everything" policy (as do many retailers). If they catch you, the police are going to be called, and you're going to be cited or jailed.





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Father’s Day

Yesterday, June 21, was Father’s Day and I think that I can safely say that many of us residents here at the Center (or those of you out there) no longer have our fathers around. And, while the upbringing imparted to us by our mothers has been well celebrated, dad’s virtues have been relegated to the back burner. And what a shame that is. While many of us venerate fathers and consign them to some lofty position as head of household (mainly as the chief disciplinarian), we don’t often think of them as being nurturing or as having any influence on our morality. Of course, that’s not true. My father has been gone for nearly forty years now, and there isn’t a day that goes by in which I am not influenced by him.

Today, as I am swiftly approaching my seventh decade here on earth, and would be considered an old man, I still think of myself as my father's son. I identify with him in ways that, only now, are becoming apparent. Most every decision I make, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I think “What would my father do?”. Sometimes I even see his face and beg his forgiveness when I have to do something that I know he would not approve of. 

My father was no great man, as we tend to define greatness. He never did anything that would be considered earth-shattering or newsworthy. He was just one of those millions of fathers who, by their daily actions, managed to effect the way we live our lives. He, by setting an example, imparted to me a certain level of morality that, now that I am an old man, has kept me out of trouble all these years. How did he do this? Certainly not by lecturing me.

I can’t remember him ever having a face to face sit down with me where he gave me a sermon on morality. I didn’t even get the “Birds and the Bees” talk. But somehow, maybe it was through osmosis, I managed to pick up on what was right and what was wrong and, perhaps more importantly, how to be a man. Now, you women out there may want to listen closely to what I am about to say about that. To me, being a man has nothing to do with shooting a deer from a distance of 300 yards with a rifle powerful enough to take out a small army. Or, the ability to get into a fight with some other dude in defense of some misguided sense of honor. It certainly isn’t having the ability to flash a roll of bills and peeling them off like so much toilet tissue as a way of saying “Hey, I’m the alpha male here”. No, being a man is dealing with others so that they can walk away with their honor intact. It is getting up every day and going to a job you may not like because you have taken on the responsibility of a family and you made a promise to your wife to honor her by giving her the loyalty she deserves and the fidelity you promised. Being a man is the way you treat your offspring, not by being some aloof, pedestal sitting despot who demands fealty, but as a benevolent figure who always keeps an eye out for and an ear open for his kids. It’s setting an example and making sure the kids are paying attention. 

Let me end with this. My father had his faults. And by recounting some of them, I think I did myself well. My Father was rather superstitious, especially when it came to death. He never spoke about it. He never expressed his final wishes to any of us. He didn’t even have life insurance. Not because he couldn’t afford it, but because, in his way of thinking, buying life insurance hastened one’s demise. Every time we drove by a cemetery (whether it be Christian or Jewish) he would utter some unintelligible prayer. I’m sure he had his reasons, but he never confided in us. I promised myself that I wouldn’t be that way, and I’m not. I wished my dad had been more open with his feelings, but he came from a time that saw expressing one’s frailties as a sign of weakness. I don’t have that problem. My only regret is that I never told him how much I appreciated him. He passed away after only a day in the hospital. My father did believe that there was something more after death, so I’m sure he’s listening now. Happy Father’s Day dad.



The barbecue that wasn’t

We were supposed to have a barbecue here last Thursday, but because of the threat of inclement weather (which never materialized) the outdoor portion of the event was canceled. Instead, they did something very strange. For no reason at all, they decided to combine both the first and second seating times as if the barbecue was actually in progress. This caused unnecessary confusion and shortening of tempers among the residents who had to battle for a place to sit and had to endure yet another “rush job” lunch served in the crowded dining room. As I have said many times, it’s always Them first and Us (residents) second. 

Senior Households Expected to Nearly Double by 2030

By Xhevrije West

Senior households have been rising slowly over the decades, but this is about to change in the coming years. Urban Institute’s recent analysis of housing trends determined that senior households are expected to grow dramatically by 2030.

Authors, Laurie Goodman, Housing Finance Policy Center director at the Urban Institute, Rolf Pendall, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center director at the institute, and Jun Zhu senior financial methodologist at the institute found that in 1990, there were 20 million households for seniors ages 65 and up. In 2010, this number had reached 25.8 million, and by 2030, the institute projects that aging baby boomer households will reach 46 million.

“This dramatic growth will occur among both senior homeowners and renters, the authors said. “Our research suggests that from 2010 to 2030, senior homeowners will increase from 20 million to almost 34 million, and senior renters—who include both homeowners who will shift to renting and baby boomers who already rent—will increase from 5.8 million to 12.2 million.”

The dramatic rise in senior citizens calls attention to needed policies that will allow them to stay in their homes as they age, the authors wrote.

Urban Institute called for three measures of innovation and action to address this issue:....



White House Conference on Aging or a Summit on Seniors?

By Michael Hodin ,Executive Director, Global Coalition on Aging

The White House has announced it will hold its White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) on July 13th. This event is held once every decade, as initially mandated by Congress in 1965. 

Fifty years in, what's new? If you have a look at the WHCOA website, it doesn't seem like much. Take this headline as evidence: "2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security."

Apart from celebrating institutional endurance, the WHCOA sees itself as "an opportunity to... look ahead to the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans for the next decade."

This is an antiquated approach that will not lead to the innovations and policy changes needed in order to turn 21st century longevity into a social and economic opportunity for all Americans as we age. Not just older Americans. In fact, if the White House is serious about several of its clearly critical themes -- take elder abuse, for example -- it will use the unique symbol of a once a decade event on aging to debunk the myths and stigma of aging and in the course give stronger and more powerful voice precisely to topics like elder abuse. 

There's still time for the Obama White House to get the Conference right. Here are five ways to think about "the issues" of an aging America: 

1. A path for economic growth: As the White House announced its date for the WHCOA, the rest of us are forced to acknowledge that Q1 2015 GDP switched from a 0.2 percent growth estimate to a contraction of 0.7 percent. Conventional wisdom explains these numbers as the result of global risk uncertainty and bad weather. 

What's really driving these numbers is the more profound structural change brought by the aging of the population. Indeed, the global economy is now indelibly marked by the twin demographic features of historic longevity and continued decline in births. This is particularly evident in Japan and China, across Europe, and also here in America. 

2. It's the children, stupid: In 1965 or even 1985, an aging conference could have been forgiven for focusing alone on topics like elder abuse and long-term care. But today, as our children and their children can expect to live their 90s and beyond, a conference on aging must explore how longevity shapes the entire "life course." 20th-century conceptions of work, retirement, and education have little relevance for careers that may last six decades. 





Senior Citizens often fall prey to Seasonal 

Door-To-Door Scams, BBB Warns

The "Driveway Fixer"

“They didn’t return and also stole my gas leaf blower and a rake”

The scam pops up every year when the weather turns nice-you get a knock on the door, and on the other side is someone offering to seal your driveway, trim your trees, or repair your roof. Many times, these itinerant workers take your money but don’t do the work. And more times than not, they target senior citizens.

June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and BBB is providing tips which explain how scammers take adadvantage of consumers which will help you, your family and your friends avoid paying for jobs that won’t get done.

The shared theme of all these tactics is they prey on the emotions of the victim. Scammers are practiced in the art of manipulation and persuasion, so making yourself and family members aware of the red flags is an easy yet important way to avoid falling for these schemes. Take the time to evaluate the offer “ and the emotions the pitch is designed to illicit.

    1. Be on the lookout for these red flags:
    2. Selling door-to-door
    3. Claims of leftover asphalt from another job
    4. Pushing you to make a quick decision
    5. No written contract
    6. Cash-only sales
    7. Demands payment up front
    8. Deals that seem too good to be true
    9. The contractor is from out of state or in an unmarked truck



Industries That May Be Left Behind By The Wave Of Aging Boomers 

By Dirk Leach

•The fraction of the US and global population over 65 is growing fast due to a post war bump in birth rates. 

•On top of the bump in birth rates, people are living longer due to improvements in medical care and healthier lifestyles. 

•Many sectors and industries will prosper from the aging of the boomer population. 

•Some industries and sectors may be left behind by the wave of aging baby boomers. 

Assuming readers are already familiar with the age demographic forecasts, I'll jump right to those industries and sectors that I believe have the potential to be left behind by the boomer retirement wave.

Automobile Manufacturers

People of 65 years and older typically purchase fewer new cars than the two age groups below them. Fewer people in the over 65 age group are commuting to the office and fewer are traveling for business. Hence, fewer new cars are purchased by this age group. The chart below shows the percentage of new vehicle registrations by age group for 2007 and 2011, the last year for which I could find data.



Protecting Your Aging Parents (or yourself) Against Identity Theft Can Be a Full-Time Job

By Nicholas Pell    

As your parents get older, it's just a fact of life that you need to start taking more and more care of them. Oftentimes that means managing their finances. And that means protecting them against identity theft. To boot, more often than not, it's a family member who is committing fraud or identity theft in the name of the older relative. In such a hostile climate for seniors, how can you protect your family members against financial abuse, identity theft and other forms of fraud? 

Don't Let One Person Act Alone

Since a major source of identity theft is within the family, Steven J. Weisman, a professor at Bentley University and the proprietor of Scamicide.com, notes that making it harder for one person to steal identity theft is a prudent step. "If you have one or two people assisting grandma, they can assist her, but they can also keep an eye on each other." Weisman says. 

It's also important to have a joint power of attorney, says Ingrid Evans of Evans Law Firm, a San Francisco firm specializing in elder abuse and financial fraud. "Put together a trust and have a power of attorney for finances and health," she says. Appoint two people. 



How Technology Can Keep Grandma Out Of The Nursing Home

By Cyril Tuohy

The notion that older Americans are a bunch of luddites is dead. The latest news is that the elderly are as wired as ever - if not now, then very soon.

What’s hidden under their mattresses? They aren’t quarters or silver dollars. They’re wired mattress pads streaming data to servers analyzing sleep patterns of an 88-year-old grandmother resting comfortably in her connected home.

Turns out your average older American is well on the way to being far more wired and tethered to technology than your average millennial is.

Grandparents benefit from everything from edge detection technology to indoor navigation to assistive jogger contraptions to technological mattress pads, toilets and pill boxes, to protective head gear and hip protection.



Is "Undue Influence" A Problem For Your Aging Parent?

By Carolyn Rosenblatt

Imagine that your widowed father finds himself caught up in a whirlwind “romance” with a woman who seems all too interested in his money.  Or that your mother has “fallen in love” with her senior exercise teacher, a younger man who seems to have ulterior motives in his inordinate amount of attention to her.  It can be a sudden infatuation or a long, slow moving but tactical plan by another person to get in a position of influence over your aging parent.  And it’s dangerous. 

This is not to say that love affairs among seniors don’t happen or that friendships can’t blossom into romance. Of course those good things happen. What I’m cautioning about are the red flags of what lawyers call “undue influence”. That means using a position of trust or power to pressure or persuade a person to do something that is not in his best interests, that benefits the influencer and creates some kind of harm to the senior involved. Money and property are usually at stake. 

What can you do about it? 

Here are three thing you can do about undue influence when you see the warning signs of influence or pressure that makes you uncomfortable about what another person is doing to your aging parent. 

1. Speak up. 

2.   Increase your contact with your aging loved one....



Chronic Stress Lowers Aging 

and Cognitive Hormones in Women

By Rick Nauert PhD

A new study finds that women under chronic stress have significantly lower levels of klotho, a hormone that regulates aging and enhances cognition.

In a novel study design, researchers at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) compared mothers of children on the autism spectrum to low-stress controls.

Investigators found that the women in their study with clinically significant depressive symptoms had even lower levels of klotho in their blood than those who were under stress but not experiencing such symptoms.

The study, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, is the first to show a relationship between psychological influences and klotho, which performs a wide variety of functions in the body.

“Our findings suggest that klotho, which we now know is very important to health, could be a link between chronic stress and premature disease and death,” said lead author, Aric Prather, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at UCSF. 



Why Do We Die? 

The Answer Is More Complex Than You Think

By JR Thorpe

“If aging is programmed, rather than a collection of secondary breakdowns or genetic tradeoffs,” the scientists say (meaning ” if dying is specifically programmed into our genes, rather than just a general decay of our bodies” to you and me), “then effective health and life extensions through dietary, pharmacological, or genetic interventions are likely to be possible.” Basically, if we’ve got an internal mechanism that specifically makes us age, maybe we can change it — and radically affect human lifespan.

After centuries of theorizing, science has developed a decent hypothesis explaining why humans don’t live forever. This may seem like a particularly pointless sort of discovery — Valar Morghulis, all men must die, natural wear and tear grinds you down until your human body just gives up, right? Well, not exactly. We take aging for granted, but it turns out that “growing old” — i.e. losing bone density and muscle strength, and experiencing more aches and pains — may have developed via evolution to help us, as a species, survive over the generations.

This isn’t how we normally think about aging — or about evolution, either, for that matter. But evolution isn’t only about the strongest individuals surviving while the weaker specimens fall away. It’s also about longer-term benefits to the species overall. And the scientists behind this latest study have found that actually, having most members of a become weak and then die of “natural causes”  is actually far better for the species’ future than having a species made up solely of long-living individuals. And, counter-intuitively, being immortal presents the worst evolutionary fate of all.

I’ve had a personal horror of immortality ever since I saw that terrible vampire film Queen Of The Damned in the 2000s, which ends with two immortal people walking together forever among crowds of sped-up mortals. Being stuck on the earth forever? How would you possibly not get bored? ...



'Aging' Ian Mckellen having tough time remembering his lines

Seems like aging is have a very poignant effect on the legendary actor Ian Mckellen, as he recently disclosed that he spent half a year learning his dialog for 'The Dresser.'

The 76-year-old actor revealed that when he was a young man, people would ask how he remembered his lines and he would think that it's an easy part, but these days he found himself thinking how he was going to remember it, reports the Daily Express.

If six months seems excessive, then the 'X-Men' star once spent eight years preparing for Harold Pinter's Broadway play 'No Man's Land.'

Though he puts his fading memory down to the ageing process but the 'Lord Of The Rings' star said he's still able to keep up. 

In an interview, the Guild award winner said that every person has intimations but there are times in life when the memory really does get worse and the mind doesn't work as it should. (ANI)



Is sexual intimacy between

 unmarried senior citizens sinful?

June 18, 2015 - An 82-year-old widow asked in a letter to Rabbi David Krishef, “How far can we go?” She is referring to the relationship with her new found love, an 81 year old widower. The two had long marriages and do not wish to marry now. So, Rabbi Krishef put the question to other religious leaders, too.

The responses, along with many opinions from readers, is published online in MLive.

“Engaging in a consensual, mature, committed relationship that included physical intimacy, especially at your ages, would be far from inappropriate," said the minister from a Hindu Temple in the conclusion of his response.

A United Church of Christ minister added, “"The capacity to love and to fall in love certainly doesn't diminish with age. For many, the desire to express that love in physical intimacy doesn't either. It seems to me that Jesus' statements regarding marriage have fidelity (and the protection of the women) as their bottom line (Matthew 19:3-12). For me, that should be the measuring stick for your relationship.” ...



Presented with comment...

If you have ever wondered why the food that comes out of our kitchen (especially eggs) appear to be overcooked, you might want to read the following...

2 dead, 16 sick in Salmonella outbreak

 at Ohio assisted living facility

 by Doug Powell

A Salmonella outbreak has sickened 18 people at Heritage Corner Health Campus in Bowling Green.

The Wood County (Ohio) Health District, along with representatives of state agencies including the Ohio Department of Health, have been investigating the outbreak since June 9.

Investigators are interviewing patients who have become ill about the foods they’ve eaten and other possible exposures to the bacteria that causes the disease in the week before they became ill. They’re also interviewing staff and inspected Heritage Corner’s kitchen and other facilities.

The illnesses began on May 24, the health department said.

Editor’s comment: Why assisted living facilities are more susceptible to salmonella than other food service venues is anyone’s guess. What is known is that food service workers in those institutions may not be trained as well in food safety as those workers in the private sector.


Rush job.

If anything can make bad food even worse, it’s when it’s served fast. Tuesday afternoon’s lunch may have been the fastest I have ever eaten here, and the worst.

Because of some impromptu staff meeting (reason not made clear), both first and second seating’s were combined. Residents were hastily told about this last minute change, causing great confusion, especially for diners who are used to eating at a later time. As soon as I heard about the early seating, I rushed to my table and was quickly greeted by a server who could not wait to take my order. After a hasty reading of the menu, I settled for the main dish of shrimp and “crab” fried rice. BIG MISTAKE. The rice was cold, the shrimp mushy and the imitation crab meat was, well, imitation. The whole meal was disgusting. The 1 1/2 FOODIES is for the large amount of soy sauce I was forced to pour on that glop in order to make it even the least bit palatable. The next time I would rather skip lunch than be subjected to that treatment again.


A lot goes a long way

Pasta and meatballs is one of my “go-to” foods. It is one of those dishes that I cannot resist. Just seeing it on a menu sends endorphins ( or some other hormone) to that part of my brain that controls peace and comfort. Eating this very basic of all meals just makes me feel good and puts me in a good place. Unfortunately, it also puts me in a fat place. Eating all that pasta (remember, we get pasta here three or four times a week in one form or another), has increased my wasteline to an alarming girth. And, as of late, we seem to be getting larger and larger portions of dishes like this.

Now, to be fair I have, in the past, complained about the Lilliputian size portions we have been served, but now it seems that there is a concerted effort to pour on the pasta. And, while the amount or meatballs has increased (I got 6 of them last time) the amount or pasta has increased exponentially. This make me wonder if there is not a mathematical formula for the ratio of meat to pasta somewhere. In any event, last Wednesday’s lunch offering was, although abundant, actually good. Even the usually run of the mill meatballs were tasty as was the slightly spicier tomato sauce. Perhaps, a little smaller portion next time would be more appropriate for lunch.


A Personal Matter of Taste

I really shouldn’t do a formal review of pizza. Whether or not a pizza is good or is really a matter of what you are used to. However, no matter what form or shape the actual pie takes, there are certain “musts” that all pizzas, whether they be deep dish or thin crust, plain or topped have to have.

Say cheese please

The cheese is the pizza. Any pie that does not have cheese on it, is something other than pizza. And, it should be not be an afterthought. A sprinkling of cheese just won’t do. It has to be gloppy, gooey, runny and HOT. It’s consistency should be that of a #3 rubber band with a stretchability of at least a foot.

It’s the sauce boss

When it comes to sauce on a pizza, minimalists need not apply. Like it’s cheesy cousin, “Too much ain’t enough”.The sauce should cover the whole pie,not just the center. And, BTW, the sauce goes on before (under) the cheese, not on top of it.

Now top this

Pineapple, chicken or mango’s on a pizza, really? OK, so call me a purist, but don’t call IT a pizza with toppings better left for garnishing a tropical beverage. There is a reason why pepperoni, mushrooms, anchovies and sausage have lasted so long. They’re good and they work. And, while it’s OK for you to have what ever you want on your pie, jut don’t eat it around me. OK?


The following was sent to me by a friend and, while I cannot confirm the validity of the stats presented here, the article does bring up an interesting point.

Want to see your representative do the "Washington-two-step"?

 Ask this question. 

“Who died before they received Social Security? The question really is "How many, and what percentage of the total, died before they could collect Social Security?"  (And how many more died after collecting just a few dollars?)  Somehow, the government's math sound like a shell game.”  







Remember, not only did you and I contribute to Social Security but your employer did, too.  It totaled 15% of your income before taxes. 

If you averaged only $30K over your working life, that's close to $220,500. 

Read that again. 

Did you see where the Government paid in one single penny? 

We are talking about the money you and your employer put in a Government bank to insure you and me that we would have a retirement check from the money we put in, not the Government. 

Now they are calling the money we put in an entitlement when we reach the age to take it back. 

If you calculate the future invested value of $4,500 per year (yours & your employer's contribution) at a simple 5% interest (less than what the Government pays on the money that it borrows). 

After 49 years of working you'd have $892,919.98. If you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30 years (until you're 95 if you retire at age 65) and that's with no interest paid on that final amount on deposit! 

If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per year, you'd have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per month. 




Entitlement my foot; I paid cash for my social security insurance! 

Just because they borrowed the money for other government spending, doesn't make my benefits some kind of charity or handout!! 

Remember the benefits for members of Congress?

+ free healthcare,

+ outrageous retirement packages,

+ 67 paid holidays,

+ three weeks paid vacation,

+ unlimited paid sick days.

Now that's welfare, and they have the nerve to call my social security retirement payments entitlements? 

They call Social Security and Medicare an entitlement even though most of us have been paying for it all our working lives, and now, when it's time for us to collect, the government is running out of money. 

Why did the government borrow from it in the first place? It was supposed to be in a locked box, not part of the general fund. 

Sad isn't it?          

99% of people won't have the guts to forward this.   

I'm in the 1%! 



Contact and Comment

Stuff: The true barometer of aging

If you think that you can tell a person's age by the wrinkles on their face or the number of brown spots on the back of their hands or even the number of pills they take for every malady known to man, you would be wrong. These are only the recognizable accouterments of judging one’s seniority. However, if you really want to know the true age of a person you need to look at their stuff.

Stuff, as I define it, is everything we own that we must have. This has nothing to do with safety, health, well-being or fashion. Those “important” things we only have because we feel we must have because we feel guilty if we don’t have them. Things like fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors and a box of Band-Aids. The “real” stuff, the stuff that truly measures chronology, is the stuff we want. As an example, we should look at the various stages of life. 

Kids love "stuff" and have learned to accumulate stuff at an alarming rate even at a very young age. There is the sports stuff. The balls, shoes, rackets, gloves etc. And the electronic stuff. The X-boxes and Nintendo’s. If there was a fire in the house, they would grab that stuff first. When I was a kid, my stuff consisted of my Schwinn Hornet bike, a Rawlings baseball glove and a collection of plastic model airplanes and ships. Of course, there was the ever-present “Spaldeen” rubber ball and my Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cap, the brim of which was bent to a fine point.

Teenage stuff is less defined. All of those raging hormones makes them go in too many directions at once to actually gather any meaningful stuff. If I had to pin it down, I would have to say that something to do with music, either cd’s or MP3’s, would be in a teenagers stuff collection. Adults stuff, on the other hand, is much more defined.

The things that adults collect is primarily made up of personal items like fancy watches, expensive sunglasses, or stuff for the car. If they are home owners, it’s lawn mowers, power tools and barbecue grills and utensils. However, when people start to get old, a whole other meaning must be given to what we consider stuff. Looking around my room right now at my stuff, I have noticed a definite pattern emerging. And it all has to do with comfort and mobility.

The comfort part is represented by a four-inch thick slab of foam rubber that covers my mattress. It was the first thing I bought when I moved in here because frankly, the mattresses are lousy. The other stuff has to do with my mobility. I used to have a wheelchair, which gave way to a walker which became a Rollator and now, a cane. Also on the list of my stuff is glasses. Not just one pair, but now I seem to need three pairs of glasses just to get me through the day.

There is the pair for watching TV, the pair I use when I sit at the computer and the new pair, that I use for reading books and on my new piece of stuff, my Kindle tablet. All of the other stuff I own (and it isn’t much anymore) is stuff I could live without. I own a $25 wristwatch, a couple of pairs of sneakers I bought at Walmart and an antique collection of socks (all one color) and underwear (various colors). My laptop is three years old and the letters on the keyboard are wearing out (The “T” has completely disappeared) and a printer which spits ink at me like a pissed-off llama. That’s my stuff now. It’s old people's stuff. It’s stuff like balls of Kleenex in the pockets or the half-sucked on chunks of sugar-free candy at the bottom of the nightstand drawer. It’s nasal spray and eye drops and Percocet and Ben Gay. You know, stuff.

Therefore, the next time you are in a strangers room or apartment (why you are there is your business) look around. I’ll bet you can tell their age by their stuff. The exception to this rule would be Bruce/Caitlin Jenner. The mind boggles at what stuff he/she must have.



Welcoming new residents

The Executive Board of the Resident’s Council was at the forefront of something new this past week. Taking matters into their own hands (with the approval of the management), new residents to the Center were given a welcoming visit by members of the Board. Along with greetings of welcome and a pledge to help them assimilate to their new surroundings, the newcomers were given a “Welcome Basket” containing toiletries and personal items they may have forgotten to bring with them. Though we have always needed a way of formally welcoming residents to the community, it was not until now that such a committee actually came to be. This was due partly to the new management allowing members of the committee to know the names and room numbers of all new arrivals. Preliminary reports have shown that the new residents who have received these visits have found them most gratifying and beneficial..........................Ed.


The weather was on our side Saturday, rewarding us with clear, sunny skies and seasonably warm temperatures as residents and a sprinkling of friends and family participated in this year’s “Friends and Family” barbecue. This was the third such event that I have attended, and each time, the number of actual non-residents who attend seems to be less and less. Perhaps it was the lack of publicity (No formal invitations are sent out by the Center), or that many of our residents were unaware that such an event even exists, or the fact that many people have no F&F’s or those F&F’s just don’t care that caused the sparse crowd but I would have liked to see more non-residents at these functions. 


New management complicates mother's living arrangement

Ombudsman steps in to aid in long-term care disputes

by Virginia Black

Paula Abraham agreed to allow her mother to be moved from one floor to another at the assisted living facility where she has lived with Alzheimer's for nearly four years.

Abraham, who had initially resisted because the move also meant her mother's condition had worsened, said Morningview Nursing Home administrators had emphasized for months that her mother would be safer and receive more care on the first floor, rather than the second.

But just a few weeks after the move, a new message came from the facility: We'd like to move your mother back upstairs. Another company had taken over management of the facility while hammering out a purchase agreement, long-term care ombudsman Kathy Hershberger said.

When Abraham protested the decision to relocate her mother so soon, she said, the facility issued a directive to move the older woman out of the facility in 30 days....



3 Tax Mistakes Senior Citizens Can’t Afford To Make

By Matthew Frankel 

It's a shame to see senior citizens save and invest responsibly all their lives, and then end up giving away a large chunk of their nest egg in the form of taxes -- especially unnecessary taxes. Here are three mistakes that could cause you to pay more taxes than you need to, and what you could do instead.

What to do with your 401(k) or traditional IRA?

After retirement, senior citizens have several options with their employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s. Perhaps the worst of these is to take a lump sum distribution. Furthermore, the same can be said about other tax-deferred retirement accounts like traditional IRAs.

Now, if you're over 59 1/2 years old (or 55 if you're no longer working), it's true that you can probably take all of your money out of the plan without paying a penalty. However, keep in mind that the money you take out of the plan is added to your taxable income for the year, and a lump sum distribution could put you in a sky-high tax bracket.

For example, if you are married and you and your spouse have 401(k) accounts worth $500,000, a lump sum withdrawal would put you in the highest (39.6%) tax bracket. Even if you had no other income, this means that more than $144,000 could be taken (or about 29% of the total) right off the top...



Preserving Cognitive Health: What Works And What Doesn't


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 million people were living in the U.S. with various forms of cognitive impairment in 2009, including over 5 million people aged 65 or older with Alzheimer's disease. As seniors work to prevent cognitive decline, it's important to know what works to maintain a healthy brain.

In addition to knowing which activities are effective at reducing cognitive decline and which should be avoided, older adults should also be familiar with the differences between healthy cognitive aging and Alzheimer's disease. Learning how to identify the differences between the symptoms of a normal aging brain and one that is experiencing the onset of Alzheimer's is crucial for those with the disease to seek help early before the condition progresses. 

Seniors should also ensure they're sticking with a nutritious diet including foods like beans, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids to keep the brain alert and healthy. 



Barbara Bush Turns 90: 

Her Secret to Aging Gracefully? Pearls


Barbara Bush shared the secret to aging gracefully in an interview with granddaughter Jenna Bush Hager on the Today show.

"You're known for your pearls," Jenna remarked to Barbara, who turns 90 on Monday. 

"The pearls are to cover the wrinkles, which they no longer do," she said. "You can't wear pearls all over your face." 

And as for why she never dyed her distinctive white hair? "I wanted to play golf, I wanted to play tennis, I wanted to swim. And my hair turned, as I'm sure someone else will tell you, orange, green, yellow, depending upon how much chlorine in the pool. So I decided to go white."

Barbara is celebrating her 90th birthday in style, with the re-release of her 1994 memoir, which features gushing new forewords from each of her five children. 

In his foreword for Barbara Bush: A Memoir, the Bush matriarch's oldest son, former President George W. Bush, describes her as a fearless, quick-witted woman who taught her children how to "love, love, and laugh." 

"Mom has a sharp and quick wit. She is not afraid to speak her mind. She is self-deprecating," he writes. "She can spot a phony before most. She deflated the pompous and arrogant. She is a pro at putting people at ease because she herself is at ease." 



“Company-funded disease awareness campaigns often blur the line between public health messages that increase awareness about important diseases and infomercials meant to sell a disease to sell a drug.”

Sell a disease to sell a drug

By Steven Woloshin and Lisa M. Schwartz 

Last month, in response to new FDA rules, testosterone manufacturers released new instructions for doctors making it clear that testosterone is not approved for “low-T” — a marketing term developed by drug companies to describe men with low testosterone levels caused by aging. Companies must now warn doctors about a possible increased risk of heart attack and stroke in men who take these drugs.

The FDA rules came about after the agency announced in March that it “has become aware that testosterone is being used extensively in attempts to relieve symptoms in men who have low testosterone for no apparent reason other than aging. The benefits and safety of this use have not been established.”

Why are so many men taking testosterone for an unapproved use? The nearly tenfold increase in testosterone prescriptions began in 2007 when Abbott Laboratories (now AbbVie) launched its award-winning “Is It Low-T?” disease awareness campaign. The campaign has urged countless middle-age men who would like to become thinner, more muscular, more energetic and more sexually satisfied to ask their doctors whether low testosterone could be the reason they have gained weight, sometimes feel sad or grumpy, or get sleepy after meals....



Sex Hormones Maintain Stem Cells, May Explain 

Why 95% Of Supercentenarians Are Women

By Stephanie Castillo

Centenarians say positivity is the key to longevity (one woman said it’s Dr. Pepper) — but new research suggests a long life comes down to an individual’s sex hormones, especially for supercentenarians. Of the 53 living supercentenarians, or men and women who’ve lived past their 110th birthday, 51 are female.

As you know, estrogen is the female sex hormone and testosterone is the male sex hormone. Stanford University researchers cited prior studies have shown a strong link between these sex hormones and stem cell maintenance. In animal studies, estrogen directly effected stem cell population in female mice, enhancing the regenerative capacity of brain stem cells. And in male mice, estrogen supplements have been shown to increase lifespan.

Similarly, human studies have shown eunuchs, or men who have been castrated, live an estimated 14 years longer than non-eunuchs. BBC reported castration prevents most of testosterone from being produced, possibly “protecting the body from any damaging effect and prolonging lifespan.”  This is in line with the studies that concluded testosterone weakens the immune system, as well as increase risk for coronary heart disease.



High-tech walker 

By Alex Felser

A group of South Fayette students hoping to improve safety for senior citizens is well on its way.

Five students saw hundreds of hours of work pay off on May 29, when they were awarded first place at the Pennsylvania Governor's STEM state competition for their “Life-Safer Innovations Walker.”

The task was to design a device that would benefit the majority of Pennsylvanians.

The walker has five unique features. They include: high and low beams, an emergency alert button, an alarm that sounds if the walker falls over, easily movable wheels, and a third leg that extends for support and stability.

It sports a red, white and blue color because students learned of the stigma many associate with seeing a gray walker.

“We tried to get rid of the drag medical appearance and add some pride to the walker,” 



Justice Department Takes Down Barriers in Retirement Homes

When the dispute started four years ago, residents and their children figured it would be easily resolved.

The seniors liked living at Harbor’s Edge, an upscale continuing care retirement community in Norfolk, Va. They appreciated its amenities, including River Terrace, a gracious dining room with waterfront views. When a neighbor or spouse had to move from independent living to assisted living or to the nursing unit — the very transitions this kind of graduated facility is designed to accommodate — their friendships endured.

So when management suddenly announced, in May 2011, that the River Terrace and certain activities like Fourth of July celebrations would be restricted to independent living residents and off-limits to everyone else, a number of people protested the new policy as unfair.

They expected management to see that it had blundered, preventing not only friends but several married couples from having meals together.

“You’re talking to an activist,” said a gratified Judith Schapiro, 87, a retired professor and assisted living resident who had been barred from the dining room by the policy. “It’s a big deal, to my way of thinking.”



Ensuring Care for Aging Baby Boomers: Solutions at Hand

By Elizabeth J. Bragg and Jennie Chin Hansen

The exciting news is that people living to age 65 in the United States will have an average life expectancy of an additional twenty years (Administration for Community Living, 2013). Less exciting is that even if remaining independent and living at home, seven out of ten of us will likely need assistance for three of those years (Redfoot, Feinberg, and Houser, 2013; Lynn, 2013). This assistance would include help with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, or paying bills.

In our current structure of healthcare delivery, there are not enough trained caregivers (family or paid professionals) for older adults. However, there is another, perhaps more efficient system where we partner with patients, and, coupled with the use of evolving technology, we can focus on factors that most influence the health of a population to deliver care more effectively. We need not only to be informed of the current limits of Medicare coverage, but also to embrace a new framework that enables solutions for the best, safest, and most econo-mical care. Tweaking current solutions will be insufficient. This article explores the current landscape of healthcare delivery: the lack of preparedness and capacity of the current workforce for an aging society.

Particularly as we enter our seventies, eighties, and nineties, questions related to aging begin to take prominence. Who will we ask to honor our wishes and goals as well as to advocate for us so that we live with dignity, meaning, and security? How do we receive the best care that addresses our symptoms, perhaps through palliative care instead of unwanted medical and surgical interventions?

America is a country that will continue to innovate for needed solutions. The current situation with our healthcare delivery system calls for applying an entrepreneurial spirit and our best smarts to create work value and meet societal needs. Let us unleash the leadership needed to assure we can live in a society that provides dignity, and makes for an interdependent country that can continually learn and improve. How we provide care can—and must—transform.



6 Email Etiquette Tips that May Surprise You

by Allison VanNest


Email correspondence is simple, easy, and convenient to quickly contact coworkers and family members across the world. However, it isn’t all roses with email. If you don’t use the proper etiquette, you can end up annoying your recipients. You’ve probably already heard the basic email etiquette tips, like use a specific subject line and reply as quickly as you can, but there is more you can do to ensure that your emails resonate with the people you send them to.

Don’t Be Sorry to Bother Someone

When you start an email with, “sorry to bother you,” chances are that the recipient already feels bothered by that opening line. Those four words take seconds to read, seconds that the person could have used to find out the real point of your email. Furthermore, if you are sending a business email, you should never apologize for asking someone to do their job. You want to be polite, not obsequious.

Be Small-Screen-Friendly

Email is not the exclusive realm of desktop computers and laptops. People are always on the go, and they read their emails on mobile phones and tablets. It isn’t easy to read long blocks of text on a tiny screen. Keep that in mind when you’re composing your messages. Keep your paragraphs short and your message brief. If you must send a longer message, give a succinct summary near the beginning of the email so the recipient knows what’s in store and can go back to read the rest later.

Also, think about the font you use. Some artsy fonts may look fabulous on a computer screen, but they could strain the eyes on a mobile screen.

Think Before You CC

A blogger for Lifehack gives a personal experience with CC’ed emails: “I’d say about 90% of messages I’ve received where I’m not in the To: field but the CC: field were completely and totally useless to me.” Indeed, oftentimes those emails, intended to keep people in the loop, just end up being irritating white noise in the inbox....



“If we all committed to having at least one sit-down meal with our families each week, the benefits will extend beyond just our senior loved ones to the entire family.”

It’s Time to Bring Back the Sunday Dinner

by Alison Bender Kellner

When was the last time you had a sit-down meal with your family, including your senior loved ones? If the answer is, “not as often as I used to,” you’re not alone. In a recent survey of North Americans, nearly 50 percent of families living near senior relatives shared that they do not have enough sit-down dinners with senior loved ones, and that this figure has decreased since their childhood. Of those surveyed, 75 percent only sit down for a family meal with aging relatives for special occasions, events or holidays.

This decline may not be surprising to many. Often times, our busy schedules hinder theSundayDiningBenefits201506 amount of time we spend with our families. Conflicting schedules, constant rescheduling and lack of effort all play a role in the diminishing amount of family interaction. While some of us may brush this off as a natural change in lifestyle, for senior loved ones, not sitting down for meals with family or friends may be causing serious harm.

Seniors tend to have a better mealtime experience – both nutritionally and emotionally – when they share a meal with a companion. For aging adults, these meals create a special, shared moment and an important personal connection. Seniors care more about whom they are able to share their meal experience with, rather than what is on their plate....



“The Deficit Model of Aging can be defeated. Does that sound like a fight, to defeat something? You bet it is. If we use our strength toward developing a positive attitude, hope and honest reflection, perhaps we can see what all of that might mean to you in your life.” 

Defeating the Deficit Model of Aging

In her June column for Psychology Today, Dr. Catherine Roland, ACA president-elect, discussed our ability to defeat the deficit model of aging by learning how to reframe perspectives on life. As we get older, we sometimes forget to recognize our strengths and achievements.

“To reframe a concept is not to negate reality, but rather a strategy in which to invest and then cultivate. Sometimes just changing an attitude or an inner direction can make an enormous difference in how we negotiate the remainder of our lives, regardless of the age we begin the reframe,” writes Dr. Roland

As we live our lives on a daily basis we tend to hope, and at times expect, that each day will be new and bright with promise. At times, things go wrong. We are disappointed, or we realize that we have attributed negatives to how old we are, what we can no longer do, how we no longer have power or position. Sometimes we prefer to isolate and hesitate to connect with others.



17 Old-Timey Swear Words That Are Anything But Offensive Today

  By Yagana Shah

Remember when you were a kid and you got your mouth washed out with soap for uttering that swear word you heard on the street? Although the obvious four-letter words were off limits, sometimes we came up with our own clever sayings to express ourselves without expletives.

Whatever your curse word of choice was, it's more than likely less coarse than the expletives we hear today. We decided to ask our Facebook fans which swear words from yesteryear are nothing more than some seriously funny crud nowadays. Here's what they had to say.

1. "Doggone it!"

2. "Shoot" or "Sugar"

3. "Holy moly"

4. "Jeez Louise!"

5. "Gosh"

6. "Dadgummit!"

7. "Oh, poop."

8. "Jesum Crow"

9. "Fiddlesticks!"....



The basic recipe for a “Sauce Alfredo” is a simple one. Butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. While I don’t know exactly what ingredients our chef uses to make his version of Alfredo sauce, I can tell you that there is not enough of any of them in this sauce.

The basic concept of this past Friday’s dinner ( Chicken, pasta, green beans and Alfredo sauce) was a good one, its execution left something to be desired. 

Most noticeably missing from the sauce was the cheese. There was just not enough of that “cheesy” flavor that Alfredo sauce is noted for. Also missing was the creamy consistency which makes this sauce unique among others. If I were to guess I would say that this sauce was made with milk instead of cream, some pre-grated cheese, no salt or pepper, and maybe some butter (although I suspect differently). As I said the concept was a good one which is why I gave this dish 21/2 Foodies, and I would order it again if the sauce were more authentic.



 Webinar focuses on aging issues

Seniors and family members are invited to join a national webinar on aging, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. June 24. Richard Wexler, president and CEO of the San Ramon-based A Golden Hand, will discuss contemporary complexities of aging, including the financial costs of growing older, and new resources and technologies available to seniors.

Wexler’s organization, also known as Points of Life, works closely with older adults and their families to pre-plan for future challenges and provide access to a variety of services, including in-home care and assisted-living communities and professionals, such as estate planning attorneys. 

RSVP at http://www.tinyurl.com/oae492v.




Contact and Comments

Inspired by an article by Laura Garcia in the Victoria (Texas) Advocate

Read the article here...


Making a senior citizen's dream come true

“Second Wind Dreams is in the business of making seniors' dreams come true.

Similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the nonprofit raises funds to grant the dreams of seniors across the country.”

Many of us have seen the film “The Bucket List” where two old men decide to fulfill their lifelong ambitions before they die. They make a list of things they have always wanted to do before the inevitable end. Fortunately, one of the old men is wealthy and can afford to do these things. For the rest of us, well, we can only dream. But the very connotation “Bucket List” describes a finality or something you do at the end of life. I prefer the words “Wish List” for something I’d like to do now just for the heck of it. Unfortunately, a list usually means that there is more than one thing I would like to experience while I still can. Henceforth, I present, in no particular or of importance or desire, my wish list.

1. Drive an eighteen-wheeler.

To those guys and gals that actually do this for a living, you are probably saying to yourself “This guy’s nuts”. Driving one of those behemoths is a tough and often thankless job. But at one time, there must have been something in the job that would make 3.5 million professional truck drivers want to do it. For me, it’s the call of the open road. Being able to travel around the country, and get paid for it, sounds pretty good. And then there is the vehicle itself. Let’s face it, guys, you know in your heart that you secretly admire anyone who sits behind the wheel of one of those dinosaurs. Up, high above the puny little cars and SUV’s, in command of a powerful piece of machinery barreling down the interstate at 80 MPH. Can’t you feel the testosterone bubbling up even now?

2. Going to sea.

No, I don’t mean booking a cruise on the Norwegian Wet dream or whatever it’s called. I mean putting out to sea, on a merchant vessel, as a passenger.* I would like it to be a long cruise, making multiple stops and different ports around the world. I’d like to experience the allure of the ocean with its grandeur and loneliness. I know I am romanticizing this a bit, but drifting through the fog, at night on the open ocean, heading for a foreign port, just seems so cool.

3. An announcer on a Spanish-language radio station.

This one may be difficult. Mainly because I have no real talent and, I don’t speak Spanish. So why would I pick such an obscure item to add to my wish list? Have you ever listened to a Spanish radio station. They all seem to be having so much fun. “Saludos Amigos”.

4. Observe “open heart” surgery.

I would have loved to be a doctor both for monetary and humanitarian reasons. Let’s face it, It’s a good job. However, since I didn’t have the smarts or the dedication to study that it takes to complete a course in medicine, I took another route. However, I have always been fascinated with the human body. The complexity, the engineering, and its frailty has always amazed me. Every time I have seen even a snippet of an operation on TV, I stayed glued to the set in utter amazement at what a skilled surgeon can do. I would love to be able to look in on a surgery from one of those “theater” type galleries.

5. Do stand-up comedy.

Making people laugh, to me, is the ultimate high. Having an audience gasp for their next breath because what you said was so funny and outrageous that they are about to faint is the epitome of what humanity is. Unless there is something we don’t know about animals, humans are the only species to tell jokes (Although I’m not too sure about dolphins). Laughter, as we all know, is the best medicine and, since I am not ever likely to actually perform open heart surgery, I would like to do the next best thing. So, if there are any up and coming joke writers that would like to send me about 20 minutes of jokes that a 69- year-old man could tell at the Improv, give me a call.

O.K., now it’s your turn. What’s on your wish list. Remember, this is not a bucket list. We’ll leave that for another, and I hope distant, time. This is what you would like to do now if money or your health was no object. It’s fun just to think about it.

*I don’t want to actually work on a freighter. That sounds too much like a job, which is not on my wish list.



Stuff around here we like

Flora and Fauna

A decent amount of warmth and bright sun, combined with some nice, soaking showers really made the flowers and plants pop this past week. The rose bushes that line our driveway are a welcome sight after a long, cold and gray winter. The new planters, strategically placed around the grounds and filled with plants by the residents provide an additional touch of color.

                    Stuff around here we don’t like.   

The wheels of progress roll slowly here and sometimes not at all.


Although it was supposed to be a done deal and was scheduled to be initiated this month, the long-awaited new transportation option that we understood would be ready to go, has hit a snag. While we don’t know exactly what the holdup is, we do know that as for now we still do not have any scheduled, proprietary transportation available to our residents. By this time were supposed to have (provided by our ambulette service) a shuttle-type weekly bus service to and from shopping malls, restaurants, and supermarkets. We can only hope that this does not turn out to be just another empty promise.

Of microwaves and hot water

Ever since the Franklin Annex opened for residents more than two years ago, we have been asking that a microwave oven as well as a hot water faucet, just like the one already in operation in the main building, be installed in the kitchen area of the activities room. As it stands now, residents who live in the Franklin building have to travel all the way to the main building just to heat some soup or take out food or even to get some hot water for tea or coffee. This presents, not only an inconvenience, but affords some danger as well, as residents would have to carry hot beverages and food back to their rooms. We have been given various reasons why we can’t have these two very simple fixes to a problem. Neither of which makes sense.

We have been told that we can’t have a microwave oven because it would have to be monitored by a staff member all the time. This is nonsense. The microwave in the main building is not monitored at all, by anyone. As for the hot water dispensing faucet, we are told that the plumbing would cost too much. Again, nonsense. It’s just a simple connection to the water pipe that is already there. Although no final decision has been made on this request, we feel that their minds have been already made up. More lip service I’m afraid.........................Ed


It’s about time, but we need more...

After months of pleading and a couple of editorials in this blog, nice, new, and clean carpeting has replaced the disgusting worn and garbage-strewn flooring in our two elevators. While this is a major step in the right direction, a thorough cleaning or replacement of carpeting is need around the elevator lobbies on all floors as well as in some spots in the more heavily trafficked corridors.


Eggs for Arts Sake

The center is holding a staff/resident’s art show this month, where we are encouraged to enter our artwork to be displayed. Unfortunately, I work in an unconventional medium, food. Of course, food does not keep well, especially on the walls of some gallery. Therefore, the best I can do is to photograph my creations and then eat it. At least, I will never be a “starving artist”.


Independent Living Considered a Top Priority Among Seniors

By Timi Gustafson, RD

One of the most dramatic consequences of age-related deterioration is loss of independence, and it is more feared by seniors than almost any other outcome. For many, even an untimely death seems preferable to becoming beholden to others, according to surveys.

Not only do most older adults not want to become a burden to their loved ones, nearly all – 90 percent of respondents to polls – plan to live out their days in their own homes instead of entering a retirement facility.

“Aging in place,” as it is now widely called, is particularly popular among seniors who cherish the lifestyle they have become accustomed to and wish to maintain for as long as possible. Besides staying indefinitely within one’s four walls, it also includes being able to move around safely in neighborhoods and communities as well as having access to vital resources such as food outlets, public transportation, day-to-day services, places of entertainment, etc.

The concept has also given birth to a fast-growing industry that caters to these exact needs and desires. According to a new report by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, an advocacy group with focus on community building, eliminating obstacles and breaking down barriers that tend to isolate older citizens are important first steps for an aging population’s ongoing participating in communal life. Efforts to make urban and suburban surroundings more senior-friendly – for example by facilitating greater walkability – can benefit members of all ages and should therefore be universally embraced, the report suggests....



 Does aging affect decision making?


Aging is associated with significant decline in cognitive functions. But does this translate into poorer decision making? Psychologists from the University of Basel and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development report that in simple decision situations, older adults perform just as well as younger adults. However, according to their study published in the academic journal Cognition, aging may affect decision performance in more complex decision situations.

Important decisions in politics and economics are often made by older people: According to Forbes magazine, the average age of the world's most powerful people in 2013 was 61 years. As populations across the globe age, the selection