Defining our Seniority

Sorry, but the truth is, I really don’t like old people very much.

WAIT!, Let me amend that.

What I meant to say is, I don’t like old people who act like old people.

You know who they are. Those people who have given in to all of the vestiges of old age.

By “vestiges”, I mean that some old folks perpetuate stereotypes of what society thinks old people should be like.

They see old people on TV feeding the pigeons in the park and therefore believe that that’s what old people should do, so they better get themselves a bag of stale bread and head out to the park, find a bench and start feeding those birds.

Then, after that, find a senior center somewhere and sit with your cronies for the rest of the day and reminisce about the “The god old days”, and kvetch about how your prostate is giving you hell and how that no-good son of yours never visits.

One of the problems associated with living in an assisted living facility is that you are surrounded by old people all day.

The only people under the age of 65 that one comes in contact with every day are members of the staff who really don’t have time to interact with the residents other than on a professional level.

So what you get is a cacophony of meaningless banter about things that are no longer relevant or, if they should actually happen to fall upon a topic that is current, they have twisted it so out of shape as to make it impossible to carry out any meaningful dialogue without being branded as a “know it all”, or radical.

An example of this occurred the other day when an impromptu discussion dealing with the state of, or lack of, any viable candidate for president.

“Those Republicans are all a bunch of wacko’s,” said one octogenarian. (A statement that I found hard to disagree with).

Although I should have known better, I decided to join in the dialogue by adding my two cents.

“Then vote Democratic”, I suggested, knowing immediately that I had made a big mistake.

“They ain’t no better”, said one old dude wearing a Yankee’s cap with a Met’s T-shirt.

“Hillary’s a crook", another man chimed in.

“That’s why you got to go for Bernie”, I offered.

A tirade of “Commie”, “Socialist” and “Too old” filled the air.

I foolishly decided to concentrate on the “Socialist” criticism.

“Social Democrat”, I corrected.

“Just like the Nazis”, Yankee/Met man added.

“Nazis were "National Socialists,” I said. “That’s a big difference from being a Social Democrat.”

“They’re still all socialist who want to give everything away to people who don’t want to work.” offered another man.

I was going to say “You mean like you”, but thought better of it.

I let out a frustrated sigh.

Up until now, this discussion could have been taking place anywhere in the country by people of any age group who’s opinions are jaded by the rhetoric of so-called political analysts and incomplete truths. But here’s the kicker.

I decided to make the conversation more relevant to the assembled demographic by inserting some fact that they all had to agree on, and might even have witnessed first hand.

“FDR was a socialist”, I proudly proclaimed.

“Whaddayatalkinabout?”, grumbled some other old codger. “He was a Democrat.”

“You get a Social Security check every month don’t you?”, I argued. “Where do you think that came from? It came from legislation championed by FDR. And how do you think we got out of the depression? We had “Socialist” programs like the WPA and NRA which put millions of people back to work,” I said exhausted from trying to say it all in one breath.

“FDR cheated on Eleanor”, said one of the old men.

“And Eisenhower cheated on Mamie, and JFK cheated on Jackie and Bill cheated on Hillary, What does that have to do with anything anyhow?” I said.

The conversation ended with all of those old farts agreeing that all politicians are crooks, a sentiment that seems to be prevalent whenever the elderly are talking about any people in authority.

This is why I hate old people.

Not for any physical impairments they may have or for their lack of good grooming or even for their grouchiness.

I find most old people intolerable because of their closed minds.

It’s not the lack of one’s ability to run a mile, or bite down on a bagel, or drive a car over 35 miles per hour that define old age. It’s one’s capacity, or lack of it, to be able to at least accept that the world is dynamic and, that change is not necessarily bad. And that our opinions are as valid as anyone else. That’s what should define being old.


The World’s 15 Top Selling Drugs

We seniors take an awful lot of drugs every day.

Ingesting 10, 12, or 14 pills two or three times in a 24 hour period is not unusual.

Most of the medications we take we never heard of before, while some others are advertised extensively on TV and print media.

A recent story in 247WALLST.COM WRITTEN BY Samuel Stebbins informs us. ..

“Attaining a certain drug can mean the difference between life and death for millions of Americans. These essential products also help generate billions for drug manufacturers.

Pharmaceutical companies generate an estimated $300 billion in profit a year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Much of that value is driven by a handful of extremely popular prescription drugs. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 15 top annual sales figures for prescription medications from IMS Health, a company that tracks the drugs bought by hospitals and 


Most of the best-selling drugs are made by the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, which dominate the industry. The world’s 10 largest pharmaceutical companies are responsible for 11 of the 15 best-selling drugs in the world. Annual sales of these 15 drugs account for 12% of all prescription drug sales globally. Swiss drug maker Roche developed and markets three of the world’s 15 best-selling medications, British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca sells two. The two companies sold a combined $34.3 billion of the five drugs in 2014 alone.”

In descending order, here are the top 5 selling drugs in the world:

5. Enbrel

 > 2014 sales: $8.7 billion

> Treatment for: Arthritis, psoriasis

> Drug manufacturer:  Amgen Inc. (NYSE: AZN)

> Company’s headquarter: United States

4. Abilify

 > 2014 sales: $9.3 billion

> Treatment for: Serious mental illness

> Drug manufacturer:  Otsuka Group

> Company’s headquarter: Japan

3. Sovaldi

 > 2014 sales: $9.4 billion

> Treatment for: Hepatitis C

> Drug manufacturer:  Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD)

> Company’s headquarter: United States

2. Lantus

 > 2014 sales: $10.3 billion

> Treatment for: Diabetes

> Drug manufacturer:  Sanofi (NYSE: SNY)

> Company’s headquarter: France

1. Humira

 > 2014 sales: $11.8 billion

> Treatment for: Arthritis, psoriasis, bowel diseases

> Drug manufacturer:  AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV)

> Company’s headquarter: United States

For a more complete explanation of these and 10 other top sellers, go to: 


Income inequality disproportionately effects

 senior citizens

As if we already didn’t know this, a Rutgers University Professor has discovered that “senior citizens have greater economic issues than when they were younger.”

“Stephen Crystal, a professor in the School of Social Work, published a paper with co-authors Dennis Shea and Adriana Reyes that found income inequality is higher in individuals older than 64 years old and especially after age 74 than during their traditional working years.

The income received by members in this age group within the lower 40 percent of income distribution went down from 17 percent to 14 percent of the total from when they were younger, while those in the top-most 20 percent saw their income increase from 46 percent to 48 percent of the total.”

Whether or not you are a fan of, or even a believer in, statistics, professor Crystal goes on to make an interesting point. 

“When viewing date over time, Crystal said, he could see that some older people were doing great, but there appeared to be two worlds of aging.

“In a way, this whole line of research ever since — and there’s been probably twenty-something papers of which this is the most recent one — had been about thinking about this issue of the two worlds of aging and this issue about inequality within the older population,” he said.”

It doesn’t take a Rutgers professor or some survey to see that this is the truth.

All one has to do is look at is the differences in the variety and level of amenities in assisted living facilities and senior housing in general. 

As someone who writes about assisted living, I am naturally bombarded with articles and ads pertaining to new senior residences being built every day. 

Even if one reads these adds with a grain of salt, they can still see that the majority of senior living options feature high-end luxury living at an unbelievably high-end price.

With some apartments going for five or six thousand dollars per month and some condo’s costing in the million dollar plus range, there are more than just a few well-heeled old folks out there.

Part of this inequity, according to Crystal, may have its cause in how these seniors started out to begin with...

“Crystal created a concept called the cumulative advantage and cumulative disadvantage model. This is the basic idea that over a person’s life-course, the people that start out well tend to do better and better.

The people that don’t start out well tend to fall behind overtimes,” he said. “So if you look at a cohort of people that are born within a certain span of years — taking my cohort for example, which is the early baby boomers — you follow them over the course of their life, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

While we don’t know Prof. Crystal’s political affiliation, he seems to feel comfortable riding the horse that many Republicans have hitched their wagons to:..

“Entitlements such as social security play into that problem, he said. That is why income inequality is not something that is exactly the same from country to country but is worse in the U.S. 

The greatest income inequality across ages was found in the older generation, according to a study completed in the 1990s by Crystal and a graduate student at the time, Dennis Shea. 

“We talked about how that whole situation is driven by policies like social security and what might be some of the things that would give a better chance to the people of the lower end of that and what was the concentration of income among people in the top 20 percent,” 

I have always viewed Social Security as a way of forcing people to save their money while they are still earning it. 

Perhaps, in the future, there may be a better way of putting money away for one’s old age, outside of the grasp of the an often sticky-fingered government.

Read more:


Customer service in hospitals and ALF’s

We all know that hospitals are no fun. Even the shortest stay can be a nightmare.

Unfortunately, sending residents off to the hospital is an everyday occurrence here at the Center. 

Not a day goes by when one, two or more residents get taken away by ambulance for one thing or another.

Fortunately, most of those hospital visits are short and the resident is returned the same day, their malady attended to.

But sometimes the problem is not so easily fixed, and an extended hospital stay is necessary.

This is when things really become miserable.

It’s bad enough that you are sick or injured and that you most likely have to undergo a series of uncomfortable and sometimes painful procedures, but you will also have to put up with all the non-medical crap that you will have to navigate. And, while most hospitals are very good at taking care of what ails you, they are not so good at making your stay as pleasant as possible.

Fox reporter, John Stossel, recently entered Columbia-Presbyterian hospital for lung surgery. And, while he praised the medical care he received, he was not so happy about the hospital’s customer service. ...

"...the hospital's customer service stinks."

Hospitalized Stossel Bemoans Sorry State of Healthcare Customer Service 

Doctors "keep me waiting for hours, and no one bothers to call or email to say 'I'm running late,'" Stossel said.

He was given X-rays, EKG tests, echocardiograms and blood tests, but he doubted all were needed. "No one discusses that with me or mentions the cost. Why would they? The patient rarely pays directly."

Stossel had to "fill out long medical history forms by hand and, in the next office, do it again. Same wording." 

Stossel’s comments regarding his hospital experience appeared the other day in an article in : written by Richard Adhikari. He writes. ..

“The main problem is that hospitals don't regard patients as the customer, said Nancy Fabozzi, transformational health principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

That's compounded by the hierarchical culture in hospitals, which is sluggish and fosters an attitude of unwillingness to rock the boat.

"The customer is your hierarchical manager or doctor -- or the insurance company or hospital board or the CEO," Fabozzi told CRM Buyer.

"There's this attitude of 'let's protect our business and let's protect our customers,' but the customers have, up to this point, been the insurance companies who select hospitals to be in their network," she said.”

My question exactly. WHO’S THE CUSTOMER? 

And the problem of identifying and defining the “Customer” does not end at the hospital exit door.

From my first week here at the ALF, I wondered about the same thing.

There seemed to be some managerial schizophrenia going on here.

While it was quite apparent that my well-being and that supplying me with the components of everyday life was foremost in the minds of the facilities management, the manner of how those services are provided seem to be centered more on fulfilling the needs of a bureaucratic system rather than making the Customer/Resident happy.

State mandated rules and regulations always come before resident satisfaction is considered.

This is exactly what Mr. Adhikari points out. ..

"The overwhelming amount of documentation has forced patients to take a back seat to paperwork," remarked Bruce Temkin, managing partner at the Temkin Group.

"Any time a person's forced to go through a set of very detailed, specific steps like filling out paperwork, it dampens their empathy for the customers they're dealing with, in this case the patients," he told CRM Buyer.

"If the processes are poorly designed, which is the case in many parts of the medical world, the employee must enforce steps that make no sense to the patient, raising the chances for negative emotional confrontations," Temkin said.”

Unfortunately, as long as both hospitals and assisted living facilities are governed by the state (which in N.Y. Is epitome of bureaucracy) any change in thinking will not soon be in the offing.

Our only immediate hope is that new technology will cut down or assists with some of the monitoring and paperwork and free-up staff to attend to the real customers, the residents.

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