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Dispelling the myths about
people with disabilities.

Lots of things change when you get old. Where you live, your finances, your physical appearance and your relationship with others are all part of that great experience we call “aging.” And, while in your mind you may think you are still 17, your old, worn-out body will tell you otherwise.

There’s a good chance that something new in the way of pain, stiffness, or lack of energy will have befallen you overnight.

Fortunately, for most people, a little stretching, bending, and some Tylenol and coffee alleviates these symptoms in a few minutes. But unfortunately, for many more of us, one problem of old age stays with us all day every day.

A few days ago, I posted a blog about walking a mile in my shoes. I’d like to amend that title for this post and call it “roll a mile in my wheelchair, or Rollator or walker before you feel what I’m feeling or attempt to know what it’s like to have your mobility strictly curtailed.

There are many misconceptions on the part of “fully mobile” people when they see those of us who use some kind of mobility aid.

Among those are…

1.“Poor thing, he must be in pain.”
2.“He must have a miserable life.”
3.“Because he’s using a wheelchair (or Rollator, or walker or cane) he must also be deaf. I’ll just shout at him.”
4.“ And, not only is he deaf, but he must also be dim-witted, so I’ll talk a little slower.”

There are other mistaken beliefs about people who have trouble getting around such as that we are all poor, or lazy, or on welfare. Of course, none of this is necessarily true. Permit me to dispel some of those myths.

The great majority of people who need assistance walking are not in pain. The grimace you see on our faces as we ply our way through crowds, up hills or over broken sidewalks comes from the restriction that whatever particular device we are using places on us and ability to navigate as quickly and as smoothly as we would like.

For the most part, people with mobility issues do not have a miserable life, or should I say they don’t have any more or less of a miserable life than anybody else. Most people have learned to adapt to whatever situations in which they might find themselves.

Money has no effect on one’s mobility, other than you might be able to afford a fancier wheelchair or a nicer cane. And if you think that paying for more physical therapy is going to have you springing up and out of that chair, forget about it. There comes a point where all the PT in the world will not help. And, it has nothing to do with being lazy or giving up.
There is an old saying that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Well, you cannot make an athletes body out of one that has gone through the physical trauma that most folks with mobility problems have gone through.

Those stories you see of young people coming back from horrendous injuries by working very hard don’t hold true for older people whose bodies can’t regain what they had when they were young. It’s just not going to happen no matter how hard they try.

And, by the way, all people who use a mobility device are not on the public dole. Yes, some might be on disability insurance because they cannot work and others may have received their wheelchair or walker from Medicaid, but nobody is handing out welfare money to them just because they have trouble walking.

And finally, I’ve saved this for last because it is something that I personally experienced during the time that I was in a wheelchair.

Spending nearly a year and a half in a wheelchair while receiving physical therapy gave me a whole new perspective on life and a new understanding of what people who are disabled have to put up with daily. But far beyond the physical challenges, there are the indignities as well.

One of the problems of being in a wheelchair, besides the obvious, is that you are always in a seated position. This lowered viewpoint immediately puts that individual in a subservient situation. Standing people perceive you as a child or someone of lesser status. I was made to feel this way time after time by well-meaning people.

Just get an elevator and see how many people rush to push the floor button for you even though you are perfectly capable of pushing it yourself. Now that, in itself, would not be so bad if it weren’t for these people to shout at you and speak and speak more slowly.

“WHAT….FLOOR….ARE….YOU….GOING….TO”, they would yell as if your wheelchair was an impediment to your mind as well as your mobility. The same is true for those older folks who use a walker or a cane but to a lesser degree.

Look, I’m not blaming you entirely for your ignorance. It’s just that most people are not used to being around disabled people very much so they don’t know how to act. But as the population ages, it is more likely that there will be more people using a mobility aid than ever before. And a little knowledge of what it really feels like couldn’t hurt.

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Never mind the Social Security increase,
seniors are in trouble, here's why

By Paul Brandus

You might have heard that Social Security checks are going up 2.8% next year, the biggest rise in seven years. That translates into an average benefit of $1,461 a month, up $39.

While welcome, it’s necessary to remember that the increase is tied to inflation. Higher payouts will simply enable retirees to keep up with the rising cost of living. It doesn’t mean that anyone’s standard of living will go up—as if an extra $1.28 a day will do much in the first place. Think of a treadmill: You’re not going anywhere.


Most older adults would willingly take fewer medicines
By Lisa Rapaport

Most elderly patients taking multiple prescription medications would be willing to reduce their daily pill regimen to minimize their risk of side effects like falls or dangerous drug interactions, a U.S. study suggests.

Nine out of ten people 65 and older are willing to stop taking one or more medications if their doctor recommends this, the study found. And two-thirds of older adults would like to cut back on the total number of medicines they take.


Seniors Prefer Assisted Living To Moving In With Family
By Chuck Sudo

Whether they don’t want to be burdens to their children or are placing faith in future innovation, older adults view assisted living as a better option than moving in with family members. Going to a nursing home, meanwhile, is about as popular as a root canal.

That is one of the takeaways from a recent survey conducted by Retirement Living Information Center. The online retirement resource website surveyed over 2,300 seniors, ranging in age from 50 to 81+, and the results showed today’s seniors are willing to age in place as long as possible, by any means at their disposal.

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NEXT BLOG:  Thursday, October 25th 2018

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Whitefish, Carp, and Yellow Pike
(Forgive The Nostalgia)

In an effort to spruce up the place and to add a little color and drama to an erstwhile rather drab decor here at the ALF, the management has decided to have a fish tank installed somewhere in the facility.

Of course, the way that my mind works, when I think of fish I don’t think of those colorful little tropical fish that appear to swim around aimlessly in some underwater paradise until that day when they are found floating belly-up at the top of the tank. No, I think of fish that one eats like flounder, halibut and tuna. You know, real fish. And actually, when I think of fish swimming in a tank, my mind immediately goes back to a time when my mother and I would search the metropolitan area for a place that sold fresh fish. And by fresh I mean fish that are still swimming around minutes before they meet their demise.

At one time every neighborhood had its fishmonger, usually more than one. These vendors were as important to the life of a community as was the butcher, the baker, and the shoemaker. The fish, though always fresh, was not necessarily sold right from the tank. Usually, It was only at holiday times (Jewish holiday’s, that is) that the large stainless steel tanks came out and were stocked with the three fish needed to make that magic, and often misunderstood, ethnic favorite, gefilte fish.

The fish (Whitefish, Pike, and Carp*), we presumed, came from the cold, clear, clean waters of some pristine northern lake.

When the family moved from Brooklyn, where there were as many fish markets, to Queens we found that places that sold live fish were non-existent. And so, it was back to Brooklyn, to the worst neighborhood in Brooklyn no less, where one of the few remaining live fish markets was still open. And, like bears to a beehive, the place was packed with old Jewish women and, surprisingly enough, old Chinese ladies. Evidently, the only two ethnic groups that insisted on, and knew what to do with, live, fresh fish.

I can only imagine what the Chinese ladies did with their fish, but I knew very well what my mother and the other “mamaleh’s” did with theirs. They were there to continue a tradition which has sustained our people for thousands of years. The cooking of what “goyim”** would call fish balls or “gefiltered fish”, or just “filtered” fish defines Jewish cuisine perhaps more than any other food. And, while the basic recipe for the making of this dish is simple, these recipes vary from country to country, village to village and even from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you my mother’s recipe (actually more like a formula) for her gefilte fish. Regrettably, I never watched her that closely. The only thing that I can say is that if you have ever eaten gefilte fish from a jar, you haven’t really eaten gefilte fish. The difference between the two is like that of a seven-course homemade Thanksgiving meal and a Swanson turkey TV dinner.

The sad thing about all of this is that the people who know how to cook this food are disappearing or have already disappeared. And, disappearing with them are the traditions that they have maintained over the years.

So, the next time you have a chance to taste gefilte fish, matzoh ball soup, flanken, brisket, or chicken soup made by an old Jewish lady, jump at it. You will not taste that again in your lifetime. …………………………………bc.

* Don’t let anyone tell you different. You must combine an equal amount of these three fish in order to make traditional, authentic gefilte fish.
** Goyim, = non Jew.


RIP Fran, and thanks

As a rule, I don’t do obituaries on this blog. Death is inevitable, often unexpected, and never appreciated and those that experience it are rarely worth mentioning. But the passing of one of our original and longtime residents here at the ALF should not be without noting. Not for what she accomplished in life but for something she did that affected me.

Fran was one of the main reasons I chose this facility over the others that I investigated, and she never knew it.

Readers of this blog know that one of the things that I tell all prospective residents of assisted living facilities to do is to observe the people (residents) walking around the common areas of the facility. See how they are dressed, groomed and how animated they are. Avoid places where the residents appear unkempt, hair uncombed and wearing PJ’s, robes, or loungewear in the middle of the day. Those are usually signs that the facility is neglecting its residents. Such were some of the things that I observed as I visited facility after facility looking for a place to live after a long stay in various nursing homes.

I must have toured 5 or 6 places where It was obvious that, as far as grooming and personal hygiene were concerned, the staff looked the other way. This was not the kind of place at which I wanted to spend the rest of my days. That was until I came here.

While the physical differences (room size, dining room, lobby etc.) were similar to many of the other places that I visited, the distinction between the way the residents looked was like night and day. But It was the first person I saw as I walked through the front door that made up my mind that this place was different from the rest. And that person was Fran.

Unlike most of the residents of the places I visited, Fran was dressed to the nines. Her hair was perfectly coiffed. Her makeup was carefully applied and her dress was stylish, clean and properly fitted. She was sitting on one of the cushioned lobby chairs talking with another, and equally well-groomed lady who was in a wheelchair. A quick look around the lobby and I could see that, although most of were not up to the level of Fran, they most certainly cared about the way they looked. I was sold. I could live here.

Over the years, Fran’s enthusiasm and dedication to her appearance rarely varied. Always present were the stylish clothes, the, makeup and her signature large, floppy hats. And, it was not until the last couple of months on this planet that she slackened off somewhat on the hair and makeup. But, throughout the remainder of her illness, she endeavored to maintain a certain level of civility and style. And It’s for that Fran, that I will miss you the most. 

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Your Guide to Senior Living Options

In this day and age, senior citizens are quite fortunate to have a plethora of senior living options available to them. Thanks to Senior Guidance, all senior living options can now be accessed in one place. Let’s look at what options U.S. aging adults have and how they can access them:


For assisted living communities, change is coming,
 but there still is time to adapt

The halcyon days of assisted living communities resembling comfy hotels and providing little more than social and residential programs for well-off residents is fading fast. Operators that hope to compete for customers down the road need to change their business models and, in particular, ramp up offerings for more healthcare services.


Hang On! 6 Things People Later Regret Decluttering From Their Homes
By Margaret Heidenry

We normally don't rue chucking unused kitchen gadgets or an old pair of shoes. But in the big push to do some high-impact decluttering, many people get rid of things they later wish they'd kept. For instance, I got rid of my grandparent's Pendleton blanket (a nice memory from childhood sleepovers) when I moved across the country; I'd give most anything to have it back now. And a friend misses old letters from high school that went into the trash; but really, how much space do a few pieces of paper really take up?

So before you purge past the point of good reason, lean on some 20/20 hindsight and peruse this list of things that other people regret decluttering out of their homes. Who knows? Later on, you might wish you had hung onto them for dear life.

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NEXT BLOG:  MONDAY, October 22nd 2018

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This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht

who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.


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Facebook is trying to make it easier to get in touch with people over Messenger, so it's rolling out a number of new ways to start chatting. As with all Facebook accounts, all Messenger accounts will now have dedicated links that people can visit to start a chat — they'll all be located at m.me/[username]. Facebook is also rolling out what it calls Messenger Codes, which are Messenger's equivalent to Snapchat's snapcodes. They look pretty neat: Messenger Codes are just a series of dots and dashes circling around your profile photo. When someone scans one with their camera, it'll presumably add that person as a contact.

read more >> https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/7/11383958/facebook-messenger-codes-announced-900m-mau

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