WCenterBlog- June 22 to June 29th 2017







Trump's Treasury Secretary laid out a
 possible path to Social Security cuts

President Trump hasn't exactly been forthcoming with a plan to fix Social Security. During his campaign, and since entering the Oval Office, Trump's only pledge has been that he wouldn't touch Social Security.

Instead, he's chosen a more indirect approach through tax reforms. The president believes that lowering individual and corporate tax rates will stimulate the economy, increasing wages and annual incomes, and ultimately resulting in higher payroll tax collection for Social Security. But considering how difficult healthcare reform has been for the Republican-led congress thus far, many people have their doubts about this indirect fix of Social Security.


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DO THIS NOW

Elizabeth Warren's staff are saying that what would help THE MOST to defeat the Senate bill to repeal the ACA is calling the 5 Republican senators who have broken away from the GOP in an attempt to slow down the attempted repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Tell them how much you appreciate their efforts:

Senator Bob Corker - (202) 224-3344
Senator Lisa Murkowski - (202) 224-6665
Senator Rob Portman - (202) 224-3353
Senator Susan Collins - (202) 224-2523
Senator Bill Cassidy - (202) 224-5824

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Congress Heads for a Showdown on Obamacare
Michelle Cottle
theatlantic.com

Health care warriors, saddle up! This promises to be a wild weekend on Capitol Hill—and for anyone with skin in the repeal-and-replace-Obamacare game.

After days and weeks of breathless anticipation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is set to release a “discussion draft” of his chamber’s version of the wildly controversial (read: unpopular) AHCA. To clarify: What McConnell’s dropping is not an actual bill, with the devilish details of a plan laid out in expansive, if largely impenetrable legislatese. A discussion draft can be as specific or as vague as the leader sees fit, and vanishingly few outside of McConnell’s office know for certain what to expect: A document resembling actual legislation? A reasonably meaty outline? A smattering of bullet points beefed up with meaningless slogans and cheery photos of senior citizens frolicking in fields of prescription drugs? 
Latest from Politics

Immigration Hardliners Grow Frustrated with Trump

No matter. When the draft hits, it will set in motion a Capitol Hill and K Street freakout, as aides, lobbyists, and other outside interest groups rush to read, analyze, and respond to whatever the heck McConnell has handed them—mindful that the Majority Leader has vowed to hold a vote on the bill before Congress skips town for the July 4th recess late next week.....

Go to story >> https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/congress-heads-for-a-showdown-on-obamacare/531201/



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Flu Vaccine Ineffective for People 65 and Older Last Winter

U.S. health officials have issued new flu vaccine data estimating the vaccine was about 42 percent effective in preventing illness severe enough to warrant a doctor visit, but basically failed to protect people 65 and older from infection, according to ABC News. The flu-related hospitalization rate for older adults last winter was the highest it has been since the severe 2014-2015 flu season. Past studies imply for four of the last seven flu seasons, the vaccine was essentially ineffective in seniors, with the worst performances tending to be in seasons dominated by the H3N2 strain. "While it is clear we need better flu vaccines, it's important that we not lose sight of the important benefits of vaccination with currently available vaccines," concludes Jill Ferdinands with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Go to story >> http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/flu-vaccine-ineffective-people-65-older-winter-48185738



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Governors wary of Medicaid cost shift in Senate health bill
Julie Carr Smyth and Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

Governors in several states that opted to expand Medicaid under former President Barack Obama's health care law are wary of the Senate Republican plan to end the added federal funding for it within seven years.

The proposal released Thursday calls for a slower phase-out of the Medicaid expansion than a bill adopted earlier by the House. Yet it still would force those states to figure out what to do about the millions of lower-income Americans who used it to gain health coverage.

The doubts about the latest plan from Washington came from Republicans, Democrats and the nation's one independent governor.













A Father’s Legacy
My father lies next to my mother in death just as they had for over 60 years in life.
The neatly kept grave in a crowded cemetery located in an area that is as close to a necropolis as one can get on long Island.

A simple granite headstone marks the final resting place of a man who, even now, still holds influence over all of what I am and will be. And that influence goes far beyond what any combination of genes or nucleic acids can affect.

I was raised (as many of us were in those post-WW2 years) in a traditional family setting.

My mom stayed at home and took care of me and my brother while dad trudged off to work every day.

My father came home for dinner every evening and we all sat around the table and discussed the high or low lights of our day.

My mom would begin the conversation with her “Daily Report” which consisted mainly of a list of stuff she needed to properly run the household such as the urgent need for a new vacuum cleaner.

Of course asking my father for a new vacuum was tantamount to asking for a new Buick. In those days, any purchase over $50 was cause for debate.

My mom never lost those debates.

The “Report” would eventually turn to me and my older brother, who managed to avoid family dinners as often as he could, leaving me to take the brunt of the ensuing inquisition.

It was then that the dreaded “Just wait ‘till your father gets home” portion of the evening’s entertainment began.

It was made quite clear that any punishment, be it corporal, capital, or psychological would be carried out by my father.

Most evenings went by without any sentences handed out. I was not really a bad kid.

But when it was decided that an appropriate response to my malfeasance was necessary, it usually came in the form of yelling at me along with that look of utter disappointment that my father managed to affect in such a manner as to make me feel as though I had committed the crime of the century.

I remember that feeling to this day and can’t help but wonder if this is something that all dads instinctively know how to do.

While moms do it with “guilt”, dads do it with a look of sadness, disappointment, and failure.

 Or, perhaps it is something that is built-in to kids themselves that make disappointing one’s father worse than any physical punishment or retribution.

And even now, as an adult, remnants of that feeling of having let the number one male figure in my life down lingers like a ketchup stain on a white shirt.

I just hate to let anyone down. Be it my teachers, my boss or my friends.

In some unconscious way, my father taught me the meaning of keeping my word and that no matter what my financial status is, my word is my bond.

This very simple lesson has done well by me throughout my life whether it be in my business relations or the relations I have with friends and loved ones. And, while I can’t say that I have always managed to do what I set out to do, I can say that at least my intention to do so was honest and sincere.

Now, that I am well entrenched in the autumn of my years and have managed to pile on a number of regrets, the one that makes me the saddest is that I will not be able to pass on that same feeling to my kids.

My parent's marriage lasted 60 years and produced two kids. But my brief marriage left me without an heir and has brought my family line to an end. But despite that, at least I can say that I did do honor to my father by trying to be the best person I could be. And for that, I am eternally grateful.






Social Security in 2018:
Potential changes and how they could impact you

By Casey Dowd
foxbusiness.com

Recent inflation trends could boost the 2018 cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries to its highest since 2012, according to advocacy group The Senior Citizens League.

While any increase would be welcomed news for seniors living on a fixed income, the potential six-year high won’t necessarily be something to write home about, according to TSCL.

“The rate of inflation is the driver of COLA increases. But the truth is that it would not take much to beat COLAs of the past five years — 2013 thru 2017. During that time COLAs ranged from a low of zero in 2016, and 0.3% this year, to a 'high' of 1.7 percent in 2013 and 2015, anything above 1.7 percent would make it the highest since 2012,” said Mary Johnson, TSCL’s Social Security and Medicare policy analyst. “The bar is set pretty low.”

Johnson discussed with FOX Business TSCL’s predictions for 2018 COLA, which the Social Security Administration will announce in the fall, and what it means for retirees.

Boomer: What are some of the changes we might see for Social Security in 2018?

Johnson: Recent CPI data indicates that the COLA in 2018 could be the highest since 2012. (Remember that could be anything higher than 1.7 percent). I’m projecting that the COLA for 2018 will be around 1.9-2.1 percent. Keep your fingers crossed, the 12 - month rate of inflation growth has weakened over the past month.



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Another Argument for Cutting Social Security
Falls by the Wayside

huffingtonpost.com

One of the main arguments you often hear for cutting Social Security benefits is that we need to push more seniors into the labor market. The argument typically goes something like this: if we raise the Social Security retirement age (or cut the level of monthly benefits), the tradeoff between work and retirement will tilt more heavily in favor of work, resulting in higher employment among workers in their sixties. This change would in turn improve the Social Security budget, both by increasing the program’s revenues (since more workers would be paying into the program) and by decreasing the program’s expenditures (since fewer seniors would be receiving benefits).

Twenty or thirty years ago, this would’ve been a perfectly coherent and logical argument. But in 2017, it doesn’t hold much sway, for one simple reason: employment among seniors is already at a record high, meaning that it is no longer necessary to push older Americans into the labor market. Moreover, this rise in employment has been widespread across the senior age distribution, a fact which (as we will see later) is also relevant to retirement policy. In fact, for all five specific age groups for which we have data, annual employment rates were at their all-time highs in 2016.

Start with Americans in their early sixties. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began collecting employment data on 60-61 year-olds and 62-64 year-olds back in 1976. That year, the employment rate of 60-61 year-olds was 53.4%, and the employment rate of 62-64 year-olds was 39.1%; yet by 2016, these rates were up to 60.7% and 48.8%, respectively….


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Top Republicans Tell Trump: Implement Obamacare
By Russell Berman
The Atlantic

Top congressional Republicans have delivered a surprising plea to the Trump administration: Don’t sabotage the Affordable Care Act while we try to repeal it.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday became the second GOP committee chairmen in as many weeks to urge the administration to continue payments of subsidies to insurance companies that are considered crucial to stabilizing the individual market and preventing sharp premium increases.

Under President Trump’s direction, the administration has refused to guarantee that it will pay the subsidies, which are known as “cost-sharing reduction payments” and help insurers keep down deductibles for low-income customers while still making a profit. The decision has infuriated Democrats and insurers alike, and several companies have cited the uncertainty caused by the administration as the reason for exiting Obamacare exchanges in certain states and counties.
Related Story

How Democrats Would Fix Obamacare…




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Misconceptions for remarried senior spouses
By Bonnie Kraham
recordonline.com

Getting remarried later in life as senior citizens comes with potential unforeseen circumstances for finances, inheritance rights for spouse and children, and long-term care costs.

When people marry later in life, they may also bring along their debts and obligations. Maybe one spouse is obligated to pay life insurance or a pension to a former spouse or has a reverse mortgage on the home. The new spouse would receive less inheritance.

Remarriage may complicate the inheritance to children from a previous marriage. Many people labor under the misconception that if they keep their assets completely separate from the new spouse, their plan to leave money to their own children controls. However, due to a law called the “right of election,” a surviving spouse may make a claim for one-third of the estate of the deceased spouse, despite a will that says all goes to the children.

For second or third marriages later in life, it is usually recommended the couple enter into either a prenuptial agreement (created before the marriage), also referred to as a “prenup,” or postnuptial agreement (created after the marriage), also referred to as a “postnup,” which controls …



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Seniors Load Up on Psych Meds
(JAMA Internal Medicine)
Polypharmacy is ongoing problem
 by Christine Hsu,
MedPage Today


Older Americans are being over-prescribed, suggested new research finding that the percentage of people over 65 taking three or more mind-altering drugs has more than doubled in the past decade.

What's more, nearly half of these patients were not formally diagnosed with mental health issues, insomnia, or pain conditions.

Researchers found that 1.4% of doctor visits by seniors involved three or more central nervous system-affecting medication in 2013 compared to 0.6% in 2004, meaning 3.68 million doctor visits a year involve older patients taking three or more brain-altering drugs.

The authors said the latest findings are "concerning" as combining multiple drugs such as opioids, antidepressants, tranquilizers, and antipsychotics are associated with serious risks, particularly in seniors.

"We hope that the newer prescribing guidelines for older adults encourage providers and patients to reconsider the potential risks and benefits from these combinations," said lead author Donovan Maust, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan.


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Excess weight may reduce early death risk
for older adults with diabetes

By Honor Whiteman
medicalnewstoday.com

Researchers say that being overweight or obese in later life may prolong the lifespan of patients with diabetes.
Many of us are aware of the health risks associated with being overweight or obese. A new study, however, finds that holding some excess weight may actually benefit older adults with diabetes.

Researchers from Capital Medical University in Beijing, China, found that being overweight or obese in later life may reduce the risk of premature death by almost a fifth for older adults with diabetes.

The researchers are unable to explain the association between overweight or obesity in later life and a longer lifespan for older adults with diabetes, but they do have some theories.

For example, they point to previous studies that have uncovered an inverse link between muscle mass and insulin resistance. Lean muscle mass reduces with age, and this may lead to a reduction in bodyweight, which could lead to worse health outcomes for older adults.




But Just In Case You Think It’s Okay To Go To Hell With Yourself….


Eating a Western diet of burgers and soda drastically
increased risk of Alzheimer's in lab mice 

By Cheyenne Roundtree
Dailymail.com
 
A diet consisting of red meat and sugary foods has been linked to Alzheimer's
Experts found the Western diet led to proteins that created brain damage
The new California study was conducted on mice in a lab setting
A previous San Francisco study found the same link in August of last year

Eating the Western way increases the risk of Alzheimer's, according to lab results.

Constantly indulging in fatty and sugary foods, such as burgers and fries, leads to unhealthy weight gain, decades of studies show.

Now research claims the intake of these types of foods not only leads to obesity but also increases the risk of Alzheimer's.

The new study was conducted on mice but previous findings from August also found the same link between these two factors and humans.

The Western diet was found to drive up cholesterol and Alzheimer's-influencing proteins that create blockages and destroy the brain.



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Generosity Seems to Increase With Age
By Traci Pedersen
psychcentral.com

The findings, published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, show that while older adults treat their family and friends the same as younger adults do, the elderly donate more to strangers than younger adults, even when there is little chance for reciprocation.

“Greater generosity was observed among senior citizens possibly because as people become older, their values shift away from purely personal interests to more enduring sources of meaning found in their communities,” said study leader Dr. Yu Rongjun from the Department of Psychology at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, as well as the Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology at NUS.

Research has shown that as people get older they spend more time volunteering, are more attentive to ecological concerns, and show less interest in getting rich. However, there is a lack of understanding of the core motive behind such altruistic behavior.




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Series of Bills Will Improve Well-Being for Seniors -
mychamplainvalley.com

The New York State Senate passed a series of bills to improve the physical, emotional and financial conditions of senior citizens.

"Our seniors play an invaluable role in the fabric of our society, and we have a responsibility to ensure that they have access to the resources they need to live their lives to the fullest, at home, in the communities they worked so hard to build," Senator Sue Serino said.

According to a release from the State Senate, some of the things the bills hope to accomplish include:



  1. protect seniors against theft and help law enforcement punish those who knowingly exploit the elderly
  2. establish a 24/7 statewide hotline for reporting various forms of abuse
  3. create a public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers on the financial risks associated with joint banking accounts
  4. amend retirement, social security and banking laws in regards to pension assignments to prohibit schemes used by companies to avoid paying public pension benefits
  5. address the demand for safe, affordable housing for seniors
  6. increase the Social Security Income rate adult care facilities receive so these services can continue to be available to low income Social Security recipients.
  7. create a transportation pilot program to help seniors run errands such as grocery shopping or go to medical appointments.
  8. simplify applications for seniors to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan
  9. permit people over the age of 65 to take courses through the State University of New York for credit without charge when space is available.
  10. establish a Veterans' Gerontological Advisory Committee
  11. authorize a 10% discount on city water bills for senior citizens and veterans.

"This week, we took significant steps to ensure that our laws work effectively to empower our seniors and to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to prevent exploitation and abuse. With this series of bills, we are sending a clear message to seniors across our state that their needs, and that their safety, remain a top priority," Serino said.

The bills are waiting for approval in the Assembly.







 Hydrangeas The Word
The  HYDRANGEAS were a little late to bloom this spring, but as soon as the temperatures began to rise to 70, 80 and 90 degrees, they couldn’t wait to pop out. For some reason different colors appear to bloom at different times. The blue ones are mostly full now while the white and yellow ones have yet to make their appearance…………………………………………bwc.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As was pointed out by Reader "DK", the flowers pictured above are not chrysanthemums as originally described but Hydrangeas. Boy am I a dope.


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Giving Back


A friend of mine here at the ALF clued me into something I think you might be interested in.

It’s a way of of actually giving something of yourself back to the great community we call America’s Seniors.

Every day we are inundated with stories focused on the fight to find a cure or even just a treatment for Alzheimer’s but apart from giving money to various agencies, we think we can’t do much more to help.

Now there is an actual way to directly participate in research that may bring an end to this mind-robbing disease.


Alzheimer's Prevention Registry

About the Registry


“The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, led by Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, unites leading researchers with people like you who are interested in taking part in Alzheimer’s studies. We focus our work on helping scientists advance our knowledge of Alzheimer’s and its prevention.

Unfortunately, 80 percent of studies are delayed because too few people sign up to participate. We aim to change this situation by identifying promising new studies that need help and connecting Registry members to them. Learn more about how the Registry works and why it’s so important for people to join.



None of us can tackle this battle alone -- whether you're a scientist, a clinician or a member of the public. Fortunately, none of us has to. We’re working together to create a legacy: a future without Alzheimer’s

Spreading the Word about Alzheimer’s Prevention

Besides supporting Alzheimer’s research, we also work to educate the public by sharing reliable information about Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s prevention on our website, through social media and by sending regular emails to Registry members.

Registry members help by sharing the latest research findings and prevention strategies. They also help by connecting friends and family to research opportunities. Learn more about how you can become an ambassador for Alzheimer’s prevention research.

A Partnership of Leading Health Organizations

Established and led by Banner Alzheimer's Institute, the Registry is a partnership that includes twelve leading health organizations. Meet our partners.

The Registry is led by a dedicated team with a passion for finding effective prevention methods for Alzheimer's. Meet our team.

Banner Alzheimer's Institute (BAI) is a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization and part of Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the United States. BAI is helping to lead the fight against Alzheimer's through its cutting-edge studies in detection, treatment and prevention and by providing a comprehensive model of care that addresses both medical and non-medical needs of patients and their families.

The Alzheimer's Prevention Registry is funded through generous donations to the Banner Alzheimer's Foundation, with seed funding from the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative.”

The study that I participated in involves the need to study the genes of seniors who have not presently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A database of at least 50,000 seniors is needed.

Participation in the study is easy, free and even fun.

After signing up, you will receive a kit containing instructions on how to collect some of your genetic material. The kit contains a swab (that you use to swab the inside of your cheek with) and a postage paid envelope in which to return the swab. That’s it.

Who knows. Maybe it’ll turn out that you’re more special than you think.



(Please note: This test does not determine whether or not you have or are prone to Alzheimer’s.)


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ÅSee more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




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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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