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My Body Is A Mess,
And I Don’t Care, Sort of


I came across an article the other day on Quora Digest* questioning the reasons why older people have a tendency to “Let themselves go.” At first, I thought this to be quite ageist and insulting, but then I got to thinking that it is a legitimate question that requires some discussion. Of course the term ‘letting oneself go’ is a matter of opinion and open to interpretation, but essentially, or at least to me, it means not being able to maintain that same magnificent body you had when you were 24**.

Okay, so maybe I never had a magnificent body, but at least I wasn’t the lumpy, bumpy, misshapen, and hairy mess that stands before you. And where the hell did those man-boobs come from? Actually, and the truth be told, I haven’t really seen the lower half of my body in 8 or 9 years.

I had the opportunity to acquire a full-length mirror from a resident who was moving, but I declined. I know pretty much what the nether regions look like and I’m not that anxious to see it.

Now don’t get me wrong. Just because I have no desire to look at my gnarly old body does not mean that I am not concerned about it. I, of course, am as vain as the rest of us and want to look my best. But now my desire for svelteness comes from a different perspective.

Let’s face it. When you were young you wanted to look your best for one reason, sex. And, if you are thinking otherwise you are not being truthful to yourself or as a human being. It’s actually part of our DNA. Attractive, healthy, good-looking people attract other healthy good-looking people to choose as mates thus ensuring the continuity of the species. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder which explains all of the ugly people in this world. But let’s get back to the business at hand.

I turned 73 on my last birthday and the desire to continue the species through procreation is the last thing on my mind. So why should I care about the way I look? If I had to guess, it would be the desire to hang onto one last vestige of the person I used to be. Which, by the way, started to go south shortly after I got married.

Due to a genetic flaw which has plagued the male line in my family for generations, I knew I would eventually lose my hair. I just didn’t figure on this affliction to manifest itself so early on. By 35 I was already starting to look like my father. Something that my wife must have taken note of because we divorced a few months later.

But all levity aside, why do some of us (old folks) tend to disregard even the smallest proclivity for self-regard.

For some real answers, let us turn to Quora Digest once again.

According to the article’s author, Sheri Turner the reasons why we let ourselves go are. . .

1.Accidents. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, job accidents, violent crime (stabbing, punching, gunshots), falling down stairs, etc.

2.Less Energy.

3. Eating style hasn’t changed with aging.

4. An older body doesn’t take out the trash as efficiently. As a person gets older, their body just doesn’t handle unhealthy eating and hard living (cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol, etc) as efficiently.

5.Illness and declining health. Cancer treatments, prolonged Prednisone usage, Congestive heart failure, medications for chronic pain like fibromyalgia (actually a lot of medications can cause unexplained weight gain), Lymphedema, Diabetes, thyroid conditions….

6.Other priorities.


To put it more succinctly, it’s because we have lived a full life, complete with all of its joy, sorrows, trials, and tribulations that affect us all as mortals. All of which, unfortunately, reveals itself in our physical appearance. Something which should not be taken lightly. To paraphrase an old adage, we are what we have lived. And we should be proud of it. The mere fact that we have survived the miseries of life without ending up in some loony bin should be proof enough to the detractors that we are stronger than our appearance lets on.

That is what I told myself this morning as I stepped out of the shower (yes, I shower every day) and looked at a reflection of the upper part of my body via a mirror that mercifully does not show anything farther south than my nipples, and thought “Not bad for an old man.”

I am able to think this because I decided a while back that I will, to the best of my ability, try to maintain some manner of self-respect even if it is only the daily grooming routine I have upheld since I was a teenager. This is something that many of my fellow seniors fail to do.

And so, besides the daily shower, the shave, the tooth brushing, and the hair combing along with the application of various aftershaves, lotions, and deodorants, I put on clean clothes. Then, I check myself just in case I have forgotten to button a button or zip up a fly. I figure it’s the least I can do for my fellow man, and woman.

And, speaking of women, you guys seem to be able to put it all together no matter what your age or physical condition much to the delight of us older gentlemen who’s furnace has not yet run out of wood.

In closing, I just wish that those people who think that we older folks have just given up and given in to the ravages of time would try to understand that it is not us who have given up, but rather time, and life, has given up on us.
 
*Source>> http://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-let-themselves-go-when-they-get-older
** For many reasons, I consider 24 to be the ideal age




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The Social Security benefits bump
might not translate into a raise for seniors. Here's why



The nation’s 67.6 million Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 2.8 percent cost of living increase next year, the Social Security Administration announced Thursday. That translates to an monthly boost of $39 to a total of $1,461 for the average beneficiary.

But as economics correspondent Paul Solman has reported, that increase could largely be offset by an increase in health care costs.

So what will the change mean for your pocketbook? Paul connected with NewsHour columnist Philip Moeller to discuss.





========================================================


What The New Congress Will Mean For Medicare
 And Other Issues For Older Adults

By Howard Gleckman


After the new Congress is sworn in next January it may address several issues that directly affect the well-being of older adults as well as younger people with disabilities. The House, which will be controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, still run by Republicans, will have very different perspectives on these issues. But both chambers are likely to confront the future of Medicare and funding for aging services. The House may well raise the profile of long-term care financing reform. And lawmakers of both parties will have to manage of often-inconsistent demands of President Trump. Here is a look at several aging-related issues Congress likely will address next year.

Medicare drug prices: Look for House Democrats to pass legislation aimed at curbing drug prices, a favorite topic during the recent campaign. The only two questions are: How ambitious will the bill be and will Republicans sign on.


======================================================


Abuse Of Senior Citizens Widespread,
Vastly Underreported Across America

By Paul Singer

Across the United States, solitude has become a deadly threat for hundreds of thousands of senior citizens living at home.

Last year alone, state adult protective services (APS) intervened in more than 142,000 cases to protect seniors at risk from what is clumsily termed “self-neglect,” seniors who have become too physically or mentally incapacitated to care for themselves and have no other care providers.

According to new federal data obtained exclusively by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, state-based APS agencies completed more than 713,000 investigations in the 2017 fiscal year. The agencies identified nearly 235,000 victims of abuse, including the 140,000 self-neglect cases. About 10 percent of the total abuse victims counted were under age 50 because some states include abuse or neglect of younger adults with disabilities.



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NEXT BLOG: Monday December 10th 2018

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Another Empty Chair

This past Tuesday morning, just as I had finished putting the first bite of what was to be another hum-drum breakfast in my mouth, one of the women who work in our case management office approached me and my table mate Al. By the look on her face, I knew there was something wrong. My mind immediately began to run through the possible things that I could have been guilty of that would have elicited such dismay. Unfortunately, what she had to tell us was not only not my fault, but the worse possible thing we could have heard.

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you that your friend Barbara passed away last night”, she said in a hushed and reverent tone.

I dropped my fork and pushed back from the table. Looking over at my friend Al, I could see the shock and pain even behind his heavily bearded face. We were both really taken by surprise.

Barbara had been a friend of mine for the past four years. We had shared meals here, three times a day, seven days a week for the last three years. And, while she had been in the hospital for two weeks, we certainly expected her to be back at her usual place as she had done on a number of occasions in the past. But now, as I looked across the table at her empty seat, I realized that I would never see or talk to her again.

I first met Barbara through another friend of mine here, Carrie. The two women were inseparable and as close as two people could be that were not related. And, when Carrie’s husband passed away, they became even closer.

Carrie moved to our table soon after her husband’s passing and, when another seat opened up, she immediately asked Barbara to fill the spot. And so the four of us, Barbara, Carrie, Al, and I occupied what I believed to be the best table in the dining room. We bonded almost instantly. We talked about subjects that we all were interested in, which were many. We became involved in each other's personal lives as only close friends can. We did things for each other as one would do for anybody we cared about. And we felt each other’s pain as only friends can.

Two years ago It was Barbara who stoically delivered the news to me that Carrie had died. And, although she did not show it at the time, I knew that a big chunk of Barbara’s spirit had left too.

After Carrie left us, Barbara’s health began to take a nosedive. The chronic pain she had experienced most of her adult life intensified. But, despite all that, she managed to continue her life with optimism and an unwavering spirit of giving and service.

Barbara was involved in so many things. All focused on improving the quality of life for the other residents here.

Besides doing most of the shopping for the resident’s general store (which involved getting into a taxi, running up and down the aisles of the local discount stores, schlepping bags of merchandise back to the facility), Barbara coordinated a Bible Study Class, religious services, ran Bingo games, helped with many of the in-house parties and events and, every month, made sure that every resident received a signed birthday card on their big day.

Despite Barbara’s diminutive stature (I don’t think she was even 5 feet tall), she managed to do things in ways that contradicted her size. And she did this while in great pain.

I think the impact that Barbara’s passing has not set in yet. This will come over the next few days and weeks. But for us at table 22 that empty chair will serve as a reminder that there are still very decent people in this world.

We don’t know who will be sitting in that seat next. But what I do know is that it is they will have a tough act to follow.



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Bloody Bird


Many of you may wonder why, every now and again, I include a post about what is served to a particular group of people who are residents of a particular assisted living facility, mine. You might think that, while there definitely appears to be a problem at THIS place, surely that doesn’t pertain to the majority of long-term care facilities. Of course, you would be wrong. The number one thing that all residents of any ALF put on their list of things they are dissatisfied with is FOOD. Coincidentally, food is usually the most expensive item on the budgets of most assisted living facilities.

While it is nearly impossible to get figures on the actual amount of money spent at my, or any facility, the cost of meals averages between $4 and $6 per resident, per day. This does not include labor, napkins, and dinnerware etc. The average prison in the U.S. spends about $3 per day for each prisoner.

However, it is not about the costs, the quality or even the way the food is served that I wish to tell you about today. What I am PO’d about is the way it is cooked. Or should I say, not cooked?

For thousands of years, people have learned how to make relatively inexpensive cuts of meat and vegetables taste good. They have done this by knowing how to cook and season even the cheapest parts of an animal or the most basic of veggies so that they are both palatable and nutritious. In fact, many of the foods that we consider fancy, or take for granted all started out as peasant food. Soups, stews, seafood, and pasta or noodle dishes all began as meals served to working-class people on a budget. The roasts, the fancy fruits, and the rich sauces were reserved mainly for the wealthy and ruling class. Which brings us to a dinner served here this past Friday night.

I arrived at dinner a little later than I usually do and noticed that people were already beginning to file into the dining room for the second-seating dinner service.

I had glanced at the menu earlier that day an made a mental note to try something they had never made here before, beef pot pie. The other item on the menu was roasted chicken leg with veggies.

Having had my fill of chicken for the week, I was all prepared to chow down on the beef pie when one of faceless Foodie’s spies and confidants took me asides and told me “Don’t eat the chicken, it’s not cooked through.” “It’s bloody around the bone”, she continued. “People at the first seating were sending it back and ordering the beef pot pie and now there’s no more pot pie available.”

“So what are we expected to eat”, I questioned?. She shrugged her shoulders and answered “ A tuna fish sandwich?”

By the time I reached my table another scenario was presented to me.

Now, it appears, that the cooks, realizing their error, returned the yet uneaten chicken to the oven to cook a little more. But the damage had already been done. Practically nobody would take a chance on the chicken and, because the beef pot pie was long gone, many diners just had a sandwich (which was accompanied by a bag of Lay’s potato chips) for dinner.

Believe me, folks when I say that our residents don’t ask for much in the way of food. We certainly don’t expect fancy cuts of beef, or extravagant seafood dishes or even much in the way of deserts. The truth be told, most of our residents have rather plebeian tastes when it comes to food. However, the one thing that we do insist on is that whatever is prepared for us here is properly seasoned and, actually cooked. Two things that the kitchen staff had not as yet gotten a hold on.

What will happen when our administrator gets wind of this latest kitchen fiasco I cannot say. Will there be an apology, an explanation, a promise to do better? I don’t know. What I do know is that what we have been experiencing at meal times cannot continue much longer………………………………..ff.




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How Can I Make the Transition to an
 Assisted Living Facility Easier?


If it's possible for your loved one to remain in their own community and keep seeing his or her own doctors, that can make for a smoother transition.

For many older adults, the first and best option for living out their golden years is to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. But for some, there comes a time when this strategy becomes unmanageable and it's time to transition into an assisted living community. Moving is always difficult and it can be made especially more so by all the complex emotions and logistical challenges that often accompany a move made later in life. But there are some ways to make transitioning into an assisted living facility a little easier.



================================================


Here’s what it’s like dealing with the
high cost of long-term care

By Michelle Singletary


Genworth Financial recently released its 2018 Annual Cost of Care survey and found that the annual median cost of care now ranges from $18,720 for adult day-care services to $100,375 for a private room in a nursing home. (Ridofranz/iStock)

One of my favorite Spock quotes from the Star Trek television series is, “Live long and prosper.”

Who doesn’t want a long life, right?

But what if the longevity means spending down your money for long-term care? And that’s if you’ve been prosperous and have the funds to pay a facility or home health aide to care for you.



===================================================


What The New Congress Will Mean For Medicare
 And Other Issues For Older Adults

By Howard Gleckman


After the new Congress is sworn in next January it may address several issues that directly affect the well-being of older adults as well as younger people with disabilities. The House, which will be controlled by Democrats, and the Senate, still run by Republicans, will have very different perspectives on these issues. But both chambers are likely to confront the future of Medicare and funding for aging services. The House may well raise the profile of long-term care financing reform. And lawmakers of both parties will have to manage of often-inconsistent demands of President Trump. Here is a look at several aging-related issues Congress likely will address next year.





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- 30 -




NEXT BLOG: Thursday December 6th 2018

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© Bruce Cooper, 2018

 

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This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friends, Carrie Hecht and Barbara Everett

who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for their 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


By accessing our Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/WCenterblog/ ) you can access the latest news specifically related to Older Americans. These will usually be stories that broke too late to be included in our regular weekly blog. Additionally, the Facebook page will be a way for you to comment on those stories, start your own thread or comment on anything you have read here on this blog.

 

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