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For the week beginning Thursday, October 12th 2017
Fall. Fall has always been my favorite time of year.
The weather is usually great with cool evenings (good for sleep) and warm, bright sunny days which are good for anything.
Unfortunately, while I still dig the autumn, much of the pleasure I used to derive from this season is gone.
Remember the words to the song “Autumn in New York?”…
Autumn in New York Why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York It spells the thrill of first-nighting
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds In canyons of steel They're making me feel I'm home
It's autumn in New York That brings the promise of new love Autumn in New York Is often mingled with pain
Dreamers with empty hands May sigh for exotic lands It's autumn in New York It's good to live it again
Lovers that bless the dark On benches in Central Park It's autumn in New York It's good to live it again
Those lyrics were more or less my mantra.
But mobility, and transportation, issues have made it almost impossible for me to take those nice long walks in the city, photographing everything I could.
And, because I no longer drive, those day-trips upstate to enjoy the fall foliage and the crisp mountain air is just a memory.
Now, that I am in “The Autumn of My years”, and time has seemed to “compressed’, the change of seasons doesn't mean as much to me as it used to.
I’ve been thinking about…
Money. I have never been obsessed with money. At least not any more than most people are preoccupied with it.
I knew I needed money to survive. Money provided me with a roof over my head, food in the fridge, clothes on my back and maybe a little for some fun. And, while nobody was throwing money at me, I always knew how and where to get it. There was work, and investments and savings that assured me of a steady (if not always gushing) flow of income. Somehow, money was always available and I knew that if I was just a little prudent, I would have enough to take me through my retirement. I was actually looking forward to cutting back and downsizing.
The thought that I would actually be running out of money never entered my mind. Until this year that is.
Now, before I continue, let me say that I am not worried about having a roof over my head or food when I need it. What I am concerned about is that for the first time in my life I may have a “want” that I can’t afford.
By a “want” I mean things like a new shirt, a pair of jeans, shower gel, take-out Chinese food, my Netflix subscription and a myriad of other amenities that make life a little better.
I believe that my current situation reflects the position of many seniors of my generation (older baby-boomers).
Unforeseen expenses have made, what we thought was a decent nest egg, not much more than a pocket change.
I have been denied a claim for SSI because they say that my monthly benefit check is too big even though I have nothing left after my Medicare payments are deducted.
And, while my social worker here at the ALF says I am eligible for state aid (for which I have already applied) I have yet to see a dime of it. And when I do, it may not be enough to cover my expenses.
So, yes, I am thinking about money for the first time in my life. And I don’t like it.
I’ve been thinking about…
Food. If you have been following this blog in recent weeks, you know of the situation we have currently occurring in our Food Services Department.
Our chef of only a month was let go, leaving us with no professional supervision over what we eat or how it’s prepared.
However, this hopefully temporary glitch in the system is not my primary concern where food is concerned. What concerns me about food is how can I stop eating it (or at least stop eating things that put on weight).
Over the past few months, I have watched my usually non-expanding waistline blossom into a full-blown major eruption culminating in me having to look for trousers with expandable or elastic waistbands.
In addition, many of the garments I purchased last year (and not cheaply I might add) no longer fit unless I use one of those button extenders. This is not good. Not good for my health, my looks or for my budget.
Therefore, once again I find myself going on a diet. A regimen, I might add, that I have tried before with moderate success.
The prospect of me having to cut back on an already bare-bones, carb-heavy menu makes me a very unhappy camper indeed.
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For now, and certainly in the future, housing may be the number one problem facing seniors in this country. With 10,000 people reaching the age of 65 every day, and the current population growing older, the question of where all of us are going to live becomes of utmost importance.
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Are More Boomers Headed for Homelessness? Here’s one place to get help if you’re financially insecure nextavenue.org
In Los Angeles County, more than 10,000 people who are 55 or older are homeless, a figure that has more than doubled from a decade ago, according to KCET. Nationally, there are indicators that many older adults are financially insecure.
43 percent of single Social Security recipients who are 65 or older, and 21 percent of those who are married, rely on their Social Security benefits for 90 percent or more of their income, according to the Social Security Administration. Housing prices are outpacing those older adults’ incomes in some cities. As KCET reported, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, for example, is $2,000 a month, while the average monthly Social Security benefit in California — which 30 percent of the state’s retirees rely on as their only income — is just $1,224. …
A Few Things to Take Note of When Visiting and Comparing Potential Assisted Living Facilities t2conline.com
A Few Things to Take Note of When Visiting and Comparing Potential Assisted Living Facilities
Among the most important decisions you’ll ever make is your choice of assisted living facility for your aging loved one. This articles explains the main aspects to consider when assessing potential assisted living centers. Visit all the centers you’re considering to get a clear idea of the care that will be provided to your loved one.
Important to note is that as you compare assisted living centers, you should always keep in mind that the final decision on whether they ought to move to an assisted living center and which one they should move to rests solely on you and your loved one. So here are some important things to consider.
Check how well-maintained the facility is
You want to move your aging loved one to a facility that is kept clean and fresh. Find out how often housekeeping will be done in your loved one’s living area. Obtain all the details about the maintenance tasks provided and the response time of maintenance staff. This includes matters such as availability and cost of laundry services. …
8 things assisted living residents don't want to hear By Evan Thompson mcknightsseniorliving.com
Serving and caring for older adults can be incredibly difficult. Good communication, however, can keep person-centeredness at the forefront.
Approach conversations with care to elicit reactions that match your good intentions. Here are reminders of eight word or phrase choices to avoid when speaking with residents. Feel free to share this column with new workers who may be inexperienced in serving senior living residents.
1. “Sweetie” or “Honey”
Infantilizing older adults in your care is patronizing. You could try “Sir” or “Ma'am,” general titles of respect applicable to all adult men and women. Calling a resident by his or her name, however, is an ideal way to open a conversation. If possible, find out how the resident prefers to be addressed. 2. “What's it like to be your age?”
This question implies that you are treating an older adult differently than others. Or it could remind a resident of health issues that he or she does not want to discuss. So never open a dialogue with this question.
If you want to strike up a personal conversation, try a more subtle approach, such as: “Tell me, Frank, how has the culture of senior high school changed since you graduated?”
If a resident wants to share something with you, he or she is more likely to do so on his or her own….
Largest Assisted Living Chain In U.S. Sued For Poor Care Of Elderly By Barbara Feder Ostrov californiahealthline.org
Twenty residents of an assisted living complex in Palm Springs, Calif., missed their medications in a single day because no medical technician was on duty. A woman in a Paso Robles home for seniors pushed her emergency call button after falling in her room and waited 22 hours on the floor with broken bones until staff members responded.
A class-action lawsuit filed last month in a federal district court in Northern California details those incidents and other similar ones, which allegedly occurred in facilities owned by Brookdale Senior Living, the nation’s largest assisted living provider. The complaint alleges that inadequate staffing, poor worker training and rising fees are part of a “callous and profit-driven approach” that has had “devastating” consequences for Californians living in Brookdale assisted living homes. Residents, it claims, “are left without assistance for hours after falling, they are given the wrong medications, they are denied clean clothing, showers, and nutritious food, and they are left in their own waste for long periods of time.”
Relatives of the seniors involved in the lawsuit declined to comment. The California Assisted Living Association, an industry group, also declined to comment. …
Assisted Living Rents Still Rising Amid Labor Woes By Tim Regan seniorhousingnews.com
The cost of residing in an assisted living community is steadily climbing thanks in part to the ongoing labor shortage, according to the latest Cost of Care Survey from insurer Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW).
The national median costs for a one-bedroom unit in a private-pay assisted living community is now $3,750 per month, or $45,000 a year, according to the survey released Tuesday. That’s an increase of 3.36% from 2016 to 2017.
Last year, similar costs for assisted living rose 0.78%. Nationally, the five-year annual growth rate for assisted living costs is currently at 2.59%, according to the survey. Despite the recent cost hikes, assisted living wasn’t the care setting that saw the sharpest increase, according to Gordon Saunders, senior brand marketing manager for Genworth’s U.S. Life Insurance division.
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Moving into assisted living doesn't mean giving up your independence
For too many people, the words "assisted living" conjure up images of hospital beds and 24-hour nurses along with an inevitable loss of personal freedom and independence.
Yet, the truth is, for today's older adults, the lifestyle they enjoy at a modern assisted-living community actually has much more in common with an "independent living" community than it does a skilled nursing facility.
Today's assisted-living communities are dedicated to maximizing their residents' level of personal freedom by providing them with just the amount of care they need to go about their daily activities. In some cases, this might be as simple as monitoring their daily medication, or providing assistance with daily tasks like dressing and bathing when mobility becomes an issue. In most cases, this added assistance actually helps to increase the residents' ability to continue with their daily activities and freedom by providing them with that little extra help they need to get on with their daily lives. …
Eight things to think about: independent senior living
Moving into an independent senior living facility is not something all seniors consider when they retire, but it’s an option they might want to put on the table sooner rather than later. Anne Marie Bartlett, director of care coordination at Twin Cities-based senior care and housing organization Saint Therese, points out that with 285,000 Minnesotans turning 65 years old by the end of this decade, planning and education about senior living options are essential.
To get the ball rolling, here are eight things seniors will want to consider when it comes to independent senior living.
1. Affordability. Senior living facilities, even for those who are independent and healthy, can be expensive, said Les Grant, associate professor and director of the Center of Aging Services Management at the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. Seniors will not only want to look at their own income and assets, but also will want to consider whether or not a facility participates in government-funded programs such as Elderly Waiver and Housing Support that can help qualifying seniors pay for rent and medical care. Senior Public Housing, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, could also be an affordable option for some seniors.
2. Waiting lists. Facilities can have waiting lists, said Bobbie Guidry, vice president of Housing and Community Services at LeadingAge Minnesota. A senior can’t necessarily expect to be able to move in the month after he or she decides an independent living facility is the right choice. Shopping around and getting on a waiting list can be a smart move. The waiting list for senior public housing can be years long, Grant said. …
Making the decision to move to assisted living can be overwhelming, with a lot of factors to consider! If you avoid these common pitfalls, you will have a leg up on many other families who are starting the search for senior care.
Be realistic about current and future needs. Look at your loved one's health issues and ask their doctor about what support they will need in the future. It can be unnecessarily difficult and expensive to transfer your loved one from residence to residence as their needs change.
Don't judge a book by its cover. Beautiful landscaping and luxurious apartments are not always the best indicators of quality care. Talk to caregivers, staff and residents. Ask if the facility offers short-term or trial stays. …
The Perils of Too Much Relaxation in Assisted Living
You wake up and someone makes you breakfast. You attend a lecture, eat lunch and enjoy a book club meeting, then eat dinner with friends, and finish the night with a movie before heading to bed. While this lifestyle sounds convenient and relaxing, it may be what is killing older adults in assisted living communities. The Good and the Bad of Assisted Living
More than 735,000 older adults nationwide live in assisted living communities. These communities promote a hassle-free and accessible living environment. Elevators replace stairs. Ramps replace curbs. All housekeeping and meals are provided.
While there is no doubt that accessibility is important, finding the right balance of assistance and challenge is the key to maximize the person-environment fit. But unfortunately, the philosophy of the assisted living community towards environmental challenges may restrict the ability to complete these important daily living tasks. …
Seniors entering assisted living today are said to be the pickiest bunch ever. And owner-operators are stumbling over themselves to please them. Could laundry service deserve a second look? Many vendors seem to agree.
A few things are abundantly clear:
Surprisingly, the healthcare laundry business has fewer parallels with the hospitality industry than it seems at first glance. Although people who live in assisted living and long-term care communities want the same things hotel guests do when it comes to their linens, they're likely to complain loudly and more often if they aren't available, clean or comfortable.
Seniors have a profoundly different set of physical issues, many serious, that a typical churn-and-burn hotel laundry isn't built to handle. If factors like pH and caustic chemicals aren't addressed, little problems get big very quickly. Residents also have expectations that typical hotel guests abandoned long ago.
Owner-operators continue to make inexplicable mistakes, most of which are unavoidable. Others, including those influenced by strapped budgets, simply aren't. …
Is Cruise Ship Living a Cheaper Option for Seniors Than Assisted Living?
That's right-- living on a cruise ship could be a lower-cost way for seniors to take advantage of similar amenities to those provided by assisted living facilities, like all-you-can eat meals, a swimming pool for low-impact exercise, regular companionship and entertainment, and even access to on-board doctors. How does living on a cruise ship compare with assisted living? Let's take a look.
Costs of cruise ships vs. assisted living
Cruise ship living is an attractive alternative for seniors because, in many cases, the costs of cruising are lower than costs of an assisted living facility.
Average costs for an assisted living facility, as of 2017, are around $3,750 per month, according to the Genworth Cost of Care survey . This is around $45,000 annually. The nightly cost of a cruise, on the other hand, averages around $100 per night or less. …
While most caregivers are respectful of the seniors on their watch, elder abuse is still more common than Americans would like to acknowledge, with about 10 percent of seniors the victim of some form of elder abuse.
To address this problem, last year the government made it so families could sue nursing homes guilty of abuse and neglect. However, the Trump administration has decided quite quickly to get rid of this protection to spare corporations lawsuits and potential financial damages, even though it leaves seniors more susceptible to mistreatment.
At the urging of lobbyists, the White House wants most elder care facilities to return to a policy of forced arbitration, which limits both the accountability on the part of the facilities as well as the damages they have to pay out to victims.
Without the threat of lawsuits, the incentive to ensure seniors don’t get abused and neglected is much lower than if serious money were on the line.
Surprise! The Republicans' Congressional Budget Resolution
Would Trigger Social Security Reforms
By Sean Williams
Democrats want to approach fixing Social Security by raising additional tax revenue from high earners. Earned income above $127,200, as of 2017, isn't subject to the payroll tax. Democrats want to adjust this such that the payroll tax is reinstituted on earned income above $250,000 or $400,000, as an example. This would add fresh income to the program.
On the other hand, Republicans want to adjust Social Security for increased longevity. They plan to do this by increasing the full retirement age, or the age at which people become eligible for 100% of their benefits.
The full retirement age is on track to hit 67 years by 2022 for those born in 1960 or later, but the GOP would like to see it gradually raised to 68, 69, or 70 years, requiring seniors to work longer and wait to claim Social Security, or accept a steep reduction in benefits by claiming early.
Combined, these core proposals would work to resolve Social Security's long-term issues. But can Republicans and Democrats play nice in Washington? That remains to be seen….
Streamline Wardrobe Decisions with these 3 Simple Shifts
By Courtney Carver
Think about all the time and energy we spend deciding what to wear. We spend time in the morning (or the night before) deciding on what’s best for the day, often sifting through item by item thinking about what fits well or not, and what looks good or not. We may think about how we spent too much on some things, and never wear others. We spend our mental energy during the day wondering if we chose the right clothes, comparing to what others are wearing or worrying about what other people think about what we are wearing.
And sometimes we think about our wardrobe when we get emails with special offers, or noticing trend alerts while flipping through a magazine or scrolling through social media. It’s different for each of us, but other triggers to think about our clothes include changing seasons, moods, and upcoming events.
Whatever our different triggers and thoughts are, I’m sure we can all agree that we spend too much time thinking about what we wear.
Streamline wardrobe decisions with these 3 simple shifts…
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Ageism at the movies requires fighting stereotypes in entertainment
By David McNair
“Indeed, the reality is that seniors make up nearly 20 percent of our population, and almost 15 percent of movie ticket buyers, and those percentages are rising rapidly. So, then, why is there still so much ageism in Hollywood and popular culture?”
If there were any doubt that Hollywood has an ageism problem, it was put to rest with a recent study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Researchers found that only 12 percent of the actors who were named or had speaking roles in Best Picture Oscar-nominated films over the past three years were 60 or older. That’s only 148 out of 1,250 characters in 25 films. Remarkably, only one of those films had a senior in charge, and among ensemble casts only one actor was older than 60. And in both films — “Birdman” and “Spotlight” — the actor was Michael Keaton.
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NEXT BLOG: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 2017
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.
Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page
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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.
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.