By accessing our Facebook page 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.
It’s been nearly 10 years since I last lived completely independent of anyone else.
On May 19th, 2009 I closed the door to my two bedroom NYC apartment never to return to live in again.
That day was the beginning of what would become months of hospitalization and more than two years of physical therapy in a variety of nursing homes and rehab situations where one is constantly being monitored by someone else.
In addition to that monitoring, I was aided with everything from getting out of bed to washing, dressing and, in some cases, eating.
This is all in addition to having medical appointments made for me, social services that provided me with help coping with the healthcare system, transportation arranged for me as well as housekeeping, laundry, maintenance and security services, all furnished for me.
Even now, that I am in an assisted living facility, I don’t have to deal with cable companies, wifi suppliers or the telephone company anymore.
I no longer worry about paying the rent which is automatically taken out of my Social Security.
In fact, about the only thing I do for myself is paying my credit card bill once a month, online with the push of a button.
The bottom line is, I don’t have to do any of the things that most people have to do on an everyday basis as part of living independently in the 21st century.
The world that I live in now (That of a resident of an assisted living facility) is so completely different from what most people experience that I often wonder whether or not I could ever return to that world where I would have to provide all of those services for myself. Or would I want to?
The truth be told, It’s scary out there. Especially for old people.
Most “normal” folks have no idea how to deal with us seniors who can no longer perform those activities that most people do automatically for themselves. Nor do we oldsters know how to deal with them as well.
Of the few times that I actually have left the confines of this facility to go to a supermarket, a mall, or a restaurant, I feel awkward and out-of-place.
I’m slower than the people around me who seem to be moving at break-neck speed.
The print on most of the tags and labels might as well be in a foreign language because, even with my glasses, is too small to read. I’m deaf in one ear, so I often miss parts of conversations which causes those talking to me to have to repeat themselves which annoys the heck out of them (and me).
As a younger person (and by younger I mean the age I was when I retired and still in good health) I feared nothing or no one.
I was a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker who was used to adversity and challenging situations.
I could keep up with the best of them. In the stores, on the road, and at work.
In all my years living in NYC, I had never been robbed, mugged or scammed.
I was, simply, not a victim.
Now, that confidence is gone. I feel very vulnerable.
And, by feeling vulnerable, I feel I exude an aura that gets picked up by those who would do me harm.
But before you get the idea that I am a blithering idiot incapable of handling even the simplest of tasks, let me set you straight.
Although I may be inefficient of body, I am not feeble of mind. Which means that I know enough not to get myself into situations that I can no longer handle. At least I hope I do.
But things now are so much different than they were when I was still out in the real world.
The mood of the nation and its people has changed considerably since I last walked the streets.
The world, although it appears to be more connected (via smartphones, I-pads etc.) is actually more isolated than ever.
We have become oblivious to the people around us which means that many of us (senior citizens in particular) have fallen through the cracks. We have become invisible. And not in a good way.
And that invisibility is exactly what I fear.
To the rest of the world, I am just another old man, walking slowly, bent over and getting in everyone’s way. An obstacle to be dealt with by setting me aside so that the rest of you can go about your business without having to deal with me.
So, could I make it by myself? Probably. But it would mean that I would have to learn to do things all over again.
I’d have to learn to deal with surly shopkeepers and check-out people.
Inconsiderate drivers who see old people as targets rather than pedestrians.
Greedy landlords whose main purpose in life is to make every day you live in their apartment, feel like your last.
Public transportation whose doors close too quickly, whose drivers become annoyed when I can’t find my Metrocard and stop six blocks from where I needed to be.
And even doctors who think that you are an idiot, incapable of taking part in your own treatment.
I suppose if I had a lot of money, the burden of living independently would be lessened somewhat. But where would I be?
I would be independent yes. But at the same time, I would be even more alone than I am now. And the one thing that is a sure path to an early death is loneliness and isolation.
So, as I ponder a question that I don’t really need an answer to, I am somewhat glad that I don’t have to make the decision to live independently. Somehow, it’s not as appealing to me as it once was.
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Once seniors are too old to drive, our transportation system totally fails them By Joseph Stromberg vox.com
A few years ago, my grandfather gave up his car.
During the early years of his retirement, he'd been very active, volunteering at the local library and chauffeuring older folks who couldn't drive themselves. Over time, he slowed down, but remained independent — so much so that after a year or so in a retirement home, he stubbornly moved back into his own apartment. Though he was in his 80s, he didn't like the idea of being surrounded by — as he put it — "old people." Eventually, his health declined to the point where it really wasn't safe for him to drive anymore. And though he used to take long walks daily, he could no longer traverse the vast parking lots and six-lane arterial roads surrounding his suburban Maryland apartment.
Dos and Dont's of Dealing With a Grumpy Spouse By Jessica Dysart nextavenue.org
When dealing with a spouse who’s is a bit grumpy, we often forget to simply ask why he or she is upset, says David Kaplan, chief professional officer of the American Counseling Association. Try to find out what's bothering your spouse. Once you identify it, you can figure out the best way to handle it. Counseling can be helpful if a prolonged bad mood is due to common issues such as difficulty adjusting to retirement or dealing with the aging process, says Kaplan. “Never take anything personally,” says Wendy Walsh, host of Investigation Discovery’s Happily Never After and author of The 30-Day Love Detox. Instead of jumping the gun and assuming your spouse’s bad mood is your fault, “comment on it in a constructive way by saying, ‘I see that you’re in a bad mood. Would you like to talk about it, or do you prefer to be left alone right now?’” Walsh says. If your spouse says that their mood is because of something you said or did, “try not to get defensive, but rather seek to understand the whole situation.”
While you can’t control your partner’s mood, you can help shape it. ….
200 Things to Throw Away By Kathy Jones embracinghomemaking.net
Living with less isn’t about the number of things you get rid of it’s about living with enough to be content and getting rid of the rest. The rest is just clutter, unnecessary, energy-draining clutter. Here is a list of 200 Things to Throw Away. This list isn’t a list of things that I have gotten rid of myself but of things that I want to will get rid of!
I’ll be tackling this list ten or so items a week and I look forward to a less-cluttered house at the end of it.
Tom Coomer has retired twice: once when he was 65, and then several years ago. Each time he realized that with just a Social Security check, "you can hardly make it these days." So here he is at 79, working full-time at Walmart. During each eight-hour shift, he stands at the store entrance greeting customers, telling a joke and fetching a "buggy." Or he is stationed at the exit, checking receipts and the shoppers that trip the theft alarm.
"As long as I sit down for about 10 minutes every hour or two, I'm fine," he said during a break. Diagnosed with spinal stenosis in his back, he recently forwarded a doctor's note to managers. "They got me a stool." …
Retirement causes brain function to rapidly decline, warn scientists By Sarah Knapton telegraph.co.uk
Workers looking forward to enjoying a long and leisurely retirement after years of toil, may need to think again. New research shows that brain function declines rapidly as soon as people stop work and put their feet up. A major British study which tracked 3,400 retired civil servants found that short-term memory declines nearly 40 per cent faster once employees become pensioners.
t appears that the lack of regular stimulation takes a heavy toll on cognitive function and speeds up memory loss and dementia, researchers warned. …
What Makes Some Happy in Their Older Years and Others Not So Much? nextavenue.org
I’ve learned a lot about how to live well and make the most of each day, not just in later years but now. Working with older people holds up a mirror to my own life. If you can picture the way you want to age, you’ll be much more likely to go down that path. I don’t think it’s simply favorable circumstances or good fortune that makes some people more content than others. I regularly encounter individuals who’ve endured significant hardships and loss — such as the death of a spouse, illness or even abuse — but remain resilient and hopeful. Others have enjoyed all the trappings of worldly success but remain unfulfilled.
By seeking your own comfort and your own happiness, you often end up less so. That’s not a new idea, but now there’s growing research that shows people who are generous live longer, have fewer diseases and are happier. …
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Why Retired People Are the Most Joyful nextavenue.org
When my daughter was in kindergarten, her teacher asked her class to create self-portraits imagining what they would be like as grandparents in the future and to fill in the blank, “When I am a grandparent, I will…”.
My daughter used white cotton balls to create a head of fluffy white hair and filled in a blank beneath the picture with “SWIM LAPS,” written in her sweet, unsteady penmanship. She was perhaps inspired by her own grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ fondness for pool exercise. I was reminded of this when reading a story from The Guardian’s recent series on retirement, “Could your 60s and 70s be the best decades of life?” The article led with a video about a 66-year-old recent retiree who goes for a daily swim in the frigid ocean at Cornwall with other older adults — never missing a day because of the sense of joy it brings not only to swim, but to swim with like-minded friends. It was something she could not have done while still raising her children and working full-time, she notes. ….
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Dating Apps Can Help Older Adults Meet — No Time Machine Necessary By Laura Roman npr.org
The year was 1978. Fiehler, then a high school senior in Kettering, Ohio, was assigned to work at her high school's computer station. The station had a DECwriter II terminal which connected to a Hewlett-Packard 3000 in Dayton, Ohio. As it turns out, other students from different high schools were also connecting to this same computer system, and Fiehler began chatting with them.
She says that's how she met her senior prom date.
Given that experience, Fiehler says it was no surprise that she felt comfortable signing up for a dating site decades later in her 50s, after her first marriage ended. …
Why So Many Men Die at 62 By Demetria Gallegos wsj.com
If you’re approaching age 62, thoughts about retirement and collecting Social Security may be on your mind. Here’s something else to think about as well.
A significant increase in mortality starts at 62, according to a new study. The escalation is much more dramatic for men than for women. And the fatal catalyst, the study’s authors believe, might be the availability of Social Security. Maria D. Fitzpatrick, an associate professor of economics at Cornell University, and her co-author, Timothy J. Moore, a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Melbourne, reviewed mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics’ Multiple Cause of Death files for 1979 to 2012. Their working paper was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in December and in the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Economics last month. …
10 Facts About Age Discrimination in the Workplace By Kimberly Palmer aarp.org
Age discrimination is real. Two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination at work, and job seekers over age 35 cite it as a top obstacle to getting hired. And if you happen to work in the high-tech or entertainment industries, your chances of experiencing age discrimination are even higher. AARP Work & Jobs expert Kerry Hannon spoke with Dr. Phil about the challenges of working for someone younger and how to overcome them. 10 Age Discrimination Facts
While the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) makes it illegal to discriminate against workers age 40 and up, the exact rules, and how they are interpreted, aren't always so clear to workers. Here are 10 important facts you should know about age discrimination: …
T-Mobile, Amazon, and other companies are accused of using Facebook ads to exclude older Americans from jobs By Elizabeth Dwoskin washingtonpost.com
Three workers and a large union sued T-Mobile, Amazon, Facebook, and other corporations on Wednesday, accusing them of using Facebook’s ad targeting tools to exclude older Americans from job opportunities. In the age discrimination suit, the plaintiffs cited a T-Mobile job ad, which was targeted to Facebook users ages 18-38. Facebook, which is also named as a defendant, targeted job ads to people ages 21-55, according to a screenshot in the legal filing.
The class action lawsuit against 13 companies was brought by the Communication Workers of America, along with three American workers, Linda Bradley, Maurice Anscombe, and Lura Callahan, who range in age from 45 to 67. …
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What Works Best to Keep Drivers With Dementia Off the Road By Robert Preidt consumer.healthday.com
Don't count on physicians to keep drivers with dementia off the roads, a new study cautions.
In-person license renewal and driver vision testing laws are more effective than mandatory doctor reporting of patients with dementia, researchers found. "The results of our study point to age-based licensing requirements as an effective way to improve safety," said study co-author Steven Albert, of the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health.
"But such requirements also may cause social isolation and depression, and may be seen as ageist and discriminatory," said Albert, chair of behavioral and community health sciences. …
It’s that time of year again when safety-conscious organizations issue cautionary tales about preventing falls and, failing that, protecting against serious injury when suddenly descending unintentionally from the vertical.
Even if you think you already know everything you need to know about falling, you’d be wise to read on. Many of us can use a periodic kick in the pants to help keep us safe. I know, because I’m one of those prone to doing something foolhardy even while thinking how dumb it is.
Case in point: Having just read a ream of background information about the risks of falling and its exorbitant costs, both personal and financial, I did something utterly stupid. I stood on the edge of the bathtub in my slippers to clean the top of the surrounding tiles. I got away unscathed this time, but I’ve promised myself never to try that again. As a much younger friend reminded me, a little household dirt never killed anyone, but landing hard on bathroom fixtures is a common cause of fall-related injuries and even deaths among people of all ages, and especially those in and beyond their seventh decade. …
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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 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.