Pet Peeves and the “Loss of Spirit.”
Call me a self-deprecating old person, but some of us really deserve it.

Think what you might about old people, but you will all have to agree that most of us are pretty creepy and, in some respects, downright disgusting.

Living here, in an environment where I am surrounded by practically nothing but sexta, septua, and octogenarians who, at one time or another will exhibit all of the little annoyances associated with being an old person, I think I am an expert (with amateur status) in what most people find, shall we say, distasteful in regards to those of us who may not have “ripened” properly.

For example.

I am sorry to say this, but YOU STINK.

Not a day goes by here that, while walking into the dining room, trailing behind some of my less fastidious fellow residents, that I do not get the feeling that I am in the lower level public restroom in Penn Station after a particular beer infused hockey game at Madison Square Garden one level above.

I do not know if they make adult diapers with odor-eating properties but, if they do, they certainly aren’t using them here.

And then, after we get into the dining room, a whole other set of “endearing” functions go into effect.

At what point have old people forgotten the simple manners, decorum and courtesy's associated with communal dining.

Have we all been alone so long that we think It doesn’t matter how we behave at the dining table?

The symphony of dining faux pas which I have observed include…

      • Removing one’s dentures, mid-meal, to clean out some particularly stubborn piece of food from between those overly white choppers.
      • Chewing, and then removing from one’s mouth, a well-masticated specimen of grizzle and putting it back on the plate for all to ponder.
      • Banging on the table to get the servers attention.
      • Fighting with fellow diners about something stupid like “Hey!, you stole my juice.”
      • Actually stealing the other person's juice.
      • Blowing one’s nose or digging in one’s ear at the table.
The list could go on forever.

While dining room and personal hygiene missteps are bad enough, there is one very noticeable aspect of senior misbehavior that I have taken exception with over the years. And that is how old people dress.

To be fair, many of the residents here dress rather well (or at least appropriate for the surroundings).

However, there are some that have embraced “Basse Couture”* as their personal dress code.

Perhaps I have missed some article in GQ or, I am so “not with it”, but when has it become appropriate to wear pajama bottoms as slacks?

I mean, I see this all of the time, mostly on men. Not the tops with the bottoms, but the bottoms only.

In the same genre, we have the baggy, gray sweat pants.

Yes, I know they are comfortable and they fit over your ever-expanding belly and they are the first thing you grab when you get out of bed (or maybe you actually slept in them), but it says to me, and the rest of the world “I have completely given up and no longer give a s**t about anything anymore.”

Also on my list of dress peeves are loud colored pants, checks, and stripes mixed together (checkered top with striped slacks).

Knee socks with short pants.

Short pants. (Have you old dudes looked at your legs lately?)

Now, while the aforementioned remonstrance's may be deep seeded, the possibility that they can be “cured” with a little counseling and a lot of good-natured berating remains high.

Unfortunately, my number one pet peeve is not as easily corrected.

Moreover, for me, it goes to the heart of what I find most distasteful about some older people. And that is the apathy and indifference that has become part of many seniors daily lives.

Now, I am not including those folks with dementia, depression or any cognitive disorders in this group, but rather those of us who believe that no matter what we do or say or how hard we complain about the way we are treated it will make no difference. Or, what is even worse is that they are actually afraid to upset the status quo for fear of repercussions that might be brought upon them by some superior beings know only as “They.”

“THEY won’t like it if you make trouble.” Or, “THEY can get you thrown out of here if you complain.” Or my favorite, “They don’t care, all THEY want is your money.”
Statements like that always make me wonder what these people were like when they were young.

Surely they could not have been as complacent as they are now.

Isn’t this the same group that protested the Vietnam war, marched for civil rights and hugged trees for the rain forest?

What happened to that spirit? Has it been lost forever?

Every once and a while I see a resident who still has that sparkle in their eye, that inkling of their rebellious former self but, when asked to participate in some anti-establishment activity, they collapse into a puddle of lethargy and indifference.

Perhaps it’s something in their personal lives that has made them this way or maybe they are tired of just banging their heads against the wall without getting the required results. We may never know. But I do know that it’s a sad thing to see in others and even a sadder thing to see in oneself.

*Basse Couture is the opposite of “Haute Couture” or High Fashion.


s things are expected to get tighter for seniors over the next few months and years, it may be worth your while to make sure that you are receiving all of the benefits that you are eligible to receive.

The worksheet, available online, is an easy way for you to get the proper information you need.

The worksheet asks a few non-specific questions pertaining to your physical and financial status and searches for all the benefits you are qualified for.

There is real money to be saved here so I suggest you have a look at this now.

= = =

“Senior rights are civil rights"
“Senior rights are civil rights. We’re not just talking about social service accommodations; today’s older Americans want social equality.” The late Dennis Mahar (1952-2016) was always great for quotes, and this was the best one I got from him during research for my master’s degree. And he would know — Mahar spent 35 years in public service, many of them as the executive director of the Area Agency on Aging.

When Mahar passed in 2016, our state lost a passionate advocate for senior rights, and those who had the opportunity to work with him lost a great inspiration who got us to re-think our ideas about aging.

At the time of my interview with him, I approached senior issues as social service needs to be accommodated and managed. Back then, I had a keen interest in developing senior housing, the big splashy kind that looks fabulous in news articles with photos from the grand openings. But the deeper I got into my studies, the more I learned that most senior citizens want to “age in place” in a familiar environment, rather than be up-rooted and moved into a large facility, away from the places they called home for most of their lives.

= = =
Many have trouble navigating Medicare's complexities
More than 57 million seniors and disabled adults depend on Medicare, but too many people struggle to enroll and navigate the complexities of the federal health-insurance program, a national advocacy group says.

And with half of all people on Medicare living on annual incomes of $24,150 or less, many can't afford the co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles associated with their coverage.

"In today's health-care climate, now is the time to seek solutions that make Medicare an even stronger, simpler and more affordable benefit," said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, which recently released a report examining the most common problems faced by those on Medicare.

For the report, the New York-based nonprofit group, which advocates for affordable health care for older adults and the disabled, analyzed more than 16,000 calls to its consumer helpline in 2015.

The group found that many callers had trouble maneuvering Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient medical care, including most doctor visits, and Medicare Advantage, which allows private health-insurance companies to offer Medicare benefits.

Rates of sexually transmitted
diseases double among elderly
The rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have doubled among 50- to 90-year-olds in the past decade according to the Center for Disease Control.

“This is a universal problem,” said Lenard Kaye, the director of the Center on Aging.
“That has gotten them into major trouble,” Kaye said.

He said although the risk of contracting an STD is lower for those with only one partner, they are not excluded. And a dramatic increase in mid-life divorces, he said, is putting others at even higher risk.

“Anyone who's not monogamous needs to take very seriously, the importance of protecting themselves,” Kaye said.

Especially for those living in retirement communities, which he said are beginning to feel a lot more like a college campus.

“Just as it happens on a college campus, increasingly, in assisted living communities, there is a lot of hanky-panky occurring,” he said.



See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery


As an experiment, I have begun to serialize a novel I’ve been working on for a while.
New chapters will be published every Sunday.
Too continue reading or to catch up go here…


*Thanks to My cousin Judy for sending this

* * *

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