Old And Homeless:
No Place To Be

One of my great fears and one that has been with me most of my life is that I will be without a roof over my head.

I don’t know why this is, I’ve never been homeless nor have I ever even had any real reason to think I would be homeless.

I thought I would have outgrown this foreboding as I got older, but it only intensified.

Even when I had my own apartment, the first check I wrote out every month was to my landlord.

In the 20 or so years that I occupied my last apartment, I never missed or was late on my rent payment.

And even before that, when I owned a home with my then wife, I insisted that the mortgage payment was always on time.

There was one period in my life where I did come pretty close to not having a place of my own. That was when, after two years in a nursing home, I was told that the service they provided for me was no longer needed and that I would have to find other accommodations.

With the aid of some very dedicated social workers at that nursing home, I was given the option of having them find some low-cost housing or moving to an assisted living facility. I chose the later and have been, if not ecstatic, at least content ever since.

Fortunately, I had a safety net.

I had people who knew how to work the system to find me a safe, comfortable “home” for a price I could afford. Which, I might add, was not much.

Years of uninsured medical expenses (including a whopping $13,000* per month nursing home bill) had decimated my retirement savings. I was, for all practical purposes, indigent. A predicament (I was to find out later) was one in which I was not alone.

Over the almost 5 years that I have been a resident here at the ALF, I have spoken to many people who were in the same position as I.

They were sick or disabled, could not find an affordable apartment, had only their Social Security as an income and had little or no savings left after years of expensive medical procedures paid for by expensive health insurance or out of their own pockets.

Unfortunately, this is the situation that many Americans will face as they grow older, and nobody seems to have a solution or the desire to do anything about it.

While upscale apartment buildings are popping up in cities and suburbs all over the country, practically nothing is being done to alleviate the housing problems of the poor and even less is being done for the old and poor.

We seem to have turned our backs to this ever growing situation in favor of profit based real estate interests who are, for all practical purposes, being given government handouts in the form of tax breaks to build upper or upper-middle-class housing while forgoing an ever-growing segment of the U.S. population.

Every day, 10,000 people turn 65. And while, hopefully, most of those folks have a place to live, many of them will slowly be squeezed out of the housing market by builders and landlords who have no compunction about throwing old people out of the homes and apartments they have occupied for years just so they can convert those places into co-ops or condos.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about building so-called tiny or mini houses** for single old people and the homeless. And, while I have no problem with that (after all I currently live very nicely in a one room apartment) I do have a problem with the sluggishness at which these plans are implemented. Why? Because there’s just no money in it for anybody.

Any rent that could be collected most likely would not cover the operating costs let alone the cost and taxes on the land upon which these “affordable” houses would be built.

And the way our present administration looks at all poor people (old or otherwise) and its unwillingness to extend or even continue our benefits means that we won’t be seeing any changes soon.

This problem is only going to grow, and if it is not rectified soon, we will be seeing a lot of old and poor people living on the streets with only a refrigerator box for a roof.

*Editor;s note: I paid that $13,000 out of my own pocket until Medicare kicked in when I turned 65.
** See article >> https://changingaging.org/culture-change/portland-tiny-house-revolution/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialShares

If you wait too long, you may bypass assisted living

Seniors and their families struggle to decide when it is time to utilize the services provided by assisted-living communities.

Many seniors are delaying their entry into assisted living for two main reasons. The first is they want to save money.

Moving to an assisted-living community can be expensive. Seniors realize this and decide to stay at home, even if they are unsafe due to balance, mobility and memory issues.

The move to assisted living happens when an “event” (a fall or hospitalization) occurs and the family puts their foot down and insists that the senior move to a safer environment. Sometimes the senior waits too long and needs so much help that they are no longer assisted-living appropriate and now must move on to a nursing home.

A nursing home is not where most seniors wants to live. The lesson: Act sooner than later.

Read more >> http://www.villagerpublishing.com/87045/special-sections/if-you-wait-too-long-you-may-bypass-assisted-living/

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'Family is Forever' will be theme of
National Assisted Living Week this year

“Anyone who has spent valuable time in an assisted living community has seen how staff can come to think of their residents like family,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “It takes a special person to work in our profession, and often, caregivers form bonds that can never be broken. This National Assisted Living Week, we want to recognize these
amazing individuals who give their heart and soul to their residents, as well as those seniors and individuals with disabilities who leave a lasting imprint on their caregivers.”

NCAL, which established the observance in 1995, said that this year's theme is inspired by a quote from the poet Maya Angelou: “Family isn't always blood, it's the people in your life who want you in theirs: the ones who accept you for who you are, the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

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As Philly-area residents age,
a dilemma over housing

It's a dilemma arising nationwide as demographics and housing preferences are changing. Americans are living and staying healthier longer, and seniors consistently want to stay in their own homes. Yet many U.S. houses are ill-equipped for older occupants: too many steps, inconveniently situated bathrooms, and doorways that are too narrow. At least half of Philadelphia’s housing is estimated to be more than 60 years old, and a substantial number of suburban homes are older, too. For many seniors, that means finding other options.

Plenty abound: retirement and 55-plus complexes; assisted-living facilities; nursing homes; memory or respite care. Yet with one-third of adults 50 and older considered “cost-burdened" because they pay 30 percent of their income on housing, and with almost a quarter paying more than 50 percent for shelter, affordable-housing advocates argue that immense challenges exist.

“Many people in their 50s and 60s simply lack the resources to obtain appropriate housing and services as they age,” according to a 2014 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. “Middle-income adults may discover that long-term care insurance and senior housing communities ... are too expensive.”

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Living in community can
save seniors money


“It’s important to keep in mind that senior living communities and nursing homes meet different needs, so it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples,” Lowy said. “There are also benefits to living at home with a “live-in” nurse. For many people, living at home is the most comforting option. Their home represents family and good memories from, say holiday gatherings or where their children grew up.”

Lowy said there is no better option for seniors and their families to select. It depends on personal needs and the entire family needs to recognize it’s more about the needs to the senior and not what the family may prefer, she said.

“The best option is one that meets the most needs of the person at that time,” Lowy said. “Sometimes the person has one opinion on what the best option is and the family has another, which is common. It’s important to have this conversation early so the person and their family can weigh the pros and cons of different options and hopefully come to a decision that feels comfortable for everyone

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Is a Cruise Ship Cheaper
Than a Nursing Home?

Is a cruise ship cheaper than a nursing home? The answer might just surprise you! Kayleigh Kulp of CNBC just wrote a great piece highlighting a new trend that is taking the cruise industry by storm.

Lavell Mayo cruised more than 100 days last year, opting to leave his single-family home behind for life at sea where, for a small premium, household chores and amenities are all handled.

"I looked into moving into a garden home connected with a nursing home and found that the average rental is about $2,000 a month,"

"Snowbirding" aboard ship is becoming popular enough that Oceania Cruises has created two new itineraries geared specifically at this population next winter, particularly to a wealthy client with an average household income of about $250,000 or more. A 74-day "Snowbird in Residence" sailing to the Caribbean costs about $240 per day per person, and includes airfare and either a $6,800 shipboard credit, 68 free shore excursions or a free beverage package, along with laundry service.

When considered over a 20-year span, "cruises were priced similarly to assisted living centers and were more efficacious,"


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Now There’s A Cure For ‘Old People Smell’
Should this be filed under: Things nobody needs?
By Ann Brenoff

Nonenal, a chemical compound that people develop as they age, is the culprit behind the smell.
“Old People Smell” ― aka the body odor that can accompany aging and is particularly noticeable in nursing homes ― apparently now has a fix.

Truth is, “old people smell” ― while arguably not the nicest or most respectful way to talk about our elders ― is a real thing.

Here’s how body odor works for older people: Hormonal imbalances that occur during aging often result in more lipid acid, a fatty acid produced in our skin. And as skin matures, its natural antioxidant protection decreases, resulting in greater oxidation of lipid acid. When lipid acid is oxidized, the chemical compound Nonenal is produced.

Given that it’s real, is it something we need to address beyond scolding the young that “old people smell” is an offensive descriptor? Maybe not. A 2012 Swedish study found that seniors’ body odors were the least offensive of any age group.

That said, they may forebear other changes that do warrant attention. For example, many women experience body odor changes during menopause. Hot flashes and night sweat during menopause cause excessive perspiration and increased fatty acids, resulting in Nonenal. And that old bugaboo, stress, can exacerbate the production of Nonenal in both women and men.

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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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