Addressing Some Concerns
About Assisted Living

If we live long enough (And all signs point to a longer life for all of us) we will eventually need help managing our daily lives.

It is a rare person that will not need at least some assistance either with cooking, cleaning, laundry or something more personal such as bathing and dressing.

And, while more and more folks are planning to live out their lives at home by retrofitting their living space to accommodate a changing lifestyle, others will find it necessary to move to a facility where practically everything will be taken care of for them.

But moving from a home and neighborhood you may have lived in all of your life to someplace filled with people you don’t know in a town you don’t know can be fraught with, not only anxiety but with many questions as well.

Having been a resident of an assisted living facility (ALF) for nearly five years I have seen many people come and go for a variety of reasons, and because of that, I believe that I have an intimate knowledge of what some of the expectations and concerns that one may have when it’s time to make the decision to move.

Whether you are the actual person that will be moving to an ALF or (as in many cases) a son or daughter of a prospective resident, your main concern is “Will my mother/ father etc. Like it here?”

I will be very honest with you, they probably won’t. Hardly anybody does.
No matter how nice, how upscale, how fancy a facility is, it will never be like home.
You will never have the freedom or privacy you once had. This is the inherent nature of all venues of this type.

Because most ALF’s are regulated by the individual state that they are located in, it has to abide by the rules and regulations of that state, some of which are quite strict and demanding.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) many of the rules are quite restrictive.

The primary concern of all ALF’s is for the safety of its residents. And, for that reason, a certain amount of privacy and independence is abated.

Whether you like it or not, your whereabouts will be known and monitored at all times.

Your room will be subject to inspection at any time even to the point where your closets and drawers will be inspected and, any items deemed dangerous or unsuitable will be confiscated.

Our state even goes as far as requiring a nightly bed check.

This, as I mentioned, is not a bad thing because one of the first questions asked by loved ones is “How safe is this place?”

Well, all I can say is that, at least here at the Westchester Center, there is more safety monitoring than in most prisons.

There are CCTV cameras all over the place that are monitored 24 hours a day.
There are dozens of emergency exits as well as an emergency generator and our own water supply which negates any danger from outside sources.

Inside “dangers” are a different story with many of these not easily solved or even addressed.

I am speaking primarily of the dangers one may face from other residents, many of whom should not be here in the first place.

Yes, there are conflicts among residents. And, while most of them are of the verbal variety, may result in actual physical confrontations. It would be foolish to expect that a diverse a group of people (many of whose emotional stability has to be questioned)as found in a place like ours, to be able to get along with each other all of the time.

The third, and by no means the least concern, deals with food.

“Will I, or my loved one, like the food?”

There is no cut and dry answer to this other than to say “it depends.”

If you don’t care much about what you eat or you were a lousy cook and are not used to eating well-prepared meals than you might find the meals here to your liking.

Conversely, if you are used to cooking for yourself, eating certain foods the way you like to have it prepared and seasoned to your liking or even if you are used to eating in standard restaurants and diners than you will absolutely hate the food in most assisted living facilities. And that goes for upscale venues and “bargain” facilities alike.

Portions are universally small and are, either sparsely seasoned or not seasoned at all.

Will the food make you sick? Absolutely not.

Will it make you appreciate McDonald’s or the corner diner? Yes.

And one last question that comes up frequently and that is, “Will I be bored and will there be something for me to do?”

Once again, the answer is subjective.

All ALF’s have directors of recreation who try their best to provide interesting and educational as well as productive activities for the residents.

Whether or not one chooses to participate in them is another question.

Of course, you are certainly welcome to pursue your own hobbies and, if you are able, you can travel anywhere you like.

I’ll leave this subject by telling you what I tell anybody who asks me “What’s it like here?”

“It is what you make of it.”

As with any new venture, there is a certain amount of adjustment and conciliation and resolve needed on your part.

By literally signing over your life, you must realize that nothing will be the same.
If you, or your loved one, can’t live with that then this is not the place for you and you should explore other options such as employing home health aides and renovations to your residence.

As always, I will gladly answer any specific questions concerning life at the ALF. Email me at

▼ ▼ ▼

Many older adults will need help with
Managing their medicines and money
In a study of nearly 9500 individuals aged 65 and older who did not need help in managing medications or finances, many needed assistance as time went on.

Over 10 years, 10.3% of those aged 65 to 69 needed help managing medications and 23.1% needed help managing finances. These rates rose with age, to 38.2% and 69%, respectively, in those over age 85. Women had a higher risk than men, especially with advancing age. Additional factors linked with an increased risk for both outcomes included a history of stroke, low cognitive functioning, and difficulty with activities of daily living.

The findings highlight the importance of preparing older adults for the likelihood that they will need assistance with managing their medicines and finances.

More gray hair linked to higher risk of heart disease
Written by Ana Sandoiu

Graying hair and coronary heart disease share some of the same mechanisms that come with aging. A new observational study links the two events, suggesting that gray hair may be an indicator of heart disease.

New research suggests that the amount of gray hair may be an indication of heart disease risk in men.

In atherosclerosis, plaque - which is made of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances - starts building up inside the blood vessels. With time, this plaque becomes calcified, limiting the elasticity of the arteries and the supply of blood to the heart and other vital organs in the body.

If untreated, atherosclerosis may cause serious heart conditions including stroke, heart attack, and even heart failure.

One of the main cardiovascular events connected with atherosclerosis is coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease. This disease occurs as a consequence of plaque building up inside the coronary arteries - the two main blood-supplying arteries that start from the heart's aorta.

It is well-known that aging is a risk factor for heart disease. Furthermore, atherosclerosis and graying hair have similar causes: the damaged DNA that comes with aging, increased oxidative stress, and the aging of cells.

==== ====

Diabetes is even deadlier than we thought,
study suggests

“Mortality rates attributed to diabetes are imprecise largely because death results from both immediate and underlying causes, and not every one of them gets recorded. For example, cardiovascular disease might be recorded as the cause of a person’s death even though that disease may have been caused by diabetes.

Further challenging the task of identifying cause of death is that diabetics have a long history of problems before serious complications occur.

“When diabetes started 10 to 30 or more years before a patient died, the disease may not be in the forefront of the attending physician at time of death,” explains Catherine Cowie, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. And there are no clear guidelines about which conditions should be cited as cause of death.

Detailed electronic medical records may help pinpoint the primary cause. “But still, it’s hard [to get the full picture] in this day and age when health care for diabetics is divided between different practitioners,”


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

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Here’s your chance.
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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


Four years ago I started this blog as a service to my fellow residents at the Westchester Center for Independent and assisted Living in Yonkers, NY.
Over the years I have expanded the posts to encompass all aspects of Senior life including health, finances, housing, food, and more.
The material herein includes both original and non-original items gathered from various forms of media from around the world.
It is important to remember that everything here is presented for entertainment purposes only……………………BWC.


In the spring a young man’s thoughts turn to love.
An old man’s thoughts just turn.

If there is something known as the spring doldrums we sure as heck have them here at the ALF.

For better or worse, things have been very very quiet this last week.

There have been no major upheavals either with management or residents, although we did have a couple of med room techs leave and a couple of residents go elsewhere.

There has been nothing new as far as our food service is concerned which means that we have had to endure yet another week of the same old same old.

Our new Director of Recreation remains a bit aloof and has not offered any earth-shattering new forms of extracurricular activities as of yet. With the good weather upon us, I sure would like to see more outdoor activities and trips.

Looking back, this past winter left me with mixed emotions.

Thankfully, our little corner of the world did not suffer any major flu outbreaks or the dreaded norovirus which has decimated us in the past.

Conversely, this winter saw the passing of a couple of dear friends whose loss will be felt for some time to come.

For those of us who have been here a while, there has been a noticeable tightening of the corporate belt, probably with good cause.

I think management was expecting a more meaningful raise in our resident’s Social Security benefits and Medicaid payments as a way of closing some sort of budget gap. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. What this will mean for us in the months to come is any bodies business but, if things don’t improve, we may see even more drastic cuts in service and personnel.

Spring, traditionally signifies a time of rebirth and renewal. A time when all that remained dormant during the cold weather, bounces back to life.

For many of us more seasoned individuals, who have seen our fair share of winter-into-spring events the change, while always welcome, doesn’t have the meaning for us the way it once did.

It’s not that we have become jaded to the miracle of nature’s transformation, it’s more of “Well, another year has gone by. Another year closer to the end.”

Alfred Tennyson knew what he was talking about when he said:

“In the spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.”

He wisely left the quest for love to the young. Which is not to say that old men (and women) don’t need or want love, it’s just that we are too tired to hunt for it. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, there’s always Rummikub.

What We Now Know About Poor Sleep in Older Adults
Why sleep is so important for good health and what we've been doing wrong

By Bill Ward

The more experts have learned in recent years about older adults and sleep, the more they realized how little they actually knew.

Recent research in the field has shown that nursing-home practices have been misguided for decades, that it soon will be possible to diagnose and alter sleep patterns to help treat or prevent dementia — and that, yes, we should be getting a good night’s sleep at all ages.
Five or Six Hours Isn’t Enough

“We have really taken for granted that ‘Aw, seniors don’t need that much sleep.’ No, [on the contrary] they need seven to eight hours,” said Sue Ann Guildermann, director of education for Empira, a consortium of 24 skilled nursing homes in Minnesota. “And that’s true for everyone. People who do not sleep seven or eight hours [a night] are going to die sooner. Issues like insulin management, cardiovascular problems, cancer, immune diseases are all more prevalent in people who don’t get enough sleep.”

“What we’ve known all along is that people who are older, their efficiency of sleep drops for a variety of reasons,” Avidan said. “They might not be sleeping less, but their ability is disrupted, often because of medical issues and medications. When those medical issues are addressed, sleep patterns improve, particularly for people with underlying memory problems.”

Aging And Intimacy:
Love, Friendship And Sex At An Assisted Living Community

By  Kathy Ritchie

Denise Gutierrez sits with her mother Laurie Thomas, who has frontotemporal degeneration. Thomas met her male companion at Huger Mercy Living Center.

A lot of people don’t want to talk about sex. But the urge to have sex or be intimate with someone doesn’t go away with age, or even if that person develops dementia. It’s an issue many families face when confronted with such a diagnosis, but at one assisted living community in Phoenix, sex is just sex.

"I talk to nursing about that. I said, 'You know, it is a twin bed. I am concerned about them rolling out of the bed,' but they have mats," said Denise Gutierrez.

Her mother, Laurie Thomas, lives in one of the cottages at Huger Mercy Living Center, an assisted living facility in northwest Phoenix.

Thomas has frontotemporal degeneration, a lesser known type of dementia. Before Thomas came to Huger Mercy in 2015, she lived with a male companion, but when she moved into the facility, her companion went to live with his family.

Gutierrez said it was a sad time for her mother, but then, she met someone….

= = = = =

Fending off boredom has always been a problem for seniors. We are always looking for something to do. Unfortunately, most of the activities that people think seniors would like don’t get to the crux of the matter.
Yes, we want something to do, but we need it to have some meaning.
Volunteering is okay, but maybe we don’t want to leave home.
So, what can we do, at home, that would be both interesting and productive?
I came across this article the other day that may be just the solution.
As a born and bread New Yorker, I had always been under the impression that raising live stock in NYC was illegal. Chickens being in that category.
However, as it turns out, you can actually legally raise chickens in NYC and people have taken to it like a duck to water…

Raising Chickens in New York City: Laws, Tips
And Everything Else You Need to Know

In a city where simply finding a balcony large enough for a pot of basil can be a challenge, one may be surprised to discover that chicken coops can be found across all five boroughs. Chickens were once primarily kept by older city residents, including many who come from places in the world where a backyard supply of fresh eggs is taken for granted. More recently, everyone from Park Slope housewives to Bushwick hipsters appear to be embracing the backyard chicken craze.

New Yorker's are not alone when it comes to raising chickens. Since 2010, cities across the United States have passed laws permitting chickens in residential areas. The recent chicken craze is most often explained as an extension of the growing urban agricultural movement, which includes community gardens and various farm-to-table initiatives. However, as Greg Anderson of Just Food explains, urban farming is not necessarily new, especially not in New York City. “The need for urban farming skills grows from New York City’s history of agriculture and the fact that we are one of the few cities that never stopped growing food in some way or form. NYC went from farms to Victory Gardens to community gardens to urban farming, and we are still looking for new ways to grow food in the city, such as rooftop farms and indoor hydroponics.”

When it comes to chickens, New York is also somewhat unique. Unlike most U.S. cities that banned backyard chickens decades ago and only recently reintroduced laws to make raising them legal again, New York has never been chicken free.

And while we are on the subject of chickens…


I was so angry at what was fed to us for breakfast this morning that I felt I needed a larger audience to vent my frustration, therefore I posted this on Facebook the other day.

For the most part, breakfasts here at the ALF are fairly decent usually consisting of a couple of eggs (scrambled, fried, omelet etc.) along with some bacon, or sausage or ham or some other protein.

However, for some unknown reason, the chef thought that we all had migrated to the deep south and decided that a starchy breakfast consisting of both cheese grits and potatoes, would be appropriate for a group of seniors to eat to start their day.
Personally, I find this unacceptable and an insult to all of the residents here who deserve better than this slop.

Your comments and thoughts on this would be appreciated.


Birds Nest in the BBQ                                                 ©2017 Bruce Cooper

After an enterprising sparrow decided to set up housekeeping in one of our barbecue grills last year which resulted in the loss of three baby sparrows, they were supposed to have sealed up the entrance points so that this wouldn’t occur again.
Unfortunately, the sparrows were a little too fast for our maintenance crew and have, once again, built a lovely nest waiting for some new arrivals. Sparrows can lay up to 5 little speckled eggs every spring.


It never fails to thrill and amaze me when I look in my in-box and see a question or comment from a reader on something I have written about or included in this blog.
I have always believed that the internet was meant to be an interactive tool allowing everyday people to share views on topics of interest to them.
Blogs, as a part of what we now call “social media” depend on its readers contributions and feedback to exist.
This is why I wish to reiterate that I welcome articles, stories or links to stories that concern the role of older Americans in today’s society.
And, while I can’t promise that an article will be published here, I can tell you that I will consider each one carefully.

You can use the comments form at the end of this blog or e-mail me direct to > THEBEECEE@HOTMAIL.COM

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Want to Read An Unfinished First Novel?
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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


©2017 Bruce Cooper

It’s 9:30 AM. Now What’s A Guy To Do?
After Breakfast it’s boredom with a touch of ennui.

I have a friend here at the ALF.

For purposes of this article, we’ll call him Phil.

When you first meet Phil, you wouldn’t think anything was bothering him.
But underneath his rather avuncular exterior lies a very troubled man.

He’s troubled because he is bored.

Is it possible to bored out of one’s mind?

You’re darn tootin' it is.

In fact, Phil is so bored that he actually looks forward to his thrice-weekly “treatments”* because he gets to get out of here for a few hours.

Unfortunately, Phil is not alone.

Every day, dozens of residents here leave the dining room after breakfast and wander aimlessly about the facility looking for something to do.

And, what is even more unfortunate, is that the majority of those residents are men.
The truth be told, and this is something that I don’t believe is taken into consideration when one is looking for a place to send grandpa when he retires, there are not many activities geared to men at these places.

Ladies, on the other hand, are exposed to many more activities that range from knitting and crocheting to manicures and gossip.

We all know that men and women are different and never so more so when it comes to personal relationships and interacting with others.

Women can usually make friends at the drop of a hat. It’s like they all belong to a club where only they know the secret handshake or high sign.

One nod and they gather together in the corner and talk about g-d knows what.

And, they can do that for hours.

Men, on the other hand, are not so cliquish.

Rarely will you see a group of men (more than two) sitting around a table in the day room just chatting?

Usually, any group conversations among men need to be lubricated by large quantities of alcohol. And then, the conversations are mostly about sports, or women or, did I mention sports?

Yes, men are complicated creatures and rare is the recreation director that can recognize that feature.

We actually have a men’s club here at the ALF.

It used to be fairly well attended because, a former Rec. Director found out what attracts men to such activities, and that is food.

She would put out a spread of mostly fried and spicy finger food like chicken wings and French fries.

And, even though the meeting was held in a remote part of the facility, there would always be a good crowd of guys who, of course, talked about sports.

The latest version of the men’s club features no food and is poorly attended.
So, why don’t men find finding something to do so difficult.

For the answer, we need to get back to my friend Phil for a minute.
Phil, in his previous life, was an active man.

His job involved meeting dozens of new people and visiting new places every day.
And now, nothing.

It’s as if somebody flicked a switch and turned Phil off like taking the battery out of the Energizer bunny.

But Phil is not a piece of machinery. You can’t just turn the power off to an active human being and expect them to be happy about it.

And Phil is a perfect example.

Like many men, his life was so wrapped around his job that he had no time for anything else.

He had no real hobbies or avocation except reading an occasional book or watching the Yankees on TV.

And so, when it came time for Phil to pack it in and (through no fault of his own) retire to a life of nothingness, he found the abrupt change difficult to handle.

And so, Phil goes about the day bored out of his mind and feeling sorry for himself.
Of course, Phil is not the only man living here that is that way.
The lobby is full of them.

Men, whose whole day consists of nothing more than sitting and staring into space broken only by mealtimes, taking medication and participating in an occasional disagreement with a fellow resident.

This, I believe, is a systemic problem with most assisted living facilities.
The reason for this is twofold.

Primarily, at any one time, there are more women in assisted living facilities than men.

In fact, the leading referral and clearing house website for folks looking for the right ALF is chauvinistically called “A Place for Mom”, completely ignoring that “Dad” may need a place to live too.***

Additionally, most (if not all) directors of recreation are traditionally women who have no idea what interests an old man**.

As more and more baby boomers reach retirement age, and more and more of them will be men who, because of rising life expectancy will need a place to spend their golden years, it would benefit owners and management of those facilities to figure out how to better serve their male residents.

So, how do I pass the time when I’m not working on this blog?
Well, I tell you what I’m not doing.

And, unless they figure out a way I can knit me a BMW, I won’t be doing THAT either.

* In order to insure “Phil’s” privacy, I will not identify the treatments he goes for.
** Quite frankly, I don’t know what interests an old man except that living in the past seems to be a major activity among many of them.
*** BTW: I have nothing against “A Place for Mom”. In fact they have just come up with a list of hobbies for active seniors. Of course, many of them are a little “girly.”
1. Creating Art / Doing Crafts
2. Volunteering
3. Swimming
4. Walking
5. Playing Games / Cards
6. Dancing
7. Gardening
8. Practicing Yoga
9. Golfing
10. Caring for a Pet
11. Visiting Family and Friends
For additional info on this go to story >>


MO school funding bill forces lawmakers to choose to
support kids or senior citizens
The Missouri House just passed a new budget giving millions of more dollars to K-through-12 education – but it comes at a cost.

The House voted Thursday to fully fund K-12 education under the state school funding law, which is great news for Missouri children. But to pay for it, these same lawmakers want to cut funding to colleges, senior citizens and the disabled.

The budget bill just passed would add $48 million to elementary and secondary education, which is obviously much more than the $3 million Governor Eric Grietens wants to give K-12 schools in the next budget.

This budget though would cut funding to the university system by more than 6-percent, and it would end tax breaks for renters who are senior citizens or disabled, which affect around 98,000 Missourians.


No rest for the aged:
As people get older, sleep quantity and quality decline

"Sleep changes with aging, but it doesn't just change with aging; it can also start to explain aging itself," says review co-author Matthew Walker, who leads the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Every one of the major diseases that are killing us in first-world nations—from diabetes to obesity to Alzheimer's disease to cancer—all of those things now have strong causal links to a lack of sleep. And all of those diseases significantly increase in likelihood the older that we get, and especially in dementia."

Older adults' sleep loss isn't due to a busy schedule or simply needing less sleep. As the brain ages, neurons and circuits in the areas that regulate sleep slowly degrade, resulting in a decreased amount of non-REM sleep. Since non-REM deep sleep plays a key role in maintaining memory and cognition, that's a problem.
"There is a debate in the literature as to whether older adults need less sleep, or rather, older adults cannot generate the sleep that they nevertheless need. We discuss this debate at length in the review," says Walker. "The evidence seems to favor one side—older adults do not have a reduced sleep need, but instead, an impaired ability to generate sleep. The elderly therefore suffer from an unmet sleep need."
FDA Approves At-Home DNA Tests for 10 Diseases

"These are the first direct-to-consumer (DTC) tests authorized by the FDA that provide information on an individual's genetic predisposition to certain medical diseases or conditions, which may help to make decisions about lifestyle choices or to inform discussions with a health care professional," the FDA said in a statement.
"Consumers can now have direct access to certain genetic risk information," said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, which approves these kinds of tests.

"But it is important that people understand that genetic risk is just one piece of the bigger puzzle. It does not mean they will or won't ultimately develop a disease."

A person's genes almost never make for a 100 percent risk of any disease. Instead, many different genes usually interact with a person's lifestyle and other factors to cause disease. For instance, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) notes that many genes are involved in developing Alzheimer's disease, and it's not clear how much each one raises the risk.
Go to story >>


To Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s, Think Before You Eat
By Judith Graham

Diets designed to boost brain health, targeted largely at older adults, are a new, noteworthy development in the field of nutrition.

The latest version is the Canadian Brain Health Food Guide, created by scientists in Toronto. Another, the MIND diet, comes from experts at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Both diets draw from a growing body of research suggesting that certain nutrients — mostly found in plant-based foods, whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetable oils and fish — help protect cells in the brain while fighting harmful inflammation and oxidation.

Both have yielded preliminary, promising results in observational studies. The Canadian version — similar to the Mediterranean diet but adapted to Western eating habits — is associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet — a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) — lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53 percent.

Researchers responsible for both regimens will study them further in rigorous clinical trials being launched this year.


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…



* * *
©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


What Keeps Me Going
Or, why the new folks in Washington are like the 62 Mets.

couple of weeks ago we spoke about how, as we get older, time seems to go by more quickly.

Though opinions about why we feel that time is speeding up differ, the general conclusion is that because we have less time remaining, as compared to children who have their whole lives before them and feel that the day will never end, time, for us, is compressed squeezing every last second out of the day possible before the end.
For some of us, this relentless hurtling blindly into the light may be a blessing because life has become so boring and tedious and meaningless that spending even one extra minute on this planet seems like a waste of time.

I think that this feeling of worthlessness and futility is often the reason that people, who are apparently in decent health, suddenly drop dead.

It’s as if they said, “Okay then, that’s enough. What’s the purpose? I’m out of here.”

So what keeps us going? Why do we get up and put of bed if only to face yet another day of the same old same old?

Because we have to, that’s why.

If we are of normal mind and spirit and not clouded by various states of depression, the hope that THIS day will bring something special always exists.

Now, while some might say that expecting a different outcome after doing the same thing over and over again is the first sign of psychosis, I believe that we are predestined to always hope for something better. Or, if not better, at least different.

So, what’s been keeping me going these last few months? The news, that’s what.

Say what you will about our new president and his cohorts, I’ll bet you can’t wait to get up, turn on the TV and listen to see what wackiness the administration perpetrated overnight. I know I can’t.

Lately, it has become what I live for, and I know, if my emails and Facebook and other social media accounts are correct, Trump-watching has become the new national pastime.

Never mind that baseball season starts this week.

Screw the Mets and Yankees, we got the Trumps.

And, if you think about it, the Trumps are very much like the ‘62 Mets.

Back then, NYC had been without a National League team for 5 years after the Brooklyn Dodgers (and the Giants) went to look for greener pastures in California.

Therefore, when it was announced that, after all that time, a National League team would once again play in NYC, everybody was so elated that we didn’t even ask where the players would come from, what kind of players they would be or even if they knew anything about baseball. We just wanted something new.

Unfortunately, we got what we asked for.

Despite having a strong charismatic leader in the form of one Mr. Casey Stengle, and a few old familiar names like Gil Hodges, Richie Ashburn and Frank Thomas, they also had guys like Ray Daviault, Ed Bouchee, and Cliff Cook whose baseball playing abilities were suspect at best.

Kind of like what’s going on in that other playing field in DC.

With just a few minor changes, the late Jimmy Breslin’s book “Can’t anybody here play this game” could be adapted to the “earn-as-you-learn” west wing staff at the White House.

But, unlike the ‘62 Mets, many of us don’t think what’s going on down there is very funny.

While dropping a few easy ground balls or giving up 10 runs in the first inning may be amusing when it comes to baseball, it’s a whole other thing when we realize that the players on the Trump-ets are playing with our lives and our futures.

Unlike errors made in baseball, errors made by the administration carry over to the next game and actually get compounded over time.

It’s as if your team was penalized a run at the start of the next game, then two the game after and so on. Pretty soon, not only have you not won any games, you have lost the entire season as well.

Hey, I just thought of another baseball related analogy.

What if it was found out that many of the players on the Yankees were actually on the Red Sox payroll? And had been for years and the Yankee’s manager knew this but looked the other way because the new guys were, well, just like him.

Are you getting the picture here?

Eventually, the team, no matter how rich it is, is going to collapse. Maybe even before the season is over.

Then what? What’s going to happen to all of those “fans” who couldn’t wait for that new team to start playing but now, much like those Met’s fans of yesteryear, think that they may have been a bit too hasty in rooting for them?

Back in the day, we old Dodger and Giant fans were “forced” to listen to Yankee games on TV with disdain and disgust.

But, at least there was one thing about the Yankees.

Even though we hated them, they sure knew how to play the game.

Unfortunately, the president and his "team" not only don't know how to play the game, they don't even know the rules.

It’s strike two Donald, and there ain’t no Ed Kranepool in the batter’s box.


3 Ways to Handle ‘Post-Election Stress Disorder’
If you’ve felt buffeted by the political storm, these tips may help
By Michelle Kinder

The capacity to deal with uncertainty could be the difference between surviving and thriving in 2017. In just over two short months, the country has experienced polarization, unrest and activism unmatched in recent history.

The effects are already evident: A staggering 57 percent of people polled by the American Psychological Association in January said the current political climate is causing them significant stress. Indeed, mental health professionals have coined the terms “election stress disorder” and “headline stress disorder” to describe the plight of many clients.

Long-Term Effects of Stress

What’s most worrisome is that chronic stress over a long period of time has been shown to damage relationships, life satisfaction and health.  In fact, during more than a decade of research, University of California, San Francisco psychiatry professor Elissa Epel has shown that chronic stress accelerates aging. She argues that along with diet and exercise, learning to manage stress can help us lead longer, healthier lives.
When the fear center of our brain is activated, it suppresses the part most able to fully attend to what is in front of us and to connect with others.

With that in mind, here are three social and emotional health strategies to help you manage uncertainty in 2017.

3 Tips for Handling Post-Election Stress:
1. Nurture relationships.
2. Pay attention to narrative.
3. Zoom out.

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A plan for America:
Invest in our direct care workforce

By Daniel R. Wilson
Direct care workers — nursing assistants and home care workers — are a forgotten workforce. Mostly invisible, nearly 5 million of these workers provide crucial supports to millions of Americans across a continuum of settings, from private homes to assisted living to nursing homes. 

Demographics tell much of the story about this workforce. Predominantly women of color, many of them new immigrants to the United States, these workers struggle to make a living on low wages and part-time hours. Average annual earnings are $16,500 per year, leaving most paid caregivers on the edge of poverty. One of every two workers depends on public benefits to make ends meet.

In recent years, these workers have made some significant gains as the result of new federal policies put in place under the administration of President Barack Obama. In 2013, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act was amended, extending minimum wage and overtime protections to the home care workforce. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act expanded access to health coverage. By 2014, an additional 500,000 direct care workers, across the continuum of long-term services and supports, had health coverage. The Obama administration also strengthened regulations for nursing homes, adding new training requirements for nursing assistants so they could better meet the needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other complex conditions.

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Payer’s can't ignore assisted living, former senators say
By Lois A. Bowers
Former Sens. Tom Daschle and Bill Frist showed prescience at the National Investment Centers for Seniors Housing & Care 2017 Spring Investment Forum in San Diego last week when they said that any reform related to the Affordable Care Act would need bipartisan support to be successful.

The two, who co-chair the Health Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, an organization that Daschle helped found, made their remarks Thursday at the NIC conference luncheon. Late the next day, the American Health Care Act was pulled from the House floor when it seemed that it lacked sufficient votes to pass and move on to the Senate.

So what, in their opinion, is ahead for senior living and long-term care?
When panel moderator Kenneth Segarnick, chief corporate officer of Brandywine Living, asked them whether insurers might give assisted living providers a “seat at the table in the delivery of care” in light of the shifting of risk that is occurring in healthcare, Daschle said, “I think they have to. You can't ignore assisted living in the longer term, because of the demographics and because of the interrelationship. As we look more and more at the need for a continuum of care, it seems to me that assisted living has to be a more vocal partner and a more visible participant as we look at solutions.”

The dinner served to us Sunday evening may have been the worst single meal I have ever eaten here. And it managed to be so on a number of levels.

First, what was served was not on the originally posted menu.

We were supposed to get Goulash with candies yams and asparagus.

Somehow, before the day was over, that morphed into Salisbury steak (Hamburger) with mashed sweet potatoes (extra sugar added) and canned, mushy, mostly stalks and stems, asparagus.

Now, if you were to look at the photo on the left, you would think that this meal looks pretty good. Certainly there appears to be a large enough size Salisbury steak to fill the belly of any normal adult.

But looks, and the management of this facility, can be deceiving.

You see, here at the Center we don't use normal size 10" dinner plates. They are closer to 8 inches which makes everything put on them seem much bigger. The photo on the right represents what the same meal would look like on the average dinner plate. Get the picture?

The D.O.H. of the State of NY says that the minimum amount of food that we can be served is 3oz. of each item.

The Center, it appears, has strictly adhered to the law.

That's only 9oz's of food at each meal. Just a little more than a half a pound.

When questioned, they insist that they have not reduce the food budget.

I beg to differ.


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…



* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


At The A.L.F.: The Natives Are Restless.
But are the troops ready to rebel?
There is no doubt that there is something stirring in the air around here lately. Something that was made quite evident at our monthly resident’s meeting this past Monday.

For the first time, I actually heard a call for what amounted to an out and out rebellion by our residents who are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the way things are being done around here.

As usual, most of the disgruntlement was focused on the dining room, the food, it’s staff and our chef.

Despite us having a food committee and open monthly meetings with the head of our food service, many residents feel that our needs, as far as service and variety and quality of the way food is served and prepared here, are not being addressed.
Little by little, we have seen a decline in much of what goes on during meal times.
Most noticeably is the service with some residents complaining of inefficient, surly and rude servers.

Other complaints are directed at the quality of the food as well as the way food is being presented and cooked with many meals served burnt, overcooked or even undercooked, while still, other residents have stated that variety and portion size have become a concern as well.

Now, while residents have complained about the food ever since I arrived here almost 5 years ago, this was the first time I have ever heard a group of residents call for a walkout.

That’s right, you heard me. And actual 1960’s style passive protest.

Introduced at the meeting was the proposal that at one particular meal (be it breakfast, lunch or dinner) residents should order their meal as usual, but before it is actually served, to get up and walk out and assemble at the administrator's office to voice our objections.

The very suggestion of such an overt action among a group of people who usually are so apathetic as to hide when even a hint of upheaval is mentioned, have suddenly found the courage, not only to act but to act en masse to make their point known.

Could it be that some of the political unrest that has been illustrated by some very vocal protests as of late have actually prompted a usually stoic group of seniors to near insurrection?

While plans for this action have not been finalized, it will be interesting to see if anything actually takes place.

Also on the agenda at the meeting was the question of how prospective residents are approved for admission here.

Many of our long time residents recounted a time when it appeared that there were some tight guidelines as to what kind of person would best be served by the level of care available here.

People recounted their own admission interviews when they were told that if they could not walk on their own (either with a walker, Rollator or cane) they could not live here*. Wheelchairs were strictly forbidden.

Now, for some reason, that rule appears to have been overlooked as we now have an increase in the number of folks being admitted in less than an ambulatory condition.

Of concern too, was the mental and cognitive condition of many of the newer residents.

Quite noticeable are the number of inhabitants who exhibit, not only extreme memory loss and intellectual complications, but many show signs of belligerence and downright aggression towards their fellow residents.

Stories of both verbal and near or actual physical abuse by some of our recently arrived guests sent murmurs of understanding around the room.

This lead to the question of exactly what the qualifications for admission are and who, if anybody, is responsible for vetting prospective residents.

After a brief discussion, it was proposed to have someone from our marketing department (the people who are responsible for showing prospects around and explaining the level of care available here),come and answer questions about the admitting procedure.

Since all such Q&A has to be cleared through management, we will have to wait for this to happen.

The meeting closed on a note of unity (something that is not the norm here) and an agreement to look further into actually staging some sort of walk-out as well as scheduling a meeting with whoever is in charge of admissions.

Will there be an actual rebellion, I don’t know, but the atmosphere sure feels ripe for one.

*I was informed that I could not come here if I were still in a wheelchair which was impetus enough for me to work doubly hard at my physical therapy sessions so that I could graduate to a walker.


Too Much Experience To Be Hired?
Some Older Americans Face Age Bias
By Ina Jaffe
Blatant discrimination against older workers is illegal, but new research shows that it can be harder to get hired when you're older.
Most baby boomers say that they plan to keep working past conventional retirement age. But to do that, they have to get hired first. New research shows that can be harder when you're older.

"The call-back rate — the rate by which employers contact us and say we'd like to interview you — drops from young applicants to middle-aged applicants and drops further from middle-aged applicants to older applicants,"

Blatant discrimination against older workers is illegal. For example, an employer couldn't advertise a job saying "people over 40 need not apply." A 50-year-old law called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prevents that.

But there are other ways employers try to screen for age….


91% of Seniors Believe This Social Security
Practice Should End.
If you're tired of having your Social Security benefits taxed, you're far from alone.
"... a small portion of Social Security's income (about $31.3 billion) came from the taxation of Social Security benefits.

While it may not be a well-known fact, a portion of Social Security benefits becomes taxable if an individual or joint-filing couple crosses a certain earning threshold. Individuals and couples making more than $25,000 and $32,000, respectively, can have half of their Social Security benefits exposed to federal income tax, while individuals and couples making in excess of $34,000 and $44,000, respectively, can have 85% of their Social Security benefits exposed to federal income taxation.

According to The Senior Citizens League, more than 50% of seniors receiving Social Security benefits in 2015 paid tax on those benefits, compared to about 1 in 10 households when the lower tax threshold was first introduced in 1983.
Seniors overwhelmingly agree this needs to change.

However, a new survey released two weeks ago from The Seniors Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that aims to protect the rights of senior citizens, speaks volume about what seniors think of the taxation of benefits.


More Elderly Women Expected To Drink And Abuse Alcohol;
What This Means For Their Health
By Dana Dovey
According to a new study, current trends suggest that the number of women aged 60 and older who drink and/or abuse alcohol is set to increase. While alcohol is dangerous for anyone, drinking can be especially bad for older women as they are more sensitive to alcohol’s effect than males their own age and younger women.

A new report has found that while the number of older adults who drink alcohol is set to increase as the population ages, the number of older women who drink alcohol is rising faster than that of men. For example, the prevalence of current drinking among men over 60 is expected to increase by 0.7 percent per year, while the average volume and prevalence of binge drinking among this demographic is expected to stay the same.

On the other hand, the prevalence of drinking among older women is expected to increase by an average of 1.6 percent per year. In addition, while the average volume of female drinking is expected to stay the same, the prevalence of binge drinking in this age group is expected to increase by an average of 3.7 percent per year.

Alcohol can affect elderly women differently than it did when they were younger…


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…


©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


A Fork in the Road for Subsidized Assisted Living?
A knock on my door last Thursday morning summoned me (and the other residents here at the W. Center) to an impromptu and hastily called meeting in the auditorium.

Now, usually, meetings like this (that are unscheduled and unannounced beforehand) means that there is either a major staff change or a change in management.

However, in this case, it meant something that, for some reason, became an urgent request by our administrator.

With passion in his voice and conviction in his words, he laid out the (Financial) situation that faces us, the residents and the facility as well.

Essentially, here is what it’s all about.

This facility is unique in that the rent that people pay is partially covered by Social Security.

Social Security covers only a part of the actual rent. The rest is subsidized by Medicaid and other State and local programs.

The reason that this facility exists is for one reason and one reason only. And that is because we are a “bridge” over the gap between a very expensive* nursing home (which, by the way, is paid for by Medicare at the rate of approximately $13,000 per month) and a traditional (and more expensive) senior housing facility.

Therefore, it is to the government’s advantage, (And to the advantage of every taxpayer in the nation) to keep facilities like ours afloat.

Now, remember what I said about part of the rent being paid for by our resident’s own Social Security.

The rent burden on the resident is $1235.00 per month, not including cable TV or landline phone or any other additional aid services. That’s about 25% of the actual monthly rent. A big chunk to say the least.

My Social Security check, unfortunately, does not cover the full $1235, so I have to pay the difference out of my own pocket.

Fortunately, because I also receive SSI benefits, I can meet the difference in the rent.

But even if I and my fellow residents are able to pay their rent every month with Social Security, it does not mean that that amount is adequate enough to meet the ever increasing costs of running a facility such as ours.

Our Social Security benefits have remained the same for years because of the strange way the C.O.L.A. (Cost of Living Adjustment) is calculated that does not take into account the rising costs of food, transportation, clothes, and labor.

This means that because we don’t get an increase in our benefits, the W.Center cannot increase the resident’s part of the rent**.

That is why our administrator called the meeting.

He expressed the gravity of the situation very simply.

The facility needs and increase in Social Security (The amount of $40 per resident was talked about) in order to continue offering the level of service it provides us.

Besides an increase in our Social Security benefits, the facility needs an increase in Medicaid payments from the State as well.

To facilitate this, our administrator has suggested that we (residents) participate in a phone calling campaign to our legislators expressing our displeasure at how we seniors have been virtually ignored by the government when it comes to providing an adequate increase in our benefits.

While the minimum wage has gone up (as it should) our benefits have remained stationary.

He asked for volunteers that would be willing to make those calls.

The phone numbers of the appropriate legislators and well as a general “script” will be provided.

I must say, that I was surprised at the number of residents (me included) that stayed behind after the meeting to sign up to be one of those volunteers.

At this point, it must be noted that previous efforts, in the form of a petition and letter writing campaigns to sway legislators to our cause has gone for naught.

This phone-in effort is pretty much the last method left to get what we need to survive.

I urge all of my fellow residents who volunteered to make those calls and to honor your commitment and for all other readers of this blog who receive and depend on Social Security to live on, to make it known to your legislators that it’s time for them to get off their butts and do something about increasing our long awaited benefits.

*The amount varies, but $4500 per month is not far off.
** By law, the Facility is permitted to take a certain percentage of any Social Security increase  in the form of a raise in rent.


In This Next Phase Of Health Reform,
We Cannot Overlook Long Term Care
By Everette James, Walid Gellad, and Meredith Hughes

Long-term care for America’s growing elderly population is a critically important issue for Congress to address in health reform proposals currently taking shape.

While the ACA’s insurance expansion focused on providing coverage for the uninsured, the law’s progress on long-term care has been minimal. The ACA tried to address long-term care (LTC) by creating a voluntary system of LTC insurance, but the ill-fated CLASS Act was ultimately determined to be financially unviable and abandoned.

It is becoming apparent that President Trump and the 115th Congress cannot start over with health care reform. Whether you love, begrudgingly support, or fervently hate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a clean slate is not possible. First, ACA implementation is well underway and has benefited many patients and providers alike. Second, it is unlikely that Republicans in Congress can fully repeal the ACA without a 60 vote, filibuster proof super majority in the Senate. Starting over entirely with health reform is just not feasible.

Trying to address every problem facing the health care system at once is a tall—if not impossible—order. History has taught us that U.S. health reform is an incremental process. With the focus of Congress once again turning to health reform, we have an opportunity to fix the problems with the ACA, and find solutions to health care challenges that the ACA failed to address.

Home remedies that may be worth a try
By Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Harvard Medical School embraces evidence-based medicine — treatments that have been shown to be effective through high-quality studies called randomized controlled clinical trials. So it’s always a little surprising when a Harvard doctor proposes a home remedy, as Dr. James P. Ioli did in an interview about toenail fungus. Dr. Ioli, who is chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, suggested that daily applications of Vicks VapoRub might be at least as effective as most of the topical treatments for toenail fungus that are available by prescription or over the counter.

Toenail fungus is representative of the type of condition that may benefit from home remedies. It isn’t usually serious and there are no sure cures for it that don’t have significant side effects. Vicks is also representative of the type of home remedy that isn’t likely to be harmful — a product we know well and have used safely for other purposes.

A few cautions
Seemingly benign home remedies can have dangerous side effects. For example, baking soda dissolved in water, once recommended for relieving indigestion, has sent hundreds of people to the emergency room with electrolyte imbalances. If you’re taking any home remedy for an extended period, you may want to check with your doctor to see if there are any risks involved.


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…



This Crowdsourcing Project Needs Your Sense of Humor
Have some spare time? Have nothing to do? Want to contribute to the cultural well-being of the U.S.A.?

Here’s a way you can get directly involved…

Phyllis Diller donated her most jealously guarded and prized possession—her joke files—to the Smithsonian more than a decade ago. Stored in 48 steel file drawers, the jokes span almost 50 years and cover a range of topics, from taxes (“I’m in the 50% bracket. I make exactly half the money I need to survive”) to Texas (“Asking Texan how he likes NYC—it’s the first time I’ve been in this part of Texas”) and aging (“You know you’re getting old when your back starts going out more than you do”) .

Now, in honor of Women’s History Month, the Smithsonian is inviting us all to become Smithsonian Digital Volunteers and become part of the project of making each and every one of the comic’s 53,000 jokes available online.

Breaking the Mold

Diller’s trailblazing approach made the Feminine Mystique into a punchline, turning the image of the Perfect ’50s Housewife on its head by celebrating her complete rejection of the era’s impossible standards.

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” 

Transcribing historical texts was never like this.

She took aim at every convention of what women should be, do or say. In an era of supportive wives and “take my wife” jokes, she took aim at husbands in general. She targeted one husband in particular: her imaginary man “Fang.”

“Fang told me he was a self made man. It wasn’t till later that I discovered he would have been wise to get some help."

How to Transcribe Diller



* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


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.

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“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.

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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

* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


GOP congressman's staff filed police complaint against group of senior citizens over weekly visits
By Jen Hayden  
Tuesday Mar 21, 2017 ·
The staff of Rep. Raul Labrador would kindly appreciate it if his Idaho constituents would stop being so darn engaged and trying to meet with the congressman and his staff. They’ve taken the extraordinary step of filing a complaint against their own constituents. As the Spokesman-Review notes, the group is largely comprised of older residents:

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador's office in Lewiston has filed a complaint alleging a threat from a group of local citizens who routinely visit congressional offices.

Scott Carlton reported the issue to the U.S. Capitol Police early last month. Carlton, who works out of the congressman's downtown Lewiston office, declined to comment when contacted by the Tribune and referred all questions to Doug Taylor, Labrador's spokesman in Meridian, Idaho.

The citizen group, LC Valley Indivisible, is comprised of mostly older residents of the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, according to its members. The organization is loosely affiliated with the national Indivisible groups that call for town hall meetings with members of Congress to raise issues regarding President Donald Trump's administration.

In the meantime, sure seems like Rep. Labrador needs a 2018 challenger. Bigly.


GOP Leaders Proposed Health Bill Changes to
Help Senior Citizens

March 21, 2017
House Republicans have proposed amendments aimed at providing more assistance for older people, curbing Medicaid and accelerating the repeal of some increase taxes. 

The bill would let individuals deduct more medical costs from taxes and it would repeal many tax increases supported by President Barack Obama's 2010 statute this year instead of 2018.
Older and disabled Medicaid recipients would get more generous benefits but states could set work requirements for the program. 

The bill would let the Senate approve tax credits more generous to people age 50 to 64. Congressional analysts say the current GOP legislation would hit many with big cost increases.
GOP leaders released the changes late Monday, three days ahead of a planned House vote on the bill. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Is an A.L.F. a Home?
Noticeably, there was a lack of enthusiasm amongst the residents here at the Asylum this past Friday.

St. Patrick’s Day, which has become more or less almost a national holiday in the U.S. and has been celebrated with great fanfare, this year has taken on a rather subdued form here at the ALF with, perhaps, just a bit of melancholy thrown in.

First of all, because we presently don’t have a recreation director, there are no decorations on the walls, on the doors, in the dining room or lobby.

And, while they did have a party, of sorts, it too was only a half-hearted effort at joviality.

In fact, the only real recognition of the day was the corned beef and cabbage they had for dinner.*

But, even if there were all the decorations and the parties, much of the spirit seems to be gone.

The Center experienced the loss of many of our long-time residents in the past few months due to the normal attrition associated with such places.

People who were the organizers, the doers, the movers and the shakers have all moved (or passed) on. And it’s very sad and very much noticed especially by those of us who have been here a while and really consider this place to be home and those who live here our dear friends.

Outsiders often fail to realize what living in an assisted living facility really means to its residents.

Many still believe that places like this are hospitals or what they used to call “Old Age Homes” or even worse “The Poor House” without realizing that for most if not all of us, this is all there is. The very center of our lives.

This is not a stop on the way to the hospice or the funeral parlor. It is a genuine place to live. As much a place to live as any condo, co-op, studio apartment, hotel or rooming house or suburban split-level and when something is done to the way the place is managed it affects the very roof over our heads as well as the very core of our existence.

I, personally, have never considered this place as “God’s Waiting Room.”

I am not here waiting to die.

Nobody put (or as I have observed,” dumped” me here).

I consider this facility as a domicile that meets my current needs both physically and fiscally and I thank my lucky stars that I was made aware of such a place or I might have wound up living in a refrigerator box or the “F” train, spending my days pushing a shopping cart full of beer and soda bottles and cans to the recycling center where I might have “earned” enough for a Big Mac.

And, while I might be in the Autumn of my years, I intend to pass through many more winters before I am ready to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Therefore, yes, an A.L.F. is a home in every sense of the word and, even there are certain rules and regulations that must be observed, they are usually not in the manner as to be a hindrance to one’s daily life.

Believe me when I say that everybody who lives here knows why they are here. And, while many might not be able to cope with some of the regimentation and leave after only a few weeks, most people adapt fairly well and make the best of the situation they find themselves in.

My only complaint, and it’s not a minor one, is that at times I feel that the management and staff of this facility and others like it, don’t really have a clue about what it’s like to be who and what we are.

You cannot know what its like to be old with a disability taking 15 pills a day and looking at the world through often blurry eyes and walking through it with the aid of a walker unless you have been here and done that.

And, while I don’t wish my life on anybody, we, as Americans, need to be more aware that there is a group of folks who are dangerously close to the edge.
The compassion that a country shows towards its elderly is a good barometer of how it will treat everybody else.


President Trump has presented his new budget to congress. Here, without comment, are the highlights of the cuts contained in that budget.

• Health and Human Services, the department responsible for implementing Obamacare and its proposed repeal, would face a $12.6 billion cut -- a 16.2% decrease
• Environmental Protection Agency: $2.6 billion, or 31.4%
• State Department: $11 billion, or 28.7%
• Labor Department: $2.5 billion, or 20.7%
• Agriculture Department: $5 billion, or 20.7%
• US Army Corps of Engineers: $1 billion, a 16.3% cut
• Cuts National Institutes of Health spending by $5.8 billion, a nearly 20% cut. Also overhauls NIH to focus on "highest priority" efforts and eliminates the Fogarty International Center.
• Other double-digit cuts include Commerce at 15.7%; Education at 13.5%; Housing and Urban Development at 13.2%; Transportation at 12.7%, and Interior at 11.7%.
Program cuts
• Eliminates the USDA Water and Wastewater loan and grant program, a reduction of $498 million
• Cuts $250 million by zeroing out National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants and programs that support coastal and marine management, research and education
• Reduces or eliminates 20 programs within the Department of Education, including Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership and Impact Aid support payments for federal property and international education programs
• Cuts FEMA state and local grant funding by $667 million, including the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program and Homeland Security Grant Program
• Eliminates funds for Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing
• Ceases payments to the United Nations' climate change programs for the Green Climate Fund and precursor funds
• Scales back funding for the World Bank and other international development banks by $650 million over three years
• Cuts federal subsidies to Amtrak and eliminates support for Amtrak's long-distance services.
• Cuts funding to the Federal Transit Administration's Capital Investment Program so new projects will not be funded
• Shrinks the Treasury workforce by an unspecified amount
• Stops funding for the Clean Power Plan
Programs Trump proposes to eliminate or zero out
Trump's budget would eliminate funding for some small, independent agencies entirely, as well as zero out some federal programs:
• The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school programs and summer programs
• Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which funds research including clean energy
• African Development Foundation
• Appalachian Regional Commission
• Chemical Safety Board
• Community Development Block Grant, which in part funds Meals on Wheels
• Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants, under Treasury
• Community Services Block Grant, under HHS
• Corporation for National and Community Service
• Corporation for Public Broadcasting
• Delta Regional Authority
• Denali Commission
• Economic Development Administration
• Essential Air Service program
• Global Climate Change Initiative
• Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Chesapeake Bay funding, and other regional programs under EPA.
• HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Choice Neighborhoods, and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program, all under HUD
• Institute of Museum and Library Services
• Inter-American Foundation
• US Trade and Development Agency
• Legal Services Corporation
• Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
• McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program
• Minority Business Development Agency, under Commerce
• National Endowment for the Arts
• National Endowment for the Humanities
• NASA's Office of Education
• Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
• Northern Border Regional Commission
• Overseas Private Investment Corporation
• State Energy Program
• Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, the second-largest program feds have used to influence local education
• TIGER transportation grants
• United States Institute of Peace
• United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
• Weatherization Assistance Program
• Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars


I very rarely present anything of an artistic nature here unless it pertains in some way to the subject of assisted living or the concerns of Older Americans. But I am about to try something new with the hope that you will enjoy it and help me at the same time.

Originally, this blog was much shorter in content and published with less frequency. This left me with some time on my hands to try something that I have always wanted to do and that was to write some short stories.

Having absolutely no training in how to write anything I could only rely on what I was taught in school by my English teachers.

“Write about what you know”, they said.

Okay, I could write about growing up in Brooklyn in the post-war years, but that’s been done.

I could write about teenage angst, (also done) or I could write about my new life, assisted living. A subject of which I was quickly becoming an expert.

And so, I began to write a short story about some folks who were residents of an assisted living facility and the problems facing them as they try to get on with life.

Now, by definition, short stories are usually limited to about 10,000 words, a simple plot and only a few characters.

Unfortunately, I had neither the skill or knowledge on how to tell what I had to tell with such restrictions.

My “short” story morphed into, not 10,000 words, but well over 25,000 words which put it in the “Novella” class. Not a bad class to be in considering that such books as “Animal Farm” and “Of Mice and Men” are novellas.

Sadly, my lack of professionalism led me astray and I soon found myself with a story in excess of 50,000 words. I was now in the realm of a true novel. A scary prospect indeed.

In fact, the idea of embarking on a full-blown book scared the living daylights out of me.

I had a picture in my head of a down-and-out writer sitting in front of a broken old typewriter, a half-eaten baloney sandwich and a crumpled pack of Marlboro’s at his side working on draft after draft of a book that he knows will probably never be published.

But as I began to write, I realized what perhaps all writers eventually realize and that is that the story takes on a life of its own and, as any free-willed individual would, it often wants to run free and forget why it was around in the first place.

Such is the fate of my “novel.” It has broken out of the confines of its original story line and I am having trouble bringing it back.

This is where you come in.

I would like you to help me with finding an ending, or at least a direction, to the story by reading what I have so far.

I will do this in a manner that won’t take up too much of your time because I intend to serialize it, a little at a time, with a new chapter or two every Sunday.

Now, before I send you to the site I have to tell you that very few people have read any of this, but those who have told me they like it. I hope you will too. 




* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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




Military wins in first Trump budget; environment, aid lose big

By Roberta Rampton | WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump will ask the U.S. Congress for dramatic cuts to many federal programs as he seeks to bulk up defense spending, start building a wall on the border with Mexico and spend more money deporting illegal immigrants.
In a federal budget proposal with many losers, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions. Funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia.
Trump's budget outline is a bare-bones plan covering just "discretionary" spending for the 2018 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It is the first volley in what is expected to be an intense battle over spending in coming months in Congress, which holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents' budget plans....



When Having Nothing To Do,
Becomes Something to Do.

“I’m bored and have nothing to do”, is one of the chief laments of the people living here at the A.L.F.

Despite the best efforts by recreation directors to keep an elderly population amused, often the reality of the situation is that they have managed to keep just a few people entertained for a brief few minutes out of a very long day.

Most of the folks here were working people who had jobs in their former lives to keep them busy and the sudden end of that period in one’s life leaves an empty hole that cannot be filled by a Bingo game or jewelry making or Wii Bowling.

While some people have the ability to be able to find something to keep them occupied, others retreat into a state of desolation that may often result in out and out depression.

I arrived here fresh from a two-year stint in a nursing home/therapy facility trying to get my life back together following a long illness when I was confronted with being in just that same position.

In the nursing home, my time was filled with the effort associated with just trying to stay sane during what seemed like endless sessions of monotonous (And often painful) physical therapy, as well as the agonizing and degrading life as an invalid.* Boredom, in its usual sense, was the least of my problems.

However, after about two weeks here, in an almost completely different environment which one finds in a nursing home, the reality of MY particular condition set in.

I was feeling better physically.

I was no longer bound by the restrictions of being in a wheelchair.

And, while the Rollator/Walker device I was now using restricted some of my mobility, things like doors and tight places were no longer a problem. And just the fact that I was no longer sitting on my ass for eight to ten hours a day was a blessing in itself.

But, even as I wallowed in my new sense of freedom, I could feel the twinges of melancholy and emptiness set in.

I was already being successfully treated for mild depression and the thought of possibly having to increase my meds in order to combat a condition that I knew could be easily treated by just having a meaning and purpose in life was, at the very least, dispiriting.

When I arrived here, almost five years ago, this facility was relatively new and was not fully (or properly) staffed with the professionals needed run a viable home for seniors. And the lack of a proper recreation director was perhaps the most noticeable un-filled position there was. And there was not much I could do to help myself.

I came here with not much more than the clothes on my back.

The nursing home had lost my debit card that I had kept with them for what supposed to be safe-keeping.

And, although I had some cash with me, I couldn’t travel anywhere to buy anything.

My bank said they would send me a new debit card, but it might take a week to ten days to arrive.

So, here I was, no TV and no radio. And most of the books in the little library here did not appeal to me.

There was, however, one avenue of relief open to me.

To the facility’s credit, there was a computer center with three nice HP desktop WiFi connected computers for residents to use.

Having been an avid blogger (mainly photographs) before my illness, I was soon back in my element.

I opened a Facebook account and immediately began to look for friends and relatives, mainly to tell them that I was still alive.

To my surprise, I found that many of my former acquaintances were also online and were very glad to hear from me.

All wanted to know how I was and what had happened to me.

Instead of telling the story over and over again to each one individually, I decided to open up a web page and tell my story to all that were interested.

The web page eventually morphed into a blog about assisted living and senior affairs, and the rest is history.

I now had something to do and it works for me.

But what about the countless number of older folks (especially men who don’t care much for crochet and knitting or jewelry making) who find themselves adrift in a sea of idleness?
Unfortunately, there is not much to do. And, in that, lies the problem.

To take formerly productive people and suddenly, in some cases, force them into retirement is tantamount to a death sentence or, at the very least, into a depressive state. And, along with that depression comes a feeling of being out of touch.

Sadly, this gradual decline in awareness is rarely noticed by the facility’s staff or, if recognized, they are lacking in the ability to do anything about it.

As far as I know, there is no program in any facility whereby a resident’s needs concerning boredom, apathy, lethargy or detachment is individually addressed.

Blanket programs that appeal to a group of people often mean that many individuals are overlooked leaving them to slip further into a world of indifference and despair.

On more than one occasion, I have tried to get people interested in computers or tablets and all the interesting things they can do and read about by going online with little success.

Right now, we here at the W. Center are without a recreation director.

Our former director left (quite rapidly I might add) for a position at another facility leaving us before a replacement could be found.

This means that there will be no St. Patrick’s Day celebration. No decorations. No planned trips to restaurants, stores, shows or malls. No games (except for Bingo which is being run by a temp) and no general store which sells sundry items as well as snacks and toiletries.

Combine all of that with the fact that there is a raging blizzard occurring outside our windows which is keeping almost 200 people locked inside and you have a pretty glum group of old folks on your hands.

*Editor’s note: If you ever want to experience true torture, misery and despair, spend your days in a wheelchair pushing yourself around the halls of a nursing home. It will give you a new perception of living and makes you question your very existence on earth.



Over 80 'Wellderly' Research Reveals Some Unexpected Twists

Why do some people live to 80 and beyond without the common chronic diseases that affect so many other Americans? The Healthspan Project takes a look at genetics, lifestyle, and just plain luck.

Greater insight into what keeps the wellderly healthy, despite the presence of some genetic or lifestyle factors that tend to predispose others to considerable morbidity, is an ongoing aim of the Healthspan Project.

"It's about evaluating people who have genetic markers that should make them sick and, instead, they defy the odds," explained session moderator Kathy Hudson, PhD, former deputy director of science, outreach, and policy at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A 90-year-old woman, for example, can test positive for a BRCA mutation, although she has never been symptomatic or diagnosed with breast cancer.

== == ==

10 Things You Need to Know About Cataract Surgery
It's more common, simpler and cheaper than ever. Is it right for you?
By John Welsh
The advances in cataract surgery in recent decades are an unqualified medical success story, with boomers reaping the benefits and influencing its direction. Whether you are developing cataracts or fear you may in the future, here are 10 things to know about this growing trend that could be useful if you decide to have the surgery:

1. Cataracts are common. Live long enough and chances are you will develop cataracts, the age-related clouding of the eye and the No. 1 cause of blindness worldwide. By the time they reach the age of 80, more than half of Americans will either have a cataract or have undergone cataract surgery, which involves the replacement of the lens of your eye.

In the U.S., more than 3.5 million cataract surgeries are performed every year. It is one of the safest and most effective types of surgeries.


Why do people ask you to copy & paste
Facebook posts rather than sharing?
If you use Facebook, then you will have seen these posts which end with “copy & paste, don’t share”.

Usually they relate to something that tugs at your heart strings, or it might be political or religious.  You read the post and then see at the bottom the line “don’t share, copy and paste”.


If you agree with the post and think others should see it, surely clicking the SHARE button is the simple option; it is what it is there for, after all.

So why did your friend ask you to copy and paste and not to share?

I bet if you ask them they will say they don’t know.

I bet they simply copied and pasted it from another friend, who also didn’t know why.
There is one suggested reason people ask you to “copy and paste” rather than share that you can find on a few sites if you Google, but it is incorrect.  It claims that Facebook reduces the prominence of posts with lots of shares – it doesn’t. So that can’t be the reason for all these “copy and paste” requests.

However, clicking the SHARE button may carry audience restrictions….



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


* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


My Money, My Control
Every 6 months I am summoned to the nurse’s office for an “Evaluation.”
This procedure is mandated by Medicaid so that they know if I am receiving all of the care they are paying for as well as giving the facility (In my case the assisted living facility I live at) an idea of what, if any, additional services I may need.

Some of those additional services usually deal with my ability to take care of myself.
Can I dress by myself? Can I shower by myself? Do I need any assistance when I eat? Who handles my finances?

While my answers to the first three questions were just a matter-of-fact answer with the one word “Me”, the answer to the last question was returned with a resounding “I DO.”

I take care of my money, and heaven forbid the time should come when I will relinquish that responsibility.

I have been the guardian of my own financial affairs ever since I opened a savings account at the Lincoln Savings bank while still a kid in elementary school.

Kids back then were encouraged to save and the Lincoln Savings bank in Brooklyn was more than glad to have the kids as customers with their bank.

Each week we would put our loose change in a deposit envelope along with our passbooks and give it to a monitor who collected them. We would get our stamped passbooks back the next week with our deposits imprinted in the book.

Since the bank itself was located in downtown Brooklyn (a long trolley ride away from where I lived) there was no temptation to withdraw any of it.

By the time I left elementary school, I had amassed about $150. Not bad from nickels and dimes and pennies.

Although the money saved at the Lincoln wasn’t very much it did start me on the road to understanding banking and checking and loans and credit cards and, eventually, mortgages. Something that I am very aware of to this day.

For some reason, as we get older, many seniors find the ability to have control over their own money diminished.

This may be due to us just not being able to trust ourselves or from pressure brought upon us by our children, social services or the institutions where we live.
And, while I understand that many of us have trouble with finances, there is no reason why any of us should not know where our money is and how much of it is left.

If you are reading this blog you evidently know how to use a computer, a tablet or a smartphone. Any one of which can get you online and in contact with your money.

Every bank has a website on which you can securely access your account(s).

You can even set up email alerts every time someone accesses your account.

Of course, you can use this online service to transfer money and pay bills. But even if you are afraid to do that, you can still view your account any time of the day or night. It’s a great way to keep your peace of mind.

And here is something I want you to do right now if you have not already done so.
Go to (Social Security Administration) and sign up to gain online access to your Social Security account.

The site also has information on Medicare and other news pertaining to your retirement benefits.

We, as seniors lose much as we get older. We lose our mobility, our independence, and control over many things in our lives.

But the one thing that you should never lose track of or control over is your finances.

And the way to do this is to surround yourself with as much information about your money as is available to you.

Read those monthly bank statements carefully and ask questions if something doesn’t look right. And, if you are not getting monthly statements from your bank or your security fund or your financial adviser, find out why. You have the right to know.


Why more men struggle with aging
By Dana Wechsler Linden
Traditional thinking about masculinity can work against health
For strong and silent men, growing frailer can be especially difficult.
Researchers are focusing on a factor that makes aging harder for men: having to let go of their sense of masculinity.
That sense includes things like the need to be strong and stoic, or that it’s weak to ask for help. The trouble is, such ideas are a bad fit with the realities of old age, leaving many senior men poorly equipped to handle the challenges that come with growing frailer, retiring, losing a spouse or even needing to disclose their ailments.

“I hate to say it, but the way the traditional model of masculinity was written was for boys up to the age of adulthood,” says Edward Thompson, 71, professor emeritus of sociology at the College of the Holy Cross and a leading researcher on elderly men and masculinity. “Clear models of dignified masculinity are nonexistent for later life.”
Women, of course, carry the burden of their own cultural issues that can make aging hard, such as society’s emphasis on youthful beauty. But in contrast to men, many of the gender norms for women are sources of strength in later years, experts say, such as greater experience taking care of themselves and others, and the ability to form deep relationships and accept vulnerability as natural.

=== ===

Research finds assisted living improves
 well-being of seniors and loved ones
It's estimated one million Americans live in a senior care facility. That number is expected to almost double by 2030 as Baby Boomers age.

While studies find six out of 10 older adults prefer to age at home with help when necessary, what about moving into an assisted living facility? It can be costly. finds costs in New York State range from $1,100 to $11,000 a month, with the average about $4,000. Most are private pay. Is it worth it?

It's well documented we humans don't like change, so moving from one's home to an assisted living facility is often met with resistance. However, a recent study by the for-profit senior care referral service, A Place for Mom, finds making that move improves a senior's quality of life. 

"Once an older adult does move into an assisted living community, we find that [for] 73 percent of them, their overall well-being improves and not only that, 59 percent of their family members we talked to, they see their overall well-being improve as well," .


Led by Baby Boomers, Divorce Rates Climb for
America's 50+ Population
The divorce rate has approximately doubled among American adults ages 50 and older since the 1990s, according to the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, reported by the Pew Research Center. In 2015, for every 1,000 married people 50 and up, 10 divorced, versus five in 1990. Meanwhile, the divorce rate for people 65 and older has increased about threefold since 1990, totaling six people for every 1,000 married people in 2015.

The aging of the Baby Boomer generation is a factor contributing to the rising divorce rate for adults 50 and older. Unprecedented levels of divorce were common for people of this generation in their young adulthood, and this instability plays a role in the climbing divorce rate among adults 50 and older now, as remarriages tend to be less balanced than first marriages.

The divorce rate for adults ages 50 and older in remarriages is twice that of those who have married only once. There also is a higher risk of divorce among adults ages 50 and older who have been married for a shorter duration. Among all adults 50 and older who broke up in the past year, 34 percent had been in their prior marriage for at least three decades, and 12 percent had been married at least 40 years. Many later-life divorcees have become dissatisfied with their marriages over the years and want to pursue their own interests and independence for the remainder of their lives. 


What’s green and stays out all night? Patty-O’Furniture.
Okay, you can stop making THAT face now.
But you have to admit it was funny the first time you heard it.
What’s not so funny is the weather, at least for us folks here in the Northeast.
About 3 inches of some very heavy and wet white stuff fell on us disrupting
the morning commute and upsetting any out of doors plans we might have had.
Unfortunately, this was just a rehearsal for an even bigger storm due to hit us
on Tuesday.
It appears that March will go out like a lion after all.



* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.


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


March 9th, 2017

"The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has come out against the Republican legislation meant to repeal and replace Obamacare..
Joyce A. Rogers, a senior vice president at AARP, said, "This bill would weaken Medicare's fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64 and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.”
The group also issued a statement reading in part that the bill’s “cuts could impact people of all ages and put at risk the health and safety of 17.4 million children and adults with disabilities and seniors by eliminating much-needed services that allow individuals to live independently in their homes and communities.”


I hate Politics and Politicians
I have always tried to stay as far away from politics and politicians as much as possible, both in my private life and anything I might do online.

I have done this because I believe that any job that requires that the person holding that job must have had to be the winner of a popularity contest to get that job in the first place, and who must constantly seek the approval of others in order for him to keep that job cannot be doing anything else but thinking about the next election and what he can do to win that popularity contest again and again and again.

I also don’t like getting into political discussions because you very rarely come in contact with anybody who really knows what they are talking about, myself included. And any attempt to have a meaningful dialogue with them is futile and frustrating.

And to be quite frank, politics bores the heck out of me. The entire mechanism, the dull people, the constant rhetoric, the long-winded speeches just make me want to stay away from the whole process.

And finally, I never felt that I was ever a part of politics in this country.

Hardly anybody that I thought would have made a good legislator and that I voted for ever won. And, even if they did, they rarely ever delivered on their promises. So why even bother. And besides, most legislation really didn’t directly affect me anyway.

What did I care whether or not steelworkers in Pittsburgh were getting a good deal on their contract or coal miners were dying of black lung disease or whether a farmer in Iowa got paid for not growing corn this year?

This, when I was younger and for many years afterward was the way I felt. And I continued to feel that way until I reached my 18th birthday in 1963 when I had to go and register for the draft.

The Vietnam war was beginning to escalate and I was a prime candidate to get drafted. And, as I came back from the draft board office with a brand new draft card in my hand, I wondered who the f**k voted for the guy who got us into this s**t in the first place, not realizing that it was a politician that I voted for.

After that gruesome period in America, with its riots and sit-ins and defections to Canada, I began to pay a little more attention to who I put into office until Mr. Nixon with his paranoia and tricky dealings once again put me off the politics and politicos.
I remained complacently politically ignorant for most of those post-Nixon years (Except for the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky debacle which peaked my interest for a while), until this year when an entire truckload of buffoons was paraded before us and we, like the naïve little neophytes we are, elected the king of the buffoons to be our president.

Therefore, please forgive me if today’s blog skews a bit political because now, for the first time as a native born, second generation American, I am worried about my country and even more worried about how me, as a senior citizen, will be affected by this clown college of a congress we have put into office and the legislation they are proposing that will have a direct influence on my health care and, consequently, my life.


House Republicans release long-awaited
Plan to replace Obamacare
But Changes to Medicare and Medicaid Remain in
The Dark
By Amy Goldstein, Mike DeBonis and Kelsey Snell

House Republicans on March 6 released legislation that would substantially alter the Affordable Care Act. Here’s what you need to know about the plan.

The legislation would preserve two of the most popular features of the 2010 health-care law, letting young adults stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and forbidding insurers to deny coverage or charge more to people with preexisting medical problems. It would also target Planned Parenthood, rendering the women’s health organization ineligible for Medicaid reimbursements or federal family planning grants — a key priority for antiabortion groups.

Here’s what Republicans have said will be in the Obamacare replacement

Taken together, the bills introduced Monday night represent the Republicans’ first attempt — and best shot to date, with an ally in the White House — to translate seven years of talking points about demolishing the ACA into action.

At the same time, major aspects of the plans, notably the strategy for tax credits and Medicaid, reflect the treacherous terrain that Republicans face to win enough votes within their own conferences in the GOP-controlled House and Senate.
The bills must address concerns of both conservatives worried about the cost of the overhaul and worries that it might in effect enshrine a new federal entitlement, as well as more moderate members who want to ensure that their constituents retain access to affordable health care, including those who received Medicaid coverage under the ACA.

“We will not support a plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states,” Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

== == ==

Republicans Announce Plans For Drastic Cuts
To Social Security, Raise Retirement Age
Now that Republicans retain control of the Executive Branch and both the House and the Senate, sweeping changes are about to be voted on.

Chairman Sam Johnson, the Republican Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of Ways and Means, just introduced a bill that would deeply cut Social Security as we today know it, not to mention his intention to raise the retirement age from 67 to 69.

If the bill passes, which many expect that it will in some form, it will affect all Americans 49 and younger.
Congressman Johnson ironically also calls it his “Plan To Permanently Save Social Security” even though it will be phasing out benefits for seniors.

Trump has previously said on the campaign trail before being elected that he would not touch Medicare or Social Security – but has already went back on his promise for Medicare, saying that legislation and changes would be in the works. It wouldn’t be surprising for him to say the same thing in regards to Social Security.

==  ==  == 

Trump’s Budget Will Require 10 Percent Spending Cuts
at Non-Defense Agencies

By Eric Katz
The Trump administration will require $54 billion in cuts at non-national security federal agencies in its preliminary fiscal 2018 budget proposal, an Office of Management and Budget official said Monday. Nearly every domestic agency will shoulder a share of the reductions.

The spending decreases will offset an equal increase in spending at the Defense Department, which the official said will primarily be given to the Pentagon to spend as it sees fit. The proposed boost, which still must go through the congressional appropriations process, would represent about a 10 percent increase to the Defense budget. The White House will propose that foreign aid be cut to partially offset the new spending.

The White House will look to identify areas of unauthorized spending, the OMB official said, which will “inform the back and forth” with agencies. The increase in security spending will lead to cuts at “lower priority programs.” The official declined to elaborate on which agencies will be most affected by the cuts, saying only that “most agencies will see a reduction.” OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said Monday the White House will also look at "outdated and duplicative programs" for targeted cuts, and eliminate entirely programs "that simply don't work."


emember this? Remember how small of an increase you received to your Social Security this year (less than 1%)? Remember what the reason was for that insult. The C.O.L.A. (cost of living adjustment) calculated as it was, did not figure in the REAL cost of living, especially for seniors.

Unfortunately, while we have heard much about how the new administration is going to “fix” the so-called entitlement programs for future recipients, not much has been said about what is going to be done to make sure folks who currently depend on Social security for a majority of (or all) of their incomes, to ensure a fair and realistic benefit increase.

Unfortunate too, is that this like everything nowadays has become a political issue that does not cut across party lines as it should.

Some Republicans have proposed that any cost of living adjustment be based on what is called a “Chain Weighted CPI” while Democrats oppose the idea and “ have made it clear they oppose the chain-weighted CPI, opting instead for an inflation measure that would increase cost-of-living adjustments.  Their argument is not based on economic accuracy; they simply want to expand entitlement payouts.”

So what does this all mean. The following may clarify some of this for you, but as you will see, it’s a complicated issue.

What is the 'Chain-Weighted CPI'

“An alternative measurement for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that considers product substitutions made by consumers and other changes in their spending habits. The chain-weighted CPI is therefore considered to be a more accurate inflation gauge than the traditional fixed-weighted CPI, because rather than merely measuring periodic changes in the price of a fixed basket of goods, it accounts for the fact that consumers’ purchasing decisions change along with changes in prices. Because the fixed-weighted CPI may consistently overstate inflation by ignoring the disinflationary effect of quality improvements and new technology, in addition to the substitution effect, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains that the chain-weighted CPI is a closer approximation to a cost-of-living index than other CPI measures.”
More on this>>

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it. So why did President Obama abandon the chain weighted CPI way back in 2014?

“The combination of less spending on entitlements and more revenues would amount to savings of around $400 million over ten years.  That’s not enough to address our long term fiscal problems but it’s a start – one that some thought would enjoy bipartisan support.  The chain-weighted provision also has the added advantage of being, according to many economic analysts, a fairer gauge of inflation and consumer response to higher prices.”

Now here it is, 2017, and nothing has been done by either party.
The new year will be upon us sooner than we would like and the question is “Will we once again see an unrealistic (if any) increase to the benefits that we paid into all of our working lives, or will congress step up and do what is right.
To that I say “Good Luck with that.”…………………………………………………………………………….bwc.


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



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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


Price: White House believes Medicare is a guarantee for seniors
By Mallory Shelbourne - 03/05/17 11:46 AM EST

President Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services on Sunday said the White House believes Medicare should be guaranteed for senior citizens.
Tom Price told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” that the White House believes Medicare is a guarantee for seniors when asked about Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) recent comments that cuts to Medicare remain an “open question.”
Trump during his presidential campaign promised not to cut Medicare and Social Security. 



 Time Ain’t On My Side. No it Ain’t.

“All things pass...Perhaps the passage of time is a kind of healing,
or a kind of salvation granted equally to all people.”
          ― Mizuki Nomura, Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime

I placed an online order with Walmart today and noticed that they now offer free two-day shipping on orders over $35. Upon reading that, I thought to myself “Who cares.” Is there anything on this order that I must have in two days? No, of course not, but to many people waiting even a few minutes, let alone a few days, is intolerable.

But, for me and many of my peers, the minutes pass so rapidly that a few days or weeks wait barely scratches the surface of what we call “Time.”
Here it is, Sunday already. But it seems like It was Sunday just two or three days ago not seven.

Surely there must be something wrong with the calendar. They must have forgotten to include Thursday, Friday, and Saturday this week. I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday, Tuesday, that I piled into the van with some of the other folks here and made my monthly trip to the supermarket. I’m sure it was, or at least it feels like it.

It never used to be this way. In fact, it was just the opposite.

Remember back when you were in third grade and the month was June and you knew the last day of school was the last Friday of the month which was still two weeks away.

It might have been 2 years away the way time moved when we were young.
I could swear that I saw the hands on the clock on the wall of my classroom actually move in reverse one afternoon.

And things didn’t improve much as I grew into middle age.

At work, in my office, nine to five actually meant nine to five. Every last damn minute of it.

Monday was the beginning of a week of Mondays which culminated, in what seemed an eternity, with blessed Friday.

A week was weeks long and the two months until your two-week vacation might have just as well been a millennium.

But now, well, it’s different.

I finish breakfast and it’s time for lunch.

Fall ended and now it’s spring again. What happened to winter?
Oh right, that was last week.

This speeding up of time thing is not good. Not good at all.

After all, time is the one thing of which I (we) don’t have much left.

But why does time appear to speed up as we get older?

We need to turn to more learned sources for the answer.*

“Psychologist William James, in his 1890 text Principles of Psychology, wrote that as we age, time seems to speed up because adulthood is accompanied by fewer and fewer memorable events. When the passage of time is measured by “firsts” (first kiss, first day of school, first family vacation), the lack of new experiences in adulthood, James morosely argues, causes “the days and weeks [to] smooth themselves out…and the years grow hollow and collapse.”

In the early 1960s, Wallach and Green studied this phenomenon in groups of younger (18-20 years) and older (median age 71 years) subjects through the use of metaphors. Young people were more likely to select static metaphors to describe the passage of time (such as “time is a quiet, motionless ocean”). Older folks, on the other hand, described time with swift metaphors (“time is a speeding train”). In research by Joubert (1990), young subjects, when asked, said that they expect time to pass more rapidly when they become older.”

So, what’s going on here? Why does it seem like Christmas 2016 was just a few weeks ago when, as a child, it seemed to take ages to arrive?

Psychologists have put forth some interesting theories on why this is:

1. We gauge time by memorable events.
2. The amount of time passed relative to one’s age varies.
3. Our biological clock slows as we age.
4. As we age, we pay less attention to time.
5. Stress, stress, and more stress.

Go to >> for more details on this theory.

An article in ** puts it this way..

“The 'proportional theory' posits that as we age, our sense of 'present' time begins to feel relatively short in comparison to our lifespan, so a year may feel quicker in old age compared to childhood. The emotional quality of an event also influences our perception. Time really does fly when you're having fun.”
“Individual perceptions of time are strongly influenced by our level of focus, physical state, and mood. Just as “a watched pot never boils”, when we are concentrating on an event, time occasionally appears to pass more slowly than usual. This is also the case when we’re bored; time can seem to drag endlessly.”
This is all well and good for the theorists who spend so much time thinking about time that they have no time to wonder where all the time went.
But what about the rest of us who want to slow time down a bit?
It appears the psychologists have managed to find some time to answer that question as well…
“Improving cognitive abilities, especially attention and memory, can help us fine-tune our internal pacemakers. And meditation and mindfulness may help anchor our awareness in the here and now. Indeed, they may gradually help us to bring the fast river of time to a slow meander.”

Yes, that's what I need “a slower meander.” But not all of the time. Especially not at night.

Night, for me is the worst. It’s such a waste of time.

I can’t wait for the night to be over.

I don’t sleep anymore so why do I need night.

Okay, it’s a good time to watch TV.

And now, with ROKU I can catch up on the shows I missed during the day. But other than that, night is just one big yawn.

If the shrinks and theorists are correct, the best way to slow down time is through boredom.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to be bored. I have always found something to do.
Maybe I should start hanging around with boring people. God knows, there are plenty of them around here.

But boring people are mundane, stale and stodgy and, while I may not like the way time goes by so fast, mundane, stale and stodgy do not appear to be the appropriate panaceas.

I suppose I’ll just have to learn to live with it and not worry as much about the swiftness at which time goes by, but rather how to grab on to it before it passes me by.

** Source:


7 Ways to Thrive as You Age

Don’t let ageism get to you with these 7 key tips

In a society that values youth above age, it’s all too easy to accept a defeatist view about getting older. You assume that along with some wrinkles, gray hair, and loss of hair that you’ll also be less able to hold your own in the mental sphere. Making matters worse is the fact that people start treating you as less capable the older your appearance suggests you are. Because age is associated with loss of mental agility, people talk to older adults in terms more appropriate for a young child or baby than a mature adult. .

The specific term for the patronizing speech inappropriately used with older adults is “elderspeak.” In elderspeak, you talk to older adults in terms that reduce them to childlike status. Additionally, you refer to them in terms meant to be complementary, such as “cute,” “adorable,” and “sweet,” which have the opposite effect because it leads them to feel like children. Think about that patronizing dental hygienist. When people talk to you that way, it might eventually make you wonder whether you really are a grownup. Maybe you really can’t do things for yourself.

These are the 7 ways we create our own positive aging contexts:

1.Express optimism about the aging process.
2.Avoid the tendency to self-categorize yourself as old, or attributing your behavior to old age:
3.Don’t categorize and tease others about their age:
4.Plan for your future care needs: .
5.Use emerging communication technologies:
6.Manage being the recipient of ageism: .
7.Resist giving into attempts to be swayed by peddlers of anti-aging products:

Get the details >>


You’re only as old...
By Roger VanHaren .

There are lots of stereotypes and jokes about old age. I guess that in the eyes of a lot of people I’m pretty old at 78, but I’ve read articles that say if you have a positive attitude about growing older, you’ll stay “younger” than people who have negative attitudes about aging.

So...what is old age? I read on Wikipedia (so it must be true, right?) that “Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the average life span..., and thus the end of the human life cycle.” In 2005, the latest figures I could find, a report said that if you’d already achieved 65 by 2005, the average expectancy for males was 81, and for females it was 84. So, for me, I have about two more years before I’m old.

I suppose people can be considered old because of certain changes in their activities or social roles…

Read entire story >>


Midlife Crisis? How About a Late-Life Crisis.
WSJ Health Expert says existential crises in later life are often a cry for help.

By Marc Agronin

Marc Agronin is a geriatric psychiatrist at Miami Jewish Health in Miami, Florida and the author of “How We Age” and “The Dementia Caregiver: A Guide to Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Neurocognitive Disorders.”

Enter the late-life crisis as a trend I am seeing increasingly in my geriatric psychiatry practice, in which individuals in their 70s through 90s are wrestling with existential questions that eluded their psyches during middle-aged years of active work, love and play. .

A late-life crisis is often both a cause of instability and a call for help. It stems from losses and other stresses that should be recognized and addressed, especially when they give rise to significant depression, despair or risky behaviors that may bring harm or even potential ruin to the suffering soul. The key is to find support and guidance toward more meaningful ways of coping and re-engaging with life.

Go to story >>


A Senior’s Guide to Solo Sex
By Joan Price

Masturbation is a hard-sounding word for an activity that’s immensely pleasurable and self-loving. It’s sex with the person who knows you the best: yourself. Self-pleasuring is delicious sex, and it doesn’t matter how old we are, whether or not we have a partner, if arousal and orgasms are easy for us or we’ve grown up to think of masturbation as shameful—even sinful (more on that later). Staying sexual is within our own power.

 Here are some reasons that we, as seniors, might want to enjoy solo sex:

 5 Reasons to Self-Pleasure

You don’t have a partner. Many of us have no sexual partner at this time in our lives. Too often, I hear this from older women: “When I meet someone, I’ll think about sex again. Until then, it doesn’t matter.” It does matter. If we put sex on hold for .months, years, decades, it will be much more difficult to enjoy sex if a partner does show up later on. It’s up to us to stay healthy and sexually vibrant with regular arousal and orgasms. Even if you don’t care about being partnered again, sex with yourself is important for health and wellbeing.

You have a partner, but little or no sexual interaction. Many of us can’t have full sexual expression with our partners due to medical or relationship issues. Perhaps one partner has lost interest or is no longer able to engage sexually, so the other gives up on sex. Or you and your partner are no longer sexually attracted to each other, but for other reasons, you want to stay together.

You know you want to


NEW TODAY MARCH 6 >> Our Best Tricks for Eating Healthy Without Blowing a Lot of Money



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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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


Thursday, March 2 2017

A Life in a Rubbermaid Bin
As you know a friend of mine passed away last week. And, as with all residents who leave us, the facility wasted little time cleaning out her room.

While I don’t have any real problem with that (beds are at a premium here and private rooms even more so), I still could not help but feel sad as I watched the housekeeping staff pack her belongings into plastic bags and throw them into one of those giant Rubbermaid bins to be carted off somewhere never to be seen again.

I just find it amazing that a life’s worth of stuff, 65 plus years of existence, could be contained in a 1/2 cubic yard bin. It’s so sad on so many levels. But, unfortunately, this will be the fate of most of us who are destined to live out our lives (aging in place is the official name) in venues such as assisted living facilities or senior housing.

Restrictions of space or of lifestyle has forced us to downsize and consolidate our possessions into clusters of things we can’t live without.

The bookcase, whose books are long gone, and has been multi-purposed to hold sweaters and neatly folded pants.

The small table that once resided in the foyer of a larger apartment and used only to hold a vase of flowers now had become the place where meals were eaten, magazines were read and memories transcribed into a closely guarded journal.

A painting, some photos, some plates and mugs and cups and a mirror with a horse collar frame that held some special meaning, all thrown haphazardly into that bin along with clothes, sheets, towels, a shower curtain and a strange white bath mat imprinted with a bloody footprint pattern.

Her “valuables” like the giant flat screen TV and a collection of costume jewelry were taken earlier by relatives so that they would not be discarded like, I suppose, most of the stuff in that bin will be.*

As I looked at that cart, a feeling of deep sorrow swept over me, not so much for the friend I lost, but for myself. Because in that bin I saw what could have been my own life reduced to the bare essentials and left to be picked over by strangers who knew nothing about me or who I was.

In the end, my existence will be as meaningful as the dust picked up by the large commercial vacuum cleaner that now shuffles back and forth over the carpet.
Today, as I walked past her room, there were men painting the doors and walls, installing a new shower curtain and shampooing the rug in preparation for the next tenant.

Someone new will be in that room in a couple of days to begin the rest of their lives. and that will be the end of any physical presence there was of my friend.

The “new” person will have their story to tell, their dreams to dream and their memories to remember.

But I, passing that room every day, will always remember that there was a life in that room that mattered.

A force who gave life to others and affected so many people here.

And, as it is for all of our lives, her’s was so much more than ever could fit into that Rubbermaid trash bin.

* I did manage to salvage one of her plants which now resides in my room on a sunny window sill.


Best practices in planning for a move to assisted living
By Christian Schappel

If you had to pick an assisted living facility for yourself, an aging parent or loved one, would you know where to start? For a lot of people, the answer is “no.” Thankfully, there are some best practices you can follow. It all starts with figuring out where you - or your loved one - want to live.

“This transition, most likely, is going to be the person’s last transition, so you want the person to be in a place where they are happy,” said Paula Falkowski, of Pickering Manor, a senior living and nursing home in Newtown. “Decide on the area they want to live in, and start your search there.”

Some questions those who’ll be moving may want to ask themselves include, "Do I want to be near the city?" and/or "Do I want to be near my family?"

“Look at what it is you want to be doing in retirement,” said Beatrice Couloute, director of independent living, marketing and sales at The Philadelphia Protestant Home, a retirement community in Philadelphia. “Maybe you’re loving a certain lifestyle already and you’re looking for a place to support that.”



It was true. My kids were grown and gone, I was divorced, and it was time to leave my home of 26 years for something smaller and more manageable. Gulp.

The word “downsizing” sounded harsh to me. Somehow it conveyed that my life wasn’t as big as it used to be. I still felt “big,” but it was true—I had accumulated rooms full of memories and too much stuff. Now I needed to condense, but I wanted to keep the process from breaking my heart.

Step one was just math.
For the first time in my life, I called on the math I learned in school. I was moving into a home one-third the size of my old one. If I was going to keep from drowning in stuff and embarrassing my kids by ending up on “Hoarders,” I realized, I could take only one-third of my household with me. Even I could do that math. My first official act? Take a long, deep breath.


Aging in Place 
A Promise or a Prison?
By Jim Gordon

Where will you spend your senior citizenship? If you are like the vast majority of us, you want to stay in your own home as long as possible. This popular notion even has a quaint official phrase, "aging in place." It sounds idyllic, passing the golden years among the familiar comforts of home.
But for aging in place to be a healthy way to live, society must create infrastructure to bring people together. There is a dark side to aging in place—primarily, loneliness, a severe social isolation leading to depression, contributing to the onset of Alzheimer's, and resulting in increased mortality. Social isolation has been found to have a mortality rate approaching that of heavy smoking.




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


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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



Grief: The Terrible Emptiness
Some Thoughts on Life, Death and Loss

friend passed away, suddenly, this past week and I feel so very bad.

I’m over 70 years of age and death is nothing new to me.

Over the years I have lost most of my relatives including my parents, my brother, as well as many of my friends. And with each one, the feeling of loss is profound. But very few of those deaths has touched me more than the loss of my dear friend Carrie on Wednesday.

Over the last four-plus years here at the A.L.F., Carrie (and her late husband Bob) and I had become friends. And, with Bob’s passing a couple of years ago, Carrie and I became even closer.

Although Carrie had many female acquaintances with whom she shared many of her closest feelings, I was in a special position of being her only male friend here and she, my closest female friend.

I have always found that, while men friends are fun to be with, will always have your back and understand things that only men can understand, women have a different and often enlightening ability to “cut through the crap” and provide you with a fresh and often refreshing point of view that only comes from having a built-in perception that only women have. It was just that point of view that I often turned to Carrie for. And now I won’t be able to do that anymore.

Just now, when I need her the most, she is gone and I will never see or speak to her again and that leaves me feeling empty and hollow.

I feel a void inside that can’t, at least for now, be filled by the sympathetic words of others, as well-meaning as they may be.

I know this feeling will diminish over time, but for now, there is only a cloud of melancholy and the gloom of despair to keep me company, both unsympathetic companions at best.

Why is this?

What is it about death that affects us more than any other human function?
I suppose much of it has to do with its finality.

Unlike a movie on Netflix, there is no “pause” button.

We can’t stop it, wait, and go on when it’s convenient for us.

And, unlike a movie, we can’t rewind and play again.

We have to see it through to the end (including the credits), and when it’s over, it’s over.

Of course, that leaves us thinking about the afterlife. And, whether you are religious or not, I think all of us want there to be something else.

It is hard for us to grasp the concept of eternal nothingness.

It can’t be that we spent 60, 70, 80 or more years on this earth eating, breathing, loving, and working etc. for it all to end, probably, much quieter than it began.

But death is not about the dead. The dead feel nothing.

Death is about us, the living who have to survive the loss which often becomes so all-consuming that the possibility of ever having a normal life again seems very remote.

Friends, especially close friends, friends that you depend on for solace and guidance, actually become part of you. As much a part of you as an appendage like and arm or a leg.

And when that “appendage” is suddenly cut off, the loss is often painful and incomprehensible.

I suppose that is what I am feeling now, this emptiness, this void, if you will, that gnaws at me like a naughty puppy chewing on a slipper.

One of the less well-known things about living at an assisted living facility is that we are, in the truest sense of the word, a family. Especially for those of us who have been together here for more than a couple of years.

During that time, we become closer to each other than members of our own actual families.

We see each other every day.

We dine together (usually three times a day), and we commiserate with each other as if we were brothers and sisters.

We look out for each other, pray with each other and even fight with each other.
And, as I have experienced these last few days, we grieve with one another as well.

I know, as the days after Carrie’s passing become many, and time takes its inevitable trip into the future, the bereft and vacant feeling I have, like a stain, will lighten. I also know that, like that stain, a trace of her will be left behind. A piece of her that time can never remove.


Grief Resources

Understanding Grief
The death of a loved one, friend or family member often puts us in touch with our own thoughts and feelings about mortality.  All of a sudden we realize how quickly life can end.  It is normal to feel out-of-control, and overwhelmed.  

Realize that you are grieving.

The first step toward regaining a sense of control is to understand grief.  Grief is a physical, social, emotional, psychological and spiritual reaction to loss.  It is natural, normal and necessary.  It may cause a variety of reactions, including:

      1. Feeling tired and irritable
        .  You may experience insomnia or feel tired all the time.
      2. Appetite changes.  You may or may not feel hungry.
      3. Feelings of anxiousness.  You may feel worried and excited at the same time; like your heart is racing and you cannot “catch your breath.”
      4. Feelings of emptiness.  You may feel hollow inside.  It may be hard to concentrate or remember things.
        Feeling out-of-control.  You may feel helpless, angry or frightened.

All of these feelings are normal.  Your whole world has changed.  
You cannot bring the person back or change the situation.  It is natural to feel vulnerable.  Through information, we gain a sense of understanding.  Through understanding, we gain a sense of control.  Seek out information about grief.

For more information on how to deal with grief go to >>


Lowest stroke rates in older baby boomers;
younger people rising
Stroke rates continue to decline in people 55 and older, while more than doubling in those between 35 and 39, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

“People, especially those under 50, need to realize that stroke does not just occur in the old, and the outcome can be much more debilitating than a heart attack – leaving you living for another 30 to 50 years with a physical disability.”


Let’s face it. We have all been tempted to do it and, probably, most of us have. And that is to cut off the moldy parts of food and eat the rest. It has nothing to do with being cheap, it has to do with our parents telling us not to waste food. And why should we. After all, the moldy is only one little spot on all that nice bread or cheese or meat. The rest is okay. Right?
Well, maybe and maybe not…

How To Tell Which Foods Are Safe To Eat When They’re Moldy

It’s actually OK to cut the mold off certain foods, and still eat them.
By Julie R. Thomson

Mold is usually a pretty clear indicator that food is past its prime ― most instincts will encourage people to steer clear. And it’s a good instinct, because some molds produce mycotoxins, which are poisonous substances that can make you very sick. (Aflatoxin is one type of mycotoxin that has been found to cause cancer.)

But just because some molds will make you sick doesn’t mean all will. Take a look at blue cheese that’s covered in the stuff, and celebrated on cheese plates everywhere. That’s a mold we actually enjoy eating.

And then there are the molds that grow on foods we wish they didn’t. It’s a bummer, but we have good news: mold doesn’t always mean food is doomed for the trash. These are the moldy foods we’re going to talk about today.

In an effort to fight food waste, here’s a list of foods ― put together by the USDA ― that are still safe to eat, even after they start growing mold. Just cut the moldy part off, or scrape it away, and enjoy.

1. Hard salami. Scrape off the mold and continue enjoying your cured meat. It’s actually normal for a self-stable product such as this to develop mold over time.
2. Hard cheese. In those rare instances when cheese actually lasts long enough in the fridge to develop mold, you can rejoice in the fact that it’s still entirely edible. Just cut off the moldy part, and roughly an inch around it, and chow down. Just be sure you don’t cross-contaminate the moldy and good parts of the cheese when cutting.
3. Firm Fruits. Firm fruits like bell peppers (yes, it’s technically a fruit) that have a low moisture content can still be eaten if mold appears. Just cut around the small mold spots and it should be good to go. Softer fruits, such as peaches, should be tossed because the high moisture content means it can be contaminated below the surface. 
4. Firm Vegetables. Firm vegetables with low moisture contents ― such as cabbage and carrots ― can be eaten even after light mold appears. Just cut away the spot and an inch around it.
Some foods ― usually soft foods with high moisture contents ― should be tossed once mold appears. This includes lunch meats, cooked pasta, cooked grains, soft cheese, yogurt, sour cream, jams, breads as well as soft fruits and vegetables. 
If you’re not sure what’s safe, don’t take the risk. Toss it ― or compost it. Just know that next time your favorite hunk of cheddar has a small spot of mold, you can just cut it off and still enjoy your cheese.

Follow the Faceless Foodie everyday at >>

NEW TODAY: Eat Five-A-Day to Keep Dementia Away

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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

The Cane Guy.

As a child, I would see old men and women walking, sometimes hesitantly, with the aid of a cane.

I am only guessing that they were all old because, from a kid’s perspective, everybody older than 20 is old.

I would look at those people and wonder “Why do they need a cane?”
“Were they in pain?”, “Would they fall over if they didn’t have the cane?”, “Did they have a wooden leg?”

They all moved very slowly and seemed to have a permanent scowl on their faces which only reinforced my theory that they were in pain, and further bolstered my assumption that all old people with canes were mean and nasty. Especially to kids.
I was also under the misapprehension that anybody who carried a cane knew how to (and often did) use it as a weapon.

I always pictured some old dude fighting off a phalanx of street thugs with his cane a la Gene Barry.*

The canes back then were made of wood, sometimes carved and embellished with gold or silver hardware and always looked heavy, a sharp contrast to today’s models that are light, come in colors and fold up.

Back then, the only person I knew that actually used a cane was my grandfather’s friend whose name was “Mr. Victor.” That may have been his last or first name, nobody knew for sure.

Mr. Victor can best be described, in today’s parlance, as being a “gnarly dude.”
He was kind of bent over and had an assortment of twisted arthritic fingers which made shaking hands with him like trying to get loose from one of those Chinese finger traps.

He sported a rather pronounced hump on his back which made his suit jacket hang from his shoulders like a shroud.

I do not, however, remember him being mean or ill-tempered which put a kink in my theory that people with canes were surly and cantankerous.

And, like most folks, that was about all I knew regarding canes and the people who used them.

I went through all of my adult life never giving canes a second thought.

I never had any cause to ever use one.

I never injured myself badly enough that I could not walk.

Fortunately, I didn’t suffer from chronic knee or hip problems where a cane would be of any value.

Yes, my life was about as cane-less as it could have been, until one day when I tried to get out of my hospital bed for the first time in a month and discovered that I had lost my ability to walk, (or even to stand up).

All of that bed rest had atrophied every muscle in my legs and back that a human needs to be independently mobile.

Without getting into details, I spent the next two years in a wheelchair.

Daily physical therapy sessions, which were often painful, exhausting and frustrating got me to a point where I could use one of those aluminum walkers and eventually a Rollator.

And then finally, after being here at the ALF for nearly a year and pushing around one of those four-wheeled monstrosities with the maneuvering capabilities of an oil tanker, I graduated to one of the lowest-tech mobility devices known to man.
An apparatus that has been around for thousands of years in one form or another, and with which I was now a member of a diverse and interesting group of people.

Yes. I was now a CANE GUY.

Naturally, being the anal-retentive person I am and someone who finds it necessary to research the heck out of anything new, I wanted to know more about this new instrument I now held in my hand and the “club” to which I suddenly had become a member.

So, without further hesitation, I present…

A Brief History of Canes Starting with the Dawn of Mankind

"Canes and walking sticks have a rich history extending back to the dawn of humankind. Life was scary for early man. Imagine agriculture in its developmental stage, food had to be hunted or gathered. Shelter had to be thought up and created from the rawest of materials. Imagine the worst windstorm you’ve lived through in today’s life, and then imagine what it’d be like in your prehistoric version of a home. Imagine hunting and gathering any distance from your home. A person in this predicament would most likely bring a stick with them for protection, and thus the walking stick was born.

Over the course of man’s rise to the top of the food chain and further, the cane developed many uses and symbolisms. Greek gods and Egyptian rulers are often seen holding long walking sticks; pilgrims and shepherds of the Middle Ages used them to symbolically and literally tend flocks. For royalty, holding a cane or scepter in the left hand symbolized justice; in the right, it symbolized royal dominance (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2013).

Prior to the French Revolution, Louis XIV outlawed the use of canes for anyone outside of the aristocracy, to preserve its association with power (Jeannin, n.d.). Of course, this was just one of the overreaches that lead to the aforementioned revolution. Still, the cane was always a fascinating item, and one of man’s beloved tools. In the United States, the group of people most associated with canes and walking sticks are the presidents.

In addition, I found some other famous people who used a cane.

1. Dr. House

The witty and notoriously sarcastic Dr. Gregory House from the hit TV series “House” has helped launch the cane back into popular fashion in the last decade.

2. Winston Churchill
The famous wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill always carried a cane and claimed to be “walking with destiny.”

3. Willy Wonka
The zany chocolatier from the classic children’s book Charlie and The Chocolate Factory would be incomplete without his cane.

4. Fred Astaire
Our list would be incomplete without mentioning the Broadway dancer whose cane tricks made him famous for “puttin’ on the ritz.”
I have been a member of the “Société d'hommes aux cannes”** for nearly four years.

Fortunately, I no longer need the cane to aid my walking. I do need it to help me with my balance which has become faulty due to some post-surgical complications.
I don’t think of myself as being disabled just as someone who wears a hearing aid or has dentures feel that they are disabled.

The cane is merely a tool much like a pen, a shovel or a chef’s knife.

It has not made a different person or changed my personality in any manner other than giving me back some of my independence.

Will I ever be able to get rid of the cane? I don’t know.

The condition which causes my balance problems has no easy fix.

But, If I have to use a cane for the rest of my life, It’s okay.

I might even take some of those “Cane-Foo” lessons I’ve been hearing about.

Move over Bruce Lee.

* Gene Barry (June 14, 1919 – December 9, 2009) was an American stage, screen, and television actor. Barry is best remembered for his portrayal of the title characters in the TV series Bat Masterson among many roles.
** Not a real club, but it should be.


Following your heart isn’t easy when
assisted living rules make sex awkward

By Elisabeth O. Burgess,, Alexis A. Bender and Christina Barmon

We’re never too old for love, but seniors in assisted living facilities may find it difficult to follow their heart. And it may not be for lack of desire.

More than 2 million American adults are in this position, living in assisted living or in skilled nursing facilities. Need for long-term-care services increases with age, and recent estimates suggest that the majority of older Americans will utilize these services at some point.

Interested in the sexual lives of older adults, we studied life in assisted living facilities and found that these institutions’ rules and practices make it difficult for seniors to develop romantic relationships. Fixing that will require changes in how we view seniors’ sexual desires and how these facilities are run.

Adults of all ages have the capacity for and interest in romance, intimacy and sexuality. It might appear that older adults, especially the oldest old, are less interested in sex and less sexually active than younger adults, but sexual behavior and desire involve more than how often people have sex. Multiple social and health barriers can limit opportunities to pursue sexual relationships. For example, limited access to healthy partners because of living arrangements and unbalanced sex ratio diminishes opportunities as we age.

Although assisted living aims to be an environment in which older adults maintain autonomy, independence and control, these goals do not necessarily extend to sexuality.


Oscars So Young? Senior Citizens
Are Underrepresented, Research Finds

By Tufayel Ahmed

The Academy Awards faces fresh accusations over a lack of diversity as a report has found the over 60 population is continually underrepresented in films nominated for best picture.

Of the 25 films nominated for best picture in the last three years, only two lead characters were over the age of 60 and both were played by Oscar nominee Michael Keaton. The 65-year-old actor played a lead or co-lead role in the last two best picture winners, Birdman and Spotlight.

“The outcry over the lack of diversity at Hollywood’s premier award show has failed to recognize the value of senior voices on screen,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, one of the authors of the research paper titled Over Sixty, Underestimated: A Look at Aging on the "Silver" Screen in Best Picture-Nominated Films.


Bucket lists' are key component to our psyches
By Dan Mucci

What is on your bucket list? And are bucket lists for kids out of college, individuals going through a mid-life crisis or senior citizens?

The answer to that second part appears to be all three.

"Like anything in life the bucket list can be an interesting twist on what has been thought of as more of a retirement, senior thing to create into a 2017 bucket list that can be enjoyed by all and meets our family, social, projects or fun goals for that year."

Today, social media plays a role in individual's life. When one person has an experience and shares that experience, this can help shape bucket lists for other people.

"Anything we have put off, because we get busy with the day to day of work and family becomes a possible bucket list item,"


The following food review is intended primarily for the residents, staff and family and friends of the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living located in Westchester County, New York. However we believe that there may be information of value for everybody. All readers are encouraged to send questions and comments regarding anything on this page by using the comments link at the bottom of this page.

Since it was Pizza day here at the ALF, and since I no longer eat the substandard frozen cheese and sauce thing they try to pass off as pizza here, I chose the alternate lunch item, Quiche.

Usually, while the quiche is by no means a quality item and most likely tastes like no quiche you have ever eaten, it is usually a reasonable facsimile of what most people know as quiche.

The make-up of the quiche varies from time to time with this weeks offering labeled as a “vegetable and cheese” quiche.

The first thing that caught my eye was the extremely small portion size.

There was barely more than perhaps a 3oz wedge (compare the size of the slice to the length of the fork tines in the photo).

Not only was the portion fit for a 2-year-old, but it came burned as well which resulted in the filling (which should have been creamy) being bone dry.

In addition, there was no dressing on the salad and none offered by the server which caused me to have to make my own out of the mayo, ketchup, salt and pepper condiments on the table.

Sometimes I think that those of us who prefer the alternate meal over the main offering are being punished for not going along with the crowd.

I award this meal one [☺/5] out of five “smiley’s”, and only because the salad dressing I made was great.
Follow the Faceless Foodie daily at

See What's New Today Feb. 21 > CB&C...Getting Better


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


Funding slashed for senior and long-term care in Montana

By HOLLY K. MICHELS Feb 17, 2017

HELENA — Services for senior citizens and those who need long-term care were slashed as part of budget cuts made to the Department of Public Health and Human Services by a legislative budget committee Friday.
“It is a significant cut to nursing homes,” said Sen. Mary Caferro, D-Helena, who voted against the cut. “Nursing homes are an entitlement and they are a strong business in local communities. I think we are going to have a lot of problems with all of these different cuts in all of these different areas.”

Without final numbers from the legislature's fiscal division, it was unclear Friday exactly how much the Health and Human Services Joint Appropriations Subcommittee trimmed the program's budget, but advocates for senior citizens and those who work to care for them called the cuts severe.


Life at the A.L.F. : The One Thing I Miss.
Life at an assisted living facility is a compromise between what you want and what you need, with needs usually winning out over wants.

For instance, you might want to take everything you own with you, but you will end up taking only what you need.

I had to give up a lot in order to move in here.

Due to space limitations, practically everything I owned had to be left behind, sold, given away, or discarded.

I moved in with just the bare essentials as far as clothes and personal belongings were concerned.

Gone was all of my furniture and the dozens of knick-knacks and bric-a-brac that my mom had collected over the years.

Gone also was my clothes, mostly outerwear, that would have taken up too much room in the very, very small closet I would have in my new digs.

And then there was my car. Perhaps the single most cherished thing I owned and one of the toughest things I knew I could no longer have.

Not only could I no longer afford to own car, but I could no longer trust myself to drive it.

I lost hearing in one ear and my eyesight was not that great and, although I most likely would have been able to pass any test the DMV might have thrown at me, I decided that I should give up driving on my own. I haven’t been behind the wheel of an automobile in 8 years and I really miss it.

But despite all of those losses and all of that downsizing and all of the things, I would no longer be able to partake in like taking long walks in the city or hiking in the woods, at least I knew that giving up those things were my choice dictated by my limitations. I made the decision to do what I did because to do otherwise would have been impossible given both my physical and financial conditions.

However, there was one thing that I was not really prepared for.

The one thing that I did not even think about until I was well settled in here.
And now, nearly 5 years later, it is the one thing that I regret losing the most.
And that is being able to cook my own food in my own kitchen when I want to eat.
It seems like such a simple thing and something most people never think about. And it was something I didn’t think about until the other day as I was preparing a shopping list for PeaPod, an online, deliver-to-your-door supermarket.

As I perused the virtual aisles filled with pictures of virtual food like roasts, fresh vegetables, raw chicken and fish I came to the very frightening and very real understanding that most likely I WILL NEVER COOK ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.

Now, some of you might think “What the heck is he complaining about.” But you haven’t thought this through.

I know that for some people cooking is a chore, a task that needs to be done as quickly and as mindlessly as possible.

Buy it, slap it on a pan, stick it on a plate and scarf it down and go on to the next activity.

I also know that many folks don’t have the skills to cook anything that does not involve opening a packet and pouring boiling water over it or warming something in a microwave.

For those of you in that category, you can leave right now. There is nothing more for you here.

On the other hand, for those of us who, not only like to eat but enjoy cooking too, having the ability to do so taken away from you can be traumatic. And, by “taken away” I really mean taken away.

Either by law, or by rule, or by insurance regulation, the residents of the facility in which I live cannot cook anything in their rooms.

We cannot have a microwave oven, a hotplate, a crock pot, a George Forman grill, or a Mr. Coffee in our possession.*

The mere sighting (by management) of any of those items of mass destruction (my words), would result in immediate confiscation and a stern lecture about safety and “burning the place down” (their words).

But let’s get back to cooking.

I learned to cook at an early age by watching my mother who never made a TV dinner, ordered take-out or used anything with the word “instant” on the package.

She did everything from scratch which included washing fresh veggies, slicing and dicing them and making a soup or stew.

She even ground her own beef for hamburgers because she didn’t trust the butcher to do it.

And there I was, at her knee watching everything and, when I was old enough, being her sous chef.

By the time I was a teenager I could make a mean beef stew, cook a spectacular barley soup, and roast a chicken as easily as I could construct an omelet, or do spaghetti and meatballs (with a homemade sauce of course).

As I matured I got into oriental cuisine. I learned the joy of stir-fry
ying and using exotic seasoning and spices.

My most prized possessions were a giant wok, and 8” chef’s knife and collection of wooden spoons and spatulas.

I know how to thicken a sauce or make a reduction.

And I did it all in a 9x4 foot galley kitchen in Queens.

I cooked what I wanted, in the quantity I wanted and when I wanted.

I seasoned the food they way I wanted to season in and cooked it as well done or as rare as I wanted it to be.

Now, I can’t do anything like that.

I am forced to eat what they make here. And what they make here is an abomination. And it is that way for only one reason.

They have to please too many people whose tastes are a varied as they are.
And, as with any endeavor, when you try to please everyone, you wind up pleasing no one.

The last time I cooked anything for myself was back in May of 2009. I think it may have been a breakfast burrito made with a cheese omelet, bacon rolled in a tortilla.
I haven’t been near a stove since, and I miss it.

Cooking for oneself is the part of “independent living” that appears to have been forgotten here.

So, for those of you who are contemplating a move to a senior living environment and are still interested in cooking for yourselves, please make sure that such an opportunity will be made available to your. I can assure you that if you have been cooking for yourself or your family, you will miss it more than you think.

Finally, It is my firm belief that if residents were permitted to do some basic food preparation by themselves (perhaps in a designated area with supervision) using basic tools such as electric cook tops, crock pots or any one of the new cooking instruments available today, that there would be a better nourished, happier, more content, more complacent and certainly more fulfilled population.

* There is one microwave oven for resident’s use located in a “supervised” area and coffee as well as hot water is available from a coffee machine.


As a reporter and journalist writing about Assisted Living, Senior Housing and Long Term Care, my research has afforded me the opportunity to view many facilities. And the one thing I have found out and can say for sure is that the term “Assisted Living Facility (ALF)” means different things in different states to different people.
In general, ALF’s can range anywhere from super elegant (and pricey) spa-like resorts and senior’s only gated communities, to hotel-like buildings with 200 small rooms, to private homes with only a dozen residents.
Therefor, for those of you who are contemplating a move from your present home to a facility geared to a “worry free” environment for seniors, and you are wondering what the difference is between them and, more importantly “How am I going to Pay for This?”, it would be good to start with a definition of what an ALF really is, or isn’t.
The following is a brief summary from the NYS Dept. Of Health describing the  differences between ALF’s and ALP’s and some payment options you may not have been aware of.

Medicaid Assisted Living Programs (ALP) in NYS
by Valerie Bogart and David Silva (New York Legal Assistance Group)

The Assisted Living Program provides supportive housing and home care services to individuals who are medically eligible for placement in a nursing facility but, whose needs can be met in a less restrictive and lower cost residential setting. he operator of the assisted living program is responsible for providing or arranging for resident services that must include room, board, housekeeping, supervision, personal care, case management and home health services.

While private payment is possible, for people who meet the financial and other eligibility criteria, payment is made through a combination of:
Medicaid -- (or private long term care insurance or private pay) for the aide and other health care  services

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Congregate Care Level III (or private pay) -- for the residential services  (room and board) (2016 figures below).
Only official licensed ALPs accept Medicaid and SSI to pay the fees.   Most Assisted Living Facilities, on the other hand, solely accept private payment for their residential services.  In such facilities, however, it is possible to apply for regular community Medicaid and to receive Medicaid personal care services, which are provided independently, having nothing to do with the ALF facility.

State law enacted in 2004 to require licensure for "ALF" facilities does NOT apply to ALPs.  This has been criticized by the Long Term Care Community Coalition because protections for ALFs do not apply to ALPs -- all the more necessary as the state expands the growth of  ALP's


New Federal Rules Will Require Home Health Agencies
To Do Much More For Patients
By Judith Graham 
Home health agencies will be required to become more responsive to patients and their caregivers under the first major overhaul of rules governing these organizations in almost 30 years.
The federal regulations, published last month, specify the conditions under which 12,600 home health agencies can participate in Medicare and Medicaid, serving more than 5 million seniors and younger adults with disabilities through these government programs.

They strengthen patients’ rights considerably and call for caregivers to be informed and engaged in plans for patients’ care. These are “real improvements,” said Rhonda Richards, a senior legislative representative at AARP.

Home health agencies also will be expected to coordinate all the services that patients receive and ensure that treatment regimens are explained clearly and in a timely fashion.

The new rules are set to go into effect in July, but they may be delayed as President Donald Trump’s administration reviews regulations that have been drafted or finalized but not yet implemented. The estimated cost of implementation, which home health agencies will shoulder: $293 million the first year and $234 million a year thereafter.



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


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


Dementia Joins Ranks of Top Global Killers With No Drug in Sight
by Naomi Kresge

FEB. 15, 2017

Dementia has unseated AIDS as one of the world’s top killers, new figures from the World Health Organization show, as drug makers struggle to either curb or cure it.

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia killed 1.54 million people in 2015, more than twice the number of deaths from the disease in 2000, according to documents posted on the WHO website last month. It replaced HIV/AIDS as No. 7 on the global health watchdog’s list of the 10 biggest causes of death worldwide. New therapies helped push fatalities from HIV/AIDS from 1.5 million down to 1.1 million over the same 15-year period.


Sen. Schumer: Medicare in grave danger with new HHS secretary
Updated February 12, 2017 8:08 PM
By Christine Chung

Sen. Chuck Schumer said that Medicare as we know it is in grave danger, just two days after Tom Price’s confirmation as Health and Human Services Secretary.

At a Sunday news conference, Schumer pledged to use his new role as Senate Democratic Leader to block “efforts to weaken, wound and destroy Medicare.”

“Medicare is enormously popular because it works, it delivers affordable and vital health care to our seniors and it needs to be strengthened, not put on the chopping block,” Schumer said. “Our country must keep its promise to seniors by ensuring they have access to health care and economic security in their aging years.”
Price’s Friday confirmation testimony suggests that under his administration, Medicare might be converted to a fixed amount voucher-based program, instead of the more flexible “modest, earned benefits for dignity and health security” that these seniors currently collect, Schumer said.

Senate Democrats have pointed to Price’s track record; during his tenure as a Republican congressman representing Georgia, he supported cuts to Medicare and Medicaid funding.

A.L.F. Residents Are Safe, Secure and Dis-connected
I’m writing this post on Thursday, February 9th.

A snowstorm is raging just outside of my window.

Before this storm (the largest of the season so far) ends, there will be between 6 and 12 inches on the ground.

Now, at one time, a storm of this magnitude would have driven me nuts. But now, not at all.

For those of you who live in the real world, snow means work.

It means that you (or someone you pay or are married to) has to go and shovel the car out from under a mountain of snow which, for some reason, has decided to bury your vehicle like no other on the block.

The snow is wet and heavy and you are sure that you will have a heart attack sometime before you finish.

If you live in a private home, digging out the car is the easy part.

There’s the sidewalk, driveway, and walkways yet to be shoveled, and salted.
Aren’t you glad you bought a corner house?

Of course we here at the A.L.F. care nothing about how your “normies” deal with the weather.

For us, it’s something we don’t concern ourselves with much.

Even those residents who have cars don’t have to shovel them out. The maintenance people will do it for you.

In fact, about the only weather related problems we have here is dealing with a shortage of staff.

Now, before you give up your house or apartment, chuck most of your belongings, move away from the kids and divest yourselves of just about everything you hold near a dear such as privacy, independence and money, you might want to hear me out.

Yes, it’s true that, as a resident of an assisted living facility, the worries and chores of everyday life are eliminated, you must also remember that among the other things I mentioned, you will also have cut yourself off from the rest of the world.

By this I mean that no matter where your facility is located, be it smack dab in the middle of the city or on a hilltop in a nearby suburb, you connection with the community around you is limited.

The truth is that you will never be accepted as “one of the neighbors.”
You will face the prejudices usually afforded only to minorities and circus freaks.
You will always be “Those people” to the folks living in proximity to your facility.
And the A.L.F.’s aren’t much better.

I know of no facility that has a community relations officer, or the desire to connect with the community at all.

In their (the facility’s) endeavor to keep us safe, contained and accounted for as, most A.L.F. operators prefer to keep residents at a distance.

If you are having difficulty imagining what that kind of isolation is like, imagine, if you will, that you slept, ate meals, watched TV and played and rarely ventured outside the confines of your workplace.

Envision a life where you never left the confines of the building (or compound) you earned your living in everyday.

Even if it were the nicest, newest, most lavish office building in the world, you would still be out of the societal loop.

That, essentially, is what A.L.F. residents are confronted with all of the time.

And, it is this dis-connection which I believe to be a major cause of the dissatisfaction and unhappiness felt by so many of the people I talk to here who have been thrust into this very protected, but very antiseptic setting.

Fortunately, this feeling of isolation has not gone unnoticed by some operators of assisted living facilities.

An article in a blog sponsored by “A Place for Mom” ( A senior living referral service) gives these suggestions as a stalwart against isolation.

1. Make Transportation Available
2. Promote Sense of Purpose
3. Encourage Religious Seniors to Maintain Attendance at their Places of Worship
4. Give a Senior Something to Take Care Of
5. Encourage a Positive Body Image
6. Encourage Hearing and Vision Tests
7. Make Adaptive Technologies Available
8. Notify Neighbors
9. Encourage Dining with Others
10. Address Incontinence Issues
11. Give a Hug
12. Give Extra Support to Seniors Who Have Recently Lost a Spouse
13. Identification of Socially Isolated Seniors by Public Health Professionals
14. Help Out a Caregiver in Your Life

Even here at our facility, outside trips and visits to shopping centers as well as a weekly current events discussion are a regular part of the activities.
Of course, what it all boils down to is how much do YOU want to interact with the world around you?


Here's How Much the Average Senior Gets From Social Security Each Year
By Sean Williams, Motley Fool
ccording to the SSA's December snapshot, more than 41.2 million retired workers were bringing home an average of $1,360.13 each month. Over the course of the year, this would work out to just $16,321.56. For comparison, the federal poverty level in 2017 is $11,880.

This means if the average senior were wholly reliant on Social Security income (which some indeed are), he or she would be earning only 37% above the federal poverty rate for a single individual. This is precisely why the SSA suggests retirees have additional income sources beyond just Social Security.


The Danish Secret to Getting Through Winter

It's called "hygge," a simple practice that can take the sting out of the season.

Danes have long been practitioners of climatic stoicism, since Denmark is cloudy, overcast and/or dark almost 64 percent of the time and never hot. Even in July, the highs are in the 60s. For centuries, to compensate, Danes create hygge whenever and wherever they can, warming the damp, chill-you-to the-bones cold indoors and out with fire and light.

They’re also more content in general than the rest of their fellow humans: Denmark consistently is ranked the happiest country by the United Nations; the United States is now 13th.

The word hygge essentially translates to connection, coziness and fellowship — with forbearance and optimism thrown in for good measure. It’s finding joy in simple pleasures and communing with loved ones in a low-key, but meaningful way: sipping warm drinks, watching the snow fall, embracing (and making the best of) a cold climate. Winter is high season for hygge, since cold weather can be isolating.


Are You Feeling Sexty? What Senior Sexuality Really Means

By Elizabeth Dunkel

verything in life has its cycle. In childhood, we live with dormant sexuality that blossoms into hormone raging sexuality, leading to mating and children. Family life follows with its working, exhaustion and joys. Then comes the age of wisdom. Hormones decline. What happens to our sexuality? Is it dormant again? Do we mourn our sex lives? Or, are we glad we’ve been there, done that?

What is Sexuality? Being Interested in Life is Seriously Sexy!

So how does an older woman express her sexuality? I’ll speak for myself. In my clothes, my hair, my attitudes. In my joy, compassion and gusto for art, music, literature, theatre, travel, knitting, reading, cooking. Being passionate about my life, my family, my interests and hobbies. Being ardent about a book I’m reading, consumed about a political issue I’m following.

As Jane Fonda said, “When you’re older it’s more important to be interested than interesting.” Yes! Being interested in life is sexy. You can show your wildness, your spirit, your burning in so many areas of your life. But you don’t have to be an extrovert. You can also be a quiet burning person, intense, private, smoking in a tranquil way too.


Click Here for the latest
Faceless Foodie Review

Today: Not so Fishy Fishcakes


This is another one of those stories where seniors are faced with eviction because a greedy landlord wants to convert to expensive condos.

ity Councilman moves to block the eviction of 120 senior citizens
from a Westwood retirement home.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a motion today aimed at blocking the eviction of 120 senior citizens from a Westwood retirement home by designating the facility a residential hotel.

The motion would direct the city’s Housing and Community Investment Department to report back within two weeks on making the determination, which would make the property ineligible for the Ellis Act evictions the property’s owner is seeking and require an alternative approach to renovating the building, according to Koretz’s office.

The Ellis Act is a provision in California law that provides landlords with a legal way to get out of the rental market business.


Unless you like to use your own sheets and do your own laundry, residents at an A.L.F. must rely on whatever commercial laundry the facility uses.
Here, at the Asylum, we use a linen service that also has as its clients a number of NYC’s largest hospitals. So, every now and then. We get sheets that probably should have been delivered elsewhere.
I don’t really mind sleeping on sheets once used in a hospital, It’s the sheets that read “PROPERTY NYC MEDICAL EXAMINER” I have a problem with.


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms. Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article. All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page



Schumer vows to protect Medicare from privatization
Nicole Gaudiano

WASHINGTON - Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer vowed Wednesday to use his new leadership position to block any attempts to cut Medicare for New York seniors as the Senate prepares to vote on President Trump’s nominee to oversee the program.
During his campaign, Trump said he would not cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. But Democrats fear Republican proposals to convert Medicare into a voucher-based privatized system are gaining momentum and would result in cuts.
Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, supports privatization. The Senate is likely to take up Price’s nomination today.


At An A.L.F., You’ll Meet All Kinds

This is one of those “Personal Opinion” posts that are strictly according to my observations as a four year resident of an assisted living facility. As they say, “other people’s accounts may vary.”

Having come to this facility directly from a nursing home (not the usual route taken by first time ALF residents), where I was in close contact with the sickest, most frail, most dependent and most helpless* individuals on the planet, the relatively “normal” world of assisted living was like a breath of fresh air to me. This made my transition from the absurdly overattentive world of nursing homes to the lesser, more relaxed approach to care found in most assisted living facilities easier.

Even though my experience was a good one, I was not unaware of the situation that many new residents must face when the door to one of these places open and they take their first steps into an environment fraught with new ideas, new living quarters and, most of all, new (and sometimes very different) people.

Unlike other habitats like an apartment house, hotel or suburban community, A.L.F.'s are not a microcosm of the real world.

Practically everybody who, either out of need or necessity, has decided to make their home here, has some sort of disability that precludes them from living alone or at home.

Most of those impairments manifest themselves in the form of a physical disability that makes carrying out the everyday functions of life (cooking, cleaning, dressing or bathing) difficult or impossible.

These people aren’t sick, they are disabled and, except for that disability, are no different than most people you would meet on a daily basis.

However, some of those people have come by their disability late in life. Some, for only a couple of years or less. And, unfortunately for them and you, they are not handling it well.

Complications from diabetes, strokes and even accidents have left some people completely or partially dependent on the staff to aid them in their daily lives and they are bitter about it. And sadly, they may take it out on you or others around them.

The best thing you can do is to stay away from them.

ALF Lesson number 1: Unless you are a psychologist or a psychiatrist, you are not equipped to deal with the deep-rooted problems these folks have. Be kind and cordial and answer questions as directly as possible but don’t be disappointed if you don’t make a connection.

Other A.L.F. residents are those I like to call the “Malcontents.”

These people hate it here.

They hate everything about the place.

They hate their room, their roommate, the food, the building, the staff, and the management (who they are convinced have screwed them out of all their money).

ALF Lesson number 2: The only way you can befriend these folks (and some of them are quite funny and affable) is to agree with everything they say. It’s your call.

Then, we have those unfortunate soles who are on the cusp** of dementia. And, although they most likely have not reached the point where they are a danger to themselves or others, they are a force to be reckoned with.

Many of those residents are aware of their oncoming and worsening loss of memory and cognition and over compensate by being belligerent when dealing with others who don’t know how to handle them.

ALF Lesson number 3: Continuously pointing out their shortcomings such as asking them “Don’t you remember that you just had breakfast” doesn’t help. When dealing with this kind of situation, it’s best you just go with the flow and let the staff deal with it.

So where do the rest of us fit in?

Most residents fall somewhere in the middle of all this.

We have a disability but have learned to deal with it.

We are fiercely independent but are not ashamed to accept help when needed.

We realize our limitations and the limitations of the facility.

We involve ourselves in the daily lives of our fellow residents, without becoming too nosy, and participate in resident committees formed to improve the lives of everyone. This brings us to…

ALF Lesson number 4: The best thing you can do for yourself is to try and maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible within the parameters of the facility’s rules and regulations.

Never lose track of who you are and the person you have always been.

If you were and activist in a previous life, there is no reason to not to continue on that course.

Stay informed and don’t let the world pass by you.

You are who you have always been and no one can ever take that away from you.

Editor's note: These are not the only lessons to be learned at an ALF. I'll be back with some more at a later date.

*I include myself in this category having spent almost two years in a wheelchair.
** Some are well past the “cusp” and should not be here. But, that’s for another time.


70% of Older Americans Could Face This Colossal Expense
A good 70% of people who reach age 65 can expect to need some type of long-term care at some point in time. And that care doesn't come cheap. According to Genworth Financial's 2016 Cost of Care Survey, the average assisted living facility in the country costs $3,628 per month, or $43,539 per year.

Meanwhile, the average nursing home costs $225 per day, or $82,125 per year, and that's for a semi-private room. A private room will set you back $253 per day, or $92,345 per year.

Unfortunately, many seniors are left to absorb the majority of these costs on their own. While Medicare offers some coverage, it typically only pays for skilled nursing or rehabilitation services for a limited period of time. In fact, the average Medicare-covered stay in a nursing home is just 22 days. Furthermore, Medicare won't pay for non-skilled assistance with daily living activities, which constitutes the majority of long-term care services seniors


Using Medicaid to pay for senior living
imilar to private health insurance, Medicare is great for reducing or eliminating the cost of certain prescription medications, doctor appointments and hospitalizations. After hospitalization, Medicare will usually pay for a skilled nurse or caregiver to visit you at home, but only during a set period of recovery.

Unfortunately, Medicare is intended only for short-term care, and generally does not pay for extended periods of treatment, including long stays at independent, assisted living or memory care senior communities.

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid can and regularly does pay for long-term senior living care, though certain requirements apply. In general, Medicaid recipients must show that they are low income, facing medical expenses that exceed their income or that they have already spent the majority of their savings on health care costs.
At this point, Medicaid benefits can pay for long-term "nursing home" care, as well as alternatives like in-home care or assisted living.


Cost is Sore Topic for Assisted Living Consumers on Social Media
by Mary Kate Nelson
Senior housing providers are notoriously shy when it comes to sharing pricing information online. It’s likely, however, that assisted living organizations would do well to focus more on cost transparency, as paying for assisted living is a sore topic among many senior care buyers discussing their experiences online.

Specifically, 44% of negative online conversations about assisted living involve finances.

To gain a better understanding of a senior care buyer’s “journey,” CRI analyzed conversations about senior living that occurred online between Nov. 1, 2015 and Oct. 31, 2016.

About 68% of the negative, finance-related conversations about assisted living center around the care setting’s sheer cost, while 18% of the negative conversations are about the burden of cost, or who is actually going to have to pay for a loved one’s stay in assisted living.


Today> The joy of Portion Control


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



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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

Sunday Feb 5 2017

February 7, 2017

The heavier the person, the lower the chance of
getting hospice care or dying at home
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The heavier someone is, the less likely they are to have what many people might call a "good death", with hospice care and a chance to die at home, a new study finds. And that difference comes with a financial, as well as a personal, cost, the research shows.

A new study done at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine draws this conclusion from an in-depth analysis of records from more than 5,600 senior citizens taking part in a long-term health study.

The researchers looked at how the seniors' body mass index or BMI - a measure of obesity—related to end-of-life measures such as their use of hospice services, which provide supportive care to people in their final months of life.


February 6, 2017
Senators Submit Senior Financial Protection Bill

By Alex Padalka

A bill reintroduced in the Senate aims to make it easier for financial companies to report suspected financial exploitation of senior citizens.

Senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., introduced the Senior Safe Act of 2017 to combat fraud such as lottery scams, IRS impersonation and exploitation by caretakers, according to a press release from Collins’s office.

The legislation is aimed at protecting financial institutions from legal liability tied to privacy laws when reporting suspected financial abuse of seniors, as long as the firms adequately train their employees, according to the press release.

The bill is based on a Maine program involving cooperation between financial institutions, legal organizations and regulators aimed at educating financial services employees to prevent the potential financial abuse of seniors, according to the press release. That program trained “hundreds” of financial services employees and resulted in more seniors getting help, Jaye Martin, director of Maine’s Legal Services for the Elderly, said at a Senate Aging Committee hearing last year, according to Collins’s press release.


When You’re Old It’s All About Routine

For the past four years here at the A.L.F., I have been following pretty much the same routine. And I am very thankful for it.

Sticking to a routine may be the one thing that keeps me sane.

While some might call it, mundane, tedious, monotonous or just plain boring, I think of it as comforting and reassuring.

It’s also quite time conserving.

And, at a time in my life when every second counts, time management is where it’s at.

I get up every morning at about 5 am.

The T.V. has been on all night (because I have a tendency to fall asleep during most TV programs) so all I have to do is tune it to my favorite morning news program.

Within 15 minutes I have all of the information I need for the rest of the day.

I know what the weather will be like, what the Jets, Giants, Islanders, Rangers, Knicks, Nets, Mets or Yankees did last night (I don’t actually watch the games anymore because, as I said, I can’t stay awake for anything lately) and where the big traffic tie-ups are.*

I also get the world news which, as of late, has caused me both great consternation and great amusement. And, I expect it to continue doing so for at least the next four years.

Then, it’s computer time.

I have taken to keeping my laptop in sleep mode so it boots up almost instantly when I touch any key. Again, an all-important time-saving device.

I check my blog stats, Email, Facebook, in that order.

A few quick email reply’s, some very witty responses to other people’s Facebook posts along with any birthday greetings, only occasionally stopping to look at an adorable cat or dog video, and I’m on my way to the shower.

Except for some brief time spent in hospitals and nursing homes, I have never missed my morning shower.

I know that there are some that say showering every day is not necessary, and that many older folks don’t shower every day, but I think (and this is only my opinion mind you) that any grown man or woman who does not shower or bathe every day is a smelly pig who has no regard for his fellow human beings and should be thrashed to within an inch of his or her lives. But, as I said, that’s only my opinion.
I finish my bathroom routine (hair combing, tooth brushing, face shaving etc.) and make my way to the closet where I select the uniform of the day.

I say uniform because, as of late, my wardrobe has consisted mainly of jeans, Dockers and pocket T-shirts from Walmart’s.

For some strange reason, I find having to actually button anything (like a dress shirt) abhorrent. Or, I’m just lazy.

The truth be told, I would feel very comfortable if everything was made of Velcro or has the same closures as zip-lock bags.

And, speaking of zip-lock bags, have you noticed that everything with liquid in it that you order online gets packed in a zip-lock bag?

This is good because I now have quite the collection of zip-lock bags in various sizes which I use when storing everything from shoes to packets of Chinese mustard and soy sauce which I also have in great abundance and refuse to get rid of.**

But back to routine.

The rest of my day involves eating three meals a day at a time and place predetermined by the facility.

I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at approximately the same time in the same place with the same people every day.

Now, that’s what I call routine.

I have devised my routine so that there is some free time which I use to write and edit this blog, take photographs and schmooze with my neighbors or do some online shopping (really just an excuse to collect more zip-lock bags).

And finally, there is one thing that I enjoy doing more than almost anything else.
It’s something that I never did much during my formative or even my productive years.

And that’s nap time.

Almost every afternoon, after lunch, I slip into my recliner, turn on the TV to the most boring movie or TV show I can find on cable and fall asleep for two to three hours.

And, while 2 or 3 hours is longer than most power naps, I still awaken refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. All two hours of it.

Now, while some of you younger whippersnappers out there may consider my life to be mind-numbing in its scope, others are wondering “How can I get a job like that?”
We’ll I’ll tell you, but you might not like it.

It involves losing, your home, your car, and belongings and moving to a place with a lot of old people who also have no home or belongings.

Oh, did I mention that you also have to have almost no money?

Yes, you will have to give up a lot, but the rewards of a daily routine are many.
Just ask anyone on Rikers Island.

* Even though I no longer drive a car, or take public transportation, I find the traffic news fascinating. Perhaps because I know that it no longer has anything to do with me.

** Since I have never read anything about hoarding take-out condiments being tied to early signs of dementia, I will consider my behavior as just an idiosyncrasy of age.


Frugality has Taken its Toll
’m bringing this food-editorial to the main blog page today rather than assigning it to its usual domain because I feel that it is important to express my feelings, and I think the feelings of many of the residents here at the W. Center, regarding some very significant and noticeable changes that have taken place in our dining room as of late.

Specifically, what I am referring to are the changes in both the quality of the food served as well as the portion sizes and the frequency at which the menu is rotated. All of which, I suspect, reflects a definite reduction in the food and dining budget.

I have been a bit reluctant to even mention these cutbacks because they have been so subtle that the casual observer probably would not have noticed them which, conversely, would have made me sound like a malcontent, or at worst, a liar.

And I still would not have mentioned anything if the results of these reductions had not been so blatantly discernible.

I think things came to a head (at least for me) this past Friday when, for the second time in as many weeks and for the third time in the last 5 weeks, hot dogs appeared on the lunch menu.

In the past, these tubular delicacies were served only once a month, so having them now, with such a short interval in the rotation. can mean only one thing. There’s some belt-tightening at work here. 

It’s a simple axiom.

Hot dogs are cheap, therefore, serving hot dogs as many times as you can (preferably without people noticing) equals cheap meals which in turn means that less money is needed to be spent on feeding us, residents.

Unfortunately, for management, someone has noticed. And it’s not just me.

A large number of the diners that I surveyed have taken note of it too.

And not only has the constancy of the hot dogs themselves increased but the way the side dishes are being doled out.

The usual accompaniments such as baked beans and sauerkraut have been ‘metered’ out by serving them in very small, portion controlled plastic cups about the size of a shot glass.

So, it’s a half cup of soup, two very scrawny hot dogs (on rolls), with a shot glass each of baked beans and sauerkraut on the side and a half cup of fruit cocktail as a dessert. This qualifies as an adult lunch here at the Asylum.

Now, if hot dogs for lunch were the only example of some of the frugality that abounds in our kitchen, I would not even have bothered to write this fooditorial.

But, believe me, hot dogs is just the beginning. There are other noticeable examples of an increase in the decreases.

Take barbecued ribs for instance.

Pork ribs have been a staple here for a number of years and are well received and coveted by the residents.

Ribs are one of the few entrees residents actually look forward to eating.

In the past, the normal portion has always been three ribs (plus side dishes). 
The last time we were served ribs the number in the standard serving had been reduced to two very fatty, very grizzly ribs.

The ribs have always been long and meaty and asking for and receiving a double order has never been a problem.

This time, when I asked for a double portion, the response from the server was “If there are any left after everyone has been served, I’ll bring them to you.” A definite reversal of what was done in the past when there were always enough ribs to go around.

The same stinginess has been observed when other main course meat dishes are on the menu.

You have to ask for two pieces of chicken, otherwise, you get only one meatless bone-in breast.

The size of the pizza, which has never really been what can be considered a real portion, has become even smaller.

The opposite prevails when it comes to dishes such as potato, rice or pasta dishes of which there never is a shortage.

Once again, pasta, rice, potatoes = cheap and filling. “’Nuff said?”

I could go on and mention that the size and variety of desserts have been diminished as well as the amount of what goes into the sandwiches which some diners order as alternates.

Even my old standby alternate, Chef Salad, has been reduced to what is now a “Cold cut platter”, which means that there is less meat, less cheese and no hard boiled egg. And, they don’t even bother rolling it up.

I could mention also, that there have been actual shortages of such things as tomatoes, bread, and many condiments.

Now what makes this entire fiasco even sadder is that there is little or nothing we, as residents, can do about it.

Without being privy to any actual data (money wise) concerning the food budget or any actual measurements of the portions served, it is very difficult to actually mount a formal complaint.

Our only recourse is to attend the monthly food service meetings we have with the Chef and voice our complaints and see if we can any real answers to our question.

Other than that, well, I’m still on it.

Editor's Note:

Since it is almost impossible to know what the actual PPD (Per Person Daily) cost of meals at any particular Assisted Living Facility is, the industry norm is anywhere from $4 to $6.

Now remember, that's NOT per meal, but for all three meals every day.
Our facility has approximately 185 residents.

At an average of $5 per resident, that's $925 to feed nearly 200 people each day.

Cutting the budget by only $1 per resident per day would result in a savings of $185 per day. Which, in turn, is a yearly savings of over $67,500 per year.

So, tell me again why you don't think the food budget has been cut. ........ff.


  Today in the Faceless Foodie.......see what this award was given to.


While there isn’t a whole bunch of good stuff associated with having reached one’s maturity, the “Senior Discount” often helps ease the burden a bit when it come to dining out.
The good people at have compiled a list of chain restaurants that offer seniors a discount.
All you have to do is to remember to ask for them.

A to Z List of Senior Discounts at Restaurants for 2017

*Please note: Many of the discounts you’ll see below are offered by franchise owners in local markets.  
This means that discounts will vary from location to location, and can change without notice.

Applebee’s Senior Discount: 10-15% off (varies by location) MAY require Golden Apple Card (60+) verified
Arby’s Senior Discount: 10% off – Also reports of a free drink (55+) varies by location
A&W Senior Discount All American Food: 10% Senior discount varies by location verified
Backyard Burger: Free drink with purchase
Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off for seniors (60+) varies by location verified
Bennigan’s Senior Discount: Discount varies by location (60+)
Bennigan’s Senior Discounts | The Senior List
Bob’s Big Boy: Discount varies by location (60+)
Bonefish Grill Senior Discount: AARP members 10% off verified
Boston Market: Discount varies by location (65+)
Burger King Senior Discount: 10% off (60+) plus additional discounts on coffee and soft drinks
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company: 10% off for AARP Members, 10% military discount verified

Captain D’s Seafood: “Happy Wednesday Offer” Choice of 8 meals + drink for $4.99 or less- varies by loc. (62+) verified
Carrabba’s Italian Grill: 10% off entire meal for AARP Members- not valid at Kirby and Woodway locations in Houston, TX verified
Carrows Restaurants: Golden 55 Menu: Offers discounted breakfast, lunch & dinner (55+) verified
Chart House: 10% off for AARP members only verified
Chick-fil-A Senior Discounts: Chick-fil-A offers a free refillable senior drink, not including coffee. – Varies by location.
Chili’s Restaurants Senior Discounts: Chili’s offers a 10% senior discount (55+) verified
Chili’s Senior Discounts | The Senior List
CiCi’s Pizza: From website “Many of our stores do offer (senior) discounts” varies by location verified
Claim Jumper: 10% off for AARP members verified
Corky’s Homestyle Kitchen & Bakery: Offers special senior menu AND a Senior’s Frequent Diner Card (buy 9 get 1 free) (55+) verified
Country Kitchen: Great Senior Menu (55+) verified
Culvers: 10% off senior discount (60+)

Dairy Queen: 10% off for seniors (15% for coaches) varies by location (free small drink at some locations)
Denny’s: Senior discount varies by location, 15% off for AARP members verified 
Dunkin’ Donuts Senior Discount:  AARP members receive a free donut with the purchase of a large or XL beverage (at participating restaurants) verified

Einstein’s Bagels: 10% off (60+)
El Pollo Loco: 10% senior discount (60+), 15% military discount verified

Fazoli’s: Join “Club 62” for special senior menu items (62+) verified
Friendly’s Restaurants: 10% off meal w/ free coffee at breakfast or free small sunday during non-breakfast hours verified
Fuddrucker’s: 10% off any senior platter (55+)

Gatti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: Senior discount varies by location verified

Hardee’s: $0.33 beverages everyday -also reports of 10% off (52+)

IHOP: Great discounts on senior menu items (55+) verified

Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)

KFC: Free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme Senior Discount: 10% off (50+) (age and discount varies depending on location). Free donut with purchase of coffee Feb 6-28, 2017 verified view details

Landry’s Seafood Senior Discounts: 10% off for AARP members (50+) verified
Long John Silver’s: Various discounts at locations (55+)

McCormick & Schmick’s: 10% savings on food and beverages (excluding alcohol) for AARP members (50+) verified
McDonald’s: Discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)

The Oceanaire Seafood Room:  AARP members receive 10% off of food and non-alcoholic beverages (every day). verified
Outback Steakhouse: 10% off AARP members for meals (alcohol excluded) verified
Old Country Buffet: Daily discounts for seniors (55+) verified

Papa John’s Senior Discount: Papa John’s says to check with your local stores (meaning no standard senior discount policy). Try coupon codes GET40 or 25OFF.  AMAC members receive 25% off, enter code “25SAVE” verified
Perkins Restaurants: Fifty-Five Plus menu Offers special deals (55+) verified
Polo Tropical: 10% off (50+)
Ponderosa Steak Houses: Senior Discounts Vary- Senior menu available (60+)

Rainforrest Cafe: 10% off for AARP members (50+) verified
Richie Roman’s Barbecue: 10% off (52+)

SaltGrass Senior Discounts: Save 10% for AARP members (50+) verified
Shoney’s of Knoxville: Join the Shoney’s “Golden Age Club” for 10% off (60+) verified
Sizzler: Offers “Honored Guest Menu” (60+) varies by location verified
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+) varies by location
Steak ‘n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+) varies by location verified
Sweet Tomatoes: Senior Meal deals Mon-Thu 2-5pm $7.99 all u can eat incl. fountain bev. and/or coffee. All other times 10% off (60+) verified
Sweet Tomatoes Senior Discounts
Souplantation: Senior Meal deals Mon-Thu 2-5pm $7.99 all u can eat incl. fountain bev. and/or coffee. All other times 10% off (60+) verified

Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off for seniors (50+)
The Old Spaghetti Factory: Spaghetti Factory “Senior Menu” offers discounted list of menu items verified
Traditions Restaurant (East TX): Senior platter meal for $4.71 (50+) verified

Uno Pizzaria & Grill: “Double Nickel Club” 25% off on Wednesday (55+) verified

Village Inn: 10% off (60+)

Waffle House Senior Discounts: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy’s: Senior age and special offer will vary depending on the restaurant location. Please ask the restaurant for details. verified
Whataburger: Free drink w/ purchase of a meal- varies by loc. (55+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)



Bankruptcy options for senior citizens
By Andrew Paranal, Esq.

ARE your “golden years” golden? Not so for more and more Americans age 65 and older. The rate of personal bankruptcy filings among those ages 65 or older soared by 150% from 1991 to 2007, according to AARP. The biggest jump in bankruptcy filings occurred among people aged 75 to 84; their rate skyrocketed 433%.

More than 75% of the seniors surveyed said they went into debt for medical or funeral expenses. “Most people think ‘Oh, I have Medicare — I’m covered,’” said Jean Setzfand, director of financial security at the AARP. “But in fact, there are quite a lot of out-of-pocket expenses — and those continue to rise.”
The biggest one, she said, is long-term care costs. Plus, a lot more people are going into retirement carrying a mortgage. Reverse mortgages and other alternatives presented to them as “solutions” quite often backfire and just dig them further into the hole.

More than half of those surveyed had saved less than $50,000. What’s worse, many of that group said they have saved absolutely nothing. And yet, they retired anyway. Only 4% of those surveyed said they had delayed their retirement due to debt.

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
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Depending on whose groundhog you trust, we will either have 6 more weeks of winter (says Phil in PA.) or not, according to Staten Island NY groundhog "Chuck." I personally would put my money on the Wooly Bear Caterpillars which predict a milder winter with less snow.

Scams: They Don’t Always
Begin on the Phone.

“With the congressional buzzards circling the very core of our health care system for seniors in this country, just waiting for the right moment to pounce and destroy an already over-burdened scheme, every dollar wasted will act like fodder for the cannon that wants to shoot down Medicare altogether.”

There’s the grandparent scam, the I.R.S. scam, the obituary scam and a multitude of identity theft scams all waiting to cheat you out of your money. And sadly, people are being taken for millions of dollars every year from these unscrupulous people who think nothing of the misery they bestow on folks who can hardly afford it and usually don’t have the ability to strike back. Many don’t even know they’ve been scammed.

Fortunately, groups such as law enforcement, the media, and the AARP have begun campaigns to bring these scams into the light so that, at least, some people will be forewarned before it’s too late.*

However, there is one scam that doesn’t come from an anonymous voice on the phone or an email from Nigeria.

Instead, it comes from a trusted source, in a real government envelope and, by the time you get it, the scam has already been done and you have your name on it. And, you most likely have this envelope in your possession right now.

What I am talking about is an envelope you receive every month from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

It’s the letter that says “Medicare Summary Notice” on the top and, “THIS IS NOT A BILL” on the right.

And, it’s just those words, THIS IS NOT A BILL, that scammers depend on to ply their trade.

Why? Because most people who see the words “THIS IS NOT A BILL” stop there and read no further.

They will either toss it in the trash or file it away in a drawer somewhere and forget about it.

“Hey, it’s not a bill, It’s not my problem and besides, the whole letter looks boring. It has all those numbers and phrases and there’s a lot of small print and hey, did I mention, it’s not a bill.”

If you are one of those people I want you to stop right now.

I want you to go to that drawer or file, find that letter and read it.

Look at the part that lists all of the doctors you have seen and all of the procedures you may have had and ask yourself these questions.

“Do all of those doctors names look familiar?”

“Did you actually have appointments with them on the dates specified?”

“Were the procedures described actually performed on you on the date(s) specified?”

If the answer is no, or if anything else looks suspicious about the doctor, the treatment or procedure, the place they were performed or the date, you may be an unwitting accomplice to Medicare fraud.

But why should you care if you’re not being billed?

“No skin off my nose”, you say.

Unfortunately, it’s not only skin off your nose but skin off the noses of every Medicare recipient in the nation.

With the congressional buzzards circling the very core of our health care system for seniors in this country, just waiting for the right moment to pounce and destroy an already over-burdened plan, every dollar wasted will act like fodder for the cannon that wants to shoot down Medicare altogether.

And here’s another reason why you should be aware of what procedures are being charged to your account.

Let’s say you need an oxygen concentrator. No problem, Medicare will gladly pay for it, even though it does cost nearly $2000.

But what if Medicare had already paid someone who put in a claim in your name stating that they sold and shipped a new machine only 3 months ago. A machine which, 3 months ago you did not need and never received. You would be out of luck because, even Medicare, won’t approve 2 machines in 3 months. You would have to pay the two grand out of your own pocket. OUCH!

Look, folks, it’s all your money and you will eventually pay for Medicare fraud one way or another.

But fortunately, you can be an actual hero and nip these frauds in the bud and, you can do it without fear of retaliation.

All you have to do is read, regard and report.

You can report any discrepancies on the statement to the to the address or phone number listed, or directly to the Inspector General’s Office** online by going here >>

The form is easy and fast to fill out and you will receive a confirmation that they received your report.

I urge all of you to check your statements carefully. Don’t let these sleazeballs get away with it. For your sake and mine.

*For an explanation of these and other scams that are aimed at seniors go to>>

** Even if you have nothing to report, you might want to visit the OIG site anyway just to check out the “Rogues Gallery” of the OIG’s most wanted.


House Speaker Paul Ryan's Medicare "improvement" plan
will hurt senior citizens where it hurts most. In their wallets,
says new report

So says Eric Schneidewind, President of the 38-million member strong AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) in new piece in Time magazine that claims the changes that Republican party lawmakers have in mind will ultimately leave seniors paying more while getting less.

From the report:

"After Republicans won control in Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, they embarked on a vast project of ideological governance. Free from any checks or balances, they went to war with the idea of the “public”—anything that couldn’t go into the pockets of businesses or wealthy individuals was gutted, slashed, and left for dead. There’s a strong chance that, under President Trump○ and a GOP Congress, we will see the same for the nation at large. And depending on the appetite of the Republican Party—and the willingness of President Trump—we may see a sweeping repudiation of liberal-democratic governance, with an end to the guarantees of the New Deal and the Great Society. Americans who think the change of government means little for their lives are in for a surprise."

And on the same topic >>

♠ ♦ ♣

A Housing Crisis for Seniors

By Allison Arieff (NY Times)

Really good options are limited, particularly for the middle class. A colleague of mine, bemoaning the lack of attention and care at his father’s pricey assisted-living center, put it this way: “It’s not like they’re worrying about cultivating repeat customers.”

“Thoughtfully designed housing for older adults is not being created on a scale commensurate with the growing need. It’s not a market many architects or developers have embraced. Conversely, a disproportionate amount of attention has been focused on the presumed desires of millennials. We hear all the time that it’s that group that craves walkability, good transit and everything-at-their-doorstep amenities — and that only cities can provide it.”


Senator Makes New Push for Senior Safe Act
Bill is designed to prevent financial exploitation of elder investors by training and granting immunity to financial professionals
“Sen. Susan Collins, chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, has reintroduced her Senior Safe Act, which is designed to protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation.”

“In introducing the Senior$afe Act of 2017 (S. 223), Collins, R-Maine, noted that the bill aims to protect banks, credit unions, investment advisors, broker-dealers, insurance companies and certain supervisory, compliance and legal employees from civil or administrative liability — as long as they receive training in how to spot and report predatory activity and disclose any possible exploitation of senior citizens to state or federal regulatory and law enforcement entities.”


Aloe Vera Could Be One of the Home Remedies Against Cavities
By Alana McIntosh
Today, dentists use an array of methods and products to ensure that patients are provided with what’s needed to keep the teeth healthy. For individuals who want to resort to natural remedies, aloe vera could potentially be an excellent option.

Aloe vera could be one of the home remedies against cavities. Some dental researchers created an artificial environment to know more about the bacteria-destroying ability of the medicinal plant compared with two standard toothpastes.

At the end of the study, the investigators found that the gel in aloe vera contains anti-bacterial properties similar to those found in toothpastes. According to researchers, they were able to see the cavity-fighting potential of this plant by determining how bacteria in the laboratory setting responded to aloe vera gel.
This plant has been used for centuries as a soothing and healing treatment for minor cuts and burns. It is believed to have the potential to soothe inflamed gums as well as fight tooth infections.



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


Relaxation videos
A Website called “” has a series of what they call “Relaxation Videos.” Supposedly, they have a calming effect after viewing them. All I can say is “’Couldn’t hurt.”


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
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All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

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Are we Living Too Damn Long?
Are we creating our own “Zombie Apocalypse”?

The Bible (or the word of God if you will), gave us a time limit, of sorts, on how long man would or should live.

The verse also says something about how those later years will be spent.

Simply put, “Threescore and Ten” translate to 70 years (or if you are really fit, you may make it to eighty). However, it goes on to say “Yet is their strength labor and sorrow”, meaning that those extra years may not always be spent just lounging around the tent with a cupful of mead in one hand and a bunch of peeled grapes in the other.

Of course, that 70-year approximation was not meant for those living at the time the words were originally spoken.

Back then, the average man didn’t live much past his 30’s or 40’s, a statistic that didn’t vary much for centuries.

Those words, some say, were meant for people of our time, not as prophecy, but as a warning.

“Yes, we will live to be 70 or 80 or more years old, but if we are not careful, those years will be plain miserable for us because we were not really meant to live that long.”

Man’s fascination with extending one's life past the actuarial norm did not even begin until the 19th century.

Up until then, medical science was more interested in trying to keep people alive rather than preventing disease or forestalling aging or premature death.

It was “Patch ‘em up and get them back out on the battlefield”, not “You shouldn’t be eating all that bacon soldier, it’s not good for your arteries.”

In fact, it was not until after the second world war did we actually begin to see a dramatic rise in the life expectancy of humans.

As you can see, we have nearly doubled our lifespan since 1859, with no end in site (Although the stats have not changed as dramatically in the last few years).

And, while modern medical science has always striven to make people live as long as possible, not until very recently has there been an actual all-out effort to wipe out death completely.

And the main sponsor of this Orwellian effort is none other than a company who’s no stranger to the avant-guard…

One and a half billion dollars just to keep us alive for how long?

200, 300, 400 years? For ever?

Who exactly is behind this and why?

I don’t know for sure, and anything I say is pure conjecture, but I have always had a feeling about why the folks at Google are at the forefront of this research.

Google, its founders, executives, and most of its employees (as well as, I suspect, the majority of the people who use Google services) are comparatively young.

“In a lawsuit filed April 22 in federal court in San Jose, California, a 64-year-old engineer named Brian Heath alleges that the Google’s hiring practices discriminate against people aged 40 and up. The suit seeks to represent a class of Google applicants in that age range who were rejected for employment at the search giant starting back in August 2010.

Google’s average employee is 29 years old, similar to other tech companies, according to the Payscale data the lawsuit refers to, and to investment banks and consultancies. The median age of US workers in 2013 was 42.4.”

At twenty-nine and working for a high tech and highly profitable company, they have a lot going for themselves.

They have their looks, their health, lots of money, lots of nice toys and the one thing they want to be allowed to do is to be able to have their health, wealth, and stuff for as long as possible. In fact, as far as these people are concerned, the only thing that is stopping them from continuing with the status quo is death. And they’ll be damned if a little thing like death is going to get in their way as they approach middle age and beyond.

Well, this is all well and good, perhaps, for them. But what about us who live in the real world with real-world problems.

Many of which are promulgated by they very thing we are trying to prevent. Death and old age.

The truth is, WE WERE NEVER MEANT TO LIVE THIS LONG. And it’s causing us a lot of problems.

Financially, we are outliving our money. Not only our own money but public funds as well.

Whether you agree or not that Social Security will run out of funds by 2030 or 2050 does not negate the fact that we are spending resources at an alarming rate.

When Social Security was introduced, the average retiree was not expected to be collecting his benefits for much more than 10 years after they retired and certainly nowhere near the 20 or more years we are hanging around for today.

And, of course, it’s not only Social Security that feels the pressures of extended longevity.

There’s health care costs, housing, the workforce (fewer people are retiring leaving fewer job openings for younger workers).

Less new people in the workforce means fewer people who will pay into the Social Security System as the years go by.

But, there is something else that has been affected by us living longer.

The ability of our minds and bodies to keep up with the stress put on it by living beyond its ability to cope with it all.

Like an old car whose paint job still looks good but whose transmission and drive train are shot, it’s costing the owner more and more to keep it running.

Okay, maybe the “old car” reference was a bit harsh, but you get the point.

The bottom line here is, science has found a way to keep our bodies functioning way beyond what it should. But has neglected the fact that one’s mental health is as, or even more, important than our ability to walk, or talk or play with our cats.

We are developing a group of old people who look good on the outside and yet are falling apart mentally.

I see it here at the ALF every day.

There are at least a dozen people whose mobility is without question and yet they can’t remember where their room is or whether or not they ate lunch or who keep losing their remote controls on a weekly basis.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I want to live as long as possible, but I don’t want to live my “bonus” years staring at the TV and wondering why Howdy Doody is not on channel 4 today.

So the question I pose is, “Is Google and other life-extension proponents as interested in the condition of what’s above our neckline as they are in keeping our hearts, lungs, and livers etc. in working order, perhaps, forever?”

Because if they aren’t, we are all going to be in for a big surprise when we find that, like the folks in “The Walking Dead” TV show, we will have created our own zombie apocalypse.


Why Dementia Rates in U.S. Are Dropping
Findings from a new Journal of the American Medical Association study

By Emily Gurnon

News about Alzheimer’s and dementia is so often negative that when when we hear about an encouraging trend, it’s almost shocking. But that’s just what came out recently in a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study on dementia rates.

The study looked at more than 10,500 adults in the United States aged 65 and older in 2000 and 2012. The subjects were participants in the Health and Retirement Study, a longitudinal project sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration.

Notable Decline

Over the 12-year span, dementia rates fell “significantly,” from 11.6 percent to 8.8 percent, the study says. That’s a decrease of nearly a quarter. 

If the rate of dementia in 2012 had been what it was in 2000, there would be well more than 1 million additional people with dementia.


Aetna Humana Merger Blocked:
How Will This Affect Senior Citizens?
By Darwin Malicdem

Doctors and health advocates on Monday celebrated the news about the Aetna Humana merger blocked. A federal judge prohibited the $37 billion deal between the health insurance giants. This is because it may lead to a higher price but lower quality insurance.

“This merger would have stifled competition and led to higher prices and lower quality health insurance,” he said.

Benefits For Older Americans

Advocates said, with the Aetna Humana merger blocked, the government saved many older Americans and individuals not covered by an employer. The deal could reduce the options available for the citizens.


45% Retirees Spend More Than One - Third Of Their Social Security On Medicare.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act could make the premiums higher for those who can least afford it.
The percentage of Social Security that people spend on healthcare costs in retirement is important. The majority of retired households, 60 percent, depend on Social Security for at least half of their income. "A complete repeal of the ACA would hit retired and disabled Americans — people who can afford it the least— with steep increases in Medicare premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs,"



TODAY: A Garfield favorite >>


My Wish: U.S. Government Policies Reflecting Our Aging Society
By Bob Blancato
ince we are at the start of a new year, a new president and a semi-new Congress, it seems the right time to answer the question, “If the federal government could change one thing about aging in America, what it would be?”
My answer: Have the government’s policies better align with the realities of an aging society, with policies that promote opportunities while also addressing real challenges.

Policies for Older Workers

Federal programs and policies should support older workers. We have only one dedicated federal program for older workers — the Senior Community Services Employment Program — and it is targeted only to low-income Americans age 55 and older. The larger Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 needs to become more responsive to all older workers in its programs and services.

Older workers who want to move to more flexible work schedules should be able to do so more easily and their employers should be provided with tax incentives to help them.

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


Some Words About Depression
My last few posts on this blog have focused on my suddenly finding out that I was an old person and how I am managing to cope with it all.

I also mentioned that I had been suffering from a couple of medical conditions which accelerated my transition from middle age to senior citizen.

One of those conditions, the one that started me on the road to dependency and immobility, had to do with a case of ulcerative colitis for which I needed three surgeries and months of hospitalization to correct.

The other was a condition which caused my calcium levels to climb “off the charts” as my doctor put it, which left me with no appetite and a considerable amount of weight loss and weakness.*

However, there was one other medical disorder (which I briefly touched on), that, after being diagnosed and treated, turned my life around.

That malady is called depression, and it’s more prevalent (especially among older people) than you may think.

Unfortunately, depression is not easily diagnosed and often gets overlooked by doctors who treat the elderly.

Happily, it can be treated.

But first, you must get over the stigma associated with depression which is not easy for some people to do, including me.

When the psychiatrist who came to speak to me told me that I had a mild case of depression I must have looked at her quizzically because she immediately began to calm my apprehension.

“From the story, you have just told me about your illness, you losing your home, losing your brother, and not being able to see a light at the end of the tunnel are all classic signs of depression”, she said.

She went on to say that if it were not treated the chances for a quick recovery would be greatly reduced, if ever.

She started me on a regimen of a daily dose of a mild antidepressant and, as she promised, I noticed no immediate effects either good or bad.

However, after a minor dosage adjustment, things began to happen.

I found myself sleeping less.

My appetite improved and my daily physical therapy session (the one thing that I really was depressed about) became more productive.

I had begun to see actual improvement in my physical condition on a daily basis.
But something else was happening.

Something that came on very subtle but at the same time quite noticeably.

Some people say they feel as though the “cobwebs disappeared” or the “fog lifted.”
For me it was clarity.

I was able to concentrate better which led to better decision making as far as my treatment was concerned.

I was able to express myself, not as a frail incapacitated patient in a nursing home, but as an individual who had a purpose in life.

And, for the first time in over three years, I was finally able to see the light at end of the tunnel.

And now, almost 6 years after my diagnosis, I am still taking the medication and feeling great.

Every day is a new experience and a new challenge.

And, at a time in one's life where the expectation of some degree of memory loss among people my age is a foregone conclusion, my mind has never, (And I mean never) been sharper or more focused.

My writing and my productivity have improved and I am able to stay focused on things.

I look forward to, not only writing this blog but to doing the research for it as well.
And, for some strange reason, I am able to do math problems in my head which was something I was never good at.

Whether or not this improvement of brain function is due to the anti-depressants or not is hard to say.

The effects of these kinds of drugs are often difficult to judge. But I believe that they have helped me immensely and that I would not be able to function as well as I do without them.

Now. Before we close today, let me advise you of a couple of things.

First, I am in no way an expert on depression and any positive effects that I may have gone through maybe just for me.

However, I do urge anybody who has experienced any of the following symptoms to check with your health care professional…

Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults and the elderly

Recognizing depression in the elderly starts with knowing the signs and symptoms.
Depression red flags include:.
        • Sadness or feelings of despair

        • Unexplained or aggravated aches and   pains

        • Loss of interest in socializing or hobbies

        • Weight loss or loss of appetite

        • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

        • Lack of motivation and energy

        • Sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, oversleeping, or daytime sleepiness)

        • Loss of self-worth (worries about being a burden, feelings of worthlessness or self-loathing

        • Slowed movement or speech

        • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs

        • Fixation on death; thoughts of suicide

        • Memory problems slowed movement and speech

        • Neglecting personal care (skipping meals, forgetting meds, neglecting personal hygiene)

Oh, and one last thing. Depression is an illness like any other. People who are depressed are not crazy or psychotic or anything else like that.

Unfortunately, many people still look on depression as something not to be talked about or mentioned only in hushed tones. I know people who would rather tell you about an STD they had then tell you that they are being treated for a depressive disorder.

As you can tell, I am not one of them.

*Editor’s note: Having a high calcium level is not recommended for weight loss.


National Nonprofit Launches Financial Solutions Program for Seniors
Senior Solutions to help consumers age 50+ ensure financial wellness throughout retirement

News provided by
Money Management International

SUGAR LAND, Texas, Jan. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Money Management International (MMI), a nonprofit financial education and counseling organization, announced the launch of Senior Solutions, an all-inclusive financial stability program created specifically for seniors. Through strategic partnerships and a comprehensive package of diverse financial counseling programs, tools, and services, Senior Solutions aims to help American citizens over the age of 50 achieve financial stability throughout their retirement years.

Senior citizens represent the fastest growing age group in the nation and face a series of unique financial challenges as they navigate retirement. Through Senior Solutions, all consumers approaching or currently managing their retirement are provided with expert advice, tools, resources, and education to help them make informed financial decisions about retirement benefits, health insurance coverage, tapping into the equity of their homes, and much more.

"With nearly 60 years of experience helping individuals and families overcome complex money management issues, we understand that financial stability for seniors means more than simply having sufficient retirement savings," said Ivan Hand, MMI's President and CEO. "Senior Solutions is designed to help fill the gaps by providing seniors with crucial support, applicable resources, and answers to some of the most pressing financial questions seniors face today."

Among those senior-specific issues, the most daunting are often questions surrounding Medicare and Social Security benefits.

"Choosing a Medicare plan is a personal experience, and there is no one-size-fits-all Medicare plan option," said Tricia Blazier, personal health and financial planning director for Allsup, a leading provider of Medicare plan selection services. "Finding the right combination of coverage starts with your needs. Seniors' priorities with Medicare vary, and for some, it can make a substantial difference to available cash flow during retirement."

"When it comes to Social Security benefits, it's not as straightforward as simply taking benefits the minute you retire," said Laurence Kotlikoff, a professor of economics at Boston University and the creator of Maximize My Social Security. "Selecting the right benefits at the right time can mean tens of thousands of extra dollars during retirement."

Seniors Solutions will serve as a hub, connecting seniors struggling with debt, housing issues, insurance questions, and benefits concerns to approved, qualified experts.      

"Through strategic partnerships with leading organizations like Allsup and Maximize My Social Security, we are confident that Senior Solutions will become a premier resource for all consumers over the age of 50 who are concerned about their long-term financial stability," said Jennifer Dial, Spokesperson for Senior Solutions.


Why People Don’t Buy Long-Term Care Insurance

Many consumers see it as a poor investment and not necessary

By Daniel Gottlieb and Olivia S. Mitchell

When it comes to long-term care, two facts stand out. First, an estimated 70 percent of people will need such care, which will be costly. And second, most of them refuse to buy insurance to cover it.

The question is, why?

Part of the explanation, no doubt, is that long-term-care insurance is expensive. Some people also may be assuming, incorrectly, that they will qualify for government assistance to help them pay for nursing home care. Rules are in place to disqualify many who won’t meet the strict conditions required.

But our research suggests that a deeper problem may be that consumers are looking at long-term-care policies in the wrong way; and, just as important, that insurers may be missing opportunities to tweak their products in ways that might address and overcome some of the root causes of those misunderstandings.
Many people regard long-term-care insurance as having no real value if ultimately the payouts aren’t needed.


<○ ○ ○ ○ ○>

TODAY>> As American as...

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Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

Post inauguration issue. Has he blown anything up yet?

A few words regarding President Trump’s Inauguration address.

It’s been two days since the 45th President was sworn in. And, I guess, we are still around and the nation hasn’t imploded. However, after hearing Mr. Trump’s inaugural address, I am even more concerned about my future than ever before.

Speaking purely as an older American, it was not so much what he said but what he didn’t say in that 16 minute speech.
There was not one word that would give some assurance to me and my fellow seniors that my Social Security and my Medicare would not be at risk during his administration.

He appeared to be more concerned with projecting some overly patriotic image of America to our ally’s and enemies than how he was going to take care of millions of baby boomers that will turn 65 during the next four years.

I just have a terrible feeling that we old folks will be forgotten among all of the rhetoric and name calling and partisan politics…..BWC.

The “Shock” of Growing Old

Part Three: Compromise

(Parts one and two of this post can be found by going to the ARCHIVE section of this blog)

Think about it.

How much contact with old folks (outside of your friends and relatives) do you really have?

Most likely, very little.

Oh yes, we see them occasionally at the market or on the bus, but for the most part, older Americans are invisible to the mainstream population.

It’s only when one of them does something outstanding, or un-senior-like such as lift weights, breakdance, or generally perform like some octogenarian seal do we take notice.

We have a tendency to venerate old people for the wrong reasons.

Most of the time we applaud things old folks accomplish only because they are old.

A young person playing rock guitar poorly is laughed at, but an old person playing rock guitar poorly is usually given a standing ovation. Why?

Sometimes old people are lauded just because they managed to reach some ridiculous age like 130.

They may have been the world's meanest, crankiest, curmudgeonly old codger, but hey, he’s 130 so he must be great.

We all want to know his secret for a long life and laugh when he says it’s because he drinks a quart of whiskey a day and never bathes.

I’ve seen guys on the subway who do the same thing but I certainly don’t think it’s great or want to emulate them.

We really don’t know much about old people until we, ourselves, are thrust headlong into that realm where everything is supposed to slow down and our lives become less meaningful.

So, there I was, 64-years-old sitting in a wheelchair surrounded by more elderly people than I had ever seen in my whole life.

Many of those people were much older than me, and none of them looked like they had found the secret to living a long full happy life.

To be truthful, most of them were near the end of their lives, and they knew it.

It was, to say the least, depressing as heck.

Fortunately, my two-week stint in the hospital to correct a calcium imbalance also provided me with a prescription for an antidepressant which, according to my shrink, would help me over the “hurdles” and allow me to cope with my newly inherited surroundings.

And help it did.

Amazingly, the cobwebs disappeared and the light at the end of the tunnel, which once seemed so far in the distance that reaching it would be impossible, now looked a bit brighter and a lot nearer.

My appetite improved which helped me to regain my strength which allowed me to get my body up out of the wheelchair and onto a walker and then a Rollator.

I was still in pain, walked very slowly and tired easily, but I was out of that stinking wheelchair and could now face people eye to eye instead of being looked down upon all day.

Almost a year went by, and it was time for me to make an important decision.

It became clear to me and to my social worker that it was time for me to leave the nursing home. But where would I go?

I had to give up my apartment some months before as I could no longer afford to pay the rent and to pay the nursing home as well. (Medicare would not kick in for another few months when I would reach 65).

To her credit, the social worker was way ahead of me and my housing problem.

She suggested assisted living, a subject about which I knew nothing about. But, I had no choice given that I couldn’t live by myself in the condition I was in.

After visiting a few facilities in my area I settled on the place I am in now.

And, after being here for four years, I can say that for the most part, I am happy and content with my surroundings and my life.

However, the transition was not an easy one.

Whereas in the nursing home I lived among the elderly, here at the ALF, I lived with, and indeed had become, and old person myself.

But the old people here were different.

They weren’t sick, they didn’t walk around in hospital gowns, they ate in a real dining room on real food and they talked to you.

And, while most of them were not in much better physical condition than I was, their minds were clear and their conversation lucid.

They were, well, just like me.

But as I said, adjusting to this new lifestyle was not a piece of cake.

There were new rules. Rules that I was not used to.

Rules like I had to make my way down to the dining room by myself instead of having my breakfast brought to me in my room.

I had to wait in a long line to get my daily medication.

And, although I thought that living in an ALF would afford me some modicum of privacy, I could not have been more wrong.

I was being watched all day and all night.

I was always being “checked on”, and I did not like it.

I made my displeasure known to the case management people and found that there was a way I could avail myself of more independence and less supervision.

I had my “situation” re-evaluated by the attending nurse who found that I was clearly capable of taking care of many of my own needs and that I was not a danger to myself or anybody else. I demonstrated that I knew to take my meds and what they were for and that I could be trusted not to do anything silly like get drunk, light fires or smoke in my room.

After that I was, for all practical purposes left alone.

But I did have to do something that to this day I am bothered about.

You see, shortly after arriving here, I discovered many problems with the way the place was being managed.

There were staffing problems, food problems, and the worse problem of all, the way medication was distributed and accounted for.

I also discovered something else. The computer.

I set up this blog and, using the alias “Resident-X”, I began to write about what was going on here.

There ensued a daily series of rants about everything here.

I ranted about the food, the housekeeping, the lack of privacy, the attitude of the staff and the Med. Room.

Unfortunately, it was not long before the Resident-X alias was made useless when they recognized my writing style and my constant complaints.

It was at that point that I learned the most important thing an old person can do to make his life better.

I learned to compromise.

I was called to the administrator's office, the big boss.

He had evidently gotten wind of my online tirades and asked me to stop doing them.

I told him to stop treating me like a 6-year-old and I’d think about it.

He said he would, and I stopped writing about the bad things and concentrated my blog on the more positive aspects of assisted living (except the food, which I have never stopped writing about).

Eventually, I gained the respect that I felt I deserved.

I may have been a senior citizen, but I was far from being senile.

They knew that they could not physically prohibit me from writing what I wanted, so I always had that small edge, as I do today.

But I realized that sometimes you have to give a little to get what (or part of) what you want.

Compromise my friends, is the key to happiness.

That, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Nit-picking will drive you nuts and is very unproductive.

So, now I sit here, comfortable among my peers, many of whom have also learned the art of compromise.

I know that I am old and getting older and that things will get more difficult for me as the years go by, but I also know that I will be able to cope with it by “going with the flow” and, like a palm tree in a hurricane, bend against the wind so that I will live to enjoy that gentle breeze that I know will come with the next sunrise.


From time to time we like to reiterate the reasons why this blog exists.
My primary purpose was always to be a starting point where people who are thinking of moving to an assisted living facility could find information about what one might expect when one makes the choice to drastically change their lifestyle.
While we may have presented a list like this before, it never hurts to go back to the basics once and awhile.

Assisted Living: What to Ask Before You Choose

  • How many residents live there?

  • What is the ratio of staff to residents?

  • What are the living accommodations like – an apartment, single room with private bath, single room with a shared bath or double room?

  • Is furniture provided or do you need to bring your own? What will fit?

  • Can residents put things on the walls? Do you do it yourself or does maintenance do it for you?

  • Is there a nurse on staff?

  • What types of activities do they do with residents?

  • Do they expect everyone to take part in activities?

  • Do they remind or invite residents to join in or do you need to remember and come down on your own?

  • Are the activities appropriate for the residents’ age, memory, interests and ability?

  • Do they offer transportation? As a group or individual rides? What is the cost per one-way trip?

  • Can you choose where and with whom you want to eat or are you assigned?

  • What is the food like? What’s a typical, breakfast, lunch and dinner? Is there ever a choice or does everyone get the same thing (unless they have special needs).

  • How do they accommodate special food needs? (Gluten free, diabetic, etc.)
    Are there visiting hours? Can visitors dine with the resident? Is there a charge? Are reservations needed?

  • How does the waiting list work? Is there a deposit required to be on the list? How much? Does that amount go toward the monthly fee or to the company? Is it refundable if you change your mind?

  • What happens if you aren’t ready when they call with an opening? Do you drop to the bottom of the list?

Full story>>


A German Politician Proposes A Program For Sex Workers

To Service Senior Citizens    
By Charlie Sorrel

A German lawmaker has suggested that her country should pay sex workers to provide sex on prescription for people in long-term care, including the elderly and the mentally ill. Green Party spokesperson Elisabeth Scharfenberg suggested that the government provide funding for this "sexual assistance," which would be modeled on a system already in place in—you guessed it—the Netherlands.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that this is already happening in Germany, in a less official manner at least, where a growing number of sex workers are being brought into care homes. In terms of their services, "The spectrum ranges from tender touches to sexual intercourse," says Germany's Welt am Sonntag. But because prostitution is not treated the same as other professions, legally speaking, there are problems.



Has Social Security Been Shortchanging Seniors on Annual Benefit Increases?

The CPI-E measure of inflation for the elderly suggests that the answer is yes.

By Dan Caplinger

A study from a leading senior advocacy group recently found that over time, using CPI-E rather than the current measure of inflation would have resulted in much different cost-of-living adjustments, with larger increases in most of the past 30 years. That result has led some senior advocates to conclude that Social Security has essentially been shortchanging seniors by not giving them annual increases that match to their actual costs.

The origins of the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly go back to the 1980s. The Older Americans Act of 1987 directed the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is responsible for most measures of consumer price inflation, to develop an experimental price index for Americans 62 years of age and older. The CPI-E was the result.

Early on, the BLS noted some of the major differences between the CPI-E and older measures of inflation. ….



Broke baby boomers,

it’s time to face reality
By Elizabeth White

illions of us are trying to wrap our brains around futures that look nothing like the ones we imagined. How do we walk up that hill? It’s about letting go of what used to be and figuring out what we need to do and to change now so that we can have a shot at a more satisfying life in our fourth quarter.

“The bottom line is that we are where we are. And it’s from here that we start. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges we’re facing, there is much we can learn from our peers who are experimenting with unconventional approaches and innovative ways of relating to others, consuming goods and working to find security and happiness.”

Read More>>


Today >> A meatless meat sandwich and half a wrap.



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Next Blog Thursday, January 26th 2017


Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

The "Shock" of Growing Old.
Part Two
(part one of this editorial can be found here>>

etty Davis is quoted as saying, “Old age ain't no place for sissies.” To which I might add, “It’s no place for clueless old bastards either.” Or, as the Borg like to say “Resistance is futile.”

Nobody is ever really prepared for old age. Just as no one is prepared for being a teenager or middle age for that matter.

Fortunately, the universe recognizes this anomaly and allows each stage of life to slip seamlessly from one to another.

And this is as it should be.

Life is a series of learning experiences that we are expected to know by the time one needs to use them.

Take driving a car as an example.

From the time we are little, we are exposed to automobiles.

We watch our parents, our older siblings and an assortment of movie actors in action-adventure films drive them.

By the time we are old enough to drive one ourselves we already know most of the basics.

All we need is a little practice behind the wheel and we are ready to go.

The same goes for the transition from high school to an institution of higher education.

Beginning in our Junior year they are prepping us for college by allowing us more independent study so when we actually make the move to higher academia it does not come as a shock.

Yes, there is a transition period for all of the segments of our lives.
There is even one for old age.

It’s called middle age.

Sociologists and psychologists have made different divisions in human development. Those aged 40-60 are referred to as being middle aged.

That’s a twenty year period in which we can learn to be old.

In middle age, gradually, the vestiges of old age begin to creep up on you.

The bald spot, the hint of gray around the temples, the twinge in your knee when you try to run up to the net to return a serve.

Sometimes, it’s even more subtle than that.

The kid that delivers your paper calls you “sir” or “gramps.”

When a young woman holds the door open for you or young people change the conversation when you pass by them.

These are all preps for that time when you lose all respectability completely. But, at least you will have seen it coming.

Unfortunately, I did not have the luxury of such a transition.

From eating, cooking, cleaning, walking, working, and driving on my own one day, to flat on my back surrounded by doctors and nurses the next.

Surgery and a series of nursing homes  followed.

If hospitals are the pre-school of the aged, then Nursing homes are the graduate school.

From the minute you “check in” you are immediately treated like an old person.

People find it necessary to explain things to you as if you were either deaf or a dribbling idiot.

“Okay lady, I can see that there are chicken, peas, and potatoes on the plate, and I know how to use a fork.”

“No, I don’t need any help filling out the Medicaid forms you gave me.”

And “No, I don’t need any help washing myself THERE.”

But being treated like a senile old codger is not the worst part.

Constantly being surrounded by a bunch of folks who actually are senile old codgers is a living nightmare.

Try to sleep when your roommate cries out for his dead wife all night or when the lady down the hall is screaming for lunch at 2 AM.

Sit in a dining room where the person next to has an entire meal of pureed meat and vegetables in front of him while the staff wonders why he refuses to eat and is so miserable.

Or how about having to eat while three patients are seated in a recliner, staring into space, with feeding tubes attached to their stomachs.

Talk about culture shock. It was something that I was totally unprepared for.

There were old people in the apartment house I lived in. But they were all pretty much like me. They shopped in the market I shopped in and even drove cars and ordered take-out Chinese food.

They were just like me, only older.

No big deal about growing old I thought.

I could not have been less correct.

I was unprepared for how condescending people would be towards me.

I was wheeling myself into one of the nursing home’s elevators. A man in his thirty’s, evidently a visitor, stepped into the car with me.

I would have had no problem pushing the button for my floor, but for some reason, the younger man felt it necessary to ask, in the most demeaning and deliberately slow speaking and loud tone “ WHAT-FLOOR-ARE-YOU-GOING-TO. I’LL-PUSH-THE-BUTTON-FOR-YOU.”

I would have made an ungentlemanly comment, but instead, I chalked it off to his ignorance and the ignorance of most people who have cubbyholed all seniors into one giant wrinkled gray-haired lump.

That incident was a turning point in my education as an old person.

I had officially become an outsider in the world of youth and had somehow morphed into a card-carrying member of what is the most despised group of human beings on the planet. Old folks.

As the weeks and months in that place wore on I felt myself slowly slipping away physically and mentally.

I didn’t eat and didn’t shave and after a while, I began to look like one of those homeless guys you see sleeping in the subway.

The daily physical therapy sessions that I needed to get me out of my wheelchair were not working out.

Noticing that I had lost a considerable amount of weight (and muscle tone), the facilities doctor recommended that I enter the hospital to have my endocrine system checked out.

While the Endocrinologist was looking for what was causing my eating problems, I was visited by a Psychiatrist.

In the past, I had resisted all attempts by “shrinks” to get me to talk to them mainly because they were just there to make sure I wouldn’t try to kill myself on their watch.

But the doctor that came to visit me was different.

Her first, and really only, question to me was “Why are you in a nursing home?”

It was either her demeanor or her frankness that made me open up, and I spent nearly a half hour telling her about my last year and a half as a "prisoner" in that house of indignity and shame.

After I finished telling my tale of woe, she looked up from her notes and said words I had never heard any doctor say to me. “You’re depressed,” she said. “I would be to if I had been through what you had.”

She also added, “I have some pills for that.”

“Depressed? Pills?” This was something new, and a bit terrifying.

She assured me that what she would be prescribing were low-dose anti-depressants that should help me with my current condition.

So, now I had a “condition” and a mental one at that.

This, I thought to myself, is going to be interesting and, maybe just a little bit dangerous.

I left the hospital a week later with two new medications.

One for a high calcium content in my blood which was causing my lack of appetite, and a little red pill for my depression.

On my way back to the nursing home, I wondered which one was going to kill me first.

End of Part Two
(The next and final part Sunday, Jan. 22)


Nursing Homes Give Residents More Control
New federal rules lean toward 'person-centered care'

By Susan Jaff / Kaiser Health News

About 1.4 million residents of nursing homes across the country now can be more involved in their care under the most wide-ranging revision of federal rules for such facilities in 25 years.

The changes reflect a shift toward more “person-centered care,” including requirements for speedy care plans, more flexibility and variety in meals and snacks, greater review of a person’s drug regimen, better security, improved grievance procedures and scrutiny of involuntary discharges.

“With proper implementation and enforcement, this could really transform a resident’s experience of a nursing home,” said Robyn Grant, director of public policy and advocacy for the Consumer Voice, a national group that advocates for residents’ rights.


Federal government prohibited
'from negotiating lower prescription drug prices'
By Tom Kertscher

Medicare Part D is a voluntary insurance program for prescription drugs for people on Medicare proposed by Republican President George W. Bush. It became law in 2003 and has been in place since 2006. Private insurance companies offer a variety of plans subsidized by the government, and beneficiaries get to choose the plan that's best for them. In 2016, nearly 41 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Part D.”

“Democrats have complained that Part D was a huge giveaway for the pharmaceutical industry because, although the insurance plans can negotiate prices with drug makers, the government cannot. President Barack Obama vowed to change the program to allow Medicare to negotiate lower prices, but then backed away from the pledge during negotiations over his Affordable Care Act, earning a Promise Broken on PolitiFact National’s Obameter.”


What You Need to Know About Tech Support Scams
Chances are, an offer to repair your computer is bogus.

Tech support scam complaints have been rising dramatically over the past couple of years. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received roughly 30,000 complaints about these in 2015.  FTC studies also indicate that, overall, less than 10 percent of consumers victimized by fraud complain to law enforcement or a Better Business Bureau, so the problem is assuredly much higher. This problem is compounded with tech support scams because many people do not even realize they have been defrauded.

I personally know at least six people (including my mom) who have lost money to this scam in the past year. Though the fraudsters will take money from anyone, from what I’ve seen victims are disproportionately older people.

How People Are Drawn Into This Fraud....




Japan's elderly account for 20% of all crime,
and it's turning prisons into nursing homes

By Chris Weller
The share of crimes committed by the elderly in Japan has risen dramatically in recent years. According to 2015 data from the National Police Agency, 5.8% of arrests in 2005 involved people 65 years or older. Within the decade, that rate had risen to 20%,the AFP reports.

As more of these senior citizens get locked up, experts say, the more Japan's prisons are turning into nursing homes.

With increasing numbers of older citizens getting locked up, their needs are beginning to dominate prison staff members' day-to-day responsibilities. Personnel are required to help senior inmates bathe, get changed, and clean up after themselves.


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


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

The Shock of Growing Old.
Part One
I am 71 years old, and back when I was younger (Say prior to 2009), I did not give much thought about old people or their problems.

My priorities back then focused on my personal finances and how I could manage them so that my retirement would be smooth and carefree.

I had it figured out down to the penny.

I knew that there would have to be some sacrifices to my lifestyle like driving less (or not at all), less eating out and less impulse spending, especially at the supermarket.

My wardrobe would have to span more seasons, and I would have to start to think about repairing broken items rather than just buying new ones.

I was prepared for all that.

After all, I had 401k’s, Certificates of Deposit, and IRA’s that I hadn’t touched yet just sitting there collecting all that nice interest, didn’t I?

Not to mention cash and Social Security.

I even had plans to start a small business or get part-time work if things got really tight.

I had it all figured out, except for one thing.

I didn’t figure on getting old and sick and the consequences that would have on my best-laid plans.


“Old” is bad enough without adding illness to the mix.

And, as a person who rarely got ill and who did not feel the twinges of old age even at 62, I found that I was poorly prepared for both.

Now don’t get me wrong.

I was not pollyannish or naïve regarding the possibilities that I might get sick or that one of those things that happen to people when they get older would happen to me. It’s just that I was not expecting that both would come at once and so quickly at that.

I mean it was like one day I’m living in a two bedroom apartment in a great neighborhood enjoying all of the new found freedoms associated with retirement and, the next day I was lying in a hospital bed wondering how long I had left to live.

I knew I was not ready for the “Big Sleep” and told the doctors to do whatever it took to make me well (I had private insurance at the time and figured that money would not be a problem, but more on this at a later date).

Two months later, I left the hospital, but not the way I had expected.

The formerly healthy, fit, energetic, up for anything, young sixty-two-year-old who would think nothing of getting into his car and driving 400 miles or going for a 10 mile hike in the city, now had to be lifted into an ambulette and driven to a nursing home where I would be plopped into a wheelchair to do what? Vegetate?

The one good thing about nursing homes is that you learn to be an old person very quickly.

You are treated like an old person from the minute you arrive.

The clothes you came in with are taken from you and you are put in a hospital gown.

Without even being asked, an aid was lifting up my gown and putting a diaper on me. A DIAPER FOR GOD’S SAKE.

I told her THAT wouldn’t be necessary, but she insisted.

I was too tired to argue.

Within minutes, some women dressed in street clothes was standing over my bed and asking me questions about my status which I answered as best I could.

“Could you roll over on your side Mr. Cooper”, asked the aid. Which I did.
The back of my gown was unceremoniously pulled open and I saw the flash of a cheap camera reflect off of the curtain that surrounded my bed.

I quickly rolled back and saw this woman from the business office with a small digital camera in her hand.

She was taking pictures of my naked ass.

She wasn’t a doctor or nurse or even an HHA. She worked in an office. Just as I had a few months before.

I immediately asked her what the f--k she was doing.

“We want to make sure you don’t have any bed sores”, she sheepishly replied.

“So you just roll me over and start snapping pictures without asking my permission”, I asked.

I guess nobody had ever objected before and she had no answer.

“I want that SD card now” I yelled.

A confuse look appeared on the office lady’s face.

“The little chip that captures the photos inside the camera”, I continued.

“I can’t do that”, she said as she turned and walked out of the room.

I think I said something like “I’ll sue the pants off you”, I was so furious.

That was my introduction to the wonderful world of being old and sick in America.

I had no idea that there was so much more to come.

Weeks became months, and months years.

I was now well indoctrinated into the living hell that is a nursing home and the mind numbing existence that many older Americans deal with every day.

(part 2 on Thurs. Jan. 19)


Anybody who has spent any time in a assisted living facility will eventually become familiar with the local hospital’s ER.
Slips, falls, dizziness and fainting spells are common causes for ER visits.
And, while most people don’t require much attention and are sent home within hours, many more should never have been sent home without performing additional tests to determine why the person fell etc.

Yale study: Seniors who go to emergency room at greater risk of decline
“We know that if older persons go to the hospital and are admitted, they are at increased risk of disability and functional decline.”

Senior citizens who are treated in the emergency department and sent home are at higher risk of disability and worsening health within the next six months, according to research published Friday by Yale physicians.

It has already been shown that hospitalizations result in higher disability rates and decline in older patients, but this study focused on what happens after a senior is treated and discharged from the emergency department without being admitted, according to a Yale University press release.

The study said medical and long-term care for newly disabled seniors costs $26 billion a year in the United States, according to the release.


What Are the Implications of Repealing the Affordable Care Act for
Medicare Spending and Beneficiaries?
By Juliette Cubanski, Tricia Neuman , Gretchen Jacobson, and Cristina Boccuti

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) included many provisions affecting the Medicare program and the 57 million seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Medicare for their health insurance coverage.

Such provisions include reductions in the growth in Medicare payments to hospitals and other health care providers and to Medicare Advantage plans, benefit improvements, payment and delivery system reforms, higher premiums for higher-income beneficiaries, and new revenues.

President-elect Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary-nominee and current House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, and many other Republicans in Congress have proposed to repeal and replace the ACA, but lawmakers have taken different approaches to the ACA’s Medicare provisions. 

For example, the House Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2017, introduced by Chairman Price in March 2016, proposed a full repeal of the ACA. The House Republican plan, “A Better Way,” introduced by Speaker Ryan in June 2016, proposed to repeal some, but not all, of the ACA’s Medicare provisions.


Trump right on drug prices, competition needed
Congress must stop protecting Big Pharma's profits
By Chris Tomlinson

President-elect Donald Trump was right to throw down the gauntlet against Big Pharma over prescription drug prices on Wednesday, and it's good to know he understands the lobbying juggernaut he's about to battle.

"Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power. And there's very little bidding on drugs," Trump said during the event at Trump Tower in New York. "We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don't bid properly."
It's not that we don't bid properly, we don't require bids at all when it comes to senior citizens. Congress has specifically banned Medicare, the government-run health care program for seniors, from negotiating drug prices.

As a result, Medicare pays higher prices for pharmaceuticals than private insurance companies and foreign governments. Taxpayer are subsidizing Big Pharma's profits, and drug prices for the rest of the world.


Protect seniors and restore Medicare funding
By Thair Phillips

New leadership is coming to Washington, and voters have sent Republicans to lead our nation with an obligation to take a principled stand to protect senior citizens, who have worked tirelessly to help make the United States a land of opportunity.

Lawmakers need to apply this principle in the new Congress by making sure Medicare is protected and seniors have access to quality health care coverage. For this to happen, lawmakers must roll back the cuts to hospital Medicare reimbursement payments that were a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In a classic, rob Peter to pay Paul scenario, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress cut $700 billion in Medicare funding to pay for ACA on the backs of our seniors. In June 2009, I pointed out that “40 million plus older Americans would be forced to foot the bill for this ambitious reform scheme,”… and that “these same older Americans have been paying Medicare taxes for their entire working lives and will now be cheated out of the benefits they have earned.”
With the likely repeal of the ACA, Congress and the new Trump Administration have the opportunity to roll back these dangerous cuts, so that seniors across the country can continue to receive the care they need, deserve, and most importantly, were promised. U.S. hospitals are facing $400 billion Medicare cuts if funding is not restored with a repeal of the ACA.


1/14/17-The All-American Breakfast


ElliQ Is The Amazon Echo Alternative That Takes Care Of The Elderly
By Chris Loterina
Despite its similarities to the Amazon Echo, ElliQ offers several nifty tricks that sets it apart as a smart assistant. It is primarily aimed to become a truly intuitive companion, helpful to senior citizens.

Out of all the Amazon Echo wannabes, ElliQ might just prove to be the most successful due to its unique orientation. The device wants to offer smart assistance specifically to the elderly.

Smart Assistant For The Elderly

The target puts ElliQ uniquely positioned to tap a possibly lucrative market, at least in its segment in the tech world. This is best demonstrated in the device's introductory video.

According to its maker, Intuition Robotics, 50 percent of elderly women who are 75 years old and above lives alone. It methodically underscored its value proposition by citing how 90 percent of the people in this demographic prefer to live in their own homes.




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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


What all that money pays for. And is it worth it?

When the time comes for you or a loved one to give up your home or apartment in favor of a place where you might be spending the rest of your life, many things must be considered and many questions must be asked.

Of course, you’ll want a place that is safe, clean, well staffed, well maintained and well managed.

You’ll want your living quarters to be comfortable and your fellow residents kind and friendly.

You will want your food to be of decent quality served in pleasant surroundings.
And, there should be enough recreational activities to keep you busy every day.

But the main thing that (for most people) will affect your ultimate decision, will be the price.

How much are all those amenities going to cost me on a monthly basis?

Not only should you be concerned over the cost for all of those extras, you should be asking yourself, “Do I really need them?”

A realistic answer to that question could save you thousands.

We have all seen those ads on TV showing active older retired people living in a beautiful community in a fairy tail setting playing tennis and golf and enjoying gourmet meals in a luxurious dining room.

Yes, there are those places, and they are great.


The people in those ads don’t need any assistance with the chores of daily life.

They are not disabled or infirm or physically challenged. And, they have money. Lots of it.

If you are in the market for an assisted living facility, get those fancy apartments, manicured greens, Olympic sized swimming pools and tennis courts out of your mind.

Assisted living facilities are not resorts or day spas.

They are there (or should be) to watch out for you and to help you do many of the things you used to do for yourself.

And, while some ALF’s may have those crystal chandeliers and fancy dining rooms, that should be no indication of how well you will be taken care of.

All the gilding and fancy trappings will do you no good when you are lying on the floor of your bathroom with a fractured hip unable to call for help.


I want you to take a look at the chart below. But before you read it, let me clarify some things for you.

The facts and figures are taken from an online assisted living referral site called And, while this is a commercial venture, the information contained therein is quite useful, especially when trying to compare facilities.

The chart on the left shows the monthly cost for room and board at the facility at which I am a resident.

The chart to the left shows the fee for room and board for an upscale ALF in approximately the same location as mine.

The first thing you will notice is the difference in the monthly cost for basic care in both facilities.

That difference amounts to over $6500.

So, just what are you getting for that extra money?

The answer is, not much.

If you go to the website and do a side-by-side comparison of the two venues you will see that for all practical purposes, the only real extras you are receiving for the additional $6500 is a larger room, a snack bar, and proprietary transportation. And, while these features are nice you have to ask yourself “are they really worth the money”, especially if your circumstances prohibit you from taking advantage of any of them.

In addition, if you think that because you are paying an arm and a leg for your stay at one of these five-star locations, that the care is going to be better, or the food will be better, or the people will be nicer, think again.

From all of the reports that I have received and from all of the anecdotal incidents I have heard from both former residents, staff and even ombudsman who visit these facilities to mediate complaints by residents on a regular basis, the problems that plague the less expensive places like mine and those which charge much more are, for the most part, identical.

In fear of being accused of ageism, I will say that, as someone who is attuned to what senior citizens are thinking and feeling,  I can say with some confidence that, “Old Folks are (in general) Crabby.”

We are wary (with good reason) of anybody who wants our money, whether the amount of that money is $100 or $100,000.

And, while we want to believe that you are telling us the truth, we have been around long enough to tell when somebody is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Just remember the old adage “You get what you pay for” does not necessarily hold true when it comes to health care.

So why is my little corner of the world so much cheaper than that silver-haired paradise down the road.

Subsidies. Federal, state and local subsidies combined with your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid help to modify the outrageous costs associated with senior care.

Our facility is only one of a handful of assisted living facilities in the state that accept Medicare as payment for room and board.

Our facility was begun as a pilot project in 2012 as a way to help get people out of very expensive nursing homes (which typically costs the government (or you) approximately $13,000 per month), to a facility where they can get just the care they need and not much more.

Now you must remember that all assisted living facilities in the state are governed by the same set of rules and regulations.

Therefore, the basic care and services must be the same.

In our state it’s the Department of Health that oversees all of the nursing homes and ALF’s and, they do it with an iron hand.

Expensive facilities are scrutinized as thoroughly as my lower priced facility.
Staffing is vetted the same for all residences.

So, what about those extras?

The only extra that I could see as being valuable is the proprietary transportation. Put simply, this means that they have their own bus or van to transport residents to outside activities like shopping, movies, restaurants etc.
This is a big deal and definitely, should be figured into your decision on where to live. But, is it worth $6500?

Are you in a position to bargain?

Normally, I would say that trying to bargain down the rent would be futile. However, something that I read this morning in, made me think.
The article stated that the occupancy rate (that is the number of beds filled) in assisted living facilities has dropped for the last 3 quarters.

This is due, not because people don’t want or can’t afford to move into an ALF, but because there are just too many new facilities being built. It’s supply and demand. So, perhaps asking for a rent reduction would not be out of line.

However, for the rest of us who are on a fixed income, saving every dollar should be our number one priority.

And here is just one other thing.

When considering the costs of moving to a new home, please take into consideration the thought of aging in place and staying in your own home.

It might be cheaper, in the long run, to retrofit your living space to accommodate any handicaps you may develop as well as having a home health aid come on a daily basis to help with your bathing, cooking, and cleaning. It has to be less than $6500 a month.

Look, I can’t tell you what to do with your money. If you are used to and can pay for the best, be my guest. The sky’s the limit.


The following article discusses a trend that, while it may be new to this particular location, it is a concept that we here at the W.Center have had ever since its inception.
Unfortunately, there are only a handful of these two-bedroom suites available and, for those lucky enough to live in one, they should be the future of assisted living.

New assisted living center features companion suites

There’s a new type of assisted living in our area.

What makes this community unique are the living arrangements it offers: companion suites.

"It's great from a socialization standpoint because they can come out, chat with their suite mate, instantly make a friend when they come in to the community,"
Each suite has two private bedrooms, a common area and a shared bathroom with an accessible tub and shower.

"We want to make sure that they're easy to get in, and you have the grab bars just to make it safe," said Calderwood.

The facility also features a dining area, an activities room and unlimited access to wellness programs. All are required to wear a pendant with a button they can press.


As older Americans, we become accustomed to shortages.
There’s a shortage of healthcare options, a shortage of senior housing and , there is always a shortage of money.
However, the one thing that old folks never seem to have a shortage of is phlegm.
Drip, drip, drip, cough, cough, cough.
What’s going on here anyway?
This story from the Washington Post tells the whole story.

What’s the point of mucus?
By Sarah Kaplan

t's that time of year. My nose is stuffed up, and I can't pronounce the letter “n,” and I have to know — snuffle — what's the deal with mucus? What is it? Why is it so slimy? Why is there so much of it? What's the — sniff — point?

Here's what science has to say:

Our sympathies for your cold. We haven't been doing too great ourselves — achoo!

But we urge you to pause for a moment before blaming mucus for your troubles. That inconvenient fluid is full of antiseptic enzymes that protect the lining of your sinuses while flushing out potentially dangerous invaders. It's a non-Newtonian gel perfectly adapted for trapping microbes right down to the molecular level. It's a hero of your immune system, right out on the front lines of the daily fight to keep you healthy. So show a little appreciation. Mucus is on your side.


A phony burrito and a stewed pork chop


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

* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users
The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

The technical difficulties that affected this blog have been resolved.
At no time was there any threat to your data or personal information and that no harm will be done to your computer either then, now or in the future……………..bwc.

Is The End  Nigh?
I am not a whiner and have always taken responsibility for my own faults, mistakes, and mishaps. But this past week something happened with which I had no control and has directly affected something that has become, not only near and dear to me but part of my daily routine. That something is this blog.

In September of 2012, after having moved into to this assisted living facility only a few weeks before, I sensed that there was the need for some way for the residents to have a say in the way they were treated and how the facility was managed outside of the usual means of communication which was (mostly) to complain to each other.

Since the main bone of contention back in those days (as much of it is today) was the food served up by our cook, I decided to concentrate my little daily blog on reviewing the food and other goings-on in the dining room.

I even tried, to no avail, to make myself anonymous by using the alias “Resident-X” but was outed by an astute case management associate who recognized my sarcastic writing style.

However, that did not stop me from telling it like it was and becoming somewhat of a thorn in the side of some administrators around at that time who thought that “What happens in the Facility should stay in the facility.”

Eventually, this blog morphed into more than just a complaint and rant department directed at the population of this one particular facility, into one of a more general clearing house for news and information about Seniors and growing older in America.

Consequently, this blog increased its readership from just a few dozen to a few hundred a week.

And, while that number is small in comparison to the myriad of other senior citizen related sites, the readers I did have were of a high enough quality to be able to appreciate the value of a site that would cut through the dozens of daily news articles and present those stories that had the most relevance to the majority of thinking seniors.

Now, all of what I have accomplished over the last four years in is peril.
Due to some technical glitch, error, mishap or hack, visitors to this site were met with a warning advising that attempting to enter this site might put their personal information in danger and might even harm their computers.

As you can imagine, a warning like that can reek havoc with a small, personal blog like mine.

The number of hits for the last two editions dropped dramatically which meant that not only have any new readers been warned away, but many of my regulars as well.

Fortunately, after a couple of emails to Yola (the web host for this blog), the error was corrected and we are back to normal.

But the damage has been done.

My problem now is how do I get my readers back?
There is no way I can advertise that I’m still in business, and the chances of this blog getting national media attention are nil.

All of this has caused me to rethink my situation.

How many more posts will I have to write, knowing that nobody will read them before I just give up and end writing this blog once and for all?
This editorial is being written on Friday, January 6 2017.

If, after I publish this post on Sunday, January 8, I do not see that I have regained even a small portion of my former readers, I must seriously consider closing this blog completely.*

This, my dear friends, is where you come in.

Blogs like mine depend almost entirely on word of mouth to survive.

So, tell your friends, or link this site to yours (I’ll reciprocate if you drop me a line).
Meanwhile, I can hope for the best and thank you for your continued support.

*Editor’s note: My Faceless Foodie page will continue to be published no matter what happens.


GrandPad, the Android tablet for seniors, getting a hardware refresh before April
Just one day prior to the CES 2017 convention opening its doors on Thursday, tablet maker grandPad said it teamed up with Acer to produce a new custom-built tablet for seniors. The device is slated to launch sometime in the first quarter of 2017 packing two 5-megapixel cameras, Qi wireless charging, and a brighter screen than the previous grandPad model.


Despite political clout, Russian seniors find later life options limited
Though their numbers are increasing and their voting bloc powerful, elderly Russians generally lack either the savings or sufficient government pension to finance a comfortable retirement.

The pensioner's plight

Russia's demographic picture closely resembles that of northern Europe, with the ratio between retirees and working-age adults inexorably swinging toward the former.

Unlike their Western counterparts, however, most Russians have never had the opportunity to accumulate the property and savings that might enable them to finance a comfortable retirement for themselves. Pensions paid to Russia's almost 35 million elderly citizens are seldom more than the equivalent of $500 per month – many live on far less. That's a problem, because the most minimal package at homes like "Third Age" start at around $60 per day.


Why you get your Social Security payment when you do
any younger seniors may wish they were born earlier in the month
Ever wished you could get your Social Security check earlier or wondered why it comes when it does.

It may not cross the minds of senior citizens who filed for benefits before May 1, 1997: they get their payment on the third day of the month, unlike more recent filers who get it on the second, third or fourth Wednesday of the month.

When are payment days if you filed for benefits May 1, 1997 or later?

If you file for Social Security benefits May 1, 1997, or later, you are assigned one of three new payment days based on the date of birth of the person on whose record your entitlement is established (the insured individual):

·         The payment day for insured individuals born on the 1st through the 10th of the month is the second Wednesday of each month;
·         The payment day for insured individuals born on the 11th through the 20th of the month is the third Wednesday of each month; and
·         The payment day for insured individuals born after the 20th of the month is the fourth Wednesday of each month.


New Review Today-Fried Rice Failure

As world grays, seniors step up to create an 'age-friendly' future
In almost every country in the world, average ages are rising fast, putting pressure on city councils, health-care systems, and national economies. And the solution may be the empowerment of older people themselves.
BY Sara Miller Llana

Global aging, along with climate change, may be the great challenge of this century, Unless policies and practices and norms and culture are changed, we have a tremendous problem, and if they are changed we have a remarkable opportunity.”

“The key to the future is “purposeful aging” that empowers older people themselves as the agents of change. “Purposeful aging recognizes that people who age with purpose – this sense of meaning, direction, and desire to contribute – don’t just help others, they help themselves as well.”


Janis Ian - Society's Child -1966
Janis was 13 when she began working on this, 14 when she finished. She started it while waiting outside the office of her guidance counselor, who was kind enough to call Janis in for consults every time she had a science class. After that, she wrote most of it on the school bus.



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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users
The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.


Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

Issues with Blog Resolved.

he security certificate problems which prohibited  readers from accessing this site or receiving a warning notice have been fixed by the people at Yola.

Unfortunately, I lost a lot of readers with the number of hits falling to near zero over the last two days. Hopefully, I will be able to get those readers back.

The thought of having to discontinue this blog, which I have been writing for over 4 years, because of a stupid technical problem makes me very sad......................bwc.

The Perils of Too Much Relaxation in Assisted Living
The sedentary nature of such environments can be a threat to residents' health
By Margaret Danilovich
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.

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.


America: A Tough Place to Live, And Getting Tougher.
The United States is not an easy country in which to live.

We demand much of our citizens.

We demand fierce loyalty even to the point of giving up one’s life for it.

We demand that every American contribute to the society, even though we often put obstacles in their way by limiting job opportunities based on race, sex, and age.
We encourage brotherhood, and yet, we pass laws that make us wary of foreigners and people who don’t look and act like us.

We praise those who have succeeded monetarily while debasing those who are poor.

We have the best hospitals and physicians and medical equipment in the world, but make it difficult for average people to access them because of unrealistic health insurance premiums.

We have the best colleges and universities in the world, yet we do nothing to make sure students can afford to attend them.*

We instigate consumerism and ask people to buy “American” but give tax breaks and bailouts to the same corporations that send jobs overseas.

We unabashedly spend billions of dollars of taxpayers money on the military in order to preserve the American way of life, while denying access to that way of life for millions.

We have permitted the real estate interests in this country to run rampant so that, “A chicken in every pot, and a car in every garage”* has become “I’m living out of my car because I can’t afford the rent.”**

In the past, Americans could sleep peacefully in their beds knowing that their government wasn’t trying to screw them. Now, not so much.

Now, and in the future, it must be up to all of us to be more vigilant than ever before. Not only must we watch out for our neighbors and ourselves but by keep an eye open to what our government is doing.

Once we believed in the words by Emma Lazarus emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty,…

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
At one time, the U.S. was a compassionate nation. Champion of the little man. Protector of the downtrodden welcoming to all. Now, we want to put up a wall.
No, America will not be an easy place in which to live this year.

It won’t be easy because in November, we elected elected a president who does not have a clue as to what America is all about.

*As of this writing, the governor of the State of New York announced that beginning next year all state 2 and 4 year colleges would be tuition free for all residents whose families earn less that $125,000 per year.

**Attributed to President Herbert Hoover’s 1928 election campaign, epitomizes the mass psychology characteristic of the Roaring ’20s. In a country that had long enjoyed a remarkable period of prosperity, it was felt that the trajectory of the boom’s trend would eventually lead to an eradication of poverty.


(A.L.F.) Operators seek resolution to these issues in the new year

By Lois A. Bowers (
As the new year begins, one of the biggest questions looming about the future of the United States is what effects the combination of a Donald Trump presidency and a Republican-controlled Congress will have.

Washington has been awash in vows to overhaul healthcare and entitlement programs that benefit seniors and others.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition additionally worries that the new administration could bring billions of dollars in cuts to affordable housing and other anti-poverty programs, yet the organization also has identified six areas where affordable housing advocates and conservatives might find common ground.


The numbers tell the story of falling life expectancy in the U.S.
By Keith A. Kelley
“A decades-long trend of rising life expectancy in the U.S. could be ending. It declined last year and it is no better than it was four years ago.

The United States ranks below dozens of other high-income countries in life expectancy, according to the World Bank. It is highest in Japan, at nearly 84 years. Experts aren’t sure what’s behind the stall.”

The stupidity of the brainiacs in this country never ceases to amaze me.

Let’s start with Japan.

Besides a diet that is better and a healthier lifestyle, why is their life expectancy 84 years and that of the U.S. under 79 years? In Japan, the government strictly regulates medical fees to keep them affordable. Depending on the family income and the age of the insured, patients are responsible for paying 10 percent, 20 percent, or 30 percent of medical fees, with the government paying the remaining fee. Monthly thresholds are set for each household, again depending on age and income; medical fees exceeding the threshold are waived or reimbursed by the government.



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



LA City Councilman reports some progress in the fight
to stop Westwood senior citizen evictions
os Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz reported some progress today in his fight to stop 150 senior citizens from being evicted from their Westwood facility, saying his demands on their behalf are “slowly being met.”

In November, Watermark Retirement Communities served eviction notices to
the residents of Vintage Westwood Apartments at 947 Tiverton Ave., saying
they had to be out by April so the building can be transformed into a luxury
retirement home.


* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

It has come to my attention that many people who are attempting to reach this blog have been met with a notice warning of "Certificate Error" and that the security function (HTTPS) does not exist.
Let me assure you that this is not the case. As always, all of your data is secure and nothing will happen to your computer if you visit this site.
I have contacted Yola and advised them of the problem.
Thank you for your continued support.......................................bwc.

Ageism Rears its Ugly Head on Facebook
Or Am I Wrong About This?

Before I begin I need you to watch this short video…

Maybe it’s just me.

Am I wrong to see a malignancy forming here?

Perhaps my view of the world has become so jaded that I no longer can see the humor in anything anymore.

Or, as I suspect, I am so right-on about this that all other opinions on this topic can be considered as the views of no-nothing idiots.

For most people who watched this on channel 7 and to all the others who saw it on Facebook, this was just a silly little video showing an old man playing with a new toy and losing his teeth at the end to the squeals and delight of all those present.
But I see so much more.

To me, it is so blatantly ageist and demeaning that I found it necessary to comment on it on Channel 7’s Facebook page.

And, while I knew that those comments would receive some negative replies, I was not prepared for the onslaught of unfavorable feedback that followed.

At first, I thought that these rejoinders came from people who did not understand what ageism is all about. So I endeavored to clarify my position by answering some of those adverse responses with an additional reply.

This only made it worse.

People started to call me names and deride me for having no sense of humor, and worse…

Here is the link to the entire thread showing all of my responses and the comments that ensued.

As you can see, though I tried my best to clarify my point of view I failed miserably.
I just could not make those dolts realize that when you show an old person doing something silly or undignified for the sole reason that it is an old person doing it that you are adding to the stereotype that all old people are laughable and can be made the brunt of a joke at will without the threat of retaliation.

As I stated in the thread, if you were to show a video of black people eating watermelons, or Italian mobsters eating pasta, or Jewish pawnbrokers bargaining with a client, just see what kind of reaction you would get regarding stereotypes.
But somehow it’s okay to show the elderly at their undignified worst, even if the situation appears to be a humorous one.

Don’t they realize that people are laughing AT him rather than with him?
Anytime it becomes okay to depict any ethnic or demographic group in an archetypical manner the respectability of that group is diminished exponentially.

When I was younger, I fought for the equality of black Americans.

Later on, I demonstrated against the war in Vietnam.

When women marched for their equality, I marched beside them.

And now, that I have been fortunate enough to become part of a group of people who have reached their maturity, I will continue to fight against anybody who wants to cubbyhole us into what they perceive us to be.

As I said at the beginning of this post, perhaps I am being too nit-picky.
I know that most people perceive this to be just a funny video and not some unintentional way of keeping us in our place.

But, I am realistic enough to know that, although this is only one video and by itself does not have much of an impact, it allows for a climate in which it's okay to ridicule people because of their age, or infirmity or worse.

I would love to hear your views on this video and whether you think I am right or wrong.

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Hawaii Is Healthiest State, Mississippi Has Most Room for Improvement

America’s Health Rankings Annual Report was released this week, offering benchmarks to compare state performance and national standards, and showing that the nation is experiencing declines in smoking, preventable hospitalizations and the uninsured, but cardiovascular and drug deaths are increasing along with obesity.

The study also named Hawaii as the healthiest state for the fifth year in a row, followed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont. Mississippi dropped from 49th to 50th this year, giving it the greatest opportunity for improvement, followed by Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and Oklahoma.

For 27 years, America’s Health Rankings® Annual Report has served as the nation’s source for trends in nationwide public health and state-by-state rankings. The report analyzes a comprehensive set of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care, and outcomes data to provide a holistic view of the health of the nation. It also offers a benchmark to compare each state’s progress and declines over the past 27 years against national performance, offering insights into the success of public health efforts. All information is available in a single, easy-to-use web platform that allows users to explore health measures and state data for custom comparisons.

- - -

5 big issues in senior living in 2016
Looking back on our coverage of the senior living industry and the issues that affected it in 2016, several common themes emerge. Five are detailed in this year-end review.
1. Staffing
2. Regulation and oversight
3. Fraud
4. Intergenerational programs

- - -

Risk Factors for Isolation
The top risk factors for isolation include the following, the AARP Foundation says:

         Lack of accessible and affordable transportation

Health issues such as untreated hearing loss, dementia, lack of mobility and frailty, which interfere with social connectedness

Life transitions, such as retirement, becoming a caregiver or losing a spouse or friends

Ageism and being limited by a lack of opportunities to contribute to one’s community

Poverty and discrimination because of social status, race, gender identity or sexual orientation

Living in a rural area where interactions with others are more difficult

Older adults who are isolated are also at greater risk of elder abuse, fraud and scams, said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of the AARP Foundation.

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10 Senior Nutrition Myths
The right diet and nutritional intake is arguably more important for seniors than for any other age group. Seniors have unique nutritional needs that can only be addressed when they are understood. Unfortunately, many false beliefs about a senior’s nutritional needs exist. Be aware of these myths so that seniors can start eating right or improving their health in other ways.

Here are 10 common but false beliefs about senior nutrition:

Myth #1: It’s Natural For Older People to Lose Their Appetites….

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A Fish Dinner Worthy of Praise

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users
The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


It’s that time of year again when everybody who has a blog, writes a column, has a TV show or edits a magazine finds it necessary to do a “YEAR END REVIEW.’’

For some reason, we have a compulsion to want to “wrap things up.”

It’s as if the world needed closure and the only way to get it is to have some self-acclaimed pundit recap the year just as if you weren’t there.

Well, I’m not going to do that.

It’s not that I don’t care whether or not you have closure. It’s more like “I don’t remember most of what happened during this past year and I’ll be damned if I am going to spend the time looking it up.”

Actually, I shouldn’t say that.

I do remember some of what happened, at least the important things.

However, being the self-centered individual that I am, I have a tendency to remember only the things that happened to me personally.

So here goes. Here's what happened to me this year...

Nothing. Zip, zero, nada, nichts.

Life, for me, has been pretty much the same for the past four years.

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Great comfort can be found in predictability. And, at this point in my life, the more predictable things are the better.

The last thing I need now are surprises.

And by surprises, I mean surprises of a medical nature.

Because at age 71, health issues are the only real surprises one has to look forward to.

If you are an old timer like myself, what’s left to shock us?

Are we all suddenly going to come into a fortune?

Are they going to find a cure for baldness?

Is my eyesight going to improve?

I’m a realist and know enough not to expect too much in the way of miracle cures for the ills of old age.

Nobody really cares too much about how old people feel anyway, or for our welfare for that matter. Which has been made even more succinct by the talk that’s going around Washington these days about how they want to cut our Social Security benefits and health care options.

Actually, at this age, we all live vicariously through others anyway.

If we are not wrapped up in our own lives, we are absorbed in the lives of our children and grand (or great grand) children.

Or, even worse, we seem to care a lot about the obscure and often very vapid lives of so-called celebrities whose main talent seem to be that they are celebrities.

And speaking of celebrities, how come they’re all young?

Okay, you talked me into it.

I will do a year end recap.

A. We lost a lot of famous and talented people this year.
B. There was a long and arduous campaign for president.
C. My candidate lost
D. The “unthinkable” guy won.
E. The world might come to an end next year.
F. Oh, and the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.
That’s all you have to know about 2016.

Perhaps it’s better that we look forward to next year. Or maybe you don’t want to.

Far be it for me to make New Year’s predictions, but the one thing I can predict with some certainty is that both you and I will be a year older by this time next year. 

The best, the very best we can hope for is that the status remains quo.

For this coming year, I hope for you what I hope for myself and all those I hold dear.

          • May you ride the waves of adversity as well as you have all of your lives.
          • May you have the strength to not sweat the little things.
          • May your main focus be on yourselves with a little empathy for your neighbor.
          • May you be without pain or stress in your lives.
          • May you not lose too much more brain cells, we need your wisdom now more than ever.

And may we all be around next year at this time so that I’ll be able to wish you a very happy new year again.

- - -

More baby boomers are turning to pot and booze

By Joshua Rhett Miller

s more and more teens say no to drugs and alcohol, two new studies indicate that another population segment is increasingly turning to pot and booze: their grandparents.

Marijuana use by adults age 50 and older “increased significantly” from 2006 to 2013, growing by 57.8 percent among 50- to 64-year-olds surveyed and a startling 250 percent for those older than 65, according to the study published earlier this month in the Society for the Study of Addiction.

The study also found 6.9 percent of the elderly tokers met criteria for marijuana abuse or dependence, while the overwhelming majority said they had no problems with smoking pot on a monthly or weekly basis.

- - -

or no reason other than to see what happens, I have decided not to shave until January 1st.

Actually, I am having an unofficial contest with my friend Al to see who’s beard will look better by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, I already know the outcome because Al is one of those guys that have the ability to grow hair on his face with amazing velocity and denseness and is already way ahead of me.

My only hope for victory is that I will have a growth spurt in the next few days.

- - -

What’s the Deal with the A1C Blood Test?
By Kathleen Doheny
Just as you’re congratulating yourself for staying relatively healthy and fit and eating right, along comes the bad-news notification from your doctor’s office.
You have pre-diabetes.

Say what? In your recollection, you’ve passed every fasting blood sugar test with flying colors —yes, the one where you zoom to the lab early in the morning, breakfast-less.

But this test, your doctor explains, is different. It’s called the A1C or hemoglobin A1C, and it measures your typical blood sugar levels for the past three months.
Confused? You’re not alone. Senior Planet investigated.

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

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You’re not just ‘growing old’ if this happens to you
Fatigue, weakness and depression could be signs of something more serious
By Judith Graham - Kaiser Health News

hen Dr. Christopher Callahan examines older patients, he often hears a similar refrain.

“I’m tired, doctor. It’s hard to get up and about. I’ve been feeling kind of down, but I know I’m getting old and I just have to live with it.”

This fatalistic stance relies on widely-held but mistaken assumptions about what constitutes “normal aging.”

- - -

Some interesting sounds back in ‘66. Note that “The Mamas and Poppas” had two hits on this chart.
Nancy beat out her father Frank, and the #1 hit is hardly remembered today.

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

There but for the Grace of G-D,
And a whole lot of Other Folks, Go I
(Part one of this essay can be found in the Archive section of this blog)

Although I have had many challenges in my life, marital, financial and physical, I have never been confronted with the prospect of being homeless. However, in the spring of 2012, I would be faced with just that. I had only two options as to where I would be living for (perhaps) the rest of my life. Both of which sounded scary.

As I mentioned, I had been in a nursing home for nearly two years following an extended hospital stay and intensive physical therapy.

Besides the obvious, there is one problem with being in a special care facility like that. You get used to it.

It becomes a comfortable cocoon for you to wallow in and leaves you totally unprepared to live in the outside world again.

Essentially, there are two kinds of people who are patients in a nursing home.

Those that will either die there or have to be sent to a hospice, or those that actually get better and eventually must return home.

Fortunately, I was a member of the second group, who now, was being presented with a difficult choice.

Actually, there was only one choice.

Normally, someone being discharged from a nursing home will return to his own home or apartment, which may have had to be retrofitted with ramps, bars or other safety and mobility aids.

They may also be presented with the option of having full or part time professional caregiving by a home-health aid.

That, for most people, is the ideal situation.

It certainly is the least expensive and easiest to adjust to.

Unfortunately, for me and thousands like me, returning home is not a viable alternative because we have no home to return to.

The $13,000 per month cost of a nursing home stay (not covered by private insurance) just about wiped me out financially.

I certainly could not afford to keep up the nearly $1000 rent on an apartment that I could no longer live in.

A very understanding landlord allowed me to break my lease and, without having to pay any back rent, allowed me to give up my apartment without any consequences.
This left me with the only choice I had left, and that was assisted living.

Assisted living, is a relatively new concept in senior care and housing, and certainly, one with which I was not familiar.

Historical Evolution*
Motivated by distaste of nursing home care, a shift occurred in senior housing beginning in 1979 to 1985. The shift initiated the service capacity and consumer-centered care model.
In 1986 to 1993, the providers, consumers, and government became interested and created four distinguishable kinds of assisted living communities. They included hybrid (reworking the old style), hospitality (resort like setting), housing (55+), and health care (continuum care model) appeared.
Then in 1994 to 2000 Wall Street brought financial investors, and quality of care became the ideal model. Today, due to older adults living longer, eruption of chronic illnesses, and the exploding boomer market, assisted living is reorganizing and examining its standards and how it provides care.

Fortunately, there was someone that did know something about assisted living.
One of the social workers at the nursing home had become very familiar with, not only all the living options available for seniors in my position but was sympathetic to the needs and apprehensions that come with having to move to a new environment.

She (the social worker) explained what an assisted living facility was and what I could expect. And, while it wasn’t the ideal situation I would have hoped for, it was for all practical purposes the only plan that seemed feasible.

And so, began my odyssey of “Assisted living shopping.”

Let me first give you a piece of advice if you are ever put into the position of having to look for an A.L.F.


I asked to be shown venues in or near my old home which restricted my choices.
The three facilities that I was shown during the three or four week period after I was told that I would have to leave the nursing home were, to be kind, not appealing.
While each had its own particular turn-off for me, there was one area which consistently made me take pause.

And that was the condition of the residents who lived there.

It was not so much that they appeared dirty or abused in any way, but rather a general look of dismay, despair, and longing.

A mantel of despondency hung over those places like a shroud. I felt it as soon as I walked into the building.

If this was how all of these places were, it may not be for me.

I had recently been diagnosed with mild depression and the prospect of entering a facility where I would be surrounded by people that were more depressed than I, did not sit well.

I expressed my concerns with my social worker who said she would continue to look for a place more attuned to my situation.

A week later she returned and asked me a very important question.

“Would you mind looking at a place not in New York City?”, she asked.

“Where would that be exactly?”, I replied.

“Westchester, Yonkers to be exact. It’s a relatively new facility and really nice”, she said.

Two days later, and a quick van ride to Yonkers I found myself in the lobby of the place I now call home.

The difference was immediately apparent.

Besides the physical aspects of the place (There was lots of open space and light in a country-like setting), the people looked well groomed, alert and comparatively happy. It even smelled better (no disinfectant odor).

I was given a tour by one of the case management people, shown my living options and, most important, was told how much all of this would cost me.

“When can you move in?”, I was asked.

“Is two weeks too soon?” I said. **

The deal was made. I was moving in.

At this time it might be appropriate to talk about costs as this will determine exactly what kind of facility you can afford.

Essentially, stated in the broadest sense possible, the average cost for room and board in an assisted living facility with average amenities, will run you anywhere from $4500 to $6000 per month with some places even more than that.

That price covers mostly everything including room, food, recreational programs, laundry, housekeeping, maintenance and care-planned assistance with medication dispensing and assistance with bathing and dressing.

You are probably asking yourself “Who the hell can afford that. I’m living on $1300 a month Social Security.”

Believe it or not, there are many older folks who can afford those places at those prices.

They are the fortunate ones who had the foresight to have had long-term life insurance, or really good pension plans or just did very well over the years and managed to sock it away for just this purpose.

For people with money, senior living options are limitless.

For the rest of us, financing becomes a problem.

A problem which, not surprisingly, will be faced by many more seniors in the years to come.

With the number of people reaching the age of 65 now set at 10,000 a month, assisted living and other senior living venues will be inundated.

On the plus side, forward-thinking corporations have seen the future and are building new facilities at a rapid place.

On the downside, most of the places that are being built or renovated to meet the demands of the growing senior living market are upscale facilities paid out-of-pocket by the residents.

And, while these places have everything any well-heeled, active senior could ever want, the facilities for people like me who are on a fixed income remain limited.
In my state alone, there are only a handful of assisted living facilities that accept Medicare and Social Security as payment.

My facility and one other are the only ones in my county that operate in such a way.
And with each place only having beds for about 200 people, you can see how it will take a lot more planning and investment on the part of the state, county and federal governments to meet the needs that face us in the next few years.

That is why I say that it is by the grace of g-d and a few knowledgeable people that I am now living and thriving where I am.

Not only am I grateful to the social workers in my old nursing home, but to the social workers here at the facility as well.

The paperwork that is involved that allows me to live here with most of my expenses being paid by various governmental agencies (federal, state and local) in mind-bending.

A wrong answer to a question or a decimal in the wrong place could mean the difference of thousands of dollars.

I give to you my second piece of advice.


This brings me to the here and now and the reason why I may be a very lucky person.

When I look back on all the things that have happened to me and all of the things that could have happened to me, I am feel that I am really blessed.

I have a roof over my head with most of the comforts modern life affords.

My health, over the last few years, has never been better and my stress level has been reduced to practically zero.

I am surrounded by people who care for me and with whom I can commiserate with when things may not be going all that well.

There are people here who can guide me through the vagaries of our current healthcare systems and aid me with financial problems as well.

Not only are all my expenses being met, but I even have a few bucks to buy things like clothing, snacks, and toiletries.

And I own this all to some wonderful, caring and knowledgeable professionals who were there for me when I needed them the most.

If you are an older person and feel that your options for living the rest of your life with peace and dignity are growing slimmer, don’t try to go it alone.

There are people in your community that can help, usually for free.

For some, it’s hard to accept help. But it’s even harder to be without.

** I would have moved in the next day, but I wanted to complete the course of physical therapy I had been going through.


Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community Right for You?
By Carla Fried 
Ask these key questions.

As you think about an ideal home for an older relative, or for yourself later in life, what seems most appealing?

Nearly 90% of people 65 and older surveyed by AARP said they would like to “age in place.” And yet the hard truth is that a beloved house in a familiar community can become both physically impractical and socially isolating over time.

= = =

Americans' 5 Big Fears About Retirement
Retirement is supposed to be fun and exciting, but it can also be frightening. Here are some suggestions that can alleviate that fear.

By Todd Campbell

If you're among the millions of American workers worrying that retirement may fail to live up to your expectations, you're not alone. A new study by Transamerica shows that American workers are wrestling with fears involving financial security and health in retirement. If you have similar worries to the respondents to this survey, here are some ways to overcome them.

No. 1: Outliving my savings and investments
Transamerica's 17th Annual Retirement Survey finds that 51% of American workers are nervous that their nest egg isn't going to cut it in retirement. Unfortunately, retirement savings statistics indicate that they're right to be nervous.


I’m Not Aging “Well” — I’m Getting Old, Goddammit
By Erica Manfred

People used to think of growing old as part of the natural progression of life from birth to death. Not anymore. Now we go directly from middle age to you’re-just-as-old-as-you-feel. “Old age” has been dropped from our vocabulary. “You’re not old!” people say when I describe myself that way. I’m 74 with an assortment of age-related ailments and a generous complement of sags and wrinkles. If I’m not old, who is?

Today, we’re supposed to age “well.” The term is fraught with expectations that I, for one, can’t meet.I’m Not Aging “Well” ...


Eviction of 150 Disabled Senior Citizens Stirs Up Moral Outrage
A Westwood company has given 150 eviction notices to disabled seniors - including a Holocaust survivor - to make room for luxury units. 

WESTWOOD, CA -- More than 150 disabled residents of a Westwood senior apartment complex are facing an uncertain future Friday after their landlord threatened to evict them.

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz met Thursday evening with residents of the Vintage Westwood Apartments at 947 Tiverton Ave. to offer his support.

The building's occupants received eviction notices recently from Watermark Retirement Communities, which owns the facility, stating residents must vacate their units by April 27.



We leave you on this Special Day with the best Christmas Song sung by one of the best.

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users
The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

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


There but for the Grace of G-D,
And a whole lot of Other Folks, Go I

I have often asked myself the question “What the heck am I doing here?”

And by “here”, I mean this assisted living facility at this particular time in my life.
I ask this, not as a rhetorical question or a damnation of those unseen forces that we all imagine are out to get us, but as a way of thanking my lucky stars that I am where I am.

I know, that over the years I have made many unkind comments and have expressed my displeasure with much of what goes on around this place that asks us to call it “Home.” But I do this as a way of showing that I have a genuine regard for the concept and implementation of the idea that went into making this place, and my life here, possible.

The phrase, “There but for the grace of G-d go I”, stands truer here than most places that are supposedly set up for the express purpose of housing older Americans.

The majority of people who live here were once very productive members of society.

We all had jobs (Some very good jobs), we all had our own homes or apartments.
We drove cars, paid taxes, paid rent or mortgages and had families.

As far as I know, no one here was ever on welfare or accepted help from anyone.
We are a diverse group of people consisting of all ethnic, racial and religious groups represented.

And, we all have one thing in common.

We are poor (many have resources well below what is considered to be the poverty level), we are mainly older folks, and we have some disability that prevents us from living safely alone in our own homes or apartments.

Many of us are here because, for some reason, any plans we may have made for our retirement fell through the cracks.

So, what happened?

I can only speak for myself, but I’ll bet that some parts of my story will have some meaning for many of my fellow residents here at the A.L.F.

Like most people here, I worked all of my life, both for other people and for myself.

I worked for other people and even had my own business for a while.

Over the years I paid into the Social Security system, paid my taxes and even managed to put some money in an IRA.

I bought T-Bills and CD’s and participated in my (last employer’s) 401K.

I was covered, through my company, by pretty good health insurance.

I was 61 years old, in good health with my goal to retire at age 66 with full benefits.
All was rosy and bright until the s**t hit the fan.

One day in 2003, the wonderful company that I had worked 13 years for, nnounced that they were going to close their regional offices all over the country (My NYC office included) and consolidate their operations in one central location in Colorado.
Although we were all given the opportunity to move to Colorado, for most of the nearly 100 employees in my office, this was not an option.

Essentially, we all would be out of work in a few months.

It took nearly a year and a half before they actually closed our office.
By this time I was nearly 62 years old, and out of work.

And out of work not only meant no salary, it also meant no health insurance. At least none that I could afford.

The health insurance that I had through my job and for which I had to pay only $50 a month for, would now cost me nearly $500 per month paid by me, out of pocket.

Although I looked for work, at 62 years of age there was little out there, and those jobs that were available had no health benefits.

Eventually, my severance pay and my unemployment ran out and I was digging into my savings, IRA, 401K to help pay the everyday bills and my very expensive private health insurance policy.

Fortunately, I had been frugal and calculated that I could hold on for a while on what I had saved. At least until I could find a job, any job.

Unfortunately, my calculations were a little off.

Expenses kept climbing.

Food, rent, insurance and utilities continued to soar as my ability to pay for them declined by the month.

So, at age 62 plus, I made a decision to do something I had been dreading.

I applied for Social Security with the full knowledge that my benefits would almost be one-half of what I would get if I waited 3 more years.

But I couldn’t wait.

I needed that $1100 to keep me from being put out on the street.

The only thing that would save me was the knowledge that upon reaching 65, Medicare would kick in and would save me the cost of private health insurance.

At that time I could also apply for NYC’s rent freeze for seniors (SCRIE) program.
Things were looking up, as my first Social Security check was direct deposited in my checking account.

At least, for the time being, the bleeding stopped.

2008 passed uneventfully.

I was actually enjoying retirement.

I still had my car and was pursuing my hobby of photography.

It was tough, but I was making it.

And then something happened that I could not have foreseen in a million years.
I got sick. Very sick.

So sick that I was taken to the hospital in May of 2009 and never returned home again.

I won’t get into the details of my illness, it’s not relevant to this story, except to say that it kept me bedridden for nearly 6 months causing me to lose my ability to walk or take care of myself.

Although my health insurance paid for much of my hospitalization, I still owed thousands for other non-covered care.

I was released from the hospital to the care of a nursing home where I began some unsuccessful physical therapy.

I was confined to a wheelchair with little hope of ever getting out of it.

In addition, there was little hope of me ever getting back my old life.

All of my money went to pay for my stay in the nursing home. (My insurance did not cover it, just the medication portion).

I lost my apartment, my car and most of my personal possessions. And, after two emergency surgeries, I almost lost my life as well.

Two more nursing homes and some very good PT, and I was able to regain the ability to walk (with a walker) on my own. It was time for me to leave the safe confines of the nursing home and find another place to live. But how, and where?

End Part One
To be concluded in Thursday’s blog


The Best Charities to Donate to This Year!
By Michael B. Sauter and Thomas C. Frohlich
Generosity is at the core of the holiday season, and each year many Americans make it a point to donate to the causes most important to them.

Choosing which nonprofit to give to this season can prove difficult, as there are hundreds of choices for every cause.
Furthermore, not all organizations are alike, with some more efficient and more transparent than others.
The best charities are those that are able to devote the largest share of total donations to the cause they support.

Go to story >>  

= = =
Intimate and social relationships important for older adults
in assisted living, study finds
 By Latina Emerson 

In a study examining the intimate and social relationships of married and unmarried couples in assisted living, researchers found benefits of late-life couplehood included companionship, support and affection. However, there were some detrimental outcomes, such as feeling the burden of caregiving, feeling defined by one's spouse and having limited choices.




65 Years old an it still holds up…



©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users
The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

Living, and Dying, at Home
America is aging, and most seniors want to stay in the places where they've lived for decades.
Can they? What will it take?
By Alana Semuels 

By 2050, one-fifth of the total U.S. population—about 88 million people—will be 65 and older. Many of them won’t have saved enough money for an assisted living or retirement community.
Some low-income seniors may be able to get Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs, but states and local government budgets will have a hard time handling the crunch, and besides, many of the places that take Medicaid are under-staffed and run-down. Many aging people will not find them to their liking.

= = =

Senior citizens who use tech tools feel less lonely, study finds

Stanford researchers say computers and cellphones improve mental, physical health

Forget bingo and shuffleboard. Use of computers and cellphones is linked to higher levels of mental and physical well-being among those over age 80, according to new Stanford research.

And these elders – dubbed “the oldest old,” a generation typically ignored by the youth-obsessed tech industry – are motivated for the same reasons as digital-savvy millennials: to stay connected.

“Using tech to connect with loved ones was related to higher life satisfaction, lower loneliness and general attainment of meaningful goals – being happy, independent,”


 The Future.
Not My Problem

A Strange phenomenon has overtaken our country.

This anomaly appears to have begun over a year ago when that cornucopia of Republican candidates for president of the United States began to stomp the frozen stomping grounds of those states that held early primaries.

Every day we would hear one of those nudniks vision of what a future America should look like.

And, as each candidate said his (or her) piece, a shudder went up and down my spine.

“Really, that’s the kind of America you think we should live in”, I yelled at the TV screen.

It seemed as if each candidate wanted our country to regress rather than progress.
If lumped into one big super-candidate, a future America would see:

> The repeal of Roe v. Wade.
> The Dissolution of all same-sex marriages.
> The repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
> Returning all undocumented aliens back “To where they came from.”, and then building a wall to keep them out.
> Prayer in schools.
> More guns.
> No rise in the minimum wage.
> Less money spent on alternative energy.
> Less money for environmental issues.
> Less separation of Church and State.
> Less retirement benefits.
And a myriad of other nonsequitur’s which spewed from the mouths of some of those political lightweights.

And, while all of those issues are real, and something to be concerned about, the question I pose to you my fellow old-timers is “Is this something WE should worry about?”

Now, I am not saying that we should stick our gray heads in the sand and pretend that none of this concerns us anymore because we are old.

I am just asking you not to worry about them to the extent that they become an overwhelming deterrent to living a normal life.

As an example, I have heard some people here at the ALF, bemoan over something they think is going to happen because of what they believe the new president is going to do.

“They’re going to take away all of my money and I won’t be able to live here anymore”, is a popular theme.

Or even worse, “They’re going to cut funding and this place will have to close and we’ll all be put out on the street.”

When I hear these things I try my best, not so much to console, but to try and inform those worriers that “Even if legislation were to be presented to congress, and even if congress approved and even if the president signed such legislation into law, the chances are that any of it would be implemented anytime before we are all dead would be slim to none.

Now, doesn’t that make you feel better?

What I am trying to say here is, “Don’t worry about things that we will never see happen in the brief period of time we have left on this planet.”

Already proponents of cutting or even dismantling Social Security have said that it would very likely not affect those presently collecting or soon to be collecting benefits.

And, as far as environmental issues are concerned, fuggedaboutit.
You won’t be alive when all of those horrible things are supposed to happen anyway.

And besides, worrying just causes stress, and according to the website* …
“Because the immune system’s defense mechanisms become impaired as we grow older, our ability to resist infection progressively declines. So does our ability to respond effectively to other causes of inflammation that have been implicated in age-related atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, cancers, and dementia. Chronic stress is widely believed to accelerate biologic aging and support comes from studies confirming its adverse effects on immune system function, as well as how we respond to hidden inflammation. Stress significantly reduces the immune response to influenza and pneumococcal vaccine in the elderly, and to hepatitis B vaccine in younger individuals.”
As for some of you who worry about what kind of legacy we will leave those that come after us, all I can say is “They’ll figure It out by themselves.”

And, let’s face it, do they really care about you?

After seeing who and what the American electorate voted for, they last thing they want to think about is Old Folks.

So, screw ‘em.

You did your part back in the seventies and sixties when you picketed, protested, burned your draft cards and your bras, hugged some trees and begged for pot to become legalized. That’s when it was time to worry about the future.

As for now, why should you give a c**p?

After all, do you think the old people in Germany back in 1920 when Hitler formed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi for short) cared?

Of course not, because by the time Krystallnacht** happened in 1938, most of the old folks from 18 years earlier in 1920 were long dead. Not their problem.

Now you see how everything will always work out.



Senate Approves 21st Century Cures Act
On December 7, the Senate voted 94-5 to approve the 21st Century Cures Act bill.  The bill seeks to expedite the process of getting new drugs and medical devices to the marketplace and provides funding for biomedical research, including nearly $5 billion over the next 10 years for three NIH programs: Cancer Moonshot, BRAIN Initiative and Precision Medicine Initiative. 

Also included in the bill is funding to fight the opioid crisis and to reform to the country’s mental health care system. The legislation now heads to the President’s desk; it is expected that he will sign the bill into law.




©2016 BWC All rights reserved
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Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page

As part of this blog’s effort to inform as well as entertain, I would like to direct you to a PDF document which explains in detail what exactly an Assisted Living Facility is, what it does, the kinds of different facilities are available, who funds such facilities and the regulations governing such facilities.
While this document pertains mainly to the current regulations in N.Y. State, most areas of the country have similar definitions and regulations governing Assisted Living Facilities.
I urge anyone who is contemplating a move to an ALF for themselves or a loved one to look over this document as a way of better understanding what choices may be available to you.

After this week we will save this in the Residents Bill of Rights section accessible at the top of this page.


Seniors in assisted living facilities benefit from
intimate and social relationships
By: Mohan Garikiparithi

Seniors in assisted living facilities benefit from intimate and social relationships. The study examined relationships among couples living in assisted living and found that later-life couplehood or companionship – regardless of marriage status – could benefit seniors’ well-being. On the other hand, there were some detrimental outcomes including feeling the burden of caring for the other, feeling as if they have limited choices, and being defined by one’s spouse.

= = =

It's Never Too Late to Stop Smoking
By Steven Reinberg

You're never too old to reap the health benefits of quitting smoking, a new study finds.

"Even participants who quit smoking as recently as in their 60s were 23 percent less likely to die during follow-up than those who continued to smoke into their 70s," said lead researcher Sarah Nash, who conducted the study while at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

In addition, the age at which you start smoking can have an impact on longevity, the researchers found.

"This study confirms that age at smoking initiation and cessation, both key components of smoking duration, continue to be important predictors of mortality in U.S. adults over age 70.”


An Unlikely Shopper

are many reasons I do not do Christmas shopping or any gift shopping for that matter. Primarily, because I am not a gift giving person.

It’s not so much that I am inherently cheap or am against giving presents, but more because I never know what to get anybody.

This, I believe, is a big reason why I am no longer married. I admit it. I don’t have a clue. I believe this is a problem that most men have. It’s not in our DNA. We are missing the “shopping/gift” gene.

Unfortunately, we men do have the “Here’s a fifty dollar bill, go and buy something nice for yourself” gene”, (And I say “unfortunately” because, what men think is a magnanimous gesture, is perceived by most significant others as “WHAT KIND OF INGENUOUS LOUT IS THIS IDIOT?”).

I am convinced that those little plastic gift cards with different denominations on them sold in drug stores and other places are the number one cause of breakups and divorce this time of year.

Of course, there are some men who know exactly what gifts to buy.

We call those men “gay.”

That is why I believe that every man should have at least one gay friend.

There are times that I wished that there was an Uber-like service, where straight guys could rent gay guys to help them with shopping, wardrobe coordination and how to walk through Bloomingdale’s without getting spritzed with 15 different men’s fragrances. “Dragon Noir” anybody?

The other thing I wish was that people (and by “people” I mean wives or girlfriends) would just tell you what they wanted when you asked them.

Of course, by the mere act of you asking them what they want, you have already sealed your fate, you cretin you.

And, as any man knows, when the significant other answers the “What do you want?” question with “Oh, you don’t have to get me anything”, it really means that there better be something the sultan of Dubai would buy one of his wives under that tree come Christmas morning or you’ll be sleeping on the couch for the foreseeable future.

This all is a lead into why, if you were in the lovely town of Hartsdale in Westchester County New York yesterday morning you might have noticed a rather rotund individual in a Navy pea coat, sporting a cane and looking totally out of place among the throng of holiday shoppers at, of all places, a store curiously called “The Christmas Tree Shop”.

Normally, you would not have caught me dead in a store so deftly named for the one thing I have avoided most of my adult life.

But any opportunity for me to get out of this looney bin for a couple of hours and actually mingle with real people who have real lives and partake in a ritual practiced by millions of people all over the world, all for the low price of $4.00 round trip, could not be missed.

And, despite that the store we were going to is called “The Christmas tree Shop”,  I was assured by a number of my fellow inmates here at the Asylum, that this venue with the erroneous seasonal moniker was much more than a place that sold Christmas trees or just Christmas merchandise for that matter.

And, for the most part, they were correct.

There were a couple of non-Christmas items like an old-fashioned turntable that played vinyl records and a giant stuffed teddy bear wearing a Yankees Jersey. But mostly, everything in this store was devoted to or could be construed to be Christmas oriented or possible candidate for a Christmas gift to be purchased by people like me who have no idea of what to give anybody.

Much to my appreciation there was a slew of neutral gifts many of which involved food items.

Jams, cookies, popcorn, chocolates and liquid center candies dominated the field with flavored coffee coming in a close second.

However, all of these gender, age, religious non-partisan offerings paled next to what I observed as being the most popular category of gifts present in the store and that was gifts for pets, and primarily for cat type pets.

While there were a few items for the canine crowd and a couple for small rodents, the one group of animals that seem to be the most in need of receiving a holiday gift are cats.

The few dog toys (a leather bone and a dog dish festooned with a canine likeness of Santa’s reindeer) were overshadowed by the cat-oriented paraphernalia which took up much of the south end of the store.

Cats, evidently, need to be entertained and, by some law written or implied, it is up to us, we human beings, to make sure that, god forbid, any cat should become bored by having nothing to do during those few minutes that they are not sleeping, eating, licking themselves or taking a crap.

Obviously, the 231/2 hours they spend napping is just a prerequisite for the half hour of insane play time they partake in when awake.

Besides the little wool-covered figures, balls, bells, stuffed mice and a flight of stairs that went nowhere, there were the intricately designed scratching posts that look (and cost) like a Noguchi sculpture or a Caulder mobile.

I wonder how many people who don't even own a cat buy this junk purely out of guilt.

Even though there are still 12 days till Christmas, one could detect that desperate frenzy among the shoppers who tossed items into their shopping carts with reckless abandon.

Even I was caught in the holiday hysteria and found myself making a purchase, not as a gift for someone else, but selfishly for me.

Walking googly-eyed among the shelves of sweets and treats, many of which I could not identify as being real food, I spied what I know I would not be able to find anywhere else (except maybe a store on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx) and that was a two foot long stalk of pepperoni, slightly shriveled and dry.

As I walked with the obscenely, almost phallic-like sausage, tucked under my arm towards the checkout line, a feeling of calmness and serenity came over me.
“This”, I thought to myself, “must be what it feels like to give to someone you love a gift of something they would like."

In fact, I liked the feeling o self-giving so much, I might just do it again next year.

Wouldn’t it be great if everybody were as easy to please as me?


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



I may be naive Bob, but I have faith that the majority of Republican lawmakers
are not as heartless as they are made out to be.
I firmly believe that cooler heads will prevail and that we will not see those drastic
cuts mentioned in many of these stories.
That is, as far as Medicare is concerned.
Medicaid is another situation because it is regulated by individual states and there
               is no telling what those maniacs in Austin or Tallahassee or even Albany will do.

= = =

Thanks whoever you are. It’s nice when you can do something that I feel is
worthwhile and keep myself busy at the same time………………………………bwc.



        1959! Louis Prima w/Keeley Smith    .


©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog.Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

Next Blog Sunday December 18th 2016


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