Grilled By The Feds
And loving It.

I was exiting the dining room after lunch the other day when I was immediately met by our administrator and two young men in sports clothes.

“Bruce, come here, come here,” he said, as he waved his arms.

For a moment I was taken aback because I’m rarely summoned by the boss unless I’ve done something to make the administration nervous.

I made my way through a phalanx of wheelchairs, walkers, Rollators and sleeping residents to the center of the lobby, a feeling of impending doom gnawing at my psyche.

“Bruce, these two gentlemen are investigators with the government,” said the boss.

“Investigators? The Government?” Did the president not like something I wrote about him on Facebook and these guys were here to exact revenge?

One of the young men quickly chimed in, “We’re investigators with the Medicare Fraud Unit.”

My “Threat Level” immediately went from condition orange to green because I knew right away why they were there and why they wanted to speak to me.

As I reported here close to a year ago, I became suspicious when I spotted an anomaly in my quarterly Medicare Summary Notice.

While this report is familiar to all Medicare recipients, most people don’t read it beyond the part where it says “THIS IS NOT A BILL.” And normally, I wouldn’t have either except that I was interested to see what a visit to my GP would have cost me if I had to pay out of pocket.

After I found that particular charge and was satisfied that the amount seemed fair, my eye went to the next section of the report which detailed a charge submitted by another doctor. A doctor whose name I was not familiar with an address I had never been to and for a procedure I know I never had.

The procedure which as stated consisted of an incision being made in my ear, fluid removed and a placement of an ear probe.

I knew damn well that I definitely never had any of those procedures done to me (I certainly would have remembered an incision being made in my ear).

I also noticed that Medicare paid the doctor over $350 for this.

I put the notice aside, but now I was curious.

Had this been done to me in the past?

Fortunately, I am a pack rat.

I keep important looking documents in a folder for at least a year before I discard them.

I found a years worth of Medicare Summaries which I thumbed through eagerly looking for any charges that did not seem right.

Low and behold, I found two more.

One was a charge for over $300 that Medicare paid for me going to a Smoking Secession Course.

I haven’t smoked anything for over 30 years. Why would I need such a course?

The other charge was for a very invasive GI test which, as the memo said, included filling my abdominal cavity with air.

Hmm, I think I would have remembered that too.

Two things instantly came to mind.

First, I was glad that I didn’t have to shell out any of my money for these bogus transactions and second, I was furious that somebody was using me as a front to defraud the government.

I also thought that if I got these charges on my report, how many other residents here at the ALF also were made the unwitting pawns of these unscrupulous health care people.

I spoke to a couple of my friends and asked them to please check their latest reports.

The result amazed me.

Not only had all of them found discrepancies on their reports, but some of them were from the same doctors as the one’s that erroneously charged my account.

A pattern was beginning to form. And you didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it out.

We were being used as easy targets for people who thought it would be easy to pull the wool over the eyes of a bunch of unsuspecting old folks who most likely don’t even read the reports and certainly couldn’t remember if they had a particular procedure or not.

I was pissed, to say the least.

The one thing that I find most abhorrent of all is when people think they can take advantage of old people and get away with it. I was not going to let this slip by.

After a little digging on Google, I was able to find out how to report Medicare fraud online.

Went to, to begin the process. I found it easy and my anonymity is assured.

The site informed me that I may never receive any follow-up calls or visits or be asked for any further information.

I put the matter out of my mind thinking, “Well, at least I did my part” and went about my life continuing to be on guard every time I got one of those reports.

Knowing the speed at which the government works, I expected not to hear anything for a long time, if ever.

That is why I was surprised that somebody was actually working on the case and wanted to speak to me.

The two investigators and I went into a conference room where I explained how I became aware of the not performed procedures and answered questions pertaining to what was not performed by the ear doctor. I also told them about the other items that I never actually was treated for.

We parted with them asking for any paperwork I might have and that they will be following this matter closely.

I thought to myself, “The government actually does care.”

Hopefully, this will not fall between some bureaucratic crack and disappear forever because this is really important.

All of us are potential victims even though we didn’t actually shell out any cash directly.

This fraud costs every American real dollars and, if a new healthcare act ever becomes law, cutbacks will directly affect every Medicare member in higher deductibles, service cuts and possible denial of service because of an imaginary pre-existing condition.

Therefore, I ask you to please check those reports carefully and, as they say, “If you see something, say something.”

Editor’s note: I was immediately drawn to this story when it appeared in my news feed. It’s not often that one sees an article about new assisted living construction and the words “Lower-Income” in the same sentence. It’s refreshing to see that at least some developers have this segment of the senior population in mind.

Assisted living communities target lower-income residents
By John O'Connor

A Phoenix-area developer is building assisted living options for an often-overlooked population: those with few financial resources.

In all, Solterra Senior Living is preparing three low-income assisted living projects, totaling $66 million.

The first, Bridgewater Deer Valley, opened last week at a former Comfort Inn hotel in north Phoenix. In addition, a midtown Phoenix location — the Bridgewater Assisted Living community at Third Avenue and Indian School Road — is scheduled to open in 2018. A third location will break ground in Avondale later this year.

All three communities will use a federal tax-credit program to build the affordable housing. As a result, residents will be able to pay reduced rents.

Tech Revolution Benefits the Aging
By Sally Abrahms

Aging-in-place technology is helping to improve the aging experience for seniors and family caregivers.

Imagine your frail father dons a virtual reality headset so he can "attend" his grandson's graduation and feel as if he's really there. Or your mom, forgetful about her medicine, swallows a teensy sensor encased in medication that will relay the time she took the pill and the dosage to her smartphone.

What's out there today, or about to debut?
Virtual Reality Offers Real Benefits

Although it began as a teen gaming phenomenon, virtual reality, or VR, is maturing into a technology for older adults. While still in its infancy, VR for seniors is gaining fans among physicians, long-term-care staff, researchers, physical therapists and family members.

Here's how it works: A senior dons special VR goggles that show panoramic images made with a 360-degree video camera. The wearer is transported into a multisensory, three-dimensional world where he is totally immersed in a place or experience, making him feel as if he is actually there. That world might be his childhood neighborhood (via Google Maps), the beach, a faraway family reunion or a grandchild's wedding in real time.

For older adults with mobility issues or cabin fever, VR breaks up day-to-day monotony and loneliness, letting seniors "travel"—sky diving or swimming with whales, anyone?—without leaving home.

Comedian John Oliver buys $15 million in medical debt;
immediately forgives it

Comedian John Oliver says he bought the medical debt of nearly 9,000 people and forgave it on his TV show “Last Week Tonight”.

According to CNN, Oliver announced his giveaway on his HBO show Sunday night.

Oliver said his show created its own collection agency and paid $60,000 for $15 million in medical debt. The segment was during a scathing takedown of the debt-purchase industry.

In, what he calls TV history, Oliver forgave the debt of nearly 9,000 people in an unprecedented move that will begin the process of wiping it clean from people’s records.

Oliver says his move was worth double the value of Oprah Winfrey’s famous car giveaway.

Editor’s note: In case you were thinking of doing the math, the $60 thousand Oliver paid amounts to less than ½ cent on the dollar.

The Cruelty of Calling Older Adults ‘Sweetie’ or ‘Honey’
By Debbie Reslock

“Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t call me ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie,’” says Ronni Bennett, author of the popular blog Time Goes By. Her response is to pleasantly but firmly reply, “My name is Ms. Bennett. You may call me that.”

Writer Ceridwen Dovey didn’t think it would be difficult to write a novel from the point of view of a man in his late 80s. Dovey, a 30-something novelist, concocted a generic old man who was crabby and computer illiterate. Another main character was an eccentric old woman who wore magenta-colored turbans and handed out safe-sex pamphlets.

But as Dovey wrote last year in The New Yorker, her effort revealed the problem with assumptions. After reading her first draft, an editor inquired, “But what else are they, other than old?”

What a great question.

When age is the defining feature, our personality, beliefs and individuality are replaced with stereotypes of incompetence, debilitation and dependency. Which leads to one of the most damaging of the discriminating behaviors of ageism — we start treating older adults like children.
No Longer a Man

I remember the embarrassment on my friend Joe Svozil’s face when they gave him a bib to wear for dinner one night at his Denver nursing home. He usually ate alone in his room, but I’d stopped by for a late afternoon visit and he’d asked me to join him.

He was 91 at the time but, of course, he was more than just that. Besides being funny and incredibly kind, he was one of the wisest men I’d ever known. He also was a piano man in the Big Band era and had played with Glenn Miller.

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



17 Groan-Worthy, Pun-Filled Jokes Only A Dad Could Get Away With

To qualify as a dad joke, a joke must be:

1. Told by one’s father
2. Lame
3. Groan-worthy
4. Pun-filled
5. Embarrassingly bad
6. Demonstrated during a wedding or 18th/21st birthday speech

After meeting said criteria, the possibilities really are endless. The joke can be delivered in spoken word, text message, or visual form. Last year, we’ve gathered the best visual dad jokes we could find as a tribute to all dads on Father’s Day. We thought these were lame funny enough to repeat this year.

See More>>


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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.

Editor’s Note: The Sunday Edition of this Blog has been Discontinued

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


Today's post will be the last Sunday Edition of the
WCenterBlog, at least for a while.
For the past few months I have found the interval between
Thursday's blog and Sunday to be too short to do justice to this space.
The pressure to turn out a post just for the sake of meeting a deadline is more of a strain than I need right now.
However, this ism not to say that I won't update Thursday's blog with BREAKING NEWS when necessary. I thank you for understanding.

What do Seniors Want?
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t pretend to be a spokesperson for all senior citizens, nor am I a representative of the average older American. In fact, I don’t know if any of us are “average senior citizens.”

What I do know about old people comes completely from personal observation, a lot of reading and some very direct conversations with my peers.

Here is what the government knows about old folks. Let’s see how you and I stack up.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (as of 2014)…

There are over 46 million of us old codgers over the age of 65.

The median income for householders 65 and over is $36,895 with a net worth of $170,516.
10% of people 65 and older who were in poverty in 2014.

9.4 million of us are veterans.

5.2 million people over 65 still work at full-time jobs.

81.9% of us completed high school while 24.8 have bachelor's degrees.

62.4% of seniors accessed the internet.

The complete list can be found here>>

There are a few things on that list that make me an untypical senior.

I make nowhere near that $36,895 figure and, although I did have close to that $170,000 net worth, that has long since been gobbled up by health-related expenses.

I’m not a veteran and do not have a job.

I do have a college degree and do have an internet connection.

So, now that I have established that I don’t fit the mold of what the average older American is supposed to be you will, perhaps, better understand where I’m coming from when I tell you what seniors really want.

To answer this we have to take a look at what matters most to seniors.

According to

“Relationships with friends and family outweigh financial concerns among older Americans seeking fulfillment in their senior years, according to the second annual United States of Aging Survey. When they were asked which factor is most important to maintain a high quality of life in their senior years, staying connected to friends and family was the top choice of 4 in 10 seniors, ahead of having financial means (30 percent).”

“More than half of the senior respondents indicated that being close to friends and family is important and only 15 percent reported occasional feelings of isolation. The seniors who did report experiencing feelings of isolation and depression expressed less optimism regarding their future health and quality of life compared with seniors nationally. Eighty-four percent of seniors nationally cite technology as important to their ability to connect with the world around them. But many seniors reported challenges in accessing and understanding how to use the new technologies.”

“Most seniors surveyed felt the community they live in is responsive to their needs, but less than half believed their city or town is doing enough to prepare for the future needs of a growing senior population. Twenty-six percent say their city or town should invest in better public transportation, and 23 percent say their city or town should invest more in affordable health care services and housing.

Seniors give low ratings to the quality of public transportation and job opportunities in their city or town: just 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively, rate their community's transit and employment offerings as "excellent" or "very good."

The above coincides with and confirms much of what I have observed.

Wealth, and the accumulation of wealth, unlike much of the population, is no longer the be all and end all of our existence.

Most seniors would be comfortable having just enough money so that they can maintain a decent simple lifestyle which includes a roof over their heads, access to decent food, enough spending cash for toiletries, clothes. utilities, and other household items. In addition, we want affordable healthcare including reasonably priced pharmaceuticals.

We also want better transportation. We are willing to give up our cars if there are viable options available.
Those are the tangible things. The goods and services that all Americans want and deserve.

However, there are some less discernible issues that older people face every day and would like to see addressed.
We do not want to be treated like children or talked down to as if we all have a comprehension problem just because we’re old.

We would like it to be known that we are a lot hipper than you think we are. We actually do know what’s going on.

We know when we are being discriminated against because of our age. We have a name for it. We call it “Ageism.”

We want young people to know that we are willing to move aside and let them have their chance. But we also need you to understand that we want something in return. A little respect. And that respect comes in the form of not cutting our benefits, building more affordable housing (remember it doesn’t have to be fancy) and making sure we have access to the best healthcare available.

And we would like you to remember something. The groundwork you prepare for us seniors today will be there for you when you need it.

America has the money and resources available to do this.

The question is, do we have the compassion, empathy, and grace to make it possible?

Carl Reiner’s life advice for senior citizens: ‘Get off your ass’
By Michael Starr

Carl Reiner’s refreshingly humorous take on being 95 years old is reflected in his new HBO documentary, “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.”

The doc’s title refers to Reiner’s daily ritual of waking up, grabbing the newspaper and … turning to the obituary page.

“I’ve been doing it for many years,” says Reiner, whose career dates back to the ’50s-era TV series “Your Show of Shows,” which Reiner followed by creating (and co-starring in) “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (as the combustible Alan Brady). “It starts at a certain age, when you read that somebody you know or an actor you admire has passed.

“So then you keep checking [the obits],” he says. “Everybody must read the obits. And I have a little agenda now: I look at the dates of people when they passed and say to each one, ‘I got you. I beat you.’”

But the hour-long documentary, hosted by Reiner, isn’t meant to be glib. It also takes a look at everyday nonagenarians and centenarians and what keeps them going. Profiles include Harriette Thompson, the oldest woman to run and finish a marathon (at age 93); 98-year-old yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch, who recently took up tango dancing; and 95-year-old Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, who fought in D-Day and still parachutes to this day. “All you have to see is that woman running a marathon and the exercises she does to keep in shape,” Reiner says. “It’s amazing. And the woman who dances is inspirational. It’s also instructive: do it. Get off your ass.”

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Top 25 New Cars for Senior Drivers
By Jen Stockburger and Michelle Naranjo

Senior drivers and others with limited mobility need a car that’s easy to get into and out of, with controls that are easy to reach and intuitive to use. We’ve combed through our ratings to find the 25 new models that we think best fit the bill. All are recommended by Consumer Reports and earned an Overall Score of Excellent or Very Good in their respective categories (representing road-test performance, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction,
and safety).

We determined the rankings in this chart by giving special consideration and extra weighting to specific features we think are essential for senior drivers: 
Front-Seat Access

Low door sills, wider openings, and step-in heights that reduce the need for ducking or climbing make entry easier for those with physical limitations.

We chose cars that enable tall, medium, and shorter drivers to see out of the front, sides, and back.

These cars have easy-to-read gauges and intuitive controls for changing the radio, shifting gears, and adjusting the heating and cooling.

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10 Things That Will Soon Disappear Forever
(And 7 That Refuse to Die)
By Evan Amos via Wikipedia

Ten years ago, thousands of Blockbuster Video stores occupied buildings all over the country, renting DVDs and selling popcorn. Today, all but a handful are closed. The company’s shares once traded for nearly $30. Now Blockbuster is gone, scooped up (and then erased) by the DISH Network in a bankruptcy auction.

Obsolescence isn’t always so quick or so complete, but emerging technologies and changing practices are sounding the death knell for many familiar items. Here are 10 for which you should say your goodbyes ... and, as a bonus, seven that have defied the odds and refuse to die.

Soon to disappear…

Keys, Blackouts, Fast-Food Workers, The Clutch Pedal, College Textbooks, Dial-Up Internet, The Plow, Your Neighborhood Mail Collection Box, Your Privacy, The Incandescent Lightbulb

But some things refuse to die….

Although the following food review(s) is intended primarily for the enjoyment of the residents of the Westchester Center for Assisted and Independent Living, others may find it informative and entertaining.

Our new head of food services has been here for over a month now, and the consensus among the residents is that there has been a significant improvement in the way meals are prepared, served and constructed.

New flavors, some new meal ideas and even the way some of the old stand-by’s are being made has improved.

The food is less bland, less “processed” tasting and more like genuine restaurant cooking rather than what one would find in an institutional setting.

More detail has been placed on, not only making the food taste better, but look better on the plate as well.

However, as much as things have improved, there have also been some things that have actually deteriorated. And unfortunately it has manifested itself in the one meal that I consider to be sacrosanct here at the ALF, and that’s breakfast.

In the past, we could always count on one thing as far as meals went here. Breakfasts were not to be fooled with.

As folks get older they become dependent upon and feel most comfortable with a set routine, breakfast being a vital part of that routine. Therefore, when changes are made to the breakfast menu it tantamount to a polar shift or the Earth wobbling on its axis.

Previously we could always count on a couple of things insofar as breakfast is concerned.

Monday’s would always be pancake day, and Thursday’s would be French toast day.

The rest of the week would be an egg dish either scrambled, fried, or a variety of omelets all served with bacon, ham, sausage, corned beef hash, and/or fried potatoes. Toast and hot or cold cereal are also on the menu.

However, this past week breakfast has taken a different path. One that I am not happy about.

Any egg dishes have been reduced to either scrambled or hard boiled.

This past week we have seen not only pancakes but waffles (twice) and French toast. And, on one occasion there was nothing but two very small blueberry blintzes and a potato patty. No eggs, no meat.

Whether or not this is only a glitch in the operation due to some confusion over the ordering system leaving us short on some food items, or a trend to serving us less protein is something that I will bring up at the next food committee meeting in a couple of weeks.

And finally, I would like to make a comment concerning what meals are served when.

The standard way America eats is to have a hearty breakfast, a light lunch and a heavy meal for dinner.

This goes against one of the pillars of good nutrition which says that for good health we should “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”

In keeping with this theme, the new chef has begun a trend whereby we have a larger meal in the afternoon and a more “lunch-like” meal at dinner time. Some of our more “traditional” diners are finding this a little confusing.

Time will tell how this works out.


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


We’ve featured many different kinds of nostalgia ranging from music and showbiz to TV and fashion. However, we have never delved into the one genre that may have been the one thing that may have had the single most significant effect on our lives. Adverting.

As kids we were bombarded with it day and night especially on TV, in comic books and newspapers and magazines.

Compared to today’s advertising many of those ads were crude and made outrageous claims.

Probably no single industry’s advertising had as strong an impact on our lifestyle than the tobacco business.

Here’s an add from a popular cigarette brand.

It appears that before the Marlboro man, there was the Marlboro baby…

Out of the mouths of babes come words about the calming nature of relentless nicotine addition. And nothing gets new-borns' brand opinions across like ads featuring babies looking so scared of being slapped they're on the verge of tears. He also looks like he came back slightly drunk from a St. Patrick’s Day party, hence the odd hat choice

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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

Comment section at the bottom of this page

Remembering Money
We haven’t really spoken about money here very much.

There are two reasons for this.

One, I have none, and…
Two, I know very little about how to get it.

This is not to say that at one time I actually didn’t have a little money.

In fact, I had a lot of a little money.

No, I was not rich by any means, but I always had enough to buy anything I needed.

I never had to skimp on anything.

I never looked at the prices of things in the supermarket. I bought what I wanted.

The right side of a restaurant menu meant nothing. I ordered what I wanted and hang the price.

I bought the best clothes I could afford, favoring durability ahead of fashion.

And, at the end of the month, I actually had some left over to invest in my 401K and an IRA.

Taking all that into consideration along with the fact that I was able to afford to live in one of the world’s most expensive cities (NYC), and I think you would agree that I “Was doing okay.”

But that was then when “Doing okay” was enough to get by on.

Unfortunately “okay” doesn’t cut it anymore. Especially for older Americans.

With the cost of rent reaching over 30% (And in places like NY, closer to 50%) of one’s income, the prospects of finding a decent place to live and having any money left over to by things like FOOD, are becoming more and more difficult and downright depressing. And, if you are a senior citizen on a fixed income who, for some reason did not manage to amass a fortune or have a spouse that left you a couple of million dollars, you are in even deeper s**t the ever.

The less than 1% increase in Social Security benefits for this year was not just ridiculous but an insult to every person that worked and paid into the system all of their lives and, while not expecting to get rich, at least expecting to keep up with inflation.

The old saying, “figures don’t lie, but liars figure” was never truer than it is with the C.O.L.A. (Cost of Living Adjustment) which doesn’t take into account things like rent or food among other necessities for daily living.

Even when I was working in the private sector my employers recognized that things cost more from year to year and thus gave us anywhere from a 5 to 7% automatic raise. And, while that was never really enough to keep me ahead of inflation, at least it was more realistic than what the government thinks is a fair amount.

“Social Security beneficiaries have lost nearly a third of their buying power since 2000 as the costs of items typically purchased by the elderly have significantly outstripped the annual inflation increases in their retirement benefits, according to a new report by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) obtained by InvestmentNews.

But creeping inflation over the past 12 months may have a silver lining. Based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) data through April of this year, the consumer advocacy group estimates that the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2018 will be about 2.1% — significantly higher than the paltry 0.3% increase this year.

Social Security inflation adjustment have averaged only 1% since 2012, including no increase in 2016. COLAs are based on increases in the CPI-W, which measures price inflation for urban workers, from the third quarter of the prior year to the corresponding quarter of the current year. The Social Security Administration will make its official announcement about next year's COLA in October.” *

As I said, I had always made a decent living and, being a conservative spender, had managed to put some money away for retirement.

I invested the max in my 401k and contributed to my IRA on a regular basis.

I had some money in CDs and a small amount of cash in a savings account.

The bulk of my health insurance was paid for by my employer and the rent on my apartment was controlled by rent stabilization. My plan was to work to age 67 (when I could) collect my maximum Social Security benefits), sign up for Medicare, and apply for NYC’s SCRIE program (The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption.) which freezes the rent for head-of-household seniors 62 and older who live in rent-regulated apartments.

That, combined with a little downsizing and frugality, was supposed to take me comfortably into my golden years.

Yup, that was my plan. But you know what they say…

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

Unfortunately, my strategy for post-employment “La dolce vita” was quickly extinguished when I found myself out of a job due to my company closing its NY office and consolidating my department at their headquarters in Colorado.

I was 61-years-old, out of work, no health insurance, a small severance payment and my unemployment benefits rapidly running out.

I looked for work, but nobody wanted a 61-year-old who had worked in the same industry most of his life.

I either got the “You’re overqualified for this job”, or, “You would have to start at an entry level position and no benefits for 6 months.”

Eventually, even those offers petered out, leaving me with only my savings and investments to keep me going.

The rest of the year went by with me trying to keep up with the bills.

I found affordable (if not the best) health insurance plan that still cost me over $300 per month.

I dropped the collision option on my car insurance as well as my homeowner's insurance.

I even started to take my empty cans and bottles back to the store for the refunds.

Using coupons, buying generic and store brands, cooking meals instead of eating out, saving leftovers and asking for “doggy bags”, using public transportation, when I could, instead of driving and turning off the lights when I was out of the room.

Sadly, even with all of that prudence, I was still bleeding money like a sieve.

A cold, and expensive, winter gave way to spring and summer.

There was no money coming in and everything going out.

I was cashing in CD’s to pay the rent and dipping into my savings to buy food and pay the utility bills.

I knew that the next thing would be selling my car and giving up driving. Not an easy thing to do to someone who has had his own car since he was 17.

As July loomed on the horizon knew I had to make a decision I had been avoiding for months.

“Should I take early retirement at age 62 knowing that my benefits would be far less than if I had waited even a year?”

The answer was made for me when I was hit with auto insurance, utility bill, credit card statement and rent all at the same time.

I began the Social Security Benefits application online.

A couple of weeks later I received a call from the Social Security office. A very knowledgeable gentleman helped me with finishing my application and explained all of the liabilities of cashing in early.

A month later I received my first check. Even as small as it was, it was a godsend. For me, taking early retirement benefits was the right thing to do. But with that one stroke of a pen (metaphorically) I had now become one of the million Americans living on a fixed income and one of those Americans that would eventually be living below the poverty level.

According to the National Council on Aging…  ( …

“Over 25 million Americans aged 60+ are economically insecure—living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($29,425 per year for a single person). These older adults struggle with rising housing and health care bills, inadequate nutrition, lack of access to transportation, diminished savings, and job loss. For older adults who are above the poverty level, one major adverse life event can change today’s realities into tomorrow’s troubles.
Poverty Measures

21% of married Social Security recipients and 43% of single recipients aged 65+ depend on Social Security for 90% or more of their income. (Social Security Administration [SSA], 2016)

More accurate measures of economic well-being—including the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy’s Senior Financial Stability Index—show millions of older adults struggling to meet their monthly expenses, even though they’re not considered “poor” because they live above the FPL.”

I am not so naive so as to believe that all older Americans are poor.

In fact, as a blogger who receives daily email and news updates regarding assisted living and senior housing, I know that there is a large number of well-heeled seniors out there that have no problem shelling out $5000 or more per month for an apartment in a high-end assisted living facility or 50+ community. And there must be a lot of them because builders of those facilities are investing more and more money in them every day.

Jimmy Buffett To Open String Of Margaritaville Retirement Homes By 2018**

“The golden years are looking even brighter with news that Jimmy Buffett is planning to open a string of luxurious Margaritaville retirement home communities, the first in Daytona Beach, Florida. Retirees will be able to live in a paradise where the party never stops and 'growing older, but not up' is encouraged. The price tag will start in the low $200s and furnished models are scheduled to open in early 2018 for those "55 and better."

Buffett, 70, has teamed with developer Minto Communities and Margaritaville Holdings on Latitude Margaritaville. "It's going to be a very fun place," Minto Vice President Bill Bullock told ABC News of the $1 billion project that is expected to feature 7,000 two-and-three-bedroom homes.”

Where these folks got that kind of money I don’t know. But more power to them.

The rest of us will have to depend on the kindness of others and the compassion of our government to help us as we dash headlong into the sunset.

Did I say “Compassion of our government?” Ha! I must have encountered one of those “Senior Moments” they talk about.

From CNN…

“Donald Trump's budget…..
 will include $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid -- a move that underscores the President's resolve to significantly downsize the federal program even as Republican lawmakers are clashing over the issue in Congress.
The $800 billion reduction, confirmed to CNN Sunday evening by a senior administration official, assumes that the GOP health care bill that the House passed earlier this month would become law, that official said.***

It’s almost as if the government was waging a war on the poor and elderly.

What brought this about is anybody’s guess.

Perhaps it’s because the elderly and the poor are not thought of as being politically viable. And by “politically viable” I mean that on the whole, the elderly and poor don’t contribute thousands of dollars to politician’s re-election campaigns or have well-funded PAC’s or lobbyists hanging on the lapels of America’s legislators.

And for those of you who are ignorant enough to believe that any benefits received by decreasing taxes for the rich will somehow trickle down to us elderly, I hope you are content in your foolishness because you will see none of it.

Right now, I live pretty much from month to month. All of my Social Security benefits go to pay my room and board here at the ALF which includes meals, laundry, and housekeeping.

I also receive a few dollars of SSI benefits which allow me to buy essentials like toiletries, clothes and an occasional take-out meal from the local Chinese restaurant.

I consider myself lucky.

I am well cared for, safe and in good health.

But every day I am made aware that many of my contemporaries are not as fortunate as I.

For some reason, benevolence and empathy (if we ever had it) has disappeared from American life and has left us bereft of any sensitivity for the plight of the least among us. And unfortunately, with the present state of affairs in Washington and in many state capitols, the future does not bode well for those of us who still have a little humanity left in them.

If the attitude regarding the disparity between the haves and have-nots in this country does not change and change soon we will have a problem on our hands that cannot be changed with simple legislation.

*Read More>>

**Read More>>

***Read More>>

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5 financial hardships senior citizens face
beyond retirement

Life after 60 can revolve around retirement - but that's not the only financial challenge that's likely to come up.

Many older consumers also have problems coping with debt payments, understanding their loans and recovering from financial scams, among other issues, according to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The federal consumer watchdog analyzed the 103,000 consumer complaints it has received from people 62 and older since the bureau was created in 2011 to highlight some of the most common complaints.

Here are some of the most common financial struggles affecting older consumers, according to the report and discussions with financial experts.

1. Trouble keeping up with debt payments.

2. Complications with reverse mortgages.

3. Difficulty recovering from scams or identity theft.

4. Confusion over banking products and fees.

5. Challenges managing finances after the death of a spouse.

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Social Security Benefits Lose 30% of Buying Power Since 2000,
According To Latest Study By The Senior Citizens League

Top 10 Fastest Growing Costs since 2000

“To put it in perspective, for every $100 worth of expenses seniors could afford in 2000, they can afford just $70 today,”
Social Security beneficiaries have lost nearly one – third of their buying power since 2000, according to the 2017 Social Security Loss of Buying Power Study released today by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “The findings represent a big loss of 7 percent in buying power, from 23% in 2016 to 30% over the past 12 months. This occurred as inflation has begun to climb, but people receiving Social Security received an annual cost - of - living adjustment (COLA) of just 0.3 percent for 2017,” says TSCL’s Social Security policy analyst and the study’s author, Mary Johnson. Housing and medical costs —particularly for prescription drug expenses — were among the most rapidly - rising spending categories over the past year.

A majority of the 57 million senior and disabled Americans who receive Social Security depend on it for at least 50 percent of their total income, and one – third of all beneficiaries rely on it for 90 percent or more of their income. To help protect the buying power of benefits, TSCL supports legislation that would base COLAs on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). To learn more, visit

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(Un) Ready for Retirement
By Anna Petrini

States face a costly future if their citizens fail to save enough for retirement.

Most Americans are not saving enough for retirement. The problem is especially severe among small-business employees, low-income workers and communities of color. On the brink of a national retirement security crisis, state lawmakers are stepping into the breach with a spectrum of innovative solutions.

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The average age at which Americans retire


The amount the average 50-year-old has saved


The median income of householders age 45  to 54 in 2015


The median income of householders age 55 to 64 in 2015


The median income of householders age 65 and older in 2015

18 years

The average length of retirement


The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit


Portion of Americans who tap into their 401(k) assets early, either through a loan or withdrawal

97 years

The age 30% of today’s 50-year-old women and 19% of 50-year-old men will live to

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Kaiser

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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


Comments may be entered at the bottom of this page

Keeping Me Healthy At The A.L.F.
Doctor’s appointments: Annoying but necessary.

This past May 9th marked the eighth anniversary of an event that I would rather forget.

On that day in 2009, I was taken, by ambulance, to Forest Hills Hospital with stomach pains, bleeding, and fever.

Although I had been suffering from some of these symptoms for a few days, I was reluctant to go to the doctor over just a tummy ache. But, I soon found out that what I thought had only been the result of some bad food or a stomach virus, was something much more serious.

In fact, it was so severe that it changed my life forever.

I would never again live the apartment I left on May 9th, 2009, or drive a car, or work, or even cook my own meals ever again.

From that point on, my life would be one long string of hospitals, nursing homes, and rehab facilities along with three surgeries, countless pills and other meds and a myriad of treatments, exercises and painful procedures.

And the disheartening thing about it is that it all could have been prevented if I had only made regular visits to a doctor.

But, being a man, I was inclined never to schedule any regular visit with a physician.

The American Heart Association has actually made a list of reasons why men don’t visit doctors for checkups or preventive procedures like EKG’s or (as in my case) a colonoscopy.
1."I don’t have a doctor."

2."I don’t have insurance".

3."There’s probably nothing wrong."

4."I don’t have time."

5."I don’t want to spend the money."

6."Doctors don’t DO anything."

7."I don’t want to hear what I might be told."

8."I’ve got probe-a-phobia."

9."I’d rather tough it out."

10."My significant other has been nagging me to get a checkup."

For me, and I think for many men, number 7 (“I don’t want to hear what I might be told’) might be the most compelling of all.

You see, men are essentially cowards. Especially if it concerns something you can’t tangibly see, touch, wash off or buff out.

The truth be told men, unlike women, don’t really want to know what’s going on IN THERE.

While gaping wounds don’t bother us much (put a bandage on it and I’ll be on my way), a spot on an x-ray will send us into a frenzy.

And just the suggestion of an invasive procedure gives us fits.

“Cut off my leg doc, but don’t stick that thing up THERE.”

For some reason colonoscopy’s lead the list of things guys hate the most right there next to prostate exams.

There is a reason for this.

We don’t like dropping our pants in front of strangers (even doctors) for fear of being “judged.”

Men doctors, women doctors, it doesn’t matter.

You know they’re checking you out and subconsciously making a comparison with other men they have seen and you don’t quite measure up if you catch my drift.

You wonder if it would be appropriate to say something like “I took a cold shower this morning doc, heh, heh.”

Women, on the other hand, seem to have no problem about hopping up on a table and showing their vajayjay’s to who’s ever interested. (But then again, women don’t have a problem with size, I think).

Also, men need to be motivated to do anything.

Usually, this is done through some form of competitive event.

A contest if you will, where we (men) have a way showing up the other guys.

Some men do it in business. A good sales contest is always a way of improving one’s status in the office place.

Sports, of course, has always been the best way of “strutting your stuff.”

So maybe the way to get men into the doctor’s office is to make it a competition.

“Wow, Mr. Smith, your blood pressure is the highest I’ve ever seen.”

“Thanks, doc, what do I win?”


“Okay Mr. Jones, I’m going to put this rod up your bum. The record is 3.2 feet, but I have a feeling you can beat that. Ready, set, go.”

Well, it’s just a thought.

But seriously, if I had had a regular exam and done all the tests recommended for a man my age when it was time to do them, my senior years would have been entirely different. Which brings me to this past week.

One of the reasons today’s blog is a bit leaner than usual on a Sunday is because this was “Medical Appointment Week” for me here at the A.L.F.

Fortunately, I don’t have any chronic illnesses. Mostly everything wrong with me has been surgically removed. Therefore my time spent with practitioners of the medical arts are limited to three or four times a year.

But sometimes the planets align in such a way that all of my appointments come all at once. And this week was just such a time.

Tuesday, the Optometrist. I finally have given in to wearing glasses on a regular basis.

Wednesday, my Primary Care Physician. Blood pressure. Listen to my chest. Check lungs. Arranges for Complete Blood Test.

Thursday, Podiatrist. There’s nothing wrong with my feet. I go only to have my toenails clipped.

All of these doctors come here to the facility.

We have a fully equipped medical suite complete with waiting room and old magazines.

Appointments are made without any input from me. They put a note under my door the night before and I decide whether to go or not.

I have learned my lesson and rarely refuse or postpone a visit.

I guess, in the long run, me winding up here is the best thing (medically) that could have happened to me.

Otherwise, I am sure I would have continued on my merry, and clueless, way into oblivion.

I have found out one very important thing as far as one’s health is concerned.

Although we will all have to pay the piper sooner of later, regular visits with a healthcare professional can postpone that time a little longer.

*Editor’s note: The only thing icky about a colonoscopy is where they have to put that scope. If checking for abnormalities were as simple as taking an x-ray or cat scan we wouldn’t think anything of it.
If you have never had one of those exams let me tell you that YOU FEEL NOTHING. Even if they don’t put you to sleep. Mine was done with me wide awake and facing the TV monitor so I could see for myself what was going on in there.
Is it embarrassing? Yes, but only for you. The doctor and nurse have seen it all and believe me, yours is no different than any other a--hole. If you are over 50 get one soon. Take it from one who knows. Anything is better than the pain and suffering I had to endure..

Mental Illness is not a “Normal” Part of Aging

One in four older Americans will experience some type of mental illness in their lives. Yet mental illness remains critically underdiagnosed and undertreated in the baby boomer population. In fact, two-thirds of older adults with mental health problems do not receive the treatment they need.

If mental illness is such a pressing issue in the older population, why do so many boomers remain undiagnosed and untreated? Part of the problem may be Americans’ negative stereotypes about aging—the idea that it is “normal” for someone to grow lonelier or more unhappy as they age.

Contrary to these negative stereotypes, feelings of depression, excessive anxiety, or being “better off dead” are not normal parts of aging. They are all signs of treatable medical conditions, no different than diabetes or hypertension.  Read on to learn more about identifying the symptoms of two of the most common mental health conditions in the 55-plus population: anxiety and depression. No one should have to suffer in silence—help your friends and loved ones get the help they deserve!




* * *

©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


Going it Alone in The Golden Years

I belong to a Facebook group called “Elder Orphans”, (

Essentially, it’s a group for senior citizens that are, for all practical purposes, alone in this world.

This means that those folks (me included) have no spouse, no children and no close relatives to look after them should the time come when it becomes impractical or impossible to live on your own or take care of your everyday needs.

According to Zack Nelson of…

“There are approximately 13.3 million seniors who meet the definition of elder orphan, and that number will only grow. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly one-third of Americans age 45 to 63 are single and positioned to become elder orphans.”

Among the biggest risks facing elder orphans are loneliness and social isolation…

“…both of which have been identified as risk factors for physical and cognitive decline. In 2016, Dr. Maria Carney published an extensive paper in the peer-reviewed journal Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research. Dr. Carney is Chief of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York and has been researching the psychosocial and medical risks elder orphans face for the past decade.”

This is something that I have thought about for the last 15 years ever since my older brother passed away and, although I have some wonderful cousins dispersed throughout the land, I found myself without someone who I could rely upon 100% to care for my welfare and interests.

Fortunately, I have no vast income reserve to worry about and a list of my net worth wouldn’t fill one side of an index card, so money is not part of the equation. But what will happen to me when I am no longer in control of my faculties or can no longer make decisions for myself?

And, going even further than life on this mortal coil, what will happen to my body after I die.

The proposition of me no longer being around became very real a few years ago when, lying in a bed in a nursing home, I was asked by a social worker what my wishes for the disposition of my remains would be in case I died under their care.

It was something that I had not really thought too much about but knew that someday I would have to make that decision.

The social worker suggested funeral “Prearrangement.”

It’s a method by which I could pay now and die later and not have to worry that my earthly remains would wind up in a pine box buried in Potters Field somewhere.

She also explained that any amount spent on prearrangement could be used to legally spend down my net worth as a precursor for qualifying for SSI, Medicaid and other social welfare programs that I might need to pay for future long-term care.

And, although the procedure of choosing one’s casket from a catalog and buying a cemetery plot was a bit morbid, in the end, I found the process quite cathartic and comforting.

But the question that remains is “Who is there that I can trust to make sure that my wishes will be carried out?”

And that goes for before and after my demise.

When you get right down to it, there really is no person or persons around that could be a trusted “proxy.”

Now, I suppose you could hire a lawyer who, for a hefty fee, would be willing to take on the responsibility of looking after your interests if you become incapacitated. But what happens if he or his firm is not around when it’s time for you to use them.

Therefore, what we really need is an organization dedicated to one thing. Being an advocate for those elderly Americans who have no one else. They would become a sort of surrogate “relative” or adult Godparent.

For a reasonable fee, a list of specific instructions could be left with this organization.Those instructions would lay out what your wishes for long term care are and how, when the time comes, your instructions for your end-of-life care and the disposition of your remains. They could even have a service that would send out death notices, draw up a last will and testament and act as an executor.

A hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or even the police could contact this central location and someone would be available to take care of all the necessary duties normally left to the next of kin.

The organization would be nonpolitical, nonreligious, self-perpetuating with government oversite but not under government control.

Preferably, such a group would be community-based and locally situated.

The workers at these places should have a background in social work and have a relationship with local hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities and would provide as good as, or even better, service than a best friend or relative.

In the years to come, and with the number of baby boomers reaching the age of 65 increasing every day and with humans living longer, the likelihood that such a service will be necessary becomes more and more of a reality.

Perhaps we have not reached that critical point yet, but it certainly becomes something to think about as more and more of us enter our sunset years.

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

The Health Benefits of Dogs (and One Health Risk)
By Kristen Sturt

Whether you're a dog owner or volunteer with dogs, studies have shown that when it comes to you and your health, your furry friends can actually be helpful to your well-being. Click through the slides to see the many ways a dog can be  beneficial to your life.

Health experts recommend that adults get about 2 hours and 30 minutes worth of moderate exercise per week. Dog owners are way more likely to hit that goal. "People love to be outside to walk their dog, and be with their dog," says Kay Joubert, director companion animal services at PAWS, a Washington-based animal advocacy organization. "It helps them be more active."

It’s believed that owning a dog can help detect, treat and manage a variety of illnesses and debilitation's. A few examples:

Some dogs have been trained to sniff out skin, kidney, bladder and prostate cancer, among others.

Service dogs are known to benefit people with everything from traumatic brain injury to autism to rheumatoid arthritis, increasing mobility and promoting independence.

Alzheimer’s patients are soothed by dogs, whose companionship also seems to mitigate emotional flare-ups and aggression.

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Why Old People Are More Millennial Than Millennials
Derek Thompson

Young people are the supposed vanguards of a new economic age. Unlike their parents, young people are said to value happiness over money. They prefer gigs over jobs. They prefer flexibility and meaning rather than status and hours at work. Rather than attach themselves to a single company, they are ushering in an economy of coffee-shop “creatives,” hot-desking between WeWork-style shared work spaces in pursuit of their individualistic dreams.

But there is another generation of U.S. workers with those non-monetary values and gig-style jobs. It’s not America’s youngest workers, but rather America’s oldest.

There is little question that an aging workforce—and an aging country—is one of the most important features of the modern economy. By 2024, one quarter of the workforce will be 55 and over—more than twice what the share was in 1994. And as they extend their working years, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity, it’s older Americans who are quietly adopting Millennial stereotypes, far more than actual Millennials are.

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1 in 4 senior citizens are divorcing as new trend sweeps nation,
Destroying families
Gray divorce is on the rise. A survey by Pew Research suggests the surprising reasons why grandma and grandpa are choosing to separate for good.

Gray divorce, as it has been dubbed for people age 50 and older, has doubled in the past 25 years. Divorce is on the decline for younger couples, but for those 40 and above it is on the rise. And for those over 50, Pew reports a 109 percent increase from 1990.

To provide firm perspective, 1 in 4 seniors are now likely to divorce after the age of 50.

These numbers are disturbing because gray divorce is especially traumatic. Not only are children and grandchildren caught up in the politics inspired by divorce, but the former spouses face new challenges they may not have assumed. Financial security collapses. It's harder to have a next-of-kin on hand. Job loss or the need to reenter the job market often follows. For many people, they face difficulty reentering the job market at their former salary level. Some are compelled to accept low wage work.

Social satisfaction drops. Many parents end up feeling alienated from branches of the family they once took for granted.

In all, gray divorce means a tougher life with less wealth, more uncertainty, diminished satisfaction, and shorter lifespan. So why are many more seniors choosing this option?

Daily protein intake recommended for elderly may be too low

A new study shows that recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, of protein may not be sufficient for the elderly and critically ill.

The RDA are found on the nutrition labels on all processed food and food manufacturers are obligated to list the nutritional value of their products and the percent daily value of the RDA for certain nutrients.

RDA guidelines are established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and are set to meet the requirements of 97.5 percent of the healthy adults over age 19.

However, the RDA on nutrition labels were set in 1968 and those used by researchers were set in 2003, and a recent study sheds light on the need to update those guidelines.

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have found the RDA values do not meet the protein needs of the elderly and critically ill patients.

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

Alderman says senior citizens who can't pay taxes
Should be removed from homes

A city alderman in New Hampshire is defending himself after he said that older residents who can't pay their tax bills should be removed from their homes.

“I've got an 85-year-old woman that lives across the street and she won't give up her house. She's sitting on $350,000 and she can't afford it anymore,” said Alderman Chris Herbert.

The comments were caught on tape during last week’s committee meeting. Alderman Chris Herbert was discussing the major budget challenges Manchester is facing when he made the suggestion.

“We need to get new people in and occupy those houses. We can't be run by the elderly,” he said.

In Manchester, 9 percent of the residents are senior citizens, and along with an aging population, city leaders are facing declining revenues.

* * *

©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 Following is a list of some of my contemporaries from the neighborhood I lived in during the
Vietnam era who made the supreme sacrifice.

Futures Lost

While I do not recognize most of the names on the list printed above, there are a few that look familiar. But whether I knew them or not, they were all young men like myself who, for some reason (fate, luck, or desire) found themselves fighting a war that we had no business being in. Some of them probably went to the same high school I did (Jamaica High) and most likely, I would have passed them on the street at one time or another.

They were guys who ate at the same pizza joint I did, went to the same movie theaters I did and shopped in the same stores I did.

I don’t know why I was lucky enough not to have participated in that ill-fated fiasco in Southeast Asia. For some reason fate blessed me with a high number in the draft lottery. Believe me, not a day goes by that I don’t think about my good fortune.

However, I often think that I should have been there with them. And, in a way, I feel ashamed that I wasn’t. I feel that I should have trudged through the jungles and swamps, jumped from helicopters into a barrage of gunfire or walked cautiously through a native village not knowing if “Charley” was waiting behind the next hooch.

Of course, the only people that would disagree with me would have been my mother and father who, although they would never let on to it, were worried sick at the prospect that I could have been drafted at any moment.

In fact, I can remember the concerned look on my mom’s face when I boarded a bus in front of my local draft board office for a trip to the Army Induction Center at 24 Stone Street in Manhattan and again a year later to Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn where I was poked and prodded and examined and tested. I went from doctor to doctor who listened to my heart, looked at my feet, took my blood, checked my hearing and stamped my draft card 1A-Fit For Duty.

I rode home wondering how long it would be before the government called this 1A prime piece of meat to active duty.

I was 18 or 19 years old then, and all I could think about was how I could avoid coming back in a body bag. Something that no 18-year-old should ever have had to think about.

Although I never thought of defecting to Canada, I did check into being a conscientious objector which, after due consideration, didn’t really appeal to me.
I guess, like most of my friends, I just would have gone without complaint and hoped for the best.

It was not a good time in America.

Colleges and universities were the hotbeds of radicalism and terrorists were white middle-class kids from the suburbs who saw their prospective futures taken away from them by politicians and generals who could not wait to use all of that nice military equipment they spent billions of dollars on.

There were groups like the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) and their militant spin-off, The Weather Underground that staged sit-ins and in some cases actual riots.

Things really came to a head on August 28th, 1968 at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago…

“… several thousand anti-war protesters gathered to show their support for  (Eugene) McCarthy and the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Vietnam. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley deployed 12,000 police officers and called in another 15,000 state and federal officers to contain the protesters. The situation then rapidly spiraled out of control, with the policemen severely beating and gassing the demonstrators, as well as newsmen and doctors who had come to help.”

Read more>>

There is still controversy whether those riots and protests did any good towards ending the war which eventually ended as a defeat for the U.S. which only made the loss of 50,000 men and women even more horrific.

But most of us (Including, I’m sure most of the boys on that list above) were stoic and resigned to our fate.

I participated (halfheartedly) in some local protests at NY City Hall which was across the street from where I attended school. But mostly I just lived my life.

I went to work at a full-time job during the day and attended college at night. I didn’t have the time or the inclination to be a real anti-war protester.

Eventually, and under great pressure, President Nixon ended our participation in the war when the “United States withdrew in 1973, therefore leaving the South Vietnamese Army to defend the country… by themselves. North Vietnam had agreed to a cease-fire in 1973, and the US had to withdraw under the agreement.

I had finished my education two years earlier and continued to work for the same company while seeking a career path for myself.

I met a girl in 1974 and got married a couple of years later.

We bought a house and lived the typical American life in suburbia.

We had all the things we ever wanted.

We had our lives.

Unfortunately, for the 48 names on that list and 50,000 others the future took a different path.

Their lives ended in an instant in a place far from home in the uniform of a country that thought of them more like cannon fodder than young men with dreams and aspirations.

I’m an old man now, living a quiet existence in relative peace.

I look at my life and realize how comparatively mundane it was.

I also look back and think how lucky I was to have it.

Not so lucky were those who died.

What lives they would have led and what accomplishments they would have achieved remains a mystery known but to God.

- - - - - - -

More older people in America are embracing
'living apart together

By Sheena Rice

Since 1990, the divorce rate among adults 50 years and older has doubled. This trend, along with longer life expectancy, has resulted in many adults forming new partnerships later in life.

A new phenomenon called “Living Apart Together” (LAT) — an intimate relationship without a shared residence — is gaining popularity as an alternative form of commitment among both older and younger adults.

Researchers at the University of Missouri say that while the trend is well understood in Europe, it is lesser known in the U.S. This means that challenges, such as how these partners can engage in family caregiving or decision-making, could affect family needs.

“What has long been understood about late-in-life relationships is largely based on long-term marriage,” said Jacquelyn Benson, assistant professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

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Only 33% of Older Americans Have Saved
for Long-Term Care

By Mary Kate Nelson

Only 33% of older Americans have saved any money to pay for their own long-term care, according to the survey of 1,341 individuals conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Perhaps relatedly, most Americans believe the federal government should help pay for their care in old age.

Over half of Americans 40 and older believe the federal government should devote “a lot” or “a great deal” of effort to helping people with long-term care expenses, the survey found.

The number of Americans who hold this○ position has risen in recent years. About 56% of Americans polled this year believe that Medicare should play a major role in paying for ongoing living assistance; in 2013, only 39% expressed that belief.

From the looks of it, many older Americans will ultimately require some sort of assistance in paying for their long-term care, the survey results indicated.

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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


I am relinquishing my editorial space to my alter ego The Faceless Foodie, who has been covering, not only the food here at the ALF, but the service and the entire dining experience as well. He comes to you with over 72 years of eating and cooking experience both at home and at restaurants and institutions everywhere.

Like most people in their formative years, I was really not that interested in what I ate, and mealtime was just an inconvenience, a pit stop to refuel, read the paper and be on my way.

In fact, during my working years, eating was just something I did at work between phone calls.

Often, I could be found in my cubicle with a tuna sandwich in one hand, a pen in the other while speaking on the phone via a headset/mike combo.

By the time I arrived home that evening, eating was the last thing I thought of. I just wanted to sit in front of the TV with a cold beer and veg out (no vegetables please).

In fact, now that I look back, the only times I would actually enjoy meals was when I was out with friends, out on a date and later, with my wife in a nice restaurant.

It was really not until I retired that food and mealtimes in general, became the time of day I most looked forward to.
Not only could I now appreciate all the varieties of food my neighborhood had to offer*, but trips to other locations gave me the opportunity to enjoy foods available only in those locations.

There was great seafood in Boston, superb barbecue in Texas and hardy kielbasa in Chicago and the best Italian food in NY on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

And when I wasn’t traveling and eating out, I learned to cook at home, for myself.
Nothing was off limits.

From Mexican to Chinese. I would try to cook anything that appealed to me.

I bought a giant Wok and found that everything tastes better when stir-fried and well seasoned.

To me, too much garlic ain’t enough and bacon was as important a seasoning as salt and pepper.

I was even so bold as to try cooking some of my mother’s favorite recipes.

And, while I failed at stuffed cabbage, I excelled at beef stew, mushroom barley soup, pot roast, and meatloaf.

But the one thing I did best, was the one meal that I never really had much time for and that was breakfast.

I could do most of the standard breakfast items okay, but I excelled at omelets. I made (and I say this with all modesty) the best omelets ever.

My breakfast burritos were to die for, (A Stilton cheese omelet with two strips of bacon wrapped in a warm tortilla).
I even experimented eating fewer carbs which gave me the added advantage of losing some weight.

Unfortunately, all of that came to an abrupt end about eight years ago when I became critically ill (not from my cooking wise guys) and had to curtail almost all of my regular activities in favor of being a virtual “prisoner” of various health-related venues that served a variety of institutional food.

And, as you probably know, institutional food (no matter how they try) never ever comes close to what can be considered home cooking, or even decent restaurant fare.

I suffered through months of hospital food (mostly Jello and overdone chicken) and two years of nursing home meals which consisted of lots of mashed things and, again, overcooked, under-seasoned chicken.

After nearly three years shuffling between hospitals and nursing homes, I not only lost my will to eat but my will to do anything else as well. I lost a considerable amount of weight ( not in a good way) I looked and felt lousy. I was in need of a change of lifestyle. And that change came in the form of a move to an assisted living facility.

While there are many things to talk about in regards to making a transition to assisted living, I am going to concentrate on the one thing that has been the bane of my existence, my raison d’etre ever since I arrived here some four plus years ago.The Food.

I have never considered myself to be a gourmet. I really haven’t eaten in the number of restaurants or consumed the variety and quality of meals that would qualify me as one. But I do know what god food should taste like because I have eaten and prepared good food.

I know that you can season food while keeping it spicy but not hot.

I know what a proper portion size for an adult should be and I know what percentage of the plate should be divided between protein and carbs.

I know too, what sides go with what entrée and I know how food should look on a plate.

My mistake, after a few meals here at the ALF, was thinking that everyone else knew these things too. Boy, was I wrong.

It was as if none of the people who were responsible for cooking our food had ever been in a restaurant. And that would include any McDonald’s or any diner in New Jersey.

The food, the side dishes, the portions and the presentation were bizarre.

Breakfasts were the worst.

Cold fried eggs cooked using the “Over hard” method until the yolks fell out or the whites.

And perish the thought of ever again having a soft boiled or poached egg.**

Lunch was not much better.

Sandwiches were almost completely devoid of meat.

A ham and cheese sandwich consisted of one slice of ham and one slice of cheese.

Residents had to ask for condiments (mayo, mustard, ketchup, salt, pepper) as they were not part of the table set-up.

Even hamburgers (the most widely eaten and cooked meal in the U.S.) were not made properly.

The burgers were nothing more than a meatball size piece of ground beef that was smaller than the bun that covered it and a cold slice of American cheese resting on top.

And, as an added insult the side dish, which should have been either French fries or onion rings, was more likely to be mixed vegetables or carrots.

The only bright spot in the lunch menu was the once monthly “Wrap” with turkey, ham, cheese and lettuce and tomato wrapped in a tortilla.

Unfortunately, the wrap did not last long on the menu because many of the older residents either did not know what a wrap was and proceeded to eat only the insides or could not bite into them.

This left only dinner for us to deal with.

As there are with all meals here at the ALF, dinner is served in two seatings.

The first seating is 4:45 pm. A ridiculous time to eat dinner except if you have eaten lunch at 11:30 or go to bed at 6 pm.

Even the later seating (5:45 pm) is too early for me but, at least it was do-able.

The evening meal was not much better than the others.

There were dishes such as meatballs and spaghetti with two ping pong ball size meatballs and a teaspoon of bland tomato sauce drizzled over the pasta which was mushy and overcooked.

Combine that with a side dish of string beans or broccoli and you've got one weird meal.

Of course, after just a couple of weeks of having to eat this abomination, and noticing that nobody was complaining (except among themselves) I felt the need to do something about it. And thus, the Faceless Foodie was born.

I began my food crusade by writing short messages on a white board located in the auditorium.

I signed the messages “Resident-X”, feeling that anonymity would give me the freedom to write what I wanted without fear of repercussion.

Whenever I could, I would voice my displeasure with a particular dish in the form of a poem…

-A Poem
© 2017 BWC

Meatloaf I have had
In Paris, London, and Baghdad
A sauce of ketchup was always on it
Like a festive red Easter bonnet
But the meatloaf that we get here
Tonight tasted a wee bit queer
No seasoning or spices or ketchup, of course
And I fear the meat's not cow but horse
“Where do they get this meat” I wondered
While the sound of hooves in the distance thundered
Next time I think I’ll stick to chicken
And hope to God it's finger lickin'

This evidently struck some sore spot with the administration who sent a lackey out, every day, to quickly erase anything I wrote.

They even went as far as to remove the dry-erase markers from the room.

Fortunately, a quick call to Staples, and I had my own set the next day.

They finally caught me one morning and told me in no uncertain terms that such action would not be tolerated.
I gave in and stopped writing on the board. But I did not stop expressing my thoughts.

I simply found another outlet, the internet.

The Faceless Foodie was born.

I sent links to everybody whose email addresses I had and to all of the staff as well.

My obscurity remained in place for a while until a staff member recognized my writing style and outed me.
But it was too late. They couldn’t censure the internet and my blogs.

I was relentless in my postings which were done on a daily basis and criticized everything from the food to the paper napkins.

Unfortunately, although I received condolences from readers outside of the ALF, most of what I wrote had no effect on those who could make a difference.

I was even called into the administrator's office and told to back off a bit. To which I smiled politely and told him NO.

Over time, new food service managers came and went, each bringing with him his idea of how to feed a group of old people.

Unfortunately, one was as clueless as the next. And, except for a few exceptions, the food remained second rate at best and at worst, just plain crap.

Over four and a half years went by that we residents had to suffer from one unsatisfying meal after another.

We even formed a food committee that would meet with the Chef once a month to hash out our displeasure.

And, although many promises were made, none were delivered.

After a while, it became quite evident that the chef either did not know how to make the food better or was prohibited from doing so by budget restraints.

However, all that has (hopefully) come to an end with the hiring of a new head chef who we’ll call “R”.

Chef “R” comes to us with great credentials.

He was a chef on a cruise ship, owned his own restaurant and is an expert on cooking at health related facilities like ours.

The change was immediate and striking.

All of a sudden new dishes a have been added to the menu, and old dishes have been given a new life with the addition of seasonings and cooking methods.

For the first time, residents were excited about mealtimes again.

Plates were figuratively “licked clean” by diners who thought they would never eat a decent meal here again.

Now, we just don’t eat, we dine.

Chef “R” has only been here a little over a month and there is still much to rectify, but at last, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

It is hoped that under that light, I will someday find two slices of toast with a poached egg on top of each one.

So Why So Much Emphasis On Food?

You would think that, after a certain age, food wouldn’t mean much anymore.

After all, don’t most old folks eat like birds anyway?

And, isn’t it true that after a certain age people lose most of their so-called taste buds and can’t tell if the food is overspiced or under spiced?

And what’s all this about “The Dining Experience” anyway?

A good question but asked with a certain amount of naivete and misinformation.

While there are a number of older seniors who do have eating disorders and have lost a certain amount of their ability to distinguish subtitles in some food, the majority of seniors eat and enjoy just about anything a young person does.

Age does not diminish one's appreciation for a good steak, a bubbling cheesy pizza, a juicy cheeseburger or a good breakfast of bacon and eggs.

But the daily trips to the dining room are more than just a necessary obligation to satisfy one’s digestive system.

For many residents, meal time becomes the primary (or only) social activity of the day.

*I lived in Queens NY, the most ethnically diverse county in the nation and it has the food to match.
** NY State DOH regulations prohibit serving soft or runny yolk egg dishes.

A Reversal of Thought and Execution

Although still not perfect, the standard of food preparation has had an almost 180 degree turn about.
Practically every aspect of the meal has changed.
  • Innovative recipes. (The three meals pictured above are all new items that we have never had here before).
  • Better preparation with attention paid to little details.
  • More adult-size portions.
  • Better use of seasoning, gravies, and sauces. Tastier and more of it.
  • New attitude as far as not serving burnt, damaged, or cold food.

Of course not everything changes. One of the dishes that none of the chefs we have had here appears to know how to make is beef stew. Either that, or their concept of what beef stew should be is completely different than mine.
To me, beef stew should be an all inclusive one pot, one plate meal consisting of cubes of beef, potatoes, onions, carrots, coked in a rich beef stock with red wine salt and pepper.

It should be served by itself with no side dish (rice, pasta, noodles) necessary.

Disappointing but Expected

I cannot leave this post without expressing my extreme disappointment after eating one particular breakfast this past week.

Usually, I don’t single out breakfasts because, for the most part, they are, if not spectacular, at least okay.

After nearly 5 years here at the ALF I have become used to an almost identically prepared breakfast every day.

The only thing that varies is what’s served.

There’s the cake-like lukewarm pancake, the uninspired French toast, the frozen waffle and, of course, eggs.

Eggs here at the ALF come in three varieties.

The scrambled eggs which may or may not have cheese, or ham, or sausage in it.
The omelet, which appears to have been pre-cooked from an omelet factory and are filled with melted cheese and topped with either a Mexican, western or Spanish concoction. These are usually good as long as I boost the cheese filling with a dollop of cream cheese and a good helping of ketchup.

The other egg dish is the fried egg. A staple of any breakfast menu.

The preparation is not rocket science.

There are only three ways to make them. Sunny side up, over easy, or over hard.

Sadly, here at the ALF (And every health related facility in the state) only the last (over well) method is permitted.

In other words, runny yolks are verboten.

Every diner, restaurant, fast food joint, pushcart, roadside stand, and food truck is permitted to cook eggs with runny yolks except here.

The DOH regulations regarding this subject are very clear. Eggs have to be cooked to a temperature of at least 160 degrees, which exceeds the temperature at which egg yolks become firm.

I have done some research on why the DOH singles out health related facilities as the only food service venues that have to comply with this regulation and have never been able to come up with any good reason for this discrimination.

The answer I could come up with has something to do with an increase in the possibility of a salmonella outbreak in such facilities.

An explanation of why this should be more of a problem in our kitchen than in restaurant kitchens is not given.

Nor is there a way of questioning either the evenhandedness or the benefits of such a ruling.

The DOH offers no way of dealing with changes in regulations.

I have written to a number of staffers at the DOH who I thought might be able to help and whose names and email addresses are listed on the DOH website, but have never received even as much as an acknowledgment. Similar letters were sent to my state representatives with similar results.

Perhaps they have no actual answer or they think that my questions are just part of an old man’s dissatisfaction with authority.

Now, here comes the RANT part of this post.

Although my problem does not lie in the inability (by law) for our cooks to make eggs with runny yolks, it does manifest itself in the unwillingness of our management (Administrator and Food Service Manager) to question this ruling on behalf of e
very resident in every ALF in the state.

Surely there must be someone at the DOH that would listen with an open mind and tell us what the procedure would be to get this rule changed.

Until such a time as somebody is willing to take a stand, residents of assisted living facilities (mainly made up of old folks) will remain second class citizens, at least in the eyes of the N.Y. State Department of Health.

The entire “Runny Yolk” thing came to a head (for me) this Wednesday, when for the second time “Poached Eggs on Toast” was listed on the breakfast menu.

The first time this appeared on the menu was evidently a mistake and the long awaited poached egg was substituted with an omelet.

I questioned the chef at our monthly food committee meeting as was told that he was not aware that a substitute was made and that he would be sure that poached eggs would indeed be on the menu soon.

Therefore you can imagine my delight when I saw “Poached Eggs on Toast” listed on Wednesday’s breakfast menu.

Visions of a warm, shimmering egg white encasing an even warmer glistening, and slightly runny, egg yolk danced mockingly in my head.

Had my dream actually come true?

Was this new chef finally the one to show a little backbone and defy the anal-retentive and archaic regulations against runny yolks set forth by the DOH?

No, he was not.

Once again we were fooled by the vagaries of definition.

Here (via Wikipedia) is the definition of a poached egg…

“The egg is cracked into a cup or bowl of any size, and then gently slid into a pan of water at approximately 75 Celsius (167 degrees Fahrenheit) and cooked until the egg white has mostly solidified, but the yolk remains soft. The 'perfect' poached egg has a runny yolk, with a hardening crust and no raw white remaining.”

When will this insult end?


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


Senior Tech Sunday

I’ve been thinking that I should stop
screwing around with the settings on my laptop.

I have been a computer user since 1992 when I went to work for a company that had massive Dell desktops at every workstation. And they scared me sh**tless.
You see, although I was familiar with the how to sell the products our company sold and how to deal with customers, I had no idea how to use a PC.

“PC’s, no problem”, I lied to the HR person with who I had my job interview when she asked if I had “computer experience.”
I really needed that job, and besides, how difficult could it be.

Fortunately, they left me alone that first day “To get myself acquainted with the system.” I used that time to give myself a crash course in “How to use a PC.”

My cubical-mate showed me how to log on and how to use the proprietary software, but the rest was a pure mystery.

I had no idea how to get on the “interweb” or download a program or copy and paste or even how to change the background color of the screen.

Fortunately, I remembered what a friend told me when he got his first PC.

“There’s nothing you can do to break it.”

He was right, mostly.

I found that, while you can’t break it, you sure can screw it up and just because you have 25 years of experience using both PC’s and Mac’s, does not exempt you from doing so.

Such is what happened to me and my laptop this week, just as I was about to begin work on today’s blog.

For some reason, and I still don’t know why, Windows 10 decided that I lived in Afghanistan which, in turn, screwed up my location settings which made it impossible for me to use the “Search” function associated with Microsoft’s Cortana app.

So, being an all-knowing, all-powerful I.T. guy I thought myself to be, I went immediately to the “Settings” screen, clicked on “location”, noticed that it was indeed set to Afghanistan and proceeded to change to “United States”.

Unfortunately, that did not work. The darn thing just went back to Afghanistan.

Not wanting to learn Afghani just so I could navigate the search feature, I looked for another way to change the settings.

I must have clicked on every setting on the screen.

I rebooted a dozen times and even used the “restore” feature to go back to a time when I knew the darn thing worked.

No good. In Microsoft’s eyes, I was a card-carrying Afghani.

Searches on the internet looking for a solution to my problem left me even more confused.

There was only one thing left to do.

The dreaded “Return My Computer To its Original Factory Condition” fix.

For those of you who have never had to do this simply put, it’s the be all and end all for curing your computer ills.

It’s also the most time-consuming thing you will do all year.

After configuring the recovery process and clicking on a dozen different permissions, the process begins with the statement “This might take a while. Don’t turn off your computer.”

After a few minutes, it becomes clear that the term “a while” means a different thing to Bill Gates of Silicon Valley than it does to me, from New York City.

To me, “a while” is 15 minutes.

To the guys at Microsoft, “a while” is 4 hours.

So, that’s how I spent all of Friday. Waiting for my computer to go through with its numerous starts and restarts.

The evening was spent downloading my favorite apps, including the one that helps me edit this blog.

To my dismay, this has left me with little time to post the blog I had intended which mainly dealt with the food here at the ALF and the new direction it has taken. I also must apologize for the abbreviate content.

I will try to get to the food topic in the near future.

But meanwhile, since this dopey machine we call a PC, (a device that we humans have so drastically become dependent on the last two or three decades) was at the forefront of my thinking this week, I decided to take a look at how seniors are relating to the recent advances in technology. Some of the information may surprise you.

As I mentioned, I’ve been a techie for a long time.

For me, it started as far back as grade school when I just had to have the latest in Hi-Fi Stereo equipment.

Names like Harman-Kardon, McIntosh, Teac, Ampex and AR were as popular as HP, Dell, Apple, and Microsoft are today.

And, although I was a little late getting into computers (some of my friends back in the 1970’s were already using Atari’s, Commodore and even IBM machines) I could still hold my head high, because I had, right there in my pocket, a Bomar Brain handheld calculator.

I bought my first PC in 1993 (a Compaq desktop with a huge footprint that took up most of my living room) and was immediately hooked.

The first day I had it I stayed up all night clicking on everything I could find.
Years of using computers for business and at home had me assuming that everybody knew how to use them.

However, my first week here at the ALF mad me realize that the majority of folks my age (and older) had no idea what a computer was for let alone how to use one.

Despite the fact that there were two very nice HP computers set aside in a special area for resident’s use, there were only about 5 (out of 100) of us that used them or even wanted to learn.

Now, some 4 years later, the tide has turned.

With the advent of tablets and smartphones and the free Wifi, we have here, close to 50% of our residents are online.

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Seniors are more tech-savvy
By Angela Moore

The old adage that you shouldn’t post anything on online that you wouldn’t want your mother to see, should now also include your grandmother.

More senior citizens are online than ever before. More than half of Americans age 65 and older have broadband internet at home, 67% of seniors use the internet, and 42% of this group have smartphones, up from 18% four years ago, according to a report from Pew Research Center.

It appears that seniors have embraced technology. Through a series of phone surveys of 3,015 adults conducted between Sept. 29 and Nov. 6, 2016, Pew found that 58% of seniors believe technology has made a positive impact on society, and about 75% say they are online almost every day. So take a moment before you post something in haste on social media, because your parents — or grandparents — might be watching. Pew found 34% of seniors use sites like Facebook or Twitter TWTR, -0.86%  to share news and information and connect with family and friends. And they are avid users: 70% of older adults who use Facebook FB, +0.27%  log in daily.


A third of senior citizens don't use the internet

A third of senior citizens in the U.S. said they don't use the internet, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

They surveyed adults over 65, also finding that about half of them don't have broadband internet service at home.

Researchers did find that 42 percent of seniors have smartphones, a number that is up significantly compared to 18 percent in 2013.

Pew says income, education and age are all factors in how much seniors adopt newer technologies.


Microsoft watch named Emma
quiets Parkinson's tremors

By Marco della Cava

The Emma Watch, a prototype that was shown at Microsoft Build 2017, can still the trembling arms of those suffering from Parkinson's.

Working with graphic designer and Parkinson's sufferer Emma Lawton, 32, the researchers developed a watch — which they named Emma — that, according to Microsoft, "vibrates in a distinctive pattern to disrupt the feedback loop between brain and hand."

Emma Watch remains a prototype, Microsoft says, but the developers are working with a neuroscience research team to undertake trials with a small group of Parkinson's sufferers.

The watch works through a combination of sensors and AI (artificial intelligence) techniques to potentially detect and monitor symptoms like tremors, stiffness and instability, among others, according to Microsoft. "Once these symptoms can be identified and measured, it’s possible to develop technology and devices that help humans manage their symptoms. AI is used to classify the sensor information and elicit real-time responses on small devices like wearables."


Wearable Tech Can Detect Life-Threatening Heart Problems
By Richard Adhikari

Cardiogram last week announced that it has developed a preliminary algorithm to use with the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices to detect atrial fibrillation with higher accuracy than previously validated detection methods.

Atrial fibrillation, or AF, affects about 2.7 million Americans, and increases the risk of stroke by five times. Overall, it causes about 15 percent of strokes.

The company sent 200 AliveCor mobile electrocardiogram devices to people diagnosed with AF. The test subjects recorded 6,338 mobile ECGs, each associated with a positive or negative atrial fibrillation label generated by the devices.

Cardiogram's algorithm was able to detect atrial fibrillation with 98.04 percent sensitivity and 90.2 percent specificity.

"The convenience and personalization that wearables provide can increase the appeal and drive participation for consumers," said Amy Simpson, industry principal for healthcare at Pegasystems.


Study: Old People Are Finally Getting
the Hang of Technology

ByConor Cawley

The joke is as old as time itself: old people are bad with technology. When cars became the primary means of transportation in America, elderly folks were still strapping feedbags to the bumper of their Ford Model T. When microwaves made cooking easier, senior citizens could be found attempting to preheat them before every meal. And when smartphones landed in everyone’s pockets, old people tried to flip them open. But with the digital revolution evolving faster than ever, it appears the greatest generation is catching up to our technologically focused lifestyles.

According to a brand new study from the Pew Research Center, old people are finally getting the hang of technology. The study found that 42 percent of older adults (age 65 and older) currently own smartphones, compared to 18 percent in 2013. Additionally, 67 percent of seniors use the internet, a 55 percent point increase in less than twenty years, and for the first time in history, half of older Americans now have broadband at home.

Simply put, it means you can no longer write off senior citizens when it comes to your digital marketing campaign. Yes, Millennials represent an unprecedented amount of purchasing power, particularly in the coming years. But these elderly adopter are behind the curve, eager to catch up, and are flushed with cash. Do you really think it’s a good idea to ignore them when it comes to your target audience?


11 Apps That Will Change Your Life in 2017
By Jessica Dysart

Every year that passes, more companies are creating helpful and easy-to-use apps. And in 2017, developers are finding ways to help us shop smarter, find our cars faster and remind us to take our medications on time, every time. Click through this slideshow to find the top apps (that can be found for your iPhone or Android) to keep your life in order.

This classic moment has happened to all of us — you come out of the mall and you just can’t remember where you parked your car. Never forget again with the Follow My Car app for iPhone. After parking, tap the car icon and the app will remember where you parked. When you’re ready to return, the app will calculate the shortest walking route to your spot for you. You can also take notes about the location of your spot, take a picture and use the parking meter timer to remember when your meter expires.

Created by a registered nurse, Pillboxie is an app that will make sure you never miss a dose of your medication again. Input your medications and when you need to take them, an alert will remind you when it’s time. No network connection is required, and it will always remind you on time, even if your device is asleep.

==== ==== ====

While it’s been a while since I have posted anything here I have not been idly biding my time.
For weeks now I, along with my fellow diners, have been evaluating the food that our new Food Services/Head Chef and director has set before us. And it has been very interesting, to say the least.
Now, while I planned to do an extensive review of what has expired during the last couple of weeks, a series of computer problems and time restraints made that impossible to do right now. I will, however, make a concerted effort to do a more extensive assessment of our dining situation in the near future.
As for now, here’s a little something that I consider to be an indication of where we are heading as far as innovation and attitude go.

This is a dish that I haven’t eaten in, perhaps, 40 years.

For some reason liver, as well as most other organ meats, have gone out of favor with American diners.

Therefore you can imagine my (and my fellow diners) surprise when this appeared on the menu last week.

And, while there was a smattering of negative comments made, most of the residents were actually looking forward to this meal.

Perhaps it was just because it was something different, or perhaps it reminded people of a time gone by, there were very few people that did not order this dish. And, for the most part, we were not disappointed.

The liver (beef, not calves) came to me slightly overcooked, but other diners said that there’s was done to perfection, so I will let that pass for now.

The generous amount of sauteed onions were tender and properly translucent.

There was even a nice gravy which brought the whole effort together.
The corn and the mashed potato were, if not exciting side dishes were, at least, appropriate.

But, even more than the way it was cooked, plated, or presented was the effort and courage that went into offering the meal in the first place.

This is far from the usual fair served to a group of seniors in a mid-range assisted living facility.

We hope that this “about-face” from the normal and mundane will continue in the coming months………………ff.

♣ ♣ ♣

See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery


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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


©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


A Soldier in the War on Ageism

Ageism: Origin and Definition:
"Discrimination against people based on age," coined 1969 by U.S. gerontologist Dr. Robert N. Butler, from age + -ism, on pattern of racism, sexism. Related: Ageist.

There is a war against seniors going on in this country and, while it hasn’t escalated to a shooting war (yet), it is a war none the less.

On one side, we have America’s senior citizens whose ranks are growing at the rate of 10,000 per day, while on the other side, well, just about everyone else who see seniors as a group of senile, demented, disabled, irrelevant burdens on society. And even those who purport to be sympathetic to our side treat us like children who need to be protected from ourselves.

Seniors have been lumped into a group just like all “undesirables” have been in the past. And, like many ethnic groups, seniors have been “ghettoized”, not by a wall but by the economy, government apathy, and the narrow mindlessness of both the media and popular opinion.

There is a consistent an constant bombardment of missiles hurled by so-called well-meaning individuals who think they are doing us (seniors) a favor by having a good laugh at our expense.

And if it isn’t in the form of a laugh, it comes as legislation that cuts our benefits, or refuses to care whether we can keep up with inflation, or digs into our health care or kicks us out of affordable housing.

The onslaught continues whenever a senior gets scammed on the phone or is financially abused by those who they think are our friends.

It starts out simple, usually with a joke.

“Reginald may be 75, but he still thinks of himself as a ladies' man. Every Friday night, he dresses up nice and smart, slicks down his hair and heads off to his favorite club.
When he gets there, he walks up to the bar, sidles up to the prettiest girl he can find and says: "So, tell me, do I come here often?"


“An 80-year-old man goes to his doctor for his annual check-up. A week later, the doctor sees him walking down the High Street with a stunning blonde on his arm. She can't be a day over 25. The old boy sees the doctor and walks over.
"Hello, doc," he says. "I did what you told me: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.' "
"But that's not what I said," replies the doctor. "I told you: 'You’ve got a heart murmur, be careful.'"

Cute? Maybe. But what if you substituted the age of the person in those jokes with an ethnicity….

“Reginald may be a Jew, but he still thinks of himself as a ladies' man. Every Friday night, he dresses up nice and smart, slicks down his hair and heads off to his favorite club.
When he gets there, he walks up to the bar, sidles up to the prettiest girl he can find and says: "So, tell me, do I come here often?"


“A Polack goes to his doctor for his annual check-up. A week later, the doctor sees him walking down the High Street with a stunning blonde on his arm. She can't be a day over 25. The old boy sees the doctor and walks over.
"Hello, doc," he says. "I did what you told me: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.' "
"But that's not what I said," replies the doctor. "I told you: 'You’ve got a heart murmur, be careful.''

Not so funny anymore, huh?

You may think I am making a mountain out of a molehill and these are just harmless jokes and have no basis in fact. But that’s because you, most likely, do not come in contact with the elderly and never have had a chance to observe how they are treated on a daily basis.

The next time you are in a situation where there is a mix of elderly and young people in a room I want you to watch how the older people are approached and spoken to by others.

Listen to how both the cadence and the volume change when they turn from their peers and begin to speak to the older person.

They begin to speak slower, as if we suddenly forgot how to speak English, and loader as if, just because we are old we are automatically deaf as well.

Where do you think they get this from?

Not from any actual contact with the elderly, but rather from what they have seen on TV, in the movies or online.

And what’s worse than the jokes and innuendos is the belief that it’s okay to unabashedly perpetuate the stereotype.

But what does ageism actually do to the elderly?

Simply put, it takes the elderly out of the mainstream of society and treats them as second or even third-class citizens. And anytime that is done to anybody or any group it is nothing more than segregation and dehumanization.

Yes, there are many old folks who are hard of hearing, forget things, get cold in 80-degree weather and are clueless when it comes to technical things. But that’s not all or even most of us.

And yes, some of us need a little help once and a while with daily chores, but in no way should these needs be translated as us being “needy.”

Essentially, we want to be treated as any other citizen.

We want decent healthcare at a decent price.

We want our Social Security benefits to reflect the rising prices of staple goods like food, clothing, and energy just like most folks count on a cost of living raise from their employer.

We don’t want to be venerated or put on pedestals or looked upon as some sacred cow that must be treated with respect or reverence.

We simply want to be part of the conventional and established populace and to reap the benefits thereof. No more and no less.

Why You Should Watch Season 3 of “Grace and Frankie”
By Erica Manfred

I’ve been a fan of “Grace and Frankie” from the beginning. And it just keeps getting better.

What I’ve always loved most about the show is that it deals un-sentimentally with the elephant in the room—aging. Although it approaches the theme a bit gingerly in the first two seasons, by Season 3, Grace and Frankie have hit their stride as indomitable, independent women. They’re a united front meeting old age head on.

The show takes aim at some of the most insidious types of ageism that the media dishes out daily. Grace and Frankie consider hiring a PR firm to publicize their vibrator; the PR firm presents them with photoshopped images of themselves as the “faces” of their product—very young faces. Outraged, Frankie hits her panic button (one that Grace hasn’t destroyed yet) and they escape. Big fist pump for that episode (even though Fonda and Tomlin both look like they’ve had “work”—and Fonda admits it.) I’m sure I’m not the only one who is heartily sick of seeing ads for wrinkle creams featuring 25-year-old models.

The Global Gap In Health Care Dollars
For Young And Old Is Huge

By Susan Brink

The United States spends a lot of money taking care of the health needs of old people.

"There has always been a preference in funding for younger age groups in the developing world. In 2013, assistance benefited people younger than five the most, with spending over three times more than any other age group."

The money goes for maternal and newborn health, for childhood immunizations and to fight malaria and TB in children, among other things, the report says.

Go to story>>

‘Elderly Alexa’ helps families care
for their remote loved ones via voice

by Sarah Perez

(The other) night on Saturday Night Live, a spoof advertisement for an “Alexa Silver” poked gentle fun at how an Alexa speaker could be used with the elderly to do things like listen to their long, rambling stories (and respond with “uh-huh”), as well as answer questions even when addressed as “Alaina,” “Allegra,” “Aretha,” or other names.

But using an Alexa device with senior citizens is actually a good idea — as a hack at today’s TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017 hackathon displayed.

The hack’s creator, Brett Krutiansky, a computer science student at Northeastern in Boston, says he came up with the idea for “Elderly Alexa” because both of his grandparents need additional care. His grandfather suffers from dementia and his grandmother has trouble seeing, and both have vertigo.

His mother is continually worried and stressed about her parents’ well-being — sometimes frantically calling neighbors when she can’t reach them at home. Krutiansky says he’s offering his hack as a Mother’s Day gift to help ease her mind.

The voice app he built — or “Alexa Skill,” in Amazon’s lingo — is enabled on an Echo speaker, offering an interface between families and their loved ones who need extra care.

==== ==== =====

New platform helps assisted living residents
engage with current technology

by Autumn Robertson

Senior living facilities are diving into technology with a system called "It's Never Too Late" or iN2L for short.

iN2L is easy to explain and large enough to see. The 60-inch, touchscreen system is simple enough for residents to use and contains more than one thousand applications residents can explore.

Dora Howard, executive director at Pioneer, says iN2L is proven to help with memory loss, cognitive behavior, and hand-eye coordination. The system makes it simple for residents to use social media, play games, and connect with family members. Residents can video chat with distant family members and veterans can easily reach out to soldiers over seas.

Seniors can dive into their past by researching items they used years ago, and can easily look up and see a live image of where they grew up. These applications helps residents with dementia and keeps residents alert as they engage with the device. As technology continues to move quickly, it helps the residents feel connected

♠ ♠ ♠

We regret to inform you that the sparrows that hatched from their eggs (a week or so ago) that were in a nest in one of our patio barbecues have lost their struggle for life. This is the second year in a row that sparrows born in the BBQ failed to survive. Our condolences to Mr. And Mrs. Sparrow on their loss.


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery


Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
Here’s your chance.
Go to….


We have a new chef who comes to us with new ideas and a new attitude.
Is this the beginning of a new era in dining here at the ALF?
Check out what FF has to say this Sunday in the BLOG.


* * *

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.

©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



  • The biggest story was that a cyberattack involving malicious software called WannaCrypt spread through thousands of computers using Microsoft operating systems in more than 70 countries, paralyzing hospitals, public transportation and communication systems, manufacturing plants and other businesses.

  • Lesson No. 1: Make sure the latest security updates are installed on your devices at home and at work.
  • Lesson No. 2: Review account statements, and monitor credit reports and explanation of benefits forms for suspicious activity that may reveal that your personal information may have been compromised.
  • Lesson No. 3: Never answer a suspicious email or click on a suspicious attachment in an email, even if it appears to be from someone you know. When in doubt, call the apparent sender directly to see whether he or she truly sent you the message.
  • Lesson No. 4: Don't fall for callers or pop-up messages on your computer that tell you to contact tech support via clicking on calling a provided number. If you want to call your security software company, look for the company's contact information on its official website, on the package in which your software came or on your receipt.

Mother’s Day

It’s Mother’s Day, and I’ve been thinking just how much I have always hated it. Not my mother, just Mother’s day.

As a matter of fact, I hate most holidays, but I find Mother’s Day to be particularly arduous.

As any thinking person can tell, it’s a holiday contrived by the greeting card industry.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

Actually, the holiday we know as Mother’s Day has its roots in the 19th Century…

   According to the website “”…

“Since the 1870s, when pacifist Julia Ward Howe campaigned for a holiday called Mother's Peace Day, there had been several calls for a holiday that commemorates mothers. But none of those attempts stuck until 1907: Anna Jarvis, of Grafton, West Virginia, staged a personal, private celebration for her mother who had died two years earlier. She later explained that this was a tribute to the sacrifices her mother made to raise her.”

“With help and funding from department store mogul John Wanamaker, Jarvis held the first public Mother's Day the following year in Grafton's Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, which would later be named the International Mother's Day Shrine. Celebrations continued to spread across the country. Finally, in 1914, then-President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it a national holiday, dedicating the second Sunday in May every year to "the mothers of our country."

Now, while we don’t know whether or not Woody Wilson liked his mother, we do know that over the years it has become one of the most commercialized holidays we have.

Besides greeting cards (which, I suppose today come mostly in the form of an email which just reinforces its basic insincerity) it has been a boon to the jewelry business whose showcases glow with the shine of cheap trinkets made especially to entice the unsuspecting and clueless male customer (i.e. Father, son) into buying something that mom will smile at, thank you profusely for and then throw the hideous piece of crap into that jewelry box she keeps in the drawer never to be seen again.

Florists too, make out like bandits on this holiday.

Now I like flowers as much as the next guy but really, flowers?

At last look, a bouquet of 12 long stem red roses will set you back $60 at 1-800flowers.

Sixty dollars for something that will be dead in a few days.

What a great way to honor your mom.

To me, flowers say, “Here mom, we love you, but, just like these flowers, you’ll be dead soon.”

Okay, maybe that's a bit too harsh, but you get the point.

But my favorite Mother’s day fiasco/ripoff is the “MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL DINNER” at your favorite restaurant.

As practically everyone knows, anytime you see the words “Special” on anything, you know that some enterprising entrepreneur has gone out of his way in his ability  to sell you something you normally wouldn’t buy on a bet, but because it’s on “Special” you’ll forego the fact that it’s totally the wrong size or color or style and buy it anyway because, hell, it’s on Special.

The same holds true for the Mother’s Day special dinners, most of which are of the Prix fix variety giving the diner little or no choice as to what the entree will be.

“No sir, you can’t substitute the tripe and fish head combo for the roast beef. It’s not on the “Special.”

But the food is only a small part of the Mother's Day Special.

It begins by having to show up at exactly either 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 etc. If you want the “Special”

However, no matter what time you get there you will have to wait an hour. Hopefully, there’s a bar.

Once you are seated, a surly waiter will hurry you through the ordering process and will further show his contempt by standing over you while you try to translate the fancy names the management has decided to give to a very ordinary dish.

The roast chicken has morphed into Coq au vin (although it contains usually little or no “vin”). And the fish and chips on Mother’s day become “poisson frites.”

And what about mom herself.

While I can’t speak for all moms, I know that my mom was not a happy camper on Mother’s Day, especially in her latter years.

My mom, who never stepped out of the door unless she was properly dressed, made up and coiffed, increasingly found the ritual of dressing up on Mother’s Day tiresome and tedious.

I am sure that she would have just preferred to go to a pizzeria and have a couple of slices with mushrooms, and that she only acquiesced to ‘going out’ to placate our own need to relieve the guilt that all moms know how to lay on their kids.

The Mother’s Day dining out experience was sort of like opening a release valve so that the pressures associated with a year of blame, abandonment, and remorse won’t build up too much and cause us to say something we will regret later. So she puts up with it knowing that not only does she hate it, but we do too. In that respect, it’s another way for her to get you to think about how lousy you’ve been to her all year until (g-d willing) you can do it all over next year.

Look. I loved my mom, and I’m sure that she loved my brother and me, but we all had our own lives to live and it's difficult to divide one's time between your responsibility to your own family and the women who gave you life (see how the guilt never goes away).

So, on this special day, as you stand in line at the restaurant you swore you would never go to again on Mother’s Day and wait for a meal that you know will be literally thrown at you, take heart and look around at all the other families who, I can assure you, are as a miffed at the whole thing as you are.

My only regret on this Mother’s Day is that I will never again have the opportunity to be as miserable as you are with your mom.

And, by the way, listen to your mother. Don’t fill up on the bread. It’ll spoil your appetite.


Contemplating those age-old questions about old age
By Catherine Bongiorno

Decades ago, I was a waitress at a restaurant in Seattle where senior citizens frequently dined. Mr. and Mrs. Davis were “regulars,” and Mr. Davis had just celebrated his 80th birthday with us. While leaving the restaurant, they inadvertently left a drugstore receipt on the table — and oh, did my young co-workers and I yuk it up at their expense:

Ex-Lax, extra strength
Polident denture cleaner
Reading glasses, +4
Preparation H
Bengay ultra strength
Advil, 200 count
Budweiser, 24-pack (Can you blame them?)

Our seemingly callous laughter was really just youthful ignorance. We couldn’t conceive of the challenges involved in growing old and were too young to grasp the notion that some day this could our own shopping list.

Fast-forward 25 years, and the receipt doesn’t seem nearly so funny. At the not so young age of 46, senior citizenship no longer seems light-years away. Already, I am experiencing some effects of aging, and not just in the form of fine lines and loosening skin.
I no longer have the boundless energy that propelled me through my 20s. Getting by on five hours of sleep is a thing of the past. My hair has thinned, my stomach is more sensitive. I struggle to remember passwords (in my feeble defense, I have at least 30 different ones) and create a weekly “Don’t Forget” task list on my smartphone.

EB-5 In Peril,
Assisted Living Industry Breathes Easier

By Tim Mullaney

A flurry of news has come out of the nation’s capital this week with implications—some positive, some less so—for the senior housing industry.

On Monday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called for the EB-5 visa program to end, citing conflicts of interest with the Trump White House. The EB-5 program grants visas to foreign investors who commit a certain dollar amount to development projects in the United States, and has been used as a source of funding for some senior housing construction.

President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have used EB-5 financing for development projects, The Hill reported. More recently, Kushner’s sister gave a presentation to Chinese real estate investors in which she presented her access to the highest reaches of the White House as a positive.

“Given that President Trump and Jared Kushner refuse to divest from their vast financial holdings,” Feinstein said, “the only way to eliminate this conflict is for Congress to allow the program to expire in September.”

September is when the funding would run out.

When Doctors Should Ignore
End-of-Life Directives

Things are not always black and white during a health crisis

By Dr. Kathryn B. Kirkland

As a physician, I know that advance directives are most helpful in situations where it is clear that death is inevitable. They are intended to protect people from receiving “life-sustaining treatments” such as ventilators and CPR, in situations where those treatments only prolong the dying process.
When Things Are Unclear

This is not to discourage anyone from making an advance directive. Even if political forces eliminate Medicare reimbursement for doctors who spend time discussing them with patients, advance directives will remain an important part of the picture: They ensure that decisions about medical interventions at the end of life are in the hands of patients and that patients’ values drive these decisions, even when they can’t speak for themselves.

However, making sure your surrogates know what is important to you is critical. They will be the ones to tell your doctors whether to use life support in situations of uncertainty.

Breakfast, Really?

There is something very bi-polarish going on in our kitchen. Or perhaps schizophrenic would be a more appropriate term.

It fails to amaze me how, on one hand they can prepare an almost perfect chicken Francese dinner on night, and then present a totally ridiculous and unacceptable breakfast the next day.

A cold (and small) frozen waffle with 3 small blueberries and 1/8 slice of strawberry along with an overcooked sausage patty and a gloppy strawberry-like sauce was, to say the least, a surprise.


Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
Here’s your chance.
Go to….



They’ve arrived! Social Security is excited to announce the top 10 baby names of 2016. For most people, Social Security starts at birth when you get your first Social Security card. That makes us the source for the most popular baby names each year!

So, what were the most popular names of 2016 and where does your name rank on the all-time list?

We invite you to check out the complete top 10 list in our Press Release!

♣ ♣ ♣

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

©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


Beware: AoA Email Scam
The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has issued a bulletin warning of an email phishing scam involving bogus messages claiming to be from the Administration on Aging (AoA) and Edwin Walker. ACL says genuine emails would never ask for a recipient's social security number, or request a check to access a benefit. The bulletin also advises potential victims to call ACL at 202-401-4634 to check the validity of a message. ACL recommends recipients determine, before they click a link in an email, whether they recognize the sender's company or email address, or whether they are expecting something from that source. A recipient being named in the salutation may not always indicate that the email is authentic because their name may be in their email address; however, it is good to check. ACL says suspicion should be a routine reaction to links in an email. "Always hover over links to verify the source URL code," they recommend. If the recipient does not recognize the linked URL, they should not click. The sender also should include a signature that supplies contact information. If the recipient thinks they have received a phishing email, they have the options of deleting it or forwarding it to an organization that can either study the message for evidence of who sent it, or can probe those responsible for sending it. Recipients also can post complaints to the U.S. Postal Service, the FTC, and the FBI.


A Little Respect Please.

Old folks want very little out of life.

We really don’t need much money, after all, what are we going to spend it on?

A new cane, some extra absorbent Depends, a new set of Bingo markers?

We aren’t looking for a fancy place to live. Just someplace that’s warm in winter and cool in summer with a roof that don’t leak and bugs that stay on their side of the wall.

Food, well that’s a tough one.

I still like spicy foods and fortunately, my GI tract has not rebelled when I pour on the hot sauce, but as a group, old folks just need some decent food served with a little imagination and in portions commensurate with our ever decreasing need to “pack it away.”

And, as far as entertainment goes, we (old folks) tend to have the sophistication of a 3-year-old.

In fact, we are so thrilled that anybody would take the time to come and entertain us that no matter how bad they are (and there have been some really bad acts here) we think they're great.

Old folks don’t need very much, and we usually get most of what we need except for the one thing that we get the least of. And that is respect.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not talking about attaining a god-like status common in many Asian societies.

I don’t want to be venerated just because I have managed to check off 70 plus years on my calendar.

No. I don’t want or need, any special treatment.

All I need is for my ideas and thoughts to be given the same weight and consideration as any 18-35 year old. And by being given that level of attention, I will have gained the respect we are all entitled to.

I bring this lack of deference to your attention because as we get older we are perceived by both old and young alike, as being of less importance and worth than those who fit into that mythical numeric that so-called experts feel are the core economic power base of our economy.

Go ahead, screw compassion and civility, after all, it is the economy that drives the world, right?

When you ain’t got no buying power, you ain’t entitled to very much in the way of respect.

And never has this become so apparent as it has in recent months as the number and ferocity of anti-senior rhetoric increases.

Seniors, for some reason, are being attacked from all sides in the guise of “reducing fraud and waste” and remarks like “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”*

The very fact that there is a discussion on whether or not “existing conditions” will be covered under Medicare is a direct assault on seniors and soon to be seniors.

Fortunately, there are groups like the AARP and the Gray Panthers that lobby congress on our behalf, but conversely and unfortunately, there are groups like the AMA and big pharma that have more money and more clout and are better organized fighting on the other side.

But what congress and the current administration has failed to realize is that 10,000 people a day will turn 65, and pretty soon they will be all over the issues that pertain to older Americans and then, when there are old folks coming out of the walls and present at every rally and vote as a block, will congress take notice and finally give us the R-E-S-P-E-C-T we deserve.

*See >>

Social Security Not Keeping up With Seniors' Rising Costs
By Casey Dowd

For the fifth year in a row, the 60 million people who depend on Social Security have had to settle for historically low increases.  For the average recipient the adjustment adds up to a monthly increase of less than $4 a month.

Over any retirement our needs change. We require more medical services and prescription drugs, our need for different housing and supports like transportation services grow, and life events, like caregiving, or the death of a spouse, have a big impact on spending.

Annual surveys conducted by The Senior Citizens League since 2014 confirm this. About 90 percent of survey participants report that their household budgets rose by at least $39 per month over the 12-month period, in each of the past four years.  In each year, the largest percentage of survey participants — 37% in 2017 —report that monthly expenses rose by more than $119.  This year survey participants said their biggest cost jumps were for medical expenses and food — two categories that are essential.

More Older Couples Are ‘Shacking Up’
By Paula Span

The number of people over 50 who cohabit with an unmarried partner jumped 75 percent from 2007 to 2016, the Pew Research Center reported last month — the highest increase in any age group.

“It was a striking finding,” said Renee Stepler, a Pew research analyst. “We often think of cohabiters as being young.”

Most still are. But the number of cohabiters over age 50 rose to 4 million from 2.3 million over the decade, Ms. Stepler found, and the number over age 65 doubled to about 900,000.

Demographers are paying attention. At the Population Association of America’s annual meeting in Chicago last month, featuring a session on “repartnering” in later life, the panelist Jonathan Vespa of the Census Bureau pointedly offered a presentation entitled, “A Gray Revolution in Living Arrangements.”

The trend partly reflects the sheer size of the baby boom cohort, as well as its rising divorce rate.

=== === ===

America will soon be overrun by senior citizens.
Yes, that includes you

A financial breakdown of the almost 47 million Americans aged 65 and older
There will be more than 98 million Americans 65 and older in 2060.

By Alessandra Malito

There are almost 47 million Americans aged 65 and older in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau, and by 2060, that number will more than double.

Every day since Jan. 1, 2011, 10,000 baby boomers have celebrated their 65th birthday, and will continue to do so until 2030, according to nonprofit think tank Pew Research Center — when that happens, 18% of the country will be at least 65 years old. Furthermore, these older Americans are expected to live longer than the generations before them. Between 1900 and 1999, the average lifespan of people in the U.S. lengthened by more than 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Here’s the current state of older Americans:….

♣ ♣ ♣

The sparrow mama who decided that our patio barbecue would be a good place to build a nest and lay her eggs, has seen her work come to fruition as at least 3 of her 5 eggs hatched just this week. Now the rush is on to get these guys strong enough to leave the nest before our Memorial Day BBQ at the end of this month.


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


Although it’s still rather early in his tenure as our new Food Service Director, Mr. “R” has already shown that he can do something good with what’s available.

Last week's lunch of Chicken Francese and last Monday’s breakfast of Blueberry Pancakes were a breath of fresh air in both taste and presentation.

The Chicken dish could not have been prepared better if it was cooked in fancy NYC restaurant.
The light batter and delicate (but not bland) seasoning were a welcome change from the gloppy mess we had been used to. Even the fresh dinner roll was a nice touch.

Breakfast too, was a surprise, not for what it was, but for what it wasn’t.

While I am not a big fan of pancakes, I do enjoy them once and a while. However, the way they are made here takes me back to the old fashioned quick out-of-the-box pancake mix my mom used to make. In other words leaden and chalky.

Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I saw that a new twist on an old subject had been added.

Instead of just regular pancakes, we were treated to a blueberry variety. And not just any blueberry either. This time the berries were not just IN the pancakes but IN, OVER and AROUND it as well.

The syrupy topping was so good that no other syrup was needed. Even the bacon wasn’t (as is the norm here) burnt to a crisp.

Now, to be truthful some of the other meals we have been served have not been as carefully prepared and at times has reverted back to the old method of just throwing stuff on a plate and hand it out. Hopefully, even those mistakes will be corrected and we can expect tasteful, imaginative, and decently prepared and plated food at every meal…………ff.

Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
Here’s your chance.
Go to….

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

©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


How the new American Heath Care Act (AHCA or Trumpcare)
Threatens Seniors health.

By now I am sure that you are all aware that the U.S. House of Representatives passed (by a very small margin) a health care bill that is supposed to take the place of the present affordable care act (Obamacare).

Now, without debating all of this bills obvious flaws (mainly in the way it treats so-called “Existing Conditions” and does not provide for funding of Planned Parenthood facilities etc.) features that do not directly affect Seniors, there still is much to talk about when it comes to how this abomination of a bill will impact Medicare.

According to the AARP, the new legislation will…

1. Undermine Medicare’s financial health by reducing Medicare’s revenue, the bill would hasten the program’s insolvency by as much as four years and weakens its ability to pay for future services.

2. t does nothing to address the high cost of prescription drugs. Consumers with chronic illnesses have seen the price of their medications more than double since 2006, and this legislation would do nothing to help lower costs.

3. At the same time, it would hand a $200 billion windfall in tax breaks to special interests like drugmakers and insurance companies.

4.Cut Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years. More than 17 million low-income seniors, children, and adults with disabilities rely on Medicaid. Millions of low-income seniors and people of all ages with disabilities risk losing access to critical long-term services and supports.

Fortunately, all is not lost as this bill has to be passed by the Senate where, g-d willing, wiser heads prevail.

Ben Carson shakes his head at ‘comfortable’ affordable housing options
He doesn’t understand how critical housing efforts can be.

By now most of you know my penchant for having a clean, comfortable, safe and affordable roof over my head, and I am sure many of you have the same affection.

As human beings we all need to be able to come home to a place where the plumbing works, the electricity doesn’t go out, the bathroom ceiling isn’t falling down and the kids don’t have to be afraid of being eaten by rats or roaches.

Unfortunately, President Trump’s head of Housing and Urban Development thinks that being “comfortable” is something that only the well-to-do are entitled to.

I love this guy. I thought he was an idiot during the primary campaign and I still think he’s an idiot.

“According to Ben Carson, low-income Americans should have access to affordable housing — just nothing too “comfortable.”

Carson, who is President Donald Trump’s head of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was touring facilities for low-income residents in Ohio last week when he made the comments. Observing one apartment complex for veterans, Carson criticized the niceties available to residents. More to his liking, according to the New York Times, was a grouping of bunk beds inside of a homeless shelter, where no televisions were provided.”

You know, just like Army or maybe those nice internment camps we had for Japanese Americans during WW2.

Evidently, Mr, Carson believes that poor people want to be poor or that homeless people don’t need anything more than a nice Refrigerator Box to live in…

“Expanding on his philosophy, Carson told the Times that compassion means not giving people “a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: ‘I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me.’” After the head of a supportive housing center for recovering drug addicts asked for increased federal aid, Carson interrupted. “We are talking about incentivizing those who help themselves,” he said.”

“Research has indicated that providing housing is a viable approach to reducing homelessness, but Carson has shown little interest in such efforts. If anything, he seems determined to oppose them.”

According to E.A. Crundon, writing in…*

“Low-income housing is precarious under Carson. A long-time critic of government assistance, Carson is particularly wary of recovering addicts and those he sees as unable to provide themselves with long-term housing. It’s a dangerous way of thinking, and one that could have sweeping ramifications. More than 2.2 million Americans rely on public housing, and its benefits are numerous. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), public housing can provide access to neighborhoods with better schools and job opportunities, while also countering homelessness and reducing the costs associated with housing seniors and people with disabilities.”

We tend to think of those who are in need of affordable housing as being families with four or five kids or a Veteran who is down on his luck and living on the streets. And, while those folks are candidates for decent places to live, we forget that there are senior citizens, who live from SS check to SS check, that are slowly being squeezed out of the housing market by greedy landlords who think nothing of forcing an elderly lady out of a rent controlled apartment so they can convert it to a high-end condo.

No, Mr. Carson, the homeless don’t need luxury but they do need a place to be proud of and some place to call home, as I am sure, Mr. Carson, you do.

From Hospital to Hospitality: Senior housing design evolves
By Lisa Gibson

As the baby boomer generation ages, a new wave of residents is moving into senior living communities. The boomers are generally more affluent than senior generations of the past and many are relocating by choice, instead of being moved by family members. And they don’t want to make compromises in their lifestyles when they make those moves.

As a result, senior care communities are shifting away from the hospital model and toward a hospitality model, with on-site amenities such as libraries, movie theaters, billiards rooms, cutting-edge wellness facilities, bars, restaurants and cafes. Some have even incorporated concierge services and added group activities. Most of these amenities are being added to independent and assisted living communities, but some are even popping up in skilled nursing facilities for patients in long-term care.

“They don’t want to live without,” says Alan Dostert, president and CEO of Grand Forks-based EAPC Architects Engineers. “They want the same opportunities they had in the private sector. That’s just become a common element of anything we consider elder care.”

=== === ===

Deducting Cost of Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities for elderly persons (“ALFs”) can be very expensive, but for many taxpayers, the cost can be fully deducted on federal income tax returns as a medical expense if the ALF resident’s health problems rise to a certain level and if the appropriate documentation is obtained.

Taxpayers over 65 or who have a spouse over 65 can deduct the portion of their medical and dental expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income. Once one or both spouses move to an assisted living facility, most taxpayers will easily exceed this threshold.

♠ ♣ ♣

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


With great caution and forbearance and without a great deal of evidence to go by, I must say that we just may have entered a new era as far as food preparation and quality go here at the Asylum.

As mentioned, as of about a week ago, we now have a new Food Service Director. The fourth such a person in as many years.

I use the word “caution” because I have learned not to get too excited just because one or two dishes actually have come out of the kitchen cooked and prepared the way it’s supposed to be.

However, I must give credit where credit is due and say that on more than one occasion this past week, I was more than pleasantly surprised by a meal.

Take, for example, the meatloaf served at dinner last Thursday evening.

Meatloaf, which is a staple of any institutional menu, up until now has been a wrestling match between what meatloaf is supposed to taste like and the chef’s propensity to make things as bland and unappetizing as possible.

I have always said that, aside from home, the best meatloaf can be found at roadside diners and truck stops.

Thursday, the meatloaf was not too far from that made at any diner in New Jersey.

I hope we have finally turned the corner on what should be at the very least, a pleasurable dining experience……ff.


Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
Here’s your chance.

Go to….


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.

* * *

©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


House just voted to gut Americans' health care

      Well they did it. The House Congressional Leadership just rammed through a narrow victory on their disastrous "American Health Care Act" (AHCA), also known as "Trumpcare," which effectively repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and puts seniors and people with disabilities at significant risk of becoming uninsured or losing access to needed care.
     Trumpcare, which now goes to the Senate for consideration, will mean higher net premiums, co-pays and out-of-pocket costs for older Americans — and states could still effectively deny health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. It also gives most of the staggering $600 billion in tax breaks in the bill to the wealthy and large profitable corporations. But the fight isn't over yet, far from it. We believe we have a good chance of stopping this bill in the Senate.



Why I’m Here.

I was watching a video that someone had sent to me via Facebook when one of the home healthaid/housekeeping staff came in to clean and straighten up my room.*

The video was a phony (but funny) interview with Stephan Colbert questioning Donald Trump about his first 100 days.

The aide paused in her work and joined me in watching the short video. And, although we have probably a 50-year difference in age, we both found humor in the video and laughed at the same things.

When the video was over, she asked me how old I was.

“I’m 72”, I replied, to which she expressed surprise.

I guess she thought that an old white dude like myself wouldn’t have the same sense of humor that a 20 something Latina would have. But it was what she asked next that really caught me by surprise, not only by the question itself but, because she had been the only member of the staff, in the four-plus years that I have been here ever to ask it.

“Why are you here (at the ALF)”, she asked?

And for a second, I did not know how to answer that question and still be honest with both her and myself.

Not wanting to get into an existential discussion on why is anybody where they are or what the meaning of “here” really is, I simply told her that I have certain health problems that would make it difficult for me to live by myself.

While that answer would not be incorrect, it hardly tells the whole story of why me, or many of the other residents of this assisted living facility, are here.

The aide left my room to continue with her chores while I was left to ponder the question of my very existence.

To begin, I came here directly from a nursing home (not the norm for most of our residents).

I had spent two years in that gilded prison trying to regain my mobility and regain my reason to continue to live.

Nursing homes, at their best (and the one that I was in was a good one), are depressing, stressful and in many cases, hopeless.

Fortunately, because of some very good physical therapists and my own willpower, I was able to get to the point where I no longer needed the services of a nursing home.

Unfortunately, I was not well enough of both body and mind, to even attempt to live by myself.

And besides, where would I go?

I had to give up my apartment and most of my belongings.

Most of my bank account had been ravaged leaving me all but destitute.

Luckily, there was an experienced and knowledgeable social worker available who helped me find the place I now call home.

I walked (slowly and painfully) into this facility, clinging to my walker, on August of 2012 filled with apprehension, suspicion and uncertain of my future vowing to make the best of the difficult situation life had dealt me.

And although there were many points that could have been entered in the negative column, conversely, there were many pluses too. And they are not to be taken lightly.

I say this because as I sit here and write this in the comfort of a clean, quiet room, there are men my age living on the streets or in a shelter or worse. They are people who have fallen through the cracks and either did not have a support system available or did not want one.

By the grace of g-d and a little luck, I am not one of them.

So, having a roof over my head can certainly be counted as one of (if not the main reason) why I am here.

But there is much more to the question which now has me searching my soul to answer.

Certainly, my physical condition plays a prime role for me being where I am.

My balance sucks, I can’t bend down (I could not get up by myself if I fell), I have difficulty climbing stairs and tire quickly after doing even moderate activities.

Walking around a supermarket wipes me out as would shopping of any kind. Thank heavens for the internet and online shopping. And, at times, I feel every minute of my 72 years.

But the aches and pains and the lack of energy and stamina are only a part of the real reason why I am here.

Because, no matter how much assistance I am given and no matter how much of my physical needs are managed, there is the one thing I get here that I most certainly would not receive If I lived on my own. And that is having a daily and tangible contact with other human beings.

Anyone, young or old, knows the feeling of abject loneliness.

So, why am I here? Simply, because without this place I would be less healthy both physically and mentally than I would if I were living on my own in some government or church-sponsored senior residence where I would have only a TV for companionship.

Humans are social beings that need the comfort and reinforcement of others of their kind for their mental well-being and, thankfully, I get that here.

*Daily “cleaning” includes making the bed, emptying the wastebaskets, and changing the towels in the bathroom. A more extensive cleaning is done on an irregular schedule. Bed linen is changed once a week.

Older Americans Month —
Slashing funds for our seniors is the wrong thing to do
By Max Richtman
May is Older Americans Month, but the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans are putting a serious damper on the celebration. Yes, candidate Trump promised not to touch Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

But his administration has been actively undermining those pledges. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — who once called Social Security a Ponzi scheme — questioned the legitimacy of Social Security Disability Insurance — and wouldn’t promise a Presidential veto of legislation to privatize Medicare (a pet project of House Speaker Paul Ryan).

President Trump champions the GOP’s American Health Care Act, which guts Medicaid, undermines the solvency of Medicare, and allows insurers to charge older Americans up to five times as much as people in their 20s.

If the administration wanted to honor older Americans, would it have presented a “skinny budget” that needlessly hurts seniors? The President’s preliminary budget slashes domestic spending to pay for a $54 billion military buildup.

The spending plan would cut federal grants that help low income seniors cope with basic needs under the Older Americans Act. The administration wants to cut $3 million the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which helps fund Meals on Wheels.


Ageism In Health Care and How Dangerous It Can Be
Older patients who come to the hospital can be misdiagnosed due to bias

By Val Jones, M.D.

We’ve all heard the saying, “age is just a number.” Nowhere is that more important than in the hospital setting.

Over the years, I’ve become more and more aware of ageism in health care — a bias against full treatment options for older patients. Assumptions about lower capabilities, cognitive status and sedentary lifestyle are all too common. There is a kind of “senior profiling” that occurs among hospital staff, and this regularly leads to inappropriate medical care. As a physician myself, I’ve seen it.
Misconceptions Prompt Misdiagnoses

Take for example, the elderly woman who was leading an active life in retirement. She was the chairman of the board at a prestigious company, was an avid Pilates participant and the caregiver for her disabled son.

A new physician at her practice recommended a higher dose of diuretic (which she dutifully accepted), and several days later she became delirious from dehydration. She was admitted to the local hospital where it was presumed, due to her age, that she had advanced dementia. Hospice care was recommended at discharge. All she needed was IV fluids.

Hospitalized patients are often different than their usual selves. As we age, we become more vulnerable to medication side effects, infections and delirium.

Editor’s note: I want to live as long as I can, not to take up space, or even out of fear of an afterlife, but to see what comes next.
As a person who has grown up in the post WW2 era, I have seen more technological advances than anybody at any other time in history. And at the rate we are going, I can’t wait to see what’s next…….bwc.

Our Sci-Fi Future: Silly vs. Terrifying
By Peter Suciu

The future is now, or at least it is coming soon. Today's technological developments are looking very much like what once was the domain of science fiction. Maybe we don't have domed cities and flying cars, but we do have buildings that reach to the heavens, and drones that soon could deliver our packages. Who needs a flying car when the self-driving car -- though still on the ground -- is just down the road?

The media often notes the comparisons of technological advances to science fiction, and the go-to examples cited are often Star Trek, The Jetsons and various 1980s and 90s cyberpunk novels and similar dark fiction. In many cases, this is because many tech advances actually are fairly easy comparisons to what those works of fictions presented.

On the other hand, they tend to be really lazy comparisons. Every advance in holographic technology should not immediately evoke Star Trek's holodeck, and every servant-styled robot should not immediately be compared to Rosie, the maid-robot in The Jetsons.

The Jetsons is one of the cultural references cited most often when new technology emerges. Perhaps this is because so many of today's tech reporters viewed the shows in syndication or reruns -- or perhaps it's just because the comparisons are so easy to make.


Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
Here’s your chance.
Go to….


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  

Birds In The BBQ
Of course we can’t tell if it’s the same mama sparrow that, despite previous disasters, insists on building her nest and laying her eggs in one of our patio barbecue ovens, but it appears that once again we will be able to witness the miracle of birth right here in our own backyard.
There are five very small speckled eggs securely (at least for now) nestled in the corner of a well-sheltered home.
Last year, we actually watched them hatch, only to have them die off one by one.

♣  ♣  ♣

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


* * *

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

©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


…On Politics

The current resident of the White House bused 100 U.S. Senators over for a “Secret Meeting” regarding North Korea. Most of them walked out knowing less than before.

A couple of Senators said it was just a publicity stunt.

Well what did they expect from someone who has spent all of his adult life building fancy facades.


The big tax announcement last Wednesday sort of fizzled out. While everybody heard the words “Tax Cuts” there were no actual numbers or percentages. It’s the same ‘Trickle-down’ economics that sounds good in theory, but never really works because the money saved by corporations by paying less taxes goes only to the shareholders and to the already well-lined pockets of fat cat CEO’s, rarely to the employees or consumers.

But the real problem with cutting taxes means that the government will have less money to pay for things we really need like improving our infrastructure, railroads (and this is where we are effected), health insurance, Medicare and Social Security.


There is one bright side to the Trump administration. He has managed to get people who never gave a crap about anything interested in their country again.

…On Food

Long time readers of this blog may have noticed that my alter ego “The Faceless Foodie” has been silent for a while. This is not because the food has improved or changed dramatically in any way. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The truth is the food has become so boring, so routine (routinely bad, that is) and mundane that writing about it would be as mindless as the thought that went into its preparation.

However, there may be a light on the horizon because, quietly and unbeknownst to most of us, there is a new chef in town. It appears that our current chef du jour has stepped down as food service manager to rejoin the cooking staff while a new guy tries his best to shake things up in that clown-staffed area they call a kitchen.

My hope is that we will have a meeting with this new guy soon so that we can see where his head is at.

We have suffered with poorly cooked, poor quality and unimaginative dinners for too long.

…On Recreation

Our new Director of Recreation has been here about a month now and she still seems to be having a problem understanding what our residents need.
While former directors have worked there asses off to make our quality of living a little better, our new gal is going in the opposite direction.

The general store, that many residents depend on for everything from personal hygiene supplies, cosmetics, laundry detergent as well as snacks and even stamps and that has been well stocked by former recreation directors, has gone way down hill.

In addition, the well appreciated once-a-month online grocery ordering from PeaPod has been discontinued leaving many residents with no way of buying real supermarket items.

…Personally Speaking

While my general physical health is not bad for someone of my advanced years, my emotional well-being has taken a couple of hits this year.

The loss of a couple of friends, people I have known since the first day I rolled in here, have left me with a void that cannot be filled.

Every time I see an ambulance pull up to our door (and this occurs sometimes two or three time a day here), I wonder if the person they have come for will ever return.

I also wonder when it will be my turn to ride the golden gurney.

Call it the rantings of an old man but, for the first time since I have been here I am worried about my future. I can’t put my finger on it, and I am certainly no fortune teller, but I have a strange feeling that things are going to change, and not for the better.


I really didn’t want to paint a picture of doom and gloom. Perhaps it’s just me feeling sorry for myself as is my right to do. Maybe it’s just the change of seasons. Or perhaps, after nearly five years here, the realization that "This is all there is" has finally set in.

There’s some decent spring weather forecast for the few days, maybe I’ll feel better.

Staying At-Home With Care Exceeds

Cost of A Senior Housing Community
by J Doctrow .

Most seniors and their families see the monthly cost of a senior housing facility as much higher than the monthly cost of living at home with family care, or even with part-time or full-time home healthcare.

But the math that most seniors and families use to make this comparison assumes no implied cost for occupying a home without a mortgage, much less paid care than is provided in a seniors housing facility and places no value on the companionship and social interaction that a seniors housing community can provide.

The chart below shows the comparison on a pre-tax basis of living at home with a modest level of care to the cost of various types of seniors housing communities.   Bottom Line – The cost of living in a $150,000 home with even a modest level of home healthcare can easily exceed the cost of an independent living community and approaches the cost of assisted living.  In addition, a senior living at home with part-time care does not get the companionship and social interaction that a seniors housing community can provide and which many studies show are beneficial for a senior’s mental acuity and well being.


The cost of various seniors housing settings is easy for seniors and their families to see because most facilities charge a monthly fee for housing and care.   The average monthly cost for this care according to a recent survey by the National Investment Center for the Senior Housing and Care Industry (NIC) is as follows:

    Independent Living – $3,076 per month
    Assisted Living – $4,722 per month
    Memory Care – $6,082 per month

To these costs, we need to add some additional expenses for a senior living in a seniors housing community for social and entertainment activities, transportation and non-housing living expenses…..

Read more>>


‘Granny Pods’ Offer a Tiny Home Alternative

for Senior Citizens

by Leon Kaye

At less than 300 square feet, the granny pod promises to keep that elderly parent near

Wondering where you may live when you are well past retirement age? Virginia-based MEDCottage says it has a potential solution: the “granny pod,” which can best be described as a “tiny house” for senior citizens, an alternative to assisted living.

We don’t know if urban areas will truly become “smart cities,” but one thing is for certain: they are definitely aging. Currently Americans aged 65 or over are about 15 percent of the nation’s population. That ratio will increase to 20 percent, or from about 50 million to 70 million senior citizens, between now and 2030 as the tail end of the baby boom generation enters retirement age.

This demographic shift is already posing plenty of challenges to American society, from health care to pensions to affordable housing for a much larger elderly population. Plus, we’re living longer: Pew Research Center projects that the number of centenarians (people 100 years of age or older) will increase 800 percent by 2030.

So where are our parents, and then us, going to live? One massive problem is what occurs to people as their health and mobility decline. The industries that cover “rehab centers” or “skilled nursing facilities” are certainly profitable, though the reality of these places is a far cry from their literal description. If you think you want, or will need, to live in a pleasant retirement community or assisted living complex as you enter those sunset years, you had better start saving now: currently the average monthly price is about $4,500, though better places will cost more; add the services needed for memory care, and that monthly fee will spike higher.

Read more>>

Why we need to Stop Holding on to Clutter “just in case”
by Courtney Carver

The just in case excuse for holding on is a messy combination of fear and procrastination. We hold on because we aren’t quite ready to let go but we rarely use or enjoy the just in case stuff we keep. Take a look in the back of your closet, in the junk drawer, under the sink or in boxes in the garage or attic and it’s clear that just in case means never.

When we say “I’ll keep this just in case,” what we are really saying is …
“I’m not ready.”
“I’m afraid I’ll need this.”
“I’m afraid to let go.”
“I’m afraid I won’t have enough.”

For those of us decluttering and in search of more peace and simplicity, our problem has never been not having enough. Too much is our issue. Owning more, doing more, spending more and proving to everyone around us that we are more is weighing us down. It’s preventing us from figuring out who we are and how we want to live. It’s stopping us from doing work we love, spending time with people we love and helping those who don’t have enough.

Read more>>


Remember when the stuff we used made noise. I mean real noise not just beeps and hums and chimes.
Well, here’s you chance to relive some of those sounds from our past.



                                 Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
                                                                        Here’s your chance.
                                                     Go to….


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.

* * *

                                                   ©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


There’s A Problem With
Our Admissions Policy
They're Too “Busy” To Talk To Us About It.
Is Something Else Afoot?

For the second time in as many months, the Marketing Department here at the Center has snubbed our request to speak and answer questions at our resident's meeting.

This makes that department the only one never to have appeared before a group of residents.

While we never had a problem with having a representative from any other department (Housekeeping, Maintenance, Med-Tech, or Case management) address us, it appears that the small department that is responsible for making sure the beds here are filled with bodies and are the first line in the vetting procedure for admittance to our little paradise on the hill is too busy to spend a few minutes with the very people they were responsible for putting here.

Now, some of you might be wondering why I, as a well-entrenched resident, would care what the facilities marketing and admission requirements are. After all, unlike a co-op board in a high-end apartment building in the city, I can neither approve or deny residency to anybody. Nor would I want to be in such a position.

As I have expressed at our last resident’s meeting, while the staff of the marketing department get to go home every night, it is us residents who have to live with the very people they initially vetted. People who may not be the proper fit for what this facility has to offer.

As someone who has lived here almost from its inception, I have seen a general decline in the character and condition of the people being accepted for residency. I am talking about a person’s physical condition and (perhaps even more important) their emotional and cognitive conditions as well.

We have been told that this facility is unique in that it is meant to be a “bridge” between a nursing home and a senior residence or more traditional assisted living facility (ALF). And, while I understand this and even commend the facility on that objective, I must take exception to the broad definition of “Bridge” that has fostered an environment that brings together people of varying levels of ability (both cognitive, emotional and physical) in a place that is not properly equipped to deal with the various levels of those abilities.

In other words, there are residents here whose competence and capacity are not in line with the general population and yet, are being allowed to co-exist with them often causing friction in the form of both physical contact and verbal abuse.

These people should never have been allowed to ever set foot here, let alone mingle with people who are already stressed beyond most folks capacity, and yet here they are.

Therefore, my initial question to the marketing department (had they had the balls to show their faces) would have been “What, if any, criteria are in place to make sure the people that are selected for admission fit in with the rest of us.” Because, if the latest crop of new residents is any example, someone is doing a lousy job.

While I can’t be sure of why the marketing department has chosen to ignore our requests for a meeting, I have a feeling they have either been told by management that they can’t speak to us, or that nobody in that department wants to take responsibility for the problem which I am sure they know continues to be a thorn in the side of both staff and residents alike.

The bottom line is this.

We residents don’t have a say in who we want to live with and that is why we must depend on those who should, to the best of their ability, be responsible for protecting us from undesirable elements that have, at times, made this place difficult if not impossible to live in.

We need to make sure that the responsible parties know that we are not pleased with some of their choices and that we, as paying residents) will not let this continue much longer.


Managing Your Money in Old Age
By Eleanor Laise

Declining financial abilities may not only result in a few unpaid bills but also leave you vulnerable to financial abuse and drain your nest egg.

Financial capacity—the ability to manage your finances in your own best interest—involves everything from paying bills to reading a brokerage statement and weighing an investment’s potential risks and rewards. And preparing for the potential decline of that capacity is as important as planning for long-term-care expenses or keeping your estate plan up to date. Declining financial abilities may not only result in a few unpaid bills but also leave you vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation, drain your nest egg, and place heavy burdens on your loved ones.

Nobody likes to think about financial decision-making ability declining with age. Yet “it’s extremely common. In fact, I might say it’s inevitable,” says Daniel Marson, a neurology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While many people assume they’ll only need help managing their finances if they develop dementia, the normal aging process can adversely affect faculties such as short-term memory and “fluid” intelligence, or the ability to process new information, Marson says. “Just the fact that you’re 70 or 80 years old may be impacting your financial skills,” he says, “quite apart from the fact of whether you have Alzheimer’s or any cognitive disorder of aging.”

To be sure, many people remain perfectly capable of managing their own money as they age. Indeed, among people ages 18 to 86, credit scores increase by an average of 13 points for each decade lived, according to a recent study by researchers at University of California Riverside and Columbia University.

Hollywood’s depictions of the elderly
are tired clichés

The market for old-folks-behaving-badly comedies is over saturated

HOLLYWOOD makes more films about senior citizens than ever before. Notable octogenarians like Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, Robert Redford, Maggie Smith and Christopher Plummer all seem to be able to find work whenever they want it. But most actors more than 60 years old should be wary when cast in a film: the character is likely to die—or at least get very close to death—and its senior moments will be mocked and ridiculed. Among the many social groups that the movie industry marginalizes, the plight of the elderly seems to get the least attention.

A USC Annenberg Film Study from 2016 found that seniors are both underrepresented and stereotyped on screen. Analysing the 100 highest-grossing films of 2015, the authors found that only 11% of characters were aged 60 and over—off-screen seniors represent 18.5% of the general population—and 30 of the 57 films that featured a senior character used ageist comments. Senior characters that died on-screen often did so at the hands of physical violence rather than from chronic illness, the most probable cause of death of an ageing population. Hollywood’s depiction of seniors does not map onto real life.

As if being old is not worrisome enough, we have these age-related “difficulties” to deal with.
One of those that all of us seniors will experience is a bladder infection.
For ions, cranberry juice was thought to relieve, if not cure, these infections.

Ouch: Cranberry Juice Is No Cure for Bladder Infections
Doctors were told they do their patients a ‘disservice’ by recommending it

By Craig Bowron, MD Physician & Writer

An editorial in The Journal of the American Medical Association last November reviewed the data on cranberry juice and UTIs. It concluded: “Any continued promotion of the use of cranberry products seems to go beyond available scientific evidence and rational reasoning.”

Unfortunately, the ability of cranberry proanthocyanidins to block E.coli’s grip in lab research didn’t seem to play out in the real world.

Although the word “malpractice” never appears, the editorialist recommended that “…clinicians should not be promoting cranberry use by suggesting that there is proven, or even possible, benefit. Clinicians who encourage such use are doing their patients a disservice.” Which makes me wonder; Could I be sued for offering a disservice to my patients?

Some earlier research suggested that the proanthocyanidins in cranberries could block the ability of bacteria to bind to the cells that line the bladder wall. That’s a critical step in a urinary tract infection, because urine is a food desert where it’s tough for even bacteria to survive. Like a medieval battle, you have to get inside the castle if you want the good stuff; and the moat is an impediment.

Majority of older Southern Californians
use a cellphone while driving

By Gary Robbins.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones driving Southern California freeways with a cellphone glued to their ear.

A new survey reveals that older people do it, too.

About 60 percent of 397 people surveyed by UC San Diego told the university that they talk on a mobile phone while driving, and many sometimes do so with young children in the car.

All of the respondents were 65 or older and very active drivers; they average three trips a day in their vehicles.

“Older adults are less likely than youngsters to use phones while driving, but they still do so at distributing rates,” said Linda Hill, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego.

“This is distracted driving.”

Hill was the lead researcher on the survey, which primarily involved respondents from Southern California, the majority of whom were from San Diego County. The respondents answered questions on Survey Monkey, a widely used online survey tool.


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Why are fast food restaurants so stingy with their condiments?
Unfortunately, it’s because of us.
By Steven Brewer

I am the care giver for my 91 year old Mother.
Every day, seven days a week, I drive her to the local McDonald’s for coffee with her friends.

From 9:00–10:00 am she chats with her friends and I people watch.
I have been to this McDonald’s hundreds of times!
I have seen things related to condiments & napkins that make me concerned for the human race!

Allow me to elaborate.

There is an elderly lady with a huge purse. In this purse is a selection of fancy zip-lock bags with the spot where you can label the bag. Each bag is meticulously labeled with Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Ketchup, Mustard, you get the idea. She does buy breakfast but then grabs huge handfuls of everything and carefully fills her bags. Nobody says a word.

Then there is the napkin thief. He thinks he’s being sneaky but bunches of regulars watch him every morning. He grabs at least two inches of napkins. When he’s finished his breakfast, he checks to make sure nobody is looking and wraps them up in his morning newspaper. Every day he walks out the door with this smug smile on his face.

Then there are the people with specific numbers of condiments in mind. They order a small coffee and 10 creamers & ten sugars! One lady goes back to her table and uses one of each. Of course the rest go into her purse.


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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


Old And Homeless:
No Place To Be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fortunately, I had a safety net.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Editor;s note: I paid that $13,000 out of my own pocket until Medicare kicked in when I turned 65.
** See article >>

If you wait too long, you may bypass assisted living

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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As Philly-area residents age,
a dilemma over housing

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

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

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

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Living in community can
save seniors money


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

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

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

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Is a Cruise Ship Cheaper
Than a Nursing Home?

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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©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


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.

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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,”


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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

♦ ♦ ♦

Want to Read An Unfinished First Novel?
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


©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.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

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.

= = = = = = =

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.

= = =

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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


*Thanks to My cousin Judy for sending this

* * *

©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


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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


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.
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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.



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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.


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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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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

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

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 >>

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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.



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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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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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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.


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TODAY>> As American as...

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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