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With only a few more weeks left in this decade, and considering that I will soon have lived in 8 of those, I thought it was time I did something I have never done. And that is an interview. Unfortunately, there are no celebrities around here to interview and I don’t really feel comfortable interviewing any of my fellow inmates here at the Asylum. Therefor, I must resort to speaking with the only individual who I can trust to tell me the truth. A person whom I have known, loved and admired for over 70 years. A gentleman of such high caliber and self esteem that to not interview him would do the world a great disservice. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ME. Before you reach for your mouse, stylus, finger or whatever you use to surf the web with and click on something else of equal banality let me tell you where I got the idea to do a self interview.
 
A website called AgingCare.com, which purports to “connect families who are caring for aging parents, spouses, or other elderly loved ones with the information and support they need to make informed caregiving decisions, has compiled the following list of questions that our elder care experts and editors would most like to ask their own parents. This list can help you start your own structured reminiscing session with an elder and think of other things you’d like to ask them about. Try using old photo albums, scrapbooks, music, TV shows or other meaningful materials as supplements. You might gain a new appreciation for your loved one and learn something about yourself in the process.” And, in doing so, I might gain a little insight into my own psyche. A warning to those who wish to continue. While delving into anyone’s psyche may fascinate, delving in to mine might be just plain scary.

Here then, my interview with me: (Pretend I am being questioned by a professional interviewer and it will make more sense).


·  In what ways do you think I’m like you? And not like you?
 Except that, like you, I want to grow old gracefully with the least amount of pain and difficulty as possible, I would say that I am not like you in any shape, or form. I am a non-conformist who loves to confront authority. Something that I have done frequently.

·  Who is the person who influenced your life the most?
 I would have to say, my father who taught me how to be a man by setting an example for me and my brother to live by. And, how to be honest without being naïve. How to deal with people professionally without being condescending. And to treat people with the respect they deserve.
 

·  Do you have a lost love?
Yes. She doesn’t know it and I will not reveal her name.

·  Which new technology have you found most helpful in your life? Which do you find to be the most annoying?
 My basic laptop computer. When I was working, I would not have been able to perform my job without it. And now, it has become a lifeline to the rest of the world. Without it, I would have been in a real asylum a long time ago.
 
         As far as what I find annoying, I would have to say mobile phones. While they are invaluable in emergencies, I find them obnoxious when people use them as a substitute for face-to-face contact. And don’t get me started on texting.
 

·  Is there anything you have always wanted to tell me but never have?
 Yes. But I will never tell you. It’s something I’m not proud of. ‘Nuf said.

·  Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents?
 Why did you wait 15 years after my brother was born to have me? Am I a “mistake?”
 


·  Do you wish anything had been different between us, or would you still like to change something?
 It depends on who you are. If you were my ex, I would have asked if you really loved me before we got married. Otherwise, there’s no sense dwelling on what might have been.
 
 

·  What was the happiest moment of your life?
 Seeing the expression on my fiance’s face when I gave her an engagement ring. Yes, I know. It’s confusing.
 

·  What are you most proud of?
Graduating college. I am the first person in my family to do so.

·  How did your experience in the military mold you as a person?
Although I would have proudly served if called, I was fortunate not to have been part of that fiasco in Vietnam. I lost several friends in that conflict. Boys who had no business fighting a war.

·  What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Keep a low profile, but assert yourself when you know you are right.

·  What is your earliest memory?
Summers in the Catskills and going to Dodger games at Ebbet’s Field.

·  Did you receive an allowance as a child? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
 I seem to remember twenty-five cents a week way back when. I used that money to buy kid essentials like a Spaldine ball, balsa gliders, bubble gum baseball cars and comic books. 

·  Who were your friends when you were growing up?
 Marvin Katz, Robert Kirshner and Joseph Charney. I have no idea where they are now or what they grew up to be.

·  What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
 Bike riding and stickball. I loved my Schwinn bike and rode it all over Brooklyn. Because I grew up in an urban environment with traditional baseball fields being few, stickball was the game of choice.

·  What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects?
I received a great public school education. NYC schools were among the best in the nation. My best subjects were history, English and biology. The worst, math.

·  What school activities and sports did you participate in?
None until I reached college. I am not a joiner.

·  Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothing?
When I was a kid, Davy Crockett became popular because of a Disney movie. Every kid I knew had a coonskin cap. Crew cuts were popular for boys, but my naturally curly hair prevented me from getting one.
 

·  What world events had the most impact on you?
The Cold War. The JFK Assasination, and 9-11

·  How would you like to be remembered?
 I’d hope they would remember me as a person who never knowingly cheated, bullied or berated another human being. And, when allowed, to have brought a little humor into someone’s life.


In answering these questions I found it difficult to pick any particular event or person as an example of what my early life was all about. I mostly remember having loving parents, a great older brother, and never wanting for anything.

There is one question they left out. And that is “What was your biggest regret?” For me it would have to be not having children. I would love to know what kind of dad I would have been………………………………………
 
 
SOURCE>>https://www.agingcare.com/articles/questions-to-ask-elderly-parents-147907.htm


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Tips from a Penguin: How to avoid falling on the ice


People are already falling on the ice this winter; here are a few tips to help minimize your risk of falling on the ice.  The Penguin walk helps remind us how to walk on ice.


1.    Keep your weight forward and on your front foot
2.    Keep your arms out by your side to help you balance
3.    Walk flat footed and take short shuffling steps
4.    Wear footwear that provides traction
5.    Step down, not out from curbs
6.    Keeps your knees slightly bent
7.    Walk on snow or grass if possible




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A Guide to Fitness Trackers for Seniors
By Consumer Reports


Trackers we rate cost $30 to $200; smart­watches, $160 to $850.




Ease of Use

You should consider how easy the product is for you to use.Most devices in our tests earn Very Good or Excellent ratings for comfort and how easy it is to navigate the menu and apps; use tracking features, calendars, and messaging; and read the screen, according to Charles Davidman, who leads CR's fitness tracker and smartwatch testing.

Still, we recommend going to a store with demo models for an in-person look before buying.

Step Counting

We’ve found that accuracy can vary widely in step-counting tests, where our volunteers walk a track, and we compare their true step count with what devices report. Only four watches and one tracker that we’ve tested earn an Excellent rating for step count. That tracker, the Garmin Forerunner 35, also received top marks in almost every other category we test.



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Report details how Social Security has become rigged
for the wealthy while leaving behind those it was designed to help

By Jake Johnson


“The program’s become less progressive,” said Jim Roosevelt, a former Social Security Administration official and grandson of FDR.

The benefits of Social Security, a program designed to help vulnerable and low-income people, have since the 1980s become increasingly skewed toward the wealthy due to demographic shifts and soaring inequality, according to a new report.

Proponents of Social Security expansion, responding to the report (pdf) by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, said the New Deal-era program’s increasing regressivity was not inevitable, but the result of lawmakers’ refusal to enact basic progressive reforms such as lifting the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax.

“We have to expand the system. Social Security is extremely important to low-income people. They’re less likely to work in jobs that have private pensions, so it’s more likely to be their only retirement income.”
—Nancy Altman, Social Security Works




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Baby Boomers reinvent retirement with luxury resort communities
ByCortney Moore


Retirement is getting an upgrade with niche communities dedicated to ensuring each residents' golden years are lived in style.

American singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett piqued the public’s interest when his Margaritaville Holdings partnered with Minto Communities and developed Latitude Margarita – a 55-and-older outfitted with luxury amenities – in Daytona Beach, Florida earlier this year.

"Latitude Margaritaville is redefining the approach to active adult communities with its no-worries lifestyle of fun, food and music for those 55-and-better who are growing older, but not up," Minto's Latitude Margaritaville President William Bullock said during the town center's grand opening in June.


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Older Generations More Likely to Use Voice Search,
Suggesting a Solution to Generational Digital Divide



Voice search can benefit older users who may struggle to type or use a mouse, indicating how the technology can help bridge the digital divide, suggests a new survey report from The Manifest, a business news and how-to...

Sixty-four percent (64%) of voice search users ages 55+ use voice search to look for information, products, and services online, compared to 47% of voice search users ages 18-34, suggesting that voice can make technology more accessible to older populations.

"The way we engage with most technology is tactile and visual," said Matt Smith, CEO of Speak 2 Software, a company that offers voice-enabled smart speakers to assisted living centers for seniors. "These are challenges for someone losing their sight or motor skills … With voice technology, the user interface is now manageable and easy to adopt."




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[30]

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY DEC.19TH 2019


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  I believe in, and have followed, the old axiom “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, while that may okay for cars and computers, as far a people go, not so much. They not only frown on DIY healthcare, but the results could end in disaster. Fortunately, the body is equipped with a marvelous system that lets you know when something’s wrong. It’s called pain. And not just any pain. It’s the pain that doesn’t go away by rubbing it or flexing or stretching. It’s the pain somewhere deep down inside that throbs with every heartbeat. It’s the pain that tells you something’s broke and a Tylenol ain’t going to fix it. And, while any pain is not pleasant, it at least prompts you to see a doctor. But what about those illnesses that progress (without warning) to where they can’t fix it? What they call “Silent Killers.” One of those is High Blood Pressure.

“You can have high blood pressure, or hypertension, and still feel just fine. That's because high blood pressure often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. But, high blood pressure, sometimes called "the silent killer," is very common in older people and a major health problem. If high blood pressure isn't controlled with lifestyle changes and medicine, it can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems, kidney failure, and other health problems. High blood pressure can also cause shortness of breath during light physical activity or exercise.”*

High blood pressure is increasingly common in old people because…

“The increase in blood pressure with age is mostly associated with structural changes in the arteries and especially with large artery stiffness. ... In the elderly, the most powerful predictor of risk is increased pulse pressure due to decreased diastolic and increased systolic blood pressure.”**

But what if your BP goes the other way? Instead of rising, it gets lower. Like mine did last Monday.

“Low blood pressure might seem desirable, and for some people, it causes no problems. However, for many people, abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension) can cause dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening.
A blood pressure reading lower than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic) is generally considered low blood pressure.
The causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. It's important to find out what's causing your low blood pressure so that it can be treated.”***


Monday morning I dragged myself out of bed after a bad night’s sleep. It was one of those nights when I could not find any good position from which to fall asleep. Crampy legs, spasming back and a general feeling of restlessness. And, while I have had those nights before, this was as bad as they come.

Why? Who knows? I’m an old man, and anything can happen.

It was with this that I faced the day. A day which I had two medical appointments on my agenda. The first was with an optometrist. 

I now wear glasses for both reading and regular vision, making my twice-yearly exam very important. And, since I hadn’t had a new prescription for  nearly a year, I felt I was due. In fact, as I read the eye chart on the wall I knew my vision had changed because I could read nothing below line 5. Was it a ‘P’ or an ‘F’.? A ‘B’ or an ‘R’?

The “Doc” then put a gadget up to my eye that allowed him to get a good view of what was going on. And, what he found was something I did not want to hear. 

“I could give you a new prescription, but what you will really need is cataract surgery.”

Oh no. The other dreaded ‘C’ word. Actually, two words. Cataract and Surgery.

I knew eventuality I would fall victim to the scourge that befalls most old folks. The little “joke” that nature plays on seniors. It’s part of what I like to call “The Senior Package.” The group of afflictions, disorders and illnesses that affect all old people at sometime. It includes such things as arthritis, high blood pressure, hearing loss, and vision problems. Hardly anyone over the age of 65 will not experience one or more of those maladies. It appears, I have joined the club.

That was not the way I wanted to start the day. I told him I’d like to wait awhile with any surgery. And, since it was not an emergency, he said it was okay.

I left the optometrist’s office feeling depressed. I always thought I would not have to worry about that for a time.

My second appointment of the day was an outside one with my Nephrologist (kidney doctor). It required a short trip to his office a few miles away. Unfortunately, the 1:00pm pick-up allowed no time for lunch. I arrived hungry, sleepless and depressed.

After a short wait, they ushered me into an exam room where the nurse took my weight. No change from last time.

The doctor arrived a few minutes later. 

We discussed my blood work, and I was told it hadn’t changed from the last visit 6 months prior. That was good. I still had 3rd stage kidney disease, but it hadn’t progressed.

Then, he checked my blood pressure. As the cuff tightened on my arm, I swear I could feel the blood drain from my head.

“Are you feeling okay?” He asked. 

“No”, I replied. “I didn’t sleep last night and I’m feeling fatigued.”

“I asked,”, said the doctor, “because your blood pressure is low. Ninety-six over seventy-four.”

“But I’m being treated for high blood pressure. I take a pill every day for that.”

“You’re a little dehydrated which could have something to do with that. Or maybe they should decrease the blood pressure dosage. I’ll discuss it with your doctor,”, he said.

I left his office feeling worse than before.
Cataracts? Low blood pressure? WTF was going on?

What was going on is old age. Inescapable, unrelenting, unforgiving old age. And, when you get old and you have medical problems, when it rains, it pours. There is never such a thing as “just a visit to the doctor.” If you’ve got it, they’ll find it. I’m just thankful I didn’t have a third doctor’s visit that day because I guarantee, he’d find something else for me to worry about.

I’m not really worried. I know my doctors will eventually address those problems. I’ll see my primary care physician about my low BP, and will speak to an ophthalmologist about getting my eyes fixed. And then, it’s on to my next medical problem. As the great Gilda Radner playing Roseanne Rosannadana used to say, “It’s always something.”………………………

 
 
*source: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure
**source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805932/
***source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20355465


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Here is a follow up on the editorial which ran here on Monday regarding the “lateness rule” in our dining room.

We residents held our monthly meeting of our food committee this past Tuesday. As promised I brought up the subject of and pointed out the inequities of a rule we have which says that any resident arriving over 15 minutes late for meals cannot be served in the main dining room and made to eat their food in another area apart from the regular diners. I also told the story of the 94-year-old resident who fell victim to this rule and how cruel it was to force him to do an about face after he struggled himself into the dining room for breakfast on time. I am sorry to report that my plea to change the rule fell on the deaf ears of our food service director whose only comment was “The rules are the rules.”…………………...


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How to Live on Social Security Only
By Danielle Kunkle Roberts


Live on Social Security Only in retirement

When Social Security was signed into law in 1935, it was a huge step for the nation. This social insurance program has reduced the poverty rate for people over age 62 from roughly 50% down to less than 10% in 2019.

Social Security is just one way to help make ends meet in retirement, but for many people, it makes up a significant portion of their total income in retirement. If you are planning to retire soon but are heading into your golden years with less savings than you think you’ll need, there are some things you can do to help make ends meet.

  • Work Until Age 70
  • Pay Off Debt Before You Retire
  • Move into a Smaller Residence
  • Cut Other Costs Where You Can
  • Reduce Your Prescription Costs
  • Check Your Local Food Pantry Programs and Senior Centers
  • Reduce your Medicare Premiums





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The decade of the "young old" begins
By John Parker

People turning 65 will not retire quietly into the background, predicts John Parker
Leaders

THE YEAR 2020 will mark the beginning of the decade of the yold, or the “young old”, as the Japanese call people aged between 65 and 75. The height of the baby boom, the period of high fertility in rich countries after the second world war, was 1955-60. The traditional retirement age is 65, and 2020-25 is 65 years later. One might therefore expect peak retirement for baby-boomers in the coming years—except that they are not retiring. By continuing to work, and staying socially engaged, the boomers, in their new guise as the young old, will change the world, as they have done several times before at different stages of their lives.

The yold are more numerous, healthier and wealthier than previous generations of seniors. There will be 134m 65- to 74-year-olds in rich countries in 2020 (11% of the population), up from 99m (8%) in 2000. That is the fastest rate of growth of any large age group. Health worsens with age, but the yold are resisting the decline better than most: of the 3.7 years of increased life expectancy in rich countries between 2000 and 2015, says the World Health Organisation, 3.2 years were enjoyed in good health. The yold are also better off: between 1989 and 2013, the median wealth of families headed by someone over 62 in America rose by 40% to $210,000, while the wealth of all other age groups declined.

The yold are busier, too. In 2016 just over a fifth of people aged 65-69 were in work in rich countries, a figure that is rising fast. Working is one of the factors that are helping people stay healthy longer. A German study found that people who remain at work after the normal retirement age manage to slow the cognitive decline associated with old age and have a cognitive capacity of someone a year and a half younger.


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Social Security's outdated rules
By Mary Beth Franklin


A lot has changed since Congress approved major reforms to Social Security rules more than 35 years ago. Life expectancy has increased. Interest rates have declined. And inflation has transformed the taxation of Social Security benefits from a class tax to a mass tax, according to two new reports.

The result is Social Security now pays relatively higher lifetime benefits to wealthier retirees who can afford to delay claiming their benefits, and middle-income retirees are now shouldering more of a tax burden because the income thresholds for taxing benefits were never indexed for inflation.

Roughly half of all retiree households report that a portion of their Social Security benefits is subject to taxation, according to recent survey results from The Senior Citizens League.



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How Much Do Different Assisted Living Options Cost?
By Javier Simon

The average cost of assisted living was $4,000 a month in 2018, according to Genworth Financial, which has been tracking costs since 2004. Across the country though, the price of assisted living varies widely, depending on such factors as location, facility size and amenities. If you’re not sure whether or how you can afford this type of living arrangement, our free matching tool can connect you with a financial advisor. Here are the costs you need to consider.

A Breakdown of the Costs of Assisted Living

The costs of assisted living typically break down into two categories: rent and services. The former depends largely on location and apartment size. The latter usually includes three meals a day, housekeeping, social activities and nursing care, with the quality or level affecting the price. For example, a resident who needs about three hours of help performing tasks like taking medication, eating and bathing daily would pay more than someone who only needs assistance with one of those tasks.

A recent study by SeniorLiving.org put the overall annual price of assisted living at $30,438 a year in Missouri on the low end and $80,400 in Washington, D.C. on the high end. Of course, assisted living costs correlate to the area’s costs of living, which are usually higher in more densely populated cities. Indeed, the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC) found in its study that San Francisco, New York City, San Jose, Boston and Los Angeles have the most expensive facilities.




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG MONDAY DEC.16TH 2019


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TheSeniorLog
Monday, December 9th 2019








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AT THE ALF:
A Cruel Rule


One of the primary functions of this blog has always been to familiarize folks with the everyday workings and routines associated with life and living at an assisted living facility (ALF). As the world becomes grayer and places for the older (and not always healthier) to live become a matter of concern, how one will fare in these places is more important than ever.
 
First, let’s define what we are talking about when we refer to an ALF.
 
An ALF is not a nursing home. They practice very little nursing or medicine here. Residents have access to physicians, but they force no one to go to one. And, if you need medical attention, all the staff will do is to call for an ambulance to take you to a hospital. About the only thing medicinal done at an ALF is the distribution of daily prescribed medications , giving insulin injections, application of creams or lotions and changing dressings.
 
An ALF isn’t a senior apartment complex or retirement community. ALF’s are not spas. There (usually) are no tennis courts or swimming pools. The amount of independence varies from facility to facility. And, if you think you will be allowed do anything you want, you won’t. That’s what I’d like to touch on today. Living under someone else’s rules.

Most people come to an assisted living facility directly from a home environment. They lived, by themselves, in their own homes until they couldn’t.
 
According to the website “Aplaceformom.com”*, the top reasons for moving to an ALF are…
 
1. A safer living environment.
 
2. Daily fitness and physical therapy.
 
3. Healthy dining.
 
4. Help with activities of daily living (ADLs).
 
5. More opportunities for socialization.
 
We are leaving out, as a reason for moving to an ALF, dementia or Alzheimer’s. There are specialized facilities for people with these disabilities. We know them as enhanced assisted living facilities. They give residents in these places special attention according to their needs. Some ALF’s have a special, and separate unit for those residents known as memory care units.

What this means for most people is, because they can no longer do everything they did before, they need a place where there are people to do those things for them. And, no matter how much a facility may say they encourage independence, they don’t. Sometimes it’s a matter of convenience (for the staff) and sometimes it’s a matter of state or local regulations. Either way, residents will have to obey the rules. Unfortunately, they do not make all of those rules and regulations with the resident in mind.

Ned (not his real name) is a ninety-four-year-old man in the condition you would expect a person of his advanced years to be. He has been a resident here for nearly two years. In that time I have watched Ned’s mobility decline. From a cane, to a Rollator, and now, a wheelchair Ned’s ability to get around has become more difficult.
 
Recently, Ned returned from a two-month stay in a hospital where they treated him for pneumonia. He now wheels himself (using mostly his feet for propulsion) slowly from place to place. And, by “place to place” I mean from his room to the dining room and back. He does this three times a day. And, with the help provided to him by the facility, he’ll be able to continue this routine for some time to come. But recently, a rule which has been in effect here for years, has taken direct aim at Ned and many residents like him.

Because there is not enough room, or enough staff, to serve all 195 residents at one time at one seating. They split mealtimes into two sessions. Approximately half our residents eat their breakfast, lunch and dinner at the early session (7:30, 11:30 and 4:30 pm respectively). The second seating times are 8:45. 12:45, and 5:45.
 
The facility is very strict with the residents adhering to that schedule. Once a resident decides at which seating session they wish to eat, they cannot arbitrarily change that time. A resident cannot just decided one day to eat an early breakfast, a late lunch and then an early supper. Supposedly, they do this so that the servers can learn the eating habits of the residents and can set the individual places before the diners arrival. Some diners have specific needs and wants and the facility does their best to accommodate them. So far, I have no problem with this arrangement. However, a situation arises when a resident is late for his assigned serving time. We call it the “15 minute rule.”
 
The rule states that they cannot seat a resident arriving over 15 minutes after the time when the other diners were let into the dining room. Instead, they banish tardy residents to an area known as The Country Kitchen.
 
The country kitchen is just off the main lobby and serves as a snack-lounge-gaming and meeting place. The room has a microwave oven (the only one in the facility that a resident can use) a sink, an ice machine and a coffee dispenser. There are about six round tables seating 18 people. It is here they send the tardy diner to eat his meal. And that is what I have a problem with. Case in point. Ned.

Ned tries his best to arrive on time for meals. And, although doing so is very difficult for him, he does so 99% of the time. However, one day last week, Ned didn’t quite make it. For whatever reason, he arrived at his table nearly 20 minutes late (breaking the 15 minute rule by 5 minutes).
 
Realizing he was late, he put all he had into moving his wheelchair as fast as he could. But to no avail. Late was late, and that was that. The rules bend for no one. And, although the server apologized, they sent him, like a kindergarten kid, to the country kitchen. I watched as he begrudgingly, and slowly, wheeled himself out of the dining room to await his breakfast.

Yes, they made a 94-year-old man with breathing difficulties turn around and leave. For what?

That’s not the only example of this atrocity. It occurs at every meal every day. There will always be someone who arrives late, it’s a human thing. So why make a such a big deal of it? And besides, who does this rule benefit?
 
It does not benefit the resident. That’s for sure. People, especially older people, don’t want to be late for anything. But sometimes circumstances beyond their control impede what they planned. An arthritic knee, a sleepless night because of chronic pain or just the desire to catch a few more winks can contribute to one’s being overdue for an event.
 
It does not benefit the server who they place in the role of the bad guy for having to tell someone they won’t serve them. Nor does it benefit the rest of the dining staff who have to stop what they are doing (usually serving other diners or doing kitchen chores) and make a special meal and walk it to the country kitchen. The only reason, as far as I can determine to implement this rule is to punish. And how sad is that? Don’t you think we, at our age, are beyond that? It’s time to end this practice once and for all**……………………………………………….
 

*source: https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/5-11-16-top-reasons-to-move-to-assisted-living/
**Editor’s note: The residents hold their monthly food committee meeting on Tuesday. I will try to bring this matter up and see if we can abolish or at least modify this cruel rule.

 


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3 Things Women Must Know About Social Security Benefits


Understanding the rules about Social Security benefits and when to start claiming Social Security can be difficult. But they’re critically important, especially for women — since women typically live longer lives than men. The new book, What’s the Deal With Social Security for Women?, by retirement consultant Marcia MacDonald Mantell, is extremely helpful. Here’s an excerpt about three important factors women should take into consideration when deciding the right time to begin claiming Social Security benefits. — Next Avenue Editors)

So much of your final decision about Social Security will depend on your personal situation at the time of claiming. Before deciding when to claim, however, there are other financial realities to carefully consider. Among them are the following:

1.    The Earnings Limit Test

2.    Taxation of Social Security Benefits Depending on your overall income

3.    Medicare Premiums and Social Security Benefits .



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Why the flu shot can't give you the flu
and why you might think it does



Just as the current influenza season is getting started, a new study finds a troubling decline in the number of babies and children getting their yearly flu vaccinations.

Researchers in the journal Pediatrics suggest several reasons fewer parents get flu shots for their children, including the rising popularity of the anti-vaccine movement, a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of the flu shots and worries about harmful side effects.

It may be too soon to predict how severe the flu outbreak will be this year; however, there were 142 pediatric deaths during the 2018-2019 flu season. There have been two child deaths so far this year, as of Nov. 2.

A national survey by Orlando Health from 2015 found that many parents are skeptical about flu shots, and more than half of parents surveyed believed that you can get the flu from the vaccine.


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The Single Worst Social Security Claiming Mistake You Can Make
By Sean Williams

Do this and you'll almost certainly regret it.

As of October, nearly 64 million people were bringing home a Social Security benefit check each month. Of these 64 million, more than four out of five are senior citizens, with approximately 62% counting on their monthly payout for at least half of their income.
Seniors' most important decision

It would be pretty fair to suggest that deciding when to begin taking Social Security benefits is the most important decision that seniors will make. That's because their claiming decision can have a big impact on what they'll be paid each month by Social Security, and may ultimately decide whether they can make ends meet during retirement.

As you may already know, there are more than a half-dozen factors that can impact what you'll receive from Social Security. Two of the best known are your work and earnings history. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will take your 35 highest-earning, inflation-adjusted years into account when calculating your monthly payout at full retirement age. This is why working into your 50s and 60s can be so important to boosting your overall benefit. By this age, you've probably built up experience and skills to command a higher annual wage or salary, which can aid in lifting your average monthly benefit. Mind you, the door swings both ways, with each year less of 35 being worked resulting in a $0 being averaged into your calculation.



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Senior Living Demand: Strong Demographics
Weakened By Strong Health

By Bill Conerly

Recent overbuilding in senior living communities has led to questions about basic demographics. Population trends are important and easily quantified, but the health and lifestyle choices of senior citizens is harder to analyze.

The easy part is the numbers. Everyone who will be 65 anytime soon has already been born. Foreign immigrants to the United States are mostly young, so building a wall won’t have much impact on the senior population. Mortality rates influence the projections, but the biggest surprises in recent years have been people 25 through 44.

(Recent data did show an increase in the death rate among 85 and older people. However, that group is pretty diverse, with the greatest increases in the very old, 96 years and older, with fewer people in the 85-88 category. The increased mortality was not a surprise when the older population is tabulated in one-year increments rather than lumped all together.)




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY DEC.12TH 2019


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12/8/19








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A Little Politics As We
Close In On 2020


There are two things that surprise me as we close out 2019. The first is how grateful I am to have made it this far. A few years ago I wouldn’t have given myself a snowball's chance in hell to have lived this long. The second surprise is something I never thought would have that much meaning in my life or taken up so much of my very short attention span. And that thing is politics.
 
Like most Americans I took our form of government for granted. If you were born after WW2, except for a few minor glitches, we have enjoyed a system that has worked well for us as well as leaders who have represented themselves in a favorable manner. Who we elected really didn’t matter too much because we knew there were enough other level-headed elected representatives, senators and judges to make sure nobody did anything crazy. We also knew that if the guy we elected didn’t do a good job, we could always get rid of him in the next election. And, when electing a president, we just wanted some guy who looked and sounded presidential. Someone who would not steer us in the wrong direction or make a fool of us on the world stage. We didn’t care too much about the man’s politics because we knew there would always be enough lawmakers with common sense on both sides of the aisle to override any foolhardy agenda the executive branch may have promulgated. And again, we always knew that if the guy in the White House failed in his duties, we only had to put up with him for four years. And besides, how much could one man screw things up in four years? Well, my fellow Americans, now we know.

If someone would have told me five years ago I would watch a debate between two presidential candidates with as much fervor and interest as I would view the Superbowl, I’d have said they were crazy. But there I was. Eyes glued to the TV watching a former first lady and senator outwit a self-proclaimed “genius” businessman and reality TV host. I watched as he blustered his way around the debate stage promising things he knew he could never accomplish. I thought, “how could anybody vote for this guy. He doesn’t have a clue. He’s crude, rude and ill-informed and definitely knows nothing about politics or how Washington works. While on the other side we had an accomplished lawyer, U.S. Senator and first lady with a good idea of how to get things done in DC.” However, as the weeks wore on, and I observed the reactions both candidates received at their rally’s and campaign stops, I noticed something. The guy with the impossible hair and uncouth manner was bringing out a heck of a lot of screaming, cheering people every place he went. 

Yes, they were mostly white. Mostly middle-aged and, presumably, mostly middle class Americans. But they were something else. They were a segment of the population who were tired of not being listened to. The Democratic candidate who most of those folks would have supported in the past, was not the person they could identify with. She was too liberal. Too “all-inclusive”, too feminist, maybe too educated and, though nobody would admit it, too much in love with “them minorities.” For the first time, I felt that what we all believed would be a certainty, was not as much of a sure thing as we thought it would be.

I’m an old codger. The first president I voted for was Lyndon Johnson who became the Democratic candidate after the assassination of John Kennedy a year earlier. His opponent was Barry Goldwater, the first Conservative/Republican candidate. The differences between the two men was so clear that Lyndon Johnson won with the largest majority since 1820. However, Mr. Goldwater had an interesting campaign slogan*. You might remember “In your heart, you know he’s right.” While it might not have been obvious, they meant the slogan to appeal to the same segment of the population Trump’s “Make America Great Again” tome now hopes to grab, the isolationist, right wing, nationalist white American who, until now, remained mostly in the woodwork. Unfortunately, for Goldwater, there were just not enough of those folks around (or at least not enough who would admit it) to make much difference in the election. It took 52 years and a candidate who was as intolerant as they were to get them to come out of the shadows and vote. And, although it was hardly a landslide, they made enough of a show to get “one of their own” elected.

Some say that one of the appealing traits Mr. Trump has is his plain, man-of-the-people, almost “street” language way of speaking. However, if you use street language, you had better be street smart.** Disastrously, Trump has none of that. He speaks and acts on impulse. Not a good trait for a world leader. He treats the Constitution (the document that gives his office its very power) as just a bunch of suggestions to be interpreted any way it he feels meets his agenda.

Why am I telling you this? Because you, as an older American, are being directly targeted by the President of the United States and the party he leads. They are targeting you not only by proposing cuts to Social Security but by screwing around with Medicare too, as this article from “commondreams.org”*** explains…
 
"Trump’s new executive order does nothing to hold the Medicare Advantage plans accountable for their fraudulent overcharges or their inappropriate denials of care and coverage. Rather, it rewards them.
 
President Trump just announced a plan to give corporate health insurers more control over your health care. His new executive order calls for “market-based” pricing, which would drive up costs for everyone with Medicare, eviscerate traditional Medicare, and steer more people into for-profit “Medicare Advantage” plans.
 
Seema Verma, the Trump appointee who heads the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), may not have warned Trump about the slew of government audits revealing that many Medicare Advantage plans pose “an imminent and serious risk to the health of… enrollees.” They also overcharge taxpayers to the tune of $10 billion a year."
 
This goes directly to that “compassion” thing I mentioned. Therefore, I ask you, where exactly is that compassion, the caring and yes, even the respect we as patriotic American seniors deserve? It certainly is not in the mind and heart of the President of the United States nor in the people that support him………………………………………………
 



* Johnson’s campaign slogan was “All the way with LBJ”, which really didn’t tell you much about the man. However, the Dems did counter the “In your heart you know he’s right” slogan with an almost slanderous “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

** The Urban Dictionary defines “Street Smarts” as: Intelligence gained outside of school. Just as useful as book smarts, and in many cases more so. It can be divided into 4 categories.

1.Getting Along With Others- Knowing which questions to ask and not asking too many,being polite and friendly, but also being assertive.
2.Common Sense- Knowing who you can trust, which areas in town are good and which are bad, etc.
3.Self-defense-Knowing how to fight and fend off an attacker, especially if you are small.
4.BS-detection-Knowing when people are trying to fuck you over, reading their intentions, and knowing that most corporate advertisements are complete bullshit.

*** source: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/10/04/watch-out-seniors-trump-just-launched-stealth-attack-medicare



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Home Care Services for Seniors
By Mike Weber

Want to age in place? Learn about home care services that can help you maintain your independence and stay at home for longer.

What are home care services for seniors?

While it may be hard to accept, most of us will require some type of care assistance after the age of 65. You may be used to handling everything yourself, dividing up duties with your spouse, or relying on family members for minor help around the home. But as you get older and your circumstances change, getting around and taking care of yourself can become more and more difficult. If the idea of moving to a retirement community, assisted living facility, or nursing home doesn’t appeal, home care services may be able to help keep you living in your own home for longer.

Home care services include:
  • Household maintenance.
  • Transportation.
  • Home modifications.
  • Personal care.
  • Health care.
  • Day programs.




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Here's where you can retire nicely on just
$30,000 a year ... outside the US

By Annie Nova


If you’ve been racking your brain about where to retire on a budget, it might be time to think outside the U.S.

A report by International Living, which publishes information about living overseas, lists destinations where you can coast through retirement on less than $30,000 a year.

To be sure, retiring in a new country will require studying up on tax implications, along with pulling off some other logistical maneuvering.

Yet for many older Americans, the work will be well worth finding a new, affordable place to spend their golden years.

The average monthly Social Security check is $1,404, and more than 40% of single adults receive more than 90% of their income from that check, according to the government.

Here are the international cities where that check will go far, according to International Living.


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Why Going Deaf and Losing Everything
Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

By James "Rev Shark" DePorre


For 18 years now I've written about my personal journey on the day before Thanksgiving on RealMoney. I do it for two reasons. First, I find it important to be grateful for the many blessings in life. Even when things look bleak, focusing on the positives leads to a better life than negativity and pessimism.

Second, I hope that my story helps to provide some hope to those dealing with difficult circumstances. We all go through challenges and positives at various times. Like the stock market, life is cyclical as well. Periods of struggle and difficulty are inevitable but so are the periods of progress and joy. The key is to maintain the right mindset.

I never dreamed that going totally deaf and losing everything would turn out to have such a positive impact on my life. I could have easily wallowed in self-pity for the rest of my life, but staying positive and hopeful eventual lead to a better life than imagined.

Continue reading >>

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Some nursing homes are illegally evicting
elderly and disabled residents
who can't afford to pay

By Katie Engelhart

When Jamie Moore arrived home on a Thursday evening in March, she was surprised to find her mother-in-law in her living room. Glenda Moore, 67, had been sitting in her wheelchair for hours. Without anyone to help her to the bathroom, she’d had an accident. She was also having trouble breathing. “It was awful,” Jamie Moore recalled.

Glenda Moore told Jamie that she had been discharged from the Bishop Care Center nursing home, in Bishop, California. She had been living at the nursing home — a sprawling brick building on the side of a state highway — for several weeks, recovering from a back surgery that unexpectedly left her unable to walk much or take care of herself.

Several days earlier, nursing home administrators had shown Glenda Moore a letter from Medicare, explaining that her rehabilitation coverage was ending. She was unable to pay the nursing home’s more-than-$7,000 monthly fee, so, thinking she had no other options, she left. (A relative dropped her off at Jamie’s home, where Glenda Moore had lived previously, without telling Jamie.)

“They pushed her out and she was not ready,” Jamie Moore, who has worked as a nursing assistant, said. “She was not ready at all.”

Continue reading >>


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NEXT BLOG MONDAY, DEC. 9TH 2019


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I have to admit. I feel a little guilty every time I see a news story or see an advertisement for those “Black Friday” sales events and I buy nothing.
 
It’s not that I don’t get the urge. I’m as susceptible to the thought of a bargain as anybody. And, in the past I probably would be out there with the rest of the madding throngs digging through piles of shirts, jackets and housewares hoping to find something so ridiculously cheap that, even if I didn’t need it, I had to have it. As my mother used to say when she found a bargain on the dress rack at Loehmann’s, “At that price, it can hang in the closet.” However, things have changed in recent years. I no longer feel that compulsion to buy. The yearning I once had to consume conspicuously has disappeared. This, most likely, results from several things.

I earned my first wages at age 14. Kids could get their “working papers” from the state that allowed minors to work part time. These papers made me “official.” It meant I was “on the books.” and my employer had to pay into Social Security, disability and all the other things to which they subject the American worker. It also meant that I was now free to do what every other American can, and that was to use the money I earned (which was about seventy-five cents and hour) to buy whatever I wanted. There is probably no better feeling than walking up to the counter at the local store and being able to say “I’ll have one of those please” and then paying for it with your own money. Little did I know that “feeling” is what makes this world go round. And I. as a working man, was an integral part of that world. I was now a contributing member of society. A consumer. Fifty years later, that would all come to an end. 

I collected my first Social Security benefit at age 62 after nearly 50 years of steady employment. Fifty years of working and getting paid for it. Fifty years of paying takes and, yes, spending money. And, over those years, my spending habits changed from that of the impulse buying of luxury goods (cars, watches, high priced electronics) to the more mundane like rent, utility bills and food. Only upon a special occasion did I use my hard-gotten gains to treat myself or someone else to something posh. Such as making a good impression on that very special member of the opposite sex who would soon be my wife. But, upon retiring, that all changed. My spending went from things I wanted to things I needed. I had to carefully decide on what I bought. I had to ask myself “How much does this cost and do I really need this item.” For the first time in my life I felt what it was like to put thrift before anything else when deciding on what to buy. Just like poor people.

Not having that “extra cash” to spend changes one’s perspective of reality. It governs almost everything you do. From what you wear to what you eat. What you watch on TV to where you travel all depends on, not only how much you have to spend, but whether we should spend that money at all. Which brings us to Black Friday. 

If we are to believe the commercials and publicity that surrounds Black Friday and Cyber Monday, days in which all of us are expected to throw caution and our credit cards to the wind and go forth and spend, not to do so is almost un-American. To decry spending is blasphemy. Not to consume is treason. Therefore, in an effort not to feel like a traitor, I suppose I will take advantage of some of those bargains out there. But I’ll only buy stuff I really need.

I really want a 53 inch television. No matter that the wall of my room measures only10 inches larger or that the 42 inch TV I now have is perfectly good. IT’S ON SALE MAN!

I’d like a new watch. The one I have on is okay, but it can’t monitor my heartbeat, take my pulse or order a pizza. Goodbye $20 Casio, hello $230 smart watch.

And finally, there’s the new I-phone. It’s also “smart.” It does everything my laptop and Kindle does, but I can make phone calls with it. It doesn’t matter that I have a cell phone that costs me zero per month. I can’t use it to “tweet.”

I’m sure, if I can buy at least one of those items, I’ll be back in America’s good graces. I will have made a difference by tweaking the economy just a bit. I’ll tweet you about it as soon as they deliver my I-phone………………….
 

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Here are some of the best resources available
 to seniors who want to know their way around computers.


Now that we’ve established why computers are important in today’s world, and you understand what the main types of computer are, it’s time to get savvy with the wonderful ways you can use them.

Whether you want to learn how to use email, browse the Internet, do video calls with your grandkids, purchase gifts or other items online, or share and view photos with friends and family, it’s easier than you think.

If you have a family member (grandkids are naturals!) or friend to show you some basics, that’s great. If not, then there are several choices out there. Where do you start? Good news, there are lots of places for seniors to go and get computer literate.




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Hope for the senior citizens
By Samuel Adegboyega Oyegbile

The population of the senior citizens in our country is increasing as in the world over. According to 2006 population exercise, those aged 65 years above make up to 4.3 percent of the total population of Nigeria which was put at 140,431,790.  This group are mostly neglected by the government, the public and even the families. Many are lonely especially at 65years and above. Neglect, loneliness and lack of care lead to loss of joy and hope, which lead to premature death.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) “Every Person  in every country in the world  should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life. Healthy ageing is a process of developing and maintaining  functional ability which enables all to do what they value at an older age. These include basic needs to learn and grow, mobile, build relationships and contribute meaningfully to society from their wealth of experience. Environments are highly influential on our behaviour, our exposure to health risks (e.g. air pollution, violence), our access to quality health and social care and opportunities that aging brings.

Since Nigeria is a member-state of WHO, the global strategy is a step forward to contribute to achieving the vision that all people can live long and healthy lives. In Nigeria, the family structure – nuclear and extended – is changing rapidly with no safety net in place for most Nigerians.  The family traditionally was cradle of love, security and development where family needs including those of the aged were met. This bond is getting weaker and eroded due to poverty, societal materialism, competition and independence leading to lack of family support and care of the elderly. There is no social security to also bridge this gap, hence the aged are neglected and unhappy.



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Stop Telling Me I Look Younger Than My Age

I was at one of those horrible clubs when I first heard it.

You know the ones ― bottle service in sweaty silver buckets with the veneer peeling off; startup bros and sales guys prattling on in indecipherable jargon; a tacky menu of tiny food littered with foam and microgreens. It was my friend’s birthday. She was turning 30.

She showed up with someone I didn’t recognize. They looked effortlessly chic and fresh in crisp summer whites and gleaming Ray-Bans. He told me that he was on the “sixth anniversary of his 29th birthday.” I was irritated at being made to do math and felt underwhelmed and insecure with my chipped nails and ripped jeans. He turned to my friend and said it ― the statement I’d start hearing as soon as I leveled up to 30. “Don’t worry about getting old, honey! You look 10 years younger than your age.”

Now, having recently blown out the candles on my 39th birthday cake and made my wish (to climb Machu Picchu), I’m used to hearing that tired old tagline: “Happy Birthday! You ... look so much younger than your age.”

Continue reading >>


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6 Ways to Deal with Sentimental Items
When Decluttering


Organizing. and getting rid of, extra belongings can make it easier to downsize, clean a home and entertain guests.

But what should be done with a stack of boxes containing memorabilia stashed in a closet? Or a basement filled with items that represent the past 30 years?

“Clutter is real, and stuff follows us to the end,” says Felice Cohen, author and professional organizer based in New York City who teaches online organization classes to older adults.

    “Sentimental clutter is the hardest clutter to part with.”

Sorting through last week’s coupons can be much easier than tackling a bin filled with memories from the past.

Continue reading >>



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, DEC. 5TH 2019


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♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

 


   Editor’s Note: After writing over 100 posts this past year I have decided to take a break. And, since this post just happens to publish on Thanksgiving day, what better time of the year to take that break. In place of my usual diatribe I will publish an essay I came across three years ago. Amazingly the theme of the essay still has relevance today.

I am sorry I do not know who wrote this. I have looked high and low and could not find any references as to its author. If you know who it is let me know and I will surely give them credit. In any event, I wish you and yours a very happy and digestible Thanksgiving. I’ll be having dinner here at the ALF with 100 of my closest friends………………………

 PLEASE NOTE: WE'LL BE BACK AT IT MONDAY, DECEMBER 2ND

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Thanksgiving Day:

It Could not have Come at a Better Time

 

As you read this blog, you have either already eaten your Thanksgiving Day dinner and are now feeling the pangs of indigestion, stuffiness, exhaustion, frustration, indignation, and regret, or you are still deciding whether or not you really want to go to your daughter’s second husband’s mother for dinner (remembering that she is a vegetarian and that you will probably be served Tofurky for dinner).

But, no matter what your situation, I can bet that the conversation around the table this year was (Or will be) very different from the usual mindless banter that we all have come to tolerate year after year.

Despite your best efforts to keep politics out of the dialogue, your endeavor will be in vein.

 Everyone seated around the table over the age of five will have his or her thoughts about the national nightmare we just suffered through.

 And, if your family (and friends) are anything like mine, you will find both sides of the aisle represented.

And it won’t matter if you are armed with the facts, you will not be able to dissuade anybody that voted for the opposition.

In fact, you lost as soon as you walked into the place.

So, what should you do (if you haven’t already done it)?

You can either keep your mouth shut and sit there with your Tofurky and herbal soda while your blood pressure pushes ever so gently on those artery walls, or, you can remind people why they are all where they are today and what this holiday is all about.

We have all been told (and I am simplifying the reason) that the folks who came over on the Mayflower (a.k.a. “Pilgrims”) did so to flee religious persecution*.

And, while that may or may not be entirely the truth, for our purposes it’s as good a reason as any.

Therefore, at the first opportunity or lull in the action, try to slip that thought into the discussion.

This should at least make 50% of the diners agree with you.

The other 50% will glare at you waiting for you to drop the “T” bomb.

But you won’t mention HIS name.

You will simply ask people what happened to the tolerance we (as a nation) used to have towards people of all faiths and backgrounds.

And then, after the murmurs, muttering and buzzing dies down, you will put down your fork, wipe the artificial vegetarian turkey gravy from your chin and proclaim,

“MAYBE AMERICA WAS NEVER AS TOLERANT OF OTHERS AS WE THOUGHT.”

AUTHOR'S NOTE: In order to maximize the effects of your observation, you must immediately go back to eating or drinking without really waiting for an answer. This will let the conversational stew boil. This also allows you to wallow in your role as the “Instigator” a bit longer.

You now have the opportunity to either foment the situation even further by asking “Who here thinks we should register all Muslims?” or just ask somebody to “pass green bean casserole please.”

It’s your choice.

In any event, I hope you have or had a great Thanksgiving day and will be able to leave the table with at least one good thought.

You won’t have to go through this for another year.

*Some say that the Pilgrims came here not so much to flee religious persecution, but to persecute………………..Anon

 

 

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10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with

Loved Ones in Assisted Living

When elderly loved ones reside in assisted living, leaving their retirement community can sometimes be challenging, or even dangerous to their health; which makes it difficult for them to travel to someone else’s home to celebrate the holidays. However, there are various ways to bring holiday cheer straight to their door.

Here are a few simple, yet meaningful, ways you and your family can celebrate the holidays with your loved one in assisted living:

· Create a holiday scrapbook featuring mementos and photos from past celebrations

· Reminisce about past holiday memories, get out old photo albums and share stories. Ask what their most memorable Christmas was or what gift they were most excited to get as a child

· Have a cookie-baking party in their home

· Bring decorations and help your loved one decorate their home

· Have a holiday movie marathon featuring all of the classics

· Organize an informal Christmas carol sing-along

· Throw a holiday card party: assign everyone a task, such as decorating cards, stuffing envelopes, writing out addresses, etc.

· Decorate personalized holiday stockings; one for each family member

· Make a gingerbread house

· If you have children, bring some holiday-themed children’s books in and have your children read them out loud to your loved one

“Retirement communities offer many different kinds of activities that will help people stay active and engaged in life,” Weuve said. “This is especially important for those who live alone.”

Source >> https://www.thegazette.com/cottage-grove-christmas-holidays-family-assisted-living

 

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For Older Adults, It's The Quality Of Friendships,

Not Quantity, That Improves Well-Being

 

LEEDS, England — Everyone knows that having friends boosts well-being. In fact previous research has even suggested that having numerous friends reduces the risk of medical conditions like heart disease. However, a new study finds that not all friendships are created equal. Researchers from the University of Leeds conclude that well-being is more closely related to how people feel about their friends than their overall number of friends.

The study sought to compare the friendships and social circles of younger and older adults. Since younger adults are more likely to connect with friends, family members, and acquaintances using online social networks, they tend to have contact with a wider circle of friends. Surely all of those online friends mean that younger people are happier than older adults, right? Not so fast. While older adults may have generally fewer friends, they also tend to be closer with those friends and interact with them on a face-to-face basis more frequently.

According to researchers, when it comes to friendship-induced feelings of well-being, that makes all the difference.

Continue reading >> https://www.studyfinds.org/for-older-adults-its-the-quality-of-friendships-not-quantity-that-improves-well-being

 

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Half of all older adults are worried about dementia

Nearly half of American adults between age 50 and 64 fear they will develop dementia, a new analysis has revealed.

In study published Friday in the journal JAMA Neurology, University of Michigan researchers report that 48.5 percent of 1,019 respondents to the school's National Poll on Healthy Aging feel they were at least somewhat likely to be diagnosed with cognitive decline. Another 4.2 percent felt they were "very likely" to develop some form of dementia.

"Memory loss is often a big concern for people as they age," study co-author Donovan Maust, director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Program at the University of Michigan, told UPI. "While there has been a lot of scientific focus on early diagnosis and early treatment of dementia, there are still no effective treatments. But, there is growing evidence that managing lifestyle and some chronic medical conditions can reduce risk."

The University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging is a national survey of adults between 50 and 80 years of age. The project received financial support from AARP and Michigan Medicine and was completed in October 2018.

Continue reading >> https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2019/11/15/Half-of-all-older-adults-are-worried-about-dementia-survey-says/5061573753007/

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Seniors May Be Overpaying for Medicine,

Study Looking at Medicare’s Use of Generics Suggests

By Ron Day

Medicare may not be getting the best prescription drug deals it can, meaning senior citizens using the plan are overpaying, a new study suggests.

Private insurance companies adopt cheaper generic drugs at a faster pace than government-run Medicare, a study by lobbying group Access for Affordable Medicines concludes. Generics are intended to be a lower-cost alternative to brand name pharmaceuticals.

Commercial health plans put generics on the lower-cost generic tier at least 90% of the time, according to data supplied by the AAM to Karma. Medicare drug plans usually put generics on a tier with more expensive brand names.

About 15% of Americans, or 44 million, are covered under Medicare and that number may rise to 79 million by 2030. That suggests vast amounts of money going to big pharma companies, who compete with generic firms producing FDA approved copies of the patented medications. AAM said in an earlier study that about $12 billion was spent on brand name, or non-generic drugs, where the Medicare coverage was less than 25%.

Continue reading >> https://karmaimpact.com/seniors-may-be-overpaying-for-medicine-study-looking-at-medicares-use-of-generics-suggests/

 

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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG MONDAY DEC. 2ND 2019


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11/27/19







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'Tis the season. The season to stuff yourself silly that is. It’s that time of the year when Americans throw caution, and their diets, to the wind and set forth to devour as much food as we can. And, we have the statistics to prove it.*
 
1.  About 50 million pumpkin pies are consumed each Thanksgiving
2.  A person consumes an average of 3,000 calories at Thanksgiving.
3.  The food with the most calories is none other than our beloved pecan pie.
4.  Americans consume 736 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving Day alone (about the weight of the Empire State Building).
5.  40 million green bean casseroles are made each year (Thank you Campbell’s Soup for your generous contribution to society).
 

There was a time when I could say that I contributed heavily to those stats. But now, not so much.
 
Not that my appetite has diminished. I can still pack away my share of food. It’s just that my eating habits have become more selective. At one time I would eat everything and anything. If it was fit for human consumption, I would eat it. Now, I limit myself to foods that make me happy. Fortunately, that represents a wide variety of things. Unfortunately, not all of those things are good for me. And my waistline shows it.

I knew old age would not be fun. A lesson I learned as I watched my parents grow older and fall victim to all the ravages time has to offer. The late-onset diseases. The slowness of gait. The aches and pains as body parts wear out. And the gradual onset of that malaise that overtakes one’s psyche, apathy. No, there was not much to look forward to. Except one thing. Something, I thought, every old person will capitulate to. A loss of appetite.

I had always been a chubby kid. Partially because of genetics and partially because of the mass quantities of food put down before me. Add to that the unstoppable insistence by my mother to “finish everything on my plate”, that permanently sealed my fate. I would be fat forever. I can still feel the humiliation when a salesperson at the A&S department store in Brooklyn told my mom “You’ll find clothes in his size in the HUSKY section of the boys' department.” If there was a gun department at A&S I would have found it and shot myself then and there.

With that in mind, I was all set to face old age with at least one good thing to look forward to. Something I was sure would happen because, it happened to all old people, right? And that was a loss of appetite.
 
Finally, I thought, I could fit into those skinny jeans I saw all the other kids wear. I’d be able to wear the “cool” clothes they never made for “husky” kids. I’d be able to shop anywhere and they would have my size.
 
I saw myself pushing away from the table having eaten only a few bites as the pounds and inches sloughed off my body.
 
In my head I could imagine people talking behind my back about how much weight I lost and how good I looked.
 
But alas. That was not to be. At least, not so far. Truthfully, the opposite happened. Instead of losing weight like most other old people, I am adding tonnage at an alarming rate. 

It’s not that I haven’t tried dieting. But, considering the amount of carb-loaded starchy and sugary foods they serve here at the ALF, I lost the battle before it began. They make every meal here of one part protein and two parts carbohydrates. Take yesterday’s menu as an example.

Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal (carbs), Orange juice (carbs) rye toast (carbs) and an omelet.

Lunch was pizza. Two slices (carbs). the only protein here was the pepperoni on the pizza.

Dinner started with a small salad (okay) and chicken (about 3oz.) teriyaki with a side of spaghetti (carbs). And to top it off, ice cream for desert.

Could I have substituted a tuna platter or chicken salad for lunch or dinner? Yes.

Could I have not eaten toast with breakfast? Yes. Or could I have refused the ice cream dessert? Sure.

But I would have walked away from the table still hungry which would have made me head for the general store and buy something even worse. I may be an old person, but I have the appetite, and the cravings, of a seventeen-year-old. 

I still love a good cheeseburger with fries. 

I will eat pizza, hot or cold any time of the day or night.

A plate of spaghetti and meatballs or mac and cheese is all I need to make me content.

Chinese take-out or eat in does it for me every time and gooey chocolate cake makes me swoon. And, I would not refuse a two pound lobster, roast prime rib a baked potato and creamed spinach, ever.

I suppose the bottom line here is I like food and I like to eat. Consuming food, from the selection of a meal, to its digestion and elimination, makes me feel alive. Even normal. I may not walk too well, but damn, I can still eat like a man. 

Will there be a time when I will eat less? According to this article from “aplaceformom.com”, it could be soon.**

  “Aging changes can begin as early as age 30,” depending on the individual, says Dr. Lindsay Jones-Born, a licensed naturopathic physician. Starting with the heart, lungs, and kidneys, our bodies undergo various physiological shifts that affect our overall health as well as our eating habits and nutritional intake. In the mid-60s and early 70s, appetite may lessen as metabolism declines due to natural changes. People move less as they get older, and muscle mass decreases, so they burn fewer calories.”

“There may also be hormonal changes that contribute to lowered appetite: “In-depth studies have shown that elders aged 75 and older may not respond to the hunger regulatory hormones ghrelin and cholecystokinin in the same way they did when they were younger and that this may contribute to early satiety,” Dr. Jones-Born says”
I’m 74. According to the study sighted in the above quote, I have another year to go before my hormones go nuts. Until that time comes it’s “Yes, I would like double fries with that.” …......
 

*Source: https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/thanksgiving-day-food-facts
** Source: https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-10-8-loss-of-appetite/




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Pass Along These Pearls to Patients With Runny Noses
By Kathleen Kenny, PharmD, RPh

Nasal congestion and rhinorrhea are common and can occur year-round for many reasons. These minor maladies often can be treated with home remedies. There are times, however, when medical treatment is necessary.

CONGESTION AND RHINORRHEA
Nasal congestion occurs when mucus becomes sticky and thick, making it hard to expel, and when the nasal passages become inflamed. Rhinorrhea, also known as a runny nose, occurs when excess mucus drains from the nose. This mucus can be clear or opaque, constant or intermittent, and thick or thin.

CAUSES
Production of mucus in the nose and sinuses is necessary to keep the nose moist. The mucus typically is swallowed.1 Many conditions may cause the nose and sinuses to produce too much mucus, resulting in nasal congestion or a runny nose. Here are some of these conditions:

1.Colds and the flu.
2.Cold weather.
3.Crying.
4.Allergic rhinitis.
5.Vasomotor rhinitis.
6.Large/swollen turbinates.
7.Large adenoids.
8.Nasal polyps.
9.Foreign bodies.
10.Nasal cysts or tumors.
11.Choanal atresia or pyriform aperture stenosis.
12.Deviated nasal septum.

Continue reading >> https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2019/november2019/pass-along-these-pearls-to-patients-with-runny-noses


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Why you shouldn't say ‘OK boomer’ at work


The phrase “OK boomer” has become a catch-all put-down that Generation Zers and young millennials have been using to dismiss retrograde arguments made by baby boomers, the generation of Americans who are currently 55 to 73 years old.

Though it originated online and primarily is fueling memes, Twitter feuds and a flurry of commentary, it has begun migrating to real life. Earlier this month, a New Zealand lawmaker lobbed the insult at an older legislator who had dismissed her argument about climate change.

As the term enters our everyday vocabulary, HR professionals and employment law specialists like me now face the age-old question: What happens if people start saying “OK boomer” at work?


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Combating Social Isolation in Older Adults


Social isolation and loneliness are among top concerns for older adults. Feelings of loneliness are linked to health concerns including depression and cognitive decline, and unfortunately, health issues that many seniors experience like mobility challenges or hearing loss can exacerbate loneliness. In fact, research External link disclaimer shows that loneliness is just as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

This is a vicious cycle all too many older adults are experiencing – the National Poll on Healthy Aging found and one in three older adults say they lack regular companionship. Findings from a recent survey conducted by GreatCall support this – with 52% of older adults ages 65+ experience feelings of loneliness a few times a year, 14% reported once a week, and 21% feel lonely every day.

GreatCall, in partnership with Laurie Orlov of Aging in Place Technology Watch, has compiled the latest research and emerging solutions to address social isolation in effort to increase awareness of this global issue. The research, titled “Fighting Social Isolation Among Older Adults” External link disclaimer shows:


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How assisted living facilities are adding
exercise and nutrition to help residents



It's important for seniors to stay active and keep their bodies strong and healthy. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd Edition, commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults ages 65 and older can significantly benefit from regular physical activity.

Physical activity helps seniors:

  •     Preserve their overall physical function and mobility
  •     Prevent and manage chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and cancer
  •     Lower the risk of dementia
  •     Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  •     Increase social engagement

Assisted living facilities are implementing daily routines and programs to keep seniors physically fit, mentally sharp, and independent. According to Elder Care Alliance, the areas to target are:

Continue reading >> https://wgme.com/sponsored/spotlight/how-assisted-living-facilities-are-adding-exercise-and-nutrition-to-help-residents


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The Joys of the Minimalist Life in Retirement

“The freedom on the other side of our stuff makes us truly euphoric!” That’s the phrase minimalist Amy Rutherford, 51, of Parker, Colo., uses to describe the feeling of joy she and her husband Tim, 52, now enjoy after getting rid of most of their possessions.

Here’s how she and a few others have embraced minimalism, and their advice for people who’d like to do the same.

Amy Rutherford, who writes about early retirement on her website GoWithLess.com, is the first to admit that the journey with her husband to minimize, retire early and travel the world wasn’t always easy. But the couple, who’d both spent their careers in corporate sales, didn’t jump into the deep end all at once, either. Instead, theirs was a series of well-calculated baby steps.

First, the Rutherfords sold their 6,000 square-foot home in Parker and moved into a rental townhouse they owned in the same town. The new place was less than one-third the size (1,800 square feet).

    “To us, physical clutter equaled mental clutter.”

Next came the major downsizing tasks.





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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY NOV. 28TH 2019


Though not required, please feel free to add your email or website to your comments







11/ 24/19




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If, after reading the above headline, you thought the topic for discussion today would contain some information on what, as an older person, you should be wearing, you have come to the wrong place. I know nothing about fashion or how one should dress. What I know about haute couture would fit nicely in a pair of Manolo Blahnick’s.* But what I know (based entirely upon observation) is that when one reaches a certain age, any fashion sense they had disappears. And, it vanishes to a point that one might ask “What the heck were they thinking when they put THAT on?”

Before I go any further, I must recuse myself from commenting on anything women wear. As little as I know about the way old men dress, I know less about what older ladies like to wear. However (again based solely on what I have noticed) women are only slightly more aware of how they look than men. And, that ain’t much.

There is however, a theme that runs through much of senior attire. Comfort is of the utmost importance and the hell with color coordination. This “throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may” attitude with what one wears I would usually find refreshing. Unfortunately, when it come to seniors, this supposed lack of style only provides ammunition for the many anti-senior ageists who like to find fault with and make fun of old people any time they can. And, when it comes to senior fashion, they might be correct. We, seniors, as a group dress ridiculous. For many, all that is needed to complete the "look” is some clown makeup and a fright wig.

Here, at the ALF, the men’s uniform of the day, leans toward outfits last seen worn by 1970s organized crime figures. This consists primarily of ‘warm-up’ pants and tops made of a velour-type material adorned with a stripe down the side of the pant leg and the words “Adidas” emblazoned on the front, back, sides or bottom (or all three) of the garment. Sometimes, the tops match the bottoms, but more often not. Track or running shoes round out the outfit although none of the old dudes wearing these clothes either run or workout. And that’s the good part. Dressing  that way requires some thought. Most of the old dudes around here never go that far. In fact, they most likely have no actual wardrobe plans for the day. For many, “If it was good enough to wear yesterday, it’s still okay to wear today.”

While I have no problem with dressing comfortably (to do otherwise would border on the insane), I believe comfort should never infringe on good taste. Unfortunately, most of my fellow residents have lost the meaning of good taste.

A statement made by historian Linda Przybyszewski** may explain some of why this may not be entirely old folks fault:

“I’m afraid it is unfortunately part of a general contempt for older women that society picked up — along with a contempt for older people in general — in the 1960s. You have this enormous group of young people setting trends by themselves when they reached adulthood. They consciously rejected what older people were doing for good reasons and some not good reasons. [One] not good reason: The basic vision of old people as stupid.”

Could it be the reason the elderly dress so poorly is that they are rebelling against society just as they did when they were young? LOL! That's nonsense. Old people dress the way they do because fashion, style, setting trends or being at the forefront of anything no longer has any meaning for them. They (we) couldn’t care less. If they (the kids) want to wear shorts that end somewhere above the ankle, or a football jersey three times the proper size or a pair of camouflaged pants worn 10 inches below the Jockey shorts, that’s just fine, but not me. I prefer to wear “timeless” clothes. Something I do for a few reasons.

When deciding on a daily wardrobe I realize that I am an adult. And that wearing clothes years too young for me will not restore my youth. Actually, it does the opposite. It draws attention to exactly what I don’t need. And that is to have others look upon me as a pathetic old fool grasping at anything to show that I am still “hip” and “with it.”

My apparel also has a practical side. One drawn from economics rather than style. Truthfully, I can’t afford to buy things based on what’s new. I need clothes that can be worn in any casual situation without being slovenly or unkempt. Therefore, I have a wardrobe consisting mostly of chino’s or “Dockers” style pants and jeans. This allows me to wear either a traditional top (button-down oxford shirt) or something more casual like a polo shirt or T-shirt. And, if purchased in a few different shades, can be matched and mixed in dozens of configurations so as to give the impression that I have more clothes than I actually do. Something women have known ho to do for centuries.

An article in nhmagazine.com by Lynne Snierson*** takes a similar approach:

“If you want to stay fashionable after 50, “aging rock star” isn’t a good look.”

“I think there are better directions to go,” says a diplomatic Pat Lonergan, the owner of Inside Out, a Portsmouth boutique carrying the latest styles in designer clothes and accessories for men and women.

Fashion and design go hand-in-glove, especially for senior citizens. At this stage of life, expressing and presenting yourself with panache is all about putting contemporary pieces you like together, and making them look chic without being too trendy or over the top, comfortable without being messy or sloppy, and attractive without being too flashy or overtly sexy.”

“You can still be edgy and have a youthful appearance to your style,” says Lonergan. “Instead of wearing all the trends on top of each other, pick one trend that really suits you and then have more classic lines around that trend. That look is sophisticated, progressive and young.”

I wish more seniors would abide by those suggestions. It would give ageists less to talk about. Dressing sanely and appropriately would go a long way in bringing seniors into the mainstream of society instead of having them segregate us into a unique entity and dealt with as a group of people whose agenda conflicts with that of mainstream America. …………
 
*Manolo Blahnik is a manufacturer of high-end ladies shoes which typically cost around $1000 a pair. I only know the name because Carrie Bradshaw (a character in the popular TV series, Sex In The City) thinks they are terrific.
**source: https://www.racked.com/2017/1/18/14112366/dressing-like-an-adult-sophistication
***Source: https://www.nhmagazine.com/advice-for-seniors-on-updating-your-wardrobe/


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3 Steps to Take If Your
Social Security Number Is Stolen


Following the major security breach at Equifax, many Americans are more worried than ever about their Social Security numbers being used to commit identity theft. Over 143 million Americans have potentially had their sensitive personal information exposed, and this is just one of dozens of major cyber-security incidents in recent years.

In addition to a breach, your Social Security number could also be stolen from documents in your mailbox, your trash can or by someone fraudulently posing as a representative of a trusted institution. If you believe that your Social Security number has been stolen, here are three things you can do to protect yourself:

1.Report the identity theft to the responsible government agencies.

2.Request a credit freeze with each of the three major consumer credit bureaus.

3.Contact the fraud department of any company where you suspect a fraudulent use of your Social Security number has occurred.

Read more >>    CLICK HERE


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Cruel jokes about the old are everywhere.
When will we face our ageism epidemic?

By Francine Prose


Watching Saturday Night Live over the past few seasons, I’ve noticed the increasing number and frequency of jokes about old people: the feebleness of the aging brain, the repulsiveness of the elderly body, particularly the elderly female body.

Partly because no one, it seems, is ever “called out” for ageism – I can’t think of one public figure who has been “cancelled” for mocking the aged – I persuaded myself that, as an older person, I was being hypersensitive. But then, this past weekend, on the Weekend Update segment, the cast member Micheal Che told a series of jokes about a report that a Chinese woman in her 60s had given birth. The labor, Che noted, had involved an unusual amount of “friction” and (I may be slightly misquoting here) the delivery had been like “removing a penny from a wad of chewing gum”. Moreover, he added, the new mother could nurse simply by leaning over the crib. The audience laughed. I winced. My husband said: “Ouch.”

I tried to think of another demographic – Asians? African Americans? Women? Members of the LGBT community? – who would have been the object of humor quite so cruel, so barbed, so personal. But it’s not only in the sphere of comedy, and on network TV, that the old are discussed in ways that would never be tolerated by (or about) another group.


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The senior citizens running for president
and how they try to look younger

By Roxanne Roberts

Can we talk about Joe Biden’s face? And Bernie Sanders’ heart attack? And Elizabeth Warren’s honey blonde hair? And Donald Trump’s unnaturally orange hue?

Can we talk about the senior citizens running for president?

Trump and three leading Democratic challengers are all septuagenarians, and there’s not enough hair dye or spray tan in the world to cover up that fact. They may be smart; they may be experienced but – sorry, boomers – 70 is not the new 50.

The median age for presidents at the time of their inauguration is 55. Trump was the oldest when sworn in at age 70.

Ronald Reagan was 69 and George Washington just 57.

That makes the advanced age of the top 2020 candidates historic: If elected, Warren would be 71 at her inauguration. Biden would be 78, Sanders 79, and Trump would begin a second term at age 74.

How much of this is about chronological age, and how much is the perception of age? Psychologists say it’s really about first impressions, a quick and often subconscious evaluation of a candidate’s health, strength and competence.



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What happens when your healthcare data
is stolen or held for ransom?
It depends

By Veronica Combs

Hospitals are reluctant to disclose attacks, and regulations don't offer clear advice about what to tell patients.

Cyber attacks on doctor's offices and hospitals are on the rise. Healthcare records are worth much more than a credit card number or Social Security number-- $250 per record vs. $5.40 for a number.

In the 2019 Travelers Risk Index, healthcare executives named cybersecurity as a top concern. The survey also found that executives are taking some steps to defend against these attacks: About half of the people surveyed had purchased cyber insurance and had written a business continuity plan. Only 34% have simulated a cyber breach to identify areas of system vulnerability.

Deciding whether to pay the ransom in a ransomware attack is only the first big decision to make. In the immediate aftermath of an attack, healthcare executives have to determine how state and federal rules apply to the data breach. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides some guidance and each state has its own set of laws. 

Continue reading >> https://www.techrepublic.com/article/what-happens-when-your-healthcare-data-is-stolen-or-held-for-ransom-it-depends/


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NEXT BLOG MONDAY NOV. 25TH 2019


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11/17/19


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Guess where I went yesterday. In one of my rare ventures outside the confines of the ALF, they took a group of us residents on a trip to a store whose name belies what’s inside. The Christmas Tree Shop goes far beyond its namesake. To be truthful, there aren’t many trees sold there at all. Except for a few of pre-decorated plastic trees, the leafy beauties hardly exist. But they have everything else Christmas.
 
A first-time visitor to the store might be a wee bit overwhelmed by all the stuff one can buy to decorate their homes for the holiday. From giant wreathes, candy canes, LED candles, and everything Santa Claus, this place has it all if, that is, Christmas is your thing. For a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, not so much. While, the meaning of Christmas has a message for all (Peace on earth and goodwill to all) the glitzy trappings turns me off. Truthfully, the red/green color combination makes me ill. So why, you say, did I agree to go on this excursion? It wasn’t for the tinsel or fake snow.

At this point it is important for you to know of my sometimes peculiar food choices. Unlike many of my fellow seniors whose snacking preferences are usually of the sweet variety*, my tastebuds skew more to the salty/spicy variety. And, I will go to the ends of the earth to satisfy those cravings. Therefore, when the opportunity to go to the one place I know of where they sell a giant stick of salty, spicy pepperoni, I could not resist.**

I have to admit my anxiety level heightened somewhat as the twenty passenger bus approached the giant strip mall on one of Hartsdale’s main streets. Do they still carry the item? How long would it take to find? (We only had about two hours to shop). And, how much would it cost? All legitimate concerns., I had come for only one thing.

As we disembarked from the bus (a process that took longer than unloading the QE2) I could see the glint in my fellow passengers' eyes as they gazed upon the myriad variety of colorful Christmas fare. I love watching non-Jewish adults at Christmas time. I could see every Christmas they ever spent in their faces. They transport themselves back to their childhood. A time before all the aches and pains. The endless doctor’s visits and the endless pills, salves, injections and procedures that have become their lives. The bus wasn’t just a bus. It was a time machine as well.

While most of our group spread out to all four corners of the store I, like a garlic seeking guided missile, headed to the back of the store where I knew I would find the 1lb. hunk of spicy porcine and bovine smokey goodness. I was not disappointed. There, located just below overstuffed casings of summer sausage was what I was looking for. A baseball bat sized stick of Bridgford Old World Quality Pepperoni. The salami god had smiled down upon me. I had found what I wanted, and, I found it fast. So fast, that I wondered what I would do with the rest of the nearly two hours we had left. Not interested in plastic “silver” bells, mirror balls, various elves, reindeer, festive stockings etc., I decided to explore the rest of the food section. 

Like most specialty food sections, The Christmas Tree Shop’s shelves were stocked with items you would never ordinarily buy as part of your regular food shopping. Things such as an eight-bottle-assortment of hot sauce. A swimming pool size container of caramel popcorn. Pennetone packed in a pyramid-shaped box. Or, a kit that allows you to make a house out of Oreo’s. I passed on those but purchased a bottle of Olive Garden Italian salad dressing and a bag of ginger flavored hard candies for medicinal use only. My shopping was complete, with an hour remaining. What to do. What to do. My stomach made that decision for me. 

You’ve got to love strip malls. The good ones have a variety of useful businesses. And this one was no exception. A deli, a Chinese restaurant, a burger joint and the most New York of all New York eateries, a by-the-slice pizza parlor. It was the latter which won my favor. Two slices of cheesy, tomatoey, thin-crusted pizza later, it was time to board the bus for home. 

It was a good trip on many levels. It gave me an opportunity to get away from the confines of an often boring facility and explore the real world. Something many people take for granted. Also, I could purchase something which I could not get elsewhere. And, as silly as a 1lb stick of overly spiced meat may be, to me it was, in a smaller way, of feeling normal again. Or at least as normal as someone who would eat a giant pepperoni could be. ……………………………………………


*https://www.homecareassistancemesa.com/sugar-cravings-in-aging-adults/

"Many seniors have a sweet tooth. Even those who never craved sweets before often find themselves snacking on candy as they age. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, and there are also several healthy alternatives that may prove effective.
Alterations in food preference are often caused by physiological changes. As the body changes, so does the average senior’s ability to perceive and appreciate varied flavors. Young adults usually have between 10,000 and 15,000 taste buds, which allow them to detect different types of tastes, such as salty, sour, bitter, and sweet. By the time seniors reach age 70, the number of taste buds can decrease by more than 60 percent, which impacts the ability to detect flavors, and food may start to taste bland or boring."

** While the item is available online, the cost, which includes a hefty delivery charge, is prohibitive to someone who is on a fixed income.



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How do people pay for senior living, and
how can you keep costs affordable?


Current assets and income are what most people use to pay for senior living, just as they would pay for expenses staying in their current home: savings, pension or retirement plan funds, social security and annuities. Like Joyce, one big source of funds comes from the sale of their current home.

Long-term care insurance is a possible source for those with chronic disability or illness, if they have a policy. Rules regarding benefits and eligibility vary per state and policy.

Veterans’ benefits, through the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension, can help veterans and spouses offset costs of long-term care and/or assisted living at some communities.

Selling or cashing out a life insurance policy may be one route for those who no longer need life insurance. There are many options, so you should shop around. Consult your tax, financial and legal advisors to determine the implications of this option.




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Can a life insurance policy help with long-term care?


Q. I’m looking at long-term care policies but they’re so expensive. I’m wondering if a long-term care rider on a life insurance policy would be more affordable - but will it give me enough coverage? How can I decide?

                                     — Still working

A. It’s a great question, and we’re glad to see you’re thinking ahead about future care.

Long-term care (LTC) planning is a very hot topic today. That is partially driven by the fact that the conventional LTC insurance market is imploding, said Ed Gaelick, a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant with PSI Consultants in Glen Rock.

“Many of the biggest insurance companies have either suspended the sale of their LTC insurance products, pulled out of the market entirely or limited their benefits to be much leaner; mostly a result of poor claim experience,” Gaelick said. “That means there are less choices to safeguard your assets and protect the quality of life for you and your family.”



Up-sizing In Retirement: Going Against The Grain
By Elizabeth Alterman

When Ruth Brod retired from her job as a probation officer in 2004, she and her retired husband, Al, decided to sell their 1,600-square-foot house in New Hyde Park, N.Y. and move into a 2,800-square-foot house in Delray Beach, Fla. Having ample room to accommodate visiting friends and family was only part of the reason the couple decided to upsize in retirement.

“The home prices had risen dramatically in the area where I lived, so I was able to afford to buy a nicer home,” Ruth explains. “I could’ve bought something just fine for half the price. But when you’ve worked hard all these years, it’s nice to be comfortable.”

The Brods’ spacious ranch on a quiet cul-de-sac is part of a vibrant 55-and-up community which has given them a chance to make new friends and embrace a range of activities there.




OK, Boomer: Are Baby Boomers Preventing
The Upward Mobility Of Younger Employees?

By Jack Kelly

“OK, Boomer” has become the go-to ad hominem attack on people 55 years and older. It's become a socially acceptable meme for younger generations to blame all of the evils and problems of society on a certain group of people.

We know that it's not right nor is it fair to target one class of people and make wild generalizations about everyone that falls into that group. While it feels good to rage and get it out of your system, the blame game on Boomers is not as simple as it seems.

The current trend of anti-Boomer anger centers on the accusation that Baby Boomers have taken all the good jobs. They refuse to surrender their job privilege and remain gainfully employed, despite the entreaties of younger workers begging for a chance to advance. The Millennials, Generation-Z and Gen-Xers say they’re stuck in their jobs and can’t advance because the Boomers just won’t leave. According to a recent USA TODAY/LinkedIn survey of 1,019 working professionals, 41% of Millennials—and 30% of all adults—reported that it's difficult to advance within their fields because Boomers are waiting longer to retire.




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG MONDAY NOV. 18th 2019


Though not required, please feel free to add your email or website to your comments






11/17/19


♦ ♦ ♦ ♦






Guess where I went yesterday. In one of my rare ventures outside the confines of the ALF, they took a group of us residents on a trip to a store whose name belies what’s inside. The Christmas Tree Shop goes far beyond its namesake. To be truthful, there aren’t many trees sold there at all. Except for a few of pre-decorated plastic trees, the leafy beauties hardly exist. But they have everything else Christmas.
 
A first-time visitor to the store might be a wee bit overwhelmed by all the stuff one can buy to decorate their homes for the holiday. From giant wreathes, candy canes, LED candles, and everything Santa Claus, this place has it all if, that is, Christmas is your thing. For a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, not so much. While, the meaning of Christmas has a message for all (Peace on earth and goodwill to all) the glitzy trappings turns me off. Truthfully, the red/green color combination makes me ill. So why, you say, did I agree to go on this excursion? It wasn’t for the tinsel or fake snow.

At this point it is important for you to know of my sometimes peculiar food choices. Unlike many of my fellow seniors whose snacking preferences are usually of the sweet variety*, my tastebuds skew more to the salty/spicy variety. And, I will go to the ends of the earth to satisfy those cravings. Therefore, when the opportunity to go to the one place I know of where they sell a giant stick of salty, spicy pepperoni, I could not resist.**

I have to admit my anxiety level heightened somewhat as the twenty passenger bus approached the giant strip mall on one of Hartsdale’s main streets. Do they still carry the item? How long would it take to find? (We only had about two hours to shop). And, how much would it cost? All legitimate concerns., I had come for only one thing.

As we disembarked from the bus (a process that took longer than unloading the QE2) I could see the glint in my fellow passengers' eyes as they gazed upon the myriad variety of colorful Christmas fare. I love watching non-Jewish adults at Christmas time. I could see every Christmas they ever spent in their faces. They transport themselves back to their childhood. A time before all the aches and pains. The endless doctor’s visits and the endless pills, salves, injections and procedures that have become their lives. The bus wasn’t just a bus. It was a time machine as well.

While most of our group spread out to all four corners of the store I, like a garlic seeking guided missile, headed to the back of the store where I knew I would find the 1lb. hunk of spicy porcine and bovine smokey goodness. I was not disappointed. There, located just below overstuffed casings of summer sausage was what I was looking for. A baseball bat sized stick of Bridgford Old World Quality Pepperoni. The salami god had smiled down upon me. I had found what I wanted, and, I found it fast. So fast, that I wondered what I would do with the rest of the nearly two hours we had left. Not interested in plastic “silver” bells, mirror balls, various elves, reindeer, festive stockings etc., I decided to explore the rest of the food section. 

Like most specialty food sections, The Christmas Tree Shop’s shelves were stocked with items you would never ordinarily buy as part of your regular food shopping. Things such as an eight-bottle-assortment of hot sauce. A swimming pool size container of caramel popcorn. Pennetone packed in a pyramid-shaped box. Or, a kit that allows you to make a house out of Oreo’s. I passed on those but purchased a bottle of Olive Garden Italian salad dressing and a bag of ginger flavored hard candies for medicinal use only. My shopping was complete, with an hour remaining. What to do. What to do. My stomach made that decision for me. 

You’ve got to love strip malls. The good ones have a variety of useful businesses. And this one was no exception. A deli, a Chinese restaurant, a burger joint and the most New York of all New York eateries, a by-the-slice pizza parlor. It was the latter which won my favor. Two slices of cheesy, tomatoey, thin-crusted pizza later, it was time to board the bus for home. 

It was a good trip on many levels. It gave me an opportunity to get away from the confines of an often boring facility and explore the real world. Something many people take for granted. Also, I could purchase something which I could not get elsewhere. And, as silly as a 1lb stick of overly spiced meat may be, to me it was, in a smaller way, of feeling normal again. Or at least as normal as someone who would eat a giant pepperoni could be. ……………………………………………


*https://www.homecareassistancemesa.com/sugar-cravings-in-aging-adults/

"Many seniors have a sweet tooth. Even those who never craved sweets before often find themselves snacking on candy as they age. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, and there are also several healthy alternatives that may prove effective.
Alterations in food preference are often caused by physiological changes. As the body changes, so does the average senior’s ability to perceive and appreciate varied flavors. Young adults usually have between 10,000 and 15,000 taste buds, which allow them to detect different types of tastes, such as salty, sour, bitter, and sweet. By the time seniors reach age 70, the number of taste buds can decrease by more than 60 percent, which impacts the ability to detect flavors, and food may start to taste bland or boring."

** While the item is available online, the cost, which includes a hefty delivery charge, is prohibitive to someone who is on a fixed income.



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How do people pay for senior living, and
how can you keep costs affordable?


Current assets and income are what most people use to pay for senior living, just as they would pay for expenses staying in their current home: savings, pension or retirement plan funds, social security and annuities. Like Joyce, one big source of funds comes from the sale of their current home.

Long-term care insurance is a possible source for those with chronic disability or illness, if they have a policy. Rules regarding benefits and eligibility vary per state and policy.

Veterans’ benefits, through the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension, can help veterans and spouses offset costs of long-term care and/or assisted living at some communities.

Selling or cashing out a life insurance policy may be one route for those who no longer need life insurance. There are many options, so you should shop around. Consult your tax, financial and legal advisors to determine the implications of this option.




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Can a life insurance policy help with long-term care?


Q. I’m looking at long-term care policies but they’re so expensive. I’m wondering if a long-term care rider on a life insurance policy would be more affordable - but will it give me enough coverage? How can I decide?

                                     — Still working

A. It’s a great question, and we’re glad to see you’re thinking ahead about future care.

Long-term care (LTC) planning is a very hot topic today. That is partially driven by the fact that the conventional LTC insurance market is imploding, said Ed Gaelick, a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant with PSI Consultants in Glen Rock.

“Many of the biggest insurance companies have either suspended the sale of their LTC insurance products, pulled out of the market entirely or limited their benefits to be much leaner; mostly a result of poor claim experience,” Gaelick said. “That means there are less choices to safeguard your assets and protect the quality of life for you and your family.”



Up-sizing In Retirement: Going Against The Grain
By Elizabeth Alterman

When Ruth Brod retired from her job as a probation officer in 2004, she and her retired husband, Al, decided to sell their 1,600-square-foot house in New Hyde Park, N.Y. and move into a 2,800-square-foot house in Delray Beach, Fla. Having ample room to accommodate visiting friends and family was only part of the reason the couple decided to upsize in retirement.

“The home prices had risen dramatically in the area where I lived, so I was able to afford to buy a nicer home,” Ruth explains. “I could’ve bought something just fine for half the price. But when you’ve worked hard all these years, it’s nice to be comfortable.”

The Brods’ spacious ranch on a quiet cul-de-sac is part of a vibrant 55-and-up community which has given them a chance to make new friends and embrace a range of activities there.




OK, Boomer: Are Baby Boomers Preventing
The Upward Mobility Of Younger Employees?

By Jack Kelly

“OK, Boomer” has become the go-to ad hominem attack on people 55 years and older. It's become a socially acceptable meme for younger generations to blame all of the evils and problems of society on a certain group of people.

We know that it's not right nor is it fair to target one class of people and make wild generalizations about everyone that falls into that group. While it feels good to rage and get it out of your system, the blame game on Boomers is not as simple as it seems.

The current trend of anti-Boomer anger centers on the accusation that Baby Boomers have taken all the good jobs. They refuse to surrender their job privilege and remain gainfully employed, despite the entreaties of younger workers begging for a chance to advance. The Millennials, Generation-Z and Gen-Xers say they’re stuck in their jobs and can’t advance because the Boomers just won’t leave. According to a recent USA TODAY/LinkedIn survey of 1,019 working professionals, 41% of Millennials—and 30% of all adults—reported that it's difficult to advance within their fields because Boomers are waiting longer to retire.




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NEXT BLOG MONDAY NOV. 18th 2019


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11/10/19




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Eight years ago (give or take) I was sitting in a wheelchair in my room on the 6th floor of a nursing home when I received a phone call from the management of the building where I kept an apartment. I had been expecting that call for some time. I had not been home since the day they took me to the ER of a local hospital for what would become a life threatening and life changing experience.

That was 11 months prior to that call. And, in that time I had paid no rent. Naturally, the building’s landlord wanted to know what my intentions were. Was I going to be returning to my apartment? My answer, regretfully, was no. Not only could I no longer afford to pay them 11 month’s back rent (approximately $12,000)*, but even if I had the money, my apartment would not be suitable for someone in a wheelchair. I was officially homeless. A fact that did not register until the day they told me I had to leave the nursing home. Fortunately, help was at hand.

With the aid of the nursing home’s social worker, we came up with an answer to my homeless problem. And, although the solution was not the most desirable one, given my financial and physical status it was my only option. Two weeks later I was a resident of an assisted living facility. It was an environment new to me and one which I knew very little about. I was cautiously optimistic.
 
Would I fit in here? How would they treat me? Will I get along with the other residents? Will I have any money to live on? Who will watch out for me? All very important questions to which there were no ready answers. The first night in my new room, as I lay on the bed listening to the silence (nursing homes can be quite noisy), I never felt so alone or uncertain of my future. Luckily, time is not only a great healer, but teacher too. Not only did I adapt to my new surroundings, but came to look upon it as a blessing in disguise.

I imagine many of you would think leaving a two bedroom apartment in a great NYC neighborhood plus a lifetime of memories and two generations of collected home-goods, knickknacks and bric-à-brac behind would be a disaster. But it wasn’t. I was so overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead of me (getting healthier and stronger) that all of that seemed unimportant. It still does. As I look at things now the stuff I lost does not compare with the blessings I gained.

“Blessings? What blessings? You lost everything”, you say. Maybe, but I have received much more. Much of which I have just come to realize.

The first blessing of assisted living is they do everything for you. Housekeeping, laundry, cooking and shopping no longer interfere with the primary business at hand which, for me, was getting as much of my mobility back as I could. And, because  the stress of daily life is eliminated, there were no obstacles to hinder me in that task. It wasn’t long before I gave up the walker and the Rollator for a cane which I now consider more of an accessory than a mobility aid.

As much as stress relief is a blessing so is not being alone. Even if I could return to my apartment, I would have had to live as a virtual prisoner. Isolation is one of the real hardships old folks (especially if disabled) have to face. Here, at the ALF, loneliness is non-existent. Even if you don’t want to leave your room, someone will come get you. The fear of being injured or sick and not being discovered for a week is no longer a problem.** 

And then, there is safety and security. 

Every day, on the news, I see stories of elderly men and women being beaten and robbed. Some on the street, or in elevators or in their own apartments and homes. And, while I have always been able to take care of myself in the past, I’m not so sure that I can still do that. Here at the ALF we are fortunate to have security cameras everywhere and nobody enters the facility un-noticed. Combine that with a building that is fully sprinklered with fireproof doors, my safety is assured.
Finally, there is this. Although my life may not have turned out as I had planned I still feel that it has validity. 

My health, which could have gone in a different direction, is good for an old man. I don’t have any of the ills that confront many people my age. And, most important, my mind hasn’t turned to mush. 

Am I rich? No. Am I physically fit? No. Do I have everything I had hoped retirement to be? No. But as another group of senior citizens once said, “You may not always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you get what you need……………
 
*Editor’s note. By that time I had already spent a year-and-a-half in the nursing home. And, for much of that time I had to pay $13,000 a month, out of pocket. My funds were decimated. Fortunately, my landlord did not sue me for the back rent. They allowed me to return to the building to pick up some personal belongings. The rest (including furniture, appliances and electronics, I told them to keep, or sell or junk.
** There are call bells as well as an intercom in each room and in the bathroom to summon help in an emergency.



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Is Medicare C really an 'Advantage?'
By Henry Schwan

Medicare Advantage health insurance programs can offer cost savings for senior citizens. But one local expert said the plans are not for everyone.

There are many questions to consider when it comes to Medicare Advantage plans: What are they? Are they right for me? Is there a financial risk if I sign up?

Questions such as these are especially important as the fall open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage is upon us. The period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

To help Daily News readers make sense of Medicare Advantage, Stephen Lemire recently offered a few tips. Lemire is program coordinator and senior visiting instructor of the Master of Healthcare Administration at Framingham State University.

What is Medicare Advantage?...




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Are You Suffering From Technophobia?
By Sam Bocetta


The fear of technology has been around for as long as technology itself, and like technology itself, this fear is always changing.

There is evidence of "technophobia" -- the technical name for this affliction -- in every age and in every part of the world. However, it is perhaps reaching a peak in modern society. Americans are more afraid of technology than death, suggests research conducted in 2019. Specifically, they fear what technology will do in the future.

Many of Americans' greatest fears -- economic collapse, another world war, not having enough money for retirement -- concern the state of tomorrow, according to a 2017 survey.

While some technology-related fears are rational and visceral -- like someone spying through your webcam, your smart speaker eavesdropping on you, or losing your home Internet of Things network to the next DoS attack -- others are of a more general form.



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10 Simple Rules for the Best Life Ever
Your roadmap to a more meaningful life

By John P. Weiss


When he first visited the asylum for the mentally disabled, Jean Vanier was overwhelmed by the filth and overcrowding. It was inhuman.

The year was 1964 and Vanier, a French-Canadian philosopher/theologian who had served in the Navy, was still figuring out his path in life.

One of the residents in the asylum asked Vanier if he would be his friend. What happened next defined Vanier’s life work, and set an example for the rest of us who want more meaning in our lives.

Vanier invited the resident and another disabled man to live with him in a modest house in Trosly-Breuil, France. It was here that Vanier fed and washed the disabled men. Others would come, and Vanier named his care home “L’Arche” after Noah’s Ark.

    “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.” -Jean Vanier

Vanier’s model of care grew into L’Arche International, serving in thirty-eight countries and five continents, with over 10,000 members (with and without disabilities).



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What Is Luxury Senior Living?

Retirement is the time to relax and enjoy yourself. You can have a fulfilling retirement in any community, but if you want to retire in style, you should consider luxury senior living. As the baby boomer generation gets older, luxury senior living is getting more common. New senior housing facilities and retirement communities offer competitive amenities that can make your daily life feel like a vacation.

Luxury senior living can be expensive, so it’s important to research your options carefully before choosing a community. There are a wide variety of options available, and the best choice for you depends on the amenities you want, the type of environment you prefer, and your health needs.
What Is Luxury Assisted Living?

Assisted living is an ideal environment for seniors who are healthy enough to live independently but need some extra assistance. Traditional assisted living facilities usually offer the following services:

Continue reading >> CLICK HERE


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NEXT BLOG MONDAY NOV. 11th 2019


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11/6/19


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By this time you’ve probably already done it. I’m referring to that twice annual ritual they force us to endure. The turning of the clocks back one hour in observance of going back to standard time which they took away from us last March when we turned the clocks ahead one hour. Just talking about it makes me exhausted. While the rest of the world finds the observance of the end of daylight savings time annoying, for seniors it’s a pain in the ass.

Seniors don’t respond well to change. If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
 
We like our breakfast served at a certain time every day with the courses served in the same order.
 
Oatmeal, juice, and coffee first, followed by whatever is on the menu. The same holds true for our medications, snack times and Bingo. Any deviation is akin to a warp in the space-time continuum. Therefore, you can imagine how difficult it is to accept the gain or loss of a whole hour.
 
Losing or gaining an arbitrary hour is only part of the problem. There is the physical act of having to go about re-adjusting the various time pieces one has.

Fortunately, for us here at the A.L.F., there are not that many clocks to change, easing some trauma. Most of us have downsized and simplified our lives to a point where we only have to contend with two or three different time keeping devices. I have five (if you don’t count the four non-functioning watches I have in my drawer). Gratefully, three of my five clocks have the good sense to adjust themselves which leaves me with just two to contend with.

One is a
n old analog watch that does only one thing. Tell time. A simple pull on a stem and a turn clockwise or counter-clockwise is all I need to get on the right track. The other clock is part of a clock-radio which I purchased for ten dollars seven years ago and has been my nemesis ever since.

The clocks face on this marvel of technology is digital. This means, instead of hands pointing to numbers, they spell the hours and minutes out using actual digits. Besides being easier to read, “digital” is why kids today can’t look at a clock with hands and tell you the time. 

Remember the old days (twenty years ago) when we all had VCR’s that kept blinking 12:00 all day and nobody but a 12-year-old child could figure out how to change it? And most of the time we just left it alone to blink blissfully away. Well, that’s how my clock-radio works. 

Aren’t digital devices supposed to make things simple? It’s only a series of one’s and two’s, isn’t it? So how come they make it so difficult to change the time?
 
The “Digital Age” began in the 1970s with the personal computer and watches that blinked those strange red numbers when you pushed a button. And, in all that time, one would think they would have come up with a better way to chan
ge the time on millions of devices that use digital technology. But they haven’t. If they had, I would have been able to push one button and presto, I’d have set the time. But no, they figured a way to make a simple task difficult.

I have always considered myself to be a technically proficient person.
 
I’ve been working with computers since the 80s and had no problems learning to use them, despite their ever-changing technology. I set-up my first computer all by myself. I programmed my TV to accept cable and, more recently, I i
nstalled a ROKU on my not-too-smart TV. I even learned how to set the stations on my car’s radio. So, how come I can’t figure out the damn clock on the radio?
 
Sony, in its wisdom, has taken a no-brainer task and made it so difficult that only a person with a deviant mind could find it easy. And the directions which come with the darn thing make no sense. Perhaps there is a language barrier or, there are a bunch of Japanese having some fun at the expense or all of us round eyes as revenge for having lost the second world war.
 
I spent most of Saturday evening pushing every button on the top of the radio to get the “hour” digit to change with no success. I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe if I pull the plug and let it blink 12:00 until March it will all straighten out. For those of you who are content with this folly, I hope you enjoyed that one hour. ………………………
 


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Healthy Food for Diabetics
at Chinese Restaurants


Fried rice, lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, wonton soup: These beloved dishes at Chinese restaurants (at least those in America) are totally delicious, but they all scream “carb bomb,” which is far from good news for anyone diagnosed with diabetes.

But you can still eat well at Chinese restaurants if you have diabetes or are watching your carb or sugar intake, and not just by eating only steamed versions of everything. New York City-based nutritionist Sharon Richter, RD, reveals her favorite tips for making healthy choices at Chinese restaurants so you can enjoy these dishes while keeping blood sugar levels steady.

Avoid sweet or fried dishes. Many dishes at Chinese restaurants come with fried meats covered in a sweet sauce. This is a double-whammy of saturated fat (from frying) and sugar (from the sauce), equaling one dish that’s very high in calories, low in nutrients, and a nightmare for blood sugar levels....



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Why senior citizens need good credit
By Sue Daugherty


As time goes on, it is fair to predict that there will be more businesses that do not take cash or check and will only take debit cards or credit cards. We see that today, with airfare and rental cars.

How well you pay your bills on time and how much debt your carry is information that is gathered and stored on all of us who have bills, credit cards and loans in our names. This information is available in the form of a credit report and in the form of a credit score. As an older consumer, each can be your friend or your foe.

A credit report is different from a credit score. There are credit reporting companies that collect information about individual consumers. This information is gathered from creditors, lenders and credit card companies. Some reports include information about overdue child support that is owed. A bad credit report may keep a retiree from renting an apartment he/she applied to live in, getting a utility connected or a cell phone. (consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-a-credit-report)


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"Fear of falling": How hospitals do even more
harm by keeping patients in bed


Dorothy Twigg was living on her own, cooking and walking without help until a dizzy spell landed her in the emergency room. She spent three days confined to a hospital bed, allowed to get up only to use a bedside commode. Twigg, who was in her 80s, was livid about being stuck in a bed with side rails and a motion sensor alarm, according to her cousin and caretaker, Melissa Rowley.

“They’re not letting me get up out of bed,” Twigg protested in phone calls, Rowley recalled.

In just a few days at the Ohio hospital, where she had no occupational or physical therapy, Twigg grew so weak that it took three months of rehab to regain the ability to walk and take care of herself, Rowley said. Twigg repeated the same pattern — three days in bed in a hospital, three months of rehab — at least five times in two years.



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Are Uber and Lyft safe for older riders?
by Kenzo Nakawatase


Ride sharing has changed how Americans get around. Now services like Uber and Lyft are trying to make the ride smoother for older customers.

Common wisdom might suggest that ride sharing is for younger city-dwellers who rely on the service for late-night socializing. And indeed, a Pew Research Center study from 2018 found that 51% of Americans ages 18 to 29 used ride-sharing apps compared to just 24% of citizens over 50. But that 24% is substantially more than the 7% of Americans over 50 who used ride sharing in 2015. 

24% of Americans over the age of 50 used ride-sharing in 2018 versus just 7% in 2015.

AARP released its own survey in 2018 that showed similar numbers: 29% of Americans over 50 reported using ride sharing apps, while 68% answered that they are not likely to use it in the next year, with security and safety being two main concerns.




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY NOV. 7th 2019


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In my youth I had the pleasure of seeing Oscar Peterson live at
many of New York's Jazz Clubs, notably the Half Note. An amazing
musician.


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Editor’s note: You will have to excuse that this post contains more information from other sources than I usually use. I had a  busy week and was not able to do all the research I would have liked. However, the information presented here is accurate and very important and worth your while to read.

While it’s always been open season on us seniors, this year as never before, we have become the targets of every scam, con, fraud, and anti-senior practice the mean and nasty can come up with. Many of us have become the victims of the unscrupulous scum who look upon seniors as “Cash Cows” ready for milking. At the forefront of these are the many telephone scams directed specifically at the elderly.

Here is what the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc. reports.

Why are the elderly frequent targets of fraud scams?
“Most victims who become the targets of fraud scams are considered to be in the naïve segments of the population. Unfortunately, elderly individuals are the most frequent targets of fraud scams. Fraudsters target the elderly, as they may be lonely, willing to listen and are more trusting than younger individuals. Many fraud schemes against the elderly are performed over the telephone, door-to-door or through advertisements. The elderly are prime targets to schemes attributed to credit cards, sweepstakes or contests, charities, health products, magazines, home improvements, equity skimming, investments, banking or wire transfers, and insurance.”

Many of us are natural skeptics. I have always been wary of people who are overly friendly to me. Including women. Being one of the least likable people I know, I generally greet strangers with a fair amount of caution. Unfortunately, to their credit, many older folks are kind, sympathetic people who are willing to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. A trait not overlooked by those who are ready and willing to cheat you out of everything you have.

What tactics do fraudsters use to take advantage of the elderly?

“Fraudsters use different tactics to get the elderly to fall victim to their schemes. They can be friendly, sympathetic and willing to help in some cases or use fear tactics in others. The tactic used is generally dependent upon the type of situation the fraudster finds himself in with the elderly person. For example, a fraudster might focus on home ownership. The fraudster will recommend a “friend” that can perform necessary home repairs at a reasonable price. This friend may require the individual to sign a document upon completion confirming that the repairs have been completed. In some cases, the elderly victim later learns that he signed the title of his house over to the repairman. In other cases, not only is the person overcharged for the work, but the work is not performed properly.”

The list of the most popular scams is extensive. And they are based directly on matters that are of interest to seniors in particular. Here is a brief list of the most popular of these scams. The details of which can be found by clicking the “source” link at the bottom of this section.

1.Medicare
2.Counterfeit prescription drugs
3.Funerals
4.Anti-aging products 
5.Telephones
6.Internet
7.Investments
8.Mortgages
9.Sweepstakes/lotteries
10.The grandparent scam

That’s some pretty nasty stuff. Not only do you lose much of what you have worked for all of your life, but you are left feeling humiliated and violated as well. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid being a target. This is from the National Council on Aging…**

1. Be aware that you are at risk from strangers—and from those closest to you

Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by the older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others. Common tactics include depleting a joint checking account, promising but not delivering care in exchange for money or property, outright theft, and other forms of abuse, including physical abuse, threats, intimidation, and neglect of basic care needs.

Everyone is at risk of financial abuse, even people without high incomes or assets. Understand the top 10 most common scams targeting seniors, so you can spot one before it’s too late.

2. Don’t isolate yourself—stay involved!

Isolation is a huge risk factor for elder abuse. Most family violence only occurs behind closed doors, and elder abuse is no exception. Some older people self-isolate by withdrawing from the larger community. Others are isolated because they lose the ability to drive, see, or walk about on their own. Some seniors fear being victimized by purse snatchings and muggings if they venture out. Visit the Eldercare Locator to find services nearby that can help you stay active. Or contact your local senior center to get involved.

3. Always tell solicitors: “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.”

Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company and always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. Neighborhood children you know who are selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraising items may be an exception, but a good rule of thumb is to never donate if it requires you to write your credit card information on any forms.

It’s also good practice to obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. And always take your time in making a decision.

4. Shred all receipts with your credit card number

Identity theft is a huge business. To protect yourself, invest in—and use—a paper shredder. Monitor your bank and credit card statements and never give out personal information over the phone to someone who initiates the contact with you.

5. Sign up for the “Do Not Call” (https://www.donotcall.gov/) list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists

6. Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen from the mailbox

Using direct deposit ensures that checks go right into your accounts and are protected. Clever scammers or even scrupulous loved ones have been known to steal benefits checks right out of mailboxes or from seniors’ homes if they are laying around.

7. Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call

Misuse of Medicare dollars is one of the largest scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for services never delivered and selling unneeded devices or services to beneficiaries. Protect your Medicare number as you do your credit card, banking, and Social Security numbers and do not allow anyone else to use it. Be wary of salespeople trying to sell you something they claim will be paid for by Medicare.

Review your Medicare statements to be sure you have in fact received the services billed, and report suspicious activities to 1-800-MEDICARE.

8.Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and thoroughly do your research

I don’t know who might have said it first. Probably it was some guy who bought a mule for a ridiculous price and it turned out to be lame. However, it remains true. “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.” And, if you have any doubts about anything that involves you having to give up any money, sign anything or give any personal information to anybody, get somebody you trust get involved………………………………………….

*Source: https://www.acfe.com/fraud-examiner.aspx?id=4294997223
**Source: https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/scams-security/protection-from-scams/


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Aging in the Right Place:
Common myths about assisted living facilities

By Michael Moore


Many people think they’ve got assisted living facilities all figured out, but when deciding where to age, it’s important to be able to distinguish fact from fiction. The best way to figure out if an assisted living community is for you is to visit a few.

If you’ve ever referred to an assisted living facility as a nursing home, you’re not alone. People do it all the time. After all, they’re pretty much the same thing, right?

Wrong.

Not only is it factually incorrect, but it also has the potential to confuse older adults about what their options really are. Deciding it’s time to pack your bags and move out of the house is hard enough without misinformation running rampant. So, let’s try to clear the air on some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding assisted living facilities,

Confusing assisted living communities with nursing homes, which these days are more commonly referred to as skilled nursing facilities, is still probably the biggest misunderstanding Jim Rosenthal, CEO of senior care resources company Caring.com, commonly sees.



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Sleeping for nine hours or more each night
 is linked to dementia

By Ellen Scott

We’re all aware of the damage we cause by not getting enough sleep.

But according to new research, sleeping for too long can be a cause for concern, too.

Despite there being a load of studies that have linked Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with a lack of sleep, a recent study from the University of Miami Miller School found that people who slept for nine hours or more per night showed a decline in memory and language skills – both of which are early signs of dementia.

That doesn’t mean you should dramatically cut down on your snoozing time, though – those who got less than six hours of sleep a night were also found to be at an increased risk of developing dementia.


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Term ‘retirement age’ may be irrelevant


The labor participation rate of older Americans is increasing for a variety of reasons. The National Council on Aging reports that one in five seniors are still working.

In fact, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens: “The term, ‘retirement age,’ may become irrelevant in the 21st century. For one thing, modern medicine is giving seniors a second wind, making them healthy enough to continue working. Technology is making it easier for them to stay on the job. But, perhaps the biggest reason for not retiring, is the fact that the rising cost of living makes it more difficult to live on a fixed income,”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a third of men and women between the ages of 65 and 69 and at least 19% of those 70 to 74 years of age are still on the job. And, the NCOA reports that 69 percent of senior citizens say they continue to work for economic reasons.


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As We Age, How Safe is Surgery?


As you age, your body’s heart, kidney, lungs and other organ functions deteriorate. Under normal conditions, this is nothing to worry about. But when faced with intense stress, like a surgical procedure, the body can’t always bounce back.

“Replacing someone’s hip when they’re eighty-five is harder than when they’re fifty. That becomes a more difficult task. Your body takes longer to recover,” says Dr. Clifford Ko, a colorectal surgeon at the University of California and director of research and optimal patient care at the American College of Surgeons.

Adults age 65 and older account for more than 40% of all inpatient surgical operations and 33% of outpatient procedures each year. But, unsurprisingly, this population faces higher rates of post-procedure mortality and complication rates.



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NEXT BLOG MONDAY NOV. 4 2019


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10/30/19




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Like It Or Not.
You Might Be A Socialist


The other night the sound of rain hitting my window awakened me. It was 3am, and as I lay there in my bed freshly made with nice, crisp, clean sheets, I felt the warm air coming from the radiator taking the chill off of this cool Fall night. A feeling of well-being, safety and security washed over me. I was doing okay. But, given my financial status, things might have turned out differently. And, I owe it all to socialism. Yes, Socialism. Don’t look so shocked.

If you are receiving a Social Security check, Medicare or Medicaid, SSI, food stamps, subsidized housing, or any federal, state or local benefits, you are receiving them because of socialism. But don’t compare what we have with Soviet Communism or what they have in China. And don’t get scared that any of your civil rights, freedoms will be taken away or they will take the right to own your own business.
 
Franklin Roosevelt (who came from a wealthy family and hardly a Communist or Socialist) signed the Social Security act into law in 1935 to ensure that older Americans would have some financial stability. And, like Medicare and Medicaid which became laws in 1965 (signed by another non-Communist, Lyndon Johnson) as an amendment to the Social Security Act, were programs designed to take a possible catastrophic and financially devastating situation for any individual and spread the burden among all Americans as a form of, not charity, but compassion.

Some of you older seniors might remember the great depression.* An economic disaster brought upon by unbridled Capitalism and climate change. If it weren’t for “Socialist” programs like the NRA (National Recovery Act), the WPA (The Works Progress Administration) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), where the government paid and put people to work, many Americans would have starved to death or left without a roof over their heads. It wasn’t Capitalism that provided hope in a hopeless situation but an American form of Socialism.

So, why are Americans afraid of Socialism? There are many reasons, but mostly it’s because we don’t trust each other. Especially, the rich.
 
An article by Matt J. Weber in the medium.com,** explains why this is.

"Socialism requires a lot of faith in people. After all, it depends on people paying into a collective pool of money — taxes, usually — and using that money to pay for broad social and economic programs. But if you can’t trust people to use the money fairly, then you’ll be less willing to buy into the pool.
Turns out the amount of trust we have in our fellow citizens can be measured.

This is called the Social Trust Index.

In order to have a socialist system as robust as a Scandinavian country like Sweden or Norway, the overall social trust index of a nation must be at 80% or greater. In 2007, a Pew research poll put the Social Trust Index of the United States at 50%. It hasn’t gotten any better in the time since.
So why are Americans so distrustful of one another?

Well, we can blame the rich for that.

Since the late 1970s, the gap between the rich and poor has expanded into an immense gulf. In 2013, the top 10% of families held 76% of the wealth. The top 400 richest Americans — people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — are sitting on more wealth than half of all America. That’s a group of people who couldn’t even fill a 747 passenger jet with more money than 160 million people. This consolidation of wealth into an increasingly smaller set of pockets has led to less social mobility and shocking economic inequality.

Nobody wants to pay taxes — even in a society with a high social trust index. But if the system seems unfair, there’s no incentive for anybody to contribute their fair share."

The problems in our country are real and far-reaching. For a country that’s supposed to be the richest in the world, we have a strange idea of how we should use that money. It seems odd that we can afford to spend billions on defense, foreign aid and pork-barrel projects and can’t, at the very least, provide decent free healthcare and a decent place to live for all of its citizens. And, if this sounds a little like Socialism, so be it…………………………………………………….
 
 
*Editor’s note: These are problems we are still dealing with today.
 The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from 1929 to 1939. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.

Top 5 Causes of the Great Depression – Economic Domino Effect
The Roaring 20's. Before the world entered into an economic decline, the performance of the stock market was well above par, and the industrial output more profitable than it had ever been. ...
Ensuing Global Crisis. ...
The Stock Market Crash. ...
The Dust Bowl. ...
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.
** source:https://medium.com/@mjosefweber/why-is-america-so-scared-of-socialism-f4eaa5f40e5f




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It’s been a little difficult getting into the whole Fall thing because the temperature
around these parts has been rather mild. Therefore, I was happy to see one of the
true signs that indeed the season will change. The “mums” are doing quite nicely as well.



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How To Replace Your Vital Records | USAGov


Find out how to replace vital documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and more.

1.Replace Lost or Stolen Identification (ID) Cards

Contact your state motor vehicle agency for a replacement license or state ID card.

2. Replace Your Social Security Card

Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to request a replacement card.

3. Replace Your Medicare ID Card

Get in touch with the Medicare program to replace your lost or stolen Medicare card.

4. Replace Your Medicaid ID Card

Contact your state Medicaid office to get a replacement Medicaid card.

5. Replace Your U.S. Passport

Let the State Department know immediately about your lost or stolen passport and then request a replacement.

6.Replace Your Permanent Resident (Green) Card

More information on how to replace vital records >>CLICK HERE
 


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Assisted Living and Similar Facilities
Need to Restrict Yearly Price Increases



WASHINGTON, D.C. – “It’s a fact that the cost of providing services at senior citizen facilities increases annually for any of a variety of reasons. It’s also a fact, however, that most seniors living in assisted living facilities and senior housing don’t have the resources to pay steadily increasing rates, particularly when they exceed the annual Cost Price Index [CPI]. Something’s gotta give lest the nation’s elderly join the ranks of the homeless,” according to senior advocate Dan Weber.

Weber, who is founder and president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], cites the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued earlier this month. It concludes that its “all items [CPI] index increased 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending August.”

Yet, notes Weber, the most recent National Senior Living Cost Index prepared by the senior-living referral service, A Place for Mom, shows that the cost for independent living facilities rose 2.6%. Assisted living costs were up by 2.4% and the costs for memory care facilities were up by 3.2%.


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Embrace getting older, but remember, it’s later than you think
By Hermine Saunders

A couple of months ago, CBS News featured Steve Hartman “On the Road” in Salt Lake City talking to a group of senior citizens who meet regularly over morning coffee at Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli and “proceed to know it all,” according to Hartman. Led by Tony Caputo, the group claims to “solve the problems of the world.” But since that advice only stayed within the group, this past summer the members decided to take their coffee club to the local farmer’s market under the banner “Old Coots Giving Advice.” In smaller letters the sign reads, “It’s probably bad advice, but it’s free.”

The group has been surprised at how many young people ask advice in all seriousness — on having twins, to which one “Old Coot” answered, “Yeah, good luck;” how to raise a child without messing up his life, to which another answered, “You’re going to mess him up a little bit and that’s how they grow;” whether a woman should stay with an unfaithful husband, to which they replied in unison, “No, no, no.” They address everything from landscaping issues to life’s greatest mysteries, from which Hartman concluded: “Proving seniors really are America’s greatest, untapped natural resource.”

Continue reading >>https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll/lifestyles/cc-lt-saunders-101319-20191011-3spyr7tfgnh43ee5quz6bybu3i-story.html

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Researchers Study Links Between Sleep,
Sleep Medicine And Dementia

Do you notice your thinking is affected by how you sleep?

Here’s what some people in Market Square said:

“If I sleep well, I definitely feel I can concentrate, and my thinking is much better the next day.”
“If I don’t get a good night sleep, I just feel like really kind of distracted, can’t focus on a lot.”
“Sometimes if I sleep too much, I feel lazy.”

Is poor sleep related to memory troubles? And are sleep medicines a risk factor for dementia?

AHN sleep specialist Dr. Khalid Malik sees patients with sleep problems who notice that their thinking is off.

“Recalling may be a problem, calculation, forgetfulness,” Dr. Malik said.

Researchers looked into this issue and presented their findings at a national conference on Alzheimer’s disease.




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, OCT. 31st 2019


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10/27/19





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By now you probably know that this year’s increase in Social Security benefits will be a measly 1.6%. For most of us that means we’ll see only about $24 more each month. So, what will you do with this “windfall?”
 
I suppose I could go see a movie and have a little left over for popcorn or one of those perpetually rotating hot dogs that they never seem to sell. Perhaps I’d take a friend for breakfast at Mickey D’s and get two egg McMuffins. We could buy a pizza with one topping and hope it’s not anchovies. Or just use it to pay for something foolish like the electric bill.
 
In actuality, for myself and many residents of assisted living facilities, they’ll allow us to keep only about half of that because it permits them to raise our rent with any increase in benefits. This, for many seniors, means they will never get ahead, or even stay even. And it’s all because of something called the CPI, the Consumer Price Index which is inherently flawed.

“Social Security’s COLA has been determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, since 1975. This is an index with eight major spending categories and countless subcategories, each of which has a predetermined weighting that allows the BLS to express aggregate inflation in one simple and concise number each month. When it comes to Social Security’s COLA, only the readings from the third quarter (July through September) factor into the calculation.

The problem is that the CPI-W does an awful job at representing the true inflation that seniors are facing. That’s because, as the name of the index implies, it’s measuring the spending habits of urban and clerical workers, many of whom aren’t 62 or older, or receiving a Social Security retirement benefit. In short, urban and clerical workers spend their money very differently than senior citizens do.”

For one, seniors spend nearly double for medical care and considerably more on housing than their under 62, non-retired counterparts. What seniors don’t spend their money on, and therefor they should not include as part of the CPI are items as clothing and education. Add to that, the drop in purchasing power for the low overall COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) has cost seniors nearly $16,000 over the last 10 years. *
 
According to a new analysis from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a nonpartisan organization that looks to defend the rights and benefits of seniors, “extremely low COLAs over the past decade have cost retired workers a fortune.” TSCL’s analysis says that “a COLA should not average lower than 3% in any year to lessen the drain of retirement savings on seniors, and in order to keep the elderly out of poverty.” 

And here’s the real kicker. Congress wholeheartedly agrees. Democrats and Republicans agree on virtually nothing when it comes to Social Security, but both parties firmly believe that the CPI does not do a good job of accurately measuring the inflation that program beneficiaries face. Unfortunately, neither party can agree on what to replace the CPI with to reflect a more realistic COLA. Meanwhile, if you are a senior who depends on that check every month as either some or all of their income, we’re going to be out of luck for some time to come.

On a personal note, having an additional $50 to $75 every month would mean so much.
It would allow me and my fellow residents to travel to places like bookstores, the movies, a decent restaurant or a trip to the mall. Not to squander our money foolishly, but to buy things that can restore some dignity to our lives. 

A decent benefit increase might mean the difference between only eating once-a-day to eating three nutritious meals daily.

We must never forget, Social Security is not a “handout” or welfare. It’s our money. It’s time we got to enjoy it………



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These basic life-planning tools can ease
your money and retirement worries

By Lee Weinstein

While facilitating a life-planning workshop in Portland, Ore. last summer, I asked for a show of hands: How many of you have a will? How many have a power of attorney document? An advance directive? What about a financial plan?

I expected a weak response to some of these questions, but I was surprised at how few of these educated, professional people had arranged for even the more commonplace documents — for example, only four of the 18 participants had a financial plan. While I view these tools as vital to guiding my life, it became clear that not everyone sees them as essential.

Recently, DHM Research — a research firm my company works with — offered me the opportunity to ask questions in one of their surveys. So I posed the same queries I’d asked the workshop participants, but this time to 625 people in a scientifically conducted online survey. Here’s what I learned:

Continue reading >> https://www.marketwatch.com/story/make-these-key-life-plans-now-to-ease-your-money-and-retirement-worries-2019-10-07



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Insurance Brokers Explain Why Seniors
Are Considered High Risk Drivers



Once a person reaches the age of 65, he or she is considered a senior. Senior citizens can expect a significant increase in car insurance premiums. Companies justify their high prices using the following arguments:


Seniors pose a greater risk of being critically injured or killed during a crash. According to American Automobile Association (AAA), drivers that are 80 years old or more are 17 times more likely to die in a car accident than the drivers that are in the 25 to 64 age groups. Once a person gets old, his or her body becomes more fragile and susceptible to severe injuries. The high cost of medical care or funeral expenses determines the insurer to charge senior drivers more.



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The fullness of years -
 Washington Jewish Week



We wish Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a full recovery from his heart attack last week. Remaining true to the relentless pursuit of his campaign themes, the 78 year old tried to turn his sudden medical emergency into a plug for his Medicare-for-all policy.

More significantly, Sanders’ medical scare reminded us that this cycle’s race for the presidency is dominated by septuagenarians: In addition to Sanders, who is the oldest, former Vice President Joe Biden is 76, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is 70, and President Donald Trump is 73.

That makes this both the oldest presidential race ever and the youngest, as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, at 37, is just two years older than the youngest age permitted by the Constitution, and six years younger than John F. Kennedy was when he became the youngest person elected president. Yet the frontrunners in this race are the most senior citizens.

We are taught in Pirkei Avot, the book of rabbinic aphorisms, that upon reaching age 70 one achieves “the fullness of years.” Rather than being an age that suggests retirement, 70 is a marker of accomplishment and the achievement of wisdom — informed by surviving life’s joys and sorrows, and cultivated by a multitude of life’s experiences.



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Knee Replacement Lets This Educator Enjoy
Quality Time With Family and Friends


Renee Yahara of Wildwood, N.J. lived an active lifestyle filled with sports, walks along the beach, regular workouts and outings with friends.

Despite how much Yahara loved to do each of these activities when she wasn’t working in the guidance office at a local high school, she knew that doing any of them for an extended period of time would result in severe knee pain the rest of the day and well into the next.

“I would be able to be physically active for about an hour or so, and then after that I was just lying on the couch in pain, and in pain the next day,” Yahara said. “It came to a point where I wasn’t doing the things I enjoyed doing because I knew what the consequences were going to be afterward.”

Continue reading >> CLICK HERE




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG MONDAY OCT. 28th 2019


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10/23/19





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Loneliness is part of the human condition that intensifies as one gets older. Attrition makes up much of why older folks are alone. One downside of living a long life is that your friends die or move away. And, the chance of making new friends decreases as we age. All of us will experience loneliness in our lives. I have never been as lonely as I was shortly after my brother passed away leaving me as the last member of my immediate family. Having no children, my family line ends with me. Sad, but that is the way life is sometimes. But enough about loneliness. There is a more pressing problem that older folks face all the time. That is the feeling of being left out and forgotten.

The word “forgotten” is almost synonymous with being old. Our friends, especially the married ones, have their own lives and their own families to keep them busy. And, while we may see them once in a while, we are no longer included in that circle of people who used to do things and go places together. Unfortunately, divorce, death of a spouse or a disability puts an end to all of that. Suddenly you are an unintentional outcast. This comes as a shock for many older folks who were once active, respected and sought-after members of their communities. However, the reasons many seniors feel ignored may not always be because of the failure of others. Often, it’s their own fault.

In an reply to the question “In a group, why are elderly people often left out of the conversation?”, author Holly Helmstetter, former writer for Family Magazines "Living on the Edge" at Family Circle Magazine gives this answer…*
“One of the most basic reasons that an elder is left out of conversations, is that he or she has hearing problems. After asking repeatedly for another family member to repeat something, the elder often just gives up.

Another reason elders find themselves getting silenced or ignored, is that they judge, condemn, disapprove and ridicule the things the younger people are interested in. Or perhaps they’re determined that one or another of the younger ones is pursuing a course in life that is not what the elder person wants them to choose.”

Having partial hearing loss myself, I can sympathize with those whose deafness is profound. Sadly, in most cases, most health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid)** will not pay for hearing aids, leaving many poorer seniors out of the loop. As for those older folks whose main purpose in life is to live in the past and mock everything and everybody younger than themselves, we can do very little. They’ll be crabby, lonely old people the rest of their lives.

Here, at the A.L.F., we have all kinds of folks in various stages of what we can look upon as isolation or loneliness. While much of it is self-imposed (there are some who are plain old sociopaths and don’t get along with anybody), some have just lost interest in everything. 

They don’t take part in any of the facilities activities, or come to any of the meetings or even watch the news. They have no opinion about anything and refuse to engage in anything over two or three word conversations. This can pose health risks for many older people.***

According to the N.I.A. (National Institute on Ageing)…

“Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

People who find themselves unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse or partner, separation from friends or family, retirement, loss of mobility, and lack of transportation are at particular risk.
Conversely, people who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others tend to live longer, boost their mood, and have a sense of purpose. These activities seem to help maintain their well-being and may improve their cognitive function, studies show.”

Getting old folks motivated to get up off their butts to do anything is a topic for another time. Or, perhaps it’s nobody’s business if an old dude who worked hard all of his life just wants to chill out for whatever time he has left. Perhaps he worked in close contact with people all the time and now he’s just wants some alone time.

When I first came to this facility almost 6 years ago, it surprised me at how apathetic and uninterested many of the residents were about things that directly affected them. It was almost as if they were afraid to participate. As the years have gone by I now realize that for many older folks, keeping a low profile is their way of protecting themselves from forces (real or imagined) who want to take advantage of their vulnerability. And, truthfully, I can’t say as I blame them……………………………

*https://www.quora.com/In-a-group-why-are-elderly-people-often-left-out-of-the-conversation
**https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Paying-for-Hearing-Aids/
***https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks




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Open Enrollment Is Coming:
Here's Everything You Need to Know About Medicare


If you’re eligible for Medicare, it’s almost time for the most important period of the year: open enrollment. Whether you’re a longtime Medicare subscriber or in your first year of eligibility, it’s crucial that you don’t miss out on open enrollment.

Open enrollment is the only time all year that seniors can make changes to their Medicare coverage. This year, the open enrollment period will begin on October 15.

Before open enrollment begins, you should examine your Medicare options, present coverage, and health expenses for the past year. And you need to understand what Medicare offers in order to evaluate your options. To help you decide whether you should make changes to your coverage, or pick which plans you should sign up for, during open enrollment, here’s what you need to know about Medicare.

Who Is Eligible for Medicare?

In most cases, Medicare coverage begins automatically when a person turns 65, as long as you paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years. Younger people with certain medical conditions and disabilities also may be eligible. Part A is free, but you have to pay a monthly premium for any other parts you choose.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Continue reading >> CLICK HERE




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Monthly Assisted Living Costs Surpass $4,000
By Tim Regan


The cost of assisted living rose 1.28% in the past year, according to the latest Cost of Care Survey from insurer Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW).

The national median cost for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community is now $4,051 per month, or $48,612 per year, according to the survey. The five-year annual growth rate for assisted living costs clocked in at 2.97%.

This year’s cost increase was dramatically less than last year’s cost of care increase of 6.7%. That may have something to do with oversupply.



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Many Americans still believe that these
old wives’ tales help their health

By Allison Sadlier

The average American feels “perfectly healthy” less than half of the year, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 people found that the average respondent experiences 12 days a month with no aches, pain or discomfort — which adds up to just 144 days per year.

It’s not a surprise then that people turn to time-honored methods to relieve their ailments — 51 percent admitted to currently believing in at least one old wives’ tale.
Enlarge ImageMany Americans still believe that these old wives' tales help their health.
SWNS

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Probiogen, examined the little ailments people face and the old wives’ tales they believe.



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Stick Meemaw in the Backyard
With This Tiny House for Old People



When it comes to finding a place for Mom and Dad to live out their golden years, the options used to be pretty slim. Nursing homes might not make the most sense from a financial standpoint in the long run—plus, letting an aging parent live alone may cause anxiety and guilt for some families. And while some adult children can welcome Grandma or Grandpa into their own homes with open arms, others might not have the space.

Enter the "granny pod." Also known as the in-law cottage or MEDCottage, the tiny home is essentially a portable hospital room designed by a Blacksburg, VA, company, with help from Virginia Tech.

What Is a Granny Pod?

Think of granny pods as guest houses with lots of high-tech medical extras. MEDCottages are pre-fabricated and designed to be installed in the backyard behind the main home (zoning laws permitting, of course).



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY OCT. 24th 2019


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10/20/2019


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Remember when your mom would say “Don’t sit too close to the TV, you’ll get TV eyes?” And you immediately pictured yourself with these big bulging eyeballs that resembled a TV screen. Well, the TV screen eyes excluded, your mom’s warning may not have been too far from the truth. The only difference being, it wasn’t the TV screen that would give us eye problems, but another kind of screen. The one you are probably staring at right now. The computer screen.
 
As a young man, I always prided myself on having good eyesight. For over 40 years I never had to wear glasses for anything. While many of my friends were squinting when reading a newspaper or textbook, I sat there proudly flaunting my lack of myopia. And, when we all turned 17 and became the recipients of a driving license many of us found for the first time they needed to wear glasses to drive legally. I always thought it funny watching all the so-called “cool” kids and jocks get behind the wheel of their new cars and have to put on a pair of glasses with lenses the thickness of a milk bottle. But all that changed when, I too, fell victim to the dreaded “appliance.” Glasses.

My eye problems began somewhere around 1989 when I sat down in front of my first computer screen. It was at a new job and it required me to stare at it for eight hours a day. Fortunately, this was prior to PC’s and the old DOS black screen with green letters was easy on the eyes. It was not until a few years later, at a job where a Windows PC was at every desk, did I feel some eye strain.
 
I suppose, if I limited the only time spent in front of a computer to work hours, my eyesight might still have been okay. Unfortunately, using a computer at work set me on a path of the genuine online junkies whose addiction could only be satiated by having my own PC at home. This meant, besides the eight hours of screen time at work, I was adding four hours or a more night. That’s over 12 hours a day sitting just 2 feet away from a screen. My mom would have had a fit.

Jump ahead a few years and a myriad of screened devices including laptops, cell phones, cameras, and two tablets later and I’m wearing glasses permanently.
 
I now have two pairs. One for reading (books, magazines and computers) and another which allows me to see objects with a certain amount of clarity, including TV. I have, reluctantly, become “A person who wears glasses.”
 
Wearing glasses is more than just putting them on and taking them off. There is an entire glass-wearing culture surrounding their use.
 
First, one must remember to remember to make sure they take their glasses everywhere they go. And, if we take them off for any reason we must remember to check to make sure we have them with us.
 
We must always keep our glasses clean. I have, over the years, built a collection of various lens cleaning paraphernalia including cloths. sprays, buffers and a gadget that cleans both sides of the lens at the same time. None of which work as well as a Kleenex and some mouth vapor.

And then there are the visits to the optometrist.
 
Lately, each time I sit in the chair and try to read the chart on the wall, I can see one line less than on previous visits. I am up to line 7. I know the next visit I’ll be lucky to make line 6. Soon, only the “E” will I see.
 
Fortunately, because I am a Medicaid beneficiary, these visits are free as are the two pairs of glasses I am permitted every 6 months. I even get to choose from a variety of stylish frames.

Unfortunately, my eyesight is getting worse. I have had to increase the lens strength of my reading glasses twice in the last year. How long it will take until I’ll be one of those old folks who use a magnifying glass just to read a newspaper I don’t know. I am already at a point where I can’t read a paperback book for more than a minute or two without having to rub my eyes. I do most of my reading electronically which allows me to increase the font size at will. I’m composing this blog at a setting of 120% normal size.
 
A few years ago I almost lost my sight altogether because of a fungal infection which scarred both retinas. I know what it’s like to having the possibility of losing one’s sight altogether. Only the quick action and expertise of a wonderful ophthalmologist at Mt. Sinai do I still have my eyesight today.

I am at the time of life when most of my contemporaries have undergone cataract operations. All of whom have reported an improvement in their eyesight. Some have even given up their reading glasses. This makes the possibility of such a procedure less stressful.
 
Wearing glasses doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think it adds a certain amount of “authenticity” to my look. And besides, glasses become a great prop when you are trying to make a point. Just whip them off quickly and look like you know what you’re talking about. They always believe a guy with glasses…………………………………

Editor’s note: For information regarding the dangers of too much time in front of computer screens, check out this article from Harvard…https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/electronic-screen-alert-avoid-this-vision-risk
 

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Preventing falls and raising awareness

September is nationally recognized as Falls Prevention Awareness Month. During this time, a special focus is placed on raising awareness about ways that seniors — and those who care for them — can prevent falls, the most common accident experienced by older adults. But of course the information highlighted during this time is valuable all year.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-fifth of assisted living residents are injured in falls every year. Unsteadiness caused by medications, as well as obstacles in the living environment, can contribute to falls.

Preventing falls in senior living communities is much like preventing them in a traditional home. The following prevention strategies can go a long way toward keeping older adults safe in their living spaces: 

1.    Install handrails in stairways, hallways and bathrooms to ensure steadiness.
2.    Clear all clutter, and arrange furniture to create walking space.
3.    Immediately clean up spills when they occur.
4.    Ensure that older adults don’t stand on furniture to reach for items.
5.    Help seniors to always keep walking aids close by.
6.    Encourage older adults to have a flashlight within reach and a nightlight in the bedroom in case they need to get out of bed in the middle of the night.

Continue reading>> https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/columns/guest-columns/preventing-falls-and-raising-awareness/



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6 trends to watch from senior housing headlines

Roughly 15% of the population in 2017 were senior citizens, and this number is expected to rise as the years go on. As a result, senior housing is almost guaranteed to rise with it.

The growth of senior housing is just one trend to watch. The current issues and successes within the senior housing sector are already paving the way for new trends.

There are a lot of things to watch for in Senior Housing News, and we’ll talk more about some of them in the paragraphs below.

1. Transitioning Home

More and more, seniors are choosing to stay at home for as long as possible. Advancements in modern medicine are turning this into a reality.

Many of the diseases that may have once limited the activities of the senior population have been largely destroyed. Today’s seniors are among the first in history that have grown up in a world without polio, which was cured in 1953.


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App to improve lives of older adults
is set for first major user tests
By Lenora Smith


A new app that aims to improve the functional lives of older adults is about to get its first major user tests.

Developed at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) through a collaboration that began in 2015 between the College of Nursing, the Department of Psychology and the Department of Art, Art History & Design, the app is called mPACT, for mobile Physical Activity Training.

It integrates low impact physical activity in the form of chair exercises with colorful brain training games that have been proven to improve cognitive function and mind-body coordination. Participants win gold star rewards for their successes and improvements.

"Research has shown that physical activity and brain training will improve cognition," says Dr. Lenora Smith, an assistant professor of nursing and distinguished educator in gerontological nursing. The new app is the first time anyone has combined the two in a single venue, she says.



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Move Over Stanford Dropouts:
Older Americans Are Learning to Code and They're Getting Good


Who says technology is only for young people?

A growing number of older Americans are learning how to code, thanks to an assortment of college coding “boot camps” cropping up across the country.

Dozens of these coding boot camps — intensive, months long-training programs that teach you how to program computers — are gaining popularity with older people who want to develop a second professional skill set and continue working. As retirees continue to live longer and leave the workforce earlier than planned, there’s an increasing appeal — even necessity — to expanding your professional expertise to include technological skills as a veteran worker.

Right now is the perfect time to get your foot in the door in Silicon Valley: by 2020, there will be more open jobs in the technology sector than workers who can fill them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus, you may even impress your grandkids or your neighbors at the same time.




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NEXT BLOG MONDAY OCT. 21st 2019


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I have always considered myself to be an honorable man. Not rich but, at least, honorable. I have stolen nothing or cheated anyone. Not even the IRS. I never reneged on a bet, or did not pay back a loan or made a promise I could not keep. I have also never betrayed a friend. And, as an American, I was proud to live in what I considered being an honorable country. That pride was tarnished last week (perhaps forever) by an order given by our so-called Commander-in-Chief. Last Sunday our president gave his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria.
 
The Turks have always considered the Kurds to be their enemies, accusing them of terrorism. We have always considered the Kurds to be our number one ally in the fight against our enemy, ISIS. We trusted them, not only to fight side-by-side with our troops, but to guard the prisons where they hold some of ISIS’s most dangerous fighters. By allowing Turkey to be the main fighting force in the area, we have betrayed any relationship we had with the Kurds and our ability to keep the ISIS prisoners where they belong. And, almost immediately, the Turks could not wait to put an end to any Kurdish presence in the area and began to bomb areas where they knew there would be Kurds, and, their families. Put simply, our president sold out our ally. A deed made especially dastardly knowing what the Turks would do to them. 

How all of this sits with our oldest ally’s (Great Britain, France etc.) who are already nervous considering how Trump has cozied-up to the likes of Un and Vlad even going as far as proposing allowing Russia into NATO, I can’t say. But what I know is how this sits with some of our residents. Many of whom have fought in wars defending our country.
I would like to say that I have spoken to some of our residents who served in WW2, but there aren’t any here, at least not anymore. But there are some that are Korean era vets and many who fought in Vietnam. And, to a man, they are not happy. Some, even angry. 
 
We have a men’s club that meets once-a-month here at the facility. Among those present are a few guys (my contemporaries) who they drafted or enlisted to fight in Vietnam. The men, who are in their 70s now, were only 18 or 19 when they joined the conflict. I asked them how they felt about being sent to a country they knew nothing about fighting in a war they didn’t care about. The answer was what you might expect. They did it because (a) they had no choice, or (b), they believed in their country and felt they were keeping the world free of Communism (a real dirty word back then). So, what do they think about Trump hanging the Kurds out to dry?
 
Their thoughts were with our troops. It worried them that our soldiers would get caught in the middle between ISIS, the Turks and the Kurds. When I told them our men were being withdrawn from the area and might even come home, they seemed okay with it. Then, I asked about betraying our ally’s. And, although many did not know who the Kurds were, they thought it was a lousy thing to do. 
 
One old duffer told me he worked closely with many South Vietnamese soldiers who he considered friends. Leaving them to fend for themselves was something they never even considered (at least not at the start of the war and not by a president).
 
One man, who served four years on an aircraft carrier, who said that he was proud to wear his uniform in any port they visited, mentioned that the one thing they told you was that you always had your buddy’s back. 
 
“Do you think we have lost our honor?”, I asked. They held nothing back. They hurled explicative left and right, mostly toward our president. None of them thought he really had the soldiers in mind and admonished him for not serving in the Armed Forces.

I know the four or five old men I spoke to may not be a fair sample of how all former soldiers feel about the current situation. Not being one of those guys, the only opinion I can give is from a formally proud U.S. citizen who now would most likely keep a low profile in any international situation. I still love America, but I just don’t like the direction we’re going..........

 
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You Need to Make a 'When I Die' File—
Before It's Too Late


Ruth Byock, 81, was driving to her daughter Molly’s house for Thanksgiving dinner when she had a heart attack and died. Struggling to imagine a world without their mother, Molly and her brother Ira went to clear out her condo in Leisure World, the retirement community in Laguna Woods, CA that Ruth had called home for 12 years. (She had renamed the place “Wrinkle Village”).

While sorting through her things, they discovered a small card file on a kitchen counter next to her recipe box. They opened it up, expecting guidance on how to make brisket and kugel. (On the afternoon she died, she had two versions of the baked noodle dish in the back seat of the car.)

What Molly and Ira found instead took them by surprise: Inside, their mother had carefully organized all of her papers, including the account numbers, pending transactions, and a bundle of other documents they’d need to settle her affairs and distribute her belongings. It was as though their mother had baked them one last batch of kugel from beyond and left it waiting there for them to arrive. “This was not a Buddhist master’s awareness of death,” Ira Byock says. “It was a Jewish mother’s love for her children.”

Continue reading>>




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Seniors Need Network Of People They Trust
As Checks On Each Other To Prevent Fraud Say Experts
By Ted Knutson


Seniors need a network of trusted family members, friends and financial professionals as checks on each other to prevent becoming the victims of elder financial fraud, the Securities and Exchange Commission was told Thursday.

The problem for financial professionals and other who rely on a one trusted individual to watch out for a senior is that that one son or daughter or neighbor or broker could turn out to be a victimizer, cautioned experts from SIFMA Managing Director and Associate General Counsel Lisa Bleier to National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) Executive Director Lori Delagrammatikas.

The warnings came at an SEC forum on elder financial abuse where SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said it keeps him at night and Senate Aging Committee Chair Maine Republican Susan Collins called it “the Crime of the 21st Century.”



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Map: The best (and worst) states for aging, according to US News


U.S. News & World Report last week released its Best States for Aging list, which ranks all 50 states on how they address the needs of older adults, and Maine ranked No. 1.

What your patients expect from their care—from millennials to the silent generation
How US News ranked states

Seniors today account for almost 25% of the United States' population, according to U.S. News, and that population is likely to grow as more baby boomers age into their elder years. With its Best States for Aging ranking, U.S. News "determines which states are most effectively serving their senior citizens by keeping them healthy, financially secure and involved in their communities."

For the ranking, U.S. News evaluated how all 50 states performed on 12 metrics related to quality of life for older Americans. Those metrics included:



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Dementia and religion: "What if I forget about God?"
By Adelle M. Banks

Dementia is the overall term for memory loss and cognitive impairment that results from diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It progresses as damage to the brain disrupts normal communication between brain cells and, in turn, affects behavior and thinking. This story is part of a Religion News Service series on dementia and religion. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky.: When geropsychologist Benjamin Mast evaluates dementia clients at his University of Louisville research lab, there’s a question some people of faith ask him:

“What if I forget about God?”

It’s a query that reflects the struggles of people facing diseases like Alzheimer’s.



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY OCT. 17th 2019


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10/13/19




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The one thing you don’t get as a resident in an assisted living facility is pity. Nor do we want it. Fortunately, those of us (staff and residents) are surrounded by people whose lives were disrupted by illness or disability, have an inherent knowledge of this. Pity, is what people use to allay the guilt they have for not being the one in a hospital bed or a wheelchair or otherwise incapacitated.
 
Anyone who has ever been in a wheelchair and trying to maneuver through a mall or office building or (G-d forbid) mass transit, knows that reaction well. They can see it in people’s eyes and hear it in their voices.
 
Seven or eight years ago I found myself in a situation I thought would be a permanent one.
 
After months of physical therapy and living in a nursing home, I was still no further in my effort to walk than I had when I first arrived. I was preparing myself, and my body, to get by in that wheelchair as best I could. And, after a while, I was getting good at navigating around the obstacles faced by mobility challenged people all the time.
 
By lifting weights and working on my arm strength, I could push myself around the facility with speed and agility. I had no trouble working my way around the building. I may not have had use of my legs, but I was not an invalid. Unfortunately, people who don’t have a disability view us differently. Not only are we physically challenged, but many see us as mentally challenged as well.
 
My nursing home had eight floors which meant travel via elevator was mandatory. And I had no problem using them.
 
One day, upon returning from PT, I found myself in an elevator filled with visitors. They were mostly young people making a guilt trip visit to a loved one unfortunate enough to have been “incarcerated.
” Although I could glide smoothly over the gap between elevator and landing I could feel the cold stare of pity from the rest of the passengers.
 
As I reached for the button that would allow a stop on the 4th floor, a hand shot out and pushed it for me. “LET-ME-GET-THAT-FOR-YOU”, he shouted in a slow, clipped manner best suited for a three-year-old rather than a sixty-year-old man. To him, I was not only unable to push buttons, but deaf and slow too. I was about to make a snide remark but thought it better to smile and say thanks. It was really not his fault. It was the guilt genes we all carry overriding any common sense.

We don’t want sympathy (something you will get little of here). And we really, really don’t want empathy. Having you feel my pain.
 
What we want is a little understanding of what it means to have to deal with many of the difficulties older Americans face every day.
 
The first thing to remember when encountering an older person is that just because I’m old, I am not automatically cognitively impaired, have Alzheimer’s or think Calvin Coolidge is still president. And, while it may be true that my ideas and ideals may differ from yours, it does not mean that I don’t understand where you’re coming from.
 
No, I don’t like most of today’s music. But I can still remember when my dad said he didn’t like my music either. So. I’ll make a deal with you. I won’t knock your music if you don’t knock mine. The same stands true for clothes.
 
Older ladies seem to always know what’s age appropriate. Old men rarely have a clue. If you are lucky, most will dress conservatively or in the clothes they have worn for 40 years*. Other’s will throw on anything they find in the closet. This includes pajama bottoms, tank tops, or a jacket they’ve had since high school. If you bring an old man new clothes don’t be surprised if he never wears it. And keep in mind. We are very particular about underwear. Don’t give us boxer briefs because you think they’re cool. We prefer our tidy-whities or cotton boxers.**

If you do bring anything, make it food. Preferably something home-made and sweet. And bring enough for a group.

If you come for a visit, that’s great. We love seeing you. We also know that you may be uncomfortable around so many old people. Therefore, it’s okay to not to stay all day. But while you are here to listen closely to what we have to say and how we look. If we look ill, we probably are. Do not automatically cross our condition off to old age. Many of us old folks have learned to ignore changes in our health because we think if we complain too often they look at us as being difficult. Although we won’t admit it, we need you to be our advocates. Unfortunately, with old folks, the squeaky wheel does not always get the grease unless a relative makes that squeak.
 
According to government statistics, over 35% of people over 65 have a disability with mobility being the most common. Therefore, when you visit, asking an older person if they need you to drive them anywhere (the mall, the supermarket drugstore or to the library etc.) will be one of the best gifts you can give.
 
And finally, keep in touch. The worst thing about being old is to feel forgotten. A letter or email ( yes, we use email) is great if you can’t come in person.
 
I know there are many seniors out there who are not disabled or poor living in some health-related facility. We’ve all seen the ads for those retirement communities where a group of smiling seniors are swimming or playing golf on a palm-tree-lined golf course. For those I say “G-d bless you”. You have found Nirvana or, at least a gated compound in Florida. For the rest of us septa and octogenarians all we really want is a little respect and understanding. Oh, BTW, watch out for the sand trap on the fourth hole. It’s a bitch. ………………………………………………
 

* editor’s note: I mean the exact same clothes they’ve had for 40 years
** And no fancy designer ones either. Jockey, Fruit of The loom or Hanes please.



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Types of risk for residents at long term care facilities
Senior Care Investigation


Falls

Water temperature

Big problems can arise when employees who are not nurses administer medications

Elopement

Improper food

Failure to seek medical attention

Inadequate staffing

Unsafe conditions

Bedsores




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Solving The Loneliness Epidemic Via Self-Driving Cars
By Lance Eliot

Loneliness might be overcome via the advent of self-driving cars.

We are in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. And, unfortunately, it is predicted to worsen.

According to stats by the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), one in five Americans indicates that they are lonely and feel socially isolated. Approximately 25% of Americans live alone.

Loneliness is more than merely a debilitating state-of-mind, it also can be physically damaging and reportedly take months or years off your lifespan, increase chances of having a stroke, along with being considered equal in body harm to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

By the demographics, those that are young tend to be vulnerable to loneliness, though we normally think only about the elderly being lonely (they are too, perhaps more obviously so).


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You will die. Don’t exit leaving a hot mess behind.
By Michelle Singletary


Whenever I give a talk about estate planning, I ask the audience to guess the percentage of Americans who do not have a will.

Most people guess in the 90 percent range.

It’s a trick question.

Various studies show that most adults have not prepared a legal will. But the point I’m really trying to make is that everyone has a will in a way — just not one that they have executed.

If you die “intestate,” meaning you don’t have a legal will, state laws determine how your assets will be distributed to your heirs.

I wasn’t surprised that Aretha Franklin didn’t have a will. You probably don’t either.




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If You Think Politicians Cater to Seniors Now, Just Wait

Republicans are giving up on entitlement reform, and seniors’ share of the population will only grow.

The president on Thursday unveiled the “Executive Order on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors,” a plan to, among other things, expand seniors’ options within Medicare Advantage, the popular program that allows the elderly to buy private health plans in lieu of receiving traditional Medicare.

There are several conversations we could have about this move. We could talk about the debate over Medicare Advantage itself, in which conservatives point out that it is far more cost-effective than traditional Medicare but skeptics say the savings aren’t passed through to taxpayers. Or we could talk about how this fits into the Trump administration’s broader efforts on health care, which have freed up many Americans to buy many plans that regulations previously took off the table. Or we could talk about the criticisms Trump made of the Democrats’ health-care plans, and whether those plans would really hurt seniors as he claimed, rather than holding seniors harmless and expanding benefits for everyone else.




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NEXT BLOG MONDAY OCT. 14th 2019


Though not required, please feel free to add your email or website to your comments







10/9/19



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Sorry, my rebellious old friends, your leader will rebel no more. I have decided I will no longer fight the system. And, although it goes against every fibre in my body, I will no longer protest, ignore or disagree with anything anybody tells me. Why? Because I’m too damn tired of banging my head against the wall. Did you ever hear the saying, “The best thing about hitting your head on the wall is it feels so good when you stop?” That’s how I feel.

 
This does not mean I will no longer voice my opinion, but that I won’t even try to argue my point. You don’t like it, okay. Next.
 
This decision to cooperate fully was not done on a lark. Most likely I have contemplated this for years without knowing it. Sometimes it’s just the better thing to do, if not the easiest.
 
A s human beings, we learn to submit to authority early in life. We are, in actuality, born with this trait. Because if we weren’t, most likely we’d never make it past our teens.

“Don’t touch that, it’s hot.” “Wear a coat. You’ll catch pneumonia and die.” “You can play outside until the streetlights come on.” These are all decisions made by someone in authority (usually your parents) to which you disagreeably give-in to because you know it will do no good to argue. This acquiescence usually continues through your formative years because you are too little and too weak and too powerless to do anything about it. But that quickly changes when you reach your teens. You are no longer the wimpy little kid. You are now taller and bigger than most adults. And, along with increased muscle and sinew comes those raging hormones that take you in a direction your limited life experience can’t deal with. Fortunately, this period lasts only a few years. Usually, by the time you are 21, your mind and your personality are fully formed. What you were in your 20’s, is what you will be for most of your life.
 
 I was not rebellious as a kid. I found it better to maintain a low profile which allowed me to walk freely amongst both the elite (the popular kids) and the bullies. In all of my school years (k-12) they never bullied or picked on me. I received no notoriety either, so it balanced out. It was not until college that I found the need to protest.
 
1965 to 1971, the height of the Vietnam war. Then, as now, our country was divided. On one side, the Hawks, who saw a reason to continue a war we could not win. And on the other side, those of us who saw no reason we should fight, die and to kill people we had no quarrel with. And, although I was the least likely person to carry a sign or march in an anti-war parade, I found myself caught up in a cause in which I had a stake. Despite the protests, it took four more years to end the conflict.
Having nothing more to be angry about, I settled back into my life of anonymity. I argued with no one, protested nothing. Even when my wife asked for a divorce, I gave in. “Sure, why not? Here’s my lawyer’s number, let him argue”, I told her.
 
Jobs came and went. Some were good, and some were bad. I quit the bad ones and stayed with the good until I retired. I looked forward to a quiet withdrawal from the trials and tribulations of life. Fate had other plans. Illness took in a direction they did not prepare me for. Having never had to deal with the healthcare system, I was at the mercy of others who may or may not have had my best interests at heart. Again, a spark of rebellion flared up. Going against what other’s thought was good for me, I took responsibility for my recovery. I set a goal and focused on it. Eventually, I could regain some amount of normalcy. But more important, I felt empowered. 

I used this new feeling as a license to get my way. Something, after being a patient in a nursing home for nearly two years, I sorely needed. It was time for me to re-assert my independence. 

Therefore, when I entered this assisted living situation six years ago, I was determined not to let anybody decide for me. I would be “The master of my fate and the captain of my soul.” Not as easy a thing to do considering, I was in a place whose whole reason for being is to make sure you do nothing to harm yourself or reflect poorly on the facility. I had to fight for every minute of my privacy with little to show for it. 

I rebelled against almost everything including having the doctor’s appointments made without asking me first. A point that I won. 

I rebelled against having a “bed check” every evening where the night supervisor would enter my room without knocking. After a show of force, whereby I barricaded my door with an alarmed doorstop, we reached a compromise. They no longer enter my room before knocking and waiting for my answer. 

I was on a roll. I even used this blog to make my points known to the administration. And, although I ruffled some feathers, I felt I did some good, not only for myself, but for my fellow residents.

But now, I am seven years older. And, though that is not a great amount of time, to me it’s a lot of water under the bridge. I am older and wiser. I’m also tired, exasperated, and drained. I am becoming worn out by a routine that rarely changes, meals that have become merely a way to fill one’s belly and people whose lives are sadder than mine. If I wasn’t already taking meds for depression, I would say I was well on my way. Both my flesh and my spirit are weak and not willing. 

Now, Whatever they serve me, is okay. Whatever stupid rule they impose, go ahead, I don’t care. They tell me I should take a flu shot okay, here’s my arm. I will “go with the flow.” To borrow a phrase from General Douglas MacArthur, “Old residents never die, they simply give up“……………………………….

 



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Your assisted living or personal care home checklist
What To Ask and What To Look For


Chandeliers, bistros and theater seating are nice, but these amenities are window dressing. When you’re looking at assisted living or personal care homes, you need to ask the right questions and look for the telltale signs to be confident you or your loved one will receive proper care.

WHAT TO ASK

  1.     How many personal care workers are employed? Do they have other duties, such as housekeeping or cooking, in addition to helping residents? What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
  2.     What qualifications are required of staff for employment? How long have key staff been there?
  3.     Who is involved with administering medications? Are they nurses? If not, what kind of training do they receive?
  4.     Does the home use a person-centered approach that allows a resident to set the schedule for getting up, going to bed and eating? Or must residents conform to a home’s set schedule and plans?
  5.     Is there a rotation of menu items? Do residents have menu choices? What hours are meals served? How much time are residents allowed to get to the cafeteria and eat?
  6.     In caring for those with dementia, what is the home’s approach to challenging situations? In memory care, what security measures help prevent residents from eloping?
  7.     Does the facility have assistive devices to prevent falls? How is the staff trained on identifying and addressing fall risks?
  8.     Does the home employ security personnel? Is access to the complex limited? Who has access to residents’ private rooms?   
  9.    Can residents provide their own safes or other security devices to safeguard their belongings?
  10.     How often do housekeeping staff clean residents’ rooms? How often is laundry done?
  11.    Are there regular field trips? Who chooses the destinations? What outings are available for those with dementia?

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

    Watch how staff members interact with residents during meals or other times. Do they seem rushed? Friendly? Is there a sense of nurturing and community?......
  




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Security threats, internet temptations:
The delicate issue of taking away a senior's smartphone

By Judith Graham

We put an iPhone XS through a liquid torture test. the latest models are also able to withstand accident spills, from beer, wine, soda and more.

At first, Dr. Robert Zorowitz thought his 83-year-old mother was confused. She couldn’t remember passwords to accounts on her computer. She would call and say programs had stopped working.

But over time, Zorowitz realized his mother – a highly intelligent woman who was comfortable with technology ― was showing early signs of dementia.

Increasingly, families will encounter similar concerns as older adults become reliant on computers, cellphones and tablets: With cognitive impairment, these devices become difficult to use and, in some cases, problematic.




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We Need Each Other’:
Seniors Are Drawn to New Housing Arrangements

By Paula Span


Older Americans are exploring housing alternatives, including villages and home-sharing.

After her husband died, Freda Schaeffer was left on her own in a three-bedroom house in Brooklyn. “I was lonely,” she confessed. And she worried about finances, because “there’s a lot of expenses in a house.”

Tom Logan, who had moved east from California, found that his disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs didn’t stretch very far in New York City. “I needed a place to stay, or I could be homeless,” he said.



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Personal Finance:
Deduct expenses for long-term care


The staggering costs of long-term care can wreak havoc on your retirement savings.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 27% of Americans turning 65 this year will incur at least $100,000 in long-term-care costs, while 15% will require care costing more than $250,000.

But if you require long-term care or buy a long-term-care policy, you may qualify for a tax deduction that can help offset the cost.

You can deduct unreimbursed costs for long-term care as a medical expense if certain requirements are met. This includes eligible expenses for in-home, assisted living and nursing-home services.





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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY OCT. 10th 2019


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