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Fear of Wealth?
It’s a real thing

I received my official entry form from the Publishers Clearing House this week so I will probably get a visit from the prize patrol in a few weeks. That oversized check for $7000 a week for life will sure come in handy. Never mind that my chances of winning are 1 in 6.2 billion. I’m due.
Even if I don’t win, I will still have had a good time peeling off the “bonus” sticker and pasting it in the box. And, even though my odds of winning the Power Ball Lottery are better than winning anything from PCH, at least it’s free.
But what If I really won?. Would I really be better off?
Let’s do the math.
At 73, “for life” might be only another 10 years. That adds up to about $3.6 million. Minus tax (I’d be in the 37% bracket) and I would wind up with about $2.2 million. “Not bad” you say. Well, it’s not so good either. Along with that money comes complications. Something I don’t need in my life right now.
One of those complications would be that I would have to move out of my nice, simple, assisted living space because my new net worth would prevent me from living here. I’d have to find an up-scale ALF where they would charge me $5000 a month for room and board. That would leave me with about $23,000 a month to play with. What would I do with all that? I’d have to give it away which means I would have to set up some charitable fund to distribute the money. Then comes the lawyers, bankers, financial advisers, board members, and board meetings. Not to mention the con artists, scammers and long-lost relatives circling me like hungry sharks.
I would no longer be eligible for Medicaid. I’d have to pay out-of-pocket for all of my drugs and medications.
With all that money, I would probably get the urge to drive again forcing me to deal with the DMV, insurance companies, car salesmen, gas stations, tolls and traffic. Who needs it? But my biggest fear of having money is that I would be a rich person.

It’s not so much as I dislike rich people as it is that I’m afraid of them. And, while I can’t tell you why, I can tell you that I’m not alone. There are others who have this aversion with wealth.
Actually, it’s not so much an aversion than it is a phobia. Science has a name for it. It’s called “Plutophobia.”

At first I thought plutophobia meant a fear of dogs who have a mouse as a master. But it turns out to be an actual thing.

“Someone with this phobia may be extremely terrified of people who are wealthy and powerful. They may also be immensely fearful of becoming wealthy themselves. Though most people would probably not find much of an issue with becoming rich, some people are truly afraid of it. Thus, someone with plutophobia may purposely sabotage their potential in their career by putting forth mediocre efforts each day to ensure they never become wealthy.”*

“Sabotage” may be drastic. But to be truthful, money was always only a means to an end. That end being peace without worries, and the freedom to do as I pleased. I came close to achieving this too when unforeseen circumstances sent my life into a tailspin.
For the last seven or eight years, I have been playing a cat-and-mouse game with various government agencies. They advised me that If I wanted to continue receiving such things as rehab and the subsidy that keeps a roof over my head, I would need to qualify for Medicaid. To do that, I would have to reduce my net worth.
That’s right. Even though I had spent most of my savings on insurance, hospital bills and nursing homes, I was still too “rich” to qualify for Medicaid. I had to spend down my money to a point where I would have less than $12,000 in the bank.. And by “spend-down” they don’t mean that I could go on some wild spending spree or even give the money away.

According to the government, the only thing that qualifies as a legitimate expense (besides any health-related obligations) was to pre-pay for a funeral. And so I did. With the help of my friendly neighborhood undertaker I arranged a dignified (if not a rather expensive) funeral.
And now, even though I am in an assisted living facility, I am still plagued by “wealth.”
For me, to receive SSP (My state’s version of SSI**), I had to further reduce the balance in my bank account. In America, they permit only the rich to be rich.
So, here I now sit. Fat, stupid and poor. But it’s not all bad. All my bills get paid and nobody hits me up for money. And best of all, I no longer have a fear of being wealthy. My plutophobia has been, if not cured, abated.
Assuming that you (reader) are an older person, what is your attitude towards money?
Is it as important to you as it once was?
If you had a lot of money, how would you spend it? Or would you spend it at all.

And don’t forget to send back that entry form from PCH. You might already have won.  ………………………

* source: psychtimes.com
** SSI or Supplemental Security Income

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Should You Get a
Senior Checking Account?
By Rudro Chakrabarti

When you're older and retired, the last thing you should be worried about are higher fees from your bank. Here's how to decide if a senior checking account is worth it for you.
What is a senior checking account?

Always review all the account options available.

Checking accounts for seniors are similar to a regular checking account, but may come with perks such as waived fees. Finally, fees begone!

Commonly these accounts waive fees if a monthly direct deposit is coming into the account, or if you maintain a minimum balance.

You can qualify for a senior checking account as early as age 50 or 55.

Find details >> https://moneywise.com/a/should-you-get-a-senior-checking-account

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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A glass of wine a night good for the elderly
but not for anyone else
By Mary Kekatos

Wine DOES get better (for you) with age: A glass a night is ONLY good for the elderly - but not for anyone else

Drinking was found to offset the effects of certain age-related diseases including coronary heart disease, diabetes and dementia.
Researchers found 60% of years of potential life lost were in the 20 to 49 age group, while about 15% of years lost were in those above age 65.

Additionally, 80% of deaths prevented by alcohol were among senior citizens

A tipple here and there has been found to do wonders for offsetting age-related diseases that emerge in middle age - including coronary heart disease, dementia, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis.

But the risk has been underestimated in younger ages and researchers say the benefits for this age group have been miscommunicated in prior studies.

Saturday Night Live
Introducing a toilet seat for the elderly to spare them
the embarrassment of being found dead on the toilet.


There Is A Right Way To Hang Toilet Paper
And It Could Save You A Trip To The Doctor

Tomato, tomato. I'm sure you pronounced those same two words differently.

Toilet paper hanging over, or under? Not quite the same, am I right?

The over-or-under debate has been around for as long as I can remember.

Turns out, the way you hang your toilet says a lot about your personality.

A study published in The Independent by Dr. Gilda Carle found that people who prefer to have their toilet paper hanging over, where the loose end is draped over the top, are more likely to have a dominant personality.

And people who position the roll under, where the loose end is hanging inside next to the wall, are more likely to be less assertive and more empathetic and easy going.
All that being said, there is actually a right way to hang a roll of toilet paper, and you'd benefit from changing the position if you've been doing it wrong.

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How are you feeling?

How many times per day are you asked “How are you or how are you feeling?” Sometimes it’s the first words of the day. It’s almost like an official greeting, more so than “Hello”. Even foreign languages use it as an acceptable greeting such as “¿Cómo estás?” in Spanish. And, in most cases, the answer is usually “Okay, and you?” But are we interested in how the other person feels or do we just have an obligation to at least appear concerned as to the condition of one’s health? Before you answer that question, consider the implications if you were to tell the other party the truth.
The conversation might go like this…
Man 1: (Upon meeting a friend on the street). “Wow!, you look like crap.”
Man 2: “I feel like s—t. You look like crap yourself.”
Man 1: “I got up with a pain in my neck, a twinge in my knee, a blister on my foot, and a scaly rash on my butt. And my arthritis is acting up again.”
Man 2: “That’s nothing. I got dizzy in the shower, threw up twice, my hip dislocated, and I can’t find my teeth.”
Man 1: “So, the usual right? Have a nice day”.
Man 2: “You too.”
Refreshing maybe. But do we want to know other people’s ailments? I have enough problems keeping track of my own malady’s. But I try. Maybe you do as I do. 

Upon wakening, I sit on the edge of the bed and go over a checklist.  

Fist, I check any existing aches and pains from head to toe.
“Ear ache, gone.’’,… check.
“Sore throat, better”,… check
“Odd shaped mole on left breast, disappeared (maybe it was just a sprinkle that fell off the ice cream cone I ate last Tuesday)… check.
“Man parts, still there. Whew!”… check

Most of us know of our physical condition and don’t make a big deal. We expect several diseases, disorders, and infirmities at our age. It’s only when something new pops up we become concerned. A person could have had a brain aneurysm, for months, that could burst any second and kill them, and not worry. But a pain in their shoulder has them running to the doctor for pills. And chances are they’ll get them.

While many states are restricting the number of prescriptions being written for opioids, they still give them. And even if the scrip isn’t for pain-killers, many (old folks) are still taking dozens of pills a week. It appears old people’s bodies have to be regulated more than most.

We take pills to control our blood pressure, our heart rate, our bladders, and our thyroids. Nothing, it seems, works right anymore. They treat us more like an old car than a person.

“We don’t know why she’s burning oil, but just keep her filled and she’ll be okay.”

Actually, I have given up worrying about my health. My motto is “Unless it’s broken, bleeding, throbbing or dangling, don’t fix it.” And, from what I have observed here at the A.L.F., many of my fellow residents are doing the same thing.
Contrary to the stereotype, there is little in the way of complaints regarding one’s health. Most of our people stoically bear most of the pain they suffer and go about their business as usual. Perhaps it’s because they know that a visit would follow any complaint and more pills. 

Perhaps we need a new formal greeting. Here’s a few I’ve been working on…

“Hello, where’s your pants?” (you can also use “dress, glasses, teeth," etc).
“I thought you were dead.”
“You owe me twenty bucks.”

Oh well, it’s a work in progress, but you get the idea…………………………………………….

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Know Before You Buy:
Understanding Senior Living Facility Agreements

The subject of signing a contract often comes up when a senior starts to visit various senior retirement facilities. I've asked Attorney Althea Kippes some of the questions you should know the answers to prior to signing a facility contract.

Max: Are folks expected to sign some kind of legal agreement/contract before they move into a retirement facility?

Althea: Yes. The type and details of the contract will vary depending on the type of facility. For example, it could be a month-to-month rental agreement or a continuing care residence agreement that you would sign with a buy-in community (a continuing care retirement community where you pay a large buy-in fee) or an actual equity purchase where you buy the unit like any other real estate purchase. These agreements are usually fairly lengthy and complicated.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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The Invisible Man (and Woman),
a tale of ageism in America

By Cheri Shelhart

You might recall the films, The Invisible Man, starring Claude Rains, and The Invisible Woman, starring Virginia Bruce. These works of fiction entertained audiences in the 1940s. But, it’s the 21st Century and it turns out invisible people really exist.

“They live among us in the guise of senior citizens,” according to Dan Weber, president of AMAC, a powerful senior advocacy organization.

San Francisco-based psychologist and psychotherapist Tamara McClintock Greenberg put it this way in an article for Psychology Today: “Why people are increasingly treated as if they’re invisible as they age (more prevalent it seems, for women) is curious, though perhaps not surprising. We live in a youth-fixated culture where people are afraid to age and to be vulnerable to growing older; where ideals about attractiveness are oriented around those with young, healthy bodies.”

continue reading >> http://www.newsbug.info/kankakee_valley_post_news/opinion/the-invisible-man-and-woman-a-tale-of-ageism-in/article_10fc0465-5310-5e18-b975-7d0586d18371.html


Falls Can Kill You. Here’s How to Minimize the Risk.
By Jane E. Brody

Every day, I scan the obituaries to see why or how people die. You might call it morbid fascination, but I attribute it to the combined influence of my age (77) and my profession (health reporting). Obituaries give me ideas for Personal Health columns like this one that might help others — and me — avoid a preventable ailment or accident and premature demise.

One of the most frequent causes of death listed for people my age, as well as some younger and many older folks, is “complications from a fall,” the explanation given for the death last month at 93 of Russell Baker, the much-loved Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist and columnist for The New York Times.

Continue reading >> https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/25/well/live/falls-can-kill-you-heres-how-to-minimize-the-risk.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Health&fbclid=IwAR0wWHRLXK9NEDY6INeBQoUPdSQIFFdL12UEex7YhKe9M_BLb9_GBlO7NHY


Tax scammers are looking for you —
 here’s how to avoid them

By Paul Brandus

Oh, joy. Tax season is under way. If that isn’t painful enough, you’ll need to be on the alert for tax-related scams designed to separate you from your money. The Internal Revenue Service says thousands of citizens fall for various schemes each year. Senior citizens are a common target. Here are a few things to know that can help you avoid getting ripped off.

The IRS says tax scams can pop up everywhere: in the mail, via email, by telephone (both land line and mobile devices), and on social media networks like Facebook. In short, wherever you are, the bad guys can always find a way to reach you.

But guess what? The IRS doesn’t communicate with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media. If you are ever contacted one of these ways by someone claiming to be with the IRS, stop communicating with that person immediately. Note their email address, text number and/or social media account, and send it to IRS (I’ll tell you how below).

Continue reading >> https://www.marketwatch.com/story/tax-scammers-are-looking-for-you-heres-how-to-avoid-them-2019-02-28

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Doing Something New Is Good
At Any Age

If you are reading this, you know that we have changed, not only our name but, our web address (URL) as well.
There are two reasons I made this change. My primary reason for the switch from the wcenterblog to theseniorlog.com was to have a web address that would better reflect the nature and contents of this blog.
When I began this blog about five years ago, I did so mainly as a way of expressing my thoughts and observations about something new to me, and many others. And that was the concept of assisted living. Not only was it a different way of taking care of those with disabilities, but a whole new way of life.
I had just transitioned from the restrictive and depressing atmosphere of a nursing home where my future seemed bleak, to a place, that on the surface offered a chance at regaining at least a semblance of my former lifestyle. After, living here for a while I realized that this was not exactly a paradise on earth. As with every new venture, there were problems, and I felt that there should be a way of disseminating that information to others.That was five years ago. Today, assisted living has become a part of the vocabulary, and while still a relatively new concept, more people are looking to it as a viable alternative to traditional senior housing. However, for others, it’s still an unknown with all the misconceptions and fallacies associated with anything different. Therefore, I felt that this blog should focus on providing a more informed view, from the inside. But I also noticed something else. Few of the people reading this blog were actual residents of the facility where I was a resident. I also concluded that people interested in assisted living were also interested in other aspects of senior life. The old URL needed an update. Fortunately, my web host was running a sale.

My web host (Yola), for a reasonable fee, would provide me with both hosting services and a registered dotcom URL.
Registration affords me two advantages.
First, it protects the name “theseniorlog.com” from being bought by any other user. Second, it’s easier to remember thus easier and faster to enter on an address line. There is however, one other reason I went in a different direction. The change itself.
Older folks are resistant to change. They find comfort in the routine and familiar. The epitome of routine and familiar is the time spent at an assisted living facility. Adhering to the regular and mundane makes everything run smoother and easier for both residents and staff. Sadly, routine can also bore, and boring is deadly to brain cells.
Residents find solace in activities like Bingo, jewelry making and various arts and crafts projects conducted by our recreation director. I’m not one of those people. Amusement, for me, lies in putting together this blog. unfortunately, even a challenging activity such as this can become dull.
Often, over the years I have changed fonts, format, content, headers and backgrounds. Dropping and adding features to make this publication as easy to read and navigate as possible. Not so suprising, we’re still learning and changing. Unlike, many of my contemporaries here at, what I lovingly call “The Asylum”, who refuse to try anything new. Which makes them unhappy campers and very dull people. When it’s quiet, you can hear the brain cells shutting down. How sad.
Surely, the URL change won’t be last adjustment and revision I will make. Blogs, like language, are dynamic and, to be successful, should reflect the times we live in. While I may be old and have fond memories of the past, I refuse to dwell in them.To,let things stagnate is not good for the environment or the soul.……………

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Do I qualify for Medicaid?

Medicaid provides free or low-cost health coverage to some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Many states have expanded their Medicaid programs to cover all people below certain income levels. Medicaid qualifications depend partly on whether your state has expanded its program.

No matter your state, you may qualify for Medicaid based on your income, household size, disability, family status, and other factors. But if your state has expanded Medicaid coverage, you can qualify based on your income alone.

Enter your household size and state.(https://www.healthcare.gov/lower-costs/) We'll tell you who is eligible for Medicaid, if your state expanded and if you qualify for Medicaid based only on your income.

If you think you have Medicaid eligibility, you can create an account(https://www.healthcare.gov/create-account) and fill out a Marketplace application. If it looks like anyone in your household qualifies for Medicaid or CHIP, we'll send your information to your state agency. They'll contact you about enrollment. You can apply any time of year.

If you don't qualify for Medicaid, we'll tell you if you qualify for financial help to buy a Marketplace health plan instead. (But unless you qualify to enroll with a Special Enrollment Period,(https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/special-enrollment-period/) you'll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period.)

What if I’m turned down by Medicaid?

You may be able to buy a private health plan through the Marketplace instead for the 2018 plan year in the fall. You may qualify for savings based on your income through a premium tax credit and savings on out-of-pocket costs.

If you don't qualify for either Marketplace or Medicaid savings, you still have options. Learn more here….https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/medicaid-expansion-and-you/#lowincomes

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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As I See It: Assisted living has its bright side
By Harriett Gustason

A dazzling view out my window makes me feel so blessed. At age 91 I am still able to enjoy the gorgeous — almost blinding — white of the snowy view I have.

A couple of small scooping vehicles have been clearing the streets and parking areas around our complex for days. The young men who guide them are bundled up in fur-lined caps, heavy jackets, boots and gloves. They pass through our halls occasionally, in youthful stride, all rosy-cheeked and energetic.


More older people with depression
could benefit from non-drug treatments

Depression is common in older age and with an ageing population how late-life depression is managed will become increasingly important. Researchers from the University of Bristol and University College London (UCL) suggest mental health in later life should be given greater priority by healthcare professionals.

Nearly 10 percent of adults aged over 75 have major depressive disorder, and over one third sub-threshold depressive symptoms, yet people over the age of 85 are five times less likely to be referred for psychological therapies than people in their 50s.


Protect Your Aging Eyes From
Macular Degeneration

By Robert Preidt

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an incurable eye disease that affects millions of older Americans, but there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk, a vision expert says.

AMD causes blurred central vision due to damage to the macula, a small area at the back of the eye, and it is most common after age 60, according to the U.S. National Eye Institute.

AMD is also more common in women and whites, and at-risk patients should get regular eye exams, advised Dr. Julie Rosenthal, a retina specialist at the University of Michigan's Kellogg Eye Center.

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Seniors and Food
More Than Just Nutrition

I returned from a lousy breakfast. There were 2 hard-boiled eggs, some thin strips of nasty bacon, and a mini-muffin. That, together with a plaster-like oatmeal, hairy-strong coffee and warm orange juice and you’ve got terrible way to start the day.
To be fair, the food has been better the last few days because of a new menu and because the food service manager has been more responsive to residents wants and needs. But not by much. Sometimes the kitchen staff gets a little lazy and forgets how to cook. However, I’m not here to admonish the food or food service. I’d like to speak to the fact that the dining experience is more than just eating to stay alive. For seniors, it’s an activity, a news-center, and a lifeline.
Here at the ALF, as it is at most facilities of this kind, residents assemble for meals three times a day.
We sit at the same table, with the same people every day. It’s kind of like lunch time in high school. “Outsiders” are usually not welcome, even to where fights have broken out among residents who took somebody’s seat. Seniors get very possessive with where and with whom they sit.
All this goes to prove one thing. When we have a bad experience in the dining room, it affects how we view the rest of the day, week, and month. But why does food illicit such deep-felt emotion in our lives? For one, it’s primal.
Practically, the first interaction we have with another human, after being born, includes our first meal.
Whether it’s bottle or breast, that first taste of food entering our mouths sets the scene for the 80,000 plus meals a person will eat in their lifetime.* That’s a lot of food. And, it’s a lot of time spent around a dinner table. So mealtime is a time when people spend the most time interacting with other people. This is perhaps the most important part of the human experience and defines our species.**
Just think of the deals done, the engagements made, the divorces announced and the household budgets  that are discussed over the dinner table. Not to mention politics, health problems and your kid's report card. How many decisions on whether to run for president were hurriedly contrived over dinner. Did the current president decide to run after eating a good cheeseburger he had one afternoon at Mar-a-Lago? The mind boggles.

During our productive years, traditional mealtimes often take a backseat. Our busy daily lives (work, school etc.) prevents us from eating in a group. In today’s world it’s rare to see even two meals eaten with the family. Fast-food joints have replaced the traditional dining room and, much of the social interaction. The picture of a solitary figure, sitting alone in a corner booth at Micky D’s scarfing down a quarter-pounder and fries embodies the spirit of today’s dining experience.
As the years progress, mealtimes become even more solitary.
The kids have left home. The significant other is no longer in the picture and friends have moved away, leaving us to eat alone.
If we are lucky, we can have at least some of our meals in a restaurant. This affords a semblance of normalcy as it requires communication with others. Even if it’s only with the waiter.
These companionless mealtimes can continue for years if not forever.
That’s why being able to once again dine with a group of people in a “family-like” situation, becomes so important to us older folks who, whether we know it, crave company.
Because of illness, or doctor’s appointments, or outside visits by my table mates, I have had to eat alone on a number of occasions. And, I hate it. I am so much happier surrounded by the “gang.”
All of us bring something different to the table.
We share stories, experiences, and expertise with our dinner partners. After 70 or 80 years on this planet, there’s much to explore and talk about.
Meals with our contemporaries becomes our CNN, NY Times, and People magazine.
We relive the past in the form of nostalgia games while looking to our future. We discuss our innermost fears and our mental and physical conditions. Sometimes to the point of sharing too much information.
Invariably, the conversation will focus on the food. And here is where things get serious.
There are as many opinions of what someone has set before us as there are people in the dining room, making for some lively debates over whose taste buds are still functioning and whose have succumbed to the ravages of time.
As much as I miss cooking for myself, and as poor as the food can be here, I feel sorry for those who sit alone in their homes and have nothing but their thoughts to keep them company.
I hope that the people who cook for us can appreciate this time as much as we do.
With that being said where’s the takeout menu for the Chinese restaurant…………….

*Editor’s note: That breaks down to about 35 tons of food in our lifetime.
** Of course we don’t know if any of our primate cousins have mealtime discussions so, I might be wrong about this.

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Older people find a good night’s sleep
 isn’t what it used to be

By Erin Bakemore,The Washington Post

They are more likely to sleep less, wake earlier and more often, and these changes can affect health.

When Carol Gee turned 55, she made a new friend: 4 a.m.

In the past, she usually slept through it. But once she entered menopause, it became her new wake-up time.

“I would go to sleep and wake up every morning around the same time, almost like you set the clock,” says Gee, who is now 68.

She’s not the only older adult to have experienced an exasperating shift in her sleep cycles. In 2017, a national poll conducted by the University of Michigan found that 46 percent of adults 65 and older have trouble falling asleep on a regular basis.


Serious health concerns missed in older adults:
Paper is call for action for delivering health care to seniors

By Linda Peckel,

In older people, symptoms of pain, depression and fatigue are commonplace. But how common?

Researchers examined the prevalence and impact of six common symptoms (pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, breathing difficulty, sleep problems) and found that nearly half of adults ages 65 and older have two or more of these symptoms and one-fourth have three or more. But often clinicians miss these symptoms, and the more serious health issues they portend because patients only talk about one of these symptoms during a visit


How to Avoid Becoming a ‘Bored Boomer’ in Retirement

A Certified Financial Planner friend of mine shared a story over breakfast recently. One of his long-standing clients — let’s call him Jack —  who had fully retired six months earlier, called out of the blue with a plea for help. Having entered his retirement in great financial shape, his call went something like this: “John, you’ve got to help me.  I’ve got to go back to work doing something.  I’m going crazy not having something important to do.”

Jack appears to be another captive of an irrelevant retirement model — a casualty of an off-the-cliff leap from labor-to-leisure, vocation-to-vacation. An emerging rebel against the archaic, politically-inspired artificial finish line called traditional retirement.

Seventy-eight million strong and hitting this artificial finish line of 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day, boomers everywhere are beginning to discover that retirement, as we’ve known it for decades, needs redefining.

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Planning Ahead for Assisted Living

Most of us believe there will always be enough time to plan for long-term care. Then, life happens, and all of our hopeful expectations are dashed, including for our loved ones. When all is well, it’s difficult to convince mom, dad, a partner or other loved one to plan for the future. The alternative is much worse, because it means facing decisions during a crisis.

Avoid a Crisis, Plan Ahead

By 2030, the national population of people age 65 and older is expected to increase dramatically, and older Americans will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.

We can’t know what life will throw at us. But we can make some “what if” plans.

For example, when my friend, Pete, noticed that his partner, Dick, was failing physically and mentally, he decided he and Dick should get married so that Dick would be covered by his insurance and Pete would legally be able to make whatever decisions became necessary for Dick’s care. With fairly constant home-care help, Pete has been able to keep his husband at home for now.

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Why Do We Hate Ourselves?

“Internalized ageism” is when the elderly dislike other old people because they are old. I am ashamed to say, do it too.
Honestly though, there isn’t much to like about us.

We look and dress funny

It’s shallow to base one’s opinion of other people on looks. We’ve been doing it all our lives. And just because we’re older doesn’t mean we are less prejudiced. But, this animosity is not without merit.
To be fair, women, as they age, have less of a problem with the way they look than men
Most women, no matter how old, realize that they shouldn’t wear the same thing every day. Something that has escaped men in their latter years. And it’s not for a lack of clothes.
I know a man that has a closet full of shirts, pants, and shoes and yet, prefers to wear the same one or two button-down shirts (not buttoned-down) and black pants all the time. I once asked him why. He said he was saving them. I felt that any further exploration of this would only prove futile.
While our choice of apparel may be something we can correct, our physical appearance is far more difficult.
Humans, for reasons based on continuing the species, prefer tight-skinned, long-legged, slim-figured, high-boobed people with all of their teeth. Something which time and gravity have taken their toll upon with old people.
Wrinkles, large bellies, and sagging butts, do not an attractive picture make. Even old people don’t like to look at old people.
And don’t even mention the hair.
Seriously, what’s more pathetic than a short, fat, old bald buy. Present company excepted of course.
What’s that odor?

This issue is sensitive
There are many reasons old folks have a particular scent.
Incontinence plays a big role in contributing to that “old people smell.”
Known only to our maker, whatever muscles allowed us to “hold it in” no longer work as they once did. This, combined with ever enlarging prostates in men and weakening bladders for women, make for a busy time in the lavatories around town.
Unfortunately, not everybody can make it to the Loo on time, causing ‘leakage’ to occur. This effusion will eventually cause odor. And, while so-called adult diapers catch the liquid, they do nothing about the odor. Only frequent changing of those garments can do that. Sadly, old people treat their Depends just like portable toilets and walk around wet all day.
But urine is not the only other explanation for old-peoples odor. Many time it’s medication in the form of salves, rubs, ointments and balms that offend. And here’s a tip.
The scent of Ben Gay does not go well with Chanel, Shalimar, Aqua Velva or Old Spice.
They’re out of their minds.

Last, is the “crazy factor.”
This is perhaps the greatest reason why old people have a problem with their peers.
No matter how much education you have, or how many books you read or how quickly you can figure out a Wheel-Of-Fortune puzzle, chances are, if over 50, you have memory loss. If you are really old, most likely you have lost much more than your memory. It has compromised your ability to think and intellectualize certain material*. This often leads to frustration and agitation by those trying to make conversation with you. In extreme cases actual animosity can occur. Limited cognitive ability may also manifest itself in the form of loss of inhibitions.
Older people, just like their toddler counterparts, no longer know what to say or when to say it. This leads to a certain “directness” where one uses language hurtful to other people without even knowing it. Confrontations can arise among peers with very little provocation.
The Science

In case you doubted that the feeling of self-loathing that many of us older folks have towards our contemporaries is not real, here’s what science has to say about the subject:
“It has been suggested that there can be both internalized and externalized ageism. Internalized ageism refers to the extent to which older adults take on the social norms that devalue or marginalize older persons. They may do this at an individual level by acting in ways that reinforces the youth norm – battling the obvious and visible markers of aging such as grey hair or wrinkles.[60] Internalized ageism may also be manifested by denial of any commonality with others in a cohort, such as the familiar objection of an eighty-five year old woman or man who vehemently does not want to be associated with “all those old people”.
Source>> https://www.lco-cdo.org/en/our-current-projects/a-framework-for-the-law-as-it-affects-older-adults/older-adults-funded-papers/ageism-and-the-law-emerging-concepts-and-practices-in-housing-and-health/ii-ageism-concepts-and-theories/
“Gerontophobia, or fear of aging, and aging anxiety are perpetuated by ageist stereotypes that lead us to fear our own aging. Research literature clearly points to negative health outcomes among elders who experience and internalize ageism (Bryant et al., 2012; Levy, 2009; Mock & Eibach, 2011). Levy (2009) uses age stereotype embodiment theory to describe the process by which age stereotypes influence the individual over their lifespan. Age stereotype embodiment theory proposes that stereotypes are assimilated from the surrounding culture, including popular culture, norms, and everyday interactions (Levy, 2009). According to Levy (2009) age stereotypes operate”
I guess the best we can do when we are confronted with having to deal with with a bunch of “dotty” old folks is to have patience. As difficult as that ma…………………………….
Editor’s note: We are not talking about Alzheimer’s which is entirely different from loss of cognitive ability.

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Intimacy and sex are important
for well-being for older adults

By Manas Mishra

The benefits of a healthy sex life aren’t limited to young adults, according to a British study that found intimacy and sexual activity are important for older adults’ well-being, too.

In the study of nearly 7,000 men and women, ages 50 to 89, quality of life was higher in those who reported any kind of sexual activity in the past year, such as kissing, researchers found.

Being emotionally close to one’s partner during sex also resulted in higher scores on the quality of life questionnaire for both men and women.


Do seniors need life insurance coverage?
Or just burial insurance?

By A. A. Francis

Do seniors need life insurance coverage? Your golden years should be about enjoying the memories of one’s lifetime. Yet the reality of life is that we struggle to pay our bills in youth, middle age, and especially in our old age.

The responsibility to keep up with the standard of living doesn’t end when one becomes a senior. In fact, it can be exacerbated. Over 25 million Americans over the age of 60 live on or well below the federal poverty level. Another 2 million senior citizens receive an average of $400 in Supplemental Security Income.


How Would Changing Social Security's
 Inflation Measure Affect Your Payout?

By Sean Williams

Lawmakers agree that the CPI-W is shortchanging seniors. This new report from the GAO examines what would happen if popular alternatives were used in its place.

No matter how you slice it, Social Security is our nation's most important social program. It's responsible for making payments to almost 63 million people a month, including more than 43 million retired workers, 62% of whom rely on their benefit check to account for at least half of their income. Without this program, elderly poverty rates would likely soar.

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What most helps people age successfully

1)Get your basic documents in order, and by that I mean a Will, Advanced Directive for Health Care/ Living Will, and possibly a financial power of attorney. State law varies widely in this area, so contact your Area Agency on Aging for referrals, advice, and generally for great information about resources for all kinds of help. Part of this should include educating yourself about the laws in your area about guardianship and conservatorship, which is what may happen if you can no longer manage your own affairs. If you need formal legal advice and can’t afford, your Area Agency on Aging can get you hooked up with an ELAP(Elder Legal Assistance Program)in your area which provides low cost or free legal advice to seniors.

2)Do everything possible to stay ambulatory. It makes a HUGE difference in the quality of care you will receive if you ever need to be in a facility, even a fancy high priced facility. The cold hard truth is that if you can’t walk, you will wait and wait for help for thing like getting to meals and to the bathroom. The more extreme version... bed sores, which can be fatal(that’s what killed Superman, Christopher Reeves despite the fact that he could afford the best in health care)Walk every day. Climb stairs whenever you can. Just keep walking!

3)Maybe the most important one is stay engaged with the world around you. I have had clients old and washed up in their 60’s, who retired, and then just watched TV, and clients well into their 90’s who remained active, and had someplace to go, someone who needed then, and/or a sense of purpose that gave them a reason to get up and get going every day. This to me is the very definition of aging successfully. Anyway, after 30 years of practice, these are the 3 biggest things that have seemed to make the most difference to my clients quality of life, and for me personally in my own journey. I hope some of you might find this helpful!

Source>>  Janet Grayson (Attorney) writing on Facebook group Elder Orphans

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Playing The “Age Card.”
(Using Age As An Excuse)

Let’s face it. It ain’t that great being old. The minuses outnumber the pluses.
Your body constantly reminds you are no longer the way you used to be.
The products that used to cover-up, conceal, make lighter, make darker, shinier, or smoother no longer work as they did.
Men, you can put on all the hair tonic you want, you will still be bald. And, by the way, you’re not fooling anybody with that toupee or that hair dye.
It hurts when you stand up.
It hurts when you sit down.
And walking isn’t much of a thrill either.
Your eyesight prohibits you from driving. But that’s okay. You can’t afford a car, anyway.
Most likely you can’t afford much of anything anymore.
You’ve wiped out your savings on medical bills, rent, and insurance.
And here’s the best part. If you live long enough, you’ll probably won’t remember any of this, anyway.
But take heart my decrepit friends. There’s a silver lining in that cloud, somewhere.


While not as numerous, there are some actual advantages to being old. If you know how to find them and use them.
Among those advantages are the SENIOR DISCOUNTS.
These are the special prices or services given by merchants to attract a segment of the population that use their services less than the younger members of the population.
Some advertise these discounts and some don’t. The rule of thumb is to always ask if there is a senior discount no matter where you are or whatever you’re buying. This goes for everything from fast-food restaurants, museums, car services and hotels and motels. The trick here is to swallow your pride, admit you’re old and go for it. Sometimes, you won’t even have to ask.
I had just turned 62 and already retired. And, as I had done every August for many years prior, I took a day trip to the Dutchess county fair in nearby Rhinebeck New York.
The regular admission was $12, which I gladly would have paid even though there was a sign that advised that anybody 60 or over could get the senior discount which would cut the price in half. This was the first time I encountered such a bonus and was eligible to take advantage.
Whether out of pride, or guilt, I hesitated to mention my age. My reluctance did not last long. Before I even opened my wallet the very young lady manning the ticket booth blurted out, “That’ll be $6 senior ticket sir.” I suddenly felt much older than my 62 years.

But that feeling soon disappeared when I realized I had an additional $6 in my pocket to spend on corn dogs, funnel cakes, and deep fried butter.
For the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of senior discounts made available by America’s major retailers, check out this website…
And remember, always ask.
If you believe that you have fully realized your potential as a bonafide senior citizen by exploiting every discount known to man there are still several things where your seniority can be a benefit. But, unlike the senior discounts, these “perks” will take a little more cunning and guile to implement. Some may even require props.

Playing the “Senior Card” on public transportation.
A discount on public transportation does not guarantee you a seat even though some seats are “Reserved for the Elderly.”  A senior citizen or a twenty something may be in the space that your old, wrinkled butt should be in. It’s time for action.
Every old person who ventures out in public should carry a cane. While any cane will do, one that is especially gnarly looking with scrapes and dents work best. Be sure to make a slight moaning noise with every step. Stopping often to catch your breath adds a touch of authenticity to your performance.
Scan the aisles for a likely “target.” The best ones are males between the ages of twenty to forty.*
Stand next to or in front of the target and mutter under your breath. A proper mutter is a combination of unintelligible sentences and a few keywords such as “my chest”, “my back”, and “my hip.” If all else fails, a buckling of the knee combined with an explicative usually does the trick.
There are other ways to use your senior card besides getting a seat on the bus.
Getting away with “murder.
Not a real murder but minor infractions that a younger person would not get away with. My favorite is rudeness.
A young person calling another person an “a-hole” to their face would most likely invoke an equal or even more forceful counter punch on part of the offended person. But you, as an old person, are immune from most retribution as long as you pretend to forget what you said as soon as you say it. A blank stare off to one side adds to the deception.
Placing blame on your age comes in handy with everyday activities such as when you invite somebody out for lunch. Tell them you’re going to the bathroom and just walk out leaving them to pay the check. “Hey, I’m old. I forgot.”
Other versions of this include leaving without tipping, stuffing as many Sweet&Low packets as will fit into your pocket and emptying the after dinner mint bowl at the cash register.
Other “Elderperks” (and this will most likely appeal to all of you senior ladies) include being able to wear anything (or everything) in your closet whenever you want. I consider mismatching of clothes eccentric and even cute.
You can have as many cats as you like.
Driving with your left turn signal on from Atlanta to Dallas is a given and won’t even bother the people behind you once they see you are a senior citizen.
Finally, remember this. Although you may act like a 5-year-old, they consider you to be an adult in the eyes of the law. And prison ain’t no place to be old………………………

*Teens don’t give a crap how old you are, and older men are wise to your act.


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Older Job Applicants Not Protected By Age Bias Law,
Says U.S. Appeals Court

By Ruth Umoh

A divided federal appeals court restricted age bias claims to employees on Wednesday.

For decades, federal law has protected job seekers over the age of 40 from age discrimination. But in a major blow to older applicants on Wednesday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Public Appeals ruled that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only protects current employees and does not cover external applicants.

Attorney Dale Kleber, who was 58 at the time he applied for the job, claimed in a lawsuit that medical supply company CareFusion passed him over for a senior position in its law department. Instead, the company hired a less experienced 29-year-old candidate.


Self-made millionaire:
Here's how to guarantee you'll be 'poor' making $2 million a year

By Catherine Clifford

Being rich is not a function of the number on your paycheck.

So says Scott Galloway, a serial entrepreneur who sold his company L2, Inc., reportedly for over $130 million.

"What's the definition of rich? The definition of rich is having passive income that's greater than your burn," says Galloway, or spending less than you make.

Galloway says his dad and stepmother are the perfect example: Collectively, they take in $48,000 per year from social security payments and their pensions, he says.


You Might Be A Geezer

I carved another notch on my cane this week and observed another birthday.

Breaking News Alert: I have now officially lived a long time. Abraham Lincoln’s opening line for his famous Gettysburg Address, “Four Score and Seven Years Ago” has deeper meaning to me today although I am not nearly that old. Some time ago I crossed the line between “lower middle age” to “middle-middle age” and now I have crossed the Mason-Dixon Line of age into “upper middle age.”

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest federal nutrition assistance program. SNAP provides benefits to eligible low-income individuals and families via an Electronic Benefits Transfer card. This card can be used like a debit card to purchase eligible food in authorized retail food stores.


To be eligible for SNAP most households must meet certain resource and income limits. A household with an elderly (over 60) or disabled household member need only meet the net income limit.

Visit SNAP's eligibility page to find out more about eligibility requirements and how benefits are computed. To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, you may also use FNS's SNAP pre-screening tool.


To see if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits, use SNAP's pre-screening tool.

You may also visit SNAP’s Application and Local Office Locators page to learn how to apply in your state.

For more information, call your state’s SNAP hotline.

Go here for more info >> https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/361

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Is Giving In Giving Up?

Although I agree with Donald Trump on nothing, I understand why a man like him would want to be president. It’s control (or the lack of it), and frustration.

Sometimes a person just sees something that, in their mind, is wrong and feels the need to do something about it. As a boss, or CEO of a corporation, one has the power to do just that with very little opposition. This is true too if you are a monarch or dictator but, as Mr.Trump has found out, it’s not true if you are an elected official. There are just too many people with opposing views (and power) to let you have your own way on everything. However, even that doesn’t stop people from trying.

I have been a resident here at the Happy Acres Home for The Extremely Frustrated for over 5 years. And in that time I have got my way on only two occasions. Which, for a control freak like me, is disheartening.

The first issue was a personal one.

NY State Dept. Of Health rules dictate the facility must do a “bed check” for every resident. This is done by having a staff member go door to door and physically check that the resident is safely in their room. Unfortunately, these checks can come when the resident might be in a compromised position (i.e., naked) or on the toilet or having a private moment. That happened on three occasions, and I was a little tired of it. I did something to stop the staff member from bursting into my room without asking.

I bought a doorstop with a built-in alarm which I wedged in the door. When the aid tried to come in, the alarm would go off while, at the same time, preventing entry. Needless to say, this pissed them off considerably. So much so that I was reprimanded by the administrator.

Explaining the situation to him resulted in a compromise.

From then on, no staff member will enter my room unless they knock first and are told to enter. Now, when bed-check time comes around, all I have to do is say “Good Night” and they do not come in. A minor victory, but a victory none the less.
The other thing I got my way with was to have real condiment containers (ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper) placed on every table at every meal instead of the residents having to ask the server for small packets one at a time.

Five years, two accomplishments. Not a good record for a control freak.

"Your Resistance Is Futile"

Next week, the resident’s food committee will hold its monthly meeting with our head chef, AKA Food Service Manager.
These meetings are well attended and vocal as well as frustrating.
Over the years the food service department has been the least responsive and least attentive to the wants and needs of the residents. They make many promises, few are kept. The same complaints are made repeatedly and they do almost nothing about resolving them. To put it plainly, dealing with the Food Service Department has been an exercise in futility. As examples please regard the following. …
1. The absence of basic cooking skills by the dining room management and staff necessary to cook even the simplest of meals.
2. Complete lack of knowledge regarding the nutritional content of most meals.
3. Permitting burned, cold, overcooked, under-cooked and poorly plated food to be served to residents.
4. Failure to provide a variety of foods as demonstrated by the frequent repetition of menu items, often duplicating items one or two days later.
5. Arbitrarily discontinuing or substituting many resident’s favorites.
6. Frequently running out of menu items and many staples such as bakery goods, deserts, and dairy items.
7. Overuse of frozen, canned, pre-fabricated, and precooked main meal and dessert items.
8. A discernible difference in the quality and appearance of items such as cold cuts especially bacon, ham, coleslaw, potato salad and French fries.
No other department evokes as much anger, exasperation and indignation as does the Food Service department. The blame for which must rest directly with management. Hopefully, I will be given a chance to express these feelings at the next resident’s meeting. …………….

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Aging and chronic diseases share
genetic factors, study reveals

by Gero

The global population age 60 or over is growing faster than all younger age groups and faces the tide of chronic diseases threatening their quality of life and posing challenges to healthcare and economic systems. To better understand the underlying biology behind healthspan—the healthy period of life before the first chronic disease manifestation—scientists from Gero and MIPT collaborated with researchers from PolyOmica, the University of Edinburgh and other institutions to analyze genetic data and medical histories of over 300,000 people aged 37 to 73 made available by UK Biobank.


Working to 70 is not an easy
 fix to the retirement crisis

By Gail Marks Jarvis

It may seem a simple solution to the brewing U.S. retirement crisis: Get people to work until 70 before retiring and 85 percent will have the money they need for retirement.

They will save more during additional years in jobs and leave existing savings untouched while getting paychecks; plus they have fewer years in retirement to cover living expenses with their savings, noted Alicia Munnell, director of Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

But despite the math that attracts economists and lawmakers worried about funding Social Security and Medicare, it turns out that it is not so easy.


How long will $1 million
 last me in retirement?

By Tom Breiter

What’s the number you dream of seeing in your account balance? What amount of money would give you financial freedom and security?

If you guessed $1 million, you are on the same page as more than half of Americans who responded to a recent survey. But while many spend much of their lives wishing they could be millionaires, a $1 million nest egg might not get you as far as you’d think.

Here’s why...

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Senior Living:
What are my options?

As the “Golden Years” seem to sneak up on all of us, sooner or later we will have to cross the factual reality of choosing some type of external healthcare services to assist us with our Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s).  So what type of healthcare services are available?

Independent Living:  As we age we may find that we could benefit from increased social opportunities, assistance with meals, transportation to appointments, housekeeping, laundry and other daily activities without the need of personal cares.  Most independent living facilities have access to an exercise room/program, spiritual care, onsite beauty and barber salons.  Independent Living usually does not provide personal care support with Activities of Daily Living such as medication assistance, bathing, eating, dressing, toileting or other personal cares that may be needed.

Assisted Living:  An Assisted Living Facility is a long-term senior care option that provides personal care support services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and a variety of many other services that can assist with all Activities of Daily Living.

Currently, assisted living “Aging in Place facilities” are the fastest growing long-term care option for seniors. Assisted living facilities, with their wide range of services, provide a senior housing solution for seniors who can live independently, but also require personal care support. For many, assisted living can provide a higher level of care services while allowing an individual to remain in a homelike apartment along with the privacy, choice, and a feeling of independence.  As an individual continues to age and health begins to decline, additional services can be added to your personal care support package and allow an individual to remain in their apartment for a longer period of time.

Basic Care:  A Basic Care (BC) facility is a facility that is regulated by state and certain medical conditions need to be met.  An individual may require health, social, or personal care services, but does not require 24/7 medical or nursing services.   Once an individual’s care requires more than assistance with two ADL’s daily they would then need to transfer to an Assisted Living facility or Skilled Nursing facility.

Home Health Care:  Home Health Care is a great option if an individual wants to remain home a little longer.  Services including everything from housekeeping, medication assistance, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, respite care, bathing, wound care, bathing and many other personal care services are available without leaving the comfort of “Home Sweet Home”.

Skilled Nursing Care:  Skilled Nursing Care (SNF) is a healthcare facility that provides 24/7 professional Skilled Nursing Care services.  These services include assistance with ambulation, toileting, bathing, dressing, grooming, and all other ADL’s.  Needs of an individual are assessed and a care plan is formulated by a team of professional nurses, social services, activities, culinary, spiritual care, physical, speech and occupational therapists.  

So the good news is, when the a little extra assistance needed is knocking at the front door, we have many choices available to make the transition a little easier.  If you have any questions or just inquiring about options available, “come in for a visit, the coffee pot is always on!”

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NEXT BLOG: MONDAY February 11th 2019

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Are We Happy Yet?

Happiness is never finite. We can’t put a value to it, but we know when we don’t have it.
We think happiness is a goal to meet, yet we don’t understand how to get it.
We falsely believe that having stuff (money included) will make us happy.
We spend most of our “productive” years working our asses off, so we will have enough for that time when we can no longer work our asses off with the false assumption it will make us happy.
It surprises us to find that what we thought would make us happy, doesn’t.
If asked whether we are happy, we lie or give a vague answer that only skirts reality.
Sadly, we only find out what happiness is when there is too little time left to enjoy it.
Happiness is relative and changes as we mature.
Things which made you happy as a kid won’t do it for you now when you are older.
While my new Schwinn made me happy when I was 12, the thought of getting on a bike today fills my brain with visions of emergency rooms, casts, and long hospital stays.
My first car brought pleasure, but not enough to qualify as happiness. It was just another appliance, like my toaster.
The closest I came to being happy was when, in my early 30s, I met the women who was to be my wife. But after a while, I confused contentment with being happy which is as fleeting as an ice cube in August.
When you reach my age, you never expect to be happy.
While we may never find true happiness, most of us will settle for a feeling of well-being.
For me that includes a warm place to lay my head. Having people close by who look after my safety and comfort. Someone to talk to if I want, and a place to go to be alone.
Finally, I’m glad (notice I didn’t say “happy”) that I write this blog. It allows me to keep a modicum of sanity in a world that is losing much of its own.……………

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Getting Stoned with Senior Citizens
in Seattle

VICE visited a nursing home that takes its residents on field trips to a local dispensary to see how some seniors are learning to love marijuana.

Senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic of marijuana users in the country. With more and more states legalizing the drug, seniors are growing increasingly comfortable with pot—and finding more ways to use it than ever before.

For a look at the relationship some seniors have with weed, VICE visited a Seattle nursing home that takes its residents on field trips to a local dispensary. We sat in on their lesson about cannabis, checked out the products they bought, and sparked a joint with an elderly woman who gets high to ease her chronic illness.


Sleep, mood affect how 'in control'
older adults feel

Psychology researchers have found another reason that sleep, mood and stress are important: they affect the extent to which older adults feel they have control over their lives. The findings can inform efforts to improve an individual's sense of control, which has ramifications for physical, mental and emotional health.

"We found that sleep, mood and stress are all important factors in determining a sense of control and in whether older adults feel they can do the things they want to do," says Shevaun Neupert, a professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. "This finding is important because when older adults begin to lose their sense of autonomy, it can lead to changes in behavior that adversely affect their health and well-being."


Do You Need To File
A Tax Return In 2019?
By Kelly Phillips Erb

Tax season kicked off on Monday, January 28, 2019, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) expects to process more than 150 million individual tax returns for the 2018 tax year. According to the agency, “through mid-day Monday, the IRS had already received several million tax returns during the busy opening hours.” But not everyone is rushing to file, and you may not need to file. Here’s what you need to know about whether you need to file a tax return in 2019.

For the 2019 tax filing season, you’ll report the income and corresponding deductions for the tax year 2018. That includes pay received in 2018 but not pay that you receive in 2019 for services performed in 2018 (you’ll report that income next year).

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NEXT BLOG: THURSDAY February 7th 2019

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Where Did The Money Go?
A Look At Late Onset Poverty

I have never been what some would refer to as “rich.” Conversely, I have never been classified as a poor person either. I have always wallowed in the middle class. One could even say I was the poster boy for the middle class.
I lived modestly in a middle-class apartment, in a middle class neighborhood.
Earning a middle class salary afforded me a middle class car, decent clothes, decent food and all the amenities available to anyone who has a steady job and watched their spending. There was even some money left over to invest (IRA’s, 401k’s, CD’s) for that time when a steady income would no longer be available. At 60 years-of-age, I looked forward to ending my working life some 5 or10 years hence. Plans for a modest retirement were on track towards reality. Sadly, I had forgotten the influence that the universe has on our daily lives.
There is an old saying. “Man plans, God laughs.”
He sure must have been slapping his thighs and laughing uncontrollably after learning of my plans because He really kicked me in the ass.
While many people plan for their retirement, few people plan for losing a job. Especially one they have had for 13 years and, had expected to have for another ten. But, there I was, 61 years old and being laid off. My company was moving its operation to another state. Which, for me, just might as well have been another country.
A year went by with no meaningful employment opportunities on the horizon. And so, at the tender age of 62, I applied for Social Security and hoped for the best.

A year went by with me watching every penny.
I used those coupons that came in the mail and the ones from my local supermarket.
I drove less, walked more and cooked dinner myself. I even saved up my soda cans and returned them for the deposit.
Financially I was making ends meet.
My biggest expense, next to my rent, was health insurance.
The most affordable plan I could find still cost me over $350 per month. After paying my rent, my health insurance, and my utility bills there wasn’t much left out of that Social Security check at the end of the month. For the first time in my life, I was living paycheck to paycheck.
The only way to relieve the pain was to dig into my backup. That meant cashing in those CD’s, the IRA’s and the 401K. But, I was still okay.
I knew once I reached 65, I would be eligible for Medicare.
I would also be eligible for a rent freeze under my state’s SCRIE program.
I dropped the collision damage part on my auto insurance and cut my driving down to weekends only.
Approaching 64, I believed I could make it for another year.

My body had another idea.
Early in May 2009, I found myself in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm and a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. I was down for the long count with my life slowly draining away.
After nearly two bedridden months and two surgeries later, I was ready to say goodbye to the good folks at Mt. Sinai and go. But go where? All that time in bed had left me in a wheelchair barley able to move. Returning to my apartment was not an option. My worst nightmare was about to come true. Next stop, the nursing home.
There was only one problem. My health insurance did not pay for more than a 60 day stay in any non-hospital setting.
And, as I was rapidly approaching that 60 day point they told me they would bill me at the insane amount of $13,000 per month. …………………………………………….


The Middle Class Gets Screwed
Part Two
In The Next Blog

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The Basics:
How to Pay for Assisted Living

Just as with real estate, assisted living prices vary by location. You can do a simple search online and find charts that have the average price per state.

Paying for Assisted Living:

There are a few ways people usually pay for assisted living: private funds, long-term care insurance, veterans benefits, or Medicaid. Private funds can be drawn from personal investment portfolios or saving accounts, i.e. 401K, pensions, or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Also, when moving into assisted living communities, people do not generally expect to return home so many sell their homes, using the equity that has built up over their lifetimes as a source of payment. For those who own homes, but don’t want to sell them, it is possible to trade in equity for a loan. This is called a reverse mortgage and with this option, it may be necessary for someone to remain living in the home.

Long-Term Care Insurance:

A policy that is purchased via a private company. These policies usually have restrictions. Most policies will not cover the costs unless the person is unable to perform two or more ADLs—dressing, bathing, eating, using the bathroom, etc. Some insurance companies make evaluations using their own doctors to see if you qualify. It is best to get an integrated home care policy with 100% protection for care received either in a licensed assisted living facility or skilled nursing facility, or in an unlicensed setting such as your home. A “facility only” policy refers to care received in a licensed assisted living or skilled nursing facility. Sometimes, it is possible to convert a life insurance policy into a long-term insurance policy. If this isn’t possible, you might be able to sell a life insurance policy for its present value, called a life settlement, and use the money to pay for assisted living care.

Veteran Benefits:

The Veteran Administration’s Aid and Attendance (A&A) pension is an additional part of a veteran’s regular pension that can pay for assisted living costs up to $1,732 per month as of 2013. To be eligible for an A&A pension you must already be qualified for a regular veteran’s pension—a wartime veteran with at least ninety days of active duty who did not qualify for the Armed forces pension. Also, a veteran’s surviving spouse may be eligible for up to $1,113 per month. Click here for more information.


Unlike Medicare, Medicaid does cover assisted living costs, but the coverage, financial aid, and eligibility of a person differ state to state. In some states there is no Medicaid coverage for assisted living and regardless of state, not all facilities accepts Medicaid beneficiaries.


Unfortunately, Medicare does not usually cover the cost of assisted living unless the care is considered medically necessary. Assisted living, although seemingly necessary, is not considered medical. It is aimed at providing patients with room/board and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) rather than the skilled care services Medicare provides for.

Depending upon financial situations, the best option varies case by case. It’s a good idea to start planning earlier rather than later.

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Emigrating From the U.S. May Be the
 Only Way To Afford Eldercare

A nursing home for my mother in Germany would cost less than half of what she pays in Sacramento.

If my mother were to need around-the-clock care, her costs could balloon to $120,000 a year.

In April 2017, my 84-year-old mother suffered a severe stroke.

For my mother, who moved to the United States from her native Philippines in the 1950s when she was just 25, held a job for four decades, took care of my dying father for three years and then lived independently for five years afterward, the stroke was a cruel and devastating transition into elderly dependent care—and it came with a shockingly high price tag.


Do You Really Need All of Those Pills?

Taking more medications than you used to? You’re not alone; as you get older, you’re more likely to take prescription medicine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 72 percent of adults ages 45-64 had taken at least one prescription drug in the last 30 days in 2011-2014; 39 percent had taken three or more in the last 30 days and 20 percent had taken five or more. For adults ages 65 and over, the figures are even higher: 92 percent have taken at least one prescription drug in the last 30 days; 68 percent, three or more and 42 percent have taken five or more.


Elderly who don't want dialysis
often pressured to get it

By Linda Carroll

Doctors tend to steer elderly people with failing kidneys toward dialysis even when patients say they’d rather avoid such treatments, a new study finds. And when patients decline dialysis, which wouldn’t buy much more time for a frail, elderly patient, doctors often try to convince them to change their minds, the study shows.

“Dialysis is an amazing technology that has extended the lives of many people,” said study leader Dr. Susan Wong, an assistant professor at the University of Washington and a core investigator at the VA Health Services Research and Development Center. “But the benefits are less certain in older, frailer patients.”

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The Good Old Days
Or Were They?

I rarely dwell on the past or wax nostalgic about how good the old days were, but often it’s fun to look back to the days of yore when things were (supposedly) better. For reasons of clarification, I have to let you know something about my background and whence I came. I do this because I realize that for many the events of 60 or 70 years ago were not so great. This was especially true if you were a minority, poor or were of a sexual orientation thought of as being deviant.
I was raised in a time when traditional Judeo-Christian values governed our lives. And, if you wandered beyond the borders of those values you were on a path of ruination. Paramount among those standards was the manner in which members of the opposite sex interacted with each other. There was a very specific code.
Young men and women of good moral character, did not go to bars to meet. A woman (or women) sitting alone in a bar had one thing in mind. And it wasn’t to let off steam at the end of a lengthy day at the office. If you were looking for anything other than a protracted relationship, they considered you to be “on the make” with sex being the natural outcome. A single woman would never admit that she had sex, wanted sex, or knew anything about sex. For guys it was entirely different. Real or not, a man’s status improved with the number of sexual conquests he boasted of. This left the rest of us wondering where all of those “easy’ gals hung out. Surely not in my neighborhood.
How shocked would we be if we could have foreseen what goes on now?
The days of the dark, seedy bar are over. Drinking establishments today are more of a gathering place where married or single people can go with no stigma attached. And, if you happen to “hook up”, that’s a good thing. You found a friend.
Fortunately, dating has changed little. Relationships still have a way of starting slowly with a casual dinner and a movie. Although there is a greater expectation of sex on a first date, most just end with a kiss and the promise of a second date.
Men and women have much more in common than they did in my day. Unfortunately, for me, I am still not too comfortable with that. I don’t mean that I think equality is not a an acceptable idea, I’m old-fashioned with the roles of men and women today. And, though there is the chance they might ridicule me for saying so, I consider the blurring of the differences between the sexes to be the cause of problems for our society.
I maintain that among the good things about the old days was the belief in the traditional family structure.
Dad worked and mom stayed home with the kids. My father earned the salary, and my mom took care of me and the house. Defined roles. It was an arrangement that worked for thousands of years.
Nobody cared enough to ask if women were happy in that role. Many were not. It was not until 1972, when the Equal Rights Amendment became part of the Constitution, that women found out what the rest of the population already knew. It’s rough out there.
Today, dad competes with a woman for his job.
Kids come home from school to an empty house because the mom is at the office. And nobody eats supper with the family anymore.
Everything is topsy-turvy. Especially the way wealth is shared now.
Take real estate as a case in point.
Back in the G-O-D’s, the ideal amount that one would pay for an apartment was generally 30% of one’s income. If you took home $250 a month your rent was probably around $70 (less outside of big cities). This left you with a whopping $180 to spend. And here is how we spent it.
The following is a list of the approximate cost of everyday items in the 1950’s.
Phone bill: $4.00
Electric bill: $11.00
Doctor Visit: $5.50
Granulated Sugar $0.85 for 10 pounds
Vitamin D Milk $0.84 per gallon
Ground Coffee $0.70 per pound
Bacon $0.50 per pound
Eggs $0.24 per dozen
Fresh Ground Hamburger $0.49 per pound
Fresh Baked Bread $0.17 per loaf
New House $8,450.00
Average Income $3,216.00 per year
New Car $1,511.00
Average Rent $75.00
Tuition to Harvard University $600.00 per year
Movie Ticket $0.65 each
Gasoline $0.18 per gallon
U.S. Postage Stamp $0.03 each
Were people wealthy? No. But, with a little budgeting, we did fairly well. And we even had money left over for vacations, a new TV, and toys for the kids.
Somewhere along the way, we went crazy. Especially if you live in New York City. That 30% rule goes right out the window.
This is from “nakedapartments.com”

“The cost of renting in New York City is notoriously high — so can you really expect to put only 30 percent of your income towards rent?
According to a 2016 report from StreetEasy, the typical household in New York City actually spends more like 65 percent of its total income on rent. That’s terrifying! But although it’s common to break the 30 percent rule and spend the majority of your income on rent, it is ill-advised.”

However, all was not great about those days. The words “Civil Rights” did not apply to a large segment of the population. Parts of the country were as segregated as they were before the Civil war. And in the so-called free states, de facto segregation divided the races as much as anything. It would not be until 1964, with the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, that America recognized that we had a problem. For many, the problem continues to this day.
Back then, the consumer was king.
Everyone, from the Texaco station on the corner to the appliance dealer and even landlords would bend over backwards for your business.
When you needed to gas up the Chevy, two uniformed men would jump out of nowhere. One would pump the gas while the other checked your oil and cleaned your windshield. When finished, they would tip their hats.

Once or twice a year, my mom would take me to Buster Brown for new shoes. We weren’t in the store for 3 seconds before a salesman would have me in a seat measuring my outstretched stockinged foot and bringing out box after box of shoes in my size. Now, you either buy them online or go to a discount outlet where you serve yourself.
Looking for an apartment in a new building? It was a buyer's market.
Free gas and electric. A month’s free rent and other perks were common. Today, you must pass a background check to see if you are good enough to pay $3000 a month rent for a studio apartment.
Are we better off today? Some are, and some aren’t.
While there may be more opportunities available to people who never had those advantages, financially, we have not done well.
We have become a greedier, less compassionate nation.
We tell people they have to “pick themselves up by their bootstraps”. but we don’t pay them enough to buy those bootstraps. And, even when we can afford those bootstraps, they raise the price.
Greed, corruption, inequality, and inflation have always been with us. But never to the extent they are now. And the future looks like there will be more of the same.
The good old days?
Maybe they were better. It’s just a shame we learned nothing from them………………

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Senior hunger:
New USDA-funded project looks at food-related
hardships among older Americans

Across all age groups in the United States, households struggle to get enough affordable and nutritious food on a consistent basis.

One age group that has received increased attention from policymakers and program administrators in recent years is seniors.

To better understand this issue, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service has awarded $1.5 million in funding to a University of Illinois researcher to look at senior hunger issues.


64 Things I Wish Someone
Had Told Me About Grief

We think about grief a lot around here – we write about types of grief, grief theory, personal reflections, creative expression for coping with grief, practical ideas for managing grief, and on and on and on.  But there are some days that all seems like a lot to take in.  We think back to the basics.  Not the theory stuff, not the ideas about how to cope — just the really basic things that people never tell you about grief.  So, with your help, that is what we have today — a quick and dirty list of the things we wish we had known about grief, before we knew anything about grief.  If it’s in quotes, it is something one of our fabulous readers shared with us on Twitter or Facebook.  If you finish this post and you’re annoyed about all the things we forgot, leave a comment to keep the list going.
I wish someone had told me . . .


Not just for kids: a leap for
seniors at Vegas tech show

By Madeleine Johnson

Pillo, an all-in-one pill dispenser, personal digital assistant, and communication device is displayed at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show

With artificial intelligence to detect falls, virtual reality to combat isolation and "powered" clothing to assist the incapacitated, the tech world is stepping up its effort to "disrupt" aging.

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, exhibitors were showcasing new ways to help the elderly remain independent, mentally fit and connected.

Some systems took a page from the gaming world of youngsters to help seniors "travel" to new places and connect with loved ones.

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Are You Grumpy Yet?
Part Two - Losing Control

In, part one (Scroll to see Thursday’s blog) we considered the ingredients that add to the grumpiness and sour disposition of many older men and women. These causes may consist of the inability to adapt to an ever-changing world, or something more substantial such as infirmity or medical condition that contributes to a general feeling of depression and despondency. But, there was one issue we merely touched upon, and that is a loss of control. And it's not only loss of control over our own bodies, but our lives. The question prevails. Did we ever have full control of our lives?
For most of our formative years ( 0 to 18 or 21), we had no actual control of what we did, or where we went, or with whom we associated. Sometimes we didn’t even have control over any money we made or what we bought or what we wore. Someone (our parents) always had the last say. And, when we were in school, we gave up any self-determination we might have thought we had. We didn’t get too grumpy because, having been under someones grasp for such a lengthy time, we did not know any better. But then, we grew into adults. And, we had to make ALL of our decisions by ourselves. Amazingly, we learned how to do that, and we learned quickly. Soon, we realized that with self-determination comes risk. And not all of that risk turned out well.

Remember, when you first earned some significant money, and you invested in the stock market. And remember when you stuck a decent sum of your savings into typewriter ribbon stock and White-Out? Who knew?
And then there was your first true love. The one for who you spent three month’s salary on an engagement ring only to regret it a mere few years thereafter when, once again, you took control and signed the divorce papers.
Well, nobody said being in control always had a good outcome. But, at least it was your decision. And, it continued to be your decision for many, many years. And then, as they thrust you into the adult world with all of its pluses and minuses, you got old and became a child all over again and lost all the control and independence you worked your whole life to get.

Nowhere is this loss of control more prevalent than in an assisted living facility. And it starts on your first day.
Before you even have time to settle into your new room, they will ask you to sign a stack of documents.
While many of those papers deal with whether you understand the rules and regulations of the facility, many others deal with how much the facility will be permitted to delve into your private life.
If you are squeamish about revealing various aspects of your finances, forget it. They need to know if you can afford to stay in their facility. In, many cases someone will ask you to allow your Social Security check to be deposited into the facilities account. Thus losing control over your only source of income.

Grumpy yet? No? How about this?
I’ll bet you always thought any mail addressed to you and delivered by the USPS was sacred and any attempt to open it by anybody other than the named recipient is against the law. Perhaps that is the way it works in the real world, but here at the ALF, the staff may open any mail from the government or any other “official looking” envelope. How can they do this? Because you said it was okay. The permission to do this was on one of those forms you signed on the day you moved in. Are you grumpy because you didn’t read the fine print like they always told you to do? Too late.
Maybe you’re grumpy because you no longer can eat the food you have been eating all of your life. Not because somebody had told you not to eat it, but because they won’t cook it for you. Dining rooms at assisted living facilities are not restaurants and don’t make food to order. “Like what we give you or don’t eat.”*
By this time you must be at the boiling point. If not, there are other things that will make your grumpy inner-self want to pop out like the monster’s baby in “Alien.”
Your doctor prescribes pain medication for you. But, because of the bureaucracy built into the system of distributing meds, you don’t get this new pill for three days. Nothing like spending 72 hours unable to sleep because of pain to destroy any drop of civility you may have remaining. Or perhaps it’s just the fact that someone always stands over you while you take your pills. All fourteen. Just like your mommy did when you were seven. Is that what’s causing you angst?
There are other factors that contribute to the downward spiral of one’s demeanor.
You lost or gained weight and your favorite jeans don’t fit.
Your bladder has a mind of its own and let's go whenever it (not you) feels like it.
You bend down to tie your shoes and find you can no longer straighten out and have to ring for the aid.
You fall on the lobby floor and because of “Regulations”, you have to wait for the EMT’s to arrive and pick you up.
The list is relentless and never ends. As an older person, something confronts you with a new challenge every day. Few of which add to your feeling of well-being.
Am I, myself, a grumpy person? Although I like to think that I am not I know that, at times, I can be a real S.O.B. And yes, I do find myself getting ticked-off by things that never used to bother me like cold soup, unmade beds, waiting in line and a myriad of other grump-inducing situations. Do I think I am a lesser person because of this. No.
Is it okay for you to be grumpy? Yes.
Should your grumpiness surprise people? Not until they’ve walked a mile in your Dr. Scholl’s with the Velcro closures it shouldn’t. ………………………………………………………

* Of course, you could always order take-out, but remember. You no longer have access to your money whenever you want it.

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9 Habits You Can Cultivate to Prevent
Turning into a Grumpy Old Woman

By Michele Meier Vosberg

You probably know a grumpy old person. They aren’t fun to be around, and if you let them, they can suck all of the energy out of a room. It is difficult to be in the company of a grumpy old person – male or female – and when we must, we often do it out of obligation.

There are many reasons why someone may become a grumpy old person. Perhaps they are experiencing chronic pain, which can leave them exhausted and frustrated. Perhaps they are lonely. Perhaps they are angry at a particular person, or even at the world which they perceive has not been kind to them.


Is the Rising Storm of
 Alzheimer's Disease Stoppable?

By Zaven S. Khachaturian, PhD

Current forecasts indicate that a looming tidal wave of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is inevitable. If the ongoing trend in the escalating numbers of people touched by this disease continues unabated, this global public-health problem is destined to be the major contributor of the future insolvency of healthcare financing systems, e.g., Medicare. Therefore, this blog will describe the 40-year struggle to grapple with the dilemma and the important milestones achieved in the efforts to address it.


Three tools to use five years
 before nursing home

By Lee R. Schroeder

If someone needs to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility, the financial obligations for that care can be immense. Depending upon the level of care needed, even in-home care can cost hundreds of dollars per day.

The average duration of stay for people in nursing homes is generally recognized as 835 days. Therefore, for the wealthier people among us who have an extra $250,000 lying around (835 days at $300 per day), it may not be necessary to plan for long-term care expenses. For the rest of us, we can face the eventual need for long-term care and a desire to pass on a financial legacy to our children and grandchildren.

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NEXT BLOG:THURSDAY January 17th 2019

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Apathy? Who Cares?

From time to time I have spoken about apathy and how it applies to older folks. On those occasions I have indicated my dismay at how being apathetic was essentially like an illness that changes people when they reach a certain age. As a result, older people are considered uninterested, disconnected and out-of-touch. I was among those who saw elderly people in that light. But, not so much anymore.

Why has my opinion changed?

It might have something to do with why apathy exists.

They define apathy as a “primary motivational impairment that influences emotional, cognitive, and behavioral functioning.”

That’s the model explanation that pertains to apathetic people in general. However, for the elderly, there is a different interpretation.

This is from an article in sciencedirect.com …

“Apathy: A Common Psychiatric Syndrome in the Elderly
Apathy, or a lack of motivation, has been increasingly recognized as a distinct psychiatric syndrome. Apathy is primarily a dysfunction of the frontal-subcortical circuit and is associated with various neuropsychiatric disorders including Alzheimer's disease. Apathy is associated with a number of adverse outcomes, including apparent cognitive impairment, decreased daily function, poor insight into one's own functional and cognitive impairment, and poor outcome from rehabilitation treatment. Furthermore, the degree of caregiver's burden in these patients is significant. This article reviews the definition of apathy, prevalence and associated adverse outcomes, causation, the approach to patients with apathy, and available treatment options with particular attention to studies conducted in a nursing home setting.”

“Dysfunction?” “Neuropsychiactric Disorder?” “Alzheimer’s Disease?”

How about just plain old “I don’t give a shit anymore?”

While I’m not a mental health professional, I am confident that there are many clinical examples of why such a definition would apply to some (maybe, even many) old folks. But surely, not every apathetic, disinterested old geezer is mentally ill.

Such broad explanations often happen when the people making them do not understand what it’s like to be old. And, not only old, but living in a situation where they are viewed as a “less-than-perfect” human being. Such a situation may exist in a nursing home or assisted living facility (ALF).
Everyone who lives in an ALF has an infirmity that prohibits them from living by themselves in what they would recognize as a “traditional” situation.

While  there are residents here that have some mental, cognitive, or emotional baggage, most of us are just here because we are challenged by a physical disability that prevents us from living in an environment where our health and safety may be compromised. So why then does apathy manifest itself in these people? It all begins with a lack of communication and respect between management, staff and the resident.

We all wish for the essentials. A roof over our heads, a warm bed, three square meals a day and some interaction with others. We also don’t wish to be treated like children and we surely don’t want our ideas and opinions dismissed as just the rants of a senile old coot.

The unhappy truth is that many people who are hired to take care of seniors have little or no idea what’s going through our minds. If they did they would be surprised to find that our wants and needs are not too different than theirs. And, when those needs are not satisfied, notably after asking over and over again, we believe (and justly so) that nobody cares. And that lack of caring and response (either actual or perceived) is the source of apathy among seniors.

To clarify, I will site an activity that takes place here every month. Our resident’s meeting.
The regular attendance at these meetings ranges between 50 and 60 people. There are about 185 souls that call this place home. This means that roughly, only about 1/3 of the residents care enough about their environment to want to try to improve it. Why? Because many of the people who would rather do something else during that one hour meeting simply believe that no matter what we do, or what we say, or how much we complain, little or nothing will be done to correct it.* And they’re not entirely wrong. For various reasons, many requests are denied or dismissed. The reason for those denials stems from either a lack of revenue or trying to deal with the bureaucracy of the system that governs health related venues in most states.

Is there a way to avoid or reduce apathy among ALF residents? The answer is in a two-part solution.

First, management must realize that the opinions of their residents do matter and must be addressed in a timely manner. 

Conversely, the residents must be made to understand the limitations that many of these facilities have to operate under.

Communication. It’s a sure cure for apathy. ………………………………………………..

*Although the numbers were slightly better last year, this is the same reason why only about 40-50% of eligible voters exercise their rights.

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Can Skype Help Seniors Beat the Blues?

Growing older isn’t easy, and one of the biggest concerns for senior health is social isolation. As family members move away and friends pass on, seniors can feel alone and disconnected. Isolation is a key predictor of depression and may be a reason why so many seniors have the disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to about 5 percent of older adults have major depression, and the numbers rise to 13.5 percent for patients who require home health care and to 11.5 percent in older hospital patients.


Hearing challenges still reported by high proportion of
older people with hearing aids

A high proportion of older people with hearing aids, especially those with lower incomes, report having trouble hearing and difficulty accessing hearing care services, according to a study from researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The researchers, whose analysis is based on Medicare survey data and appears in the January issue of Health Affairs, suggest that the federal government expand Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage of hearing care services.


Ways to Embrace Aging in
This Youth-Obsessed Culture

When you look in the mirror and expect to see a younger version of yourself but, instead, someone with worry lines and crow’s feet stares back, it can be disheartening. Because our culture values youth and beauty over age and experience, you may have unknowingly convinced yourself that getting older means you’ll soon be marginalized and obsolete. What can you do to feel empowered and relevant instead?

The key is changing your mindset, allowing yourself to embrace a positive attitude toward aging and staying active in the ways that matter to you.

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Are You Grumpy Yet?
Part One

I always believed that, by this point in my life, I would be well ensconced in the blissful world of advanced grumpiness.

I mean, there was no reason that I should not be. After all, I had all the prerequisites.

One of the most important attributes when one is on their way to curmudgeon-hood.* is age. At 73, I am older than dirt. And, while there is no specific age at which one can become a grumpy-old-curmudgeon, I am sure that 73 is well within any official or unofficial parameters.

Next, I am single (divorced actually), and have been for many years. The very fact that I am without female guidance, and therefore have no controlling factor in my erstwhile miserable existence means there is nobody around to tell me how to act properly in situations that may bring on a bout of grumpiness. A good example of this might be found in a restaurant setting.

An old man goes into a deli (alone) and sits at a table.

A waiter comes to the table and asks, “What’ll gonna be.”

“Gimme a bowl chicken soup”, says the old man.

The waiter grunts and returns a few minutes later with a bowl of chicken soup and a plate with two slices of rye bread on it.

After a while, the waiter returns to the old man and asks, “Is everything okay?”

“The soup’s good but, there’s no bread” replies the old man in a curt manner.

The waiter looks at the empty plate where once two slices of bread were placed. He comes back with a plate, but instead of two slices of rye, there are now four slices.

After a while, the waiter returns to the old man and once again asks how everything is.

“Good”, says the old man, “but there’s no bread”, this time pointing to the empty plate.

The waiter, undaunted, returns to the kitchen and brings out a plate with six slices of bread on it and puts it in front of the old man, thinking that should surely satisfy him. But, being a professional, the waiter once again checks on the old man.

“NO BREAD” growls the old man when asked if all was okay. “THERE’S NO BREAD.”

This time the waiter has had just about enough of this old coot and decides to put an end to the bread situation for good. Taking an entire loaf of rye bread, he deftly cuts it in two, lengthwise. He sets it down in front of the old codger and snidely asks “Is that enough bread for you?”

The old man puts down the spoon, looks up at the waiter and, in a grumpy voice says, “So, I see you’re back to two slices.”

You just can’t satisfy a dyed-in-the-wool curmudgeon.

Of course, if there were a woman present, the incident would never have begun.

The third requirement for being a grumpy old man is that the typical GOM refuses, not only to change, but thinks that anything newer than 1965 is either a “piece of shit”, or “a stupid idea.” And will tell you such, to your face, in no uncertain terms. In exemplum…

After trying unsuccessfully for 3 minutes to log onto the smartphone his daughter just gave him, the GOM will announce, “What a piece of shit. Who thought of this? I want my telephone back, the one with the dial on it.”

The refusal to, or the inability to adapt to new things often adds to the GOM’s attitude.

But, in all fairness, it’s not all his fault. Society has failed to take the physical limitations of some older folks into consideration when designing all the new stuff that seems to come to the market every week.

Small things don’t work very well for older folks. People with swollen, arthritic fingers find texting difficult. And besides, the letters and numbers are way too small for old eyes to see clearly.

Everyday things like swiping a credit card through a card reader at the supermarket when you can’s tell which is the front of the card or the back just frustrates to heck out of us old dudes. And then, at the bank’s ATM, it asks you for your PIN number when you can hardly remember your home address, and you wind up having to go inside and wait in line to withdraw $20, and you find yourself behind a twenty-something with ear-buds stuck in her ears listening to some god-awful rap music whose every other word sounds like “motherf---er.”

I. of course, have somehow managed to adapt to many of the pitfalls that pop up in front of seniors. I will embrace any technology that improves my life and have rejected all those that are just plain dumb.

Cell phones, good. Smartphones stupid.

Laptops good. I-pads dumb.

Grocery shopping online good. Buying shoes online stupid.

Email good. Nigerian minister who wants to share $5 million with me, not so much.

Reading books online, good. Reading magazines or newspapers online, not good.

See how easy I am to get along with.

So why do some folks around here think that I am a GOM? I think I know.

I get PO’d easily. I am the first to admit that I have a short fuse. And, getting shorter.

Part of this comes from me not being in control of much of my life. A condition that, unfortunately, befalls many of us older folks. And, in its own way, has much to do with the grump factor.

We’ll explore a little more of this control thing in the next post. …………………………

* Although different, I will use the words “grumpy”,”old codger”, “coot”, “curmudgeon” and, GOM interchangeably.

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Moderate drinking not harmful for
older patients with heart failure

A new study suggests that people over age 65 who are newly diagnosed with heart failure can continue to drink moderate amounts of alcohol without worsening their condition.

The study, from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, showed a survival benefit for moderate drinkers compared with those who abstained from alcohol. On average, survival for moderate drinkers was just over a year longer than abstainers, a difference that was statistically significant. However, the findings do not suggest that nondrinkers should start imbibing after a heart failure diagnosis, the researchers emphasized.


Secrets of Happiness from the Oldest of the Old
A journalist spent a year following six people 85 and older.
 He found life lessons for all ages.

By Mary Kane

We know from a lot of research that older people are more content with their lives than younger people are. Thinking like an older person is thinking about resilience and focusing on what is as opposed to what is not. Accepting your mortality by not being so afraid of it. When you are older, you view the time horizons in front of you differently. You understand the days are finite, and we might as well enjoy the ones we have left. The big lesson for me, the really practical one, is waking up in the morning and saying, “Thank God for another day.” It’s the conscious practice of gratitude.


Senior living no longer one size fits all
By Jesse Mignault

The days of the one size fits all “old folks home” are gone. Today’s senior care landscape includes specialized facilities such as assisted living, nursing homes and memory care.

“A lot of people wait for a crisis to happen so a decision is reactive and has to be made in a tight time frame,” said Kelly Wilsey, president of Oasis Senior Advisors in York, a company designed to help families and seniors. “I always advocate to know your options so you can make informed decisions when you still have time.”

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NEXT BLOG: MONDAY January 14th 2019

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Don’t Wait for April To Take Showers

It’s amazing what people on Facebook will find to debate about. And what’s even more amazing is that they will argue the pros and cons of subjects that, in my opinion, should not even be open for debate. I am specifically talking about how often should older people take showers.*

The topic was initiated by a woman commenting on the Facebook page called “Elder Orphans”
(https://www.facebook.com/groups/elderorphans/s) which deals with problems related to older Americans who have few or no relatives to go to for help.

In her comments, she stated that she no longer feels like bathing on a regular basis. Mainly because she finds it painful to have to stand in a shower for any length of time. And that the very process of having to cleanse oneself tires her out. A situation that I am sure that many in her position can associate with, as do I. However, what I did not expect to read were the reply’s to her comments by others who, not only related to her, but thought that any routine that included regular showering was not only not necessary, but bad for you.

Of course, this caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. As a person who has (except for times of illness) taken a shower every morning of his life since he was old enough to bathe by himself, I definitely took exception to such a line of thinking. And, as a result, prompted me to add my two cents to the stream. To my amazement, I found that, instead of the vast majority of people agreeing with me, many more admonished me for being too clean. One geezer even went so far to say that my showering every day was “obsessive.” Naturally, I could not resist in telling him that if he wanted to smell like a goat it was alright as long as he promised not to ride the “E” train on the NYC subway system, the line that I often ride on.

Where the heck were these people brought up? Even animals know that one should bathe every now and again.

Here at the ALF, we have a policy that everybody gets a shower at least once a week.** While I think that an interval of 7 days is way too long, at least it’s better than nothing. However, it amazes me that some residents actually balk when the shower lady comes around. Some people even hide or have to be tracked down by the aide. So, what’s really going on here? Is it just laziness, or actual pain and discomfort that causes old people to want to go without bathing. Or, as I believe, they just no longer give a damn.

Of course, there have been many studies done on this subject…

The fact that many elders don't get around to bathing or changing clothes, common as it is, may not be a health issue. It's certainly a social issue, however, and it's one caregiver's are acutely aware of.

1. Depression can cause people to lose interest in how they look (or smell). If your elders feel isolated or are depressed over life or health issues, they may not care enough to bother with hygiene.

2. As we age, our senses often become less acute. We're aware of hearing loss and changes in eyesight. However, we sometimes forget that the sense of smell, and taste for that matter, may have diminished.

3. Memory can be an issue with hygiene. Days go by and the elder just doesn't think of a shower or bath. He just took a shower, right? Well, maybe so, but that was several days ago.

4. If the elder has dementia, fear may enter the picture. If this is the case, you've got your work cut out for you.

Some of the other factors leading to why some older people have an aversion to bathing has to do with safety (the fear of falling is the most often mentioned), to not like the way the water feels beating down on their (thin) skin. But what about that “Old people’s smell.” Is that a real thing or just our imagination? …

“Anecdotally, the unique scent of the elderly lingers wherever they live and in any confined spaces they have recently occupied, such as taxis and elevators. Many different cultures have recognized the phenomenon—the Japanese even have a word for it, kareishuu—but the biological truth of old person smell remains uncertain. In a new study, blindfolded volunteers reliably recognized the aroma of the elderly by sniffing sweat-soaked armpit pads, although they had a much harder time correctly matching pads to the young and middle-aged, and they were not able to make fine distinctions about age based on scent alone. Contrary to the popular notion that old person smell is disagreeable, volunteers in the new study rated the odors of the elderly as much less unpleasant and intense than those of the middle-aged and young.”

All I can say is that a blind person, entering our lobby, would know that they were in a place where there were many old people. The ambient odor can be best described as a dirty diaper/Old Spice/mothball/ Ben Gay scent with a touch of garlic and ketoacidosis. However, we still have not answered the question of whether or not showering every day is okay.

This from home.bt.com might offer some insight. …

“New research suggests that showering regularly – especially in hot water – might be doing your skin more harm than good.

Dermatologists Dr. Joshua Zeichner and Dr. Ranella Hirsch claim that the notion that we need to shower daily was born more of cultural norms rather than any real health benefits.

“We over-bathe in this country and that’s really important to realize,” Boston-based Dr. Hirsch told Buzzfeed of typical US behavior.

“A lot of the reason we do has to do with societal norms.”

Dr. Zeichner added that what we perceive to be body odor is, in reality, nothing more than a “cultural phenomenon”.

Both doctors said that over-bathing can dry out and irritate skin, washing away the good bacteria and even heightening the risk of infection by causing small cracks in the skin.”

The article also says that one should cleanse their “nether regions” below the waist on a more regular basis lest we want to smell like the Gorilla exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

So, what have we learned here?

1.If you don’t want to shower every day, okay. But don’t expect to have a lot of friends.
2. I will continue to shower every day because I’m used to doing it and it’s easier than the “spot” cleaning described by so-called experts.

And besides, who will keep my rubber ducky company if I’m not there?………………

*For purposes of this post, we will use the word “shower” to represent all forms of bathing.
** The majority of residents are not actually bathed by an attendant. The aid is there only as a safety measure and usually stands outside of the bathroom. There are special cases that do require hands-on assistance.

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Why you need to have purpose in your daily life
 even when you retire

By Robert Powell

Who says you can't kick off a new venture as a senior? Here's why retirement is a great time to get a business off the ground. The Motley Fool

If you’re like many would-be retirees, you’ll likely “retire from” something – a job or boss you hate – and not “to something.”

That’s a big mistake. If you retire from something and not to something, there’s a good chance you’ll be returning to work. In fact, one in every three retirees returns to work, according to Brad Pistole, president of Trinity Insurance & Financial Services and author of “Safe Money Matters.”

The reasons this happens, says Pistole, include boredom and failure to plan for the income needed in retirement.


Fried potato consumption is associated with
 elevated mortality, but. …

White potatoes have been a staple food in many traditional diets of the Western world (1). In recent years, the overall consumption of potatoes has declined in the United States, but processed potato intake (e.g., French fries and chips) has dramatically increased (2). Potatoes are rich in starch and have a high glycemic index, which has been associated with an increased risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) (3). However, compared with other common carbohydrate sources, potatoes have a low energy density because of their high water content (4). In addition, potatoes provide other important micronutrients, which are all associated with a decreased risk of morbidity and mortality (5). Therefore, potatoes represent a contradictory food because they contain both macro- and micronutrients with possible beneficial and harmful effects on health.


Breaking the Myths About Grumpy Old Men
By Ronda Kaysen

Reach a certain age, and it’s almost expected that if you’re not, say, the sweet old granny happily baking strudel, you’re more than likely to become the cranky, cane-waving curmudgeon. No wonder the 1993 film Grumpy Old Men is getting retooled for a new generation, this time starring Eddie Murphy.

But the assumption that a grumpier outlook accompanies wrinkles and gray hair is simply wrong. “Older people tend to be happier than the general population,” says Heidi White, M.D., a professor of medicine in the geriatrics division of Duke University School of Medicine. “So why do we have that stereotype? Because we’re an ageist society and we misunderstand older adults.”

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NEXT BLOG:Thursday January 10th 2019

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The Invisible Senior

I walked past the large window in our lobby the other day and I could swear that I could not see my reflection in the glass. Perhaps it was because of the unusually bright sunlight which shown through it, or the glare from the still-lit Christmas tree but, for a second, I thought I had become invisible. Noticing that I still cast a shadow on the tile floor went a long way in convincing me that I had not, as yet, turned into a vampire.* However, it did start me to thinking about how invisible we seniors have become. Especially this time of year.

Our invisibility is first noted when we no longer receive invitations to Christmas and New Year’s parties. What happened? I was invited last year. Have I suddenly faded into the woodwork? I’m only a year older. Maybe they think that at the ripe old age of 73 I no longer have any need for companionship, not to mention a glass of Champagne or two. Perhaps I did something to offend them. But that’s a personal thing between me and my “friends.” However, what really bothers me is the invisibility we have with regards to strangers.

Hey. I’m the first to admit it. I’m not a great looking guy. On the other hand, I am far from being an ogre. And, in my youth, I have actually been the recipient of more than a casual glance from a comely member of the opposite persuasion. But now, nothing.

I walk down the street, stroll the mall, wander the aisles of the local supermarket and barely get even a fish eye look. It’s like I am not even there. I mean, not a look of revulsion or even a snicker at the old dude wobbling down the lane with a cane. I’m sure that, if it were physically possible, they would walk through me like a scene from “Ghost.”

But again, those people are not really important, and whether I am noticed by a housewife with rollers in her hair, or a group of high school kids matters little to me. It’s the people that should be more aware of us, and aren’t, that I find quite annoying.

I’m talking about people in the service industry.

They’re the folks behind the counter at the department store who leave you to wander the aisles without a “How may I help you.” Or the guy taking up two seats on the bus while you stand there in front of him.

Maybe it’s the server at TGI Friday’s who walks past your table to attend to a young couple who have just sat down.

It’s the man who pushes ahead of you at the supermarket check-out line because you failed to move your cart up to the counter fast enough. “You see the cane hanging on my arm buddy?” Maybe it’s the cane that makes me invisible.

But, once again, those are just minor annoyances. What is really sad is when you are ignored (or taken for granted) by the people who are responsible for your well-being. Like home health aids, nurses, and even doctors.

They may see a body in front of them, but fail to recognize it as an individual human being who has the same fears, concerns, and ability to comprehend as a younger person but are placed into a cubbyhole because of built-in ageism that is rampant in our country today.

This from psycholgytoday.com…

"...as a society we tend to value those of either gender who are youthful. This is most obvious in the beauty and fashion industry, and even more so when entertainment media-gossip about Britney Spears usurps news stories about Meryl Streep. We long to identify with beautiful people so we may imagine the young, attractive individuals we wish we were."

Source >> https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/21st-century-aging/200908/the-invisible-years

And from thehuffingtonpost.com …

"Although we live in a youth-oriented society, there’s a quiet generation of people who are being blatantly shunned and abused. They are the “invisible” generation; the elderly among us who are often regarded as feeble-minded and lacking in the ability to contribute to society in a meaningful way. This ageist attitude has robbed senior citizens of their self-worth, leaving them the victims of prejudice and disrespect. Compassion, courtesy and respect have gone by the wayside."

Source >> https://www.huffingtonpost.com/marcia-kester-doyle-/the-invisible-generation_b_6938344.html

So, is there a way that we can make ourselves less invisible?

Writing in mindbodygreen.com, Margaret Paul, Ph.D. says, If you are doing any or all of the following, you're making yourself invisible to others.

1. Ignoring yourself.

Do you often ignore your feelings? That's not a good idea, because our feelings are a source of inner guidance, letting us know whether we are taking loving care of ourselves or abandoning ourselves.

2. Not advocating for yourself

With my children, I was like a mother lioness, always speaking up for them when I felt they were being treated unjustly by others — including teachers. But I rarely spoke up for myself. I told myself that I could take it and that I didn't want to rock the boat and start a conflict.

3.Accepting one-way relationships

I used to listen to others talk about themselves for hours, hoping they would ask me about myself — which rarely happened. Of course, others loved to be with me because of how well I listened to them, but because I was ignoring myself, they also ignored me.

4. People-pleasing

I was brought up to be a caretaker — to take care of others' feelings while ignoring my own. I tried constantly to please others in the hopes that they would care about me. But, of course, this never happened, because they were treating me the way I was treating myself.

If you sometimes feel invisible to others, I encourage you to learn to love yourself and see what happens with others!

Read more >> https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15081/4-ways-youre-making-yourself-invisible-to-others.html

All of the above may be well and good, but the only way we are ever going to make ourselves less invisible is to assert ourselves much more than we have. Of course,we run the risk of being looked upon as just another crazy, grumpy old man on the fringes of dementia.

I will tell you one thing though. If you want to go to a place where you are never invisible, walk into a chain drugstore or convenience store carrying a large shopping bag and watch how closely you are observed by the clerks. I was followed around a CVS for 15 minutes until I made a selection and headed for the checkout counter. The next time that happens, I’ll take a hundred dollars worth of merchandise to the checkout, leave it there and walk out. See how fast you will suddenly materialize……………………………………………………

*I would make a very bad vampire. I like garlic and daylight too much

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Adjustments normal for transition to
senior living community

By Rebecca Maitland

There comes a time in so many senior citizens’ lives when they want a maintenance-free lifestyle, as they are simply tired of taking care of the house, the lawn, and all of the repairs and upkeep. It is just time to start a new chapter in one’s life and make a change.

So, they begin looking into the many different senior communities Houston offers and all the activities, outings, restaurants, maid service and the other amenities they provide.

But giving up one’s home after 20, 30 or 40 or more years can be difficult, and there is a transition or an adjustment period, which any move will create.


The Top 10 Items You Have
That Your Kids Don't Want

The following is excerpted from No Thanks Mom: The Top Ten Objects Your Kids Do NOT Want (and what to do with them).

Your house, and what it contains, is a minefield in the eyes of your grown children. They can see from your example that collections of stuff are a curse; such objects are superfluous to a life well lived. They want a clean, clear field in which to live their lives. Your grown children will not agree to be the recipients of your downsizing if it means their upsizing.

In the following list of the Top Ten Objects Your Kids Do Not Want — inspired by conversations (or lack thereof) about my keepsakes with my 30-year-old son, Lock, and his wife, as well as by similar conversations I’ve had with hundreds of boomer clients and their millennial heirs — I will help you find a remedy for dealing with each:


What Are the Best Exercises for Older Adults?

Seniors should focus on exercises that give them the strength to complete everyday tasks.

Study after study has shown that exercise can help improve cardiovascular health, stamina and bone density while reducing the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. These findings hold especially true for older adults who, by the very nature of aging, are likely to lose muscle mass, strength, bone density, agility, endurance and balance as they age.

It's a fight against gravity and time, but staying fit over the long term is a goal worth pursuing. Older adults who exercise regularly enjoy more independence and health than those who don't. So how can older adults incorporate more activity into their lives and what are the best exercises for them? The key is to find enjoyable activities that you can stick with. These can be anything from walking or water aerobics to yoga, dancing, tai chi or simple stretching.

Continue reading >> https://health.usnews.com/health-care/patient-advice/articles/2018-12-26/what-are-the-best-exercises-for-older-adults

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NEXT BLOG: Monday January 7th 2019

Though not necessary, please feel free to add your email, or website address to your comments.


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“I resolve…

Oh no, you don’t. I’m not getting caught up in that trap again. I know myself too well. Making any kind of resolution, especially one made because it’s New Year’s, is a waste of time and only compound the sorrows and frustrations we already have. Just because the dates on a calendar change should never be the motivation for anything life-changing. In fact, if you think about it, hasn’t every life-altering decision just happened because it was the right time to happen?

As I look back on my life I can’t remember any important decision that I ever made because I planned it in advance.

When I graduated high school I had no idea what college I wanted to attend.

Practically all of my classmates started looking for and applying to colleges sometime during their junior year. In my junior year, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go to college. So, instead of running off to yet another school the fall after my graduation, I decided to get a job and put any continuing education on hold.

It was not until a year later when one day, as I was walking past the main entrance to the downtown campus of a local college, did I decide that maybe it would be a good idea to get a degree. So, I just popped into the admissions office, obtained an application, took an entrance exam (passed it) and signed up for the fall semester. I continued to work and went to class at night. And, while it took almost six years to earn that degree, I would not have missed the experience for anything.

Many years went by before I had the opportunity to make my next major spur-of-the-moment accord.

I had been “seeing” this young woman for over three years without a mention of marriage. In fact, although I knew that eventually, the topic would come up, the date and time for such an arrangement was the farthest thing from my mind. However, it was not the farthest thing from HER mind. I found that out one evening as we sat in a booth in a bar across the street from her apartment.

After a few minutes had gone by with her sipping a white Russian and me gulping a beer,  she put down her drink, looked me straight in the eyes and uttered the words I guess I had been expecting for a while.

“Bruce, are you ever going to ask me to marry you?”

Her words cut through the smoke-filled air of the bar like a hot knife to butter. She was true to form. Clear, concise, and to the point. And, by the tone of her voice, somebody who wanted an immediate answer. And, much to my surprise, I answered her just as quickly.

“Okay, let’s get married”, I said.

“When?”, she snapped back as if I had said something I didn’t mean.

“How about April?” I said, returning her snap.

“Okay, April. Does this mean we’re engaged?”

“Uh huh”, was the only thing I could say.

And, although it wasn’t the most romantic proposal ever made, it was another life-altering decision made in less than a minute an with little forethought.

Over the years I have found that over-thinking an issue is counterproductive. And, resolving to do something at sometime in the future is the best way to never getting it done.

I ended a 20-year smoking habit by going “cold turkey” just because I thought it was time to stop. I haven’t had a cigarette in over 35 years. And, I bought my last car in under 15 minutes and got it for the price I wanted.

Chances are that, if you are reading this blog, you have a number of years under your belt with the prospect of living for another 50 or 60 years growing dimmer by the minute. Do you really have the time to make long-range plans?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advising you to make rash decisions, but rather that you don’t mull over everything you do.

Will all of your actions turn out to be the best ones? No. But what in life is certain 100% of the time? ……………

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Crap Cakes

There were so many things wrong with this meal it’s hard to know where to begin. But, since we have to start somewhere I’ll begin by taking part of the blame. And that part is ordering it in the first place.

As always, we have a choice of selecting one of two entrees. The other choice this past Thursday afternoon was a Philly cheese steak sandwich.

In the past, I would have ordered the Philly without hesitation. But as of late they have managed to ruin even that. Therefore, being once fooled I was twice shy so, I opted for the crab cake.

The very shape of the cake should have been warning enough. Instead of the slightly rounded “burger” shape usually associated with seafood “cakes”, this thing looked more like a corn muffin. But, knowing that looks can be deceiving, I ventured forth and commenced to try a slice a bite-sized piece off with a fork.

After numerous tries, I had to abandon the fork and go for a knife which proved to be the proper tool for this particular deconstruction. This, unfortunately, afforded me my first bite.

Now, I have had crab cakes in a couple of Baltimore area restaurants that were terrific in every respect. From the batter to the tender bits of fresh crab delicately seasoned and simply cooked. And, I have had some not-so-good cake that was precooked, frozen, and out-of-the-box. But I have never had anything (meat, fish, or fowl) that had the taste and consistency of this debacle. I ate half of it hoping that somehow my first impression was wrong. It wasn’t.

The awful coleslaw and the room temperature fries rounded off this perfectly atrocious meal. Grudgingly, I give it ♦ out of 5. And that’s only because even cold fries are better than no fries. ………………………………………ff.

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The Invisibility of Being Old,
Disabled Or Both

When you’re an older person who uses a wheelchair or walks with a cane, people treat you differently. Sure, some might be quicker to open doors for you, but most of the behavioral reactions aren’t positive ones. The combination of being old and disabled causes what many refer to as “invisibility.”

Frank Bruni, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, explored this idea in a recent column through the lens of 82-year-old Nancy Root, a woman with post-polio syndrome Bruni met while giving a lecture on a cruise. Root taught Bruni how it felt to be seen as invisible because of her age and perceived ability.

“People looked over her, around her, through her. They withdrew,” Bruni wrote.


Adjustments normal for transition to
senior living community
By Rebecca Maitland

There comes a time in so many senior citizens’ lives when they want a maintenance-free lifestyle, as they are simply tired of taking care of the house, the lawn, and all of the repairs and upkeep. It is just time to start a new chapter in one’s life and make a change.

So, they begin looking into the many different senior communities Houston offers and all the activities, outings, restaurants, maid service and the other amenities they provide.

But giving up one’s home after 20, 30 or 40 or more years can be difficult, and there is a transition or an adjustment period, which any move will create.


3D Printer for Patients in Assisted Living? Yes!

In an attempt to address the economic barrier that arthritis patients often encounter, a team of researchers has looked into the viability of manufacturing adaptive aids (i.e., cane holder aid, sock aid, zipper pull aid, pen holder) aid using low-cost desktop 3-D printers.

The study, “Economic Potential for Distributed Manufacturing of Adaptive Aids for Arthritis Patients in the U.S.,” appears in the December 6, 2018 edition of Geriatrics.

Jennifer Bow, M.D., with the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at Michigan Technological University and co-author on the study, told OTW, “We decided to look at adaptive aids for arthritis since these devices are amenable to 3D printing, generally being small and made of plastic, can benefit from creativity in their engineering, and are most functional when customized to their user. This is an area where engineering concepts can be applied to real life problems, where the designs have the potential to really help people. These types of designs showcase the abilities of 3D printers to customize a design to the end-user.”

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NEXT BLOG: Thursday January 3rd 2019

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We all know this verse from Ecclesiastes 3:2, …

"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build,…",

To that, I would like to add “A time to say thanks”. Thanks, not only to some unseen force that has chosen to let me stay around a bit longer but also to what some of you might think is an unlikely thing to do. And that is to say “Thank you” to The Westchester Center, the place I call home.

As many of you know, over the past five-plus years that I have lived here, I have been critical of many of the rules, regulations, systems, and practices that are systemic with, not only this assisted living facility in particular but all venues of this type.
While most of that criticism focused on the lack of privacy afforded to its residents and the food service, other problems such as poor transportation options, non-existent recreational activities for men and the lack of involvement afforded to residents and their loved ones have been mentioned. However, for as many times that I have judged things bad, I have also mentioned that despite it all, I am very thankful and grateful for what this facility has given me.

First, and foremost, there is a very solid roof over my head. For a person whose greatest fear is homelessness, this is a big deal. And, along with the roof, my living space is warm in the winter and deliciously cool in the summer.

As a person who has lived in an urban setting all of his life, the change to a quiet, suburban lifestyle is a welcome change. Weather permitting, I can sit outside in the sun and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

Yes, it is true that I now live a more structured life. But with that discipline comes one very important commodity. Less stress. And that is something that only comes from not having to worry about coping with many of the day-to-day problems that one encounters at this time of life.

Things like trying to navigate the waters of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs can cause untold harm to one’s nerves. Fortunately, there are experts here that can help me with that. They even found money that I was entitled to and didn’t know it.

There are other things too.

I had a stuck dresser drawer. No matter how hard I tried, I could not open it.

If I had been living in any other situation, I would have to (with great difficulty) get down on my hands and knees and try to loosen the darn thing with a coat hanger. Fortunately, that was not the case. All I had to do was notify our maintenance department which sent over a guy to fix it. The same is true with replacing light bulbs and fixtures, plumbing issues, pest control, room cleaning and they’ll even set up your cable TV for you.

Another thing I don’t have to stress about is safety and security.

Nobody gets in here without being noticed and checked-in.

The entire facility is fireproof and equipt with sprinklers throughout as well as CCTV monitored 365/24/7.

But the best thing about living here is the fact that I am not alone. And if you don’t think that’s a big deal just think about it for a minute.

I am what’s known as an “Elder Orphan.” That is, I have no close relatives or friends that live nearby who I could count on for help, or even check on my welfare. The very fact that I am surrounded by over 200 staff and residents who are cognizant of my whereabouts all of the time, I find very comforting.*

So, Westchester Center, as we approach the New Year, I want to say “Thanks.” I say it with the hope that we will continue our love/hate relationship in the future. And maybe, just maybe, together we will be able to iron out some of those annoying wrinkles and make this place the best it can be. …………………………………………...

*Yes, I know that it sounds a bit Orwellian, but it’s better than being alone.

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I will apologize in advance if today’s MOTW appears to be a bit schizophrenic. A condition which is brought on, not so much by the meal itself, but rather the inability of this reviewer to separate the two dynamics contained therein. On one side we have the meal service itself.

In an attempt to make up for the fiasco that was our Thanksgiving dinner, the chef and his crew took a page from special dinners past and brought out the linen, the fancy plates, and the sparkling cider, which added a festive touch to a hodge-podge of a meal.

In the belief that serving a heavy meal to a group of people who had just eaten a heavy meal (meatloaf) just a mere 3 hours before was the right thing to do, residents were treated to a choice of either leg of lamb or stuffed loin of pork. The lamb, with its obligatory carb-loaded side dish of a sad rice pilaf, and the pork with some shamefully cooked asparagus stalks.

While I did not have the pork loin, and therefore will not comment on it, I can say that the leg-of-lamb was okay. Not great mind you but, given where we are and who cooked it, not bad and better than I expected. Thus I will give the food portion of this Christmas dinner ♦ ♦ ♦ out of five. Unfortunately, because they insist on serving these “one-seating only” dinners at the outrageous hour of 4:30 PM and then expect this resident to rave about it I must protest by issuing an X X X X the worst rating. ………………………………………………………………ff.

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Think You're Not Getting Old?
You Are If You Do These Things

A funny new study by Future You has found there are specific “tells” you are getting older, like forgetting someone’s name, or groaning when you bend over.

Falling asleep in front of the TV? That’s another one, along with needing an afternoon nap, and choosing comfortable clothes over stylish ones.

Sitting cross-legged? Forget it, it’s impossible for you unless you’re a yogi. Constant complaining, getting a buzz instead of getting drunk, and loving board games are all on the list of this way to elderly land.


Why Senior Housing Needs To Change
To Appeal To Boomers

By Holly Lawrence

Boomers are known for being a generation of influencers, rebels and change leaders. Now, they’re in a position to force a dismantling of the old models of senior housing. And, based on a panel I recently attended at the Washington Innovation in Longevity Summit, senior housing developers had better get to it soon. By 2030, all boomers will be over 65.

“Things are clearly not that good in the market,” said John Yedinak, the panel moderator, who is president and co-founder of Aging Media Network.


Assisted Living for Couples

The important thing is to consider your particular situation carefully and ask a lot of questions as early in the process as possible to get the best solution for you.

In a perfect world, couples in happy, loving relationships would be able to stay together for as long as they wanted – in excellent health and side by side. Sadly, this isn't a perfect world, and people age at different rates; while the number of days you've spent on Earth may match closely with your spouse, your health care needs might vary widely from your partner's. And therein lies a potential difficulty as you continue to age and need different levels of care and assistance later in life.

This reality raises an important question for some older couples: How can we stay together for as long as possible? Here, we'll look at three strategies that can help you keep your lifelong commitment to be with your partner, no matter what specific challenges you may be facing:

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NEXT BLOG: Monday December 31st 2018


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At The ALF:
Who’s The Customer Here Anyway?

It’s difficult having to live with idiots.

No, I’m not referring to my fellow residents (although they can be trying at times). I’m speaking of the staff and management of our little paradise-on-the-hill. And specifically, the people who are left in charge on the weekends.

People who work on the weekends here at the ALF are not (for the most part) the same employees that are here during the week. Essentially, they are fill-in’s or Temps who have chosen to work on weekends for various reasons They are poorly trained and poorly supervised. Because they have no regular daily contact with the residents as does the weekday staff, they neither know us or respect us, and could care less. To be honest, if I were in their position, I might feel and act the same way. Working in a senior care facility is not a very good job.

Perhaps a word about what it means to work in such a place as this.

Unfortunately, jobs at the bottom end of the healthcare business are the worst and are usually filled by people who have little or no experience working with disabled, frail and slightly demented old folks. In many cases, applicants for the job do not even have a high school education. We have one server in our dining room who can neither read nor write. She keeps all of the dinner orders in her head which often results in mistakes. Employment as a housekeeper or server requires very little in the way of anything. And, in return, they receive very little compensation. They are paid slightly more than minimum wage. There are no benefits, and are required to pass a background check.

As per the law in N.Y. State, anybody who applies for employment (for any position) in any hospital, nursing home, or assisted living facility must pass a background check. And by “pass” they mean having no felony arrests or convictions. You would not believe how this ruling diminishes the number of available, qualified employees from the workforce.*

All of this means, that on weekends, we get lousy service.

Weekends here at the Asylum are the worst.

Regular housekeeping services such as making the beds, trash removal and towel and linen replacement are delayed or not done at all.

There are little or no activities scheduled like Bingo or arts and crafts.

Maintenance is done on an emergency basis only.

Calls for assistance are often unheeded or slow in coming. It is not unheard of that a resident will have to call 911 for assistance.

But the one area that suffers most from the lack of supervision and trained staff on the weekends has to be the Food Services Dept.

Our food services manager is rarely here on the weekends which means that any supervision is left to subordinates who, really don’t give a damn what comes out of the kitchen or how or when it’s served.

After a particularly festive staff Xmas party the other evening, breakfast the next day was an hour late. And, to add insult to injury, dinner the next evening was combined into one seating (at 4:30). However, the decision to combine the two seating’s was done arbitrarily with little-advanced notice to those of us whose scheduled dinner is at 5:45. This resulted in many diners arriving late and forced to eat in a rush. Much, I might add, to the dismay of our administrator who, like the rest of us, was not informed of (or to give his approval for) the scheduling change. It was a stupid, inconsiderate and disrespectful thing to do.

Unfortunately, if history proves correct, there will be no apology and nobody will admit that they made a mistake. It’s just another example of the lack of basic courtesy shown to our residents. And all of this boils down to one thing.

As a former business owner, salesman and customer service representative, I have had the opportunity to witness what happens when a business fails to identify who their customers are and who they are working for. Forgetting that your customers provide the revenue that enables you to continue to operate your business can be disastrous.

And, as a five-year-plus resident here, I have had noticed the crucial flaw that exists, not only here, but in many assisted living facilities. And that is that MANAGEMENT FORGETS THAT WE (THE RESIDENTS) ARE THE CUSTOMERS. And that our needs must come before those of the staff, the supervisors or the people that own and operate this facility.

I’ll have more to say on this subject in future posts…………………………

*BTW: The facility pays for those background checks which can cost in upwards of $300.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Breakfast has always been my favorite meal of the day. Unfortunately, here at the ALF we rarely get a breakfast worth talking about. The usual fare consists of dried-out eggs or a barely warm pancake, waffle or French toast. But every once and a while they do something right. Such was the breakfast served to us this past Monday. To my amazement the egg and cheese sandwich was as good as I have ever had. The roll was fresh and soft. The eggs were not too runny or well done. And the cheese was actually melted. In addition, the more than generous serving of bacon was not burned to cinder as usual. For their efforts I am going to give this meal ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ out of 5.

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 Article Raises Concerns Over
 Dementia Care in Assisted Living

Assisted living communities are taking in an increasing number of dementia residents, but memory care services might not always be keeping these older adults safe and secure.

That’s according to a Dec. 13 New York Times article produced in collaboration with Kaiser Health News. The article –“Dementia Patients Fuel Assisted Living’s Growth. Safety May Be Lagging” — relied on a Kaiser Health analysis of assisted living inspection records in the three most populous U.S. states: California, Florida and Texas.

Social Security notices showing cost-of-living increases
 available online for retirees

By Janna Herron

If you're planning on relying solely on your social security check for retirement, you may want to reconsider. Here's why. USA TODAY

If you're wondering how much bigger your Social Security paycheck will be next year, you can find out now online.

The Social Security Administration recently released its cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, notices online. Retirees also will receive COLA notices by mail.

Simply log onto your My Social Security account at https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.action to find out your new 2019 payment. The COLA notice will be located in the message center.


Will you really need a geriatrician when you’re 65?
By Marlene Cimons

Once, turning 65 typically meant retirement, Medicare and the inevitable onset of physical decline. It also often signaled the need to search for a geriatrician, a doctor who specializes in caring for the complex medical problems of the elderly.

But many of today’s older Americans are healthy, vigorous and mentally sound, with no urgent need to change doctors. They aren’t afflicted with age-related diseases or functional impairments. This raises interesting questions about when — and whether — those 65 and older need to make that switch.

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NEXT BLOG: Monday December 24th 2018

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‘Tis The Season

I’m just going to say it. Merry Christmas.

Yes, I know I could be ostracized for such a blatant display of non-political correctness, but I’ll take my chances. After all, despite the oratory that comes out of Washington these days, we haven’t become a totally totalitarian state, yet.

I don’t know when all of this changed. As a kid, I remember wishing other kids in my class at PS 131 (Christians and non-Christians alike), a Merry Christmas. Just as I wished them Happy Chanukah at the appropriate time of the year. I was never told not to do it by anyone. Certainly not by my parents, and not by my teachers. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way a group of evidently very Grinchy folks, who had nothing better to do, decided that people not of the Christian persuasion would be so offended that the very mention of the “C” word could cause irrevocable harm. Or, that not using the generic “Season’s Greetings” would somehow make me forget that I was Jewish. As if that could ever happen.

As Jews, we have accepted, and adapted, to being a minority in mostly Christian nations. And, being of the merchant class in many of those countries, not to acknowledge that most important of all holidays in Christendom with a simple “Merry Christmas” is just plain bad business as well as ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as believing that uttering those two words would diminish my own spirituality or ethnicity.

Of course, I am aware that there are certain people to whom I would never wish a Merry Christmas. Not so much out of fear of offending them, but rather out of fear that I might become the target of a zealot who is just one armband away from a Jihad or a coreligionist who is a member of a sect that barely recognizes me as a Jew.

The truth be told, I rather enjoy the decorations, the caroling, and the good cheer we are surrounded by this time of year. Not to mention the giving and the getting of gifts.

As a family, we did not celebrate Christmas and therefore we didn’t exchange any gifts. And, except for business gifts which were once a really big deal, I rarely received any Christmas presents or partook in any of the traditions of Christmas.

It was only after I married a Catholic girl that I realized what the holiday was all about.

For years I thought Christmas was all about celebrating the birth of Jesus. However, it was not until I spent my first Christmas with my very Irish Catholic wife did I realized what Christmas was all about.

I was nearly 40-years-old and spending my first Christmas morning sitting around a beautifully decorated tree in my sister-in-law’s living room when I finally understood that Christmas was all about family. We spent a wonderful day eating, drinking, eating some more, laughing, singing and playing with my nephew’s new Atari video game. I even came away with a couple of very nice gifts.* What could be wrong with that?

We spent a number of Christmases like that. We even had a tree of our own which was very traditional and tastefully decorated. I was even given the honor of placing the angel on top.**

 BTW: The facility will have it’s own party and a visit from Santa. Not too shabby for a place owned and operated by orthodox Jews.

I will leave you with this. If someone wishes you a Merry Christmas and it offends you, think of it not as having any religious meaning but instead think about being with your family and loved ones. Just like the first Christmas was over 2000 years ago . And, once again, Merry Christmas. .............................................................................................................

*My wife knowing that, being the clueless Jew that I was, Christmas shopping should best be left to her. Much to the delight of my in-laws.
** I realized later that I was allowed to do this only because my wife had a fear of heights and did not want to stand on a ladder.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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A Bad Breakfast

To illustrate the inconsistency’s in the food service here, just as a breakfast last week was cited as the BEST meal of the week, the breakfast served to us this past Friday was one of the worst.
What you see is what we got. Two hard boiled eggs and some “breakfast potatoes.” I ordered an English muffin to go with it.

Now, just to be clear (and fair) there was nothing inedible about this offering. It is its contents that I have a problem with. There is almost a complete lack of protein here as well as any demonstration on any cooking skills whatsoever. The truth be told, a motivated chimpanzee could have cooked this meal……………………………………..ff.

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Seniors banned from saying 'Merry Christmas'

A residence for seniors in Washington state has decided to ban the words “Merry Christmas,” Christmas decorations, Christmas carols that mention Jesus and more – because it claims the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires those actions.

But it doesn’t, say lawyers with the Alliance Defending Freedom who have written to Providence Place in Chehalis, explaining that those expressions popular during the Christmas season are, in fact, perfectly legal.

They explained the issue came up because a building manager “told a Christian resident that the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits residents from saying ‘Merry Christmas,’ singing Christmas carols that reference Christ, or displaying any decorations or cards referencing the Christian religion during the Christmas season.”


Empowerji Launches A Unique Mobile App
To Digitally Empower Senior Citizens

Empowerji is a one-of-a-kind multi-lingual app for senior citizens that will teach them how to use technology. The unique app is designed keeping Seniors in mind and will use the audio-visual medium to simplify the use of mobile apps, sites, and other techs. Videos in the app are currently offered in English, Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati. The app will be available to iOS and Android users. The app will be Freemium with paid services being launched soon. The App is currently free for all.


Study shows benefits of
 sex for older adults

A new study published in the journal Sexual Medicine indicates that sexual activity is associated with improved wellbeing amongst older adults, measured through higher enjoyment of life scores.

Led by Dr Lee Smith from Anglia Ruskin University and Dr Sarah Jackson from UCL, the study involved analyzing survey data from 6,879 older adults, with an average age of 65, living in England.

It found that older men and women who reported any type of sexual activity in the previous 12 months had a higher life enjoyment score than those who were not sexually active.


The ABCs of CBDs:
Marijuana Products for Your Health

Cannabidiol, or CBD (an oil from cannabis; marijuana is a species of cannabis), is increasingly being marketed to aging Americans as a wonder-drug for everything from cancer care to joint pain, and research shows those marketing campaigns are working.

Older Americans are now the fastest growing population of new cannabis users. But not all CBD products are created equal, and not all will be effective for those seeking therapeutic relief. As the commercial market continues to expand, it’s important  to understand what you’d be getting if you buy a product labeled CBD.


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NEXT BLOG: Thursday December 27th 2018

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Where Did I Come From?
Who Cares?

For a brief few seconds, I had the notion to try one of those “Give us your DNA and we’ll tell you where you came from” sites that seem to have gained popularity as of late. Fortunately, that idea quickly passed in favor of a cup of coffee and a sugary cruller.

Please do not misunderstand me. It’s not that I don’t care about who my forbearers may have been and from whence they came, it’s just that I already have a pretty good idea and spending the $60, $70, or $80 to find out seems like a waste of money, not to mention a few inner cheek cells.

I know that my grandparents came from a place they called “The old country.” The old country for us meant an area located somewhere in Tzarist Russia. The other thing we kids were told was that this place was not a good place for Jews.*

We were reviled with stories of Cassocks, pogroms, and hooliganism on the part of “goyim” who, as far as my grandparents were concerned was everybody who was not Jewish. Fortunately, for them, they were able to see the Cyrillic writing on the walls and decided it was time to leave.

As the story goes, they somehow made their way to England and then on to Canada and eventually wound up in upstate New York. After a while, a group of them (my mom’s parents included) thought that the harsh Buffalo winters were too much like home, and decided to head for the warmer climes of the south. South New York that is. Winding up in New York City, specifically, Brooklyn. And that’s about it.

Any real attempt to find out where my ancestors lived before they went to Russia would most likely prove futile. Because, unlike Christians who write everything in bibles and church registers, Jews rarely do any of that. And, since the Russian Government at the time was not that interested in keeping detailed records of Jewish ancestry either, any records that would help to find out anything that happened before the birth of my great grandparents do not exist.

That is not to say that my “people’s” past is a total mystery. And, though I can’t be specific, there is a general idea as to where Eastern European Jews originated.

There is an interesting article in the-scientist.com ( www.the-scientist.com/daily-news/genetic-roots-of-the-ashkenazi-jews-38580 ) that gives a pretty good explanation of it all…

“The Ashkenazi Jews make up the majority of Jews today and most recently have ancestry in central or Eastern Europe. Previous work has demonstrated that just four mitochondrial types, pass down from four mothers, account for 40 percent of the variation in Ashkenazi Jews’ mitochondrial DNA, and some researchers have published evidence of Near Eastern origins for these Ashkenazi mitochondrial types.

The majority of Ashkenazi Jews are descended from prehistoric European women, according to a study published October 8th in Nature Communications. While the Jewish religion began in the Near East, and the Ashkenazi Jews were believed to have origins in the early indigenous tribes of this region, new evidence from mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on exclusively from mother to child, suggests that female ancestors of most modern Ashkenazi Jews converted to Judaism in the north Mediterranean around 2,000 years ago and later in west and central Europe.”

Of course, if we wanted to go back even further we would find out that all of us originated in sub-Saharan Africa, a place with lots of sun and sand which probably resulted in the proclivity for old Jews wanting to move to Florida.

As I understand it, these DNA tests, besides tracing one’s ancestry, can also help you find out if you have any siblings or offspring you may not have known about. For instance, a 50% match in DNA with another person would be a sure sign that the other person was your kid. This, of course, opens up another can of sardines.

However, the one thing I know is that I would be much more surprised to find that I had a kid than they would be. So, unless my ex managed to hide something from me for all these years, I am 100% certain that any assignations I might have had since my divorce did not result in any heirs to the throne.

Do I really want to know if I am the father of some 35-year-old grown-up rug rat? Maybe. You see, I am the last in my branch of the family. As circumstance would have it, both my brother and I are childless. This means that after me, there are no more people that will carry my genes. It’s kind of sad in a way. But such is life.

So, if there are any 35 to 40-year-old men or women out there that think they might be walking around with half of my DNA I will be glad to take one of those tests. But you’re paying……………………………………………….

*As if there was ever a good place for Jews.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Just Awful. Lunch, Saturday Dec. 15th,The “Vegetable” Soup was not edible. Better swill served in Dickensian workhouse.

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Here’s what’s at risk (for seniors) in the
Texas Obamacare ruling

Obamacare has meant lower premiums, deductibles and cost-sharing for the roughly 60 million senior citizens and disabled Americans enrolled in the program.

The health reform law made many changes to Medicare. It slowed the growth of payment rates to hospitals and other providers, reduced payments to Medicare Advantage plans and improved benefits for enrollees. The Obama administration estimated that the typical Medicare beneficiary pays about $700 less in premiums and cost sharing thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Under Obamacare, Medicare enrollees also receive free preventative benefits, such as screenings for breast and colorectal cancer, heart disease and diabetes.


6 lessons from a senior living operator’s survey of
 2,000 Americans

Provision Living’s peek into what Americans want from retirement can provide food for thought for other providers, too.

The St. Louis-based assisted living and memory care community operator, which has locations in four states — Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi and Missouri — recently asked 2,000 people about their dream retirements. Findings suggest areas for further research and potential action.


Inability to Drive, Lack of Transportation Options
 are Major Concerns for Older Adults,
People With Disabilities and Caregivers

A new national poll released today finds that older adults and people with disabilities are facing significant transportation-related challenges once they no longer drive. They feel there is a lack of accessible and reliable transportation alternatives, which prevents them from doing the things they need and want to do and leaves them feeling frustrated, isolated and trapped.

With more than 1 in 5 Americans older than age 65 not driving, demand for transportation is steadily increasing as the boomer population continues to grow. Given that 600,000 people stop driving every year, there is no end to the challenge in sight. To address the growing demand for transportation services and the concern that there are insufficient resources and information available to help, the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC) has launched the "Every Ride Counts" campaign, a national effort to increase awareness of local transportation options for older adults and people with disabilities in communities across the United States.

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NEXT BLOG: Thursday December 20th 2018

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Divine Intervention:
Maybe It’s Not So Crazy

My belief in God is a relatively recent thing.

I’m Jewish, ethnically but not religiously. In fact, the last religious thing I did was at my Bar Mitzvah. It’s not that I have any problem with religion, it’s just that I don’t believe in all of the religious dogma. The fasting, the dietary restrictions, and the constant praying, for me, have nothing to do with one’s belief in God or whatever deity you follow. I also believe, that if there is a God, He (or She), is a benevolent one and not the wrath-filled, smiting, lightning bolt hurling creature some would have you believe He is. But this belief in a higher power has not always been with me. In fact, it was probably the opposite.

Much to the disdain of my father, who kept Kosher all of his life, mine was a more secular upbringing. I learned the exquisiteness of bacon, ham, shellfish, and cheeseburgers early in life and could not understand why, in this day and age I, as a Jew, was not permitted to eat this marvelous fare. My mother agreed, and so we were a “mixed” household with my dad eating only Kosher foods and me eating everything. This Laissez-faire attitude towards tradition combined with a liberal approach to life caused me to question the very existence of a god. And this skeptical view stayed with me all of my adult life. For better or worse, I was an atheist. So what happened to make me question my questioning?

It began with a sharp pain in the lower-left quadrant of my gut. The pain became cramps which turned into agony and a fast trip to the ER.

Tests, including a thorough inspection of my colon with an instrument which can only be described as medieval, revealed a biblical case of ulcerative colitis. Fortunately, a biopsy of some suspicious pathology proved to be benign. I had, apparently, caught it before it manifested itself as cancer. Was that a case of divine intervention? I was not ready to accept that it was.

I was still not ready to concede to the meddling of a higher power even after I was moved to a better hospital, survived life-threatening surgery, and a long period of convalescence. In fact, it was not until after a few months languishing in a nursing home and watching my life (which I now deemed to be worthless) did I come to the realization that, hey wait, “I AM STILL HERE.” But why?

There was no reason on earth why I should have been spared the sting of death.

After all, I had done nothing spectacular in my 63 years of life. Although I wasn’t a bad guy and tried my best to live up to the standards expected of me as a citizen of a modern world, I knew that my contribution to the betterment of society was less than most.

I wasn’t the volunteering type, nor did I regularly give to charity. Although I would occasionally drop some change into a Salvation Army bucket at Christmas, I balked at giving money to homeless people on the street. All-in-all, my only real beneficence was that I paid my taxes and recycled my plastics.

I spent the next year and a half in that nursing home* trying to figure out for what purpose was I being kept alive. And, not only being kept alive but actually improving health wise. But even as my condition improved, my well-being did not.

Uninsured portions of my medical expenses including a whopping $13,000 per month nursing home bill** put me into financial ruin.

I was forced to give up my apartment and most of my belongings as well as my car. I was, for all practical purposes, homeless. Was this the reason I was saved to live another day? To punish me for not giving or caring about the homeless?
If so, was I to be doomed to suffer these indignities for the rest of my life? To say the least, I was beginning to stress out.

Every day in that nursing home became torture. The desperation, despair, and loneliness was starting to weigh heavily upon my shoulders. So much so that my health was now in danger of going downhill. For the first time in many months, I felt that my demise was at hand. The light at the end of the tunnel was starting to flicker and threatened to extinguish altogether when my doctor recommended a trip to the hospital for some tests. Little did I know that a higher power may have, once again, intervened in my life.

While in the hospital, where I went through a series of tests to determine the viability of my thyroid, I was visited by a doctor. But not just any doctor. This one was a psychiatrist. And, while I usually would have sent her packing (as I had in the past), I decided to let her do her thing. An hour later I was handed a life-changing diagnosis. Depression. Was this the arrow that had pierced my soul. Was this what was causing the melancholia, the sleeplessness, the rapid decline in my health. And how come I just found out about this now?………………………………………………………………………..

*Actually, it was three different homes and two more surgeries.
** I paid this amount for three or four months until I qualified for Medicare.

Read Part 2 on Thursday, December 13th

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Here Are Senior Citizens' Biggest Financial Regrets --
Don't Make Them Yours

By Selena Maranjian

If you can avoid ending up with these regrets, it will mean you've set yourself up for a comfortable retirement.

You know you could learn a lot from your grandparents, right? You can learn even more from more grandparents -- from a host of senior citizens, in fact. A recent survey of seniors produced a long list of their financial regrets, a list that offers instructive insights.

Check out the regrets below and see which ones are likely to become your own if you don't change some of your ways now.

Survey says...

The survey in question was commissioned by the folks at LendEDU and conducted by Pollfish in March 2018. A thousand people aged 65 or older were asked a variety of questions, and their answers to the question "What is the biggest financial regret you have from your twenties?" are below:


Cool Technology Trends for Older Adults

Living in the heart of Silicon Valley gives me access to the latest technology, so I’m not easily awed by new products, services, gizmos and apps. But I was curious about the most recent tech conference sponsored by Aging 2.0, an organization that “supports innovators taking on the biggest challenges and opportunities in aging.”

Since 2012, Aging 2.0 has sponsored more than 500 events and most recently paired with Avenidas Generations Lab, an offshoot of a forward-looking senior center that is working to reinvent aging. Fittingly, the conference took place at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

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The following verse was written on the back of the program handed out
At the memorial for our dear friend Barbara Everett this past Saturday.
It’s the final tribute we can give to her. And, although we shall always keep
Her in our thoughts, it’s time to let her go.

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NEXT BLOG: Thursday December 13th 2018

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