For Senior Citizens, Downsizing One’s Home Has An Upside

By The Acorn Staff

When does it make sense to move to a smaller home? When is maintaining your current home both too physically and financially demanding?

If your children are no longer at home, you may no longer need a lot of living space. If it’s just you and your spouse, you have space that is rarely use and needs upkeep. You still need to take of care of that large yard and perhaps pool that is rarely used.
You may never go upstairs, or there are rooms in your home that you never go in, but the carpets still need vacuuming and the furniture needs dusting.

Caring for a smaller home is easier. You may even consider moving into a senior community, condominium or apartment.

If you do, you can forget about those empty rooms, mowing lawns, cleaning and filling pools, and paying large utility bills. Smaller residences often come with lower property taxes or insurance costs as well.

Where do you begin?

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Having Regrets?
These Are The Top 37 Things
You (Might) Regret Now That You’re Old

1. Not traveling when you had the chance.

Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself.

2. Not learning another language.

You’ll kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it.

3. Staying in a bad relationship.

No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner.

4. Forgoing sunscreen.

Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself. You can use Coconut oil!.

5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.

“Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.”

6. Being scared to do things.

Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of, comfort zone?

7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.

Too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you’ll dream of what you could have done.

8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.

Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.”

9. Not quitting a terrible job.

Look, you gotta pay the bills. But if you don’t make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell.

10. Not trying harder in school.

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Another Possible Indignity of Age: Arrest
By Paula Span

It was the sort of incident that happens at facilities that care for people with dementia.

At a residence for older adults in San Francisco last summer, Carol King momentarily left a common sitting area. When Ms. King returned, she found that another resident had taken her chair, a nurse who witnessed the episode later reported. She grabbed the usurper’s wrist.

Though staff members intervened promptly and nobody appeared injured, the other resident (who also had dementia) called 911 to say she had been attacked. Soon, Ms. King’s son, Geoffrey, was summoned and four police officers arrived.

Over objections from staff members and her son, the officers decided to place Ms. King on an involuntary psychiatric hold, which allows a 72-hour detention when an officer believes someone is unable to care for herself or poses a danger to herself or others.

As they searched and handcuffed Ms. King and placed her in a patrol car, “she started crying,” Mr. King recalled.

At the Psychiatric Emergency Services department at San Francisco General Hospital, a psychiatrist found Ms. King “calm and cooperative,” showing no evidence of psychiatric illness, and released her after seven hours after she was detained.

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My Senior Moment: What’s cool at 80 — what’s not
By Betty Moses

Friday morning as I was headed down the highway to work, as I listened to the morning news, I became depressed at the state of the world – at least the way the newscasters were presenting it.

I switched the radio, landed on a station playing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” cranked up the sound and made like the crew in “Wayne’s World” as I cruised along U.S. 501, singing “Mama Mia, Mama Mia!” at the top of my lungs.

Depression all gone, I laughed to myself, wondering what my kids would have thought if they could have seen me.

They would have probably been embarrassed by my actions.

That’s OK. When one is 80 and older, he or she is not fully enjoying the rewards for longevity if one is not shocking their children now and then.

When I was a young woman of 60, I was impressed by a poem by Jenny Joseph, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple. With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.”

This became the anthem of the Red Hat Club, but to me it meant more than the colors I would wear. It meant that I could leave behind the urge to conform to what was expected of me as the years piled on. I would have freedom to wear my hair and my skirts long if I wanted to or adorn every finger with silver rings.

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Pornhub launches ‘Old School’ video
campaign to combat STD rise in elderly

Adult website Pornhub has recruited a former porn actress to educate the elderly about safe sex.

“If you think seniors aren't an easy target for STDs [sexually transmitted diseases] think again,” a promo for the new video states – and the latest research supports the porn website’s claim.

Data from the Center for Disease Control has shown that STDs are rampant amongst senior citizens with incidence of common STDs like syphilis and chlamydia rising dramatically since 2007.

In response, Pornhub has launched ‘Old School’, a sex education video campaign aimed at those in retirement communities and nursing homes.
The video stars pornstar and sex educator Nina Hartley and is available digitally and on good old-fashioned VHS.

Trump-Backed Immigration Plan Could Worsen
Senior Housing Workforce Crisis
By Elizabeth Jakaitis

A new bill aims to dramatically cut immigration levels over the next decade, an action that would be detrimental to the future of the senior housing workforce, experts and industry insiders say.

If passed, the new bill would initiate a skills-based points system that would prioritize immigrants that have higher levels of education, better English language abilities, and high-paying job offers.

This could put up a roadblock to increasing immigrant workers in senior housing, which some leaders—including former Holiday Retirement President and CEO Kai Hsiao—have floated as one way to stave off a looming labor crisis.

The proposed law would be detrimental to the already strained senior housing workforce, according to executives of the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), a New York City-based nonprofit organization that works to improve long-term care services for seniors.

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New Senate bill seeks to reduce
restrictions on telemedicine use
By Jeff Lagasse

The bill, the Evidence-Based Telehealth Expansion Act of 2017, was introduced late last week and would give the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to waive Medicare restrictions on the kinds of telemedicine it covers -- as long as the actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concludes it would indeed save money.

  Restrictions that would be lifted include any geographic limitations, as well as limitations on the use of store-and-forward technologies. Store-and-forward technologies are where patient healthcare data and digital images -- such as radiologic images -- are captured, packaged as a case file, and transferred via telecommunication services to a clinician who then responds with a diagnosis and any relevant therapeutic recommendations.

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Protein at All 3 Meals May Help Preserve Seniors' Strength
By Alan Mozes

Eating protein at all three daily meals, instead of just at dinner, might help seniors preserve physical strength as they age, new research suggests.

The Canadian study found that protein-rich meals evenly spread throughout the day staved off muscle decline, but did not increase mobility, in older people.

The functional decline associated with aging often leads to falls, mental impairment and loss of independence. Chevalier's team wondered if more evenly distributed protein consumption might be tied to better physical performance and a reduced rate of decline.

To find out, they tracked more than 1,700 relatively healthy Quebec men and women, aged 67 to 84, who were all enrolled in a three-year study.
But those who consumed protein more evenly throughout the day appeared to retain greater muscle strength -- though not greater mobility -- than those who consumed most of their protein late in the day….

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Poor appetite and food intake in older adults

Having a poor appetite is a serious health concern for older adults. It can lead to inadequate nutrition, which can shorten your life or reduce your quality of life. Between 11 percent and 15 percent of older adults who live independently are estimated to have poor appetites.

Strategies to improve our appetites as we age include reducing portion size, increasing meal frequency, and using flavor enhancers. Until recently, however, these options have not proven to improve food intake or quality of life for older people. That's part of the reason why a team of researchers designed a study to examine the differences in food intake among older adults with varied appetite levels. Their study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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10 Things You Don’t See At The Dinner Table Any More

By Chris Foster

We decided to look back at some of our most vivid memories of family dinner and come up with a list of things you just don’t see very much any more. If you grew up in the ’5
0s, ’60s or ’70s, chances are this will bring back a lot of memories! Some of you might still carry on a few of these happier traditions. And while we miss some of these ideas more than others, it’s always fun to reminisce on how things were, and to notice how much things have changed.

Setting The Dinner Table Before Each Meal

As kids, many of us had a chore list that included several household duties, one of which was setting the table each night! It was always fun to feel included in helping prepare dinner. Many of you probably still do this for special occasions, but we used to do it for every meal.

Placemats At Every Setting

Of course, setting the table wasn’t just about putting out the proper silverware, plates, and glasses. Each member of the family had their own placemat, and there was always a clean tablecloth covering the table. Often times these placemats were handmade by mom, and were beautiful, lace doilies or fun crocheted patterns.



This week marks my 5th anniversary living here at the A.L.F.
In that time I have seen many people, residents and staff alike, come and go.
Some have moved on to other facilities while others have, sadly, passed into history.
I have seen the likes of 3 administrators, 5 Food Service Supervisors, 4 Recreation Directors, 4 Case Management Supervisors and more food servers, housekeeping staff, and maintenance people than you can shake a stick at.
I have seen this place go from a manageable venue with only 85 guests to a behemoth bursting at the seams with over 185 souls. Many of which should not be here because of various physical and cognitive incapacities that this facility, at times, finds difficult to manage.
Still, with all of its pitfalls and shortcomings, I have found a home here.
I get three meals a day (some of it actually good).
A clean room with heat and a working air conditioner.
Free WiFi and cheap cable.
Medical care and social services on premises.
An abundant amount of safety and security.
And, best of all, I have met some marvelous people who I can proudly call my friends.
The average stay for a resident in an assisted living facility is 18 months. So for me to be here this long, they must be doing somethings right.
Where I will be 5 years (or even 5 months) from now is anybody’s guess. After all, I’m 72 years old.
But if it’s here that I am destined to play out the rest of my journey here on earth, I’m okay with that.


At the a.l.f. …It’s that time of the month. again

Research, published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that older adults’ vulnerability to fraud may be rooted in “age-related neurological changes.”

“Specifically, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that an area in the brain known as the anterior insula was muted when older people looked at photographs of suspicious-looking individuals. This part of the brain activates gut-level feelings that help individuals interpret the reliability of other people and assess potential risks and rewards associated with social interactions.”

Ah ha! So there is more to all that isolation than just insipid sullenness. People who are crotchety and suspicious may actually be that way because they are compensating for that “muted” part of the brain and, in doing so, are far ahead of the rest of us as far as how not to be a victim of predators.

I have to admit that I had not been around old people that much, even though I had spent nearly two years in a nursing home. But nursing homes are different from assisted living facilities.

Nursing homes are filled with mostly very sick and very incapacitated people who are generally not in their right minds and whose mental state is clouded by pain and uncertainty.

So, when I arrived here at the ALF, I was not prepared for what I observed.

Many of the residents appeared to have built a wall around themselves. A wall made up of suspicion and mistrust in an effort to compensate for what they have lost.

Simply put, they feel that they have lost control over their own lives. And, in a way this is true.

As I have mentioned in the past, a person gives up so much when they become a resident of an ALF. Besides privacy, control over when and what you eat, where you go and access to your own funds, you lose the defense mechanism that you relied upon to keep from making mistakes.
Not unlike prisoners in a correctional facility whose natural defense mechanisms are heightened as a way of staying alive, ALF residents also have a defense system in the form of isolation and, sometimes, aggression.

Naturally, this affectation manifests itself differently in women than in men.
Older women, although you would think that they would have to be even more defensive than their male counterparts, I have found to appear to be able to cope with change better than older males.

They do so by forming groups of like minded women with whom they are able to work out many of the difficulties of living in a new environment.
Much like a herd of elephants or a pride of lions, where the males have gone off alone somewhere, women understand the benefits of community.

So what the heck is wrong with us guys anyway?

Why are there more grumpy old men than women?

As it turns out, there is a real reason for this.

It’s called “Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS).”

According to experts, IMS may be responsible for the following:

‘’Depression, low self-confidence, difficulty concentrating, reduced energy, and issues sleeping, as well as irritability."
In addition, men with IMS may experience:

“Anger, Hypersensitivity, Impatience, Feeling anti-social, Sarcasm, Feelings of depression, Anxiety, Tension, Hostility, Being argumentative, Being unloving, Frustration, Being withdrawn, Being demanding, Defensiveness, Sadness, and Dissatisfaction.”
So what causes IMS? Perhaps you have already guessed.

That’s right. It’s our old friend (or nemeses) TESTOSTERONE. Or should we say the lack of it?

Testosterone, that stuff that’s produced by those things “down there”, has been blamed for everything from balding (or no balding) to obesity (or no obesity).

We have always known that testosterone made young men aggressive so you would think that decreased testosterone in older men would make them more docile. Think again…

“Decreased testosterone levels may make men more susceptible to mood swings, though the hormone decreases steadily and over a long period of time.”
Cosmopolitan Magazine (Cosmo), the publication that has become the bible for many women when it comes to how to deal with the great Satin (Men), has its own take on IMS by asking the question…

“So, do guys have PMS?"

Of course, men don't actually have the lovely bonafide PMS related to preparing the uterus and egg for fertilization. But some go through what's called the male PMS: "IMS" (Irritable Male Syndrome). This can be attributed to men experiencing a drop in testosterone, the hormone that .gives them their mojo. Their IMS can happen at any time, as testosterone levels fluctuate during the day, but they tend to be highest during the morning and drop as the day goes on..

But what causes the dip in testosterone levels?

There can be many factors. From stress to change in diet, anything can impact your man's testosterone levels. And thus, lead to male PMS.

"Interestingly, some attribute male moodiness to "sympathy PMS," which is when guys experience similar feelings to the women in their lives who are dealing with the psychological and emotional feelings associated with PMS.”

Oh great. Is this what I have to look forward to? Should I worry if I miss my “period?”

Don’t laugh. According to Popular Science (popsci.com)…

“It's that time of the month.

Men do go through hormonal cycles. That much is established. Their testosterone levels tend to peak first thing in the morning, perhaps in concert with circadian rhythms and then diminish over the course of the day—though exercise can cause fleeting spikes. What science has yet to show is whether hormones dip and rise over weeks or months, as women’s do.

Some researchers believe that male hormones vary with the seasons. A 2003 study found that the testosterone levels of men in one Norwegian town bottomed out in summer and reached a high in late fall. A study of Danish men found similar seasonal variations (on a slightly different schedule). If these rhythms are real, they might have to do with sun exposure, summer workouts, or winter weight-gain. But studies done in sunny San Diego and snowy Boston failed to replicate the Scandinavian findings. In a 2012 review, urologists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston concluded that some “evidence exists to support the notion” of seasonal cycles but cautioned that more research was needed.”

Okay, so it looks like I won’t be running to the Rite-Aide for the large size Maxi Pads anytime soon, but the very fact that I am susceptible to the whims of a chemical within my body is just creepy.

But, on the bright side, we (men) now have an excuse when we don’t feel like doing things.

We can blame it on “That time of the month.”

Wife- “Are you going to fix the shutters today Frank?’’

Frank-  “No. I’ having my period. I’m just going to curl up in bed or maybe bite the head off of a chicken.”

There is, of course, a treatment for all of this if only most doctors would recognize it and if men would consent to it.

“Men who are experiencing this syndrome are often in denial and try to find fault everywhere except where it really is– themselves. With men, it is hard to recognize as well as admit that there is anything wrong with them or that there is something that needs to be treated. Usually, males believe hormonal problems to only be a woman thing. The truth of this matter is that the individual male is not crazy, something is wrong and there is something that can be done to fix it. Hormone testing for males is the very first step in determining levels of hormones. Bio-identical therapy with hormones together with special tailored nutrition and exercise program has been the best way to treat this syndrome for males. Feeling good again is just within the individuals grasp.”

Research also mentions that the age at which men start to get grumpy is 70**. If that is true, I’m already 2 years into it. And yet, I don’t feel particularly grumpy or irritable most of the time.* Maybe they’re spiking the oatmeal. Which would be kind of unfair. After all, don’t I have the right to be an old codger like everybody else? It’s just something else they want to take away from me damn it! In fact, now that I think about it, there’s a heck of a lot of stuff I don’t like about any of what’s going on around here. Stay away from my stuff if you know what’s good for you. And stop stealing my money. Is that my shirt?. It sure looks like my shirt. And if I see you kids playing in my yard again, I’m calling the cops.

Editor’s notes:
*Although I did find myself being cross with the server at breakfast the other day when she failed to bring a bottle of ketchup for my eggs.
** Here’s something to think about. Donald Trump is 71 years old and is most likely experiencing some form of IMS. In fact, most of the candidates for president (even Bernie) are essentially old men (an women). Perhaps it’s time we started to think about promoting younger people for president.

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

How Child-free Older Adults Can Plan for Their Future

As age-related health issues make it tougher to get around and stay independent, most older adults at some point will rely on a family member for help. Usually, one or more adult children will step in to provide or arrange for care when that day comes.

But what about those who never had children? These people  are referred to as “childless” or more recently, “childfree.” Who will care for them when they’re no longer able to care for themselves? Author and retirement planning expert, Sara Zeff Geber calls these older adults “solo agers,” and is working to raise awareness about the need for this cohort to plan for their future.

When it comes to ensuring that your end-of-life wishes are respected, good planning can make up for most of the gap left by the absence of adult children.

Geber says she often sees solo agers who seem to be in denial about the need to plan for their long-term living and care arrangements. “That led me to the realization that people needed some guidance for what to do for themselves when they don’t have that safety net,” says Geber.

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Older Americans Aren’t as Poor as We Thought
by Ben Steverman

A new paper by U.S. Census Bureau researchers Adam Bee and Joshua Mitchell uses a Social Security Administration database of 2012 tax filings and other earnings data to check on those survey responses. Older Americans, it turns out, are underestimating their income—by a lot.
The median U.S. household 65 or older earned $44,400 in 2012, those data show, a figure 30 percent higher than the median given in the census’s Current Population Survey from that year. And whereas the original survey found that 9.1 percent of Americans 65 and older were living below the poverty line, the new study puts their poverty rate a full two percentage points lower, at 6.9 percent.

The main reason for the discrepancy: Many of the people surveyed aren't including retirement benefits in their reported income. While just 44 percent of the older survey respondents reported retirement income, tax filings and other data show the actual share getting it is 68 percent.

How Senior Care and Assisted Living will be
Improved by the Internet of Things (IoT)

The trend to use technological innovations to help seniors live longer, more fulfilling lives is catching steam around the world. Generally known as the Aging 2.0 movement, it holds huge promise for our seniors, especially when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). Wait, what is IoT exactly?

IoT is the name given to the expanding network of “smart” devices currently connecting together in the digital landscape. Just like Nest allows us to monitor our homes remotely, numerous new technologies promise to connect seniors to care teams and other life-saving processes that can make their lives easier, safer, and more enjoyable all around.
Tech company Cisco estimates that by 2020, the Internet of Things will expand to include 50 billion smart objects and our seniors will likely benefit more than any other group. Why?

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Apps that enable smartphones to perform like generic hearing aids

smartphone apps

Apps are available to enable a smartphone to perform like a generic hearing aid. These apps promote the audibility of sound by amplifying it and directing it to the headphones. Some apps contain programming features that allow the user to alter the sound and filter out unwanted noises. Below are a few examples of these applications:

BioAid by Nicholas Clark

The BioAid app was developed by a team of researchers at the University of Essex. It features 6 fixed programming profiles that are based upon the most common types of hearing loss. The user selects the profile that best reflects their hearing loss and then chooses one of 4 programming options to fine tune the settings. BioAid is currently available for Apple products. It is free of charge and can be found here.

hearing help by IND

The hearing help app features a 16 band frequency equalizer, a noise filter, and dynamic compression. While the programming options may take a little bit of time to figure out, hearing help can be used to increase the volume level, reduce surrounding noise, and promote the audibility of higher frequencies. It costs $4.99 and can be found here.

11 of the Best Dog Breeds for Senior Citizens

By Emily Holzknecht

A friendly dog can make the perfect sidekick for a senior citizen settling into their golden years. There are a lot of dog breeds well-suited for a less active lifestyle and they make an excellent choice for the less able-bodied.
According to PetBreeds these breeds are hardy and cheerful, making them excellent companion dogs. They are also highly intelligent, and can be trained to assist less able-bodied owners.


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© Bruce Cooper, 2017
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This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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



Blog-Thursday, August 3 to Wed. August, 9 2017


Healthcare in the U.S.A. Should Be About
 Compassion Not Money

I haven’t been able to get this image out of my mind.

I was watching the TV news the other night and there was a report from one of those Trump ego rallies he likes to stage every once and a while. I think this one was in Ohio somewhere.

After the usual soundbites of Trump’s speech, (You know the one where he’s at the podium and behind him are a group of maniacally grinning supporters applauding every untruth that spews from his mouth), the reporter interviewed some people in the parking lot.

A few people said they like the way the president stands up for what he believes while others thought we should back off a bit and give him a chance. And, while I personally don’t agree with any of them, at least they were sincere. But there was one statement by one of those supporters that made my blood run cold.

The reporter asked of one man (who didn’t look particularly crazy, or inbred or stupid) what he thought about the kind of healthcare system we should have in this country and whether it should be affordable or free for all. And here is what he said. “I DON’T WANT TO PAY FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S HEALTH CARE.’’

The report ended at that point so I don’t know if the reporter asked any other questions, but what I heard was enough.

Here, in a parking lot in the heartland of America, was a guy who may have just put the entire healthcare debate into perspective, at least as far as the president and his Republican cohorts are concerned.

“I don’t want to pay for someone else’s healthcare.”

Is this what America has become. An amalgam of a compassionless citizenry who would rather see people get sick or die because they don’t want to be part of a society that cares for its population (most of which work and pay taxes and may have served their country)?

And just who’s healthcare did that parking lot guy think he would be paying for?

Did he realize that it may be the young father of two that just lost his job at the Carrier plant because, despite what POTUS said, his job went to Mexico anyway, and now he and his family are without health insurance because he can’t afford to pay $600 a month for it by himself?

Maybe It’s the 62-year-old man who got laid off and, not being eligible for Medicare for another 3 years, has just been stricken with a life threatening illness and whose uninsured medical bills have wiped out his bank account despite the fact that he had his own (very expensive) health insurance.

Or perhaps it’s the young single mom who can’t take her newborn to the pediatrician for his vaccines because she’s uninsured and the doctor charges $175.00 a visit.

Are those the people (that man’s fellow Americans) that he doesn’t want to give his hard earned money to help when they are in trouble? Or is it some other group of people living in these United States that has spurred parking lot guy’s ire?

Could it be those people that don’t look like him or his friends or those folks who live in city housing projects that he doesn’t want to have to pay for affordable health care?

Perhaps he believes that millions of people will cross over the Rio Grande just to get in on all that free medical care. You know, just like we have inundated Canada just to take advantage of their national health system*

Look, I understand that there will be people that will take advantage of anything that is free or cheap. But that doesn’t and never has been a major factor in any government funded program. What we, the American taxpayer, have done and what we have always done is pay a little of our individual money so that ALL Americans can enjoy the benefits of living in a free and open society. A society, by the way, that used to show its humanity and grace proudly on its sleeve.

What I am really asking here I suppose, is what the hell happened to our kindness and mercy?

At what point did we all get up and say “That’s it, I’ve had enough of being the world’s benefactor.”

Some might say that it was our involvement in Viet Nam that faded the colors of the American flag.

Or perhaps it was 9/11 that made us so self-centered and afraid.

Personally, I think we have always been like that (or should I say that there has always been a certain segment of our society that has always been like that) ever since the early days when there was a vast migration of immigrants from Asia and Europe who poured into the American west and made it clear that they were there to stay, much to the dismay of some of those post Civil War losers who had their privileged world turned upside down by folks they believed were racially inferior to themselves.

The Civil War has been over for over 150 years but we are still so very divided. However, it has only been very recently that the real feelings of some Americans have come out.

It began when we elected a black president and fanned the fires of division and now, has been fueled by the election of a man whose very platform was based on further widening that divide by picking at a scab on a wound that has never really healed.

The truth is that we could easily fund any health care system we wanted with only a very small increase (if any) in our taxes and a little better management of costs.

There are those who say that having access to healthcare is a privilege and not a right.
I think it’s time we start asking ourselves, why.

*The Canadian healthcare system is informally called Medicare.

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Now that the attempt to destroy what little healthcare we have in this country has been put on hold while Republicans and Democrats try to come together for the public good, the next thing on the chopping block most likely will be Medicare and Social Security.

Over 60 million Americans depend on Social Security for 90% of their income. Which means that even the smallest cut or curtailment may reap havoc on a population that is already barely living on the meager allowance they get now.

This blog will try to keep you informed with the latest Social Security news and information available.

By IbJensen

The government is now referring to our Social Security checks as a “Federal Benefit Payment.”This isn’t a benefit – its earned income!

Not only did we all contribute to Social Security but our employers did too.

It totaled 15% of our income before taxes. If you averaged $30K per year over your working life, that's close to $180,000 invested in Social Security.

If you calculate the future value of your monthly investment in social security ($375/month, including both your and your employer’s contributions) at a meager 1% interest rate compounded monthly, after 40 years of working you'd have more than $1.3+ million dollars saved! This is your personal investment.

Upon retirement, if you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive $39,318 per year, or $3,277 per month.

That’s almost three times more than today’s average Social Security benefit of $1,230 per month, according to the Social Security Administration (Google it - it’s a fact).

And your retirement fund would last more than 33 years (until you're 98 if you retire at age 65)! I can only imagine how much better most average-income people could live in retirement if our government had just invested our money in low-risk interest-earning accounts.

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5 Myths About Social Security Often Accepted as Facts
By Brenton Smith

The discussion of Social Security has degenerated into a shouting match in no small part because ideology is more important than fact in any exchange.

Pundits are more interested in the sound of the bite than its accuracy. As a result everyone has a fact that is someone else’s myth. The consequence is fairly simple. We have polarized stalemate in which victory is claimed by the person who can shout the loudest.

Here are 5 staples of the debate that are entirely untrue.

1. Social Security has not added one penny to the deficit.

2.Social Security can pay every penny of benefit to every eligible American for 17 years.S

3.Social Security is going/is not going bankrupt.

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Proposal To Slow COLAs Not Accurate
For Adjusting Social Security Benefits,

Warns Senior Citizens League


The Social Security COLA is provided to help protect the buying power of benefits when costs rise due to inflation. Yet even under the current method of adjusting benefits, Social Security benefits have lost 30 percent of buying power since 2000, according to a recent report released by TSCL. "Switching to the chained CPI would mean the erosion in the buying power of Social Security benefits would occur at faster rates than is already occurring today," says Johnson. "That puts retirees at higher risk of depleting retirement savings more quickly than expected, going into debt, and going without." According to Johnson's analysis, if the proposal were to take effect this year, average benefits would be about $35 per month lower by 2026, and about $92 per month lower in 20 years.

Some policy analysts argue that the "chained" CPI is more accurate, but the Congressional Budget Office has stated that using that index has limitations. Unlike the conventional consumer price index in which final data from one month to the next is available in about two weeks, final data for the chained CPI isn't available until well over a year and a half. "That means preliminary estimates that are subject to error would have to be used for indexing," Johnson explains.

The proposal to switch to the chained CPI has come up numerous times during past budget negotiations over lifting the federal debt limit. Most recently the proposal appeared last December in a 2016 House bill that would reform Social Security, and in an alternate fiscal year 2017 budget proposed by the Republican Study Committee.

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How to Fix Social Security
by Suzanne Woolley

We all know Social Security has long-term cash-flow issues. How would you describe the challenge?

The recent Social Security trustee’s report said the same exact thing it’s said almost every year since 1992 or 1993. We have a deficit—it’s a little bigger now than in the past—that’s equivalent to 2 percent to 3 percent of taxable payrolls, and we need to fix it. Every year the actuaries tell us there’s a deficit; every year as a nation we do nothing. It’s very easy to put off making changes for something that won’t happen. You really won’t see anything until the trust fund actually is exhausted in 2034. At that point, benefits have to be cut or revenue increased, because the system is not allowed to pay out money that it does not have.

By the way, when people talk about how the Social Security deficit will lead to big increases in the budget deficit, well, Social Security can’t run a deficit. When people say that, either they don’t understand how the law works or are trying to create alarm about the system.

One misconception about Social Security is that it should be enough to live on, which was never really the intent. How much income does it actually replace for workers?

The current level of tax revenues coming in mean that the replacement rate—benefits relative to pre-retirement earnings—would drop from 36 percent for the typical 65-year-old worker right before the trust fund is exhausted to about 27 percent by 2070. That’s a level we last saw in the 1950s. Right now, the replacement rate is already set to decrease from 39 percent to 36 percent for those claiming Social Security benefits at age 65. That’s because of the gradual increase in full retirement age, from 65 to 67, that was part of the legislation in 1983.

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Social Security nice for double-dippers who use it twice, audit finds
By Paul Muschick

Social Security improperly paid an estimated $170 million to double-dippers, some of whom were dead, according to an audit released last week by the agency’s inspector general. If the errors aren’t corrected, the tab will grow, with another $21 million paid in the next year, the audit said.

The problems stem from the fact that in certain circumstances people can have more than one Social Security number. Those eligible for multiple ones, according to the agency’s website, include victims of identity theft; people enduring harassment, abuse or life endangerment; those with religious or cultural objections to certain digits in their original number; and members of the same family who have sequential numbers that are causing problems.

The original number and new number are supposed to be associated in the agency’s records so it is clear they pertain to the same individual. That is to ensure the person receives credit for their earnings, which are used to determine their eligibility for payments, and to prevent someone from claiming benefits under multiple numbers.

But as too often happens in the bureaucratic bungle that is our federal government, the system doesn’t always work as intended.

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SS Questions and Answeres

How Do Social Security Survivors Benefits Add Up?
By Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz

Dear Carrie, My husband and I are each getting Social Security based on our own work records. When one of us dies, will the survivor collect both benefits, or do we need to plan for substantially reduced income? —A Reader

Dear Reader, There's a misconception about survivor benefits that when both spouses are collecting Social Security and one dies, the surviving spouse gets both benefits. Unfortunately, that's just not so. While on the surface that might make sense, Uncle Sam isn't that generous.
The rules can be somewhat complex depending on your age and marital status but in your case it's pretty straightforward. Since you and your husband are each currently collecting benefits, if one of you passes away, the survivor has two choices — either keep getting their own benefit or switch to a survivor benefit. It all depends on whose benefit is higher.
Let's say your Social Security benefit is higher than your husband's and he passes away before you do. As the surviving spouse, you may be eligible for a $255 lump sum death benefit for which you'd need to apply — but nothing more. Because your Social Security monthly payment was higher than your husband's, you would simply continue to receive your own benefit.

A great time of day to get some Summer sun here at the ALF
When it’s still cool and the grass has just been cut

Study examines how polypharmacy affects
walking while talking in older adults


"Polypharmacy" is the term used when someone takes many (usually five or more) different medications. Experts suggest that, for most older adults, taking that many medications may not be medically necessary. Taking multiple medications also can be linked to problems such as falls, frailty, disability, and even death. Polypharmacy also is a problem for older adults due to side effects or interactions resulting from the use of different medications. Older adults may have difficulties taking the medications properly, and the medications may interfere with a person's ability to function well.

The ability to walk well is a sign of independence and good health for older adults, for example, and it may be affected by the use of multiple medications. Although healthcare providers know that some treatments can slow or hamper an older person's ability to walk, little is known about the effects of polypharmacy on walking while performing other tasks, like talking. In a new study, researchers examined how polypharmacy affected walking while talking. They published their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Among the 482 participants in the study, 34 percent used five or more medications during the study period (June 2011-February 2016); 10 percent used more than eight medications. The participants were mostly in their late 70s.

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How Patients Can Avoid Dangerous Medical Care

There is no doubt that doctors make mistakes, just like people in every other profession. Who hasn’t heard of a surgeon who removed the wrong organ or a gynecologist who missed the symptoms of ovarian cancer? Of course, when doctors fall short, the consequences can be deadly. They rightly should face more scrutiny.

In that way, Dr. Erika Schwartz has done a service with her recent book, Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You: How to Beat Physician Arrogance, Corporate Greed and a Broken System. She does what most other physicians do not do: She dares to attack her fellow doctors, arguing that that medical care is often not only ineffective, but downright dangerous.

The book is sure to appeal to anyone who has had a bad experience with a doctor, hospital or drug company. I personally found Schwartz’s tone overly shrill and self-aggrandizing, however. (And I am deeply suspicious of doctors who sell expensive vitamins and supplements on their personal websites, as Schwartz does.)

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How to Stand Up for Yourself at the Doctor's Office

Maybe you have been in your doctor’s office, trying to make an appointment and got stonewalled by the receptionist. Or maybe your physician isn’t taking your concerns about a procedure’s or a drug’s side effects seriously. Not only is this frustrating, it could potentially damage your health in the long term if you don’t get treatment or undergo an unsuitable treatment.

That’s why self-advocacy is an important skill for anyone navigating the medical system.

If you’ve had several challenging encounters with the same provider or office, it may be time to find a new doctor, said Linden.

You can’t get an appointment with the specialist you need.
Your doctor isn’t taking your complaints about side effects or symptoms seriously.

You feel pressured into a treatment you don’t want.

You can’t get a clear explanation of when you’ll be discharged from the hospital.

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Drug prices expected to rise nearly 8% next year

The drug classes that will likely see the highest price spikes include those treating rheumatoid arthritis, such as AbbVie's Humira at 14.8%; multiple sclerosis drugs, including Biogen's Tecfidera at 9.1%; and certain cancer drugs, such as Genentech's Rituxan at 4.8%.

The forecast highlighted several factors behind rising pharmaceutical prices including the manipulation of the orphan drug classification and a lack of competition among suppliers that can lead to drug shortages.

Increasing generic competition has been the primary focus of regulators and lawmakers. The Food and Drug Administration outlined its efforts to increase competition in the generic-drug market at its hearing last week on the Hatch-Waxman Amendments, where healthcare experts discussed how to close regulatory loopholes drug companies use to thwart competition. The CREATES Act and FAST Generics Act also look to scale back an FDA program that branded-drug manufacturers sometimes use to bar generic competitors from accessing product samples and performing bioequivalence tests. The FAST Generics Act could potentially save up to $5.4 billion a year in reduced drug costs, lawmakers said.

The FDA has taken some steps to curb drug prices, including posting a list of branded drugs that are not protected by a patent and don't face looming generic-drug competition in an effort to increase transparency and encourage generic development. It plans to eliminate the existing orphan drug request backlog, of which there are about 200, and create a system for timely response deadlines for all future requests. It is also looking to fast-track its review of applications for generics, known as abbreviated new drug applications, for drugs with less than four competitors—a policy move that the FDA called the first of its kind.


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


Ageism In Health Care and the Danger of Senior Profiling

Hospitalized patients are often very different than their usual selves. As we age, we become more vulnerable to medication side effects, infections and delirium. And so the chance of an elderly hospitalized patient being acutely impaired is much higher than the general population.

Unfortunately, many hospital-based physicians and surgeons — and certainly nurses and therapists — have little or no prior knowledge of the patient in their care. The patient’s “normal baseline” must often be reconstructed with the help of family members and friends. This takes precious time and often goes undone.

Years ago, a patient’s family doctor would admit him or her to the hospital and provide care there. Now that the breadth and depth of our treatments have given birth to an army of sub-specialists, we have increased access to life-saving interventions at the expense of knowing those patients who need them.

If you had the radio on in your car 50 years ago this week, and were listening to a top 40 radio station, chances are this record would be playing. It was number 1 on the charts on August 5th back in 1967


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* * *

© Bruce Cooper, 2017

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This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


WCenterBlog Thursday, July 27th 2017- Wed. Aug. 2.

Watch this space for breaking news

Seniors beware: New con targets Social Security checks
ByKathy Kristof

Government officials are warning about a rash of cons targeting Social Security beneficiaries.

Posing as agents for the government's cornerstone retirement program, the latest con tries to trick seniors into "verifying" private information -- including Social Security numbers, birth dates and parents' names -- purportedly to provide the senior with a cost-of-living increase in their benefits.

If the senior provides all the requested information, the scammer uses it to contact the real Social Security Administration in an effort to change the person's direct deposit information and steal benefit checks, said Gale Stallworth Stone, Social Security's Acting Inspector General, in a statement.

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled as Medicare’s first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card. Johnson wanted to recognize Truman, who, in 1945,had becomethe first president to propose national health insurance, an initiative that was opposed at the time by Congress.

Is 70 the New 60? Study Says 'Old Age' Definition Needs to Change
By Korin MillerWriter

It’s pretty obvious that getting older isn’t the same as it used to be. More senior citizens are healthy, adventurous, and actively engaged in society than their counterparts were even 10 years ago. Now researchers say the way aging is measured should change too.

Under traditional definitions, 65 is the start of what’s known as “old age.” But people are living longer than they ever have before, and are active for much longer. That’s why a new study to be published in the journal PLOS One argues that the definition of old age should be based on the number of years people are expected to live in a given country.

 “As life expectancy increases, the years that people stay healthy, productive, and lead active lifestyles has increased as well. The divisions between middle age and older age will definitely be redefined.”

The study uses new ways of measuring aging, combined with projections from the U.N., and predicts that population aging (when the median age rises in a country because of increasing life expectancy and lower fertility rates) will end in the U.S. before the end of the century. Population aging is often concerning for countries because it leads to fewer people in the workforce as well as increased burdens on society. Researchers predict that population aging will peak in Germany by 2040 and by 2070 in China, while the U.S. will have very little population aging in the future.

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Aging population faces transportation obstacles

As the transportation needs of the aging baby boomer population increase, researchers and service providers are at a crossroads as they seek to find effective solutions for the challenges impeding availability and accessibility -- particularly to those living in rural areas.

"Rural transit providers are still operating with the same budget that they were 18 years ago," Penn said in a written statement. "If you consider inflation over the past 18 years, you can get a very clear picture on how big of a problem this is not only for BTD as a provider, but also for the elderly who are in severe need of transportation services."

Transportation is not always easily accessible, and it's not always affordable, For example, seniors can't always walk to bus stops or manage the temperature, depending on if it is cold or hot. ... We have a lot of seniors who are isolated and at home because of transportation issues.

The researchers also pointed out that while many of the challenges may be similar, there are no "one-size-fits-all" solutions for transportation providers across the country.

Looking forward, regardless of how those invested in the transportation of seniors choose to address the challenges, Mjelde said it is clear "this is a problem that is not going to go away.

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Insider Tips for Getting Rid of Large Items
SeniorsResourceGuide.com LLC

Do you run into a situation where you need to get rid of trash, but your normal trash company will not pick it up. Here are the top 3 items that our customers call in to be hauled away. …

Let's start out with the first situation. Mattress

Second situation - Refrigerator….

Final Situation - Large Old Tube TV

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When Boomers Inherit Their Parents Possessions

Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

“It’s the biggest challenge our members have and it’s getting worse,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

“At least a half dozen times a year, families come to me and say: ‘What do we do with all this stuff?’' The answer: lots of luck.

Dining room tables and chairs, end tables and armoires (“brown” pieces) have become furniture non grata. Antiques are antiquated. “Old mahogany stuff from my great aunt’s house is basically worthless,” says Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation, in Luray, Va.

On PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, prices for certain types of period furniture have dropped so much that some episode reruns note current, lower estimated appraisals.

And if you’re thinking your grown children will gladly accept your parents’ items, if only for sentimental reasons, you’re likely in for an unpleasant surprise. ….

What else can you do to avoid finding yourself forlorn in your late parents’ home, broken up about the breakfront that’s going begging? Some suggestions:

1. Start mobilizing while your parents are around.
2. Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can.
3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ art, furniture, china or crystal.
4. Get the jewelry appraised.
5. Look for a nearby consignment shop that might take some items.
6. See if someone locally could use what you inherited.
7. Download the free Rightsizing and Relocation Guide from the National Association of Senior Move Managers.
8. But perhaps the best advice is: Prepare for disappointment.

What lies ahead: preparing Pagans for long-term care
Terence P Ward

Pagan and polytheist religions, or at least the modern versions of them, have only been publicly practicing for a few decades at best. Therefore, a relatively small number of practitioners have entered into an elderhood which requires residence at a nursing home or other long-term-care facility. Those numbers are only likely to grow in the coming years.

Timothy Anderson (Timotheos) is a program director for an assisted living facility, and while he isn’t aware of any Pagans or polytheists at his job, the issue is close to his heart. Anderson recently made a presentation on Paganism at a conference of the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals

“By law, they must be allowed to practice their faith,” he explained, but ignorance of what that entails can be an impediment. Indeed, staff members must even assist residents unable to practice without help, so long as that doesn’t interfere with the rights of others. That might mean allowing a resident to maintain an altar in their room, or perhaps helping that resident lift an athame to salute the directions….

Column: Ending Medicare as we know it under GOP plan
By Sander Levin

Recent actions by Republicans in Congress painfully highlight that President Donald Trump’s pledge to not cut Medicare is becoming yet another broken promise to the American people.

Last week House Republicans passed in committee a budget proposal that would replace the guarantee of future Medicare benefits with a voucher, and that would cut Medicare funding by $487 billion over the next decade. This attack on benefits for senior citizens is particularly misguided in a budget designed to pave the way for enormous tax breaks for the wealthy and for large corporations.

Converting Medicare to a “premium support” system, as the Republican budget proposes, would replace the program’s guarantee of health coverage with a flat payment that beneficiaries would use to purchase coverage. In effect, it would turn Medicare into a voucher system that would erode the basic value of its benefits and leave seniors facing higher medical expenses.

Republicans claim that current seniors would be exempt from this change, but once the basic guarantee of Medicare is eliminated for some, it will be at immediate risk for all. Furthermore, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation points out that premiums would likely rise for people on Medicare who are “grandfathered” if younger, lower-cost beneficiaries are enrolled in a new voucher program. An analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that a voucher plan could in fact raise premiums for those left in traditional Medicare by as much as 94 percent — almost doubling what they currently pay….

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Job training program for seniors target of
Trump administration budget cuts

By Jordan Larimore

The program, sometimes referred to as SCSEP, is funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, and has been earmarked for a funding cut of $100 million by President Donald Trump after his administration originally proposed to completely eliminate it earlier this year. Trump's original budget outline said the program does not meet "major statutory goals of fostering economic self-sufficiency." The document said the seniors could get help instead under the 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs, which apply to job seekers of all ages.

The program is currently funded through June 30, 2018, but the Trump administration's proposed cut would lead to the elimination of SCSEP in several states, including Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, said Debra Carter, the program's national director. Carter was the featured speaker at Tuesday's meeting, where she made a passionate call for participants of the program to mobilize support for it.

In calling for the program's elimination, Trump's budget proposal said it is too costly, inefficient and ineffective. Carter pushed back on those claims Tuesday, citing the 55-year-old program's requirements that it place more than 50 percent of participants in jobs each year in order to continue to receive funding.

Now It’s My Turn

Now You Can Call Me Four Eyes
How a new pair of specs helped me find my inner nerd, and the bread aisle

Actually, I have been wearing glasses for many years but only for reading and lately, for watching TV. However, a few months ago I noticed a radical change in my vision. Not only did I have problems seeing the television clearly or the computer screen without squinting, now everything was blurry and out of focus.

I really first noticed this decline in ocular acuity while I was walking down the aisle of my local supermarket. I realized that I could barely see the labels on the cans and boxes let alone read them. The signs at the ends of each aisle describing what was to be found if I ventured further might well have been in another language.

Arriving back home I noticed that everything around me looked funny. I could see shapes and recognize people, but the paintings on the wall were blurry as were the door frames, the pattern in the carpet and the floor numbers in the elevator. In fact, all of this fuzziness was making me dizzy. And for an old man with a balance problem, this was not good.

Reaching into my pocket for the only pair of glasses I had (the ones I used for reading) and putting them on did very little to help, actually, it made me dizzier.

Could it be that, after all of these years, I had become one of THOSE people? You know, the people who have to wear glasses ALL OF THE TIME?

I’m talking about the folks who are referred to as “Four-eyes”, “Spec’s”, “Specasaurus”, “Googly”, “Clark Kent”, and “Sir Specs-a-lot.” Or worse, the one euphemism that even today makes me cringe, “NERD.”

Visions of me suddenly walking around with a pocket protector and three leaky ballpoint pens sticking out of it filled my head.

I could see a young Donald Trump threatening to punch me in the nose if I didn’t surrender my lunch money.

Was a piece of white adhesive tape holding the two broken halves of my new glasses together at the bridge soon to be in my future?

I started to convince myself that seeing clearly was not that important. I no longer drive or walk great distances like I used to. And it wasn’t as if I didn’t know where I was going. After all, I’ve been here for five years. I know these halls like the back of my hand which, by the way, I can't see very clearly either.

The problem is, I am not a glasses person. I don’t have the face for it due to the rather large protuberance (some call it a nose) I have sticking out of my head.

Every time I wear glasses it looks like I’ve put on a Groucho Marx mask. All I’m missing is the bushy eyebrows and the cigar.

Faced with the possibility of chronic nerdiness and further diminishing my status in the eyes of my friends, I put off going to the eye doc for a couple of months. All the while observing my eyesight get worse and worse.

Finally, I could take it no longer. It took another spectacle-free trip to the market that convinced me. I found I could not distinguish a melon from a grapefruit and tomato from a pomegranate.

The next day I checked my records to see when I last received a pair of glasses. Fortunately, it was well within the eligibility guidelines set forth by the government for free glasses. I made an appointment, got my eyes examined, picked out the least “nerdy” pair of frames they had and four weeks later (yes I know it’s a long wait, but what do you expect for free), and I was now the proud owner of my very own every day, walking around pair of specs.

I soon found out that with new every day glasses comes a certain amount of responsibility.

There is an implied obligation on the part of the wearer to make sure no harm comes to the glasses.

Always put them back in their case (unlike my reading glasses that I throw down next to whatever I’m reading, or my computer glasses which are always folded and placed face up on the keyboard).

Always make sure they are clean and, heavens forbid that when they do become schmutzy, I should use anything but a special cleaning cloth.

And finally, never forget to take them with you. Not only won’t you be able to see clearly but you risk the possibility that people will not recognize you without them.

Also, like any new “toy” there are the ACCESSORIES that one can buy to enhance your glasses wearing experience.

One of those “must have” add-ons is the cushioned nose guards that stick on the bridge of the glasses to prevent you from getting that tell-tale indentation mark on the bridge of your nose. A sure indication that you are a first-class nerd.

The next thing is the clip-on sunglasses because, unless you want to spend a fortune on prescription sunglasses, this is the only way you are ever going to look cool again. I have already ordered a pair and will hopefully arrive before the middle of the week when the sun is scheduled to re-appear. That leaves only one other accessory.

The beaded eyeglass chain.

It does not matter how old you are. You will, upon attaching a set of eyeglass chains to your glasses and putting them on your head, will immediately become a 58-year-old spinster English teacher from Iowa.

And, if you are already a 58-year-old English teacher from Iowa you can take heart in the fact that you will never ever again be asked for an ID to get the senior discount at Fuddruckers.

I’ve been wearing my new glasses for about a week now and I can safely say that nobody has called me any names. In fact, I think I may have actually gained some new respect. And, as I continue to wear them on a more or less permanent basis, I actually think I look rather good in them. They certainly have given me a rather distinguished appearance that only comes from no longer having to squint at everything and everybody.

And yes, I actually think they have improved my balance a bit because I am no longer bouncing off the walls as i walk down the hall.


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

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How social media and technology
are changing the lives of the elderly

By Alicia Matsuura

Older adults across the United States are adjusting to a world of advancing technology. Not only are they accepting the changes, but some are actively implementing technology in their daily lives.

“It’s nice to know you have other relatives, more family than just the immediate family here,” Weinstein said. “Just finding people with the same background, same name is amazing. It was a very interesting thing that would have never happened if it wasn’t for the internet and Facebook.”

According to a May 2017 study conducted by Pew Research Center, 67 percent of adults age 65 and older in the United States were active online users in 2016 — a big jump from 2000 when only 14 percent of seniors claimed to be internet users.

Over the next decade as the baby boomer generation continues to age, the number of seniors using the internet is expected to increase, highlighting benefits and challenges of its impact on a large aging population — including both positive and negative effects on the brain.

Connecting with family members and friends is just one way the internet has positively impacted the lives of older adults. Getting online also gives seniors a tool for managing and researching health issues and a way to increase brain activity.

“(Technology) trains our brains to be in some ways less creative as we jump from idea to idea, just the way we jump from website to website,” Small said. “To really solve complex problems, you need quiet time to be thoughtful. You need to delve into things and not be distracted.”

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Why Senior Citizens (And Not Just Milennials)
Should Use Google Keep


Google Keep is something non-techies and Senior Citizens can use just as well as millennials. I just discovered Google Keep today while browsing through my Android. It’s a yellow square icon with a light bulb on it and the bottom right corner is folded in. That description should tell you why you should read this hub. I’m not very techie, but I can make techie stuff sound fun and normal and easy to understand. The first thing you have to do is learn how to get this free app.

How to get Google Keep

1. Open the Google Play app.

2.    Download Google Keep. (Remember? The yellow one with the light bulb and a folded corner)

3.   Press install.

This software is free and does so many wonderful things.

What does Google Keep do?

It saves everything you input. Google Keep is a place to keep your lists, notes, memos, happy pictures with captions, drawings and the like. It could be a shopping list, a to-do list, notes to self, et. al. You can even upload or take pictures and add a photo caption. All of these are automatically saved on Google Docs, so nothing you put on Googe Keep gets lost. Let’s break down the functions a bit more….

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Apps that enable smartphones to perform
like generic hearing aids


Apps are available to enable a smartphone to perform like a generic hearing aid. These apps promote the audibility of sound by amplifying it and directing it to the headphones. Some apps contain programming features that allow the user to alter the sound and filter out unwanted noises. Below are a few examples of these applications:

The BioAid app was developed by a team of researchers at the University of Essex. It features 6 fixed programming profiles that are based upon the most common types of hearing loss. The user selects the profile that best reflects their hearing loss and then chooses one of 4 programming options to fine tune the settings. BioAid is currently available for Apple products. It is free of charge and can be found here.

The hearing help app features a 16 band frequency equalizer, a noise filter, and dynamic compression. While the programming options may take a little bit of time to figure out, hearing help can be used to increase the volume level, reduce surrounding noise, and promote the audibility of higher frequencies. It costs $4.99 and can be found here.

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People Share Their Top 'I'm Out Of Funds' Foods.
By Veracia Ankrah
The following AskRedditors shared their responses to the question, "Reddit, what's your favorite poor man food?"

1. Hot Cereal Made With Rice

2. More Rice!

3. Noodles For The Win

For more responses take a look at the original thread at the end of the article.

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40% underestimate assisted living costs
By Lois A. Bowers

Almost 40% of families underestimate how much assisted living will cost, according to data from A Place For Mom.

The median midpoint of a family's monthly budget for assisted living was less than $3,500 based on more than 40,000 families of residents who moved to one of the company's partner communities between January 2014 and February 2016, writes Ben Hanowell, a senior living researcher and data scientist for the senior living referral service, in a blog post. The actual median monthly cost, however, is more than $3,800, he adds.

“While providers don't list prices in part to encourage tours and avoid sticker shock, the lack of price transparency is not simply a marketing tactic,” he says. “Care needs vary widely among prospective residents, who often do not understand those needs upfront. This makes it hard to list prices accurately without risking information overload.”

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Why People Don't Buy Long-Term Care Insurance

When it comes to long-term care, two facts stand out. First, an estimated 70 percent of people will need such care, which will be costly. And second, most of them refuse to buy insurance to cover it.

Part of the explanation, no doubt, is that long-term-care insurance is expensive. Some people also may be assuming, incorrectly, that they will qualify for government assistance to help them pay for nursing home care. Rules are in place to disqualify many who won’t meet the strict conditions required.

But our research suggests that a deeper problem may be that consumers are looking at long-term-care policies in the wrong way; and, just as important, that insurers may be missing opportunities to tweak their products in ways that might address and overcome some of the root causes of those misunderstandings.

For instance, in a study we conducted recently, we found that many people regard long-term-care insurance as having no real value if ultimately the payouts aren’t needed. That is, instead of looking at long-term-care insurance primarily as financial protection, many people think of it as an investment — and a bad one at that. They see the premiums as money that would be wasted if the policy owner ultimately doesn’t need long-term care. They don’t think about the catastrophic losses a policy could help them avoid. …

Telling the Difference Between Forgetfulness and Dementia

Do you forget where you put your keys? Are you confounded when you see your neighbor’s youngest son and can’t remember his name? And where are your reading glasses?

How much forgetfulness is normal — and when should you be concerned?

Becoming more forgetful is a natural part of aging, experts agree.

“Our brains age just like the rest of our bodies,” says Dr. Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center and co-author with Gigi Vorgan of Two Weeks to a Younger Brain. “One of the manifestations of brain age is forgetfulness. It’s a common experience. We joke about it all the time. The concern behind all the humor is that these changes may be the first sign of something more serious. How do you differentiate the normal from dementia?”

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to that question, says Dr. Richard C. Senelick, a neurologist and medical director of Health South in San Antonio, Texas.

One reason we forget is that we haven’t given the information meaning. If something’s meaningful, it’s memorable. …

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As far as I know, this is the only hit record ever to come out of Japan

music nostalgia 1963 "Sukiyaki

Play >> https://youtu.be/vS95wcsA0UY

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Sorry ladies. I couldn’t resist

* * *

© Bruce Cooper, 2017

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This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


WCenterBlog Thursday July 20th - Wednesday, July 26th 2017

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Letter: McCain demonstrates why Americans need health care
Phil Ryan
To the buffalonews.com

Doesn’t it seem a little ironic that a 70-year-old senator out sick held up a health care vote that would have slashed Medicaid by billions?

Sen. John McCain is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, few and far between in Congress, and a senior citizen with the best health care on the planet who will have no hospital bill from his recent surgery.

Those affected the most by said Republican health care plan would have been the sick, elderly on Medicaid and veterans. And the one Republican they needed is a sick elderly veteran eligible for Medicaid.

Sen. John McCain is a man who I have all the respect in the world for, as both as a Vietnam vet and a person. I am also a Vietnam veteran nearing 70 and in good health. But I surely don’t want to see Medicaid

Read entire letter >> http://buffalonews.com/2017/07/21/letter-mccain-demonstrates-why-americans-need-health-care/

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The US is losing ground to other nations on retirement security
Jessica Dickler

July 20, 2017

Among the leading nations for retirement security, the United States didn't even crack the top 15, according to the 2017 Global Retirement Index by Natixis Global Asset Management.

Europe, however, continued to dominate the top spots, with Norway at No. 1 for the second year in a row, followed by Switzerland and Iceland. Sweden ranked No. 4 and New Zealand rounded out the top 5, Natixis reported.

The top 20 nations, along with their standing in last year's Global Retirement Index, are:

1. Norway (No. 1 in 2016)     6. Australia (6)     11. Canada (10)     16. Czech Republic (18)
2. Switzerland (2)     7. Germany (7)     12. Finland (11)     17. United States (14)
3. Iceland (3)     8. Denmark (12)     13. Austira (9)     18. United Kingdom (17)
4. Sweden (5)     9. Netherlands (8)     14. Ireland (16)     19. France (20)
5. New Zealand (4)     10. Luxembourg (13)     15. Belgium (15)     20. Israel (19)

With more retirees around the world responsible for their own financial security, the countries that ranked the best benefited from a combination of strong social programs, widely accessible health care and low levels of income inequality, according to Natixis.

Go to story >> http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/18/the-us-is-losing-ground-to-other-nations-on-retirement-security.html

You Should Never Believe These Myths About Assisted Living
By Lauren Hamer
In a world gone crazy with “fake news,” it’s hard not to believe at least a few myths. Recent scrutiny of the fate of America’s health care system has put our services under the microscope — for better or worse. We know the baby boomers are about to invade our nursing home facilities and hospitals as they age. A study by the Department of Health and Human Services found 70% of people over age 65 will require long-term care at some point.

With that, America gasps in fear. The rumors about assisted living, or “death traps,” are frightening. Yes, they are expensive. And no, forgoing parts of your independence is not always a pleasant experience. But that’s a tough pill to swallow at any age.

Luckily, there’s a silver lining to this eventuality. We’re setting the record straight and debunking the 15 most common myths about assisted living.
1. The standard of care is abysmal

2. Residents often receive improper medications.
pharmacy technician

3. Disease runs rampant

4. The food sucks

5. It’s a glorified hospital

6. You surrender the right to make your own decisions

7. The whole place is dirty and gross

8. All residents are crazy

9. No privacy

10. Residents are lonely

11. Once you enter, you’ll never leave

12. Medicare or health insurance will cover the cost

13. You must separate from your spouse

14. The facilities aren’t licensed

15. You’ll have to fend for yourself

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Best Places to Live on Only a Social Security Check
Teo Spengler

With average spending on groceries hitting $240, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and average national rent for a one-bedroom apartment sitting between $900 and $1,200, you may be wondering whether you can afford to live on Social Security benefits.

But fear not, it is possible to live on Social Security alone — you just need to know where to live.

Springfield, Mo.
Athens, Ga.

Tucson, Ariz

Mobile, Ala.

Shreveport, La.

Reno, Nev.

Albuquerque, N.M.

Oklahoma City

Fort Wayne, Ind

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Johns Hopkins In-Home Aging Program Shows Big Results
By Tim Regan

Senior living providers might want to pay attention to a promising Johns Hopkins program that proves small changes can make a big difference.

The program, dubbed Capable (Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders), combines three key elements of senior care services: nursing care, occupational therapy services and home improvement. For every $3,000 spent per program participant, the program saves Medicare more than $10,000, according to recent results published in Health Affairs.

One of the most surprising aspects of the program has been its ability to result in big savings through relatively minor investments—like better lighting at home—that can help keep seniors out of outpatient and hospital settings.

To qualify for the program, low-income seniors must report they have trouble with at least one activity of daily living (ADL). Seniors are enrolled in the program for four months and can receive the program’s services over several visits.

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Accessing Long-Term Care Shouldn’t Be So Hard
By Holly Martin

Thinking about long-term care can feel overwhelming. People are living longer than ever, often with a very high quality of life, but even the normal aging process can bring with it a loss of independence. For the many people who have spent their lives working hard, raising families and taking care of themselves and others, that loss of independence is hard to handle. Additionally, most families only begin to consider their long- term care options when a loved one is already experiencing a care crisis. At that point, they are left looking for help during an emotional and desperate time.

Technology has the ability to simplify industries that struggle with efficiency, including the long-term care industry. It can democratize information so that you can access and understand the information you need in order to advocate for yourself and your family. Ultimately, it has the potential to empower families to take charge of their long-term care plans.

There are three main areas in which technology can help:

Finding Care

Understanding Funding

Individualized Planning

Physicians Express Unease Around Deprescribing, Suggest Changes
By Marcia Frellick

Most physicians sampled in new research agreed that although deprescribing among older adults is important, there are substantial barriers for doing so, and little incentive for making the changes.

Their findings were published in the July/August edition of the Annals of Family Medicine.

1 in 5 Prescriptions Potentially Inappropriate

Primary care physicians do most of the regular prescribing, and high-risk prescribing in older patients is common: 1 in 5 prescriptions is potentially inappropriate in this population, the authors write. They add, "Up to 10% of hospital admissions result from drug-related problems, two-thirds of which are considered preventable through safer prescribing."

Appropriate prescribing involves regular review of indicated medicines and tapering and withdrawing them when the potential harms outweigh the benefits.

But deprescribing comes with risks, including possible medical harm and potential harm to the relationships with patients and their families, according to the analysis of physician interviews.

Physicians interviewed reported uncertainty surrounding which medications patients were getting from different providers. Such uncertainty can lead to fear of adverse events from deprescribing. Fears also included reputational damage.

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Clean Air Can Be Dangerous Too
By Dr. Mallika Marshall

There is a lot of talk about climate change but we often forget that the same pollutants warming the earth are also making it hard for us to breathe.  As Dr. Mallika Marshall reports, local researchers, in one of the largest studies of its kind, have found that even relatively clean air can have deadly consequences.

Everyone has to breathe, but the air we breathe, even in the most rural places, could be killing us.  That’s according to a study conducted by Francesca Dominici and her colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health which examined data on more 60 million senior citizens over a 12 year period.

“What we found,” says Dominici, “Is that the level of pollution that we breathe, even when these levels are low and much lower than the safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, can increase the risk of death among our senior citizens.”

Most of the air pollution comes from coal-fired power plants and traffic, but fine particulate matter can travel long distances and when inhaled, penetrates deep into the lungs triggering inflammation.  That can lead to heart and lung disease….

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More follow-up needed for elderly 'observed' in hospitals

When elderly patients stay in U.S. hospitals for “observation” but aren’t officially admitted, there’s a high likelihood they’ll soon be back for more hospital care, a new study shows.

One in five patients covered by Medicare, the federal insurance program for people over age 65, who were observed in a hospital but not admitted returned for a repeat visit within a month, researchers found.

Financial incentives and disincentives have led to an increase in the number of Medicare patients who spend up to 48 hours being observed in the hospital without being admitted. Today, 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries are observed in hospitals each year, according to Dr. Kumar Dharmarajan, who led the study.

The new findings suggest that clinicians might need to focus more attention on caring for patients once they return home after being observed in the hospital, said Dharmarajan, a geriatrician and cardiologist at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

“These people are quite vulnerable after discharge,” he said in a phone interview. “We need to think hard about helping improve transitions as people leave observation services.”

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Seniors' well-being may depend more on
psychological factors than physical ones

By Ana Sandoiu

New research suggests that anxiety and depression may affect seniors' well-being more than physical ailments.

Old age often comes with physical discomfort and health problems. But new research points to psychosocial, not physical, factors as the main culprit for lower well-being in later life.

 'Aging-induced physical ailments are not the primary source of lower quality of life and decreased well-being among older men and women, new research suggests. Rather, it is psychosocial factors that have the highest influence, according to the new findings. '

The study, which is published in the journal BMC Geriatrics, was carried out by scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), both in Germany.

"What made the study particularly interesting was the fact that the impact of stress on emotional well-being has barely been investigated in a broader, non-clinical context," says first author Dr. Karoline Lukaschek, an epidemiologist in the Mental Health Research Group. "Our study therefore explicitly included anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders."

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'Pet therapy' could be putting residents, others in danger
By Alyssa Salela

As “pet therapy” programs become more popular, a new study finds that senior living communities often deviate from animal visitation guidelines meant to protect residents, staff, visitors and the animals.

Twenty-two percent of eldercare facilities surveyed by researchers at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University did not have policies related to animal visitation, and approximately 40% of eldercare facilities required only minimal written health records of the animals that visited to provide therapy. By comparison, 4% of hospitals had written policies related to animal visitation, and 16% of hospitals required only minimal written health records for therapy animals.

Studies have shown that animal-assisted intervention programs, as they formally are known, can lower blood pressure, improve mood and delay the onset for dementia, according to the researchers, but many concerns exist. …

Rheumatoid arthritis: Regular fish intake may ease symptoms
By Honor Whiteman

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis might want to increase their fish intake; a new study suggests that regular fish consumption may help to alleviate symptoms of the condition.

Researchers found that eating fish at least twice weekly led to a reduction in disease activity among people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), compared with eating fish less than once per month.

What is more, reduced disease activity was achieved with every additional portion of fish consumed each week.

Study leader Dr. Sara Tedeschi, of the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, MA, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

RA is a chronic, progressive condition in which the immune system mistakingly attacks the joints, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. RA can affect any joint, but it most commonly occurs in the joints of the wrists and hands.

Over time, inflammation of the joints may lead to a breakdown of cartilage, which is the connective tissue that protects the ends of bones. This can lead to joint deformities and mobility problems.

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Vegan Mayo Maker Hampton Creek
Joins the Lab-Grown Meat Arms Race

By Caleb Pershan

San Francisco’s plant-based food maker Hampton Creek has announced that it will now produce animal-free meat, joining the “clean meat” arms race of companies trying to produce lab-grown animal-matter meat, without the animal. CEO Josh Tetrick announced the plans on LinkedIn, writing that he hopes to get products in the marketplace by 2018. That could mean supplying grocery stores, restaurants, or both.

The movement towards lab-grown meats, which are grown in-vitro from cell cultures harvested from living animals, has been embraced by the vegan community, hailing it as “the beginning of the end for abusive animal ag industries.” In his LinkedIn post, Tetrick emphasizes that the impetus for the company’s research is less about animal rights and more about creating an environmentally sustainable and accessible food system for the planet. “At current rates, production of meat and seafood around the world will double to 1.2 trillion pounds by 2050,” he writes. “Our planet cannot afford to supply the water, fuel, pesticides, and fertilizer that industrialized animal production requires. It can’t afford the polluted water or the biodiversity loss. It can’t afford the moral inconsistencies.”

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Scientists develop new supplement that can repair,
 rejuvenate muscles in older adults


Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found to greatly improve the physical strength of a growing cohort: senior citizens.

The deterioration of muscle mass and strength that is a normal part of aging -known as sarcopenia—can increase the risk for falls, metabolic disorders and the need for assisted living, say researchers.

"Older people who do little to prevent the progression of sarcopenia drift toward a state where they find activities of daily living, like rising from a chair or ascending stairs very difficult or maybe impossible," says lead scientist Stuart Phillips, professor in the Department of Kinesiology and member of McMaster's Institute for Research on Aging.

While a number of isolated nutritional ingredients have been shown to fight sarcopenia, this is the first time such ingredients—which include whey protein, creatine, vitamin D, calcium and fish oil - have been combined and tested for this purpose.


The Insults of Age
By Helen Garner

This essay originally appeared in The Monthly, an Australian magazine of politics, society, and culture.

The insults of age had been piling up for so long that I was almost numb to them. The husband (when I still had one): “You’re not going out in that sleeveless top?” The grandchild: “Nanna, why are your teeth grey?” The pretty young publisher tottering along in her stilettos: “Are you right on these stairs, Helen?” The flight attendant at the boarding gate: “And when you do reach your seat, madam, remember to stow that little backpack riiiight under the seat in front of you!” The grinning red-faced bloke who mutters to the young man taking the seat beside me: “Bad luck, mate.” The armed child behind the police station counter unable to conceal her boredom as I describe the man in a balaclava, brandishing a baton, who leapt roaring out of the dark near the station underpass and chased me and my friend all the way home: “And what were you scared of? Did you think he might hit you with his umbrella?”

"Really, it is astonishing how much shit a woman will cop in the interests of civic and domestic order."

But last spring I got a fright. I was speaking about my new book to a university lecture theatre full of journalism students. I had their attention. Everything was rolling along nicely. Somebody asked me a question and I looked down to collect my thoughts. Cut to the young lecturer’s face surprisingly close to mine. “Helen,” he murmured, “we’re going to take you to the medical clinic.” What? Me? Apparently, in those few absent moments, of which I still have no memory, I had become confused and distressed; I didn’t know where I was or why I was there. He thought I might be having a stroke….

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Sexy sixties: Senior citizens are more likely to have extramarital sex

A new study has revealed that older people are cheating on their spouses much more than their younger counterparts.

It’s easy to assume that this is simply because older people are likely to have been married longer and have thus had more time to cheat.

Hard to believe isn’t? But a new study has revealed that older people are cheating on their spouses much more than their younger counterparts. According to the research, published by the Institute for Family Studies, 20% of married Americans, aged over 55, admit to extramarital sex, compared to just 14% of those under 55, reports the Independent.

At the same time, the rate of extramarital sex amongst 18-55-year-old married couples has declined…

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Working Past 70: Americans Can’t Seem to Retire
 by Ben Steverman

Almost 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report released on Friday. The age group’s employment/population ratio hasn’t been higher in 55 years, before American retirees won better health care and Social Security benefits starting in the late 1960s.

Older Americans are working more even as those under 65 are working less, a trend that the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to continue. By 2024, 36 percent of 65- to 69-year-olds will be active participants in the labor market, the BLS says. That’s up from just 22 percent in 1994.

A number of factors are keeping older Americans in the workforce. Many are healthier and living longer than previous generations. Some decide not to fully retire because they enjoy their jobs or just want to stay active and alert.

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The Buyers: Senior Citizens, Forgotten Consumer

Shaping the future of retail is not a concept that shoots to the top of the list when the industry thinks of senior citizens.

When it comes to senior citizens, the retail industry typically has reached out to share discounts, what stocks to buy or alerting them to various scams.

“, research shows that seniors are actually making purchases online. BigCommerce and Frost Investment Advisors’ research shows that while there are only 4 percent of Americans not regularly buying items online, seniors make up 28 percent of those that do participate in eCommerce, while Baby Boomers heading into their silver years make up 41 percent.”

In a recent survey by SeniorWorld.com, it was revealed that while seniors are using the internet mostly for searching (90 percent), approximately 55 percent are participating in online shopping. Due to seniors avid use of the internet for online shopping, and the ease of using sites like Amazon, it may be time for the retail industry to alter its focus to capture not only the attention but the pocketbooks of this aging population.

Go to story >> http://www.pymnts.com/the-buyers/2017/in-retail-and-ecommerce-are-senior-citizens-the-forgotten-consumer/


How having less saves me money
Part 2, Hard Come, Easy Go
(The first part of this editorial can be viewed in the “Archives” section of this blog)

So, there you are sitting comfortably at your computer or tablet or however you are reading this blog thinking, “Gee, this guy must be an idiot or had a run of really bad luck to have arrived at a point where he is now living in a subsidized assisted living facility, dependent on Social Security for his very existence and soon to be eligible for all those “benefits” that only indigent folks get.” And, most likely, seven or eight years ago, I would have agreed with you. But that was then and now, well, it’s reality.

How did I arrive at this financial low point in my life?

There’s an old joke that goes something like this. “I’ll tell you how to make a million dollars. Start with two million dollars.”

For those of you whose sense of humor is on the level of a bored chimpanzee, let me explain.

Simply put, It’s amazing how fast your money goes when you are suddenly stricken with an illness and what you thought was adequate health insurance didn’t even come close to what was actually needed.

Without getting into the gory details of what made me sick, I will only say that I am glad to be alive and doing well physically after surviving something that could have gone in an entirely different direction. The doctors and nurses at the three different hospitals where I was a patient were tremendous and worked hard to cure me, eventually succeeding after some life altering surgery.

But my nearly two months of hospitalization was not the reason for my financial difficulties. It’s what came afterward that set me to economic ruin.

Unfortunately, those months lying in a hospital bed left me without the ability to walk or even stand up without assistance.

This precluded me from returning to my apartment or my former life where I had planned to settle down as a frugal, but a comfortable retiree.

I went from the hospital directly to a nursing home/rehab facility in my home borough of Queens NY. And, while my stay there did me a world of good physically, it killed me fiscally.

The problem was, although my very expensive private health insurance covered the majority of my hospital bills as I had planned, it did not cover any of my very very expensive nursing home costs which came in at a whopping $13,000 per month. And, because I was a few months short of my 65th birthday and was not yet eligible for Medicare, I had no other choice but to pay for my care out of my own pocket. A pocket that quickly became shorter and shorter as the months wore by. Do you want to know how fast one’s savings, IRA’s, 401k’s and CD’s can run out? Just start writing checks for $13,000 for a few months and you will soon find out.

Amazingly, even with all that outflow of cash, I still had some money left in my personal savings account. That was the good news. The bad news came when I was told that in order to qualify for Medicaid that, along with the Medicare that I was now eligible for, I would have to reduce my net worth to below $12,000. Unfortunately, there are not too many ways to do this and still legally come in under that $12,000 mark.

As I mentioned in part 1 of this editorial, pre-arranging a funeral is a legitimate method of spending down one’s net worth.

I am now the proud owner of a very expensive six foot deep chunk of Long Island real estate just off the Southern State Parkway in Suffolk County.

Therefore, by making myself poorer, I had actually enhanced my financial position by qualifying for those so-called “entitlements” afforded only to those who qualify as being indigent. Pazzo, no?

My “fortune” was further increased a year later when I moved here to the ALF where my position as a poor person enabled me to have my room and board paid for by Social Security and subsidized by Medicare and Medicaid.

So now, with very little money in the bank (you would be surprised at how little) I now have a comfortable roof over my head, Wifi, three meals a day, housekeeping and laundry service as well as all of my medical and drug expenses paid for and I actually get a small cash stipend every month added to my resident’s account that I use to pay for incidentals. And soon, because I will have achieved that magical level of subsistence set forth by the Social Security Administration, I will be able to collect SSI (Supplemental Security Income) further enriching my humble larder.

Of course all of this divestiture of cash would have been unnecessary if the good old U.S.A. had a responsible national healthcare system in place that would have made my participation less of a burden. Had my hospital and nursing home fees had not cost me most of my savings, I would now be home instead of a (Government) subsidized assisted living facility.

Okay, this I great for me. After all, I am a single person with no kids who learned to live simply. Nobody (not even a pet) depends on me for anything. But what about the vast number of old folks who don’t fit within the standards of poverty in the U.S. and yet find that it’s becoming more and more difficult to make ends meet.

There are those older Americans who are “house poor” that face rising property taxes not to mention water bills, utilities, insurance and even food prices. These are the same people who worked all of their lives just to see their savings literally stolen by big pharma, big Agra and greedy real estate interests backed up by an uncaring government whose only thoughts of welfare appear to be directed at the rich by cutting their taxes in some insane belief that all of that extra money rich people will have will somehow “trickle” down to the less fortunate and thereby improve their plight.

And to further add insult to injury, the people at Social Security have decided that a 2.2% (about $28 for the average recipient) increase in your benefits next year will make up for them robbing the fund all of those years.

What to do?

Well, I am certainly not going to suggest that you throw all of your money in the river or hide it in a mattress or spend it by prearranging a mobster-like funeral. I am suggesting that, if you can, make sure that you are adequately protected against unforeseen life-altering events such as uninsured medical expenses and long-term care.

Speak to a financial adviser to see how you can maximize your investments and minimize your exposure to economic downturns.

I other words, “Make hay while the sun shines”, because those rainy days rush in faster and more furious when you are old.

Editor's note: The Social Worker here at the ALF today informed me that she has begun the paper work that is necessary to start the ball rolling on my SSI benefits. There is a live phone interview involved and a waiting period so I don't know exactly when I'll be receiving whatever amount they decide to give me. At this point anything would be appreciated.  I never thought that it would have to come to this. I spent most of my working life planning for a decent (if not luxurious) retirement.

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Related Story…

Should You Prepay Your Own Funeral Expenses?
By Emily Brandon

It sounds great in theory: Preplan and prepay your funeral expenses so your children and heirs won't have to make expensive and difficult decisions while grieving. About 23 percent of people over age 50 have prepaid at least a portion of funeral or burial expenses for themselves or someone else, according to a 2007 AARP survey. But not all pre-paid funeral contracts deliver on their promises as funeral homes go out of business, change hands, or raid the money consumers thought was safely invested in trust funds. "You go down to the funeral home and they pat you on the hand, but that's a false sense of security," says Joshua Slocum, executive director of the nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance. "In trying to do a good thing for your kids by prepaying, you're actually guaranteeing that they are not going to have a good time." Here's what you need to know about funeral prepayment plans.

Comparison shop. The average cost of a funeral is $6,500, according to the National Funeral Directors Association—and that doesn't include cemetery costs and extras like flowers, obituary notices, and limousines that can quickly boost the price to well over $10,000. But a full 79 percent of seniors report they have not done any comparison shopping for burial or funerals, an AARP study found. Instead of just picking the funeral home closest to your house or the one where your grandmother was buried, shop around for the best prices. You don't have to buy the first expensive package the funeral director quotes you, either. The Federal Trade Commission requires funeral directors to give you itemized prices in writing and over the phone, and you can choose exactly which individual goods and services you want to purchase. You also don't have to buy every service from the same funeral home. The funeral provider may not refuse or charge a fee to handle a coffin you bought elsewhere, the FTC says.

8 Social Security Facts That Will Blow You Away
By Matthew Frankel

Here's what you need to know about America's reliance on Social Security and the current state of the program.

Unfortunately, the Social Security program isn't on the best financial footing right now. Here are eight statistics you may not be aware of that can give you a snapshot of Social Security in America, the headwinds facing the program, and what could be done to fix the problem before it's too late.

1. Millions of Americans rely on Social Security for their well-being in retirement

2. Social Security keeps millions of retirees out of poverty

3. Only 68% of Social Security beneficiaries are retired workers

4. Why Social Security will run out of reserves

5. Social Security can only pay all of its benefits for another 17 years

6. It's only going to get worse

7. We need to increase Social Security revenue by 1.7% of GDP -- or cut benefits

8. Most Americans are fine with higher Social Security taxes

The bottom line is that while Social Security is not in the best financial shape, it's not too late to make the program viable for generations to come. Furthermore, Americans have indicated that they're willing to pay more to make it happen. Whether something will be done to fix Social Security remains to be seen, but it is certainly possible.

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Received a Social Security Letter? What You Should Know
By Brandy Bauer .

You open your mail to find a letter saying you may be able to get help paying for the costs of Medicare. It appears to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) …but is it for real? Here’s what you need to know.

Is this letter a scam?

..No. Every year in May and June, SSA sends letters (example below and the full letters here) to people with Medicare who may be eligible for two money-saving programs that can help them afford their prescriptions and health care costs.

The Medicare Part D Extra Help program (also known as the Part D Low Income Subsidy, or LIS) helps pay your Part D drug plan premium and saves you money on medications at the pharmacy. If you qualify for Extra Help, you will pay no more than $8.25 for your prescriptions for each drug your plan covers.

    The Medicare Savings Program (MSP) pays your Part B premium each month. It also may help pay for other costs in Medicare, such as your Part B deductible and co-pays at the doctor’s office.

Why did I get this letter? …

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Why You Should Collect Social Security Early
Michael Keenan

There is no definitive answer to when you should collect Social Security benefits — and taking them as soon you hit the early retirement age of 62 might be in your best interest. Learn when to take Social Security early and next, figure out how to make the most of your benefits. Here are three reasons you should collect Social Security early.

1. You’re Planning Your End of Life Care

2. You Need the Money Now

3. No One Else Is Relying on Your Benefits

There's no "one size fits all" answer for when to start taking Social Security benefits, and even people in similar financial circumstances will make different decisions based on their health and lifestyles. Make sure you understand the implications of taking Social Security before you reach your full age. Once you make your decision, figure out all the angles on how to retire early.

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Elderly Seniors Want More From Social Security
by Tom Margenau

I guess it's just a sign of the times we are living in. But I am amazed by the number of emails that I get from elderly seniors, folks in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, who are hoping to get higher Social Security benefits. Today's column highlights some examples.

Q: I am 82 years old. My wife is 78. I get $1,478 from Social Security. My wife gets $766. We started my Social Security at age 65. My wife took hers at 62. I have always been convinced that we are getting the wrong Social Security amounts. I think we should be getting more. Is there anything we can do to get our Social Security checks adjusted to the proper amounts? And shouldn't my wife be getting more benefits on my record?

A: Sorry, but there is nothing you can do about changing your own Social Security benefit checks. I have a hunch that I don't really need to tell you that the time to question your benefit rate is not 20 years after those benefits began. You should have done so back when your Social Security checks first started.

But I can tell you this. Every study I have ever seen shows that the Social Security Administration has a remarkable record of accuracy when it comes to figuring retirement benefits. It's something like 99.8 percent. I hope you are at least able to find some comfort knowing that it is extremely likely that you are being paid correctly….


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


The people at assignmenteditor.com have put together one of the most comprehensive lists of websites with up-to-date important information designed for today’s seniors.The list is so extensive and all encompassing that I cannot reproduce it here.
Instead, I urge you to click on the link below and bookmark the page or move to desktop for easy reference.

Is surgery in the future for you? Will you be looking at a lengthy stay at home, possibly alone, after knee, hip, or back surgery? Than you might want to consider some of these items that are available at amazon (and elsewhere) that will aid you in your everyday chores. Some of these aids are pretty cool even after you have healed.

The folks at Amazon seems to have figured out just what you’ll need to make life a little easier. In fact, they have put together “kits” just for hip, knee and back surgery patients.

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Shrunken Sweater Solution

Reversal of misfortune

Now, when your favorite sweater takes an accidental tumble in the dryer and ends up smaller than you’ll ever be, there’s no need to dismay. Simply dunk that sweater in a bottle of Unshrinkit mixed with water for 30 minutes, rinse, stretch, and lay flat to dry.

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The B-Shoe hopes to prevent seniors from falling down
 by Jordan Crook

Each second in the U.S., an older adult takes a fall, accounting for more than 27,000 deaths from falling among older individuals, according to the CDC.

A company based in Haifa, Israel, however, is working on a way to prevent those falls in the first place.

B-Shoe Technologies is working on a prototype for a shoe that senses imbalance in every step and uses a mini treadmill-like system to regain balance automatically.

The shoe combines a pressure sensor, a microprocessor, a motion device, and software to detect when the user may be slipping and roll forward or backward to prevent the fall.

B-Shoe Technologies says the prototype is in the very early stages, and that it plans to go into mass production in the next two years, after slimming down the design.

This is one of a series of musical montages of nearly
all of the hits that reached the Billboard charts in 1967.

This Senior Citizen Has A "Senior Moment"
 And Comes To A Hilarious Realisation

Every now and again someone puts into words what so many people are feeling! Read this amazing email and let us know if you can relate.

    Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. –
    Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

    This is how it manifests:

    I decide to water my garden.
    As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
    I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

    As I start toward the garage,
    I notice mail on the porch table that
    I brought up from the mail box earlier.

    I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

    I lay my car keys on the table,
    put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table,
    and notice that the can is full.

    So, I decide to put the bills
    on the table and take out the garbage first.

    But then I think,
    since I’m going to be near the mailbox
    when I take out the garbage anyway,
    I may as well pay the bills first.

    I take my check book off the table,
    and see that there is only one check left.
    My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
    so I go inside the house to my desk where
    I find the
    can of Pepsi I’d been drinking.

    I’m going to look for my checks,
    but first I need to push the Pepsi aside
    so that I don’t accidentally knock it over.

    The Pepsi is getting warm,
    and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

    As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi,
    a vase of flowers on the counter
    catches my eye–they need water.

    I put the Pepsi on the counter and
    discover my reading glasses that
    I’ve been searching for all morning.
    I decide I better put them back on my desk,
    but first I’m going to water the flowers.

    I set the glasses back down on the counter,
    fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.
    Someone left it on the kitchen table.

    I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
    I’ll be looking for the remote,
    but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table,
    so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,
    but first I’ll water the flowers.

    I pour some water in the flowers,
    but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

    So, I set the remote back on the table,
    get some towels and wipe up the spill.

    Then, I head down the hall trying to
    remember what I was planning to do.
    At the end of the day:
    the car isn’t washed
    the bills aren’t paid
    there is a warm can of
    Pepsi sitting on the counter
    the flowers don’t have enough water,
    there is still only 1 check in my check book,
    I can’t find the remote,
    I can’t find my glasses,
    and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.
    Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
    I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all the damn day,
    and I’m really tired.

    I realize this is a serious problem,
    and I’ll try to get some help for it,
    but first I’ll check my e-mail….

    Do me a favor.
    Forward this message to everyone you know,
    because I don’t remember who the hell I’ve sent it to.

    Don’t laugh — if this isn’t you yet, your day is coming!!

* * *

© Bruce Cooper, 2017

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This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


WcenterBlog for the week ofThursday, July 13th 2017

House Budget Committee Unveils Spending Proposal
By Priscilla Alvarez

July 18, 2017

On Tuesday, House Republicans released a 2018 budget plan that would make cuts to Medicare and Social Security, despite President Trump’s campaign pledge to keep those entitlement programs intact.

The proposal calls for more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs. It also serves “as a vehicle for changing taxes,” CNN reports, which is “the primary legislative focus of the 2018 budget.”
Latest from Politics

“In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black in a statement. “But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican administration, now is the time to put forward a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges.”

Go to story >> https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/house-gop-budget-plan-puts-medicare-and-social-security-on-the-line/533991/

McCain’s Surgery Will Delay Senate Votes on Health Care Bill
Robert Pear


July 15th, 2017

WASHINGTON — The Senate will delay votes on a bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, announced Saturday night, because of a new obstacle to winning enough support for one of the Republican Party’s most cherished goals.

Mr. McConnell said the Senate would “defer consideration” of the bill, scheduled for this week, because Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, would be absent, recovering from surgery that he had on Friday to remove a blood clot above his left eye.

Mr. McConnell had said that he wanted to begin debate on the bill and pass it this week, using special fast-track procedures. But without Mr. McCain, Senate Republicans would not have the votes they need to take up or pass their bill to repeal and replace major provisions of the health care act that was the signature domestic achievement of President Barack Obama.

Go to story >> https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/15/us/mccains-surgery-will-delay-senate-votes-on-health-care-bill.html

Social Security benefit to rise 2.2%

WASHINGTON — Millions of Americans who rely on Social Security can expect to receive their biggest payment increase in years this January, according to projections released Thursday by the trustees who oversee the program.

But older Americans shouldn’t get too excited.

The increase is projected to be just 2.2 percent, or about $28 a month for the average recipient. Social Security recipients have gone years with tiny increases in benefits. This year they received an increase of 0.3 percent, after getting nothing last year.

Some good news for seniors: The trustees project that Medicare Part B premiums will remain unchanged next year. Most beneficiaries pay $134 a month, though retirees with higher incomes pay more.

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Senate health bill will 'gut' Medicaid,
Michigan senior health association says

By Julie Mack

The latest proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is getting a thumbs down from the Health Care Association of Michigan, which represents nursing homes, hospitals and other health-care providers for senior citizens.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell unveiled the latest proposal today. It allows insurers to offer bare-bones plans, which is backed by conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, although many experts say would disrupt insurance markets. The latest proposal also retains controversial cuts in Medicaid, the health insurance plan for the poor, disabled and nursing home patients. ...

Go to story >> http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/07/state_health_association_says.html



The people at assignmenteditor.com have put together one of the most comprehensive lists of websites with up-to-date important information designed for today’s seniors.The list is so extensive and all encompassing that I cannot reproduce it here.
Instead, I urge you to click on the link below and bookmark the page or move to desktop for easy reference.


♠ ♠ ♠

Cellphone plans for seniors offer more service,
 lighter data

By Edward C. Baig

More and more older adults own smartphones than ever before, but adoption rates for seniors still trail the overall population. That's a business opportunity for a handful of small cellular services companies.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the share of adults 65 or older who own smartphones is at 42%, up from just 18% in 2013. And nearly three of four people in that age bracket, Pew reports, say they need help with their new electronic devices.

During its 22 years in business, Portland, Ore.-based Consumer Cellular is laser focused on this older segment of the market, which co-founder and CEO John Marick contends has been all but abandoned by the largest wireless carriers.

“It often boils down to cost—under Consumer Cellular, no data plan is required, per minute voice plans start at $10 a month, and the average user spends $25 a month, Marick says.”

He adds that many people experience life changes in their 60s that may have them reevaluate their wireless service options. By then the kids may have moved out of the house, meaning a family plan no longer make sense. Or maybe you’ve cut back on your hours at work or have retired, putting tighter restrictions on the budget.

Related story…

It’s time to bring back the dumb phone
by Vlad Savov

My problem with Twitter is that it fragments my attention and makes it extremely difficult to refocus after checking it for a casual look at my notifications. But, like the rest of the internet, I also find it useful, informative, and essential for my job. The trick is to make it harder to access, so that I access it less often. If this all sounds like I’m not in full control of my urges and instincts, that’s because I’m not. I recognize that being human means I’m only sometimes in charge of directing all of my actions and reactions.

So what does a dumb phone entail? It doesn’t just mean dumping Twitter; it also means no Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or any other superfluous distraction. No camera to force me to watch my life’s most interesting moments through a screen. A dumb phone’s most sophisticated feature should be its ringtone (and maybe a classic version of Snake) and its most valuable specs should relate to call quality. Yes, I imagine that a phone that acts mostly as a phone would nudge me toward calling people more often, which is a far superior and more human form of communication than a disjointed series of impersonal tweets. A dumb phone also lasts for a week at a time, because it’s not hyperactively communicating with every email, messaging, or cloud storage service I’m signed up for.

Dumb phones are much more characterful than the smart but indistinguishable slabs we now call our phones. Think back to those old school Nokias with mechanical flips and switches that felt so satisfying to just open and close.

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Contemplating where to spend your retirement years?

Social Security dollars get stretched further in Kingman
By Hubble Ray Smith

With its mild climate, low tax structure and relatively cheap housing, Arizona continually ranks among the most attractive states for retirees, and Mohave County is No. 1 in the state for stretching those Social Security dollars the furthest, according to SmartAsset.

The financial consulting company recently conducted a survey of U.S. counties where Social Security benefits will cover the most of a person’s cost of living after taxes, and Mohave County scored quite favorably.

“Transportation, the ease of getting from one place to another without using a tank of gas,” Sajec said Thursday at Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center. “In Seattle, it’s an hour to get to your doctor’s appointment at Pill Hill. That’s where all the medical offices and the hospital are.”

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Overcoming Obstacles to Policies for
 Preventing Falls by the Elderly 


The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released a wide-ranging report focusing new attention on the rapidly growing problems of senior falls. The report found that while extensive research on specific fall prevention's and strategies and their effectiveness exists, there was a significant gap on how to overcome obstacles to improve policies and programs designed to reduce senior falls.

The 36-page report, Overcoming Obstacles to Policies for Preventing Falls by the Elderly Final Report recommends a range of ways for HUD and other government and philanthropic entities to help communities overcome obstacles to the development and implementation of senior falls prevention and coordinated care policies and programs.

Key sections cover housing and the built environment, with 9 specific recommendations aimed at seniors and affordable housing.  The Report states that “housing is of particular importance to coordinated health and senior falls prevention because of the amount of time seniors spend at home and its potential as a centralized site to provide essential health and wellness to seniors, especially low income seniors.”  The report recommends expanding and improving HUD’s Section 202 program. Other approaches are to increase investment in senior housing, engage community health workers, and that HUD encourage collaborations between housing and healthcare providers to create a “healthy senior homes” medical designation that a physician could use to prescribe specific home modifications and/or use of technology and safety devices within the home.

A simple story of how medicaid helps with long term care
When My Parents Couldn't Work Anymore, Medicaid Was There

By Keith Runyon

In 1999, over Labor Day weekend, my mother had a paralytic stroke that left lifeless her entire right side. Although her mind was unimpaired, most of what she cared about in life was deeply affected.

Yet her heart, at age 75, was still strong. And her will to live was, at least for a time, unflinching. But within six months or so, after long treatment in a rehab center, Medicare required that she go home or go on full pay.

My parents lived the American dream in the postwar era. They were comfortably off, owned their own home and educated their two sons — with no student loans. But even in 1999, they couldn’t afford for long the steep prices that nursing homes charged. So Mother came home in a wheelchair, where she remained under my aged father’s care until he could bear it no longer.

One night in April 2000 the call came from my brother that my father was so ill that he was unable to rise from the living room sofa. Within an hour, he was in an emergency room, dying of congestive heart failure. …

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Sicker Seniors More Likely To Drop Medicaid Advantage Plans : Shots
By Fred Schulte

A GAO report questions the quality of a number of Medicare Advantage plans after large numbers of sicker enrollees dropped them.

When Sol Shipotow enrolled in a new Medicare Advantage health plan earlier this year, he expected to keep the doctor who treats his serious eye condition.

"That turned out not to be so," said Shipotow, 83, who lives in Bensalem, Pa.

Shipotow said he had to scramble to get back onto a health plan that he could afford and that his longtime eye specialist would accept. "You have to really understand your policy," he said. "I thought it was the same coverage."

Boosters say that privately-run Medicare Advantage plans, which enroll about one-third of all people eligible for Medicare, offer good value. They strive to keep patients healthy by coordinating their medical care through cost-conscious networks of doctors and hospitals.

But some critics argue the plans can prove risky for seniors in poor or declining health, or those like Shipotow who need to see specialists, because they often face hurdles getting access.

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Medicaid: What Would Happen to Seniors in
Nursing Homes Under the Republican Health Care Bill?

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Dawn Burnfin’s 94-year-old grandmother recently had a massive stroke in a Missouri nursing home. She quickly recovered well enough to tell the end-of-life hospice workers caring for her to go home, since she had no plans to die.

But the Medicaid funds that help pay for her care are now up in the air.

“I don’t know where she would go,” Burnfin, 43, says of her grandmother, if she loses her bed in the nursing home. “It’s really scary.”

Included in the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the bill Senate Republicans have proposed to replace the Affordable Care Act, are an estimated $772 billion in federal cuts to Medicaid through 2026, plus a reduction in the funding formula that would sharply decrease spending beyond that. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected on Thursday that federal Medicaid spending in 2036 would be 35% less than under current law.

Proponents of the bill say the new Medicaid structure would increase states' flexibility to design their Medicaid programs around the unique needs of their populations. But the proposed cuts have many like Burnfin wondering who will pay to keep her grandmother cared for?

Read more >> http://time.com/money/4837828/what-would-happen-to-seniors-in-nursing-homes-under-the-republican-health-care-bill/?iid=sr-link1

Now it’s My Turn

How having less saves me money
Part 1

Congratulate me, I am now OFFICIALLY POOR.

But please don’t feel sorry for me, it’s actually a good thing because now I can start to get more free stuff from the government.

Although I have been living under the poverty level* for some time, I have managed to stay above the maximum amount of net worth allowable so that I could qualify for the SSI program.

For those of you who are not familiar with SSI, here’s the official definition:

“Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits.”


As of right now, my sole source of income (if you could call it that) is a meager Social Security check and a small stipend given by the state to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities which go into a non-interest bearing account and is doled out during business hours by our case management department. The money in that account, plus a small (and getting smaller) checking account, is all the discretionary spending money I have. And here’s why.

One hundred percent of my monthly Social Security check goes as partial payment for my room and board here at the A.L.F. The remainder of the nearly $4500 a month it costs to live here is subsidized by payments from Medicare, Medicaid, and some other state programs. Our facility is the only one in the county (and only one of the few assisted living facilities in the state and the U.S.) that is funded this way. We are an “experiment” of sorts to see if the cost to Medicare and Medicaid for keeping a person in a long term health care facility can be reduced by not having these folks languishing in a much more expensive nursing home where monthly fees can run as much as $13,000 every month.

Of course, not everybody qualifies for a place in such a facility.

While age is not a requirement (we have residents in their 40’s and 50’s here), having a disability is. One must prove that they are not capable of living alone and accomplishing all of the day- to-day chores necessary to enjoy a decent quality of life. These may include but are not limited to, cooking, cleaning, shopping, dressing, bathing or having the ability to handle one’s own financial or health matters without assistance. Another requirement, and possibly the most important, which enables one to be a resident here is money. Essentially, you can’t have too much of it. Your net worth can’t be over $12,000**. Divesting oneself of any excess cash is not as easy as you may think.

You can’t just give it away, not even to charity and certainly not to you kids. The government checks on your most recent spending activity. Consequentially, you can’t go on some last minute spending binge either. However, there is one thing that you can spend a lot of money on that the government allows as a legitimate “spending down” expense. And that is any money spent on a pre-arranged funeral.

Go ahead. Be as lavish as you want. After all, you can’t take it with you and, you’ll be saving your kids the burden of having to plan and pay for a send off when it’s your turn to go to that final assisted living facility. This is what I did, and is the primary reason that I am able to live in the lap of poverty as well as I do.

Yes, my friends, your old blog editor did have money at one time. Not a filthy pile of it, but enough to live comfortably on and even enough to take me into old age.

Like most of you, I worked all of my life, paid my taxes and even have enough left over to invest in some CD’s, and IRA and a 401k.

I managed my finances carefully, had a super credit score and still managed to have some of the niceties of modern life.

There was the apartment (my biggest nut), my car, cable TV and Wifi. Other than that, I lived conservatively.

I bought well-made classic clothes replacing items only when they wore out (or no longer fit).

I cooked most of my meals at home, leaving take-out and restaurants to special occasions.

Fortunately, my weekly paycheck kept my head above water and then some.

I had planned to work until I reached 67, the point at which I would be able to apply for and collect the maximum Social Security benefits.

But, as they say, “If you want to make God laugh, make plans.”

*Editor’s note: The official poverty level for a single individual in the U.S. for 2017 is $12,060 a year. Since the average Social Security check is approx $1300 per month (or $15,000 per year), the government considers the average fixed income Social Security beneficiary to be NOT POOR.

** Not included in “Net Worth” are things like a car, jewelry, furs or most personal belongings. It’s really only the cash you have in the bank or any securities you may own.

Hard Come, Easy Go

Related article...

One Woman’s Slide From Middle Class to Medicaid
By Ron Lieber

A dozen or so years into retirement, Rita Sherman had plenty going for her financially.

Recently widowed, she had a net worth of roughly $600,000 as of 1998. Her health was excellent, and she dutifully purchased a long-term care insurance policy that would cover three years of nursing home costs should she ever need help. Watching over it all was her daughter, a medical social worker, and her son-in-law, a financial planner.

By the time she died at the age of 94 last year, however, all of the money was gone after a diagnosis of dementia and five and a half years in a nursing home. Like so many people who never see it coming, she’d gone from being financially comfortable to qualifying for Medicaid.

This is the same Medicaid that our representatives in Washington are aiming to cut right now. While there is no telling how the debate over health care legislation will end, it ought to matter plenty to everyone who hopes to grow old and is not certain that their savings could last for decades. While many people don’t realize it until well into old age, it is Medicaid, not Medicare, that pays for most nursing home and community or home-based care for older adults who run out of money.

Hospitalization rate for opioid abuse doubled in 10 years
By Deborah Netburn, Karen Kaplan

The opioid epidemic continues to devastate Americans, and a new report shows that it has only gotten worse in recent years.

In 2014, abuse of prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and street drugs such as heroin sent users to hospitals at record rates. That is true in emergency rooms, and even more true in rooms for patients who have been admitted to the hospital.

Here are some of the key findings:

Hospital admissions

• Patients who suffered overdoses or other problems with opioids were more likely to be admitted to a hospital than to be treated and released from the emergency room.

• For men, the rate of hospital admissions rose from 146 per 100,000 in 2005 to 225 per 100,000 in 2014.

• Women started out with a lower rate of opioid-related admissions, at 128 per 100,000. But over the ensuing decade, they just about caught up, ending at 224 admissions per 100,000.

• The age groups most likely to be admitted to a hospital were adults between the ages of 25 and 44, followed very closely by adults ages 45 to 64. Members of the older group were admitted at a rate of 317 per 100,000, up 64% over the same period.

Read more >> http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-opioids-hospitals-20170620-htmlstory.html

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Alzheimer's: How Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Prevents Brain Plaques and Preserves Memory

By Hannah Osborne

Extra virgin olive oil is the key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet that protects the brain from Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, scientists have discovered.

The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet—rich in plant-based foods, olive oil and fish—have long been known. It reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, and leads to a lower risk of dementia.

A team of scientists from Temple University, Pennsylvania, has found what in the diet protects the brain from Alzheimer’s—and how this key ingredient works to prevent cognitive decline and preserve memories.

Previous research had already linked extra virgin olive oil to many of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. "The thinking is that extra-virgin olive oil is better than fruits and vegetables alone, and as a monounsaturated vegetable fat, it is healthier than saturated animal fats," senior investigator Domenico Praticò said in a statement.

The connections between the neurons—the synapses—were found to be better preserved in the olive oil group than the control, and there was also an increase in nerve cell autophagy activation. The activation of autophagy is the important discovery—since this is the process that helps clear debris and toxins, including amyloid plaques, from the brain.

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Drug Shows Promise Against Vision-Robbing
Disease in Seniors

The Associated Press

An experimental drug is showing promise against an untreatable eye disease that blinds older adults — and intriguingly, it seems to work in patients who carry a particular gene flaw that fuels the damage to their vision.

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss among seniors, gradually eroding crucial central vision. There are different forms but more than 5 million people worldwide, and a million in the U.S., have an advanced type of so-called "dry" macular degeneration that has no treatment. First patients may notice blurriness when they look straight ahead. Eventually many develop blank spots, becoming legally blind.

The experimental drug, lampalizumab, aims to slow the destruction of light-sensing cells in the retina, creeping lesions that characterize the stage of dry AMD called "geographic atrophy." When those cells die, they can't grow back — the vision loss is irreversible.


In an 18-month study of 129 patients, monthly eye injections of the drug modestly slowed worsening of the disease when compared with patients given dummy shots. What's exciting for scientists came next, when researchers from drugmaker Genentech Inc. took a closer look at exactly who was being helped.


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



Robots offer the elderly a helping hand
by Helen Massy-Beresford

Humanoid robots under development can be programmed to detect changes in an elderly person’s preferences and habits.

Everybody needs a helping hand when they get older – but in years to come that helping hand may be attached to a robotic arm.

It means the age-dependency ratio – the proportion of the elderly compared with the number of workers – will almost double from 28.8 % in 2015 to 51 % in 2080, straining healthcare systems and national budgets.

Yet there's hope marching over the horizon, in the form of robots.

The creators of one humanoid robot under development for the elderly say it can understand people's actions and learn new behaviours in response, even though it is devoid of arms.

Robots can be programmed to understand an elderly person's preferences and habits to detect changes in behaviour: for example if a yoga devotee misses a class, it will ask why, while if an elderly person falls it will automatically alert caregivers or emergency services.

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Prepare Yourselves,
Robots Will Soon Replace Doctors In Healthcare

Harold Stark

In September 2016, surgeons at the Oxford University John Radcliffe Hospital used a remotely controlled robotic surgeon called Robotic Retinal Dissection Device (R2D2) to remove a membrane 100th of a millimetre thick from the retina of the right eye of Revd Dr. William Beaver, successfully curing his blindness and resurrecting his ability to see normally. This was the first time a robot had been used to conduct an operation of the eye in medical history.

“Robotics and AI are removing the human constraints and physical limitations on surgery and placement of innovative medicines. With ultra-high resolution robotic assistance, we can now consider the optimal site to place stem cells in the eye, brain, heart to drive regeneration. Or where to place cellular anti-cancer therapies to kill cancers. In the future, AI will further remove the speed, complexity and precision limitations inherent in a human being driving the robotic arm.Of course, human judgment is essential for the critical decision making but we should be able to rapidly automate the procedure.”

Apart from conventional medicine, robots are also finding application in other branches of healthcare, such as psychology. Recently, psychology experts and artificial intelligence enthusiasts at the Stanford University of California got together to develop a chatbot that could function as your own cognitive behavioral therapist for just $39 a month. The chatbot, known as Woebot, makes use of artificial intelligence algorithms to track your mood and understand your psyche over time through regular conversations, which it then uses to make productive conversation and offer helpful tips to help reduce depression, anxiety and other psychological problems one can develop staying in a crowded city and living the listless modern life.

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The 3 Best Tablets For Senior Citizens
Kannon Yamada

Seniors often find themselves the butt of jokes about technological ineptitude. In truth, many senior citizens have as much an interest in technology as the punks who mock them. But as people grow older our priorities change. Senior citizens often find themselves looking for products that are powerful yet easy to use, not only out of a desire to simplify but also because older buyers can often afford exactly what they want.

Not every tablet will do for a crowd as discerning as senior citizens. They want a product that just works, and works well, but also provides access to books and videos as well as communication with family.
What Are Seniors Looking For in a Tablet?

Three words: a larger screen.

Simplicity of the user interface.

Tablets are a great choice, but if you’re considering a product in this category, there’s another item you might want to look at: the Chromebook.

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© Bruce Cooper, 2017

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bruce Cooper and WCenterBlog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.

All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


WCenterBlog for Thursday, July 6 thru Wednesday, July 12

Illinois landlines will remain for now despite new state law
The Associated Press
JULY 8th, 2017
Officials of telecommunications conglomerate AT&T said Illinois' landlines won't be going away anytime soon despite a new state law to end the traditional phone service.

The Illinois Legislature allowed AT&T to disconnect its remaining 1.2 million landline customers statewide when lawmakers overrode Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto and approved the telecom modernization bill last week, The Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/2tqGDGf) reported. But the corporation needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission before it can do so.

"It's important for our Illinois customers to know that traditional landline phone service from AT&T is not going away anytime soon," AT&T Illinois President Paul La Schiazza said.


I knew there was a reason I hate this fish...

This is why you need to stop eating tilapia ASAP

Eating seafood is a great way to get vital nutrients and vitamins. Tilapia is the most popular farmed fish in America because of its affordability. But health experts are warning consumers to stay as far away as possible from Tilapia.

Tilapia Contains Few Nutrients: Researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine released a report on the omega-3 fatty acid content in popular fish. Tilapia scored far lower than most other fish on the list. Omega-3 fatty acids give fish most of their benefits, including Alzheimer’s risk reduction. Tilapia contains a TON of omega-6 fatty acids, which are terrible for you. The quantity of omega-6 in tilapia is higher than a hamburger or bacon.

Tilapia Could Cause Alzheimer’s: One of the omega-6 fatty acids in tilapia goes by the name of arachidonic acid – a compound which significantly increases the type of inflammatory damage that precedes Alzheimer’s. So while eating healthy fish like mackerel, ...

Go to article >> http://my-lifestyle.tips/this-is-why-you-need-to-stop-eating-tilapia-asap/

It's Time We Talk About Senior Poverty

“Shouldn’t you be doing better by now?”

It is a question that many of the tens of millions of older people who have little or no money are asking themselves.

And occasionally, being asked by others their own age and younger.

It is embarrassing and maybe a little unseemly to be over 55 or 60 and asking people to hire you. Or to let you stay in their spare room. Or to pick through the wreckage of your once lofty dreams in search of enough money to pay for rent or food or medicine.

Shouldn’t you be doing better by now? By 60? 65?

What bad decisions did you make to be the presumptive age of retirement only to know you will never retire, that if you are lucky, you will die while still working, and if not so lucky, die while trying to keep body and soul afloat?

Senior poverty isn’t talked about very much. That is partly because it is an unpleasant topic, and partly because remarkably few people are even aware of the magnitude of the problem.

When I tell people that as many as half the 100 million Americans over 50 have no money saved, they react either in amazement, or – less often – by saying, yes, they know someone old and poor.

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1 in 10 Americans say they will die in debt
Catey Hill

Debt may follow many of us to the grave.

More than 1 in 10 Americans (12%) think they will die in debt, according to a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults from CreditCards.com. That’s a dramatic improvement from the 21% who said that in 2015. This drop may be due, in part, to increased consumer confidence, says Matt Schulz, the senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com. But it’s troubling because Americans now have more debt than they have in years. “I’m worried that some people are getting carried away,” he says. “Credit card debt has been rising steadily for more than five years. It seems like a lot of people are forgetting the painful lessons of the Great Recession.”

The under-30 age group is most sure that dying in debt won’t happen to them. Meanwhile, the older you get, the more likely you are to think you’ll carry debt with your forever, with more than one in four people 65 and up saying they’ll never get out of debt.

     Percentage who say they will die in debt

18-29     4%

30-49     11%
50-64     14%
65 and up 28%

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Once again it’s time for us to post the latest list of discounts available to seniors.
As congress ponders a possible increase to our Social Security benefits, even though prices continue to rise by the hour, it’s up to us to squeeze every last cent out our meager incomes.
And, while using these discounts won’t make you rich they might just help to make ends meet.

100+ Stores Offering Discounts for Senior Citizens
By Rebecca Lehmann

Gone are the days of your grandmother's "early bird special" at the local diner. As our baby boomers reach retirement age, hundreds of retailers are featuring new and improved discounts exclusively for the 60 and older crowd. We have composed a list of senior savings that will help you keep more cash in your pocket. Whoever said getting older was a bad thing, obviously didn't know about these fantastic senior discounts!
Restaurant Discounts

    Applebee's: 10-15% off (varying by location) and may require a Golden Apple Card (60+).
    Arby's: 10% off (55+).
    A&W All American Food: 10% senior discount, varies by location.
    Ben & Jerry's: Senior discounts vary by location.
Retail and Clothing Discounts

    Banana Republic: 10% off (62+).
    Bon-Ton Department Stores: 10-15% off on senior discount days that will be noted in their newsletters via email.
    Dress Barn: 10% off Tuesday and Wednesday, varies by location (62+).
    Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location).
    Kohl's: 15% off  (60+) on Wednesdays.
Grocery Discounts

    Compare Foods Supermarket: Select locations offer a 10% discount on certain days for shoppers (60+).
    Fred Meyer: Save an extra 10% off every first Tuesday of the month (55+).
    Fry's Supermarket: Seniors receive 10% off.
Harris Teeter: Every Thursday when you use your VIC card you'll receive a 5% discount (60+).

Travel Discounts

    American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking for discount).
    Amtrak: 15% off (62+).
    Auto Europe: 5% senior discount.
    Avis: AARP members enjoy up to 30% off base rates when renting from participating locations.
Entertainment Discounts

    AMC Theaters: Senior discount tickets (60+).
    Cinemark: Seniors on participating days can get discounted prices. Varies on location.
    SeaWorld Parks: Specials on annual passes (65+).
    U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+).
Go to article for complete list >> https://www.bradsdeals.com/blog/senior-discounts

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An adviser's guide to Social Security survivor benefits
By Mary Beth Franklin

One of the primary tenets of financial planning is to anticipate a worst-case scenario and to implement a strategy to buffer the risk. For many families, the untimely death of a parent or spouse can spell financial disaster.

While Social Security survivor benefits alone may not be sufficient to support surviving spouses and children during difficult times, they can play a crucial role in maintaining financial stability. Based on recent emails, many financial advisers are attempting to include Social Security survivor benefits in their "what if" scenarios, prompting questions about how to estimate the amount of those benefits.

Survivor benefits are based on the earnings of the person who died and the age of the surviving spouse when she claims benefits. The maximum survivor's benefit is limited to what the worker would receive if he were still alive.

A widow or widower who is full retirement age or older would receive 100% of the deceased worker's benefit amount. Survivor benefits are available as early as age 60, but they would be worth just 71.5% of the deceased worker's basic amount and gradually increase for survivors who claim benefits between 60 and full retirement age. A disabled widow or widower aged 50 through 59 would be eligible for 71.5% of the deceased worker's benefit….


July, 2017

6 July 2017

The Castle Rock Quilt, Craft and Sewing Festival
Where: Douglas County Fairgrounds, 500 Fairgrounds Dr, Castle Rock, CO 80104 (map)
At the Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival you will find a wide variety of Sewing, Quilting, Needle-Art and Craft supply exhibits from many quality companies

8 July 2017

Rocky Mountain Antique Festival – Colorado
Where: The Ranch Events Complex, 5280 Arena Circle, Loveland, CO (map)
Quality antique & vintage shopping with dealers from across America. Tickets prices are posted online -

14 July 2017

World Wide Antique & Vintage Show
Where: Denver Mart, 451 East 58th Avenue, Denver, CO 80216, United States (map)
The World Wide Antique & Vintage Show, held in Denver CO is a 43 year tradition. Each show features between 85-100 antique & vintage dealers from around the United States. The entry for the show is $5.00 per person which allows entry for all three days. Get your tickets at the door, or in advance, below -

15 July 2017

Free Basic Digital Literacy Training
Where: United States (map)
EveryoneOn collaborates with libraries and nonprofits to advertise free computer & Internet courses at over 8,000 training sites across the country. Get connected by calling 1-855-387-9166 or visiting the website to find classes in their communities.

15 July 2017

OKC Land Run Antique Show Oklahoma
Where: Cox Convention Center in Bricktown, 1 Myriad Gardens, Oklamoma (map)
Quality antique & vintage shopping with dealers from across America. Tickets prices are posted online

15 July 2017

Village to Village Network
Where: United States (map)
Villages are membership-driven, grass-roots organizations run by volunteers and paid staff that coordinate access to affordable services in your community. Services can include transportation, home repairs, social and educational activities and more

20 July 2017

Celebrate COAW an Evening with Roger Landry, M.D.
Where: Lakewood Cultural Center, 470 S. Allison Pkwy, Lakewood, CO 80226 (map)
Enjoy a lovely cocktail reception with live music while experiencing the work COAW is doing in support of wellness and active aging. We will also hear from Dr. Roger Landry, nationally recognized and award-winning author of Live Long, Die Short, and principal in Masterpiece Living. Call 303-984-1845 or visit our website

21 July 2017

Cheyenne Frontier Days
Where: Cheyenne, WY, USA (map)
Cheyenne celebrates its western roots with this festival. From the world’s largest outdoor rodeo, to trick riding, a wild-horse race, a Native American Village, an old frontier town, a saloon, dancing, a chuck wagon cook-off, pancake breakfasts and an art show, there will be plenty of fun to keep you busy

28 July 2017

River City Antique Festival Iowa
Where: Mid-America Center, 1 Arena Way, Council Bluffs, IA 51501, USA (map)
Quality antique & vintage shopping with dealers from across America. Tickets prices are posted online

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Assisted Living: Sometimes It’s Not About The Extras

What Senior Housing Is Missing on Amenities

By Elizabeth Ecker

With recent attention to ancillary services and catering to a new, choosier, and potentially higher-acuity resident, senior living has been building “better,” in recent years. Or so most operators think.

But a 2014 survey of independent living residents conducted by ProMatura Group indicates that residents do not consider themselves any happier when they are in a newer building with more activities, services and amenities.

Independent living residents were actually less satisfied in 2012 than they were in 2001, according to ProMatura’s findings.

“The more activities, the lower the ‘sense of home", said Margaret Wylde, CEO of ProMatura in sharing findings last week during a senior housing symposium held at the University of California, San Diego.

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Although the following article describes the services of a commercial enterprise,
the information may be of value to seniors in search of lower auto insurance rates.
As always, this blog or its editor have no connection with any business, product or service mentioned here.

Senior Citizens Can Get Better Car Insurance Rates
By PR Newswire    

Every senior drivers can now find affordable car insurance simply by comparing prices. Comparing various policies is now simpler and faster as everyone can use free online auto insurance quotes on a single website. At http://www.carinsurancesavings.biz anyone young or old can find the right coverage plans for his/her vehicles.

Auto insurance for senior citizens does not have to be expensive. In fact, it is usually cheaper than coverage for other younger drivers. A teenager, for example, pays a lot more for auto insurance than a senior citizen does.

There are many factors that influence auto insurance costs for senior citizens, but generally, they are perceived as safe drivers, as long as their driving record are clean. Senior drivers, usually, have plenty of experience at the wheel and have a lower insurability risk. They also drive less than other age groups, as they no longer work.

"Online auto insurance quotes can help senior citizens find the best coverage prices. It is possible to start reviewing multiple plans in just a few minutes, by visiting a single website." said Russell Rabichev, Marketing Director of Internet Marketing Company.

Carinsurancesavings.biz is an online provider of life, home, health, and auto insurance quotes. This website is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different online insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to  offers from multiple carriers all in one place: this website. On this site, customers have access to quotes for insurance plans from various agencies, such as local or nationwide agencies, brand names insurance companies, etc.

For more information, please visit http://www.carinsurancesavings.biz.

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6 Signs You Should Eat More Protein
Our society seems to have become obsessed with protein, with meat-centric diet plans like The Paleo Diet and Atkins über-popular right now. Turns out, an emphasis on protein may be just the thing for older adults, who likely need to increase their intake. Starting around age 50, we progressively lose muscle, a natural condition of aging known as sarcopenia.

How Much Should You Eat?

The exact amount of protein you should consume beyond the recommended daily allowance is still up for debate and may depend on your activity level, but experts suggest aiming for at least the recommended amount, since most older adults fall short. How do you know if you need more?

Here are six signs to watch for:

#1: You’re getting sick more often

#2: You’re noticing swelling in your feet/ankles

#3: You’re tired and lethargic

#4: Your skin doesn't look healthy

#5: You’re nails are brittle and you get more hangnails

#6: You’re losing weight
If you can increase your protein intake, it will go a long way toward improving your overall health and wellbeing, especially if you also exercise to convert that protein to muscle. Says Dr. Landsverk, “Protein is important because it allows us to maintain our strength and independence. You’re more likely to live longer and live better."

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Steve Harvey On Why Senior Citizens
Were the Perfect Subjects For His New Show

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Binge TV watching a risk for older adults

Binge watching television shows on Netflix may be good for our stress levels but it could be harming the physical health of older Australians.

A study by University of Queensland PhD candidate Natasha Reid found people who watched high levels of TV had significantly less lower-body muscle strength than their more active peers.

Ms Reid told AAP on Thursday the amount of time an older person spent on the couch each week could "influence physical function" in their later years.

"Sedentary time is increasingly being recognised as a health risk," she said.

Ms Reid said the results had the potential to worsen because streaming sites like Netflix and Stan hadn't been introduced when most of the data was collected.

"There's definitely evidence to say that we really do need to be reducing and interrupting how long we're sitting," she said.

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Immigration reform would benefit senior living
Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor

Approximately 860,000 immigrants are employed as direct-care workers in home- and community-based settings, assisted living facilities, group homes, intermediate care facilities, nursing care facilities and hospitals, according to the brief. Added to the number of nursing assistants, personal care aides and home health aides hired directly by families, the total becomes 1 million, meaning that immigrants make up about 25% of the direct care workforce, Espinoza said, and in California, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey and New York, more than 40% of direct care workers are immigrants.

Most immigrants who are direct care workers are women, and their median annual income is $19,000, according to the brief. “Additionally, this segment of the workforce experiences high poverty rates and relies largely on public benefits to survive,” Espinoza wrote.

“If you go through the various cases for comprehensive immigration reform in this country, which I think is very compelling, certainly this industry and the healthcare industry in general is an industry that would benefit enormously from it,” Delaney said at the time, answering a question from NIC CEO Robert Kramer.

Now it's my turn

No Place Else To Go
Before I begin this lament you need to know a little background concerning my current housing situation.

I am a resident of an assisted living facility in suburban Westchester County, NY.

I am here because I have a disability that precludes me from living alone in an unsecured environment like a house or apartment.

I came here directly from a nursing home where I spent over two years of my life, with most of that time in a wheelchair.

I had to leave the nursing home because my condition improved and I was no longer eligible for the Medicare funds that paid most of an enormous monthly bill.

Since I could no longer return to my apartment of 14 years, the next thing was to come here, to the assisted living facility where the monthly charges would be considerably less (by almost two-thirds).

My room and board here is paid partly by my entire Social Security benefit, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Mine is one of the very few facilities in my state that accepts Medicare and Medicaid as payment.

Without this arrangement, I have no idea where I would be living.

Apartment rents, even in the poorest, most crime-ridden, senior unfriendly neighborhoods in this area are far beyond anything I could afford on a fixed income. Therefore, I find my current accommodations not only a bargain but a godsend as well. And, the very thought of losing the place I have made for myself here frightens the hell out of me.

In fact, the one thing that I fear most (almost to the point of being phobic) is homelessness.

Just the anticipation of not having a clean, safe, secure roof over my head every night produces a bead of sweat on my brow and sends a cold shiver down my spine.

Now, while I suppose that the possibility of being homeless has crossed the mind of most people at one time or another, how many of you have actually given any thought as to what you would do if you were to be confronted with such an outlook.

As you can guess, given my state of terror at the prospect of suddenly not having a place to live, I have given the situation a great deal of thought.

Unfortunately, none of my solutions sound like something I would actually want to do.

The actual chances of anyone being homeless is slim, but not unheard of.

While many of the men (and women) you see everyday sleeping on the sidewalk and subways may qualify for housing assistance many, out of ignorance, fear or just plain psychosis, won’t accept help. Unfortunately, we can’t do much about these folks.

I always believed that if I were faced with this situation, I would try to scrape together enough bus fare to get to a warm climate. I figure that if I am forced to sleep on the street, at least let it be under a palm tree in Miami.

Currently, my only income is derived from my Social Security benefits and some SSI, out of which is deducted my Medicare premiums leaving me with not much left over which is okay because practically all of my daily expenses (shelter, food, and utilities) are included in my rent. Any money I have left over goes for clothes, toiletries, and an occasional Chinese or pizza take-out. And, for all of this, I consider myself truly fortunate.

But what, in the way of housing, is there for all of the other low-income old folks whose Social Security benefit is way less than mine or don’t qualify for subsidized assisted living?

Not very much I’m afraid.

Judging by the number of news items that come across my desk describing how housing facilities for poor and low-income people are consistently being voted down by state and local lawmakers, there appears to be a war against old folks (and poor old folks in particular).
And, even those projects that are approved fall far short of what is actually needed.

At one time (probably about 30 or forty years ago) one’s rent was expected to be about 25% of a person's monthly income. Still high, but doable for most middle-income families and single adults. Now, that figure has risen to 40 or even 50% or more, pricing out all minimum wage earners and most people on fixed incomes.

America has turned a blind eye towards planning and providing for people who have, not only fallen through the cracks but started out in the cracks, to begin with.

Real estate, which has always been a good investment, used to grow at a steady, but predictable and manageable rate.

However, in the last few years, property values have skyrocketed out of proportion with economic growth and incomes.

For example. The apartment in which I lived in Queens, NY sold for $188,000 in the 1980’s. A similar apartment (2 bedroom, pre-war, with doorman) in the same building that I lived in recently sold for $489,000 dollars. And don’t even ask what the rent would be for that apartment. What person, that we used to call middle class, can afford to live there? Which brings us back to Seniors on fixed incomes living in large metropolitan areas. Fortunately, in New York City there is some relief.

Renters of apartments in New York City who meet income requirements, can have their rents frozen as soon as they reach 65. This is known as the SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) program. But even with that, one’s rent could be 50% or more of their income.

Today, people who would never have thought that they could be homeless (after all, they worked all of their lives, paid taxes and gave the government a good chunk of their paychecks every week) face the very real possibility of winding up in a shelter, substandard housing or worse.

Regrettably, there does not seem to be an answer to this problem.

Raising people's salaries or benefits would help in the short run, but most likely would lead towards inflation causing real estate and housing to go up even higher. And any freeze or roll-back of unbridled rent increases would only result in a reduction of new housing being built.

We are up s**t's creek without a paddle my friends when it comes to housing for the less fortunate. And by “less fortunate” I mean YOU.

Personally, I have my eye on a very nice Hotpoint refrigerator carton and a warm subway grate on Lexington Avenue.

Hey buddy, can you spare $3.75 for a cup of Latte Grandè?

Related Story

Aging in Place Needs Out of the Box Thinking

What do I mean by “out of the box?” I mean focusing on the situation facing middle-income older Americans.

While low-income older adults desperately need funding and support, 70 percent of older Americans (70 million people) do not qualify for government or not-for-profit programs but, at the same time, cannot afford expensive retirement communities or 24/7 care. These people have some resources and most want to age in place. Many own their homes and spend out-of-pocket for care, which is often difficult to locate and manage.

Without question, this is a cadre that needs better supports.

Out of the box is preparing homes in advance so health costs are avoided or reduced in the future. An age-friendly home helps people stay healthy longer, which reduces costs for health payers and for families. Falls are reduced. And people who do fall can return to a prepared home more quickly, saving rehab costs and improving recovery.

When a home is prepared for aging in place, family and informal and paid caregivers there are injured less frequently. That means available resources go farther.

What Business and Government Could Do…

As American Society appears to becoming less and less compassionate by the day, it’s encouraging to see that there are at least a few people in authority that still have some humanity left in them. Watch as Municipal Court Judge Frank Caprio shows empathy towards down and out women.

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

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©2017 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


WcenterBlog Thursday June 29th to Wednesday July 5th 2017

10 American Facts You Can Use To Ruin Any July 4 Party


Would you like to ruin your Fourth of July party for your friends and family by being that person? Here’s the ammunition.

1. That “All-American” sport of baseball probably came from England.

2. So did apple pie....

3. The tune of our national anthem comes from an old drinking song... from England.

4. The Pledge of Allegiance was basically a gimmick intended to sell more flags.

5. Canadians own the Mall of America.

6. Bald eagle screeches are actually pretty weak — the classic sound is actually a red-tailed hawk.

7. Settlers didn’t really tame the American frontier... since it was pretty much tamed already.

8. Like hot dogs? Lewis, Clark and Co. consumed over 200 dogs during their journey across America.

9. Like imitation hot dogs? President Johnson would frequently pull his “Johnson” out at inappropriate times.

10. Independence Day is actually on July 2
story >> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/02/american-facts-july-4_n_5533983.html?fb_action_ids=10152529556921635&fb_action_types=og.comments

Safety and Security at the A.L.F.
Although I’ve mentioned safety and security a few times before in this blog, I haven’t really explored what a resident of an assisted living facility can expect in the way of making sure they will be kept out of harm's way.

I know for a fact that one of the primary concerns of both the children of prospective A.L.F. residents and the resident themselves is safety.

“How will my mother or father be protected against falls, accidents, theft, and abuse while they are living here?” are questions that should be asked by anyone thinking about moving to any senior housing community.

Unfortunately, the answers to those questions are as varied as the number of so-called senior living venues.

Most facilities offer at least a basic approach to security.

This includes locking of resident’s doors, alarms on all emergency exits, and inspections of rooms as well as knowing the whereabouts of any resident at any time.

Additional security may include closed circuit TV, motion detectors and wearable tracking devices such as bracelets or pendants.

In our facility, for example, all of our corridors, stairways, common areas and outside patios, driveways, and walkways are monitored 365/24/7 by a staff member manning a multi-screened monitor. Additionally, a recording is kept if a review is needed. The entire system has recently been upgraded.*

The main door is locked after 10 pm and can only be opened by the night receptionist.

By law, a bed check is made each night. Usually, a simple knock on the door requiring a brief acknowledgment by the occupant is enough to satisfy state requirements. If no satisfactory response is forthcoming, a visual check is then made.

Furthermore, all rooms are fitted with railings in the bathrooms and shower as well as ground-fault electric circuitry that turn off if water is detected on the outlet. The facility has sprinklers, smoke detectors and emergency lights in rooms and corridors. A fire drill is performed at least once a year to ensure that evacuation procedures are sufficient to protect  over 200 residents and staff.**

Okay, so that’s the way (our) facility approaches the question of safety and security. And, for the most part, the system does a good job at preventing catastrophic breaches of those components of precaution and surveillance.

However, as we all know, not every person can be protected every day in every situation and in every venue.

In many cases, it is just a matter of oversite. That is, not recognizing that a particular security or safety problem exists.

But sometimes, unfortunately, the well-being of its residents is the least of the facilities priorities.

In doing research for this blog I come across many news items concerning neglect and abuse perpetrated by the management and staff of assisted living facilities.

Here are a couple of examples…

Scathing report issued on Baltimore County assisted living facility
A mother and daughter face charges following an investigation into an assisted living facility in Baltimore County.

A state report details the conditions that residents there were subjected to.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene laid out a variety of issues from missing records to wheelchair-bound residents being locked in rooms with no bathrooms, food or water. Now, criminal charges are being filed in the case.

Proceed to story >> http://www.wbaltv.com/article/scathing-report-issued-on-baltimore-county-assisted-living-facility/10211949

"Assisted living facility sued after resident killed by alligator"

Of course, those are exceptional examples, but none-the-less frightening. And, while these certainly are not the norm, varying degrees of malfeasants occur almost daily at many assisted living centers.

These can range from manhandling of residents by staff to neglecting to order and distribute needed medication.

And, while physical abuse of residents by staff members does happen and is punishable by immediate dismissal, a resident is more likely to be abused or injured by another resident then by someone employed by the facility.

Stories of beatings and attempted stabbings as well as verbal abuse by one resident on another is a daily occurrence at our facility and, from what I have read, at most other facilities as well

“One arrested in assisted living facility murder”

“Law enforcement officials report Christopher Kelley murdered fellow Assisted living facility resident Wendell Holmes at the Tropical Paradise Assisted Living Facility, located at 1593 Brickyard Road in Chipley early Saturday evening.”

More on this story>> http://www.chipleypaper.com/news/20170625/one-arrested-in-assisted-living-facility-murder

Early in my settling in here and before the facility was able to get its act together as far as matching room mates was concerned, visits to the facility by the local police were a daily event.

In our center, residents who engage in actual physical abuse upon another resident or staff member are dealt with quickly and find themselves looking for another place to live. Unfortunately, verbally abusive residents are almost impossible to evict in a timely manner. Such confrontations usually result in one of the residents being moved to another room or floor and having their dining hours changed so as not to come in contact with one another.

We have a couple of residents here that are so verbally offensive to their fellow diners that they take their meals away from the general population.

It appears the halls and playgrounds of the local high school is not the sole arena for bullies.

For me, personally, I have never had any incidents of either physical or verbal abuse inflicted on me.

Maybe it’s because I don’t present myself as being a victim or someone who would let themselves be bullied.

Bullies, old or young, have a radar that can pick out a potential target a mile away. A condition that is intensifies because the individual being bullied is old and frail.

There is one other security situation that has been almost a staple when it comes to elder care whether at home or in a institutional situation. Theft.

While the incidents of reported thefts here at the ALF are few, it most definitely occurs on a regular basis.

Stories of missing jewelry, electronics and even clothing are regular events here.

And, while some (maybe even most) of these “thefts” turn out to be lost or misplaced items, a goodly number are actual instances of thievery on the part of staff or, I’m sorry to say, other residents.

Residents are cautioned, on a regular basis, to keep all valuables in a locked drawer or strong box.

The problem is, because safety of the residents is the main concern of management, almost all of the staff have keys to all of the resident’s rooms so that access can easily be gained in case of an emergency. This results in too many people with the ability to gain entrance to any room at any time.

Naturally, the facility is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

While it is difficult to establish whether or not any individual facility is safe or not by just inspecting the premises or listening to the sales pitch by the marketing person who takes you on a tour, it is possible to obtain the results of inspections done by the state’s governing agency and inquiring if any complaints concerning safety, security or abuse has been reported.

And, as I always say when asked what the best way to determine whether or not any place is suitable for you or a loved one, ask the residents themselves. Talk to them individually or as a group and tell them that you are interested in the facility and what do and don’t they like about it. While the answers may be as diverse as the population, you can usually detect a trend without too much difficulty.

*Editor’s note: Our facility applied for and received a grant just for this purpose.

** Because cooking or the use of any open flame or heat-producing appliance is prohibited in any of the resident’s rooms, the chance of a fire occurring is kept at a minimum.

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Confused about the differences between
Obamacare and Trumpcare (I am)
Here is the best side by side comparison
I’ve seen yet…

Click on above chart
Go to link below to enlarge

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This week’s feature

Should You Worry About Social Security?
If you save appropriately for retirement, you won’t have to
By Maurie Backman
The Motley Fool

“...yes, you should be worried about Social Security -- but not just because of that projected deficit. Rather, what you should be concerned with is the notion of having to live on just 40% of your previous income, because that's all Social Security is designed to replace in a best-case scenario. Furthermore, if benefits are indeed slashed by 21%, you'll get even less replacement income out of Social Security. And that could be disastrous for your retirement.”

“Now you may be thinking: "Well, I'll just adopt a frugal lifestyle in retirement and get by on less." It's a good plan in theory, but when you factor in some of the basic expenses functional adults can't live without -- like housing, food, transportation, utilities, clothing, and healthcare -- you'll soon see that living on 40% of your former income just isn't feasible.”

“While you shouldn't have to worry about Social Security going away completely in your lifetime, you should come to terms with the fact that you can't live off your benefits alone. And once you accept that reality, you'll be better positioned to fret less about Social Security and instead focus your efforts on aggressively building your savings.”

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Keep a close eye on Social Security earnings statement
By Rick Bloom, Money Matters
Unfortunately, the great majority of people never check to make sure that their earnings have been properly reported to Social Security. You would think that reporting earnings would be a relatively simple process, but mistakes do happen. The problem is that it’s up to you to identify the mistake and take the necessary actions to correct the error. Typically, for Social Security, the statute of limitations is three years, three months and 15 days from the time you filed your return. Like most rules, there are exceptions and it is possible with proper documentation that the Social Security Administration will correct an error beyond the statute of limitations. That being said, it is important that every year you review your earnings to ensure they are accurate. You cannot assume that mistakes don’t happen. After all, you’re dealing with a government agency.

For those of you who are 60 and over, the Social Security Administration does send you an annual statement, typically three months from your birthday. If you are under 60, you can obtain a copy of your earnings by going to www.ssa.gov.

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 Social Security Q & A

Question: Do Members of Congress have to pay into Social Security?

Answer: Yes, they do. Members of Congress, the President and Vice President, federal judges, and most political appointees, have paid taxes into the Social Security program since January 1984. They pay into the system just like everyone else, no matter how long they have been in office. Learn more about Social Security benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Question: How can I get proof of my benefits to apply for a loan?

Answer: If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/ or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online through your personal my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. This letter is sometimes called a "budget letter," a "benefits letter," a "proof of income letter," or a "proof of award letter." You even can select the information you want included in your online benefit verification letter.

Question: Someone stole my Social Security number, and it's being used repeatedly. Does Social Security issue new Social Security numbers to victims of repeated identity theft?

Answer: Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America, so you aren't alone. If you've done all you can to identify and fix the problem, including contacting the Federal Trade Commission, but someone is still using your number, Social Security may assign you a new number. If you decide to apply for a new number, you'll need to prove your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You'll also need to provide evidence you're having ongoing problems because of the misuse of your current Social Security number. You can read more about identity theft at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs

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Big Social Security COLA will be offset by Medicare premiums
By Mark Miller

“Retirees can look forward to the largest Social Security cost-of-living adjustment next year since 2012 - but don’t break out the champagne just yet. For many, higher Medicare premiums will take a big bite out of their raise.”

“For a retiree receiving the average monthly Social Security benefit of $1,360, a 2 percent raise would translate to an increase of $27.20. But for most beneficiaries, Medicare Part B premiums are deducted from Social Security. And the impact of the Part B premium on net benefits next year will vary due to what is known as the “hold harmless” provision governing Social Security.”

“But a generous 2018 COLA will spread higher Part B program costs across the entire Medicare population. That means nonprotected enrollees will see their premiums fall, while the protected group will pay more.”

“Consider an example where the standard Part B premium falls to $125. That above-mentioned average Social Security beneficiary, (receiving $1,360 monthly) now faces a $16 increase in her monthly Part B premium, reducing her COLA from $27.20 to $11.20. If she were receiving $2,000 a month she would receive a net monthly COLA of $24, instead of $40….”

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Identity Theft Feeds on Social Security Numbers Run Amok
 by Suzanne Woolley

“Social Security numbers, which identify the retirement accounts Americans build up over a lifetime of paycheck deductions, are taken in the vast majority of data breaches, simply because they are ubiquitous. They're a juicy target. Together with other basic information, like name and date of birth, the Social Security number is a passport to a person's identity. Unlike a credit card number, which can be instantly canceled, the SSN serves most people for their entire lives, with some 496 million issued since the first batch of cards went out in 1936. Its use as authentication for personal accounts has expanded the opportunity for fraud.

An estimated 17.6 million people, or some 7 percent of American residents 16 or older, suffered at least one instance of identity theft in 2014, the latest year of data available from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. And that was before mega-breaches like the one at the health insurer Anthem and at the Office of Personnel Management itself.”

The Overlooked Trumpcare Threat: A Medicare Time Bomb
Just over two years ago, Donald Trump gave a speech announcing his run for the presidency. In that speech, he promised that he would not cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. That promise became a centerpiece of his campaign. It was a key way for Trump to differentiate himself, as a matter of policy, from his Republican primary opponents – a distinction he happily and frequently pointed out. In the general election, the promise helped him appeal to voters who don’t traditionally support the GOP.

But six months into his presidency, Trump has already betrayed those voters by breaking his promise. Indeed, rather than protecting those programs, he has already, in his short tenure, gone after all three!

When it comes to Social Security and Medicaid, that betrayal is highly visible and clear: His budget slashes billions from Social Security and Medicaid. Trump also champions the Republican health care repeal bill (also known as Trumpcare), which includes yet more massive cuts to Medicaid.

Indeed, Trumpcare is bait-and-switch: It claims to repeal and replace Obamacare, which it modifies, but doesn’t completely undo. What it does do, without broadcasting the fact, is repeal and replace Medicaid….

And let us not forget about Medicaid…

How Does The Senate Health Care Bill Affect Seniors?
By Joe Difazio

After weeks of secrecy, Senate Republicans released their health care bill (last) Thursday en route to repealing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, cutting taxes on high-income earners and businesses and making deep cuts to Medicaid. Those cuts could have a drastic impact on senior citizens.

Medicaid covers 20 percent of all Americans and 40 percent of low-income adults. It also pays for most people who live in nursing homes.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care research nonprofit, estimates Medicaid pays for the care of 62 percent of nursing home residents. In some states, the number is more than three in four seniors. In West Virginia, Medicaid pays for 76 percent of seniors in nursing homes; in Alaska, 79 percent, and in the District of Columbia, 80 percent. Medicare pays for skilled nursing care, but usually for a limited number of days, typically after surgeries or medical emergencies.

The bill would end Medicaid’s open entitlement, capping the dollar amount covered.

In addition to Medicaid cuts, the bill proposes lowering subsidies that help low-income Americans pay for health care on state exchanges the ACA created, hitting older Americans, especially those with pre-existing conditions and not yet eligible for Medicare, the hardest.

+ + + + + + + + +

Cashing out life insurance policy: pros and cons
Some people think that once the kids have completed college or you have paid off your mortgage it is time to cancel or reduce life insurance. Baby Boomers are living longer, and cashing out life insurance can help pay off debt or provide funds for loved ones.

But before you decide to cancel your policy, take some time to carefully review your situation. Robert Quinlan, managing member of Quinlan Care LLC, offered the following tips on life insurance policies as you reach retirement age. Here is what you need to know.

Boomer: Once I reach my retirement, do I need to keep my life insurance coverage in force?

Quinlan: There are many reasons why someone should keep their insurance coverage. Did you still have debt from a mortgage, auto loan, “still too big” credit card(s) balance, or in the midst of education debt for a second career or to help educate a grandchild or child? You may not have sufficient retirement income or funds for your surviving spouse or partner to maintain their life style today after your death. Are your charitably inclined? You may wish to leave all or some of your life insurance benefits to your favorite charity, or leave it to your children.

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The 10 Fastest-Growing Costs for Seniors Since 2000

TSCL's report found that two-thirds of all seniors interviewed had monthly expenses this year that were $79 (or more) higher than last year. Meanwhile, beneficiaries this year received just a 0.3% COLA, the lowest increase on record. For the average retired worker, we're talking about a $4 monthly increase! Overall, 26 of the 39 costs examined by TSCL grew at a faster pace than COLA between 2000 and the present.

The 10 fastest-growing costs seniors face

What costs exactly are seniors struggling to cope with? Let's take a look at the 10 fastest-growing expenses for seniors since 2000 listed by TSCL's report.

Medicare Part B (+195%): Medicare Part B monthly premiums have jumped from $45.50 in 2000 to $134 a month today.

Prescription drug costs (+184%): Annual out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drugs have skyrocketed from $1,102 in 2000 to $3,132 currently.

1.Homeowner's insurance (+154%): The national average annual cost to insure a home has risen from $508 in 2000 to $1,292 today.

2.Real estate taxes (+147%): The average annual real estate taxes paid on an owned home have risen from $690 in 2000 to $1,701.50 today.

3.Propane gas per gallon (+137%): Propane costs on a per-gallon basis have risen from $1.01 in 2000 to $2.39 today.

4.Heating oil per gallon (+130%): Since 2000, the price of heating oil per gallon has increased from $1.15 to $2.63.

5.Medigap supplemental insurance (+122%): The average monthly premium for a Medigap plan has jumped from $119 in 2000 to $264.45 as of today.

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Baby Boomers Least Likely to Have Emergency Fund
By Lisa Fu

“Having emergency savings also allows you to take advantages of opportunities,” said Bankrate.com chief financial analyst Greg McBride. Savings help one take advantage of new job opportunities, celebratory events such as weddings, or personal investments. At the very least, having a 6 month safety net may bring peace of mind since 65% of Americans reported losing sleep over financial stress according to CreditCards.com.
Changing Attitudes

Though they are approaching retirement, 32% of those aged 53 to 62 have no emergency savings, the highest among the different age groups. McBride said many of these baby boomers may have lost their savings in the economic downturn or faced long term unemployment. Those older than age 63 reported the lowest likelihood of empty savings and 44% of them have enough savings to cover at least 6 months worth of expenses according to Bankrate.com.

Contrary to popular belief, the youngest millennials aged 18 to 26 exhibited strong saving habits. Though many carry student loan debts, they are much less likely to rack up credit card debt or auto loans. They buy less things and this might be because they saw their parents and older siblings experience the recession, McBride said.

If you are a news junkie like I am (and who isn’t these days) and you are curious to see what makes the front page of newspapers all over the world than newseum.org (the website associated with the Newseum in Washington,DC) is just what you have been looking for.

Every day, over 800 newspapers in the U.S. and the world send an image of their front pages to the Nerwseum who posts them online and can be accessed by anyone.

Now you can know what the Modesto Daily Bee, the Philadelphia Inquirer or the London Daily Mail thinks is important in their part of the world.

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Please note: The WCenterBlog neither endorses or approves of any of the gadgets or services featured here. In addition, we receive no compensation from any sales that may result as having any gadget or service highlighted in this blog.

Personal Pill Pack System

Sort & Seal

Keeping your meds and vitamins straight is much easier with this travel pill organizer. PillSuite sorts and seals your pills into single-dose packs that are easy to store, transport, and take. Arrange your daily, weekly, or monthly doses with the funnel dispenser then they slide into a baggie that you can label with the date and time to take. The included sealer puts an airtight seal on each bag, too. When Phil and Diane


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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President Trump Orders the Execution of Five Turkeys Pardoned by Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In another sweeping move aimed at undoing the perceived damage done by the Obama administration, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday directing the Department of Justice to revoke all sixteen Thanksgiving Day turkey pardons issued by the former president during his eight years in office.

“After reviewing the decisions made by the previous administration, President Trump has determined that a number of turkey pardons issued by Barack Obama were done so in a manner that was both deceitful and hazardous to the American people,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Tuesday. “This morning, the president once again used his executive powers to see to it that justice is served and that the surviving creatures will be destroyed.”

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


WCenterBlog- June 22 to June 29th 2017

A Father’s Legacy
My father lies next to my mother in death just as they had for over 60 years in life.
The neatly kept grave in a crowded cemetery located in an area that is as close to a necropolis as one can get on long Island.

A simple granite headstone marks the final resting place of a man who, even now, still holds influence over all of what I am and will be. And that influence goes far beyond what any combination of genes or nucleic acids can affect.

I was raised (as many of us were in those post-WW2 years) in a traditional family setting.

My mom stayed at home and took care of me and my brother while dad trudged off to work every day.

My father came home for dinner every evening and we all sat around the table and discussed the high or low lights of our day.

My mom would begin the conversation with her “Daily Report” which consisted mainly of a list of stuff she needed to properly run the household such as the urgent need for a new vacuum cleaner.

Of course asking my father for a new vacuum was tantamount to asking for a new Buick. In those days, any purchase over $50 was cause for debate.

My mom never lost those debates.

The “Report” would eventually turn to me and my older brother, who managed to avoid family dinners as often as he could, leaving me to take the brunt of the ensuing inquisition.

It was then that the dreaded “Just wait ‘till your father gets home” portion of the evening’s entertainment began.

It was made quite clear that any punishment, be it corporal, capital, or psychological would be carried out by my father.

Most evenings went by without any sentences handed out. I was not really a bad kid.

But when it was decided that an appropriate response to my malfeasance was necessary, it usually came in the form of yelling at me along with that look of utter disappointment that my father managed to affect in such a manner as to make me feel as though I had committed the crime of the century.

I remember that feeling to this day and can’t help but wonder if this is something that all dads instinctively know how to do.

While moms do it with “guilt”, dads do it with a look of sadness, disappointment, and failure.

 Or, perhaps it is something that is built-in to kids themselves that make disappointing one’s father worse than any physical punishment or retribution.

And even now, as an adult, remnants of that feeling of having let the number one male figure in my life down lingers like a ketchup stain on a white shirt.

I just hate to let anyone down. Be it my teachers, my boss or my friends.

In some unconscious way, my father taught me the meaning of keeping my word and that no matter what my financial status is, my word is my bond.

This very simple lesson has done well by me throughout my life whether it be in my business relations or the relations I have with friends and loved ones. And, while I can’t say that I have always managed to do what I set out to do, I can say that at least my intention to do so was honest and sincere.

Now, that I am well entrenched in the autumn of my years and have managed to pile on a number of regrets, the one that makes me the saddest is that I will not be able to pass on that same feeling to my kids.

My parent's marriage lasted 60 years and produced two kids. But my brief marriage left me without an heir and has brought my family line to an end. But despite that, at least I can say that I did do honor to my father by trying to be the best person I could be. And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Social Security in 2018:
Potential changes and how they could impact you

By Casey Dowd

Recent inflation trends could boost the 2018 cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security beneficiaries to its highest since 2012, according to advocacy group The Senior Citizens League.

While any increase would be welcomed news for seniors living on a fixed income, the potential six-year high won’t necessarily be something to write home about, according to TSCL.

“The rate of inflation is the driver of COLA increases. But the truth is that it would not take much to beat COLAs of the past five years — 2013 thru 2017. During that time COLAs ranged from a low of zero in 2016, and 0.3% this year, to a 'high' of 1.7 percent in 2013 and 2015, anything above 1.7 percent would make it the highest since 2012,” said Mary Johnson, TSCL’s Social Security and Medicare policy analyst. “The bar is set pretty low.”

Johnson discussed with FOX Business TSCL’s predictions for 2018 COLA, which the Social Security Administration will announce in the fall, and what it means for retirees.

Boomer: What are some of the changes we might see for Social Security in 2018?

Johnson: Recent CPI data indicates that the COLA in 2018 could be the highest since 2012. (Remember that could be anything higher than 1.7 percent). I’m projecting that the COLA for 2018 will be around 1.9-2.1 percent. Keep your fingers crossed, the 12 - month rate of inflation growth has weakened over the past month.

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Another Argument for Cutting Social Security
Falls by the Wayside


One of the main arguments you often hear for cutting Social Security benefits is that we need to push more seniors into the labor market. The argument typically goes something like this: if we raise the Social Security retirement age (or cut the level of monthly benefits), the tradeoff between work and retirement will tilt more heavily in favor of work, resulting in higher employment among workers in their sixties. This change would in turn improve the Social Security budget, both by increasing the program’s revenues (since more workers would be paying into the program) and by decreasing the program’s expenditures (since fewer seniors would be receiving benefits).

Twenty or thirty years ago, this would’ve been a perfectly coherent and logical argument. But in 2017, it doesn’t hold much sway, for one simple reason: employment among seniors is already at a record high, meaning that it is no longer necessary to push older Americans into the labor market. Moreover, this rise in employment has been widespread across the senior age distribution, a fact which (as we will see later) is also relevant to retirement policy. In fact, for all five specific age groups for which we have data, annual employment rates were at their all-time highs in 2016.

Start with Americans in their early sixties. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began collecting employment data on 60-61 year-olds and 62-64 year-olds back in 1976. That year, the employment rate of 60-61 year-olds was 53.4%, and the employment rate of 62-64 year-olds was 39.1%; yet by 2016, these rates were up to 60.7% and 48.8%, respectively….

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Top Republicans Tell Trump: Implement Obamacare
By Russell Berman
The Atlantic

Top congressional Republicans have delivered a surprising plea to the Trump administration: Don’t sabotage the Affordable Care Act while we try to repeal it.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday became the second GOP committee chairmen in as many weeks to urge the administration to continue payments of subsidies to insurance companies that are considered crucial to stabilizing the individual market and preventing sharp premium increases.

Under President Trump’s direction, the administration has refused to guarantee that it will pay the subsidies, which are known as “cost-sharing reduction payments” and help insurers keep down deductibles for low-income customers while still making a profit. The decision has infuriated Democrats and insurers alike, and several companies have cited the uncertainty caused by the administration as the reason for exiting Obamacare exchanges in certain states and counties.
Related Story

How Democrats Would Fix Obamacare…

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Misconceptions for remarried senior spouses
By Bonnie Kraham

Getting remarried later in life as senior citizens comes with potential unforeseen circumstances for finances, inheritance rights for spouse and children, and long-term care costs.

When people marry later in life, they may also bring along their debts and obligations. Maybe one spouse is obligated to pay life insurance or a pension to a former spouse or has a reverse mortgage on the home. The new spouse would receive less inheritance.

Remarriage may complicate the inheritance to children from a previous marriage. Many people labor under the misconception that if they keep their assets completely separate from the new spouse, their plan to leave money to their own children controls. However, due to a law called the “right of election,” a surviving spouse may make a claim for one-third of the estate of the deceased spouse, despite a will that says all goes to the children.

For second or third marriages later in life, it is usually recommended the couple enter into either a prenuptial agreement (created before the marriage), also referred to as a “prenup,” or postnuptial agreement (created after the marriage), also referred to as a “postnup,” which controls …


Seniors Load Up on Psych Meds
(JAMA Internal Medicine)
Polypharmacy is ongoing problem
 by Christine Hsu,
MedPage Today

Older Americans are being over-prescribed, suggested new research finding that the percentage of people over 65 taking three or more mind-altering drugs has more than doubled in the past decade.

What's more, nearly half of these patients were not formally diagnosed with mental health issues, insomnia, or pain conditions.

Researchers found that 1.4% of doctor visits by seniors involved three or more central nervous system-affecting medication in 2013 compared to 0.6% in 2004, meaning 3.68 million doctor visits a year involve older patients taking three or more brain-altering drugs.

The authors said the latest findings are "concerning" as combining multiple drugs such as opioids, antidepressants, tranquilizers, and antipsychotics are associated with serious risks, particularly in seniors.

"We hope that the newer prescribing guidelines for older adults encourage providers and patients to reconsider the potential risks and benefits from these combinations," said lead author Donovan Maust, MD, MS, of the University of Michigan.

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Excess weight may reduce early death risk
for older adults with diabetes

By Honor Whiteman

Researchers say that being overweight or obese in later life may prolong the lifespan of patients with diabetes.
Many of us are aware of the health risks associated with being overweight or obese. A new study, however, finds that holding some excess weight may actually benefit older adults with diabetes.

Researchers from Capital Medical University in Beijing, China, found that being overweight or obese in later life may reduce the risk of premature death by almost a fifth for older adults with diabetes.

The researchers are unable to explain the association between overweight or obesity in later life and a longer lifespan for older adults with diabetes, but they do have some theories.

For example, they point to previous studies that have uncovered an inverse link between muscle mass and insulin resistance. Lean muscle mass reduces with age, and this may lead to a reduction in bodyweight, which could lead to worse health outcomes for older adults.

But Just In Case You Think It’s Okay To Go To Hell With Yourself….

Eating a Western diet of burgers and soda drastically
increased risk of Alzheimer's in lab mice 

By Cheyenne Roundtree
A diet consisting of red meat and sugary foods has been linked to Alzheimer's
Experts found the Western diet led to proteins that created brain damage
The new California study was conducted on mice in a lab setting
A previous San Francisco study found the same link in August of last year

Eating the Western way increases the risk of Alzheimer's, according to lab results.

Constantly indulging in fatty and sugary foods, such as burgers and fries, leads to unhealthy weight gain, decades of studies show.

Now research claims the intake of these types of foods not only leads to obesity but also increases the risk of Alzheimer's.

The new study was conducted on mice but previous findings from August also found the same link between these two factors and humans.

The Western diet was found to drive up cholesterol and Alzheimer's-influencing proteins that create blockages and destroy the brain.

* * *

Generosity Seems to Increase With Age
By Traci Pedersen

The findings, published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, show that while older adults treat their family and friends the same as younger adults do, the elderly donate more to strangers than younger adults, even when there is little chance for reciprocation.

“Greater generosity was observed among senior citizens possibly because as people become older, their values shift away from purely personal interests to more enduring sources of meaning found in their communities,” said study leader Dr. Yu Rongjun from the Department of Psychology at the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, as well as the Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology at NUS.

Research has shown that as people get older they spend more time volunteering, are more attentive to ecological concerns, and show less interest in getting rich. However, there is a lack of understanding of the core motive behind such altruistic behavior.

* * *

Series of Bills Will Improve Well-Being for Seniors -

The New York State Senate passed a series of bills to improve the physical, emotional and financial conditions of senior citizens.

"Our seniors play an invaluable role in the fabric of our society, and we have a responsibility to ensure that they have access to the resources they need to live their lives to the fullest, at home, in the communities they worked so hard to build," Senator Sue Serino said.

According to a release from the State Senate, some of the things the bills hope to accomplish include:

  1. protect seniors against theft and help law enforcement punish those who knowingly exploit the elderly
  2. establish a 24/7 statewide hotline for reporting various forms of abuse
  3. create a public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers on the financial risks associated with joint banking accounts
  4. amend retirement, social security and banking laws in regards to pension assignments to prohibit schemes used by companies to avoid paying public pension benefits
  5. address the demand for safe, affordable housing for seniors
  6. increase the Social Security Income rate adult care facilities receive so these services can continue to be available to low income Social Security recipients.
  7. create a transportation pilot program to help seniors run errands such as grocery shopping or go to medical appointments.
  8. simplify applications for seniors to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan
  9. permit people over the age of 65 to take courses through the State University of New York for credit without charge when space is available.
  10. establish a Veterans' Gerontological Advisory Committee
  11. authorize a 10% discount on city water bills for senior citizens and veterans.

"This week, we took significant steps to ensure that our laws work effectively to empower our seniors and to provide law enforcement with the tools they need to prevent exploitation and abuse. With this series of bills, we are sending a clear message to seniors across our state that their needs, and that their safety, remain a top priority," Serino said.

The bills are waiting for approval in the Assembly.

 Hydrangeas The Word
The  HYDRANGEAS were a little late to bloom this spring, but as soon as the temperatures began to rise to 70, 80 and 90 degrees, they couldn’t wait to pop out. For some reason different colors appear to bloom at different times. The blue ones are mostly full now while the white and yellow ones have yet to make their appearance…………………………………………bwc.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As was pointed out by Reader "DK", the flowers pictured above are not chrysanthemums as originally described but Hydrangeas. Boy am I a dope.

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Giving Back

A friend of mine here at the ALF clued me into something I think you might be interested in.

It’s a way of of actually giving something of yourself back to the great community we call America’s Seniors.

Every day we are inundated with stories focused on the fight to find a cure or even just a treatment for Alzheimer’s but apart from giving money to various agencies, we think we can’t do much more to help.

Now there is an actual way to directly participate in research that may bring an end to this mind-robbing disease.

Alzheimer's Prevention Registry

About the Registry

“The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, led by Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, unites leading researchers with people like you who are interested in taking part in Alzheimer’s studies. We focus our work on helping scientists advance our knowledge of Alzheimer’s and its prevention.

Unfortunately, 80 percent of studies are delayed because too few people sign up to participate. We aim to change this situation by identifying promising new studies that need help and connecting Registry members to them. Learn more about how the Registry works and why it’s so important for people to join.

None of us can tackle this battle alone -- whether you're a scientist, a clinician or a member of the public. Fortunately, none of us has to. We’re working together to create a legacy: a future without Alzheimer’s

Spreading the Word about Alzheimer’s Prevention

Besides supporting Alzheimer’s research, we also work to educate the public by sharing reliable information about Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s prevention on our website, through social media and by sending regular emails to Registry members.

Registry members help by sharing the latest research findings and prevention strategies. They also help by connecting friends and family to research opportunities. Learn more about how you can become an ambassador for Alzheimer’s prevention research.

A Partnership of Leading Health Organizations

Established and led by Banner Alzheimer's Institute, the Registry is a partnership that includes twelve leading health organizations. Meet our partners.

The Registry is led by a dedicated team with a passion for finding effective prevention methods for Alzheimer's. Meet our team.

Banner Alzheimer's Institute (BAI) is a Phoenix-based nonprofit organization and part of Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the United States. BAI is helping to lead the fight against Alzheimer's through its cutting-edge studies in detection, treatment and prevention and by providing a comprehensive model of care that addresses both medical and non-medical needs of patients and their families.

The Alzheimer's Prevention Registry is funded through generous donations to the Banner Alzheimer's Foundation, with seed funding from the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative.”

The study that I participated in involves the need to study the genes of seniors who have not presently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A database of at least 50,000 seniors is needed.

Participation in the study is easy, free and even fun.

After signing up, you will receive a kit containing instructions on how to collect some of your genetic material. The kit contains a swab (that you use to swab the inside of your cheek with) and a postage paid envelope in which to return the swab. That’s it.

Who knows. Maybe it’ll turn out that you’re more special than you think.

(Please note: This test does not determine whether or not you have or are prone to Alzheimer’s.)

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

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


Grilled By The Feds
And loving It.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Had this been done to me in the past?

Fortunately, I am a pack rat.

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

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

Low and behold, I found two more.

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

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

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

Hmm, I think I would have remembered that too.

Two things instantly came to mind.

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

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

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

The result amazed me.

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

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

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

I was pissed, to say the least.

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

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

Went to https://forms.oig.hhs.gov/hotlineoperations/report-fraud-form.aspx, to begin the process. I found it easy and my anonymity is assured.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tech Revolution Benefits the Aging
By Sally Abrahms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a great question.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

See More>> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/12/funny-visual-dad-jokes-_n_5489452.html?fb_action_ids=10152486508801635&fb_action_types=og.comments


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.4 million of us are veterans.

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

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

62.4% of seniors accessed the internet.

The complete list can be found here>>https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff08.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to enewsworks.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

America has the money and resources available to do this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soon to disappear…

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

But some things refuse to die….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time will tell how this works out.


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


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

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

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

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

Here’s an add from a popular cigarette brand.

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

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

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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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

Comment section at the bottom of this page

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

There are two reasons for this.

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

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

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

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

I never had to skimp on anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was no money coming in and everything going out.

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

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

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

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

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

I began the Social Security Benefits application online.

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

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

According to the National Council on Aging…  (https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/economic-security-facts/) …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From CNN…

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

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

What brought this about is anybody’s guess.

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

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

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

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

I consider myself lucky.

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

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

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

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

*Read More>> http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20170605/BLOG05/170609973/social-security-cost-of-living-adjustment-predicted-for-2018

**Read More>> https://www.forbes.com/sites/danafeldman/2017/03/06/jimmy-buffett-to-open-string-of-margaritaville-retirement-homes-by-2018/#15ff9398b32e

***Read More>> http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/politics/medicaid-budget-cuts/index.html

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5 financial hardships senior citizens face
beyond retirement

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

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

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

1. Trouble keeping up with debt payments.

2. Complications with reverse mortgages.

3. Difficulty recovering from scams or identity theft.

4. Confusion over banking products and fees.

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

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

Top 10 Fastest Growing Costs since 2000

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

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

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(Un) Ready for Retirement
By Anna Petrini

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

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

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The average age at which Americans retire


The amount the average 50-year-old has saved


The median income of householders age 45  to 54 in 2015


The median income of householders age 55 to 64 in 2015


The median income of householders age 65 and older in 2015

18 years

The average length of retirement


The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit


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

97 years

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

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Kaiser

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


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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


Comments may be entered at the bottom of this page

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2."I don’t have insurance".

3."There’s probably nothing wrong."

4."I don’t have time."

5."I don’t want to spend the money."

6."Doctors don’t DO anything."

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

8."I’ve got probe-a-phobia."

9."I’d rather tough it out."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a reason for this.

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

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

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

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

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

Also, men need to be motivated to do anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks, doc, what do I win?”


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

Well, it’s just a thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of these doctors come here to the facility.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mental Illness is not a “Normal” Part of Aging

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

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

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




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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


Going it Alone in The Golden Years

I belong to a Facebook group called “Elder Orphans”, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/elderorphans/).

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

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

According to Zack Nelson of Ikorglobal.com…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The social worker suggested funeral “Prearrangement.”

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

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

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

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

And that goes for before and after my demise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why Old People Are More Millennial Than Millennials
Derek Thompson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daily protein intake recommended for elderly may be too low

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


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

Futures Lost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was not a good time in America.

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

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

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

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

Read more>> http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/protests-at-democratic-national-convention-in-chicago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had all the things we ever wanted.

We had our lives.

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

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

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

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

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

Not so lucky were those who died.

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

- - - - - - -

More older people in America are embracing
'living apart together

By Sheena Rice

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mary Kate Nelson

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

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

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

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

♦ ♦ ♦


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* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breakfasts were the worst.

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

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

Lunch was not much better.

Sandwiches were almost completely devoid of meat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This left only dinner for us to deal with.

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

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

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

The evening meal was not much better than the others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A Poem
© 2017 BWC

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

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

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

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

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

I simply found another outlet, the internet.

The Faceless Foodie was born.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chef “R” comes to us with great credentials.

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

The change was immediate and striking.

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

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

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

Now, we just don’t eat, we dine.

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

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

So Why So Much Emphasis On Food?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Reversal of Thought and Execution

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

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

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

Disappointing but Expected

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

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

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

The only thing that varies is what’s served.

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

Eggs here at the ALF come in three varieties.

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

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

The preparation is not rocket science.

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

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

In other words, runny yolks are verboten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, here comes the RANT part of this post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Had my dream actually come true?

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

No, he was not.

Once again we were fooled by the vagaries of definition.

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

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

When will this insult end?


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



* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


Senior Tech Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was right, mostly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I must have clicked on every setting on the screen.

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

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

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

There was only one thing left to do.

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

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

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

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

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

To me, “a while” is 15 minutes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seniors are more tech-savvy
By Angela Moore

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

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

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


A third of senior citizens don't use the internet

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

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

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

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


Microsoft watch named Emma
quiets Parkinson's tremors

By Marco della Cava

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Study: Old People Are Finally Getting
the Hang of Technology

ByConor Cawley

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♣ ♣ ♣

See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery



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


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


©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


A Soldier in the War on Ageism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It starts out simple, usually with a joke.

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


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

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

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


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

Not so funny anymore, huh?

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

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

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

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

Where do you think they get this from?

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

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

But what does ageism actually do to the elderly?

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

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

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

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

We want decent healthcare at a decent price.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Susan Brink

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

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

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

Go to story>> http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/05/09/527453473/old-people-get-very-little-health-care-in-the-developing-world

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

by Sarah Perez

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

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

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

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

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

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New platform helps assisted living residents
engage with current technology

by Autumn Robertson

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

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

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

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

♠ ♠ ♠

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


See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery


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


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


* * *

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

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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



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

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

Mother’s Day

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

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

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

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

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

   According to the website “Refinery29.com”…

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

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

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

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

Florists too, make out like bandits on this holiday.

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

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

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

What a great way to honor your mom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And what about mom herself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

EB-5 In Peril,
Assisted Living Industry Breathes Easier

By Tim Mullaney

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

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

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

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

September is when the funding would run out.

When Doctors Should Ignore
End-of-Life Directives

Things are not always black and white during a health crisis

By Dr. Kathryn B. Kirkland

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

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

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

Breakfast, Really?

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

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

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


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



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

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

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

♣ ♣ ♣

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

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


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


A Little Respect Please.

Old folks want very little out of life.

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

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

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

Food, well that’s a tough one.

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

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

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

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

Don’t get me wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*See >> https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/03/09/the-poor-just-dont-want-health-care-republican-congressman-faces-backlash-over-comments/?utm_term=.03f2b1a9fbb7

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

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

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

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

More Older Couples Are ‘Shacking Up’
By Paula Span

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

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

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

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

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

=== === ===

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

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

By Alessandra Malito

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

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

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

♣ ♣ ♣

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


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

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

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

According to the AARP, the new legislation will…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

=== === ===

Deducting Cost of Assisted Living Facilities

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

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

♠ ♣ ♣

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Go to….


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

* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

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

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

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


House just voted to gut Americans' health care

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

      Read more>>> http://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/news/a45047/welp-trumpcare-passed-the-house/


Why I’m Here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And besides, where would I go?

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

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

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

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

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

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

By the grace of g-d and a little luck, I am not one of them.

So, having a roof over my head can certainly be counted as one of (if not the main reason) why I am here.

But there is much more to the question which now has me searching my soul to answer.

Certainly, my physical condition plays a prime role for me being where I am.

My balance sucks, I can’t bend down (I could not get up by myself if I fell), I have difficulty climbing stairs and tire quickly after doing even moderate activities.

Walking around a supermarket wipes me out as would shopping of any kind. Thank heavens for the internet and online shopping. And, at times, I feel every minute of my 72 years.

But the aches and pains and the lack of energy and stamina are only a part of the real reason why I am here.

Because, no matter how much assistance I am given and no matter how much of my physical needs are managed, there is the one thing I get here that I most certainly would not receive If I lived on my own. And that is having a daily and tangible contact with other human beings.

Anyone, young or old, knows the feeling of abject loneliness.

So, why am I here? Simply, because without this place I would be less healthy both physically and mentally than I would if I were living on my own in some government or church-sponsored senior residence where I would have only a TV for companionship.

Humans are social beings that need the comfort and reinforcement of others of their kind for their mental well-being and, thankfully, I get that here.

*Daily “cleaning” includes making the bed, emptying the wastebaskets, and changing the towels in the bathroom. A more extensive cleaning is done on an irregular schedule. Bed linen is changed once a week.

Older Americans Month —
Slashing funds for our seniors is the wrong thing to do
By Max Richtman
May is Older Americans Month, but the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans are putting a serious damper on the celebration. Yes, candidate Trump promised not to touch Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

But his administration has been actively undermining those pledges. Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — who once called Social Security a Ponzi scheme — questioned the legitimacy of Social Security Disability Insurance — and wouldn’t promise a Presidential veto of legislation to privatize Medicare (a pet project of House Speaker Paul Ryan).

President Trump champions the GOP’s American Health Care Act, which guts Medicaid, undermines the solvency of Medicare, and allows insurers to charge older Americans up to five times as much as people in their 20s.

If the administration wanted to honor older Americans, would it have presented a “skinny budget” that needlessly hurts seniors? The President’s preliminary budget slashes domestic spending to pay for a $54 billion military buildup.

The spending plan would cut federal grants that help low income seniors cope with basic needs under the Older Americans Act. The administration wants to cut $3 million the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program, which helps fund Meals on Wheels.


Ageism In Health Care and How Dangerous It Can Be
Older patients who come to the hospital can be misdiagnosed due to bias

By Val Jones, M.D.

We’ve all heard the saying, “age is just a number.” Nowhere is that more important than in the hospital setting.

Over the years, I’ve become more and more aware of ageism in health care — a bias against full treatment options for older patients. Assumptions about lower capabilities, cognitive status and sedentary lifestyle are all too common. There is a kind of “senior profiling” that occurs among hospital staff, and this regularly leads to inappropriate medical care. As a physician myself, I’ve seen it.
Misconceptions Prompt Misdiagnoses

Take for example, the elderly woman who was leading an active life in retirement. She was the chairman of the board at a prestigious company, was an avid Pilates participant and the caregiver for her disabled son.

A new physician at her practice recommended a higher dose of diuretic (which she dutifully accepted), and several days later she became delirious from dehydration. She was admitted to the local hospital where it was presumed, due to her age, that she had advanced dementia. Hospice care was recommended at discharge. All she needed was IV fluids.

Hospitalized patients are often different than their usual selves. As we age, we become more vulnerable to medication side effects, infections and delirium.

Editor’s note: I want to live as long as I can, not to take up space, or even out of fear of an afterlife, but to see what comes next.
As a person who has grown up in the post WW2 era, I have seen more technological advances than anybody at any other time in history. And at the rate we are going, I can’t wait to see what’s next…….bwc.

Our Sci-Fi Future: Silly vs. Terrifying
By Peter Suciu

The future is now, or at least it is coming soon. Today's technological developments are looking very much like what once was the domain of science fiction. Maybe we don't have domed cities and flying cars, but we do have buildings that reach to the heavens, and drones that soon could deliver our packages. Who needs a flying car when the self-driving car -- though still on the ground -- is just down the road?

The media often notes the comparisons of technological advances to science fiction, and the go-to examples cited are often Star Trek, The Jetsons and various 1980s and 90s cyberpunk novels and similar dark fiction. In many cases, this is because many tech advances actually are fairly easy comparisons to what those works of fictions presented.

On the other hand, they tend to be really lazy comparisons. Every advance in holographic technology should not immediately evoke Star Trek's holodeck, and every servant-styled robot should not immediately be compared to Rosie, the maid-robot in The Jetsons.

The Jetsons is one of the cultural references cited most often when new technology emerges. Perhaps this is because so many of today's tech reporters viewed the shows in syndication or reruns -- or perhaps it's just because the comparisons are so easy to make.


Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
Here’s your chance.
Go to….



♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  

Birds In The BBQ
Of course we can’t tell if it’s the same mama sparrow that, despite previous disasters, insists on building her nest and laying her eggs in one of our patio barbecue ovens, but it appears that once again we will be able to witness the miracle of birth right here in our own backyard.
There are five very small speckled eggs securely (at least for now) nestled in the corner of a well-sheltered home.
Last year, we actually watched them hatch, only to have them die off one by one.

♣  ♣  ♣

See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery


* * *

Four years ago I started this blog as a service to my fellow residents at the Westchester Center for Independent and assisted Living in Yonkers, NY.
Over the years I have expanded the posts to encompass all aspects of Senior life including health, finances, housing, food, and more.
The material herein includes both original and non-original items gathered from various forms of media from around the world.
It is important to remember that everything here is presented for entertainment purposes only……………………BWC

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


…On Politics

The current resident of the White House bused 100 U.S. Senators over for a “Secret Meeting” regarding North Korea. Most of them walked out knowing less than before.

A couple of Senators said it was just a publicity stunt.

Well what did they expect from someone who has spent all of his adult life building fancy facades.


The big tax announcement last Wednesday sort of fizzled out. While everybody heard the words “Tax Cuts” there were no actual numbers or percentages. It’s the same ‘Trickle-down’ economics that sounds good in theory, but never really works because the money saved by corporations by paying less taxes goes only to the shareholders and to the already well-lined pockets of fat cat CEO’s, rarely to the employees or consumers.

But the real problem with cutting taxes means that the government will have less money to pay for things we really need like improving our infrastructure, railroads (and this is where we are effected), health insurance, Medicare and Social Security.


There is one bright side to the Trump administration. He has managed to get people who never gave a crap about anything interested in their country again.

…On Food

Long time readers of this blog may have noticed that my alter ego “The Faceless Foodie” has been silent for a while. This is not because the food has improved or changed dramatically in any way. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The truth is the food has become so boring, so routine (routinely bad, that is) and mundane that writing about it would be as mindless as the thought that went into its preparation.

However, there may be a light on the horizon because, quietly and unbeknownst to most of us, there is a new chef in town. It appears that our current chef du jour has stepped down as food service manager to rejoin the cooking staff while a new guy tries his best to shake things up in that clown-staffed area they call a kitchen.

My hope is that we will have a meeting with this new guy soon so that we can see where his head is at.

We have suffered with poorly cooked, poor quality and unimaginative dinners for too long.

…On Recreation

Our new Director of Recreation has been here about a month now and she still seems to be having a problem understanding what our residents need.
While former directors have worked there asses off to make our quality of living a little better, our new gal is going in the opposite direction.

The general store, that many residents depend on for everything from personal hygiene supplies, cosmetics, laundry detergent as well as snacks and even stamps and that has been well stocked by former recreation directors, has gone way down hill.

In addition, the well appreciated once-a-month online grocery ordering from PeaPod has been discontinued leaving many residents with no way of buying real supermarket items.

…Personally Speaking

While my general physical health is not bad for someone of my advanced years, my emotional well-being has taken a couple of hits this year.

The loss of a couple of friends, people I have known since the first day I rolled in here, have left me with a void that cannot be filled.

Every time I see an ambulance pull up to our door (and this occurs sometimes two or three time a day here), I wonder if the person they have come for will ever return.

I also wonder when it will be my turn to ride the golden gurney.

Call it the rantings of an old man but, for the first time since I have been here I am worried about my future. I can’t put my finger on it, and I am certainly no fortune teller, but I have a strange feeling that things are going to change, and not for the better.


I really didn’t want to paint a picture of doom and gloom. Perhaps it’s just me feeling sorry for myself as is my right to do. Maybe it’s just the change of seasons. Or perhaps, after nearly five years here, the realization that "This is all there is" has finally set in.

There’s some decent spring weather forecast for the few days, maybe I’ll feel better.

Staying At-Home With Care Exceeds

Cost of A Senior Housing Community
by J Doctrow .

Most seniors and their families see the monthly cost of a senior housing facility as much higher than the monthly cost of living at home with family care, or even with part-time or full-time home healthcare.

But the math that most seniors and families use to make this comparison assumes no implied cost for occupying a home without a mortgage, much less paid care than is provided in a seniors housing facility and places no value on the companionship and social interaction that a seniors housing community can provide.

The chart below shows the comparison on a pre-tax basis of living at home with a modest level of care to the cost of various types of seniors housing communities.   Bottom Line – The cost of living in a $150,000 home with even a modest level of home healthcare can easily exceed the cost of an independent living community and approaches the cost of assisted living.  In addition, a senior living at home with part-time care does not get the companionship and social interaction that a seniors housing community can provide and which many studies show are beneficial for a senior’s mental acuity and well being.


The cost of various seniors housing settings is easy for seniors and their families to see because most facilities charge a monthly fee for housing and care.   The average monthly cost for this care according to a recent survey by the National Investment Center for the Senior Housing and Care Industry (NIC) is as follows:

    Independent Living – $3,076 per month
    Assisted Living – $4,722 per month
    Memory Care – $6,082 per month

To these costs, we need to add some additional expenses for a senior living in a seniors housing community for social and entertainment activities, transportation and non-housing living expenses…..

Read more>> http://03c242c.netsolhost.com/WordPress/2017/04/15/staying-at-home-with-care-exceeds-cost-of-a-senior-housing-community/


‘Granny Pods’ Offer a Tiny Home Alternative

for Senior Citizens

by Leon Kaye

At less than 300 square feet, the granny pod promises to keep that elderly parent near

Wondering where you may live when you are well past retirement age? Virginia-based MEDCottage says it has a potential solution: the “granny pod,” which can best be described as a “tiny house” for senior citizens, an alternative to assisted living.

We don’t know if urban areas will truly become “smart cities,” but one thing is for certain: they are definitely aging. Currently Americans aged 65 or over are about 15 percent of the nation’s population. That ratio will increase to 20 percent, or from about 50 million to 70 million senior citizens, between now and 2030 as the tail end of the baby boom generation enters retirement age.

This demographic shift is already posing plenty of challenges to American society, from health care to pensions to affordable housing for a much larger elderly population. Plus, we’re living longer: Pew Research Center projects that the number of centenarians (people 100 years of age or older) will increase 800 percent by 2030.

So where are our parents, and then us, going to live? One massive problem is what occurs to people as their health and mobility decline. The industries that cover “rehab centers” or “skilled nursing facilities” are certainly profitable, though the reality of these places is a far cry from their literal description. If you think you want, or will need, to live in a pleasant retirement community or assisted living complex as you enter those sunset years, you had better start saving now: currently the average monthly price is about $4,500, though better places will cost more; add the services needed for memory care, and that monthly fee will spike higher.

Read more>>http://www.triplepundit.com/2017/04/granny-pods-offer-tiny-home-alternative-assisted-living/

Why we need to Stop Holding on to Clutter “just in case”
by Courtney Carver

The just in case excuse for holding on is a messy combination of fear and procrastination. We hold on because we aren’t quite ready to let go but we rarely use or enjoy the just in case stuff we keep. Take a look in the back of your closet, in the junk drawer, under the sink or in boxes in the garage or attic and it’s clear that just in case means never.

When we say “I’ll keep this just in case,” what we are really saying is …
“I’m not ready.”
“I’m afraid I’ll need this.”
“I’m afraid to let go.”
“I’m afraid I won’t have enough.”

For those of us decluttering and in search of more peace and simplicity, our problem has never been not having enough. Too much is our issue. Owning more, doing more, spending more and proving to everyone around us that we are more is weighing us down. It’s preventing us from figuring out who we are and how we want to live. It’s stopping us from doing work we love, spending time with people we love and helping those who don’t have enough.

Read more>> https://bemorewithless.com/just-in-case/


Remember when the stuff we used made noise. I mean real noise not just beeps and hums and chimes.
Well, here’s you chance to relive some of those sounds from our past.



                                 Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel.
                                                                        Here’s your chance.
                                                     Go to….http://brucewcooper.yolasite.com/


Four years ago I started this blog as a service to my fellow residents at the Westchester Center for Independent and assisted Living in Yonkers, NY.
Over the years I have expanded the posts to encompass all aspects of Senior life including health, finances, housing, food, and more.
The material herein includes both original and non-original items gathered from various forms of media from around the world.
It is important to remember that everything here is presented for entertainment purposes only……………………BWC.

* * *

                                                   ©2016 BWC All rights reserved
                                                                                    Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.


This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


There’s A Problem With
Our Admissions Policy
They're Too “Busy” To Talk To Us About It.
Is Something Else Afoot?

For the second time in as many months, the Marketing Department here at the Center has snubbed our request to speak and answer questions at our resident's meeting.

This makes that department the only one never to have appeared before a group of residents.

While we never had a problem with having a representative from any other department (Housekeeping, Maintenance, Med-Tech, or Case management) address us, it appears that the small department that is responsible for making sure the beds here are filled with bodies and are the first line in the vetting procedure for admittance to our little paradise on the hill is too busy to spend a few minutes with the very people they were responsible for putting here.

Now, some of you might be wondering why I, as a well-entrenched resident, would care what the facilities marketing and admission requirements are. After all, unlike a co-op board in a high-end apartment building in the city, I can neither approve or deny residency to anybody. Nor would I want to be in such a position.

As I have expressed at our last resident’s meeting, while the staff of the marketing department get to go home every night, it is us residents who have to live with the very people they initially vetted. People who may not be the proper fit for what this facility has to offer.

As someone who has lived here almost from its inception, I have seen a general decline in the character and condition of the people being accepted for residency. I am talking about a person’s physical condition and (perhaps even more important) their emotional and cognitive conditions as well.

We have been told that this facility is unique in that it is meant to be a “bridge” between a nursing home and a senior residence or more traditional assisted living facility (ALF). And, while I understand this and even commend the facility on that objective, I must take exception to the broad definition of “Bridge” that has fostered an environment that brings together people of varying levels of ability (both cognitive, emotional and physical) in a place that is not properly equipped to deal with the various levels of those abilities.

In other words, there are residents here whose competence and capacity are not in line with the general population and yet, are being allowed to co-exist with them often causing friction in the form of both physical contact and verbal abuse.

These people should never have been allowed to ever set foot here, let alone mingle with people who are already stressed beyond most folks capacity, and yet here they are.

Therefore, my initial question to the marketing department (had they had the balls to show their faces) would have been “What, if any, criteria are in place to make sure the people that are selected for admission fit in with the rest of us.” Because, if the latest crop of new residents is any example, someone is doing a lousy job.

While I can’t be sure of why the marketing department has chosen to ignore our requests for a meeting, I have a feeling they have either been told by management that they can’t speak to us, or that nobody in that department wants to take responsibility for the problem which I am sure they know continues to be a thorn in the side of both staff and residents alike.

The bottom line is this.

We residents don’t have a say in who we want to live with and that is why we must depend on those who should, to the best of their ability, be responsible for protecting us from undesirable elements that have, at times, made this place difficult if not impossible to live in.

We need to make sure that the responsible parties know that we are not pleased with some of their choices and that we, as paying residents) will not let this continue much longer.


Managing Your Money in Old Age
By Eleanor Laise

Declining financial abilities may not only result in a few unpaid bills but also leave you vulnerable to financial abuse and drain your nest egg.

Financial capacity—the ability to manage your finances in your own best interest—involves everything from paying bills to reading a brokerage statement and weighing an investment’s potential risks and rewards. And preparing for the potential decline of that capacity is as important as planning for long-term-care expenses or keeping your estate plan up to date. Declining financial abilities may not only result in a few unpaid bills but also leave you vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation, drain your nest egg, and place heavy burdens on your loved ones.

Nobody likes to think about financial decision-making ability declining with age. Yet “it’s extremely common. In fact, I might say it’s inevitable,” says Daniel Marson, a neurology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While many people assume they’ll only need help managing their finances if they develop dementia, the normal aging process can adversely affect faculties such as short-term memory and “fluid” intelligence, or the ability to process new information, Marson says. “Just the fact that you’re 70 or 80 years old may be impacting your financial skills,” he says, “quite apart from the fact of whether you have Alzheimer’s or any cognitive disorder of aging.”

To be sure, many people remain perfectly capable of managing their own money as they age. Indeed, among people ages 18 to 86, credit scores increase by an average of 13 points for each decade lived, according to a recent study by researchers at University of California Riverside and Columbia University.

Hollywood’s depictions of the elderly
are tired clichés

The market for old-folks-behaving-badly comedies is over saturated

HOLLYWOOD makes more films about senior citizens than ever before. Notable octogenarians like Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, Robert Redford, Maggie Smith and Christopher Plummer all seem to be able to find work whenever they want it. But most actors more than 60 years old should be wary when cast in a film: the character is likely to die—or at least get very close to death—and its senior moments will be mocked and ridiculed. Among the many social groups that the movie industry marginalizes, the plight of the elderly seems to get the least attention.

A USC Annenberg Film Study from 2016 found that seniors are both underrepresented and stereotyped on screen. Analysing the 100 highest-grossing films of 2015, the authors found that only 11% of characters were aged 60 and over—off-screen seniors represent 18.5% of the general population—and 30 of the 57 films that featured a senior character used ageist comments. Senior characters that died on-screen often did so at the hands of physical violence rather than from chronic illness, the most probable cause of death of an ageing population. Hollywood’s depiction of seniors does not map onto real life.

As if being old is not worrisome enough, we have these age-related “difficulties” to deal with.
One of those that all of us seniors will experience is a bladder infection.
For ions, cranberry juice was thought to relieve, if not cure, these infections.

Ouch: Cranberry Juice Is No Cure for Bladder Infections
Doctors were told they do their patients a ‘disservice’ by recommending it

By Craig Bowron, MD Physician & Writer

An editorial in The Journal of the American Medical Association last November reviewed the data on cranberry juice and UTIs. It concluded: “Any continued promotion of the use of cranberry products seems to go beyond available scientific evidence and rational reasoning.”

Unfortunately, the ability of cranberry proanthocyanidins to block E.coli’s grip in lab research didn’t seem to play out in the real world.

Although the word “malpractice” never appears, the editorialist recommended that “…clinicians should not be promoting cranberry use by suggesting that there is proven, or even possible, benefit. Clinicians who encourage such use are doing their patients a disservice.” Which makes me wonder; Could I be sued for offering a disservice to my patients?

Some earlier research suggested that the proanthocyanidins in cranberries could block the ability of bacteria to bind to the cells that line the bladder wall. That’s a critical step in a urinary tract infection, because urine is a food desert where it’s tough for even bacteria to survive. Like a medieval battle, you have to get inside the castle if you want the good stuff; and the moat is an impediment.

Majority of older Southern Californians
use a cellphone while driving

By Gary Robbins.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones driving Southern California freeways with a cellphone glued to their ear.

A new survey reveals that older people do it, too.

About 60 percent of 397 people surveyed by UC San Diego told the university that they talk on a mobile phone while driving, and many sometimes do so with young children in the car.

All of the respondents were 65 or older and very active drivers; they average three trips a day in their vehicles.

“Older adults are less likely than youngsters to use phones while driving, but they still do so at distributing rates,” said Linda Hill, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego.

“This is distracted driving.”

Hill was the lead researcher on the survey, which primarily involved respondents from Southern California, the majority of whom were from San Diego County. The respondents answered questions on Survey Monkey, a widely used online survey tool.


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Why are fast food restaurants so stingy with their condiments?
Unfortunately, it’s because of us.
By Steven Brewer

I am the care giver for my 91 year old Mother.
Every day, seven days a week, I drive her to the local McDonald’s for coffee with her friends.

From 9:00–10:00 am she chats with her friends and I people watch.
I have been to this McDonald’s hundreds of times!
I have seen things related to condiments & napkins that make me concerned for the human race!

Allow me to elaborate.

There is an elderly lady with a huge purse. In this purse is a selection of fancy zip-lock bags with the spot where you can label the bag. Each bag is meticulously labeled with Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Ketchup, Mustard, you get the idea. She does buy breakfast but then grabs huge handfuls of everything and carefully fills her bags. Nobody says a word.

Then there is the napkin thief. He thinks he’s being sneaky but bunches of regulars watch him every morning. He grabs at least two inches of napkins. When he’s finished his breakfast, he checks to make sure nobody is looking and wraps them up in his morning newspaper. Every day he walks out the door with this smug smile on his face.

Then there are the people with specific numbers of condiments in mind. They order a small coffee and 10 creamers & ten sugars! One lady goes back to her table and uses one of each. Of course the rest go into her purse.


* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


Old And Homeless:
No Place To Be

One of my great fears and one that has been with me most of my life is that I will be without a roof over my head.

I don’t know why this is, I’ve never been homeless nor have I ever even had any real reason to think I would be homeless.

I thought I would have outgrown this foreboding as I got older, but it only intensified.

Even when I had my own apartment, the first check I wrote out every month was to my landlord.

In the 20 or so years that I occupied my last apartment, I never missed or was late on my rent payment.

And even before that, when I owned a home with my then wife, I insisted that the mortgage payment was always on time.

There was one period in my life where I did come pretty close to not having a place of my own. That was when, after two years in a nursing home, I was told that the service they provided for me was no longer needed and that I would have to find other accommodations.

With the aid of some very dedicated social workers at that nursing home, I was given the option of having them find some low-cost housing or moving to an assisted living facility. I chose the later and have been, if not ecstatic, at least content ever since.

Fortunately, I had a safety net.

I had people who knew how to work the system to find me a safe, comfortable “home” for a price I could afford. Which, I might add, was not much.

Years of uninsured medical expenses (including a whopping $13,000* per month nursing home bill) had decimated my retirement savings. I was, for all practical purposes, indigent. A predicament (I was to find out later) was one in which I was not alone.

Over the almost 5 years that I have been a resident here at the ALF, I have spoken to many people who were in the same position as I.

They were sick or disabled, could not find an affordable apartment, had only their Social Security as an income and had little or no savings left after years of expensive medical procedures paid for by expensive health insurance or out of their own pockets.

Unfortunately, this is the situation that many Americans will face as they grow older, and nobody seems to have a solution or the desire to do anything about it.

While upscale apartment buildings are popping up in cities and suburbs all over the country, practically nothing is being done to alleviate the housing problems of the poor and even less is being done for the old and poor.

We seem to have turned our backs to this ever growing situation in favor of profit based real estate interests who are, for all practical purposes, being given government handouts in the form of tax breaks to build upper or upper-middle-class housing while forgoing an ever-growing segment of the U.S. population.

Every day, 10,000 people turn 65. And while, hopefully, most of those folks have a place to live, many of them will slowly be squeezed out of the housing market by builders and landlords who have no compunction about throwing old people out of the homes and apartments they have occupied for years just so they can convert those places into co-ops or condos.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about building so-called tiny or mini houses** for single old people and the homeless. And, while I have no problem with that (after all I currently live very nicely in a one room apartment) I do have a problem with the sluggishness at which these plans are implemented. Why? Because there’s just no money in it for anybody.

Any rent that could be collected most likely would not cover the operating costs let alone the cost and taxes on the land upon which these “affordable” houses would be built.

And the way our present administration looks at all poor people (old or otherwise) and its unwillingness to extend or even continue our benefits means that we won’t be seeing any changes soon.

This problem is only going to grow, and if it is not rectified soon, we will be seeing a lot of old and poor people living on the streets with only a refrigerator box for a roof.

*Editor;s note: I paid that $13,000 out of my own pocket until Medicare kicked in when I turned 65.
** See article >> https://changingaging.org/culture-change/portland-tiny-house-revolution/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SocialShares

If you wait too long, you may bypass assisted living

Seniors and their families struggle to decide when it is time to utilize the services provided by assisted-living communities.

Many seniors are delaying their entry into assisted living for two main reasons. The first is they want to save money.

Moving to an assisted-living community can be expensive. Seniors realize this and decide to stay at home, even if they are unsafe due to balance, mobility and memory issues.

The move to assisted living happens when an “event” (a fall or hospitalization) occurs and the family puts their foot down and insists that the senior move to a safer environment. Sometimes the senior waits too long and needs so much help that they are no longer assisted-living appropriate and now must move on to a nursing home.

A nursing home is not where most seniors wants to live. The lesson: Act sooner than later.

Read more >> http://www.villagerpublishing.com/87045/special-sections/if-you-wait-too-long-you-may-bypass-assisted-living/

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'Family is Forever' will be theme of
National Assisted Living Week this year

“Anyone who has spent valuable time in an assisted living community has seen how staff can come to think of their residents like family,” said NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle. “It takes a special person to work in our profession, and often, caregivers form bonds that can never be broken. This National Assisted Living Week, we want to recognize these
amazing individuals who give their heart and soul to their residents, as well as those seniors and individuals with disabilities who leave a lasting imprint on their caregivers.”

NCAL, which established the observance in 1995, said that this year's theme is inspired by a quote from the poet Maya Angelou: “Family isn't always blood, it's the people in your life who want you in theirs: the ones who accept you for who you are, the ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”

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As Philly-area residents age,
a dilemma over housing

It's a dilemma arising nationwide as demographics and housing preferences are changing. Americans are living and staying healthier longer, and seniors consistently want to stay in their own homes. Yet many U.S. houses are ill-equipped for older occupants: too many steps, inconveniently situated bathrooms, and doorways that are too narrow. At least half of Philadelphia’s housing is estimated to be more than 60 years old, and a substantial number of suburban homes are older, too. For many seniors, that means finding other options.

Plenty abound: retirement and 55-plus complexes; assisted-living facilities; nursing homes; memory or respite care. Yet with one-third of adults 50 and older considered “cost-burdened" because they pay 30 percent of their income on housing, and with almost a quarter paying more than 50 percent for shelter, affordable-housing advocates argue that immense challenges exist.

“Many people in their 50s and 60s simply lack the resources to obtain appropriate housing and services as they age,” according to a 2014 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. “Middle-income adults may discover that long-term care insurance and senior housing communities ... are too expensive.”

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Living in community can
save seniors money


“It’s important to keep in mind that senior living communities and nursing homes meet different needs, so it’s not exactly comparing apples to apples,” Lowy said. “There are also benefits to living at home with a “live-in” nurse. For many people, living at home is the most comforting option. Their home represents family and good memories from, say holiday gatherings or where their children grew up.”

Lowy said there is no better option for seniors and their families to select. It depends on personal needs and the entire family needs to recognize it’s more about the needs to the senior and not what the family may prefer, she said.

“The best option is one that meets the most needs of the person at that time,” Lowy said. “Sometimes the person has one opinion on what the best option is and the family has another, which is common. It’s important to have this conversation early so the person and their family can weigh the pros and cons of different options and hopefully come to a decision that feels comfortable for everyone

====== ====== ======

Is a Cruise Ship Cheaper
Than a Nursing Home?

Is a cruise ship cheaper than a nursing home? The answer might just surprise you! Kayleigh Kulp of CNBC just wrote a great piece highlighting a new trend that is taking the cruise industry by storm.

Lavell Mayo cruised more than 100 days last year, opting to leave his single-family home behind for life at sea where, for a small premium, household chores and amenities are all handled.

"I looked into moving into a garden home connected with a nursing home and found that the average rental is about $2,000 a month,"

"Snowbirding" aboard ship is becoming popular enough that Oceania Cruises has created two new itineraries geared specifically at this population next winter, particularly to a wealthy client with an average household income of about $250,000 or more. A 74-day "Snowbird in Residence" sailing to the Caribbean costs about $240 per day per person, and includes airfare and either a $6,800 shipboard credit, 68 free shore excursions or a free beverage package, along with laundry service.

When considered over a 20-year span, "cruises were priced similarly to assisted living centers and were more efficacious,"


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Now There’s A Cure For ‘Old People Smell’
Should this be filed under: Things nobody needs?
By Ann Brenoff

Nonenal, a chemical compound that people develop as they age, is the culprit behind the smell.
“Old People Smell” ― aka the body odor that can accompany aging and is particularly noticeable in nursing homes ― apparently now has a fix.

Truth is, “old people smell” ― while arguably not the nicest or most respectful way to talk about our elders ― is a real thing.

Here’s how body odor works for older people: Hormonal imbalances that occur during aging often result in more lipid acid, a fatty acid produced in our skin. And as skin matures, its natural antioxidant protection decreases, resulting in greater oxidation of lipid acid. When lipid acid is oxidized, the chemical compound Nonenal is produced.

Given that it’s real, is it something we need to address beyond scolding the young that “old people smell” is an offensive descriptor? Maybe not. A 2012 Swedish study found that seniors’ body odors were the least offensive of any age group.

That said, they may forebear other changes that do warrant attention. For example, many women experience body odor changes during menopause. Hot flashes and night sweat during menopause cause excessive perspiration and increased fatty acids, resulting in Nonenal. And that old bugaboo, stress, can exacerbate the production of Nonenal in both women and men.

* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


Addressing Some Concerns
About Assisted Living

If we live long enough (And all signs point to a longer life for all of us) we will eventually need help managing our daily lives.

It is a rare person that will not need at least some assistance either with cooking, cleaning, laundry or something more personal such as bathing and dressing.

And, while more and more folks are planning to live out their lives at home by retrofitting their living space to accommodate a changing lifestyle, others will find it necessary to move to a facility where practically everything will be taken care of for them.

But moving from a home and neighborhood you may have lived in all of your life to someplace filled with people you don’t know in a town you don’t know can be fraught with, not only anxiety but with many questions as well.

Having been a resident of an assisted living facility (ALF) for nearly five years I have seen many people come and go for a variety of reasons, and because of that, I believe that I have an intimate knowledge of what some of the expectations and concerns that one may have when it’s time to make the decision to move.

Whether you are the actual person that will be moving to an ALF or (as in many cases) a son or daughter of a prospective resident, your main concern is “Will my mother/ father etc. Like it here?”

I will be very honest with you, they probably won’t. Hardly anybody does.
No matter how nice, how upscale, how fancy a facility is, it will never be like home.
You will never have the freedom or privacy you once had. This is the inherent nature of all venues of this type.

Because most ALF’s are regulated by the individual state that they are located in, it has to abide by the rules and regulations of that state, some of which are quite strict and demanding.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) many of the rules are quite restrictive.

The primary concern of all ALF’s is for the safety of its residents. And, for that reason, a certain amount of privacy and independence is abated.

Whether you like it or not, your whereabouts will be known and monitored at all times.

Your room will be subject to inspection at any time even to the point where your closets and drawers will be inspected and, any items deemed dangerous or unsuitable will be confiscated.

Our state even goes as far as requiring a nightly bed check.

This, as I mentioned, is not a bad thing because one of the first questions asked by loved ones is “How safe is this place?”

Well, all I can say is that, at least here at the Westchester Center, there is more safety monitoring than in most prisons.

There are CCTV cameras all over the place that are monitored 24 hours a day.
There are dozens of emergency exits as well as an emergency generator and our own water supply which negates any danger from outside sources.

Inside “dangers” are a different story with many of these not easily solved or even addressed.

I am speaking primarily of the dangers one may face from other residents, many of whom should not be here in the first place.

Yes, there are conflicts among residents. And, while most of them are of the verbal variety, may result in actual physical confrontations. It would be foolish to expect that a diverse a group of people (many of whose emotional stability has to be questioned)as found in a place like ours, to be able to get along with each other all of the time.

The third, and by no means the least concern, deals with food.

“Will I, or my loved one, like the food?”

There is no cut and dry answer to this other than to say “it depends.”

If you don’t care much about what you eat or you were a lousy cook and are not used to eating well-prepared meals than you might find the meals here to your liking.

Conversely, if you are used to cooking for yourself, eating certain foods the way you like to have it prepared and seasoned to your liking or even if you are used to eating in standard restaurants and diners than you will absolutely hate the food in most assisted living facilities. And that goes for upscale venues and “bargain” facilities alike.

Portions are universally small and are, either sparsely seasoned or not seasoned at all.

Will the food make you sick? Absolutely not.

Will it make you appreciate McDonald’s or the corner diner? Yes.

And one last question that comes up frequently and that is, “Will I be bored and will there be something for me to do?”

Once again, the answer is subjective.

All ALF’s have directors of recreation who try their best to provide interesting and educational as well as productive activities for the residents.

Whether or not one chooses to participate in them is another question.

Of course, you are certainly welcome to pursue your own hobbies and, if you are able, you can travel anywhere you like.

I’ll leave this subject by telling you what I tell anybody who asks me “What’s it like here?”

“It is what you make of it.”

As with any new venture, there is a certain amount of adjustment and conciliation and resolve needed on your part.

By literally signing over your life, you must realize that nothing will be the same.
If you, or your loved one, can’t live with that then this is not the place for you and you should explore other options such as employing home health aides and renovations to your residence.

As always, I will gladly answer any specific questions concerning life at the ALF. Email me at thebeecee@hotmail.com.

▼ ▼ ▼

Many older adults will need help with
Managing their medicines and money
In a study of nearly 9500 individuals aged 65 and older who did not need help in managing medications or finances, many needed assistance as time went on.

Over 10 years, 10.3% of those aged 65 to 69 needed help managing medications and 23.1% needed help managing finances. These rates rose with age, to 38.2% and 69%, respectively, in those over age 85. Women had a higher risk than men, especially with advancing age. Additional factors linked with an increased risk for both outcomes included a history of stroke, low cognitive functioning, and difficulty with activities of daily living.

The findings highlight the importance of preparing older adults for the likelihood that they will need assistance with managing their medicines and finances.

More gray hair linked to higher risk of heart disease
Written by Ana Sandoiu

Graying hair and coronary heart disease share some of the same mechanisms that come with aging. A new observational study links the two events, suggesting that gray hair may be an indicator of heart disease.

New research suggests that the amount of gray hair may be an indication of heart disease risk in men.

In atherosclerosis, plaque - which is made of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances - starts building up inside the blood vessels. With time, this plaque becomes calcified, limiting the elasticity of the arteries and the supply of blood to the heart and other vital organs in the body.

If untreated, atherosclerosis may cause serious heart conditions including stroke, heart attack, and even heart failure.

One of the main cardiovascular events connected with atherosclerosis is coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease. This disease occurs as a consequence of plaque building up inside the coronary arteries - the two main blood-supplying arteries that start from the heart's aorta.

It is well-known that aging is a risk factor for heart disease. Furthermore, atherosclerosis and graying hair have similar causes: the damaged DNA that comes with aging, increased oxidative stress, and the aging of cells.

==== ====

Diabetes is even deadlier than we thought,
study suggests

“Mortality rates attributed to diabetes are imprecise largely because death results from both immediate and underlying causes, and not every one of them gets recorded. For example, cardiovascular disease might be recorded as the cause of a person’s death even though that disease may have been caused by diabetes.

Further challenging the task of identifying cause of death is that diabetics have a long history of problems before serious complications occur.

“When diabetes started 10 to 30 or more years before a patient died, the disease may not be in the forefront of the attending physician at time of death,” explains Catherine Cowie, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. And there are no clear guidelines about which conditions should be cited as cause of death.

Detailed electronic medical records may help pinpoint the primary cause. “But still, it’s hard [to get the full picture] in this day and age when health care for diabetics is divided between different practitioners,”


See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Want to be among the first to read an exiting new unfinished novel?
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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


Four years ago I started this blog as a service to my fellow residents at the Westchester Center for Independent and assisted Living in Yonkers, NY.
Over the years I have expanded the posts to encompass all aspects of Senior life including health, finances, housing, food, and more.
The material herein includes both original and non-original items gathered from various forms of media from around the world.
It is important to remember that everything here is presented for entertainment purposes only……………………BWC.


In the spring a young man’s thoughts turn to love.
An old man’s thoughts just turn.

If there is something known as the spring doldrums we sure as heck have them here at the ALF.

For better or worse, things have been very very quiet this last week.

There have been no major upheavals either with management or residents, although we did have a couple of med room techs leave and a couple of residents go elsewhere.

There has been nothing new as far as our food service is concerned which means that we have had to endure yet another week of the same old same old.

Our new Director of Recreation remains a bit aloof and has not offered any earth-shattering new forms of extracurricular activities as of yet. With the good weather upon us, I sure would like to see more outdoor activities and trips.

Looking back, this past winter left me with mixed emotions.

Thankfully, our little corner of the world did not suffer any major flu outbreaks or the dreaded norovirus which has decimated us in the past.

Conversely, this winter saw the passing of a couple of dear friends whose loss will be felt for some time to come.

For those of us who have been here a while, there has been a noticeable tightening of the corporate belt, probably with good cause.

I think management was expecting a more meaningful raise in our resident’s Social Security benefits and Medicaid payments as a way of closing some sort of budget gap. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. What this will mean for us in the months to come is any bodies business but, if things don’t improve, we may see even more drastic cuts in service and personnel.

Spring, traditionally signifies a time of rebirth and renewal. A time when all that remained dormant during the cold weather, bounces back to life.

For many of us more seasoned individuals, who have seen our fair share of winter-into-spring events the change, while always welcome, doesn’t have the meaning for us the way it once did.

It’s not that we have become jaded to the miracle of nature’s transformation, it’s more of “Well, another year has gone by. Another year closer to the end.”

Alfred Tennyson knew what he was talking about when he said:

“In the spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love.”

He wisely left the quest for love to the young. Which is not to say that old men (and women) don’t need or want love, it’s just that we are too tired to hunt for it. If it happens, it happens, if it doesn’t, there’s always Rummikub.

What We Now Know About Poor Sleep in Older Adults
Why sleep is so important for good health and what we've been doing wrong

By Bill Ward

The more experts have learned in recent years about older adults and sleep, the more they realized how little they actually knew.

Recent research in the field has shown that nursing-home practices have been misguided for decades, that it soon will be possible to diagnose and alter sleep patterns to help treat or prevent dementia — and that, yes, we should be getting a good night’s sleep at all ages.
Five or Six Hours Isn’t Enough

“We have really taken for granted that ‘Aw, seniors don’t need that much sleep.’ No, [on the contrary] they need seven to eight hours,” said Sue Ann Guildermann, director of education for Empira, a consortium of 24 skilled nursing homes in Minnesota. “And that’s true for everyone. People who do not sleep seven or eight hours [a night] are going to die sooner. Issues like insulin management, cardiovascular problems, cancer, immune diseases are all more prevalent in people who don’t get enough sleep.”

“What we’ve known all along is that people who are older, their efficiency of sleep drops for a variety of reasons,” Avidan said. “They might not be sleeping less, but their ability is disrupted, often because of medical issues and medications. When those medical issues are addressed, sleep patterns improve, particularly for people with underlying memory problems.”

Aging And Intimacy:
Love, Friendship And Sex At An Assisted Living Community

By  Kathy Ritchie

Denise Gutierrez sits with her mother Laurie Thomas, who has frontotemporal degeneration. Thomas met her male companion at Huger Mercy Living Center.

A lot of people don’t want to talk about sex. But the urge to have sex or be intimate with someone doesn’t go away with age, or even if that person develops dementia. It’s an issue many families face when confronted with such a diagnosis, but at one assisted living community in Phoenix, sex is just sex.

"I talk to nursing about that. I said, 'You know, it is a twin bed. I am concerned about them rolling out of the bed,' but they have mats," said Denise Gutierrez.

Her mother, Laurie Thomas, lives in one of the cottages at Huger Mercy Living Center, an assisted living facility in northwest Phoenix.

Thomas has frontotemporal degeneration, a lesser known type of dementia. Before Thomas came to Huger Mercy in 2015, she lived with a male companion, but when she moved into the facility, her companion went to live with his family.

Gutierrez said it was a sad time for her mother, but then, she met someone….

= = = = =

Fending off boredom has always been a problem for seniors. We are always looking for something to do. Unfortunately, most of the activities that people think seniors would like don’t get to the crux of the matter.
Yes, we want something to do, but we need it to have some meaning.
Volunteering is okay, but maybe we don’t want to leave home.
So, what can we do, at home, that would be both interesting and productive?
I came across this article the other day that may be just the solution.
As a born and bread New Yorker, I had always been under the impression that raising live stock in NYC was illegal. Chickens being in that category.
However, as it turns out, you can actually legally raise chickens in NYC and people have taken to it like a duck to water…

Raising Chickens in New York City: Laws, Tips
And Everything Else You Need to Know

In a city where simply finding a balcony large enough for a pot of basil can be a challenge, one may be surprised to discover that chicken coops can be found across all five boroughs. Chickens were once primarily kept by older city residents, including many who come from places in the world where a backyard supply of fresh eggs is taken for granted. More recently, everyone from Park Slope housewives to Bushwick hipsters appear to be embracing the backyard chicken craze.

New Yorker's are not alone when it comes to raising chickens. Since 2010, cities across the United States have passed laws permitting chickens in residential areas. The recent chicken craze is most often explained as an extension of the growing urban agricultural movement, which includes community gardens and various farm-to-table initiatives. However, as Greg Anderson of Just Food explains, urban farming is not necessarily new, especially not in New York City. “The need for urban farming skills grows from New York City’s history of agriculture and the fact that we are one of the few cities that never stopped growing food in some way or form. NYC went from farms to Victory Gardens to community gardens to urban farming, and we are still looking for new ways to grow food in the city, such as rooftop farms and indoor hydroponics.”

When it comes to chickens, New York is also somewhat unique. Unlike most U.S. cities that banned backyard chickens decades ago and only recently reintroduced laws to make raising them legal again, New York has never been chicken free.

And while we are on the subject of chickens…


I was so angry at what was fed to us for breakfast this morning that I felt I needed a larger audience to vent my frustration, therefore I posted this on Facebook the other day.

For the most part, breakfasts here at the ALF are fairly decent usually consisting of a couple of eggs (scrambled, fried, omelet etc.) along with some bacon, or sausage or ham or some other protein.

However, for some unknown reason, the chef thought that we all had migrated to the deep south and decided that a starchy breakfast consisting of both cheese grits and potatoes, would be appropriate for a group of seniors to eat to start their day.
Personally, I find this unacceptable and an insult to all of the residents here who deserve better than this slop.

Your comments and thoughts on this would be appreciated.


Birds Nest in the BBQ                                                 ©2017 Bruce Cooper

After an enterprising sparrow decided to set up housekeeping in one of our barbecue grills last year which resulted in the loss of three baby sparrows, they were supposed to have sealed up the entrance points so that this wouldn’t occur again.
Unfortunately, the sparrows were a little too fast for our maintenance crew and have, once again, built a lovely nest waiting for some new arrivals. Sparrows can lay up to 5 little speckled eggs every spring.


It never fails to thrill and amaze me when I look in my in-box and see a question or comment from a reader on something I have written about or included in this blog.
I have always believed that the internet was meant to be an interactive tool allowing everyday people to share views on topics of interest to them.
Blogs, as a part of what we now call “social media” depend on its readers contributions and feedback to exist.
This is why I wish to reiterate that I welcome articles, stories or links to stories that concern the role of older Americans in today’s society.
And, while I can’t promise that an article will be published here, I can tell you that I will consider each one carefully.

You can use the comments form at the end of this blog or e-mail me direct to > THEBEECEE@HOTMAIL.COM

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Want to Read An Unfinished First Novel?
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©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


©2017 Bruce Cooper

It’s 9:30 AM. Now What’s A Guy To Do?
After Breakfast it’s boredom with a touch of ennui.

I have a friend here at the ALF.

For purposes of this article, we’ll call him Phil.

When you first meet Phil, you wouldn’t think anything was bothering him.
But underneath his rather avuncular exterior lies a very troubled man.

He’s troubled because he is bored.

Is it possible to bored out of one’s mind?

You’re darn tootin' it is.

In fact, Phil is so bored that he actually looks forward to his thrice-weekly “treatments”* because he gets to get out of here for a few hours.

Unfortunately, Phil is not alone.

Every day, dozens of residents here leave the dining room after breakfast and wander aimlessly about the facility looking for something to do.

And, what is even more unfortunate, is that the majority of those residents are men.
The truth be told, and this is something that I don’t believe is taken into consideration when one is looking for a place to send grandpa when he retires, there are not many activities geared to men at these places.

Ladies, on the other hand, are exposed to many more activities that range from knitting and crocheting to manicures and gossip.

We all know that men and women are different and never so more so when it comes to personal relationships and interacting with others.

Women can usually make friends at the drop of a hat. It’s like they all belong to a club where only they know the secret handshake or high sign.

One nod and they gather together in the corner and talk about g-d knows what.

And, they can do that for hours.

Men, on the other hand, are not so cliquish.

Rarely will you see a group of men (more than two) sitting around a table in the day room just chatting?

Usually, any group conversations among men need to be lubricated by large quantities of alcohol. And then, the conversations are mostly about sports, or women or, did I mention sports?

Yes, men are complicated creatures and rare is the recreation director that can recognize that feature.

We actually have a men’s club here at the ALF.

It used to be fairly well attended because, a former Rec. Director found out what attracts men to such activities, and that is food.

She would put out a spread of mostly fried and spicy finger food like chicken wings and French fries.

And, even though the meeting was held in a remote part of the facility, there would always be a good crowd of guys who, of course, talked about sports.

The latest version of the men’s club features no food and is poorly attended.
So, why don’t men find finding something to do so difficult.

For the answer, we need to get back to my friend Phil for a minute.
Phil, in his previous life, was an active man.

His job involved meeting dozens of new people and visiting new places every day.
And now, nothing.

It’s as if somebody flicked a switch and turned Phil off like taking the battery out of the Energizer bunny.

But Phil is not a piece of machinery. You can’t just turn the power off to an active human being and expect them to be happy about it.

And Phil is a perfect example.

Like many men, his life was so wrapped around his job that he had no time for anything else.

He had no real hobbies or avocation except reading an occasional book or watching the Yankees on TV.

And so, when it came time for Phil to pack it in and (through no fault of his own) retire to a life of nothingness, he found the abrupt change difficult to handle.

And so, Phil goes about the day bored out of his mind and feeling sorry for himself.
Of course, Phil is not the only man living here that is that way.
The lobby is full of them.

Men, whose whole day consists of nothing more than sitting and staring into space broken only by mealtimes, taking medication and participating in an occasional disagreement with a fellow resident.

This, I believe, is a systemic problem with most assisted living facilities.
The reason for this is twofold.

Primarily, at any one time, there are more women in assisted living facilities than men.

In fact, the leading referral and clearing house website for folks looking for the right ALF is chauvinistically called “A Place for Mom”, completely ignoring that “Dad” may need a place to live too.***

Additionally, most (if not all) directors of recreation are traditionally women who have no idea what interests an old man**.

As more and more baby boomers reach retirement age, and more and more of them will be men who, because of rising life expectancy will need a place to spend their golden years, it would benefit owners and management of those facilities to figure out how to better serve their male residents.

So, how do I pass the time when I’m not working on this blog?
Well, I tell you what I’m not doing.

And, unless they figure out a way I can knit me a BMW, I won’t be doing THAT either.

* In order to insure “Phil’s” privacy, I will not identify the treatments he goes for.
** Quite frankly, I don’t know what interests an old man except that living in the past seems to be a major activity among many of them.
*** BTW: I have nothing against “A Place for Mom”. In fact they have just come up with a list of hobbies for active seniors. Of course, many of them are a little “girly.”
1. Creating Art / Doing Crafts
2. Volunteering
3. Swimming
4. Walking
5. Playing Games / Cards
6. Dancing
7. Gardening
8. Practicing Yoga
9. Golfing
10. Caring for a Pet
11. Visiting Family and Friends
For additional info on this go to story >> http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/6-13-16-health-hobbies-for-seniors/


MO school funding bill forces lawmakers to choose to
support kids or senior citizens
The Missouri House just passed a new budget giving millions of more dollars to K-through-12 education – but it comes at a cost.

The House voted Thursday to fully fund K-12 education under the state school funding law, which is great news for Missouri children. But to pay for it, these same lawmakers want to cut funding to colleges, senior citizens and the disabled.

The budget bill just passed would add $48 million to elementary and secondary education, which is obviously much more than the $3 million Governor Eric Grietens wants to give K-12 schools in the next budget.

This budget though would cut funding to the university system by more than 6-percent, and it would end tax breaks for renters who are senior citizens or disabled, which affect around 98,000 Missourians.


No rest for the aged:
As people get older, sleep quantity and quality decline

"Sleep changes with aging, but it doesn't just change with aging; it can also start to explain aging itself," says review co-author Matthew Walker, who leads the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.

"Every one of the major diseases that are killing us in first-world nations—from diabetes to obesity to Alzheimer's disease to cancer—all of those things now have strong causal links to a lack of sleep. And all of those diseases significantly increase in likelihood the older that we get, and especially in dementia."

Older adults' sleep loss isn't due to a busy schedule or simply needing less sleep. As the brain ages, neurons and circuits in the areas that regulate sleep slowly degrade, resulting in a decreased amount of non-REM sleep. Since non-REM deep sleep plays a key role in maintaining memory and cognition, that's a problem.
"There is a debate in the literature as to whether older adults need less sleep, or rather, older adults cannot generate the sleep that they nevertheless need. We discuss this debate at length in the review," says Walker. "The evidence seems to favor one side—older adults do not have a reduced sleep need, but instead, an impaired ability to generate sleep. The elderly therefore suffer from an unmet sleep need."
FDA Approves At-Home DNA Tests for 10 Diseases

"These are the first direct-to-consumer (DTC) tests authorized by the FDA that provide information on an individual's genetic predisposition to certain medical diseases or conditions, which may help to make decisions about lifestyle choices or to inform discussions with a health care professional," the FDA said in a statement.
"Consumers can now have direct access to certain genetic risk information," said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, which approves these kinds of tests.

"But it is important that people understand that genetic risk is just one piece of the bigger puzzle. It does not mean they will or won't ultimately develop a disease."

A person's genes almost never make for a 100 percent risk of any disease. Instead, many different genes usually interact with a person's lifestyle and other factors to cause disease. For instance, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) notes that many genes are involved in developing Alzheimer's disease, and it's not clear how much each one raises the risk.
Go to story >> http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fda-approves-23andme-s-home-dna-tests-10-diseases-n743416


To Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s, Think Before You Eat
By Judith Graham

Diets designed to boost brain health, targeted largely at older adults, are a new, noteworthy development in the field of nutrition.

The latest version is the Canadian Brain Health Food Guide, created by scientists in Toronto. Another, the MIND diet, comes from experts at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Both diets draw from a growing body of research suggesting that certain nutrients — mostly found in plant-based foods, whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetable oils and fish — help protect cells in the brain while fighting harmful inflammation and oxidation.

Both have yielded preliminary, promising results in observational studies. The Canadian version — similar to the Mediterranean diet but adapted to Western eating habits — is associated with a 36 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet — a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) — lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by 53 percent.

Researchers responsible for both regimens will study them further in rigorous clinical trials being launched this year.


As an experiment, I have begun to serialize a novel I’ve been working on for a while.
New chapters will be published every Sunday.
Too continue reading or to catch up go here…



* * *
©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching a link to WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


What Keeps Me Going
Or, why the new folks in Washington are like the 62 Mets.

couple of weeks ago we spoke about how, as we get older, time seems to go by more quickly.

Though opinions about why we feel that time is speeding up differ, the general conclusion is that because we have less time remaining, as compared to children who have their whole lives before them and feel that the day will never end, time, for us, is compressed squeezing every last second out of the day possible before the end.
For some of us, this relentless hurtling blindly into the light may be a blessing because life has become so boring and tedious and meaningless that spending even one extra minute on this planet seems like a waste of time.

I think that this feeling of worthlessness and futility is often the reason that people, who are apparently in decent health, suddenly drop dead.

It’s as if they said, “Okay then, that’s enough. What’s the purpose? I’m out of here.”

So what keeps us going? Why do we get up and put of bed if only to face yet another day of the same old same old?

Because we have to, that’s why.

If we are of normal mind and spirit and not clouded by various states of depression, the hope that THIS day will bring something special always exists.

Now, while some might say that expecting a different outcome after doing the same thing over and over again is the first sign of psychosis, I believe that we are predestined to always hope for something better. Or, if not better, at least different.

So, what’s been keeping me going these last few months? The news, that’s what.

Say what you will about our new president and his cohorts, I’ll bet you can’t wait to get up, turn on the TV and listen to see what wackiness the administration perpetrated overnight. I know I can’t.

Lately, it has become what I live for, and I know, if my emails and Facebook and other social media accounts are correct, Trump-watching has become the new national pastime.

Never mind that baseball season starts this week.

Screw the Mets and Yankees, we got the Trumps.

And, if you think about it, the Trumps are very much like the ‘62 Mets.

Back then, NYC had been without a National League team for 5 years after the Brooklyn Dodgers (and the Giants) went to look for greener pastures in California.

Therefore, when it was announced that, after all that time, a National League team would once again play in NYC, everybody was so elated that we didn’t even ask where the players would come from, what kind of players they would be or even if they knew anything about baseball. We just wanted something new.

Unfortunately, we got what we asked for.

Despite having a strong charismatic leader in the form of one Mr. Casey Stengle, and a few old familiar names like Gil Hodges, Richie Ashburn and Frank Thomas, they also had guys like Ray Daviault, Ed Bouchee, and Cliff Cook whose baseball playing abilities were suspect at best.

Kind of like what’s going on in that other playing field in DC.

With just a few minor changes, the late Jimmy Breslin’s book “Can’t anybody here play this game” could be adapted to the “earn-as-you-learn” west wing staff at the White House.

But, unlike the ‘62 Mets, many of us don’t think what’s going on down there is very funny.

While dropping a few easy ground balls or giving up 10 runs in the first inning may be amusing when it comes to baseball, it’s a whole other thing when we realize that the players on the Trump-ets are playing with our lives and our futures.

Unlike errors made in baseball, errors made by the administration carry over to the next game and actually get compounded over time.

It’s as if your team was penalized a run at the start of the next game, then two the game after and so on. Pretty soon, not only have you not won any games, you have lost the entire season as well.

Hey, I just thought of another baseball related analogy.

What if it was found out that many of the players on the Yankees were actually on the Red Sox payroll? And had been for years and the Yankee’s manager knew this but looked the other way because the new guys were, well, just like him.

Are you getting the picture here?

Eventually, the team, no matter how rich it is, is going to collapse. Maybe even before the season is over.

Then what? What’s going to happen to all of those “fans” who couldn’t wait for that new team to start playing but now, much like those Met’s fans of yesteryear, think that they may have been a bit too hasty in rooting for them?

Back in the day, we old Dodger and Giant fans were “forced” to listen to Yankee games on TV with disdain and disgust.

But, at least there was one thing about the Yankees.

Even though we hated them, they sure knew how to play the game.

Unfortunately, the president and his "team" not only don't know how to play the game, they don't even know the rules.

It’s strike two Donald, and there ain’t no Ed Kranepool in the batter’s box.


3 Ways to Handle ‘Post-Election Stress Disorder’
If you’ve felt buffeted by the political storm, these tips may help
By Michelle Kinder

The capacity to deal with uncertainty could be the difference between surviving and thriving in 2017. In just over two short months, the country has experienced polarization, unrest and activism unmatched in recent history.

The effects are already evident: A staggering 57 percent of people polled by the American Psychological Association in January said the current political climate is causing them significant stress. Indeed, mental health professionals have coined the terms “election stress disorder” and “headline stress disorder” to describe the plight of many clients.

Long-Term Effects of Stress

What’s most worrisome is that chronic stress over a long period of time has been shown to damage relationships, life satisfaction and health.  In fact, during more than a decade of research, University of California, San Francisco psychiatry professor Elissa Epel has shown that chronic stress accelerates aging. She argues that along with diet and exercise, learning to manage stress can help us lead longer, healthier lives.
When the fear center of our brain is activated, it suppresses the part most able to fully attend to what is in front of us and to connect with others.

With that in mind, here are three social and emotional health strategies to help you manage uncertainty in 2017.

3 Tips for Handling Post-Election Stress:
1. Nurture relationships.
2. Pay attention to narrative.
3. Zoom out.

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A plan for America:
Invest in our direct care workforce

By Daniel R. Wilson
Direct care workers — nursing assistants and home care workers — are a forgotten workforce. Mostly invisible, nearly 5 million of these workers provide crucial supports to millions of Americans across a continuum of settings, from private homes to assisted living to nursing homes. 

Demographics tell much of the story about this workforce. Predominantly women of color, many of them new immigrants to the United States, these workers struggle to make a living on low wages and part-time hours. Average annual earnings are $16,500 per year, leaving most paid caregivers on the edge of poverty. One of every two workers depends on public benefits to make ends meet.

In recent years, these workers have made some significant gains as the result of new federal policies put in place under the administration of President Barack Obama. In 2013, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act was amended, extending minimum wage and overtime protections to the home care workforce. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act expanded access to health coverage. By 2014, an additional 500,000 direct care workers, across the continuum of long-term services and supports, had health coverage. The Obama administration also strengthened regulations for nursing homes, adding new training requirements for nursing assistants so they could better meet the needs of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other complex conditions.

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Payer’s can't ignore assisted living, former senators say
By Lois A. Bowers
Former Sens. Tom Daschle and Bill Frist showed prescience at the National Investment Centers for Seniors Housing & Care 2017 Spring Investment Forum in San Diego last week when they said that any reform related to the Affordable Care Act would need bipartisan support to be successful.

The two, who co-chair the Health Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, an organization that Daschle helped found, made their remarks Thursday at the NIC conference luncheon. Late the next day, the American Health Care Act was pulled from the House floor when it seemed that it lacked sufficient votes to pass and move on to the Senate.

So what, in their opinion, is ahead for senior living and long-term care?
When panel moderator Kenneth Segarnick, chief corporate officer of Brandywine Living, asked them whether insurers might give assisted living providers a “seat at the table in the delivery of care” in light of the shifting of risk that is occurring in healthcare, Daschle said, “I think they have to. You can't ignore assisted living in the longer term, because of the demographics and because of the interrelationship. As we look more and more at the need for a continuum of care, it seems to me that assisted living has to be a more vocal partner and a more visible participant as we look at solutions.”

The dinner served to us Sunday evening may have been the worst single meal I have ever eaten here. And it managed to be so on a number of levels.

First, what was served was not on the originally posted menu.

We were supposed to get Goulash with candies yams and asparagus.

Somehow, before the day was over, that morphed into Salisbury steak (Hamburger) with mashed sweet potatoes (extra sugar added) and canned, mushy, mostly stalks and stems, asparagus.

Now, if you were to look at the photo on the left, you would think that this meal looks pretty good. Certainly there appears to be a large enough size Salisbury steak to fill the belly of any normal adult.

But looks, and the management of this facility, can be deceiving.

You see, here at the Center we don't use normal size 10" dinner plates. They are closer to 8 inches which makes everything put on them seem much bigger. The photo on the right represents what the same meal would look like on the average dinner plate. Get the picture?

The D.O.H. of the State of NY says that the minimum amount of food that we can be served is 3oz. of each item.

The Center, it appears, has strictly adhered to the law.

That's only 9oz's of food at each meal. Just a little more than a half a pound.

When questioned, they insist that they have not reduce the food budget.

I beg to differ.


As an experiment, I have begun to serialize a novel I’ve been working on for a while.
New chapters will be published every Sunday.
Too continue reading or to catch up go here…



* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


At The A.L.F.: The Natives Are Restless.
But are the troops ready to rebel?
There is no doubt that there is something stirring in the air around here lately. Something that was made quite evident at our monthly resident’s meeting this past Monday.

For the first time, I actually heard a call for what amounted to an out and out rebellion by our residents who are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the way things are being done around here.

As usual, most of the disgruntlement was focused on the dining room, the food, it’s staff and our chef.

Despite us having a food committee and open monthly meetings with the head of our food service, many residents feel that our needs, as far as service and variety and quality of the way food is served and prepared here, are not being addressed.
Little by little, we have seen a decline in much of what goes on during meal times.
Most noticeably is the service with some residents complaining of inefficient, surly and rude servers.

Other complaints are directed at the quality of the food as well as the way food is being presented and cooked with many meals served burnt, overcooked or even undercooked, while still, other residents have stated that variety and portion size have become a concern as well.

Now, while residents have complained about the food ever since I arrived here almost 5 years ago, this was the first time I have ever heard a group of residents call for a walkout.

That’s right, you heard me. And actual 1960’s style passive protest.

Introduced at the meeting was the proposal that at one particular meal (be it breakfast, lunch or dinner) residents should order their meal as usual, but before it is actually served, to get up and walk out and assemble at the administrator's office to voice our objections.

The very suggestion of such an overt action among a group of people who usually are so apathetic as to hide when even a hint of upheaval is mentioned, have suddenly found the courage, not only to act but to act en masse to make their point known.

Could it be that some of the political unrest that has been illustrated by some very vocal protests as of late have actually prompted a usually stoic group of seniors to near insurrection?

While plans for this action have not been finalized, it will be interesting to see if anything actually takes place.

Also on the agenda at the meeting was the question of how prospective residents are approved for admission here.

Many of our long time residents recounted a time when it appeared that there were some tight guidelines as to what kind of person would best be served by the level of care available here.

People recounted their own admission interviews when they were told that if they could not walk on their own (either with a walker, Rollator or cane) they could not live here*. Wheelchairs were strictly forbidden.

Now, for some reason, that rule appears to have been overlooked as we now have an increase in the number of folks being admitted in less than an ambulatory condition.

Of concern too, was the mental and cognitive condition of many of the newer residents.

Quite noticeable are the number of inhabitants who exhibit, not only extreme memory loss and intellectual complications, but many show signs of belligerence and downright aggression towards their fellow residents.

Stories of both verbal and near or actual physical abuse by some of our recently arrived guests sent murmurs of understanding around the room.

This lead to the question of exactly what the qualifications for admission are and who, if anybody, is responsible for vetting prospective residents.

After a brief discussion, it was proposed to have someone from our marketing department (the people who are responsible for showing prospects around and explaining the level of care available here),come and answer questions about the admitting procedure.

Since all such Q&A has to be cleared through management, we will have to wait for this to happen.

The meeting closed on a note of unity (something that is not the norm here) and an agreement to look further into actually staging some sort of walk-out as well as scheduling a meeting with whoever is in charge of admissions.

Will there be an actual rebellion, I don’t know, but the atmosphere sure feels ripe for one.

*I was informed that I could not come here if I were still in a wheelchair which was impetus enough for me to work doubly hard at my physical therapy sessions so that I could graduate to a walker.


Too Much Experience To Be Hired?
Some Older Americans Face Age Bias
By Ina Jaffe
Blatant discrimination against older workers is illegal, but new research shows that it can be harder to get hired when you're older.
Most baby boomers say that they plan to keep working past conventional retirement age. But to do that, they have to get hired first. New research shows that can be harder when you're older.

"The call-back rate — the rate by which employers contact us and say we'd like to interview you — drops from young applicants to middle-aged applicants and drops further from middle-aged applicants to older applicants,"

Blatant discrimination against older workers is illegal. For example, an employer couldn't advertise a job saying "people over 40 need not apply." A 50-year-old law called the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prevents that.

But there are other ways employers try to screen for age….


91% of Seniors Believe This Social Security
Practice Should End.
If you're tired of having your Social Security benefits taxed, you're far from alone.
"... a small portion of Social Security's income (about $31.3 billion) came from the taxation of Social Security benefits.

While it may not be a well-known fact, a portion of Social Security benefits becomes taxable if an individual or joint-filing couple crosses a certain earning threshold. Individuals and couples making more than $25,000 and $32,000, respectively, can have half of their Social Security benefits exposed to federal income tax, while individuals and couples making in excess of $34,000 and $44,000, respectively, can have 85% of their Social Security benefits exposed to federal income taxation.

According to The Senior Citizens League, more than 50% of seniors receiving Social Security benefits in 2015 paid tax on those benefits, compared to about 1 in 10 households when the lower tax threshold was first introduced in 1983.
Seniors overwhelmingly agree this needs to change.

However, a new survey released two weeks ago from The Seniors Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that aims to protect the rights of senior citizens, speaks volume about what seniors think of the taxation of benefits.


More Elderly Women Expected To Drink And Abuse Alcohol;
What This Means For Their Health
By Dana Dovey
According to a new study, current trends suggest that the number of women aged 60 and older who drink and/or abuse alcohol is set to increase. While alcohol is dangerous for anyone, drinking can be especially bad for older women as they are more sensitive to alcohol’s effect than males their own age and younger women.

A new report has found that while the number of older adults who drink alcohol is set to increase as the population ages, the number of older women who drink alcohol is rising faster than that of men. For example, the prevalence of current drinking among men over 60 is expected to increase by 0.7 percent per year, while the average volume and prevalence of binge drinking among this demographic is expected to stay the same.

On the other hand, the prevalence of drinking among older women is expected to increase by an average of 1.6 percent per year. In addition, while the average volume of female drinking is expected to stay the same, the prevalence of binge drinking in this age group is expected to increase by an average of 3.7 percent per year.

Alcohol can affect elderly women differently than it did when they were younger…


See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery


As an experiment, I have begun to serialize a novel I’ve been working on for a while.
New chapters will be published every Sunday.
Too continue reading or to catch up go here…


©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


A Fork in the Road for Subsidized Assisted Living?
A knock on my door last Thursday morning summoned me (and the other residents here at the W. Center) to an impromptu and hastily called meeting in the auditorium.

Now, usually, meetings like this (that are unscheduled and unannounced beforehand) means that there is either a major staff change or a change in management.

However, in this case, it meant something that, for some reason, became an urgent request by our administrator.

With passion in his voice and conviction in his words, he laid out the (Financial) situation that faces us, the residents and the facility as well.

Essentially, here is what it’s all about.

This facility is unique in that the rent that people pay is partially covered by Social Security.

Social Security covers only a part of the actual rent. The rest is subsidized by Medicaid and other State and local programs.

The reason that this facility exists is for one reason and one reason only. And that is because we are a “bridge” over the gap between a very expensive* nursing home (which, by the way, is paid for by Medicare at the rate of approximately $13,000 per month) and a traditional (and more expensive) senior housing facility.

Therefore, it is to the government’s advantage, (And to the advantage of every taxpayer in the nation) to keep facilities like ours afloat.

Now, remember what I said about part of the rent being paid for by our resident’s own Social Security.

The rent burden on the resident is $1235.00 per month, not including cable TV or landline phone or any other additional aid services. That’s about 25% of the actual monthly rent. A big chunk to say the least.

My Social Security check, unfortunately, does not cover the full $1235, so I have to pay the difference out of my own pocket.

Fortunately, because I also receive SSI benefits, I can meet the difference in the rent.

But even if I and my fellow residents are able to pay their rent every month with Social Security, it does not mean that that amount is adequate enough to meet the ever increasing costs of running a facility such as ours.

Our Social Security benefits have remained the same for years because of the strange way the C.O.L.A. (Cost of Living Adjustment) is calculated that does not take into account the rising costs of food, transportation, clothes, and labor.

This means that because we don’t get an increase in our benefits, the W.Center cannot increase the resident’s part of the rent**.

That is why our administrator called the meeting.

He expressed the gravity of the situation very simply.

The facility needs and increase in Social Security (The amount of $40 per resident was talked about) in order to continue offering the level of service it provides us.

Besides an increase in our Social Security benefits, the facility needs an increase in Medicaid payments from the State as well.

To facilitate this, our administrator has suggested that we (residents) participate in a phone calling campaign to our legislators expressing our displeasure at how we seniors have been virtually ignored by the government when it comes to providing an adequate increase in our benefits.

While the minimum wage has gone up (as it should) our benefits have remained stationary.

He asked for volunteers that would be willing to make those calls.

The phone numbers of the appropriate legislators and well as a general “script” will be provided.

I must say, that I was surprised at the number of residents (me included) that stayed behind after the meeting to sign up to be one of those volunteers.

At this point, it must be noted that previous efforts, in the form of a petition and letter writing campaigns to sway legislators to our cause has gone for naught.

This phone-in effort is pretty much the last method left to get what we need to survive.

I urge all of my fellow residents who volunteered to make those calls and to honor your commitment and for all other readers of this blog who receive and depend on Social Security to live on, to make it known to your legislators that it’s time for them to get off their butts and do something about increasing our long awaited benefits.

*The amount varies, but $4500 per month is not far off.
** By law, the Facility is permitted to take a certain percentage of any Social Security increase  in the form of a raise in rent.


In This Next Phase Of Health Reform,
We Cannot Overlook Long Term Care
By Everette James, Walid Gellad, and Meredith Hughes

Long-term care for America’s growing elderly population is a critically important issue for Congress to address in health reform proposals currently taking shape.

While the ACA’s insurance expansion focused on providing coverage for the uninsured, the law’s progress on long-term care has been minimal. The ACA tried to address long-term care (LTC) by creating a voluntary system of LTC insurance, but the ill-fated CLASS Act was ultimately determined to be financially unviable and abandoned.

It is becoming apparent that President Trump and the 115th Congress cannot start over with health care reform. Whether you love, begrudgingly support, or fervently hate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a clean slate is not possible. First, ACA implementation is well underway and has benefited many patients and providers alike. Second, it is unlikely that Republicans in Congress can fully repeal the ACA without a 60 vote, filibuster proof super majority in the Senate. Starting over entirely with health reform is just not feasible.

Trying to address every problem facing the health care system at once is a tall—if not impossible—order. History has taught us that U.S. health reform is an incremental process. With the focus of Congress once again turning to health reform, we have an opportunity to fix the problems with the ACA, and find solutions to health care challenges that the ACA failed to address.

Home remedies that may be worth a try
By Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
Harvard Medical School embraces evidence-based medicine — treatments that have been shown to be effective through high-quality studies called randomized controlled clinical trials. So it’s always a little surprising when a Harvard doctor proposes a home remedy, as Dr. James P. Ioli did in an interview about toenail fungus. Dr. Ioli, who is chief of the podiatry service at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, suggested that daily applications of Vicks VapoRub might be at least as effective as most of the topical treatments for toenail fungus that are available by prescription or over the counter.

Toenail fungus is representative of the type of condition that may benefit from home remedies. It isn’t usually serious and there are no sure cures for it that don’t have significant side effects. Vicks is also representative of the type of home remedy that isn’t likely to be harmful — a product we know well and have used safely for other purposes.

A few cautions
Seemingly benign home remedies can have dangerous side effects. For example, baking soda dissolved in water, once recommended for relieving indigestion, has sent hundreds of people to the emergency room with electrolyte imbalances. If you’re taking any home remedy for an extended period, you may want to check with your doctor to see if there are any risks involved.


As an experiment, I have begun to serialize a novel I’ve been working on for a while.

New chapters will be published every Sunday.

Too continue reading or to catch up go here…



This Crowdsourcing Project Needs Your Sense of Humor
Have some spare time? Have nothing to do? Want to contribute to the cultural well-being of the U.S.A.?

Here’s a way you can get directly involved…

Phyllis Diller donated her most jealously guarded and prized possession—her joke files—to the Smithsonian more than a decade ago. Stored in 48 steel file drawers, the jokes span almost 50 years and cover a range of topics, from taxes (“I’m in the 50% bracket. I make exactly half the money I need to survive”) to Texas (“Asking Texan how he likes NYC—it’s the first time I’ve been in this part of Texas”) and aging (“You know you’re getting old when your back starts going out more than you do”) .

Now, in honor of Women’s History Month, the Smithsonian is inviting us all to become Smithsonian Digital Volunteers and become part of the project of making each and every one of the comic’s 53,000 jokes available online.

Breaking the Mold

Diller’s trailblazing approach made the Feminine Mystique into a punchline, turning the image of the Perfect ’50s Housewife on its head by celebrating her complete rejection of the era’s impossible standards.

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” 

Transcribing historical texts was never like this.

She took aim at every convention of what women should be, do or say. In an era of supportive wives and “take my wife” jokes, she took aim at husbands in general. She targeted one husband in particular: her imaginary man “Fang.”

“Fang told me he was a self made man. It wasn’t till later that I discovered he would have been wise to get some help."

How to Transcribe Diller



* * *

©2016 BWC All rights reserved
Notice to all users

The WCenterBlog is now SSL encrypted. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser, ensuring that all data transferred remains private. It allows me to protect site visitors’ data from monitoring and tampering while they browse this website and fill out contact forms.
Permission is hereby granted to use any or all of this blog as long as it is not for commercial purposes and credit is given by attaching WCenterBlog.Yolasite.com to the article.
All suggestions and submitted stories and articles will be considered for inclusion in this blog. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Carrie Hecht
who worked tirelessly to gain better service, respect and dignity for her fellow residents.

Previous blogs can be found in the Archives section at the top of this page


Pet Peeves and the “Loss of Spirit.”
Call me a self-deprecating old person, but some of us really deserve it.

Think what you might about old people, but you will all have to agree that most of us are pretty creepy and, in some respects, downright disgusting.

Living here, in an environment where I am surrounded by practically nothing but sexta, septua, and octogenarians who, at one time or another will exhibit all of the little annoyances associated with being an old person, I think I am an expert (with amateur status) in what most people find, shall we say, distasteful in regards to those of us who may not have “ripened” properly.

For example.

I am sorry to say this, but YOU STINK.

Not a day goes by here that, while walking into the dining room, trailing behind some of my less fastidious fellow residents, that I do not get the feeling that I am in the lower level public restroom in Penn Station after a particular beer infused hockey game at Madison Square Garden one level above.

I do not know if they make adult diapers with odor-eating properties but, if they do, they certainly aren’t using them here.

And then, after we get into the dining room, a whole other set of “endearing” functions go into effect.

At what point have old people forgotten the simple manners, decorum and courtesy's associated with communal dining.

Have we all been alone so long that we think It doesn’t matter how we behave at the dining table?

The symphony of dining faux pas which I have observed include…

      • Removing one’s dentures, mid-meal, to clean out some particularly stubborn piece of food from between those overly white choppers.
      • Chewing, and then removing from one’s mouth, a well-masticated specimen of grizzle and putting it back on the plate for all to ponder.
      • Banging on the table to get the servers attention.
      • Fighting with fellow diners about something stupid like “Hey!, you stole my juice.”
      • Actually stealing the other person's juice.
      • Blowing one’s nose or digging in one’s ear at the table.
The list could go on forever.

While dining room and personal hygiene missteps are bad enough, there is one very noticeable aspect of senior misbehavior that I have taken exception with over the years. And that is how old people dress.

To be fair, many of the residents here dress rather well (or at least appropriate for the surroundings).

However, there are some that have embraced “Basse Couture”* as their personal dress code.

Perhaps I have missed some article in GQ or, I am so “not with it”, but when has it become appropriate to wear pajama bottoms as slacks?

I mean, I see this all of the time, mostly on men. Not the tops with the bottoms, but the bottoms only.

In the same genre, we have the baggy, gray sweat pants.

Yes, I know they are comfortable and they fit over your ever-expanding belly and they are the first thing you grab when you get out of bed (or maybe you actually slept in them), but it says to me, and the rest of the world “I have completely given up and no longer give a s**t about anything anymore.”

Also on my list of dress peeves are loud colored pants, checks, and stripes mixed together (checkered top with striped slacks).

Knee socks with short pants.

Short pants. (Have you old dudes looked at your legs lately?)

Now, while the aforementioned remonstrance's may be deep seeded, the possibility that they can be “cured” with a little counseling and a lot of good-natured berating remains high.

Unfortunately, my number one pet peeve is not as easily corrected.

Moreover, for me, it goes to the heart of what I find most distasteful about some older people. And that is the apathy and indifference that has become part of many seniors daily lives.

Now, I am not including those folks with dementia, depression or any cognitive disorders in this group, but rather those of us who believe that no matter what we do or say or how hard we complain about the way we are treated it will make no difference. Or, what is even worse is that they are actually afraid to upset the status quo for fear of repercussions that might be brought upon them by some superior beings know only as “They.”

“THEY won’t like it if you make trouble.” Or, “THEY can get you thrown out of here if you complain.” Or my favorite, “They don’t care, all THEY want is your money.”
Statements like that always make me wonder what these people were like when they were young.

Surely they could not have been as complacent as they are now.

Isn’t this the same group that protested the Vietnam war, marched for civil rights and hugged trees for the rain forest?

What happened to that spirit? Has it been lost forever?

Every once and a while I see a resident who still has that sparkle in their eye, that inkling of their rebellious former self but, when asked to participate in some anti-establishment activity, they collapse into a puddle of lethargy and indifference.

Perhaps it’s something in their personal lives that has made them this way or maybe they are tired of just banging their heads against the wall without getting the required results. We may never know. But I do know that it’s a sad thing to see in others and even a sadder thing to see in oneself.

*Basse Couture is the opposite of “Haute Couture” or High Fashion.


s things are expected to get tighter for seniors over the next few months and years, it may be worth your while to make sure that you are receiving all of the benefits that you are eligible to receive.

The worksheet, available online, is an easy way for you to get the proper information you need.

The worksheet asks a few non-specific questions pertaining to your physical and financial status and searches for all the benefits you are qualified for.

There is real money to be saved here so I suggest you have a look at this now.

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“Senior rights are civil rights"
“Senior rights are civil rights. We’re not just talking about social service accommodations; today’s older Americans want social equality.” The late Dennis Mahar (1952-2016) was always great for quotes, and this was the best one I got from him during research for my master’s degree. And he would know — Mahar spent 35 years in public service, many of them as the executive director of the Area Agency on Aging.

When Mahar passed in 2016, our state lost a passionate advocate for senior rights, and those who had the opportunity to work with him lost a great inspiration who got us to re-think our ideas about aging.

At the time of my interview with him, I approached senior issues as social service needs to be accommodated and managed. Back then, I had a keen interest in developing senior housing, the big splashy kind that looks fabulous in news articles with photos from the grand openings. But the deeper I got into my studies, the more I learned that most senior citizens want to “age in place” in a familiar environment, rather than be up-rooted and moved into a large facility, away from the places they called home for most of their lives.

= = =
Many have trouble navigating Medicare's complexities
More than 57 million seniors and disabled adults depend on Medicare, but too many people struggle to enroll and navigate the complexities of the federal health-insurance program, a national advocacy group says.

And with half of all people on Medicare living on annual incomes of $24,150 or less, many can't afford the co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles associated with their coverage.

"In today's health-care climate, now is the time to seek solutions that make Medicare an even stronger, simpler and more affordable benefit," said Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, which recently released a report examining the most common problems faced by those on Medicare.

For the report, the New York-based nonprofit group, which advocates for affordable health care for older adults and the disabled, analyzed more than 16,000 calls to its consumer helpline in 2015.

The group found that many callers had trouble maneuvering Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient medical care, including most doctor visits, and Medicare Advantage, which allows private health-insurance companies to offer Medicare benefits.

Rates of sexually transmitted
diseases double among elderly
The rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have doubled among 50- to 90-year-olds in the past decade according to the Center for Disease Control.

“This is a universal problem,” said Lenard Kaye, the director of the Center on Aging.
“That has gotten them into major trouble,” Kaye said.

He said although the risk of contracting an STD is lower for those with only one partner, they are not excluded. And a dramatic increase in mid-life divorces, he said, is putting others at even higher risk.

“Anyone who's not monogamous needs to take very seriously, the importance of protecting themselves,” Kaye said.

Especially for those living in retirement communities, which he said are beginning to feel a lot more like a college campus.

“Just as it happens on a college campus, increasingly, in assisted living communities, there is a lot of hanky-panky occurring,” he said.



See more “At The ALF” cartoons in our cartoon gallery


As an experiment, I have begun to serialize a novel I’ve been working on for a while.
New chapters will be published every Sunday.
Too continue reading or to catch up go here…