Good Day Toronto, Ontario, Canada




FEB. 26, 2021

A Long-Term Care Strategy
That Provides More Than Hope

Growing up, my parents would frequently reiterate that hope is not a strategy. Although I did not always adhere to this guidance, their mantra has been confirmed more often than not. As my family is currently structuring long-term care plans for a loved one, I am reminded of the importance of an actual strategy in long-term care. In other words, hope is not an appropriate strategy for addressing long-term care planning either.

As my family has learned, long-term care is a necessity. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of people turning age 65 will need some type of long-term care service. In the same study, results demonstrated around 48% of people turning age 65 or older will need some type of paid long-term care services. These percentages suggest the need for a long-term care strategy more definite than hope.


'Why are we being attacked?'
Cuomo budget ‘punitive’ to assisted living,
association leader says

By Lisa Newcomb

An industry expert is calling on the New York Legislature to reject Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2021-2022 state budget amendments, which she said contain “unnecessary and punitive” measures against assisted living providers.

“It was shocking to see this scourging punishment at a time when assisted living providers and staff have fought valiantly and tirelessly to protect their residents during this pandemic nightmare at great peril to their emotional, mental and financial well-being,” said Lisa Newcomb, executive director of the Empire State Association of Assisted Living. “Instead of the praise and honor that our provider members and their staff so clearly deserve, the governor is inflicting upon them harsh punishment.

“Why are we being attacked?”


Loss of muscle mass among elderly can lead to falls,
and staying put during the pandemic doesn't help

Older adults are at much higher risk of death from COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, but many also face another, less recognized health risk associated with the pandemic: loss of muscle mass. This loss is one of the primary reasons for falls - the No. 1 cause of accidental death in those 65 and older.

Also known as sarcopenia - from the Greek "sarco," meaning flesh, and "penia" referring to deficiency or poverty - loss of muscle mass and strength is common among elders, but starts as early as our 30's. Poor diet is a risk factor for sarcopenia; so is physical inactivity. Now, with gyms closed and community centers on lockdown, many older people are arguably more sedentary than ever.

Feb. 19 to Feb. 25

COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines, and our lives. And on Monday, the US passed the half-million mark in the number of deaths attributed to the virus. A year ago, when the government first acknowledged that the virus may be more than just another flu-like affliction, the estimates for the number of people that could possibly succumb to COVID-19 was somewhere around 230,000. On Monday evening the White House paid homage to those who had died by lighting 500 candles.

Monday also brought good news for us, and horrible news for the former president when the SCOTUS ruled that the Attorney for the Southern District in NY, can subpoena Trumps personal and corporate tax returns. This is the first step in finding that those returns may reveal illegal payments and deductions. A criminal offense. 

On Thursday we got the news that they delivered those documents to Mr. Vance’s office. Unfortunately, the public will most likely never get to see them.

In Texas, while the weather may have warmed up, most Texans have turned a cold shoulder to a system that was supposed to protect them against high electric bills. Instead, what they got was a shock, not from the electric outlet, but from “price adjusted” bills they received for 3 days of increased usage. Hopefully, the government will help them with those bills.
On Capitol Hill, hearings to determine if a lack of intelligence hampered the response by Capitol Police began. It was a matter of who knew what and when. And how soon was that information transmitted to law enforcement to prevent the attack of January 6th.

Also in Washington, Tuesday was supposed to be the day when the President delivers the State of The Union Address to a joint session of Congress. Well, it didn’t happen. Many factors, including COVID-19, were to blame. They have postponed the speech, if there will be one, to a future date yet to be determined.
Closer to home (my home) our Governor continues to come under attack from members of both parties, some of whom are asking for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation. They held a hearing Thursday in Albany, where assemblymen listened to testimony in order to determine if any wrongdoing occurred when COVID-19 patients were moved to nursing homes instead of remaining in the hos
pital. In question is whether the numbers related to those deaths were incorrectly reported. Adding to the Governor’s woes are continuing allegations of sexual improprieties towards female members of his staff. The Governor repudiates all of those allegations.
Thursday marked 10 days after all of our residents and staff here at the Asylum received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The ten day waiting period is the last step in securing our best protection against the virus. That, along with the most stringent precautions taken anywhere by any facility, should make our little paradise on the hill the safest place in the state. But is there any sign of a relaxation of the rules pertaining to visitations or a return to normal activities like communal dining? No, there is not. The state prefers to keep us locked down for as long as possible just to protect their collective asses. Meanwhile, over 10,000 residents of long-term facilities are waiting for their freedom.
When we return on Monday with new content, it will be March. For many of us, the new month will mark one year since they kept us from our friends, relatives and all of our normal activities. It is a milestone I never thought we would reach. Yes, I’m alive, but at what cost?……………………………………

The Financial Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
By Todd Christensen

Be Prepared! Whether you have already experienced the health effects of COVID-19, it is certain to affect your personal and household finances.

What should you do financially to get through the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic?

Regardless of the current or coming health effects of COVID-19 on you or your family, the pandemic has affected and will likely continue to affect household finances for years to come. Having a plan, prioritizing spending, and using resources efficiently will be key to your financial stability.
Economic Impact of COVID-19

As of the publication of this post, COVID-19 is having a massive effect on the US Economy, even if it is not felt yet on everyone’s household budgets. From cancellation of sporting events and religious gathers to the closing of travel between the US and other countries, international trade is being severely disrupted.

How to File Federal Income Taxes
for a Deceased Taxpayer

By Kimberly Lankford

When a loved one passes away, someone has to file a final tax return for them. If that someone is you, here's what you need to know.

When to file

If a loved one died in 2020, you need to determine who will file their final income tax return. “A final return must be filed if required, either by the spouse or executor, which notes the date of death,” says Michael Eisenberg, a CPA with Baker Tilly Financial, LLC in Encino, California.

Use the same IRS Form 1040 as you would for living taxpayers, but note the date of death on the top. If there's no surviving spouse, then the trustee, executor or administrator must file Form 56 letting the IRS know that they're the person responsible for the final tax return. “All income up to the date of death has to be reported, and all credits and deductions to which they are entitled can still be claimed,” says Steven Hamilton, an enrolled agent with Hamilton Tax and Accounting in Grayslake, Illinois.

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FEB. 25, 2021

A $15 minimum wage could boost Social Security
benefits by about $5,000 a year
By Lorie Konish

Some Washington lawmakers are pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour to put more money in workers’ pockets.

The wage bump could also eventually provide a boost to their Social Security benefits.

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 has stayed where it is since 2009.

At the same time, workers contribute 6.2% on wages of up to $142,800 in 2021 to Social Security. Employers, in turn, match that 6.2% contribution. (If you’re self-employed, you pay 12.4% in Social Security taxes


Downsizing Tips for a New Year

The New Year is here, and you know what they say: new year, new you. Well, even if you're not looking to completely redesign who you are and what you do, there's one thing you should definitely think about doing in the new year: clearing out some of the clutter in your home.

Whether you're considering moving to a new home for work or retirement or you just want to reclaim some existing space, there's nothing like shaking things up with a good downsizing. Here are some great tips to ring in the new year right:

Start Small

How often does this happen to you? You're all raring to go when it comes to downsizing clutter, but then you open that closet or garage and see a giant, intimidating mess — and suddenly you run for the hills. The mess is still there, you now feel terrible and the clutter only gets worse. How in the world do you get around this?


10 Best Senior Dating Sites For Love:
 Dating 50, 60, 70+

When you think of dating, you may think of lovelorn teens incessantly texting, or twentysomethings bonding over drinks at the bar. Dating isn't just for the young, however. As divorce and deciding not to marry become more popular, more people find themselves dating in their golden years. Recent research into the matter revealed that nearly 20 million singles over the age of 65 make up nearly 20 percent of all unmarried people in the US.

Men and women in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond are looking to date. More than ever, they're turning to the internet to find someone special to spend their time with. Luckily, there are many dating sites that make online dating easy and accessible for seniors.

If you're a single of a certain age looking for that special someone, you might find dating sites for seniors to be very fulfilling, and not your typical hookup site. It can help you meet singles your age easily, whether you're looking for someone local or looking to meet fascinating senior singles from around the world.

6 - 7 minutes

The first thing I thought of after hearing the news that an automobile accident had severely injured Tiger Woods Tuesday and his subsequent orthopedic surgeries, was the long and arduous month’s, or even years, of physical therapy he has ahead of him. Even an athlete, with his background and training, will find it difficult regaining his ability to walk, let alone compete, after being immobile for any length of time. And, while I am sure that he will have the best therapists and the best equipment available, how quickly and how well he recovers is entirely up to him. Just because the flesh may be willing, the mind, as they say, may be weak. The biggest obstacle is not the pain associated with fractured limbs, but the strain one’s psyche must deal with, and overcome.

Physical therapy is as much a healing of the mind as it is of the injured muscles, the torn tendons and the broken bones. I know. I’ve been there.
Although the reason for my therapy did not come about as the result of an accident, the damage done to my body was just as debilitating.


After spending two months in a hospital, in a bed, recovering from a difficult surgery and a lengthy recovery, I completely lost my ability to walk. Not only could I not walk, I couldn’t sit up or stand up on my own. They had to lift me out of bed with the aid of a contraption called a Hoyer Lift™ which hoisted me into the air, in a sling, like a sack of potatoes and plopped me down into a waiting wheelchair. It was humiliating, as it was awkward. But nothing they could do to me would compare to the pain, frustration and depression I felt every day in those therapy sessions.

Mobility therapy is a slow, methodical process.
At the beginning, they wanted little more than for me to sit up on my own. A task to which ‘normal’ people give little thought, but to someone who has been on their back for months becomes as difficult as trying to bench-press a 500 lb. barbell with one hand. My body would just not respond to what my mind wanted it to do and, eventually, my mind gave up. I fell into a deep funk. I felt betrayed by my body and my will. Eventually, after much encouragement by my therapist and much cursing by me, I could lift my body up and sit at the edge of the bed for short periods of time. My back, so I learned, is a large part of walking. And I would have to regain strength in it as much as my legs.

Weeks became months, and I had made very little progress. I could now slide into the wheelchair with some help, eliminating the need for the “lift.” But I still could not stand on my own, let alone walk. It was not until they sent me to the hospital to correct a thyroid problem That I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
I’ve told this story before, but I will retell it for the sake of clarity.
While in the hospital, undergoing some tests, a psychiatrist visited me as part of a general evaluation of my condition. I had never spoken to an actual “shrink” before, having seen only a psychologist in the rehab facility. After nearly an hour of pouring out my heart to her, she diagnosed me as having a mild form of depression. She prescribed an antidepressant, and I returned to the facility.

I won’t say it was a miracle, but after taking the antidepressants for about a week, I began to not only feel better physically, but they swept away the cobwebs that had clogged my head with gloom and despair for over a year.
My appetite improved, which gave me the strength needed to complete the tasks assigned to me by my therapist. The weights on my ankles to build up my legs and calf muscles and the ones to develop my atrophied back and arms were working. And soon, I could lift myself out of the chair which had been my “prison” and on to the parallel bars where the actual work to restore mobility and balance began.
I don’t know if I the medication played any part in my actual rehab. But I know that having the ability to think clearly, without the barriers that make the world seem dark and foreboding, went a long way in making my time in rehab more tolerable and, by doing so, made me want to regain some of what I had lost.
My advice to anyone facing physical therapy is to think about consulting with a mental health professional. They are as much a part of the healing process as is any piece of equipment in the rehab room…………………


2021 Health Care Predictions

One year ago – in early 2020 – most of us did not know what COVID-19 meant (co-Corona; vi-Virus; d-disease; 19 – 2019); had no idea how to “zoom”; did not know what social distance meant; and, were largely unfamiliar with working from home on a normal weekday and certainly not week after week and month after month.

The health care delivery system has had to react as well – and is still doing so! Institutional and individual providers have demonstrated to all they are the true HEROES of this pandemic. And their work is not done, even as the roll-out of vaccines continues to increase in numbers and extend beyond health care providers and the ‘elderly’.  

So what will happen in 2021 to the health care delivery system? Just as members of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP and our Health Care Practice have done in years past, we have made some predictions of what we expect to see for the balance of the calendar year.     

Top 20 gifts under $20 for
assisted living residents
By Diane Rehor

Now that our beloved elderly are being vaccinated, according to my dear friend, Dr. Charleen Jaeb, resident of Generations Senior Living of Strongsville, they would love a visit!

Charleen and I met in college as “non-traditional” students many moons ago. Charleen continued her education, completing both an MBA and law degree to pursue her career as a college professor at various colleges in Cleveland. Charleen received multiple awards throughout her career. Most recently she won the Women’s Club “Woman of the Year” in Middleburg Heights.

Upon retirement from teaching, she accepted the position of Bus Tour Guide for Lake Front Bus Lines, where she wrote articles for the Bus Tours Magazine. Her favorite articles were “20 Tips for Bus Tour Planners.”

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FEB. 24, 2021

COVID Crisis Triggers Increase in Elder Abuse

There’s been a worrisome increase in cases of elder abuse since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

 The senior advocacy organization’s CEO, Rebecca Weber, says the surge is mainly due to self-isolation and other preventative measures that are in place to combat the spread of the virus.
Rebecca Weber

According to the Website, PubMed.Gov, Weber says, “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, elder abuse affected one in 10 American older adults annually. It has been assumed that the pandemic has brought with it a surge in elder abuse due to individuals ordered to stay at home combined with increased interpersonal stressors.”  


Older adults and antibiotics:
Study shows healthy attitudes but unhealthy practices

While most adults over 50 understand that overuse of antibiotics is a problem, and say they’re cautious about taking the drugs, a sizable minority have used antibiotics for something other than their original purpose, and appear to think the drugs could help treat colds, which are caused by viruses not bacteria.

These findings, contained in a new paper in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, come from a national poll of people between the ages of 50 and 80 carried out as part of the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

The authors, from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, say their findings highlight the importance of careful guidance from health care providers to older adults, about the proper use and disposal of antibiotics prescribed to outpatients.


Nearly Half of Retirees Say Their Savings
Did Not Recover by End of 2020

“Depending on how long it takes one’s retirement savings to recover, the 2020 coronavirus recession could have a deep and life changing impact on the retirement security of older Americans,” says Johnson.

How is the pandemic affecting retirement savings? Forty - eight percent of retirees with retirement accounts say that their savings have not recovered pre-pandemic levels, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “There’s no doubt about it, the Coronavirus - caused recession is forcing many older adults to rethink retirement plans,” says Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “While the U.S. stock market ended 2020 at an all - time high, the retirement savings held by many retired adults do not appear to have benefited from the run up,” Johnson says. “This is exactly why the guaranteed income nature of Social Security is so important,” she notes.

The survey, which was conducted from mid - January to mid-February of this year, asked the following “How has the coronavirus - caused recession affected the value of your retirement savings as of December 31, 2020?”

This Shouldn’t Stay In Vegas

As most of you know, me and my fellow residents here and in assisted living facilities across the state have been in a quarantine/ lockdown situation for nearly a year. During this time they have prevented us from taking our meals as we usually do, in our dining room, with our friends. Instead, they have fed us our breakfast, lunch and dinner in our rooms. What this means is not only are we missing that very important interaction with our peers, but they have forced us to suffer the indignity of eating from Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils. In addition, to accommodate the method of food distribution to our residents, the quality, preparation, variety and portion sizes and the temperature have suffered too.

As of this Thursday, February 25th, all of our residents and staff will have not only received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but we will have passed the 10-day period suggested by the CDC for the vaccine to be most effective.
The article below explains how the city of Las Vegas Nevada will lift its restrictions on communal dining in ALF’s because the local infection rate has dropped below 10%. This will allow bored, lonely and isolated residents to once again mingle with the only people they see regularly, the other residents. It also means that some manner of normalcy will have returned after all these months, ending the boredom and isolation they have endured.

Keeping all that in mind. And considering the similar situation the Las Vegas residents have to ours and also that the current infection rate in NY State is lower (7.4%) than that of Nevada’s 10%, why is the New York State Department of Health continuing to keep nearly 10,000 ALF residents statewide in a state of virtual imprisonment?

Editor’s note: The Governor of New York just announced that fans will be allowed back in the arenas as well as movie theaters. This is in addition to the recent relaxation of the indoor dining prohibition. It really makes you wonder why we (residents) have been singled-out as New York’s number-one scapegoats.

* * * * * * * * * *

Assisted living facility reopens communal dining
as Las Vegas infection rate drops

The coronavirus infection rate dropped below 10% in Las Vegas for the first time since November. The lowering case rates also means assisted living facilities are able to loosen some restrictions.

The Oakmont Assisted Living Facility in Las Vegas opened its dining hall on Monday for the first time since November.

"We were fortunate enough at this community to be able to have completed both rounds of vaccinations, for a lot of residents and staff as well, and this was really the next step to get them as close back to normal in a pre-COVID world," facilities director Chris Mirando said.

DEA Tip of the Week:
What to do if you suspect a senior citizen
is struggling with drug abuse

Substance abuse among senior citizens can be a problem and there is a variety of contributing factors.

The Drug Enforcement Agency, El Paso Division joined KTSM 9 News to talk about this issue, saying that while illicit drug use typically declines after young adulthood, nearly 1 million adults aged 65 and older live with a substance use disorder, according to data reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chronic health conditions tend to develop as part of aging, and older adults are often prescribed more medicines than other age groups, leading to a higher rate of exposure to potentially addictive medications.

9 Ways to Extend the Time
You Spend Living Independently

One of the biggest decisions as you age is where you will age. Three-quarters of adults in a 2018 AARP survey said they wanted to remain in their homes, but only 59% thought they would be able to do so. If remaining at home is your preference, here are nine steps you can take:

1. Prevent Falls

Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal, trauma-related hospital admissions for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-quarter of Americans 65 and older fall every year.

A fall can trigger a decline in functioning "which may affect your ability to remain independent," explains Liz Barlowe, aging life care manager with Barlowe & Associates in Seminole, Fla.

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FEB. 23, 2021

Cuomo's COVID nursing home catastrophe underlines
Americans' poor treatment of their elderly

By Daniel Davies

The nursing homes and assisted living care facilities have been quick to take advantage of that unethical attitude.  There is big money to be made taking elderly into nursing homes and assisted living.  Medicare and Medicaid, which most elderly have to use, provides limited funds for nursing home costs.  The result: Most elderly end up in facilities with little privacy, hospital-like rooms with dozens of beds, and low-paid and low-motivated help.  The elderly have no voice and are often abused, neglected, and disrespected.  Those few elderly who have the means fare better.  Their money buys them privacy, respect, care from better paid staff, and more comfortable accommodations.


Cannabis lowers blood pressure
in older adults, study finds

By Nancy Clanton

A new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center found that medical cannabis might reduce blood pressure in older adults.
ExploreMore older adults turn to cannabis to treat common ailments

“Older adults are the fastest growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce,” wrote Dr. Ran Abuhasira of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences, one of Israel’s leading medical faculties, and the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute. “This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time.”

The researchers studied patients ages 60 and older who had hypertension. The patients were prescribed cannabis, then monitored with 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure devices.


Six Reasons Why Now is a Good Time to
Move to a Senior Living Community

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, hopefully with a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of vaccines, both organizations and individuals have been forced to adjust their practices and behaviors in so many ways. “Normal” looks very different now than it did only a year ago and no one is sure when, or even if, things will go back to the way they were before.

Many people are wondering, are senior living communities, including assisted living and independent living, safe during COVID-19? In this environment, the highest quality senior living communities have adapted quickly and responsibly. Those that do it best are, more than ever, some of the safest and most fulfilling places for an older adult to live. While moving into assisted or independent living during a global pandemic could be perceived as a challenging decision, we believe now may be the smartest time to make that move.


Could Accessory Dwelling Units Be the
Next Big Trend for Assisted Living Facilities?

On Sunday, February 7, 2021, The New York Times published an article entitled, “Converting Backyards into Family Compounds” involving the latest trend in assisted living – accessory dwelling units. These are small homes built on the property of existing homes usually in the backyard which used to be referred to with antiquated nicknames such as “mother-in-law suites” or “granny flats.”

While the cost of building such a home for one’s parents is expensive, it is on a comparative basis less expensive than putting one’s parents into an assisted living facility.

General Electric and General Motors began their corporate lives as the manufacturers of light bulbs, turbines, and automobiles/engines. Over time a large part of their income was drawn from setting up themselves as lenders with mortgage loans and credit cards.

5 minutes

For most of my adult life, I made a living out of talking to people. On a normal weekday, I probably spent eight or nine hours doing nothing but conversing with folks on the phone and in person. Not texts. Not Instant messages, but an actual give and take, tongue wagging, lip flapping exchange of ideas and opinions. Today, because of this damn virus, I’ve barely had more than a five-minute conversation with anybody in 11 months. How long will it take before we will have forgotten how to speak altogether?

Many of our young people have already lost that ability.
As teenagers back in the day, we spent hours on the phone with our friends. And that’s after being with them all day. We just couldn’t get enough of that interaction we loved and needed.

Today’s kids still spend countless hours on the phone, not to talk, but to send snippets of inane, grammatically challenged and misspelled text messages back and forth trying, in vain, to keep some communication skills before they completely lose them.

And it’s not only the kids. The non-verbal communication debacle has made its way to the adult sector as well.

Take business as an example.

Most companies today, not only have cut back on using the phone as a business tool, but have discouraged its use.
Everything, from sales, shipping, adjustments and returns they handle by text or email. No need to actually speak to a live customer service representative. Just check one of the “reasons for your inquiry” and a friendly network server will solve your problem. If it fits into one of its predetermined categories, that is. If not, good luck trying to get an actual human being on the phone to explain your situation to.

And now, things have become worse for human conversation. This COVID mess has turned us all into a society of un-inter-actors. Instead of giving in to our instinct to be among our own kind, and in doing so, perfecting our social skills, they have asked us to stay as far away from others as possible, lest we kill them or cause them harm. What will this lead to? Will we become a race of technologically advanced hermits cowering in our dark little lairs, hunched over a smart-phone, tablet or laptop, tapping out volumes of encoded messages, (LOL, LMAO, UOK, WTF) never seeing the reaction of the person reading them.

Humans are the most social of all creatures. We need each other more than any other species. Our society is so complicated that one person cannot know everything we need to thrive and prosper. I may be a brilliant doctor, but do not know how to invest the money I make. For that, I need a financial advisor who, while he may not know how to remove a kidney, knows exactly which hedge fund to use to get me the most bang for the buck. But would I trust my money to someone I know only through a few lines of email or a glossy brochure? I want to meet the guy face to face. I want to look into his eyes, see the sweat on his lip and listen to the sincerity in his voice. Something you can’t get with “dw. ur $$ is sfe w/ me.”
Let’s face it. If this COVID quarantine/social distance thing doesn’t end soon, I predict we will all become blithering idiots unable to put two coherent sentences together, let alone carry on a conversation. Do we really want to return to caveman status where a grunt, a shrug and a club over the head is all we needed to get our message across?……………….


Start Planning Your Bucket List Vacation Now

Retirees Liz Miller and Lou Hoyos, of Long Branch, N.J., had planned to spend two weeks vacationing in Spain last April: Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo and Malaga. But like millions of others, the couple's plans got postponed, and then canceled, as the pandemic spread across the globe. But Miller isn't giving up on the dream.

"I had done everything and created this amazing trip for two weeks," she says. "But now I'm thinking, 'Nope, we're going to stay for a month, and I have twelve more places I want to go.''

Nearly a third of Americans say they're planning to splurge on travel or dining out after they get vaccinated.

What Seniors Should Know Before Filing 2020 Taxes
By John Waggoner

Getting ready to tackle your federal income taxes for 2020? Due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic, your return could be different — and perhaps a bit trickier — this year than in years past. Here are 10 things taxpayers should understand before filling out a 1040.

1. Deadlines are deadlines

Death and taxes may be the two certainties in life, but at least you know when the taxman will come knocking. Federal income tax returns are due April 15 this year, the traditional filing deadline. Congress extended the deadline to July 15 last year because of the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) set Feb. 12 as the start date for processing 2020 returns, which is later than normal. It was Jan. 27 last year. The IRS says it needed the extra time to reprogram systems due to the tax law changes on Dec. 27 that authorized a second round of stimulus payments.

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FEB. 22, 2021

Pointers on Booking a COVID-19 Vaccination

One couple trying to get their COVID-19 vaccines put their names on five different lists. One devoted son waited up until 1 a.m., juggling three computer screens to snag an elusive slot for his dad and stepmom. A friend persuaded a patient's longtime pharmacist to make a house call to administer the vaccine. Another couple endured a 5 1/2-hour wait for their second dose.

They're just a few examples of the tens of thousands of Americans who've been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (as part of groups 1B or 1C  per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations), struggled to receive it and finally did.

They weren't trying to "jump the line," explained Andy Giambarba, who spent three late nights refreshing multiple browser windows in hopes of snatching a slot through Walgreens for his 92-year-old father and 86-year-old stepmother. It's just that difficult to get an appointment in many parts of the country right now.


8 Things to Know Before Your
Second COVID-19 Vaccine

By Michelle Crouch

If you've already received your first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, congratulations — you're well on your way to being protected from the coronavirus. But to be fully immunized, it's critical to get that second shot.

Across the country, some people are running into snafus as they try to get their second dose. Winter storms have shut down clinics in some areas, while others have closed because they temporarily ran out of vaccine. There are also scattered reports of scheduling glitches.

If you've had an appointment canceled, don't wait for someone to call you — be proactive about rescheduling your second shot, advises William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.


15 Facts To Consider When Selecting a
Continuing Care Retirement Community

By Chuck Robinson

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), also known as life plan communities, allow seniors to "age in place" at a single facility while their health needs change over time. While you can start out living completely independently in a condo, skilled nursing, assisted living, and other services are also available if and when they're needed. Unlike many other retirement options, CCRCs recognize the fact that most seniors want to live independently for as long as they possibly can.

In a typical scenario, a CCRC resident will rent or purchase a condo within the community, with a range of accommodation sizes and styles available. A tiered price structure and program will be available according to the amount and type of services needed or desired. As the person ages and their healthcare needs change, they can keep living in the original condo for as long as possible and transition into an on-site nursing facility if required.


At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan
—and Her Own Grandsons

By Tom Schoenberg

Beverley Schottenstein was 93 years old when she decided to go to war with the biggest bank in the U.S.

It was a June day, and the Atlantic shimmered beyond the balcony of her Florida condominium. Beverley studied an independent review of her accounts as family and lawyers gathered around a table and listened in by phone. The document confirmed her worst fears: Her two financial advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who oversaw more than $80 million for her, had run up big commissions putting her money in risky investments they weren’t telling her about. It was the latest red flag about the bankers. There had been missing account statements. Document shredding. Unexplained credit-card charges.

Although some relatives urged Beverley not to make waves, she was resolute. What the money managers did was wrong, she told the group. They needed to pay, she said. Even though they were her own grandsons.

5 minutes

Old folks have always been a target of discrimination. But never so much as in the last few years.
Early on, it became quite clear that Trump and the Republican-led congress had it in for seniors. They quickly considered putting Social Security, Medicare and other services for Older Americans on the chopping block, which could have been devastating for millions who depend on the benefits from those programs just to survive. Fortunately, those cuts never went through. But in the meantime, they did nothing to improve the lives of our seniors either. An example of which is the measly 1.3% increase to the Social Security benefits, while the actual COL salary adjustment for all Americans went up by 2.3%.

But all of that pales in comparison when we look at what we have done to seniors during this pandemic.
The former administration barely acknowledged the virus until patients in a Washington State nursing home started dying in droves. And even then, it barely phased anybody in authority that the aged were particularly susceptible to catching COVI-19. “Old people get sick and die, so what else is new?”, was the general consensus.
It was not until local governments became involved did the realization that seniors may be more vulnerable to the effects of the disease than the general, younger, population.
In the words of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “I sit on the aging committee in the Senate and one of the things I hope we can do is actually have a thorough review. Older Americans in nursing homes all across the country suffer disproportionately because when COVID got into these nursing homes/assisted living facilities, it spread like wildfire. A lot of our older Americans have really bore the brunt of COVID.”
But just acknowledging the problem does not lessen the magnitude and the extent at which ageism has spread throughout the nation. And not all of it by ignorant, uninformed people…

There are increasing reports of medical doctors, public health officials and policy makers promoting the idea that younger people should receive COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of seniors so they can lead us to get the pandemic under control.” [1]

Unfortunately, discrimination against seniors, especially those who are residents of long-term care facilities, does not end with who should or should not get vaccinated. The inequities range from forced isolation to mistreatment, unintentional and otherwise. Mostly because of the policies of clueless state’s Departments of Health and mindless nursing home and assisted living facility administrators who don’t have any idea how the lack of interaction with others may have caused irrefutable damage to an already emotionally challenged population.

In general, we older Americans are not known for our activism. We don’t speak up for ourselves. Instead, we depend on others to be our voice. But all too often, our priorities take a back seat to promote insurance policies, or discounted travel by so-called “Retired peoples” associations. And even those that should know us the best, our families, are at a loss how to get the people in charge to re-open or, at least, ease some restrictions imposed on us. For those “in charge” it’s easier to do nothing than find a solution that may open a nasty can of worms and cause a worsening of the situation.

We are closing in on the one-year anniversary of the locking down of our facility and others across the nation. And, while that lockdown and the subsequent precautionary measures taken to deter the spread of the virus may have been the responsible thing to do at the beginning, it’s time they took a long, hard look at what we need now, nearly 12 whole months later. And they better do it quickly before their efforts to “save us’ becomes the very thing that does us the most harm………….. .

[1] “This is flawed thinking, and the claim that “evidence” is emerging on this is suspect.
What swath of our nation has re-routed vaccinations to younger people in sufficient numbers to produce the data to support this notion? It seems more likely that this idea is motivated by economic reasons. which in and of itself is an acceptable initiative. But, at what cost?
In one area that the data are abundantly clear is that people between the ages of 29 and 49 are the greatest spreaders of the disease. Should large numbers of these be vaccinated, they will likely exacerbate the problem because there is clear evidence that one can spread the disease just as easily after being vaccinated.”


Should Older Americans Be Booking Trips
Right After Getting the Vaccine?

By Tanner Garrity

There’s a concept called “mortality salience,” which refers to an individual’s awareness that his/her death is inevitable. Most of us have perceived it — if you’ve shared a joint during college, you’ve definitely stumbled into it — but it’s especially relevant for senior citizens. As the end of their days looms, they make new plans, enlist new friends or try new behaviors to distract from that reality.

For their demographic, this year could be mortality salience on steroids. After a near-year of bubbledom, those in their 60s and above have had far too much time to sit around and reflect on exactly where they are in their lives. Now, as the first in line to get two doses of the vaccine, they seem especially eager to get out and see the world in order to make up for the lost time or make more memories before their time officially runs out.

According to a recent survey by travel agency Virtuoso, older people are more likely to travel than any age group in 2021. And they’re pegging it precisely to when they get the vaccine; 95% of those polled said they would travel only once they received the shots. Meanwhile, The New York Times recently spoke to a variety of luxury cruise operators and resort executives. The refrain is the same throughout — bookings are trending up, and the 65-plus crowd is leading the way.

Receiving an Inheritance While on Medicaid

For most people, receiving an inheritance is something good, but for a nursing home resident on Medicaid, an inheritance may not be such welcome news. Medicaid has strict income and resource limits, so an inheritance can make a Medicaid recipient ineligible for Medicaid. Careful planning is necessary to make sure the inheritance doesn't have a negative impact.

An inheritance will be counted as income in the month it is received.  You or whoever is representing you will have to inform the state Medicaid agency, and Medicaid coverage will then end until you have again spent down your assets to the countable limit, which is $2,000 in most states. If you receive an inheritance and the amount puts you over the income limits for your state, you will not be eligible for Medicaid for at least that month. If you can properly spend down the money in the same month it is received, however, you will be eligible for Medicaid again the following month. The first thing to do is pay the nursing home for the current month (at the Medicaid rate).

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FEB. 19, 2021

Nursing home coronavirus cases and deaths
decline as vaccinations increase

The campaign to vaccinate millions of residents and staff in the nation’s thousands of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities against the coronavirus is gaining momentum and showing early, positive effects.

At the same time, however, information is emerging on shabby treatment of the vulnerable, including their exposure to illness exported into their facilities from hospitals, explaining the increasing number of civil lawsuits that owners and operators face.

Good news has been so rare with the pandemic that it may be worth considering first the coast-to-coast drive for long-term care facility vaccinations.


The True Toll Of COVID-19 In Assisted Living Homes
Is Hidden By A Regulatory ‘Black Hole’
By Molly Redden

When Tony Chicotel walks his dog around downtown Berkeley, he passes a nursing home and an assisted living facility. The nursing home, in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 163,000 long-term care residents and staff, is like a miracle: It suffered only a few, isolated cases of COVID-19, and no one has died.

The assisted living facility is another story. Inside, an outbreak that began around Thanksgiving has spread to nearly 60 residents and killed 14, making it one of the deadliest long-term care facilities in the Bay Area.

Chicotel, who works for the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, can’t see inside to know why the outbreak is so bad. Neither, really, can anyone else.


Stroke incidence declines among older adults,
remains steady among younger adults

Rates of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage remained steady in adults aged 18 to 49 years while decreasing in older adults, particularly in those aged 70 years and older, according to results from a 13-year study.

Stroke mortality also decreased during this period, study findings showed. Researchers published the results in Neurology.

“Stroke remains a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, although estimates from the Global Burden of Disease study showed a decline in incidence rates in high-income countries between 1990 and 2010,” Nils Skajaa, MSc, and colleagues wrote. “Some studies, however, suggest that the decline in incidence is heterogeneous by age, with flat or increasing trends in younger adults.”


Vaccine hesitancy vs. vaccine refusal —
nursing home staffers say there’s a difference
By Aneri Pattani

It had been months since Tremellia Hobbs had an excuse to bring out the pompoms.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, they were a crowd favorite at movie nights and bingo tournaments that Hobbs organized as activities director at the Brian Center Health & Retirement/Cabarrus nursing home, in Concord, North Carolina.

On Jan. 14, she finally had a reason. After nearly a year of living with pandemic restrictions and a summer outbreak that killed 10 residents and infected 30 staff members, the nursing home was hosting its first coronavirus vaccine clinic.

Just a few things to comment on as we end another week in America.
 I received my second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine last Saturday. The procedure went well. CVS, the people who have been administering the shots to area nursing homes and assisted living facilities, have done a marvelous job. They promised to finish vaccinating all long-term care seniors by the end of February, and they did. What that will mean for those of us who have been “incarcerated” for over 11 months is yet to be determined. Will they allow some easing of the restrictions imposed on us such as the return of communal dining, recreational activities and visitation? Or will they continue to ignore our pleas as they have done since the beginning of the lockdown last March?

Elsewhere, things are not so good. Especially in the great state of Texas. Their Conservative policies may have backfired. For years, Texas has lured businesses away from other, less corporate friendly states, by offering low or no taxes, cheap real-estate and cheap, mostly fossil fueled, energy. And now they are paying the price. Most of Texas is not part of a National Grid which would have allowed it to buy energy from other locations. And while that may have been “cost-conscious” it doesn’t work so well in emergency situations. Fortunately, warmer weather forecast for the area will help get things back to normal.

It’s been nearly a month since our former president has been out of office and a whole week since he once again “beat the impeachment rap”, but he’s still in the news. Speaking from Oz-A-Lago, Mr. Trump blasted his former best friend and supporter, Mitch McConnell, for what he said at the conclusion of the impeachment trial. With Trump, it’s not what you have done for me, but what have you done for me lately, that determines his loyalty. As they say, “with friends like that who needs enemies.”
Finally, we come one step closer to discovering if there was/is life on Mars.
“NASA successfully landed its fifth robotic rover on Mars on Thursday, with the U.S. space agency confirming that Perseverance touched down safely on the red planet’s surface. The rover is the most technologically advanced robot that NASA has ever sent to Mars, with the agency aiming to spend nearly two years exploring the surface. Perseverance is also carrying a small helicopter named Ingenuity, which is a technology demonstrator that NASA plans to use to attempt the first flight on another planet.”

The craft landed in what they believe was once a lake that may show that life once existed on the red planet. And if it did, what happened to it? The implications of finding the answer to that question are enormous for the future of our own planet.
I’ll end this week with well-wishes and prayers for all those suffering from cold, power outages and complications from the pandemic. Spring is just about a month away and with it the hope that we will have at least turned the corner on the virus, the weather and this crummy year…………………………..


Artificial Intelligence And The End Of Work
By Rob Toews

Dating back to the Industrial Revolution, people have speculated that machines would render human ... [+] work obsolete. Unlike in earlier eras, artificial intelligence will prove this prophecy true.

“When looms weave by themselves, man’s slavery will end.” —Aristotle, 4th century BC

Stanford is hosting an event next month named “Intelligence Augmentation: AI Empowering People to Solve Global Challenges.” This title is telling and typical.

How Older, Low-Income Adults
Can Get Skills and Jobs

At the end of 2018, Ida Lane, 63, was jobless, living in a Chicago homeless shelter and facing an uncertain future. Today, she resides in a subsidized apartment and earns $20 an hour as a part-time COVID-19 contact tracer.

Lane credits the new path her life has taken to the U.S. Department of Labor's little-known Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP), which helps low-income Americans 55 and older enter or re-enter the workforce.

"When I got the job last September, my heart just soared," says Lane. "I'm helping people in my community during a really uncertain time."  

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FEB. 18, 2021

Risk of Death From COVID in Nursing Homes: Race Matters
By Amy Norton

U.S. nursing homes have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the toll on Black and Hispanic residents has been especially harsh, a new study confirms.

Researchers found that COVID-19 death rates were more than three times higher at U.S. nursing homes with the highest proportions of Black and Hispanic residents, compared to those with mostly white residents.

The study, of more than 13,000 nursing homes nationwide, is not the first to document such racial disparities.


The Pandemic Shines the Spotlight on Ageism

Remember when Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick went on Fox News last March and suggested older Americans should sacrifice themselves for the economy during the pandemic? "Let's get back to living," he said. "Let's be smart about it. And those of us who are seventy-plus, we'll take care of ourselves, but don't sacrifice the country."

His comments sparked an immediate backlash. But remarks like those have also given momentum to a perspective embraced by a disturbing number of scholars and members of the media commentariat: Segregate those over 60 or 65, since they're at greatest risk of dying from the coronavirus, and let the younger generations go about their business.


Top 5 Differences Between Assisted Living
and Nursing Homes

Is your elderly parent at the point where they need more care than you can provide them?

If so, you’re probably thinking about making alternative living arrangements for them. Two of the most popular living arrangements for seniors are nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

But, what’s the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility? How do you decide which is right for your loved one?

5 minutes

I’m 75 years old, and the one thing I’ve learned is to take promises with a grain of salt. Better yet, a mound of salt.
From the time we are very young, people have promised us things.
My mom.- “If you eat all your vegetables, I promise you’ll get a great dessert.” Sorry mom, but a bowl of Mott’s applesauce doesn’t cut it.

My Dad. - “Study hard. Go to college and you’ll get a good job and make lots of money. I promise.” Nice try, dad. I went to college and got an okay job for just okay pay. I would have done better if I learned to install aluminum siding.
My (ex) Wife.- “To love and honor till death do us part.”
Shall I go on?. Very few things promised to us come true. Not because people don’t mean well, but because they are pathological liars. Even if they don’t mean to be. We can’t help ourselves. Lying makes almost everything go away. For a while, anyway. And besides. It’s just easier to lie than to do all the work and research it takes to tell the truth.

Take our former president as an example.
According to the Washington Post, since January of 2020, Mr. Trump “had made more than 16,241 false or misleading claims as president, an average of about 14.8 such statements per day.” And look where that got him. Almost another term, that’s where. People just love to be told exactly what they want to hear. Especially if it comes as a promise. The words “I promise” add a touch of sincerity to even the biggest lie. It just sounds so darn heartfelt.
And our new president is not immune to making promises he might not keep “100 million people vaccinated in 100 days” is far from being on track. Yesterday, at a televised “Town Meeting” in Wisconsin, Mr. Biden said that, by July, all Americans who want the vaccine will be able to get i by July. He did not use the words “I Promise.” I’m sure that we will hear many such statements in the next 4 years. Hopefully, not as many as we have heard in the past.

Have I made promises I knew I couldn’t keep? I suppose so. But I have purposely tried to keep those to a minimum. Especially now, in my latter years. There’s one thing about old people. They can handle the truth. And they have respect for those that tell it.
One reason I no longer make any promises has to do with memory. I know, if I don't write it down, I will have forgotten anything I may have said. So, unless I make a note to “Bring the article on Prozac” to the next meeting of the “Pill and Tablet” club, I’ll most likely will forget to do it.

Even the assisted living facility where I live knows not to make promises.
To their credit, they have never promised us that things will soon get better. Actually, they say little about anything. I guess that’s because they know we know a lie when we hear it. Part of telling a fib is knowing your audience.
There is nothing wrong with promising. But you must do it sparingly and with intent to keep it. A promise, unlike an idle remark or sarcastic comment, should be sacred. It’s like writing a check, A check isn’t actual money but it is a “promise” to pay the amount written on the document. While a verbal promise is not legally binding, people of honor and strong moral character strive to keep promises whenever possible. The problem is finding those people………………...


 Remembering the polio epidemic
and looking forward to vaccination again

By Evadna Bartlett

With all the discussion of pandemics, there seem to have been few references to the polio epidemic of the mid-20th century. Each summer it struck without warning, killing some, leaving others in iron lungs or crippled for life.

We didn’t know the cause. We heard of nearby neighbors in an iron lung. We gave up our trips to a community swimming pool or theater. Group activities were out.

It terrified us and put me, then 12 years old, in a hospital room with no roommate, no parental visits and quite unhappy.

Cooking With Limited Mobility:
7 Tips for an Accessible Kitchen

While cooking may seem like a simple task for many, it can be difficult for someone with limited mobility. Over 30 million people in the United States have trouble walking, and approximately 20 million have difficulty lifting or gripping objects. When provided with the right tools, cooking can instill confidence in anyone, including those that face challenges due to illness, injury, or age.

After all, being able to prepare food for yourself is an act of independence, creativity, and self-expression. Creating a meal can be an escape, and everyone should be able to take part. Luckily, a more accessible kitchen might be the only thing between you and a newfound sense of freedom.

There are both mental and social benefits of being able to cook for yourself, but, unfortunately, the average kitchen isn’t designed for accessible cooking. Over time, this lack of accessibility has sparked several creative and innovative solutions and also, simultaneously, helped drive the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement. In an attempt to further enrich your lives with people’s ingenuity over the years, we’ve compiled some of the best tips for making the kitchen a safe, supportive, and fun place for all.


Seven Ways to Pay for Assisted Living

A new year brings hope and possibility. It’s a time to set goals and plan for the year ahead. While the pandemic has understandably adjusted some of our planning, it’s always a good time to plan ahead as it relates to the care of elderly family members.

One of the key pieces to the conversation about senior living housing is cost. It’s no secret that long-term care can be expensive. The average cost of assisted living in the United States is $3,628 per month. Although the cost of care varies based on care setting, geographic location and level of care required, it’s still a hefty price tag.

The thought of paying such a monthly sum can be overwhelming and burdensome. But it doesn’t need to be. There are a variety of ways a family can finance a loved one’s care at an assisted living facility. When discussions happen early and well before the need arises, families find creative ways to incorporate senior living costs into their budgets.

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FEB. 17, 2021

When will it be OK for kids to
hug their grandparents again?

As more grandparents receive the COVID-19 vaccinated by the day, many have a simple question: Is it OK now to get hugs from the grandkids? Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinOne doctor said it's not a simple answer.At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a very real danger of a hug could kill close family members.As the country closes in on a year of social distancing and a vaccine becomes more widely distributed, nearly everyone is yearning to be physically close again.That includes snuggling with grandkids."Usually right now, I'm just talking to the grandkids through the phone, so I think that's the safest thing to do right now," said Tony Cicero, a grandparent waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine


States racing to vaccinate older Americans
By Carla K. Johnson, Bryan Anderson and Andrew Dalton

Two months after the first COVID-19 shots were administered, the race to vaccinate older Americans is gaining traction, with more than a third of people 65 and up having received their first dose in states that have provided data.

The finding comes from an Associated Press analysis of information from 27 states where data is available. Those states account for just over half of all first doses administered nationwide.

“This is very good news. This is a sign we’re doing it right,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. Vaccine hesitancy is dropping quickly as older Americans talk to their friends who have been vaccinated, he said. “They’re watching people they know get the vaccine and seeing it’s safe.”


A third of Americans say they definitely or probably
won’t get the coronavirus vaccine, poll finds


About 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new poll that some experts say is discouraging news if the U.S. hopes to achieve herd immunity and vanquish the outbreak.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that while 67% of Americans plan to get vaccinated or have already done so, 15% are certain they won’t and 17% say probably not. Many expressed doubts about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

The poll suggests that substantial skepticism persists more than a month and a half into a U.S. vaccination drive that has encountered few if any serious side effects. It found that resistance runs higher among younger people, people without college degrees, Black Americans and Republicans.


Delaying retirement might not solve savings shortfall after all:
4 policy recommendations

By Alan Goforth

“Spreadsheet models used by advocates of delaying retirement assume older workers delay claiming Social Security to accrue additional benefits,” according to a research report from Teresa Ghilarducci, Michael Papadopoulos, Bridget Fisher, and Anthony Webb at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School.

Spreadsheet models don’t reflect actual experiences, “But in reality, by age 65, most older workers have already claimed Social Security, often to supplement low wages, and working longer does not increase their Social Security benefits. Working longer increases retirement savings significantly less than predicted by spreadsheet models, which don’t reflect older workers’ real experiences in the labor market.

6 minutes

Editor's note: This post requires the reader to read between the lines.

I like food. Not just eating it or the way it tastes or even for its nutritional values. I like it for its texture, variety, and the skill it takes in its preparation. But mostly, I like food (or should I say, cooking it) because of the way it fulfills my need for creativity. Something that has been lacking in my life as of late.
I can’t draw, paint or sculpt. And, as you can tell, I can’t write either. But the one thing I can do is cook. And the meal I cook best is breakfast. Especially, eggs.


This whole food and eating thing is most likely genetic, from my mom’s side of the family. (My dad could barely make instant coffee). But he didn’t have to. He wisely married a woman who knew her way around a kitchen, keeping him well fed for over 60 years.) Fortunately, some of those skills found their way down to me, and my late brother as well. But the love of food and cooking does not come without its trepidation. When they interrupt the process (or cut it off completely) I can become sullen, depressed and angry.

Such is the case ever since I became a resident here at the Asylum. Or, as I prefer to call it, “The Goo-lag.”
Food, and all the aspects of its preparation and service they do in our graveyard of a kitchen where all good meals go to die. It’s managed by a “mortician” of a chef whose idea of cooking is boiling an egg or popping a frozen waffle into the oven. And now, because of the restrictions forced on us by the virus, the food, as bad as it was, has become worse. It is repetitive and boring. And, if that is not bad enough, the food, like revenge, is served cold.
This has become an intolerable situation. If I eat much more of this crap, I’ll go crazy. 

I only wish there was some way to “improve” upon what I eat here. Something I could do, clandestinely. One simple device that would allow me, not only to enjoy a decent meal now and again, but satisfy my need to create.

I could cook pasta (not the generic kind they serve here, which they undercook and forget to season), with sausage or leftovers.
I would be able to heat canned foods like chili or soup and not have to suffer that swill they dish out. And I could eat it hot. When I want to.
But best of all, I could make breakfast as I like it.
To me, breakfast is the best and most important meal of the day.
They usually serve us breakfast at about 8:30 am. Which means I haven’t eaten for nearly 14 hours. [1] And I am starving.

Having to look at cold, scrambled eggs, pathetically shriveled strips of bacon or turd-like breakfast sausage every f*****g morning is more than I could bear. But if I had device that I could use to cook poached, sunny side up or even an omelet it would be great. I would be able to heat the cold pancakes or waffles and the other food they dish out. I could feel human again and not like just a body in a room they have to feed.

Of course they would not permit such an appliance to be used by residents. They think we are 5-year-old children not capable of using even the simplest things. So, no kettles, no microwave ovens, no crockpots and no coffee makers. 

Hopefully, soon, they will permit us to return to our dining room where we can eat hot food, on real plates with real dinnerware. In the meantime I guess I'll have to put up with the bad food and service a little longer all. Or will I?…………………….. 

[1] Dinner is brought around about 5:30pm the previous evening.

Black coffee can be good for your heart, studies show

It's another home run for coffee consumption -- as long as it's black and caffeinated, that is.
Drinking one or more cups of plain, leaded coffee a day was associated with a long-term reduced risk of heart failure, according to a review of diet data from three major studies using analytic tools from the American Heart Association.

Compared with non-coffee drinkers, the analysis found the risk of heart failure over time decreased between 5% and 12% for each cup of coffee consumed daily.

The benefit did not extend to decaffeinated coffee. Instead, the analysis found an association between decaf coffee and an increased risk for heart failure.

Over 60? You need to know
about these online scams

By Kristine Solomon

Imagine finally paying your mortgage off at age 65, only to find out that another loan was recently acquired in your name—and now creditors are demanding payment from you. Or logging into your bank account at age 70 to discover that your entire retirement savings has been depleted overnight.

The sad truth is that many senior citizens are sitting ducks for online fraud and identity theft. Americans over 60 lost a jaw-dropping $650 million to online fraud in 2018—and cyber crimes directed toward elders have increased by 400 percent in the last handful of years, according to the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub. Seniors are targeted because they tend to be more trusting and considerate, often own assets like a home or a car, and are likely to have good credit, according to the FBI.

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FEB. 16, 2021

Virus may never go away
but could change into mild annoyance


Experts say it’s likely that some version of the disease will linger for years. But what it will look like in the future is less clear.

Will the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 2 million people worldwide, eventually be eliminated by a global vaccination campaign, like smallpox? Will dangerous new variants evade vaccines? Or will the virus stick around for a long time, transforming into a mild annoyance, like the common cold?

Eventually, the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 will become yet “another animal in the zoo,” joining the many other infectious diseases that humanity has learned to live with, predicted Dr. T. Jacob John, who studies viruses and was at the helm of India’s efforts to tackle polio and HIV/AIDS.


Sleep deprivation may exacerbate frailty's
effects on mental health in older adults

Previous studies have linked sleep deprivation and frailty with depression. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that examined their combined effect suggests that short sleep intensifies the impacts of frailty on depressive symptoms.

Among 5,026 community-dwelling older adults in China, participants who were frail at the start of the study were more likely to later develop depressive symptoms. Also, those who experienced worsening frailty throughout the study tended to develop higher levels of depression. Short sleep exacerbated these effects.

The findings suggest that interventions that target sleep disturbances--such as exercise and mindfulness-based stress reduction--might help alleviate the negative effects of frailty on psychological well-being.


Pay Close Attention to Dental Health

Older adults (and their caregivers) face a number of obstacles when it comes to dental care.

Isolation, lack of mobility or transport and medical issues all play a part in poor dental health. Retired Americans who have lost company dental benefits or are on fixed incomes may ignore their dental health. But poor dental health can lead to many more problems.

Building a Dental Bridge

"In our opinion, the greatest challenge for dental health is lack of awareness – about its importance to overall health and how vital daily care is to preventing disease," says Deborah Jacobi, licensed dental hygienist, policy director and spokesperson for Apple Tree Dental, a Minnesota nonprofit providing dental care to people in need. "Better, broader oral health literacy could change personal behaviors and increase the priority of daily oral care for dependent adults."

5 - 6 minutes

The last time I was behind the wheel of an automobile was May 8 of 2009.
Little did I know when I parked my Honda the night before, just down the street from my apartment building, that I would never drive again. In fact, it would be many years before I was even a passenger in a car. Suddenly, and with little warning, my transportation options became limited to ambulances and ambulettes. That’s what happens when you become suddenly ill and driving takes a back seat to staying alive.
By the time I had recovered enough to even think about driving again, it was 2012. My driver’s license had expired a year earlier. And, while technically, I could have re-applied, filled out some forms and take an eye exam to reinstate my license, I thought it best not to. I gave up my privilege to drive in favor of my safety and the safety of others. It was not a hard decision to make.

One would think that after driving a car for nearly 50 years they would have had to pry the keys out of my cold, dead hand before I would stop driving. And, perhaps for some, that’s exactly what they would have to do. But I never thought of driving as a sport, or a rite of passage, or as a necessary way to get around. To me, driving was just another means of transportation that I used to make my life easier and save time. And besides, owning a car in the city is expensive and frustrating. New York hates cars and, in recent years, has done everything in its power to discourage automobile ownership. From alternate side parking to no parking anytime. Congestion pricing and bridge and tunnel tolls that go up every year. Bike lanes that make streets narrower and traffic slower, New York is a driving nightmare. But what made me finally decide it was time to give up the keys required a complete assessment of my abilities.

I had always considered myself to be a good driver. My record proves it. In 50 years of driving, I received only one moving violation and involved in two minor fender-benders. And I wasn’t a timid driver. I drove in all weather on all road surfaces, in heavy traffic and empty interstate highways. And I always felt comfortable doing it. I never drove drunk, or when ill, or in any way incapacitated. And, on more than one occasion, I had to maneuver out of harm’s way. Something I could not have done if I wasn’t 100%. But that was then. Now, things are different.

My eyesight, while probably good enough to pass an DMV eye exam (with glasses) is not what I would like it to be. My peripheral vision (important in city traffic) is impaired due to a scarred retina.
Also, I am completely deaf in one ear. And, while that would not disqualify me from having a driver’s license, I certainly would feel uncomfortable not able to hear traffic coming from my left side. Just like having depth perception is important when judging distances, having two working ears to let you know from where the traffic is approaching is just as crucial.

That, and a few other factors, were the major factors that made me decide not to drive again.

Do I miss driving? I won’t lie to you. Yes. There are so many things I could do, now that I have the time to do them that only a car could help with. Just simply going to a restaurant or supermarket without having to wait for Para-transit or bum a ride from a friend would mean a lot. But I’m mature enough to realize me being on the road with drivers whose eyes are better than mine and whose reflexes are faster would be dangerous. I only wish that more senior drivers would do an appraisal of their driving skills and ask themselves this question. “Would I want to be in the car behind me driving on the expressway on a Saturday afternoon?”……………………….. .


Why the 401(k) won’t fix the U.S. retirement crisis
By Annie Nova and Carmen Reinicke

Kyla Ernst-Alper, a 38-year-old aerial performer in New York City, has never had a 401(k) retirement plan.

She holds multiple jobs at once to support herself, and none of them offer her any retirement options. She socks away what she can in an individual retirement account, but those savings are not always consistent. That’s due to her line of work, which was especially hard hit when live shows were canceled because of the public health crisis.

“Before the pandemic, people in my community were barely paying their bills,” Ernst-Alper said. “You’re lucky if you’re able to save money.”

The 401(k) is framed today as the main way for Americans to save for retirement, especially as traditional pensions become less common. However, a large share of workers, particularly low-income earners, women and people of color, are left behind by lack of access to the

The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You
Happier, Healthier and More Productive

Of all the different things you can try to improve your productivity, a morning routine is one of the most effective.

There are a few reasons why morning routines are so useful. The first is obvious to anyone who has ever procrastinated, just getting started is often the hardest part. If you can start out with the right momentum towards your goals, you’ll avoid wrestling with yourself in the morning to get started.

The second is that the morning, particularly before the workday officially begins, is a quiet time with fewer social obligations. For many of us, the rest of the day can present a chaotic, ever-changing blast of responsibilities, urgent errands and unexpected interruptions. The morning, in contrast, is often the most consistent part of your day.

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FEB. 15, 2021
Are Pain Relievers OK for
COVID Vaccine Side Effects?
By Michelle Crouch

If you're experiencing common side effects such as a headache, fever or chills after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, it's perfectly fine to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve your discomfort, experts say.

But don't take those medications before you get your shot, unless advised to do so by your doctor, because you could dampen the effectiveness of the vaccination, said Gregory Poland, M.D., an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and director of Mayo's vaccine research group.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advises against the use of pain relievers before vaccination “for the purpose of preventing post-vaccination symptoms.”


It's Time to Discard These
Outdated Myths About Dementia

"You don't look like you have Alzheimer's," people tell Terry Montgomery. "Well, that's like saying, 'You don't look like an alcoholic,'" she says. "I'm just not as cognitively sharp as I used to be." Montgomery, 63, was diagnosed with young-onset (also called early-onset) Alzheimer's five years ago.

"I don't look any different or talk different. I'm not deaf, so you don't have to shout. I understand English," adds the retired businesswoman of Duluth, Ga., who's now on the advisory board of Dementia Action Alliance. "I hate the stigma placed on us because people don't know any better. Once I met others like me, it took away my fear and phobia."

People diagnosed with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia often hear outdated or simply wrong beliefs about their conditions, says Mayo Clinic behavioral neurologist Dr. Jonathan Graff-Radford. He tackles such myths and more in the new "Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias" (written with Angela Lunde), a complete revision of a 2013 guide by Dr. Ronald C. Petersen. The update adds personal stories from people with dementia and their care partners as well new sections on brain health and living well with cognitive disorders.


Fully vaccinated people don't need to
quarantine if exposed to Covid, CDC says
By Sara G. Miller

People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday in updated guidance on its website.

Quarantine is typically recommended for healthy people who have been exposed to the virus. During quarantine, people are asked to isolate from others for one to two weeks to see whether they develop symptoms of Covid-19. By not exposing others, quarantining can help stop the spread of the disease.

5 minutes

Though many Americans may view last week’s attempt to impeach Donald Trump for a second time as an exercise in futility, I see it as a history lesson. And while some believe the verdict to acquit signals an end to democracy as we know it, I look at it as a reaffirmation of of what our founding fathers intended. A free people, under the Constitution, permitted to express  their grievances in an open forum with the entire world watching.

No, they did not vote, in sufficient numbers, to impeach the former president. And that is something they will have to live with the rest of their lives. And so will the people who put them in the position to act on their behalf. Because, at the end of the day, it’s all about the votes over what’s right. And when you are a politician, that’s what allows you to live a lifestyle afforded to only a few.
An annual salary of $174,000. A pension for life.[1] Free airport parking. A free, on-site gym for House members. Up to 239 days off. Health-care subsidies. A better retirement plan. Death benefits, and a $1.2 million to $3.3 million allowance for staff and offices. And all it takes to keep that is to vote in a manner you believe will appease most voters in your state. And, if you are superb at knowing who to kiss and where, you can keep that gig for up to 36 years. [2] For that, many senators would sacrifice their reputations and their souls.

As for the rest of us poor schnooks who had to listen to the House Managers deliver one piece of condemning evidence after another understanding that, in the end, no matter how convincing, 43 Republican senators would overlook the evidence, we can take solace in knowing the process works. At, least as far as the Constitution is concerned. And, for some, that’s enough. We can also find relief in so far as they still can find Trump guilty in a criminal court if anyone has the guts to pursue that course of action.
Here’s something else you may not have considered as being something positive to come out of this. We, you and me, are eyewitnesses to a historical event we (hopefully) will never see occur again.
From the insurrection charged speech on January 6th, to the riot and the cowardly vote on February 13th, they will teach, discuss and dissect in history and law classes for centuries to come. And we were part of it.
We are also participants in another chunk of history we would rather not be a part of. The COVID-19 pandemic.

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 will go down as the most significant event to befall humankind in hundreds of years.

With 2.4 million deaths worldwide (and nearly 500,000 in the U. S), this virus has impacted the lives of more people than any in history. An experience we are not only observing, but

participants in as well. While few people can say they were witness and casualties of calamity’s like the San Francisco earthquake, The Chicago fire or 9-11, all of us on the globe have known the jolt of this pandemic.
To paraphrase a Chinese saying, “We live in interesting times.” I’ll add, “Whether or not we want to.” And, while I would rather have attended the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the Wright brother’s first flight, few people have had the opportunity to say they viewed, first hand, even one historic, life shattering event. We will be able to sadly say we were there to see two. One, that could have wiped-out humanity. The other that might have ended Democracy………….

[1]Congressional pension is a pension made available to members of the United States Congress. A full pension is available to members 62 years of age with 5 years of service; 50 years or older with 20 years of service; or 25 years of service at any age.

[2]A Senate term is six years long, so senators may choose to run for reelection every six years unless they are appointed or elected in a special election to serve the remainder of a term.


Is End of Life Its Own Stage of Life?

Deborah Carr, professor and chair of the sociology department at Boston University, has spent much of her career studying death and dying. That expertise led, in 2019, to an invitation to write an article in the Annual Review of Sociology about well-being at the end of life.

"When I started writing what I knew about things like pain and suffering at the end of life, it dawned on me that we need to interrogate: What is end of life?" Carr said. "We don't actually have a clear definition."

At the Gerontological Society of America's annual scientific meeting last year, Carr proposed that "dying" or "end of life" should be considered a new life course stage. In an interview with Next Avenue, she discussed the merits of the idea.

The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You Happier,
Healthier and More Productive

Of all the different things you can try to improve your productivity, a morning routine is one of the most effective.

There are a few reasons why morning routines are so useful. The first is obvious to anyone who has ever procrastinated, just getting started is often the hardest part. If you can start out with the right momentum towards your goals, you’ll avoid wrestling with yourself in the morning to get started.

The second is that the morning, particularly before the workday officially begins, is a quiet time with fewer social obligations. For many of us, the rest of the day can present a chaotic, ever-changing blast of responsibilities, urgent errands and unexpected interruptions. The morning, in contrast, is often the most consistent part of your day.

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FEB. 12, 2021

Social Security & You:
Seniors obsess over 'maximizing' their Social Security

By Tom Margenau

"I want to make sure we maximize our Social Security payments."

"I am very concerned that we will make a wrong decision and leave Social Security money on the table."

"My wife and I both took our benefits at 62. We are now in our 70s. Everyone I talk to says we made a huge mistake by starting our benefits early. I am so worried that we did something stupid."

"I see programs on late-night TV that say there are hidden secrets to getting the most out of our Social Security checks. What are they?"


4 Work from Home Jobs to
Increase Retirement Income

Are you bored with your retirement life and want to continue working? Well, you’re not alone, because a lot of people choose to work in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s. According to Bloomberg, for example, almost 19 percent of people aged 65 and older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, which was the highest employment rate in 55 years.

The reasons why retirees continue to work when they don’t have to are numerous. Some would like to continue to pursue their life’s passion, support worthy causes, earn money, or just stay socially active.

The idea is pretty great, and movies have also touched upon it. For example, a recent Nancy Meyers’s The Intern portrays a 70-year-old man Ben Whittaker (played by Robert De Niro) who is a tireless, goal-driven, and dynamic workaholic who applies for a senior intern program just because he is extremely bored with his life (by the way, a senior internship program is a real thing).


Compulsive decluttering may be
a result of undiagnosed dementia

By Dear Annie

Dear Annie: It’s just an idea, but maybe the husband of “Missing My Things” has dementia, not compulsive decluttering.

A few years ago, I discovered too late that while I was out grocery shopping, my 77-year-old husband found a storage bin labeled “Smith Family Mementos” in a closet, went through it and threw most of it in the garbage before I got back. I didn’t notice anything was missing until days later, long after the garbage truck had come and gone.

My husband was in the early, undiagnosed and unrecognized stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Apparently, as he lifted each photo, each handwritten letter, each diploma and report card out of the bin, he didn’t recognize the person or remember the event associated with it, so he threw it away. Not long after, I started finding other important items in the trash, such as old military uniforms and important medical records.

The week began as so many have this year. Pondering the news that they are continuing the “No Visitor” policy here at the Asylum after a resident and his roommate tested positive for COVID-19. It’s been months since they allowed us to see our friends and relatives, and we do not know when they will allow us to see them again. The insensitivity of the Department of Health amazes me. Not even a “sorry” from anybody.
The cold weather continues as another shot of snow coated the mounds of the stuff already on the ground. Got to love winter in NY. But we really can’t complain. The past 2 or 3 years we have seen below average snowfall. And I suppose the reservoirs need this stuff to keep them at acceptable levels for when the weather turns warm.
On Monday, I placed an online order with Instacart to supplement the food they serve us. Little things like grated Parmesan cheese for when we have pasta, soy sauce, seasoned salt, and some other incidentals. I’ve taken to drinking tea instead of coffee in the afternoon. I find Twining’s lemon and ginger to be quite refreshing. And, since it’s caffeine free, it won’t interfere with my erratic sleeping pattern. And besides, the ginger is kind to the tummy.
On Tuesday, the second impeachment trial of the former president got underway with Trump’s lawyers trying (poorly) to stop the proceedings on the grounds they are unconstitutional. It didn’t work. Most of the Senate thought otherwise, allowing the impeachment to proceed.
On Wednesday, the House managers (the equivalent of prosecutors) had their turn to plead their case against the former president. They did a formidable job with a barrage of very graphic footage of the January 6th riot interspersed with Trump’s own words edging the crowd on and then praising their efforts. The managers continued into the evening wrapping up after presenting 6 hours evidence.
The House impeachment managers wrapped up their case on Thursday. using more eyewitness footage of the assault on the Capitol. They continued to make their point that Trump began prepping the mob well before Jan. 6th at rallies and with Tweets.
The managers pursued a different angle. This time linking Trump to conspiracy groups, racists, anti-Semites and White nationalists who he allegedly urged coming together on January 6th to “Fight for their country.”

Today, Friday, Trump’s defense team will argue their case. I expect the time needed will be short and, if we can use their opening arguments as a guide, it will be more nonsensical rhetoric. Unfortunately, it won’t matter. They will most likely win their case and Trump will once again slip through the cracks, allowing him the freedom to continue his reign of terror on our democracy.
Sunday is Valentine’s Day. A day when we express our love to our significant others. I suppose we will have to do much of that “expression” at a distance. But a box of chocolates, flowers and maybe a little Chanel No. 5 goes a long way these days.
Before I leave you for the week, I would just like to say, 祝你幸福快樂,萬事如意,………..


In My Own Shoes: Slam, bam,
thanks for calling me ‘Ma’am’

By Rona Mann

The first time I heard it, it nearly knocked me over, that’s how much the word hit like a ton of bricks.

Only because I had my German Shepherd puppy at the other end of the leash was I somewhat steadied. But there I was outside a small town supermarket in Central New York a few blocks from home and a “box boy,” as they were called then and would probably be politically incorrect if called today, asked, “Need some help with those groceries, Ma’am?”

Ma’am? Ma’am? I always thought that was a term of great respect reserved for old ladies or dowagers. At the time I had just turned 22, and he could not have been more than 15, but was I really that much his senior? Or was it just a sign of great respect instilled by his parents, or something they taught employees to say at the Big M Market, or maybe he was from a military family?

4 Questions to Ask Before Buying
Long-Term Care Insurance

By Carol Marak

My wife, Gina, and I are in year five of owning and running a home care agency, and we’ve experienced firsthand the pain of families struggling to pay for it.

After Gina and I helped managed care for my mother, Emily, as she transitioned into an assisted living facility near our home, we knew we couldn’t afford NOT to have a LTC plan. There are so many options, riders, qualifications and all of this was completely overwhelming.

Ultimately, the entire process took us about eighteen months, but we did finally choose a long-term care insurance policy that was right for us. Here are the 4 questions we’d encourage you to consider as you begin the research.

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FEB. 11, 2021

As more nursing homes receive COVID-19 vaccine,
relatives demand greater access to residents

By Laura Romero

After a year of isolation, there's a push to open doors at long-term care homes.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Marcella Goheen would visit her husband at a nursing home every day. As an essential care visitor, she would spend about 40 hours a week conducting neurotherapy and other assisted living tasks for her husband, who suffers from a neurodegenerative disability.

But as COVID-19 began to sweep through the halls of long-term care facilities across the nation, Goheen, along with thousands of family members of long-term care residents, was forced to accept strict visitor bans put in place to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.


What Do We Owe Our Grandchildren?

What do any of us "owe" our grandchildren, the generation that is coming or will come into adulthood in the coming decades of this century?

I see two things: a viable future in the face of a planet in trouble and a strengthening of the American Dream.

Helping Our Planet

As serious as other problems are — including the coronavirus and potential future pandemics — climate change is at the very top of the dangers we face. We can't wait for political sanity to strike our policy makers; we need rapid change.  


Robots Being Programmed to Ease
Loneliness in Assisted Living Residents

Robots are making their way into health care, used as a preventative measure to loneliness and a potential solution to staff shortages. McKnight’s Senior Living reports on a robot that is being eyed to address overwhelmed frontline senior living workers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The four-foot-tall robot, named Pepper, is manufactured by SoftBank Robotics in Tokyo and the University of Minnesota is programming it to become a social robot, or “gossip bot.” The goal is to have these robots interact with and monitor the residents in assisted living, through engaging in eye contact and words of encouragement.

Pepper is being proposed to serve as a personal caregiver for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. It will be equipped with cameras and sensors that can detect facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical movement. When the care recipient wears wireless sensors, Pepper can also monitor their pulse, body temperature, balance, sleep habits, monitor falls, and any balance issues–and is equipped to alert designated family members, or doctors about any sudden changes. Over time, the robot can even learn an individual’s routine and remind a resident to take medications or complete their exercises.


Remember when, at the start of every new school year, mom would take you “downtown” to buy you new clothes? And how you hated the entire process. There was always a confrontation.
Mom, being practical and budget conscious, had three criteria for what I would wear for the next 10 months.

Could they stand up to the stress a 12-year-old kid would put on them? Would they be warm enough to withstand the cold Queens winters? And did they come one size larger than what my actual size was so, by the time the year ended, I would have grown into them?
I, on the other hand, had only one standard. What could I get that wouldn’t make me look any more “geeky” than I already did and, at the same time, maybe even “cool?” Usually, my mom would win. And so, it was off to Junior High with squeaky shoes, corduroy pants (one size too large and too long) a shirt only my dad would wear and the itchiest wool sweater money could buy.
Fortunately, things have changed.

 I still buy clothes that are practical and one size larger (I’m still growing, out, not up) but I no longer give a darn whether they are “fashionable.” Comfort, above all, is what I strive for. And to me, that means jeans with enough room in the right places so they don’t pop a button when I sit. T-shirts with pockets that I wear un-tucked. And tennis shoes with Velcro closures so I can just slip into them. My only deference to fashion being the colors of those T’s. (I have one in “coral”).

The COVID lockdown has had only a minor effect on what I wear. Although, I find my usual wardrobe fits in very well with current events. Practicality and comfort are all anyone cares about these days. After all, since no one can see your face, what does it matter how “chic” you look?
The question is, will this new “style” continue when we get back to normal? Or will folks, tired of dressing down, go completely crazy and wear the most outlandish outfits they can find? I’m betting on the latter. At least with the young folks. I, of course, will still wear my pocket T’s and a pair of loose-fitting jeans with an expandable waistband. Although I might switch from white tennis shoes to black one’s. I don’t want to be totally out of touch……...


DISCLAIMER: This blog and its editor have no connection either financial or personal with the product described in this story. Nor do we endorse the product. The manufacturer has not paid for a mention on this blog.

Seniors may find this useful:
Nike’s new Flyease Go shoes
snap right onto your feet
By Mark Wilson

In 2008, then-Nike CEO Mark Parker learned that the company’s first employee had suffered a stroke and lost the use of one hand. So Parker put one of his top designers, Tobie Hatfield, onto making a shoe that required limited dexterity. By 2015, that prototype—a gift to a single employee—evolved into Flyease. It was a shoe technology that anyone could buy and put on one-handed, because it could be zipped on and velcroed shut.

Six years later, Nike is taking Flyease to its next stage with the Flyease Go, which will premiere in a gradual rollout this year for $120.
[Image: Nike]

“It’s our first hands-free shoe,” says Hatfield. And while Go is made for people who have difficulty tying their laces—that could be anyone from a pregnant woman in her third trimester to an older adult with arthritic hands—Nike believes its lace-less design will resonate with anyone who’d like to slip into their shoes with more ease.

Stimulus checks for older adults: Rules for retired people,
SSI, veterans and third check changes

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

At least one rule change might affect older adults and retirees if a third stimulus check comes to be.

There's a lot going on when it comes to stimulus checks this week. While Donald Trump's impeachment trial ties up the Senate (watch it live here), the House is currently debating President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, which includes a third stimulus check for up to $1,400 per person -- including many older adults -- that could be approved within weeks. And tax season officially starts on Friday, which is when you'll be able to claim any missing money from your first or second stimulus check -- even if you don't usually file taxes.

We've got all the information that older adults need to know about the potential third stimulus check, and if you and any of your dependents are likely to qualify for the full amount, as there will probably be some changes from the first two rounds. We'll also walk you through what to do if some or all of your first or second stimulus payment never arrived, and how to claim it as an IRS Recovery Rebate Credit, or when you might need to request an IRS payment trace to track down those funds.

We'll address the big questions that could affect the amount of money you're owed, including your tax filings, adjusted gross income, pension, Social Security benefits (SSI, SSDI) and whether you count as someone else's adult dependent. This story was updated with new information.

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FEB. 10, 2021

From smartphone apps to confusing websites,
vaccine sign-up is anything but simple for the elderly

How do 80 year-olds who don't have adult children do it? The scale and the ambition of the COVID-19 vaccine — from its development to its clinical research to its rollout — has been an unprecedented challenge, and in many ways, achievement. It's also a real garbage fire for our parents, a development that's creating newly deputized patient navigators of millions of Americans.

This is not a rant about the ineptitude of production or distribution. This is a rant about communication, and design. This is about, wherever you live or whatever your community's current vaccine plan may be, the multitude of ways in which it almost assuredly does not make a lick of sense to an old person.

There is an adage that translates to "Nothing about us without us." The concept is simple: Don't make or do things for a population without input from that population. So I have to ask, did anybody who created any of the catastrophically useless vaccine signup websites out there ever talk to their grandmas?


More Older Americans Stay on the Job.
Working From Home Helps

By Alexandre Tanzi

The pandemic is extending the trend of older Americans working longer -- and giving up long commutes is part of the reason.

Today, roughly 1 in 5 adults aged 65 and older remain on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the mid 1980s, the ratio was closer to 1 in 10.

Although the number of older workers dipped in the initial stages of the pandemic along with employment overall, it has since rebounded and anecdotal evidence suggests working from home has helped.


Consumer Sentiment Improves for Independent Living,
Drops for Assisted Living, Memory Care

By Chuck Sudo

Consumer sentiment for senior housing overall has grown more positive as providers prove they can create safe environments for residents.

But that sentiment is bifurcated. While the appeal of independent living has grown in recent months, interest in assisted living and memory care communities among prospective senior housing residents decreased.

And the negative impact of Covid-19 on a prospect’s willingness to move to senior housing has decreased further, but is still quantifiable.


MU research paves the way for older
adults to prevent serious falls

By Jared Gendron

In June, Brianna Markway received a text alert. A woman in her 70s who had been part of a health study under Markway collapsed on her living room floor.

Markway watched a video of the accident caught on a home monitor, then acted swiftly.

The woman had suffered a stroke, but because of Markway’s quick intervention, emergency responders were able to give her medical attention just in time.

6-7 minutes

I’m amazed at how many of my fellow residents still smoke. And it’s more than just a handful.
There are at least a couple of dozen (out of 190) folks that are addicted to cigarettes. So many, the facility has a designated smoking area, complete with a heated, ventilated shelter to accommodate them. And, day or night, good weather or bad, one can find a small group outside, happily puffing away.

They built the designated smoking area, located just outside the lower-level of our main building, because, despite the NO SMOKING rules, many residents would light up anywhere they chose. They unabashedly smoked (mainly cigarettes) on the patio, behind the annex, or directly in front of the main entrance. Some, right under the NO SMOKING signs which dot the area. Much to the dismay of most of the people here.

Many of our residents have serious breathing problems like asthma, emphysema and COPD, whereas so much as the slightest smell of a lit cigarette can cause discomfort.
While the facility could have strictly enforced the no smoking policy going as far as eviction for continued non-compliance, they, instead, appeased them and set aside an area out of the way of the general population, where smokers could satisfy their cravings.

I stopped smoking in 1984. Not because I wanted to, or even had to. I stopped because of a severe sinus infection.
I won’t get into details, but I awakened one morning with my cheek swollen and my head ready to explode.
I made my way to the ER where they x-rayed my head and gave me a massive shot of penicillin to counteract the infection. I went home and right to bed. Any thought of smoking cigarettes was far away.
Three days later, and feeling slightly better, I realized I had not had a cigarette for all that time. Not only that, but I had no desire to smoke. And even if I did, there were no cigarettes around to smoke. That was the turning point in my addiction.
I could have driven myself to the nearest store and bought a pack. But I didn’t. I thought if I could go at least one more day without smoking, I might actually stop.

One day became two, and then three. I returned to work, the place where I did most of my smoking, knowing I would have to be strong if I wanted this to stick. Fortunately, it did. I never had another cigarette again. The sad thing is, it took me getting sick to make me want to stop. Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways.

I realize how addicting nicotine can be. And I know how difficult it is to stop smoking. But I also know how good it feels not to have cigarettes control your life.
Smokers are literally slaves to their habit. When they are not actually smoking, they are thinking about smoking.
“Where are my cigarettes?” “Do I have cigarettes?” “Where can I buy cigarettes?” Where can I smoke?”
Since I stopped smoking, I rarely get colds nor do I have any upper-respiratory problems. My lungs are clear and very well oxygenated, thank you. My blood pressure is that of a teen, and I have the heart rate of a much younger man. Not to mention my skin hasn’t turned to leather, my fingers aren’t brown and my clothes don’t stink.
And if all that is not an incentive to quit, how about this?
“According to the National Cancer Institute, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $6.28, which means a pack-a-day habit sets you back $188 per month or $2,292 per year. Ten years of smoking comes with a $22,920 price tag.”

They say there is nothing worse than a reformed smoker for admonishing those who still smoke. And I am one of them. Perhaps not as fervent as most, but an anti-smoker none the less. And I have good reason to be. I lost my brother to lung cancer a few years ago, and it was not a pretty sight. He died in a hospice, as I watched him breathe a labored last breath. He was a smoker for probably 65 years, and despite my efforts and those of his wife, he would not quit. Not until they diagnosed him with cancer, that is. My brother, always the pragmatist, did not hesitate to blame cigarettes for his illness.
I know what you (smokers) are thinking. “I’m too old to stop, and besides I’ll be dead soon anyway so why not let me enjoy myself?”

That’s would be a good argument if not for the fact that you will be spending your last hours on a respirator struggling for every breath until you die a miserable death…………………….

A Utopian 'Disneyland' for retirees
that belies a sinister underbelly

By Tate Delloye

The sprawling expanse of flat emptiness in central Florida is an unlikely place for America's fastest growing metro area in the nation. Yet, just 70 miles northwest of Orlando sits 'The Villages' – the world's largest retirement community that surpasses the size of Manhattan and encompasses five zip codes with an ever-growing population.

Spanning 32-square-miles, The Villages is a veritable boom-town for baby boomers aged 55+ who flock to the geriatric paradise in droves for its endless margarita mixers (happy hour starts at 11am), unlimited golf courses (50, to be exact), and notorious for its laissez-fair attitude towards sex, thriving swingers scene, and controversial politics.

'I'm just saying for me, it hasn't been the fantasy land I thought it would be, for reasons that are true to my own,' said Barbara Lochiatto, a widow from Boston who has lived in The Villages for 12-years and longs to return to her hometown but can no longer afford to do so.

How to avoid mistakes
with online bill payments

By Rod Spurgeon

Donny sat down at his desktop computer at the end of the month as usual and began the process of paying his bills. Time was not on his side this day as his favorite football team prepared to take the field in 20 minutes. Soon, his friends would arrive to watch the game with him on television, and he still had to prepare game time snacks.

With his mind on the upcoming event, Donny quickly moved through the bill payment motions. He opened up a web browser and sent one payment after another, including electricity, gas, water, telephone, and then finally his Internet bill. Excitement for the upcoming game filled his mind as he prepared to make his last payment. He was almost there, nearly ready to jump into game mode and have a blast with his buddies.

Donny rapidly typed in his password, made a mistake, retyped his password again, and zoomed straight to the payment section of his Internet account. He saw the amount due, hastily typed that amount into the appropriate box, and tapped send.

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FEB. 9, 2021

More People Choosing To Die At Home As
Hospitals Limit Visitations Amid Pandemic

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Mortuary owner Brian Simmons has been making more trips to homes to pick up bodies to be cremated and embalmed since the pandemic hit.

With COVID-19 devastating communities in Missouri, his two-person crews regularly arrive at homes in the Springfield area and remove bodies of people who decided to die at home rather than spend their final days in a nursing home or hospital where family visitations were prohibited during the pandemic.

He understands all too well why people are choosing to die at home: His own 49-year-old daughter succumbed to the coronavirus just before Christmas at a Springfield hospital, where the family only got phone updates as her condition deteriorated.


America’s Seniors In Debt:
A Growing Problem
By Taylor Tepper

Seniors in America are carrying more debt than ever before, and the trend is worsening the ongoing retirement crisis.

How much money are we talking about? A 2019 Congressional Research Service report found that the percentage of elderly households—those led by people aged 65 and older—with any type of debt increased from 38% in 1989 to 61% in 2016. The amount owed jumped from about $7,500 to more than $31,000 (2016 dollars).

People who carry debt into retirement, especially credit card debt, confront more stress and report a lower quality of life than those who do not. Meanwhile, older Americans who own their homes outright—instead of renting or continuing mortgage payments—have a much easier time staying on top of their finances and making ends meet.


Side effects after your second dose of COVID
vaccine may be more intense. Here’s why
By Katie Camero

More than 27.1 million Americans have been poked with a coronavirus vaccine so far, with 6.4 million of them having received their second and final dose.

Like most regularly recommended vaccines, the two authorized for COVID-19 produce their fair share of expected side effects. Most people report fevers, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and soreness around injection sites.

For many, the side effects are more powerful after the second dose is administered.

Continue reading  >>


Coronavirus Cases Drop In U.S.
Assisted Living, Nursing Homes

ACROSS AMERICA — Coronavirus cases have dropped at U.S. nursing homes and other long-term care facilities over the past few weeks, offering a glimmer of hope that health officials attribute to the start of vaccinations, an easing of the post-holiday surge and better prevention, among other reasons.

More than 153,000 residents of the country's nursing homes and assisted living centers have died of COVID-19, accounting for 36% of the U.S. pandemic death toll, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Many of the roughly 2 million people who live at such facilities remain cut off from loved ones because of the risk of infection. The virus still kills thousands of them weekly.

The overall trend for long-term care residents is improving, though, with fewer new cases recorded and fewer facilities reporting outbreaks. Coupled with better figures for the country overall, it's cause for optimism even if it's too early to declare victory.


5 minutes

I’m feeling particularly grumpy today. And it’s not just because it’s “Grumpy Old Man’s Day.” [1]
While I can attribute part of my grumpiness to a lack of sleep, the tedium of this prolonged quarantine/lockdown situation, the weather or the boring lack-luster food (Chicken for dinner again), the actual cause of my petulance directly results from my advancing years. I’m f*****g old and I’m not handling it very well.
Somehow, I got past those milestone birthdays with little concern that the best years were behind me.


I thought nothing about the ageing process when I reached the first big life-event, 50.
After all. I had my health, money, a job, a car and my own place in the world’s best city. What could be bad?
Ten years later, when I turned 60, I still didn’t think or myself as “old.” After all, life begins at sixty, doesn’t it? Little did I know the next important birthday (65) would be the start of a long downhill road to the inevitable. The final mile-marker.
As if the gnarly fingers of some divine entity were pointing in my direction, my life could not have changed more drastically.

Within 5 years after turning 60, I lost my job, was forced to apply for Social Security early, became seriously ill, lost my money, my car, my home and most of my independence. Not to mention winding up in a nursing home, confined to a wheelchair for nearly two years.

But even then, I didn’t think of myself as being old. Bitter, depressed, downtrodden maybe. But surely not old. Then came 70.

The big seven-o, means I could no longer refer to myself as “A man in his sixties.” I was now seventy-something. An old man.

Was that really me?. Seventy-year-old people were like my grandparents or the old man sitting on a park bench feeding the pigeons. Or the mean old dude next door who threatened to call the cops if another baseball wound up in his yard.

But, alas. I could not ignore the truth. Not only had I turned 70, but last year I “celebrated” my 75th birthday. And this summer, G-d willing, I’ll be 76. And that kiddies, is old.
So why am I feeling grumpier than usual? I did a stupid thing. I made a list.
The Con’s and Pro’s of being me. The good. The bad. And the hideous.

I look like s**t.

I’m missing a vital organ.
My kidneys are functioning at only 2/3 capacity.
I’ve got the “gout” (tell me that’s not an old man’s disease).
I have mobility issues. (I walk with a cane)

Somebody called me “Pops” the other day
My eyesight sucks.
Putting on my socks requires all my strength. And takes ten minutes.
I’m deaf in one ear.
My prostate is the size of basketball.
And I’ve completely forgotten what sex is.
The Pro’s:

I’m alive.

Yes, I still have my intellect which is worth something, I guess. And I don’t feel completely worthless. But knowing that the Grim Reaper could knock on my door at any time (being well past my allotted three score and ten) is daunting.

So, forgive for feeling a bit out-of-sorts. All the non-activity over the past 330 days has given me too much time to think. And when old men think, they think about the “good old days’ which might not have been as good as they think but at least they had their youth, Which, when your 75, is everything………………………

[1] Not to be confused with “Curmudgeon Day”, or “Grouch Day.”


Death and the Family Hunt for Hidden Assets
By Barbara Bates Sedoric

Where are you hiding assets? Are they stored away in a locked trunk in your attic? Are they located in boxes stacked on the back wall of your moldy basement? Or did you pile your valuable art and antiques in an off–site storage unit located two towns over from your house? Death and Family Hunt for Hidden Assets

Do you have several passbook bank accounts from various banks scattered in the four towns you once lived in or three 401K Plans from prior employment? Have you hidden jewelry in tattered shoeboxes in the back of a third floor closet or in the zippered interior of an old pocketbook?

More importantly, does anyone know about your hidden treasures?  Does anyone – a family member, a close friend, or your trusted advisor – actually know what you have and where you have painstakingly placed valuable assets hidden from view?

Tax Credits and Deductions for Seniors

10 Ways Older Adults Can Reduce Tax Bills Starting at Age 50

Everyone wants to keep more of their hard-earned money. Luckily for seniors, many of whom are on a fixed income, there are several ways for them to save on taxes. With one out of three seniors aged 70-79 having saved less than $100,000 for retirement1, every deduction counts.

A good way to make sure you aren’t missing out on deductions is to get professional guidance. There are free tax preparation services available to seniors through the IRS and AARP. Also, those with income under $69,000 per year can file online for free using one of several tax software providers. These online providers and IRS certified volunteers can answer questions about senior tax perks like the ones below.

When You Turn 50...

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Governor Cuomo releases full list
 of COVID-19 nursing home deaths

By Ariel Zilber

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration finally published the full list of nursing home deaths in the state after months of resisting demands to release the data on COVID-19-linked fatalities

Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration on Thursday finally published an updated list showing the totals of all nursing home deaths linked to COVID-19.

After a judge ordered New York State’s Department of Health to comply with a Freedom of Information request, the updated list shifted more than 4,000 deaths to the state’s official tally as of Thursday.

The new official total of deaths of nursing home residents who were either confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 or presumed to have come down with the illness stood at 12,743 - 50 per cent higher than the state previously acknowledged.

Go to story  >>>

FEB. 8, 2021

Don't Expect Medicare to Pay for Long-Term Care
By Carol Marak

A recent survey funded by The SCAN Foundation found close to four in 10 Americans, age 40+, believe Medicare and Social Security will pay for long-term care. The need for continuing care services and support to assist with activities of daily living will increase as the population ages. The group will require help with cooking, bathing, grooming, shopping, managing medicines, and toileting.

Thirty-eight percent of the people surveyed in the 2016 Long-term Care in America report said they will rely on Medicare to pay. Correspondingly, 35% will count on Social Security and personal savings while 32% expects to depend on investments for support. Don’t Expect Medicare to Pay for Long-Term Care

Surprisingly, only two out of 10 older adults will use Medicaid to pay for their aging needs although it ranks as the largest public payer fo LTC, according to the Kaiser Commission. The misperceptions of long-term care payment options persist among Americans, but their ability to pay increased even though many put off planning for it. How and where individuals want care remains consistent to prior years.


Medicare buy-in for older adults could
cut health costs, increase coverage value

When implemented alongside the Affordable Care Act, a Medicare buy-in option could result in more generous coverage and lower out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries, according to a new Urban Institute brief.

By paying providers typically lower Medicare payment rates, buy-in policies could significantly reduce overall healthcare spending, while federal spending would only modestly increase. The basic buy-in policy analyzed by researchers would overall lower U.S. health spend by $1.8 billion, though it would only slightly lower the country's uninsured rate.

The U.S. even before COVID-19 was facing a health spending crisis, with policymakers on both sides of the aisle struggling to find solutions to skyrocketing healthcare costs. A Medicare buy-in is not a specific prong of President Joe Biden's health policy agenda, but there are currently two Medicare buy-in proposals in Congress designed to build upon the ACA.


COVID-19 isolation is way of
life for senior citizens
By Maribeth Sawchuk

At a time when we are all experiencing isolation, perhaps we can learn an important lesson about empathy. Senior members of our community have always managed isolation and we should all carefully reflect on how we might better approach long-term care for our loved ones.

Before my grandmother moved in with my mother, she would always tell me how she didn’t like the weekends. It was “too quiet,” she would say. I thought I understood what she meant, but the pandemic has taught me I had no idea.

Nearly a year after social distancing began, I too hate the weekends. They’re too quiet. Weekdays provide a drumbeat of structure. Even trivial things like the usual gang of local news broadcasters appearing nightly, my ritual viewing of “The Late Show,” or needing to take out the garbage on Tuesday nights helps me feel a sense of purpose. The tiniest weekend differences are enough to stoke my anxiety: the eerie quiet from lighter traffic, no handymen or contractors stopping by to perform work, or fewer phone calls.


27 factors that make you vulnerable to COVID-19
By Stephanie Parker, Researched By Betsy Ladyzhets

There are still many unknowns when it comes to how COVID-19 acts in the body, how it is transmitted, how long it is contagious, and which populations are most vulnerable. A vulnerable population could refer to a group of people more likely to contract SARS-CoV-2 due to working conditions or where dwellings are located; or a group of people that, upon contracting the disease, is more likely to suffer complications or die due to pre-existing health conditions or disparities in health care. Although a vaccine is on the way, America is experiencing a huge surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, with experts warning the worst is yet to come.

Stacker compiled a list of 27 population groups that are vulnerable to COVID-19 using data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on high-risk conditions along with other public health resources such as the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and health reporting from trusted journalistic sources. For each group, Stacker then compiled data on this population’s distribution across the United States and how these areas with high-risk populations are experiencing the virus. Stacker also used the data to create maps to show the distribution of each risk factor by state across the United States.


As Senior Citizen Demo Grows,
CPG Companies Take Note

by Victoria Campisi

The number of people aged 65 years or older has surpassed those under five globally for the first time since 2018, according to United Nations data.

The number of countries with over 20% of the population aged 65 or above is estimated to rise from 15 last year to 44 by 2030, according to the U.N.

Clearly, CPG companies are taking note of those numbers, and are increasingly directing their sales pitches at senior citizens.

No Laughing Matter

5 minutes

I was just thinking. Except for chuckling at the latest “Bernie and his mittens” meme, It’s been months since I had a good laugh. Nor have I told a funny story, made a quip, told an off-color joke or had a sarcastic comment.

I have always used humor as a defense mechanism. It’s what makes the unbearable, bearable. But lately it’s been difficult to find the humor in anything. This pandemic has put a strain on the funny-bones of all of us. This human tragedy which engulfs us all is deadly serious.

“Hey! Did you hear the joke about the guy who got COVID-19?” No. Because there aren’t any.

There are a few feeble attempts which are more of a comment on our times than actual humor…

"Today's Weather: Room Temperature."
"Anyone else's car getting three weeks to the gallon?"
"Never in my life would I imagine that my hands would consume more alcohol than my mouth."

An essential part of humor, or being humorous, is the ability to tell a joke. Not to yourself, but to someone else.

And since they tell us that being close enough to even talk to another human may be hazardous to your health, and that the simple act of opening your mouth and speaking could spread the virus, telling a joke to another person is near impossible.
One way I have stayed sane for the last 7 years as a resident of assisted living facility, was to find the humor in a situation, and impart that humor to others. Usually around the dining table when I have a captive audience. I have tried to tell a joke or tell a funny story or make a humorous observation every time I sat down to eat. I love making people laugh and I do it as much for me as for others. Some chemical gets released in my head that makes me feel good. And there’s much to find funny at the A.L.F.

Always good for a laugh is the food. And none of the jokes are complimentary.

“If I eat one more piece of chicken I'm going to grow feathers”

Which is usually followed by,

 “Me too. I can’t wait to get the flock out of here.”

Jokes and gossip go hand-in-hand here at the Asylum. Personal relationships are never out-of-bounds...

“I noticed that Edna and Jake have been seeing a lot of each other”
 “Great. The way he looks and the way she sees, they’re a perfect match.”

While It’s okay to make fun of a disability, protocol prevent us from making fun of someone else’s disability.

But all bets are off when it comes to a medical procedure…

“So I went in for my prostate exam...
The guy put on the glove and started to go up in me. It went on for quite a while. Then, he took off the glove, said to put my pants back on and left the exam room.
A minute later, the nurse came in and said the one thing I didn't want to hear...

"Who was that guy?"

Some day this situation we find ourselves in will be just a memory, or at least, under control. And we will find things funny again. Until then we’ll just have to make the best of it and think of what the first thing we’ll do when we no longer have to worry about spreading the virus. For me, a visit to the supermarket would be like a trip to Disneyland…………….


For older adults, specific Facebook activities
more important than overall use

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The actions that older adults take on Facebook may be more important to their user experience and well-being than their overall use of the site, according to researchers.

In a study conducted by a team that included researchers from Penn State, older adults experienced different levels of competence, relatedness and autonomy on Facebook based on the types of their activities on the site.

Specifically, older adults who posted more pictures to Facebook felt more competent, which led to significantly higher levels of well-being in general, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the journal Health Communication. Commenting more frequently and receiving more responses to posts -- also called message contingency -- tended to improve feelings of relatedness and connection with others on Facebook, they added. Further, older adults who customized their profiles gave them more of a sense of autonomy while on the site.

How to Get the Best Health Care at the Right Price

Advice from the author of a new book and from the "Friends Talk Money" podcast hosts

Philip Moeller, author of the helpful new book "Get What's Yours for Health Care," says you need to be your own advocate to save on health care expenses. "If people act like sheep, they're going to get fleeced," he told me.

In the new episode of the "Friends Talk Money" podcast I co-host with Terry Savage and Pam Krueger (available wherever you get your podcasts and also at the end of this article), we talked with Moeller and shared our best advice on keeping your health costs down without sacrificing on quality.

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FEB. 5, 2021

Supporting Evidence That Cognitive Abilities
Don’t Necessarily Decline with Age

Positive perceptions of aging have important benefits for older adults’ well-being. French researchers put cognitive ability age stereotypes to the test in a study of how performance on a verbal working memory task differs between older and younger adults.

A group of 18 younger adults (average age 22) and 15 older adults (average age 66) completed a computerized test of their verbal working memory while wearing an elastic cap that recorded brain activity via electroencephalographic (EEG) signals. The task was to indicate whether or not a sentence was grammatically correct. Specifically, the pronouns used in the sentence could match or mismatch the gender of someone named in the sentence. Additionally, the pronoun could be presented either before (cataphoric) or after the noun (anaphoric).


Cuomo administration broke law by
not giving nursing home death totals

By Adam Schrader

An Albany judge has ruled that the Cuomo administration's Health Department broke New York State law by failing to provide totals of all nursing home deaths caused by COVID-19 to a watchdog group that had requested the records.

Albany Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O'Connor ruled on Wednesday, in a 16-page decision, that the Department of Health must provide the records to the Empire Center for Public Policy within five business days and pay their legal costs.


Seniors Hit Hard by the Digital Divide

Almost 22 million older Americans lack wireline broadband access at home, according to a report about seniors and the digital divide commissioned by Older Adults Technology Services Inc. (OATS) and the Humana Foundation. The two organizations also said that they are mounting a campaign that aims to bring high speed internet to a million unconnected seniors by 2022.

The nearly 22 million older Americans without wired broadband represent 42% of those who are older than 65, according to a press release about data on seniors and the digital divide. The report, titled “Aging Connected: Exposing the Hidden Connectivity Crisis for Older Americans” – found “disturbing correlations between digital disengagement and race, disability, health status, educational attainment, immigration, rural residence, and income.”

The report provided context: More than 80% of deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic are older American, and 40% of these people were unable to access necessary resources from home. Despite the need, the authors found that digital inclusion efforts are inconsistent and large swaths of the country lack low-cost and senior-friendly initiatives.

FRIDAY JAN 29 - THURS. FEB 4 28 2021

Brrr to Booo

The week began cold. Very cold.
The forced-air heater in my room was working overtime all day trying to stave off an Arctic air mass which brought the coldest temperatures of the year to our little hamlet. Thankfully, I don’t have to go outside for any reason. I don’t like cold weather anymore.
Laundry lament.
Friday is one of the two days each week (the other being Tuesday) that my clothes come back from the laundry. While in the past they have lost a few items of clothes (a sock now and again, or a pair of boxers) this time my laundry bag was strangely light. Missing was at least three pair of underwear,

and three of four T-shirts. Surprisingly, all my socks came back alive. If they don’t show up, there is a procedure where I can get some recompense for the loss. Maybe up to 30 dollars. Fortunately, I have enough undies and shirts to tie me over. Bruce don’t do “commando.”
The storm.
With a forecast of a massive snowstorm hitting our area on Monday, people made plans to stay inside and hunker down. We were not disappointed.
I awoke Monday morning to find that a couple of inches had fallen overnight and it was still snowing. The updated weather report predicted 12 to 18 inches before ending Tuesday. I didn’t go outside to measure, but there’s a 4 foot snowdrift outside my window that looks as if it will be around for a while.
There was still no sign of my missing laundry, so I reported it to a supervisor who said they would do a search. Is there an Amber Alert for missing boxer briefs?
No Visitors.
A memo sent to us Thursday confirmed what I had feared. They detected another case of COVID-19. This time it was a resident who tested positive while in hospital. His roommate, here, also tested positive and put on lockdown. While they report both residents doing well, the restrictions on personal visits continue. With every reported positive case, the clock gets re-set for another 10 days. It’s been months since we were last permitted visits from friends and loved ones.
We would be amiss if we failed to mention this week’s favorite newsmaker, MTG.
Marjorie Taylor Green, newly elected representative from Georgia, was lambasted by Democrats and some Republicans for her outrageous remarks about Jewish laser beams, false flag school shootings, 9-11, supporting QANON and liking a tweet which called for killing Nancy Pelosi.

The Dems want her removed from office, but her Republican brethren refused to denounce her in a closed-door meeting. The best they could do was to make her apologize on the House floor. Which she did, halfheartedly, on Thursday afternoon. But she’s still in Congress, and she’s still on the education committee. The Democrats will now proceed to remove her from that committee. They have the votes to do it.
Last word.
It’s Superbowl weekend, which means a lot to many people. Not being much of a football fan anymore and having no interest in either of the teams playing this year, I’ll most likely be watching a movie on Netflix with the rest of the football widows out there. No snacks. No beer and no friends. Sounds pretty good to me. Let’s Go Mets……………………………….. .


Which Countries Have the Most
Positive Age Stereotypes?

Cultures around the world differ in how they refer to older adults, but is this due to the proportion of older adults in the population, or due to other specific cultural traits?

To find out, researchers first identified the most and least ageist countries. They utilized a database of over 7,000 web-based news sources from 20 countries around the world where English is widely used. They used 1.75 billion words from a single year to compile the top 300 words that co-occurred with the terms “aged,” “elderly,” or “old people.” Depending on the number of co-occurring words related to positive or negative age stereotypes, a country could be considered more or less ageist.

The only three countries that had more positive age stereotypes were Sri Lanka, followed by Ghana and Tanzania. The other 17 countries tended to have more negative ageist attitudes, with the UK as most negative, followed by a cluster of India, Bangladesh, Canada, the US, and Kenya.

Ways To Boost Retirement

The average Social Security check paid out in 2018 was for just $1,404, according to The Motley Fool.

That works out to just $16,848 per year... hardly enough to get by comfortably on these days.

And that’s before taxes!

It's no secret that retiring in today's economy is harder than ever for seniors. The costs of healthcare, housing, utilities and even food has all skyrocketed. And unfortunately the Cost Of Living Adjustment just isn't cutting it for some seniors.

That's why we've compiled this extensive list of the top ways that seniors can potentially boost their Social Security benefits in 2021. Enjoy!

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FEB. 4, 2021

Bill would require assisted living communities to have
comprehensive disaster preparedness plans

Assisted living communities would be required to have comprehensive disaster preparedness plans in place under a bill being considered by the state Legislature in Washington.

House Bill 1218 also would require communities to meet timeliness standards for communicating with the public and for providing access to communication equipment to residents as well as maintain a resident roster with contact information, including legal decision-makers. The legislation also would apply to adult family homes, enhanced services facilities and nursing homes.

“The legislation addresses communications, isolation and much-needed safety measures to ensure that residents in long-term care facilities and their families are able to enjoy the quality of life guaranteed to them in state and federal law,” bill sponsor Rep. Jessica Batemen (D-22), vice chair of the state House Health Care & Wellness Committee, said in a statement. “During the pandemic, these issues have been quite difficult for residents and their families.”


Go Old School With COVID-19
Vaccine Rollout for Older Adults

The federal government's recommendation that the COVID-19 vaccine be made available to adults aged 65 and up is a welcome step in the effort to accelerate the distribution of these life-saving shots. Unfortunately, many of the older adults most at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 are the least likely to have online access to vaccine information and registration options. Other forms of outreach to this population are essential to an effective vaccination effort.

In a recent Los Angeles Times story about this problem, Donna Spratt, 82, of Cerritos, Calif., explained that she couldn't figure out how to use county's online system for vaccination registration."Once you're retired, you kind of lose contact with these things," Spratt said. She needed to get her daughter to arrange for the appointment and her son to drive her 20+ miles to get the shot.

The digital divide between young and old has already emerged as a critical problem during the months of sheltering in place: older people without internet access have faced increased risks from social isolation without the ability to connect even via Zoom. Internet access is also crucial to accessing essential services like grocery delivery and telehealth video visits during the pandemic.


How Grandparents Can Help Pay for College

Editor’s note: If you're a parent of a very young child or a tween or a teen, you may be fearful of the high cost of college and looking for assistance paying the tuition bills. Should you be fortunate enough to have one or more parents alive, perhaps they can help. In his new book excerpted below, "The Price You Pay for College," New York Times personal finance columnist Ron Lieber offers advice on how to ask, how grandparents can assist and what grandparents and parents should know about 529 college savings plans.

For many families, the total bill for college could well add up to more than what they paid for their homes. Add in the potential impact of those four years on the trajectory of any adolescent's life — and the fact that so many of our own hopes and dreams for our children are mixed up in the college choice — and the magnitude of the decision looms even larger.

6 minutes

This week’s massive storm, which dumped two feet of snow on the area, made me realize how happy I am not to be working.
Had this been 15 years ago they could find me walking the 12 blocks from the subway to my office, the wind (coming off the Hudson river) freezing my mustache hairs and burning my eyes. I am wearing everything I own. Shirt, sweater, wool scarf, woolen pea coat and a knit watch cap pulled over my ears.


Most likely they would not have shoveled the sidewalks because it’s only 7am. Which means I’d be walking in the middle of the street hoping that a car doesn’t run me over. If I’m lucky, the little deli on the corner is open so I could get a large coffee and a ham and egg on a roll for breakfast. And then, if all went well, the door to my office building would be open so I could take a few minutes to thaw out before I logged on to my computer and begin my 9 hour day. Ah! The “joys” of being employed.

Today, things are different. I don’t work and I don’t care. Work, to me, was just a means to an end. That end being food on the table, a roof over my head, gas in the car and, occasionally, Chinese takeout. Simple pleasures for a simple man. Now, as a resident of an assisted living facility, all my needs, such as they are, are provided to me, and I don’t have to work my ass off for them.
To those who say that this is completely against the Judeo-Christian work ethic I say, so what? What’s so ethical about working one’s fingers to the bone just to afford what should be everyone’s G-d given right. Cable TV.

All levity aside, I realize there’s some value to work. Besides the obvious, work provides an amount of social interaction and an opportunity to impart one’s knowledge to others. And just the act of having to get up every day and go to work brings discipline and order to one’s life while adding value to society. Although, for the life of me, I never understood how selling office supplies added value to society other than to provide the tools so that other poor slobs could work their asses off.
Fortunately, I liked my job and the people I worked with. What I didn’t like was the constant pressure to perform. As a customer related services representative, I was on the phone all day. And they monitored and counted the calls. If I consistently answered less than 100 calls a day, my supervisor would want to know what the problem was. Which is why I was not too disappointed when we were told our jobs were moving out of state and they would close the office.
I had been thinking of a lifestyle change for a while and this seemed like a perfect time to pursue it.

I got what I asked for. As I soon found out, your style of life is directly related to income. A sad comment on society to be sure.

With no job prospects (and no desire to return to customer service work) I decided to retire. I have never looked back. At the very least, retirement has removed most of the stress in my life. And from what I hear, stress is a major contributor to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Do I miss work? No. What I miss is the feeling of accomplishment one gets from knowing he has done something worthwhile. Retirement rarely provides that. And, if it were not for this blog and my work on the resident’s council here at the ALF, I would surely have serious questions as to the worthiness of my existence.
I always felt I have put us on Earth for a reason. Perhaps someday I’ll learn what that is.… 


Dementia or decluttering? Husband’s behavior
may have some medical issues
By Annie Lane

Dear Annie: It’s just an idea, but maybe “Missing My Things’” husband has dementia, not compulsive decluttering.

A few years ago, I discovered too late that while I was out grocery shopping my 77-year-old husband found a storage bin labeled “Smith Family Mementos” in a closet, went through it and threw most of it in the garbage before I got back. I didn’t notice anything was missing until days later, long after the garbage truck had come and gone.

My husband was in the early, undiagnosed and unrecognized stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Apparently, as he lifted each photo, each handwritten letter, each diploma and report card out of the bin, he didn’t recognize the person or remember the event associated with it, so he threw it away. Not long after, I started finding other important items in the trash, such as old military uniforms and important medical records.

Read more  >>

Practical Ways Older Adults Can
Manage Their Security Online
by Lohrmann

Have you ever wanted to help your parents or an elderly friend or relative by providing an online resource that is both informative, offers practical tips and definitions about security, and is also easy to understand?

I have, and the new book Senior Cyber by Scott and Craig Schober offers that helpful guide you’ve been looking for.   

What’s Inside?

The first thing that immediately jumps out at any reader of Senior Cyber is the large print. Add in funny cartoon pictures at key moments to illustrate definitions (such as malware) and key concepts (like pickpockets in cyberspace), and you get a great combination.

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FEB. 3, 2021

Older Adults Without Family or Friends
Lag in Race to Get Vaccines

By Judith Graham

A divide between “haves” and “have-nots” is emerging as older adults across the country struggle to get covid-19 vaccines.

Seniors with family members or friends to help them are getting vaccine appointments, even if it takes days to secure them. Those without reliable social supports are missing out.

Elders who can drive — or who can get other people to drive them — are traveling to locations where vaccines are available, crossing city or county borders to do so. Those without private transportation, are stuck with whatever is available nearby.


Collaboration needed if assisted living is to
continue serving dually eligible older adults

As states continue to work to rebalance long-term services and supports spending away from nursing home care, assisted living is gaining as an option for Medicare-Medicaid dually eligible older adults who need assistance with daily activities but want to remain in a community setting.

But dual-eligible individuals face a range of challenges in qualifying for and receiving Medicaid services in assisted living settings, according to a study published in Medical Care Research and Review by researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and Brown University School of Public Health.

If assisted living settings are going to be able to continue serving as an option for dually eligible individuals, then policymakers, state officials and assisted living providers will need to “work collaboratively to develop ways to systematically collect and report the health and welfare of dual-eligible residents,” the authors stated.


There are at least 4 different ways of aging,
scientists say. What's yours?

By Erika Edwards

Anyone who has attended a class reunion has seen firsthand that people age in different ways. Some former classmates appear to have aged a century within just a few decades, while others look just as they did fresh from 11th grade English class.

Now, a study published Monday in Nature Medicine takes a deeper look at what’s going on at a molecular level, offering a possible explanation for why we age differently, and raising the tantalizing possibility that we could one day have an impact on our personal aging process through targeted medication or lifestyle changes.

Still, the research — on what a group of Stanford University scientists are calling "ageotypes" — is still in its infancy. But outside experts heralded the study as an important step toward learning more about aging.

6 minutes

It’s no secret. The restaurant business has been particularly hard hit because of the pandemic. Thousands of eating establishments have closed, some permanently, leaving tens of thousands of people jobless.
Dining in a restaurant is more than just a way of filling one’s stomach. It’s a social experience. A way to gather and communicate with others of our species while enjoying the fruits of the labor of talented men and women to whom food and hospitality is a way of life. Unfortunately, eating in a restaurant means sitting close together (at least close enough to carry on a conversation without having to yell) usually in small, contained areas. Exactly the atmosphere frowned upon in this time of COVID.
Depending upon where you live, your local restaurant may or may not have been permitted to remain open with limited indoor dining while others, like here in New York City, are confined to outdoor dining only while the rest of N.Y. State allows restaurants to remain open with a 50% capacity limit for dining indoors. This duality has brought added hardship to NYC restaurants, whose patrons have only to go to New Jersey or Westchester to eat, like humans, indoors.
However, just last week the Governor, yielding to pressure from industry groups and the public, caved-in. As of February 14 (Valentine’s Day) they will once again permit restaurants in New York City to serve meals indoors with a 25% capacity limit. While many owners say it’s a step in the right direction, 25% won’t make much of a dent in the amount of money lost. But, whether it’s 25% or 50%, just eating with friends and loved ones will aid tremendously to the quality of life for a population suffering from isolation and loneliness. But there is one segment of society that will not be permitted to take advantage of the relaxed rules pertaining to group dining. You guessed it. Residents of long-term care facilities. Why have they treated us differently from everybody else? In my opinion, it’s more than just an overabundance of caution. It’s politics baby. And everyone knows it.

The New York State Department of Health is headed by Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, who was appointed by Governor Cuomo and confirmed by the Senate on May 5, 2015. And, while Dr. Zucker’s credentials may be impeccable, he serves at the pleasure of the Governor. And, after 5 years in his position, Dr. Zucker is well acquainted with the political vagaries of the state. In other words, he knows what to kiss and when. 

What that means for all of us who come under the authority of the DOH, should not be hard to understand. A political hack will do anything to keep his job. And the way to keep your job as a political appointee in New York is to make nice to the Governor. And the way you do that, given the recent accusations made by the N.Y. Attorney General and others, regarding reporting the true number of deaths in the state’s long-term facilities, are to make sure old people don’t die. At least not in a facility overseen by the DOH. Thus, the Draconian measures placed on institutions like assisted living facilities which still, after all this time, do not permit communal dining. Not 75%, not 50%, or even 25% as allowed in the public sector. But zero percent.

If I sound perturbed, it’s because I feel helpless. Just trying to find somebody to listen to my lament is impossible. The DOH has no way of dealing with the concerns of ALF residents, unless it’s reporting a code violation or other infraction of the rules. Letters and emails to officials go unheeded. They simply don’t care about the quality of life for the over 50,000 people confined to their facilities, eating bad food, with little to do and absolutely no social interaction with other residents and, sometimes, their loved ones.

As we approach 11 months of what can only be described as incarceration with no plan to return to normalcy I’m asking the Governor and Dr. Zucker to please allow at least a 25% occupancy of communal dining rooms in assisted living facilities. It would mean so much to all of us………………………

The Staggering, Heartless
Cruelty Toward the Elderly

By Shai Held

Crises can elicit compassion, but they can also evoke callousness. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve witnessed communities coming together (even as they have sometimes been physically forced apart), and we’ve seen individuals engaging in simple acts of kindness to remind the sick and quarantined that they are not forgotten. Yet from some quarters, we’ve also seen a degree of cruelty that is truly staggering.

Earlier today, a friend posted on Facebook about an experience he’d just had on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: “I heard a guy who looked to be in his 20s say that it’s not a big deal cause the elderly are gonna die anyway. Then he and his friend laughed … Maybe I’m lucky that I had awesome grandparents and maybe this guy didn’t but what is wrong with people???” Some have tried to dress up their heartlessness as generational retribution. As someone tweeted at me earlier today, “To be perfectly honest, and this is awful, but to the young, watching as the elderly over and over and over choose their own interests ahead of Climate policy kind of feels like they’re wishing us to a death they won’t have to experience. It’s a sad bit of fair play.”

The Best Exercises for Older Adults

Regularly working out will help you stay functional well into your twilight years. Here are the best exercises for older adults to keep them healthy and fit.

As you get older, you may feel like your body has begun to slow down as you begin to feel less limber and simpler tasks become more difficult or painful to accomplish. This needn't be the case, however, as regularly working out, even casually, will have tremendous benefits for keeping your body functioning to its best ability even as you enter your senior years. To accomplish this, here are some of the best exercises for older adults.


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FEB. 2, 2021

Adult dependents have been left behind during the COVID crisis,
don't leave them out of the next stimulus deal

By Bobbi Dempsey

As many struggling Americans anxiously track the fate of President Biden's proposal for the latest stimulus package, some people — including those who are among our most needy or vulnerable — are simply hoping they aren't once again left out completely.

During the previous two rounds of stimulus payments, individuals 17 years and older who were claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return weren't eligible to receive a check. This included college-aged children, disabled adults, and even high school students over 16 years old.

These individuals have as many basic living expenses as anyone else — and in the case of college students, are often already taking on considerable debt just to meet their obligations such as tuition bills and housing fees.


Soaring insulin prices show how the US is losing
the battle against high drug costs

The cost of insulin has been kept artificially high for millions of Americans because drug manufacturers and middlemen work together to maximize their profits, a new bipartisan investigation shows.

This maneuvering around the growing price tag for medicine needed by diabetics to combat America's No. 7 killer represents a microcosm of the reasons prescription drugs cost so much in the U.S.

It also demonstrates one of the consequences of growing consolidation within American health care, a trend The Dispatch is investigating.


NYC Faces Uphill Climb in
Vaccinating Older New Yorkers

By Nicole Javorsky

New York expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility this month to residents 65 and up. But getting an appointment has been an “extraordinarily complicated” process for some, marred by supply shortages, technology challenges and mobility barriers in reaching vaccination sites.

On Jan. 12, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New Yorkers 65 and older were now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — but the news came with a warning.

“I urge patience as unfortunately there are far more eligible NYers than there is vaccine supply,” the governor said on Twitter, citing slow allocation from the federal government.


Age doesn't affect consumers' ability
to lose weight, study finds

By Kristen Dalli

Consumers can approach weight loss from several different angles: keeping a food log, intermittent fasting, or cutting out late-night snacking. Regardless of which option is the right fit, a new study found that consumers shouldn’t let their age get in the way of their weight loss goals.

According to researchers from the University of Warwick, age doesn’t affect consumers’ ability to lose weight. Making healthier choices is the key to achieving long-term weight loss, and that’s achievable for consumers at any age.

“Weight loss is important at any age, but as we get older we’re more likely to develop the weight-related comorbidities of obesity,” said researcher Dr. Thomas Barber. “Many of these are similar to the effects of aging, so you could argue that the relevance of weight loss becomes heightened as we get older, and this is something that we should embrace.”  

Senior Limbo
6 minutes

 As the worst snowstorm we’ve had in these parts in the last 5 years rages outside my window, I’m here comfortably ensconced in my gilded cage having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner because I couldn’t bring myself to eat either of the two “hot” meals on tonight’s menu. Not because the food is awful (which it is) but because it’s what they have been serving for dinner  since we went on in-room dining 10 months ago. Chicken or quiche. Even restaurant quiche is intolerable. You can imagine what pre-fabricated, institutional quiche tastes like.

I could have chosen one of the other “gourmet” sandwiches available like salami and cheese, ham and cheese or tuna salad. But PB&J sounded more comforting. And, after 322 days of plastic trays and plastic food, “comforting” is what I need.

Which brings me to my favorite subject. The insufferable way they have treated us residents of assisted living facilities since we first went into lockdown back in March.
No, they haven’t beaten us or kept us in Dickensian squalor. Nor have they have overlooked our medical needs. The staff has done their best in these very trying times. And, as far as being protected from the ravages of the virus, I could not ask for a better place to be. Unfortunately, what they have done to our psyche’s and our quality of life is another matter. The blame for which must be on the governor and his Department of Health. Not because they don’t care, but because they are clueless. And, they always have been when dealing with assisted living facilities and their residents. 

 I have always believed that the DOH, the agency that oversees nursing homes and assisted living facilities in our state, has never defined the position of ALF residents. Because we are not patients, like in a nursing home or tenants living in a senior community, they have placed us in residential limbo. And, as everybody knows, Limbo is not a great place to be.
While they have defined the “patient” status of those people in hospitals and nursing homes, residents of assisted living facilities are in the DMZ of the healthcare industry.

On one end of the resident spectrum are the highly functional individuals, clear of mind and free of serious disabilities who can manage the vagaries of everyday life on their own.
In between are those of us who have all of our faculties intact, but need help to perform some chores that plague all adult singles. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and navigating the choppy waters of the American healthcare system.
And finally, among us are those who are not challenged physically or otherwise chronically ill, but have lost much of their cognitive abilities, making it impossible for them function without help. And that’s where the problem lies.

The DOH, in their effort to keep us alive, have lumped all ALF residents into one aggregate and devalued category of simple-minded old folks incapable of independent thought or the ability to realize that they have made us the lab rats in an experiment to see just how long people can remain isolated from the community and mainstream society without going completely insane. A study worthy of Josef Mengele in his heyday.

In all the months we have been in this position, they have not moved one inch toward normalcy. Even with a very low incidence of disease in our facility and all the precautions they have instituted to keep it that way, they have kept us from our loved ones and each other even as the rest of the world is permitted go about its business virtually unsupervised by anyone.

In about 2 weeks, we should receive our second dose of the COVID vaccine. And, soon after that, we should be somewhat protected from contracting the virus. The question is, will they permit us to regain, not only our freedom and independence, but our sanity as well…..

Fatigue is an understudied
consequence of hearing loss
By Adriel John Orena

2020 was transformative in violent and destructive ways - the pandemic has taken a huge social, medical, cultural, and financial toll on us collectively as a species. As of the writing of this note, COVID-19 has caused the deaths of 1.62 million people, including over 300,000 Americans. Our pandemic coverage has attempted to make simple the complexity of this moment, crystalizing expertise from bioethicists, biochemists, immunologists, virologists, bioengineers, epidemiologists, geneticists, healthcare practitioners, and global health specialists.

That said, we did not abandon our bread-and-butter scientific reporting. Ninety percent of our published stories were about research and stories across the sciences and engineering — and that paid off in terms of traffic. We had about 2.7M pageviews in 2020, up 65 percent from 1.6M in 2019. COVID-19 coverage overwhelmed many readers in 2020, and we found our non-pandemic articles were welcomed by readers awash in hot-takes by writers without scientific expertise.

An Early Look at 2021 Medicare Advantage Benefits

Medicare Advantage (MA) is the private plan option in the Medicare program. Enrollment in the program has grown nearly 10% a year in recent years and now tops 25 million. More than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries (people with Medicare) have opted into MA, and the total number of MA enrollees is expected to top 30 million in the next few years.

While MA plans have long offered enrollees supplemental benefits — such as vision, hearing and limited dental coverage — recent regulatory actions enable MA plans to offer a wider array of benefits. These include permitting plans to make the benefits disease- or condition-specific. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also expanded the range of permissible benefits to include Special Supplemental Benefits for Chronic Illness (SSBCI). SSBCIs are non-healthcare related benefits for plan members for chronic and disabling diseases. SSBCIs include air conditioning for people with severe asthma and healthy foods for plan members with diabetes.

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FEB. 1, 2021

3 Ways the Biden Administration Can
Support Older Adults, Kids and Families

The new Biden administration has much to balance: a pandemic, vaccine distribution and the major challenge of rebuilding a divided country, all while addressing the country's other needs. But only one of the plans the Biden campaign put out addresses a key societal dilemma: how we will care for our nation's young and old.

Grandmother and grandchild outside wearing face masks
Credit: Getty

In July 2020, it released proposals to invest $775 billion in child and elder care over the next decade, a large increase over current levels. The Economic Policy Institute estimated the plan would create 3 million jobs and increase labor force participation among women, a group hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

The Aspen Strategy Group has noted the importance of national service for young people, but citizens of all ages can benefit.


Why Is Florida the Worst State
for Long-Term Care?

Florida is essentially tied with Maine for the highest percentage of residents age 65 and older — roughly 21%, vs. 16% for the U.S. population. And about one in 10 people in The Sunshine State are 75 or older, the highest percentage in the nation. So how is it possible that, according to a recent data-driven report, Florida ranks dead last for long-term care services and supports?

Tim Russert, the late host of NBC's "Meet the Press," famously said about the 2000 presidential election: Florida. Florida. Florida. Based on "The 2020 Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard" produced by the AARP Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation, I'd say: Florida? Florida? Florida?

'It's Not a Surprise'...


Abandoned mall sites are starting to be
flipped for affordable senior housing

By Gary Guthrie

As JCPenney, Macy’s, and other large retail chains vacate America’s malls, mall owners and local governments may be looking to fill in that empty space with more senior housing. A new report from SmartCitiesDive says a number of cities across the U.S. are looking to "infill redevelopment" of vacant mall sites to bridge the growing housing gap for aging populations.

America’s aging senior population is in a tight spot when it comes to affordable housing. Housing experts warn that rising home prices and low inventories are creating a new housing crisis for baby boomers. Add to that the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately plagued senior communities and you’ve got yourself a conundrum -- or an opportunity, depending on how you look at the situation.

"If you want to be located in close-in suburbs, this is where the land is [for developers,]” said June Williamson, chair and associate professor of architecture at the City College of New York.


Afternoon naps could help keep your
mind limber and stave off dementia

By Alexandru Micu

A nap a day keeps mental degradation at bay, a new paper suggests. The findings showcase that individuals who took regular afternoon naps showed better mental capacity over time.
Image credits Jim Black.

As we age, the tissues making up our bodies physically wear down. Given the longer life expectancies of today (compared to our natural baseline), this creates many more opportunities for neurodegenerative conditions, such as dementia. While napping won’t keep us perfectly safe from such issues, it does seem to promote mental agility and stave off mental decline over time.
The good sleep

The findings suggest that taking regular naps is associated with locational awareness, verbal fluency, and working memory.

5 minutes

This is one of those 500-pound gorillas in the room topics. What to do with your remains after you die. And, while it’s not a pleasant subject, it’s something we will all have to deal with at some point.
Those that are fortunate to have a large close family, can delay discussions regarding our “final expense” for a very long time. We can even bring it up in casual conversation from time to time with friends and relatives. 

The “talk” does not have to be very detailed. Just a general idea of how you would like to be memorialized and how you want your funeral conducted. If you feel awkward about talking about this with your loved ones, you can always jot down your thoughts and leave them where it where they can find it. But what happens when you know there will be no one to make the arrangements? People known as “Elder Orphans” often find themselves in this position. I am one of those people.

Although I had arranged funerals for both my parents, I never thought about my “send off.” In fact, I don’t remember talking about it with anybody. Not even my ex, who I figured would do the right thing should I die before her. And besides, I was only 62 and in fairly good health. And, if genetics had anything to do with longevity, I wouldn’t have to worry about that for another 20 years, at least. However, sometimes life gives you a wake up call, rudely reminding you that the Grim Reaper may be just around the corner.

I received that call about 10 years ago when a doctor told me my chances of surviving an illness were 50/50.
Fortunately, I survived but wound up in a nursing home confronted with a host of uninsured medical expenses and no way to pay for them. I had not yet reached my 65th birthday and therefore not eligible for Medicare. And, because I had "too much money" in my bank account (more than $2000) I was not qualified to receive Medicaid benefits, the state funded plan that helps pay for things like physical therapy, wheelchairs, supplies and some assisted living expenses. It’s that last item that forced me to decide something I had never thought about. Arranging my own funeral. Or, as it’s more correctly called, “prearrangement.” Here’s why.

After nearly two years in rehab, learning to walk, dress myself and do all the things necessary to live independently, it was time for me to leave the nursing home. But where would I go? I had to give up my apartment. And besides, I still could not live entirely on my own. The social worker at the nursing home suggested assisted living. It sounded good. But there was just one catch. There was no way I could afford the nearly $5000 per month room and board charged by most ALFs. Unless I could reduce my net worth down to a point that would enable me to receive a subsidy through Medicaid.
But how could I lower my net worth, legally, to make me eligible? The options were few.
I couldn’t give it away. Not even to charity.
I couldn’t spend it on cars or jewelry or vacations or anything tangible. I couldn’t even gift it to a relative. The only thing available to me that would instantly make me poor enough to gain help from Medicaid (as my social worker informed me) was to pay in advance for a funeral later.

A few days later I spoke face to face with a local funeral director about caskets, flowers, limousines and cemetery plots.
I had planned funerals before, but that was different. I made the details in haste and clouded in grief with little thought to expense. Now, with all the time in the world to think about what I would like and with a specific amount of money I needed to spend, the process was more businesslike and less emotional.
Without pressure from the mortuary guy, or the restraints of time, I looked through a catalogue of caskets. All clearly marked with a price. I decided on one that was neither garish nor cheap-looking. Somewhere between a plain pine box and King Tut’s sarcophagus. A few more details (how many limos would I need? What kind and how many flowers or music or viewing time?) I opted for a standard number of flowers, no extra limos and one day’s viewing. I don’t expect a large crowd.

A separate purchase of a cemetery plot (also permissible to reduce net worth) and my worries about affording assisted living and the disposition of my remains were concluded. The whole deal took less than an hour and it set me for… um… life?
Even if eligibility for Medicaid is not a concern, consider prearrangement. Making sure they fulfill your wishes and not left to chance can be very comforting. At the very least, you will have taken the burden off your loved ones when they might not be thinking rationally.
The information (who to notify etc.) I gave to my case manager here at the ALF. They have only to contact the name on the card and they will take care of everything.
I hope to be around for many years to come. Until that time, I find comfort knowing where I’m going………….. .

Top 5 Reasons to Plan Your
Funeral Before You Need It

Any time is a good time to plan your funeral … except at the time of the funeral. Why? Because there are clear advantages to planning ahead. Can you imagine planning a wedding in just a few days? Or any celebration for that matter? Why leave the ultimate celebration of your life to the last minute?

We believe that planning a funeral in advance is a wise thing to do. Find out if it makes sense for you, and learn how to conveniently plan your funeral with our Wise Planning System.

At-Need vs. Preneed Funeral Planning...

Get Help With Bills, Caregiving, and More

Find information for people with disabilities from Get help with:

    Understanding health care coverage including Medicare and Medicaid.

    Access to benefits programs like housing, tax support, and medical bills.

    Job and education searches.

    Legal rights and protections for people with disabilities.

    Local and community services such as transit and veterans programs.

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JAN. 29, 2021

Getting Older Adults Online

We’re partnering with telecommunications companies, nonprofits, and public entities to bring low-cost internet options to older adults nationwide.

COVID-19 has disrupted our nation’s systems for social support, communications, and health care, revealing the critical importance of home internet as a lifeline for older adults. Yet nearly 22 million seniors over the age of 65 lack wireline broadband access at home, with potentially serious consequences. Aging Connected is a national, cross-sector campaign to bridge the digital divide and help older adults access essential public health information, social services, online community, and more through affordable, accessible internet.


AstraZeneca says reports COVID-19 vaccine
efficacy is low in elderly are incorrect

AstraZeneca on Monday described German media reports saying its COVID-19 vaccine was shown to have a very low efficacy in the elderly as “completely incorrect”.

German daily papers Handelsblatt and Bild said in separate reports on Monday the vaccine - co-developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University - had an efficacy of 8% or less than 10%, respectively, in those over 65 and the German government did not expect the European regulator to approve the product for that age group.


Researchers Use Chemotherapy Drug
To Make Potential Hearing Loss Breakthrough

Researchers have identified an oral chemotherapy drug that can protect against hearing loss resulting from noise exposure and cisplatin use (another common chemotherapy medication).

There are currently no FDA-approved medications to prevent hearing loss.

The drug, Tafinlar (dabrafenib), can provide protection at time of chemotherapy and for at least 24 hours after noise exposure. It was found to be even more effective when used in combination with other drugs.

JAN. 20 TO JAN. 28 2021

A Mouse In The House,
A Shot In The Arm

5 minutes

You can always tell when it’s freezing outside. The woodland critters look for warm places to stay. One of those critters decided that my room, which overlooks a semi-wooded area, would meet its requirements.
As I sat at my laptop last Friday morning, something caught the corner of my eye. At first I thought nothing of it. A flash of something in the half-light of dawn. It could just have well had been one of those “floaters” old folks get in their eyes. But floaters don’t have a head and a tail or use the TV cable wire as a tightrope, as I soon discovered.

Putting the finishing touches on a reply to an email, a mouse, about 3 inches long, stuck its head out from behind a tray on my desk and balanced itself on the wire that connects my TV to the cable wall outlet. I watched as the frightened gray rodent made its way from one end of the cable to the other, disappearing behind my dresser. I immediately thought of “Jingles” the mouse in the movie “The Green Mile.”. If I see it again, I’ll offer it some food and a warm place to sleep. I need a pet.

While mice are nice, vaccines against the greatest threat to senior citizens since floor wax are nicer. More than that, they’re necessary. Which is why, when I rolled up my sleeve last Saturday and let some guy from CVS stick a needle in my arm, I felt, not only relived, but hopeful over the possibility we will soon return to normalcy around here. Ten months of isolation has been hard on us, and it’s showing.

As we gathered (socially distanced from each other) in our lobby, outside of the dining area where the vaccine was being administered, the talk was of frustration over tedium, awful food, boredom and loneliness. There’s just so much a 75 or 80-year-old person can take.

The other major story this past week has to be the impending 2nd impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. The Democrats will contend, and show evidence to support, that the 45th President of the U.S. was culpable in the riot that took place at the Capitol two weeks ago.

On the other side, the Republicans, as usual, will turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the facts in support of a man whose only compassion is for himself. And, while some say this is all just a waste of time, the purpose goes much deeper. Impeachment would most likely keep Trump from ever running for president again. Rendering him politically impotent.

I any event, the proceedings will make interesting TV. Stay tuned.

Finally, some very disturbing news about a new strain of the COVID virus. This one come from South Africa and is said to be more contagious, and possibly more lethal than what we have been dealing with. And worse, the present vaccine(s) may not be effective in preventing its spread. At least two people, in South Carolina have contracted it. Neither has done any traveling. This may be the scariest thing I’ve heard all year.

We’ll end this week with some notable passing’s: Hank Aaron- 86. Larry King- 87, Cloris Leachman-94, and just yesterday, Cicely Tyson-96. May they rest in peace…….........…

Make No Mistake, Biden Will
Rock Your Retirement Future

By Clara Del Villar

An aggressive political battle over the shape of your retirement is beginning in Washington D.C.

Here is a brief outline of possible changes in policy that, if enacted, would impact your retirement plans.

1. President Biden has proposed eliminating the step-up in basis for inherited capital assets, therefore, heirs face substantially higher taxes on their wealth in the future.

2. Capital gains tax rates could potentially be raised for those making over $1 million, and the federal estate tax exemption could be reduced from the current level, $11.5 million. One possibility is an exemption roll back to its 2017 level of $5.49 million.

COVID-19 Vaccine News & Resources

The Latest Vaccine News from our Coronavirus Blog

Be Sure to Make Contact with CVS Health & Walgreens

If a community enrolled in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program and has not received either an email or a phone call from CVS Health or Walgreens, they should take the following actions:

For CVS Health:

    Visit the vaccine clinic homepage and update the community contact information
    Send an email to CVS Health:

    In the email subject line, please include the word “CONTACT”
    In the email body, please include:
        Community name and address
        Community point of contact: name and contact information

See FAQs and information on the CVS Health COVID-19 website.

For Walgreens:

    Send an email to Walgreens:
        In the email subject line, please include: Walgreens LTC COVID Vaccine Program...

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JAN. 28, 2021

Nursing Home Critics Say COVID-19 Immunity
Laws Are A Free Pass For Neglect

By Ina Jaffe

Palestine Howze died April 14, 2020 in a North Carolina nursing home.

She had developed a pressure ulcer — or bed sore as they're commonly known. It flared up in December 2018 and just grew worse, says her daughter, Lisa Howze. Infection set in.

"We begged them to take her to the emergency room, but they assured us that they could handle it," Howze says.

Howze and her three sisters contend the nursing home could not. In their experience, Treyburn Rehabilitation Center in Durham didn't seem to be able to handle much. On a scale of one to five stars, the federal government gives Treyburn just one. It also gets below average ratings on the ratio of nurses to residents. The government has fined Treyburn almost $190,000 in the past three years.

Continue reading  >>


CVS and Walgreens blamed for slow
vaccine rollout in nursing homes

By Stephen Gandel

CVS on Monday touted its nationwide progress vaccinating residents and workers in long-term care facilities against COVID-19. The drugstore chain announced it has administered its entire batch — some 2 million shots — of first doses in the nearly 8,000 nursing homes working with CVS.

That milestone is unlikely to allay complaints that CVS and Walgreens, the other major pharmacy chain tapped by the federal government to inoculate vulnerable populations in nursing homes, assisted living centers and other health providers, are falling short. Critics say the vaccine rollout to long-term care residents has been ill-planned and mismanaged, raising the death toll.

"There are outbreaks right now in long-term care facilities," said Dr. Karl Steinberg, who is the chief medical officer of Mariner Health Central, which runs 20 nursing, assisted living and rehab facilities in California. "I have no doubt that people are dying who with a prompt rollout of the vaccine didn't have to."


A 3-Step Strategy to Support the New U.S. Mask Mandate
Devabhaktuni Srikrishna,

The Biden administration’s efforts to promote the wearing of masks to combat the spread of Covid-19 are badly needed. Given the pace of the rollout of vaccines, the U.S. won’t achieve herd immunity until mid- or late 2021. In the meantime, mask wearing is essential to help prevent people from...

We couldn’t agree more with the Biden administration’s plea for Americans to wear masks for 100 days and its mandates that people must wear masks on federal property and during interstate travel on airlines, trains, buses, and ships. These actions are crucial to address the surges in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations that are occurring across the United States this winter.


Older Americans Agree On Five Ways to
Strengthen Social Security and Medicare

By Mary Johnson

“Even though our new Congress may remain divided, these five areas of broad agreement could be potentially used as a legislative roadmap that would provide greater retirement security and reduce needlessly high Medicare costs,” Johnson says.

Despite our nation’s recent partisan political divisions, two surveys by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) found high levels of consensus on five proposals that would strengthen Social Security and Medicare funding and benefits. The proposals would decrease Medicare out - of - pocket costs on prescription drugs for beneficiaries and provide modestly higher, and more adequate, Social Security benefits. “There are more areas of agreement from retirees of different political persuasions than many might believe,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League.

The findings come as the nation finds itself in a growing a retirement crisis. Even before the coronavirus - caused recession, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that about 48 percent of households headed by people aged 55 and over had no retirement savings. That situation has been made even worse in 2020 and 2021 as older workers have lost jobs or seen their work schedules reduced due to the pandemic.

A Home Cooked Meal
6 minutes

Enough about vaccines and politics for a while. Let’s talk about something near and dear to my heart, food.
As far as food goes, I have been spoiled. I was raised in a household that centered on food. At least that’s the way I saw it. My mom, being an old-school housewife, was at home all day, mostly in the kitchen, preparing up to 3 meals a day for the four of us. Me, being the youngest in the family, spent much of my time in the kitchen with her. And, although I didn’t know it then, that time spent with my mom was as good as being enrolled in a starter course at Johnson & Wales or The Culinary Institute of America. I became enthralled with the mechanics of cooking.

The actual process began early in the day with a trip to the primary shopping area in our neighborhood which, in Flatbush, Brooklyn, would be Flatbush Avenue. In particular, the five-block strip between Clarkson and Church Avenues.

It was our farmer’s market, Turkish bazaar and Arabian souk with a touch of 5th Avenue. And, with me in tow, my mom explored every inch. From the new Waldbaums supermarket, Smilen’s greengrocer, the kosher butcher, to Ebinger’s bakery and Woolworth's 5&10, we hit them all. And we did that three to four times a week. Mom liked her food fresh. In fact, the only thing she ever used that came from a can was Italian crushed tomatoes. All the other veggies were raw. Carrots with the tops still on. Potatoes encrusted with the mud from the field where they grew. Huge heads of lettuce, cabbage and broccoli. All had to be prepared. The carrot tops removed. The lettuce carefully washed and the florets of broccoli separated from the stalk. I watched it all and was fascinated. But not as fascinated as the cooking itself. That’s where the magic happened. And where I learned to appreciate the difference between food from a can and that made from scratch. Which is why, to this day, I wonder why people are not more particular about what they eat. And why I get so incensed over the food they serve us.

But what infuriates me more is the attitude of some of my fellow residents here at the Asylum. Many, it appears, do not know what decent food is. Or they no longer care. I am also convinced nobody in our kitchen knows what good food is, or, if they do, they do not know how to make it. I’m afraid the science is lost. But maybe not forever. In a strange twist of fate, the COVID-19 pandemic may have rejuvenated the art of cooking at home.

With restaurants shutting their doors or reducing their hours all around the nation and the virus still rampant, people have returned to the kitchen in droves, not only to stay healthy, but to use mealtime as a way of normalizing the day. The problem is, most people do not know how to cook from scratch. Making a dish as basic as beef stew might as well be akin to assembling a Buick. What goes in the pot, and when? How much for how long? What do they mean by “brown the meat” or “de-glaze” the pan? Cookbooks help but not with the nuances which can only be learned through observation. And that, I fear, is gone. And that’s a shame. There are not too many left who can teach it, or want to. Too bad. I was hoping to eat at least one good homemade dinner before I die. The last one I had was over ten years ago. And I made it myself.

I understand if my wanting a home-cooked meal seems petty compared to what’s happening in the world now. But understand that eating the same portion-controlled, pre-fabricated, institutional dreck they serve us does more harm to our psyche than isolation and loneliness. Especially after 10 months.
I don’t know when we will return to communal dining or when they will permit us to leave this place. Hopefully, that will happen shortly after we receive our second dose of the vaccine in about 3 weeks. But even when we do, it will never compare to what I ate made in that tiny kitchen in Brooklyn…………

COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
What Older Workers Need

A noted researcher's views of the pandemic's effects on working boomers and Gen Xers

Editor’s note: This article is the 14th in a weekly joint series on COVID-19 and the Future of Aging from the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging and Next Avenue. The articles are Q and As with thought leaders in fields ranging from health care to retirement planning to intergenerational relationships.

What is the experience of older workers during the pandemic compared with younger generations?

How to Treat Your Body Kindly As It Ages

My friend Hayden suggests that as we age and grow less cute or less handsome, we might be wise to compensate for the loss of good looks with good cheer.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, "There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us."

My friend Patty, who has made it into her sixties with a congenital kidney disease, likes to tell her body every day how proud she is of it. How grateful she is that it has bravely fought to give her a long life on the planet.

For those of us who have been graced with long life, the attainment of self-love could be our last challenge to enlightenment.

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Jan. 27, 2021

Patient Advocate vs Geriatric Care Manager
By Carol Marak

A few weeks ago, a reader asked, “Can you tell me the differences between a geriatric care manager and a patient advocate? I hear the two terms frequently and wonder if they are the same?” Here are the basic differences:

A Patient Advocate can assist anyone of any age – not limited to someone who is elderly, or at least over a ‘certain age,’ as a geriatric case manager would be.

A Geriatric Care Manager does not focus strictly on healthcare. Their work is broader with some emphasis on finances, housing, and other aspects of life that change as we age.


Post-COVID lungs worse than the
worst smokers' lungs, surgeon says

A Texas trauma surgeon says it's rare that X-rays from any of her COVID-19 patients come back without dense scarring. Dr. Brittany Bankhead-Kendall tweeted, "Post-COVID lungs look worse than any type of terrible smoker's lung we've ever seen. And they collapse. And they clot off. And the shortness of breath lingers on... & on... & on."

"Everyone's just so worried about the mortality thing and that's terrible and it's awful," she told CBS Dallas-Fort Worth. "But man, for all the survivors and the people who have tested positive this is — it's going to be a problem."

Bankhead-Kendall, an assistant professor of surgery with Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, has treated thousands of patients since the pandemic began in March.


Dementia, Alzheimer’s not an inevitable part of aging

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease may not be an inevitable part of aging, according to a recent Dutch study, which identified 100-year-olds with high cognitive performance despite risk factors for decline.

This six-year study of centenarians — people who are over 100 years old — found that despite high levels of a brain marker associated with cognitive decline, called amyloid beta, these centenarians were still sharp and performed well on cognitive tests. The researchers concluded these elderly subjects may have resilience mechanisms protecting them from memory loss.

In fact, they said the risk of dementia may not necessarily increase once you pass your 100th birthday.


“Finding Your Passion” Is an Ineffective
Way to Live Your Life
By Sarah Sloat

When Steve Jobs delivered his commencement speech to Stanford University’s class of 2005, he instructed them to find their passion. “You’ve got to find what you love,” Jobs said. “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Jobs no doubt had their best interests in mind, but now Stanford psychologists say that his advice wasn’t actually the most helpful.
In a 2018 paper published in Psychological Science, they explain that if someone wants to successfully pursue their interests, they should “develop their passion” instead.
The difference between finding and developing your passion is nuanced but crucial, the team argues. Telling someone to “find passion” enforces the idea that each of us has a great passion within us and our life purpose is to realize what that is and be happy. That’s a dangerous mindset because it can limit the passions that a person ultimately pursues — and may prime them to give up if their passion is proving difficult to commodify into a job. “Urging people to find their passion may lead them to put all their eggs in one basket,” the researchers write, “but then drop that basket when it becomes difficult to carry.”

Conspiracy and COVID-19
5 minutes

Unemployment has now become the “job” American’s go to every day. And, for some, this will be a way of life way after we see some return to normalcy in our world. Many of the Pre-covid jobs, especially in the restaurant and retail segments, will never return, leaving tens of thousands looking for work. Any work. How the government responds to this tragedy will be the bellwether for how we deal with these situations in the future. And, if the scientists are correct, there will be more. Most likely, it will need a response much like when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created emergency relief agencies, such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), to address the severe economic problems of the early 1930s. But that’s in the future. What about now?

While a new round of stimulus money will help in the short term, it doesn’t come close to what we really need. Not money, not re-opening of here-to-for shuttered businesses. Not even getting doses of vaccine into the arms of Americans. What we need now is for the citizens of this nation to stop thinking about themselves and think about one another. Unfortunately, that will never happen. Not in this country anyway. And it’s all because the previous administration drove a wedge so wide between the right and the left, that not even a threat to the lives of millions of Americans can pry it loose.
Twenty-five million Americans are sick with COVID-19. A staggering amount for a modern, wealthy nation. And many of them are ill, not because they are old, or have compromised immune systems or rich or poor, black or white. No, they are sick because so many were led to believe that the virus was a hoax or not as bad as the “evil liberal’’ press made it out to be. Not even when respected scientists warned that tens of thousands would die if we failed to follow the precautions they advised, did people (most of them followers of the former president) heed those warnings and take those precautions. And now we are paying the price.

And what is more troubling is the situation will not improve just because we have a new Sheriff in town in the form of Joe Biden. There are still people out there who honestly believe wearing a mask and social distancing is a Socialist plot to undermine the Constitution and subvert the rights of citizens. And many of them are in our government. Did we not see congressional representatives, men and women seeking refuge from the advancing mob in a Capitol office, refusing to wear a mask when offered? And they refused to wear a mask, not because they don’t believe in the science, but because it wouldn’t look good in the eyes of their constituents back home if they see them wearing a symbol of Socialism.

How did we get this way? How did we become a nation ruled by conspiracy theories and right-wing crazies? It began way before Trump or Obama or even 9-11. It began way back on November 22, 1963, and the assassination of JFK. The conspiracy theorists had a field day fed by misinformation and cover-ups by our own government, and the American public, like bored housewives watching a soap opera, ate it up. Many of those theories survive to this day. Why? Because it’s easier to believe that there is a force beyond our control rather than face the fact we are in deep s**t and only by overcoming our differences will we be able to bring a quick end to this plague that has fractured our lives and stolen the American soul……………..


The Senate has it from here

Welcome back to the Impeachment Briefing. I’m Maggie Astor, a politics reporter who will be taking over from Noah Weiland this time around.

    At about 7 p.m., the House of Representatives delivered its article of impeachment against Donald J. Trump to the Senate, charging him with incitement of insurrection. This is a ceremonial and highly choreographed procedure in which the House impeachment managers physically carry the document across the Capitol.

    After walking the article through the halls that a mob ransacked just weeks ago, the lead impeachment manager — Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland — read it on the Senate floor. The article is four pages long, and reading it took about five minutes.

    The article states that when Mr. Trump addressed his supporters on Jan. 6, he “willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol.”

7 Learning Games to Keep Your Mind Sharp

As we grow older, our minds and bodies undergo multiple changes. It’s our job to keep them healthy and functional.

Many studies have long shown that physical exercise improves cognitive function and thus, keeps your brain wired. Engaging in physical activity is good for the body while stimulating the mind is great for your brain. The mind-body connection is therefore crucial in attaining cognitive balance and helping you thrive.

To prevent aging and keep your mind sharp, check out these top seven learning games. As I mentioned, engaging in daily play improves cognitive function, boosts memory, and increases focus. Let’s see how you can make that happen.

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JAN. 26, 2021
Biden has promised to reform Social Security —
some changes could come as soon as this year
By Lorie Konish

Newly elected President Joe Biden has a tall list of priorities in his first days in office, with stemming the pandemic chief among them.

But experts expect one issue he promised to deal with during his campaign, Social Security reform, could also become a focal point as soon as this year.

Millions of Americans count on Social Security benefits to provide income when they are retired or disabled, or when loved ones pass away.


23 percent of assisted living communities have begun
COVID-19 vaccination through federal program: CDC
By Kimberly Bonvissuto

Twenty-three percent of assisted living and other residential care facilities participating in the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care program had begun vaccinating staff members and residents as of Jan. 20, according to information released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The federal agency has begun sharing more detailed information on the federal COVID-19 vaccine rollout in long-term care facilities, adding a page to its COVID-19 vaccine tracker to show the number of long-term care residents and staff members who have been vaccinated through the federal program.

The page provides a state-by-state view, as well as the number of first- and second-dose vaccines administered to residents and staff at participating nursing homes and assisted living communities. As of Jan. 4, a total of 54 jurisdictions had started the program. As of Jan. 20, 23% of assisted living and other residential care facilities (14,423 communities out of approximately 60,000) and 89% of skilled nursing facilities (12,420 out of approximately 14,000) had begun vaccinating staff members and residents.


NY vaccine debate focuses on seniors

ALBANY — The Cuomo administration’s efforts to restrict county health departments from administering the COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens is being questioned by some county leaders.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a top aide, Larry Schwartz, are telling county governments to make essential front-line workers their priority in using the dosages provided to them, while elderly people should be directed to pharmacies.

But Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who is the president of the New York State County Executives Association, said turning away seniors with no other health care options from county vaccination clinics “is just not logical.”


Researchers Identify Genetic Risk Factor
for Stroke in Older Adults

 A gene variant found in approximately one in 300 people is a significant genetic risk factor for stroke in older adults, according to a study conducted by researchers at Geisinger.

Cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) causes about a quarter of ischemic strokes globally and is the most common cause of vascular dementia. SVD can manifest as lesions on the brain, which usually appear on brain scans. While SVD is commonly associated with aging and hypertension, a minority of cases are caused by cysteine altering variants in the NOTCH3 gene.

This gene variant appears in approximately one in 300 people, researchers noted. A rare hereditary condition known as cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) – which is caused by a NOTCH3 variant – has been associated with SVD and an increased risk of stroke.

A Way Of Life
5 minutes

I awakened today at 6:15. Later than usual. Sitting on the edge of my recliner (I can’t sleep in my regular bed anymore) I clear the cobwebs from my head, scratch what needs to be scratched, stretch whatever I can without causing major injury and lift my very achy old body up off the chair.
Sleepily, I hit the “on” switch on my laptop, allowing it to boot-up from its night’s rest. The process takes a few minutes, which gives me time to do my morning ablutions. I’ll leave out the details.
Then it’s back to the laptop where I log into my website and publish this blog.


I spend the next half hour glancing over the 50 -60 emails that arrived during the night. Then, on to Facebook for affirmation that my friends are still alive and well. With that done, it’s shower time. Something I look forward to more and more. I like the feeling of the hot water on my ancient hide and the scent of my shower gel as it washes away the ‘’ickies” accumulated overnight. It’s a re-assurance that I can still take care of myself.

This had been my routine for over 6 years. Probably not too different from the way many people normally begin their day. But the “normal” ends there. The virus has changed almost everything.
Back in Pre-covid times, after my shower, I would get dressed and head off to the dining room to schmooze with my friends and catch up on the day’s gossip over breakfast. There is something very comforting about sitting down with another person and eating. Humans are social creatures and need the companionship and interaction with others of their species to thrive. Not just on special occasions or when circumstances allow, but whenever the need arises.
But in the spirit of protecting one another from illness and death, they put any togetherness on hold.
Therefor now, after my shower, instead of the dining room, people and hot food, it’s me, the TV, and gruel served in a Styrofoam container.
And instead of joining my fellow residents in conversation or one of the other activities they plan for us, it’s TV, internet and waiting for the next meal, equally dull, poorly prepared to be eaten alone without companionship.
This has become my new life. And after over 315 days, I am going to say something I thought I would never say.
 I think I’m getting used to being locked in.
The “New normal” is now “the only normal.” So many of us have lived under the curse of this godforsaken pandemic and all the adjustments it entails for so long, that living otherwise would feel strange.
Not to minimize the hardships of incarcerated prisoners or equate what they incur daily to what the average citizen has to go through because of the restrictions placed on them by the virus, but I can understand how people doing “hard time” cope with it.

But unlike convicts, who know the length of their sentence. We don’t. All we have to look forward to are estimates.
“Maybe a few weeks.” “Perhaps by spring.” “Next summer, maybe.”
Convicts settle in to what life dealt them and learn to accept it. And, by doing so, they can find solace and order in their lives.
I can only pray we won’t have to do the same………………………..


The Worrisome Debt Trends
of Older Americans

For many older Americans, everyday life is becoming increasingly precarious financially. A major reason: Too much debt.

The numbers are striking. The share of families headed by people 55 and older with debt is up from 54% in 1998 to 68% in 2019, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). And retirees doubled their debt in 2020, according to the personal finance site,

"To be carrying debt — significant amounts of debt — at older ages gets riskier and riskier."

"Debt is so much more acceptable culturally," says Jacquette Timmons, a financial behaviorist based in New York City.

The worrisome aspect of debt among older adults largely reflects the nation's wealth and income economic bifurcation, even before taking into account how the pandemic has further amplified inequalities in livelihood and opportunities.

Stimulus checks and older adults:
Rules for retired people, income, SSI, veterans, dependents

Many older Americans who were eligible for the first stimulus check in 2020 should also qualify to receive the second payment. Here's everything to know about income, SSI and retirement.

We're now in an interesting zone between the second stimulus check going out, tax season around the bend and a third stimulus check -- perhaps for as much as $1,400 per person -- now very firmly on the horizon. For older adults, retired folks, veterans and more, there are a lot of important things to know about all three of these events. And they may be just as relevant if you file taxes each year or if you don't.

We'll walk you through what happens if you didn't get a second stimulus check you think you were qualified to receive, how you claim it as an IRS rebate credit (even if you're a nonfiler -- but you will need this letter) and when you actually may want to request an IRS payment trace.

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One of the advantages of getting older is having 
less energy to sustain attachments to the unimportant.
                                                                                    – Alan Robert Neal

JAN. 25, 2021

Congress’ Final Legislative Package of 2020:
What’s In It for Older Adults

Congress’ final bill of 2020 extends SNAP food benefits and boosts funding for senior nutrition programs.
Package also features improvements to the Medicare enrollment process and Medicaid.
NCOA continues to advocate for additional COVID-19 relief for older adults.

Congress closed 2020 by passing a $2.3 trillion legislative package that addresses some of the COVID-19 pandemic and health challenges facing older adults, but also fails to invest in other important areas.

The package features three pieces:

A $900 billion COVID relief bill
FY21 appropriations for federal programs, including the Older Americans Act (OAA)
Several other bipartisan measures, including provisions to improve Medicare and Medicaid


Why Seniors Are the Best Age for
Studying and Discovering the World

Transitioning from the 50s to the 60s and 70s is one of the most beautiful and important time periods or our life. That’s because this is when we take the time to look within and discover what’s been lying there, undiscovered, for such a long time. Our hectic daily lives can distract us from understanding what truly matters, so we might not be able to enjoy ourselves, have alone, quiet time, or pursue our passion until this transition. While this is quite sad, most people would agree it’s true. Indeed, starting to do all the above from a young age should be something normal, but there are just so many duties and responsibilities we cannot escape that making time for our souls can be challenging.

As older adults, we can now focus on ourselves, our inner passions, our studies, and our own world-discovery pathways. Here are some facts about senior life; I hope you find our advice useful as well.

This Is When You Make Time to Rediscover Yourself

As Seniors, we are tempted to rediscover ourselves and our inner balance, one way or the other. It’s funny how the life cycle unfolds – as children, we are taught to respect rules; as teenagers, we try to break those rules that we’ve just learned, while during adulthood, we reconnect to these constructs and learn how to play the life game. During the Senior years, however, we have time to rediscover our true selves and look within to find the real key to this puzzle called life. Thus, following the next criteria is important for anyone, but especially for those above 50, if you wish to ‘know thyself’ the right way:


The Struggle To Keep Vulnerable Seniors Safe
In A Large Coronavirus Cluster
By Brian Mann

On a spring morning, Jamie Fields and her mom Joyce Collins are standing outside a grocery store in New Rochelle, N.Y., arguing over how to stay safe.

"She's very nervous," Collins says. She's only 57, but was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, which means she's vulnerable to COVID-19. "I just got out of the hospital."

They live together just up the street in the center of the New Rochelle containment area. They say they're trying to keep their sense of humor about a global pandemic that's landed on their doorstep.

The Coronavirus Crisis

"If we're going to die together, we're going to die together," Fields says.


Tool that predicts if chemotherapy will produce
debilitating side effects in older adults

DUARTE, Calif. -- Researchers at City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, have developed a tool that could predict if older adults with early-stage breast cancer will develop a severe or deadly reaction to chemotherapy.

This first-of-its-kind risk assessment tool -- called the Cancer and Aging Research Group-Breast Cancer (CARG-BC) Score -- helps oncologists make personalized treatment recommendations. Oncologists can discuss the score and its significance with early-stage breast cancer patients age 65 or older. Together, an informed decision about chemotherapy can be made as treatment benefit is weighed against quality of life concerns, said Mina Sedrak, M.D., M.S., co-first author of the new study and deputy director of clinical trials for the Center for Cancer and Aging Research at City of Hope.


Healthcare Policy Outlook with a
 Democratic-Controlled Senate

The victories by Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia runoff elections for the U.S. Senate mean that incoming majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will preside over the narrowest possible majority in the Senate under which Vice President Kamala Harris would provide the tie-breaking vote.

The House and the Senate's narrow margins make it unlikely that broad sweeping proposals advanced by progressive Democrats but not supported by their more moderate colleagues will be able to pass. However, control of the Senate should significantly impact the prospects for President Biden's healthcare agenda.

This Holland & Knight alert provides an updated assessment of healthcare policy activities likely to see action in the new 117th Congress and the Biden Administration in the wake of the Georgia runoff elections and based on additional information coming out of the Biden-Harris team.

At Last. A Start.
6 minutes

A good sign we live in strange times is when the highlight of your weekend is getting vaccinated. But that’s exactly what me and thousands of Americans did this past Saturday and Sunday.
At about 3:30 Saturday afternoon, they instructed me to go to our (former) dining room, where we residents here at the Asylum would receive our initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Something we have been waiting for and should have received a month ago.

The procedure was quick and orderly with little confusion. This is in sharp contrast to the way the vaccine is being distributed to many seniors in this and other parts of the country. And I’m not surprised. They have treated America’s seniors horribly since the start, and it has gotten no better.

Let me use as an example my experience in the last 10 months.
On March15, 2020, and almost with no prior notice, we residents were told that all activities, all visitations, all trips, all group gatherings (including meals) would end. No longer available to us would be Bingo, arts and crafts, exercise sessions, trips to the supermarket, restaurants, cultural events and all resident clubs and meetings. This directive, summarily, put on hold everything that assisted living residents not only enjoy, but pay for. All they left for us was TV, or the internet or reading. That’s okay for a while, but having to be restricted to one’s room or the grounds of the facility for over 300 days having little contact with the outside world is not only more than we bargained for, but more than any one group of American citizens should have to deal with.

Okay, there was a panic. I understand that. And in retrospect, I have to say they did the right thing. After all, who knew back in March the extent of severity the virus would have of all of us. Certainly not our state department of health who, with an almost knee-jerk reaction, decided it was better to lock-in old people rather than lock-out COVID-19. And certainly not the federal government who did not emphasize the importance to getting tested, wearing masks, social distancing, and not visit relatives in nursing homes. And because of their cavalier attitude, thousands of seniors in nursing homes died. Which led to an even harsher crackdown of long-term care venues. Among them, assisted living facilities.

Therefore, with no thought given to what the exorbitant measures to keep us out of harm’s way would have on our emotional and psychological health, they devised a one-size-fits-all approach for all patient/residents of senior care locations. Not realizing that A.L.F. residents differ from nursing home patients. And that approach was to isolate us from society at any cost, as long as no more old people die.

And as the weeks and months dragged on, they left us to wallow in the mire of our own despair. Barely noticed by the authorities. And when they devised plans to relieve segments of the population from the economic and social hardships placed upon them by the virus, they left us out of those plans. “Status quo” was the plan. Which was no plan at all. And no matter how many the pleas from residents, friends of residents and facility operators themselves to give us an idea when they could relax at least some of drastic measures, those pleas fell on deaf ears. Not because they thought what they asked for was not valid, but because there was no answer. It was not a top priority issue. We were safe and alive. “What more do old people want anyway”, was the attitude.

So, yes. This weekend was, hopefully, a turning point. Although not a quick one. Like a giant cargo ship, it does not turn on a dime and it will take weeks, if not months, before they decide it’s safe enough to allow us to return to normalcy. And we will wait as we have for all this time. Because old people know how to wait. Waiting is something that “comes with the territory” when one reaches their seniority. Or so they lead us to believe. We have waited long enough. And pretty soon, most likely after we receive our next vaccination, there will be no excuse to keep us in seclusion. And the little lambs may become like an awakened tiger, claws out, with many questions and much criticism about how they treated us……………….. .

Binge drinking isn't just a college thing.
Older adults are drinking to excess, too.
By Erika Edwards

About 1 in 10 older adults engages in binge drinking, putting them at greater risk for falls and other medical problems.

That's according to new research published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"We focus so much on young people and their risky drinking," said senior author Joseph Palamar, an associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health. "But this research reminds us that we also have to keep an eye on the older population."

Palamar and colleagues analyzed data on 10,927 people over age 65 who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017.

Savvy Saving Seniors Financial Education Modules

For many disadvantaged older adults, the path to economic security begins with basic money management. Learning how to budget, avoid scams, apply for benefits, and manage prepaid debit cards can help them stay secure and independent longer.

With support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, NCOA developed the following toolkits to help professionals educate older adults about good money skills. Use them to hold a Savvy Saving Seniors® financial education workshop in your community!
About the Savvy Saving Seniors® materials

Each Savvy Saving Seniors® toolkit comes with all of the marketing, facilitation, participant, and other materials needed to successfully conduct a financial education workshop. Specifically, you’ll get:

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JAN. 22, 2021

Families wrestle with isolation, sadness in nursing homes:
‘Some people really regret being alone’
By Jennifer Johnson, Anna Kim, Steve Schering

Prevented from seeing her father in the early days of the pandemic last year, Janelle Silva thought up a new way to let him know she was near.

During her morning runs, Silva would stop outside Summit of Uptown in Park Ridge and write a message in chalk on the driveway where her father, Henry Silva, could see it when he looked outside the window of his independent living apartment.

“I was doing it so frequently that I would leave chalk pieces underneath the car port in a little nook,” Janelle Silva said.


Why booking a Covid shot isn’t easy

THE PANDEMIC'S NEWEST HURDLE: Anyone who’s ever wrangled RSVPs for a potluck and tried to figure out who’s bringing what might appreciate that scheduling millions of patients for coronavirus vaccines isn’t so simple.

Compounding the problem: There are few health information networks for choreographing such an undertaking from start to finish. Some states have centralized, government-run systems for booking appointments. Others are relying on local governments and the private sector — including, perhaps most notably, the online ticketing platform Eventbrite.

Whatever the system, problems are starting to multiply as the vaccine rollout expands. Patients may not know where to look for scarce appointments. Sometimes-complex forms are dissuading people eligible for shots who aren’t fluent in English or tech-savvy. And there are myriad reports of website outages or other strange user experiences, confounding even health experts.


Joe Biden inauguration: How did the 46th president's speech
compare with previous US leaders?
By Alix Culbertson

Joe Biden has made his inauguration speech after being sworn in as the 46th president - but how did it compare to previous US leaders?

Most presidents use their speech to talk about themes and are generally short on specifics - but not all.

Sky News looks at Mr Biden's speech, and back at the previous three presidents' addresses.

FRIDAY JAN 15 - THURS. JAN 22 2021

A Week of Ups and Downs
4 minutes

The inauguration overshadowed most of the past week’s news. While that is important for those here at the ALF and many other assisted living facilities across the state and nation, COVID-19 remains foremost in our minds.
The virus has taken its toll on our emotional health as much as it has on our physical wellbeing.
Last Friday they ushered me into the office and asked me to sign a consent form ahead of our receiving our first COVID-19 shot. A shot that we should have received a month ago. While that was good news, I became disheartened when I leaned it would be another month (Feb. 14th) before we would get the vaccine.

Then just this past Tuesday they informed us they rescheduled the vaccinations for tomorrow, Saturday. With that news came even better news. The facility would immediately resume visitations from friends and family. Many residents haven’t seen their loved ones since early fall.
 Unfortunately, just as that good news was settling in, they informed us a staff member had tested positive for the virus, once again forcing them to end in-person visitation for at least another 10 days.
This is the emotional roller coaster they have subjected residents of long-term care facilities to for nearly ten months.

We cannot end a weekly wrap-up without mentioning what is perhaps the most significant event in American history in over 100 years. We took back our democracy.

With the simple act of placing his hand on a bible and repeating the oath of office, Joe Biden ended four years of uncertainty, lies and relentless attacks on our Constitution by a megalomaniac bully and put us on a road which, hopefully, will end with America being the vision of freedom and democracy the world expects and respects.

While it was encouraging to see that the nationwide anti-Biden demonstrations did not take place, we cannot forget the forces of evil have not disappeared with Trump’s departure. Even with his final public speech given to a small crowd of well-wishers on a windswept tarmac, Trump was still as convinced as ever he won the election. And while he halfheartedly wished his successor well, (his exact words were “good luck’’) he left no doubt in his supporters’ minds that he intends to continue to be a thorn in our side for years to come. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

As I mentioned, I’m getting my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday (unless they screw us again). I’ll be sure to let you know how that worked out when we meet again on Monday. I plan to take my Camera, so look for pics……………


It’s Not Your Parents’ Hip Replacement Surgery

If I’ve learned anything during nearly six decades of reporting on medical science, it’s that the longer you wait, the better the methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment are likely to become. That’s true for almost every field of medicine — cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology, etc. And it may be particularly relevant for orthopedic surgery, a specialty facing ever-increasing demands from an aging population with bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles that break down after decades of wear and tear.

Although repairing these body parts is rarely urgent, many people endure painful joints for years, even decades, often out of fear of surgery. The delay can have both obvious risks of ongoing pain and increasing disability, as well as unexpected consequences like injury to previously healthy muscles and joints that are overstressed as a result.

I have good news for people with degenerated hip joints that are in serious need of replacement. The last decade has seen significant incremental improvements in surgical techniques and the ability to fit patients with artificial hips that are highly resistant to mechanical failure or a need for revision.

Medicines and You: A Guide for Older Adults

As you age, it is important to know about your medicines to avoid possible problems. As you get older you may be faced with more health conditions that you need to treat on a regular basis. It is important to be aware that more use of medicines and normal body changes caused by aging can increase the chance of unwanted or maybe even harmful drug interactions.

The more you know about your medicines and the more you talk with your health care professionals, the easier it is to avoid problems with medicines.

As you age, body changes can affect the way medicines are absorbed and used. For example, changes in the digestive system can affect how fast medicines enter the bloodstream. Changes in body weight can influence the amount of medicine you need to take and how long it stays in your body.  The circulation system may slow down, which can affect how fast drugs get to the liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys also may work more slowly affecting the way a drug breaks down and is removed from the body.

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JAN. 21, 2021

Can Your New Year’s Resolution Impact Your Longevity?

While 2020 wasn't anything like we planned, most of us have probably forgotten that it started out the same as other years. We rang in a new decade, popped open a bottle of bubbly, and resolved to make some lifestyle changes.

As you might expect, the most popular new year's resolutions involve exercise, healthy eating, weight loss, and financial goals. Last winter, as Americans looked ahead to 2020, two surveys found that these were the most common responses. Of those who planned to make resolutions, 50% said they wanted to exercise more, 49% wanted to save money, 43% wanted to eat healthier and 37% wanted to lose weight, according to YouGov. Similarly, an Ipsos public opinion poll found that more than half of Americans who planned to have a new year's resolution set goals related to finances (51%), eating healthier (51%) and being more active (50%). Also on the list were improving mental well-being (38%) and learning a new skill (22%).


Tech Use Among Seniors 65+
Skyrockets During Pandemics
By Erik Gruenwedel

The pandemic has widened the market for consumer electronics beyond millennials to include aging baby boomers, according to new data from Parks Associates. The Dallas-based research firm finds that during the coronavirus pandemic, 55% of seniors have an online video service subscription like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, while 29% of U.S. seniors ages 65 and older have used video conferencing services, 27% have used telehealth/remote consultation services, and 22% have used a grocery store delivery or pick-up service.

“The shift toward tech service solutions is very pronounced among seniors as a result of COVID-19,” senior analyst Kristen Hanich said in a statement.


Johnson & Johnson Is Working on a COVID-19 Vaccine
That Requires a Single Dose
By Korin Miller

While Pfizer and Moderna both have COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S., other vaccine candidates are still in the works, including a single-dose option from Johnson & Johnson, which has about 45,000 people enrolled in ongoing phase 3 clinical trials. According to early data just released by the company, this vaccine also shows major promise.

Interim phase 1/2a data were published on Jan. 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the results show the company’s vaccine candidate created an immune response in patients for at least 71 days—the full length of time measured in the study so far.

The vaccine was also “generally well-tolerated” in study participants, Johnson & Johnson said in a press release. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are similar, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine also has plenty of differences. Here’s what we know so far, plus what lies ahead.

A Day Of Endings, and Beginnings.

 4 minutes

America has had an abundance of great endings and beginnings.
The end of the American Revolution and the start of a democracy that has held for over 200 years.
The end of a civil war and the re-unification of America.
The end of male-only voting. The end of prohibition and the end to the great depression. All signaling significant turning points in our nation’s history. But perhaps the most momentous ending occurred today at Andrews Air Force base when Air Force One closed its doors and took off carrying a defeated Donald Trump and with him, the foulest, most corrupt. Inefficient and perhaps the most dangerous period for America in modern times. In a day filled with memorable events, for me, that was the best part of the entire day. 

I won’t re-hash the inaugural events. You saw it and you know how important it was that we, and the world, saw it. We were on shaky ground for a while two weeks ago, but now, on the same spot where crazed insurgents forced their way into the foremost symbol of American democracy and tried to widen the divide between us, we heard words of unity and hope.
However, there were highlights I must mention.
I have to admit, a chill went up my spine as I listened to Lady Gaga sing our National Anthem. It was heartfelt and inspired.
And one could not help but notice how Kamala Harris’ face beamed with pride as she took the oath of office.
We will not soon forget the poem, written and read by a heretofore virtually unknown young Black woman Amanda Gorman, whose words brought smiles and nods of approval from the assembled dignitaries.
And, although not the greatest inaugural address made by an incoming president, it was perhaps the best for our times. Mr. Biden did not fill his speech with the boasts and false promises we have become used to hearing, but with words meant to heal and unite and a promise to always be truthful with the American people.

To paraphrase a popular commercial, the best part of waking up was knowing I can go to sleep tonight with one less worry on my mind and awake tomorrow to a new beginning and hopefully the end to the toxic environment we had to endure these past four years. Sleep well, America……………………….. 

How to Escape From Retirement Hell

Full-stop retirement may not be the fun, relaxing ride you thought it would be. This can be not only disappointing but downright anxiety-provoking, and it can give you that same sick feeling in your stomach that you get from riding a roller coaster.

In the beginning, the ride is pleasant, starting off on a slow, steady incline. The view looks quite nice and things are feeling pretty good — until you hit the sudden drop straight into Retirement Hell. From there, you experience many twists and turns that seem never ending. When you think the ride is about to end, suddenly you get hit by another curve. Thankfully, at some point things start to settle down and you start the long uphill climb out of Retirement Hell.

Being unprepared for retirement often leads to Sudden Retirement Shock, which is Retirement Hell at its worst.

How to Manage Chronic Pain

We are a nation in pain. Pain is the most common presenting symptom for all who seek medical counsel. At best, pain is an immediate sensation signaling that something has gone wrong and needs closer attention. At worst, it disables, depresses and impairs quality of life.

The degree of an individual's pain is a predictor of stress as it lowers feelings of mastery and effectiveness in moving through day-to-day activities.

Historically, pain has been identified by its cause: injury, illness or infection. Because pain is a fully subjective experience — one person's pain cannot be felt by another — a common language provides a level playing field.

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JAN. 20, 2021

The Social Security retirement age could change.
What that could mean for benefits
By Lorie Konish

Many retirees count down the days until they are eligible for Social Security benefits.

But that age could change as lawmakers look to improve the program’s financial outlook.

Social Security’s trust funds are running low. Based on the most recent projections, just 79% of promised benefits will be payable by 2035.

That has prompted Washington lawmakers and Social Security experts to contemplate how to restore the program’s solvency for current and future beneficiaries.


Can you be too old to travel?

Can you be too old to travel? Only you can know the right answer but consider these factors:

Slowing down was the last thing on Elaine Schaefer's mind when she turned 70 last year. She'd enjoyed an ambitious travel schedule for the previous decade, which included a 10-day horseback safari in Botswana and a snorkeling tour of Bora Bora. She didn't feel too old to travel.

Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, with the exception of a cautious staycation or two, she was confined to her home. Being in a high-risk group didn't help. But she says that's not going to stop her.  


Senior living communities can navigate the
pandemic through a ‘nuanced’ approach

A “nuanced approach with attention to details” is necessary for senior living communities to navigate the uncertainties, hesitancies and logistical issues of COVID-19 vaccination, according to Patricia Davidson, Ph.D., dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Nursing.

Davidson made the observation during a COVID-19 vaccination virtual town hall Wednesday for senior living and affordable seniors housing administrators, managers and staff members. A panel of experts from the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing and Public Health, LeadingAge and the Baltimore City Health Department addressed the science behind vaccines, vaccine distribution, messaging strategies, infection prevention vigilance, and other pandemic challenges in senior living communities.

Good News.
And Better News.
4 minutes

First the good news. They informed us Tuesday that they moved the date for our first COVID-19 vaccination to this Saturday instead of the original date of February 14th. It’s the Pfizer version and requires a second shot 21 days later. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end to 10 months of utter hell for all of us here at the ALF.

Besides the vaccine news, they are resuming visitations. They will require visitors to register in advance and go through a screening process before being allowed to meet their loved ones in an area set up inside our facility. This marks the first time since early fall that they have permitted our residents to see their friends and relatives. Visits ended when a couple of staff members tested positive for the virus and the facility had to go back to quarantine mode.

Now, the better news. It’s inauguration day. And it feels like the first day of the rest of our lives.
Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, will take off on Air Force One on his way to his new digs in Florida. And shortly after he lands, he will no longer be president ending a four-year nightmare. At 12 noon, Joe Biden will take the oath of office as president amid one of the most tumultuous periods in our history. It will be like no other inauguration we have ever seen.
American flags replace the crowds, which should have stretched from the steps of the Capitol to the Washington Monument.

The ceremonial ride/walk down Pennsylvania Avenue will not happen because his predecessor left the nation in such shambles they had to restrict entry to Washington DC.  The throngs of cheering people, usually seen on this day will not be there. Instead, armed law enforcement and military personnel will take their place.

But even the extraordinary security cannot dampen the spirits of millions of Americans who have waited for this day.
The election of Joe Biden is vindication for so many of us who witnessed what could have been a complete breakdown of our society. We will probably never know how close we came to losing it all. What if that riotous mob got to members of Congress and did them harm? What if they hung the Vice President or Nancy Pelosi? Or held them hostage. They would have accomplished what our enemies could never do. Take down the government of the United States.

Mr. Biden has a big job ahead. But it’s important for us not to expect too much too soon. Most of what he will do is try to undo what Trump did. That will take time and cooperation from both sides of Congress. Not a simple task. But, just as Trump was the worst person we could have had as our leader during this, the most dangerous period in American history, Joe Biden might be the best. He is a Washington professional with friends on both sides of the aisle. Just the man we need right now.
Like millions of people around the world, I’ll be glued to the TV. I might even put pants on.………………………….


Science Confirms That People
Who Speak To Their Pets Are Smarter

Have you ever spoken to your pet thinking you went crazy? You can now calm yourself down since studies have shown that talking to your pet doesn’t mean you are nuts but smart.

Pet owners often talk to their beloved furry companions. Many who don’t own pets might think that people who talk to their pets should go check themselves. But it’s now official, people who speak to their pets are smarter than those who don’t.

Studies have shown that people who have conversations with their pets considered to be of higher intelligence. Anthropomorphizing is the act of attributing human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, animals, plants, etc.

48% of Older Households Are Making
This Dangerous Social Security Mistake
By Maurie Backman

Here's how you can avoid falling into a similar trap.

It's no secret that Social Security is a major income source for many retirees today, but some older Americans are relying too heavily on those benefits. In fact, 48% of households aged 55 and over have no retirement savings or pension outside of Social Security, reports the Senior Citizens League. Nearly half of seniors today risk falling behind on their bills and struggling to make ends meet.

Why Social Security alone won't cut it

The average senior on Social Security today collects $1,523 a month, or $18,276 a year. That's not a lot of money to live on to begin with. When we look at healthcare costs alone, those benefits start to look even weaker.

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JAN. 19, 2021

Joe Biden, 78, will lead an American gerontocracy
By Dan Zak

When he was born, Americans were rationing coffee and bootlegging gasoline. Schoolchildren were salvaging newspaper for the war effort, smearing their hands with ink about Hitler and Hirohito. On the radio, Louis Prima was playing “That Old Black Magic.” In Scranton, Pa., the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas were preparing to read “The Song of Bernadette.” And less than a week after baby Joey Biden was brought home from St. Mary’s Hospital, in November 1942, a film premiered in which a jaded nightclub owner steps off the sidelines and back into the fight.

“I’m no good at being noble,” Humphrey Bogart would say to Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca,” “but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

Joey Biden, stepping back into the fight in January 2021, is now 78 — 78.2, if you want to be actuarial. Technically a late-stage ...


Frustrations Boil at Pace of Vaccinations
at Long-Term Care Facilities
By Rebecca Robbins

In mid-December, a top Trump administration official floated an enticing possibility: All nursing home residents in the United States could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Christmas. “It’s really a remarkable, remarkable prospect,” Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, declared.

It turned out to be a fantasy.

A month later, vaccinations of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens are going more slowly than many state officials, industry executives and families expected. Their hopes had been buoyed when government officials said long-term care facilities would be at the front of the line for vaccines.


Nursing homes make big push to change
minds of workers who refused vaccination
By Suzy Khimm

The pandemic has taken a deadly toll on A.G. Rhodes Cobb, a nursing home on the outskirts of Atlanta. Twelve residents have died after contracting Covid-19. Forty-four staff members have fallen ill.

But despite their up-close look at the virus's impact, most workers at the facility have been reluctant to get vaccinated. At the three clinics held last month at A.G. Rhodes Cobb and two other facilities in Georgia run by the same company, about 30 percent of staff members chose to get vaccinated, while 57 percent of residents opted in, according to management.

"Some people think if you get the vaccine, you'll get sick. And some are afraid and distrusting of the government," said Sonya Williams, the activities director at A.G. Rhodes Cobb, who was vaccinated in late December. Williams, 42, is now encouraging her hesitant colleagues to do the same — pointing to her own experience as proof that the vaccine is safe. "The faster we can all get it, the faster we'll be able to move forward," she said.

He Had One Job…
(and he failed miserably)

 5 minutes

In the coming months and years, there will be many programs, books and articles on the Trump years. Most, I assume, will not be favorable to his legacy. A good number of them will list his failures, of which there were many. They will delve into his criminal activity, his collusion with foreign powers and his incitement to riot and seize the Capitol. And we will view all as an important witness to one of the darkest, if not the weirdest, periods of American history. But his greatest failure is not what he did to the nation, but for what he didn’t do. What he should have done. What he needed to do, but didn’t. And it most likely cost thousands of Americans their lives.

And the saddest thing is that it would have been the simplest and least costly (which is very Republican) thing he could have done. And that was to encourage all citizens to wear a mask, social distance and stay out of crowds and to set an example by wearing a mask in public. But he didn’t and now we are reaping the penalty for such behaviour by having the highest number of cases, and deaths, of any other place in the world.
We could attempt to dissect the reasons for his actions, resulting in several plausible results.
There’s the politics, of course. Nothing the president did was without partisan intent. If the Democrats were “for it”, he was against it. It was a plan of action that worked for him throughout the campaign and the early days of his administration, so why not continue doing it?

Some believe his inaction had to do with machismo. Somewhere, in his twisted mind (and in the minds of many of his supporters) he decided that wearing a mask wasn’t manly. A point he liked to make at those rally’s he loved. He incessantly mocked his rival, Joe Biden, who rarely was seen without a mask, as if to question Biden’s manhood.
But the real reason for his anti-mask stance is not politics or masculinity. It’s all about his failure to act on the information given to him by the WHO and CDC and others early on.
Even after the number of cases rose, he continued to play down the seriousness of the virus. Not because he didn’t know or understand the implications his inaction could have, but because he was too vain, too arrogant to admit he made a mistake. Instead, attempting to blame somebody else, he accused the Chinese of not being forthcoming enough with information about the virus and even withholding PPE for their own use.

Trump has tried to cover his ass by extolling the virtues of his “Operation Warp Speed.”
And in many ways it was successful.
“The Trump administration did help deliver a pair of working vaccines in 2020, with more shots on the way.
But even that hasn’t worked out as promised.
“Governors say the Warp Speed effort has made promises it didn’t keep, with deliveries of doses falling short and reserve supplies exhausted. Physicians and logistics experts have critiqued the disorderly rollout, arguing that the Trump team should have done a better job of coordinating the nation’s mass vaccination effort.” [1]
It’s impossible to put a number on how many of the lives of 400,000 dead Americans they could have saved if Trump had taken a different path. But whether it’s 100,000, 10,000, 5,000 or just one person, we know that all that they could have done was not. And there is only one person to blame…………………...



Luxury senior living platform is
seeking undercover grandma
by Veronika Bondarenko

To see whether luxury housing for seniors truly lives up to the hype, one assisted living search platform is looking for a “glamorous grandma” to go undercover as a tester., a search platform for various assisted living options across the country, is planning to release a repository of senior facilities that call themselves “luxe” — they will typically start at $6,000 a month (an average senior home in the U.S. commands $3,000 a month) and climb much higher. It is offering $500 a month, as well as covering all living and travel expenses, to a senior interested in testing the living arrangements themselves as well as the different amenities (pool, gyms, senior activities) typically offered at these types of luxury facilities.

“We hope to gain a truthful insight into some of the best senior living facilities,” a spokesperson for told Inman in an email. “These facilities are luxurious and therefore not always the most affordable option. It’s important to us that people can make well-informed decisions when investing into living facilities for themselves or their families.”

Food as Medicine:
How What We Eat Can Fight Disease

A renowned doctor recommends adding, not restricting, foods to protect our bodies

Dr. William Li's book "Eat to Beat Disease" isn't a traditional rundown of foods to avoid and cut. It's instead a refreshing guide to the hundreds of healing foods that support the body's defense systems.

Li is an internationally-renowned internal medicine physician, scientist and president and founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation — a nonprofit championing fighting disease through angiogenesis (the process the body uses to grow new blood vessels).

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JAN. 18, 2021

Medicare Beneficiaries Are Facing Crushing
Out-of-Pocket Costs for Prescription Drugs

Sharon Clark is able to get her life-sustaining cancer drug, Pomalyst — priced at more than $18,000 for a 28-day supply — only because of the generosity of patient assistance foundations.

Clark, 57, a former insurance agent who lives in Bixby, Okla., had to stop working in 2015 and go on Social Security disability and Medicare after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. Without the foundation grants, mostly financed by the drug makers, she couldn't afford the nearly $1,000 a month it would cost her for the drug, since her Medicare Part D drug plan requires her to pay 5% of the list price.

"It's just strange you have to make a decision about your treatment based on your finances rather than what's the right drug for you."


COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
Ways Philanthropy Will Support Aging

Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging: How has philanthropy partnered with nonprofits and academic institutions to address gaps in services, funding and research during the COVID-19 crisis?

There are many examples of philanthropic partnerships addressing various aspects of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Committee for a Greater LA, formed at the inception of the pandemic, is an example of philanthropy working with nonprofits and academia. It researches and measures the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable communities in Los Angeles. This effort is funded by a group of philanthropic organizations, including the Annenberg Foundation, but led by community voices and supported by research from UCLA and USC.


Older Adults More Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
By Patrick J. Kiger

More older Americans are warming to the idea of the COVID-19 vaccine, as a new poll finds that 76 percent of people 60 and older want to get the shots and 46 percent would get them as soon they’re available to them.

A new poll of 1,611 U.S. adults by the Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis at Long Island University has found that older Americans’ willingness to be vaccinated has doubled since the center’s poll in October.

Andy Person, the center’s director and chief of strategy, said the results indicate “a considerable positive shift during the past two months in the way Americans are thinking about the vaccine. It suggests that more Americans are optimistic and hopeful that the vaccine is safe and effective.”

Ruffles and Flourishes
5 minutes

President Donald Trump announced on January 8 that he is not going to the inauguration, making him the first POTUS since the 1800s to skip his successor’s ceremony. But instead of  slinking off to Elba[1], or as it’s commonly referred to as Mar-a-Lago, Emperor Trump would like to go out in style.

“Donald Trump wants to leave Washington DC on the final morning of his presidency on a red carpet and with a military band serenading him, it is claimed. The outgoing President of the United States hopes his departure to Florida early on Wednesday morning will have some of the ‘pomp’ he has grown to enjoy during his four years in office,”[2]

Of course, none of this is normal. This is not how the “peaceful transfer of power” should happen. Even if it’s only for show.

I’m sure there was no love lost when outgoing Barack Obama welcomed Donald Trump and Melania to the White House in 2016, but he did it anyway. Not because he liked the new President, but for the good of the Union.
On second thought, it’s probably better Biden won’t be going to the White House on Inauguration morning. Can you imagine the scene at the breakfast table?
Trump, muttering under his breath, “You stole it Joe” while Jill tries to grab the fork from Joe’s hand.
But will Trump leave a note in a drawer of the Resolute desk in the Oval Office for Biden to find as most outgoing presidents have done?
What would such a note be like? The mind boggles.

We know that Trump will fly to Florida Wednesday (before the inauguration) on Air Force One at a cost of over $16,000 per hour. Adding to the multi-million dollar tab, he’s already run up flying to his golf courses around the world. But maybe sending Trump off with a brass band, a twenty-one gun salute, and a flyover is not such a bad idea.

At the very least it could act as “closure” for many Americans who felt that this mans very presence as Commander-in-chief posed a threat, not only to the nation, but for them personally. And, as a bonus, Trump may actually keep quiet for a few weeks while Biden tries to straighten out the mess he left. It may also give some vindication to his supporters in that they weren’t 100% wrong about him because they can say, “See how much America loves him. They’re paying tribute to him.” That means a lot to people who like to drape themselves in the American flag while chanting “Hang Pence” will have some consolation.

Speaking of the Vice President, while I don’t like his politics or his handling of the COVID-19 Task Force, I have to admire his end game. And his good sense.
Refusing to go down with the ship he acted in the best interest of the nation (and himself) by, not only refusing to bend to Trumps outrageous desire to declare the election void, but by formally accepting Joe Biden as the legitimate President-elect to the dismay of those who made a mockery of our democracy.

For some, Trumps departure will wash away much animosity. While for others, the end of the Trump era will foster even more resentment and bitterness.

This will be an interesting week for all of us. The ceremonial end to a tumultuous 4 years on one hand, and the perceived notion that a new administration can make all the nasty stuff go away on the other. I think the best we can hope for is somewhere in between………………………..

[1]The French Emperor Napoleon was exiled to Elba, after his forced abdication following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, and conveyed to the island on HMS Undaunted by Captain Thomas Ussher; he arrived at Portoferraio on 4 May 1814.
[2] Read more:

Rotten egg gas could guard
against Alzheimer's disease

By Lauren Dembeck

Typically characterized as poisonous, corrosive and smelling of rotten eggs, hydrogen sulfide's reputation may soon get a face-lift thanks to Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers. In experiments in mice, researchers have shown the foul-smelling gas may help protect aging brain cells against Alzheimer's disease. The discovery of the biochemical reactions that make this possible opens doors to the development of new drugs to combat neurodegenerative disease.

The findings from the study are reported in the Jan. 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

"Our new data firmly link aging, neurodegeneration and cell signaling using hydrogen sulfide and other gaseous molecules within the cell," says Bindu Paul, M.Sc., Ph.D., faculty research instructor in neuroscience in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead corresponding author on the study.

How to Decide Between Home Care
or Long-Term Care During COVID

Remembering my father's advancing Alzheimer's disease and my 10 years as his co-caregiver, each day brought unexpected challenges, new responsibilities and conflicting emotions (from grief to joy). I helped move him and my mother repeatedly, paid his bills and managed his investments, shuttled him to doctor's appointments and in due course, served as his joint guardian and alternate trustee, making key life and financial decisions for him.

And now there's yet another issue – the coronavirus pandemic, which hasn't just hit long-term care facilities, it's also hitting family caregivers.

Should a loved one stay in a care facility, move elsewhere, come to a family caregiver's home and rely on care provided by one or more family members or receive professional home care?

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JAN. 15, 2021

Older adults struggle to access
COVID-19 vaccine appointment websites

By Nicole Wetsman

Buggy websites and complex online tools are being used to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments across the United States. The systems are hard to navigate for many people, but they’re particularly inaccessible for older adults. People over the ages of 65 and 75 are prioritized for early waves of vaccination and are most at risk from COVID-19 — but they’re also often uncomfortable and unfamiliar with technology.

“The most vulnerable people are left behind even more so than if we hadn’t used more of a technology-oriented solution,” says Ethan Basch, a medical oncologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and physician-in-chief at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital.


Senior communities ease family concerns,
offer independence

By Collin Cunningham

As loved ones grow older and families begin to discuss assisted living or nursing home options, the most difficult step is often getting everyone on the same page to coordinate what types of services are needed and where to go for them.

That’s why residential facilities and assistance programs take steps to ensure patients retain their independence.

According to Kelly Rose Stallard, corporate director of business development at Danbury Senior Living Communities in North Canton, and Leslie Fulford, director of community outreach for Wexner Heritage Village in Columbus, many older adults are hesitant to relocate because they feel like they’re surrendering their sovereignty in exchange for assistance.


The top benefits of being over 65 are being free to speak your mind,
a seemingly endless supply of spare time –
and finding pleasure in the little things

The top benefits of being over 65 are being free to speak your mind, a seemingly endless supply of spare time – and finding pleasure in the little things.

A poll of 2,000 UK adults aged 65 and over, found that half think having grandchildren is the best blessing to be found in later years – with more than a third proclaiming it to be even better than parenthood.

Realising there is more to life than work, wearing clothes for comfort and not feeling pressure to do anything you don't want to, also featured in the top 30 list.

The week began much the same as it ended the previous Friday, with the smell of last week’s riot still fresh.
The Democrats pushed Vice President Mike Pence to consider a bill to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. Nobody believed that would ever happen, but they had to ask.
So it was on to Plan B. Impeachment. And that did not take long.
The Democratically controlled House Of Representatives wasted no time voting in favor of impeaching the president for an unprecedented 2nd time. It’s now up to the Senate to complete the job. And, while it’s unlikely to happen quickly (or at all) the debate could continue long after Trump leaves office Next Wednesday. The idea is to make sure Trump can’t ever run for president again, even though it’s not sure whether impeachment prevents him from doing so.

On Wednesday, Washington DC prepared for next week’s inauguration by locking down and beefing up security around the Capitol, the sight of Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ swearing in ceremony. In addition, over 20,000 National Guard Troops are on duty to make sure a repeat of last week’s siege on the Capitol does not happen.
And overshadowing everything, the nemeses that has affected more Americans than any single incident in our history, COVID-19, continues to run rampant through every facet of society. And despite that we have a vaccine(s) to help guard against it, we have failed in our efforts to get it into the arms of our citizens. The 20 million people that were supposed to be vaccinated by January never happened because the administration failed in its duty to devise a plan to accomplish what the president bragged about for months. 

On a more personal note, we here at the ALF finally received a memo regarding when they will vaccinate us. The date is February 14th, with a second dose delivered on March 17th. A little late, but it’s a start. We should have had both doses weeks ago. But, as our president says, “It is what it is.”


Biden lays out $1.9 trillion Covid relief package with $1,400 stimulus checks

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to lay out his $1.9 trillion relief package in a primetime address on Thursday — which will focus on a new round of stimulus checks to struggling Americans and an ambitious vaccine distribution plan to control the deadly pandemic.

Biden will ask the new Democratic-controlled Congress to approve the “American Rescue Plan.” A chunk of the funds —$416 billion— will help launch a national vaccination program with a goal of vaccinating 50 million Americans and reopening schools in the first 100 days of his administration.

His speech comes as the pandemic continues to worsen. According to NBC News' Covid-19 data tracker, there have been 384,375 deaths and more than 23 million cases in the U.S. [1]

Have a great weekend. Wear a mask, Stay away from crowds, appreciate your loved one’s. And stay safe……………

5 Reasons Why Disability Issues Should
Be A Higher Priority, Even Now

By Andrew Pulrang

The phrase “Everything that’s going on” has rarely been so potent.

Presidential Election results have been openly challenged in Congress. The Capitol building itself has been physically attacked by a wild but disturbingly directed mob. The Covid-19 pandemic seems to be escalating everywhere. So it may be tempting for elected officials and political strategists to set seemingly specialized concerns aside in 2021 and focus just on a few of the perceived “fundamentals” that are understood to affect “everyone,” rather than narrower “special interests.”

Disability issues in particular risk being sidelined even more than they usually are. Despite some notable recent success in bringing disability policy to the attention of politicians, disability is still widely regarded as a niche concern. Conventional wisdom might suggest that with American democracy literally teetering on the brink, matters like Social Security rules, disability rights laws, and even health care eligibility should be put not just on the back burner, but in the deep freeze for the foreseeable future.

Best Medical Alerts - 2021
By Joe Schwartz

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Medical Alerts

Medical alert systems are lifesaving devices that bring peace of mind to seniors and people of all ages who live alone and have medical conditions which may require emergency assistance. Not sure which medical alert system is right for you? Find the answers to the most important questions about medical alert systems below to get started.

Who Is the Medical Alert Monitoring Service Right For?

Medical alert systems make sense for seniors and people of all ages that live alone or spend long periods of time alone and may require emergency medical assistance. This can include those with medical conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, seizures, heart conditions, or those with a history of falling. In the event of an emergency situation, the person can quickly contact operators to have them dispatch police, ambulance, or firefighters or alert designated caregivers and contacts.

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JAN. 14, 2021

Ways the New COVID-19 Relief Law Will,
and Won't, Help Older Americans

One little-known provision: landmark funding to curb elder abuse and assist victims

During a graduate course I taught this fall for Virginia Tech, I presented a basic reality of the legislative process in Washington, D.C.: it often goes from the perfect to the possible to the passable. The new COVID-19 relief law is a perfect illustration, especially for older Americans.

In October 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill which would have provided about $2.2 trillion in emergency aid. For aging services programs, it constituted "the perfect," with $1.175 billion allocated to elder justice programs, housing assistance, government nutrition benefits, nursing home strike teams and more.


Seniors Need A Boost in Social Security Due to Covid 19

An eye - popping new list compiled by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) indicates that, by late 2020, price increases for many of the expenditures of older Americans far outstripped the modest 1.3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) boost that Social Security recipients start receiving this month. “This list is a snapshot of how COVID-19 affected prices of certain items through the end of November 2020,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “There are surprising price aberrations that we haven’t seen before,” Johnson says. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that toilet paper and disinfecting wipes could wind up on our annual list of fastest growing retiree costs,” Johnson says.

The far greater worry, however, is a sharp increase in almost every source of quality protein — including meat, poultry, and even canned tuna. “With many meat price increases in the double digits, we are highly concerned that older households may not be getting adequate supplies of protein in their diets,” Johnson says. “This was a nationwide problem prior to the pandemic, and the problem has been exacerbated by shortages and disruptions during the pandemic,” she points out.


The Essential Caregiver Program:
An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The Essential Caregiver (EC) program is a simple concept: Allow a single person, a family member or loved one, to have a controlled visit and help someone in senior living, even during times of restricted visitation, in order to counter the often severely detrimental health effects of loneliness and social isolation.

But the implementation of an EC program takes some care, collaboration, and preparation. Processes and rules vary from state to state, and it can be tough to push change in a time of crisis.

However, having a blueprint for an EC program can make the process easier. As several states, including Indiana, Minnesota, and Oklahoma established programs, they began to share their lessons learned.

Coming Together

4 minutes

I watched the circus that played-out Wednesday in the House of Representatives and shook my head. What a waste of time.
Yes, you heard right. Me, a person who is about as left wing as an old man can get, thinks that impeaching the president is a waste of time and will do more to hurt the incoming president than anything the Conservative Republican wacko’s could do.
Do I think Trump incited a riot? Although he did nothing to stop it, and he may have even condoned such action, the people we saw storming the Capitol could have cared less what the president said or did. They came to do what insurgents do, to destroy the rule of law and extend their agenda of hate. At the very worst, all Trump did was give the “kids” permission to play with matches.

Now, before you think I’ve been sipping the Kool-Aid and gone over to the dark side, let me clarify.

Trump is not the cancer. He is only a symptom. A big bad pus-filled symptom, but a symptom none the less. And any attempt to pop that pustule will only result in the cancer to metastasize to every corner of America.

This second attempt by Democrats to remove the president from office is being done out of spite. And they are doing themselves and Mr. Biden a disservice by continuing this futile attempt to punish a man who is un-punishable. Un-punishable because he has no sole, no guilt and cares for nobody but himself. Can you punish a cockroach for being a cockroach?

Joe Biden needs to come into office with as little trouble on his plate as possible. His number one priority must be getting a handle on the virus that will do more to harm to our country than any face-painted, Confederate-flag-waving domestic terrorist can do. And the only way that can be done is by getting as many Americans to do the right thing. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, social distance and stop believing COVID-19 doesn’t exist. And he can’t do that with over half of the nation angry at the other half.
Trump needs to be made accountable for what he did. Not just for his actions since the election but for four years of picking at a scab on a wound he knew would never heal. But shaming him or censuring him or calling him names won’t mean a thing to a man who is shameless. The only way to make a dent in that orange veneer is to remove him from the public view. Give him no platform from which to spew hit rhetoric. Scrape his name from the halls of government and let the people that can cause real trouble for him, like the Attorney General of N.Y. State, do their thing.

Maybe I’m mellowing in my golden years. Or perhaps I’ve had enough. Being confined to a 15 x 20 foot room, isolated from friends and relatives, eating boring food and watching TV all day will do that to you. I just want this all to end. Preferably, sometime before I die. And we will not get there if we continue to follow a path of vindictiveness and animosity……......................

The Perils of Downsizing

Okay, I'm gonna blame this on my husband because husbands are good for that sort of thing. But the truth? I should have known better. When Bob and I decided to downsize from a three-story house to a three-bedroom condo, there was the inevitable deciding what would go, what would stay, what would be given away, what would be discarded.

As we made our decisions, it became increasingly clear to me that what I found most painful to part with was my vast library of hundreds, probably thousands, of books.

Case of colorful books, downsizing, downsize, next avenue
Credit: Adobe

Bob was unsympathetic. He'd downsized twice before and had had no difficulty getting rid of books that he'd already read. What could I possibly want with all those yellowing and often crumbling pages that I'd likely never look at again?

How to Spot and Stop Fake News

Though we've been debating the validity and consequences of partisan news since the dawn of cable television, it seemed the concept of "fake news" — and a tangible, almost viral fear of it — sprung up almost overnight during the final throes of the presidential campaign.

Some people credit fake news for clinching the presidency for Donald Trump after a BuzzFeed News investigation showed that made-up news stories got more engagement on Facebook in the final three months leading to the election than did stories from the top news sources in the country. (Facebook's COO denies this had anything to do with the election results.) The Washington Post profiled a man who writes viral fake news for a living and believes "Donald Trump is in the White House because of me." And, of course, our news feeds were filled recently with the cautionary tale of the man who was so outraged by the fake news story he had read about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place in Washington, D.C., he went to the restaurant and fired an assault rifle inside of it. (Nobody was hurt.)

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JAN. 13, 2021
Fears of 'twindemic' recede as
US influenza rates stay low
By Lauren Aratani

As Covid-19 continues to surge in the US, with a record number of more than 4,000 virus deaths on Friday, some good news has come from data about the flu.

During a typical flu season, the number of people getting the flu would just be starting to rise, with the peak typically coming in February. Yet so far, only 0.2% of 400,000 swabs for the flu have been positive, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the same time last year, the positivity rate was 13%.

With hospitals across the country near or at capacity with Covid-19 patients – about 132,000 people are currently hospitalized with Covid – flu’s minimal presence is a blessing. At least 38 million Americans had the virus during the 2019-20 season. While the flu is less deadly than Covid-19, it has the potential to strain the healthcare system during a bad year. Last year, 400,000 people were hospitalized with the flu and 22,000 died from it.


5 Ways to Earn Extra Money in 2021
Without Leaving the House

Maybe your savings account took a major hit in the pandemic. Or maybe you racked up some holiday debt on your credit cards that you're eager to pay off. There are plenty of good reasons to boost your income this year, and the good news is that you don't have to take a single step outside your door to do so. Here are some viable side gigs you can pull off from the comfort of home.

1. Become an online tutor

Unfortunately, remote learning is causing a lot of students to fall behind this academic year. But that means you have an opportunity to earn money as a tutor. If you're strong in math, you can help children navigate everything from algebra to precalculus. And if you're good at science, you can assist students struggling with key concepts. There are a number of online tutoring services you can sign up to work with (just search online and a bunch of names will pop up), but you can also try venturing out on your own -- you may earn more money that way and have more flexibility. Ask around with nearby schools, since some are likely to maintain lists of tutors.


Report ‘grabby’ assisted living operators
taking stimulus checks, FTC tells consumers

With a second round of stimulus checks on the way to many Americans, the Federal Trade Commission is advising consumers to report “grabby” assisted living and nursing home operators who try to take residents’ checks.

Lois C. Greisman, an elder justice coordinator with the FTC, said in a Jan. 4 blog post that communities and facilities that try to do so should be reported to the FTC and to the attorney general in the state where the effort is occurring.

The checks are meant for individuals, not for the assisted living communities or nursing homes where some recipients may live, said Greisman, who had made a similar post in May when the first round of so-called economic impact payments were issued.


Sometimes I think there are more people reading this blog than the statistics show because, as if by magic, my prayers, and the prayers of hundreds of residents of assisted living facilities in New York State have been answered. We have just received this memo from our administrator…

While the news is encouraging, the late date at which they scheduled us to receive the vaccine is not. We should have been much higher on the list (at least up there with nursing homes). At least for our staff. It also appears that CVS was also in error when they said last week, they would vaccinate all ALF residents and staff by the end of January. In any event, it’s nice to know they haven’t completely forgotten us.


5 minutes

Don’t you wish you could point your TV remote out the window and change the channel? Maybe to a world where there are just cuddly animals frolicking in a pristine glade somewhere. At the very least, we wouldn’t have to watch this never-ending s**t-show of a soap opera playing out in front of our eyes. Unfortunately, like actual TV soap’s, this one will not end just because its star leaves the show. The only thing that will happen on January 20th is that some members of 

the cast will change. The plot will remain the same, but will we enjoy it as much?
Yes, I said, “enjoy.”
C’mon. Admit it. Didn’t you enjoy getting up every morning, turning on the TV to see what dumb-ass thing He said overnight, and then talking about it with your friends? Face it. It was the best thing on TV.

What we are witnessing now is what the networks call “A trailer.” The few seconds after the main show ends when they let you know what to look for in the next episode. They show just enough to whet your appetite and leave you wanting more.
Oh! You want no more of this drama that has been playing out the last four years? Or maybe you just were hoping for a different ending. The one where the good guys win and the bad guys get what’s coming to them? Sorry to disappoint you, but we haven’t seen, or heard, the last of this story line.

Why? Because there are over 74 million “viewers” in the guise of a political party that don’t want to see it end. And the people who have promoted this melodrama know it. They realize most of the “audience” are mindless twits, but the producers can’t ignore their presence.  
Our only hope for a better performance rests on the shoulders of the new cast of characters and it’s star. The polished, classically trained performer who knows what lines to speak and when to speak them. He also knows what every seasoned artist knows. You don’t excel by upstaging others. Instead, you act as part of an ensemble whose goal is to give a good show that makes the audience want to stand up and cheer.

Okay. I think I’ve exceeded my allotment of soap opera references. But you can’t deny that if this were a novel or a made-for-TV movie, you would dismiss as being too far-fetched to be plausible. At least so far as the last chapter is concerned.

How many Americans, Democrat or Republican, could have foreseen what 
we have witnessed the past three-plus months. That is the total moral and mental breakdown of the President of the United States.
It’s true, many knew Trump’s term in office would be a disaster. After all, how could a man whose primary purpose for running was to undo everything his predecessor did just to e
ndear himself to a far right-wing element of the Republican party possibly amass enough support to make him the driving force in American politics. Of course, they were wrong, and we ended up with a divided nation and a tarnished democracy. 
And let us not forget this. The sub-plot and the protagonist of the play. The COVID-19 virus that has taken over and controlled every facet of our lives for nearly a year. That is one character that won’t go away soon. It will be “carried over” for many seasons and episodes to come. Stay tuned, viewers. The show ain’t over………....... 

How to Find and Listen to Great Podcasts

While exploring everything from entertainment to education, here are some smart suggestions to enhance your experience

The pandemic has led even the most technologically averse to embrace new ways to use computers and mobile devices.

While many of us began using online video chats during COVID-19 to stay connected with friends and loved ones, online content consumption for our individual enjoyment has also increased in popularity.

Overview of Senior Living Options:
Where Do I Start?

There are many things to consider when the time comes to downsize from a large family home, such as: what kind of community is going to meet your needs and wants? What can you afford?  What do you want the next chapter of your life to look like? My goal is to give you a quick overview of the various choices available, along with the associated costs. This information should help direct your search and save you time.

Highest level of support: Skilled Nursing will provide all meals and all levels of care that can be provided outside of a hospital setting. Short-term stays for rehabilitation are usually paid for by Medicare and supplemental insurance. Average age is 85, and programs/activities are limited.  Long-term stays are privately paid (unless you have a long-term care insurance policy) and the average cost is between $8,000 and $12,000 per month.

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JAN. 12, 2021

Research Reveals Increasing Rates
of Food Insecurity in Older Adults
By Olive Marie

New research published in the American Geriatric Society on January 5, 2021, indicates that between 2007 and 2016, limited access to nutritious foods or food insecurity due to lack of financial resources rose substantially from 5.5 percent to 12. 4 percent among older adults in the United States and such an increase was more noticeable among people with a lower wage.

The study, EurekAlert reported, which collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found, too, those older adults who experienced food insecurity tended to have lower quality in terms of diets.

According to Cindy Leung, ScD, MPH, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who's also co-author of the study, their results offer more evidence that food insecurity "is a serious health concern among older adults."


NY extending COVID-19 shots to people
over 75 and essential workers
By Bart Jones

Teachers, police, firefighters and people over 75 years of age will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as early as Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, though he cautioned that doses remain in short supply and people likely will wait weeks to months for their first shots.

Cuomo expanded the group currently eligible — largely health care workers and nursing home residents — as he announced he is dramatically expanding the state’s distribution and vaccination network.

Health care workers will remain the priority, he said Friday, but in theory some people in Phase 1b could get a vaccine next week.


Loss of smell in mild Covid-19 cases
occurs 86% of the time, study says
By Sandee LaMotte

Some 86% of people with mild cases of Covid-19 lose their sense of smell and taste but recover it within six months, according to a new study of over 2,500 patients from 18 European hospitals.

A case of Covid-19 was considered mild if there was no evidence of viral pneumonia or loss of oxygen and the patient was able to recover at home.

The sense of smell reappeared after an average of 18 to 21 days, the study found, but about 5% of people had not recovered olfactory function at six months.


How the senior living industry
can heal itself and all of us
By Jacquelyn Kung, Robert G. Kramer and Ed Frauenheim

COVID-19 gave the senior living industry a black eye.

But the industry, still reeling from the deaths of many older residents and the workers who serve them, has a unique opportunity to recover its reputation, reframe its aspirations, and offer hope on a wider scale. Recent events can prompt us to rethink how we view senior citizens and help us engage elders in the work of healing a divided nation.

Few industries have been as wounded by COVID-19 as the senior housing and care sector. The statistics are eye-popping. “Residents of long-term care facilities constitute less than 1% of the U.S. population, yet 43% of all COVID-19 deaths through June occurred in those places,” AARP Bulletin reported in December. “The number has changed little since.”


6 minutes

There are so many things going on in our nation and state that take priority over me and my problem. I understand that. After all, I’m just an old man tucked away in a nondescript assisted living facility in a suburb of a city that is trying desperately to deal with ever-increasing hospitalizations and deaths because of a second-wave of the COVID-19 virus. But if I don’t speak out, I fear my voice, and the voices of thousands of residents of the over 300 ALF’s in the State of New York will never be heard. After all, no one has listened to us for over 300 days.

I don’t know why they have made assisted living facilities and the people who call them home the “orphans” of the healthcare system. Perhaps it’s because of a notion that ALF’s are nothing more than resorts for old people whose only concern is are there enough Bingo markers for everybody. Or that we somehow have a “special immunity” to the virus because we are self-contained and therefore not as likely to come in contact with infected people. All of which is false.
If that were true, why have they forced us to endure the strictest isolation measures in the state. ALF residents have been literal prisoners from the beginning of the COVID crisis and haven’t let up one iota.
From day one, March 15th, 2020, they put us on notice that all they would suspend all activities. They would serve all meals in our rooms. There will be no congregating among residents. And we all had to wear masks anytime we left our rooms for any reason.
They have not allowed us to leave the facility for any reason except medical. And when we return from those visits, they put us into quarantine and not permitted to leave our rooms for two weeks. And, as if to make sure that we received the entire “prison experience”, they ended all in-person visits from friends and family. Talk about the “Threat to Democracy.” I don’t recall anybody asking us how we felt about all that.

Amazingly, we did not complain. We went along with all the over-the-top rules, regulations and indignities believing it would be for only a brief time. But weeks became months and now, those months have become what feels like a lifetime with no end in sight.
There was a brief time when we thought we might actually see some light at the end of the tunnel when they announce that they had developed a vaccine with seniors in long-term facilities among the first to be vaccinated. But that was not to be. At least not for us seniors who are residents of assisted living facilities. Instead of them “fast-tracking” us to the top of the list. They put us in a relative no-man's-land behind drug addicts and prison inmates. And as of today, we still have no idea when we will get the shot.[1]

Part of the problem stems from us having no voice.

There are a few organizations representing the owners and management of assisted living facilities, but none who have our interests at heart. No one to say “enough is enough.” No one to cry “foul.” Even the media has given us only a cursory glance, with very few articles written that give our plight the recognition it deserves. I guess we are not dying in sufficient quantities enough to warrant any respect.

And so we sit here, waiting and waiting. CVS, the distributors and the organization designated to be the ones who give us the vaccine said they hope to have all patients in nursing homes and residents of assisted living facilities vaccinated by the end of this month. I’m not holding my breath.

The way the state and federal government has handled the entire distribution and administration of the vaccine has been nothing less than immoral and has added to the suffering of thousands.  
Eventually they will inoculate us, and as if it never happened, they will have forgotten the shameful way they have treated us during this entire filthy mess. But I won’t. I’m looking forward to becoming the thorn in the side of everyone who treated us in this deplorable manner…………………………..

[1] Editor’s note: That includes the staff (front-line workers) too.

Why Backers of Intermittent Fasting
Believe It Can Slow Aging
By Sarah Sloat

At the offices for HVMN, the workplace culture is all about fasting. At the San Francisco-based biohacking startup, formerly known as Nootrobox, fasting can be as short as two days or as long as 60 hours.

The ethos at HVMN (it’s pronounced human) is that intermediate fasting is just one of the routes to optimizing human performance — cognitively, and physically. The end-game? Anti-aging and longevity.

“When people think about fasting, they think about weight loss or weight management, and for us, it’s very much like okay, we’re not going to lose weight,” Geoff Woo, the CEO and co-founder of HVMN, tells Inverse. “We’re trying to get more productive, more cognitive function, and potentially live longer. Great. We’ll try it.”

Understanding the Social Security Rules
for Widows and Widowers

During a recent Minnesota Public Radio program I hosted about Social Security, I was surprised at the number of callers with questions and complaints about the program's survivor benefits for widows and widowers.

One caller protested the "unfairness" of the benefits since she felt they ignored her own work years and contributions. Another worried that it was only by happenstance — reading an article — that she learned she qualified for benefits. "Widows should know about this," she said.

So, let me try to explain what Social Security's survivor benefits are, what they mean for widows and widowers and how President-elect Joe Biden wants to enlarge and clear up confusion about them.

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JAN. 11, 2021

Nature-based therapy can boost immune
system function among older adults, study finds

By Beth Ellwood

A new study suggests that contact with nature can alleviate the aging immune system. Older adults who partook in six-months of horticultural therapy showed reduced T-cell exhaustion and inflammation. The findings were published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A.

As the immune system ages and declines, older adults are left with a greater risk of infection, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. While there are existing medical interventions that target age-related changes in the immune system, these procedures are costly and difficult to carry out over a wide population.

Study authors Glenn Choon Lim Wong and team describe a psychosocial intervention that has shown promise among the older population. Horticultural Therapy (HT) combines the mental health benefits associated with nature activities with the added physical benefits of breathing clean, less-polluted air and engaging in physical exercise. The researchers conducted an intervention study to explore HT as a potential candidate for improving immunological fitness.


How is Technology Making Senior Care Efficient
By Prateek Saxena

The great businesses of the 20th century are a product of the labor of baby boomers who’ve stepped on to the senior citizenship mantlepiece. Now, at a juncture when society must bend over backward to extend all the necessary help to the elderly, it finds itself in a rather embarrassing spotlight.

The ratio of available healthcare assistants for every senior citizen is dwindling. This downward drift is attributed to the increasing demographic numbers for those aged over 60. This cohort will experience an impending growth in the next decade at speeds that are 56% higher than for the rest of the global populace, further exacerbating the situation.

One way to curtail this unhealthy gap between the seniors and technology relies on, well, technology. With widespread sensors, wearables, and smart health IT systems, the opportunity cost for entrepreneurs who miss out on the future technology for the elderly could be huge. Let us find out how!


How to Manage Stress When
It’s Affecting Your Health

Diana Zwinak, 53, was a teacher in a rural district outside Chicago when she developed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder where antibodies chronically attack the thyroid. “Basically, my thyroid stopped functioning,” says Zwinak. Her doctor’s recommendation: “You have got to get rid of some of your stress.” The stress she was under was causing her adrenal system to shut down.

Zwinak’s doctor told her point-blank that she was taking years off her life. So, Zwinak did what many people faced with this news don’t — she took a good look at her stress and made a major change in her life.

Ask anyone who is trying to get their psoriasis under control, manage heart disease or suffering with anxiety and you'll hear that managing stress is one of their toughest goals.

Yay! We Won. But What Exactly?
5 minutes

If these were normal times, the time when America was not insane, we would be looking forward to a new year and a new administration with all the possibilities that could bring.

The country needs so much in the way of healthcare, housing, upgrading our crumbling infrastructure, education, expanding renewable energy and a myriad of other social reforms that have been totally neglected the past four years. Neglected, not because there were no bills or proposals on the
Congressional calendar, but neglected out of spite driven by the one man and his legislative cronies whose idea of the perfect society was personal enrichment. And he did it by appealing to the one group that he knew would support him. The racists, bigots, Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white trash who, although we don’t like to admit it, constitute a large part of American society.  

It was those people who became his “base”, the same people we watched storm our Capitol, with larceny, hate and insurrection in their hearts, all to keep a misogynist racist, not to mention insane bully, in power.

It was only until after that siege last Wednesday, did the members of his own party awaken from their collective coma and realize what their support has done. And, as if they had all become amnesia victims, they tried to disassociate themselves from him. The worst among them, Ted Cruz who now says he has always had a disagreement with the President. What a load of BS.

We are 8 days away from the inauguration of a new President, and there is talk of impeachment, not that it will actually happen or that it will do much good. Impeachment will only serve to widen the divide between us and keep the hopes and dreams of those who would destroy us alive. The best thing we could do is to forget about him. But we can’t. The damage he has done cannot easily be reversed. Like a cancer, the hatred he has promoted has metastasized and now effects every part of the American character, and will for a long time. Those maniacs we saw at the Capitol are just the tip of the iceberg. And, while they might not represent all of Trump’s supporters, most of Trump’s constituents have still not condemned their actions.  

On January 20th, Joe Biden will preside over a nation where over 74 million people don’t support him and believe that he and the left-wing liberals stole the election. That’s a helluva way to start a new job. But unlike his predecessor, who had no honesty nor honor, Mr. Biden has the capacity and compassion to realize that many Americans have legitimate complaints about the direction our nation is going. Complaints that he will have to address in the next 4 years.

If that were not enough, there is the slight matter of a pernicious virus that has permeated every fabric of our lives to deal with.

Can he deal with all of this? Yes. Not because he is a superman or genius, but because he will listen and take advice from the people he has selected to be in his cabinet and the person he selected as his running mate.

And there is one other thing.

Our new president is 78 years old. The oldest man ever to take the office. Should that make a difference?

For the answer I refer you to an article in the NY Times by Jennifer Senior in which she says, “tilt the prism” and look at Joe Biden, who will be 78 when he is sworn in, as an inspiration and to be proud of “proof that we, as a culture, still choose wisdom and experience to lead us.” [1]. That’s good enough for me……………………….



Americans begin to feel old
for the first time at this age

The average American feels old for the first time at age 47, according to new research. A new survey of 2,000 Americans over the age of 40 found that the average American starts to actually worry about the effects of aging at age 50. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said one of their biggest fears is aging and getting older. Nearly half of Americans ranked a decline in cognitive function as their biggest aging-related fear. Further to that, 64% said that they are concerned that their mind or normal cognitive function won't last as long as their physical health. Outward perception of old age or aging is less important for most, with only one in four worried about losing their youthful looks, and another 25% fearful of becoming uncool and no longer in tune with what's "hip." Commissioned by Elysium Health and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also found that 56% of Americans actively worry about their brain health. And it may be for good reason, as nearly half of those surveyed said they have a family history of age-related memory loss. In fact, nearly 66% of those polled freely admit their memory is not quite what it was when...

Research Backs These Methods for
Reducing Depression and Anxiety

Looking for relief from garden-variety stressors? Feeling mired in one of life’s larger challenges? Weary of sweating the small stuff? The recently published results of a five-year study show that people who learn stress-intervention skills — and then practice them daily — develop more positive approaches to life.

“The skills, known as a positive emotion regulation intervention, are not specific to any particular kind of stress,” says Judith Moskowitz. “We’ve seen that individuals in all kinds of challenging life circumstances with high levels of depression and stress have the ability to experience positive emotions, and doing that helps them cope better. The same skills also help with daily hassles.”

"When you're hyper-focused on things that are stressful, you don't notice the good things."

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JAN. 8, 2021

CVS aims to finish first round of nursing home
COVID-19 vaccinations by Jan. 25

By Nathaniel Weixel

CVS is on track to finish giving the first of three rounds of COVID-19 shots in nursing homes across the country by Jan. 25, the company said Wednesday.

The Trump administration is partnering with CVS and Walgreens to inoculate nursing home residents and staff against the coronavirus. The campaign launched Dec. 21, and is now underway in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

CVS said it is partnering with nearly 8,000 of the 15,000 skilled nursing facilities nationwide.


U.S. could ramp up slow Covid vaccine rollout by giving
two half volume doses of Moderna shot.

By Jesse Pound

The head of the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccine program said Sunday that health officials are exploring the idea of giving a major group of Americans half volume doses of one vaccine to accelerate the rollout.

Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that one way to speed up immunizations against Covid-19 was to give two half-volume doses of the Moderna vaccine to some individuals.

“We know that for the Moderna vaccine giving half the dose for people between the ages of 18 to 55 — two doses, half the dose, which means exactly achieving the objective of immunizing double the number of people with the doses we have — we know it induces identical immune response to the 100 microgram dose,” Slaoui said.


Survey helps older adults assess
their vulnerability to scams

By David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon

New research suggests that certain risk factors can help indicate which older Americans are most at risk of falling victim to financial scams.

In a national study, Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Michigan, found that our physical and mental health as well as the health of our relationships are important predictors when it comes to our self-reported feelings of our own financial vulnerability.

“Financial health is one part of health along with physical, mental and functional health,” said Lichtenberg.

5 minutes

Wednesday was graduation day for America. It was the day we went from naïve 7th graders to a PHD in politics, government, the Constitution and law. It was the day America learned just how fragile our democracy is. And, if we are lucky, we can mark January 6th, 2021 as the day we learned a valuable lesson. Never again can we take for granted the consequences of electing the wrong man to be our President.
And boy, did we elect the wrong man. Not just for his total inability to do the job, but for using his position to feed his ego to hold on to the only thing that has ever mattered to him, power.

But who is actually to blame for putting a misogynistic egomaniacal bully into a position of being the “Leader of the Free World?”

It would be easy to accuse and criticize the people we characterize as his “base.” But there was no base. There were just a group of average Americans who were not happy with the status quo at the time which, in their minds, leaned too much to the left and therefore (to their way of thinking) meant losing the democracy our forefathers fought and died for. And when they looked at the two candidates for the office, the choice for the person who would best fulfil their needs was obvious.
The lady in the pantsuit represented the new and the future (one where America was not number one) while the slick, plain-talking man in the business suit defined their idea of a tough, no-nonsense executive that would get us back our jobs, restore our economy and our position of world leader. Not such a terrible thing to want. But mixed in with all those patriotic, well-meaning citizens were those whose idea of an ideal America meant something else. Do I have to spell it out?

There were the racists, the Neo-Nazis, the anti-Semites, the anarchists and all those who believe being born male and white gave them superiority over all others. And in Donald Trump they saw just the person to help promote that agenda. They were not wrong. Trump, like the sniveling little rat he is, sniffed them out and gave them someone to rally around. But what they failed to see was while he was sinking his teeth into the whole pie, all they were getting was the crust. And wasn’t even stuffed with cheese. And in the end, he even failed them. Instead of the  world he promised, all he left was a stain on our democracy and a wound that may take years to heal.

Have we learned our lesson? Have we learned that who we trust to hold the keys to the kingdom is not just a popularity contest? Only time will tell. At the very least, I hope we will never take the promises made during a campaign as the truth or as the measure of a man.
Fortunately, we are not ruined for ever. Like an old car whose paint has dulled and whose body is dented and rusted in places, we are still drivable. But it will take a “from the ground-up restoration” by a skilled technician to bring us back to a point where we can truly say “We are great again.” We can only hope that we found that man in Joe Biden. It will be an interesting four years.
We’ll be back on Monday. And may God bless America……………………….

New Year’s Resolutions That Will
Actually Lead to Happiness

By Arthur C. Brooks

“How to Build a Life” is a biweekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness.

If you are someone who follows a traditional religion, you most likely have a day such as Yom Kippur, Ashura, or Ash Wednesday, dedicated to atoning for your sins and vowing to make improvements to your life. But if you are not religious, you might still practice a day of devotion and ritualistic vows of self-improvement each year on January 1. New Year’s Day rings in the month of January, dedicated by the ancient Romans to their god Janus. Religious Romans promised the two-faced god that they would be better in the new year than they had been in the past.

According to the Pew Research Center, historically between one-third and one-half of Americans observe this pagan rite every year by making their own New Year’s resolutions. The most common resolutions are fairly predictable: financial resolutions, like saving more money or paying down debt (51 percent in 2019); eating healthier (51 percent); exercising more (50 percent); and losing weight (42 percent).

Are You "Over The Hill" In Your Job?

Feeling old at work? Maybe a bit over the hill?

Sure, maybe you were once the new kid at work, but those years have passed.

Colleagues used to praise you for your fresh, new ideas and your energy. Now they use words like "experience" and "wisdom." You can't help but think they're all a euphemism for ancient. Maybe those black "over the hill" balloons weren't a joke, but the truth.

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JAN. 7, 2021

Most nursing home residents in the US remain unvaccinated
despite national plans to prioritize the elderly

By Grace Kay

Only about 13% of the roughly 3.26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed to nursing home residents and staff in the US have been administered, according to the CDC.

Nearly 40% of coronavirus-related deaths in the US have taken place in long-term care facilities.
The federal government has partnered with CVS Health and Walgreens to administer vaccines to the majority of long-term care facilities.

About 3 million people live in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and group homes nationwide, 105,000 of which have died from the virus. Residents from long-term care facilities make up nearly 40% of coronavirus-related deaths in the US.


Advocates: COVID-19 Relief Leaves Out
People With Disabilities

Congress approved legislation in late December to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but disability advocates say that their priorities went unaddressed. (Thinkstock)

With a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, Congress yet again denied stimulus payments to some people with disabilities and failed to offer funding for home- and community-based services.

Under pressure, federal lawmakers approved the massive stimulus package after much wrangling in late December. The measure includes $600 cash payments for many Americans — including those receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits — who earn less than $75,000 annually, with tiered amounts beyond that.


Forced to work past their 60s and 70s,
seniors have been hit harder
by COVID-19 economy

Charles Pettus seemingly has everything an employer could want in a prospective hire.

The Rockledge resident has an extensive resume. He's held jobs everywhere from the aerospace industry to, most recently, a hardware store. He had to quit that job earlier this year — because of COVID-19 and his wife's health, he can't risk a job working with the public. A Navy vet, he hopes to go back to work at some point, preferably in a field using his technical and management skills.

One major stumbling block, in a competitive job market magnified by pandemic workplace cuts: He's 80 years old.


Pandemic may put 56 percent of assisted living
operators out of business in a year

As 2020 was ending, President Trump signed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that adds $3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund. That aid can’t come fast enough for assisted living providers, according to a recent survey.

Fifty-six percent of assisted living operators don’t believe they will be in business in a year, due to increased COVID-related costs, according to the survey. It was conducted in November, before the relief package was approved, and results were released in late December by the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living.

“Given the gravity of the situation we are facing with this deadly virus and its impact on our vulnerable community, which cannot be overstated, long-term care facilities, including assisted living communities, require essential funding and support from federal and state governments to reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle said. He called on Congress to direct more funding to senior living and skilled nursing in 2021.


COVID-19 precautions seem to be squashing flu season,
doctors say, while coronavirus rages in California

By Laura Anthony

SAN FRANCISCO -- Amid a deepening pandemic, doctors are crediting masking, hand-washing and distancing with stopping one virulent disease in its tracks--the flu.

"The silver lining is we're not seeing the flu. The flu is almost absent," said Dr. Andra Blomkalns, Director of Emergency Medicine for Stanford Health.

"There's no question this year is an extraordinary year," said Kaiser Permanente flu expert Dr. Randy Bergen, who told ABC7 News that by early January, California would normally see a serious uptick in flu cases, but not this year.

No Words
4 minutes

I had planned an entirely different editorial, but today’s events have left me at a loss for words.  
On Facebook yesterday afternoon I said, “I fell asleep watching the Georgia election results on CNN, and woke up two hours later in a 3rd world country.”
As the cobwebs left my brain and my eyes and ears adjusted to what I was hearing and seeing, I realized I was not looking at a normal protest by a group of disgruntled Trump supporters but an all-out riot and an attempt to take over the Capitol of the United States. And, while I hesitate to call this a coup, it certainly appears to be an insurrection. But that’s not the worst part. The President of the United States encouraged and condoned this entire riot. And then, in a half-hearted effort to restore some order to the situation, Trump appears (on a taped message) telling the rioters that, while he “feels their pain’’ and literally thanks them for their support, suggests they go home in peace. All while continuing in his deranged attempt to reverse the results of the election.

I like to call myself “A Seasoned Citizen.” There is not much I haven’t seen in my 75 years. And, as a New Yorker, I’ve seen a lot. But I never thought I would see this, at least not in a country that calls itself the world’s greatest democracy. We were just one banana peel short of a coup. Fortunately, and to their credit, the “authorities” regained control.
It would be easy to put the blame for this directly on the rioters. But most of those people are just ignorant fools who have no idea how government works, nor do they care.
We could easily accuse the President too. But we now know he is a maniac and may not be in control of all his faculties. And besides, he’ll be gone in two weeks.
We must position the bulk of the blame on the shoulders of those Republican lawmakers who continued to perpetuate the President’s lies of a stolen election even though all the evidence showed otherwise. Those are the really dangerous people in our government, and they need to be made accountable for the damage they have done to our democracy. [1]

The dawn will break over our land as it has always done. Our democracy intact. They will have cleared the anarchists from the Capitol grounds and the Congress will continue with its business of certifying a fair election. But the stain left on our nation, our psyche, and our Constitution will last for ever………………….

[1] And, unfortunately, as we now know, the loss of a life as well.

Three myths about unemployment
By David Riemer and June Hopkins

As a new administration prepares to grapple with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, three myths about unemployment continue to muddle the thinking in Washington about how to help unemployed American workers.  

Myth 1: Federal job creation did little to end unemployment during the Great Depression.

Fact: The CCC, CWA, WPA and other job-stimulating programs cut the unemployment rate in half. Early measures treated workers in New Deal jobs programs as unemployed; thus, the "official" unemployment rate after 1933 remained artificially high. In fact these workers were clearly employed, often doing tough physical labor. Once counted as employed, the true unemployment from 1933-1937 dropped sharply well before the U.S. beefed up its military spending in late 1939 and then entered World War II.

Seniors Can Stay Fit During the Pandemic With
Basic Weight Training. Here’s How.

By Neal Templin

The health crisis upended a world of fancy gyms and personal trainers. Fear of infection keeps millions of Americans at home, and it will be many months until enough people are vaccinated to quell the pandemic.

The good news is you can remain reasonably fit without a gym full of shiny equipment. I wrote a column earlier during the pandemic about workouts you can do without any equipment

Exercise physiologist Louis Degnan says there are many ways to keep fit in your home. “I know it seems hard during this time when you don’t have heavy weights or your favorite piece of cardio equipment, but now is the chance to get creative,” he says.

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JAN. 6, 2021

Nature-based therapy can boost immune
system function among older adults, study finds

By Beth Ellwood

A new study suggests that contact with nature can alleviate the aging immune system. Older adults who partook in six-months of horticultural therapy showed reduced T-cell exhaustion and inflammation. The findings were published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A.

As the immune system ages and declines, older adults are left with a greater risk of infection, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. While there are existing medical interventions that target age-related changes in the immune system, these procedures are costly and difficult to carry out over a wide population.

Study authors Glenn Choon Lim Wong and team describe a psychosocial intervention that has shown promise among the older population. Horticultural Therapy (HT) combines the mental health benefits associated with nature activities with the added physical benefits of breathing clean, less-polluted air and engaging in physical exercise. The researchers conducted an intervention study to explore HT as a potential candidate for improving immunological fitness.


How older adults can protect
their heart with nutrition

By Jamie Mok

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, accounting for one in every four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Heart Association estimates that more than 85 million American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease, with about two-thirds of cardiovascular disease deaths occurring in people older than 75.

The National Institute on Aging, meanwhile, says that people older than 65 are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, or develop heart disease.


Exercising and quitting smoking
lowers dementia risk

By Emily Webber

A healthy heart in middle age lowers the risk of developing dementia in later years, a new study has claimed.

People who quit smoking, enjoyed a healthy diet and exercised in midlife all boosted their chances of avoiding the incurable condition.

The study looked at nearly 1,500 people as part of a long-term study started in 1972 in Finland.

5 minutes

I looked down at the Styrofoam container that has become so familiar to me the past 10 months and sighed. Two hard-boiled eggs and a corn muffin stared back at me. It was another disappointing breakfast in a slew of disheartening meals we have received ever since they put us into what has become a never-ending sentence of isolation and quarantine.
As I stared at the boring food, I swear I could hear it laughing at me. Or maybe it was the kitchen staff who appears to have lost any desire to actually cook anything. If they can’t boil it or microwave it, they don’t serve it. Our dinners have become nothing more than portion controlled pre-fabricated meals bought from what I can only believe are the same people that cater San Quentin.

While the food technically meets the minimum standards of nutrition set forth by our state’s Department of Health, the desire to eat it becomes a different matter. What’s the use of serving veggies, chicken, BBQ ribs or fish if it’s under-cooked, rubbery, impossible to chew or just plain mushy. It’s one thing to comply with regulations and another to be genuinely concerned about the actual nourishment of the residents who are not eating the food because it’s inedible.
Tonight, after listening to what they were serving us, I shook my head and closed the door. It was the second night in a row that I declined dinner. Essentially, it was a variation of what we have been eating every evening. Tonight it was chicken (which is on every dinner menu every day) or hot dogs, which they served for lunch just two days ago. The thought of even having to look at it made me ill. Fortunately, I have a can of chili, which I’ll mix with some leftover pasta from the other day and warm it in the only microwave available to us. As objectionable as that may sound, it’s better than mostly everything they think passes as food.

If filing my belly was my only concern, I wouldn’t care as much. They feed us plenty of crap to do that. Everything they serve comes with a generous helping of something starchy, fatty or sweet. I’ve had meals where the baked potato was twice the size of the roast beef or the pasta side-dish outweighing the protein 2 to 1. What I am concerned about is what this is doing to my body and my health.
I know I’m putting on weight which, on its own, takes its toll as increased blood pressure, diabetes and strain on the joints. But I’m more concerned about what this diet is doing to my other organs.
I already have 3rd stage kidney disease, which I can only imagine is being exacerbated by my poor eating regime. And g-d only knows what’s happening to my heart, liver and general body chemistry. At a time in my life when I should be doing everything to keep as healthy as possible, just the opposite is happening.

My only salvation, and for the others who live here with me, is that we get vaccinated soon. Hopefully, that will set us on the path leading to getting us back into the dining room and the possibility of better food and more nutritious carb to protein ratios. In any event, I am apprehensive about the long-term effects of not only our diet, but what the entire quarantine/lockdown situation has done to us. I fear the extent to which this has damaged our health is yet to be felt………………….

Stimulus payments for people,
not nursing homes

By Lois C. Greisman

If you, or someone you care about, lives in an assisted living facility or nursing home, read on. Because the bill funding the second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) has now been signed into law. The money — right now, $600 per person who qualifies — is being sent out over the next few weeks. And, like last time, the money is meant for the PERSON, not the place they might live.

In the first round, which I’ll call EIP 1.0, we know that some nursing facilities tried to take the stimulus payments intended for their residents…particularly those on Medicaid. Which wasn’t, shall we say, legal, and kept some attorneys general busy recovering those funds for people.

Now, with EIP 2.0, we would hope those facilities have learned their lesson. But, just in case, let’s be clear: If you qualify for a payment, it’s yours to keep. If a loved one qualifies and lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s theirs to keep. The facility may not put their hands on it, or require somebody to sign it over to them. Even if that somebody is on Medicaid.

Exercise Plan for Seniors:
Strength, Stretching, and Balance

If you’re an older adult looking to establish an exercise routine, you should, ideally, be able to incorporate 150 minutes of moderate endurance activity into your week. This can include walking, swimming, cycling, and a little bit of time every day to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

The Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source suggest this amount of time for generally fit Americans aged 65 and older. Even though this sounds like a lot, the good news is that you can break it down into 10- or 15-minute chunks of exercise two or more times a day. Here’s an example of what a week might look like, along with suggestions for some exercises you can do to get started:

There are dozens of exercises you can do to build strength without having to set foot in a gym. Here are a few examples for people who are just getting started.

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JAN. 5, 2021

Making seniors comfortable with telehealth
will be a goal for healthcare in 2021

By Jeff Lagasse

Telehealth has played a critical role in healthcare delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is especially true for older Americans. Given the numerous restrictions and guidelines that have been enacted to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, virtual care has been critical in helping seniors safely get the care they need.

Yet, according to data from Medicare-focused digital health company GoHealth, three in five Medicare beneficiaries and seniors nearing eligibility admit to not knowing how to use video call technology. The main issues boil down to access and education.

Prior to the pandemic, reimbursement had been an issue as well, with stringent rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about what is reimbursable and what is not representing a barrier to entry. Recently, though, the regulatory environment has eased somewhat, with CMS making allowances for reimbursement, and Congress mulling permanent changes to the payment landscape when it comes to virtual care.


How are 'super agers' protected from
Alzheimer's and mental decline?

By Alan Mozes

Some older folks are still sharp as tacks and dementia-free well into their 80s and beyond. Now German researchers have uncovered a possible reason why: Their genes may help them fend off protein build-up in the brain.

The finding is based on a study of brain images of 94 participants, all aged 80 or older. They were characterized by the amount of tau protein tangles and beta-amyloid protein plaques found in their brains.

Those who scored highest on memory tests—so-called 'super agers'—had brain protein profiles similar to those of healthy folks who were much younger. In other words, they had very little build-up of tangles and plaques.


Female Workers Could Take Another Pandemic Hit:
To Their Retirements

By Mark Miller

Unequal job losses now will translate into smaller nest eggs and Social Security benefits down the road.
&ldquo;Women can&rsquo;t be full participants in the labor force and pay into their retirement if they don&rsquo;t have child care,&rdquo; said Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, an assistant dean at the University of Texas.

During the first months of the pandemic, Leah Tyrrell found that she could pull off a balancing act: working in sales for a San Diego clothing maker and caring for her three young daughters at home. Her hours had been reduced, and working remotely in the morning left her time to be with the children the rest of the day.

“At the time, I thought I could tackle it,” Ms. Tyrrell said. That changed in August when her employer started asking people to return full time. Her company was flexible, but something had to give — and since her husband was bringing home a bigger paycheck, she quit work to help her girls, ages 9, 8 and 5, with online school.

In Lonely Expectation
5 minutes

The older we get, the more waiting we do. We treat it as if it’s part of the aging process. Waiting is not only something we expect, but is something others think it’s okay for us to endure. Maybe they think we have nothing better to do, or that our time is less important than others. They ask older folks to “take a seat and we’ll be with you shortly” more than any other group.

They make you wait for hours in the doctor’s office so a man who’s 30 years younger than you can give you a hasty exam after which he scolds you like a 6-year-old.

“Have you been taking your pressure pills, drinking enough water, sleeping, eating, exercising? I don’t like some of these numbers.”
To which I answer, “For this I had to wait an hour?” I usually leave by promising to try to not get any older in the next 4 months.

And waiting does not limit itself to health care. There’s a lot of “age-prompted” waiting in other places. Restaurants in particular often overlook the older diner when seating and being served. The perception that old people don’t tip well makes it okay for them to ignore us.“Hosts”, servers and even bus boys will leave you sitting at an uncleared table for ten minutes while all around you people are being served. And, if you are an old person eating alone, they will seat you at the worst table in the room. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a restaurant by myself and seated at a table near the bathrooms or the kitchen or in a dark corner. And let us not forget waiting on the phone.

Heaven’s forbid you need to speak to someone at the Social Security office or Medicare or any of the agencies that cater to Seniors. You will feel your beard grow before you get served.

But all that pales compared to what they make us wait for now. The wait continues for the vaccine that will protect us from the ravages of COVID-19 for the millions of seniors who they promised would be among the first to receive it. And for residents of assisted living facilities, the wait is growing longer. And it’s not the first time they have neglected us during this crisis.

We rejoiced when we learned the people in long-term care facilities would take priority over others. We reveled at the idea of finally ending this nearly year long torture. But, as we soon learned, Long-term meant nursing homes and not ALFs. Some old folks’ lives are worth more than others, I guess. And now, we have no idea when we will be inoculated. The state has forgotten about us.
We were among the last to be tested and, as of today, they have only tested us once, about 6 months ago. And while we wait, residents and staff continue to contract and fall ill to the virus. And they will continue to quarantined us, lock us in, and remove all of our privileges and prohibit visitors.

But that’s okay. We’re old and what does it matter if a few more of us die while we wait. I mean, after all, it’s not like we have anything to offer society. And since none of us can do anything about it, we will continue to be the “step child” of the health-care industry. Not frail enough or demented enough to receive special treatment, but expendable enough to be shoved into the corner.

I believe what they are doing to us is criminal. Or, at the very least, immoral. And, when this is all over those of us who are left need to take those who delayed our vaccinations into account for their actions.
And by the way. I’m still waiting for my $600…………………………………

The failure of COVID-19 vaccine distribution
 confirms government incompetence

By Alejandro Badia, MD

The COVID-19 vaccine has failed.

I don’t mean that the vaccine itself doesn’t work—far from it. I mean the ineffective way such an important lifesaving, pandemic-ending vaccine is being rolled out. The slovenly effort is putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk. At the vaccine’s current injection rates, or even if they got it to 1 million a day, it’ll still take a year before all Americans are fully vaccinated! With 3,000+ people dying from COVID-19 every day, every minute matters. We are running out of time.

With health care still in unqualified government officials’ hands, states have failed to deliver the vaccine to the American people. Once again, the government-run system has failed.

This “feet in cement” comedy of errors exemplifies why U.S. health care is failing: The government is running it.  Health care has become increasingly entrenched in bureaucracy, and health care providers have little to no say in giving effective, efficient care to their patients.

read more  >>>

Choices, Chance And Living While You Can:
Bookends To The Year Of COVID-19

By John Henning Schumann

In late 2019, the patient's choice to move to an assisted living facility seemed like a good idea — a chance for more social interaction and help with meals and medical care.

Carl was in his early 70s. A Vietnam vet, he suffered from PTSD along with his diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking-induced COPD. He'd survived a bout of kidney cancer, too, along his medical journey.

In late 2019 he came to see me because he was considering making a move to an assisted living facility. I thought it was a good idea — as an older male with previous suicide attempts, I was worried that loneliness would compound his difficulties.

10 Jobs Affected by COVID
That Could Be Hiring in 2021

By Kenneth Terrell

A new year means new opportunities, and that's especially true for workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some reasons to think that hiring could increase in 2021 in a number of positions that are popular with older workers.

In early March, AARP used data from PayScale to determine the 25 best part-time jobs for retirees. Then, just a few weeks later, most of the nation shut down temporarily to deter the spread of the coronavirus. By the end of April, more than 20 million people had lost their jobs, including many who worked in the occupations that made the list of jobs for retirees.

But many of those fields could be poised to bounce back in 2021 as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19. In fact, some of these jobs will be very important to helping the nation return to business as usual. We took another look at that list of the best part-time jobs for retirees to identify the 10 that could present the most hiring opportunities in 2021.

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JAN. 4, 2021
New York Is Sitting On 2/3 Of
The Vaccine Doses It’s Received

New York has administered less than a third of the coronavirus vaccine doses it has on hand so far — even as Mayor de Blasio boldly claimed Thursday he’d have a million city residents inoculated within a month.

Around 630,000 vaccine doses have been sent to the Empire State, but just 203,000 doses had actually made their way into New Yorkers’ arms as of Wednesday, state data shows…

In New York City, some 88,000 people have received a first dose over the last three weeks, as the vaccine began being administered to health care workers and nursing home residents.


Older adults, minorities and people with lower incomes
face inequities in telemedicine use

After "COVID-19," the term that most people will remember best from 2020 is likely to be "social distancing." While it most commonly applied to social gatherings with family and friends, it has impacted the way many receive medical care. Historically, the United States has been relatively slow to broadly adopt telemedicine, largely emphasizing in-person visits.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the spring of 2020, necessitated increased use of virtual or phone call visits, even prompting the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to relax some of its regulations, primarily for video-based telemedicine. These large scale changes made telemedicine exponentially more popular than it had been even at the start of the calendar year.

But while this was a positive for those who otherwise would have delayed or foregone care due to the pandemic, a new study led by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published in JAMA Network Open, uncovered significant inequities, particularly by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, and when someone needed to use a language other than English.


This Is Why Nursing Homes Failed So Badly
By E. Tammy Kim

Eight months into the pandemic, Brendan House, a nursing home in Kalispell, Mont., had not had a single resident test positive for the coronavirus. It was an extraordinary feat, given that 40 percent of the deaths from Covid-19 nationwide had occurred in long-term care facilities.

For years, Brendan House had received a top five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or C.M.S., the federal agency that oversees nursing homes, and its staff members took pride in looking after the 110 residents. Because the facility was connected to the local hospital, it hadn’t faced the shortages in personal protective equipment or lack of testing and expertise that bedeviled other nursing homes during the pandemic. It seemed to be a model of how to survive a plague.


Sex-specific Alzheimer's treatment
could benefit males over females

A University of Ottawa study has found a specific Alzheimer's treatment is effective in male and not female mice, providing a window into the biology of the disease and the effectiveness of targeted treatments.

The paper, 'AB oligomers induce pathophysiological mGluR5 signaling in Alzheimer's disease model mice in a sex-selective manner', published in Science Signaling Magazine highlights the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease are fundamentally different between men and women in regards to one specific treatment.

The study was led by first author Dr. Khaled Abdelrahman alongside senior author Dr. Stephen Ferguson, both of the Faculty of Medicine's Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Brain and Mind Research Institute. 

It’s 2021:
So, Now What?
5 minutes

You made it trough 2020. Congratulations. Now what?
I hope you are not one of those folks who believe that turning over the page of a calendar or the turning over the leadership of the country to someone who isn’t a lunatic is going to make one bit of difference as far as controlling the spread of COVID-19.
The die has been cast and only drastic, heavy-handed measures can reverse the damage done. The question is, do we have the courage and the mindset to do it?
The only way we are going to see the virus’s impact change direction is by having every one of us accept and practice what we know needs doing. And we have to do it, even if that means shutting down the nation and putting all our resources into one concentrated effort to end this once and for all. And if that means sending in the military, so be it.

We know we cannot continue on this path of apathy, stupidity, political and racial disparity and expect a quick end to the ruin this nation faces. And even if the death of a half million people doesn’t get your attention, how about the thought of losing everything you own and worked for all your life grab you? 

Why are we so set on killing ourselves? Why do we continue to take part in activities we know are dangerous? Is there an adrenalin rush I don’t know about? Do we flaunt the law just to be macho?
I get incensed when I see headlines like this:

An Oct. 17 wedding at the North Fork Country Club in Suffolk County saw at least 41 people — including 34 attendees — become infected with COVID-19.

At least 41 people tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the five-day Naughty in N’awlins event, which kicked off Nov. 10

01/01/21 @ 0100 HRS: Deputy Sheriffs shut down illegal bottle club @ 177 Prince Street, Manhattan: 145+ people, violation of emergency orders

U.S. Air Travel Hits Pandemic High, Adding to Fears of Yet More Case Surges and the New Variant

And why, when we were told not to, did we travel to all parts of the nation knowing that such action would only cause a spike in the number of cases and deaths? Not only once (on Thanksgiving), but again over the Christmas/New Years holiday?
WTF is wrong with these people?
I’m an old man, and maybe I don’t “get” a lot of things. I understand It’s a different world from what I knew in my younger days. But at what point did insanity, inhumanity, and insensitivity to the suffering of others become a “thing?’’ When are we going to say, “this has gone on too long and it has to end?’’
It’s great we have a vaccine, but the urgency to get it distributed appears lacking when compared to the speed at which they developed it. The product is here. The distribution people are ready and the need is most certainly here, so why have we vaccinated only about 3 million people instead of the 20 million they promised us? Has the politics of the past 4 years created a rift so wide and done so much damage to our collective will that not even the threat to our lives and livelihood can bring us together?

It’s a new year and, whether THEY like it, the man (and his cronies) that infested the White House and the national psyche with hate and distrust will be gone. But not so much the stench he leaves behind. At this very moment there are Republican members of Congress that vow not to certify the results already certified by the electoral college. So-called patriotic Americans who would prefer to return to the ineptitude and poor management of the Trump years rather than possibly save thousands of lives. It’s sick, disgusting and treacherous…………………………..

Wall Street minted 56 new billionaires since the pandemic began —
but many families are left behind
By Martha C. White

The bifurcated economy that took shape in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic destroyed the lives, savings and small businesses of innumerable Americans, but the year wasn’t a financial washout for everyone.

Between roughly mid-March and Dec. 22, the United States gained 56 new billionaires, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, bringing the total to 659. The wealth held by that small cadre of Americans has jumped by more than $1 trillion in the months since the pandemic began.

According to a December report issued jointly by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies using data compiled by Forbes, America’s billionaires hold roughly $4 trillion in wealth — a figure roughly double what the 165 million poorest Americans are collectively worth. The 10 richest billionaires have a combined net worth of more than $1 trillion.

Answering Common Questions About COVID-19

Vaccines based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) be included among those offered the first supply of COVID-19 vaccines. Making sure LTCF residents can receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as vaccine is available will help save the lives of those who are at the highest risk for infection and severe illness from COVID-19.CDC has provided frequently asked questions and answers especially for LTCF residents and their families to help everyone understand the importance of COVID-19 vaccination. 

The information below is especially tailored to help answer questions before vaccination. The CDC website offers many other free tools in multiple languages to help answer common questions that are not specific to LTCF residents.

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JAN. 1 2021

Dangerous groupthink at the CDC
By Megan McArdle

If you watch the YouTube video of the now-infamous November meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, you’ll hear Chairman José Romero thank everyone for a “robust discussion.” Shortly thereafter, the committee unanimously agreed that essential workers should get vaccinated ahead of the elderly, even though they’d been told this would mean up to 6% more deaths. This decision was supported in part by noting that America’s essential workers are more racially diverse than its senior citizens.

On Dec. 20, after the public belatedly noticed this attempted geronticide, the advisory panel walked it back, so I need not point out the many flaws of this reasoning. Instead, let’s dwell on the equally flawed process by which the committee reached its decision, because that itself is a symptom of much deeper problems that have plagued us since the beginning of the pandemic.

As James Surowiecki, author of “The Wisdom of Crowds,” pointed out, when a large group acts as though a complicated problem is a no-brainer, that doesn’t mean the solution is obvious; it means something has gone badly wrong. The specific failure might be as banal as groupthink or as worrying as the possibility that some of the gushing endorsements were due less to deep conviction than fear of offending professional colleagues.


Florida Vaccinates Seniors While
Those in Assisted Living Facilities Wait

While senior citizens across the state are now getting the COVID-19 vaccine, many in assisted living facilities are still waiting their turn.

Governor Ron DeSantis’s initial plan was to put those in long-term care at the very front of the line and he said “the top priority will be our residents of our long-term care facilities. They are at the greatest risk.”

On Wednesday, DeSantis held a news conference at Kings Point, a retirement community in Palm Beach County, where vaccinations began for members of the public 65 years and older.

Last week, the governor held a similar news conference at The Villages in Sumter County.

Veronica Catoe, the CEO of the Florida Assisted Living Association (FALA) said she was surprised to see those vaccinations get underway, considering the governor had yet to authorize the start of vaccinations in assisted living facilities.


Sluggish Vaccine Campaign Raises
Specter of U.S. Dysfunction
By Angelica LaVito

U.S. health officials acknowledged that a Covid-19 immunization campaign is crawling out of the starting gate, raising the prospect that the nation’s all-in bet on vaccines could be afflicted by the same dysfunction that hobbled other measures to contain the pandemic.

Only about 3.05 million Americans had been vaccinated as of late Wednesday evening in New York, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. With one day remaining in the year, that represented roughly 15% of the U.S.’s stated goal of immunizing 20 million Americans by the end of 2020 -- a number already repeatedly reduced.


COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
The Finances of Retirees

Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging: As the pandemic progresses, what issues emerge as the greatest financial concerns for retirees?

Penny Pennington: According to research our firm conducted in partnership with the research and consulting firm Age Wave, older generations have generally faced less financial and emotional disruption than younger generations during the pandemic. Their finances are aided by savings, Social Security and Medicare. They also have the experience and resilience that comes from decades of meeting life's challenges.

On the other hand, our research also found that retirees tend to be willing to do whatever it takes to support family members in need, even when it means sacrificing their own financial security.


NYS assisted living officials say
staff members need vaccinations now

By Emily Burkhard

An official representing assisted living facilities across New York (said) not a single vaccine dose has been administered to residents or staff members so far. She's now calling on the state to do something about that.

"What we are doing is trying to raise awareness and ask the department to respond to this request that they open up the vaccine to our staff now,” Lisa Newcomb, Executive Director of the empire State Association of Assisted Living, said Wednesday.

Newcomb said since the start of the pandemic, hospitals have received "outsized" attention, while long term care facilities were left behind when it came to staffing, financial assistance and even PPE; and vaccinations have been no different.

Meanwhile, back at the Asylum…

Today, being the first day of a new year, and a new decade, I thought it would be a good time to clear the slate, wipe the canvas, scrape off the barnacles and chill our for a while. We all have much to think about this coming year. For most, it will more of the same. The “speed” at which Americans are being vaccinated means we will most likely not see any great change in 2021. In fact, I will go so far as to say that this time next year, we’ll still be wearing masks, avoiding crowds and watching people get sick and die. That is, unless we do what we should have done months ago. Lockdown the nation for two weeks and force people to be vaccinated. And those who refuse should be put into camps (like they did to those undocumented kids) until the threat to America ends.

Okay, that’s as heavy as I want to get today.

Instead of one of my usual rants, I decided to do something different in the way of a tour of the place I have called home for the last 7 years.

I put these two videos together myself a couple of years ago but never posted them here. So, for what it’s worth, I give you a look into my world…



5 things you may have missed about
Alzheimer’s research in 2020
By Adrienne Holden

While everyone’s eyes were laser-focused on COVID-19 this year — and rightfully so — there were noteworthy developments in Alzheimer’s disease research that you may have missed. This year researchers and clinicians presented new findings that will lead to methods of prevention and treatment and improvements in diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are five things we learned in the field of dementia research this year:

The drug pipeline for Alzheimer’s is heating up. You may have heard of aducanumab, the Biogen drug currently being reviewed by the FDA, but there were other Alzheimer’s drugs that made strides this year:

Retirement: This is how much you should save
to retire comfortably in each state

To estimate what it will cost to retire comfortably in each state, 24/7 Wall St., used the average annual spending of Americans 65 and older, adjusted at the state level for cost of living and life expectancy, federal data and other research.

1. Alabama
• Est. total retirement spending: $894,461 (3rd least)
• Avg. cost of living: 13.6% less than avg. (3rd lowest)​​​​​​​
 Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $357 (6th lowest)
• Pop. 65 and older: 17% (18th highest)

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Dec. 31 2020

What Seniors Need To Know About
The December Stimulus Package

By Elena Botella

On Sunday, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus bill expected to address the health and economic fallout of the COVID pandemic. The relief measure includes a one-time $600 payment per eligible adult and child — but those $600 “economic impact payments” aren’t the only provision seniors should know about, and in fact, only account for about 18 percent of the bill’s total cost. The coronavirus relief package was included as a part of a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill, which also contained changes to key senior programs. Here, we break down some of the legislation’s most important provisions for older Americans.

$600 Stimulus Checks

The stimulus bill authorizes a one-time $600 relief payment for eligible adults and children. Income cut-offs are $75,000 for individual taxpayers, and $150,000 for couples, with smaller payments authorized for taxpayers whose income falls just above the cut-off point. As was the case this spring, social security recipients, railroad retirees, and those receiving federal veterans benefits should expect to get their payment automatically, whether or not they filed a tax return. Seniors who are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return won’t get a payment. But a new group is eligible for the first time: those in “mixed-status” families. In the spring, citizens and permanent residents were excluded from the relief payment if they had a family member without a social security number, for example, if their spouse was an undocumented immigrant. Undocumented immigrants still aren’t eligible for relief payments, but in the December stimulus package, citizens won’t lose their payment based on the status of their spouse, and can apply for a retroactive payment for the spring check that they missed.


What you need to know about
America’s eviction crisis

By Kaelyn Forde

New York passed a sweeping law extending its eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until May 1 and bolstering credit protections for people struggling to pay their rent, mortgage or property taxes during the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 into law late Monday, explaining that “the more support we provide for tenants, mortgagors and seniors, the easier it will be for them to get back on their feet when the pandemic ends.”

Housing rights advocates have praised the move, but say more action is needed to protect tenants and homeowners nationwide.


Florida ranks dead last on a nationwide
ranking of long-term care.

How can we do better?

The images  – both visual and mental  –  coming from Florida’s long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic have been heartbreaking. Elderly people trapped in their rooms 24 hours a day to stop the spread of the virus, with no social activities or dining-room meals to alleviate their loneliness. Visits with family over streaming  apps or through glass windows, no hugs or kisses allowed, for months until Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted restrictions. And the ever-present fear as the virus stalked the halls of residential facilities despite all precautions, claiming more than 8,000 lives in long-term care facilities across Florida.

The fear and isolation are so palpable that the normally stoic DeSantis almost wept when talking about it. “Many of the folks understand they have folks who are in the last stage of life. … They would just like to say goodbye, or hug somebody,” the governor said in a September press conference.

Did you ever hear someone say, “Live life as though it were a marathon, not a sprint?” That may be good advice if you are 17, but as anybody who remembers watching Saturday morning cartoons on a black-and-white TV knows, the closer we get to the finish line we all become Jesse Owens. Time, it appears, is relative.
I’m about to cross off another month, and another year, and another decade on my calendar. And, though I can’t remember every detail of every day of the past 10 years, I can remember the “highlights.” And they weren’t good.
Back in 2010, I was in a wheelchair. A patient in a nursing home unable to stand or dress or wash without help. I was in a dark place with little thought of what the next day would bring, let alone the future.

 I had just began what was to become a two-year endeavor at rehab. It was nothing I had ever experienced before. And it was terrifying. Although they warned me that progress would be slow and painful, they did not prepare me for the despair and agony (physically and mentally) I was to endure. It was so bad and so discouraging that I thought of giving up and resigning myself to be an invalid for the rest of my life. After all, I had little to lose, having lost practically everything. In fact, sometimes getting around in a wheelchair was becoming a possibility. However, after further thought, that didn’t appeal to me at all. I realized I had to try, painful as it may be, to work towards the eventuality of walking on my own. I gave in and did what my physical therapist told me. It took nearly a year, but I got out of the wheelchair and on to a walker allowing me a future which, only a few long months before, seemed an impossibility. Which brings me to today.

Although I amble, slowly, with the aid of a cane, I’m pretty much self sufficient. And, while my days of heavy lifting, housework, home repair and long walks and so many other activities are over, life, if not great, is okay. Fortunately, I found the place I now call home. And, although I am often treated like a child, I am safe and warm and cared for. And that’s good. Not so good is the speed at which time (i.e., my life) is fleeting by. The days, and nights, begin and end with such velocity as to make one indistinguishable from the other.
I have taken to waking earlier and earlier in order to extend the day. But to no avail. Time does as it pleases, and it pleases to go faster.
Nights are the worst. The darkness lasts forever. And sleep does not help.
I fell asleep last night at about 1:00 am and awoke at what I thought was hours later. But a glance at the time bouncing corner to corner of the TV screen told me differently. Only 45 minutes had elapsed. Why doesn’t this happen in the daytime? Does the compression of time take the night off? Was time invented just to torture old people?

Tonight is Time’s turn to shine. People the world over will look at the clock and counting down the minutes to the end of another year.
To the young, the new year means another step to the future with all its fears, concerns and, possibilities. Destiny is theirs to make of it as they please. For us older folks, it’s different.
Oh yes, we still have a future and we cannot deny. We still have places to go, things to do, and dreams to dream. It’s just that there is less time to do it in. So, we rush (not physically of course) headlong into whatever there is to come, hoping when our time comes, we will have done most, if not all, of what we set out in life to do. Which, after all, is as much as any of us can hope for.
Have a happy, safe and blessed New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you around the corner…………………………

To Yesterday’s Editorial…


By Lisa Newcomb

From the earliest days of planning for the development and distribution of an efficacious COVID-19 vaccination, those working in our nation’s congregate care settings for seniors, including assisted living communities, were prioritized as first in line to be vaccinated, and rightfully so: the population they serve has been universally identified as among the most vulnerable.

In the first months of the pandemic, a common criticism was that there was not enough attention or resources given to long-term care settings, including assisted living, and there was outsized attention paid to hospitals. Whether it be PPE, staffing or financial assistance, the hospitals were always first in line.

Perhaps, to some extent, that was appropriate, but not to the detriment of other vulnerable sectors. That should have been a valuable lesson learned as adult care facilities/assisted living residences continue to suffer from a lack of resources and a potentially high incidence of COVID among the frailest of our seniors.

Gov. Cuomo wants to give people recovering from
drug addictions who live in crowded housing COVID-19 vaccine priority

By Joshua Zitser

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that people recovering from drug addictions in New York will get vaccinated this week.

He explained that they would be prioritized because many of them live in "problematic" shared accommodation.
Republican lawmakers expressed their outrage that people recovering from addiction are being prioritized over some senior citizens and healthcare workers.

Rep. Elise Stefanik called Cuomo "an absolute disgrace."

Sen. Rick Scott followed suit by accusing the governor of "failing the people of New York."

The Office of Addiction Services and Supports said drug users were being stigmatized. "Those at high risk of COVID should be vaccinated in line with other high-risk populations," it said.

The life and death of Billy Baggett: Part I
By Emily Green

“All my life, I seen the world through a window called television, and that’s the only thing I know.”

It was over a few grocery-store items that Billy Baggett forfeited another six years of his life.

It was dinnertime in Portland on Aug. 2, 2013, when he attempted to walk out of the Fred Meyer on Burnside Street and Northwest 20th Place with his backpack stuffed full of stolen items: a bottle of B12 vitamins, a package of deli ham, a cold sandwich, pickled pigs’ feet, socks and a couple of DVDs.

When store security grabbed hold of his pack, he panicked and pulled out a keychain pocket knife with a 2-inch blade. Then, he dropped his bag and ran.

Why You Shouldn’t Sign A Nursing Home Or
Assisted Living Facility Arbitration Agreement

By Jason M. Melton, Esq.

Many long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, will routinely include arbitration agreements in their admission documents. It is never a good idea to sign such an arbitration agreement.

Nursing home and assisted living companies include these arbitration agreements for their own benefit. And, many of the protections available in court are not part of the arbitration process. This could include: . . .

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Dec. 30 2020

The Staggering, Heartless Cruelty
Toward the Elderly

By Shai Held

Crises can elicit compassion, but they can also evoke callousness. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve witnessed communities coming together (even as they have sometimes been physically forced apart), and we’ve seen individuals engaging in simple acts of kindness to remind the sick and quarantined that they are not forgotten. Yet from some quarters, we’ve also seen a degree of cruelty that is truly staggering.

Earlier today, a friend posted on Facebook about an experience he’d just had on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: “I heard a guy who looked to be in his 20s say that it’s not a big deal cause the elderly are gonna die anyway. Then he and his friend laughed … Maybe I’m lucky that I had awesome grandparents and maybe this guy didn’t but what is wrong with people???” Some have tried to dress up their heartlessness as generational retribution. As someone tweeted at me earlier today, “To be perfectly honest, and this is awful, but to the young, watching as the elderly over and over and over choose their own interests ahead of Climate policy kind of feels like they’re wishing us to a death they won’t have to experience. It’s a sad bit of fair play.”


The Long-Term Realities of Being Childless

Many live a fulfilling life without regret and value connections with family and friends

My wife and I have stayed close to four couples for nearly 40 years. We've shared health updates, career successes and setbacks, and celebrated birthdays. Of these five couples, four chose to be childless, including us, and one couple had two children who are now adults.

Now that we're getting on in years and are mostly retired, I wondered what the ramifications are of being childless.

Do people have regrets? Or is being childless a choice that couples make, come to terms with and then enjoy their lives in other innumerable ways? Is preparing for the later years more difficult without children to support you and help in preparation?


Want to retire comfortably? Mississippi, Arkansas
are among states where you need
least retirement savings

By Michael B. Sauter

One of the reasons that many Americans get up and go to work every day is to put some money away for retirement. While Social Security payments can be a helpful financial foundation in retirement, it is often not enough to cover anything but the most basic expenditures, especially in the uncertain financial times wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on average annual spending for American seniors and the national average life expectancy at age 65 of 19.4 years, the average American will spend about $987,000 from retirement age on. And those hoping for a more comfortable and financially secure retirement should plan on saving a little more.

Of course, both cost of living and life expectancy vary considerably by state – and so, too, does the cost of retirement. Using the average annual spending of Americans 65 and older – adjusted at the state level for cost of living and life expectancy – 24/7 Wall St. calculated what it will cost to retire comfortably in each state. All data used in the ranking came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington.

4 minutes

It’s pernicious, debilitating, systemic, and cruel. They have fired many from their jobs or not even hired them because of it. It has separated people from the rest of society, and it’s more prevalent now than ever before. And yet, there are no massive protests on the streets of American cities. No placards carried by an
outraged citizenry. Politicians, liberal and conservative, are hesitant to speak out against it. And, even though they represent over 40 million people, (16.5% of the population) they are still a minority. And if you are a regular reader of this blog, chances are it has subjected you to its inhumanity.
I’m sure by this time you have guessed what I am talking about. Ageism. And now, because of COVID-19, it’s the dirty little secret they have swept under the rug.
Historically, America has never been kind to its elderly.
Being a relatively “young” nation, we have always looked to the new and fresh as our ideal and rejected the old and tired. We discard the tried and true for the risky and inexperienced.
They have pushed old people aside. Warehoused so as not to have to deal with us. And I am outraged.

Me and my friends here at the A.L. F and Assisted living facilities throughout the state have been incarcerated in our little gulags for 290 days.
They have subjected us to, and we have endured, the hardship of isolation and the anguish of loneliness. We have overlooked the awful food, lack of recreation and the separation from other residents, family and friends. All hoping when they developed a cure or vaccine, we would be among the first to benefit from it. But alas. The stain of ageism has, like the steerage passengers on the Titanic, put us last in line for the lifeboats.

I had my tri-annual visit with our in-house primary care physician today. And after a cursory examination, when he once again admonished me for a three-pound weight gain, I asked if he had any idea when we would be receiving our vaccinations. He said, “I don’t know.” The same response we have accepted for nearly 10 months. They know damn well. We’ll get it after all the other “hardship” groups get theirs. Somewhere between prisoners and the public. Which means they have kept us locked up longer than any other group in the state. And if that doesn’t piss you off this should. Every member of Congress has been inoculated, including most of their (young) staffers. Where’s the indignation people? ………................

Dave Barry’s Year in Review:
2020 was a year of nonstop awfulness

By Dave Barry

We’re trying to think of something nice to say about 2020.

OK, here goes: Nobody got killed by the murder hornets. As far as we know.

That’s pretty much it.

In the past, writing these annual reviews, we have said harsh things about previous years. We owe those years an apology. Compared to 2020, all previous years, even the Disco Era, were the golden age of human existence.

This was a year of nonstop awfulness, a year when we kept saying it couldn’t possibly get worse, and it always did. This was a year in which our only moments of genuine, unadulterated happiness were when we were able to buy toilet paper.

Which is fitting, because 2020 was one long, howling, Category Five crapstorm.

We sincerely don’t want to relive this year. But our job is to review it. If you would prefer to skip this exercise in masochism, we completely understand.

Recycling electronics: What to do with your old laptops,
phones, cameras and batteries

By Shelby Brown

Gadgets can pile up over the years -- new ones come out, old ones break. You probably have a drawer full of old batteries and cables, and some old phones, laptops and desktops lying around, which may only be growing larger if you've replaced any of your electronics over the holidays. Perhaps you keep them for nostalgic reasons (I admit I hung onto my first Nokia block phone to "show my kids one day"), or because you thought you might be able to use them again down the line.

Be brave. Stay focused. Peek into your drawers, the garage or a dark corner of your closet, and you're sure to find a pile of electronics you really don't need.

Get more out of your tech. . .

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Dec. 29 2020

Covid-19 wasn't the only medical story this year.
Here's what you missed in 2020.
By Erika Edwards

One health story dominated headlines for virtually all of 2020: the coronavirus pandemic.

But while Covid-19 did slow down medical research in other areas, the science didn't stop. Researchers rolled out new ways to cope with common diseases, and even a treatment for another feared virus.

Here are the accomplishments that may have flown under the public's radar in 2020.

A treatment for Ebola. . .


Unprotected: Abuse, neglect in senior care homes
raise questions about conditions,
oversight during pandemic

By Carrie Teegardin

Disturbing cases of abuse and neglect inside Georgia’s nursing homes, assisted living communities and personal care homes are coming to light as brutal side effects of the coronavirus crisis, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation has found.

In one case after another, care falls short when staff members are overburdened or underqualified. That’s increasingly been the situation during the pandemic as facilities struggle to find enough workers. Yet breakdowns in care, and even criminal acts, can go unreported, as most homes operated for weeks with no outsiders coming in to check on residents’ welfare.

In some of the worst cases, vulnerable residents were grievously harmed or died.


Older People Outnumber Younger
People With Student Loans,
and They Owe Far, Far More

A common popular belief about student loans is that they are a young person’s problem. We assume that, by and large, most borrowers are able to have their loans repaid by their mid-30’s. Sure, there may be a few stragglers who take until their 40’s or even beyond to repay their loans, but the conventional wisdom is that people 50 or older who haven’t yet been able to repay their loans are the outliers, the exception to the rule. Well, it turns out that this is completely wrong.

This is Department of Education Data for the fourth quarter of 2020. For comparison purposes, we combined the source data to find statistics for the 5th, 6th, and 7th rows, and the reader can verify the calculations from the data shown.

There are more people over the age of 50 with student loans (8.7 million) than people under the age of 24 with student loans (7.8 million), and they owe, on average, far more ($41,058 compared to $14,807).

2020: A Year Of Lesson's Learned
Part 2
(Our Constitution Is Not Perfect)

5 minutes

One look at my Junior high and High School report cards and you could tell where my interests lay. To the consternation of my parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, they couldn’t understand how I could do so poorly in math and excel in history and what they used to call Social Studies. If they asked, I would have told them.
Math, though important, deals with cold, hard, un-yielding, uncaring numbers. I couldn’t deal with something that does not forgive human error. I figured there would always be enough people who could “crunch the numbers” but what we really need are those who could understand the human condition.
While I don’t know how many mathematicians there were among our founding fathers, I’m sure every one of them knew his history. And it was from that study of past civilizations they could form a constitution and a system of government that has become the world standard. But even they, in their wisdom, could not have foreseen how the abuse of power taken by one man could upset such a carefully devised plan.

The authors of our democracy knew it wasn’t perfect. It depended too much on "blind trust.” But they went ahead with it on the chance that anybody who is the leader of a nation and put there, not by inheritance or by conquest, but by the free will of its citizens voting in a fair election would at the very least find some humility by that vote of confidence and lead with compassion and empathy. Strike one.
I haven’t been in an undergraduate classroom for many years, so I don’t know how they teach American history today. But I can bet somewhere in the syllabus the words “Checks and Balances” come up. That, to me, has always been the pillar on which the rest of our government rests.
Our founders knew that one man should never have so much power as to cause him to be immune to the laws of the Constitution. There would always be somebody with the authority to say, “You’ve gone too far. You have overstepped your bounds and you need to be reigned-in.” That being the job of the three branches of government. The executive (A.K.A., The President). The legislative (The house and senate) and the judicial (The Supreme Court). Unfortunately, they were unprepared for groups like Right-Wing Conservatives, Neo-Nazis, Anti-maskers and Evangelical Christians to have such influence over our government as to make it their “bitches.” And neither did we. Which brings us to something we learned this past year.

When we elect a man to be the president of the United States, we elect not only him and his vision, but the visions of a myriad of his supporters who believe, that by putting that man in power, they have a license to promote their anti-Constitutional racist, Neo-fascist agenda, not only without fear of reprisal, but with approval by the president and the legislative majority as well. And they almost pulled it off. But like similar civilizations of the not to distant past, they put all their chips in the hands of the wrong man. A semi-literate, egotistical, egomaniac bully who mistook the cheers of a few thousand people at a rally for the support of most Americans. Fortunately, when it came time to decide whether we would allow the lunatics to continue to run the asylum, we exercised the one thing the president and his cohorts in the congress, as hard as they tried, could not manipulate. The American electorate who found the good sense and courage to rid themselves of a would-be tyrant. Strike three. He’s out.

Will we make this mistake again? Probably yes. And the next time, they won’t nominate an ill-mannered orange-tinted buffoon The next man to lead us down the garden path will be well-spoken, well-educated and beyond reproach and we'll never see it coming………………

Donald Trump, the Anti-FDR
By June Hopkins and Stephen Seufert

In April 1932 Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) was running for president when the nation was in the depths of a devastating economic depression.

FDR famously stated, “These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten... that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” In an election year 84 years later, Republican Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNew York Post editorial board calls on

President Trump to 'start thinking' about Georgia runoffs instead of overturning election Loeffler, Perdue praise Trump for signing COVID-19 relief legislation after uncertainty Trump signs .3T relief, spending package MORE confidently promised, “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” Trump knew that phrase still resonated with millions of disillusioned Americans. In fact — from the 2016 campaign to today — Trump has repeated the phrase “forgotten men and women” at least 163 times.  

Some Medicare costs are higher in 2021.
Here's how you may be able to cut them

By Sarah O'Brien

As happens every time the calendar flips to a new year, Medicare cost adjustments are about to take effect.

This generally means paying more for some parts of your coverage, effective Jan. 1.

For Medicare’s 63 million beneficiaries — most of whom are 65 or older — certain costs change year to year and can affect premiums, deductibles and other cost-sharing. While the upward adjustments don’t necessarily involve huge dollar amounts, they can add up.

“Though the increases are small, we do see retirees worry over them,” said Danielle Roberts, co-founder of insurance firm Boomer Benefits. “For folks living on just Social Security, increases of even just a few dollars are a concern.”

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Dec. 28 2020

The Future of Social Security
Is on the Line in Georgia

By Andrew Young, Nancy J. Altman

On Jan. 5, our earned Social Security benefits will be on the Georgia ballot. The Democratic Party, which created Social Security, wants to protect and expand benefits. Republican elites in Washington, who call Social Security an “entitlement,” want to see its vital but modest benefits cut.

If Georgia voters send Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock to the Senate, Democrats will set the agenda on Social Security. They’ll be able to hold hearings, mark up legislation, and schedule votes. If Ossoff and Warnock win on Jan. 5, legislation to increase Social Security benefits and keep the program fully funded for decades to come has a real opportunity to get to President-elect Joe Biden’s desk.

If Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler win reelection, none of that will happen. There’s nothing Republican Leader Mitch McConnell hates more than requiring the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share towards the common good. If McConnell remains in control of the Senate, he will never hold a vote or even a hearing on legislation to protect and expand Social Security.


'All in this together' | Women share experiences with
assisted living facilities and
COVID-19 vaccine anticipation

By  Erica Proffer, Anastasiya Bolton

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Like a child waiting to open a holiday gift, Lyn Heffernan longs for the day that her family gets the COVID-19 vaccine.

She participated in the Pfizer vaccine study.

“If I could be a part of the solution, I wanted, there's so little else that I can do, I wanted to do that,” Heffernan said.


In the waiting line and worried: 
Florida seniors question when 
they’ll get COVID-19 vaccine
By Jeffrey Schweers

Joe and Rita Leone live in an all-ages condominium community in Estero. 

He’s 84, she's 79. 

He has persistent, chronic AFib, or atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart condition that he manages with regular doses of the blood thinner Coumadin.

“If I got COVID I wouldn’t survive, given my heart condition,” he said during a phone interview Wednesday. “I would really fear contracting the disease and going into the hospital.”

Wearing masks and social distancing have so far kept him and his wife from getting COVID-19 in the 10 months since the pandemic began in March.

But it would be nice to know when they will get the vaccine.

2020: A Year Of Lesson's Learned
4 minutes

As we begin the last week of a year that would best be forgotten, it behooves many writers to recap the past 12 months. While in most years that would be an acceptable and even welcome way of putting things into perspective, I feel that any re-hashing of the events of this year would be akin to pouring salt on a painfully festering wound. Do we really need to be reminded of what we have suffered both personally and collectively? I think not. Instead, let’s look at what we have learned about ourselves and others. And while we are at it, perhaps a little civics lesson would be in order.

Probably the most shocking thing we learned, and learned it early on, is how woefully unprepared we were. For a nation that spends literally billions and billions of dollars on defense, we found ourselves defenseless. And planless.
There was a plan in place that might have worked. But we will never know. Because, in his “wisdom” our president at the time decided the plan smacked of too much “Obama”, and therefore had to go, leaving us clueless as how to fight this new unseen enemy.
We learned too, that a nation that supposedly was abundant in just about everything fell short of almost everything especially with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our essential workers.
We also learned that when push comes to shove, nobody can produce things faster than the American worker. And when directed by the “War Powers Act” (which most of us has forgotten existed) we shifted our means of production from consumer goods to making respirators and PPE at an amazing rate.

2020 taught us much about ourselves as well.
Many of us discovered we liked our independence, our bank accounts, and what we believed is our Constitutionally given right to freedom of choice more than we liked our own lives or the lives of others. The refusal to wear a mask or social distance from one another and use as an excuse that “They are trying to take away or rights” caused an untold number of people to contract the virus. And adding to the confusion, the example set by many of our elected officials who suddenly disregarded basic science and threw caution to the wind and went about their merry, unprotected ways.

However, perhaps the most important lesson learned is that what they taught us in school so many years ago about how our government works in theory does not work as we thought in real life.
I’ll give you a chance to look for your old Social Studies textbook and we’ll continue this tomorrow………………………..

Why We Need a COVID-19 Memorial to
Those Who Died in Long-Term Care Facilities

The cruelty of the COVID-19 era has stripped us prematurely of many matriarchs and patriarchs, of all races and ethnicities, who had the misfortune to live in long-term care facilities that could not, or would not, save their lives. They are now an utterly disproportionate 40% of the U.S. dead — already 100,000 people.

Already, specific memorials are emerging: my own city has placed stark rows of empty chairs in front of City Hall for all of Newton, Mass.'s dead. Eventually there will be many scattered memorials, less ephemeral — plaques in hospitals, say, like those in fire stations after 9/11.

Find Your Place in the Vaccine Line
(A Calculator)
By Stuart A. Thompson

A vaccine may be around the corner, but how long will it be until you get the shot? Health officials are considering vaccine timelines that give some Americans priority over others. If you’re a healthy American, you may wait many months for your turn.

To put this in perspective, we worked with the Surgo Foundation and Ariadne Labs using their vaccine tool to calculate the number of people who will need a vaccine in each state and county — and where you might fit in that line.

To start, tell us about yourself:

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Dec. 25 2020
How Biden Could Help Older Workers

The barriers to employment among older workers remain formidable, especially due to the pandemic. But the new Biden administration has an opportunity to help.

Consider this: Even in pre-pandemic 2019, when nearly 25% of the workforce