Editor’s Note:
Because of the recent changes to my lifestyle, I have decided temporarily to alter the format of this blog. Instead of posting two new full blogs a week, I will post a new, shortened version daily.




GOOD MORNING

IT'S THURSDAY

APRIL 9TH 2020


QUARANTINE DAY 27
==================================


Thank You
Today marks three weeks since we here at the ALF went into lockdown mode.
Also, three weeks ago, I decided to change the format of this blog from one published twice a week to publishing 6 days a week.
This caused two things to happen.
First, it gave me something to do every day. It's almost like having a steady job.
The second nice thing that happened, and something which surprised me, was how many more readers have come online. And for this, I would like to thank each and every one of you.
Looking at the daily stats and seeing so many new and returning visitors makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and gives me the impetus to continue.
If there is anything I can do to improve this blog, do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks, with all my heart. ................................................Bruce.



NEXT NEW BLOG ONLINE  FRIDAY  APRIL 10TH 2020










Let me apologize in advance.

I never intended this blog to be a forum for my wrath or personal discontent.

But the situation, as far as what we are being served as food, has become intolerable and unacceptable.

Having personal previous knowledge of experiences with “Quarantine Meals”, I was expecting the food to be mediocre.

What I did not expect was for the food to be both bizarre and inedible.

After nearly three weeks of not having what most people would consider a “Proper Meal”, I accept that the food delivered to our rooms would be at room temperature and that it may not look very appetizing. However, what is being served to us in the last few days is fit only for an animal or a prisoner on Devil's Island.

They say talk is cheap, but a good photo is worth millions.

So, if I may, I would like to enter this photo (exhibit number one) as an example of what I am talking about.

This was dinner tonight. I’ll let you try to figure out what it is.
 
To give you an idea of portion size, that’s a standard size slice of rye bread under whatever that is supposed to be.*

At first I thought it was an open-faced turkey sandwich, and they had mistakenly left out the turkey. I gave it back to a surprised server who brought me another one from the cart. But alas, it was the same thing. 

I asked if they had a sandwich and was told they had none. 

That was the last straw.

I gathered up the “meal”, grabbed my cane, and headed for the kitchen. 

With blood in my eyes and darkness in my heart, I approached the kitchen door and yelled for somebody to come out.

It felt like a scene out of the movie “High Noon.”

But there was no one in the kitchen.

The administrator’s office was next. But he had left for the day.

I explained my situation to a very empathetic supervisor who took one look at the food and made a face.

She said they would get a sandwich delivered to my room and, as soon as the kitchen supervisor was available, she would come to my room to discuss the situation.

It is now 7:38pm. Two hours after I made the request. And, while I have received my sandwich, I have yet to see hide or hair of anybody in charge. But I will not let this go.
I’m saving the food, just as you see it, and will bring it to management on Friday.
I will not go down without a fight.

And by the way. If you think I am making too much of a big deal out of this and should just stand complacently by and accept this insult, you don’t know me very well.

The one thing I will not tolerate for me or my fellow residents is disrespect.

I’ll let you know what happened tomorrow. .............................…

*Editor’s note: It took a while, but I finally was able to determine what that white stuff on top of the bread is. It’s ground turkey meatloaf. G-d save us all.


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COVID-19 at Home: How to Protect Yourself and Others

About three-quarters of Americans have been ordered to stay home during this global pandemic, and that number grows weekly. In particular, people 60 and older, who are at greater risk of serious illness from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), are urged to leave the house as little as possible.

But how safe are our homes, especially if you live with another person who may be coming in contact with the virus? How, and when, do we disinfect surfaces? How risky is bringing in the mail or groceries?

“There’s a lot we still don’t know,” says Karen Hoffmann, a registered nurse and the immediate past president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Hoffmann is on the faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and a contractor on infection prevention with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


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Immune system's natural aging process explains why
COVID-19 is more dangerous for seniors

By Tracey Romero


While no age group is completely safe from serious COVID-19 complications, the elderly appear to have the greatest risk. A new Lancet Infectious Diseases study estimates the fatality rate for patients 80 years and older to be 13.4%

The researchers also found that the likelihood of hospitalizations with COVID-19 increases with age. They estimated that up to 18.4% of patients over 80 in the study needed hospital care compared to 12% of patients in their 60s and 3.4% of those in their 30s. Findings were based on 70,117 confirmed cases in mainland China and 698 cases outside of China.


But what is driving this increased susceptibility to the virus? It is not age alone because some older patients have had more success fighting off the infection than some younger patients.

The answer according to health experts is multifold.


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Why debt among older Americans is going up
By Rebecca Lake

While much has been made of millennials and their struggles with student loan debt, seniors are increasingly challenged by mounting financial burdens. The outstanding amount owed in 2019? An estimated $1.15 trillion, according to Policy Genius. Then numbers were similarly high for 60-something seniors whose collected debt was $2.14 trillion.

Carrying that kind of debt entering retirement can make a sense of financial security harder to come by.

"Rather than enjoying their golden years, many of our older generation continue to work just to keep ahead of their bills," said Deacon Hayes, personal finance expert and founder of Well Kept Wallet. "In addition, some have either depleted their savings to pay off debt, or have no savings at all due to a lack of funds."

Here's a closer look at how student loans, mortgages and other debts are shaping retirement prospects for older Americans.
How much debt does the average retiree have?


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Coronavirus: Doctors Pressuring Senior Citizens
to Sign DNR Forms

By Victoria Friedman


Charities have condemned reports that doctors are pressuring senior citizens into signing do not resuscitate (DNR) forms.

Age UK, Independent Age, and other charities and regional organisations have condemned reports of “shocking examples” of older, vulnerable, and critically ill people “who have felt pressured into signing Do Not Attempt CPR forms”.

The letter signed on Monday continued: “Alongside this, many of the people affected have experienced fear and anxiety, and feel that their lives and wishes do not matter. This is shameful and unacceptable.

“Whether or not to sign a DNA-CPR form is an individual’s decision, and they have a right to make that decision without feeling pressurised,” the charities said.







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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY APR 10TH 2020


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4/8/20




4 minutes


I would be amiss for not thanking the staff and management of our facility here in Yonkers New York.

The dedicated crew of technicians, food service people, maintenance, housekeeping and supervisory personnel for the yeoman work they have done under very trying circumstances is nothing less than phenomenal.

As a member of the Resident’s Council of The Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted living, I think I can speak for every resident here when I say we are thankful for the precautions, taken very early in this pandemic, to ensure that everything is being done to keep us safe, healthy and, comfortable.

BUT!

On the other hand, I’m pissed.

While the health and safety precautions have been heightened, the level of communication has fallen short.

I, and many of my fellow residents, know something is not right here. 

The number of rooms with caution and quarantine signs on them have increased.

The food and food service has dramatically declined over the last 2 days.

No longer do we have a variety at mealtimes.

Now, only one choice of a hot meal is given.

Food is being served with a “Take it or leave it”attitude.

And, while sandwiches are offered as an option, they are only making a “sandwich of the day.”

If you don’t like ham and cheese, too bad.

We are still receiving pre-packed brown paper bags with juice, milk and condiments in them.
Unfortunately, there’s no choice of what juice you want or what condiments you need. If it’s not in the bag, you can’t get it.

While I am not one for rumor or innuendo, this new (and strange) food distribution system can make me think only one thing.

ARE THEY RUNNING OUT OF FOOD? OR IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH SUPPLY?

A disturbing thought to say the least.

Of course, making things worse, is the complete lack of information from management.

They told us we would receive notification of any deviations from the norm.

So far, since March 14th, we have received only two notifications.

In these times when having up-to-date correct information is more critical then ever, I find it incomprehensible why we have been kept in the dark.
______________________________________________________________

As time goes by, one thing will rear its ugly head. Money.

Funds from Social Security and other sources drop into resident’s accounts during the first week of the month.

For many of us, that money is available only through our business office which sets the days and time available for residents to receive cash or checks. 

Unfortunately, because of the quarantine procedures, the business office is closed. 

Once again, there has been no guidelines as to how we are to receive our own money.

Remember, we are not permitted to leave the premises. So we can’t even get to an ATM to get cash.

I don’t know about you, but my balance at my bank is dwindling with no way of replenishing it. Shortly, I will have no funds available to pay my credit card bill. 

It appears, we are not as isolated from the real world as we thought.

And finally, a shout out to Walmart and FedEx. 

I ordered some badly needed underwear on April 6th with a delivery date of Friday the tenth. 

Much to my surprise, my package arrive yesterday, Tuesday the 7th. 

Well done.

More tomorrow. ……………………………………………


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Coronavirus Tax Relief
 Internal Revenue Service


The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available. For other information about the COVID-19 virus, people should visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (https://www.coronavirus.gov) for health information. Other information about actions being taken by the U.S. government is available at https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus
and in Spanish at https://gobierno.usa.gov/coronavirus. The Department of Treasury also has information available at Coronavirus: Resources, Updates, and What You Should Know.
Economic Impact Payments: What you need to know

The distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. However, some people who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment. When more specific details become available, we will update this page.

More info and important links >>  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus


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Easing Isolation During the Coronavirus Crisis


The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has much of the world sheltering in place. While it may be frustrating and challenging for many of us, this increased isolation is especially hard on the mental and physical health of older adults — the same group most at risk of getting the virus with and severe consequences of infection.

About 28% of older adults in the United States, or 13.8 million people, live alone, according to a report by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging. While many older Americans say they’re not usually lonely or socially isolated, they now find themselves suddenly cut off from in-person contact with friends, family and activities that help keep them engaged. This increases anxiety and fear and potentially leads to long-term negative consequences, say mental health experts. But there are ways to ease the isolation.

Research links social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death, according to the National Institutes of Health. People who find themselves unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse or partner, separation from friends or family, retirement, loss of mobility and lack of transportation are at particular risk.


____________________________________________________________


NDSU researchers studying how older adults are
coping with social distancing during the pandemic

By: Ryan Johnson


FARGO — For several years, Heather Fuller says she’s been concerned about the “epidemic of loneliness” people of all ages are reporting in increasing numbers.

“There’s a ton of research on this,” says Fuller, an associate professor with North Dakota State University's Human Development and Family Science Department. “We know the importance of having a good social support network at any age really.”

But a solid social network has become a challenge for everyone during the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting social distancing recommendations and stay-at-home orders keep people apart.

That’s why Fuller, a gerontologist who focuses on later life and how people can age successfully, is researching just what social distancing is doing to older adults in the region — and looking for strategies that could help others get through a challenging time.

Social isolation can be “such a big” risk factor for older adults, according to Fuller. She says it’s linked to higher levels of depression and mental health issues, as well as higher rates of hypertension and cognitive decline.



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A way to manage surge in
nursing home COVID-19 cases

By Al Powell

This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring.

A Harvard epidemiologist is warning that nursing homes, through no fault of their own, may no longer be the best place to house vulnerable elderly patients.

Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and its Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, said Friday that he believes the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is more transmissible than previously thought. It has been difficult to keep it from spreading in a number of settings, including hospitals, cruise ships, and nursing homes — in Massachusetts alone, some 102 nursing homes had reported 551 cases by Sunday afternoon, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Even with current restrictions on visitors, he said, employees regularly moving in and out of the facilities means it’s likely that additional cases will occur.









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4/7/20

 

5 minutes


Still Alive. I Guess

And Other Stuff


I’m certain I’m still alive. Mainly because I woke up this morning with a killer backache. And, although the final word on this is not in yet, I think backaches are over with when you’re dead.


Like many people, I suffer from chronic lower back pain. This is as a result from an injury I sustained when I was a kid. A youthful experience I’d rather not be reminded of.


This mornings anguish is the product of not sleeping in my bed. Something I have been doing for a few nights.


And It’s all Netflix’s fault.


I, like most people caught in this Covid19 nightmare, have been watching a lot of TV. For me, it’s late at night. And since the Colbert’s, Kimmel’s, and Fallon’s have hunkered-down like the rest of us, there’s not much else to watch after the news. Unless you enjoy watching Jimmy Fallon do a homemade version of the Tonight Show.


So, I turn to Netflix or Amazon for my TV fix. Unfortunately, my bed is not conducive for watching TV.

A combination of the height of the TV on the dresser, the position of my bed and the mattress and pillows, make it very uncomfortable for me to lie in bed and still see the TV screen.


Therefore, I’ve turned to my fully adjustable recliner to get the job done. But there’s one drawback.


The recliner is so comfortable I fall asleep in within 15 to 20 minutes of sitting on it, causing me to miss at least 75% of any movie I’ve selected.


This makes me have to “rewind” the show to the last point I remember before passing out. I may have to repeat this two or three more times. Thus extending an hour-and-a-half movie to almost 6 hours.


If they could invent a really smart TV that detected when you’re nodding off and automatically pause the program, I’d buy it.

_________________________________________________________________


It appears the quarantine/lockdown has become even tighter in recent days.

When the unpleasantness first began, I complained there were too many staff members coming in contact with me.


Besides the housekeeping staff and the med. Technicians (who I see daily anyway) I now have a bevy of food servers, trash-removers and temperature-takers three times a day. Far too many if they are trying to maintain distance and contact. A concern I expressed to a supervisor.


Well, it appears they have taken my suggestion.


There are fewer people sticking their faces in mine.


They have reduced in-room visits to once-a-day.


That’s the good news.


The bad news, the food service is worse.


Actually, not so much “worse” as “weird.”


For whatever reason, instead of giving us the condiments and side dishes we want individually, they have gone to what I can only describe as rationing.


Inside a brown paper bag is a pack of plastic utensils, 1 cup each of water, apple juice and orange juice. Two packs of sugar, two bags of decaffeinated tea, two packs of salad dressing, a salad and a package of hot chocolate.


And then, without even asking what I wanted for dinner, they thrust a Styrofoam container at me and walked away.*


“Just give me a rifle and helmet sir, and point me to the front.”


I hope this gruff treatment is born out of the need for efficiency rather than a shortage of food.


The portions have become dismally small and, when I ask for seconds, I was told they gave them just enough for each resident.


We live in interesting times. And getting more interesting every day.


More Tuesday..................................................................… 

 

*Editor’s note: The meal last night was fish. Don’t ask me what kind. While I love seafood, I hate the way they cook fish here. I threw it away. I know it’s a waste of food, but my principles will not be compromised because of some virus.

 

 

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Ways to Keep Yourself Busy

While Self-Isolating at Home

By Katie Skelly

 

...since you’re going to be spending a lot of time at home — time you’d usually spend in transit, engaging in extracurricular hobbies, or seeing pals — you’d be wise to fill those hours with some productive activities, too (something that isn’t solely binging Netflix, even though that’s fine, too).

So here it is: a comprehensive list of productive activities to occupy your body and mind in isolation. This is your chance to catch up on chores you’ve been putting off for weeks (read: months), tend to your home in a way you haven’t had a chance to yet, and take care of yourself.

For your home

 

Re-arrange your bookshelf

Just not by colour because that’s very Pinterest circa 2016. Over the weekend, or after finishing up work for the day, take the time to pull off all of your collected volumes, clean out the shelves of dust and dirt, then re-arrange according to the alphabet, genre, or author. You may come across some outdated novels you have no plans to read again, which you can donate next time you pop out of the house.

Read more>>  https://thelatch.com.au/how-to-keep-busy-in-isolation/

 

 

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Coronavirus is scaring older Americans away from medicine.

Here's how doctors are helping

By A. Pawlowski

When a heart failure patient was recently scared to come in for a medical appointment during the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. John Tabacco examined the person while sitting in their car.

The patient, who was worried about swollen legs, drove to the parking lot of the medical practice for a “curbside visit” that wouldn’t require entering a building or sitting in a waiting room.

Tabacco, an internal and sports medicine doctor in Arlington, Virginia, then climbed into the passenger seat — fully gowned for both of their protection — to check the driver’s level of edema.

“We’re able to do a lot for patients by thinking outside the box,”

Continue reading >>  https://www.today.com/health/coronavirus-telemedicine-doctors-help-older-americans-keep-medical-appointments-t177332

 

 

 

Stop calling them 'elderly':

Talking to older adults about self-isolating

Geoffrey Hoffman, assistant professor of nursing at the University of Michigan, studies older adult care and health policies that affect older adults. The mortality rate for COVID-19 increases for older adults, yet we've seen anecdotal evidence and media reports of older adults not self-isolating and millennials flouting warnings against gathering in groups. Hoffman discusses stigma and isolation among older adults, and how to talk to your older parents and friends about staying safe in coronavirus.

Why do you think some older adults don't heed warnings to self-isolate?

First, we don't have population data telling us that older adults are going out more than others. That said, I, like everyone else, have anecdotal observations from my own family with some of those same concerns, and I've seen the media reports. My caution would be to be wary of that anecdotal information. Ingrained stereotypes often can influence our perceptions, letting us possibly overstate the problem. For instance, negative views about aging, including stereotyping older adults as incapable of making decisions or taking care of themselves, may let us more easily perceive that they aren't doing so. It's fairly easy to stereotype. For instance, the word "elderly" has a negative connotation. Older adult is a less stigmatizing choice. That said, stereotypes embedded in language and thinking can lead to stigma, and I think stigma might explain some of these observed behaviors of going out when we think older adults should self-isolate.

 

Continue reading >>  https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-04-elderly-older-adults-self-isolating.html

 

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‘Downward spiral of depression’:

Coronavirus jeopardizes senior, child mental health


Marilyn Rix misses the sense of community from the fitness class she frequented before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted everything.

Without the classes, in-person church services and Al-Anon meetings, the 79-year-old Modesto resident says she’s fighting back cabin fever in the mobile home she shares with her son and daughter-in-law.

Mental health experts warn that the stress and anxiety of the pandemic will take a toll on mental health for people of all ages, but seniors and children face high risk.

Rix is among the 90,000 Stanislaus County seniors whom therapists say are especially vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness during the stay-at-home order.

While calling or texting isn’t quite the same as sitting down with her bible study friends, Rix says the contact and her faith help her cope.

Continue reading >>  https://www.modbee.com/living/health-fitness/article241623136.html

 

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NEXT BLOG  WEDNESDAY  APR 7TH 2020


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4/6/2020

5 minutes


Is No News Good News?


9A.M. The knock on the door could mean only one thing. The Med-tech was here with my pills. The breakfast cart and someone from housekeeping to empty the trash will follow to straighten the bed and supply me with clean towels. 

I opened the door and the first thing that greeted me, besides the rubber-gloved hand of the Med-tech holding a paper cup with my pills in it, was the unmistakable odor of a very strong disinfectant. 

I’m not talking about the usual household disinfectants like Lysol or Clorox wipes, but a disinfectant that might wash down a subway station after a homeless persons convention. 

The scent made my toes curl.

The one thing this place rarely smells of is disinfectant. They try to keep it from resembling a hospital or a nursing home as much as possible.

But, after my little walk-a-bout Friday I found out why the new scent. Going from corridor to corridor counting the number of rooms with quarantine signs on them and finding at least 10 doors with those signs, I got the impression something was not kosher.

I had to make another excursion to find out what had changed.

And what I found was enlightening.

Walking to the ends of, and back down the corridors on each of the four resident floors, I counted 14 doors with signs on them. Up 4 from the previous day.

While I can’t say for sure whether behind each of those doors lurked a test-positive person, that such caution is being observed made me pause and consider my proximity to a bunch of sick folks.

Something else I don’t know. When, or if, we will be told about this.

The staff, because they honestly don’t know or are told to keep things quiet, isn’t saying anything, which is why I’m doing my own intelligence.

I don’t want them to accuse me of reporting “fake news.”

 I’m writing this on Sunday morning, so I don’t expect any official communication until Monday. 

The last memo we received was on March 27th.

They informed us only one resident and one staff member tested positive by the virus. It was also noted that both the resident and staff member were not in the facility when they tested them.

Therefore, if my timeline is correct, we jumped from zero cases actually in the facility to at least ten in-house cases. 

Don’t misunderstand my concerns. 

I don’t believe the facility’s management is perpetrating any cover-up. They are most likely keeping things “close to the vest” because they don’t want to panic us. But seeing all those rooms with caution signs on the doors can be unsettling.

Unsettling as it may be, I am not afraid.

It’s been over 23 days since I have had contact with anybody from the outside world. And, except for my seasonal allergies acting up, I have expressed nothing more than a runny nose and some watery eyes. 

And, since they take my temperature at least once a day, and I have registered nothing higher than 97.5, I feel I’m good for now.

On the bright side, after trying for 3 days, I actually manged to get a small grocery order through to Instacart and received a delivery time.

Unfortunately, it’s not until Thursday.

But, since it’s just some stuff I ordered to supplement my boring, tasteless diet and not something I need to stay alive, I don’t mind waiting. 

Then again, waiting is something we have all become experts on.

More Tuesday. ………………………………………………………………………..

 
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3 Ways the COVID-19 Stimulus Law May
Help Your Financial Problems


In normal times, it’s not wise to dip into your retirement savings for purposes other than retirement. But the coronavirus pandemic has made this anything but normal times, and you may be desperate for cash. So, you’ll want to know about retirement-plan provisions buried in the new $2 trillion stimulus law — The CARES Act — that could get you out of a jam.

Two of them make it easier and less costly to either withdraw or take out a loan against your retirement plan. One of them lets people 70½ or older skip taking what would have otherwise been required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their retirement plans. And one gives you more time to contribute to a 2019 Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

    You may be entitled to a penalty-free retirement plan hardship withdrawal if you live or work in a COVID-19 federally-declared disaster area.


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Coronavirus is ravaging New York,
and Florida could be next. Are we ready?

By Andrew Boryga, Cindy Krischer Goodman


The images are both real and unimaginable. Bodies loaded into refrigerated morgue trucks. Makeshift hospitals thrown up like MASH units. Navy ships anchored offshore.

New York, hit harder by the coronavirus than anywhere in America, is reeling from the pandemic, an example of what Florida could become in a few short weeks.

On March 22, New York had 15,000 total coronavirus cases and 9,000 in New York City alone. More than 50 people were dying every day. Already more than 370 people had died.

Florida is nearing that juncture: more than 11,000 people infected, 191 dead, 40 of them on Thursday alone. In two weeks, Florida is projected to lose more than 100 people per day.




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Dutch End-Of-Life Debate Flares as
Coronavirus Tests Healthcare Limits



THE HAGUE — Doctors in the Netherlands have been advising elderly patients to think twice before agreeing to COVID-19 treatment in hospital intensive-care units, drawing criticism that they are attempting to ration scarce ICU beds.

The affluent Netherlands is rapidly approaching the capacity of its healthcare system just over a month into the crisis, with efforts underway to double the number of intensive care beds to 2,400 by Sunday.

But with thousands of virus patients flooding IC wards, space is expected to run out within days. Hospitals fear the Netherlands will be forced to emulate Italy, where doctors had to make life or death decisions about who received emergency treatment.


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Pets Help Senior Citizens With
Social Isolation And Fitness



During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the 2019 form of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China and has caused the COVID-19 disease worldwide, there has been concern about protecting those with preexisting conditions, which will be many seniors. Though the risk is negligible in young people, since coronavirus is in the same family as the common cold anyone can carry it without being symptomatic and that means extra precaution is being taken regarding the elderly.

Yet social isolation can be harmful as well. If you've ever watched the television show "Alone", you know even the ablest survivalist can crack under actual isolation in the wilderness. And families may regard it as too risky to visit right now.

In 2019 Healthy Aging poll results, seniors reported that pets check off a few boxes. For example, 78 percent of dog owners said it helps them be physically active, 70 percent of all pet owners believe it helps them cope with emotional issues and 46 percent report pets help take their minds off of pain.




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4/4/20







22 DAYS AND
ALL IS, WELL?

3 minutes

I usually begin writing these little daily blurbs of mine mid-morning. But today I waited until after dinner. That’s because I was waiting to see if we (residents) would receive any updates on the health status or our little facility here in Yonkers, NY. But, alas, as of 6pm no such information arrived. Sadly, I find this surprising, because what I observed this morning would be news worth sharing.

Something has changed here overnight. Today, on my walk around the building, I noticed warning signs outside of a few rooms on the first floor. Three in the west wing alone. The signs are cautioning those that need to enter to wear extra PPE gear. These signs were not there yesterday. Whether the people in those rooms have the virus or are just exhibiting symptoms, I do not know. What I know is the signs are on the doors where our most frail residents live.
The staff is saying nothing when I asked. They might not know themselves. But that did not stop me from doing a little investigating on my own. I went floor to floor (4 in total) and counted the number of doors that had those WARNING signs on the doors. I counted 10 in all. This did not come as a surprise.

They have had us in quarantine for over two weeks (the incubation time for this virus) and anybody who contracted the virus before we went on lockdown would show symptoms right about now. I expect we will see more doors with signs as the days go by.

Despite the cautions they have installed here there is no way we can be certain we are safe. Hopefully, those who have the virus will recover and be able to re-join our community.

We’re off tomorrow (Sunday) for a little mental health day.

Back here with more on Monday…………………………………………….


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As the weeks and months drag on who knows what our housing situations will be. They speak of rent hold and subsidies, but that’s in the future. Here’s some help from the Federal Government you can use now.

Housing Help | USAGov

Find housing resources targeted to certain audience groups.



Homeless Services and Resources

If you’re facing homelessness, these tips can help you prepare for and work through the situation.

  1.         Make sure your state ID or driver’s license is current and available. Shelters and assistance programs may have strict ID requirements.
  2.         If possible, store your belongings. Shelters have limits on how much you may bring.
  3.         Arrange for your mail to be delivered somewhere or talk to your local post office. Many have special services for people who are homeless. You may be able to get a free P.O. box or receive general delivery service.
  4.         Pack a bag for yourself and each member of your family.
  5.         Keep important documents and needed medications with you.
  6.         Check for shelter and housing through your state. You can also check your local government or state's human or social services programs for housing assistance. Or, use the map on the Homeless Shelter Directory to find a shelter near you. The types of facilities vary. Research the best options for:
  7.         Cost - Most shelters are free, but some may charge a small fee. Most facilities that provide residential drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs charge a fee. Many, however, are low cost, accept Medicaid, or operate on a sliding scale based on your income.
  8.         Length of stay - This can vary from a couple of weeks to several months.
  9.         Types of services - Some facilities just provide safe shelter for the night, while others are transitional. They provide both housing and support services. They may help you with substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, or job training.
  10.         Apply for more permanent public or subsidized housing. Typically, there are long waiting lists for public and subsidized housing. Apply as soon as possible.



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What people with high blood pressure
 need to know about COVID-19

Credit: American Heart Association

Many people have concerns about staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those with a chronic condition such as high blood pressure—a reading above 130/80—may face an increased risk for severe complications if they get the virus.

With nearly half of Americans dealing with high blood pressure, the American Heart Association, the world's leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, is sharing information about the risks as the situation rapidly evolves.

What is the real risk?

Based on what we know today, elderly people with coronary heart disease or high blood pressure may be more susceptible to the coronavirus and more likely to develop more severe symptoms. That means it's vital to follow guidance about keeping other conditions well controlled and maintaining good health and hygiene.


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Besides coronavirus, vulnerable
seniors face 2 other challenges

By Ben Werschkul

As if the health concerns from coronavirus weren’t enough, advocates are warning that many senior citizens also facing a web of other worries as the global pandemic drags on.

“Clearly older adults right now in the United States are at the epicenter of the COVID-19 discussion,” said Anna Maria Chavez of the National Council on Aging during an appearance on Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

Chavez’s group mission is to help people meet the challenges of aging. It works with nonprofits and businesses and the government to provide services and advocacy. She appeared as part of Yahoo Finance’s ongoing partnership with the Funding Our Future campaign, a group of organizations advocating for increased retirement security for Americans.


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Do Natural Remedies Really Boost Immunity
and Protect Us From Viruses?


There are many articles floating around touting the benefits of natural remedies like elderberry syrup, vitamin C and zinc in boosting immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic. But do these remedies really benefit us? Sarasota Memorial Hospital diabetes and outpatient nutritionist Linh Gordon answered some of our questions about these popular natural remedies, and how effective they can be at protecting us against viruses:
Is Vitamin C really boosting immunity enough to protect from viruses?

“Vitamin C, D and all the natural vitamins and minerals we need should be coming from food first. Taking a high dose of supplements can actually cause adverse health effects like kidney stones. So to get vitamin C, definitely turn to lots of fruits and vegetables, not necessarily supplements. Supplements will not have the same effect as the best source, which is actual food. However, vitamin C does not have a specific antiviral effect.”




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG  <MONDAY>  APR 6TH 2020


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5 minutes


Feeling Like A Target?
You’re Not Alone


Until recently, I have lived all my life in New York City. And, in all of my near 75 years, I have never been stabbed, shot at, robbed, assaulted, mugged or a victim of a hate crime*. And it’s not like I was a recluse or didn’t get out much. I’ve ridden the subways at all hours of the night and in all neighborhoods. I’ve walked the streets with an expensive camera around over my shoulder in some rough areas. I’ve traveled alone through parks and down dark lonely ally’s and nothing has ever happened to me. My theory on this is because I didn’t look like a target. I was always aware of my surroundings, and I had the amazing ability to blend into a crowd. But now, that’s all changed. I feel like I have a large, red target on my back.

It’s not the cane or the slower gait that makes me look like a likely subject for abuse, it’s my age. Having passed that magic number, 65, automatically put me in a separate category of humans. The Elderly. And today, that word has become the new mantra of those who want to find a scapegoat to blame the ills of the world upon. And it comes, not from dumb know-nothing rabble-rousers, but from people who should know better. Our legislators.

You remember our legislators, don’t you? The ones who swore to defend and protect the constitution of the United States but somehow threw some of those sacred amendments out the window for what was or what was not “Presidential Privilege.” Or, somehow, collusion wasn’t collusion if a president did it. Yes, those guys. The same people who, on one hand, swore never to lay a hand on our Social Security, while blaming the budget shortfall partially on the “Entitlements” they had to make to old folks. This besides refusing to change the way we calculate the cost-of-living index so that increases to our benefits are a paltry one or two percent, or nothing at all.  Yes, those guys. Well, now they have something new to blame us for. Not for creating a deadly virus, but how we seniors are causing unnecessary hardship on the economy because old folks are the only reason they have to be cautious. Some of those idiots have gone so far as to ask Seniors to sacrifice themselves for the good of the economy. 

And, even as recently as yesterday, there was another wrinkle-seeking missile hurled in our direction in the form of roadblock to poor seniors on Social Security who would like to receive one of those $1200 Stimulus Checks. While most Americans would receive those checks doing nothing at all, seniors would have had to file an income tax form to qualify. These would have been folks who haven’t filed income tax for twenty years, do not have any other income but their SS benefits, and would have had to wait weeks for their checks to arrive. Fortunately, in a later decision, cooler (and I presume more Liberal) heads prevailed and eliminated that speed bump. Now (at least we hope) seniors who rarely file an income tax report will not have to file to get the benefits every other citizen will get. But, the very fact this reversal was an afterthought shows how little regard we seniors have in the eyes of America. It’s not always the scary, swarthy figure wearing a hoody and yielding a knife that attacks you, sometimes it’s someone in a blue suite, white shirt, red tie and a pen you have to worry about.

More Friday …………………………..


*Editor’s note: I have had my car stolen, twice. But that’s not a personal crime. They just took the car.



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Frequent Hand Washing Leaving You With Dry Skin?
 Try These Remedies


Farmers' Almanac Remedies for Over-Washed Hands

If you’re like most, you’ve been doing some crazy hand washing lately—and topping it off with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer—thanks to the coronavirus. This kind of frequent hand washing, while a reliable way to ward off illness, can lead to dry, chapped skin, according to dermatologists.

Practicing good hand hygiene kills germs, but it also strips away your skin’s natural oils. And for those who experience cold, dry weather, it can be a double whammy. As a result, your hands are probably raw, cracked, and screaming for help. So what can you do? The Farmers’ Almanac has a few easy, natural home remedies.

First, A Few Hand-Washing Tips

   When heading to the sink, stick to natural, fragrance-free (or lightly fragranced) soaps. You can also try using liquid Castile soap—add a squirt to a pump dispenser and fill the rest with water.
 
  You can also add a few drops of germ-fighting tea tree oil, and a few tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil, or “liquid coconut oil,” to help keep your hands smooth.

  Choose soaps with added natural moisturizers.

  Pat your hands lightly with a towel rather than rubbing them dry.

  Follow with a fragrance-free hand cream (rather than a body moisturizer), preferably one that contains shea butter or other natural oils, or use any of the oils mentioned below, while hands are still slightly damp to seal in moisture.


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The horror films got it wrong.
This virus has turned us into caring neighbours

By George Monbiot

You can watch neoliberalism collapsing in real time. Governments whose mission was to shrink the state, to cut taxes and borrowing and dismantle public services, are discovering that the market forces they fetishised cannot defend us from this crisis. The theory has been tested, and almost everywhere abandoned. It may not be true that there were no atheists in the trenches, but there are no neoliberals in a pandemic.

The shift is even more interesting than it first appears. Power has migrated not just from private money to the state, but from both market and state to another place altogether: the commons. All over the world, communities have mobilised where governments have failed.

In India, young people have self-organised on a massive scale to provide aid packages for “daily wagers”: people without savings or stores, who rely entirely on cash flow that has now been cut off. In Wuhan, in China, as soon as public transport was suspended, volunteer drivers created a community fleet, transporting medical workers between their homes and hospitals.


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An 'ordinary bloke' who once lived in Canada
is now the world's oldest man

By Lianne Kolirin

A British pensioner has just been the crowned the world's oldest man after he celebrated his 112th birthday.

Born on March 29, 1908, Robert Weighton has officially been confirmed as the new title holder by Guinness World Records (GWR), it was announced Tuesday.

He scoops the title after Chitetsu Watanabe, from Japan, passed away on February 23. Born on March 5, 190
7, he was 112 years and 355 days old.

It is usually customary for adjudicators to meet with record holders in person. However, due to global social distancing measures that have been applied because of the coronavirus pandemic, Weighton was awarded his certificate remotely, at the assisted living home where he lives.

Playing down the accolade, Weighton described himself as "an ordinary bloke who just happened to live for a long time."


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Hospitals’ Response to Covid-19 Could Disrupt
Assisted Living in Lasting Ways

By Tim Mullaney

Hospitals across the United States are taking urgent steps to free up beds for people with Covid-19. The result could be a cascade of patients through the health care continuum, which would ultimately drive move-ins to assisted living communities and could disrupt their business model in potentially lasting ways.

The scenario taking shape is that hospitals, to create Covid-19 capacity, will send certain patients to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). To accommodate this influx of hospital patients, SNFs would move some people — probably long-term care residents with minimal medical needs — to other settings, including assisted living.

While this situation is not yet playing out in dramatic fashion, there are reports of it occurring. And the precipitating conditions are rapidly taking shape in certain places, most notably the state of New York. Last week, authorities there issued an order that nursing homes are required to take hospital patients deemed “medically stable,” regardless of their Covid-19 status.



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'Prisons are bacteria factories';
Elderly most at risk



HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Here in the Estelle prison unit, most of the male inmates in the geriatric dormitory first ran afoul of the law years or even decades ago, convicted of crimes ranging from murder and sex offenses to forgery and repeat DWIs.

Today, any outward hint of menace has evaporated. White-haired, frail and often tethered to canes or wheelchairs, they live in small rectangular cubicles and while away the days in unwavering sameness.

As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe, prisoner advocates are warning of the potential for a disastrous outbreak among inmates. The elderly are most vulnerable, and the U.S. inmate population is aging. Jails and prisons, crowded places where social distancing is nearly impossible, are breeding grounds for contagious disease.

“These prisons are bacteria factories,” said Rick Raemisch, a consultant and former executive director at the Colorado Department of Corrections. “I don’t think people understand the gravity of what’s going to happen if this runs in a prison, and I believe it’s inevitable.



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Who will benefit from the updated
Older Americans Act?

By Bob Blancato


In March, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in giving final approval to a five-year renewal of the programs and services of the Older Americans Act (OAA). This represented a strong bipartisan reaffirmation of the value of the law to maintaining the independence of people 60 and older. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation soon.

Why should you care? For one thing, the Older Americans Act’s efforts assist 11 million people each year all around the country, with services ranging from congregate and home-delivered meals to transportation services to elder abuse prevention to part-time employment. For another, the new legislation will provide new initiatives — and continue current ones —  helpful to family caregivers, people with early-onset Alzheimer’s and low-income older Americans, among others.
Highlights of the reauthorized Older Americans Act

The bill’s two main highlights: reauthorizing the Older Americans Act for five years and providing a 35% increase in funding over that time period. It also reaffirms that this law addresses two growing societal challenges: 1) social determinants of health (economic and social conditions influencing difference is health status) and 2) social isolation and loneliness.


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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG  <SATURDAY>  APR 4TH 2020


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4 minutes

4/2/20

Personally Speaking
From The Homefront


Basically, I have filled my days looking for something to do. 

I have this blog which, thank heavens, takes up a good portion of my time. But even the routine of daily blogging takes its toll on one's sanity, and I look for other things to do to fill the gaps. Here are some of what I have found, if not satisfying, at least time consuming.

I went online to complete the Census questionnaire. It’s not complicated, and it only takes up about 10 minutes of your time, but it’s important and, let’s face it, what else do you have to do. I’ll even make it easy for you. Get started here… https://my2020census.gov/login

I clean things. A lot. And not only the usual things like counter tops, toilet fixtures and other household surfaces, but the stuff that usually never gets cleaned. Like the back of my flat screen TV. The glass on my picture frames. The keyboard on my laptop (between the keys, too). Your sneakers. I’ve even taken apart the shaving heads on my electric shaver and given it a thorough cleaning (where did all those whiskers come from?).

Fortunately, the housekeeping staff cleans the floors and carpets, but I have a small vacuum cleaner with a permanent filter. I washed that filter. It sucks much better now.

While I keep the top half of my clothes closet fairly neat, the floor of that closet has become the dumping ground for everything I don’t use, but afraid to throw away. Plastic shopping bags and old sneakers seem to be at the top of the food chain down there, along with lots of old wire hangers. I found a t-shirt I had been looking for and thought lost in the laundry. But jubilation quickly turned to sorrow when I tried it on and it no longer fit, How does something shrink sitting on the bottom of a closet for two years?

Finally, although this sounds like a cliche, I re-arranged my sock drawer.I found it very satisfying.

If you live in New York State, or other states that will hold their primary elections this month you may have received your absentee ballot. I did, yesterday. However, I was interested to see if, because of the current crisis, the dates have changed, And, much to my surprise, I found they have pushed the election back  two months from April 23, to June 23. 

If you are not sure what the status of your states primaries is, check here…

More Tomorrow ………………………………………………………………………
 

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THE RULES HAVE CHANGED

AGAIN

This is the latest information as of 6am WED. 4/2/20

Social Security recipients who don’t usually file tax returns
will automatically get $1,200 payments, Treasury says in reversal
By Heather Long

This story has been updated.


The Treasury announced late Wednesday that Social Security beneficiaries who typically do not file a tax return will automatically get the $1,200 payment.

The announcement is a reversal from earlier in the week when the Internal Revenue Service said everyone would need to file some sort of tax return in order to qualify for the payments. Democrats and some Republicans criticized the IRS for requiring so many extra hurdles for this vulnerable population to get aid when the government already has their information on file.

The reversal came as the Trump administration tries to rapidly get stimulus payments out to Americans in the face of the quickest economic decline in modern history.



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COVID-19 causes more harm to seniors than just death

As a geriatric medicine physician specializing in care for older adults, I am witnessing the COVID-19 pandemic cause more problems for older adults than just sickness and death.

The implications of widespread social distancing and cancellation of routine home-based medical care will be profound and potentially devastating for elders.

It’s getting harder for seniors to get care at home at a time when they need it most. The COVID-19 pandemic is majorly disrupting critical home care services. Home health agencies hesitate to continue skilled nursing or therapy services for homebound seniors at the risk of potentially infecting them.

Continue reading>> https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/490236-covid-19-causes-more-harm-to-seniors-than-just-death

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No lockdown here: Sweden defends its
more relaxed coronavirus strategy

By Holly Ellyatt


While the rest of Europe imposes severe restrictions on public life and closes borders and businesses, Sweden is taking a more relaxed approach to the coronavirus outbreak.

Unlike its immediate neighbors Denmark, Finland and Norway Sweden has not closed its borders or its schools. Neither has it closed non-essential businesses or banned gatherings of more than two people, like the U.K. and Germany.

Sweden’s response to the outbreak is being overseen largely by the country’s Public Health Agency. It has taken a conspicuously different approach to the coronavirus from its international peers, trusting the public to adopt voluntary, softer measures to delay the spread of the virus.

This apparently laissez-faire approach has attracted criticism both from within Sweden, from a group of epidemiologists, as well from other countries which are locking down public life to curb the outbreak.


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10 Real Work-From-Home Jobs for 2020
by Holly Johnson

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic, businesses across the globe shut down their offices and transitioned their employees to remote work. While employees hunker down in their newly-thrown-together home offices, one thing we might see from COVID-19 is how remote work can be successful on a large scale.

Just a few decades ago, the vast majority of work-at-home job opportunities were far from profitable. And before the dawning of the Internet, it was much harder to sort through the scams and the real opportunities.

Some of the “gotcha” job offers from the past include check-cashing schemes, mystery shopping, medical billing “jobs” that require you to purchase expensive computer software, and craft-making jobs that ask you to pony up the cash for materials before you get started. And let’s not forget about the famous envelope-stuffing scam that was nothing more than a pyramid scheme designed to siphon money from as many people as possible.


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How People Over 60 Can Protect
Themselves Right Now

By Katie Couric

Wake Up Call: Why is the 60+ age group particularly vulnerable to this virus?

Dr. Peter Attia: Different populations are susceptible to different viruses. In the case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19) it’s been clearly observed that the risk of death rises sharply for people older than 60, and especially for people over the age of 75. This does not mean people younger than 50 are safe, but their risk is much lower.

There are probably a few reasons for this observation. First, age is a strong proxy for other conditions that increase risk — most notably high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and lung disease. Second, as people age, their immune responses change, and there is typically a diminished adaptive response. Finally, as people age their “physiologic reserve” (how much physiological stress they can tolerate) goes down, so they have less buffer to combat severe illness.


What would you say to people in the 60+ age group who are not practicing social distancing?

The best option to help protect oneself and those around them from infection is social isolation. From the most recent March 18 CDC report of U.S. cases by age group, ~32% of positive cases for ages 65–74 were hospitalized, ~11% of those cases required intensive care and there was a 3% death rate reported for the age class. And in other countries, such as Italy, the numbers are worse.




- 30 -

NEXT BLOG  <FRIDAY>  APR 3RD 2020


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5 minutes



Sealed Up,
Sealed In


It’s another gray, cloudy and cool day here in virus-central Westchester County, New York. Normally this would depress the heck out of me due to it being almost a week and a half into Spring. However, because the weather is not great, and since I’m locked up here anyway, the lure of the great outdoors does not thrill me as much. 

While there are no armed guards, watch towers or snarling German Shepherds nipping at our heels, leaving the building has become more of a challenge than even a week ago.
As late as last Friday, if I wanted to exit the building from our annex lobby (I live in an annex building built when the facility bought a residence for the blind and converted it to assisted living) I could have just waited until the automatic door opened and walked on to an outdoor promenade which links us to the main building where they would have allowed me in.

When weather permits, I enjoy taking the outdoor route as I travel between buildings. But as of two or three days ago, this point of egress and entrance is verboten. The automatic doors no longer work and they have stretched yellow caution tape across the railings. This means we have to use the longer indoor passage to get to the main building and, eventually, the outside. This is an even further tightening of the facilities quarantine procedures. Normally, I would consider this another one of those “overkill” methods they impose on us from time to time to “protect” us from ourselves. However, this time I have no problem with them doing this.

Essentially, they’re afraid. And with good cause. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have become hotbeds of infection. And it’s not just a bunch of old people getting ill. It’s old people dying. 

The headlines say it all.

 
 
These headlines are shocking and, as a resident of an assisted living facility, I find them downright frightening. Remember, these are people who contracted the virus and took ill IN THE FACILTY. How did they let that happen?

They didn’t get it in the Mall, or in a restaurant or supermarket or library. They caught the Covid-19 virus because someone brought the virus in with them. 

It could have been a staff member, a family member, a delivery person or maintenance people who were allowed to come in to the building because, even after there was a known threat to the facility, the management failed to act quickly and stringently to keep their residents safe. And their residents paid the price. The management of our facility took the situation more seriously and acted quickly and without reservation.

They put isolation measures into place immediately. After a brief meeting with residents, the place went on lockdown. As there were quarantine procedures already in place from a previous Norovirus quarantine (which lasted almost three weeks) the facility knew what to do. Out came the food carts, the Styrofoam plates and the plastic dinnerware.

The staff immediately put on protective attire. Masks, gloves and gowns. They even had non-contact thermometers on hand. And, so far, it has paid off. As we reach our third week of this thing, no resident has fallen ill while in the facility. And they ordered a staff member who tested positive to stay home.

How much longer these strict, almost heavy-handed, methods will keep us safe is anybody’s guess. But at least I know everything that they could do they did. And that’s all anybody can ask.………………………..
 
 
 

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How to Sleep Better During
the Coronavirus Pandemic


Sleep is always important for good health, and that’s especially true in this challenging time. When you rest well, you’re better equipped to face the day. But right now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, heightened anxiety and unstructured time may cause insomnia even in those accustomed to a full night’s sleep.

That’s not good, for more than the obvious reason.

“It’s possible that sleep plays a role in strengthening the immune system and its response to infection,” says Dr. Rachel Darken, the sleep medicine fellowship director in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “That could be part of the reason why sleep has been preserved in our evolutionary development.”

These days, many people who are used to going to work and living active lives are spending more time at home, and that has consequences. Darken says that scientists think there is a “bi-directional relationship” between insomnia and anxiety.

    “Anxiety influences sleep and sleep deprivation influences anxiety — they feed on each other.”

“Anxiety influences sleep and sleep deprivation influences anxiety — they feed on each other,” she says. And, “even if you’re not particularly anxious about the new coronavirus, the disruption in your routine can lead to difficulty sleeping,” Darken adds.


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How to decide whether to bring your elderly parent home
from assisted living during the pandemic



Dr. Alison Webb took her 81-year-old father out of assisted living to live.

Coleen Hubbard took her 85-year-old mother out of independent living to die.

With the coronavirus moving through facilities that house older adults, families across the country are wondering “Should I bring Mom or Dad home?”

It’s a reasonable question. Most retirement complexes and long-term care facilities are excluding visitors. Older adults are asked to stay in their rooms and are alone for most of the day. Family members might call, but that doesn’t fill the time. Their friends in the facility are also sequestered.

In a matter of weeks, conditions have deteriorated in many of these centers.

At assisted living sites, staff shortages are developing as aides become sick or stay home with children whose schools have closed.

Nursing homes, where seniors go for rehabilitation after a hospital stay or live long term if they’re seriously ill and frail, are being hard hit by the coronavirus. They’re potential petri dishes for infection.


________________________________________________________________


Getting old has often meant loneliness.
It’s about to get worse.

By Rebecca Leber


When some of the earliest reports about the novel coronavirus first appeared, they suggested that individuals who were older than 65 appeared to be uniquely vulnerable to the worst effects, including death, from COVID-19, the disease from the virus. Four months after the first cases were reported in China, one of the first major outbreaks of the virus in the United States occurred in the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, where 81 senior citizens were infected and 35 people died over the course of about four weeks. Soon, across the country, public health officials urged strict quarantines as a way to protect the population generally and especially the most vulnerable members: those with preexisting conditions, or those who are immune-compromised, or who are over 65.

Geriatric experts are concerned, however, that staying safe from the virus could bring some serious repercussions: Social isolation and loneliness are two conditions that are also a grave threat to the health and well-being of the nation’s older people.

“[The quarantine] affects a group that has already been suffering the risks of social isolation at an even greater extent,” says George Demiris, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, who specializes in ways technology can enhance health care. “I do think that this has a set of unintended consequences.” If left unaddressed, those consequences could be deadly.


________________________________________________________________


Native People Would Never Sacrifice
Their Elders for the Good of the Economy

by Levi Rickert


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our normal lives in ways that seemed unimaginable until three weeks ago.

Native News Online views its coverage of the deadly coronavirus as a top priority at this time in order to get the word out to help stop the spread of the virus across Indian Country and beyond. In order to bring informative reporting to Native News Online readers, we go through a rigorous process of separating fact from fiction which involves monitoring hundreds of COVID-19 related press releases and articles.

One story that we did not cover has been gnawing at my mind all week long. So, I want to address it now.

The story dropped last Monday night, when Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who turns 70 this week, suggested during a Fox News interview that senior citizens should be willing to die in exchange for restarting the American economy.





- 30 -

NEXT BLOG  <THURSDAY>  APR 2ND 2020


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3/31/2020





4 minutes


This is what our days have been like for the last two weeks

Wait for breakfast. Usually served between 8 and 9 am
Wait for our medications
Wait for our temperatures to be taken
Wait for housekeeping to straighten our rooms
Wait for lunch
This routine repeats two more times until bedtime




I’ll be the first to admit it. We are being very well shielded from an outside, contagion-fueled, virus-riddled world. There is probably not much more they can reasonably do to make sure Covid-19 does not sneak into our facility. And for that I am grateful. But they need to do more to vary, if not relieve, this very dreary, dismal and mind-numbing routine that we face every day.

We can tolerate anything for short periods of time.

We have learned to wait on endless lines at airport security knowing we will, eventually, get to our destination sometime within a few hours.

We wait in traffic jams with the understanding it will soon clear and we can continue on our way.

I remember waiting for hours, in my underwear, at the Selective Service Induction facility, just to be poked, prodded, and selected. But even as uncomfortable and apprehensive as that experience was, it was not every day, and we knew it would soon end. Unfortunately, the end to this current crisis seems to get further and further away by the hour. This does not sit well with older people.

While many seniors appreciate a routine (there is comfort in knowing what the future has in store) we, as almost everybody else, like a little variety. There is no variety in what we face now. There is, I feel, only contempt. Something needs to change.

This is my proposal.

They should test every resident and staff immediately, just as they are doing with medical professionals, to determine if anybody within the confines of this facility has been infected.
Then, after an appropriate period, let’s say two weeks, providing no resident or staff shows any symptoms of the illness, they should allow an easing of some of the regulations.

Allowing us to use the coffee machines and vending machines would mean a lot as well as permitting us access to the microwave ovens.

More re-testing and waiting, and then a little more loosening of the quarantine. A few Bingo games would help much to ease the incredible boredom.

I remind you; I have not asked that they permit us visitors, nor should they permit us to travel beyond the confines of the facility’s grounds. Containment should remain intact as long as there is a threat of contamination. However, by relaxing some of the restraints, at the very least, there would be some return to normalcy. ……………………
 

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The Dangers of Self-Medicating for COVID-19
and Exposure to Household Poisons


Questions about various home remedies and ways to prevent COVID-19 have been circulating on social media and in the news since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic; theories such as gargling hot saltwater, drinking mass quantities of water and taking various vitamins or antibiotics represent a few.

While there may be some “rationality” behind these theorized ideas, Michael Lynch, M.D., director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC emphasized the dangers of self-medicating and using home remedies to ward off the virus.

“Be careful what you read on social media, there is all sorts of inaccurate information out there,” said Lynch. “The best thing people can do is maintain their general health, eat a healthy diet and get exercise when they can. Practice social distancing, use good hand hygiene and stay home as you would any other time you feel sick.”

One of the most dangerous prevention methods circulating online is the uncontrolled use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to thwart COVID-19. Researchers are working to determine if ...



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NOT REAL NEWS:
Debunking more false coronavirus content

By BEATRICE DUPUY, ARIJETA LAJKA, AMANDA SEITZ


A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:


CLAIM:

Nancy Pelosi snuck $25 million worth of pay raises for Congress into the federal relief bill intended to help Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

THE FACTS:

A proposal in the economic rescue package sets aside $25 million for the House of Representatives but "none of those funds will go to member salaries," Evan Hollander, the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, told The Associated Press. After the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package late Wednesday night (it was signed into law Friday), social media users began inaccurately claiming that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had secretly stuck in $25 million worth of congressional pay raises. That was not the case. The $25 million appropriation for "salary and expenses" in the House of Representatives was proposed in both versions of the relief package - a GOP-backed proposal earlier in the week and the plan passed by the U.S. Senate Wednesday. The money will be used to buy new equipment and make upgrades to the network so members and their staff can work remotely, Hollander said. It will also be spent on reimbursing costs of the child care center and food service contracts for the House, as well as paying for the House Sergeant-at-Arms, he added. Congressional pay can be raised annually based on a federal cost-of-living formula. However, Congress has voted to reject those increases since 2009, keeping their salaries frozen at $174,000 for a decade.



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The one thing we don't want to go to the hospital NOW for is something stupid like falling.

This Causes Most Falls for Older Adults
By Chris Kissell

As we age, our sense of balance sometimes can betray us. The best way to avoid potentially devastating falls is to prioritize staying balanced, and to avoid other tasks that steal our focus from where it needs to be.

In fact, “dual-tasking” — standing or walking while also performing a separate mental or physical task — is the No. 1 source of falls for older adults, according to Brad Manor, an associate scientist at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah. Click here to sign up for our free newsletter.

Writing in the Harvard Health Blog, Manor says older adults are much more vulnerable to falls if they are moving when they try to perform a separate cognitive or motor task.



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Nearly all older Americans support
including dental coverage in Medicare

Reviewed by Emily Henderson

Nearly all older Americans support adding a dental benefit to the Medicare program that covers most people over age 65, according to a new national poll that also reveals how often costs get in the way of oral health for older adults.

Ninety-three percent of people between the ages of 65 and 80 favor including dental coverage in traditional Medicare, though the percentage dropped to 59% when they were asked if they'd favor it even if they had to pay more for their Medicare benefits.

Just over half of the older adults polled (53%) said they currently have dental coverage. Half of this group are covered as employees or retirees, or spouses of employees.







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NEXT BLOG  <WEDNESDAY>  APR 1ST 2020


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The sun had not yet come up as I made my way to the bathroom to do my business and splash some water on my face. The TV, which I haven’t shut off since March13th, flickered near the wall. I popped two Tylenol out of the pharmacy-supplied blister pack and downed them with a cup of bathroom tap water. My back has reminded me that a virus isn’t the only thing that can make you feel bad. By the way, why does the water from the bathroom sink taste different from what comes from the kitchen sink? I must Google that later.

I’ve been using Google a lot in the last two weeks. There are so many questions that need answering and trying to decipher the truth becomes a matter of reading three or four stories on the same topic, picking out bits and pieces from each and coming up with something that seems reliable. Often, just as you think you have a definitive answer, somebody says something to contradict it and you have to start over. This has been particularly true with the Stimulus Aid Package.
Of particular interest to me, and I’m sure many seniors, is the answer to the question “Will Social Security beneficiaries be eligible to receive any of those benefits and, if so, how much and how will we get it.” It should be fairly simple, right? Think again.

From the day they announced that just about everybody in the country would get some badly needed cash to compensate for lost wages due to an almost complete shutdown of American business, the question has been is who will get what.

At first it appeared only those who filed a tax form in 2019 would be eligible. Then they said “No”. Anybody out of work would get some cash. People earning under a certain salary would get one amount, while people who earn more would get a different amount. The actual over/under number changed two or three times, as did the amount people would get. However, if that wasn’t elusive enough, finding an answer that would satisfy 61 million people who get Social Security benefits every month was even more elusive.*

Originally, they said that if you received SS benefits and filed a tax return for 2019, you would receive a one time supplemental payment to make up for any loss because of this crisis. However, in the final draft of the bill, that was taken out. So, what about those of us who, because Social Security is our only source of income, and therefore we don’t file a tax return? Do we get anything? The answer is “Yes, sometimes and maybe.” The last information I could find on the subject (from a spokesman for the Senate Finance Committee) goes this way. “There aren’t provisions explaining a list of people eligible — it’s a broad definition, meant to be as all-encompassing as possible,” However, don’t expect to see any money for about 3 weeks. Eventually.

Personally, I could use a few hundred bucks. The food being handed out to us here has been so incredibly bad, I have had to supplement my diet with food I order via Instacart. Unfortunately, this service is expensive. The prices of the things you buy is slightly more than at the store, Then there is the delivery charge and a service fee. Add a tip to the shopper/driver, and you have spent an additional $10 to $15 dollars. I also hope any funds I do get will go directly into my personal bank account rather than the account set up the A.L.F. where my usual SS benefits go. So many questions, and nobody knows the answer.  ………………………………………………………

*Editor’s note: I do not trust most of the information coming from the Federal Government. Not because I think they are lying, but because I think they are very confused.


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Okay, so you’re home. And, most likely you are drinking a lot more coffee by now. But maybe you are used to getting your coffee from a favorite deli or donut or coffee shop and you are wondering why their coffee is so much better then yours. Thefore we are deviating from our usual “The Basics” subject matter to bring you this very important information.



Here's Why Your Coffee At
Home Never Tastes Quite As Good
By Jamie Feldman

How To Make The Best Coffee At Home,
According To 6 Experts


For coffee lovers, there are few experiences more joyful than visiting a beloved café and enjoying a piping hot cup of godly nectar. But when it costs up to $5 a cup, depending on where you live, trying to recreate that experience at home is one of the easiest sounding ways there is to save a little cash.

Except ― it nearly never tastes as good, right? Why is that, aside from the fact that it’s a treat to have something made especially for us by someone else? In an effort to save our sanity and bank accounts, HuffPost went on a mission to find out.

We chatted with six people who would know

What seems to be universal is that making great coffee at home is less a precious and daunting task than we might think, and it really comes down to a couple of key ingredients. Find out what they are and how to use them below….




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Coronavirus reveals just how little compassion
we have for older people

Louise Aronson

Pre-dawn on the first day of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place mandate, which went into effect March 16, the city sidewalks were empty. By midday, when crowds and chaos are the norm, the city remained eerily quiet. A few joggers took advantage of the open roadways, and I passed a half dozen other people who, like me, were walking dogs.

It is possible that more of us were out than should have been, given recent reports showing very low death rates in an Italian city that instituted a quarantine, and tragically high numbers of deaths in a nearby city that did not. It also seemed clear that most San Franciscans were being good citizens and staying home. That’s why one particular category of city stroller that day surprised me: people who were clearly in their 60s, 70s, and 80s, and probably even in their 90s — the highest risk group for Covid-19. Could they all have been on their way to “provide or receive essential services,” those scant activities allowed under the mandate? I suspected not. It seemed far more likely that they had ignored the pleas from public officials and the medical community that “vulnerable populations” must stay at home.

As a human being, I have a range of reactions to their defiance: concern, frustration, and compassion. As a doctor whose specialty is geriatrics, I try to weigh the many, complicated reasons an older person might be out with the significant reasons they — and all of us — should reconsider going outside. In these unprecedented times, individual liberties are at odds with the well-being of our species, and for most people, old and young, our present is pitted against our future.


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20 podcasts that will make you smarter
 while you self-quarantine at home

By Drake Baer


As the coronavirus outbreak continues, more people may find themselves looking for entertainment or education while staying inside.

Podcasts are a great option for those hoping for escapism or who just want to use their time inside to learn something new.

In the past decade, podcasts have become a part of mainstream media, thanks to true-crime shows like "Serial" and interview shows like "WTF With Marc Maron."

We've compiled 20 podcasts that will teach you a little bit about everything, from politics to history to Hollywood.

If you're social distancing or quarantining during the coronavirus outbreak, a good podcast can provide some virtual companionship, and perhaps even a chance to learn something new. Fortunately, there's an abundance of pods for you to choose from. In the past decade or so, podcasts have gone from a niche interest to the mainstream.



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If coronavirus scares you, read this to
take control over your health anxiety

By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett


When news of the coronavirus broke at the end of last year, and as the stories from the outbreak became more alarming over time, I found myself wondering how health anxiety sufferers were coping.

You see, I used to be one. In late 2015, I suffered a post-traumatic stress disorder relapse which led to debilitating anxiety, much of which was health-related. During that period, I was paralyzed by the thought of becoming ill and dying. I was constantly checking for symptoms and signs of disease online and I was fixated on the health of my loved ones.

After treatment, including trauma-focused CBT, I almost completely recovered. But I remember vividly how it felt to be in an all-consuming state of panic. For many months, it ruled my entire existence. Approximately 40 million American adults – roughly 18% of the population – have an anxiety disorder, while in the UK there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in 2013. There are few statistics about health anxiety, but it can affect those who have an existing anxiety disorder or those who have experienced a life event such as bereavement, birth trauma or an accident. In times like these, where a global pandemic is taking up most of the media conversation, it can be even more difficult to stay calm.







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5 minutes

They have just informed us via a hand distributed letter that we now have one resident who they have diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus. It is important to note that this resident was already hospitalized for another illness. More disturbing is the news that one of the staff has also tested positive. The letter noted that the unnamed staff member has not worked since last week. This means that the possibility of contact with someone with the virus exists here as elsewhere.


Future Lesson Learned


Today, Saturday, marks our second full week in quarantine here at the Asylum. And the inmates are showing some signs of unrest. 

What happens when a group of incensed, bored, ill-fed old people get angry I don’t know, but I have a feeling we are about to find out. 

I took my daily hobble around the facility after lunch yesterday and found the corridors, which in previous days were speckled here and there with zombie-like residents looking for something, anything, to break the isolation, and saw no one except a few be-masked staff scurrying around like squirrels trying to remember where they buried their nuts. I have found, when old folks become less vocal, it’s not a good sign. It means they have reached a point where they don’t care anymore. And when seniors show signs of giving up, bad things happen. Mainly an increase in health-related problems. Most of our residents have underlying health issues that can only become exacerbated by stress which, by now, has to be at a high point.

It has become obvious we are only at the very start of what experts say will be a long period of difficulties. But not being able to see any light at the end of the tunnel because we don’t know where the tunnel ends is very scary. Experts give us only open-ended answers, which leads us to believe nobody knows what they’re doing.
Here, in New York State where I live, people are losing the battle against infection. About 1/3 of all Covid cases in the U.S. are just right outside our door. I often think I can see swirling waves of purple virus-laden mist in the air when I look out of the window. I’m sure it’s only my imagination which, by now, is running at break-neck speed.

As a way of keeping my sanity, I am trying to imagine things beyond the immediate future to the time when we will return to normalcy. And what I see is a changed world. At the very least, we will have learned how ill-equipped we are to deal with things beyond our circle of influence. We believe we live only for ourselves or our immediate family when, in reality, we are part of a single organism dependent on all of its parts working in harmony. Hopefully, we will have not learned this too late.

As we did last week, there will be no new post tomorrow, Sunday.

Have a safe and sane weekend…………
 



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How to Sleep Better During
 the Coronavirus Pandemic


Sleep is always important for good health, and that’s especially true in this challenging time. When you rest well, you’re better equipped to face the day. But right now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, heightened anxiety and unstructured time may cause insomnia even in those accustomed to a full night’s sleep.

That’s not good, for more than the obvious reason.

“It’s possible that sleep plays a role in strengthening the immune system and its response to infection,” says Dr. Rachel Darken, the sleep medicine fellowship director in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “That could be part of the reason why sleep has been preserved in our evolutionary development.”

These days, many people who are used to going to work and living active lives are spending more time at home, and that has consequences. Darken says that scientists think there is a “bi-directional relationship” between insomnia and anxiety.


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New research may help older adults
 stay physically capable for longer



Drug therapies that help older adults maintain their skeletal muscle mass and physical function for longer could be a step closer after researchers at the University of Birmingham identify a key mechanism that drives the clearance of damaged mitochondria.

A team in the University's School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences are well-versed at investigating dynamic machinery within cells called mitochondria. Mitochondria act as the power plant in every cell and help to supply energy for all living things.

Because mitochondria are so important to energy supply, they constantly undergo synthesis and break down to match energy demands. However, in older people, the way that mitochondria are naturally broken down in cells starts to change, leading to a build-up of damaged mitochondria or old mitochondria that are not functioning as well. It is thought these changes might contribute to the decline in the function of older people's muscles, which in turn reduces their physical capabilities. The team wanted to find out more about mitochondrial break down in muscle and the factors controlling it. Their results are published today in FASEB.



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Not Taking COVID-19 Seriously?
Here’s Why You Should



More than 100 million Americans in over a dozen states have been ordered to stay home due to the increasing spread and impact of the coronavirus. For the rest of the country, following the strongly-encouraged recommendations from the world’s leading health officials is still a choice.

When undesirable things like distancing, isolation and forgoing many of life’s pleasures is a choice, there are those who willingly take precautions — and there are those who won’t.

It’s easy to cast blame. There are older people, in all states of health, throwing caution to the wind. There are younger people going anti-establishment, refusing to heed advice of government officials. And there’s everything in between.

When you’re not careful, you’re putting others in your community at risk.


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Coronavirus-related costs could
be $10B to $20B for senior living

COVID-19-related costs could approach $10 billion to $20 billion for the senior living industry, so lawmakers should not forget such companies as they negotiate a bill potentially topping $2 trillion in aid for citizens and businesses in response to the pandemic, the presidents of Argentum and the American Seniors Housing Association told Senate and House leaders in a March 18 letter.

“Although many sectors of the economy (and the economy as a whole) are suffering under the current crisis, none are more directly affected than the senior living industry, which is on the front-lines of this battle, protecting the segments of the population who are in the most danger from COVID-19,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda and ASHA President David Schless told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Fighting the pandemic, the senior living industry has incurred costs in categories such as workforce, supplies, occupancy and operations, Balda and Schless said. Legislative relief, they added, should include financial support of workers’ need for safe and reliable child care and also should reimburse operators of independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities for financial outlays associated with COVID-19 containment costs, perhaps in the form of an additional refundable payroll tax.








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4-5 minutes

For a facility that supposedly wants the strictest quarantine and isolation procedures it can manage, I have come in contact with more staff members (the one group here that is most likely to transmit the disease) than I would on a normal day.

There are 6 staff members serving food. That involves staff from two shifts. That means I have come in contact with 18 people. Then there is the medical technician that visits me once-a day (some residents get pills 3 or 4 times a day). 

Today, besides the food servers and med techs, the “snack lady”, housekeeping, and someone who cleaned my bathroom visited me. And, since its laundry day here, another staff member came to my room to collect my dirty clothes. But what I find more annoying, if not more dangerous, is the staff member, with a thermometer in hand, who insists on taking my temperature not once, not twice, but three times a day. I put a stop to that. I told them once in the morning is enough, and if anybody has a problem with that to come and see me in person so I can relay my concerns.  

I registered a lovely 97° by the way. ………………………………..



In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote a book which ignited the environmental movement by exposing the dangers of pesticides like DDT. She warned that one day we might wake up and wonder where all the birds and bees had gone. Thus the title “Silent Spring.” Today, we face a similar catastrophe that may make us wonder where spring and summer and fall had gone.

After a strange winter here in the New York area, a winter that saw almost no snowfall but a lot of rain, I was looking forward to getting out and about as the season changed. I am not a fan of cold weather, so I stay indoors and hibernate during the colder months. But come spring and summer, I’m an outdoor person. I believe that natural daylight is better than any vitamin supplement you can take. And so do many of my fellow residents. On any given warm sunny day, we fill our patio and other seating areas around the facilities property with sun worshipers. People eat outdoors, chat with friends and relatives, and just sit back and grab some rays. It makes the body, and the sole, feel good.


Spring is also planting time around here. Many of our residents, including myself, find gardening a wonderful way to occupy one’s time while adding some beauty to the facility which can look a little institutional. And I know our recreation director had plans to involve as many people as possible in the spring planting. But now, who knows? The warmer days will soon be upon us, and so too the Covid-19 virus.

Nobody (not even the president) knows when this thing will resolve itself. Some say weeks while others are looking at months. There is some hope that this virus will act as most viruses and become less contagious during warmer weather. It has something to do with how water droplets are dispersed when temperatures are higher. Those droplets, which happen when we cough or sneeze, don’t go as far as they do in the cold. I hope that’s true. I also hope it happens sooner rather than later. I don’t want a year without a summer. 

As of now, our patio is devoid of the nice chairs and tables and umbrellas that usually dot the area. My hope is, by the time the nice weather arrives, we will have reduced the possibility of anyone contracting this virus to a point where we will be permitted to sit amongst our friends and enjoy whatever spring or summer we have left. I wish the same for you.

More on Saturday…………



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Why Covid-19 is so dangerous for older adults
By Umair Irfan and Julia Belluz


Even before the Covid-19 coronavirus reached more than 100 countries around the world, early data from China — where the outbreak started — suggested that older adults were the most vulnerable to the worst effects of the disease.

Now, that data, along with emerging research from Italy — the second-most-affected country in the world — is showing just how dangerous Covid-19 is for older people, and others with with heart, lung, and immunological conditions.

In Italy, a country with one of the world’s oldest populations, a March 4 analysis by the national health institute found that of the 105 patients who died from the virus, the average age was 81. This put a 20-year gap between the average age of people who tested positive for the virus and the deceased, the institute said. On Friday, an ICU physician in Lombardy — the epicenter of Italy’s outbreak — told JAMA there have been only two deaths of people under the age of 50.



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What Age Is Legally Considered Elderly?


The elderlies are a crucial part of the US population. They make up approximately 15% of the entire population, and future trends show that this number could go up to 24% by 2060.

According to the US government, people who have reached the age of 65 or above are considered elderly. (Sixty-Five Plus)

What Age Is Considered Elderly in The United States?

According to Wikipedia, old age refers to “ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle.” (Old Age)

Getting white hair or having a wrinkled face is not a prerequisite for being old and called elderly. Likewise, the elderlies are not necessarily those who’re diseased or bedridden but individuals who have reached a particular chronological age.

Life’s stages are divided into several phases. When a baby is born, he enters the phase of infancy. As he grows up, he goes through stages of childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. While ‘old age’ is a loose term that applies to everyone above the age of 55 or 60 (sometimes even lower), it is not essentially what you would call an elderly stage.


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COVID-19 and Compliance:
What Assisted Living Facilities Need to
Know Today about Resident Admissions


A critical question faced by state agencies as well as owners, operators, and managers of assisted living facilities is whether to permit new admissions. States’ positions are changing rapidly and frequently multiple times a day. Legal issues with respect to admissions of assisted living residents arise as to whether the guidance issued by the states is enforceable, whether family members assisting residents who are moving in constitute “visitors,” what screening protocols apply to new residents and their family members, how to handle inconsistencies between state guidance and federal guidance that may be applicable, whether CMS guidance applies to assisted living facilities that participate in Medicaid programs, and whether newly admitted residents must remain in isolation upon admission. In this article, we review positions that states have taken or are currently taking on admissions and related issues pertaining to visitors and screening.

Colorado serves as an example of a state wholly banning admissions in certain circumstances. The state has advised that new admissions should be halted where there is a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 outbreak in an assisted living facility. The prohibition on admissions should then continue until the outbreak is over and the facility has consulted with applicable public health departments. In addition, for Colorado facilities where there has not been an outbreak, state guidance provides that there should be a plan in place for new admissions were an outbreak to occur. On the other hand, states like North Carolina expressly permit continued admissions even if there has been a COVID-19 diagnosis. A March 6, 2019 memorandum issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services provides:



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Specialty Pharmacy Compliance
During COVID-19 Pandemic

The recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) memorandum to all Medicare Advantage Organizations, Part D Sponsors, and Medicare-Medicaid Plans (CMS Memo) does not provide any express relief for specialty pharmacies grappling with servicing patients in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there may be some relaxation of prior authorization and fill limit requirements.

In addition, logistics providers such as FedEx and UPS suspending signature requirements could affect specialty pharmacies’ compliance with payor contracts. Here is what you need to know:
Refill Too-soon/Emergency Refills

The CMS Memo notes that Part D and Medicare-Medicaid Plan sponsors may take several permissible actions to ensure pharmacy access during a state of emergency, such as relaxing “refill-too-soon” edits, reimbursing for extended days’ supply of prescription drugs, and reimbursing enrollees for prescriptions obtained from out-of-network pharmacies.







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5-6 minutes



I held off writing this portion of the blog until late in the event some new news would be available to tell you about. Fortunately, nothing new happened. They continue to confine us to our quarters with all meals, and meds brought to us. The common areas of the building remain in a “de facto” off limits to our residents. The lobby, library, auditorium etc. have had all the furniture removed to discourage people from grouping.  

 While we here at the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted living have no cases of illness and have had none since we went on lockdown on March 13, our sister facility, a rehab center in New Rochelle, has not been as lucky. My source tells me six cases have been reported with at least one resident being hospitalized. It is important to not, their restrictions were not as harsh as ours. ……………………………….
 


I have never been a rebel. Oh yes, In the 60s and 70s you might have found me in front of a military recruiting station or draft board protesting the Vietnam war, but as soon as the cops came, I left. I’ll leave the rabble-rousing to those that don’t mind the publicity. But, when I get PO’d about something that seems stupid or inappropriate or because it affects me or a loved one, I’ll be in your face faster than an angry bulldog. That’s what happened about 3 years ago when they quarantined us for nearly 3 weeks because of a norovirus outbreak at our facility. I felt the management had let the lockdown last too long, causing our residents an unnecessary hardship. The protest got me nowhere. But this time it’s different. We are not alone. And besides, who or what is there to protest against. Therefor, at least for now, I have decided to do absolutely nothing.

I will not complain to anyone about anything. I will not bitch and moan about the food or the isolation or the lack of communication. I’ll shut up if I find the staff is getting surlier than they usually are. I will not complain that we can’t even get a decent cup of hot coffee except at meal times or that the vending machines have also been closed. Nope, I have decided to completely and unequivocally resign myself to the fact that this will take a long time to resolve and that I can’t do anything about it. And, for a control freak like myself, that is not an easy thing. 
If anything good does come out of this (besides me losing some weight) we will have learned how much we all need each other and how we do not live in a vacuum. We are social creatures who need the companionship of others. We also need the intellectual stimulation that can only come from face-to-face contact with another human being. And, finally, there is the stress factor.

Frankly, I find life taxing. Too many demands like school, the job, the marriage all took its toll on my emotional life and perhaps my physical one too. But, for the last 7 years, I have lived virtually stress free. I no longer fret over money, possessions, relationships or my health. I wake every morning with little on my plate. I am beholding to no one. And that’s the way I want to keep it. So, when something as serious as this virus comes along, the least I want to do is to stress over it. And you shouldn’t either.

No hair-pulling, no bemoaning your condition, no fretting over what you can’t change and no getting annoyed at others. Old folks can be very manipulating, even bossy. It’s time they stop. If I want less stress in my life, I’m sure others do too.
Chill my friends. We’ll all be okay.………………………………………
 



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How to Have Difficult Conversations
When You Don’t Like Conflict


Avoiding or delaying a difficult conversation can hurt your relationships and create other negative outcomes. It may not feel natural at first, especially if you dread discord, but you can learn to dive into these tough talks by reframing your thoughts.

Begin from a place of curiosity and respect, and stop worrying about being liked. Conflict avoiders are often worried about their likability. While it’s natural to want to be liked, that’s not always the most important thing. Lean into the conversation with an open attitude and a genuine desire to learn. Start from a place of curiosity and respect — for both yourself and the other person. Genuine respect and vulnerability typically produce more of the same: mutual respect and shared vulnerability. Even when the subject matter is difficult, conversations can remain mutually supportive. Respect the other person’s point of view, and expect them to respect yours.

Focus on what you’re hearing, not what you’re saying. People who shy away from conflict often spend a huge amount of time mentally rewording their thoughts. Although it might feel like useful preparation, ruminating over what to say can hijack your mind for the entire workday and sometimes even late into the night. And tough conversations rarely go as planned anyway. So take the pressure off yourself. You don’t actually need to talk that much during a difficult conversation. Instead, focus on listening, reflecting, and observing. For example, if a team member has missed another deadline, approach them by asking neutral, supportive questions: “I see the project is behind schedule. Tell me about the challenges you’re facing.” Then listen. Pause. Be interested and proactive. Gather as much detail as possible. Ask follow-up questions without blame.


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Millions Of Older Americans Live In Counties
With No ICU Beds As Pandemic Intensifies

By Fred Schulte, Elizabeth Lucas, Jordan Rau, Liz Szabo, Jay Hancock


More than half the counties in America have no intensive care beds, posing a particular danger for more than 7 million people who are age 60 and up ― older patients who face the highest risk of serious illness or death from the rapid spread of COVID-19, a Kaiser Health News data analysis shows.

Intensive care units have sophisticated equipment, such as bedside machines to monitor a patient’s heart rate and ventilators to help them breathe. Even in communities with ICU beds, the numbers vary wildly ― with some having just one bed available for thousands of senior residents, according to the analysis based on a review of data hospitals report each year to the federal government.

Consider the homes of two midsize cities: The Louisville area of Jefferson County, Kentucky, for instance, has one ICU bed for every 442 people age 60 or older, while in Santa Cruz, California, that number stands at one bed for every 2,601 residents.



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17 Best Video Chatting Apps to Keep You Sane
While Social Distancing During Coronavirus Pandemic

By Jessica Sager


The coronavirus pandemic has forced us into social distancing—and let’s be honest, most of us really miss our friends and family. Though you may not be able to hang out in person, there are a slew of video chatting apps and video calling apps to help you keep in touch. Literal and figurative Facetime has never been easier or more necessary than it is right now. Get your filters ready and get in touch with the people you love.

Best Video Chatting Apps

1. Facetime

Probably the most popular video chatting app, Facetime lets users make video and audio calls to individuals as well as groups of up to 32 people using mobile data and WiFi. Facetime is free, but only works with Apple devices, so you’ll have to use a different app to chat with Android pals.


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The 21 deadliest jobs in America
 for baby boomers

By Madison Hoff Mar


The American workforce is getting older, and a new report suggests that this could lead to more danger on the job for aging workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published an in-depth analysis of older workers' fatal injuries on the job over the years in its Monthly Labor Review at the end of January.

The report noted that Americans who are at least 55 years old are making up an increasing share of the labor force in recent years. As the number of American employees who are 55 and older has more than doubled since 1992, the earliest year for which BLS reported data on occupational injuries, the number of workplace fatalities among the cohort of older workers each year has also increased dramatically.

In 2018, the fatal injury rate was higher for employees in the 55-64 age group, at 4.3 fatal injuries per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers, and the 65 and older age group, at 9.6 per 100,000 workers, than all other age groups and the national average of 3.5.








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NEXT BLOG  <FRIDAY>  MAR. 27TH 2020


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Security and safety good. Nobody is sick. Food may be getting worse. Residents have actually started to complain.

No sign from management of easing up on current no fraternization regulations. They have started to permit people to use the laundry room, by appointment, one person at a time.

I did take a walk after lunch and spoke (at a distance) to a few residents who, although resigned to their plight, look as though they are ready to slice a wrist.

I passed on the regular dinner tonight (pasta or chicken) and had a PP&J instead.



7 minutes


I want you to remember this name. Dan Patrick. Mr. Patrick is an idiot. Mr. Patrick is something else. He is the Lt. Governor of the once great state of Texas which makes him, not only an idiot, but a dangerous idiot. Why? Here’s why…
 
 
“Piggybacking on President Donald Trump’s desire to quickly end social distancing restrictions to restart the U.S. economy, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggested Monday that senior citizens would be willing to sacrifice their lives to the new coronavirus in order to save the economy for their kids and grandchildren.

With the president and many of his allies (including several Fox News hosts) currently pushing to reject health experts’ advice on slowing the spread of the virus so the economy can be restarted in a matter of weeks, Fox News host Tucker Carlson kicked off his Monday night show by hearing from “both sides” of the issue.

After hosting a doctor who noted that he couldn’t give definitive answers on how long quarantines and social distancing policies needed to stay in effect in order to “flatten the curve,” Carlson turned to Patrick, who had recently texted the Fox host to explain why he thought all Americans should quickly get back to work.”

“Patrick concluded by insisting that the “biggest gift” grandparents can give their grandkids is “the legacy of our country,” all while wondering why we need to “shut down the whole country” since the “mortality rate is so low.”
 

To rational people, even thinking something like that would seem peculiar at best and at worst, genocide. And here’s the part of his statement that really got to me…

“… the biggest gift grandparents can give their grandkids is the legacy of our country,”

“The legacy of our country?” Sounds very much like the thinking of those goobers you see behind Trump at one of his Bund meetings wearing those red hats that want to “Make America Great Again.” They don’t want to make America great. They want to take America back to a time when the white Anglo-Saxon male was king and the hell with everybody else. That’s the legacy Mr. Patrick is talking about. It’s the same thing our President talks about and its like the things Heir Adolf said when he too wanted to “Mach Deutschland wieder großartig.”

What makes a statement about sacrificing oneself for the good of others dangerous is that it puts one group, in this case Millennials, against another, every senior over 65. And, considering younger people already think we “Boomers” are responsible for all the ills of this world and think we all should just “kill ourselves already”, it would not be too long before we could see people with pitchforks and torches heading for the nearest nursing home and assisted living centers.
 
Maybe we could set up places where any old person, who wants to sacrifice themselves for the good of their grandkids, could be humanly put to sleep like a sick puppy. Just like in the scene from the movie “Soyleny Green” when Roth (played by Edward G. Robinson) becomes disgusted with the way the world has degraded and goes to a government-assisted suicide clinic where they play soothing music and screen pictures of animals, rivers and ocean life while they inject you with a bye-bye juice.

If you think I’m too incensed over the current mood of the moodiest president to ever take a podium, listen to this guy. Warning, some of the language is a bit harsh…



Aside from its obvious health implications, two things scare the heck out of me about this virus.
One is, again, the elderly have become a target through no fault other than they have stayed alive a little longer than others. And, while this attack on American seniors began way before the pandemic, the trend was none the less disturbing. Cuts to senior services, cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and insignificant raises to our benefits have made it obvious that we have become second, if not third, class citizens.

The other, and perhaps most disturbing factor, is that a time when we need strong, compassionate leadership, they burden us with an ignorant buffoon who refuses to listen to experts or to act on anything that may make his presidency look bad. 

The latest trend of thought oozing out of the White House is to ease up on the restrictions and getting people back to work even as the number of victims grows. This at the expense of the disenfranchised .

I’m sorry to be so political, but we always knew that any threat to America eventually becomes the province of government to resolve. This latest threat could not have come at a worse time in our political history. It’s as if they have  purposely stacked the deck against us. Fortunately, we still have a few good cards left up our sleeves. We just need to play those cards now.

More tomorrow……………………………….



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10 Things to Know About Senior Living Facilities
 and the Coronavirus Threat They Face

By Reshma Kapadia

Families are scrambling to keep seniors safe as the spread of the novel coronavirus spares no corner of the global economy and takes particularly lethal aim at vulnerable communities like long-term-care and assisted-living facilities.

Officials decided this week to temporarily restrict visitors to long-term-care facilities, canceling group activities, including communal dining. The Department of Veterans Affairs also said it would suspend new admissions to its nursing homes. The restrictions, as well as warnings for older Americans to stay put to reduce their risk, is creating unprecedented challenges for the senior care industry—not to mention major anxiety for families.

“In most of the big cities, facilities did plan for backup. The challenge for this is that it’s going to be ongoing—not what anyone had supplies for and it’s evolving day by day,” says Lisa Mayfield, a certified care manager and past president of the Aging Life Care Association board.

Barron’s talked with elder-care experts to find 10 things to consider for those trying to help older Americans in senior facilities through this pandemic.


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Coronavirus May Mean No Social Security COLA in 2021
By Sean Williams

The negative economic impact of coronavirus on the U.S. economy is bad news for Social Security's more than 64 million beneficiaries.

Over this 45-year span where the CPI-W has been responsible for determining Social Security's COLAs, there have only been three instances – in 2009, 2010, and 2015 -- where deflation reared its head and the average CPI-W reading during the third quarter of the current year fell from the average CPI-W reading from the third quarter of the previous year. Only CPI-W readings from July through September are taken into account when determining Social Security's COLA. These deflationary readings resulted in Social Security beneficiaries receiving no COLA in 2010, 2011, and 2016.

Well, folks, we could be in line for the fourth such occurrence, with coronavirus being directly to blame.


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Coronavirus reveals financial
irresponsibility of Americans


How long could you sustain your household if you were to stop earning income? If you are like most Americans, the answer is not for long. Only 40 percent of Americans can afford an unexpected $1,000 expense with their savings. In fact, nearly 80 percent of workers are living paycheck to paycheck. It is no surprise that the probability of an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic caused many to worry.

In major cities such as Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, restaurants and businesses have been ordered to close. For many hourly workers, this means no paychecks in the coming weeks. Almost one in five Americans have already lost their jobs or have reduced hours. At the same time, salaried workers are concerned about job security, as mass layoffs at numerous companies loom. While the situation is understandably stressful for every person affected, it serves as a sobering reminder that Americans must learn to live within their means and regularly save money.

The need for all Americans to be able to sustain themselves for at least a few months on savings is accentuated during a time of crisis. This means planning ahead when times are good. Financial planners suggest saving at least 20 percent of take home income, while spending at most 30 percent on discretionary items. Yet too many workers still fail to think twice about spending entire paychecks for things they want but do not need.


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Blue Cross Plans Say Alzheimer’s Has
Tripled Among Adults Ages 30 To 64

By Bruce Japsen


The report, the latest from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, shows 131,000 people between the ages of “30 and 64 were diagnosed with either form of dementia” in 2017. The average age of someone “with either condition is 49 and women are disproportionately impacted than men,” the report, which is the latest in the trade group’s “The Health of America” series, shows.

In 2017, there were 12.6 diagnoses per 10,000 adults of either early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for commercially insured adults aged 30 to 64, the report said. That compares to 4.2 diagnoses per 10,000 adults of early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s disease combined for the same 30 to 64 age group in 2013.




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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY MAR. 26TH 2020


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3/24/2020


Not much new to tell you except that people are settling into a routine.
 
The staff is working hard to make sure food, medications and housekeeping services are delivered on a timely basis, at the same time every day. This helps many of our residents to better cope with dealing with these confusing times.
After some complaining by me and I am sure some other residents, the number of staff “visits” appear to have been cut in half. This lessens the number of possible exposures we have to deal with.




Yesterday, I grudgingly pulled the covers away from my head and, as I glanced at the clock on my night table and saw the time was 5:45, I thought about staying exactly where I was and just forgetting about it being Monday, and having to face another day of isolation, bad food and boredom. To my dismay, the “work ethic” gene kicked in and brought me back to reality. And so, with every muscle and joint protesting loudly, I got out of bed.

This is the 10th (or is it the 11th) day of our “hunker-down” here at the A.L.F. and I wish I could say things have improved. Unfortunately, I can’t. It’s not that things have gotten worse, it’s just that, as the days go by, the uncertainty of our future grows exponentially. Every day the news greets us with statements like “things will get worse.” And, while that kind of information takes its toll on even the hardiest soles, those of us whose days are short to begin with, find it particularly disturbing. Many elderly people just don’t have the time to “wait it out.” With seniors, after a certain age, every day becomes precious and having to live it cooped up in a one room apartment seems like a waste of life.

As I pulled on my scrub pants (they’re much more comfortable than regular PJ bottoms and they look cooler too), I suddenly realized something.

I don’t know if was the “hospital pants” I was wearing or the awakening of some dormant brain cell, but I suddenly had a feeling of empowerment. The day, which just a few moments before had held such little promise, now had meaning. I thought about what made me feel that way. Then I realized something. For as bad as this situation may be, I had faced, and survived, a much worse one about 10 years ago. And although it wasn’t a disease that affects thousands, it was a personal ‘plague’ that had a life or death impact for me.

In fact, I know most of the folks here have been through much worse. Ambulances come and go two or three times a day hauling residents to the local ER suffering with everything from broken wrists to cardiac arrest. And that’s on top of congenital illnesses they live with every day. Compared to this, a pandemic is a mere paper cut. 

As the days, weeks, maybe months go by, I may change my attitude. Truthfully, It will surprise me if I don’t. But, as for now, I will live with whatever they throw at me. Or I may just throw it back.……………………………
 

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4 Reasons We Are in Denial About Aging


We are an aging society with more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 5. People are living longer. Age 85+ is the fastest growing age group. If we fail to address the issues impacting the quality of our lives as we age, millions of older adults will eventually become economically disadvantaged or destitute.

Many of us aren’t aware of the unprecedented demographic shift that has taken place.

To perceive the obvious evidence, you needn’t look any further than older Americans’ rising housing costs and health care bills, inadequate nutrition, lack of access to transportation, diminished savings and limited opportunities for work.

So why are we in denial about aging? Here are four reasons:

1. Many people view older Americans as a burden, while children are perceived as an investment.

2. A pervasive attitude that many older adults are responsible for the position they’re in simply because they didn’t save enough or work hard enough in their younger years

3. We’ve been conditioned to believe that government takes care of our elders.

4. Many of us aren’t aware of the unprecedented demographic shift that has taken place.




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Assisted living residents may see lapses
in care during pandemic - STAT

By Matthew Herper

Every day, a quiet army of aides fans out across the country to fight off the creeping indignity and loneliness of old age. They head into individual homes and assisted living facilities, some to clip toenails or give baths or cook meals, others simply to converse or read aloud. They may be there as little as 30 minutes or as much as 14 hours.

But as everyone tries to shield the elderly from the new coronavirus, these caregivers and the people who employ them are facing unenviable choices. Communities for older adults are closing their doors to any worker or visitor deemed “non-essential” — but the line between necessary and unnecessary care is blurred at best.

Meanwhile, the caregivers themselves are in a bind, often unsure how best to protect themselves and their charges. There’s already an enormous shortage of them. Some face pressure not to let on if they’re sick, even though Covid-19 could be deadly for their clients. Others are simply out of work, leaving their “essential” colleagues to pick up the slack.


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Social distancing could negatively
impact senior citizens


Social distancing, while beneficial for stopping the spread of the coronavirus, it can create additional obstacles to senior citizens who may be impacted more negatively by the lack of socialization.

22News spoke with assisted living facilities about what they are doing to help the most vulnerable.

Dr. Nancy Donovan, the division director of geriatric psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s hospital told 22News, “Social isolation and the experience of being socially isolated which we call loneliness, which is measurable that has deleterious effects on health in older people.”

To combat that, some local assisted living facilities are trying to keep seniors happy while adhering to social distancing protocol.

Terri Nyzio, the activities director at the Arbors at Chicopee, told 22news, “Encouraging residents to leave their door open so as we walk by we can wave and blow a kiss. Just let them know that we’re there for them. I’m doing packets, crossword puzzles, short stories.”

They’re also staying connected with family, who would usually come to visit in person but can’t since the COVID-19 Outbreak.

“I’ve been using our iPad. Every afternoon I have two or three of my residents having video chats with their families and they’re loving it. Actually they think it’s so neat that they can see their loved ones through this device,” Julie Dudley, Program Director at the Arbors at Chicopee Alzheimer’s Unit told 22News.

The residents have been staying active by giving advice to people on social media.

One resident at the assisted living facility says that they will be alright.

“Stay in there and just hang our heads up high and bear it,” said Ruth Lamothe. “We’ll get by, no matter what. We’re strong people.”

Dr. Donovan says it’s important to remind seniors that the act of social isolation can be positive because you’re doing it for the good of everyone else.

Doctors say the experience seniors have in isolation has a bigger impact than the length of the isolation, so those finding ways to stay active will be okay.


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When Going Digital Makes Health Care Harder

When Jeff Johnson, 66, went online to sign up for Medicare, the trickiness of the process left him frustrated and a little embarrassed.

“Even for me, a lifelong computer geek, there was a complexity that I did not understand. I had to call a friend for help,” he admitted.

If anyone should be able to sail through a digital portal, you’d think it would be Johnson. A computer science professor the University of San Francisco, he’s president of a product usability consulting firm and co-author of Designing User Interfaces for an Aging Population, published to make the case for improving access for older users of technology.

Johnson’s brief struggle underscores the fact that many medical providers, health care organizations and insurers have work to do to make their digital services more user-friendly.

“We see age-related changes beginning at age 50. That’s when fonts become too small, speech-enabled technologies are too fast and click targets are too little to hit reliably,” Johnson said. “User interface design has been around as a field and taught in universities since 1983, so we should know how to do this.”





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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY MAR. 25TH 2020


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3/23/2020





5-6 minutes

We had an unremarkable weekend which, in these times, is probably a good thing. The quarantine remains as it has since one week ago, complete and very tight.

We continue to experience the extraordinary measures this facility has taken to insure our well-being. These measures include and are not limited to essentially limiting our contact with anyone from the outside. This includes all non-essential visitors including take-out food delivery people which, if the food continues to be as bad as it has been, is going to be a problem down the line. As of now, delivery from places like Amazon and Walmart will be permitted but the delivery people will not be allowed past a designated area directly next to the main entrance.

We residents continue to receive our meals and medication in our rooms. In addition, our temperatures are taken twice-a-day. New thermometers were put into use Sunday morning. It appears the ones we have been using were not accurate. Saturday, my temperature read 95 degrees. I thought I was dead. Sunday, the new thermometer read 98.6. Phew!.

Last night, after closing the lid of the Styrofoam container which held a woefully ill-prepared and poorly constructed dinner, I sat back in my chair to do what I have been doing for the last week, bemoaning my plight.  

I thought about prisoners and how very much like them we have become. The only difference, they’re permitted to mingle while they confine us to our rooms. I also thought about how I would cope with this had I not been here which led me to realize, I am in the best possible place anyone (at least anyone older than 70) could be. Yes, they may have confined me, but I’m also safe. And not just safe, very safe. The actions put in place, as Draconian as they are, are perfect for us, here, at this time. Think about it. What other place (other than a prison or government installation) could provide such a virus-secure environment? 

Our location is perfect. While we are near to the area where the most cases of the virus in our state exists, we are geographically and geologically isolated from the rest of the county.

Our facility is a gated community high on a hill overlooking the City of Yonkers. There are no pedestrians walking by our building. The nearest public street is 500 feet away from any building entrance. We have a high chain-link fence surrounding our nearly 14 acres of woodland-bordered property. This means that the facility can control anybody who approaches us like delivery people who cannot venture beyond a cordoned-off area near our reception desk. Even a pizza can’t get in here. And, therein lies the paradox.

On one hand, practically no one wants to be here. We would much prefer to be somewhere we could have the independence afforded to most others. Assisted living is not an ideal situation for most people. Even during the best of times we live in a controlled environment which limits our freedom and self-determination. Residents here are never in complete control of their autonomy. 

But on the other hand, where else would we be afforded such protection and aid. 

Yes, the food ain’t great, but we’re being fed and we don’t have to leave the premises and fight the crowds or wait on line to buy the basics. There’s no shortage of toilet paper, cleaning supplies or food. We are not worried that our medicines won’t be delivered on time. Cable TV is available along with Wi-Fi to keep us busy. We have access to medical care should we need it and, best of all, we have somebody checking on us all of the time. And, while it’s lonely and will probably get lonelier, at least we know that we will all be around to see the end of this hopefully in the very near future. 

More tomorrow…………………………………………..

 

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One more opportunity:
Oral health coverage for seniors under Medicare

By Stephen E. Thorne IV


Today’s seniors have shaped this country in so many ways. They won the Cold War, pioneered astonishing medical breakthroughs, built an economy that created millions of jobs, and achieved incredible technological breakthroughs. In every way imaginable, today’s seniors boldly led our nation in a positive direction. And it looks like they’re about to do so once again.

While headlines from Washington, DC, have been dominated over the past few months by impeachment and the 2020 national elections, something else of great significance is going on. Quietly and without seeking the spotlight, senior citizens and senior care advocates are mobilizing to make the Medicare program better. Specifically, they are working to extend Medicare coverage to medically necessary oral health care.

Our readers are already well informed about the chronic diseases that afflict millions of Medicare beneficiaries and cost our nation billions of dollars each year. It’s also well-known that untreated oral microbial infections are the driver behind many of these chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke. In fact, the scientific evidence is overwhelming. As documented by researchers and medical specialty societies, oral disease complicates and even jeopardizes medical treatments in many cases. Organ and stem cell transplantations can’t proceed, for example, if a patient is suffering from advanced oral disease. Likewise, heart valve surgery, cancer chemotherapies, orthopedic prostheses, and autoimmune disease management are all at risk if oral disease is present.

Continue reading>>  https://www.dentaleconomics.com/macro-op-ed/article/14169320/one-more-opportunity-oral-health-coverage-for-seniors-under-medicare



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Coronavirus cases surge at nursing homes as workers battle
‘almost perfect killing machine’

By Peter Whoriskey


As of Friday evening, at least 55 coronavirus deaths occurred among people living in elder care facilities, though the number is probably higher because official counts often omit a description of the person’s last place of residence. That figure represented more than a quarter of U.S. deaths attributed to the pandemic, even though fewer than 1 percent of Americans live in care facilities.

The dangers the coronavirus pose to older people have been well documented, and in a nursing home, the virus can move quickly from person to person and be particularly lethal.

Indeed, in late February, an outbreak at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., showed just how deadly the virus could be in such settings: At least 129 cases have been reported, and 35 people have died. After that outbreak, at another home in New Orleans, five people died this week.


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Long Island's seniors cope
 with COVID-19 isolation

By Joe Dziemianowicz

“For older people, being locked up — or feeling like they are — is apt to make them go loony tunes,” says Laura Lustbader, 70, a grant-writing consultant who lives with her wife, Mary Watros, an environmental educator, in Huntington Station. “Giving in to doom and gloom can get you down.”

So how to cope when you’re cooped up? It’s a question everybody is asking amid the coronavirus crisis. That includes people who are 60 and older, an age range that increases their odds of contracting COVID-19 and getting seriously sick. Such preexisting conditions as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease may exacerbate things further.

Health experts have recommended that high-risk individuals stay home as much as possible to lower the odds of COVID-19 infection. Resilient Long Islanders tell how they’re carrying on by streaming, strolling and keeping the faith.



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Coronavirus: What Heart Patients Should Know


As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread around the world and in the U.S. — now a pandemic — it has shown to be a much more serious illness for people with underlying health conditions, especially cardiovascular disease.

The concerns are serious enough that the American College of Cardiology (ACC) issued a bulletin in February, with an update in early March, to warn patients about the potential increased risk and to encourage “additional, reasonable precautions.”

Based on early reports, 40% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had cardiovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease (which refers to blood flow in the brain, such as stroke), according to the bulletin. This percentage remains the same on the updated version.

The ACC says morbidity and mortality increase significantly with age, “rising to 8% among patients 70 to 79 and 14.8% in patients over 80, according to large-scale Chinese case reporting.”

It also says that people with underlying conditions “have a heightened risk for contracting COVID-19 and a worse prognosis.”

Effects on People with Heart Disease...







- 30 -

NEXT BLOG TUESDAY MAR. 24TH 2020


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Our facility continues strict adherence to the rules mandated by state Department of Health. We remain in a “lockdown” condition and confined to our rooms and adjacent corridors.

Food, as it is, continues to be delivered to our rooms, though not always at the same time every day. An apologetic letter was sent around explaining the difficulties in distributing food to 185 rooms and how they are doing their best. Personally, I don’t care so much when the food comes but how it’s cooked and presented. So far they have shown no skill or desire to do anything but the very minimum as far as meals are concerned. I can sum it up in one word. Atrocious.

Medications are being distributed on time, more or less, and today there was an addition to everyone’s meds. Our house physician ordered vitamin “C” be given to everybody. Considering the lack of fresh food we are getting, I suppose it’s a good idea.

They continue to take our temperature twice-a-day and, I’m happy to report there have been no cases of illness at our facility.

More tomorrow.

<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>


“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”   ― Albert Einstein




6 minutes


Following the horrific events of 9-11 things changed a lot. Security procedures put into place immediately after the attack on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon remain with us today. Who has not seen stepped-up security at airports, train stations and public buildings? And, for every visible sign of protection such as barriers, x-rays and armed guards, there are the dozens of unseen measures in place to protect us from terrorists and those who want to change our way of life. In fact, the extra security has become so much a part of our daily existence, we have almost taken them for granted. And, while we can’t compare this new threat to our safety, to what happened on that day in 2001, the changes that will take place in the lives of every American’s future will be even more dramatic. At least for the near future.

The police and military constantly conduct drills designed to cover every eventuality and scenario. And, because of those drills, have thwarted many attacks and plots against us. They have even conducted mock chemical and biological attacks on our subways and other public venues even to the extent of assessing the response of EMT’s and hospital personnel when dealing with large numbers of victims. Unfortunately, while we know what to do to protect ourselves against radical  madmen, we have shown a surprising and frightening lack of knowledge and preparedness against an enemy much harder to see. And, to make things worse, not only do we know nothing about protecting ourselves from this virus,we know even less about our ability to deal with its aftermath. And dealing with what happens after this subsides will be a challenge possibly even greater than the virus itself.

The thing about viruses is, there isn’t just one kind of them. This means there is no one-size-fits-all cure or treatment for them. And, just when we think we have everything under control, the clever little buggers morph (mutate) into something different and we have to start all over again. But not knowing how to keep us from contracting these viruses is only part of the problem. The larger concern, and one which we are just now learning about, is how ridiculously ill-prepared we are to deal with its ramifications, both physical and financial. Because, not only do various systems of our bodies collapse, but the very fabric of society falls like a house of cards too. And to make things worse, this blow to our culture and way of life occurs at the same time we are trying to deal with the epidemic. It’s a one-two punch in the gut.

We see our weaknesses in a very profound and deadly way. While we thought we had enough equipment and supplies and personnel to meet any challenge, we now know how woefully wrong we were, and that we need to spend a lot more on preparedness than thought necessary. We also will have to change our priorities by simplifying our lives by concentrating more on the basics rather than what is shiny and new. How much hand sanitizer, toilet paper, canned and frozen food could you have purchased if only you didn’t spend so much on that 63 inch smart TV hanging on your wall. And what about that giant fully equipt SUV you’ll be paying for until 2022? I’ll bet that used Honda you could have bought cheap is looking better and better to you now that you have no job. Which brings us to our economy.

As a former small business owner, I know how tenuous their positions can be. Even in good times, staying afloat in a world that wants to crush you is difficult and that any change in cash flow can mean the difference of staying in business or not. Unfortunately, the aftermath will see many empty storefronts and many of our favorite shops and restaurants gone forever. To get them back, there will have to be greater cooperation between landlords, banks and government in the way they impose and collect rents, loans and taxes. We will need to be less greedy and more compassionate or we will live a world devoid of any joy or happiness…..........................................


* * * *



Here are all the major grocery-store chains around the world
running special hours for the elderly and vulnerable
to prevent the coronavirus spread

By Rosie Perper


Retailers around the world are changing their opening hours to allow elderly people and others most at risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19 to shop more comfortably.

Several major US chains, including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, and Stop & Shop have dedicated special opening hours to those shoppers.
   
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


Major retailers around the world are changing their opening hours in order to allow elderly people who are most at risk of contracting deadly cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the new coronavirus — to shop more comfortably.



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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php


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Think you might have Covid-19?
Try this self-triage tool first - STAT

Michael Hochman

If you have a cough, fever, or shortness of breath, how can you tell if you’ve got Covid-19, a common cold, the ordinary flu, or a bad case the worries? Should you get tested? When should you seek medical care —and when should you just stay home?

Two of us (M.H. and M.W.) are primary care doctors who have received numerous calls from concerned patients with symptoms such as cough, fevers, or shortness of breath. Those calls prompted us — with the help of several colleagues — to develop a simple self-triage tool to help individuals decide when to treat their symptoms safely at home and when to seek medical help. One of the most important things each of us can do during the ongoing pandemic is to free up medical providers to concentrate on the seriously ill.

First the good news: The vast majority — perhaps 80% or more — of people who come down with Covid-19, especially those under 50, will suffer symptoms that are no more serious than a bad cold or a mild flu and will be better within two weeks. There is no need to seek testing or go to a doctor’s office. A test result won’t change your medical care because there is no treatment at this time other than the usual recommendations for any cold or flu: drink plenty of liquids, rest, stay home, and try over-the-counter remedies. (A test will, however, alert you to be extra careful not to infect others.



_____________________________________________________________________

What the Spanish Flu Debacle
Can Teach Us About Coronavirus



In March 1918, with the United States fully mobilized for World War I, soldiers at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, began reporting acute flu-like symptoms, including aches, respiratory distress, chills, coughing and high fever. Just a month later, over 1,100 men had come down with the disease; 46 of them (roughly four percent) had died. It was the start of the infamous “Spanish Flu”—a misnomer for the scourge that likely began in the U.S. but, as troops fanned out across Europe, claimed 21 million lives globally, including over 600,000 Americans.

What began in Army camps, where 25 percent of soldiers developed the flu, spread by fall to the civilian population. In Boston, 202 people died on just one day—October 1. Philadelphia later topped that record, with 700 deaths in one 24-hour period. The disease wasn’t discriminatory. It devastated urban populations like Pittsburgh and New York City but also hit vulnerable rural areas like Arkansas, where the public health infrastructure was essentially nonexistent.

Lasting just over a year, the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic stands as a lasting reminder of what happens when governments and their citizens fail to meet a crisis head on. From our perch today, as we brace for the coronavirus’ inevitable spread, the missteps of 1918 seem eerily prescient: A lack of leadership from Washington, with the gaps filled unevenly at the state and local levels. Public officials who either lied, dissembled or made up facts. Hucksters who used popular media to misinform the public and make a quick buck in the process. Public health infrastructure that was inadequate to the challenge. And ordinary citizens who often refused to heed the warning of experts.



____________________________________________________________________

Four Tips for Seniors to Stay Connected
 During the Coronavirus Pandemic

by Laurie Archbald-Pannone


As the numbers climb for those infected with the novel coronavirus, the dangers rise for vulnerable populations. People who are older or with underlying medical conditions risk the severest consequences, including organ failure and death. The latest data from China indicates the great majority of reported cases were in older people; elders also had the highest risk of respiratory illness and death.

Should the spread of COVID-19 continue – and every indication suggests it will – people must make sure they are protected.

I am a geriatrician and an associate professor at the University of Virginia in geriatric medicine. So far, the disease is not present at my hospital or clinic. But our staff is already making preparations to minimize COVID-19’s impact, particularly on the people imperiled the most.

Along with other hospitals across the country, we stay informed on local and national recommendations for screening, testing and protective equipment. We make sure staff and patients know about proper hand hygiene. We take extra steps to keep the facility clean, like removing magazines from the waiting rooms and implementing a “you-touch-it-you-take-it” policy for flyers and brochures. And we encourage all of our patients to call a doctor if they develop a fever or new respiratory symptoms.



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NEXT BLOG MONDAY MAR. 23RD 2020


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





3/20/2020


As we approach the end of our first week of what may be the mother of all lockdowns, here’s what’s happening around here.


  • We are continuing to be served meals in our rooms as well as our medications. The food, unfortunately, is not good although they have managed to get it to us hot.
  • Housekeeping and most other services go on as usual.
  • They are checking our temperatures once or twice daily. A med.tech goes from room to room with a non-contact digital thermometer and points it at our foreheads. On Thursday, March 19, 2020, an actual doctor came by to take our BP. It appears we are being watched very closely.
  • There are no reported cases of Covid-19 in our facility.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Not wanting to sound like the winy old man I am, I will refrain from making any comments about the food we are being served. But just remember, this crisis will eventually end and their will be an accounting of what was done wrong and what was done right. And, if there is any justice, the person responsible for serving us this mess will be stood up against a wall and shot.

I’ll leave it to you to identify the food.


<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>


Rebooting The World

This is the headline that greeted me as I scrolled through my news feed this morning.

“As Italy quarantines over coronavirus, swans appear in Venice canals, dolphins swim up playfully.”*
A second, similar story appeared further down the list:

“China’s coronavirus lockdown curbs deadly pollution, likely saving the lives of tens of thousands.” **
Other headlines report similar occurrences. With stories like these, no wonder the internet is ripe with conspiracy theories. 

The religious right believes it’s a sign from g-d as punishment for our sins.

Environmentalists see it as Karma for how we’ve treated the earth.

UFO enthusiasts think Aliens planted the virus to keep us from further damaging our planet. And there are those who think it’s a government plot to “thin the herd.”

But conspiracy or not, admit, by default, our environment will have to improve. And the longer this continues, the more the improvement we will see.

Much about the world will change when this finally ends. And, while I am not predicting a post apocalyptic dystopian society, I hope there will at least be a reassessment of our values and an accounting of what is really important to us all.

         More tomorrow………………………….

* https://outlook.live.com/mail/0/inbox/id/AQQkADAwATExAGI4Ny00YzQ0AC1kY2U2LTAwAi0wMAoAEADtGEROmWGmQpJ7qXzA9IAU
** https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/health/china-air-pollution-coronavirus-deaths-intl/index.html



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Couldn't get to the store? Empty shelves. Long Lines, No Money?

15 Delicious Things to Throw Together
 When You're Pressed for Food Options

By Sarah Weldon

Ahem, let me set the scene for you: You're standing at the fridge, zoning in on the half loaf of bread left in there and that random container of grated parm and pecorino mix for a hot sec, and then close the fridge. You tap your heels together three times and open up the fridge again. Woof, there's no food to eat. Close it again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Sound familiar? Well, I'm here to help you from screaming "BUT I HAVE NOTHING TO EAT AT HOME!" into the abyss.

Yeah, sure melted parm and pecorino on toast is a pretty dope makeshift grilled cheese idea when you *truly* only have that in your fridge (bookmarking that, brb) but let’s get real. We both know that you have so much more potential when it comes to the food in your kitchen right now. Put down the phone, close that GrubHub tab, and take another peek in your fridge—imagine what your mother would say if she could see you now!!

Without further ado, here are fifteen actually bomb meals you can throw together with a handful of pantry staples. Pro-tip: These all are paired best with being curled up on the couch under a blanket and Bravo on in the background. Bon appetit mon cheri!!



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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php


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Among coronavirus patients,
rural older Americans have worst obstacles

By DeArbea Walker

As everyone goes into social isolation to distance themselves from other Americans in an effort to "flatten the curve," citizens who are the most vulnerable and likely to face the worst circumstances if they contract COVID-19 are rural residents facing major downsizing to hospital care.

Rural areas face many obstacles should they encounter a coronavirus outbreak. Hospital drives could be 60 to 90 miles away to the closest major city, which puts the most at-risk residents such as older, poorer and sicker patients at a disadvantage.

Harrison County, Kentucky, which has a population of 19,000, saw the state's first cases of coronavirus, but it’s almost an hour’s drive from an urban center, Lexington.

The people most at risk of contracting COVID-19 and succumbing to the aggressive nature of the virus are patients who are over the age of 60 and/or have preexisting health conditions.


_____________________________________________________________________


There's an alternative to assisted living
By Kim Shanahan

When news that the first deaths in America from the novel coronavirus came among a cluster of people living in a retirement village in Washington state, it should have come as no surprise.

Contrary to President Donald Trump’s suggestion that if you get sick, you should just stay home and hang around the house until you get better, that was not an option for those unfortunate souls. "Home" is where they contracted the deadly virus.

What if you could remodel your home and stay out of group living? It’s not as hard or as expensive as one might think, and Santa Fe remodelers know how to do it.

The spectrum of remodeling options for what’s called "aging in place" is wide. They run from the simple and obvious to the complex and costly, but all make sense. They also don’t need to be done all at the same time but can be phased in over the years.

With the average cost of high-quality assisted living at $80,000 a year, compared to in-home health and day care at half the cost, remodeling your home can save money in the long run.






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NEXT BLOG SATURDAY MAR. 21ST 2020


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


MAR 19 2020



Editor’s Note:
Because of the recent changes to my lifestyle, I have decided temporarily to alter the format of this blog. Instead of posting two new full blogs a week, I will post a new, shortened version daily. Therefore, as of Tuesday, March 17th, while I may shorten or eliminate many of the regular features, the information presented will be more timely. In the next days, weeks, or (G-d forbid) months I hope to give you an insight into what it’s like to spend most of your time virtually alone with limited human contact under less than desirable conditions while a plague, whose sole purpose appears to be killing old folks, swirls around us.



<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>




At The A.L.F.
Information Is Key
4 minutes





The cryptic letter above, sent to us by our administrator yesterday, says it all. The status, such as it is, remains the same. And, while I suppose there can be some encouragement from such a message* where things have not become worse, not knowing what may be in store for us can be as debilitating as the disease itself. Combine this with our self-imposed isolation and we have a situation unprecedented in recent times. Unfortunately, while uncertainty is of concern for us all, as seniors, who are lonely and isolated even under the best conditions, these times can be particularly difficult. Even I, who self admittedly, has never been a socially involved person, need the interaction with others. 

What many people do not realize about those of us who live in long-term living facilities such as ours is, not only don’t we get out much, but we don’t get many visitors either. In fact, the interaction with the public is very low. There are several reasons for this. Primary among them is our lack of mobility both physically and because there just is not enough affordable transportation** that can accommodate a group of people in wheelchairs, walkers and Rollators available to us. And, as far as visitors are concerned, sadly, except for the occasional food delivery guy or son or daughter on the weekends, most of us are on our own. So, where do we get our information from? Us, that’s where.

You’ve heard of the prison grapevine. We’ll that’s amateurish compared to the senior citizens grapevine network. Any juicy piece of gossip, or actual news, will run through the place within twenty minutes if not faster. Unfortunately, because of some of our “reporters” poor memories, not all the facts are accurate. Just the other day I was told that one of our long-time residents had passed away in the hospital that morning. You can imagine my surprise when I saw him later that day fit as a fiddle. Somehow, Tim became Tom, Tom became John, and John became Jim. I’m sure Jim was as relieved to hear that he didn’t die as much as the rest of us. And, as far as the person who died, it was a man who had been in the hospital for many weeks. Rumor and innuendo are as much a part of our conversation as actuality. However, despite the lack of credibility, we do enjoy hearing whatever there is to hear. Seniors, it turns out, are news junkies.

Now, with our socializing cut to zero, we are relying on traditional information sources more than ever. And, while TV remains the primary agent of this information, we see the internet coming into its own as an important method of broadcasting news. But for some seniors who are relatively new to the WWW and social media, distinguishing between real news and fake can be difficult. The trusting nature of many older folks makes them want to believe everything told to them. And, in this time when they generate news and information at lightening speed, misunderstanding can be dangerous and misleading. This is why I have urged our management to keep us informed as much as possible even if the news or circumstances haven’t changed. A ten line written message goes a long way in dispelling fear.

As of now I feel we are being kept up to date. At least as far as our well-being is concerned. Our management has gone above and beyond what is officially recommended to assure our safety. Our medications are being delivered by our pharmacy. We are receiving regular food delivery and, as far as I know, there is no shortage of toilet paper. And, there is plenty of soap and nice hot water to wash our hands. The staff is wearing masks and gloves and, as the letter says, are wearing cleaned scrub outfits instead of their outside clothes. Do I feel 100% safe. No, but 99.9 ain’t bad. ……….


*Editor’s note: I applaud managements decision to provide uniforms for all staff. Not knowing how long, or even if, the virus can remain on clothes just adds another element of the unknown to the puzzle. Keeping as much as possible “in house” helps to restrict our contact with the outside. Which, right now, is the only way any residents here could possible contract Covid-19.
** Not only is there little or no public transportation available, there’s no personal transportation either.Out of nearly 190 residents here, only one has their own car



* * * *



A geriatrician offers 4 tips for seniors to stay
 connected during coronavirus outbreak

By Laurie Archbald-Pannone


As the numbers climb for those infected with the novel coronavirus, the dangers rise for vulnerable populations. People who are older or with underlying medical conditions risk the severest consequences, including organ failure and death. The latest data from China indicates the great majority of reported cases were in older people; elders also had the highest risk of respiratory illness and death.

Should the spread of COVID-19 continue – and every indication suggests it will – people must make sure they are protected.

I am a geriatrician and an associate professor at the University of Virginia in geriatric medicine. So far, the disease is not present at my hospital or clinic. But our staff is already making preparations to minimize COVID-19’s impact, particularly on the people imperiled the most.

Along with other hospitals across the country, we stay informed on local and national recommendations for screening, testing and protective equipment. We make sure staff and patients know about proper hand hygiene. We take extra steps to keep the facility clean, like removing magazines from the waiting rooms and implementing a “you-touch-it-you-take-it” policy for flyers and brochures. And we encourage all of our patients to call a doctor if they develop a fever or new respiratory symptoms.




* * * *






* * * *





Coronavirus: Coping With Uncertainty

The other night I was so worried about the coronavirus that I took five milligrams of Ativan, but all it did was make me feel hung over. The next day, I ran four miles and walked another two. Neither helped.

“I shall die of eating an unwashed grape,” I said to my dog in my best Blanche DuBois impression.

I survived relapsed leukemia — with an apparent record of four stem cell transplants — and am worried that after all I’ve been through, COVID-19 will be the end of me. None of the available information has allayed my confusion and concern over who exactly is at the highest risk. You hear that the high-risk group is people over 60, then, people 70 and older. Or those with high blood pressure.

I am 65 and can tell you one thing: My blood pressure has been high.


_____________________________________________________________________

Coronavirus Is Changing The Way We Care
For Frail Older Adults

By Howard Gleckman


Major Cities In The U.S. Adjust To Restrictive Coronavirus Measures


The coronavirus pandemic and the fast-moving federal response to it is upending long-standing rules and practices for caring for older adults. Some changes will be incredibly disruptive, while others may  increase support for vulnerable seniors. Here are some of the ways they are affecting how we care for our parents.

No more nursing home visits. Just a week ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities (ALFs) should discourage visits and screen visitors. That has now changed. Last Friday, at the urging of the nursing home industry, CMS  required facilities to temporarily ban all family and other non-medical visits, except when a resident is dying. It also is prohibiting group activities and communal dining.

In effect, it means that residents of nursing homes and patients in skilled nursing facilities are in lock-down. These steps may significantly reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But it also means they’d be more lonely and bored, and more likely to become depressed or anxious. And, just as troubling, they’ll have no family members around to advocate for them. While residents still can communicate with loved ones by phone, Facetime, or Zoom, families will effectively be blind to the quality of care their parents or spouses are receiving.




- 30 -

NEXT BLOG FRIDAY MAR. 20TH 2020


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



MARCH 18 2020

Editor’s Note:
Because of the recent changes to my lifestyle, I have decided temporarily to alter the format of this blog. Instead of posting two new full blogs a week, I will post a new, shortened version daily. Therefore, as of Tuesday, March 17th, while I may shorten or eliminate many of the regular features, the information presented will be more timely. In the next days, weeks, or (G-d forbid) months I hope to give you an insight into what it’s like to spend most of your time virtually alone with limited human contact under less than desirable conditions while a plague, whose sole purpose appears to be killing old folks, swirls around us. 

<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>


Stick To A Routine
4 minutes

Several years ago, one cold winter, I found myself out of work, running out of money and no job prospects in sight. I could do little more than stay indoors and budget both my time and resources. I shopped less, traveled less (I drove my car only to move it to the other side of the street during alternate side parking days) and generally curtailed my activities. It was, for all practical purposes, a self-imposed quarantine. And while I saved a considerable amount of cash, the solitude and isolation did nothing for my self-esteem, let alone my mental health.

I was used to following a routine. One I had followed almost every day of my working life. I’m sure it's like the one you adhere to. Without getting into details, I would get up and make a cup of coffee, shower, shave and put on clean underwear, pants, socks and a shirt. A brief check at the mirror and I was on my way to work where there was a different set of routines to follow. Routine, as boring as it may be brings order and stability to one’s life. Unfortunately, after 7 or 8 days of detachment from society, I broke with routine.

I continued to shower but dispensed with the shaving part. And while I changed my undergarments, I wore the same sweatshirt and jeans I had worn for days. There was no sense checking the mirror, I knew how I looked. After another week of having nowhere to go and nothing to do, I not only looked like a bum, I felt like one too. It was time for a change. The daily habits that had become natural to me over the years had now become more of a necessity than procedure.

 Fast forward to the present. I find myself in the same quandary I was in 12 years ago. No where to go and nothing to do. However, this government imposed solitary confinement differs from past confinement. At least, when you are unemployed you have the option of leaving your house, go to the park, the zoo, a museum. Now, nothing. So what’s the incentive to get up every morning, washing, or even getting dressed. That’s what I told myself today as I contemplated another day of this surreal lifestyle we suddenly find ourselves forced into. Fortunately, I remembered those out-of-work days and how much better I felt about myself and the situation I was in when I followed more or less normal routine. Therefore, as I have done most every day since I was in grade school, I arose, showered, put on clean clothes and checked the mirror. Only this time I didn’t go out the door and run to the subway to catch the 6:35 E train to West 4th street. This time I sat down, booted up the old HP and went about the business of compiling this blog. It may not be much of a job, but it’s better than wallowing in one’s self pity. More tomorrow.………………………………


* * * *

Photo Essay






Guide to Living Your Best Quarantined Life


Things are about to get weird.

But, as virtually all generic motivational quotes remind us, it’s less about the adversity you face than how you respond.

With that in mind, we spent some time compiling everything you need to remain a functioning member of society while working from your living room. And by everything…we mean everything.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Stay informed

How to stay productive while working

Setting up a proper workstation
Video calls: how to not look like an idiot
Scheduling
Leading a team

Things to do when you’re not working

Learn new skills
Read long-form articles
Read books
Exercise
Stay connected to others
Cooking
Parenting
Clean up your life
Just have fun
Watch
Listen
Play

Continue reading>>  https://www.morningbrew.com/daily/stories/2020/03/16/morning-brews-guide-living-best-quarantined-life?utm_source=morning_brew


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Not knowing how long we might be home alone it may be a good time to prepare a reading list. And the best part about all of these books... you don't have to go to a bookstore to get them.

     The Big Books of Spring
by goodreads.com

Please note: TheSeniorLog.com or its editor have no connection with the commercial site “goodreads.com’’, a retail seller of online books, nor are we compensated in any manner for promoting this article.


Spring ushers in blooming flowers, warmer weather, and more daylight hours for reading! We're here to help you beat any lingering winter blues with a bunch of great new books hitting shelves in the next three months.

To create our list of the season's biggest books, we focused on releases published between mid-March and early June that Goodreads members can't wait to read. How do we measure that anticipation? By taking a look at how many times a book has been added to Want to Read shelves.

For this list, we prioritized standalones and books that are first in a new series, but if you're looking for when to expect the next title in your favorite series, you're in luck! We also put together a separate list for spring's most-anticipated sequels, threequels, and so on.

From new titles by beloved authors, including Emily St. John Mandel, Elena Ferrante, Julia Alvarez, N.K. Jemisin, and Harlan Coben, to a Hunger Games prequel, these are the books readers will be talking about all spring.

Now, let's get to the good stuff—the books! Which ones are you most eager to read?

Go to list>>  https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1520-39-big-books-of-spring



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A Handy Guide to How to Help All the Senior Citizens In Your Life
During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Jessica Sager

This info was accurate at press time, and we’re continuing to update our coronavirus coverage as we learn more.

Senior citizens are among the highest risk of complications and death from coronavirus, both due to their age and their higher likelihood of having chronic and underlying conditions that can make the disease worse and more difficult to treat. On top of being at risk for physical effects of COVID-19, social distancing can cause already-lonely people to feel even more isolated and alone, and it’s made it tricky for many of their loved ones to be able to both be present and keep their older family members and friends safe. Thankfully, there are still ways you can help.

How to Help Senior Citizens During Coronavirus Pandemic


____________________________________________________________________

Developer of a coronavirus vaccine explains
how it may help elderly especially

By: James Ford


EAST HARLEM, Manhattan — A group of researchers here at Mt. Sinai Medical Center is part of a larger team of scientists, based in Boston, Massachusetts, that’s working on a coronavirus vaccine.

It’s focused on the people who are most susceptible to the virus: the elderly. One of the group's lead researchers, Ofer Levy, M.D., PhD, director of the Precision Vaccines Program, or PVP, at Boston Children’s Hospital, explained how the virus itself will help scientists find a way to kickstart people's immune systems to ultimately fight coronavirus disease.

"We're trying to discover rocket fuel to make a vaccine work better in the elderly," said Levy, a native New Yorker. The Program is focused on developing vaccines that are tailored to vulnerable populations, including the elderly, so despite the fact that he's a pediatrician, Levy is developing the vaccine that’s targeted at senior citizens.





- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY MAR. 19TH 2020


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


Editor’s Note:

Because of the recent changes to my lifestyle, I have decided temporarily to alter the format of this blog. Instead of posting two new full blogs a week, I will post a new, shortened version daily. Therefore, as of Tuesday, March 17th, while I may shorten or eliminate many of the regular features, the information presented will be more timely. In the next days, weeks, or (G-d forbid) months I hope to give you an insight into what it’s like to spend most of your time virtually alone with limited human contact under less than desirable conditions while a plague, whose sole purpose appears to be killing old folks, swirls around us.


<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>

 

 



An So It Begins

Monday brought more than the cold light of day. It brought (via an army of aids and servers) a cold breakfast. It appears, as we begin our third day of a now mandated quarantine, the status, at least as far as being able to serve decent, hot substantial meals to the nearly 200 residents, remains Quo.
 
Normally, in desperate situations such as this we would check the bad food off to “navigating untried waters.”  But the truth be told, we have been here before. In fact, twice before just a few years ago when they quarantined us for nearly three weeks after an outbreak of norovirus. At the conclusion of that fiasco they assured us if something like that ever happened again, things would be different. So far, that has not happened. Breakfast comprised room

temperature scrambled eggs, cold bacon, cold toast and even colder coffee. And not much of it either.
Lunch was slightly better. At least the soup was hot. I saved the best for last. Dinner. One picture is worth a thousand words.

Okay, so much for the food. Eventually, they will come to some understanding with it and get it right. But what about the future? That’s what’s going through the minds of most of us here. How long will this last? The operating number being battered around is 14 days. Coincidentally, that’s the same number of days it takes before people get nasty. As an old trooper who has experienced this before, I can handle it. For many of our newbies, it will be difficult. I’m sure there are already a good number of residents who are suffering from the Bingo "sweats" now that they have deprived them of their favorite pastime for over three days. Like the coronavirus, there’s no known cure for that either. 

More tomorrow. ……………………………………


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‘There Is Plenty of Food in the Country’
By Michael Corkery, David Yaffe-Bellany, Amelia Nierenberg and Quoctrung Bui


Americans have been alarmed by empty grocery shelves, but while food suppliers and retailers say they are struggling with surging demand, they insist the supply chain remains strong.

The aisles and aisles of empty store shelves give the appearance that the United States, improbably and alarmingly, is running out of food.

But the nation’s biggest retailers, dairy farmers and meat producers say that isn’t so. The food supply chain, they say, remains intact and has been ramping up to meet the unprecedented stockpiling brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Even so, shoppers can most likely expect to see empty shelves intermittently, as the nation’s network of food producers, distributors and retailers are stretched as never before. Industries that are calibrated to supply consumers with just enough of what they need on a given day cannot keep up with a nationwide surge of relentless shopping fueled in large part by fear.

Food suppliers and retailers are now not only struggling to satiate crushing demand for canned soup and oat milk, they are battling a perception that the scary scenes at the grocery store reflect a fundamental breakdown.




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COVID-19 Myths Debunked
By Tonya Mosle & Allison Hagan


As the coronavirus continues to spread, a lot of misinformation about the pandemic is also circulating.

Some articles falsely claim certain groups of people are more immune to infection and promote dangerous home remedies.

Research shows that regular, vigorous exercise can help Parkinson’s patients improve their quality of life while slowing the progression of the disease. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Dr. Seema Yasmin is here to debunk some of these bogus claims. She's a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University and author of the forthcoming book “Debunked.”
Is the coronavirus man-made?

No — and this conspiracy theory pops up with almost every epidemic including Zika and Ebola, Yasmin says.

“What we do know is that it's very likely that this coronavirus jumped from bats to another animal and then to humans,” she says.
Can drinking bleach cure coronavirus?

Drinking bleach won’t cure coronavirus, she says, but it could kill you.

“Please don't ever, for any reason, consume bleach,” she says.

A lot of popular home remedies like gargling salt water or drinking warm water won’t kill the virus, but she says they won’t cause any harm either.
Are black people immune to coronavirus?

There’s no evidence that black people or any other group are more protected from the virus, Yasmin says.

“I will say that especially within the United States, I worry more about black people and people of color becoming infected,” she says, “because it's not just the virus that kills us. It's poor access to health care. It's having poor health insurance.”

Studies show black people and people of color have a harder time getting timely, appropriate treatment, she says.
Does having a runny nose mean you have the common cold — not coronavirus?

No, it doesn’t. Symptoms of the new coronavirus include cough, fever, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, but Yasmin says studies coming out of China on both children and adults show it can also include a runny nose.

“Just because you have a runny nose, that doesn't help us in any way narrow down exactly which infection you have,” she says.
Can the infection travel 10 feet through sneezing?

Not quite that far. When someone with coronavirus sneezes or coughs, they release droplets that contain the virus.

Studies on droplets with other infections have shown the furthest they can travel is six feet or about two yards, she says.
Is the information I’ve received about coronavirus accurate?

Don’t believe or share everything you read, she says, especially from a forwarded email or WhatsApp message. Yasmin recommends questioning where the information comes from and fact-checking on a verified website like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.

“It just takes a few added steps and a pause, making sure that you can fact check this alongside verified sources and website,” she says. “And certainly don't share yourself until you feel like it comes from somewhere credible.”




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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY MAR. 18TH 2020


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7 minutes


Editor’s Note:

Because of the recent changes to my lifestyle, I have decided temporarily to alter the format of this blog. Instead of posting two new full blogs a week, I will post a new, shortened version daily. This will accomplish two things. First, it will provide you with a unique insight from someone who is directly affected by the pandemic and, second, it will keep me from going stark-raving mad from boredom.

Therefore, as of Tuesday, March 17th, while I may shorten or eliminate many of the regular features, the information presented will be more timely. In the next days, weeks, or (G-d forbid) months I hope to give you an insight into what it’s like to spend most of your time virtually alone with limited human contact under less than desirable conditions while a plague, whose sole purpose appears to be killing old folks, swirls around us.  

<<<<<<>>>>>>

I usually begin writing the editorial part of this blog on Friday’s. And this week was no exception. Because the Corona virus is the only thing anyone is writing about these days, I had a story prepared wherein I would speak about how relatively apathetic many of our residents are considering the current situation. A situation which directly affects them (as older Americans with compromised immune systems) more than any other demographic. The story was prompted because of a special group assembly held Thursday afternoon when our administrator told us of the measures the facility was taking to prevent the spread of the virus.

He asked us to wash our hands frequently. Not to go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. And to limit contact with relatives and friends. All good information, to be sure. Especially to a group as vulnerable as ours. At the end of the meeting many of the residents just shook their heads and said, except for the hand washing, they didn’t plan to change their routines very much at all. This meant relatives would come and go. There would still be food deliveries made, and they would not postpone trips to the doctor. That was Thursday. By Friday afternoon, that all changed. Drastically.

I was just finishing lunch in our dining room when a supervisor came to me and told me Joel, our administrator, had asked to meet with me as soon as I finished eating. As a member of the resident’s council, I was used to these impromptu meetings. Usually the subject deals with how best to spend grant money, or a change in some procedure or policy. However, considering the current situation, I knew this meeting would be about something more drastic than just new carpeting for the lobby.

At 1:30 I, and the two other members of the council, sat in the conference room along with a very haggard-looking administrator. He dispensed with the usual amenities and got right to the point.

“I was up a 4 am thinking about how best I can assure the safety of the people here”, he said. “I have decided that because of our location in the middle of an area where the virus is most prevalent and that we have received no specific guidance from the county or state health departments, I will order an immediate suspension of all visits from family and friends. I am also prohibiting any outside food deliveries and all trips, including trips to doctors. I will permit only residents on dialysis to leave and come back.” And then his expression changed from concerned to contrite.

“I am also limiting contact among residents and staff. I am closing all common areas including the lobby, the auditorium, the library, the game room and the dining room and asking residents to remain in their rooms.”

The three of us (council members) looked at each other. It was a deja vu all over again moment.. A lockdown by any other name is still a lockdown. All of us had been here before. Three years ago the entire facility was closed for nearly three weeks while we rid the place of a virulent strain of Norovirus. It wreaked havoc on the resident population and the staff.
“I’m sorry I have to do this, but the thought of having anyone get sick or even worse, die of this thing, is too difficult to comprehend”, he said. “Do you think this is the right thing to do?” It was more of a statement than a question. We could do nothing more than agree. Five minutes later we were in a very crowded auditorium where he delivered the bad news to the rest of the residents. While most received the news with quiet resignation, many complained about not being able to order food deliveries or being able to leave the grounds of the facility. Since most of the residents had not been around during the last quarantine, very few had questions about meals being delivered to their rooms. Ignorance is bliss.

As I finish writing this post, we have completed our first full day of our self-imposed quarantine. And, as with the other times we have been in this predicament, the first few days are the worst. For most of the staff and residents, this is uncharted territory. Actually, except for myself and a handful of other residents, no one has been through this before. Fortunately, our administrator HAS been through this before. Hopefully, his experience in these matters will enable us to make the experience as painless as possible. And while nobody knows how long this isolation will last, as a veteran of these “confinements” I know, as time wears on, the patience of all involved will become stretched thin until it reaches a point where the residents will rebel and eventually take matters into their own hands causing more chaos than the facility can handle. I pray we don’t come to that………...............................................................
 
 
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Steps to take when you’ve decided
to move in to a retirement community

By Jane Peterson For MediaNews Group


You may love your home, but what worked well when you were raising your family, may no longer fit. As the years pass, you may realize you no longer have the desire to clean a big house or deal with snow removal and lawn mowing. Physical limitations may make it more difficult to take care of routine maintenance.

Sometimes adult children encourage a move into a retirement community, particularly if their parents are having trouble managing their finances or experiencing a number of falls and other issues. In this case, children are likely concerned about their parent’s safety and want them to thrive in place where there are other people around and where there are services that can provide extra support and peace of mind.

For others, the decision is their own. Despite all the beautiful memories in the home they have lived in for years, they may be ready to make the move to a retirement community. If that’s where you’re at, or if you’re simply contemplating such a move, you need to find the right one that fits your lifestyle and goals.

Continue reading>>  https://www.voicenews.com/life/steps-to-take-when-you-ve-decided-to-move-in/article_911a0382-071c-5dff-80b7-c60d9b140693.html


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Senior voter turnout at risk over coronavirus worries


Ohio on Tuesday announced it would relocate 128 polling locations in nursing homes and assisted-care facilities as the state prepares to conduct its primary election on March 17.  

The move comes as states around the country deal with more cases of coronavirus, which poses larger risks to older age groups.  

Other states have made similar moves to relocate polling locations from nursing homes. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners was left scrambling to find new voting locations after seven nursing homes in the city asked to be excused from serving as a polling place during its primary, also on March 17.

While moving polling locations out of nursing homes and assisted-care facilities prevents outsiders who might carry the virus from coming in, it means seniors living there who may have voted in person will now have to travel elsewhere to do so.

"We have a mixture of situations because then it becomes a health issue to move them to another site, to have them travel off the grounds of the facility to go vote somewhere else," Jim Allen, spokesperson for the Chicago Board of Commissioners, told the Chicago Sun-Times.



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Are grandma, grandpa sleepy during the day?
They may be at risk for diabetes, cancer, more

By David H. Rehkopf et al.,


Older people who experience daytime sleepiness may be at risk of developing new medical conditions, including diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 72nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada, April 25 to May 1, 2020.

The condition called hypersomnolence is defined as excessive daytime sleepiness even after having seven or more hours of sleep. It can be debilitating for some people, affecting the way that they perform at work and in other daily activities.

"Paying attention to sleepiness in older adults could help doctors predict and prevent future medical conditions," said study author Maurice M. Ohayon, M.D., Ph.D., DSc, of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Older adults and their family members may want to take a closer look at sleeping habits to understand the potential risk for developing a more serious medical condition."


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Cancer scanner 'could diagnose dementia early'


A cancer scanner could be used to identify some of the earliest and most difficult to diagnose forms of dementia, scientists have said.

Doctors at University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff said its PET scanner could show signs of the condition in people who are not showing symptoms.

About 47% of people in Wales living with dementia do not have a diagnosis.

The Welsh Government said it is investing £10m a year in its dementia action plan.
Image caption The only permanent PET scanner in Wales is at UHW in Cardiff

Positron emission tomography (PET) scans - using a radioactive tracer drug - reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning.

A pilot has been taking place across the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) over the past few months for patients who are suspected of having dementia.




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG TUESDAY MAR. 17TH 2020


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Editor's note: This post was written before the president's decision to ban all travel between Europe and the U.S.



Virus! What Virus?
Will Apathy Kill Us All?



You just got to love it. While the rest of the world is virtually shutting itself down in response to the Corona /Covid-19 virus, the U.S. is taking a let’s wait and see approach to the situation. This is so very typically American. When it comes to what the rest of the world thinks, we do just the opposite. Despite our great technical abilities and scientific advancements that have bettered mankind, many American’s beliefs are firmly rooted in the 19th century. They think just because there are two vast oceans that separate us from Asia and Europe, we enjoy some form of protection against the problems facing the rest of mankind. 

This quasi-isolationism should have ended with the Second World War. You remember WW2. That’s the war we thought we were immune to because, after all, we didn’t have any problem with Hitler wanting to take over Europe. That’s their business. Way over there on the other side of the ocean. We were so aloof and ignorant; we failed to see the threat on the other side of the world. That place with their strange ways, funny clothes, weird language (they read top to bottom don’t you know) and ancient beliefs. How could they ever be a threat to us? Surprise. They caught us off guard and we paid a terrible price for it. That kind of thinking makes me fearful of what is going on now.
 
America seems to take pride in being contrary. While that may be okay when innovation and deviation from the norm is necessary to enrich the creative or artistic parts of our lives, it makes little sense when dealing with other nations, especially in matters that affect us globally. This is especially true when it come to things like the environment. The rest of the world thinks (and rightfully so) that we (everybody) needs to do something about climate change, clean air and water and the preservation of natural resources and we need to do it now before we reach a point where reversal is impossible. Everybody that is, except the USA who continues to deny the critical nature of the issue and, has even backed out of international treaties on the premise that such drastic measures to curb global warming is not in the “best interests” of the American people. More often than not, this is a code word for “not in the interests of big business.”* Which brings us to today.

So now we face another international crisis. A virus that spreads rapidly and has very little respect for international borders. It is so virulent that it has virtually shut down an entire country of 60 million people, Italy. And, while we here in the U.S. have not seen the number of cases as compared to other places, we are taking our sweet old 19th century view of the matter by believing (according to our great leader) we have complete control of the situation. So much control, that only today (Wednesday, March 11th) we are finally beginning to ship test kits to “everyone who needs it.” We could have had test kits as early as two weeks ago had we accepted them from the World Health Organization (WHO). But we didn‘t trust "them foreigners.” Thank heaven we have more globally thinking leaders like the governors of NY and Washington State who have taken more realistic and decisive action contrary to the blasé attitude of our federal government.

If I sound a little paranoid, forgive me. It might have something to do with the fact that I suddenly find myself in a demographic directly affected by how public health officials address the matter. The last (And I mean “last”) thing I need is for them to take me out of here on a stretcher and put in confinement with a disease for which they have no cure…......................…….

* In 2017 the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Agreement of 2015 “A massive climate pact that includes nearly every country in the world, the Obama administration signed the US on to curb its use of fossil fuels and to help mute the effects of climate change. Trump said the deal was poorly negotiated”



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Simple Tips for Eating Well
By Cheryl Toner, MS, RDN


There are few things in life as comforting and nourishing as food, but it can be controversial and confusing, too. It’s so essential to life one would think common sense is the main ingredient in making food choices, and common sense—along with personal heritage and beliefs—is an important guidepost. Food cultures around the world can look very different from one another, and each can be healthy. Rather than ignoring food customs and preferences, let’s anchor them in the science of nutrition and aging.

Eating for health is often framed in a way that isolates nutrients that are good for your bones, your heart, or your digestive system. The result is a list of foods that will provide those nutrients, but ignores the way nutrients work together. Calcium, for example, is essential for strong bones, but it must partner with magnesium, vitamins D and K, and protein to get the job done. In fact, all these nutrients together are optimized only with weight-bearing exercise.
Tried and true tips

So how do we bring research know-how to the dinner table when it’s so complex? Managing a health condition or nutrient deficiency is best done with a registered dietitian, but these tips can ground your food choices in decades of research and simplify eating well:

Go To Story>> https://www.ncoa.org/blog/simple-tips-for-eating-well/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=02282020_AWU


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Daytime naps boost your heart and brain health,
 reduce stress and much more



If you often find yourself dozing off at your desk in the middle of the afternoon, or driving with your windows down in hopes that the fresh air will keep you awake during your commute home, you’re not alone. The American Sleep Association has done the research and the results are in- America is a sleep-deprived nation.

According to the ASA, more than 35 percent of adults in the United States report getting less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night, and fifty to seventy million adults have a sleep disorder.

A Lack of Sleep is Bad for Your Health

Sleep plays a vital role in the function of your brain as well as many other important body systems. Minor sleep deprivation may sound like a trivial problem, but even a small lack of sleep can accumulate over time and have serious consequences to your health.



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Survey shows older adults live
with sensory loss



Home Instead Senior Care has unveiled “Aging Senses” to help increase awareness and create a broader understanding of the daily challenges faced by someone with sensory impairments.

The free program offers resources and tools to the community, including an online sensory loss simulation and instructions on how to create an at-home Aging Senses Kit.

“We hope this program will encourage people at every age to do their part to reverse the stigma associated with sensory loss,” said John Hawk, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Charlotte.

A new survey by Home Instead Senior Care shows 83% of older adults in the U.S. are living with at least one diminished sense. Left untreated, the loss of one or more senses can lead to feelings of isolation, depression and diminished quality of life, which can be especially debilitating for older adults.

Losing the ability to fully connect or interact with those around us cannot only cause older adults to retreat from social situations, but it can even lead to depression and declining physical health. Early detection of sensory loss in older adults can increase their ability to manage the loss and make necessary changes at home and with loved ones.




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Can a low-carb diet reverse brain aging?

A low carb diet may prevent or even reverse the effects of aging in the brain, researchers report.

The new study also shows that the neurobiological changes associated with aging are evident in a person’s late 40s.

To better understand how diet influences brain aging, the research team focused on the presymptomatic period when prevention may be most effective. In the study, they show  that functional communication between brain regions destabilizes with age, typically in the late 40’s. The study also shows that destabilization correlates with poorer cognition and accelerates with insulin resistance.

The researchers found that consumption of different fuel sources can reliably modulate this biomarker for brain aging. Glucose decreases the stability of brain networks. Ketones increase stability.

The researchers replicated this effect across both changes to total diet as well as after drinking a fuel-specific calorie-matched supplement.



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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG MONDAY MAR. 16TH 2020


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THESENIORLOG.COM MARCH 9TH 2020





The Virus

As you might expect, the topic on many folks mind here at the ALF, is the Corona virus or, as they prefer to call it, “Covid 19.” There are two major reasons our little group of assisted living residents is so concerned about this outbreak. First, it has been well-publicized that this strain targets an older demographic especially those who have respiratory problems (Emphysema, COPD or Asthma) or whose immune systems are compromised. Around here, that’s mostly everybody.
 
Also, as fate would have it, our facility is located in the hotbed of the viral outbreak in New York State, Westchester county. As of this writing, 70 out of the 89** confirmed cases of Corona virus in the state were living less than 8 miles from where we are. This means we have a better-than-average chance of coming in contact with someone who is infected. Our residents are constantly traveling around the county to doctors, therapy sessions and shopping trips. Not to mention the visitors, staff, and tradespeople who live in the area and could unwittingly bring the virus into our building.

 While the facility has not officially implemented any unusual precautions, they have urged us to follow the prescribed methods of disinfection. Mainly the washing of hands, sneezing or coughing into one’s sleeve rather than the hand and letting the staff know if you are not feeling well. Hand sanitizer stations have been set-up around the facility as well. We all are very aware how quickly and how virulently an illness like this can spread. Back in 2017 there were two incidents of Norovirus which caused the facility to quarantine all the residents for almost three weeks. While the Norovirus makes you very sick quick, its effects are nothing compared to how devastating a virus like Covid-19 could be. Meanwhile, I’m wiping everything I touch in my room with a beach solution. 

There is a trip to Target scheduled for next week. We are seriously thinking of canceling that trip.

**Numbers are from Saturday night 3/7/20.

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Chef Du Jour.


Anybody involved in the healthcare business knows about the high turnover of personnel at places such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. While there are several reasons for this, the high rate of attrition is because of low wages, little chance for promotion and it being a difficult and often thankless job. In short, taking care of old people sucks. Many of us are overly demanding, cranky, short-tempered and quick to find fault. 

Our facility has not been exempt from staffing problems. In the nearly six years I have been a resident of our little paradise-on-the-hill, I have witnessed the coming and going of three administrators, ten case management people, a dozen or more supervisors, scores of housekeeping, health-aides and maintenance people, med-techs, food servers and department heads. At the top of the “Most frequently replaced” list is the position of Head chef/food supervisor. This year is no exception. As of last Wednesday, a new person has assumed this tenuous position. Our last manager leaving to pursue a career as a policeman. We are now on our 7th food service director. And, as I have done for all of those who come here thinking they are god’s gift to the senior dining world, I tell them of our (resident’s) expectations.

First, I let them know we do not expect gourmet meals. We don’t have the budget or the need for fancy foods. And besides, most of our residents wouldn’t be able to eat that kind of food. What I tell them is all we want is food made as good as any diner in Yonkers.* But it’s the next thing I tell them that usually elicits the most emotion. I tell them, before anything they cooked gets served to us, they should ask themselves “Is this something I would serve to my mother?” If the answer is no, why are serving it to us. These apparently simple requests have been a bone of contention with every new hire. They start off with good intentions, but somewhere along the way the good-intentions disappear and they become disheartened with the process. Why? I don’t know, but I’ll bet the administration does and they are powerless to do anything about it. Meaning, they will subject us to mediocre food, no matter who is in charge. Meanwhile, I’ll keep those takeout menus handy.

                                                    
 
*Yonkers boasts some of the best diners in the state. There are currently 18 diners in our city operating 365/24/7.


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If you'll still be working at age 65,
here's how to handle Medicare

By Sarah O'Brien


If you’re counting on working past your 65th birthday, be sure to consider how Medicare may factor into your plans — even if you already have health insurance through your job.

While workers at companies with fewer than 20 workers generally must sign up for Medicare at age 65, people working for larger companies typically have choices: They can stick with their group plan and delay Medicare without facing penalties down the road, drop the company option in favor of Medicare or go with a combination of the two.

“The advice I give is to calculate the financial impact for each option,” said Elizabeth Gavino, founder of Lewin & Gavino in New York and an independent broker and general agent for Medicare plans. “Figure out your cost based on your usage and your medication, and do a comparison on what your outlay may be.”

The share of people ages 65 to 74 in the workforce has been steadily rising for years. It’s projected to reach 30.2% in 2026, up from 26.8% in 2016 and 17.5% in 1996, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.



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Diet alone can improve older adults’ health

Adults 65 and older on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet with a prescribed protein intake not only maintained their muscle strength but also improved their metabolic health, according to a South Dakota State University study. The DASH diet is a food group-based diet consisting of grains, dairy, protein, fruits and vegetables. Credit: South Dakota State University

Older adults on a diet designed to help patients with high blood pressure reaped benefits beyond those anticipated by South Dakota State University researchers.

Assistant professor Cydne Perry of the Department of Health and Nutritional Sciences sought to evaluate whether adults age 65 and older on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, or DASH, with a prescribed protein intake would maintain muscle mass and strength. "Muscle maintenance is a way to reduce older adults' risk of falling, thus improving their quality of life while reducing health-care costs," Perry explained.


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Cognitive decline may be
more pronounced in widows


Being widowed late in life may increase a person's risk for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and cognitive decline, according to a study published Wednesday by JAMA Network Open.

In an analysis of 257 married, widowed and unmarried -- including never married, divorced or separated -- adults enrolled in the Harvard Aging Brain Study, widowed participants "demonstrated worsening cognitive performance" as well as higher levels of beta-amyloid protein.

Earlier research has linked elevated levels of beta-amyloid in the brain with increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.

"Unfortunately, we don't know the specific mechanisms by which widowhood increases risk of cognitive decline," study co-author Nancy J. Donovan, director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told UPI. "However, we would recommend for widows what we know to be beneficial overall for older adults: exercise, social engagement, cognitively stimulating activities, a healthy diet, managing stress levels, attending to mental health and reducing cardiovascular risk factors."



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Let's not leave senior citizens out
of the cashless society
By Adlina

E-wallets or digital wallets are modern-age financial capabilities that are growing popular across Asia. The tool is becoming the preferred method of payment by consumers as the region moves to become ‘cash-lite’.

A strong reason for the growing preference is the convenience it offers in payments and transactions. The abundance of deals and discounts being offered by e-wallet operators have also made it an attractive capability. The payment technology is becoming more prominent in the market with SMEs adopting them extensively, e-commerce brands and ride-hailing platforms also offer the capability actively.

Given the benefits of convenience, and not having to root around for change, the technology is not just for the tech-savvy younger generation — even senior citizens are intrigued by the potential of the technology to make their days easier, particularly as it becomes an expected vehicle for payments.



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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY MAR. 12TH 2020


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POSTED MARCH 5 2020


Do You Miss Your Job?

9 MINUTES


I was on my way to breakfast the other morning. The time was about 8:40 am. And from way back in my memory, a thought occurred to me. “I don’t have a job.” What made me think about work I do not know. Perhaps it was the time of day, eight-forty in the morning that stirred up a long-dormant brain cell and made me think about the job I had.  

The last time I set foot in a workplace, my workplace, was in December 2006. It was the last paying job I was ever to have. It was also to be the shortest time I have spent working for one company. Eight days to be exact. And my being “let go” could not have happened at a worse time. Three days before Christmas.

Let’s just say the reason for my dismissal was because of some confusion over what my duties were. They had hired me to do one thing and, after only eight days, my employer decided I would be best suited in another department that would have required me to do some very detailed work involving a deadline. It was work I had done in my youth and had found to be very stressful. And, since they would not pay me more for doing that work, I decided that my sanity was worth more than a salary. So I quit. 

As I left the building and made my way to the subway to go home (it was only 10 o’clock on a Tuesday morning) I glanced at all the store windows dressed in their Christmas finest, and all the people with colorfully wrapped packages under their arms busily darting from place to place, I thought to myself, “Here I was, a sixty-something old man with no health insurance and no job and little prospects of ever finding a decent paying job again and I had just quit my job because I didn’t like it. Was I the stupidest man alive?”

It might not have been such a poor decision. I was still receiving severance pay from my last job, and because technically they fired me, I was eligible for at least 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. And, since I was approaching my 62nd birthday, I would soon be able collect Social Security benefits. But, as anyone who has worked all of their lives and whose job was all they had, suddenly not to have a place to go to every day can be as stressful as the work itself.

Americans are inherently work oriented. The society in which we live almost demands it. Everything we do revolves around us having a job. Steady employment signifies much more than money. It means someone has entrusted you with certain responsibilities which may involve people's lives and livelihood. This, in a Judeo-Christian society, is very important. Essentially, it signifies to others you are not a bum. Try to get an apartment or a credit card without being able to show you have held a job for over six months. They won’t even take an application.

Anyone who has lost a job at which they worked for many years knows how devastating that loss can be. It is as much a matter of self-esteem as the salary you received. In the eyes of society if you are not working you are no longer a “contributor.” Instead, you are now a “taker”, a dredge on society. But, as anyone who has worked for all of their lives knows, there is more to a job than social status or a paycheck. There’s the interaction with others and the camaraderie with the people you work with and being in sync with a group. Often you are part of a team working on a particular project, and your voice and the contribution you made was as important as anyone else’s. Something rarely found outside of an office environment. A prominence rarely given to someone over 65 and out-of-work.

There is also something positive about having a routine. Work, if nothing else, provides us with a certain structure, discipline and purpose which we often lose as we age. While having a surplus of leisure time may seem like paradise to most people, to the elderly, it can be a living nightmare. I see it here at the A.L.F. every day. There is a certain aimlessness that prevails in a place where the only routine is showing up for your medication every day. If you are not already on anti-depression pills, you soon will be. This is the primary reason I do this blog. I do it not because I’m looking to gain any notoriety or to influence your thinking, but as a way of establishing a routine for myself. I find comfort in knowing I have to spend a certain amount of time every day to research, compose, edit and post this tome twice a week. And I give myself a certain time in which I must complete the task. That is why I set 7am (est) as the time I must post this to the net. It’s the same reason I still shave everyday and put on clean clothes. I need to know that I haven’t given up. 

Do I miss work? Yes, and no.

I miss having somewhere to go and something to do. And getting a nice paycheck every week isn’t bad either. I don’t miss the stress of working in a high-powered environment where your worth is judged on how many phone calls you handle and how much added value you give to each sale. It’s hard work to be a capitalist. I miss too, the city. Just the walk from the subway to my office was enjoyable I even liked stopping at the small food shop on my way to work to grab a quick breakfast of coffee and a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. And browsing the bookstores and boutiques of the Greenwich Village neighborhood where I worked. It was an honor to be able to do that. Also, there is nothing to compare with the self-esteem one feels when knowing they did a job well. You don’t get that too often in retirement.

Finally, I love not having to go to work. My stress level has dropped dramatically and look at each day as a blank canvas ready to make of it as I seen fit. However, at times I feel the need to work. It’s part of my genetic makeup. I could never really be part of the leisure class. It’s too boring……………………………………………..



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The Benefits Of Using An Assisted Living Advisor
By Mike McClernon

With more Americans living longer than ever, it is inevitable that someone you know—a parent, sibling, spouse or other aging relative—will one day require a new living setting. It’s estimated that for individuals who reach 65 years of age, there is a 70 percent likelihood they’ll require some form of long-term care services. When faced with that reality, many of us simply don’t know where to turn. That’s when senior home advisors becomes a valuable resource. Not only do they have the expertise and information you need regarding the various options available, but there is no fee for their services. They’ll guide you through a supportive, caring process that helps alleviate much of the emotional stress that comes with this major life decision.

The qualified senior home advisor will start by getting to know the family, the senior and his/her current situation. A disciplined discovery process is conducted through which the advisor asks a series of questions intended to qualify the senior’s medical condition, memory impairment, any behavioral issues, need for supervision and ability to manage daily living requirements (e.g., grooming, dressing, feeding, etc.). This information helps narrow down the various senior care and living settings that would be appropriate.

Knowing Your Senior Living Options...



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Caregivers Are Getting Younger,
Making Planning for Long-Term Care
Even More Important


As baby boomers age, more and more millennials are becoming caregivers. Many are taking on this role while just getting started in their own lives, leading to difficult decisions about priorities. Proper planning can help them navigate this terrain.

The term “sandwich generation” was coined to refer to baby boomers who were taking care of their parents while also having young children of their own. Now millennials are moving into the sandwich generation at a younger age than their parents did. According to a study by the AARP, one in four family caregivers is part of the millennial generation (generally defined as being born between 1980 and 1996). And a study by Genworth found that the average age of caregivers in 2018 was 47, down from 53 in 2010. Gretchen Alkema, vice president of policy and communications at the SCAN Foundation, told the New York Times that the rise in younger caregivers may be because baby boomers had kids later in life than their predecessors and many are divorced, so they do not have a spouse to provide care.


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This Is Why It Seems Like Your Hangovers
Are Getting Worse With Age
By Claire Gillespie


If you’ve ever cracked open your eyes the morning after a boozy night, wondering why it feels like malicious elves with jackhammers are drilling through your skull, you know how dreadful hangovers can be. You may have also started to feel like your hangover symptoms are getting worse with age, which adds an extremely rude cherry to the top of this headache-filled sundae. But do hangovers actually get tougher to bear as you get older? Possibly, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

Let’s just take a moment to talk about the grab bag of pure awfulness that makes up your typical hangover symptoms.

Here are common hangover symptoms, which might sound familiar if you’ve enjoyed a drink or two in your life:



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Best Health and Home Products at CES 2020

During CES 2020 in Las Vegas in January, more than 4,400 companies debuted some 20,000 tech products, everything from 8K TVs to foldable laptop computers to plant-based pork from the people who brought you the Impossible Burger. (Clearly, the show has grown beyond just focusing on consumer electronics, as it once did.)

Aside from the robotic puppies, Bluetooth-equipped shower heads and robot warrior gaming helmets featured, many of the new products could be useful to people who are around the same age as CES, which debuted in 1967.

In case you’re curious, the Best of the Best award went to the Hydraloop, a home water-purification system that treats outgoing wastewater so it can be used in toilets, washing machines and gardens. The People’s Choice award went to the Razer Kishi, an accessory that turns your iPhone or Android device into a game controller.



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NEXT BLOG MONDAY MAR. 9TH 2020


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8 min

“Abi gezunt”, I said, to my table mate as she got up from the breakfast table the other day. She had just finished telling me about some legal problems she was having and how it was causing her to lose sleep. I rarely use Yiddish, mostly because few people here at the ALF understand it, but sometimes nothing else expresses a thought better. And, besides, I knew she would know exactly what I meant. Though not an exact translation (Yiddish phrases have a tendency to mean much more than the words they’re composed of) abi gezunt means “As long as you’re healthy.” Or, “As long as you have your health, everything else will be okay.” I could see by the smile on her face she appreciated the thought. But wishing one good health has a different meaning to people as they age. To older folks it is not a sentiment taken lightly.

The human body is a marvelous thing. It’s a machine that has the ability to fix itself when it’s broken. And, like any machine, parts wear out. Fortunately, through the miracle of modern science and skillful surgeons, we can replace some of those worn-out parts with new joints and heart valves and other artificial body parts, or slightly used parts from living or deceased organ donors. However, just trading a new part for one that’s no longer working is no guarantee something else will not wear out. Replacing the water pump on your old Buick with 90 thousand miles on it does not mean your muffler won’t be next. At some point it forces you to admit, the old buggy ain’t what she used to be and all the car washes, oil changes and tune-ups won’t make it new again. Then, it’s off to the junkyard where they strip it of it parts and crush it into a coffee table size cube of twisted metal.

All right, perhaps to equate humans with old cars does a disservice to old cars. Old cars are much more fun than old people. But we’re getting off topic. People, unlike cars, need to feel good to function properly. A simple thing can cause us to dysfunction and not work properly. Sometimes all our parts are working, but all we can focus on is that throbbing arthritic knee. Fortunately, there are painkillers available. And therein lies the problem. While the ingestion of a few pills taken for a short period to cure or relieve the pain of one affliction may be okay, but old folks wind up taking those pills, in large quantities, all the time, forever.

Until only recently, it was a common sight here at the ALF to see people fast asleep in our lobby zonked-out on opioids. Doctors were handing them out like Tic-Tac’s, sometimes not realizing how many they have prescribed and how many of those painkillers their patients were taking. I should know. I was one of those patients.* 

Those who have not been around many older folks think of us as being frail, weak and incapable of performing even the simplest of tasks. But what they don’t know is that almost every person who has reached their 70s or 80s or beyond, are incredibly resilient and heroic. Visit any nursing home, assisted living facility or senior center, and you will see people who have gone through many surgeries, crippling procedures, agonizing therapy and have ingested more powerful and dangerous drugs than a roomful of lab rats. These folks awaken each day thinking what new affliction will prompt a visit to the doctor or even the ER. A good day to older Americans means not having to see a medical professional or have to swallow a new pill or gulp down a foul-tasting liquid. And, if they have to, they do it with little or no complaint. Something a younger person would bitch about for months.

America loves to honor its heroes, as well it should. Many have sacrificed all they have protecting our country and its citizens. Unfortunately, we have overlooked some really brave people who face each day with stoic resignation that this day might be their last. Even Superman can’t compare to people like that…………………………………..
 

Editor’s note: My transition from a very comfortable adjustable bed in the nursing home to the flat, hard beds they had here at the ALF was a difficult one, at least for my back. Upon awakening after my very first night sleeping on that very different bed, I found I could barely move. I was in such pain and agony that I had to ring for an aid who called for two more aids who all decided the best thing would be to call for the EMT’s who promptly hauled my body to the ER. After an x-ray, just to make sure my pain was not due to an actual injury, the ER doc prescribed some Percocet which I was to take every four hours as needed. Which, for me, was all the time. Eventually, my back adjusted to the new bed and I no longer needed the pills. I must admit, going cold-turkey after two weeks on a regular diet of painkillers, was almost as bad as the pain. Fortunately, any pain I now have is relieved with two Tylenol.
*A guideline, issued by the CDC in 2016, recommends nonopioid approaches including physical therapy as a preferred first-line treatment for some—but not all—types of chronic pain.
"The Guideline was developed to provide recommendations for primary care physicians who prescribe opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care,"... "Because of the unique therapeutic goals, and balance of risks and benefits with opioid therapy in such care, clinical practice guidelines specific to cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care should be used to guide treatment and reimbursement decisions regarding use of opioids as part of pain control in these circumstances."
source:  https://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/News/2019/04/10/CDCClarificationGuideline/

 


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Seniors And Diabetes: A Complete Guide

Diabetes is one of the biggest health issues in American history, and it’s only affecting more people as the population grows. As of 2015, the Center for Disease Control says more than 30 million Americans have some form of diabetes. That number makes up just under 10 percent of the entire American population. Around 25 percent of those 65 and older have diabetes, the CDC says, meaning about 12 million seniors have the condition.

These are astronomical numbers. The World Health Organization expects diabetes to be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. And because so many people have it, Americans spend huge amounts of money on treatment and medication. The American Diabetes Association reported in 2012 that the cost of diabetes diagnoses was $245 billion—nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars. Most of that number came from the direct medical cost of diabetes ($176 billion), and the rest came from reduced productivity in the workforce because of diabetes ($69 billion).

Worst yet, some experts believe the number of Americans who have diabetes can increase from about one in 10 in 2015 to one in three by 2050, if current trends continue. This is due in part to an increasingly older population—one that is more at risk for developing diabetes as they age. In the very best scenarios, experts believe that one in five Americans will have diabetes by 2050.



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Millions of Americans Will Soon Move Into Assisted Living.
Now Comes the Hard Part.

By Lindsay J. Peterson and Kathryn Hyer

As of today, the youngest of the nearly 70 million baby boomers is 55; the oldest is 74. Within the next decade, millions of them will need long-term care. Many will remain in their homes, with family or “drop-in” caregiver services lending a hand. Some will move in with relatives. Those who are most dependent on care might choose nursing homes. A diverse and expanding older population is looking for help.

For more than a decade, “assisted living” residences grew faster than any other segment of the long-term care industry. Typically more home-like than a full-care nursing facility, assisted living is often favored by people who are generally independent, but still need support with daily activities. In general, providers offer fewer medical services, though many provide health and memory care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

We and our colleagues track the ever-changing circumstances of long-term care in the U.S. As we study policies and practices, we have observed that the expansion of assisted living is clearly a game-changer, creating new challenges in the industry. Many states have increased assisted living regulation in recent years. Some consumer advocates have called for nursing-home style federal rules, though others oppose this, saying assisted living should remain flexible enough to serve residents with a range of needs, from personal care only to end-of-life comfort.



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More seniors are living alone.
Stop blaming them for the housing crisis.

By Jeff Andrews


Ask housing policy experts why housing costs are at or near all-time highs in most cities in America and you’ll get one primary answer: There aren’t enough houses and apartments for people to buy or rent.

There are many reasons for the housing shortage. Home builders haven’t been able to build at a pace that keeps up with demand. Major cities lack enough land to build on. People who already own homes aren’t upsizing or downsizing, which limits the circulation of homes on the market.

But at a time when intergenerational rivalry has become a viral meme, it’s been easier for many to blame one particular punching bag: baby boomers.

The theory goes like this: Senior citizens historically will downsize into smaller houses as their children leave the nest. This allows younger families with starter homes to expand into larger houses. That in turn allows first-time homebuyers to buy starter homes that the younger families are moving out of.


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Assisted dying is not the easy way out
By Anita Hannig

One in every five Americans now lives in a state with legal access to a medically assisted death. In theory, assisted dying laws allow patients with a terminal prognosis to hasten the end of their life, once their suffering has overcome any desire to live. While these laws may make the process of dying less painful for some, they don’t make it easier. Of the countries that have aid-in-dying laws, the U.S. has the most restrictive. Intended to reduce unnecessary suffering, the laws can sometimes have the opposite effect.

My work as a medical anthropologist explores the field of medicine from a cultural angle, focusing primarily on birth and death. Over the past four years, I’ve studied how access to a medically assisted death is transforming the ways Americans die. I have spent hundreds of hours accompanying patients, families and physicians on their road to an assisted death. And, I have witnessed some of these deaths firsthand.




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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY MAR. 5TH 2020


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FEB. 27TH 2020

Learning To Accept Help-
It’s not always easy.



7-8 mins.


It was May 2009. And I was at the lowest point of my life. 

Loaded with pain killers, infused with steroids, antibiotics and anti-everything else medication, listening to the erratic beep-beep of the monitor at the side of my bed, wondering what my future would be like, I was as helpless as a newborn. I could do nothing for myself except sleep and press the call button for help. I had been in the hospital for weeks and it had become my world.

Post surgery was not much better. Weeks in the ICU living mostly on broth and Jello, left me physically weak and mentally exhausted. I needed help with everything. Fortunately, the hospital pays people to do just that. An army of Nurses, LPNs, orderly’s, technicians and therapists are there to make sure you are taking your medications, kept clean, wheeled to tests and procedures and exercising to keep your muscles from becoming atrophied. Unfortunately for me, although cured of the illness that brought me to this point, my body had taken one heck of a beating.

The hospital, as good as it was, had done all they could for me. They discharged me and was sent to a nursing home for what was to be possibly the most demeaning, embarrassing and humbling experience of my life.
For most of my 63 years, I had been very independent. I was one of those people who felt uncomfortable having others do for me. Not that I wasn’t appreciative of people wanting to help me do things, it’s just that I always felt I could do it faster and usually better. Even when married I preferred doing my laundry (and hers too) and most of the cooking.* I couldn’t watch other people work while I did nothing.** Now, I was in a place where their main function is to cater to your helplessness. And, it was driving me crazy. At least at first.

From the first day they wheeled me into my room at the nursing home, my main goal was to get as much of my life back as I could. To me, that meant restoring all of my independence. I knew the journey would be a long one. I didn’t realize just how hard it would be. And how much I would eventually have to give in and give up.

Although the tubes were no longer attached to me and there was no beeping monitor, I still spent   most of the day in a bed unable to do very much on my own. Including, I’m ashamed to say, stuff having to do with bodily functions. Being catheterized in the hospital and not having to use those muscles that control one's bladder leaves you somewhat incontinent. My body had to learn to pee all over again.

Actually, there was much I needed to learn over. One of the most challenging skills was regaining the ability to dress myself. I spent hours every week with an occupational therapist doing just that. But, until I could manage dressing myself, I needed help. 

Every morning, an aid would come to my room, hand me a damp towel and help me clean myself as best I could. And by clean, I mean all-over, including those parts not meant for sharing. One learns quickly, modesty gets thrown out the window in a nursing home. 

After “bath-time” began the slow, agonizing process of putting on my socks, underwear, pants, shirt and shoes. Actually, the aid did most of the putting-on. I just manipulated my body so she could pull my pants over my butt and my shirt over my shoulders. It took me weeks before I felt even mildly comfortable with the whole routine. But the process was taking its toll on my mind. I was falling into a trap I had never wanted to fall into. I was thinking of myself as an invalid. A fate I was not ready to live with. I had already learned to accept some help, and I did not want to have to endure much more.

I won’t bore you with the details of my nearly two years of physical therapy other than to say I worked hard, cried much and cursed a lot. Eventually, I attained enough mobility and physical skills to make my stay in the nursing home no longer viable. They released me to a place that has become my home for the last 6 years. And, while I have regained much of my independence, there is much I will never get back like stamina (those seven to ten mile walks are over), and lower body strength.

Bending and straitening-up has become almost a religious experience.

Through all this I have become accustomed to having, and accepting, things being done for me.

Mostly little things such as making my bed, cleaning my bathroom, doing my laundry and transporting me to appointments. Amazingly, after six years, I still feel uncomfortable letting people do these things for me, but I now realize to have any self-reliance at all, it is necessary to allow others to assist you so you don’t get hung-up over the minor obstacles one faces every day. Many new residents, especially if they have come directly from their own homes where they have lived alone for years, find accepting this kind of help difficult.  After a while, they too learn resistance is futile……………………..

*I gave in when it came time to do housework like dusting and vacuuming. We shared responsibility on that.
**For this, and for many other reasons, I could never be a slave owner.




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Guide To Online Shopping For Seniors


As the U.S. population grows older and the popularity of online shopping continues to rise, it seems inevitable that senior citizens will shape the future of e-commerce. In fact, recent surveys show many older adults are already taking to the internet for their products and services, with 41% of baby boomers and 28% of seniors choosing to click to purchase.

The popularity of online shopping among older folks isn’t surprising. By shopping online, seniors can save time and money right from the comfort of their own homes. In contrast, brick-and-mortar stores

suffer from long checkout lines, crowded aisles, and packed parking lots — three things most seniors can easily live without.

However, seniors didn’t grow up with the internet (let alone the Internet of Things). For some, online shopping is intimidating and confusing. Age-related issues can also make shopping online impractical — vision or hearing loss, for example, or loss of motor skills. This Guide to Online Shopping for Seniors contains helpful information and many affordable or free resources to help seniors shop safely and independently.




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Many older adults face new disabilities
after hospital stays for serious illnesses


Older adults often face new disabilities after a hospital stay for a serious illness. Among the problems they may need to adjust to are difficulties with bathing and dressing, shopping and preparing meals, and getting around inside and outside the home. These new disabilities can lead to being hospitalized again, being placed in a nursing home, and more permanent declines in well-being. The longer a serious disability lasts, the worse it can be for an older adult.

To learn more about this issue, a research team studied information about a particular group of people. They looked at individuals who were hospitalized for a medical issue but did not require critical care. The study was based on data from the Precipitating Events Project (PEP), an ongoing study of 754 people, aged 70 or older, who lived at home at the beginning of the study. At that time, the participants were not disabled and did not need assistance in four basic activities: bathing, dressing, walking inside the house, and getting out of a chair. The researchers published their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The participants were examined at home at the start of the PEP study and then again every 18 months, while telephone interviews were completed monthly through June 2016.



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As the job market remains strong,
older workers are sticking around

By Jesse Pound


The latest leg of the economic expansion has been fueled in part by older Americans, as increased employment among workers who are at least 65 years old has accounted for an out-sized proportion of job growth.

The economy gained a little more than 2 million jobs over the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of employed workers age 65 or older rose by 697,000 — about 36% of the total gain.

“I think the strong economy really has allowed more people to stick around in the labor force longer than they might have thought possible, especially 10 years ago,” said Matt Rutledge, an economist with Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.


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5 Reasons to Start a Business in Retirement


Retirement is the perfect time for things like travel and exploring old passions. It can also be a great time to start a business.

That was the case for Paul A. Dillon, of the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. area. He retired as a managing director at the RSM McGladrey accounting firm in 2006, just shy of his 61st birthday, but didn’t slow down.

Instead, Dillon started his own firm, Dillon Consulting Services. And the  former U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lieutenant, who fought in the Vietnam War, founded Bunker Labs, a startup incubator for veterans.  He’s also working with the nonprofit mentoring group Entredot to start a support program for aspiring veteran entrepreneurs in North Carolina, known as Bunker RDU.

    “Retirees have a number of advantages over younger founders, including years of experience learning on other people’s money,”

A consulting client led Dillon to help veterans. That was “a dream that I’ve had for many years,” Dillon said.



Sex, Money And Senior Citizens
By Teresa Ghilarducci


This week I heard a retired physician comment at a lecture, “In the media, older people’s sex is literally a joke.” That is unfortunate. Sex is a fundamental part of our human nature at any age. It is not a disease to be controlled or an aberrant behavior that must be managed.

I am an economist, so my immediate thought is whether the market can help seniors’ sex lives. Viagra has of course helped many men, though libido enhancers for women have been less successful. The sex toy industry is a big one, but it has a blind spot when it comes to seniors. Perhaps the market is failing seniors.

The subject of seniors and sex is also dominated by a medical framework filled with problems that have to be fixed, according to Northern Arizona University psychological researcher Dr. Emily Patch, who recently spoke on the subject at the Sedona International Film Festival. Atrophied vaginas, male impotence, incontinence and cancer are some of the major topics. Sex and the senior citizen is considered a story about decline. For younger people, by contrast, the focus is on fulfillment, happiness and bonding.



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NEXT BLOG MONDAY MAR. 2nd 2020


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THESENIORLOG FEB. 24TH


7-8min


Readers of this blog have often heard me refer to the assisted living facility, of which I am a resident, as the “Asylum.” Just in case you hadn’t already guessed, I use the word ‘asylum’ endearingly. However, I must admit, even in jest, there’s some truth. In fact, being a little odd is the reason many folks are here.

An ALF is a microcosm of the real world. They are condensed versions of the society in which we live. The difference being, while the average citizen might come across an eccentric person once or twice in their lifetimes, here at the ALF, we live with them 360/24/7.

Do not misunderstand. Visitors to an assisted living facility will (usually) not notice anything out of the ordinary. Mostly we are just a bunch of old people (some in wheelchairs, some in walkers or canes), going about our business as usual. It is only upon closer examination that one would notice those oddities that make a facility like ours unique.

Among them Is the resident who dresses all in red and has two American flags taped to the handlebars of his Rollator. He’s like a one-man-parade. He also talks to himself and appears to do a lot of grocery shopping. I only say this because, at least three times a week, he gets into a taxi with a shopping cart, while wearing a dayglow safety vest and drives off somewhere. Don’t ask me where he goes or what he buys, I’ve never seen him return. Perhaps you’ve seen him, or people like him, at the supermarket and wondered where he stays at night. Now you know. Is he crazy? No, just odd.

The dining room is my favorite place to observe wackiness. The combination of food and conversation is enough to fan the flame of even the smallest disagreement into a raging inferno. Hardly a morning goes by without the opening of some long-festering wound. These arguments usually begin somewhere else in the facility and carry on into the dining room. The altercations range anywhere from one resident who uses eight Sweet and Low packets in their coffee, leaving only two for the other three diners to, “Hey!, that’s my toast.”

While the facility does its best to weed out potential troublemakers during pre-admission interviews, one must remember that the bottom line is to put as many bodies into as many beds as possible. Most ALF’s have an average occupancy rate of 85%. Facilities that don’t do as well will be more tolerant and overlook some flaws that would otherwise exempt them. Those flaws can be anything from being less independent than they require them to be to some people who are out-and-out sociopaths and, I’m sorry to say, racists.

Our facility opened in April 2012, with only a handful of residents and plenty of empty beds. By the time I moved in four months later, there were already 85 or 90 people. And, though there were single occupant rooms available, most of the original residents were placed in a double room they had to share with another person. There are several reasons they held the single rooms back. The first of which has to do with marketing. Without getting into details, the advantage of being able to offer a private room to a hesitant prospective resident often outweighs the need for those who require their privacy to function well in an environment that is often very foreign to the one they lived in all of their lives. Unfortunately, try as they might, it is almost impossible to pair evenly two people who must live in close quarters with one another. And therein lies the problem.

During my very first month here, they had to call the police at least 4 times to break-up altercations between room-sharing residents. In fact, seeing uniformed officers in the corridors was becoming a regular occurrence. Even now, although rarely, there are incidents serious enough to warrant the intervention of law enforcement. People will be people wherever they are, and an ALF is no exception. They bring with them the same attitudes, preconceptions, misconceptions, idiosyncrasies and habits they had before. And often other residents view those flaws as being hostile. 

Most of the time confrontations between residents arise because of a lack of common courtesy and respect. A simple thing such as blocking another resident’s right-of -way by not moving his wheelchair fast enough has led to shouting and shoving matches requiring intervention by the staff. Even the simple act of not saying “excuse me” when accidentally running into somebody can lead to a fracas. And heaven forbid you should try to cut in line in front of another resident at med or treatment room. You would think you were back in your 8th grade lunchroom and some kid cut in front of and got the last slice of pizza. It just isn’t done.

Living in a place with a bunch of disabled, disenfranchised people is not an ideal situation for anybody, And, when those people are elderly and often in pain or have emotional problems the incidents of anti-social behavior are more frequent than one might encounter in other, less confining situations.

There is a period where a new resident will either learn to adapt to their environment, make friends and join in the activities, or they will withdraw within themselves and become not only miserable, but hostile as well. Unfortunately, there is no pre-admission test for this which can cause problems down the road. It is not unusual for a resident to leave after only a few weeks (or even days) because they found the close contact with others impossible to cope with. Finding a place for people like that then becomes a difficult assignment for both the resident and their families.…………………..



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Retirement Spending Do's and Dont's


Knowing how to spend your retirement money is often harder and more confusing than knowing how to save it.

The basics for saving for retirement are pretty simple. For four, five or even six decades, you painfully learn how to spend less and save more. But once you reach retirement, there are few really good guidelines about how to wisely spend the money you’ve saved.

“Most financial plans are fundamentally incorrect about the real way that money is spent. Retirement spending is not linear,” said Ted Jenkin, CEO of oXYGen Financial in Atlanta and author of The 21-Day Budget Cleanse.

The 3 Periods of Retirement Spending

There is typically an initial three-to-five-year period of retirement “jubilation,” where many retirees overspend, often with more frequent travel as they start checking off their “bucket list” goals, ...




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Shingles Can Increase Stroke Risk.
Getting the Vaccine Can Reduce It


Officials urge everyone over age 60 to get the shingles vaccine, which can help curb the inflammation associated with both shingles and stroke. Getty Images


Shingles is bad enough on its own — but the painful illness may also increase your risk of stroke.

Conversely, getting vaccinated against shingles may also help prevent stroke, especially among older adults.

Those are the conclusions from a new study that will be presented next week at the annual American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020 in Los Angeles.

Researchers said they discovered that study participants who received the vaccine ZostavaxTrusted Source (zoster vaccine live) reduced their risk of both types of stroke — ischemic, caused by blood clots, and hemorrhagic, caused by bleeding.



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Golfing regularly could be a hole-in-one
for older adults' health

Regularly golfing -- at least once per month -- was found to lower the risk of death among older adults, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2020 -- Feb. 19-21 in Los Angeles, a world premier meeting for researchers and clinicians dedicated to the science of stroke and brain health.

Golf, a sport played by approximately 25 million Americans, can provide benefits such as stress reduction and regular exercise. Due to its social nature and controlled pace, people often maintain motivation and the ability to continue playing the sport even in older age and after suffering heart attack or stroke.

"Our study is perhaps the first of its kind to evaluate the long-term health benefits of golf, particularly one of the most popular sports among older people in many countries," said Adnan Qureshi, M.D., lead author and executive director of the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institutes and professor of neurology at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. "The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans does not yet include golf in the list of recommended physical activities. Therefore, we are hopeful our research findings could help to expand the options for adults to include golf."



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY FEB. 27TH 2020


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THESENIORLOG
FEB 17TH 2020





8 min.

You might remember the old joke where a man, having been in an accident, is being loaded into the ambulance and the attendant asks, “Are you comfortable?”. In reply the man says, “I make a living.” He didn’t say he was rich, but his reply signifies that he’s doing okay because he has everything he needs. For him, being wealthy was to be comfortable. For me, and many other older Americans, to say we are “comfortable” is equivalent to being wealthy. 

If you were to have a look at my bank account, you would think I was incredibly poor. And, statistically, you would be correct. As of 2017(The latest figures available) the threshold for poverty under the official measure was $11,756 for an individual age 65 or older*. The federal poverty level for all single individuals is about $29,000 per year. Therefore, my income, which comes solely from Social Security, puts me about $13,000 below that level. And yet, I feel I am far from being poor. Not because I have an anonymous benefactor or a secret bank account in the Caymans, but because, in my later years, I have learned to live with less. I find it odd that I am in this position because it was not always this way.

What seems like a lifetime ago, but in reality is only 10 years, I was like our accident victim in the opening joke. I wasn’t rich, but I was doing okay. I had a nice (overly priced) apartment. A late model heavily insured car. All the high-end electronics I could ever want and enough money left over to allow me to eat at a decent restaurant a few times a month. My wardrobe, though not fancy, was stocked with clothes of good quality. And, because I was working full time, I had a very good, affordable health care plan. I had all that, and then I didn’t.

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” Despite our most careful planning, the Road of Life is unpredictable. At age 62 I lost my job. At 64, I became ill, and, at age 65, I found myself in a nursing home, crippled, broke, and for all practical purposes, homeless.

As I have recounted this story, many times I will not bore you with the details other than to say I was fortunate enough to have the help of a great social worker who guided me through the vagaries of the “system” and found a place for me post-nursing home, where I could live in virtual safety and security while having all of my basic needs taken care of. Naturally, all of this did not come cheap. I had to divest myself of practically everything and completely change, not only my lifestyle, but my priorities too.

America is a funny country. Often they reward you for being poor while they disproportionately tax those who have a little money and those with a lot of money, not as much as they should. Because I had depleted most of my assets and was now poor, I became eligible for Medicaid. And, because I had stayed alive long enough, they automatically put me on the Medicare roles. In addition my disability was enough to have the bulk of my rent here at the ALF, subsidized. 

I say “most” because all (100%) of my Social Security benefits pay the rest. This means I have little in the way of spending cash. What they call “discretionary income.” The state gives all residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities about $20 a month which is held in a resident’s account by the facility. That, along with SSP (a form of SSI but from the state and not the federal government) of about $180 gives me just about enough money to buy essentials like toothpaste, underwear, shaving cream and an occasional takeout pizza. The only things of any value I own are a flat screen TV, a small refrigerator and my lifeline to the world, the laptop I’m using now.

I imagine, for those of you who are living in your own home, surrounded by all of things you have collected over the years and are fortunate enough to have a decent positive cash flow, you shudder at the thought of having to leave that all behind. I suppose too; you abhor the thought of having to become a virtual ward of the state and dependent on them for the roof over your head and the food in your stomach. As someone who worked all of his life and accepted nothing from anybody, I commiserate with you. And for those who say they will never let that happen to them, I say “good luck.” I sincerely mean that. But chances are you will find yourself in a financial crisis where the only way out is to swallow your pride and accept reality. As we age, our ability to bounce back from such a devastating situation becomes more difficult. There just is not enough time to relearn skills or to reinvent yourself. Both internal and external forces often prevent you from doing that. Who will lend a 75-year-old money to start a business or learn a trade? And, if you think you will continue to work to help supplement your income, employers are not knocking down the doors of seniors either.

What I’m saying is that it’s time to become realistic about your future. The way things are now, because of advancements in medicine and living healthier lifestyles, we are outlasting our money. The way you are living now may not exist ten years from now. It would be a smart thing to downsize your life so you’ll be able to ease into minimalism rather than being thrown into it unprepared. One place to get information on this is… https://www.mymove.com/moving/senior-guide-downsizing/. Whether you are approaching retirement or are deep in the throes of a financial setback, it wouldn’t hurt to be ready for what may come……...............................................

*Over 25 million Americans aged 60+ are economically insecure—living at or below 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($29,425 per year for a single person). These older adults struggle with rising housing and health care bills, inadequate nutrition, lack of access to transportation, diminished savings, and job loss.


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Managing the Costs of Assisted Living


As people age, various circumstances have to be reassessed. A current living situation might not be meeting the needs of a senior who might be having difficulty caring properly for himself or herself.

Families often consider senior residences to provide welcoming and safe environments for their loved ones during the golden years of their lives. These facilities range from independent living homes offering minimal care to nursing homes that provide more intensive care when needed. Somewhere in the middle are assisted living homes, which blend the independence of personal residences with other amenities, such as housekeeping, medication reminders or meal services.

Assisted living can be a viable option when a person can no longer live alone, but such facilities come with a price. In the 2015 Cost of Care Survey conducted by Genworth Financial, the national median monthly rate for assisted living was $3,600 - and it’s expected to grow. Locally, $5,000 per month is common depending on the level of care needed. Affording these homes and apartments can be challenging for those on fixed incomes, but there are strategies that can help.




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Drinking and Healthy Aging: Know Your Limits
By Paul Sacco, PhD MSW

Alcohol use is common among seniors. Nearly half of older adults aged 65 and older report having consumed alcohol in the past year. They may have a drink at a social event or party, to enhance their mood, or as a means of coping with a difficult symptom such as insomnia. Some older adults even drink alcohol for perceived positive health effects.

Although drinking and alcohol problems are less common in older adults than younger people, alcohol use in older adulthood brings specific risks for seniors. As we age, changes to our body composition and ability to metabolize alcohol mean that alcohol affects older adults more profoundly when they drink. Some evidence even suggests that older drinkers are less aware of these effects, even as they are experiencing them. Unhealthy drinking can lead to other problems over time, such as increased risk of falls, dangerous medication interactions, increased risk of cancer, and, in more severe cases, liver disease and early mortality.

To avoid risk to your overall health, limit their alcohol use. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has created specific guidelines for those aged 65 and older. Those who do not take medication and are in good health should limit their total alcohol consumption to no more than seven drinks per week. Additionally, those 65+ should consume no more than three drinks on any given day. Those with certain medical conditions such as Major Depression, or those taking certain medications (e.g. pain medications) should consume less alcohol or abstain completely.



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Seniors Choose to Endure Discomfort Instead
of Asking Their Children for Assistance

Aeroflow Healthcare Inc. recently published results of a survey whose aim was to shed light on the lack of communication that exists regarding health problems between aging senior citizens and their family or closest friends. The survey was designed and administered by a third-party provider and included polling of 1000 seniors over the age of 60. Participants were sourced from all over North America to participate in the three-day survey.

The survey produced some interesting results as detailed below:

- 64% of participants (seniors) find assisted living preferential to receiving care from family or friends.

- 46% of participants voiced concerns of becoming a burden to their loved ones.

- 54% of participants stressed they would be embarrassed about discussing their incontinence problems with family or friends.

- 52% of participants stated they would rather hide their incontinence issues instead of asking for assistance.




Financial experts warn senior citizens
to not rely solely on Social Security

By: Jon Shainman

Many people move to Florida to retire and relax. But more often, senior citizens are finding they don't have enough green to fully enjoy their golden years.

When Alice Wydra moved to Vero Beach, she felt she had enough to retire on.

"But nothing’s ever enough, you know that," Wydra said, chuckling.

Wydra is not relying solely on Social Security.

"In the past five or six years, my Social Security has gone up $200. That’s not a lot of money," said Wydra.

So to earn a little more, the 80-year-old sells fair tickets in the summer in Massachusetts.

"So I come back with Christmas money and all kinds of extra funds," said Wydra.

According to Yahoo Finance, the average annual Social Security benefit in Florida is just over $18,000, which financial experts said is not enough to get by here.




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG MONDAY FEB. 24TH 2020


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FEB. 17TH 2020



I’m Okay. You’re Okay, for now.
6-7 min.




An article came across my desk the other day saying long-term care facilities (nursing homes and assisted living facilities) are reporting an increase in cases of EOD, or Early Onset Dementia. Apparently younger people (40, 50- and 60-year-olds) are being admitted to those places with symptoms of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. And, unlike their older counterparts, these early sufferers have no family history of the disease. In addition, the condition presents itself differently than in older patients. It’s more than just forgetting things or not recognizing people. It appears to go to the heart of how they perceive what they see. Their eyes see a dog. They recognize the shape, but they can’t connect what they see with what a dog is. It’s strange and very sad, and we need to learn more about it. So, how does this affect me? It doesn’t, except that I’m glad I don’t have it and never will. Not because I’m some super human, impervious to all defects, illnesses or syndromes, but because I’m just too old for it to effect me. I’m not, however, too old to contract anything and everything else that comes along. That is why, when somebody asks “how are you’’? I always answer, “Okay, for now.’’ You see, at my age, it’s not fortuitous to be too optimistic about the future. It’s not caution or prudence that makes me wary. It’s experience.

Amazingly, I have reached that time of my life where I have already experienced many of the disorders that come with the aging process. In the last ten years, since my 65th birthday, I know firsthand what it feels like to be sick, in pain, delirious, in shock, septic, contagious, infested and hallucinogenic. They have probed me, intubated me, xrayed me, and CAT scanned me. I’ve been sonogram'd, transfused and dialyzed. Not to mention surgically repaired.
 
They have had to haul me out of bed with a Hoya lift and plopped into a wheelchair where I remained for nearly two years. I have endured physical and occupational therapy where I had to re-learn many of the mobility skills most of us take for granted. And I know firsthand what it feels like to get around using a walker a Rollator and a cane. And, I know that just because I have already gone through all of that, does not mean that I won’t have to do it again.I am not alone in this thought.

Most old folks, if not anything else, are realists. We know that after our threescore and ten* we are living on borrowed time. And that even the slightest twinge, twitch, lump, discoloration, wheeze, cough or sneeze could be our last. A simple slip and fall could mean surgery and months of therapy complicated by pneumonia or worse. We also know that we could go at any minute, from something they never diagnosed or even suspected. How many times, when you have inquired about the health of another have heard them say, “He died suddenly in his sleep last week.” They usually follow that by saying, “At least he didn’t suffer” as if it was a reward for not complaining all those years.


"The average lifespan of men in the U.S. dipped to 76.1 years in 2017 (the latest data available), amounting to a four-month decline in life expectancy since 2017 with the National Center for Health Statistics citing an increase in so-called "deaths of despair," such as the rise in drug overdose deaths."

 The truth is, old folks never really feel great. There’s always something that’s making us feel un-well. Seriously, when’s the last time you woke up and something wasn’t hurting you?…. I’ll wait….. I knew it. Never. I came close the other day.
 
I sat up on the edge of my bed expecting my usual lower back twinge of pain. But it never came. I then waited for that little whisper of nausea that usually happens anytime I attempt verticality. Nothing. Not even a belch. It perplexed me. Could it be? One of those rare days when you get up feeling good. I was optimistically cautious. But the big test was yet to come. Standing up.
 
As any old person knows, arising from a sitting position presents a whole new set of problems. Almost every muscle, tendon, bone and joint is put to the test. I ask body parts that have remained virtually dormant all night are to suddenly “get up and go to work.” I braced myself for the agony to come. I stood up slowly at first, expecting my knee to pop or my leg to cramp. But it did not happen. I stood, motionless, for a full 15 or twenty seconds surprised at my good fortune. And then it happened.
 
It started slowly. So slowly a lesser person would not have noticed. But being an individual (as all old people are) so in tune with my body, I became immediately aware something was amiss. Ah! There it was. I had almost forgotten. I stubbed my toe on the bathroom door yesterday (don’t ask me how that happened), and after doing the dance of shame, I thought the pain had gone away. I was wrong. As I took my first step of the new day, it reminded me I don’t heal as quickly as I used to and that I could expect this new pain to be around for the next few days. Finally, a signal I was still alive.  
 
I guess I should be thankful that my chances of dying from a drug overdose are nil, considering I’m not allowed to take any medication an aid doesn’t hand to me. And, since I’m taking anti-depression drugs, my outlook on life is anything but desperate. Also, If genetics plays any role in longevity, I figure I have at least another ten years to contract an illness that will eventually lead to my demise. But maybe, if the air gets cleaner and chemicals in the food doesn’t get me, or I don’t get hit by a bus, I might just beat the odds and become the senile old coot I always wanted to be. But for now, I’m doing okay……………………


*Editor’s note: Three score (years) and ten means 70; a score is an old term for 20. It’s supposed to be the lifespan of a man, as per Psalms 90.




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10 Facts About Senior Living That Will Surprise You
By Kimberley Fowler


Seniors today are facing a different reality when it comes to housing and healthcare than those of past generations.10 Facts About Senior Living That Will Surprise You

Fact #1: “80 is the new 65.”

American Senior Communities reports that with innovations in healthcare and a focus on prevention, seniors today are living “longer, more active and healthier lives.” In fact, by the year 2040, the population of older seniors – people aged 85 years and above – is expected to triple from the 5.7 million there were in 2011 to 14.1 million.

The gender gap in life expectancy is also narrowing – traditionally women have outlived men by approximately seven years. However, the Population Reference Bureau reported that in 2013, the gap had narrowed to less than five years, with the average man living to the age of 76.4 years and the average woman to 81.2 years.

Fact #2: The need for diverse eldercare is skyrocketing.

The PRB reports that with the massive population of aging baby boomers, there could be an “increase in the number of Americans ages 65 and older requiring nursing home care” by up to 75% – from 1.3 million (2010 estimate) to 2.3 million in the year 2030. The increased number of seniors requiring care, in addition to the longer lifespan of Americans, has resulted in a greater need for diverse and patient-centered eldercare, that can adapt and modify with a person’s changing needs as they age.





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Elderly parents don’t always want help — or advice —
from their adult children. This can cause conflict.
By Judith Graham


David Solie’s 89-year-old mother, Carol, was unyielding. “No, I will not move,” she told her son every time he suggested that she leave her home and relocate to a senior living residence.

And it didn’t stop there. Although Carol suffered from coronary artery disease, severe osteoporosis, spinal compression fractures and unsteady balance, she didn’t want assistance. When Solie brought in aides to help after a bad fall and subsequent surgery, his mother soon fired them.

“In her mind, she considered it a disgrace to have anybody in her home,” Solie said. “This was her domain for over 50 years, a place where she did everything by herself and in her own way.”

Conflicts of this sort often threaten relationships between aging parents and their adult children just when understanding and support are needed the most. Instead of working together to solve problems, families find themselves feuding and riven by feelings of resentment and distress.



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Malnutrition is on the rise in older adults –
how to spot the signs
By Taibat Ibitoye


While the obesity crisis is still considered the foremost public health epidemic in the west, one often overlooked condition is quickly becoming a growing concern. Malnutrition, sometimes referred to as under-nutrition, affects an estimated 3 million people in the UK alone. Globally, around 462 million adults are malnourished.

Malnutrition is a condition where a person is deficient in nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals, or not getting enough calories. This has many effects on health and body function, including increased frailty, delayed wound healing, and higher mortality.

Not only that, malnutrition will cost UK health services £13 billion this year alone – and is predicted to cost £15 billion in ten years. Reports also show that it’s also two to three times more expensive to treat someone who is malnourished, compared with someone who is well-nourished. This is because they need more resources to treat them, and a range of health conditions may develop as a result of malnutrition.



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Older Adults and the 2020 Census
By Rosemary Rodriguez

The decennial census is critically important to our democracy for a number of reasons: it determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives; it is used to distribute billions in federal funds for essential programs to local communities, including programs that assist older adults; and it is the baseline for accurate data about our population. Mandated by the Constitution, the next census will begin the second week of March of 2020 and continue through the end of December.

An accurate count of older adults will ensure that the programs that many older adults rely upon are fairly funded. For example, programs like Medicaid, Section 8 Housing, Older American Adult Title grants, Supportive Housing for the Elderly, Low Income Energy Assistance and many others all rely on an accurate census.

A new challenge to counting seniors

Because of the critical need to ensure an accurate count of older adults in Colorado, we at Together We Count are including older adults in our work with hard-to-count populations to ensure that they receive outreach and educational materials to prepare for full participation. Historically, because seniors have been considered a civically engaged population, they have not been considered difficult to count; however, this time the census may seem different to households that have participated in the past. For the first time in history, the primary way to respond to the census will be through the internet. Although there is still the option for a paper response and a phone method has been added for 2020, many seniors may be confused by the changes and many may not respond to phone calls, because of the proliferation of phone scams directed at them. Additionally, research has shown that seniors are much more likely than younger adults to say they never go online. The share of non-internet users ages 65 and older is decreasing, but 27% still do not use the internet, compared with fewer than 10% of adults under the age of 65 .



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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY FEB. 20TH 2020


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FEB 13TH 2020




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2021: No Budget For Old Folks

9 min


Did you see or listen to the state of the union address delivered to congress by the president the other day? The one where the president “forgot” to shake Nancy Pelosi’s hand and at the end, Ms. Pelosi tore up her copy of the address. Yes, that one. For many, those incidents were the highlights of the evening. However, if you had the stomach for it, you might have listened to what he said between the opening and closing remarks. While much of the speech amounted to nothing more than the president patting himself on the back, he said something of special interest for older Americans.
 
Standing before Congress, the justices of the Supreme Court and other distinguished guests and the American people (and, I suppose, God) the president said…
 
“We will always protect your Medicare and we will always protect your Social Security. Always,”
 
That was on February 4th. Nine days later, on February 10th, the White House delivered its proposed budget for 2021. In that budget there are many increases in federal spending, like $740 plus billion on the military and one trillion dollars (over 10 years) on infrastructure. Conversely, and here’s the part that should interest every American and seniors in particular, the budget proposes “$700 billion… taken… out of Medicaid over 10 years… cuts to food stamps, farm subsides, and student loan programs, and nibbles at Social Security disability benefits and Medicare provider payments.”*

Remember, they wrote that budget day’s if not weeks prior to when he gave the State of the union address (meaning he presumably knew about the content of that budget). Therefore, it appears our president stood there and told a big fat lie.




What Seniors Need To Know About Trump’s 2021 Federal Budget**


Trump's proposed budget reduces Medicare spending by 7% over the next ten years.

“Seniors should think of the proposed budget as President Trump’s “wish list”: not all of his proposals will take effect. Most, but not all, of his proposals would require the cooperation of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican-controlled Senate.”

Here are the line items from Trump’s 2021 budget that
would have the greatest impact on seniors.

“The Budget Would Reduce Medicare Spending"

President Trump’s budget would reduce Medicare spending by a total of $756 billion between 2021 and 2030, a decrease of 7%.

Part of this reduction in spending comes from initiatives that the White House says are intended to reduce Medicare fraud. For example, they’ve proposed requiring patients and doctors to ask for prior authorization from Medicare before certain procedures could be performed. And the budget hopes to lower Medicare spending through changes that would encourage more seniors to see nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants as their primary care providers.

Other proposals would cut down on reimbursement rates to healthcare providers, reducing how much doctors, hospitals, and hospices are paid for providing healthcare. Cutting Medicare reimbursement rates is a controversial strategy; in the past, it’s received both support and criticism from Democrats and Republican alike. Some say cutting reimbursement rates saves taxpayers money by cutting into medical industry profits. And the Trump administration’s budgets highlights specific instances where they believe reimbursement rates for doctors are excessive: for example, they cite the fact that doctor’s offices owned by hospitals are often paid more for performing the same procedures than independent physicians.

But cutting reimbursement rates also means that some seniors could lose access to their favorite doctors. Dan Adcock, director of government relations at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said of the cuts to Medicare, he was most worried about the lower reimbursement rates. When reimbursement rates decrease, "you start to affect access, because doctors decide they can't make a decent living," said Adcock.” 

“Trump’s budget calls for a $75 billion decrease to spending on the two federal disability programs, SSDI and SSI, over the next ten years. $10 billion of this reduction comes from reducing the amount of retroactive benefits someone can receive after they’ve been found to be disabled.”

Here’s the proposal that hits me where I live…

Less Money May Be Available for Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care,
and Other Senior Health Costs Covered by Medicaid

“The budget reduces Medicaid spending over the next ten years by 16%. It calls for “Medicaid reform [that] will restore balance, flexibility, integrity, and accountability to the State-Federal partnership.” Although the budget lacks some specifics with respect to Medicaid spending, this language appears to be alluding to Trump’s previous proposals that would transform Medicaid from an “entitlement” program to a “block grant” program. Today, states have the ability to set the eligibility criteria for Medicaid, within certain limits, and the federal government reimburses the states for a percentage of their spending, subject to various rules. Under a block grant proposal, states would receive less funding, but state governments would have more choice on what to spend it on. But “flexibility” sometimes just means it’s up to states to decide what’s on the chopping block: states could raise copays, reduce program eligibility, or make other changes, including making cuts to long-term care coverage.”

Cuts to Meals on Wheels, Utilities Assistance,
Senior Jobs Programs, and Attorneys for Seniors


“The budget would also eliminate funding for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which helps seniors who can’t afford to live on Social Security alone find part-time work.

And like previous Trump budgets, the 2021 proposal would eliminate funding for the Legal Services Corporation. Legal Services funding is used to provide attorneys for low-income seniors facing civil legal issues, including foreclosure, eviction, elder abuse, and estate planning. Other than private donations, LSC funding is the main source of civil legal assistance for seniors.”

Broken Promises to Protect Seniors

“Kevin Prindiville, the executive director of Justice in Aging said, “This budget demonstrates the lack of commitment to the safety, security and needs of older adults in our community.”

“Instead of prioritizing senior issues, the proposed budget recommends shelling out serious cash on new space expeditions to Mars, increases to military spending, and maintaining expensive tax breaks for corporations.”

While there is much to ponder here, the one thing that is clear is Trump has taken direct aim at seniors and low income seniors in particular. This is an outrage and should be condemned by every member of Congress no matter what their political affiliation or who their constituents are. At a time when America, like the rest of the world, is getting grayer (the Silver Tsunami)*** we should be looking for ways to make the lives of seniors better………………………………….


*Source: https://theweek.com/speedreads/894813/trumps-48-trillion-budget-cut-domestic-safety-net-hike-military-spending
** source:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/elenabotella/2020/02/10/what-seniors-need-to-know-about-trumps-2021-federal-budget/#6b3da4263842
*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silver_Tsunami




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4 changes that could affect Social Security in 2020

If you’re one of almost 69 million Americans who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you’ll notice a small change in your monthly check this year.

More than 63 million beneficiaries will receive a 1.6% cost-of-living adjustment this month. The 8 million SSI beneficiaries received their COLA on Dec. 31.

Put another way: The average monthly benefit for all retired workers will rise from $1,479 to $1,503 this month. And the average monthly benefit for couples who both receive benefits will rise from $2,491 to $2,531.

That’s one of many changes beneficiaries and would-be beneficiaries can expect in 2020.

Here are some others:


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Enjoy geezerhood for all it’s worth!
By Nancy Katz


For me, getting older is a pleasure. Age has become a huge part of every discussion today. Books are written about how to cope personally with becoming a senior. They always start with a title involving a path with a picture usually leading into a forest, as if there is an assisted-living tree growing there. And even politics has entered the fray, questioning a candidate’s last bonehead statement; this may also accompany a bone-density scan.

Geezerhood is vastly underrated. I hear so many people lamenting the fact that they are getting on in years, when in fact, they should be celebrating all the advantages of being a golden oldie.

And I’m not talking about getting a senior discount on purchases, or leaving that left-hand turn signal on until you trade in the car. No, the real joy of getting older is that you can act crotchety and mean, complaining and displaying an attitude of sour grapes with few repercussions. Younger people accept the fact that it comes with the territory and are usually very forgiving. After all, just look at the tight-lipped smile on the photographs of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court sitting for their class picture. Good luck arguing that case!



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What the 2020s have in store for aging boomers

Within 10 years, all of the nation's 74 million baby boomers will be 65 or older. The most senior among them will be on the cusp of 85.

Even sooner, by 2025, the number of seniors (65 million) is expected to surpass that of children age 13 and under (58 million) for the first time, according to Census Bureau projections.

"In the history of the human species, there's never been a time like [this]," said Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, referring to the changing balance between young people and old.

What lies ahead in the 2020s, as society copes with this unprecedented demographic shift?



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Evicted from a nursing home?
It happens more than you might think

By Beth Baker

Moving a loved one into a nursing home can be difficult. Getting settled in a new environment, surrounded by strangers, is a challenge for anyone, often made harder if the person has cognitive impairment. Once the transition is made, family members hope it will be a long-term solution. But Laurice Redhead, of Washington, D.C., learned the hard way that nursing homes can force a person to leave.

Redhead’s late mother, Rosa Diggs, ended up in a nursing home after a bout of pneumonia and a hospital stay in 2009 ended up with doctors inserting a tracheotomy to help her breathe. The tracheotomy tube, which she had for the rest of her life, prevented Diggs from speaking.

With additional diagnoses of osteoporosis, arthritis and some cognitive impairment — all requiring complex care — Diggs spent the last couple of years of her life in multiple nursing homes.


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NEXT BLOG MONDAY FEB. 17TH 2020


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MONDAY FEB. 10TH 2020

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7-8 min’s

There’s been a lot of talk about Socialism, and Democratic Socialism in particular, the last few months. A few of the Democratic presidential hopefuls have expounded the virtues of at least some form of socialism as part of their fix for America. Therefore, a brief discussion on what Democratic Socialism is and what it means for our country and older Americans in particular, might be of some value.
 
If you agree with Winston Churchill who said of Socialism that it’s “A philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”  Or, that America does not already have Socialist-type programs in place that have worked well for many years, then you might as well stop here and go back to posting pictures of your cat.


As old-timers we have many misconceptions about socialism, especially when we compare it with Communism, a dirty word in our lexicon. Many of us watched Senator Joseph McCarthy, who presided of the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s, ruin the lives of people who he dubbed as having “communist leanings” without really having a shred of evidence on any of them. Merely mentioning the word Communism to a friend or a group could get you in a lot of trouble. The cold war was in full swing and our enemy, the Soviet Union, was a Communist state. Therefore, anything that had to do with, or sound like Communism was the same as being anti-American and dangerous to the way of life we enjoyed.

An organization known as the Democratic Socialists of America (dsausa.org) define Democratic Socialism as follows.

They believe…

“….working people should run both the economy and society democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives. In addition, the United States—like every other country with an advanced economy, such as the U.K., Germany, France, and Japan—is already a partly socialist country, with a mixed economy and many government programs that serve the public good. By this definition, Social Security is a “socialist” program: it’s a government-run pension system that cuts out private money managers. Medicare—a single-payer, government-run health insurance program for those over 65–is too. Medicare-For-All would extend this to the rest of the population. 

The minimum wage, maximum hour, and child labor laws that go back over a century are likewise “socialist” programs, in that the government intervenes in the capitalist market to require employers to meet minimum standards that might not be met in a pure, unregulated “free” market. Agricultural and energy subsidies are likewise socialist programs. I could go on and on.

Stripped of the Red-baiting and name-calling, the real debate isn’t between capitalism vs. socialism, but about the appropriate balance between the two.” **

While Democratic Socialism has much that appeals to younger voters, older Americans remain sceptical. They remember the old Soviet Union or Communist China or even North Korea and how miserable were the lives of those who lived under that system and are afraid that’s the direction it will head us towards. Unfortunately, what they don’t remember (or aren’t old enough to have lived through), the great depression of the 1930s and how two very socialist programs started by a Democratic president, pulled us through one of the darkest times in US history. I’m talking about the NRA (National Recovery Act), which brought about the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), and the WPA (Workers Progress Administration) that put millions of unemployed people back to work and to, once again, become contributing members of society.

The Bottom Line:

America will never become a Communist country, nor will it become a country where the government will control or own all our means of production, education and healthcare. We are too rooted in Capitalism for that to happen. They founded this nation on that system and it has worked well for us for many years. But the capitalism that many of us grew up on has changed over the years. We have become greedier. The divide between the rich and poor has widened and the middle-class (the backbone of our society) is disappearing as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

As capitalists, we should have no problem with people getting rich through hard work, some smarts and a little luck. What we should have doubts about is why should a CEO earn fifty or one hundred times that of the average worker under him, or why they fire inept CEO’s and then given millions of dollars of what amounts to a going away present for doing such a poor job. In addition, we should be very concerned why those CEO’s don’t pay their fair share of taxes or why the corporations they work for pay little or no tax. This needs to be fixed.

Finally, it is important for us, as seniors, to be aware of the attacks upon our Social Security, Disability, Medicare and Medicaid programs which Conservatives say they won’t touch while instituting legislation (or not voting on pending legislation) which does just the opposite. In my opinion, Socialism just wants to “even the score” for all of us. …………………
 
*Source: https://www.dsausa.org/about-us/what-is-democratic-socialism/
**Source: https://ourfuture.org/20190207/sorry-donald-america-already-is-a-socialist-country
***Source: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/dems-should-campaign-on-socialism-for-seniors-in-2020.html


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1 in 7 Older Americans Feel They'll Never Be Ready for Retirement
Here are some important steps to take if you feel the same way.

By Maurie Backman

Retirement is an exciting milestone for many Americans, but a scary one for others. After all, it's hard to go from earning a steady paycheck to suddenly throwing caution to the wind and hoping your savings and Social Security benefits will be enough to sustain you for what could easily be a 30-year period of life or longer. And while you can do your best to plan for your golden years, increases in living costs and other surprises can still render you cash-strapped down the line.

It's not surprising, then, to see that roughly 14% of Americans aged 50 and over are convinced they'll never really be ready for retirement, according to Nationwide. If that's how you feel, here are a few ways to improve your outlook.

1. Know your costs

Though you can't predict what every single expense you incur in retirement will look like over time, you can do your best to estimate your living expenses by mapping out a budget for your golden years in advance. Decide where you want to live, whether you'll rent or own a home, and what sort of lifestyle you're hoping to maintain (traveling and joining a country club will cost a lot more than spending time in your neighborhood and starting a book or gardening club). By having a solid idea of what retirement will cost you, you'll be able to better prepare for it.




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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery
http://wcenterblog.yolasite.com/cartoon-gallery.php




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When Does Someone Become ‘Old’?
By Joe Pinsker

It’s surprisingly hard to find a good term for people in late life.

Once people are past middle age, they’re old. That’s how life progresses: You’re young, you’re middle-aged, then you’re old.

Of course, calling someone old is generally not considered polite, because the word, accurate though it might be, is frequently considered pejorative. It’s a label that people tend to shy away from: In 2016, the Marist Poll asked American adults if they thought a 65-year-old qualified as old. Sixty percent of the youngest respondents—those between 18 and 29—said yes, but that percentage declined the older respondents were; only 16 percent of adults 60 or older made the same judgment. It seems that the closer people get to old age themselves, the later they think it starts.

Overall, two-thirds of the Marist Poll respondents considered 65 to be “middle-aged” or even “young.” These classifications are a bit perplexing, given that, well, old age has to start sometime. “I wouldn’t say [65] is old,” says Susan Jacoby, the author of Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age, “but I know it’s not middle age—how many 130-year-olds do you see wandering around?”


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What not to wear over 60.
 The ranteuse returns.

By Kay Scorah.

It has come to my attention that there are internexperts out there keen to help me to save myself from the utter humiliation of dressing in a manner inappropriate to my advanced years.

According to one of these, “Your main aims are to create stylish, smooth, lines using contemporary clothing styles that flatter your body shape and coloring..”

Strange as it may seem, dear, my main aim is NOT to “create stylish smooth lines using contemporary clothing styles that flatter my body shape and coloring”. Rather, my main aims, in no particular order are a) to smash patriarchy, b) to help develop an alternative to corporate capitalism that enables peace and equality and c) to have witty and charming people enjoy good food and conversation around my dinner table. And, by the way, I believe that the word you were looking for is “colouring”.

Let’s move on to this gem: “Looking at a full-length mirror after 60 is like running a gauntlet filled with emotional traps, irrational comparisons and destructive media messages.”




Most of Your Stuff Is Worthless
3 Things You Should Be Doing NOW to Reduce What You Own

By Siobhan Kratovil


My husband and I have walked into my late mother-in-law’s house for the last time.

We are in the process of settling her estate, including the sale of her house and disposition of everything in it.

From a hutch filled with china and crystal goblets to overflowing jewelry boxes and coin collections. And everything in between.

A lot in between.

Her clothes. The Notre Dame sweaters my late father-in-law was so fond of wearing. Her furniture. Furniture inherited from her mother-in-law, still in the same place in the garage where it was originally placed 30 some-odd years ago. My husband’s Cub Scout uniform. Christmas decorations. Lots and lots of Christmas decorations.



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Facebook is trying to make it easier to get in touch with people over Messenger, so it's rolling out a number of new ways to start chatting. As with all Facebook accounts, all Messenger accounts will now have dedicated links that people can visit to start a chat — they'll all be located at m.me/[username]. Facebook is also rolling out what it calls Messenger Codes, which are Messenger's equivalent to Snapchat's snapcodes. They look pretty neat: Messenger Codes are just a series of dots and dashes circling around your profile photo. When someone scans one with their camera, it'll presumably add that person as a contact.

read more >> https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/7/11383958/facebook-messenger-codes-announced-900m-mau


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