It’s Thursday, July 29, 2021

JULY 29, 2021

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Why Ageism in the Workplace
Still Seems to Be Okay

A chat with a researcher who found the younger people are, the more likely they hold ageist views of workers

A headline on Stanford University Business School's Insights site caught my eye recently: "Workplace Equality for All! (Unless They're Old)." The piece described fascinating research by NYU's Michael North and Stanford's Ashley Martin which found that workers who openly oppose racism and sexism were still prejudiced against older workers.

As these researchers explained in their American Psychological Association article about their study, ageism is alive and unwell in the workplace. What's more, North and Martin discovered after interviewing 348 people, the younger people were, the more likely they were to hold ageist views on older workers. Little surprise that an AARP survey said 78% of older workers saw or experienced age discrimination in the workplace in 2020; in 2018, 61% did.


‘Social prescribing’ may help lonely older adults
to avoid harmful sedatives and painkillers

Reviewed by Emily Henderson

Lonely, older adults are nearly twice as likely to use opioids to ease pain and two-and-a-half times more likely to use sedatives and anti-anxiety medications, putting themselves at risk for drug dependency, impaired attention, falls and other accidents, and further cognitive impairment, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco.

The study found that just over half of 6,000 respondents in a nationally representative survey of seniors living independently were not lonely, while 40 percent were moderately lonely, and 7 percent were highly lonely.

The proportion of seniors in each group who had prescriptions for opioids and anti-anxiety medications and sedatives, which included drugs like Valium, Xanax, BuSpar and Ambien, correlated with their degree of loneliness, according to the study, which publishes in JAMA Internal Medicine on June 26, 2021.


Antidepressants may work better
than exercise for elderly depression

Antidepressants may be more effective than exercise for seniors with depression, according to a study published in the July 1 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Jesús López-Torres Hidalgo, M.D., from the Albacete Zone VIII Health Center in Spain, and colleagues randomly assigned 347 patients (65 years or older) with a clinically significant depressive episode to either a supervised physical exercise program or an antidepressant treatment by their general practitioners.

The researchers found that the cumulative incidence of improvement in depressive symptomatology in the physical activity group after one month was not significantly different from that in the antidepressant treatment group. However, at the end of three and six months, respectively, the proportion of those who showed improvement was significantly greater in the antidepressant group (60.6 versus 49.7 percent) when compared with the physical activity group (45.6 versus 32.9 percent). The number of patients withdrawing was greater in the physical activity group, but the proportion of participants with adverse side effects was greater in the antidepressant group.


Dementia-Friendly ‘Apartment’
Showcases Safer Home Design

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America unveils a full-scale apartment space customized for people with dementia

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America recently released a booklet and video, called "The Apartment," that illustrates how thoughtful design and current technology can increase the safety and quality of life for a person living with dementia.

The Apartment is an actual studio residence that was built in the Alzheimer's Foundation of America's New York City headquarters. The foundation worked with designer Rosemary Bakker, President of Age-Friendly Design, to create a residence model that would make life easier for individuals living with dementia-related disease.

Two weeks have gone by since this facility emerged from the long, dark nightmare of quarantine and isolation. And we are thankful for the freedom from the abject loneliness and deprivation. However, it is quite apparent that the months of trying to comply with the ever changing infection control protocols has wrought havoc with the everyday workings here. Shortcomings are readily noted in the staffing, maintenance and food preparation areas in particular.

Access to any actual data is impossible to get, therefore any comments I make comes solely from observation.
A quick tour of the facility reveals many things that need repair. Most notably “The Wall of Water” that has greeted residents and visitors since the place opened. A leak in the plumbing caused damage to the wall behind the waterfall, forcing the lobby’s number one feature to be shut down. Now, while the leak has been fixed, and the wall repaired, the waterfall has yet to be turned on. Why remains a mystery. But I can only guess that some strategic part is needed to repair it.

Other items that have gone unattended to include broken railings, stained ceiling tiles, resident’s rooms in need of paint and most important of all, ice and coffee machines and a working coffee maker in our dining room.
In the past, these problems were dealt with in a timely manner. Now, so much. Has the facility taken a bigger financial hit than management is letting on?

But all of that pales compared to the real and most urgent of problems. The matter of staffing. The lack of personnel has become the major reason for this, and other long-term care facilities to have failed in their efforts to provide the essential services that make this place livable. Especially in our food service area.
The other day there were just two people serving nearly 50 people and three people in the kitchen “cooking” the food. This causes meals to be served late, hastily prepared and usually cold with little attention paid to nutrition and “eye appeal.”
It is this shortage of staff that MUST be fixed immediately. And the only way that can be done is to make the job more attractive by offering higher pay and benefits. None of our employees get health insurance or 401k’s or much of anything at all. And what about daycare? There are moms who need to work but can’t because there is nobody to look after the kids. But higher pay and perks is not the only reason it’s difficult to get people to work here. And that has to do with the state-mandated vetting procedure that requires all prospective employees submit to a background check and cannot have been convicted of a felony. That rule should be temporarily suspended. I’m sure there are many people who need work and can’t get it because of a mistake they may have made years ago.

Drastic times call for drastic, and innovative measures. And only the state and the governor can make that happen…...........

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It’s Wednesday, July 28, 2021

JULY 28, 2021

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Senior Living: Heart failure and aging,
a guide to managing the condition

By Dr. Andrew Yoon

The average person’s heart beats about 2.5 billion times over their lifetime, providing a continuous supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. As people age, even a healthy heart can begin to weaken as a result of poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, genetic disposition and other factors, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and ultimately heart failure.  

Many people confuse the term “heart failure” with heart attack. Heart failure is a condition where the heart is still working but at a reduced efficiency and not enough blood is being pumped to meet the body’s needs. A heart attack is one possible cause of heart failure. Most people with heart failure, however, have never had a prior heart attack and developed heart failure through other causes.

Older adults are at greater risk for heart failure

Heart failure disproportionately affects older adults and is the leading cause of morbidity, hospitalization and mortality in those at least 65 years of age, according to the National Institutes of Health. Age-related changes may increase a person’s risk of heart disease. One major cause of heart disease is the buildup of fatty cholesterol deposits in the walls of the heart’s coronary arteries, which accumulate over a person’s lifetime.


National Survey Finds Broad, Bipartisan
Support for Medicare Dental Coverage

Americans across the political spectrum are ready for Medicare dental coverage. A new YouGov survey found an overwhelming majority of likely midterm voters – including 82% of voters in 2022 Senate battleground states – favor adding dental benefits to Medicare.

More than three-quarters of American voters surveyed in July support adding dental coverage to Medicare as proposed in the $3.5 trillion budget plan introduced in the Senate. Nine out of 10 respondents believe dental care is a necessary part of overall health care and 55% hold their members of Congress responsible for the current lack of coverage.  

“These results make it clear to Congress – their constituents overwhelmingly support adding dental coverage to Medicare,” said Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA. “Our health should not depend on our wealth, yet the health of one out of every two people who rely on Medicare suffers because they can’t afford to get the oral health care they need. The time for Medicare to provide oral health care benefits is long overdue. It’s time for Congress to act.”


Older Adults More Likely to Develop
Chronic Wounds, Research Shows

By Lauren Massaro

Changes associated with aging that leave older adults at risk for chronic wounds include a higher prevalence of chronic comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, impaired mobility, incontinence, low weight, poor nutritional status, and cognitive impairment. These conditions give way to additional risk factors such as acute exacerbation of illness, multiple medication use, dehydration, and hospitalization, the review said.

Intrinsic changes in skin wound healing that occur with aging affect wound formation, chronicity, and healing, and contribute to a lower rate of wound closure in older adults. These intrinsic changes include alterations in the body’s inflammatory response, lower levels of supportive extracellular matrix and growth factors, delayed epithelialization, and decreased angiogenic activity.

Chronic wounds can be considered a geriatric syndrome, given their association with substantial morbidity and mortality, and their highly prevalent, multifactorial nature. Prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of chronic wounds is crucial because of the morbidity, high cost, and reduced quality of life associated with them, which may lead to pain, loss of function, distress, embarrassment, social isolation, hospitalization, and death.


Study links too many cups of coffee
with huge spike in dementia risk

By Brittany A. Roston

The world’s most popular beverage, coffee, may be risky to brain health if consumed in excess, according to a new study. The research comes from the University of South Australia, which says its study is the largest on this particular topic conducted thus far. The new study follows past research linking regular caffeine consumption with brain shrinkage.

The study involved data on more than 17,000 people who participated in the UK Biobank study. The findings were concerning, with the researchers linking the consumption of more than six cups of coffee daily with a 53-percent increased risk of developing dementia later in life.

The link between excess coffee drinking and a negative impact on brain health was solid, with the study’s lead researcher Kitty Pham explaining:

The town where your life could soon
be saved on nearly every street

By Peter Craig

If you are going to go into cardiac arrest, Immingham is probably the best place to go.

For the town will have the highest ratio of defibrillators to population than anywhere else in the country, according to campaigners fund raising for the vital equipment.

Oil giant, Phillips 66 is offering 20 new defibrillators for community groups and donated the first three to Councillor Willie Weir, owner of the County Hotel in Immingham.

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It’s Tuesday, July 27, 2021

JULY 27, 2021

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1.5 million reasons not to ‘rob’ senior living
to pay for roads, bridges and sewer pipes

Senior living and care leaders turned up the pressure on members of Congress on Friday, pointing out the dangers associated with a rumored plan to take $24 billion away from the Provider Relief Fund — meant to help operators with COVID-19-related costs — and repurpose those dollars to help pay for a bipartisan $953 billion infrastructure bill.

Other major associations serving the long-term care industry called for similar activism.


Older people are worse at learning to self-help,
but just as good learning to help others

Older adults may be slower to learn actions and behaviours that benefit themselves, but new research shows they are just as capable as younger people of learning behaviours that benefit others.

Researchers at the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford found that youngsters, in contrast, tend to learn much faster when they are making choices that benefit themselves.

The study, published in Nature Communications, focused on reinforcement learning - a fundamental type of learning in which we make decisions based on the positive outcomes from earlier choices. It allows us to adapt our choices to our environment by learning the associations between choices and their outcomes.


In a word: Stereotypes and the language of aging
By Jim WitherellSpecial

“Age is something that doesn’t matter — unless you’re a cheese.” — Billie Burke, who played Glinda the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz” at the age of 54.

This week I’m sure of one thing: that this week’s column is going to be one for the ages. That’s because I’ll be looking at words that people of all ages should keep in mind — and some to avoid — when it comes to the matters of aging and ageism.

It was back in 1967 when the federal government passed the Age Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination against people 40 and older based on their age.


What Does Medicare Cover for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that some people may get when they are older. It is a form of dementia. It can make people lose their memory, act differently and have trouble thinking and solving problems.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, more than 6.2 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease patients also may suffer from depression, agitation, anxiety, and other health conditions.
Find out what Medicare covers for Alzheimer’s disease

If you have Alzheimer’s disease, Medicare will help pay for your care for medical and mental health conditions. This may include:

Ongoing hospital care, doctor visits and needed medical items.

This includes care for diagnosis and treatment:


Yesterday, Monday, the residents of the place I call home held their first meeting since March 2020. This is the first time we have gathered, as a group, to air our differences, express our dislikes and offer solutions to the many shortfalls that are inherent in places like assisted living and long-term care facilities which have only become worse since the pandemic made us all virtual prisoners. And, as I had predicted the meeting, while well-attended, represented only a handful of the number of residents that should have been there.

Also missing was much of the spirit that the pre-pandemic versions of these meetings were known for. Perhaps it was that people were just tired of all the rhetoric or had become numb to the obvious violations of some of our basic freedoms which made all of us the objects of the strictest infection control procedures in American history. The crowd gathered in our auditorium appeared more relieved than angry. The consensus was, “let’s get this behind us and get back to normal as quickly as possible.

The meeting began with an address from our administrator, who looked more relived than us that most of the strict protocols had been lifted. But he also brought us back to reality when he mentioned all it would take to put us right back where we were would be just one resident coming down with the virus. A reality made more real when he told us that not all of our residents are vaccinated. This was news to me and the rest of us. How these people fell through the cracks I don’t know. However, it’s sad to think those folks could continue to live here. Just another one of the mysteries which surround the handling of this pandemic by the state and its henchmen, the DOH.

The meeting ended on a high note as we were informed that many of the pre-covid activities would return next week including trips to a local supermarket, restaurants and movie theaters. That will go a long way in improving the morale of our residents who have suffered, more than most, for the last 16 months…………

Tobacco firm Philip Morris calls for
ban on cigarettes within decade

By Zoe Wood

The chief executive of tobacco business Philip Morris International has called on the UK government to ban cigarettes within a decade, in a move that would outlaw its own Marlboro brand.

Jacek Olczak said the company could “see the world without cigarettes … and actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone.” Cigarettes should be treated like petrol cars, the sale of which is due to be banned from 2030, he said.

Government action would end the confusion felt by smokers, some of whom still thought the “alternatives are worse than cigarettes”, Olczak told the Sunday Telegraph. “Give them a choice of smoke-free alternatives … with the right regulation and information it can happen 10 years from now in some countries. You can solve the problem once and forever.”

New concept to see older women living together
to avoid homelessness, loneliness

By Dea Clark

Maggie Shambrook had a successful career and single-handedly raised three children before being made redundant.

Even though she has post-graduate qualifications, she was forced onto the Newstart allowance.

"I lost my job and my house I'd been living in for 25 years," the 65-year-old said.

"I had no success in the private rental market because I was on Newstart. I applied for 30 properties and couldn't find anywhere to live."

Maggie Shambrook says spending all one's super on renting is "devastating".(ABC News: Dea Clark)

Ms Shambrook now rents the downstairs area of a house, but says it is not "a long-term solution".

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It’s Monday, July 26, 2021

JULY 26, 2021

Democrats Want to Reform This Program That Helps
Poor Elderly and Disabled Americans

By Abigail Abrams

President Joe Biden has invoked Franklin Delano Roosevelt several times as he has implemented sweeping anti-poverty measures to tackle record unemployment and economic turmoil. Hoping to model his legacy on the President who helped the nation climb out of the Great Depression, Biden has spent $1.9 trillion so far on stimulus checks, the expanded child tax credit, and enhanced unemployment insurance, among other relief measures.

But Democrats have another, less well-known plan to improve an element of the country’s social safety net that supports the neediest Americans: boosting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

“Disabled people and the poorest of the poor haven’t had really any help in years,” says Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. “They’ve just been forgotten and neglected. So it’s time we do something about it.”


Biogen Defends Controversial Alzheimer's Drug
as FDA Calls for Probe

Biogen's new — and controversial — Alzheimer's drug, Adhulem, made a modest $2 million in revenue in the first several weeks after its...

Biogen also surprised many by launching a defiant PR offensive: its head of research, Dr. Al Sandrock took the unusual step of releasing an open letter alongside the earnings report, accusing critics of the drug of "extensive misinformation and misunderstanding."

Aduhelm, the first FDA-approved Alzheimer's drug in 20 years, has become a source of controversy since scientists and researchers have raised concerns about the research behind it.


Are Cochlear Implants Right
for Your Hearing Loss Type?

By Regina Nuzzo

In the U.S. alone, more than 2.1 million adults have lost enough hearing to be a candidate for a cochlear implant, a surgically implanted hearing device that works differently than a hearing aid. Yet fewer than 6 percent of those eligible for a cochlear implant have actually received one. Some of them might not even realize they're eligible.

Older adults with a particularly tricky kind of hearing loss where only certain tones are missing are often unaware that they are candidates, says René Gifford, a professor of hearing and speech sciences and director of the cochlear implant program at Vanderbilt University. High-pitched sounds like birdsong are hard to hear with this type of loss, though low-pitched ones like dog barks can sound normal, she says. That means these people will often be able to hear others’ voices but not always understand them.

Now “all-in-one” devices specially designed for these hearing-impaired individuals are available, incorporating the best of both hearing aids and cochlear implants.


Biden Officials Now Expect Vulnerable Americans
to Need Booster Shots

By Sharon LaFraniere

WASHINGTON — Biden administration health officials increasingly think that vulnerable populations will need booster shots even as research continues into how long the coronavirus vaccines remain effective.

Senior officials now say they expect that people who are 65 and older or who have compromised immune systems will most likely need a third shot from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, two vaccines based on the same technology that have been used to inoculate the vast majority of Americans thus far. That is a sharp shift from just a few weeks ago, when the administration said it thought there was not enough evidence to back boosters yet.

On Thursday, a key official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency is exploring options to give patients with compromised immune systems third doses even before regulators broaden the emergency use authorization for coronavirus vaccines, a step that could come soon for the Pfizer vaccine.


More New Yorkers are ‘Aging in Place’
—But Growing Older at Home Isn’t Easy

By Gail Robinson

City residents looking for alternatives to nursing home care, particularly those with limited incomes, confront an array of hurdles: lack of affordable housing, a shortage of safe and  accessible apartments, not enough home health care aides and waiting lists at many programs.

One festivity was not enough for Emilia Lopez when she turned 100 this spring. She had three parties—and an excursion to an Atlantic City casino where she won $300. And no wonder. Lopez had a lot to celebrate: Not only had she reached the century mark, but she attained it while still living alone in the west side apartment she has occupied for decades.

Vivacious, scrupulous about her appearance and eager for activity, Lopez is adamant about her independence. “I can do almost everything,” she says, emphasizing that she lives alone in her own home, doing her own cooking.

Later today, Monday, we here at the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living (the A.L.F.) will hold our first resident’s meeting since the quarantine/lockdown went in to effect 16 months ago. And, while I predict the meeting to be lively and opinionated, I have been fooled in the past. In any even it will be interesting to listen to what our residents have to say about the way they have been treated these past months and their views of the future. I hope that more of our less vocal residents will have the courage to speak out, publicly, about things they have heretofore spoken about only among themselves. The only way things get changed around here is when people speak out together. Management will rarely listen to the rantings of one individual but will pay attention to the concerns of a group. I’ll report on what went on in this meeting Tuesday…………………………

The people missing out on
COVID-19 disaster recovery payments

By Lucy Cormack

Workers and students who have lost paid work in NSW due to the lockdown are missing out on federal COVID-19 disaster payments because they already receive financial support like youth allowance.

Almost 400,000 people are on social security payments in locked down Greater Sydney and are not eligible for weekly disaster payments of $375 or $600, despite many losing work in areas like retail and hospitality.

Four of the five federal electorates that receive the most social security in NSW cover suburbs in south-west Sydney, where the strictest lockdown conditions are in place.

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It’s Sunday, July 25, 2021

JULY 23, 2021

COVID outbreaks happening in nursing homes again
 -- thanks to unvaccinated staffers

I remember Scott Gottlieb saying a few days ago that nursing homes would be the “canary in the coal mine” with respect to whether vaccinated Americans need booster shots or not. Nursing-home residents were the first people to be vaccinated this year and, being elderly, their immunity is weaker and should wane more quickly than it does in younger people. If they start dying again, the feds will probably scramble to authorize third shots for the entire senior citizen population.

There have been several reports lately of outbreaks erupting in nursing homes in different parts of the U.S. but there’s not necessarily any silver-bullet cause. Maybe the immunity of frail residents is waning, or maybe the Delta variant is so contagious that it’s destined to break through the vaccinated population’s immunity more often. (Or both.) But there’s a third factor: A shockingly high number of nursing-home staffers across the country are still unvaccinated. Which is mind-boggling given the severe risk they pose to their patients.


CDC investigating deaths of
immunized nursing home residents
By Celine Castronuovo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly investigating the deaths of fully vaccinated nursing home patients in a Colorado county which has been hit especially hard by a recent surge in COVID-19.

The Associated Press reported that a person involved in internal CDC deliberations, who requested anonymity to speak on the matter, said that federal investigators conducted a probe into delta variant outbreaks in nursing home facilities in Mesa County, Colo., in May and June.

A CDC presentation slide provided to the AP revealed that in the Grand Junction area of the county, 16 fully vaccinated residents at a memory care facility were infected and four had died.


A Senior Move Manager's
Personal Lessons in Downsizing

Downsizing reflections from the author of 'Squint: Re-visioning the Second Half of Life'

Two years ago, my husband Bill and I bought a dream-come-true home in a senior living community. We were downsizing our possessions so we could upsize our lives. The timing was perfect, and I'd been a professional senior move manager for more than 20 years, helping other older adults downsize. What could go wrong?

Three months before our move date to the senior living cottage, Bill had a planned hip replacement. Two days later, he had a massive heart attack. In the blink of an eye, we went from moving under the best of circumstances to moving under the worst.


How to Ask Useful Questions
By Josh Kaufman

Asking useful questions is a skill, and it requires practice.

Inexperienced or naive questions sound like this:

"Hello! [Insert life story.] What should I do?"

Or this:

    "I'm thinking about [action]. What do you think?"

Questions like these make a few critical mistakes:

    They don't include the context necessary for the recipient to answer the question.
    They don't respect the recipient's time, energy, attention, or competing demands.
    They implicitly transfer responsibility for the End Result from the questioner to the recipient.

As a result, questions like these go unanswered due to Friction - answering them would take too much effort, so the recipient doesn't bother.


The Nation

Driven by covid deaths, U.S. life expectancy dropped by 1.5 years in 2020
Read story...

Pelosi bars Trump allies from Jan. 6 probe; GOP vows boycott
Read story...

Infrastructure bill fails first vote; Senate to try again
Read story...

Imprisoned film mogul Harvey Weinstein turned

Migrant encounters at the border surpass 1 million for the year.
test positive for COVID-19 rises to 5
Read story...

Johnson & Johnson sunscreen recall leads CVS, Walgreens,
Stunning images and videos capture historic crewed flight
Read story…



Violence flares in Haiti ahead of slain president's funeral
Read story...

Rescuers race to prevent more deaths from European floods
Read story...

Freedom or folly? UK's end to mandatory masks sows confusion
Read story...

Japan girds for a surreal Olympics, and questions are plenty
Read story...

UK irks EU with call to change post-Brexit trade rules
Read story...

Violence escalates in water-shortage protests in Iran’s Khuzestan
Read story...

France’: day one of showing Covid vaccine pass
Read story...



M. Night Shyamalan Explains
Why Old Is His Most Intense Film Yet


Zsa Zsa Gabor finally laid to rest —
5 years after her death
Read story...

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It’s Thursday, July 22, 2021

JULY 22, 2021

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Will Congress Change How The Social Security
Cost-Of-Living Adjustment Is Calculated?

By David Rae

Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) recently introduced a new bill that could change how the Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are calculated. The bill titled “Fair COLA for Seniors Act of 2021” would require the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E) to calculate what could be described as a fair Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for the 69 million Americans receiving SSI benefits.

According to Garamendi, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly grew at a rate of 3.1% compared to 2.9% for the standard Consumer Price Index from years 1982-2011. This may not seem like a big deal year over year. But over time, with compounding interest, the difference in Social Security benefits could be substantial. When you are trying to live on Social Security alone, as many retirees do, even a few extra dollars per month can really help you stay solvent.

Today, the Social Security COLA is based on the CPI-W, a consumer price index that reflects the increasing cost of goods for urban wage earners. The Social Security COLA has only passed 2% twice since 2010. Seniors are feeling the pinch in their budgets, as many expenses they incur are increasing faster than the CPI-W numbers would lead you to believe. Think health care, food, rent, gas, and long-term care.


5 Myths About Libido
for People Over 50

Learn the facts about things you can do to keep your sex life enjoyable and fulfilling

By the age of 50, less than half the population is still having partnered sex. There are many reasons why, including hormone changes, marital strife, being single and the stressors of middle age. Another culprit not typically cited in the research — possibly because it's not offered as a survey question — is hopelessness.

I'm talking about how, at the first signs of declining excitement or functional mishaps, many formerly amorous folks make a sexual retreat. "This is what happens with age," they might say. "There's nothing to be done."


Are You Having a Late-Life Crisis?

The authors of a new book on purposeful aging explain what a late-life crisis is and what to do if you're in one

Probably most of us at some time during later life are way more focused on what's in the rear view than on what's ahead. This is not necessarily a problem, but if it prevents us from dealing with — or even really seeing — what's on the horizon, it can be a sign of what has come to be known as the late-life crisis.

The late-life crisis, like its more famous younger sibling, the midlife crisis, really is a thing. Recent research has found that as many as one in three people over 60 will experience it in some form.


What are the top smartphones
for tech-shy older adults?

By Jim Miller

DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: Can you recommend some good smartphones for older seniors? I would like to get my 78-year-old mother to upgrade to a smartphone but want something that’s easy for her to see and use.

DEAR SHOPPING: There are actually several smartphones I can recommend that will provide your mother a simpler, less intimidating smartphone experience. Here are my top three options.

Apple iPhones: Because of the quality and functionality of Apple products, an iPhone is a great choice for seniors who are inexperienced with technology. But, to make it easier for you mom to use, you’ll need to set it up and customize it to meet her needs and preferences.

To set-up your mom’s iPhone and make it senior-friendly, start by cleaning-up/decluttering the home screen, which you can do by deleting the apps your mom won’t use and hiding the apps she’ll rarely use in labeled folders or the App Library. The fewer options the better!


CDC investigating deaths of
immunized nursing home residents
By Celine Castronuovo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly investigating the deaths of fully vaccinated nursing home patients in a Colorado county which has been hit especially hard by a recent surge in COVID-19.

The Associated Press reported that a person involved in internal CDC deliberations, who requested anonymity to speak on the matter, said that federal investigators conducted a probe into delta variant outbreaks in nursing home facilities in Mesa County, Colo., in May and June.

A CDC presentation slide provided to the AP revealed that in the Grand Junction area of the county, 16 fully vaccinated residents at a memory care facility were infected and four had died.

When COVID is behind us,
Australians are going to have to pay more tax

The biggest unstated message from the intergenerational report released during the lull between lockdowns is that we will need more tax.

Not now. At the moment it's a matter of throwing everything we've got at getting on top of the COVID outbreaks and worrying about how to (and the extent to which we will need to) pay for it later.

But when the economy is healthy again, taxes are going to have to rise, big time.

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It’s Wednesday, July 21, 2021

JULY 21, 2021

Older Singles Have Found a
New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart

By Francine Russo

About three years after she was widowed in 2016, the Chicago psychotherapist Linda Randall, then 78, felt her friendship with a widowed man turning romantic. She’d dated him in her 20s, after taking her mother’s advice to volunteer as a candy-striper so she could meet a doctor. In 2015, while her husband was alive, she’d reconnected with him as a friend. But now, considering romance with this man six years older gave her pause.

“He was not in great shape,” she said. “He’d had two heart attacks and two stents. I thought a lot about what to do.” Coincidentally, he lived across the alley from her, and they spent most nights at her apartment. After dating for more than a year, they expressed mutual love. However, when he asked to move in with her, she said no. “He was hurt at first,” she recalled, “but I said, ‘I like my space, and we’re different in how we live.’”

About six months ago when he underwent surgery and needed recuperative care, Ms. Randall, heeding his wishes and using his funds, hired a live-in caregiver for him. Until he was well enough, the caregiver walked him over to her place. Now he manages on his own with his walker and spends weekends with her when his caregiver is off. Their intimacy continues.


5 Things to Know When Taking
5 or More Medications

By Michele G. Sullivan

Medicines can improve our lives — and save them — by regulating blood pressure, curing infections and calming restless minds and aching joints. But sometimes, too much of a good thing isn't very good at all.

More than 40 percent of older Americans regularly take five or more prescription drugs, and nearly 20 percent take 10 or more, according to a 2020 report from the nonpartisan think tank Lown Institute. When over-the-counter medicines and supplements are factored in, the share of older adults popping five or more pills — a practice known as polypharmacy — shoots up to 67 percent.

"People can get into this situation quite easily,” says Lon Schneider, M.D., a geriatric psychiatrist and professor of psychiatry, neurology and gerontology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.


Programs Help Older Adults
Train for Manufacturing Jobs

By Jon Marcus

Salt shaker–sized boxes filled with colored plastic pellets glide down a track that bristles with motors, sensors and barcode readers until robotic arms lift and sort them in response to directions entered on a touch-screen keypad.

It's the modern-day version of the noisy, hot and often backbreaking factory assembly line, but this facsimile is in a spotless industrial robotics lab at Quinsigamond Community College, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

And the college, as part of a collaboration with AARP that is also being piloted in Connecticut and Florida, hopes that it will soon be buzzing with people age 50 and older who want to change careers or return to the workforce.


The Pros and Cons of
Retiring to a Rural Area

When I learned that rural areas, like the one where I live in the Ozarks, were experiencing an influx of retirees and others moving from the cities, I called a real estate agent I knew and asked if that meant I might have an easier time selling my house this year.

He told me not only that it probably would, but I could ask up to $40,000 more than we'd discussed listing it for just two years prior. That's how hot the rural home market is these days.  The phenomenon started at the beginning of the pandemic and hasn't let up.

Health care is one of the few things Donna Brown, 69, and her husband, Gary, 66, said their rural area of Pearce, Ariz. lacks.

A Hesitant Return To Normal

It has been one week since the extraordinary and often unnecessary COVID-19 protocols have been lifted and, though most of our residents are happy to see them go, an air of cautious optimism remains.
Last Monday, the D.O.H. advised all assisted living facilities in our state (NY) that the precautions implemented back in March 2020 when cases of the virus ran rampant and unchecked through long-term care facilities sickening and even killing many senior citizens, could end. These included the ban on communal dining and the wearing of masks within the facility. However, all it takes is a quick look around and it is quite clear that a good number of our residents either did not understand the memo regarding our return to normalcy or they don’t believe that it is safe. Almost half our our residents continue to wear their masks full time (unless dining).

This hesitancy is most notable in our dining room. About half of usually packed room is filled. Tables that pre-covid sat 4 people now have only one or two diners. Where everybody else is eating, I do not know. Residents are only served in their rooms with a doctor’s recommendation. There is an eerie silence in a formerly noisy room. And this silence extends to other areas as well. Residents sitting in our lobby, where conversation (and arguments) is the order of the day, are oddly docile. Many of the most boisterous of them are abnormally silent. Has 16 months of isolation had a permanent effect on us? Next Monday we will have the first resident’s meeting since the quarantine went into effect. Hopefully, those that have heretofore kept silent will find their voice and let us know how they really feel. And me, as moderator of these monthly events, will be there to encourage them to do so………………………

Self-isolating Boris Johnson warns unvaccinated
will be BANNED from clubs

By Daniel Martin, Jason Groves,
James Tapsfield, David Wilcock

Vaccine passports will become compulsory in nightclubs and other ‘crowded’ venues as the Prime Minister warned young people they could face a party ban if they don't get double jabbed.

In a major U-turn last night, Boris Johnson said proof of double vaccination would be a ‘condition of entry’ from September.

He declined to specify which other venues would be targeted and failed to rule out the scheme potentially being extended to pubs.

Read more  >>

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It’s Tuesday, July 20 2021

JULY 20, 2021

email us:

Why Are My Joints So Stiff? What Can I Do?

As you age, your cartilage -- the spongy material that protects the ends of your bones -- begins to dry out and stiffen. Your body also makes less synovial fluid, the stuff that acts like oil to keep your joints moving smoothly. The result: Your joints may not move as freely as they used to. It sounds a little crazy, but the best thing you can do is keep on trucking. Synovial fluid requires movement to keep your joints loose.

When you’re asleep and still for several hours, the fluid that helps your joints move easily can’t do its job. That’s why you wake up with knees or hands that are stiff and swollen. To make it better, try to move around more during the day.

Osteoarthritis (OA)

A joint is the place where two bones meet. The end of each bone is covered in a layer of rubbery stuff called cartilage. This keeps them from rubbing together. But cartilage can wear away over time or after an injury. When it’s gone, the bones hit one another, and sometimes, tiny pieces break off. The result is a stiff, swollen, painful joint.


As a senior, I was hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine.
This was why I changed my mind

By Paul Chan Poh Hoi

As a member of the Pioneer Generation in my 80s, I received the invitation from the Government in February to take my Covid-19 vaccination.

However, I was not ready to get vaccinated because I had read reports on the potential side effects for older persons, intensifying my scepticism of the unfamiliar and new messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology for the vaccines.

Moreover, being on several types of medication due to a previous heart surgery, I was more afraid of potentially fatal complications from the jab than of the coronavirus itself.


How to find the right home health aide
By Jane Monreal

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Research from the American Seniors Housing Associations shows, seniors can add to their longevity with quality of life, whether that's in an assisted living facility, or in their own home.

Dee Chamberlain from Amity Home Care says, not everyone needs a licensed nurse to be their caretaker. It just depends on your needs. She says, "Typically, a companion or a homemaker don't necessarily need to have any form of license. However, most companies prefer to teach them to be able to interact with your patient and provide them with good services. But they are not necessarily home health aides."

Pat Sheehy, 87, moved to Southwest Florida from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, after her husband passed away a year and a half ago. Around the same time, she also had shoulder surgery. She ended up signing up with Cypress Cove's Home Health services, which is covered by Medicare. She remembers, "People were there to help me, to provide me with medication and so on and so forth, and just to monitor my recovery."


Post-vaccine: The future of senior living

With the ready availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to anyone age 12 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent announcement that people can resume activities without a mask or distancing was a massive tectonic shift in the landscape of COVID. This latest declaration is exciting after an exceptionally difficult year. Even though millions of Americans are now vaccinated, however, particularly for those of us who serve elders in communal living, we will not be automatically reverting to how things were before the pandemic.

Because the whole point of a crisis is to learn new things, right?

Reflecting on lessons learned, best practices now adopted, and yes, even improvements in how we support older adults, it is clear this past year-plus has highlighted in even greater relief the importance of our core responsibilities to support and execute person-centered care and promote the long-term health and well-being of our residents. When COVID-19 hit, those foundational blocks became more critical, but at the same time, many of the tried-and-true methods of supporting elders were no longer available. Instead, our entire industry had to figure out how to continue to provide services and connect with people in brand new ways.


Creativity may be key to healthy aging.
Here are ways to stay inspired.

By Matt Fuchs

If you’re interested in staying healthy as you age — and living longer — you might want to add a different set of muscles to your workout routine: your creative ones. Ongoing research suggests that creativity may be key to healthy aging. Studies show that participating in activities such as singing, theater performance and visual artistry could support the well-being of older adults, and that creativity, which is related to the personality trait of openness, can lead to greater longevity.

When researchers talk about creativity, they aren’t limiting it to the arts. Author and Georgetown University psychiatrist Norman Rosenthal defines being creative as “having the ability to make unexpected connections, either to see commonplace things in new ways — or unusual things that escape the attention of others — and realize their importance.”

James C. Kaufman focuses on “everyday creativity” when teaching his introduction to creativity course at the University of Connecticut. The phrase, which comes from creativity expert Ruth Richards, refers to ordinary tasks such as parenting, yard landscaping or advising a friend.

UK Government urged to release analysis
on scrapping Universal Credit uplift

By Alistair Grant

CHARITY bosses are urging the UK Government to release internal analysis on the impact of scrapping the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, insisted it was "clearly in the public interest to know whether this decision will deepen poverty for thousands of people across our country".

He has now written to Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey calling on her to "sanction the release of this analysis so that the public understand the likely impact of this decision".

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Good Day
It's Monday, July 19, 2021

JULY 19, 2021

Drug Prices Weigh on Older Americans
By Teresa A. Keenan

Most Americans ages 50 and older rely on prescription drugs for their health, yet many worry about their ability to pay for them. Thus, coming out of this reality is a certain consensus: Lawmakers should take action to make medications more affordable—and the sooner, the better.

That's the takeaway from a recent AARP survey of registered voters conducted by phone in June.

The issue of prescription drug affordability touches the lives of many Americans, and more so as they age. While 70% of those ages 50–64 in the U.S. regularly use prescription drugs, 86% of those over age 65 do.


Preferred life expectancy and its association
with hypothetical adverse life scenarios

By Jinxia Zhang

A new study sheds light on how the specter of dementia and chronic pain reduce people's desire to live into older ages. Among Norwegians 60 years of age and older the desire to live into advanced ages was significantly reduced by hypothetical adverse life scenarios with the strongest effect caused by dementia and chronic pain, according to research conducted at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center based at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

The paper is among the first to study Preferred Life Expectancy (PLE) based on hypothetical health and living conditions. The findings are published in the July issue of the journal Age and Ageing.

The research team was led by Vegard Skirbekk, PhD, professor of Population and Family Health, who used data from Norway, because of its relatively high life expectancy at birth. He investigated how six adverse health and living conditions affected PLE after the age of 60 and assessed each by age, sex, education, marital status, cognitive function, self-reported loneliness and chronic pain.


South Florida’s older Cubans say they
have waited a lifetime to go back to homeland

By Christina Vazquez, Michelle Solomon

WEST MIAMI, Fla. – For so many who left Cuba in the early years of Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, they thought the move to America would be temporary. In the more than 60 years that followed, they built businesses and families, but they never made it back home. Now, in the twilight of what has been a lifetime dream — a hope — that in this unprecedented moment of protest, a free Cuba may just happen and that they can finally return to the land they love.

On Thursday at the Pointe of North Gables assisted living community, a group of these hopeful came out in wheelchairs and walkers. Bursting with energy, they waved small Cuban flags.

But in the wonder of the moment, through smiles and tears, they say they have spent a lifetime waiting for a free Cuba.


Why baby boomers have a huge
influence on real estate trends

by Libertina Brandt

As the generation with the most real estate wealth, baby boomers have a major influence on the rental and housing markets.

In 2017, CNBC reported that boomers were the fastest-growing group of renters in the country, and a June blog post by Rhino’s VP, Jeff Le, says they still are.

Founded in 2017, Rhino is an insurance agency that offers an alternative to cash security deposits. Through Rhino Insurance, tenants are able skip the upfront charge by paying a small monthly fee to Rhino, which then insures the apartment.


How to Maximize Your Food Benefits
By Brandy Bauer

Older adults who receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) will see a 15% increase in their benefits through September 2021, as a result of the American Rescue Plan.

But what happens when these extra benefits expire? Here are some tips that you or a loved one can take to help maximize your benefits well into the future.
Check if you’re eligible for other food assistance programs

SNAP is the nation’s largest food safety net program, but millions of older Americans who are eligible to get help are not enrolled in SNAP. For people aged 60 and older, or those with disabilities, there are special rules to apply for SNAP that look at NET, not gross, income (that is, income left after many deductions are made).

Government urged to tackle the rotten
dental health of Australia's elderly

By Eileen Wood

Dental care (or lack of) among older Australians both in residential aged care and the community was highlighted during hearings of the Aged Care Royal Commission; prompting the final report to recommend a Senior Dental Benefits Scheme (SDB)

"Older people are more likely than others to have poor oral health," said Royal Commissioners Tony Pagone and Lynelle Briggs.

"Many of them cannot afford private dental care and must wait years for public dental health care; others have reduced capacity to undertake oral hygiene routines.

Read more  >>

What scares me…

I’ve been through a lot of scary things in my life. Marriage, divorce, illness, near death, poverty and four years of the most degenerate form of politics this nation has ever encountered. And, I have come through most of it unscathed and a firm believer in the adage “What ever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Exposure to adversity makes you less afraid of the all the craziness out there. Therefore, it takes a substantial amount of insanity to frighten me. However, there is one thing that scares the s**t out of me. And that’s when I hear the news that as many as 1 in 4 Americans will refuse to be vaccinated. WTF is wrong with these people?

There are many that won’t get vaccinated because of religious reasons. While I disagree (what’s un-godly about vaccines?), I understand where they are coming from. I can also somewhat understand those who have a thing about putting foreign substances into their bodies. The only redeeming feature with that is most of those people will be dead before they can spread the virus to others. But those are not the people that I wonder about. The folks that scare me the most are those idiots (yes, idiots) who refuse to be vaccinated because they think they are making some

political statement. These people are mostly Republicans, all are Trump supporters and all are just plum crazy. Who do they think they are hurting? The only people who will suffer the most will be people like them.[1] But unlike their zealot cousins, those yahoo goobers go to sporting events, monster truck shows, NASCAR and super-spreader events like Trump “MAGA” rallies. All the while believing they are saving America from left-wing socialists who want to take away their guns and move Black families into the empty house next door. So, what does that have to do with me?

Sixteen months ago, me and most of us, who are residents of long-term care facilities, were forced to quarantine effectively cutting us off from our friends, relatives and much of the outside world. We were kept, and treated, like virtual prisoners in our own home. Fed lousy food and devoid of most activities. We faced boredom, isolation and terrible loneliness. The effects of which may not be known for years. And now, just when we are seeing an end to many of those harsh restrictions, a new variant (DELTA) of the virus threatens to wreak havoc on the population once again. And as sure as I am sitting here, the first group of people who will be affected by and new restrictions will be all of us old folks. And all because of one man who could have ended this nonsense with one sentence.
All Donald Trump had to do to become a hero instead of what he is now would have been to come out and say, “Hey, I got the vaccine, it works, it won’t make you sick and you should get it.” But he won’t. And, while I don’t have the training to comment on what form of psychosis he has that makes him do what he does, it sure appears there is something seriously wrong with the man and all those who follow him. Who would have ever thought a president of the U.S. might be the death of us all?………………………..

[1]There is another group who have been hesitant to get vaccinated and those are some people of color who are wary of anything the government suggests we do. But even many of them are beginning to come around.

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Good Day

IT'S SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2021

JULY 18, 2021

Quitting work in retirement?

If you’re one of the many American workers who’s considering quitting work in retirement, a word of advice: “fuhgeddaboudit!”

After working for decades, many Americans eagerly look forward to their retirement years without the need to work. However, this desired retirement is an unlikely outcome for many American workers.

Stated simply, quitting work at typical retirement ages is not an option for most Americans because they simply can’t afford to. As one American comedian remarked about his financial preparedness for retirement, “I've got all the money I'll ever need if I die by four o'clock.”


Arthritis diet: The popular hot drink shown to
significantly improve arthritis symptoms

By Adam Chapman

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Arthritis can refer to more than 100 conditions characterised by joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common. It is an autoimmune condition, meaning the immune system misfires and attacks the joints. A particularly bad bout of rheumatoid arthritis can make it hard to perform even basic tasks, but there are proven ways to alleviate symptoms.

Several studies support drinking green tea to keep the painful inflammatory condition at bay.


Scientists develop online calculator to
predict how long senior citizens have left to live

By Mary Kekatos

Scientists develop online end-of-life calculator to predict how long senior citizens have left to live by asking questions about underlying conditions and whether or not they can perform daily activities

A team at the University of Ottawa, in Ontario, Canada, has developed the Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community Tool

Known as RESPECT, researchers say it can accurately predict death among older adults who use or need home care within six months

The tool asks questions about age, sex, underlying health conditions and the ability to go about performing daily activities


How to Manage Chronic Pain

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

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

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


Boris Johnson storms ahead with £20 benefits cut
and is not planning to U-turn

By Dan Bloom

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Cruel Boris Johnson is driving full steam ahead to cut six million Brits’ benefits and has no plans to U-turn, the Prime Minister declared tonight.

Mr Johnson let down charities, Labour and dozens of Tory MPs by dismissing fears the £20-a-week Universal Credit cut will plunge 400,000 children into poverty.


Tokyo Olympics to be held without fans
after new COVID-19 state of emergency declared

Originally, 10,000 local fans were going to be admitted to Olympic events.

Foreign fans were banned in March, and organizers repeatedly delayed a decision on whether to allow Japanese fans.

The announcement is a blow for Tokyo organizers and will add to the cost of the Games for the Japanese people.

There will be no fans at the Tokyo Olympics.

The announcement Thursday followed the declaration of a new state of emergency, which takes effect Monday and goes through Aug. 22. The Games begin July 23 and end Aug. 8.


Haiti's interim PM confirms
request for US troops to country


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s interim government said Friday that it asked the U.S. to deploy troops to protect key infrastructure as it tries to stabilize the country and prepare the way for elections in the aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

“We definitely need assistance and we’ve asked our international partners for help,” Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph told The Associated Press in an interview, declining to provide further details. “We believe our partners can assist the national police in resolving the situation.”

Joseph said that he was dismayed by opponents who’ve tried to take advantage of Moïse’s murder to seize political power — an indirect reference to a group of lawmakers that have declared their loyalty and recognized Joseph Lambert, the head of Haiti’s dismantled senate, as provisional president and Ariel Henry, whom Moïse designated as prime minister a day before he was killed, as prime minister.


Racist abuse targets 3 English players
who missed penalties

LONDON (AP) — Three Black players who missed penalty kicks for England in the decisive European Championship shootout against Italy on Sunday night were subjected to racist abuse online, prompting the English Football Association to issue a statement condemning the language used against the players.

Bukayo Saka, at 19 one of the youngest players on the England squad, missed the penalty that gave the title to Italy and denied England its first international trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

It was England’s third straight failure from the penalty spot in the shootout, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also missing.


Taliban surge in north Afghanistan
sends thousands fleeing


CAMP ISTIQLAL, Afghanistan (AP) — Sakina, who is 11, maybe 12, walked with her family for 10 days after the Taliban seized her village in northern Afghanistan and burned down the local school.

They are now among around 50 families living in a makeshift camp on a rocky patch of land on the edge of the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. They roast in plastic tents under scorching heat that reaches 44 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) at midday. There are no trees, and the only bathroom for the entire camp is a tattered tent pitched over a foul-smelling hole.

As the Taliban surge through northern Afghanistan — a traditional stronghold of U.S.-allied warlords and an area dominated by the country’s ethnic minorities — thousands of families like Sakina’s are fleeing their homes, fearful of living under the insurgents’ rule.


Cuba confirms 1 man dead
during antigovernment protests


HAVANA (AP) — Cuban authorities confirmed Tuesday that one person has died during demonstrations that have shaken the island in recent days by protesting over food shortages, high prices and other grievances against the government.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, 36, died Monday during a clash between protesters and police in the Arroyo Naranjo municipality on the outskirts of Havana. It said an unspecified number of people were arrested and there were some people injured, including some officers.

The statement accused demonstrators of vandalizing houses, setting fires and damaging power lines. It also alleged they attacked police and civilians with knives, stones and other objects..


S.African govt plans troop surge
to quell unrest -reports
By Rogan Ward and Siyabonga Sishi


    Worst violence in years breaks out after Zuma jailing
    Anger at post-apartheid inequalities underpins riots
    Residents organise to protect property, confront looters
    Presidency considers further military deployment

DURBAN, South Africa, July 14 (Reuters) - South Africa plans to deploy up to 25,000 soldiers in two provinces where security forces are struggling to quell days of looting, arson and violence, its defence minister told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday, according to local news channel eNCA.


Vaccine deliveries rising as
delta virus variant slams Asia


JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — As many Asian countries battle their worst surge of COVID-19 infections, the slow flow of vaccine doses from around the world is finally picking up speed, giving hope that inoculation rates can increase and help blunt the effect of the rapidly spreading delta variant.

With many vaccine pledges still unfulfilled and rates of infection spiking across multiple countries, however, experts say more needs to be done to help nations struggling with the overflow of patients and shortages of oxygen and other critical supplies.

Some 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine arrived Thursday afternoon in Indonesia, which has become a dominant hot spot with record high infections and deaths.



U.S. drug overdose deaths rise 30%
to record during pandemic

By Julie Steenhuysen,Daniel Trotta

July 14 (Reuters) - A record number of Americans died of drug overdoses last year as pandemic lockdowns made getting treatment difficult and dealers laced more drugs with a powerful synthetic opioid, according to data released on Wednesday and health officials.

U.S. deaths from drug overdoses leapt nearly 30% to more than 93,000 in 2020 - the highest ever recorded.

"During the pandemic, a lot of (drug) programs weren't able to operate. Street-level outreach was very difficult. People were very isolated," said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, a health policy expert at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore


US COVID-19 cases rising again,
doubling over three weeks


The COVID-19 curve in the U.S. is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings.

Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday, up from 11,300 on June 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data. And all but two states — Maine and South Dakota — reported that case numbers have gone up over the past two weeks.

“It is certainly no coincidence that we are looking at exactly the time that we would expect cases to be occurring after the July Fourth weekend,” said Dr. Bill Powderly, co-director of the infectious-disease division at Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis.


Bootleg fire continues to spread in southern Oregon
By Catalina Gaitán

Marc Valens has spent the past half-century building the Moondance Ranch on a piece of property in Beatty in Klamath County, near where the Bootleg fire began.

Valens was planning to celebrate the ranch’s 50th anniversary this year. Instead, he and his wife will spend it cleaning up debris left behind after the fire ravaged the property, destroying what Valens spent the last five decades building.

“It’s my life’s work. It’s what I’ve been doing for 50 years,” Valens said. “It’s where my heart was.”


Medicare would cover dental, vision and hearing
under Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending plan

By Sarah O’Brien

Medicare — the health insurance program relied on by most older Americans — would cover dental, vision and hearing under a budget agreement announced late Tuesday by Senate Democrats.

The proposal for expanded coverage was included as part of a plan to spend $3.5 trillion over the next decade on climate change, health care and family-service programs, all part of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Although there’s no certainty that everything in the budget blueprint will make it through the full congressional process, Medicare advocates are hopeful that coverage of the extra benefits will come to fruition.


Child tax credit starts hitting
US families' bank accounts


WASHINGTON (AP) — The child tax credit had always been an empty gesture to millions of parents like Tamika Daniel.

That changed Thursday when the first payment of $1,000 hit Daniel’s bank account — and dollars started flowing to the pockets of more than 35 million families around the country. Daniel, a 35-year-old mother of four, didn’t even know the tax credit existed until President Joe Biden expanded it for one year as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that passed in March.

Previously, only people who earned enough money to owe income taxes could qualify for the credit. Daniel went nearly a decade without a job because her eldest son is autistic and needed her. So she got by on Social Security payments. And she had to live at Fairfield Courts, a public housing project that dead-ends at Interstate 64 as the highway cuts through the Virginia capital of Richmond.


Feds say Iran backed plot
to kidnap US-based journalist

By Celine Castronuovo

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged four Iranian nationals over an alleged plot to kidnap a Brooklyn-based journalist and human rights activist who published material critical of the Iranian government.

A superseding indictment from the U.S. District Court from the Southern District of New York was unsealed Tuesday, revealing charges against an Iranian intelligence official, Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, as well as “Iranian intelligence assets” Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi and Omid Noori.

Each of the four individuals have been charged with conspiring to kidnap; conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and sanctions against the government of Iran; bank and wire fraud conspiracy; and conspiring to commit money laundering.


Biden blasts 'un-American' voting limits;
Texas Dems act


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — President Joe Biden declared preserving voting rights an urgent national “test of our time” on Tuesday but offered few concrete proposals to meet it. Texas Democrats took their own dramatic action to stymie Republican efforts to tighten ballot restrictions in their state.

Biden, who has proclaimed protecting ballot access the central cause of his presidency, has faced sharp criticism from allies for not doing more, though political headwinds and stubborn Senate math have limited his ability to act. Despite his ringing words Tuesday, he avoided any mention of trying to alter the Senate filibuster rule that stands in the path of federal legislation.

Speaking at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Biden called state efforts to curtail voting accessibility “un-American” and “un-democratic” and launched a broadside against his predecessor, Donald Trump, who baselessly alleged misconduct in the 2020 election after his defeat. Biden called passage of congressional proposals to override new state voting restrictions and to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act that were curbed in recent years by the Supreme Court “a national imperative.”


White House says Biden warned
Putin on ransomware attacks

By Erin Doherty

President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. would take action to "defend its people" against ransomware attacks, per a White House readout of the call on Friday.

The big picture: The call comes after a Russia-linked group is believed to be behind an attack on software provider Kaseya, the latest in a mass of ransomware attacks impacting U.S. companies.

What they're saying: "I made it very clear to him that the United States expects when a ransomware operation coming from his soil — even though it’s not sponsored by the state — we expect him to act. And we’ve given him enough information to act on who that is,” Biden said on Friday afternoon.


Britney Spears' new attorney says
father must step aside


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A judge allowed Britney Spears to hire an attorney of her choosing at a hearing Wednesday in which she broke down in tears after describing the “cruelty” of her conservatorship.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny approved Spears hiring former federal prosecutor Mathew Rosengart, who called on Spears’ father to immediately resign as her conservator.

“The question remains, why is he involved,” Rosengart said outside the courthouse.


Disgraced Trump foe Michael Avenatti weeps
as he is sentenced to 2.5 years in prison
for Nike extortion scheme

By Dan Mangan

Michael Avenatti, the brash attorney who became a leading foe of then-President Donald Trump, was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in prison for a brazen botched scheme to extort athletic apparel giant Nike out of up to $25 million

Attorney Michael Avenatti arrives for his sentencing hearing in an extortion scheme against Nike, at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York City, (SDNY) in New York, U.S., July 8, 2021.

Michael Avenatti, the brash attorney who had been a leading foe of then-President Donald Trump, was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in prison for a brazen, botched scheme to extort athletic apparel giant Nike out of up to $25 million.


Billionaire Richard Branson
reaches space in his own ship


TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (AP) — Swashbuckling billionaire Richard Branson hurtled into space aboard his own winged rocket ship Sunday, bringing astro-tourism a step closer to reality and beating out his exceedingly richer rival Jeff Bezos.

The nearly 71-year-old Branson and five crewmates from his Virgin Galactic space-tourism company reached an altitude of 53.5 miles (86 kilometers) over the New Mexico desert — enough to experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and witness the curvature of the Earth — and then glided back home to a runway landing.



Emmy Nominations: ‘The Crown’, ‘The Mandalorian’ Top List;
HBO/HBO Max Edges Netflix For Top Spot – Full List Of Nominees

Netflix’s The Crown and Disney+’s The Mandalorian tied with the most nominations with 24 on Tuesday as the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards were unveiled. The noms, which come for a TV season that took place amidst the global pandemic, were announced by the Television Academy in a virtual ceremony hosted by Ron Cephas Jones and Jasmine Cephas Jones.

Among platforms, as usual the fight is between HBO and Netflix, with the combined HBO and HBO edging the streaming giant in total noms 130-129. Disney+ saw 71 noms today while NBC was fourth overall with 46, a strong showing for a broadcast network in the age of streaming.

The Crown, in its fourth season, is on an Outstanding Drama Series list with fellow previous nominee The Mandalorian as well as fellow Netflix buzz title Bridgerton along with The Boys, previous winner The Handmaid’s Tale from Hulu, HBO’s Lovecraft Country which made news when it was not renewed for a second season, and previous noms Pose from FX and NBC’s This Is Us.



Charlie Robinson, ‘Night Court’ Star, Dies at 75

He played court clerk Mac Robinson on the NBC sitcom, which ran from 1984 to 1992, and worked often onstage.

Robinson died Sunday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center from cardiac arrest with multisystem organ failures due to septic shock and metastatic adenocarcinoma, his rep told The Hollywood Reporter.

William Smith Dies: ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’,
‘Any Which Way You Can’ Actor Was 88

William Smith, the action star who tussled with Clint Eastwood in Any Which Way You Can, made a lasting impression as the evil Falconetti on TV miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and was a regular on the final season of Hawaii Five-O, died July 5 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA. He was 88.

His wife Joanne Cervelli Smith confirmed the death. A cause of death was not disclosed.


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JULY 15, 2021

Older Workers and 'The Big Quit'

Some older workers are jumping at the chance for a new start; others aren't so lucky

You probably heard: Meghan McCain is leaving ABC 's "The View" after nearly four years. Among her reasons for quitting is that COVID-19 "has changed the world for all of us," she told The Guardian. "It's changed the way I'm looking at my life, the way I'm living my life, the way I want my life to look like."

Few of us have the net worth or name recognition of Meghan McCain, who's 36. Yet her sentiment resonates among many who've worked throughout the pandemic, often tethered to their computers at home.


Six Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself Today

Life coaches weigh in on questions that can help get to the root of self-understanding

When I was just beginning my life coach training, I had a hard time getting my head around the concept of Powerful Questions. My master's degree was in psychology, and while I wouldn't go so far as to say therapy asks disempowering questions, I will say I was more well-versed in therapy's "what's the problem" line of questioning than I was in life coaching's "what's the solution" line of questioning.


Opinion: Lonely seniors may die 5 years early
By Brett Arends

How often do you feel you lack companionship?

How often do you feel left out?

How often do you feel isolated from others?

These are the three key questions to ask others (or yourself) if you’re worried about how lonely they feel, researchers say. The answers you get may be way more important than many realized.

Loneliness isn’t just a mental-health challenge—it’s also a physical health challenge. It can wipe years off our lives, according to new research. And in the wake of a world-wide pandemic and lockdown that has left hundreds of millions of people more isolated for long periods of time, that may be a crisis that keeps on taking for years to come.

But let's start with a few helpful definitions. What exactly is life coaching, and what exactly are Powerful Questions?


The firing of Andrew Saul marks
a new day for Social Security

By Michael Hiltzik

Tens of thousands of Social Security Administration employees began work Monday with the sense that a new day was dawning for themselves and the program’s more than 64 million beneficiaries: A Trump-appointed commissioner who had undermined its mission while picking fights with its workforce had been fired after two years in office.

Andrew M. Saul exited snarling. Upon being informed of his ouster Friday, Saul insisted that his firing was unconstitutional and threatened to sue. (Biden had asked for his resignation, and when Saul refused, he was fired.)

[Saul] came in not knowing anything about Social Security, and that should disqualify anybody.


Thinking about senior living?
3 reasons to consider a CCRC

A person’s golden years may be some of the best years of their life, living each day to the fullest by doing what they love, from pursuing hobbies to spending time with their families and beyond. Thinking about senior living may seem like a distant concern, but it's an important conversation to have now so you and your family are ready for the future.

Your may not feel ready to make the move, especially if you’re still physically and mentally healthy. However, setting yourself up for quality care in the future is important, especially as health care costs continue to skyrocket. According to a CNBC report, health care costs for retirees are expected to increase more than 5% every year through 2026.

Harry Maguire admits being left 'scared'
after father was caught up
in Wembley fan chaos

By Dan Ripley

Harry Maguire has revealed how his father was left with suspected broken ribs following the terrifying scenes of ticketless England supporters breaking into Wembley on Sunday.

Thousands of fans stormed the stadium desperate to see England take on Italy in the Euro 2020 final, in the hope of seeing Gareth Southgate's side win their first major trophy for 55 years.

But the unruly scenes led to the Three Lions centre-back's father Alan getting caught up in the chaos within the stadium after the ground's security was breached.


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Just two days short of 16 months of utter hell for the nearly 200 residents of our assisted living facility (ALF), we received the memo we have been waiting for. A release from the harsh and often heartless infection control protocols imposed upon residents of long-term care facilities by the all-powerful, anal-retentive Department of Health of the State of New York. That department, along with the governor and with little consideration of the hardships such a long quarantine/lockdown would have on a population of fragile seniors, arbitrarily separated us from the rest of society and kept us virtual prisoners in our our home. And to further the callousness shown to us, extended the Draconian precautions far beyond that of the state’s other citizens.

Under normal circumstances, restrictions of basic liberties (especially when it is applied only to specific group of people) would be unconstitutional. However, because it is understood that some denial of freedom is necessary for the public good, the government can get away with a lot. But to single out one group to be guinea pigs in some here-to-for unknown social experiment under the guise of keeping them safe is nothing less than cruel and unusual.

What or if there will be any mass outrage over what has taken place the last 16 months remains to be seen. I predict that nothing at all will happen. Like everything else that applies to old people, they will brush us aside like arbitrary flecks of lint, forgotten and discarded, swept from the lapel of a well-worn overcoat……………………


JULY 14, 2021

Aging population to hit U.S.
economy like a 'ton of bricks'

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON, July 12 (Reuters) - President Joe Biden does not yet have enough support from fellow Democrats to secure $400 billion in spending for at-home care for the elderly and disabled that the economy desperately needs, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told Reuters on Monday.

Raimondo, who is paying for round-the-clock care for her own 90-year-old mother, said America's aging demographics were going to hit the country "like a ton of bricks" without increased federal aid, and warned the current situation was "untenable."

Failure to act, she said in an interview, would harm the U.S. economy by making it difficult for women - who fell out of the workforce by the millions during the COVID-19 pandemic - often to look after out-of-school children or parents - to return to work or remain in the workforce.


Most US Adults 50 and Older Report Good Health
By Marcia Frellick

Most U.S. adults (77%) age 50 and older in the United States rated their overall health as good, very good, or excellent in an online survey conducted by WebMD and Capital Caring Health (CCH), a nonprofit hospice/advanced illness care organization based in Virginia.

Among the respondents, 41% said their health was very good or excellent.

However, the ratings differed largely by race, employment status, and income

The middle tier ("good" health) was reported similarly (from 33% to 37%) whether a person was employed, retired, or not employed. However, employed respondents were much more likely to report they had "excellent" or "very good" health (51% vs. 44% for retirees and 21% for the not employed).


Fitness For Seniors:
Experts Shares 3 Simple Exercises
For Older Adults To Stay Healthy

Exercising at home can help you stay fit when at home

As we age, there are a number of health issues that come our way. The process of aging leads to low immunity, exposing the body to a range of bugs and illnesses. To ensure we lead a healthy and disease-free life, it is important to maintain a routine and follow it. This routine should include eating healthy and balanced meals as well as exercising regularly. Nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar posted a video on Instagram explaining the importance of exercising regularly for elderly. She says, "Exercising is small doses of stimuli for your muscles, blood circulation, stability, mobility, and stamina. Exercising ensures your daily life becomes more productive and energetic."


How Men Adapt to Being Solo Agers

I am euphemistically known as a "solo ager," a 66-year-old child-free widower with no plans to seek another primary intimate monogamous relationship. I must admit that the term "solo ager" is preferable to the horrible designation made by other social scientists who refer to me as an "elder orphan." That phrase reeks of an aging Oliver Twist, developmentally frozen in the pain of abandonment and fear.

I am certainly not orphaned. I am well loved by others, continue to be involved as a psychologist in meaningful professional work and live independently. I feel vital in my activities of daily living and am as busy as I want. That said, it is a truth that I am existentially and observably alone as I live into this stage of life. This alone-ness carries unique risks for those in my cohort.


Study Links Vitamin C Intake and
 Skeletal Muscle Mass in Older Adults

Skylar Kenney

According to the authors of the study, 60% of men and 50% of women participating in the study were not consuming as much vitamin C as was recommended.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found a positive association between vitamin C and skeletal muscle mass in older adults. Studied adults who consumed a standard amount of dietary vitamin C were found to have the highest skeletal muscle mass of the study participants, according to its authors.

Individuals tend to lose skeletal muscle mass as they age, which can lead to the development of sarcopenia—a condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function—and reduced quality of life.

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JULY 13, 2021

Democrats Have Crazy Idea:
How About Ending Poverty For
Disabled And Elderly Americans?

Yet another item rolling off the line from the Progressive Democratic Ideas Factory: Now that monthly payments for the expanded Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan are set to start reducing child poverty, how about we also fix other parts of the social safety net, too, like increasing benefits for Supplemental Security Income (SSI?? Go read this excellent explainer by Dylan Matthews at Vox, which calls attention to a piece of the safety net lots of people don't know much about, unless they need it. And millions of Americans — 7.8 million — do.

Honestly, while we knew what SSI is, we had no idea how the program came about:

It was passed into law in 1972 after Richard Nixon tried and failed to get Congress to adopt his "guaranteed annual income" plan, essentially a kind of unconditional basic income that would have given the poorest households in America a guaranteed cash benefit.


What we've learned about using telehealth
to reach older adults during COVID-19

As COVID-19 case counts rose and sheltering in place became a public health mandate, telehealth use skyrocketed nationwide as previous regulatory restrictions were lifted and providers and patients found safe ways to access care. But despite the rapid uptake in telehealth nationally, prevailing inequities in internet and technology access still leave out too many populations from getting the quality virtual care they want and need.

Telehealth use relies on a patient’s access to technology, knowledge of how to use it and a reliable internet connection. But unfortunately, 22 million older adults (aged 65 or older) in the United States do not have broadband access, preventing the use of digital resources for health and social support. And foreign-born older adults are more than twice as likely to be offline.

Telehealth has the potential to transform the care and well-being of older adults living in affordable senior housing communities. But efforts to successfully improve virtual access to care and health outcomes for this population will be effective and sustainable long-term only if they are developed with equity, empathy and cultural competence at the beginning.


Guide To The Best Senior Dating Sites 2021
By Lambeth Hochwald

There’s never been a better time for people over 60 to try online dating. Just take a look at the array of online dating websites tailored to seniors that have emerged in the past few years, and you’ll realize there are more ways to connect with a potential companion than through friends or family.

“If you’re at the end of a long relationship, either due to the death of a partner or a divorce, you can quickly enter this digital sphere, and it’s amazing all the people you can meet,” says Shannon Lundgren, a professional matchmaker in San Francisco.

What Is Senior Dating?…


Boomers are only making the
2021 housing crisis worse

By Hillary Hoffower

Boomers have more real-estate wealth than any other generation, according to a NYT analysis of Fed data.

Unlike previous generations, many of them aren't listing their houses for sale as they get older.

It's exacerbating a historic housing shortage that's made it difficult for millennials to buy homes.

The Silent Generation held that distinction until 2001, according to Michael Kolomatsky's analysis of Federal Reserve Data for The New York Times. As was typical of older generations, many had begun selling their homes to move in with their families or into assisted-living facilities or nursing homes, leaving boomers to take over as the biggest wealth holders in real estate.


10 apps you need to remove from your phone now

Apps used to be fun add-ons to get the most out of your phone. Today, they’re vital to our everyday communication, work and play. Sadly, it seems like every week, there’s another list of bad apps causing headaches or putting your security at risk. Phony cryptocurrency and financial apps are scammers’ latest grift. Tap or click for red flags that the app you’re about trust your money with is a sham.

While we’re talking smartphone security, there are five tweaks every iPhone user should make. Tap or click for steps to see which apps are spying, hide your location, and close down access to your camera roll.

Now it's time to open up your app list and start deleting the rogue ones.


Want to live longer? Be optimistic

One of my grandmothers lived well past her 97th birthday. She also had a great outlook, despite several health issues later in life. Turns out, the two may be related.

Being optimistic can help people live longer, even at the age of 85 or 90, according to the results of a recent study.

Researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem examined data from the university’s Jerusalem Longitudinal Study, which followed 1,200 people born in 1920 or 1921. Among other factors, they looked at optimism. Optimism was measured through a score from the Scale of Subjective Wellbeing for Older Persons, which contains four questions about positive future expectations and three questions about positive experiences.

 I'm reposting this from a friends Facebook page. And, whole not words we all might want to live by, the author makes some good points... 

I asked a friend who has crossed 70 and is heading towards 80 what sort of changes he is feeling in himself?  He sent me the following:

1  After loving my parents, my siblings, my spouse, my children and my friends, I have now started loving myself.

2  I have realized that I am not “Atlas”. The world does not rest on my shoulders.

3  I have stopped bargaining with vegetable & fruit vendors. A few pennies more is not going to break me, but it might help the poor fellow save for his daughter’s school fees.

4  I leave my waitress a big tip. The extra money might bring a smile to her face. She is toiling much harder for a living than I am.

5  I stopped telling the elderly that they've already narrated that story many times. The story makes them walk down memory lane & relive their past.

6  I have learned not to correct people even when I know they are wrong. The onus of making everyone perfect is not on me. Peace is more precious than perfection.

7  I give compliments freely & generously. Compliments are a mood enhancer not only for the recipient, but also for me.  And a small tip for the recipient of a compliment, never, NEVER turn it down, just say "Thank You.”

8  I have learned not to bother about a crease or a spot on my shirt. Personality speaks louder than appearances.

9  I walk away from people who don't value me. They might not know my worth, but I do.

10  I remain cool when someone plays dirty to outrun me in the rat race. I am not a rat & neither am I in any race.

11  I am learning not to be embarrassed by my emotions. It’s my emotions that make me human.

12  I have learned that it's better to drop the ego than to break a relationship. My ego will keep me aloof, whereas with relationships, I will never be alone.

13  I have learned to live each day as if it's the last. After all, it might be the last.

14  I am doing what makes me happy. I am responsible for my happiness, and I owe it to myself. Happiness is a choice. You can be happy at any time, just choose to be!

I decided to share this for all my friends. Why do we have to wait to be 60 or 70 or 80, why can't we practice this at any stage and age?

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IT'S MONDAY, JULY 12, 2021



The best news we residents here at the A.L.F. have heard in nearly 16 months was delivered, unceremoniously, by our administrator in a brief memo distributed Friday afternoon. The first sentence of the memo said it all.


For those of us who have been quarantined and whose activities have been grossly restricted, no words could have been more welcome. Although the time for when we will return to a full program of activities and meetings remains illusive, this is certainly a good sign that our long ordeal will soon end.

There are so many things that need to be said about the way we were treated these past months. From Draconian infection control protocols to an almost total disregard for the emotional stress such isolation has upon an elderly population. The list could go on and on. All of which must and will be discussed. However, the one thing I will take away from all this is the feeling that we were forgotten.

While the rest of the nation was ditching their masks, packing the stands at sporting events, dining out and standing shoulder to shoulder at concerts and rallies, we were kept under a medieval-like quarantine unable to connect with the rest of the world unless locked behind a wall of glass. Even within our own facilities, when we were all double-dose vaccinated, we still had to wear masks and not gather in groups. And, when we inquired when we too would be permitted the same freedoms as the rest, we never got a straight answer leaving us to wonder if anyone really cared.

With the return to communal dining, things here have changed dramatically. You can see it on the faces of our residents as they once again sit at a real table and engage in animated conversations with their friends. The only reservations I have is that we will see a recurrence of the infection in our part of the nation as is now happening in some parts of the country. Many of those states have a vaccination rate as low as 34% of the eligible population, with little chance those numbers will improve. And that’s what scares the heck out of me. Because, as sure as day follows night, the first people to be locked down should the pandemic get worse, will be us……...

JULY 12, 2021

Supplemental Security Income expansion:
Democrats’ plan explained

By Dylan Matthews

In a couple of weeks, the US will start sending monthly checks to the vast majority of American parents. Most other rich countries have policies similar to this (known as a child allowance). If these expanded child tax credit (CTC) checks get to everyone who’s eligible, they could slash child poverty in America by about 40 percent.

But it could also be only the first of several improvements to America’s social-safety net. An array of powerful Democrats in Congress, as well as advocates for the elderly and people with disabilities (like AARP), have been championing another major change as part of this fall’s legislative push: boosting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

SSI is not one of the better-known safety net programs in the US. It was passed into law in 1972 after Richard Nixon tried and failed to get Congress to adopt his “guaranteed annual income” plan, essentially a kind of unconditional basic income that would have given the poorest households in America a guaranteed cash benefit.


Biden fires holdover head
of Social Security Administration

President Joe Biden on Friday fired the commissioner of Social Security after the official refused to resign, and accepted the deputy commissioner’s resignation, the White House said.

Biden asked commissioner Andrew Saul to resign, and his employment was terminated after he refused the Democratic president’s request, a White House official said.

Deputy Commissioner David Black agreed to resign, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.


Older homeowners more likely than renters
to exit the workforce after a job loss

By Megan Henney

When faced with a job loss, older college-educated homeowners are twice as likely as renters to exit the workforce, according to new research published by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The study sought to answer a puzzling question: Why are older Americans working longer but moving less frequently?

The labor force participation rate among workers who are 55 or older is 56.3%, more than 10 percentage points higher than it was in 1995. At the same time, interstate mobility for individuals between the ages of 55 and 69 has fallen to the lowest rate on record. Older workers are the only group who are simultaneously moving less and changing jobs more.


Pope’s Colon Condition Common
in Older Adults, Experts Say

As the world prays for Pope Francis to enjoy a full recovery following his colon surgery, doctors are busy explaining symptomatic stenotic diverticulitis, the condition afflicting the 84-year-old pontiff.

According to the Vatican press office, Pope Francis’ post-operative recovery is proceeding normally. Within two days of undergoing the surgery July 4 in Gemelli Hospital in Rome, the pontiff was able to get out of bed for a walk and eat breakfast.

Dr. Robert Tiballi, an infectious disease expert with the Catholic Medical Association, said what the pontiff suffers from is fairly common, particularly in older adults. “These days, as we age, our bowels do get weaker and the incidence of diverticular disease increases,” Tiballi said.


Biogen, FDA walk back controversial Aduhelm label
after weeks of fierce criticism

Following weeks of fiery criticism for its wide-labeled approval for Biogen’s Aduhelm for anyone with Alzheimer’s disease, the FDA is now narrowing the recommended window of patients to only those with milder forms of the memory-robbing disease.

Biogen on Thursday said the FDA approved an updated label for Aduhelm, also known as aducanumab, that recommends the amyloid-beta targeting antibody for people with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia, aligned with those included in Biogen’s late-stage trials.

The FDA warns that there is “no safety or effectiveness data on initiating treatment at earlier or later stages of the disease than were studied.”


AR can improve the lives of older adults,
so why are apps designed with youngsters in mind?

Augmented reality (AR) is poised to revolutionise the way people complete essential everyday tasks, yet older adults – who have much to gain from the technology – will be excluded from using it unless more thought goes into designing software that makes sense to them.

The danger of older adults falling through the gaps has been highlighted by research carried out by scientists at the University of Bath in collaboration with designers from the Bath-based charity Designability. A paper describing their work has received an honourable mention at this year’s Human Computer Interaction Conference (CHI2021) – the world’s largest conference of its kind.

The study concludes that adults aged 50+ are more likely to be successful at completing AR-prompted tasks (such as ‘pick up the cube’ followed by ‘move the cube to the blue area’) when the steps are shown by a ‘ghosthand’ demonstrating the action rather than the more commonly used arrow or some other visual aid.

It’s pointless attacking Britain’s pension increase.
Ultimately we’ll all benefit from it

By Owen Jones

Britain is a nation of pensioners (around a quarter of the population) and aspirational pensioners (everybody else). Old age is not something the young tend to want to contemplate but it will descend on most of us, and is natural for all of us to want our final chapters to be comfortable and secure. This inescapable fact should remain central to any debate about Britain’s pension entitlements.

It’s now predicted that the state pension might next year be raised by a massive 8% – thanks to the so-called triple lock. This has produced a lot of talk about intergenerational fairness.

Generational tensions can be overstated: after all, grandchildren tend to love their grandparents and vice versa. Yet it is easy to understand the resentment of younger Britons when learning about this apparently generous pension increase. After the financial crash, the 50% of young people who attend university were whacked with a tuition-fee increase that racked up their student debt to an average of £45,000; youth services faced virtual disintegration after 70% cuts; and home-ownership among the young has collapsed, to be replaced by the insecurity of the private rented sector. Over the past decade, workers in their 20s and 30s have had the worst pay squeeze, and they’ve been hammered by cuts to social security entitlements ranging from housing benefit to tax credits and the looming cut to universal credit. Throw in the sacrifices they’ve made during the pandemic – mainly to protect older citizens, and frustration is understandable.

Older Australians stuck in vaccine limbo
due to GPs' advice not to receive
AstraZeneca, ineligibility for Pfizer
By Jordan Hayne and Widia Jalal

For months, federal health authorities and the Prime Minister have urged Australians to talk to their GP about being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is associated with extremely rare blood clots.

Some have tried repeatedly to access the Pfizer vaccine, only to be knocked back due to age limits
The federal government advice recommends AstraZeneca for people over 60. But some older people with various health conditions say their GPs have told them not to take the Oxford-developed vaccine, leaving them in a position where their doctor's advice conflicts with that of federal health authorities.

Advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) states that the AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended for over 60s with a range of health conditions, including a history of most clotting disorders.

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IT'S SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2021


JULY 11, 2021

The Time Has Come to Talk About
Senior Poverty in America

If 40 million Americans were suffering from the same severe problem, you might think it would be the subject of considerable media attention, a host of government programs, infusions of business capital and a hot topic of national conversation.

That is certainly what I thought several years ago when I began researching the reality that nearly half of all people of over 55 — one in seven Americans  — had no money saved and risked heading into poverty or certainly into dire conditions that would make their lives desperate for decades to come.

The millions over 55 without money or reasonable prospects to earn it are being ignored and overlooked.


Understanding frailty will lead to
better care for older adults

Frailty is a better predictor than factors such as age when determining how older adults fare one year after receiving critical care.

A team led by researchers from the University of Waterloo analyzed data from more than 24,000 community-dwelling older adults receiving home care in Ontario who were subsequently admitted into an intensive-care unit (ICU).

They applied three different measures for baseline frailty and found that an individual's level of frailty was linked to survival one year later. The most frail ICU survivors had only a one in five chance of living to one year after discharge.


The frustration with the smartphone -
research project wants to help seniors

Corona app, QR code, Skype, Zoom – it’s all very easy if you grew up with a smartphone. But not so easy when you are older. Many seniors are insecure. Elisabeth Groß also experienced disappointment and frustration. And worry: “You don’t want to be the only one who can’t keep up digitally.” The 69-year-old pensioner from Gaggenau (Rastatt district) has laboriously familiarized herself with the subject and knows about the difficulties. A research project by the Karlsruhe University of Education (PH), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and international partners now wants to ensure that senior citizens are not digitally left behind.

Participate in digital communication

“The proportion of people over 70 in the total population will continue to increase across Europe,” says Mechthild Kiegelmann, head of the PH master’s degree in Geragogy (age education). The aim of the international Geragogy And Young Media (“Ganymed”) project is therefore to enable older people to participate in digital communication. The fact that this is becoming increasingly important became clear to the expert on education in old age, not least in the corona pandemic.


The Health 202: Expansions
could be coming to Medicare
By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Expansions are coming to the Medicare program, if Democrats can achieve one of their biggest health policy goals this year.

But they may have an easier time broadening what the program covers, versus trying to lower its eligibility age.

House Democrats have introduced a bill to include vision, dental and hearing coverage in Medicare.

The legislation, rolled out yesterday, aims to correct a long-standing challenge for seniors and those with disabilities who primarily rely on the traditional Medicare program for coverage: It doesn’t cover dental, hearing or vision care.



Officials Are Ending Search for Survivors
in Florida Condo Collapse
By Patricia Mazzei, Campbell Robertson, Richard Fausset, Azi Paybarah

Officials in Florida said after two weeks of searching for victims they would shift their focus to recovery efforts after assessing that no survivors would be found.

It is with deep, profound sadness that this afternoon, I’m able to share that we made the extremely difficult decision to transition from operation search and rescue to recovery. It’s now been exactly two weeks since Champlain Towers South collapsed, and over the last 14 days you all know that our search and rescue teams from our local community, from around Florida, from around the country and in fact, around the world have been digging through this collapse. They’ve used every possible strategy and every piece of technology available to them. And through these efforts, we have recovered eight more victims, so the total number of confirmed deaths is now at 54. 33 of those victims have been identified, and 33 next-of-kin notifications have been made. At this time, 200 people have been accounted for and 86 people are potentially unaccounted for. So please join me in praying for those we have lost and those we are mourning.


Elsa tears through South Carolina

The National Hurricane Center said Elsa’s winds have weakened to 40 mph. Elsa will move over South Carolina and North Carolina later in the day, pass near the eastern mid-Atlantic states by Thursday night and move near or over the northeastern United States on Friday.

Some re-strengthening is possible Thursday night and Friday while the system moves close to the northeastern United States.

A Tropical Storm Warning is now in effect north of Great Egg Inlet, New Jersey to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and for the coast of Long Island from East Rockaway Inlet to the eastern tip along the south shore and from Port Jefferson Harbor eastward on the north shore. A warning is also in effect from New Haven, Connecticut to Merrimack River, Massachusetts including Cape Cod, Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.


U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs last month,
 as companies scramble to find workers

By Martha C. White

The U.S. economy gained 850,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent, from 5.8 percent, a sign that the recovery of the world’s largest economy is building momentum after misses in April and May.

Economists had expected gains of roughly 700,000 jobs and a drop of 0.1 to 0.2 percent in the unemployment rate as Americans have increased activities like air travel, staying at hotels, eating in restaurants and visiting movie theaters.

The positive employment report, released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was cheered by economists.


50-state Update On Pending Legislation
Pertaining To Employer-Mandated Vaccinations

By Jenna Brofsky, Natalie Holden, Reagan Kays,
 Zaina Niles, Lowell Pearson

Under federal guidance, private employers can generally require employees to get vaccinated COVID-19, and private businesses can permit entry and service only to vaccinated individuals, as long as they comply with federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion and disability.

However, given the increasing availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, many states are considering or have enacted legislation that would prohibit employers from mandating vaccinations or prohibit businesses from requiring proof of vaccine status.

The proposed legislation varies widely by state in terms of who would be shielded from mandatory vaccinations and under what circumstances. Some legislation would prohibit employer-mandated vaccinations outright, some would permit mandated vaccinations only for employees who work in a healthcare facility or with medically vulnerable populations, and some would expand the federally-recognized religious exemption to include philosophical objections or objections of the conscience. Nearly every proposed bill pertaining to the rights of current or prospective employees would prohibit employers from making vaccination a condition of employment or taking adverse actions based on an employee’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

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Biden unveils push to encourage US citizenship

The Biden administration is kicking off an effort to encourage longtime residents to apply for U.S. citizenship, launching a cross-agency campaign to reach some 9 million people eligible to become Americans.

The campaign to actively recruit new citizens was released shortly before President Biden attended a naturalization ceremony on Friday and represents a remarkable shift in tone from the Trump administration, which sought to raise fees to apply for citizenship and enacted numerous barriers for migrating to the U.S.

“New citizens, strengthened with the power and responsibilities that American citizenship brings, make our Nation better. This strategy will ensure that aspiring citizens are able to pursue naturalization through a clear and coordinated process,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a release that noted a goal of “promoting naturalization to all who are eligible.”


Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Protects Against Delta Variant, Company Reports

By Apoorva Mandavilli

The vaccine also produced long-lasting immune responses, researchers said. Booster shots seem unnecessary, at least for now.

The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is effective against the highly contagious Delta variant, even eight months after inoculation, the company reported on Thursday — a finding that should reassure the 11 million Americans who have gotten the shot.

The vaccine showed a small drop in potency against the variant, compared with its effectiveness against the original virus, the company said. But the vaccine was more effective against the Delta variant than the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa — the pattern also seen with mRNA vaccines.


Spirit of 76: Champ Chestnut sets hot dog mark
By Marc Raimondi

Chowdown champ Joey "Jaws" Chestnut broke his own record to gulp to a 14th win in the men's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Sunday, while Michelle Lesco took the women's title.

Chestnut downed 76 franks and buns in 10 minutes. That's one more than he did in setting the men's record last year, when the contest unfolded indoors and without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It just felt good," Chestnut, of Westfield, Indiana, said in an ESPN interview after his win Sunday. "Even if I was uncomfortable, having everybody cheer me and push me, it made me feel good."


Nearly 8.5 million pounds of Tyson chicken
recalled due to Listeria concerns

By Kalhan Rosenblatt

The possibly contaminated chicken products were distributed across the United States to both retailers and facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, the USDA said in the press release.

Tyson Food Inc. is recalling nearly 8.5 million pounds of chicken products that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, according to a press release on Saturday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

Food Safety and Inspection Service was notified in June of two people who were sick with listeriosis, an infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes, according to the release. An investigation, which identified three cases of the illness between April and June, revealed one person had died from listeriosis.


Trump plunges GOP’s anti-tech
crusade deeper into the courts
By Cristiano Lima

Former President Donald Trump escalated his feud with Silicon Valley on Wednesday by filing a series of lawsuits that legal experts say he stands little chance of winning — complaints that accuse social media companies of censoring him and his followers at the behest of enemies including congressional Democrats and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

But the litigation also reflects a serious turn in Republicans’ struggle with the tech industry, after attempts at legislation and regulation faltered during Trump’s presidency: They are turning to the courts.

And it arrives at a time when Republicans are mobilizing around a messaging campaign that casts social media giants like Facebook and Twitter as out to get conservatives ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, when the GOP hopes to retake the House and Senate. The movement gained a prominent boost from one of the GOP's most respected jurists, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who this year wrote a scathing opinion suggesting that online platforms should be treated as "common carriers" to limit their ability to restrict speech.


Latest hack to test Biden's vow
for consequences for Russia


President Joe Biden said he would “deliver” a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the latest ransomware attacks targeting American businesses, setting up a test of Biden’s ability to balance his pledge to respond firmly to cyber breaches with his goal of developing a stable relationship with Russia.

The administration faces few easy options for a ransomware threat that in recent months has emerged as a major national security challenge, with attacks from Russia-based gangs that have targeted vital infrastructure and extorted multimillion-dollar payments from victims.
The White House says the damage from the latest attack — affecting as many as 1,500 businesses worldwide — appeared minimal, though cybersecurity experts said information remained incomplete. The malicious intrusion exploited a powerful remote-management tool run by Miami-based software company Kaseya. It occurred weeks after Biden made clear to Putin that the U.S. was growing impatient with cyberattacks emanating from Russia.



Hours After Haiti’s President Is Assassinated,
4 Suspects Are Killed and 2 Arrested

By Daniel Politi

Four people suspected of being involved in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti were killed by the police in a gun battle and two others were arrested, Haiti’s police chief said late Wednesday. The chief, Léon Charles, also said that three police officers who had been held hostage were freed.

“The police are engaged in a battle with the assailants,” he said at a news conference, noting that the authorities were still in pursuit of some suspects. “We are pursuing them so that, in a gunfight, they meet their fate or in gunfight they die, or we apprehend them.”

Read more  >>


Japan to declare virus emergency
lasting through Olympics

Japan is set to place Tokyo under a state of emergency that would last through the Olympics, fearing an ongoing COVID-19 surge will multiply during the Games.

At a meeting with experts Thursday morning, government officials proposed a plan to issue a state of emergency in Tokyo from next Monday to Aug. 22. The Summer Olympics, already delayed a year by the pandemic, begin July 23 and close Aug. 8.

The Games already will take place without foreign spectators, but the planned six-week state of emergency likely ends chances of a local audience. A decision about fans is expected later Thursday when local organizers meet with the International Olympic Committee and other representatives.


South Africa's ex-leader turns
himself in for prison term

Former South African president Jacob Zuma turned himself over to police early Thursday to begin serving a 15-month prison term.

Just minutes before the midnight deadline for police to arrest him, Zuma left his Nkandla home in a convoy of vehicles. Zuma handed himself over to authorities to obey the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, that he should serve a prison term for contempt.

“President Zuma has decided to comply with the incarceration order. He is on his way to hand himself into a Correctional Services Facility in KZN (KwaZulu-Natal province),” said a tweet posted by the Zuma Foundation.


Saudi-UAE rivalry takes shape
amid OPEC spat and competing hubs

By Sean Mathews

The United Arab Emirates’ refusal to agree to a Saudi-backed plan to boost oil output is the latest in an emerging rivalry playing out between the two traditional Gulf allies as both countries seek to diversify their economies and manage a long-term transition away from the petroleum industry.

The unusually public spat between the UAE and Saudi Arabia over output increases by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has kept oil prices volatile. Monday’s OPEC meeting was cancelled and has yet to be rescheduled, leading to market uncertainty.

Saudi Arabia supports a plan for OPEC producers to increase oil output in stages by a total of two million barrels per day (bpd) from August through December 2021 and extend remaining cuts until the end of 2022 instead of letting them expire as planned next April.


The Ever Given is finally leaving the Suez Canal
By Hanna Ziady

The Ever Given has begun its journey out of the Suez Canal more than three months after it ran aground, clogging up one of the world's most vital trade arteries and disrupting global supply chains.

The quarter-mile long container ship, which blocked the Suez Canal for six days in March will now sail to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cargo still on board. It was next due to call at Felixstowe in England.

The journey to Rotterdam could take about two weeks, as the vessel will likely have to sail at a slower pace than usual due to damage sustained from the incident, according to Jai Sharma, a partner at Clyde & Co. The law firm represents companies and insurers with over $100 million in cargo on the vessel and estimates the total value of goods on board to be over $600 million.


Covid: Most rules set to end in England, says PM
By George Bowden

Face masks will no longer be legally required and distancing rules will be scrapped at the final stage of England's Covid lockdown roadmap, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

The rule of six inside private homes will be removed and work-from-home guidance abolished as 16 months of on-off restrictions on daily life end.

The PM said he expected the final step would go ahead as planned on 19 July.

This will be confirmed on 12 July after a review of the latest data.


Dutch crime reporter shot,
badly wounded in Amsterdam street

One of the Netherlands’ best known crime reporters was shot Tuesday evening in a brazen attack in downtown Amsterdam and was fighting for his life in a hospital, the Dutch capital’s mayor said.

Peter R. de Vries, who is widely lauded for fearless reporting on the Dutch underworld, was shot after making one of his regular appearances on a current affairs television show. It was an unusually brutal attack on a journalist in the Netherlands.

“Peter R. de Vries is for all of us a national hero, an unusually courageous journalist, tirelessly seeking justice,” Mayor Femke Halsema said at a hastily convened news conference at the city’s police headquarters.


6 students among 9 arrested in
alleged Hong Kong bomb plot


Nine people, including six secondary school students, were arrested in Hong Kong on Tuesday for allegedly plotting to set off homemade bombs in courts, tunnels and trash cans as political tensions rise in the city where China is tightening its grip.

Police said they were detained on suspicion of engaging in terrorist activity under a harsh national security law that Beijing imposed a year ago as part of a crackdown on dissent in the former British colony that has long enjoyed freedoms not seen on the Chinese mainland.

Hong Kong authorities have used the law, enacted in response to anti-government protests that rocked the city in 2019, to arrest many of the city’s prominent activists. Others have fled abroad as a result.


In Myanmar, the military and police declare war on medics

The clandestine clinic was under fire, and the medics inside were in tears.

Hidden away in a Myanmar monastery, this safe haven had sprung up for those injured while protesting the military’s overthrow of the government. But now security forces had discovered its location.

A bullet struck a young man in the throat as he defended the door, and the medical staff tried frantically to stop the hemorrhaging. The floor was slick with blood.



Eric Adams wins Democratic primary
in NYC’s mayoral race


Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has won the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City after appealing to the political center and promising to strike the right balance between fighting crime and ending racial injustice in policing.

A former police captain, Adams would be the city’s second Black mayor if elected.

He triumphed over a large Democratic field in New York’s first major race to use ranked choice voting. Results from the latest tabulations released Tuesday showed him leading former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 8,426 votes, or a little more than 1 percentage point.



Cannes reawakens, pins hopes on film festival's return

The lights are in position, the stars en route to the French Riviera. And Spike Lee’s face is peering out onto the Croisette from a huge banner announcing Tuesday’s debut of the world’s premier film festival.

The show is running 14 months late, thanks to the pandemic. And it's about time for the city’s merchants, hoteliers and restaurateurs, who hope the return of the festival’s glamour and revenues heralds a broader renaissance for the region and France’s cultural world after an exceptionally damaging year.

“We lost all of the international conventions, congress, large events like the film festival. So we lost millions," Charles Richez, director of the Majestic Hotel, told The Associated Press. "We’re very happy now to have the film festival again. It’s the beginning of the return of all the international events.”



Director Richard Donner,
A Pioneer In The Action-Adventure Genre, Has Died

By Elizabeth Blair Facebook Twitter

Director Richard Donner, a pioneer of action-adventure movies, has died. He was 91. His death was confirmed by a spokesperson with Warner Bros. No cause has been disclosed.

He is survived by his wife, producer Lauren Shuler Donner; they met during the making of the 1985 movie Ladyhawke. Together, they founded The Donners Company, whose credits include the X-Men and Free Willy franchises.

Donner gave generations of moviegoers something to love. Baby boomers might know his work directing TV episodes of the original Twilight Zone, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Gilligan's Island — it was Donner who directed the classic Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet" starring William Shatner. In 1978, he dazzled audiences with Superman, starring Christopher Reeves as "the man of steel." In the next decade, The Goonies, produced by Steven Spielberg, became a major hit with kids. The bro-cop-action-comedy Lethal Weapon, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, was such a commercial hit, Donner directed three more. Just last year Donner told The Daily Telegraph that Lethal Weapon 5 was on its way.


Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast in what authorities described Monday as a tragic accident at a Michigan home on the Fourth of July.

Police in Novi, Michigan, said the firework tilted slightly and started to fire toward people nearby Sunday night. The 24-year-old Kivlenieks was in a hot tub and tried to get clear with several other people, police Lt. Jason Meier said. Authorities earlier said the Latvian had died of an apparent head injury during a fall, but an autopsy clarified the cause of death.

What NOT to use on insect bites -
the four remedies to avoid

By Rae Ellen Bichell

Dr. Rachel LaCount grasped a metal hoop at a playground and spun in circles with her 7-year-old son, turning the distant mesas of the Colorado National Monument into a red-tinged blur.

LaCount has lived in this western Colorado city of 64,000 nearly her whole life. As a hospital pathologist, she knows better than most that her hometown has become one of the nation’s top breeding grounds for the delta variant of covid-19.

“The delta variant’s super scary,” LaCount said.

That highly transmissible variant, first detected in India, is now the dominant covid strain in the United States. Colorado is among the states with the highest proportion of the delta variant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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JULY 8, 2021

Confronting the Growing Shortage of
Care Workers For Older Adults

By Howard Gleckman

Every conversation I have with operators of senior living facilities and home care agencies quickly pivots to one issue: A desperate shortage of care workers.

The problem isn’t new. Low pay, low status, and physically and emotionally demanding work has plagued the long-term care industry’s ability to hire for years. Highly restrictive Trump-era immigration policies further shrunk the supply of foreign-born workers, who account for about one-quarter of all direct care workers.

The covid-19 pandemic only amplified these problems. More than 160,000 people, including nearly 2,000 staff, died from covid-19 over the past 16 months. Aides, overwhelmingly women, were unable to find care for their children while schools stopped in-person learning and had to leave their jobs. Only about half of facility-based staff have been willing to get vaccinated, putting their jobs at risk. Now, with hospitality and other industries scrambling to find willing workers, care workers suddenly have many work choices, many in less difficult and better paying occupations.  


Public Opinion on Latest Social Security
COLA Update for US Senior Citizens?

Recently we published an update about Social security Cost of living adjustment! and got 150,000+ visitors. Those 150k visitors left thousands of reviews about the Social security Cost of living adjustment.

From all those comments, we have mentioned 60+ top comments here as the list is very long, and we can’t write everything, so you can read them if you want to know the ground report of the middle class.

1. John

Our country is dying a slow but sure death. We must have term limits for all politicians nationwide for all local and national offices!


Tooth loss may affect ability
to carry out everyday tasks

Older adults with more natural teeth are better able to perform everyday tasks such as cooking a meal, making a telephone call or going shopping, according to researchers from UCL and the Tokyo Medical and Dental University.

The study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, analyzed data from 5,631 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA) aged between 50 and 70.

Previous studies have shown the link between tooth loss and reduced functional capacity but did not establish a causal link. In this study the research team wanted to investigate the causal effect of tooth loss on someone's ability to carry out daily activities. After considering factors such as participants' socioeconomic status and poor general health, they still found there was an independent link between tooth loss and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.


What Sweden’s Covid failure
tells us about ageism

By Carl-Johan Karlsson

After the pandemic’s deadly first peak in April 2020, it became clear that Sweden’s quest to protect its elderly had failed.

My home country had become the last outpost for a “herd immunity” approach, with the government ignoring international calls for quarantine. Sweden’s strategy had two central goals: Limit the spread to prevent overburdening the health-care system, and protect its older citizens.

It did neither. The virus made its way into nursing homes, spreading from staff and visitors to residents, until the government, too late, banned visits on April 1, 2020. A month later, a report showed that nearly half of the 2,075 deaths in the country — one of the highest per-capita death rates in Europe — had occurred in nursing homes, and 90 percent had happened among those aged 70 and above.


The invisible addiction:
is it time to give up caffeine?

By Michael Pollan

After years of starting the day with a tall morning coffee, followed by several glasses of green tea at intervals, and the occasional cappuccino after lunch, I quit caffeine, cold turkey. It was not something that I particularly wanted to do, but I had come to the reluctant conclusion that the story I was writing demanded it. Several of the experts I was interviewing had suggested that I really couldn’t understand the role of caffeine in my life – its invisible yet pervasive power – without getting off it and then, presumably, getting back on. Roland Griffiths, one of the world’s leading researchers of mood-altering drugs, and the man most responsible for getting the diagnosis of “caffeine withdrawal” included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the bible of psychiatric diagnoses, told me he hadn’t begun to understand his own relationship with caffeine until he stopped using it and conducted a series of self-experiments. He urged me to do the same.

For most of us, to be caffeinated to one degree or another has simply become baseline human consciousness. Something like 90% of humans ingest caffeine regularly, making it the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world, and the only one we routinely give to children (commonly in the form of fizzy drinks). Few of us even think of it as a drug, much less our daily use of it as an addiction. It’s so pervasive that it’s easy to overlook the fact that to be caffeinated is not baseline consciousness but, in fact, an altered state. It just happens to be a state that virtually all of us share, rendering it invisible.


BBC earns extra £250million in ONE YEAR
after forcing over-75s to pay licence fee

Over-75s had been entitled to a free tv licence up till August final 12 months, when pensioners had been then compelled to cough up the annual cost as a result of funds cuts. However the company’s annual report for 2020/21 has proven it made £3,750 million from the annual TV licence. The report additionally confirmed the additional licence price funds from pensioners helped contribute to an increase of £250million from final 12 months.

Dennis Reed, director of the Silver Voices marketing campaign group, known as on the Authorities to cease the costs for older individuals earlier this 12 months.

He mentioned: “The BBC is looking the individuals finishing up these visits ‘buyer assist officers’ however their job is to implement cost.

“They are going to be asking individuals why they haven’t received a licence

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JULY 7, 2021

Starting Fresh: Older adults find
new ventures after retirement

By Kathy Dean

For most of us, retirement means slowing down and enjoying what’s familiar and comfortable. That’s not true of everyone, however. There are older adults who have an enterprising spirit that kicks in and keeps going well after their mid-60s.

Atlanta Senior Life found four of them nearby and profiled them in a recent series of articles.

    Geoffrey Levy
    Mary Ellen Moseley
    Gene Rubel
    Paul Richin, MD

Paul Richin, MD retired from working in hospitals in August 2020. The doctor, who said he is “over 65 and on Medicare,” decided to go back into private practice and “get back to old-style medicine” with Orthopedic Cortisone Injection Center, the office he opened in Dunwoody at the end of last year.


Medtech gets behind breakthrough
device law for seniors

By Fink Densford,

Congressional Democrats and Republicans today introduced a bill to provide Medicare coverage for devices granted FDA breakthrough designation.

Sponsored by U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the Ensuring Patient Access to Critical Breakthrough Products Act would codify an effort that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has delayed implementing with a final rule.

CMS issued that final rule on Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) in January, granting coverage for breakthrough devices the same day as their FDA approvals, for up to four years. Immediately upon taking office, the Biden administration asked federal agencies to consider delaying the effective date of rules published in the Federal Register to review questions of fact, law and policy the rules may raise. CMS officials decided that coverage of breakthrough devices warranted further review.


Take These 4 Steps for Happier Feet

Like tires on a car, your feet are the foundation of your body. Here's how to keep them healthy.

When I noticed Dr. Jill Biden walking in pointy-toed high heels in her husband's inaugural parade, I thought, her feet must be killing her! Not that I know much about her, but as a woman only a few years her junior, I know I can't wear those kinds of shoes for very long anymore.

That's because of a problem impacting nearly all mature adults — fat pad atrophy, when the cushion on the balls of our feet thins out, causing inflammation and marked tenderness.


Hotel Marketing Focuses on Seniors,
the Most Widely Vaccinated Group of Travelers

Travelers are starting to hit the road again as millions are vaccinated against COVID-19 and are feeling more comfortable about taking long-overdue vacations, with one of the biggest segments of the vaccinated population being senior citizens. To help bring this segment of guests back, hotels are creating promotions and offering discounts.

"With so many older Americans being vaccinated, hotels are offering innovate partnerships that create trust; COVID-friendly destinations, from golf to the beach, have been putting together promotions and campaigns," said Kate Burda, CEO and founder of Kate Burda & Co., a firm which specializes in revenue management and marketing for the luxury hospitality industry.

She cited AARP research, which states that 54% of boomers are planning trips in 2021 and are eager to travel.


In fear of sounding like an old man, I just have this to say. “If they can send a man to the moon how come they can’t get my Direct TV cable provider to work?” 

Every time it gets a little stormy, and the wind picks up a bit, the TV goes out. And it could not have happened at a worse time. Right in the middle of the evening news, no less.

One would think that after nearly 7 years of having to go through this, somebody would have found a solution to the problem. I’m sure the techs at Direct TV know what’s wrong so why can’t they fix it? Or perhaps they don’t want to fix it.

It’s not as though I get this service for free. It costs me $20 a month for basic cable, which includes all the regular broadcast channels. This is supposed to be a special reduced rate available to facilities such as ours. But what good is it if, every time the weather gets bad (just when you want to watch TV the most) I can’t.

I could never get a straight answer from management concerning this issue. Usually it’s “They’re working on it”, or “ I’ll get back to you on that.”

Right now, considering all else that’s going on here at the A.L.F., whether a bunch of old people can watch TV seems like a minor issue. But I assure you it’s not. I dare say watching TV is now at least 75% of what passes for an “activity” because of restrictions placed on us by the virus.

Unfortunately, there’s no way I can opt-out or change my individual cable provider, so I’m stuck with what I have. But there will be a time when these restrictions on group meetings will end and I’ll be the first one to bring this problem to the forefront, again................................

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JULY 6, 2021

Republicans should worry less about deficits
and more about angry grandparents who vote

By Allan Bieniek

One of the most sought after voting blocs in America are senior citizens. They’re reliable voters who turn out for elections. Many are also grandparents. In the past year, the pandemic prevented them from seeing their grandkids.

With the vaccines, grandparents can hug their kids again. But there were politicians who voted against this happening. Most people are smart enough not to come between grandmas and their kids. Sadly, the Republican Party does not possess such smarts.

One of the many benefits of the America Rescue Plan is that it gave money for distribution of vaccines. Once vaccinated, grandparents could see their little darlings again. Who would vote against such happiness? The GOP would.


Tillis, Fitzpatrick propose Senior Legal Hotline Act

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) recently unveiled bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would authorize a national network of statewide senior legal hotlines to help protect older Americans from scams.

“With thousands of Americans turning 65 every day, the need to provide accessible legal assistance to our growing senior population is one we must tackle immediately,” said Sen. Tillis. “Senior legal hotlines play a vital role in providing those services to our seniors, and this bipartisan, bicameral legislation will support these organizations so we can expand affordable legal assistance to those in need.”

Sen. Tillis is the lead original cosponsor of the bipartisan Senior Legal Hotline Act, S. 2106, which was sponsored on June 17 by U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D-PA). Rep. Fitzpatrick and bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) on the same day offered the identical version, H.R. 3981, in their chamber.


Is This the World’s Best City
to Grow Old In?

By Priti Salian

When Hanni Borzel was in her sixties, she looked toward her years ahead with fear. Her husband had recently died and, a former librarian, she dreaded the idea of becoming lonely and “useless in old age.”

“After my retirement, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life sitting on a couch, watching TV,” says Borzel. The city where she lived in central Germany did not offer many volunteering opportunities to pensioners at the time. Meanwhile, she watched on Facebook as her friend Uwe Künkenrenken detailed his visits to a kindergarten to play music and participate in theater with children. Künkenrenken’s wife, Anni, was engaging with kids from the same kindergarten by reading to them and teaching German to refugee students.

In contrast to Hildburghausen, an engaged life well into old age is the norm where the Künkenrenkens live. And it’s not by accident. The product of a decadeslong project to build an aging-friendly destination, their leafy, quaint west German town of Arnsberg might be one of the most successful examples of senior-friendly urban development in the world. At its core? A city department like no other: the Fachstelle Zukunft Alter—the Department of Future Aging.


Political landscape provides ‘unprecedented
opportunity’ for assisted living:

The senior living industry has an “unprecedented opportunity” to fight for the needs of assisted living, independent living and senior housing overall as infrastructure discussions advance on Capitol Hill, according to Argentum.

During an Argentum Advocates briefing on Wednesday, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Maggie Elehwany said that senior living has a “significant opportunity to improve the trajectory for assisted living facilities” and help providers on the frontlines.

“We anticipate, as Congress puts together its next large funding package, they’re going to spend money really like they’ve never spent before,” Elehwany said.


Inflammatory Bowel Disease
on the Rise in Older Adults

by Zaina Hamza

In line with global trends, the prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in older U.S. adults has steadily increased over the past 2 decades, a study of Medicare beneficiaries showed.

From 2001 to 2018, the age-adjusted prevalence increased annually by 3.4% for Crohn's disease (95% CI 3.2%-3.7%) and by 2.8% for ulcerative colitis (95% CI 2.6%-3.0%), reported Fang Xu, PhD, and colleagues from the CDC.

The largest annual percentage increase, according to the findings in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was among non-Hispanic Black individuals, at 5% for Crohn's disease and 3.5% for ulcerative colitis, though increases were observed across all racial and ethnic groups:

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JULY 5, 2021

The Devastating Effect of Lockdowns on
Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19A

On March 13, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a lockdown order, banning everyone but essential personnel from entering nursing homes.  As a result, nursing home residents began a months long period of isolation-cut off from their families. Those who could, took advantage of electronic visitation, but because of a lack of resources or due to a resident’s medical condition this was not always possible. The lack of family presence severely restricted the ability of families to monitor their loved one’s care.  Further compounding isolation was CMS barring state survey agencies and long-term care ombudsmen from entering homes.

From the start, Consumer Voicehas been extremely concerned that nursing homes would not have sufficient staff to provide needed care to residents.  For years,  understaffing has been a problem in facilities. COVID-19 exacerbated these shortages. In addition, facilities have benefited from families providing care to residents-care the facilities themselves should have been providing.We feared that these factors, when combined with little or no oversight, would result in residents suffering and dying from neglect and isolation.  

In September 2020, CMS eased the visitation restrictions and permitted visits under limited circumstances. This was the first time that residents and families could see each other in-person. Very quickly, Consumer Voice began hearing from family members that their loved ones were almost unrecognizable because of physical and mental decline.  Families shared stories about residents who had lost extreme amounts of weight,  not been washed, developed pressure ulcers, and suffered significant cognitive decline.  To better understand the effects lockdowns were having on residents, we created a survey1 asking families who had in-person visits to answer questions about their loved ones' appearance and functionality.


A quarter of 65-year-old Americans
will have ‘severe need’ for long-term care

By Alessandra Malito

Only one-fifth of 65-year-old Americans won’t need long-term care services. Everyone else can expect to require some level of it — and about a quarter of these retirees will have “severe needs” for this assistance, a recent study found.

Long-term care assists individuals in “activities of daily living,” which include bathing and eating, and in some cases, grocery shopping and cooking. For some people, this care is administered at home, while others may have to go to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

About 38% of older Americans will experience “moderate needs” and 22% will have “minimal needs” for long-term care services, the Center for Retirement Research report found. The researchers sifted through two decades of data from the Health and Retirement Study, and took into account the intensity and duration of these long-term care needs.


Tenant Protections Alone Cannot Solve
The Affordable Housing Crisis:
More Housing Options Are Needed

By Atticus LeBlanc

During my career in affordable housing, I’ve heard many times that insufficient legal protections for tenants are the root cause of the affordable housing crisis. Recently, I’ve encountered more pushback along these lines — with some taking umbrage to my position that a lack of quality housing options is predominantly caused by a lack of supply and access.

Yes, laws absolutely should exist that prevent predation on tenants by landlords and to uphold basic living standards. But I’ve yet to see a case where stronger tenant protections have improved housing access or affordability; rather, a multitude of quality housing options provides the best tenant protection of all: the freedom to choose.

If we can align on the goal that every person should have the opportunity to access a safe, clean, affordable home, then how can we measure the strength of our arguments? I’ve had the benefit of engaging with homeless, under-housed and low-income populations for 13 years. I’ve seen firsthand the squalid conditions that many are forced to call “home” simply because it was the best option available. Recently, we’ve seen an explosion of working families resorting to extended-stay motels as permanent housing, simply due to the lack of access to better choices.


Over 65? This New Shortage
Puts You at "Increased Risk"

By Phil Galewitz

For years, Louise Shackett has had trouble walking or standing for long periods, making it difficult for her to clean her house in southeastern Maine or do laundry. Shackett, 80, no longer drives, which makes it hard to get to the grocery store or doctor.

Her low income, though, qualifies her for a state program that pays for a personal aide 10 hours a week to help with chores and errands.

"It helps to keep me independent," she said.


Older adults may improve sleep
with calming music

By Kiersten Willis

Researchers scoured studies that evaluated how listening to music affected older adults facing sleep issues who live at home. Five studies with 288 participants were evaluated. Half of the participants listened to music while the other half received their typical treatment for their sleep issues. Or, they had no treatment. Those treated with music listened to rhythmic or calming music ranging for 30 minutes or up to an hour. This lasted anywhere from two days to three months. Every participant completed a survey about how well they believe they slept. Ultimately, they had a sleep quality score ranging from 0 to 21.

Then, researchers compared the differences in average scores for people who did and didn’t listen to music. They reviewed differences in people who listened to calm and rhythmic music. Time was also evaluated. Researchers compared scores of people who listened to music for four weeks or more and four weeks or fewer.


As this July 4th holiday comes to a close, I find it necessary to remind you that no group has lost more in the way of life and liberty than America’s senior citizens.

The American revolution was fought, not because we didn’t like the British or the King, but because, not only did we have to endure taxes and tariffs far beyond those of other British citizens, we had no one in parliament to represent us. Much like what is going on in many states now with fighting for the rights of our elderly.

The nation is slowly returning to normal and breaking out of the desolation and hardships brought about by long months of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing so, it is easy to forget that our elderly were particularly targeted to withstand the misery associated with the virus. Including, but not limited to, depression, isolation, boredom, restriction of activities and the elimination of the basic freedoms guaranteed to all Americans.

While the pandemic could be used as an excuse for the loss of many seniors rights and freedoms, why now, when the rest of the nation may once again enjoy those freedoms, are we seniors left to suffer under the yoke of bureaucratic oppression? The only answer I can think of is, “because they can get away with it.”

The government agencies that oversee most of the long-term care facilities are, by definition, either run by politicians or operate under their influence. And, as everybody knows, the one thing a politician does not want on his record is the possibility that they may have contributed to death of an old person. And so, by keeping us under the strictest anti-infection protocols, the chances of us dying of COVID-19 is kept to a minimum regardless of what the rest of America may do. The only other group treated so ‘distinctly’ and cruelly are those serving time in our prisons. Does this sound fair to you? What was our crime?

Regulatory agencies like the Department of Health here in New York, can argue that they are not directly restricting the rights of residents but instructing the individual facilities (licensed by the DOH) to abide by the protocols they have set forth. Placing the responsibility for our safety solely on the operators of those facilities who have no say how those rules and regulations are to be enforced or paid for. As of now, there are no plans to reimburse those venues for the cost of PPE or losing revenue brought about by having to comply with their orders.

When this fifteen month nightmare for us seniors will end is not clear. We had hoped it would have been when the state reached the goal of having at least 70% of the population vaccinated. That milestone has come and gone without one iota of a clue what conditions must be present to restore OUR freedoms and rights. And that, my friends, is what makes this more unbearable………………………

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JULY 3, 2021


Ready but cautious:
Experts advise seniors to socialize
at their own pace, comfort level

Now that vaccinations are allowing seniors to visit with family and friends once more, both in care homes, in their own homes and in the community, some seniors are proceeding cautiously and experts advise everyone should begin to socialize at their own pace and everyone should respect each other's choices.

As COVID-19 quarantines end for seniors, they are cautiously emerging back into the world.

Caution is definitely the word. Seniors, particularly those in a nursing home setting, might be among the hardest hit populations when it came to dealing with COVID-19 for the past year and a half. In many cases, visitation from relatives was stopped entirely, and still many suffered outbreaks with devastating effects.

  * * * * * *

Forgetful? It’s most likely the rigors of growing old

It’s not just old-timers who have those senior moments; studies show that we gradually begin to find it harder to focus when we are in our 20s, and it gets more difficult as we age. It’s a slow process, but it’s also part of the aging process.

“A specific brain network, the locus coeruleus, that controls our ability to focus while under stress appears to weaken as we age, interfering with our ability to focus,” is how Science Daily explains it.

Studies have shown that when we get older it’s normal for us to get distracted, making it hard for us to pay attention.


Caring for an Aging Nation
By Lydia Zuraw, Carmen Heredia Rodriguez

Health care for the nation’s seniors looms large as the baby-boom generation ages into retirement. President Joe Biden tacitly acknowledged those needs in March with his proposal to spend $400 billion over the next eight years to improve access to in-home and community-based care.

The swelling population of seniors will far outpace growth in other age groups. That acceleration — and the slower growth in other age groups — could leave many older Americans with less family to rely on for help in their later years. Meanwhile, federal officials estimate that more than half of people turning 65 will need long-term care services at some point. That care is expensive and can be hard to find.

Spending for paid long-term care already runs about $409 billion a year. Yet that staggering number doesn’t begin to reflect the real cost. Experts estimate that 1 in 6 Americans provide billions of dollars’ worth of unpaid care to a relative or friend age 50 or older in their home.

* * * * * *

What COVID-19 Means
for the Future of Aging

Are there any silver linings for the future of aging coming out of COVID-19? And what lessons have we learned from the pandemic that could improve the health of older — and younger — Americans?

These experts at the Milken Institute Future of Health Summit saw challenges and opportunities for older adults resulting from COVID-19  |  Credit: Milken Institute Future of Health Summit

A panel of experts and I, as the moderator, looked for answers at the recent virtual Milken Institute 2021 Future of Health Summit panel: COVID-19 and the Future of Aging. (The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank.) Our panel helped kick off the two-day event, featuring more than 200 speakers and 1,000 participants. You can watch our session on the summit's site and read highlights here.

Read more  >>  

*  *  *  *  *

Older adults may improve sleep with calming music
By Kiersten Willis

Researchers scoured studies that evaluated how listening to music affected older adults facing sleep issues who live at home. Five studies with 288 participants were evaluated. Half of the participants listened to music while the other half received their typical treatment for their sleep issues. Or, they had no treatment. Those treated with music listened to rhythmic or calming music ranging for 30 minutes or up to an hour. This lasted anywhere from two days to three months. Every participant completed a survey about how well they believe they slept. Ultimately, they had a sleep quality score ranging from 0 to 21.

Then, researchers compared the differences in average scores for people who did and didn’t listen to music. They reviewed differences in people who listened to calm and rhythmic music. Time was also evaluated. Researchers compared scores of people who listened to music for four weeks or more and four weeks or fewer.



More than 230 deaths reported in
British Columbia amid historic heat wave

By Sarah Moon, Jon Passantino and Rebekah Riess

More than 230 deaths have been reported in British Columbia since Friday as a historic heat wave brought record-high temperatures, officials said Tuesday. The province's chief coroner called it an "unprecedented time."

"Since the onset of the heat wave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory," Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement.

The coroner's service normally receives about 130 death reports over a four-day period. From Friday through Monday, at least 233 deaths were reported, the chief coroner said, adding "this number will increase as data continues to be updated."

* * * * * *

Demographics and the Future of South Korea
By Chung Min Lee, Kathryn Botto

How long can South Korea retain its global economic and technological competitiveness? Will the country maintain credible deterrence and defense postures well into the future? Are existing socioeconomic inequalities likely to worsen with worsening demographic trends? These questions lie at the heart of South Korea’s demographic trajectory.

South Korea’s ability to comprehensively address its demographic transition will affect every facet of its well-being, international image, national security, and even potential post-unification dynamics. This compendium examines various dimensions of South Korean society and the country’s geopolitical influence in light of its unprecedented demographic changes, which are already underway.

* * * * * * *

Tour de France drops lawsuit against fan
who caused massive crash

A 30-year-old French woman who caused a wreck during the first stage of the Tour de France is out of hot water legally after race organizers dropped a lawsuit on Thursday.

The woman held up cardboard sign during Saturday's Stage 1 and was not watching the competitors when German rider Tony Martin rode into the sign, causing a massive pileup. Nearly two dozen people were injured including some riders who had to withdraw from the tour.

"We are withdrawing our complaint," Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said, according to Reuters. "This story has been blown out of proportion, but we wish to remind everyone of the safety rules on the race.

* * * * * *

Legal rights undermined in Hong Kong
under Beijing's security law

By Xinqi Su

China’s national security law for Hong Kong has shaken the city’s legal foundations in the year since it was imposed, lawyers say, with court decisions and sweeping new powers for prosecution fueling concerns about rights and the rule of law.

Unlike the Communist Party-controlled courts in mainland China, Hong Kong has an internationally respected common-law system that forms the bedrock of its reputation as a global financial hub.

Circumventing Hong Kong’s own legislature, the security law was drafted in Beijing with the wording kept secret until it came into force on June 30 last year as authorities tightened controls after massive and often violent pro-democracy protests in 2019.

* * * * * *

Thailand bets on 'Phuket sandbox' program to save tourism

Somsak Betlao covered the outboard motor on his traditional wooden longtail boat with a tarp, wrapping up another day on Phuket’s Patong beach where not a single tourist needed his services shuttling them to nearby islands.

Since Thailand’s pandemic restrictions on travel were imposed in early 2020, tourism has fallen off a cliff, and nowhere has it been felt more than the resort island off the country’s southern coast, where nearly 95% of the economy is related to the industry.

So, despite spiking coronavirus numbers elsewhere in the country, the government is forging ahead with a program known as the “Phuket sandbox” to reopen the island to fully vaccinated visitors. It hopes it will revive tourism — a sector that accounted for 20% of the country’s economy before the pandemic.

* * * * * *

Rome's Colosseum opens its underground
for the first time in its history

Hada Messia

The Colosseum has opened its underground level for the first time in its history.

Some things never change in Rome, they say. Now, however, the Colosseum has proved that theory wrong, by opening its subterranean levels to the public.

It is not only the first time in 2,000 years that the area -- described as the "heart" of the building -- has been open; since the underground levels, or "hypogea," were where gladiators and animals waited before going into combat, this is the first time in the monument's history that the public has ever been allowed in.

Now, tourists will be able to walk through the passageways on a wooden platform and admire the corridors and archways which interconnected the hypogea between the rooms where gladiators and animals waited, before entering the elevators which would catapult them onto the arena.



Children Are Among the 18 Dead
in Florida Condo Collapse
By Mitch Smith, Giulia Heyward, Richard Fausset, Emily Cochrane

Teams of rescue workers have removed more than three million pounds of debris in their search for more survivors after the collapse of a condominium tower in Surfside, Fla.CreditCredit...Maria Alejandra Cardona for The New York Times

Two children are among the known death toll in last week’s partial collapse of a condominium building in Surfside, Fla., which climbed to 18 on Wednesday as more bodies were recovered from the rubble.

At a news conference on Wednesday evening, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County said as many as 145 people remained missing nearly a week after the desperate search for survivors began. The bodies of two children, ages 4 and 10, were found on Wednesday, as the known death toll rose by six to 18.


Surfside building collapse latest:
Structural concerns halt search and rescue efforts
The massive search and rescue operation is in its eighth day.

ByMorgan Winsor andRosa Sanchez

The death toll has risen to 18 after the bodies of two children were found on Wednesday, with 14...Read More
One week after a 12-story residential building partially collapsed in South Florida's Miami-Dade County, at least 18 people have been confirmed dead while 145 others remain unaccounted for, officials said.

The massive search and rescue operation entered its eighth day on Thursday as crews continued to carefully comb through the pancaked pile of debris in hopes of finding survivors. The partial collapse occurred around 1:15 a.m. local time on June 24 at the Champlain Towers South condominium in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach. Approximately 55 of the oceanfront complex's 136 units were destroyed, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah.

* * * * * *

Supreme Court upholds restrictive Arizona voting laws
in test of Voting Rights Act

By Pete Williams

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld two election laws in the 2020 battleground state of Arizona that challengers said make it harder for minorities to vote.

The case was an important test for what's left of one of the nation's most important civil rights laws, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which the Supreme Court scaled back in 2013. A remaining provision allows lawsuits claiming that voting changes would put minority voters at a disadvantage in electing candidates of their choice.

The vote was 6-3, with the court's three liberals dissenting.

* * * * * *

House to probe Capitol riot —
over Republican opposition


Sharply split along party lines, the House launched a new investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection on Wednesday, approving a special committee to probe the violent attack as police officers who were injured fighting Donald Trump’s supporters watched from the gallery above.

The vote to form the panel was 222-190, with all but two Republicans objecting that majority Democrats would be in charge. The action came after Senate Republicans blocked creation of an independent commission that would have been evenly split between the two parties.

Ahead of the vote, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers in the chamber, “We will be judged by future generations as to how we value our democracy.” She said she preferred that an independent panel lead the inquiry but Congress could wait no longer to begin a deeper look at the insurrection that was the worst attack on the Capitol in more than 200 years.

* * * * * *

Gas prices hit 7-year high as stations
run low on fuel ahead of July 4

By Will Feuer

Gas stations across the country are facing fuel shortages, driving prices to a seven-year high as more than 40 million Americans prepare to hit the road for the Fourth of July weekend.

The nationwide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit $3.09 on Monday, the highest price Americans have been asked to shell out ahead of the holiday weekend since 2014, according to data from the American Automobile Association.

AAA forecasts that 43.6 million Americans will travel by car this weekend — the most so far this year.

* * * * * *

Deadly heat across Seattle shatters
all-time high-temperature record

By Mark Puleo

People in Portland and Seattle say stores are selling out of fans and AC units, and hotels with central air are booked solid during the heat wave.

It's hotter than it's ever been before in the Pacific Northwest and you'll have to excuse the locals for not being totally prepared over the weekend. In a region where many households aren't equipped with air conditioning, temperatures topped 95 degrees Fahrenheit, then 100, then 105 F in what has become the most menacing heat wave in Washington history.

A week ahead of Independence Day, nature's early barbecue celebration stuck the Northwest directly into the coals.

In Seattle, residents had never experienced heat the likes of which enveloped the city Sunday. Temperatures in the Emerald City topped out at 104 degrees F, a new all-time high for a place that's more commonly thought of for its rain than its heat. Even at its coolest, the temperature never dropped below 73 F, a record-high minimum for Seattle.

* * * * * *

Trump Org. and top aide charged with 15-year
scheme to defraud U.S. of taxes
Trump Org. and top aide charged with
15-year scheme to defraud U.S. of taxes

By Adam Reiss, Tom Winter, Gretchen Morgenson and Rebecca Shabad
The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, were charged Thursday in what prosecutors said was a sweeping, 15-year scheme to compensate top executives of former President Donald Trump's company “off the books” and help them avoid paying taxes.

The Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to charges that included tax fraud and falsifying business records. Weisselberg, 73, pleaded not guilty to grand larceny and tax fraud charges, among others, after prosecutors accused him of personally avoiding taxes on $1.7 million of his income.

Prosecutors say it was an "orchestrated" scheme to compensate executives "off the books" to avoid taxes.

"Contrary to today's assertion by the company's former CEO, this is not a 'standard practice in the business community' nor was it the act of a rogue or isolated employee," Carey Dunne, an assistant district attorney, said in court. "Instead, it was orchestrated by the most senior executives, who were financially benefiting themselves and the company by getting secret pay raises at the expense of state and federal taxpayers."

* * * * *

10 states to end enhanced
unemployment benefits June 26

By Sarah Ewall-Wice

Ten states will exit the enhanced unemployment benefits at the end of the week — impacting roughly 2.5 million workers. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Utah will all be ending the $300 federal supplemental benefits in their states, joining 12 other states that previously opted out of the benefits in the past two weeks, as the U.S. emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

In total, 26 states are ending the enhanced federal benefits before they're set to expire in September. All of the states but one are run by Republican governors who began announcing the termination of benefits last month, claiming the increased unemployment benefits were causing workforce shortages by discouraging people from returning to work, even as pandemic-related restrictions eased.

In all but two of the states exiting the enhanced benefits June 26, Florida and Ohio, federal unemployment programs for gig and self-employed workers, as well as those unemployed long-term, will also end. Because of that, more than 1.1 million unemployed workers will see all unemployment benefits end, including more than 700,000 people in Texas alone.

* * * * * *

Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years
for murder of George Floyd

By Nick Halter

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced by a Minnesota judge on Friday to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd.

State of play: The sentence from Judge Peter Cahill is about in line with what most legal experts expected. Prosecutors had asked for 30 years.

Chauvin will serve 15 years behind bars and 7.5 on parole. Cahill laid out his reasoning in a 22-page sentencing order.

Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, had argued that his client should only receive probation as he was part of a "broken system."

Chauvin was granted credit for 199 days served.

* * * * * *

Justice Department suing Georgia
over state's new voting law

The Justice Department is suing Georgia over the state’s new election law, alleging Republican state lawmakers rushed through a sweeping overhaul with an intent to deny Black voters equal access to the ballot.

“Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday in announcing the lawsuit.

Republican lawmakers in the state pushed back immediately, pledging a forceful defense of Georgia’s law.

The Biden administration’s move comes two weeks after Garland said his department would scrutinize new laws in Republican-controlled states that tighten voting rules. He said the federal government would take action if prosecutors found unlawful activity.

* * * * * *

CDC extends eviction moratorium a month,
 says it's last time


The Biden administration on Thursday extended the nationwide ban on evictions for a month to help millions of tenants unable to make rent payments during the coronavirus pandemic, but said this is the last time it plans to do so.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, extended the evictions moratorium from June 30 until July 31. The CDC said “this is intended to be the final extension of the moratorium.”

A Biden administration official said the last month would be used for an “all hands on deck” multiagency campaign to prevent a wave of evictions. One of the reasons the moratorium was put in place was to prevent further spread of COVID-19 by people put out on the streets and into shelters.



Meghan McCain Leaving The View
After 4 Seasons
By Jess Cohen

On Thursday, July 1, the conservative TV personality announced she'll be leaving The View after four seasons as a co-host. Meghan, who joined the show in 2017 after departing Fox News, said in a statement, "I'm here to tell all of you my wonderful co-hosts and the viewers at home that this will be my last season on The View." Meghan will finish out this season and will still be with the co-hosts until the end of July.

"This was not an easy decision," she said, noting she'll be living in Washington, D.C. "It took a lot of thought and counsel and prayer and talking to my family and my close friends."

The 36-year-old daughter of the late John McCain has had a bumpy ride on the show since returning from maternity leave in January. In fact, during one on-air exchange, fellow co-host Joy Behar told Meghan she "did not miss" her while she was away.



Donald Rumsfeld, former secretary of defense
By Stephen Collinson and Paul LeBlanc

Donald Rumsfeld, the acerbic architect of the Iraq war and a master Washington power player who served as US secretary of defense for two presidents, has died at the age of 88.

The pugnacious businessman, bureaucrat and former lawmaker helped drag victims out of the burning Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The al Qaeda attacks heralded the War on Terror and years of foreign entanglements that he directed and that ultimately ended his political career when they went sour.

Rumsfeld died surrounded by his family in "his beloved Taos, New Mexico," according to a family statement. No cause of death was immediately provided.

* * * * * *

Stuart Damon, who was best known for his role on
“General Hospital,” has died. He was 84.

“He’d been struggling with renal failure for the last several years,” ABC7 reporter George Pennacchio confirmed in a Facebook post. “He was a kind, loving and friendly man. It’s something Christopher heard his entire life. It was my honor to know Stuart Damon. May this Prince R.I.P.”

Damon devoted over 30 years of his life to playing Dr. Alan Quartermaine on ABC’s “General Hospital” and spinoff “Port Charles.” With the role, he earned six Daytime Emmy nominations and won in 1999 — 22 years after joining the cast — for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series.

The New York native was born in Brooklyn Feb. 5, 1937 and later went on to graduate from Brandeis University in 1958. He first took his talents to Broadway in 1959 in the ensemble of “First Impressions” and then spent over a year in the original production of “Irma la Douce.”



New York Has The Worst Traffic In The US

New Yorkers have one less excuse to complain about Los Angeles, because the country’s worst stop-and-go conditions moved to the East Coast last year. A study from Texas A&M found that drivers in the New York-Newark area spent 494,268 hours in traffic in 2020, compared to 365,543 hours for those in LA.

It’s the first time LA has lost its traffic title in nearly 30 years.

Zoom out: The average metropolitan driver spent ~41 hours in traffic last year, but drivers in the US’ five most-congested metro areas spent much more:

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JULY 1, 2021


Now is the time to ‘push hard’ against
vaccine hesitancy: senior living expert

As the senior living and care industry struggles to achieve a self-imposed COVID-19 vaccination rate of 75% for staff members, one association maintains that now is the time to “push hard” against vaccine hesitancy as data show the positive effects of the vaccines.

Lori Porter, CEO of the National Association of Health Care Assistants, addressed recruitment challenges and best practices for certified nurse assistants during a LeadingAge membership call on Monday. NAHCA represents CNAs in assisted living, nursing homes, home care and hospice settings, and hospitals.

Porter said that, when it comes to the coronavirus, her concern remains vaccine hesitancy among frontline staff. Arguments against the vaccines are becoming weaker the longer they exist and the more people who are vaccinated.

Routine exercise could lead to Medicare savings later

A recent study found physically active younger adults could see big savings in Medicare costs as senior citizens.

A recent study suggests younger adults could save more than $1,000 on their Medicare costs every year as senior citizens if they stick to routine physical activity.

Researchers from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom published their findings in the BMJ Sport & Exercise Medicine journal. They analyzed Medicare claims data from 1999-2008 and information from a National Institutes of Health-American Association of Retired Persons (NIH-AARP) Diet and Health study, including 21,750 respondents.

What You (and Your Doctor) Don’t
Understand About Dementia Might Hurt You

Does your doctor have less faith than you in how you'd handle a diagnosis of dementia? It's possible — and that could have implications for your care.

New research suggests that misperceptions and stigma about Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia may be preventing adults from getting the help they need at two critical junctures that can alter the course of the condition: taking preventative steps and getting an early diagnosis.

According to a new AARP survey, a higher proportion of health care providers (7 in 10) perceive that patients would feel ashamed or embarrassed to have dementia than do patients themselves (1 in 5).

Elder Abuse Is Intolerable.
It’s Up to Each of Us to Stop It.

By Ramsey Alwin

We all deserve to lead happy and healthy lives free from abuse as we age, yet older people are mistreated more often than we think.

Older adults are mistreated more often than we think due to the lack of supports in our communities.

 It doesn’t have to be this way. In support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) today, get involved in creating a stronger society that safeguards our communities and prevents abuse.

It could be happening to your neighbor, your aunt, or someone you know from church. It could be physical, emotional, or financial. Almost always, it is silent.

It is elder abuse, and it is more prevalent than you might think. Studies have found that at least one in 10 older adults living in the community experienced some form of abuse in the prior year. In almost 60% of incidents, the perpetrator is a family member.

Medicare Savings Programs

You can get help from your state paying your Medicare premiums. In some cases, Medicare Savings Programs may also pay Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments if you meet certain conditions. These conditions are listed below under "How do I apply for Medicare "

4 kinds of Medicare Savings Programs

Select a program name below for details about each Medicare Savings Program. If you have income from working, you still may qualify for these 4 programs even if your income is higher than the income limits listed for each program.

expandQualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program
expandSpecified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program
expandQualifying Individual (QI) Program
expandQualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program

If you qualify for the QMB program, SLMB, or QI program, you automatically qualify to get Extra Help paying for Medicare drug coverage.

We have temporarily suspended our daily editorial. After 15 plus months and over 300 posts I have little new left to say. Bur fear not. If and when something that gets my hackles up comes around I’ll be sure to comment on it.

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JUNE 30, 2021


Where Older Adults Are Most Financially Insecure

When most of us (and retirement experts) think about how prepared we'll be for a financially comfortable retirement, it's typically about how much money has been saved for it. But University of Massachusetts Boston professor Jan Mutchler says there's another way to look at it: Will you have enough income to afford the local cost of living?

Based on the number-crunching that Mutchler and her Gerontology Institute at U Mass Boston colleagues have done creating what's known as the Elder Index, the answer for millions of Americans is, sadly, no.

"When we focus on older people living alone nationwide, about half do not have income sufficient to cover the cost of living in the location where they live."


Medicare to Finally Cover Dental, Vision, Hearing

Citing some of the biggest healthcare complaints of constituents and a rare chance to fix the mess, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Sunday his push to have Medicare finally cover dental, vision, and hearing. Schumer said this longtime lack of coverage has plagued and burdened people for far too long, while contributing to more serious and more costly ailments.

Schumer said upcoming legislation that he is leading with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to passage in the Senate—the Jobs & Family Plan—could help fix this mess. He explained the path forward, detailed data related to this lack of coverage and made the case to once-and-for-all fix this gaping healthcare hole.

“When I talk to people out and about in their communities, one of the things I hear the most involves the gaping healthcare hole in Medicare that simply leaves out coverage for seniors’ dental, vision and hearing—but now we have a real chance to fix this,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “If you talk to family medicine or primary care doctors, they will tell you with certainty that ignoring medical issues related to dental, vision and hearing often devolves into far more serious medical problems for people—especially seniors—that cost more to treat and are harder to remedy. With the current Medicare platform, those three things are just left out, like it’s no big deal, but it is a big deal—and we should fix it.”


It’s True: Stress Does Turn Hair Gray (And It’s Reversible)

Legend has it that Marie Antoinette’s hair turned gray overnight just before her beheading in 1791.

Though the legend is inaccurate—hair that has already grown out of the follicle does not change color—a new study(link is external and opens in a new window) from researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is the first to offer quantitative evidence linking psychological stress to graying hair in people.

And while it may seem intuitive that stress can accelerate graying, the researchers were surprised to discover that hair color can be restored when stress is eliminated, a finding that contrasts with a recent study in mice that suggested that stressed-induced gray hairs are permanent.


Older Americans are aging better than ever,
especially women

Over the past decade, the news has largely been good for older Americans: More people are able to meet their daily care needs without assistance and women seem to be thriving the most.

Findings are from a recently released series of online dashboards and chartbooks that tracks nationwide trends for adults ages 70 and older from 2011 through 2020.

According to the report, over the past 10 years, older adults have experienced improvements in physical functioning, vision and hearing, and, through 2019, lower rates of dementia. As a result, fewer are living in nursing homes and assisted living settings, and fewer of those in the community are receiving help. More are using assistive devices in their daily activities and the percentage going online for activities has also increased dramatically.


A little over 15 months ago I switched formats for this blog from three-days-a-week to five. I did this mainly for myself. As soon as they announced that a lockdown/quarantine would go into effect for an indeterminate amount of time, I knew I would need something to occupy my time. And, if I could, inform all of you about what it’s like to be isolated for who knows how long. While I was prepared for a long haul, I did not know that this much time would have gone by and that we would still be in the same state as we were back in March 2020.
During this time I have spent countless hours writing countless lines about life, love, dreams, nostalgia, politics and whatever else came into my head. A quick calculation tells me that’s over 300 essays. That’s a lot in anybody’s book. And, while I have had fun writing them, I cannot deny that, at times, it was difficult. But I continued out of an obligation for you, and for me. But now, after all these months and all those keystrokes writing these 500 plus word dissertations has become a chore. A chore, because I have nothing much more to say. So bad that recently I have found myself writing on a subject I wrote about before. That’s how I knew it was time to take a break. Therefore, beginning today, Monday, I will discontinue the daily 411 essay while continuing with the latest news for seniors and all the other features. While I will not write an entire post of my own, I may write a few lines of comment on the stories and articles posted. And, if the spirit moves me, and if there is something new to talk about, I’ll write about it. I hope you understand I appreciate your loyalty and that someday soon me and my fellow residents here at the ALF may return to a normal life and I can go back to writing something meaningful once again…………………………

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JUNE 29, 2021


Inflation Greets Retirees Emerging From the Pandemic.
Here’s How to Prepare.

By Gail MarksJarvis

As the pandemic fades and the country reopens, retirees are emerging to the unsettling whiff of inflation. Gas prices are up more than 50% year over year. Grocery prices have climbed 2.2% overall. Airfares are up nearly 25%.

Even spring flowers are delivering an unpleasant scent.

“People are out at landscaping firms and the prices are a shock,” said Freddy Garcia, a financial planner in Naperville, Ill.  “Clients are complaining about everything from the flowers they are going to plant to the patio furniture.”

While the central bank has played down rising prices, insisting they will be temporary, it’s clear that inflation has surged in recent months as Covid vaccines have made it safer for vulnerable people to return to a semblance of normalcy. But the spike in inflation raises two questions for retirees: Is there a reason to be concerned? And if so, how can you prepare?

Read free with

House of Representatives passes bill to
protect older Americans in the workplace

By Carmen Reinicke

The House of Representatives has passed a bill aimed at protecting older Americans in the workforce by making it easier to mount age discrimination suits.

The Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act was introduced earlier this year by Reps. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Rodney Davis, R-Ill., and passed Wednesday. It aims to restore protections for workers age 40 and older that were eroded in a 2009 Supreme Court ruling, Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc.

The decade-old decision made it more difficult for older workers to prove that they’d experienced discrimination based on age.

More older adults may have undiagnosed
dementia than previously estimated

Only 1 in 10 older adults in a large national survey who were found to have cognitive impairment consistent with dementia reported a formal medical diagnosis of the condition.

Using data from the Health and Retirement Study to develop a nationally representative sample of roughly 6 million Americans age 65 or older, researchers at the University of Michigan, North Dakota State University and Ohio University found that 91% of people with cognitive impairment consistent with dementia told questioners they had a formal medical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

"(The discrepancy) was higher than I was expecting," said Sheria Robinson-Lane, study co-author and assistant professor at the U-M School of Nursing.

Pfizer argues its case in federal court
for helping seniors meet drug copays

By Eleanor Laise

Pfizer PFE, presented its case against the federal government Tuesday in a lawsuit that could shake up drug pricing as well as the government’s anti-fraud enforcement efforts.

In oral arguments before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the pharmaceutical giant sought a ruling in favor of proposed programs that would let the company help cover copays for Medicare patients taking tafamidis, a $225,000-a-year cardiovascular drug.

The lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, filed last year, is a test of federal policies that block drug manufacturers from giving Medicare patients direct copay assistance and restrict their ability to funnel such assistance through independent patient-assistance charities. Pharmaceutical companies offering anything of value to induce Medicare patients to take their drugs risk running afoul of federal anti-kickback laws.

The Nursing Home Vulnerabilities
That Led to Disaster

Experts say these five main factors caused the colossal failures during the pandemic

Patricia Olthoff-Blank thought everything was going just fine at her mother's nursing home in rural Buffalo Center, Iowa. Virginia Olthoff had lived there for 15 years, and the administration communicated frequently with her family about her care.

Then Olthoff-Blank got a 3 a.m. call from an emergency room nurse. She learned, to her horror, that her mother was severely dehydrated. An ER physician told her, "This did not just happen." He believed her mother had been without water for four or five days.

What happened to the editorials?

A little over 15 months ago I switched formats for this blog from three-days-a-week to five. I did this mainly for myself. As soon as they announced that a lockdown/quarantine would go into effect for an indeterminate amount of time, I knew I would need something to occupy my time. And, if I could, inform all of you about what it’s like to be isolated for who knows how long. While I was prepared for a long haul, I did not know that this much time would have gone by and that we would still be in the same state as we were back in March 2020.

During this time I have spent countless hours writing countless lines about life, love, dreams, nostalgia, politics and whatever else came into my head. A quick calculation tells me that’s over 300 essays. That’s a lot in anybody’s book. And, while I have had fun writing them, I cannot deny that, at times, it was difficult. But I continued out of an obligation for you, and for me. But now, after all these months and all those keystrokes writing these 500 plus word dissertations has become a chore. A chore, because I have nothing much more to say. So bad that recently I have found myself writing on a subject I wrote about before. That’s how I knew it was time to take a break. Therefore, beginning today, Monday, I will discontinue the daily 411 essay while continuing with the latest news for seniors and all the other features. While I will not write an entire post of my own, I may write a few lines of comment on the stories and articles posted. And, if the spirit moves me, and if there is something new to talk about, I’ll write about it. I hope you understand I appreciate your loyalty and that someday soon me and my fellow residents here at the ALF may return to a normal life and I can go back to writing something meaningful once again…………………………

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


JUNE 28, 2021


A little over 15 months ago I switched formats for this blog from three-days-a-week to five. I did this mainly for myself. As soon as they announced that a lockdown/quarantine would go into effect for an indeterminate amount of time, I knew I would need something to occupy my time. And, if I could, inform all of you about what it’s like to be isolated for who knows how long. While I was prepared for a long haul, I did not know that this much time would have gone by and that we would still be in the same state as we were back in March 2020.

During this time I have spent countless hours writing countless lines about life, love, dreams, nostalgia, politics and whatever else came into my head. A quick calculation tells me that’s over 300 essays. That’s a lot in anybody’s book. And, while I have had fun writing them, I cannot deny that, at times, it was difficult. But I continued out of an obligation for you, and for me. But now, after all these months and all those keystrokes writing these 500 plus word dissertations, almost every day has become a chore. A chore, because I have nothing much more to say. It has become so bad that on more than a few occasions I have written on a subject I wrote about before. That’s when I knew it was time not to stop, but to take a break. Therefore, beginning Monday I will discontinue the daily 411 essay while continuing with the latest news for seniors and all the other features. While I will not write a post of my own, I may write a few lines of comment on the stories and articles posted. And, if the spirit moves me, and if there is something new to talk about, I’ll write about it. I hope you understand I appreciate your loyalty and that someday soon me and my fellow residents here at the ALF may return to a normal life and I can go back to writing something meaningful once again…………………………




5 Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Advice from the author of 'Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors and Patients'

As U.S. health care completes its transformation toward a more efficient and effective future in the years ahead, Americans will need to protect themselves and their families from those aspects of physician culture that lead to poorer outcomes and higher costs.

Although patients themselves cannot transform this culture, they can influence physicians' actions. And that process can begin as soon as patients demand it.

It took a global pandemic to help doctors and patients realize the benefits of virtual care.

Here are five questions that will help protect you and your family from the negative aspects of physician culture while helping to accelerate the transformation of medical practice:

8 Medical Checkups
That You Need To Resume

By Barbara Stepko

Half of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now a new health care hurdle: Reassuring people that it’s safe to return for recommended screenings, checkups and exams. Concerned about contracting COVID-19, people have been delaying necessary doctor visits.

According to an analysis by the Epic Health Research Network (EHRN), an electronic medical records system, screening appointments for cancers of the cervix, colon and breast were down between 86 and 94 percent in March, compared with average volumes in the three years before the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the U.S. Another study, led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that the number of primary care consultations — where cholesterol and blood pressure assessments usually take place — plummeted by more than 21 percent during the second quarter of 2020, compared with the same time period in 2018 and 2019. Equally concerning: A Cleveland Clinic survey found that 65 percent of heart disease patients have put off health screenings or checkups, with many turning “to the internet or friends and family instead of a health care provider for informal medical guidance, even though 53 percent of heart disease patients reported feeling a troubling symptom, such as shortness of breath.”


Osteoarthritis increases Parkinson's risk
in older adults, study finds

By Brian P. Dunleavy

Older adults with osteoarthritis are at increased risk for developing Parkinson's disease later in life, according to a study published Wednesday by the journal Arthritis Care & Research.

Those with the most common form of arthritis are 41% more likely to develop the movement disorder than those without the condition, the data showed.

Although osteoarthritis can affect the hands, knees, hips and spine, those with the knee and hip forms have a higher risk for Parkinson's than those with other types of the condition, the researchers said.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
on the Rise in Older Adults

by Zaina Hamza

In line with global trends, the prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in older U.S. adults has steadily increased over the past 2 decades, a study of Medicare beneficiaries showed.

From 2001 to 2018, the age-adjusted prevalence increased annually by 3.4% for Crohn's disease (95% CI 3.2%-3.7%) and by 2.8% for ulcerative colitis (95% CI 2.6%-3.0%), reported Fang Xu, PhD, and colleagues from the CDC.

The largest annual percentage increase, according to the findings in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was among non-Hispanic Black individuals, at 5% for Crohn's disease and 3.5% for ulcerative colitis, though increases were observed across all racial and ethnic groups:

Study Links Vitamin C Intake and
Skeletal Muscle Mass in Older Adults

By Skylar Kenney

According to the authors of the study, 60% of men and 50% of women participating in the study were not consuming as much vitamin C as was recommended.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found a positive association between vitamin C and skeletal muscle mass in older adults. Studied adults who consumed a standard amount of dietary vitamin C were found to have the highest skeletal muscle mass of the study participants, according to its authors.

Individuals tend to lose skeletal muscle mass as they age, which can lead to the development of sarcopenia—a condition characterized by loss of skeletal muscle mass and function—and reduced quality of life.

What We Now Know About 'Brain Age' and Dementia

n this interview, Westover explains how his research explores abnormal sleep patterns and how to improve sleep for better cognitive outcomes.

Sleep helps clear out the garbage that your brain makes in the daytime.

Why is sleep particularly important as we age?

Sleep is important for development, but also for healthy aging. As you get older and you're more at risk for problems with cognitive speed or other cognitive functions like memory, protecting your brain against the wear and tear of age becomes more and more important.

There are a couple of things that we've learned relatively recently about sleep that are still being actively researched.

Should you be screened for lung cancer?

Most health insurance plans cover lung cancer screenings to high-risk patients, as does Medicare, up to age 77.

Screening pros and cons

Doctors use a low-dose computed tomography scan (also called a low-dose CT scan, or LDCT) of the lungs to look for lung cancer. If lung cancer is detected at an early stage, it’s more likely to be cured with treatment. But a LDCT isn’t recommended for every high-risk patient.

LDCT scans have a high rate of false positives, which means that many will undergo additional (and unnecessary) screening or medical procedures, such as another scan three, six or even 12 months later to check for changes in the shape or size of the suspicious area (an indication of tumor growth). For some patients, the anxiety or worry that goes along with waiting can be a real issue.

Too Many Older Americans Are Taking Daily Aspirin

Many older adults are still taking a daily baby aspirin to ward off first-time heart problems — despite guidelines that now discourage it, a new study finds.

Researchers found that one-half to 62% of U.S. adults aged 70 and up were using low-dose aspirin to cut their risk of heart disease or stroke. And aspirin use was common even among those with no history of cardiovascular disease — a group for whom the drug may do more harm than good.

The study authors estimated that nearly 10 million Americans who fall into that
category are using aspirin.


Senior citizens and mental health concerns

It is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be two billion people worldwide who are 60 years of age or older! These valuable citizens face special physical and mental health challenges which are unique to their age bracket. Each challenge needs to be recognized and addressed appropriately.

The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” However, more than 20 percent of seniors suffer from mental or neurological disorders which are not a normal part of aging. Two of the most common are anxiety and mood disorders, which includes depression. Substance abuse is also of concern as it is easy to overlook in the senior population, and is often misdiagnosed.

Many in this age group suffer from the stigma surrounding mental health concerns which makes them afraid to seek help. In addition, one fourth of deaths caused by self-harm are senior citizens.

Alzheimer's: Blood oxygen levels could explain
why memory loss is an early symptom

By Adam Bonislawski,

In a world first, scientists from the University of Sussex have recorded blood oxygen levels in the hippocampus and provided experimental proof for why the area, commonly referred to as 'the brain's memory centre', is vulnerable to damage and degeneration, a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.

To understand why this region is so sensitive, the University of Sussex researchers, headed up by Dr Catherine Hall from the School of Psychology and Sussex Neuroscience, studied brain activity and blood flow in the hippocampus of mice. The researchers then used simulations to predict that the amount of oxygen supplied to hippocampal neurons furthest from blood vessels is only just enough for the cells to keep working normally.

Dr Catherine Hall, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex says:

"These findings are an important step in the search for preventative measures and treatments for Alzheimer's, because they suggest that increasing blood flow in the hippocampus might be really effective at preventing damage from happening.

Several hypotensive drugs associated
with reduced memory loss in the elderly

High blood pressure is a risk factor for Cognitive decline and dementia in senior citizens.

Almost half of American adults have high blood pressure. The use of antihypertensive drugs reduced the number of cases of mild cognitive impairment by 19% in one large study (SPRINT MIND).

ACE inhibitor, angiotensin II Receptor blocker (ARB), calcium channel blockers and diuretics are different classes of blood pressure lowering drugs. Each class acts differently to lower blood pressure, some crossing the blood-brain barrier, thereby affecting cognitive


5 Tips to Help You Prevent Vision Loss
By Michelle MaiProgram

We use our eyes to complete daily tasks like preparing meals, engaging in physical activity, taking the correct medication and dosage, protect ourselves from falling, and so much more.  That's why it's important to keep them healthy, so we're seeing our best and maintaining our independence. If we don't, the quality of our vision could decline—from a combination of age and lifestyle factors. These simple guidelines can help you maintain your vision health.

Eat well for healthy vision

Consuming a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients can help your vision.  Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in reducing age-related eye diseases and dry eyes, which are common as we age.

Here is a list of foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that you can introduce into your diet:

How to Care for Your Eyes as You Age
and Get Help with Vision Loss

By Kathleen Zuke

Vision impairments of all kinds can be a challenge that worsen with age. Many people find that low vision can make everyday tasks more difficult, however, there are steps you can take to protect your vision, detect problems early, and maximize use of limited vision.

Get regular dilated eye exams

It’s important to have comprehensive dilated eye exams on a regular basis and discuss your family history of eye conditions with your health care provider. These exams can help determine whether you could see better with glasses or contact lenses. They can also detect common eye diseases in the early stages before you experience any symptoms, like glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration.

Maximize your limited vision and get help managing vision loss


Take These 4 Steps for Happier Feet

Like tires on a car, your feet are the foundation of your body. Here's how to keep them healthy.

When I noticed Dr. Jill Biden walking in pointy-toed high heels in her husband's inaugural parade, I thought, her feet must be killing her! Not that I know much about her, but as a woman only a few years her junior, I know I can't wear those kinds of shoes for very long anymore.

That's because of a problem impacting nearly all mature adults — fat pad atrophy, when the cushion on the balls of our feet thins out, causing inflammation and marked tenderness.

Like every other part of our body, our feet change as we get older. No surprise there: not only do we spend a lot of hours just standing around, but by the time we turn 50, most of us have logged 75,000 miles strolling, running and bouncing in all kinds of shoes (or not), according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Tooth loss may affect ability
to carry out everyday tasks

Older adults with more natural teeth are better able to perform everyday tasks such as cooking a meal, making a telephone call or going shopping, according to researchers from UCL and the Tokyo Medical and Dental University.

The study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, analyzed data from 5,631 adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (ELSA) aged between 50 and 70.

Previous studies have shown the link between tooth loss and reduced functional capacity but did not establish a causal link. In this study the research team wanted to investigate the causal effect of tooth loss on someone's ability to carry out daily activities. After considering factors such as participants' socioeconomic status and poor general health, they still found there was an independent link between tooth loss and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.

Poll: Many Americans forgo treatment for hearing loss
By Janel Miller

A new poll released in conjunction with Better Hearing and Speech Month — observed each May — showed that many adults in the U.S. value their hearing, but few who experience hearing loss seek treatment.

The poll of about 2,500 adults commissioned by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) showed that most adults (80%) believe that sustaining hearing health is “extremely important” or “very important” to their quality of life. However, only 20% had undergone a hearing test in the past 5 years.

A survey of nearly 2,500 US adults revealed that only 20% had undergone a hearing test in the past 5 years.
Reference: American-Speech-Language-Hearing-Association.

In addition, the poll showed that 51% of respondents reported having hearing problems, yet only 11% sought treatment. Although many respondents (42%) said they understand that mild hearing loss can impact daily functioning, 56% said it is unlikely that they would seek treatment unless they had “severe” symptoms.

How to Manage Chronic Pain

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

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

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

You were diagnosed as prediabetic
— now what?

By Linda Kerr,

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects many older adults and is a significant health issue for the United States.

Diabetes is expected to be the seventh leading cause of death worldwide by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 34 million Americans have diabetes, and 26.8% of those were at least 65 years old. These numbers are expected to continue rising exponentially as the aging population increases.

But what is pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition that demonstrates an increased risk for diabetes. It is identified when a person has a higher than normal blood sugar level, but not consistently high enough to be considered diabetes. With pre-diabetes, the body develops resistance to its own insulin. It’s important to take pre-diabetes seriously, as this condition can lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.


Cannabis 101: Weeding through the facts
By Lindsey Greto and Meghan King

Retail cannabis is legal in Washington, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe and free of health or social impacts. While little is definitively known about the health effects of cannabis, there are both public health risks and health benefits, and these must be balanced. Over the next few months, we’ll talk about what these are and bring you up to date on local public health efforts taking place post-legalization. To get you started, this first blog covers the basics of cannabis.

What is the difference between cannabis and marijuana?

Cannabis is a plant with three species: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis. When cannabis flowers, leaves, and stems are dried, people commonly refer to it as “marijuana.” The name “cannabis,” however, can apply to both the plant and its products.

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JUNE 26, 2021

An entire week has gone by since we last posted our wrap-up of the top stories of the week. Much has changed in our community, our world and in our nation and we want you to know about it. And, next week there will be some changes with this blog as well. More on that later………………….Ed.


For Older Adults, The Internet Has Become A University,
A Gym, A Support Group And A Coffee Shop

By Sara Zeff Geber

As we cross the mid-point of 2021, older adults are starting to enjoy going out again, resuming work, and doing some light traveling, but many are still reluctant to re-join their gyms, attend crowded events, or engage in enclosed venues with people they don’t know. This is especially true for people with compromised immune systems or other conditions which may still make them vulnerable to Covid-19. However, thanks to online communities, staying safe does not sentence anyone to a life of inactivity, loneliness, or boredom. It’s important to also note that many older adults were active and engaged throughout the pandemic, and for some, that took stepping out of their comfort zone, technologically speaking

During most of 2020 and into 2021, being social required being online. Kids did it for school; parents had to be online to understand what was required of them in schooling their kids; mid-life adults were online for work. Retired adults could have isolated themselves and sunk into a lonely depression, with only the occasional Zoom meeting with their kids and grandkids. However, a variety of organizations, both new and old, saw the gap and rose to the occasion with a cornucopia of opportunities for men and women who were faced with an imposed isolation of indefinite length.

* * * * * *

Older Americans more resilient to COVID-19
related anxiety, depression, and stress

By Tracy Sears

Carolyn Lussenhop said she was grateful to Jim Meharg, her life partner of 20 years.

She first met Meharg while working with a Northern Virginia retirement community where Meharg was the director.

The friendship eventually blossomed into a romance and the couple made Richmond their home.

Now retired and living together in an assisted living facility, Lussenhop said the two have shared many fond memories over the past two decades.

* * * * * *

Required IRA, 401(k) withdrawals would start
at age 75 under congressional proposal.
Here’s who would benefit

By Sarah O’Brien

Most individuals take more than the required minimum because they need the money.

For those who only withdraw what they have to, the extra time would enable more strategizing for handling those assets.

A later RMD age would not make or break a person’s retirement, experts say.

The age when older Americans must start making withdrawals from retirement accounts could change yet again.

Under a provision in proposed retirement legislation pending in Congress, required minimum distributions, or RMDs, would start at age 75 by 2032, up from age 72 — which only took effect last year after the 2019 Secure Act raised it from age 70½.

* * * * * *

Not Laughing While Talking Could Be an
Early Dementia Sign, Study Says

By Zachary Mack

Keeping an eye out for dementia is easier said than done. Since the onset of the disease can affect your memory and reasoning, you might miss some of the most common signs that the condition is developing. But there are some cases in which you might pick up on changes in someone else's behavior that could tip you off to something being wrong. According to research, you may even be able to spot the early signs of dementia just by talking to someone. Read on to see what conversational red flags you might want to be aware of.

There will always be differences of opinion when it comes to what's actually funny. But according to a 2017 study, if someone isn't laughing during appropriate points in a conversation or laughs at the wrong time, it could be an early sign of dementia.



Olympics-Emperor 'appears concerned' about
 COVID-19 spread by Games, says steward

By Chang-Ran Kim, Sakura Murakami

Japanese Emperor Naruhito “appears concerned” about the possibility the Olympic Games could cause the coronavirus to spread as feared by many members of the public, the head of the Imperial Household Agency (IHA) said on Thursday.

While the emperor’s concern was framed as the official’s impression rather than something he explicitly expressed, the rare insight into the monarch’s thinking on the Games lit up social media, with many wondering whether there would be a formal address on the topic.

* * * * * * *

Afghan government could collapse
six months after US troops withdraw

By Mychael Schnell

Afghanistan’s government could collapse as quickly as six months after all U.S. troops withdraw from the country, according to new analysis from the U.S. intelligence community.

The new assessment, which differs starkly from previous positive analysis, comes after the Taliban made battlefield gains in Afghanistan, including the seizure of a key district in northern Kunduz province this week.

Taliban forces have also besieged Mazar-e-Sharif this week, the provincial capital of Balkh.

* * * * * *

Hong Kong police raid Apple Daily office,
editor-in-chief among 5 arrested

By Kelly Ho twitter

Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers raided the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on Thursday and arrested five senior executives on suspicion of violating the national security law by publishing articles which called for sanctions on Beijing or the city.

It was the second time in 10 months that the newspaper, founded by Jimmy Lai, had been raided. Police said the warrant used on Thursday was issued under the security legislation, and gave them power to search for and seize journalistic material.

Lai, 73, who was arrested during the first raid last August, is serving 20 months in prison for protest-related offences and also faces charges under the Beijing-imposed security law, which provides for penalties of up to life imprisonment.

* * * * * *

Russia in showdown with UN
and West over aid to Syria


Russia previewed a showdown with the United Nations, United States and Western nations Wednesday over the delivery of humanitarian aid to rebel-held northwest Syria from Turkey, rejecting their warnings that closing the only border crossing will leave more than 1 million people without desperately needed food and cause people to die because they lack medicine.

Stressing the importance of strengthening Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia insisted that aid can and should be delivered across conflict lines in Syria, and accused the U.N. and the West of doing nothing to promote such deliveries during the past year.

Unless Western nations “both in words and deeds prove their commitment to this goal,” he warned that there is no point in speaking about renewing the mandate for the one remaining border crossing from Turkey to northwest Idlib which expires on July 10.

* * * * * *

Iran likely had failed rocket launch,
preparing for another


Iran likely conducted a failed launch of a satellite-carrying rocket in recent days and now appears to be preparing to try again, the country’s latest effort to advance its space program amid tensions with the West over its tattered nuclear deal.

Satellite images, a U.S. official and a rocket expert all confirmed the failed launch, earlier this month, at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s Semnan province. The attempt comes as Iran’s space program has suffered a series of high-profile losses, while its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard runs its own parallel program that launched a satellite into orbit last year.

Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi later Wednesday denied Tehran had a failed satellite launch, but offered no explanation for the activity at the spaceport. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment.



99 missing, 10 hurt and 1 dead in
high-rise collapse near Miami Beach

By Elisha Fieldstadt and Yuliya Talmazan

Nearly 100 people were unaccounted for Thursday afternoon after a high-rise condo building partially collapsed near Miami Beach, leaving at least one person dead and 10 injured, officials said.

Authorities got a call about the collapse at the 12-story building in Surfside, a town in Florida's Miami-Dade County, around 1:30 a.m. ET, officials said during a morning news conference.

Raide Jadallah, the assistant chief of operations for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said that of the building's 136 units, 55 in the northeast corridor collapsed.

* * * * * *

Rudy Giuliani is suspended from practicing law in New York
over false statements about Trump election loss

By Dan Mangan

A New York court on Thursday suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law in the state, citing his “false and misleading statements” about the election loss of former President Donald Trump.

The suspension, which takes effect immediately, is a stunning blow to the 77-year-old Giuliani, a former New York mayor who was once a top Justice Department official and U.S. attorney in Manhattan.

It also comes as Giuliani is under criminal investigation by that same federal prosecutor’s office in connection with his work in Ukraine.

* * * * * *

Supreme Court win for
college athletes in compensation case


The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday the NCAA can’t limit education-related benefits — like computers and paid internships — that colleges can offer their sports stars, a victory for athletes that could help open the door to further easing in the decades-old fight over paying student-athletes.

Schools recruiting top athletes could now offer tens of thousands of dollars in education-related benefits that also include study-abroad programs and graduate scholarships. However, the case doesn’t decide whether students can simply be paid salaries for the benefits their efforts bring — measured in tens of millions for many universities.

The high court agreed with a lower court’s determination that NCAA limits on the education-related benefits that colleges can offer athletes who play Division I basketball and football violate antitrust laws.

* * * * * *

U.S. life expectancy decreased by
an 'alarming' amount during pandemic

By Kaitlin Sullivan

Average life expectancy in the United States plummeted in 2020, widening the life expectancy gap between the U.S. and other high-income countries. The decline was particularly sharp among Hispanic and Black Americans, a new study found.

Health experts anticipated life expectancy would drop during the pandemic, but how much it did came as a surprise.

“I naively thought the pandemic would not make a big difference in the gap because my thinking was that it’s a global pandemic, so every country is going to take a hit,” said Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, who led the new study. “What I didn’t anticipate was how badly the U.S. would handle the pandemic.”

* * * * * *

White House, bipartisan group agree
on infrastructure framework

By Alayna Treene

The White House and a bipartisan group of senators struck a tentative deal on Wednesday for the framework of a roughly $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, Senate aides familiar with the negotiations told Axios.

What's next: The Senate group will brief President Biden at the White House on Thursday, though some details still need to be ironed out, the aides said.

    The tentative agreement comes after a series of meetings on Capitol Hill this week between the Senate group and White House Counselor Steve Ricchetti, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Legislative Affairs Director Louisa Terrell.

By the numbers:

    $1.2 trillion over eight years, or $974 billion over five years
    $559 billion in new spending
    Package is fully paid-for

What they're saying: “White House senior staff had two productive meetings today with the bipartisan group of senators who have been negotiating about infrastructure,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

* * * * * * *

Harris to visit US-Mexico border area
regarding migration


Vice President Kamala Harris will make her first visit on Friday to the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office, following criticism from members of both parties for failing to go earlier despite her role leading the Biden administration’s response to a steep increase in migration.

Harris will visit the El Paso area, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, according to a statement Wednesday from Harris senior adviser Symone Sanders.

Harris has faced months of criticism from Republicans, and even some frustration from those in her own party, for not visiting the area.

* * * * *

Supreme Court says school can’t punish student
for profane Snapchat post

By Adi Robertson

The Supreme Court says a Pennsylvania school can’t punish a cheerleader for swearing on Snapchat. The 8-1 ruling determined that students’ rights to free expression outweighed the school’s interest in preventing potentially disruptive speech — in this case, a snap captioned “fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything.”

Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the majority opinion this morning, upholding an appeals court decision from the Third Circuit. He said that student Brandi Levy — identified as B.L. in court documents — shouldn’t have been suspended from her cheerleading team for a vulgar post about school sports. “While public schools may have a special interest in regulating some off-campus student speech, the special interests offered by the school are not sufficient to overcome B. L.’s interest in free expression in this case,” he wrote.



Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners
Signs Film Production Partnership With Netflix

The deal is on top of the one Amblin already has with Universal.

Steven Spielberg's Production Company Amblin Partners Signs Deal With Netflix | THR News
The deal will see the company produce multiple films for the streamer per year and is on top of the long-standing output pact the company has with Universal.

Amblin Partners, the production outfit run by Steven Spielberg, has signed a partnership with Netflix.

The deal will see the company produce multiple films for the streamer per year and is on top of the long-standing output pact the company has with Universal, which is theatrical in nature and was renewed in December.

* * * * *

Calls to Free Britney and court conservatorships

When Britney Spears, who turns 40 this year, speaks to a Los Angeles judge at her own request on Wednesday, she’ll do it 13 years into a court-enforced conservatorship that has exercised vast control of her life and money. But what is a conservatorship, exactly?

Here’s a look at how conservatorships operate, what’s unusual about hers, and why the cry to #FreeBritney keeps getting louder.


When a person is considered to have a severely diminished mental capacity, a court can step in and grant someone the power to make financial decisions and major life choices for them.



New York’s mayoral race remains a tossup
after final Democratic debate

By Erin Durkin, Nick Niedzwiadek

New York City’s top mayoral candidates took their last, best shots during their final debate Wednesday night as voters head to the polls over the next six days — and no one emerged as a clear victor.

The eight Democratic contenders wrangled over homelessness, mental illness and the city budget — setting the tone for the closing stretch of a bruising campaign.



U.S. software mogul John McAfee dies
by hanging in Spanish prison

U.S. technology entrepreneur John McAfee hanged himself in his prison cell on Wednesday after the Spanish high court authorised his extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges, his lawyer told Reuters.

Known for his eccentric behaviour, McAfee, 75, was a pioneer of anti-virus software, introducing his eponymous program in the 1980s. He had been indicted in Tennessee on tax evasion charges. He also was charged in a cryptocurrency fraud case in New York.

McAfee was arrested in the Barcelona airport then jailed there in October. Prison authorities were investigating the cause of death.

Editor’s note: Monday’s blog will be special. Over the previous weeks, I have gathered stories and articles pertaining to the health of seniors. The stories cover a myriad of topics. I believe you will find them interesting and informative.



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JUNE 24, 2021


Older Americans are on the
front line of the student debt crisis

It’s hard enough to pay off college loans out of a salary. It doesn’t get any easier when you retire.

The fastest-growing chunk of the U.S.’s $1.7 trillion student-loan pile is the one held by the oldest borrowers. There are now about 8.7 million Americans aged over 50 who are still paying off college loans, and their debt has increased by about half since 2017.

Some took out loans to help their children, and could be well into their 90s before they’re done repaying. Others went back to school later in life. In both cases, borrowers got saddled with hefty interest rates that inflated their balance.


U.S. is facing a ‘real retirement crisis,’ top investor says —
his plan for doubling savings and reducing income inequality

By Lizzy Gurdus

The United States is barreling toward a retirement crisis, says the country’s top registered investment advisor.

With many Americans only starting to save for post-work life in their 20s or 30s and Social Security’s retirement trust fund at risk of depleting as soon as 2029, Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines, has proposed a new solution to the savings dilemma.

“In America, our retirement system is designed for people who are working,” Edelman told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” on Monday.

“You can’t join the 401(k) until you have a job, and then you’ve got to work for a boss who offers a 401(k). Most workers don’t join that 401(k) until they’re in their 30s. So, we grow and compound money for 20 or 30 years. We squander 30 years of compounding.”


10 Things No One Tells You
About Early Retirement

By John Waggoner

Even if you love your job, there are times when you'd rather be alphabetizing the spice shelf than riding a packed train alongside hundreds of sniffling fellow commuters. And as you sway in the car next to a man who has biked four hours to the station, you might be thinking about early retirement.

Unfortunately, early retirement isn't for everyone. In fact, it isn't for most people. Just 11 percent of today's workers plan to retire before age 60, according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) survey. For many of those who do take the plunge, the reality of early retirement can turn out to be far different than the fantasy. Here are a few things to consider before you decide to retire early.

1. Health care is expensive

Medicare, the federal program that provides health coverage for more than 61 million older Americans, doesn't start until age 65. Until then, you'll need an alternative — and it won't come cheap.


Top Tips That Will Help Senior Drivers
Get Better Car Insurance Premiums

Age is a very influential factor when determining insurance costs. Seniors, like teen drivers alike, are considered high-risk drivers. But the reasons are different. However, elderly can still find ways to lower insurance premiums. Follow the next tips:

    Take a driving class. Graduating from a defensive driving course will help to secure a discount. These classes are don't cost much and can be offered in person in a classroom, or you can stream them online. In these driving courses, senior citizens will find out how aging and medication affect their ability to drive and how to deal with certain age-related conditions.

    Install anti-theft devices. On the market, there are multiple types of devices that will make your vehicle safer against thieves. Electronic alarms, ignition kill switches, GPS tracking systems, steering wheel locks, electronic immobilizers, and many other safety devices will help drivers acquire a discount.

    Buy a cheaper car. The vehicle make, model and year of production are all important factors that determine the price of a policy. The cheapest vehicles to insure are slightly used SUV's, minivans, and crossovers. Also look for models that have safety features installed.

5-6 minutes

Ever wonder why someone who has no job, no real hobbies, few interests and sits around all day needs a vacation. It’s as tiring and mind-numbing to do nothing as it often is working at a job you can’t stand. That is why, after over 15 months of almost total isolation and restrictions, I’m as fatigued as any poor schnook that works an eight-hour day. Perhaps more so. The worker, at least, gets out of the house. I don’t. So, where would I go and what would I do if the opportunity for me to take a vacation arose? The answer may surprise you. First, allow me to tell you what my idea of an ideal vacation would be. Both yesterday and today. 

I’ve worked all of my life. I worked and went to college at night. I have had great jobs, good jobs and at least one terrible job. And, except for that last one where I was employed for only eight days before I quit, I got vacation time. One, two or even three weeks to do what I wanted instead of doing what someone else wants you to do. That was precious time, and I honored it by using it wisely. For me, that meant not wasting any of it by sleeping the day away.
In my youth, the idea of a perfect vacation was going somewhere as far away from home as possible. This led to cross-country drives and free-styling jaunts abroad. Four day Junkets to Vegas were common. I had energy then and time spent traveling was part of the fun. But age has a way of moderating the spirit, making time more valuable. Therefore, the idea of spending days driving or hours on a plane or sitting in an airport waiting room is not appealing. Shorter trips were just as refreshing as longer ones. And, with a little research, it’s amazing how many great places there are to visit just a few short hours and miles from home.

Living in the Northeastern part of the U.S. allowed me to be on a pristine beach one day and on a mountain top the next. I could wiggle my toes in the Atlantic in the morning and sleep in the woods at night.[1] From the Hampton’s to the Pocono’s. From the casinos of Atlantic city to the quaint farms and villages of the Amish, it was all there for me to explore. Places so different from my daily grind that, although close to home, were light years away from the reality I faced every day. And even though my time off may have lasted only a few days, it was enough to recharge the batteries and clear the mind of the plaque that had accumulated over the months behind a desk.

Today, although I no longer need a job to keep body and soul intact, the reality of what my life is now is not that different. Much like work, I must follow a routine not of my making. As the virus continues to plague long-term care facilities and the infection control protocols have not negated the regimentation imposed upon us residents, the effect is much like working on an assembly line performing a desensitizing task over and over.
Amazingly, even if I got away from it all and could leave this place for a week or more, I couldn’t. Not because they won’t allow me to go, but because it would cost me money, $200 a day to be exact, for everyday over three I am not occupying a bed here at the A.L.F. That’s the penalty I must pay because the facility loses that much in state and federal subsidy money every day (except for emergencies) I’m not here.
Yesterday at breakfast during one of our rare modified group dining sessions, someone asked where would I go if I could take a vacation? My answer was quick and brief. “I’d go to a local motel near a good diner, close to a shopping mall where I could sleep when I wanted, eat what I wanted and not have to shop online.". My table mate nodded in agreement. Sometimes getting away from it all is just a plate of ham and eggs made to order…………………

[1] Not that I ever would sleep in the woods. But I could.


Viewing the Videos:
Mature actors in mature movie

By Kurt A. Eichsteadt

Two big stars — Ann-Margaret and James Caan — are back in “The Queen Bees,” a warm on-demand movie. A sequel, “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” is in theaters, but only because the first one made almost $200 million.

A low-key drama featuring a group of older actors is always welcome in the middle of all the normal cacophony off superhero movies with explosions and killings.

“Queen Bees” is a warm comedy drama and unlike most movies involving older actors playing older people, nobody dies. There’s a happy ending, not bittersweet.

It’s set in a senior citizens home, which one character describes as “like high school, only you don’t graduate, you die.” That’s what Helen (Ellen Burstyn) encounters when she reluctantly relocates to Pine Grove Retirement Home while her home undergoes some repairs after she accidentally sets it on fire. Her husband passed away four years earlier.

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JUNE 23, 2021


The “Medicare Tax” That Never Made It
To The Medicare Trust Fund -
Transfer Those Taxes!
Says The Senior Citizens League

A controversial “Medicare” tax on net investment income that was signed into law shortly after passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act is expected to once again come under debate according to The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “During the battle over The Affordable Care Act, a new source of funding — a 3.8% Medicare Net Investment tax was enacted — presumably as means to strengthen Medicare funding,” says Mary Johnson, a Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “But the truth is those revenues, which the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates to be $27.5 billion for 2021, never actually made it into the Medicare Part A Trust Fund,” she says.”

When Medicare solvency is under discussion, the focus is often placed on the Medicare Part A Trust Fund (hospital insurance), which is primarily financed by payroll taxes. The last time Medicare Part A Trust Fund was forecast to become insolvent was in 2009. That year, the Medicare Trust Fund was forecast to become insolvent by 2017. In 2010, Congress enacted the Affordable Care Act which changed Medicare revenues in two ways. It added an additional payroll tax of 0.9% to the 1.45% of Medicare taxes paid by high earning individuals with wages over $200,000 ($250,00 if married). A second provision affecting individuals with this level of income, imposed a new 3.8% tax on a portion of net investment income. Estates and trusts can also be subject to this tax.

While the additional payroll tax went directly to the Part A Trust Fund, the 3.8% “Medicare” net investment tax was never transferred to Part A. It wound up going straight into the U.S. General Fund where it could be appropriated for any government spending.


One-third of older Americans delayed
health care over COVID concerns

Nearly one in three Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 put off an in-person appointment for medical care in 2020 because they were worried about exposure to the novel coronavirus, new national poll data show.

The findings suggest that even though most health care settings adapted early to reduce patients’ exposure risk from staff and fellow patients, concern about exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 was enough to cause them to delay already scheduled care.

The percentage was even higher among older people who have asthma (37%), who are Black (40%), and who report that their mental health is fair or poor (45%). Men, and those over 65, were less likely to say they’d delayed care, with 27% of both groups saying they had put off seeing a doctor, nurse or other health professional due to COVID concerns.


‘Flat-Out Resistant’ Staffers Imperil
Nursing Home Vaccine Goal

By Tony Pugh

An industry effort to vaccinate 75% of nursing home staff against Covid-19 by July 1 appears to be faltering as continued employee hesitancy, declining infection and death rates, and general pandemic fatigue are making it tough to sustain the urgency necessary to meet the lofty goal.

Only 1,133 nursing homes—less than 10% of the roughly 15,000 Medicaid- and Medicare-certified facilities—had reached or surpassed the 75% staff vaccination threshold by the end of May, new federal data shows. And only 50% of staff have been inoculated at nursing homes that have provided the recently required vaccination data.

“These preliminary results indicate that while we have made considerable progress in the past few months, we still have farther to go,” said a statement from the American Health Care Association, which launched the staff vaccination effort.



This will not be a “how to live on Social Security alone and enjoy life” tutorial. If I knew how to do that, I would be a millionaire and wouldn’t have to worry about it. The only wisdom I can impart on the subject is what I have learned from personal experience. Just let me warn you. This is not for everybody and it’s not what I would wish for any of you. But it is what has kept a roof over my head, food in my gut and even some extra cash to spend. Scroll past comments for part one….Ed.


At age 63, with no job, my savings dwindling and with only Social Security for income I needed a miracle. And I got one. But miracles don’t always immediately appear as such. There was no lightening bolt from above and no pile of cash laid at my feet. Instead, it slipped in sideways and mysteriously. Mine came as a trip to the ER, a colonoscopy, three surgeries, a lengthy hospital stay and an even longer one as a patient in a nursing home. So how was that a miracle?
One definition of a “miracle” is “ a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences.” And that is exactly what happened. But it took some time, sacrifice and resignation to accomplish.

The sacrifice came when I realized I would never get my old life back. What I had two years before was no more. I lost my house, my car, most of my belongings and a good chunk of my savings. In fact, all of it. Why? Because in this marvelous nation of ours when your private insurance runs out and you are not yet eligible for Medicare, you pay for your nursing home stay out-of-pocket. And at $13,000 a month, the pocket empty’s fast. And, while I saw that as a bad thing, I would soon realize that it indeed was a miracle in disguise. Because being poor (that is, below the poverty level) opens doors not available to those with money. And, with the help of a very knowledgeable social worker, I could navigate the labyrinth that is our only national healthcare system.
Part of that navigation involves the divestiture of most of my assets in order to qualify for my state’s Medicaid program which would pay for my stay at the nursing home until I became 65. The first part of the miracle had come to pass. I no longer had to worry about rent. However, the wonders did not stop there.

After almost two years (much of it spent in a wheelchair), it was time for me to leave the confines of the nursing home. They had done their job. With a lot of work and pain, I graduated from that frigging’ wheelchair to a Rollator. This gave me more mobility and maneuverability. I would need this as I transitioned from the intense care environment of a nursing home to a more independent lifestyle in my new home. The assisted living facility.
I had lost my apartment. After 11 months of non-payment of rent, the landlord evicted me. Thankfully, he did not sue me for back rent and we parted on good terms. They even allowed me to retrieve as many of my possessions as I could manage. It was off to a new life and the realization of the second part of the miracle. A safe place to live and food on the table.

Was this really a miracle? To me it was. I don’t know where I would be or how I would live had I not been handed a way out. Would I have been able to live on my Social Security benefits for another 3 years? I don’t know. The odds were against it. They way Social Security adjusts for inflation makes it impossible to ever catch up.
To answer the question “Can one live off of Social Security as their only income”, I would say yes, but it may not be the life you want. Be prepared to down-size and simplify. Spend on things you need, not what you want. Take advantage of all the social welfare programs available to you. It’s no shame. You paid for it when you had a job and paid your taxes.
For those of you who think I am living a free, luxurious lifestyle in a resort-like setting without a care in the world. Think again.
My entire Social Security benefit goes to pay for my room and board. The only “spending money” comes from my state’s SSP program which is much like Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The two stimulus checks we received this year were a godsend. It allowed me to “splurge” on some clothes, shoes, socks and underwear. Oh, and a Casio watch.
The true miracle is that I am alive and in relatively good health.
I receive regular medical care and all of my medications for free so I can’t complain. But this life is not for everybody. It’s confining and very public. Everybody knows your business. And the lack of discretionary spending gets depressing. But it was my salvation, and I have learned to accept it. As they say, “When life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade...and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.”[1] …………….
[1] Quote attributed to Ron White  

7 Tips to Live Well on Social Security Alone
Stretch your Social Security benefit to pay for the retirement lifestyle you want.

-Pay off your mortgage before retirement.

-Avoid claiming Social Security before your full retirement age.

-Consider waiting until age 70 to sign up for Social Security.

-Aim to maximize Social Security survivor's payments.

-Watch out for Social Security taxes.

-Prepare for temporary withholding of Social Security payments if you work.

-Consider relocating to a place where the cost of living is lower.


Food Assistance

Learn how to get nutritious food for yourself and your family through SNAP (food stamps), D-SNAP, and WIC for women, infants, and children. Apply for school meals for your kids and supplemental food for seniors. Find out how food programs can provide emergency help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’re hungry now:

Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). Information is available in English and Spanish. The hotline operates Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Eastern Time.

Contact community or religious organizations to find a local food bank or food pantry.

Food Stamps and Meal Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Go to website  >>

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JUNE 22, 2021


Residents of socially isolated long-term care facilities
have increased mortality risk

Residents of long-term care facilities located in neighborhoods with high percentages of older adults who live alone are at risk of increased isolation and mortality, according to a first-of-its kind study.

Providers operating in such areas may need to make extra efforts to keep residents connected with their family and friends, said the authors of the study, published in the JAMA Network Open.

The research included 730,524 U.S. long-term care residents and sought to characterize their social isolation, often defined as the loss of personal connection to family and friends outside the facility, since long-term care facilities by definition have multiple residents. Although the study did not necessarily include senior living communities (it focused on post-acute care facilities and nursing homes), co-author Becky Briesacher, Ph.D., from Northeastern University in Boston, told McKnight’s Senior Living that the findings could have implications for senior living, as “social isolation can negatively impact the health of senior citizens regardless of type of living situation.”


Senior Citizens Face Mental and Financial Stress,
Especially Women

While this has been a challenging year for many, for senior citizens the pandemic has been particularly stressful. Social isolation, high mortality rates from COVID-19, and financial devastation from the pandemic have landed hard on seniors around the world.

In this analysis, we decided to survey our members at Seniorly on their mental and financial well being. These individuals are based in the United States and are using our services to find a senior living community.

We found that most seniors in our survey considered themselves well supported by their friends and community and were generally optimistic about their mental health and finances. On average, seniors in the United States have been the picture of resilience as we emerge from the pandemic.


Heading back to work after retiring?
That cash may impact the rest of your financial life

By Sarah O’Brien

It’s not uncommon to want to return to work after retiring.

Whether for financial reasons or personal fulfillment, many older Americans find that retirement isn’t working for them. Yet before you make the leap, it’s worth considering how that extra income could affect other parts of your financial life.

Of workers age 65 or older, 40% had previously retired at some point, according to a 2019 report from Rand Corporation. Roughly 10 million workers are in the 65-and-older crowd, or 17.9% of that age group, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Of course, extra income in and of itself isn’t bad.

“If you earn even $5,000 and it means you don’t have to take $5,000 out of your retirement savings, that’s money that can be invested,” said certified financial planner David Demming, president of Demming Financial Services in Aurora, Ohio. “It puts less stress on your asset base.”


This will not be a “how to live on Social Security alone and enjoy life” tutorial. If I knew how to do that, I would be a millionaire and wouldn’t have to worry about it. The only wisdom I can impart on the subject is what I have learned from personal experience. Just let me warn you. This is not for everybody and it’s not what I would wish for any of you. But it is what has kept a roof over my head, food in my gut and even some extra cash to spend.

If you own your own place to live and the mortgage has been paid off, you have a head start. Rent is the number one deterrent to affordable living. Also, if you are married and both of you are collecting the maximum amount of SS benefits, you should be okay. Two can live as cheaply as one. Problems arise if you are a single person and did not wait long enough to collect the maximum benefits. That’s the position I found myself in at age 62. Most of you know the story.
I was laid off from my job of 13 years and could not find meaningful work. I was not yet 65, not married and paid nearly $1000 per month for rent. Therefore, with my bank account, IRA and 401k hemorrhaging money, I had no other alternative than to take an early retirement and sign up for Social Security. Four years short of my 66th birthday when I could have received a lot more money. I knew it was going to be difficult, but doable. If I could hold out until I reached 65.
At 65 magic things happen. Medicare kicks in relieving you of the burden of having to pay for healthcare. And, as a resident of New York City, I could take advantage of a program that would freeze my rent. I might even be eligible for food stamps and help with utilities. The only big expense left was my car. I knew that would eventually have to go.
My plan was to drop the collision part and shop around for the cheapest auto insurance rates around. I would drive less to save on gas and, finally, when it became apparent that I just could not afford it anymore, I’d sell it. That was the plan for my new life. But you know the old saying. If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans. And laugh he did.

I quickly found out that living in one of the most expensive cities in the world on a mere $1200 a month was not only difficult, but impossible if you are under 65 years of age. There are no benefits available unless your assets are extremely low. Mine weren’t. I still had some bucks left in a 401k and IRA that I was tapping into. But as a year went by and then another and I was still two years short of 65, my prospects of maintaining a decent lifestyle were dwindling. I was prepared to look for part-time work to supplement my Social Security benefits. But finding part-time works is as difficult as finding a full-time job. There weren’t any. And Walmart or McDonald’s were not an alternative. No, what I needed was a miracle. And I got one. Although at the time I saw it as anything but. More about that tomorrow…………………….

Retire too early?
These side jobs could fix your budget

By Kathy Kristof

When Diane Davis realized her retirement income would fall short of the amount she needed to afford small luxuries like cable television and bowling, she turned to side hustles to address the shortfall. Now, the 66-year-old retired schoolteacher earns an average of $400 to $500 per month by dog-sitting and by helping people with organization and elder care.

“I have no idea how I’d get by if I didn’t have the ability to get these extra jobs,” Davis says. She’d thought she had retirement planning whipped. But she realized too late that the Social Security Administration has special policies for some retirees with government pensions, drastically reducing the Social Security benefit she had expected.

The curve that struck Davis affects millions of teachers, first responders and other government workers. But retirement income planning is tricky even in the best of circumstances. That’s because there are so many unknowns, says Dan Doonan, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security. You don’t know how long you’ll live, what your investments will earn before or after retirement, or whether you’ll suffer some costly disaster after y


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JUNE 21, 2021

‘Social Security doesn’t even cover my entire rent.’
How retirees say Congress should change benefits
By Lorie Konish

It’s no secret that Social Security is underfunded, and many Americans are struggling to scrape by on their monthly benefit checks.

Now, congressional leaders have raised a key question on reforming the program.

“Should we vote now or should we kick the can down the road?” said Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., during a House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee meeting this week.

Larson, who serves as chair of the subcommittee, posed the question to Julian Blair, a Washington, D.C., resident, retiree and veteran, who testified during the hearing.

“Congressman, I say we should have voted yesterday,” Blair said.

The exchange highlights the issue facing lawmakers now that President Joe Biden is in office, with Democrats also controlling the House and Senate: How soon can they address Social Security reform?


Senior citizens lost almost
$1 billion in scams last year: FBI
By Pat Moody

Senior citizens lost almost $1 billion in scams in 2020, according to an FBI report released this week.

A total of 105,301 people over the age of 65 were scammed, with an average loss of $9,175, and almost 2,000 older Americans lost more than $100,000, the report said.

By far, the elderly were being extorted the most, with just over 23,000 victims, the FBI found. The highest number of fraud cases occurred in California, Florida and Texas.

“Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or internet scheme, such as romance scams, tech support fraud, and lottery or sweepstake scams. Criminals gain their targets’ trust or use tactics of intimidation and threats to take advantage of their victims,” said Calvin Shivers, assistant director of the FBI’s criminal division. “Once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain.”


Assisted living’s ‘unique challenges’
arrant special attention in pandemic,
emergency response plans

The first national study of COVID-19-related mortality in U.S. assisted living communities shows a “crucial need” for specific attention to such residences in pandemic and other emergency responses.

That’s according to a research published in JAMA Network Open from Brown University and the University of North Carolina, which showed that deaths in assisted living communities were significantly higher in 2020 than in 2019. Assisted living residents experienced 17% higher overall mortality in 2020 compared with 2019 and 24% higher mortality in the 10 states with the highest COVID-19 community spread from January to August 2020 compared with the other 40 states, the data showed.

The study, according to the authors, shows that assisted living residents experienced increased mortality during the pandemic consistent with deaths among nursing home residents. Those increases likely were an underestimate given the lack of data for assisted living due to wide variances in tracking and regulation among states, they said.

9 minutes

I am constantly amazed at how old folks (me included) can remember things from the past with clarity and, usually, with fondness. I wonder why that is. Perhaps it’s a way nature has for helping the elderly cope with the horrors of the present. Nostalgia gives us a respite from the aches and pains, the pills and procedures and the toll we have paid for living this long.

Nostalgia gives us the opportunity to make our long-gone friends and family live again. Lost loves are suddenly reborn with all the excitement it had the day it began.

Our first bicycle was “So much better than the one’s today.” I wish I had my old Schwinn back. And the cars. “They just don’t make them like that anymore.”

I remember all of those bits and pieces from “back when.” They are an indelible part of who I am. But perhaps the happiest memories I have revolve around food. It is both my pride, and my downfall.

My pride because I can cook a pretty good meal. And my downfall because I have a tendency to overindulge.

My memories of food go back at least 70 years. I can distinctly remember my mom’s daily shopping trips to the various food vendors in our Brooklyn neighborhood to pick up the “fixin’s” for dinner.

The supermarket would not appear in our little part of town for a couple of years. So my mom, with me securely tucked into my stroller, made our way from vendor to vendor. The first stop was the butcher. This is where I learned the art of selling, marketing, customer service and negotiation, as well as how to select a good cut of meat and a fresh chicken.
Understand that Jews have a unique relationship with the butcher. They are a part of our culture. Without a kosher butcher shop, there cannot be a Jewish community. Not if you want to eat meat, that is. The butcher and his shop were as important as the rabbi and the synagogue. And what went on in the confines of the white-tiled walls and sawdust covered floors was tantamount to a religious experience.

The butcher shop was immaculate. All except for the butcher himself, whose white apron was always stained with the “juices” of the various animals that had met their demise earlier that day.
Separating the customers was the showcase. And that’s what it was. For show only. I cannot remember my mother ever buying anything directly from the showcase. Instead, she made the butcher “Go in the back” to get the cut of meat she wanted. It didn’t matter if it was a skirt steak, a sirloin or chuck. For all we knew it could have been laying on the floor for a week. But if it came from the back room, it was better. Save the showcase stuff for the greenhorns.

And then there was the haggling. Should the fat be trimmed before or after it went on the scale? How much should should be left on the steak? The exchange went on for about five minutes, with both parties coming to a mutual agreement. It was caveat emptor/vendor at its best. It took many years for my mom to get used to shopping for meat in a supermarket. There was nobody to argue with.

The next stop on our food odyssey was the bakery. There were two in our neighborhood and sometime my mom would go to one for the bread and the other for the cake.

Ebinger’s on Church Avenue was best known for their cakes. The “black and whites” were to die for. And the cupcakes were unsurpassed. But if it was a rye or challah bread you wanted, Jay Dee’s was the bakery of note. There was usually no interchange with the hair-netted girl behind the counter. You asked for a seeded rye and that’s what you got. There was nothing special in
the “back room.” The bread sold so fast that it was always fresh. There was always a crowd. And before they had the “Take-a-number” machine, it was not unusual for an argument to break out among the customers. The only thing the counter lady did was put the loaf into the bread slicer and bag it in a loaf-shaped paper bag. If I was a good boy that day, I knew there would be a Charlotte Russe in my future. I loved going to the bakery. Unfortunately, many of them have closed in recent years leaving today’s generation to suffer the indignity of having to settle for supermarket bread.

Although not a daily stop on the food trail, a visit to the 7-11 Chinese restaurant (conveniently located at 711 Flatbush Avenue) was not out of the ordinary.
Before fast-food joints, the only place my mom and dad would eat, besides home, was one of the local restaurants. The choice was narrow. There was the kosher deli or the Chinese restaurant. No Italian food or Mexican. No Greek or Japanese. They were too exotic and “who knows what they put in that stuff, anyway.”
The mystery of why Jews flocked to Chinese restaurants remains to this day. Maybe it is the perceived freshness of the food (everything is cooked to order). Or maybe it was out of respect to the other immigrant group who made it in the new world. Many Chinese restaurants are in business solely because of their Jewish clientele.

For me, the Chinese joint was where I learned about restaurant etiquette. How to order. How to eat and behave when in a crowd of strangers. How to be respectful of the wait staff and how to tip. The food, while different and delicious, was secondary. Besides, all my mom would ever order was the chicken chow mein that came with white rice, a bowl of egg-drop soup, an egg roll and an unlimited supply of strong, dark tea. The meal always ended with pistachio ice cream and fortune cookies.
I returned to the old neighborhood a few years ago. The Kosher butcher and both bakeries are gone and the 7-11 Chinese restaurant, while still a restaurant, now serves Jamaican food. So much for fortune cookies.
I don’t know where people buy fresh baked goods anymore, or get their meat cut to order. We have learned to accept what the food conglomerates want us to eat. But we have lost much more than having a choice. We have lost the interaction with others. The people who handled what goes into our stomachs. They understood their importance to society and the people they served. For me, well I just miss the taste of a fresh rye bread and watching the butcher chop the head off a freshly killed chicken. Bon appetite…………………………...

15 Work-From-Home Jobs
That Don't Require a College Degree
By Kenneth Terrell

With more than 22 million people unemployed during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses over the past year have been widespread. But not all workers were affected equally. People who had college degrees were much more likely to be able to work from home, while those without degrees were more vulnerable to job loss as many businesses closed temporarily.

That disparity was true among older adults, too. According to a new report, during the pandemic the share of workers ages 55 to 64 who were forced to retire rose 5 percent for those without a college education; for those with a college degree, the share fell 4 percent.

"Older workers without a college degree are losing ground mainly due to a difference in job prospects,” said Owen Davis, a research associate with the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School and main author of the report. “First, they were more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic recession. Second, the jobs available to older workers without degrees provide less flexibility to work from home and therefore carry greater health risks. This one-two punch translates to a higher rate of retirement at earlier ages."

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    JUNE 19, 2021

It’s that day again. For some it's the day they have been waiting for all week. For others, it’s just another boring COVID-19-quarantine-lockdown day. But the one thing we all have in common is the NEWS. Continually changing and always interesting. And that is why, every Friday, we take a break from the usual blog dribble and bring to you….


Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2022
could be higher based on rising consumer prices

By Lorie Konish

Rising consumer costs have helped push the latest estimate for next year’s Social Security cost-of-living adjustment to 5.3%.

Whether that will actually be the bump retirees see to their monthly checks in 2022 depends a lot on the economy, including whether the Federal Reserve decides to raise interest rates.

The 5.3% estimate was calculated by The Senior Citizens League, a non-partisan senior group, based on Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics through May.

* * * * * *

At Social Security, the deck is
stacked against the disabled

By David Weaver

The Biden administration recently released its first official budget plan, which recommends a 9.7 percent increase in the administrative budget of the Social Security Administration (SSA). This increase in top-line funding would partially reverse the chronic underfunding of the agency by Congress (SSA's core operating budget, adjusted for inflation, fell 13 percent from 2010 to 2021, while the number of beneficiaries SSA serves grew by 22 percent). However, problems with SSA's administrative funding go beyond insufficient funding of top-line numbers.

Increasingly, Congress has directed funding away from service delivery to disability reviews that remove individuals from the rolls based on SSA's assessment of medical improvement. This trend came about because of a peculiar “Inside the Beltway” dynamic where SSA was desperate for administrative funds and Congress saw reviews as a politically acceptable way to reduce the disability rolls. Using the argument that disability reviews, on net, saved the government money, Congress exempted their administrative costs from budget caps. Last year, the appropriators earmarked $1.6 billion of SSA's administrative budget for disability and other reviews.

* * * * * *

Helping seniors find discounted
high-speed internet services

By Jim Miller

Do you know where I can find cheaper high-speed internet services for my home? I’m 70-years old and live strictly on my Social Security and would like to find something faster and less expensive than I currently have.

There are actually two new resources available today that can help you save money on your home internet services, but what’s available to you will depend on your income level and where you live. Here’s where to begin.

Internet Discounts

Depending on your financial situation, a good first step to reducing your home internet costs is through the new Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. This is a temporary federal benefit that provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands.

* * * * * *

Survey Found Senior Citizens Prefer
Texting with Emojis Over Phone Chats

By Alan Ball

More seniors are finding the speed of texting and sending emojis more fun that phone chats with their grand-kids. A study by the market research company ‘Onepoll’ surveyed 2,000 Americans, half of which were over 65 revealed that they bond with their grandkids using emojis.  The most popular emojis among seniors are the heart, the happy face, beer, and various animals.



'I did what I came to do': Biden,
Putin leave summit with agreements,
but clear tensions remain

President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin are expected to talk for four to five hours.

Biden has tried to lower expectations for the meeting . He isn't expecting many deliverables
Putin has met five U.S. presidents since coming to power in 1999.

Biden has described Putin as "a worthy adversary."

President Joe Biden struck a firm but mostly conciliatory tone Wednesday as he described talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Geneva, but he made clear the two nations remained a world apart on issues including digital espionage and human rights.

"The bottom line is I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by," Biden told reporters after his meeting with Russia's leader in Switzerland. It lasted three hours.

* * * * * *

Kim Jong Un warns of 'tense' food
situation in North Korea,
extended COVID-19 restrictions

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned about possible food shortages and urged the country to brace for extended COVID-19 restrictions as he opened a major political conference to discuss national efforts to salvage a broken economy.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency also said Wednesday that Kim called for discussions on how the North should deal with the “current international situation,” though it did not mention any specific comments from Kim about the United States or South Korea.

North Korea has ignored the allies’ calls to resume nuclear negotiations that have stalled for two years after the collapse of Kim’s ambitious summitry with former President Donald Trump. It was derailed by disagreements over exchanging relief from crippling U.S.-led sanctions with denuclearization steps by the North.

* * * * *

Botswana diamond could be world's third largest

A diamond believed to be the third largest ever found has been put on display in Botswana.

The stone - weighing 1,098 carats - was shown to President Mokgweetsi Masisi, two weeks after the diamond firm, Debswana, unearthed it.

The huge gem is only slightly less heavy than the world's second-largest diamond which was also found in Botswana in 2015.

Botswana is Africa's largest producer of diamonds.

* * * * *

Japan looks to ease virus emergency
ahead of Olympics


Japan is expected to ease a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and most other areas this weekend, with new daily cases falling just as the country begins making final preparations for the Olympics starting in just over a month.

Japan has been struggling since late March to slow a wave of infections propelled by more contagious variants, with new daily cases soaring above 7,000 at one point and seriously ill patients straining hospitals in Tokyo, Osaka and other metropolitan areas.

* * * * *

Nato warns of military challenge posed by China

Nato leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels have warned of the military threat posed by China, saying its behaviour is a "systemic challenge".

China, they said, was rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, was "opaque" about its military modernisation and was co-operating militarily with Russia.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg warned China was "coming closer" to Nato in military and technological terms.

* * * * *

New Israel government vows change,
but not for Palestinians


Israel’s fragile new government has shown little interest in addressing the decades-old conflict with the Palestinians, but it may not have a choice.

Jewish ultranationalists are already staging provocations aimed at splitting the coalition and bringing about a return to right-wing rule. In doing so, they risk escalating tensions with the Palestinians weeks after an 11-day Gaza war was halted by an informal cease-fire.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s best hope for maintaining his ruling coalition — which consists of eight parties from across the political spectrum — will be to manage the conflict, the same approach favored by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, for most of his 12-year rule. But that method failed to prevent three Gaza wars and countless smaller eruptions.



Supreme Court upholds Obamacare with a 7-2 vote
By Chris Matthews

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to confirm the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act by a 7-2 margin, with 4 conservatives justices joining the court’s three liberals to protect the landmark achievement of former President Barack Obama’s two terms.

The case, California v. Texas, hinged on an argument made by Republican governors and attorneys general, and supported by the Trump administration, that following Republicans’ successful effort in 2017 to eliminate monetary penalties for not maintaining health insurance, the entire law must be struck down.

The argument follows from a 2012 case against the ACA mandate that all Americans get insured, or else face a monetary penalty. In a 5-4 decision, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the court’s four liberals, then wrote an opinion ruling the law was constitutional because the mandate was actually a constitutional exercise of the government’s right to tax, not an unconstitutional requirement that all Americans must purchase a product on the marketplace. With the erasure of the penalty for those lacking insurance, supporters of California v. Texas say the previous justification for the law’s constitutionality has been eliminated.

* * * * * *

House passes bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday
By Erin Doherty

The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The big picture: All those voting against the measure were Republicans. The vote comes one day after the Senate unanimously approved the bill and three days before the holiday.

49 states and D.C. already commemorate Juneteenth, but the passage of the bill makes the day a legal federal holiday.

Worth noting: The bill's passage comes amid GOP-led attacks on critical race theory, which dismisses the notion that racism stems from acts of individuals and says instead that it's ingrained in our society and how the country formed.

* * * * * *

Justice Dept., Congress probing
Trump seizures of Dems' data


The Justice Department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation Friday after revelations that former President Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks probe. Democrats called the seizures “harrowing” and an abuse of power.

The announcement by Inspector General Michael Horowitz came shortly after Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco made the request for an internal investigation. Horowitz said he would examine whether the data subpoenaed by the Justice Department and turned over by Apple followed department policy and “whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations.”

Horowitz said he would also investigate similar Trump-era seizures of journalists’ phone records.

* * * * * *

Biden administration to invest
$3.2B for Covid-19 antiviral pills

By Lauren Egan

The Biden administration announced Thursday a $3.2 billion plan to build up the nation's supply of drugs that can be used to treat Covid-19 and future viral threats.

The plan, called the Antiviral Program for Pandemics, will spur clinical trials and the manufacturing of promising treatments for Covid-19, with the goal of gaining FDA authorization for some antivirals and making them available to the public within a year, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

Effective antiviral medicines could be taken at home, preventing surges in hospitalizations and leading to fewer deaths, the department said. The effort, which also will include research on other viruses with pandemic potential, will be funded by the American Rescue Plan, it said.

* * * * * *

Millions Fear Eviction as
the U.S. Housing Crisis Worsens


More than 4 million people say they fear being evicted or foreclosed upon in the coming months, just as two studies released Wednesday found that the nation’s housing availability and affordability crisis is expected to worsen significantly following the pandemic.

The studies come as a federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month. The moratorium has kept many tenants owing back rent housed. Making matters worse, the tens of billions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance that was supposed to solve the problem has not reached most tenants.

The housing crisis, the studies found, risks widening the gap between Black, Latino and white households, as well as putting homeownership out of the reach of lower-income Americans.

* * * * * *

Supreme Court rules in favor of Catholic charity
that wouldn’t allow same-sex foster parents

By Pete Williams

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the city of Philadelphia went too far in imposing its anti-discrimination law on a Roman Catholic charity, Catholic Social Services, that refused to consider same-sex parents eligible to adopt foster children.

The case required the justices to decide whether the Constitution allows a religious freedom exception to anti-discrimination laws. It was the first of this term's major legal disputes to be heard with Justice Amy Coney Barrett, an appointee of President Donald Trump, on the court.

The court's ruling was unanimous, but it was narrowly confined to the facts of this case and is therefore unlikely to have a nationwide impact.

MacKenzie Scott, citing wealth gap,
donates $2.7 billion

MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to ch
arities and racial equity causes, announced Tuesday that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. It is the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations.

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, wrote in a Medium post that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, made the donations to enable the recipients to continue their work and as a “signal of trust and encouragement” to them and others.

* * * * * *

Bipartisan infrastructure group
swells to 21 senators

A bipartisan senators’ group working on a $1 trillion infrastructure compromise more than doubled in size to 21 members Wednesday, a key threshold that gives momentum to their effort as President Joe Biden returns from overseas at a pivotal time for his big legislative priority.

Biden told reporters he had yet to see the emerging proposal from the group but remained hopeful a bipartisan agreement could be reached, despite weeks of on-again, off-again talks over his more robust $1.7 billion American Jobs Plan.

“I’m still hoping we can put together the two bookends here,” Biden said as he prepared to depart Geneva after attending a summit of European leaders.



The unanswered 'Jeopardy!' question:
Who's the new host?


 “Jeopardy!” needed a host, and Lucille Ball had an enthusiastic suggestion for creator Merv Griffin: The smooth-voiced, debonair emcee of the “High Rollers” game show.

That was 1984. Decades later, filling the void left by the late Alex Trebek involves sophisticated research and a parade of guest hosts doing their best to impress viewers and the studio that's expected to make the call before the new season begins taping later this summer.

Think of Sony Pictures Television as clutching the rose, and Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric and “Jeopardy!” champs Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen among the suitors so far, with more to come including Robin Roberts, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and LeVar Burton.



Ned Beatty 
By Matt Grobar

Ned Beatty, a prolific, Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor who did memorable turns in such films as Network, Deliverance and Christopher Reeve’s first two Superman pics and was a three-season regular on Homicide: Life on the Street, died Sunday in his sleep. He was 83.

Beatty’s manager, Deborah Miller, confirmed the news to Deadline, saying the actor died of natural causes, surrounded by his family and loved ones. No other details about his death were provided.

“Ned was an iconic, legendary talent, as well as a dear friend,” said Miller, “and he will be missed by us all.”


Elderly New Yorkers rejoice
as senior centers reopen

By Maria Caspani

After more than a year of pandemic-forced separation, 85-year old Justo Fleitas was back at the pool table at his neighborhood’s senior center, finally reunited with a small group of friends and his cue stick.

“It’s beautiful, no words to say how I feel,” said Fleitas, an avid pool player and a regular at the Star Senior Center in Manhattan.

On Monday this week, senior centers in New York City welcomed back the city’s elderly for indoor activities after being closed for more than a year.


This week, when Governor Cuomo announced that N.Y. State had reached its goal of 70% of its citizens vaccinated and that most of the COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted, I had high hopes that we (residents) would be included in that group. Alas, that was not to be. In fact, we were specifically not included. For how long, nobody knows. Just more neglect and disrespect.

We’ll be back bright and early on Monday morning with another week of news you need to read……………

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    JUNE 17, 2021

COVID mortality for assisted living residents
merits attention, new data suggest

Assisted living residents experienced increased mortality in 2020, in line with the higher rates observed among nursing home residents during the pandemic, a new nationwide study finds.

The plight of nursing home residents has received the bulk of research and policy attention during the pandemic. But most assisted living residents are similarly susceptible to poor outcomes for COVID-19, investigators noted. Using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, they found that assisted living residents had 17% higher rates of overall mortality in 2020 compared with the year prior.

In the 10 states with the greatest community spread of COVID-19 during the study period, rates were even higher — at 24%. These included Rhode Island, South Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama, New York, Mississippi, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana, reported Kali S. Thomas, Ph.D., of the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, Brown University, Providence, RI.


Breyer suffers ageism attacks
from Democrats
By Jazz Shaw

After Midnight Mitch told Hugh Hewitt that wasn’t going to commit to consider any Supreme Court nominees if the GOP retakes the Senate majority next year, the response from Democrats was something that can likely be taken as a sign of our times. When one of the top-ranking Republicans in the legislature does something that makes you angry, the obvious response is to start yelling at one of the most reliably liberal voices on the Supreme Court. The calls for Stephen Breyer to retire immediately were renewed with vigor, with some prominent liberals claiming that the elderly associate justice was “placing millions of lives in danger.” The breathless leftists were going so far as to suggest that Breyer is just being “selfish” and they even managed to get in a backhanded shot at the now deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (NY Post)

Democrats and progressives stepped up their calls for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down Monday after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not permit a vote on a potential Biden nominee if Republicans control the chamber in 2024…

McConnell’s comments led to outrage on social media, with Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), tweeting: “When I became the first person in Congress to call for Justice Breyer to retire now, while President Biden can still appoint a successor, some people asked whether it was necessary. Yes. Yes, it is.”


What Is Elder Justice And Why Do We Need It?

Right now, the idea of justice is on the minds and hearts of the masses.

Justice is sought for anyone who is wronged. Justice can be defined by an individual and looks differently for everyone. Acts of injustice are seen on large scales against historically marginalized groups: People of color. Indigenous people. Immigrants. People living in poverty. The LGBTQ community. People with disabilities. Women. People of different faiths. And elders.

It's up to everyone to keep the elders in our communities safe.

Elders are subject to mistreatment and abuse at rates unknown to many. Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans over 60 are abused, neglected or exploited. Research estimates that one out of every 10 people age 60 and older are victims of abuse every year. This cruelty, referred to as elder abuse, comes in the form of physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse; abandonment and neglect.

 * * * * * *

Advocates Call on CMS to Restore
Full Visitation Rights

Consumer Voice, along with partner advocates, have sent a letter calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fully restore the visitation rights of nursing home residents.

In March 2020, CMS issued guidance which closed nursing home doors, banned in-person visitation, and, in many cases, left nursing home residents confined to their rooms.  While the guidance was initially put in place to protect residents from the impact of COVID-19, over time it has resulted in residents declining, suffering, and dying from isolation, loneliness, neglect, and poor care.

Despite additional guidance from CMS in September 2020 and March 2021 allowing more indoor and outdoor visitation, varying state policies and significant discretion provided to long-term care facilities has resulted in widespread and arbitrary variation in visitation practices, often not reflecting the needs and preferences of the residents, nor the presence, or lack thereof, of COVID-19 in a facility.   As a result, residents continue to suffer and decline.

With the success of vaccination efforts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) easing of masking and social distancing measures in nursing homes, it is time to remove restrictions on visitation rights. While recognizing that all visitation needs to comply with CDC Core Principles of Infection Prevention, our organizations call on CMS to take immediate action to restore nursing home residents’ full right to visitation and lay out a plan and timeframe for implementation.

4 minutes

I know many of you are still working. Either because you need to or because you want to. I’m not. Partially because I can’t and partially because I no longer need to.
The last time I drew a paycheck was in 2007. I remember it was December, a week before Christmas, and I had just quit a job that lasted only 8 days. While the circumstances that caused me to leave a job after such a short time are complicated, my reason is not. I was not comfortable with what they wanted me to do. And, even though I had been out of work for months and was lucky to find a job after being laid-off and at my age (62), the thought of having to work at a job I hated outweighed the advantages. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

The only thing I regret about not working is the lack of income. I know that sounds like a “duh” statement, but money appeals to me only as far as its ability to provide the basics of life. Food, clothes, shelter and health care. With my unemployment benefits ending and my savings dwindling, I was forced to sign up for Social Security benefits much earlier than I had planned. I would rather have been working, but I could find nothing meaningful. But perhaps, even more than the paycheck, I missed the routine associated with having a job.
I found getting up at a certain time to be at an assigned location to do a job I was familiar with, together with people I liked, to be comforting and reassuring. It’s like knowing the sun will rise and set the next day. I also like that I was a contributing member of society. My job meant I was not only paying taxes, which helped my community, but provided employment for unseen others around the world as well. There’s much to be said about being a cog in a wheel.

I even liked the people I worked with. They were the family I no longer had. Maybe better. We not only worked together, but ate and even drank together. My favorite time of the week was the Friday evenings we spent at a local bar drinking frozen margaritas. The steam we let out fogged the windows.

Shortly before my taking up residence here at the Asylum, I went back to the old neighborhood where my job was located. It was in one of New York’s great locations. Greenwich Village.

I walked the route I took from the subway to the building which housed our offices. The neighborhood had changed little, but the building had. The once very industrial-looking warehouse structure had gone the way of so many other buildings of its kind. It was now an apartment house. Where once I toiled, others now call home.
I suppose I miss the idea of a job more than the actual job. After all, work is still work and having to be obligated to do something no longer appeals to me. Maybe that’s what retirement is all about, choice. Or at least, it should be. Unfortunately, reality often rears its ugly head and one finds themselves not too much better off than the time they spent at work……....

Hoping to Take a Cruise?

Here's What to Know

Your guide to the new rules for boarding, booking, buffets and having the best time

You may have been able to hear the champagne corks pop and cheers resound on June 5 as the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship weighed anchor for a Caribbean cruise departing from St. Maarten, with North American passengers. It was the first major ship open to them since the pandemic shut things down in March 2020. The first to sail from a U.S. port will be the Celebrity Edge, leaving Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on June 26, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given permission for cruises to sail in U.S. waters if they complete "trial" cruises or comply with the agency's vaccination requirements.


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    JUNE 16, 2021

Deaths of assisted living residents
spiked during COVID-19 pandemic

While significant attention has been paid to COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, public health leaders have understood less about the effects of the virus in assisted living communities. These settings are also home to older adults who are often at a higher risk for disease severity, but they differ from nursing homes in key ways and present more of a challenge for data collectors.

To address this gap in COVID-19 data, researchers at Brown University and the University of North Carolina conducted what they say is the first national study of COVID-related mortality in U.S. assisted living communities. Their results, published in JAMA Network Open, showed that deaths in these settings were significantly higher in 2020 than in 2019.

“Our study underscores the importance of understanding the unique challenges faced by assisted living communities during a pandemic or other emergency,” said Kali Thomas, an associate professor at Brown’s School of Public Health. “When responding to a pandemic, assisted living communities need their own preparedness plans. The guidance that’s provided for nursing homes needs to be tailored specifically to this population.”


Homeowners Insurance for Senior Citizens
By Mandy Sleight

Home insurance coverage for senior citizens is not much different from coverage for other age groups. But some seniors may have modifications done to their home that require additional coverage, like having a stairlift or wheelchair ramp. These home modifications should be discussed with your insurance agent to determine if you need to increase dwelling or other structure coverage.

Seniors may also want to consider higher limits for guest medical payments and personal liability coverage. A standard home insurance policy provides limited guest medical payments, but can be increased if needed to cover visitor injuries on your property. If you are sued because of injuries or damage you cause or happens on your property, having higher limits for personal liability can help you navigate a settlement or court case.
Common coverage limits for home insurance

Most standard homeowners insurance policies offer the same coverages, but limits can vary. Some coverages can be increased or added to customize your home insurance policy to meet your needs as a senior.


One-third of Americans plan to
retire later due to Covid-19
By Lorie Konish

It’s no secret that Covid-19 has upended people financially at all stages of life.

Now, one new report shows just how the pandemic has changed the way people think about retirement.

The study from Age Wave and Edward Jones finds that about 1 out of every 3 Americans who are planning to retire now say that will happen later due to Covid.

About 69 million Americans now say Covid prompted them to change their retirement timing. That’s up slightly from 68 million as of May 2020.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted once 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. State's New York Forward industry specific guidelines — including capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing — will become optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services, among other commercial settings. Large-scale event venues, pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings must continue to follow the State's guidelines until more New Yorkers are vaccinated. [1]

How many more? 80%? 90%….100%? Go screw yourself Governor Cuomo…….Ed.


As you can tell, I’m livid. Not at the fact that New York State has reached a milestone, but at the omission of a segment of the population that has quietly, dutifully and with little complaint complied with the all the restrictions piled on them by a clueless Department of Heath and all of their henchmen who continue to perpetuate a policy far and above of what is necessary. And to make things worse, they have the unmitigated gall to compare us to prisoners and the homeless. I’m referring to the thousands of residents of assisted living and other long-term care facilities in the state. Today’s announcement was a slap in the face for all of us.

Perhaps more egregious is the way the governor announced this latest event.

In a presser reminiscent of a campaign victory speech, our magnanimous governor triumphantly lauded his accomplishment being able to vaccinate 70% of New Yorker’s. And, in a “Caesar-like” gesture offered “bread and circuses” by opening-up the state, as an audience of all those who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 protocols cheered wildly.
There were the bar and restaurant owners. The Barbers and nail spa owners, The sports venue owners and all of those groups who have been waiting for this day for over 15 months. Yes, they were all there cheering and applauding themselves and the governor, while the sound of cash registers rung in their ears. But not everyone was cheering or present at that rally. Noticeably quiet were the owners and operators of long-term care facilities.

All I can say is “where is their outrage?”

If there were any group of taxpayers who should have been infuriated by the obvious omission of their businesses from the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions, it should be the people who have, and continue to suffer, massive losses and hardships. But where are they? We hear not a word. Not a protest. Not even for a clarification of the part of the governors announcement that says, “…nursing homes, and healthcare settings must continue to follow the State’s guidelines until more New Yorker’s are vaccinated.
That last remark was typical of the attitude this state has regarding the status of this sector of the citizenry. The plan is, there is no plan. Unless you consider that inane dictum “Until more are vaccinated” a plan. That policy is so open-ended that you could drive a truck though it and shows how incapable the state is regarding compassion.
And, unfortunately, it also points out how impotent the owners and administrators of the facilities whose job it is to make sure we (residents) are well cared for are. They act like a bunch of scared little boys afraid of being scolded by the principal. It’s time they grew a pair and stand up for what they know is right……………….

[1] source:,their%20COVID%2D19%20vaccination%20series.


7 Superfoods to Eat After 50
By Alison Gwinn

Whether you've been a healthy eater your whole life — or lately fallen off the nutritional wagon — it's important to take a hard look at your diet after age 50. Around that point, experts say, it pays to be choosier about your foods, and make sure you're getting enough nutritional bang for your buck. “Our need for energy declines starting in middle age,” says Christine Rosenbloom, registered dietitian and nutritionist, professor emerita at Georgia State University and coauthor of Food & Fitness Over 50. “There's less room for drinking a pitcher of margaritas and having a basket of chips — unless we want to start seeing that weight creep. And nobody wants that.”

Beyond adapting to a potentially slower metabolism, you also want to compensate for things like a tendency for bones to weaken, bowel function to slow and muscle mass to decline (around 1 percent a year until age 65, after which the loss can double.) In general, older adults “need to make sure they're getting lots of fruits and vegetables, eating lean meats if they are eating meat, chicken or fish, and avoiding saturated fats and sugars,” says Marie Bernard, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and NIA's senior geriatrician. “A good diet can help get blood pressure under better control, decrease the risk of heart problems and contribute to the prevention of things like diabetes and cancer."


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    JUNE 15, 2021

The Drug That Could Break
American Health Care
By Nicholas Bagley

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration overruled—to much criticism—its own scientific advisory committee and approved the Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm. The agency made this decision despite thin evidence of the drug’s clinical efficacy and despite its serious side effects, including brain swelling and bleeding. As a result, a serious risk now exists that millions of people will be prescribed a drug that does more harm than good.

Less appreciated is how the drug’s approval could trigger hundreds of billions of dollars of new government spending, all without a vote in Congress or indeed any public debate over the drug’s value. Aduhelm’s manufacturer, Biogen, announced on Monday that it would price the drug at an average of $56,000 a year per patient, a figure that doesn’t include the additional imaging and scans needed to diagnose patients or to monitor them for serious side effects.

The federal government will bear the brunt of the new spending. The overwhelming majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are eligible for Medicare, the federally run insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans. If even one-third of the estimated 6 million people with Alzheimer’s in the United States receives the new treatment, health-care spending could swell by $112 billion annually.


Boomers To Boost Spending
On Luxury, Healthcare

Senior citizens, a demographic whose spending was significantly curtailed by the pandemic, are expected to spend substantially across a number of sectors as COVID-19 restrictions and fears reside, Bloomberg reported.

Fund managers and other market insiders told Bloomberg the expected surge in spending is due to new comfort with online purchasing among many senior citizens and also pent-up demand for medical procedures and devices.

The number of people 65 or older around the world will double between now and 2050 to 1.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. The report also quoted data from consultancy World Data Lab that put the spending power of those 65 old or order at $14 trillion 10 years from now, up from $8.4 trillion in 2020.


Should You Leave Your House to
Your Kids in Your Will?
By John Waggoner

Your house, with its beautiful gardens, rows of bookcases and lovely keepsakes, is a treasure to you. It’s probably also your largest financial asset. You’d like to give it to your children when you pass on.

Many times, it’s not just a home’s emotional value that makes people decide to leave the house to their heirs. It’s a desire to leave a financial legacy, too.

But is this a wise strategy? Oftentimes, yes, as long as everyone gets along, the house isn’t stuffed with 50 years’ worth of National Geographic and you don’t mind if the kids sell it immediately after the funeral. We talked to several certified financial planners (CFPs) with experience in estate planning and found five questions you should answer before you make the decision to leave the old place to the next generation.


7 minutes

The house doctor got a new gadget. At least new for us.
In the past he measured our blood pressure with the standard, familiar and only mildly annoying, hand-pumped blood pressure machine. He would know just how much to squeeze the little bulb so that the cuff, wrapped around my upper arm, would inflate to cause pressure on the arteries to get a reading on the attached gauge as he listened to my pulse on his stethoscope. It was uncomfortable, and at the same time, personal and reassuring. But my last exam was different. The old sphygmomanometer was gone. And in its place, a new, impersonal, and merciless machine.

The inventor of the self-inflating, digital readout, no-brainer-blood-pressure-taking-device had to be a graduate of the Joseph Mengele school of medicine.
Never in my life have I been assaulted by a piece of medical equipment as I was last Friday during my quarterly visit with my primary care physician. With the press of a button, the cuff inflated…and inflated…and inflated some more. It became so tight around my arm that I turned and told the doctor, who was busy making a note on my chart, that my fingers we turning purple and about to pop. Fortunately, just as I was about to rip the thing off, it stopped and rapidly deflated. The doc gave a casual glance at the digital read-out on a little screen and said, “Okay. Pretty good. One hundred over eighty.” I could not have cared less. I was happy the damn contraption didn’t kill me.

The exam continued with a quick listen to my chest which decided not to wheeze that day and the doctor giving me a clean bill of health. Or at least as clean as a broken-down old man can be.
“Everything looks and sounds okay,” he said. “But 
(There’s always a “but.”) you need to lose some weight.” 
What he really meant was I need to lose a lot of weight. And I know it. It’s something I have heard from doctors for years and something I have tried to do for just as long.
I’ve been a bit rotund most of my life. I clocked in at birth at close to 10lbs. And while genetics have something to do with it, I am the one ultimately responsible for every corpuscle of avoirdupois I posses.

Never have I been as heavy as I am now. And I can feel it. I feel it in the way I get tired after only mild exertion and the way my legs and knees feel after a brief walk. But most noticeably is how my pants fit. Or should I say, “don’t fit.” It’s become so bad I had to give up wearing some of my favorite Levi’s and switch to a “pretend” brand from “KINGSIZEFORMEN.” And it’s not as though I can’t lose weight. I can, and have. A few years ago (well, maybe more than a few) I lost 70lbs in less than 9 months on the once maligned Atkin’s diet. Now, the entire world knows the benefits associated with a low-carb regimen. The only problem with that diet is, you must cook or prepare it yourself, at home. That is an impossibility here in the land of “heaven forbid we should be permitted to cook our own food lest we kill ourselves.” So what can I do?

Not much, I’m afraid. Perhaps when the quarantine ends around here and we get back in
to a regular dining room routine where the menu is more flexible and we get to choose what we eat instead of having to eat what food they think is filling and cheap, then I can design a diet that suits me. But until that happens, there is little hope (outside of complete starvation) I can do in the way of cutting back on the carbs.
As it is, I throw away much of the food handed to me. I never eat the sides of mashed, boiled, or fried potatoes. Except for breakfast, I rarely eat any bread. And the rice goes right into the dumper. The only problem is the pasta. There’s a lot. Three or four times a week in various
 forms. Spaghetti, macaroni, ziti, stuffed shells and a variety of noodles. The only redeeming factor is that most of the pasta sucks so the chances I would want more of it is slim.
Last night, as an example, they served meatballs and a tube-like pasta. I tossed the pasta and kept the meatballs, which I’ll heat (in the communal microwave) with a little of my own pasta sauce and some grated parmesan. Not great, but low carb. I probably won’t lose any weight. The best I can hope for is not gaining any. Now, how about desert?……….............



Summer begins on Sunday, June 20th. And with all there was to worry about this year you may have forgotten to prepare for those steamy, and often dangerous, days when the heat gets too high for comfort or your health. As a way of helping we’ll bring you articles explaining what you need to keep it cool this summer.

How to Know If Your Air Conditioner
Has the Right Energy Capacity for Your Room

Not all air conditioners are going to suit your needs.

It’d be pretty convenient if any portable air conditioning unit could slot right into your window and immediately cool down your home, but the size of the room in question is the most important aspect of your search for satisfying air conditioning. You don’t want to situate a smaller unit in front of a large, sprawling room in the hopes that it will offer respite from the heat.

The size and energy capacity have to work in direct correlation to the size of your room. This sounds logical enough, but it’s imperative that you purchase the right unit so you don’t wind up sweating all summer or turning your living room into an ice box.

How to find the right portable air conditioner

The basics are easy enough. You should measure your window, or if you’re lucky enough to have a slot meant for an AC unit, measure that. The majority of big box retailers are going to have options, including Amazon, Home Depot and Best Buy. Once you have the sizing figured out, you’re going to want to get into the more important deliberations: Namely, how many BTUs you’ll need.

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    JUNE 14, 2021


COVID-19 Still Killing 800
a Month in Nursing Homes

By Emily Paulin

Nursing home deaths from COVID-19 remain sharply down from their winter peaks, but the declines have now plateaued and more than 800 residents and staff members each month continue to die from the virus, according to an exclusive new analysis of federal data by AARP.

There was little change in the national rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths in nursing homes from mid-March to mid-May, the analysis shows, even as rates in the wider community continued dropping. More than 10,000 residents and staff members are becoming newly infected each month.

Experts say that limited vaccine uptake among long-term care workers, worker shortages and the recent relaxation of nursing home restrictions might be causing the plateau, although more data and analysis are required.


Anxiety Is on the Rise

Everyone seems to be more stressed out these days as we continue to be impacted by social distancing and the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Health care workers and those in the restaurant and tourism industries have been hit particularly hard, but older adults account for some grim statistics of their own.
Older Adults at Risk

Close to half (46%) of older adults in a July survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) said that worry and stress related to COVID-19 was having a negative effect on their mental health, up from 31% in May. These numbers don’t include older adults in care facilities, where isolation (and the risk of infection and death) are even higher. It’s well documented through numerous studies that loneliness among older adults leads to an elevated risk of premature death, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety and suicide.

The same survey found higher rates of anxiety and depression among the following groups:


Tech-savvy seniors: 1 in 3 older folks now prefer
sending texts, emoji, GIFs over phone calls

Move over kids, grandma and grandpa are ready to enter the smartphone conversation. A new study finds Americans over 65 have finally mastered the art of the text. In fact, one in three now prefer texting to phone calls.

For today’s seniors, figuring out texting and social media has given them quite a bit of joy as they say it’s a great way to bond with their grandkids. A recent survey finds that those over 65 even have favorite emojis including the heart (43%) and the happy face (43%). Other popular emojis for those over 65 include the beer emoji and assorted animals. One in 10 have even surpassed emoji use and now send GIFs to stay in touch with their grandchildren.
Seniors finally adapting to the future of communication

grandparents Finding JoyThe pandemic also prompted one in three seniors to learn how to use social media and brush up on their pop culture skills as a way to bond with the younger members of their family. Nearly one in five (17%) add that their children or grandkids introduced them to Netflix during COVID.


Women’s Financial Insecurity

The wealth gap between men and women starts early; boys get twice as much allowance as girls, on average, according to recent studies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Women hold 71% of their assets in cash, versus 60% for men, so women are less likely to invest than men. Women also need more money in retirement since they usually live longer than men and are more likely to need long-term care.

Women also fare worse than men after a divorce and struggle more financially when they are single. They are more often the caretakers of children or older family members and get paid less than men when they do work. They are less likely than men to make investment decisions when they are married.

All of these women have one thing in common: they are risk-averse and often afraid to put their money to work (even though the real risk is to avoid investing and watch that cash lose money every year as inflation lowers its value). As a recent study found, lower levels of earnings and workforce attachment could not explain the extent of the wealth differential; a contributing factor seemed to be “a lack of adequate financial literacy.”

4-5 minutes

If you are a person who likes to be left almost totally alone in a quiet suburban setting bereft of human contact eating subsistence level food than you will love it here at the A.L.F. Of course you will have to contend with, not only the isolation but with the almost total lack of communication as well. It has been weeks since we have have had even as much as memo concerning our current status, any plans for the future or when we may return to normalcy. The silence, as they say, is deafening.
The truth be told, our administrator has never been very forthcoming with communicating with residents. Preferring to carry out the dictates of our parent company rather than listening to residents’ concerns about their daily interests. We are almost always kept out of the loop when they change the daily routine. Kept secret too are the reasons for changes in staffing and policy. And adding to the mystique is the lack of communication, typical of the culture associated with many assisted living facilities. “Feed the peasants just as much information as they need to know, and no more”, is the order of the day. Because to be totally transparent is to show weakness. And heaven forbid, that an administrator (much like a warden) should show weakness, or compassion.
The bulk of my information regarding what’s going on here comes from infrequent, and brief, meetings with other residents. Some of them have a way of extracting news from a variety of sources way better than I. Mostly from aides and dining room servers. Unfortunately, the efficacy of what is gleaned is often half-true, misconstrued, or just wrong.
As an example, two weeks ago, I was told by a person who I considered to be a reliable source that the quarantine/lockdown would end in two weeks. They heard it from a staff member. Sadly, two weeks have gone by and we are as “incarcerated” as they day this all began 15 months ago. So much for “reliable sources.”

There used to be a sign that hung from the portico covering the main entrance to our facility that said “WELCOME HOME.” The sign blew off during a heavy wind and rainstorm pre-pandemic and never replaced. Little did we know that would be a prophecy of things to come. Any resemblance to “home” around here has been thoroughly washed away along with that sign. We have become less like home and more like an institution. Things we used to be “asked” to do we are now “told” to do. Very much like first-graders who dutifully queue-up for everything. But even first-graders get “Junior Scholastic” or the “Weekly Reader.”[1] We get nothing.

Next week will mark the start of our 16th month in lockdown. That may be a record. Most quarantines last only two or three weeks. During that time, we have received very few positive memos. Most were just repeats of former communiques that tell the same old story about new cases and how the quarantine will continue. But not one word concerning our freedom. Not even a “sorry” from anybody. Why? Because saying “sorry” is admitting that a grave error was made in the way things were and are being handled.
They say “Confession is good for the soul.” For administers of assisted living facilities, confession might be good for an indictment……………………….

[1] I had to check if they still distribute the Weekly Reader to school kids. Unfortunately, they stopped publication back in 2012. Junior Scholastic is still in business.


COVID-19 Resources for
 Individuals and Families

As part of the federal response to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Food and Nutrition Service plays a vital role by responding to nutrition assistance needs during this pandemic. Through our state and local partners, FNS is working to ensure that children and low-income Americans maintain access to food. In addition, the consumer resources listed below are provided to help individuals and families like you during this time of exceptional need and uncertainty.


An Updated Guide to Resources

What is

One of the longest-serving E-Government initiatives, was launched by the U.S. Department of Labor in April 2002, creating the U.S. government’s official benefits website. Our mission is to increase citizen access to benefit information while reducing the difficulty of interacting with the government. On, you can find information on over 1,000 government assistance programs, check your eligibility, and learn how to apply.
I’m interested in a specific program, where can I learn more?

If you are looking for specific benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), you can search for these programs directly on, where you can also find application and contact information and use the eligibility checker for each program at the bottom of the page. On, you can also Browse by Category to browse a list of similar benefits, such as Employment and Career Development or Food and Nutrition and filter by state to find programs specific to your state.
How can I check my eligibility for benefit programs? has made improvements to the way citizens access government services online. In direct response to user feedback, we enhanced our Benefit Finder, a free and easy-to-use eligibility prescreening questionnaire which will help you determine, which benefits you may be eligible to receive. The updated Benefit Finder features a modern design, intuitive navigation, and fewer questions so that you can more quickly find the assistance you need. If you don’t know what type of benefits you are looking for, the Benefit Finder is a great place to begin.

Using the Benefit Finder is simple; you begin by answering a set of questions on the first page before proceeding to optional questions. The more questions you answer in the Benefit Finder, the more accurate your results will be. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, a list of benefits you may be eligible for will appear. Then, you can navigate to the program pages to learn more and find the next steps for applying.

How can I apply for benefits? does not accept or manage applications for government benefits. While you cannot apply for benefits or check your application status directly on the website, can help guide you to the next steps in the application process. You can find application information on each program page on You will also find a link to the managing agency’s website where you can contact the agency directly about the application process.

What other resources are available to me? offers two customized websites,, which offers information and eligibility criteria specific to government loans; and SSA BEST, which offers information and eligibility criteria specific to Social Security programs. is proud to have recently upgraded these websites with improved features, including a new design and layout. Recently, improved our eligibility screening tools, including the Benefit Finder, making it easier to identify the right benefits for you and your family.

Visit our Get Involved page to access fact sheets, including a Guide to and guides to finding benefit programs for families, people with disabilities, unemployment resources, senior citizens, students, veterans, and Native Americans. also publishes helpful, timely news articles to keep people informed about government benefit programs. To stay up-to-date on benefit program information, subscribe to the Compass Newsletter or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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    JUNE 13, 2021


America's nursing homes fight
to find enough caregivers

By Marisa Fernandez

Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the country are having trouble hiring enough caregivers, and many have turned to perks like referral bonuses and transportation to lure more talent.

The big picture: The industry historically grappled with high employee turnover for its lower-skilled jobs. But now nursing facilities are facing reputational hits from the pandemic and a red hot market for minimum wage workers.

 "We're not just competing with the restaurants and hotels for workers here," said Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills, which offers assisted living and skilled nursing care in Washington D.C. The industry is fighting for hourly and nursing staff amongst each other and other hospitals giving out much more competitive pay right now, Sandri tells Axios.


How to improve health and quality of life
for long-term care residents:
Sit less, move more

By Kirsten Dillon

Sitting around is a known risk factor for disease and disability. Yet, when older adults start to lose independence — becoming less functional physically or showing signs of cognitive impairment — they move into residences that may allow them to sit for 85 per cent of their waking hours.

As the baby boomer population ages, older people are starting to outnumber younger people. It’s not surprising that admissions into assisted living facilities are growing each year. People are also living longer, which makes it important to ensure that those added years have a high quality of life.

New research is indicating that reducing sitting time could preserve or even improve quality of life, physical functioning and cognition in these facilities.


Here are the trends shaping
senior living development

America is aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Population Projections, in the next few decades, 1 in every 5 residents will be older than age 65, a number that’s projected to outpace those younger than 18 for the first time in history.

“There are 10,000 people turning 65 every day in our country,” notes Sharon Harper, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Plaza Companies, which develops and manages three retirement communities in Arizona: Vi at Grayhawk and Vi at Silverstone, both in Scottsdale, and Splendido at Rancho Vistoso in Tucson. “By 2050, the senior population will have doubled to 90 million.” More specifically, the number of adults ages 85 and older will nearly quadruple. And as people age, their needs — from housing to wellness — change. To keep up with these ever-shifting lifestyles, senior living communities are also evolving, offering innovative care models, an abundance of amenities and levels of luxury previously unheard of in both independent- and assisted-living environments.

Traditionally, age-restricted communities were located outside of urban centers, but members of the baby boomer generation — now ages 57-75 — don’t wish to give up all of the conveniences and activities of everyday life.

 OMG!. I can’t believe it’s Friday again. Time is flying by faster than Mark Zuckerberg can make money, and not pay any income tax. The world, too, goes on and often it’s difficult to catch up with all that’s happening. That’s why, every Friday we take a break from the usual and bring to you…


US to donate 500 million doses of
Pfizer vaccine to the world

Amid intensifying calls for wealthy nations to share their COVID vaccine surplus with the rest of the world, the U.S. is poised to step up big time.

President Joe Biden will announce the U.S. has purchased 500 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to donate to 92 low-income countries and the African Union, a person familiar with the plan told USA TODAY.

Biden is set to announce the donation Thursday in remarks at the Group of Seven summit in Britain. The doses will be distributed through the global vaccine alliance known as COVAX, with 200 million to be shared this year and the remaining 300 million to be donated through the first half of 2022, according to the person, who confirmed the report on condition of anonymity.

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The new guy? Biden debuts at
democracy's most exclusive club


They’re the board of global democracy’s most exclusive club, and they’re meeting this week after four years of U.S. disruption and a two-year coronavirus interruption.

Already on a first-name basis with relationships that range from just months to years, the leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies are gathering Friday amid hopes that the departure of their most unruly member and a new era of personal friendships enhanced by face-to-face discussions can restore a global anti-authoritarian consensus on climate, the coronavirus, China and Russia.