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Guess where I went yesterday. In one of my rare ventures outside the confines of the ALF, they took a group of us residents on a trip to a store whose name belies what’s inside. The Christmas Tree Shop goes far beyond its namesake. To be truthful, there aren’t many trees sold there at all. Except for a few of pre-decorated plastic trees, the leafy beauties hardly exist. But they have everything else Christmas.
 
A first-time visitor to the store might be a wee bit overwhelmed by all the stuff one can buy to decorate their homes for the holiday. From giant wreathes, candy canes, LED candles, and everything Santa Claus, this place has it all if, that is, Christmas is your thing. For a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, not so much. While, the meaning of Christmas has a message for all (Peace on earth and goodwill to all) the glitzy trappings turns me off. Truthfully, the red/green color combination makes me ill. So why, you say, did I agree to go on this excursion? It wasn’t for the tinsel or fake snow.

At this point it is important for you to know of my sometimes peculiar food choices. Unlike many of my fellow seniors whose snacking preferences are usually of the sweet variety*, my tastebuds skew more to the salty/spicy variety. And, I will go to the ends of the earth to satisfy those cravings. Therefore, when the opportunity to go to the one place I know of where they sell a giant stick of salty, spicy pepperoni, I could not resist.**

I have to admit my anxiety level heightened somewhat as the twenty passenger bus approached the giant strip mall on one of Hartsdale’s main streets. Do they still carry the item? How long would it take to find? (We only had about two hours to shop). And, how much would it cost? All legitimate concerns., I had come for only one thing.

As we disembarked from the bus (a process that took longer than unloading the QE2) I could see the glint in my fellow passengers' eyes as they gazed upon the myriad variety of colorful Christmas fare. I love watching non-Jewish adults at Christmas time. I could see every Christmas they ever spent in their faces. They transport themselves back to their childhood. A time before all the aches and pains. The endless doctor’s visits and the endless pills, salves, injections and procedures that have become their lives. The bus wasn’t just a bus. It was a time machine as well.

While most of our group spread out to all four corners of the store I, like a garlic seeking guided missile, headed to the back of the store where I knew I would find the 1lb. hunk of spicy porcine and bovine smokey goodness. I was not disappointed. There, located just below overstuffed casings of summer sausage was what I was looking for. A baseball bat sized stick of Bridgford Old World Quality Pepperoni. The salami god had smiled down upon me. I had found what I wanted, and, I found it fast. So fast, that I wondered what I would do with the rest of the nearly two hours we had left. Not interested in plastic “silver” bells, mirror balls, various elves, reindeer, festive stockings etc., I decided to explore the rest of the food section. 

Like most specialty food sections, The Christmas Tree Shop’s shelves were stocked with items you would never ordinarily buy as part of your regular food shopping. Things such as an eight-bottle-assortment of hot sauce. A swimming pool size container of caramel popcorn. Pennetone packed in a pyramid-shaped box. Or, a kit that allows you to make a house out of Oreo’s. I passed on those but purchased a bottle of Olive Garden Italian salad dressing and a bag of ginger flavored hard candies for medicinal use only. My shopping was complete, with an hour remaining. What to do. What to do. My stomach made that decision for me. 

You’ve got to love strip malls. The good ones have a variety of useful businesses. And this one was no exception. A deli, a Chinese restaurant, a burger joint and the most New York of all New York eateries, a by-the-slice pizza parlor. It was the latter which won my favor. Two slices of cheesy, tomatoey, thin-crusted pizza later, it was time to board the bus for home. 

It was a good trip on many levels. It gave me an opportunity to get away from the confines of an often boring facility and explore the real world. Something many people take for granted. Also, I could purchase something which I could not get elsewhere. And, as silly as a 1lb stick of overly spiced meat may be, to me it was, in a smaller way, of feeling normal again. Or at least as normal as someone who would eat a giant pepperoni could be. ……………………………………………


*https://www.homecareassistancemesa.com/sugar-cravings-in-aging-adults/

"Many seniors have a sweet tooth. Even those who never craved sweets before often find themselves snacking on candy as they age. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, and there are also several healthy alternatives that may prove effective.
Alterations in food preference are often caused by physiological changes. As the body changes, so does the average senior’s ability to perceive and appreciate varied flavors. Young adults usually have between 10,000 and 15,000 taste buds, which allow them to detect different types of tastes, such as salty, sour, bitter, and sweet. By the time seniors reach age 70, the number of taste buds can decrease by more than 60 percent, which impacts the ability to detect flavors, and food may start to taste bland or boring."

** While the item is available online, the cost, which includes a hefty delivery charge, is prohibitive to someone who is on a fixed income.



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How do people pay for senior living, and
how can you keep costs affordable?


Current assets and income are what most people use to pay for senior living, just as they would pay for expenses staying in their current home: savings, pension or retirement plan funds, social security and annuities. Like Joyce, one big source of funds comes from the sale of their current home.

Long-term care insurance is a possible source for those with chronic disability or illness, if they have a policy. Rules regarding benefits and eligibility vary per state and policy.

Veterans’ benefits, through the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension, can help veterans and spouses offset costs of long-term care and/or assisted living at some communities.

Selling or cashing out a life insurance policy may be one route for those who no longer need life insurance. There are many options, so you should shop around. Consult your tax, financial and legal advisors to determine the implications of this option.




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Can a life insurance policy help with long-term care?


Q. I’m looking at long-term care policies but they’re so expensive. I’m wondering if a long-term care rider on a life insurance policy would be more affordable - but will it give me enough coverage? How can I decide?

                                     — Still working

A. It’s a great question, and we’re glad to see you’re thinking ahead about future care.

Long-term care (LTC) planning is a very hot topic today. That is partially driven by the fact that the conventional LTC insurance market is imploding, said Ed Gaelick, a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant with PSI Consultants in Glen Rock.

“Many of the biggest insurance companies have either suspended the sale of their LTC insurance products, pulled out of the market entirely or limited their benefits to be much leaner; mostly a result of poor claim experience,” Gaelick said. “That means there are less choices to safeguard your assets and protect the quality of life for you and your family.”



Up-sizing In Retirement: Going Against The Grain
By Elizabeth Alterman

When Ruth Brod retired from her job as a probation officer in 2004, she and her retired husband, Al, decided to sell their 1,600-square-foot house in New Hyde Park, N.Y. and move into a 2,800-square-foot house in Delray Beach, Fla. Having ample room to accommodate visiting friends and family was only part of the reason the couple decided to upsize in retirement.

“The home prices had risen dramatically in the area where I lived, so I was able to afford to buy a nicer home,” Ruth explains. “I could’ve bought something just fine for half the price. But when you’ve worked hard all these years, it’s nice to be comfortable.”

The Brods’ spacious ranch on a quiet cul-de-sac is part of a vibrant 55-and-up community which has given them a chance to make new friends and embrace a range of activities there.




OK, Boomer: Are Baby Boomers Preventing
The Upward Mobility Of Younger Employees?

By Jack Kelly

“OK, Boomer” has become the go-to ad hominem attack on people 55 years and older. It's become a socially acceptable meme for younger generations to blame all of the evils and problems of society on a certain group of people.

We know that it's not right nor is it fair to target one class of people and make wild generalizations about everyone that falls into that group. While it feels good to rage and get it out of your system, the blame game on Boomers is not as simple as it seems.

The current trend of anti-Boomer anger centers on the accusation that Baby Boomers have taken all the good jobs. They refuse to surrender their job privilege and remain gainfully employed, despite the entreaties of younger workers begging for a chance to advance. The Millennials, Generation-Z and Gen-Xers say they’re stuck in their jobs and can’t advance because the Boomers just won’t leave. According to a recent USA TODAY/LinkedIn survey of 1,019 working professionals, 41% of Millennials—and 30% of all adults—reported that it's difficult to advance within their fields because Boomers are waiting longer to retire.




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NEXT BLOG MONDAY NOV. 18th 2019


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11/13/19


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One way I get information and ideas for this blog is by receiving and reviewing dozens of news articles and stories from around the country which have seniors and things concerning seniors as their subject. Since most of the articles refer to issues of local interest (bake sales, property taxes, town meetings etc.), articles of broader interest stick out. It’s those stories I read and often incorporate into what I post here. Of interest are those items which focus on ways older Americans can improve their health and lifestyle. Therefore, a story entitled “High-Intensity Exercise Boosts Memory In Seniors”* stood out. Accompanying the article was a photo of a very fit older women working-out on a treadmill at a gym. Immediately, I thought it was another story about how exercise is good for you. Something everybody already knows. But, one thing in that headline made me stop and think. The words “High-Intensity” seemed out of place in a story about seniors and exercise.
 
The article says that a high-intensity workout (one that pushes the heart rate up to 90 to 95% of the normal heart rate for their age) can boost memory function by up to 30%. Great!, I thought, but how many people my age could even approach those numbers without having to be rushed to the ER afterwards.
 
Before you call me an ageist allow me this. I know there are many older folks who, for reasons known only to some spiritual entity, have the good fortune to have a body that has not deteriorated in the normal manner. Perhaps its DNA or they lived in a culture where fitness and exercise were prominent factors in their upbringing that permits them to do this. However, for the rest (meaning those of us who have aged in the normal manner) anything “high-intensity” would kill us. And, to even have a noted study suggest that seniors exercise vigorously is, not only ridiculous but dangerous as well.
 
Remember Joseph Heller’s book, “Catch 22?’’ The ‘catch’ was they could discharge you from the army if you were crazy. But, knowing you were crazy meant you weren’t really crazy and therefore, they could not discharge you for being crazy. This is very much what promoters of strenuous exercise for seniors have forgotten.
 
We seniors are not idiots. We know that a regular exercise routine helps with many of the problems that come with growing old. Including a relationship with keeping our bodies and minds fit. And there are very few of us that would not love to exercise, even slightly, if we could. But hey, guess what? WE’RE OLD! And we can’t exercise. Some of us, not even a little. The study even concedes as much…
 
“I always recommend that people do what they love because that means they will be more likely to do it! It’s never too late to get the brain health benefits of being physically active, but if you are starting late and want to see results fast, our research suggests you may need to increase the intensity of your exercise,”
 
I’m soon to be 75-years-old. I used to do a lot of walking before mobility issues forced me to curtail much of that. I’m in too much pain to walk more than a few hundred feet at a time. My exercise now, includes getting out of bed and putting my socks on with an occasional “bend over” to pick the soap up off the shower floor. Anything more and I have to reach for the Tylenol to keep functioning. All that I once had in the way of flexibility has gone and it ain’t coming back. But don’t give up hope. You can exercise your mind without putting a strain on your body.

" Experts recommend sticking to brain training that involves real-world activities. Exercises to strengthen brain function should offer novelty and challenge. “Almost any silly suggestion can work,” says David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. “Drive home via a different route; brush your teeth with your opposite hand. The brain works through associations [which is why it’s easier to memorize lyrics to a song than it is to try to remember the same words without music], so the more senses you involve the better.”

Here are some of those methods that don’t involve sweat**…

1. Test your recall. Make a list — of grocery items, things to do, or anything else that comes to mind — and memorize it. An hour or so later, see how many items you can recall. Make items on the list as challenging as possible for the greatest mental stimulation.
2. Let the music play. Learn to play a musical instrument or join a choir. Studies show that learning something new and complex over a longer period of time is ideal for the aging mind.
3. Do math in your head. Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer; you can make this more difficult — and athletic — by walking at the same time.
4. Take a cooking class. Learn how to cook a new cuisine. Cooking uses a number of senses: smell, touch, sight, and taste, which all involve different parts of the brain.
5. Learn a foreign language. The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain. What’s more,
a rich vocabulary has been linked to a reduced risk for cognitive decline.
6. Create word pictures. Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
7. Draw a map from memory. After returning home from visiting a new place, try to draw a map of the area; repeat this exercise each time you visit a new location.
8. Challenge your taste buds. When eating, try to identify individual ingredients in your meal, including subtle herbs and spices.
9. Refine your hand-eye abilities. Take up a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills, such as knitting, drawing, painting, assembling a puzzle, etc.

Listen. If you’re one of those people who can exercise (I mean really exercise, not just sit in a chair and lift a litre bottle of water) go right ahead. You’re a better person than I. And , if that exercise helps you to think better, good for you. But, if you are like the rest of us REAL seniors whose very thought of lifting anything heavier than a bag of Cheeto’s and don’t look good in shorts and a tank top or a pair of yoga pants, don’t dismay. I’ll see you, not in the gym, but in the library……..........
 
*Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2019/11/03/high-intensity-exercise-boosts-memory-in-seniors/#3ad8e3e159ca
** source: https://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/mental-fitness/brain-exercises-for-memory.aspx



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Here are some benefits of living in a
 retirement home


Sooner or later, old age creeps up on everyone. As the years pass by, certain milestones come and go, acting as landmarks in a full and richly lived life. In early adulthood, earning a driver’s license and acquiring one’s first car is exhilarating, and brings with it the thrilling independence of going anywhere one wishes whenever one wishes. Likewise, establishing oneself in a career provides financial autonomy, as well as a sense of pride and personal accomplishment. Later in life, the purchase of a house and property brings with it a sense of security and a feeling of maturity and provides the living space needed to grow a family. But there comes a time when careers end, upkeep of a household and property becomes overly burdensome, children have families of their own, and driving a car turns into a more difficult proposition than it was previously. Sooner or later, old age creeps up on everyone.

When that time arrives, it may be wise to consider the many positive aspects of relocating to an assisted living facility. But why is this a decent, if not preferable option to living on one’s own? What exactly are the advantages of becoming a retirement home resident? The following is a brief list of five major benefits to living in an assisted living facility, as presented by Dre’s Lodge Retirement Home.





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Older adults rank home as No. 1 for long-term care,
but assisted living is No. 2


Approximately three-fourths of adults aged 50 or more years said they would prefer to receive long-term care at home, but almost one-fifth said they would prefer an assisted living facility in newly released research by the Nationwide Retirement Institute.

The Harris Poll, on behalf of the institute, queried 1,462 U.S. adults aged 50 or more years, all of whom are either retired or plan to retire within the next 10 years and have investable assets of $50,000 or more. Additionally, 516 U.S. adults aged 50 or more years who are or have been paid or unpaid caregivers for family members or friends were polled. The research was conducted between March 25 and April 10.

When asked, “If you needed it, where would you most prefer to receive long-term care?” 74% of overall respondents said they would prefer to age in place at home. Giving this answer were 77% of respondents who had been retired for 10 or more years, 70% of recent retirees, 75% of future retirees, 76% of participants classified as affluent (those who have with investable assets of $150,000 or more), and 69% of those classified as nonaffluent (those who have investable assets of $50,000 to $149,999).




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How To Save Big During Retirement

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

That works out to just $16,848 per year... hardly enough to get by comfortably on these days.
And that’s before taxes!

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

That's why we've compiled this extensive list of the top ways that seniors can save money and make their retirement last longer. Enjoy!

1. Go Out To Eat For A Discount

Here are some awesome senior discounts at popular restaurants:

Applebees: 10% discount

Burger King: 10% discount and discounts on drink items

Denny's: senior menu with discounted prices

IHOP: senior menu as well as 10% off

Sonic: 10% discount

Golden Corral: discounted menu prices for 60 and over

Subway: 10% discount

Wendy's: free drink (or 10% at some locations)

Outback Steakhouse: 10% off for AARP members

White Castle: 10% off for 55 and over

2. Check For Mistakes With Your Social Security

You get a Social Security statement every year. Do not assume it is accurate. Check the numbers and report any errors to the Social Security Administration.

Remember, your benefits are based on the average of your 35 highest-earning years. A miscalculation for even one or two of those years could impact your benefit for the rest of your life.


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4 Reasons Retirement Might Cost More Than You Think


Many workers plan and save for retirement in the hopes that they'll manage to enjoy their golden years without financial stress. But if you're not careful, you could end up struggling during retirement despite all that forethought. Here are a few reasons why your golden years could end up costing more than expected.

 You're ill-informed about healthcare

Healthcare is one of seniors' biggest expenses, and the unknowns of it make it downright terrifying. But while it may be difficult, if not impossible, to get a precise estimate of what medical care will cost you in retirement, you can rely on the data that's out there. To this end, you should know that HealthView Services, a provider of cost-projection software, anticipates healthcare costing $387,644 throughout retirement for the average healthy 65-year-old couple leaving the workforce today.


Of course, that's just one number, but if you're planning to spend much less on healthcare, you could be throwing your entire retirement budget off course. The takeaway? Read up on healthcare estimates to get a sense of what you're in for.




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NEXT BLOG   THURSDAY   NOV. 14th 2019


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11/10/19




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Eight years ago (give or take) I was sitting in a wheelchair in my room on the 6th floor of a nursing home when I received a phone call from the management of the building where I kept an apartment. I had been expecting that call for some time. I had not been home since the day they took me to the ER of a local hospital for what would become a life threatening and life changing experience.

That was 11 months prior to that call. And, in that time I had paid no rent. Naturally, the building’s landlord wanted to know what my intentions were. Was I going to be returning to my apartment? My answer, regretfully, was no. Not only could I no longer afford to pay them 11 month’s back rent (approximately $12,000)*, but even if I had the money, my apartment would not be suitable for someone in a wheelchair. I was officially homeless. A fact that did not register until the day they told me I had to leave the nursing home. Fortunately, help was at hand.

With the aid of the nursing home’s social worker, we came up with an answer to my homeless problem. And, although the solution was not the most desirable one, given my financial and physical status it was my only option. Two weeks later I was a resident of an assisted living facility. It was an environment new to me and one which I knew very little about. I was cautiously optimistic.
 
Would I fit in here? How would they treat me? Will I get along with the other residents? Will I have any money to live on? Who will watch out for me? All very important questions to which there were no ready answers. The first night in my new room, as I lay on the bed listening to the silence (nursing homes can be quite noisy), I never felt so alone or uncertain of my future. Luckily, time is not only a great healer, but teacher too. Not only did I adapt to my new surroundings, but came to look upon it as a blessing in disguise.

I imagine many of you would think leaving a two bedroom apartment in a great NYC neighborhood plus a lifetime of memories and two generations of collected home-goods, knickknacks and bric-à-brac behind would be a disaster. But it wasn’t. I was so overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead of me (getting healthier and stronger) that all of that seemed unimportant. It still does. As I look at things now the stuff I lost does not compare with the blessings I gained.

“Blessings? What blessings? You lost everything”, you say. Maybe, but I have received much more. Much of which I have just come to realize.

The first blessing of assisted living is they do everything for you. Housekeeping, laundry, cooking and shopping no longer interfere with the primary business at hand which, for me, was getting as much of my mobility back as I could. And, because  the stress of daily life is eliminated, there were no obstacles to hinder me in that task. It wasn’t long before I gave up the walker and the Rollator for a cane which I now consider more of an accessory than a mobility aid.

As much as stress relief is a blessing so is not being alone. Even if I could return to my apartment, I would have had to live as a virtual prisoner. Isolation is one of the real hardships old folks (especially if disabled) have to face. Here, at the ALF, loneliness is non-existent. Even if you don’t want to leave your room, someone will come get you. The fear of being injured or sick and not being discovered for a week is no longer a problem.** 

And then, there is safety and security. 

Every day, on the news, I see stories of elderly men and women being beaten and robbed. Some on the street, or in elevators or in their own apartments and homes. And, while I have always been able to take care of myself in the past, I’m not so sure that I can still do that. Here at the ALF we are fortunate to have security cameras everywhere and nobody enters the facility un-noticed. Combine that with a building that is fully sprinklered with fireproof doors, my safety is assured.
Finally, there is this. Although my life may not have turned out as I had planned I still feel that it has validity. 

My health, which could have gone in a different direction, is good for an old man. I don’t have any of the ills that confront many people my age. And, most important, my mind hasn’t turned to mush. 

Am I rich? No. Am I physically fit? No. Do I have everything I had hoped retirement to be? No. But as another group of senior citizens once said, “You may not always get what you want, but if you try real hard, you get what you need……………
 
*Editor’s note. By that time I had already spent a year-and-a-half in the nursing home. And, for much of that time I had to pay $13,000 a month, out of pocket. My funds were decimated. Fortunately, my landlord did not sue me for the back rent. They allowed me to return to the building to pick up some personal belongings. The rest (including furniture, appliances and electronics, I told them to keep, or sell or junk.
** There are call bells as well as an intercom in each room and in the bathroom to summon help in an emergency.



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Is Medicare C really an 'Advantage?'
By Henry Schwan

Medicare Advantage health insurance programs can offer cost savings for senior citizens. But one local expert said the plans are not for everyone.

There are many questions to consider when it comes to Medicare Advantage plans: What are they? Are they right for me? Is there a financial risk if I sign up?

Questions such as these are especially important as the fall open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage is upon us. The period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

To help Daily News readers make sense of Medicare Advantage, Stephen Lemire recently offered a few tips. Lemire is program coordinator and senior visiting instructor of the Master of Healthcare Administration at Framingham State University.

What is Medicare Advantage?...




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Are You Suffering From Technophobia?
By Sam Bocetta


The fear of technology has been around for as long as technology itself, and like technology itself, this fear is always changing.

There is evidence of "technophobia" -- the technical name for this affliction -- in every age and in every part of the world. However, it is perhaps reaching a peak in modern society. Americans are more afraid of technology than death, suggests research conducted in 2019. Specifically, they fear what technology will do in the future.

Many of Americans' greatest fears -- economic collapse, another world war, not having enough money for retirement -- concern the state of tomorrow, according to a 2017 survey.

While some technology-related fears are rational and visceral -- like someone spying through your webcam, your smart speaker eavesdropping on you, or losing your home Internet of Things network to the next DoS attack -- others are of a more general form.



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10 Simple Rules for the Best Life Ever
Your roadmap to a more meaningful life

By John P. Weiss


When he first visited the asylum for the mentally disabled, Jean Vanier was overwhelmed by the filth and overcrowding. It was inhuman.

The year was 1964 and Vanier, a French-Canadian philosopher/theologian who had served in the Navy, was still figuring out his path in life.

One of the residents in the asylum asked Vanier if he would be his friend. What happened next defined Vanier’s life work, and set an example for the rest of us who want more meaning in our lives.

Vanier invited the resident and another disabled man to live with him in a modest house in Trosly-Breuil, France. It was here that Vanier fed and washed the disabled men. Others would come, and Vanier named his care home “L’Arche” after Noah’s Ark.

    “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love.” -Jean Vanier

Vanier’s model of care grew into L’Arche International, serving in thirty-eight countries and five continents, with over 10,000 members (with and without disabilities).



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What Is Luxury Senior Living?

Retirement is the time to relax and enjoy yourself. You can have a fulfilling retirement in any community, but if you want to retire in style, you should consider luxury senior living. As the baby boomer generation gets older, luxury senior living is getting more common. New senior housing facilities and retirement communities offer competitive amenities that can make your daily life feel like a vacation.

Luxury senior living can be expensive, so it’s important to research your options carefully before choosing a community. There are a wide variety of options available, and the best choice for you depends on the amenities you want, the type of environment you prefer, and your health needs.
What Is Luxury Assisted Living?

Assisted living is an ideal environment for seniors who are healthy enough to live independently but need some extra assistance. Traditional assisted living facilities usually offer the following services:

Continue reading >> CLICK HERE


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NEXT BLOG MONDAY NOV. 11th 2019


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11/6/19


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By this time you’ve probably already done it. I’m referring to that twice annual ritual they force us to endure. The turning of the clocks back one hour in observance of going back to standard time which they took away from us last March when we turned the clocks ahead one hour. Just talking about it makes me exhausted. While the rest of the world finds the observance of the end of daylight savings time annoying, for seniors it’s a pain in the ass.

Seniors don’t respond well to change. If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
 
We like our breakfast served at a certain time every day with the courses served in the same order.
 
Oatmeal, juice, and coffee first, followed by whatever is on the menu. The same holds true for our medications, snack times and Bingo. Any deviation is akin to a warp in the space-time continuum. Therefore, you can imagine how difficult it is to accept the gain or loss of a whole hour.
 
Losing or gaining an arbitrary hour is only part of the problem. There is the physical act of having to go about re-adjusting the various time pieces one has.

Fortunately, for us here at the A.L.F., there are not that many clocks to change, easing some trauma. Most of us have downsized and simplified our lives to a point where we only have to contend with two or three different time keeping devices. I have five (if you don’t count the four non-functioning watches I have in my drawer). Gratefully, three of my five clocks have the good sense to adjust themselves which leaves me with just two to contend with.

One is a
n old analog watch that does only one thing. Tell time. A simple pull on a stem and a turn clockwise or counter-clockwise is all I need to get on the right track. The other clock is part of a clock-radio which I purchased for ten dollars seven years ago and has been my nemesis ever since.

The clocks face on this marvel of technology is digital. This means, instead of hands pointing to numbers, they spell the hours and minutes out using actual digits. Besides being easier to read, “digital” is why kids today can’t look at a clock with hands and tell you the time. 

Remember the old days (twenty years ago) when we all had VCR’s that kept blinking 12:00 all day and nobody but a 12-year-old child could figure out how to change it? And most of the time we just left it alone to blink blissfully away. Well, that’s how my clock-radio works. 

Aren’t digital devices supposed to make things simple? It’s only a series of one’s and two’s, isn’t it? So how come they make it so difficult to change the time?
 
The “Digital Age” began in the 1970s with the personal computer and watches that blinked those strange red numbers when you pushed a button. And, in all that time, one would think they would have come up with a better way to chan
ge the time on millions of devices that use digital technology. But they haven’t. If they had, I would have been able to push one button and presto, I’d have set the time. But no, they figured a way to make a simple task difficult.

I have always considered myself to be a technically proficient person.
 
I’ve been working with computers since the 80s and had no problems learning to use them, despite their ever-changing technology. I set-up my first computer all by myself. I programmed my TV to accept cable and, more recently, I i
nstalled a ROKU on my not-too-smart TV. I even learned how to set the stations on my car’s radio. So, how come I can’t figure out the damn clock on the radio?
 
Sony, in its wisdom, has taken a no-brainer task and made it so difficult that only a person with a deviant mind could find it easy. And the directions which come with the darn thing make no sense. Perhaps there is a language barrier or, there are a bunch of Japanese having some fun at the expense or all of us round eyes as revenge for having lost the second world war.
 
I spent most of Saturday evening pushing every button on the top of the radio to get the “hour” digit to change with no success. I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe if I pull the plug and let it blink 12:00 until March it will all straighten out. For those of you who are content with this folly, I hope you enjoyed that one hour. ………………………
 


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Healthy Food for Diabetics
at Chinese Restaurants


Fried rice, lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, wonton soup: These beloved dishes at Chinese restaurants (at least those in America) are totally delicious, but they all scream “carb bomb,” which is far from good news for anyone diagnosed with diabetes.

But you can still eat well at Chinese restaurants if you have diabetes or are watching your carb or sugar intake, and not just by eating only steamed versions of everything. New York City-based nutritionist Sharon Richter, RD, reveals her favorite tips for making healthy choices at Chinese restaurants so you can enjoy these dishes while keeping blood sugar levels steady.

Avoid sweet or fried dishes. Many dishes at Chinese restaurants come with fried meats covered in a sweet sauce. This is a double-whammy of saturated fat (from frying) and sugar (from the sauce), equaling one dish that’s very high in calories, low in nutrients, and a nightmare for blood sugar levels....



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Why senior citizens need good credit
By Sue Daugherty


As time goes on, it is fair to predict that there will be more businesses that do not take cash or check and will only take debit cards or credit cards. We see that today, with airfare and rental cars.

How well you pay your bills on time and how much debt your carry is information that is gathered and stored on all of us who have bills, credit cards and loans in our names. This information is available in the form of a credit report and in the form of a credit score. As an older consumer, each can be your friend or your foe.

A credit report is different from a credit score. There are credit reporting companies that collect information about individual consumers. This information is gathered from creditors, lenders and credit card companies. Some reports include information about overdue child support that is owed. A bad credit report may keep a retiree from renting an apartment he/she applied to live in, getting a utility connected or a cell phone. (consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-a-credit-report)


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"Fear of falling": How hospitals do even more
harm by keeping patients in bed


Dorothy Twigg was living on her own, cooking and walking without help until a dizzy spell landed her in the emergency room. She spent three days confined to a hospital bed, allowed to get up only to use a bedside commode. Twigg, who was in her 80s, was livid about being stuck in a bed with side rails and a motion sensor alarm, according to her cousin and caretaker, Melissa Rowley.

“They’re not letting me get up out of bed,” Twigg protested in phone calls, Rowley recalled.

In just a few days at the Ohio hospital, where she had no occupational or physical therapy, Twigg grew so weak that it took three months of rehab to regain the ability to walk and take care of herself, Rowley said. Twigg repeated the same pattern — three days in bed in a hospital, three months of rehab — at least five times in two years.



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Are Uber and Lyft safe for older riders?
by Kenzo Nakawatase


Ride sharing has changed how Americans get around. Now services like Uber and Lyft are trying to make the ride smoother for older customers.

Common wisdom might suggest that ride sharing is for younger city-dwellers who rely on the service for late-night socializing. And indeed, a Pew Research Center study from 2018 found that 51% of Americans ages 18 to 29 used ride-sharing apps compared to just 24% of citizens over 50. But that 24% is substantially more than the 7% of Americans over 50 who used ride sharing in 2015. 

24% of Americans over the age of 50 used ride-sharing in 2018 versus just 7% in 2015.

AARP released its own survey in 2018 that showed similar numbers: 29% of Americans over 50 reported using ride sharing apps, while 68% answered that they are not likely to use it in the next year, with security and safety being two main concerns.




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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY NOV. 7th 2019


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In my youth I had the pleasure of seeing Oscar Peterson live at
many of New York's Jazz Clubs, notably the Half Note. An amazing
musician.


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Editor’s note: You will have to excuse that this post contains more information from other sources than I usually use. I had a  busy week and was not able to do all the research I would have liked. However, the information presented here is accurate and very important and worth your while to read.

While it’s always been open season on us seniors, this year as never before, we have become the targets of every scam, con, fraud, and anti-senior practice the mean and nasty can come up with. Many of us have become the victims of the unscrupulous scum who look upon seniors as “Cash Cows” ready for milking. At the forefront of these are the many telephone scams directed specifically at the elderly.

Here is what the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc. reports.

Why are the elderly frequent targets of fraud scams?
“Most victims who become the targets of fraud scams are considered to be in the naïve segments of the population. Unfortunately, elderly individuals are the most frequent targets of fraud scams. Fraudsters target the elderly, as they may be lonely, willing to listen and are more trusting than younger individuals. Many fraud schemes against the elderly are performed over the telephone, door-to-door or through advertisements. The elderly are prime targets to schemes attributed to credit cards, sweepstakes or contests, charities, health products, magazines, home improvements, equity skimming, investments, banking or wire transfers, and insurance.”

Many of us are natural skeptics. I have always been wary of people who are overly friendly to me. Including women. Being one of the least likable people I know, I generally greet strangers with a fair amount of caution. Unfortunately, to their credit, many older folks are kind, sympathetic people who are willing to give strangers the benefit of the doubt. A trait not overlooked by those who are ready and willing to cheat you out of everything you have.

What tactics do fraudsters use to take advantage of the elderly?

“Fraudsters use different tactics to get the elderly to fall victim to their schemes. They can be friendly, sympathetic and willing to help in some cases or use fear tactics in others. The tactic used is generally dependent upon the type of situation the fraudster finds himself in with the elderly person. For example, a fraudster might focus on home ownership. The fraudster will recommend a “friend” that can perform necessary home repairs at a reasonable price. This friend may require the individual to sign a document upon completion confirming that the repairs have been completed. In some cases, the elderly victim later learns that he signed the title of his house over to the repairman. In other cases, not only is the person overcharged for the work, but the work is not performed properly.”

The list of the most popular scams is extensive. And they are based directly on matters that are of interest to seniors in particular. Here is a brief list of the most popular of these scams. The details of which can be found by clicking the “source” link at the bottom of this section.

1.Medicare
2.Counterfeit prescription drugs
3.Funerals
4.Anti-aging products 
5.Telephones
6.Internet
7.Investments
8.Mortgages
9.Sweepstakes/lotteries
10.The grandparent scam

That’s some pretty nasty stuff. Not only do you lose much of what you have worked for all of your life, but you are left feeling humiliated and violated as well. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid being a target. This is from the National Council on Aging…**

1. Be aware that you are at risk from strangers—and from those closest to you

Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by the older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others. Common tactics include depleting a joint checking account, promising but not delivering care in exchange for money or property, outright theft, and other forms of abuse, including physical abuse, threats, intimidation, and neglect of basic care needs.

Everyone is at risk of financial abuse, even people without high incomes or assets. Understand the top 10 most common scams targeting seniors, so you can spot one before it’s too late.

2. Don’t isolate yourself—stay involved!

Isolation is a huge risk factor for elder abuse. Most family violence only occurs behind closed doors, and elder abuse is no exception. Some older people self-isolate by withdrawing from the larger community. Others are isolated because they lose the ability to drive, see, or walk about on their own. Some seniors fear being victimized by purse snatchings and muggings if they venture out. Visit the Eldercare Locator to find services nearby that can help you stay active. Or contact your local senior center to get involved.

3. Always tell solicitors: “I never buy from (or give to) anyone who calls or visits me unannounced. Send me something in writing.”

Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company and always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. Neighborhood children you know who are selling Girl Scout cookies or school fundraising items may be an exception, but a good rule of thumb is to never donate if it requires you to write your credit card information on any forms.

It’s also good practice to obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. And always take your time in making a decision.

4. Shred all receipts with your credit card number

Identity theft is a huge business. To protect yourself, invest in—and use—a paper shredder. Monitor your bank and credit card statements and never give out personal information over the phone to someone who initiates the contact with you.

5. Sign up for the “Do Not Call” (https://www.donotcall.gov/) list and take yourself off multiple mailing lists

6. Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen from the mailbox

Using direct deposit ensures that checks go right into your accounts and are protected. Clever scammers or even scrupulous loved ones have been known to steal benefits checks right out of mailboxes or from seniors’ homes if they are laying around.

7. Never give your credit card, banking, Social Security, Medicare, or other personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call

Misuse of Medicare dollars is one of the largest scams involving seniors. Common schemes include billing for services never delivered and selling unneeded devices or services to beneficiaries. Protect your Medicare number as you do your credit card, banking, and Social Security numbers and do not allow anyone else to use it. Be wary of salespeople trying to sell you something they claim will be paid for by Medicare.

Review your Medicare statements to be sure you have in fact received the services billed, and report suspicious activities to 1-800-MEDICARE.

8.Be skeptical of all unsolicited offers and thoroughly do your research

I don’t know who might have said it first. Probably it was some guy who bought a mule for a ridiculous price and it turned out to be lame. However, it remains true. “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.” And, if you have any doubts about anything that involves you having to give up any money, sign anything or give any personal information to anybody, get somebody you trust get involved………………………………………….

*Source: https://www.acfe.com/fraud-examiner.aspx?id=4294997223
**Source: https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/scams-security/protection-from-scams/


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Aging in the Right Place:
Common myths about assisted living facilities

By Michael Moore


Many people think they’ve got assisted living facilities all figured out, but when deciding where to age, it’s important to be able to distinguish fact from fiction. The best way to figure out if an assisted living community is for you is to visit a few.

If you’ve ever referred to an assisted living facility as a nursing home, you’re not alone. People do it all the time. After all, they’re pretty much the same thing, right?

Wrong.

Not only is it factually incorrect, but it also has the potential to confuse older adults about what their options really are. Deciding it’s time to pack your bags and move out of the house is hard enough without misinformation running rampant. So, let’s try to clear the air on some of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding assisted living facilities,

Confusing assisted living communities with nursing homes, which these days are more commonly referred to as skilled nursing facilities, is still probably the biggest misunderstanding Jim Rosenthal, CEO of senior care resources company Caring.com, commonly sees.



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Sleeping for nine hours or more each night
 is linked to dementia

By Ellen Scott

We’re all aware of the damage we cause by not getting enough sleep.

But according to new research, sleeping for too long can be a cause for concern, too.

Despite there being a load of studies that have linked Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with a lack of sleep, a recent study from the University of Miami Miller School found that people who slept for nine hours or more per night showed a decline in memory and language skills – both of which are early signs of dementia.

That doesn’t mean you should dramatically cut down on your snoozing time, though – those who got less than six hours of sleep a night were also found to be at an increased risk of developing dementia.


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Term ‘retirement age’ may be irrelevant


The labor participation rate of older Americans is increasing for a variety of reasons. The National Council on Aging reports that one in five seniors are still working.

In fact, says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens: “The term, ‘retirement age,’ may become irrelevant in the 21st century. For one thing, modern medicine is giving seniors a second wind, making them healthy enough to continue working. Technology is making it easier for them to stay on the job. But, perhaps the biggest reason for not retiring, is the fact that the rising cost of living makes it more difficult to live on a fixed income,”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than a third of men and women between the ages of 65 and 69 and at least 19% of those 70 to 74 years of age are still on the job. And, the NCOA reports that 69 percent of senior citizens say they continue to work for economic reasons.


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As We Age, How Safe is Surgery?


As you age, your body’s heart, kidney, lungs and other organ functions deteriorate. Under normal conditions, this is nothing to worry about. But when faced with intense stress, like a surgical procedure, the body can’t always bounce back.

“Replacing someone’s hip when they’re eighty-five is harder than when they’re fifty. That becomes a more difficult task. Your body takes longer to recover,” says Dr. Clifford Ko, a colorectal surgeon at the University of California and director of research and optimal patient care at the American College of Surgeons.

Adults age 65 and older account for more than 40% of all inpatient surgical operations and 33% of outpatient procedures each year. But, unsurprisingly, this population faces higher rates of post-procedure mortality and complication rates.



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- 30 -

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10/30/19




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Like It Or Not.
You Might Be A Socialist


The other night the sound of rain hitting my window awakened me. It was 3am, and as I lay there in my bed freshly made with nice, crisp, clean sheets, I felt the warm air coming from the radiator taking the chill off of this cool Fall night. A feeling of well-being, safety and security washed over me. I was doing okay. But, given my financial status, things might have turned out differently. And, I owe it all to socialism. Yes, Socialism. Don’t look so shocked.

If you are receiving a Social Security check, Medicare or Medicaid, SSI, food stamps, subsidized housing, or any federal, state or local benefits, you are receiving them because of socialism. But don’t compare what we have with Soviet Communism or what they have in China. And don’t get scared that any of your civil rights, freedoms will be taken away or they will take the right to own your own business.
 
Franklin Roosevelt (who came from a wealthy family and hardly a Communist or Socialist) signed the Social Security act into law in 1935 to ensure that older Americans would have some financial stability. And, like Medicare and Medicaid which became laws in 1965 (signed by another non-Communist, Lyndon Johnson) as an amendment to the Social Security Act, were programs designed to take a possible catastrophic and financially devastating situation for any individual and spread the burden among all Americans as a form of, not charity, but compassion.

Some of you older seniors might remember the great depression.* An economic disaster brought upon by unbridled Capitalism and climate change. If it weren’t for “Socialist” programs like the NRA (National Recovery Act), the WPA (The Works Progress Administration) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), where the government paid and put people to work, many Americans would have starved to death or left without a roof over their heads. It wasn’t Capitalism that provided hope in a hopeless situation but an American form of Socialism.

So, why are Americans afraid of Socialism? There are many reasons, but mostly it’s because we don’t trust each other. Especially, the rich.
 
An article by Matt J. Weber in the medium.com,** explains why this is.

"Socialism requires a lot of faith in people. After all, it depends on people paying into a collective pool of money — taxes, usually — and using that money to pay for broad social and economic programs. But if you can’t trust people to use the money fairly, then you’ll be less willing to buy into the pool.
Turns out the amount of trust we have in our fellow citizens can be measured.

This is called the Social Trust Index.

In order to have a socialist system as robust as a Scandinavian country like Sweden or Norway, the overall social trust index of a nation must be at 80% or greater. In 2007, a Pew research poll put the Social Trust Index of the United States at 50%. It hasn’t gotten any better in the time since.
So why are Americans so distrustful of one another?

Well, we can blame the rich for that.

Since the late 1970s, the gap between the rich and poor has expanded into an immense gulf. In 2013, the top 10% of families held 76% of the wealth. The top 400 richest Americans — people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg — are sitting on more wealth than half of all America. That’s a group of people who couldn’t even fill a 747 passenger jet with more money than 160 million people. This consolidation of wealth into an increasingly smaller set of pockets has led to less social mobility and shocking economic inequality.

Nobody wants to pay taxes — even in a society with a high social trust index. But if the system seems unfair, there’s no incentive for anybody to contribute their fair share."

The problems in our country are real and far-reaching. For a country that’s supposed to be the richest in the world, we have a strange idea of how we should use that money. It seems odd that we can afford to spend billions on defense, foreign aid and pork-barrel projects and can’t, at the very least, provide decent free healthcare and a decent place to live for all of its citizens. And, if this sounds a little like Socialism, so be it…………………………………………………….
 
 
*Editor’s note: These are problems we are still dealing with today.
 The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from 1929 to 1939. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.

Top 5 Causes of the Great Depression – Economic Domino Effect
The Roaring 20's. Before the world entered into an economic decline, the performance of the stock market was well above par, and the industrial output more profitable than it had ever been. ...
Ensuing Global Crisis. ...
The Stock Market Crash. ...
The Dust Bowl. ...
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.
** source:https://medium.com/@mjosefweber/why-is-america-so-scared-of-socialism-f4eaa5f40e5f




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It’s been a little difficult getting into the whole Fall thing because the temperature
around these parts has been rather mild. Therefore, I was happy to see one of the
true signs that indeed the season will change. The “mums” are doing quite nicely as well.



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How To Replace Your Vital Records | USAGov


Find out how to replace vital documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, and more.

1.Replace Lost or Stolen Identification (ID) Cards

Contact your state motor vehicle agency for a replacement license or state ID card.

2. Replace Your Social Security Card

Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to request a replacement card.

3. Replace Your Medicare ID Card

Get in touch with the Medicare program to replace your lost or stolen Medicare card.

4. Replace Your Medicaid ID Card

Contact your state Medicaid office to get a replacement Medicaid card.

5. Replace Your U.S. Passport

Let the State Department know immediately about your lost or stolen passport and then request a replacement.

6.Replace Your Permanent Resident (Green) Card

More information on how to replace vital records >>CLICK HERE
 


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Assisted Living and Similar Facilities
Need to Restrict Yearly Price Increases



WASHINGTON, D.C. – “It’s a fact that the cost of providing services at senior citizen facilities increases annually for any of a variety of reasons. It’s also a fact, however, that most seniors living in assisted living facilities and senior housing don’t have the resources to pay steadily increasing rates, particularly when they exceed the annual Cost Price Index [CPI]. Something’s gotta give lest the nation’s elderly join the ranks of the homeless,” according to senior advocate Dan Weber.

Weber, who is founder and president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], cites the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued earlier this month. It concludes that its “all items [CPI] index increased 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending August.”

Yet, notes Weber, the most recent National Senior Living Cost Index prepared by the senior-living referral service, A Place for Mom, shows that the cost for independent living facilities rose 2.6%. Assisted living costs were up by 2.4% and the costs for memory care facilities were up by 3.2%.


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Embrace getting older, but remember, it’s later than you think
By Hermine Saunders

A couple of months ago, CBS News featured Steve Hartman “On the Road” in Salt Lake City talking to a group of senior citizens who meet regularly over morning coffee at Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli and “proceed to know it all,” according to Hartman. Led by Tony Caputo, the group claims to “solve the problems of the world.” But since that advice only stayed within the group, this past summer the members decided to take their coffee club to the local farmer’s market under the banner “Old Coots Giving Advice.” In smaller letters the sign reads, “It’s probably bad advice, but it’s free.”

The group has been surprised at how many young people ask advice in all seriousness — on having twins, to which one “Old Coot” answered, “Yeah, good luck;” how to raise a child without messing up his life, to which another answered, “You’re going to mess him up a little bit and that’s how they grow;” whether a woman should stay with an unfaithful husband, to which they replied in unison, “No, no, no.” They address everything from landscaping issues to life’s greatest mysteries, from which Hartman concluded: “Proving seniors really are America’s greatest, untapped natural resource.”

Continue reading >>https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll/lifestyles/cc-lt-saunders-101319-20191011-3spyr7tfgnh43ee5quz6bybu3i-story.html

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Researchers Study Links Between Sleep,
Sleep Medicine And Dementia

Do you notice your thinking is affected by how you sleep?

Here’s what some people in Market Square said:

“If I sleep well, I definitely feel I can concentrate, and my thinking is much better the next day.”
“If I don’t get a good night sleep, I just feel like really kind of distracted, can’t focus on a lot.”
“Sometimes if I sleep too much, I feel lazy.”

Is poor sleep related to memory troubles? And are sleep medicines a risk factor for dementia?

AHN sleep specialist Dr. Khalid Malik sees patients with sleep problems who notice that their thinking is off.

“Recalling may be a problem, calculation, forgetfulness,” Dr. Malik said.

Researchers looked into this issue and presented their findings at a national conference on Alzheimer’s disease.




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10/27/19





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By now you probably know that this year’s increase in Social Security benefits will be a measly 1.6%. For most of us that means we’ll see only about $24 more each month. So, what will you do with this “windfall?”
 
I suppose I could go see a movie and have a little left over for popcorn or one of those perpetually rotating hot dogs that they never seem to sell. Perhaps I’d take a friend for breakfast at Mickey D’s and get two egg McMuffins. We could buy a pizza with one topping and hope it’s not anchovies. Or just use it to pay for something foolish like the electric bill.
 
In actuality, for myself and many residents of assisted living facilities, they’ll allow us to keep only about half of that because it permits them to raise our rent with any increase in benefits. This, for many seniors, means they will never get ahead, or even stay even. And it’s all because of something called the CPI, the Consumer Price Index which is inherently flawed.

“Social Security’s COLA has been determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, since 1975. This is an index with eight major spending categories and countless subcategories, each of which has a predetermined weighting that allows the BLS to express aggregate inflation in one simple and concise number each month. When it comes to Social Security’s COLA, only the readings from the third quarter (July through September) factor into the calculation.

The problem is that the CPI-W does an awful job at representing the true inflation that seniors are facing. That’s because, as the name of the index implies, it’s measuring the spending habits of urban and clerical workers, many of whom aren’t 62 or older, or receiving a Social Security retirement benefit. In short, urban and clerical workers spend their money very differently than senior citizens do.”

For one, seniors spend nearly double for medical care and considerably more on housing than their under 62, non-retired counterparts. What seniors don’t spend their money on, and therefor they should not include as part of the CPI are items as clothing and education. Add to that, the drop in purchasing power for the low overall COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) has cost seniors nearly $16,000 over the last 10 years. *
 
According to a new analysis from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a nonpartisan organization that looks to defend the rights and benefits of seniors, “extremely low COLAs over the past decade have cost retired workers a fortune.” TSCL’s analysis says that “a COLA should not average lower than 3% in any year to lessen the drain of retirement savings on seniors, and in order to keep the elderly out of poverty.” 

And here’s the real kicker. Congress wholeheartedly agrees. Democrats and Republicans agree on virtually nothing when it comes to Social Security, but both parties firmly believe that the CPI does not do a good job of accurately measuring the inflation that program beneficiaries face. Unfortunately, neither party can agree on what to replace the CPI with to reflect a more realistic COLA. Meanwhile, if you are a senior who depends on that check every month as either some or all of their income, we’re going to be out of luck for some time to come.

On a personal note, having an additional $50 to $75 every month would mean so much.
It would allow me and my fellow residents to travel to places like bookstores, the movies, a decent restaurant or a trip to the mall. Not to squander our money foolishly, but to buy things that can restore some dignity to our lives. 

A decent benefit increase might mean the difference between only eating once-a-day to eating three nutritious meals daily.

We must never forget, Social Security is not a “handout” or welfare. It’s our money. It’s time we got to enjoy it………



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These basic life-planning tools can ease
your money and retirement worries

By Lee Weinstein

While facilitating a life-planning workshop in Portland, Ore. last summer, I asked for a show of hands: How many of you have a will? How many have a power of attorney document? An advance directive? What about a financial plan?

I expected a weak response to some of these questions, but I was surprised at how few of these educated, professional people had arranged for even the more commonplace documents — for example, only four of the 18 participants had a financial plan. While I view these tools as vital to guiding my life, it became clear that not everyone sees them as essential.

Recently, DHM Research — a research firm my company works with — offered me the opportunity to ask questions in one of their surveys. So I posed the same queries I’d asked the workshop participants, but this time to 625 people in a scientifically conducted online survey. Here’s what I learned:

Continue reading >> https://www.marketwatch.com/story/make-these-key-life-plans-now-to-ease-your-money-and-retirement-worries-2019-10-07



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Insurance Brokers Explain Why Seniors
Are Considered High Risk Drivers



Once a person reaches the age of 65, he or she is considered a senior. Senior citizens can expect a significant increase in car insurance premiums. Companies justify their high prices using the following arguments:


Seniors pose a greater risk of being critically injured or killed during a crash. According to American Automobile Association (AAA), drivers that are 80 years old or more are 17 times more likely to die in a car accident than the drivers that are in the 25 to 64 age groups. Once a person gets old, his or her body becomes more fragile and susceptible to severe injuries. The high cost of medical care or funeral expenses determines the insurer to charge senior drivers more.



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The fullness of years -
 Washington Jewish Week



We wish Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a full recovery from his heart attack last week. Remaining true to the relentless pursuit of his campaign themes, the 78 year old tried to turn his sudden medical emergency into a plug for his Medicare-for-all policy.

More significantly, Sanders’ medical scare reminded us that this cycle’s race for the presidency is dominated by septuagenarians: In addition to Sanders, who is the oldest, former Vice President Joe Biden is 76, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is 70, and President Donald Trump is 73.

That makes this both the oldest presidential race ever and the youngest, as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, at 37, is just two years older than the youngest age permitted by the Constitution, and six years younger than John F. Kennedy was when he became the youngest person elected president. Yet the frontrunners in this race are the most senior citizens.

We are taught in Pirkei Avot, the book of rabbinic aphorisms, that upon reaching age 70 one achieves “the fullness of years.” Rather than being an age that suggests retirement, 70 is a marker of accomplishment and the achievement of wisdom — informed by surviving life’s joys and sorrows, and cultivated by a multitude of life’s experiences.



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Knee Replacement Lets This Educator Enjoy
Quality Time With Family and Friends


Renee Yahara of Wildwood, N.J. lived an active lifestyle filled with sports, walks along the beach, regular workouts and outings with friends.

Despite how much Yahara loved to do each of these activities when she wasn’t working in the guidance office at a local high school, she knew that doing any of them for an extended period of time would result in severe knee pain the rest of the day and well into the next.

“I would be able to be physically active for about an hour or so, and then after that I was just lying on the couch in pain, and in pain the next day,” Yahara said. “It came to a point where I wasn’t doing the things I enjoyed doing because I knew what the consequences were going to be afterward.”

Continue reading >> CLICK HERE




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NEXT BLOG MONDAY OCT. 28th 2019


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10/23/19





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Loneliness is part of the human condition that intensifies as one gets older. Attrition makes up much of why older folks are alone. One downside of living a long life is that your friends die or move away. And, the chance of making new friends decreases as we age. All of us will experience loneliness in our lives. I have never been as lonely as I was shortly after my brother passed away leaving me as the last member of my immediate family. Having no children, my family line ends with me. Sad, but that is the way life is sometimes. But enough about loneliness. There is a more pressing problem that older folks face all the time. That is the feeling of being left out and forgotten.

The word “forgotten” is almost synonymous with being old. Our friends, especially the married ones, have their own lives and their own families to keep them busy. And, while we may see them once in a while, we are no longer included in that circle of people who used to do things and go places together. Unfortunately, divorce, death of a spouse or a disability puts an end to all of that. Suddenly you are an unintentional outcast. This comes as a shock for many older folks who were once active, respected and sought-after members of their communities. However, the reasons many seniors feel ignored may not always be because of the failure of others. Often, it’s their own fault.

In an reply to the question “In a group, why are elderly people often left out of the conversation?”, author Holly Helmstetter, former writer for Family Magazines "Living on the Edge" at Family Circle Magazine gives this answer…*
“One of the most basic reasons that an elder is left out of conversations, is that he or she has hearing problems. After asking repeatedly for another family member to repeat something, the elder often just gives up.

Another reason elders find themselves getting silenced or ignored, is that they judge, condemn, disapprove and ridicule the things the younger people are interested in. Or perhaps they’re determined that one or another of the younger ones is pursuing a course in life that is not what the elder person wants them to choose.”

Having partial hearing loss myself, I can sympathize with those whose deafness is profound. Sadly, in most cases, most health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid)** will not pay for hearing aids, leaving many poorer seniors out of the loop. As for those older folks whose main purpose in life is to live in the past and mock everything and everybody younger than themselves, we can do very little. They’ll be crabby, lonely old people the rest of their lives.

Here, at the A.L.F., we have all kinds of folks in various stages of what we can look upon as isolation or loneliness. While much of it is self-imposed (there are some who are plain old sociopaths and don’t get along with anybody), some have just lost interest in everything. 

They don’t take part in any of the facilities activities, or come to any of the meetings or even watch the news. They have no opinion about anything and refuse to engage in anything over two or three word conversations. This can pose health risks for many older people.***

According to the N.I.A. (National Institute on Ageing)…

“Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.

People who find themselves unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse or partner, separation from friends or family, retirement, loss of mobility, and lack of transportation are at particular risk.
Conversely, people who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others tend to live longer, boost their mood, and have a sense of purpose. These activities seem to help maintain their well-being and may improve their cognitive function, studies show.”

Getting old folks motivated to get up off their butts to do anything is a topic for another time. Or, perhaps it’s nobody’s business if an old dude who worked hard all of his life just wants to chill out for whatever time he has left. Perhaps he worked in close contact with people all the time and now he’s just wants some alone time.

When I first came to this facility almost 6 years ago, it surprised me at how apathetic and uninterested many of the residents were about things that directly affected them. It was almost as if they were afraid to participate. As the years have gone by I now realize that for many older folks, keeping a low profile is their way of protecting themselves from forces (real or imagined) who want to take advantage of their vulnerability. And, truthfully, I can’t say as I blame them……………………………

*https://www.quora.com/In-a-group-why-are-elderly-people-often-left-out-of-the-conversation
**https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Paying-for-Hearing-Aids/
***https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-older-people-pose-health-risks




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Open Enrollment Is Coming:
Here's Everything You Need to Know About Medicare


If you’re eligible for Medicare, it’s almost time for the most important period of the year: open enrollment. Whether you’re a longtime Medicare subscriber or in your first year of eligibility, it’s crucial that you don’t miss out on open enrollment.

Open enrollment is the only time all year that seniors can make changes to their Medicare coverage. This year, the open enrollment period will begin on October 15.

Before open enrollment begins, you should examine your Medicare options, present coverage, and health expenses for the past year. And you need to understand what Medicare offers in order to evaluate your options. To help you decide whether you should make changes to your coverage, or pick which plans you should sign up for, during open enrollment, here’s what you need to know about Medicare.

Who Is Eligible for Medicare?

In most cases, Medicare coverage begins automatically when a person turns 65, as long as you paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years. Younger people with certain medical conditions and disabilities also may be eligible. Part A is free, but you have to pay a monthly premium for any other parts you choose.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Continue reading >> CLICK HERE




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Monthly Assisted Living Costs Surpass $4,000
By Tim Regan


The cost of assisted living rose 1.28% in the past year, according to the latest Cost of Care Survey from insurer Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW).

The national median cost for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community is now $4,051 per month, or $48,612 per year, according to the survey. The five-year annual growth rate for assisted living costs clocked in at 2.97%.

This year’s cost increase was dramatically less than last year’s cost of care increase of 6.7%. That may have something to do with oversupply.



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Many Americans still believe that these
old wives’ tales help their health

By Allison Sadlier

The average American feels “perfectly healthy” less than half of the year, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 people found that the average respondent experiences 12 days a month with no aches, pain or discomfort — which adds up to just 144 days per year.

It’s not a surprise then that people turn to time-honored methods to relieve their ailments — 51 percent admitted to currently believing in at least one old wives’ tale.
Enlarge ImageMany Americans still believe that these old wives' tales help their health.
SWNS

The survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Probiogen, examined the little ailments people face and the old wives’ tales they believe.



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Stick Meemaw in the Backyard
With This Tiny House for Old People



When it comes to finding a place for Mom and Dad to live out their golden years, the options used to be pretty slim. Nursing homes might not make the most sense from a financial standpoint in the long run—plus, letting an aging parent live alone may cause anxiety and guilt for some families. And while some adult children can welcome Grandma or Grandpa into their own homes with open arms, others might not have the space.

Enter the "granny pod." Also known as the in-law cottage or MEDCottage, the tiny home is essentially a portable hospital room designed by a Blacksburg, VA, company, with help from Virginia Tech.

What Is a Granny Pod?

Think of granny pods as guest houses with lots of high-tech medical extras. MEDCottages are pre-fabricated and designed to be installed in the backyard behind the main home (zoning laws permitting, of course).



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- 30 -

NEXT BLOG THURSDAY OCT. 24th 2019


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10/20/2019


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Remember when your mom would say “Don’t sit too close to the TV, you’ll get TV eyes?” And you immediately pictured yourself with these big bulging eyeballs that resembled a TV screen. Well, the TV screen eyes excluded, your mom’s warning may not have been too far from the truth. The only difference being, it wasn’t the TV screen that would give us eye problems, but another kind of screen. The one you are probably staring at right now. The computer screen.
 
As a young man, I always prided myself on having good eyesight. For over 40 years I never had to wear glasses for anything. While many of my friends were squinting when reading a newspaper or textbook, I sat there proudly flaunting my lack of myopia. And, when we all turned 17 and became the recipients of a driving license many of us found for the first time they needed to wear glasses to drive legally. I always thought it funny watching all the so-called “cool” kids and jocks get behind the wheel of their new cars and have to put on a pair of glasses with lenses the thickness of a milk bottle. But all that changed when, I too, fell victim to the dreaded “appliance.” Glasses.

My eye problems began somewhere around 1989 when I sat down in front of my first computer screen. It was at a new job and it required me to stare at it for eight hours a day. Fortunately, this was prior to PC’s and the old DOS black screen with green letters was easy on the eyes. It was not until a few years later, at a job where a Windows PC was at every desk, did I feel some eye strain.
 
I suppose, if I limited the only time spent in front of a computer to work hours, my eyesight might still have been okay. Unfortunately, using a computer at work set me on a path of the genuine online junkies whose addiction could only be satiated by having my own PC at home. This meant, besides the eight hours of screen time at work, I was adding four hours or a more night. That’s over 12 hours a day sitting just 2 feet away from a screen. My mom would have had a fit.

Jump ahead a few years and a myriad of screened devices including laptops, cell phones, cameras, and two tablets later and I’m wearing glasses permanently.
 
I now have two pairs. One for reading (books, magazines and computers) and another which allows me to see objects with a certain amount of clarity, including TV. I have, reluctantly, become “A person who wears glasses.”
 
Wearing glasses is more than just putting them on and taking them off. There is an entire glass-wearing culture surrounding their use.
 
First, one must remember to remember to make sure they take their glasses everywhere they go. And, if we take them off for any reason we must remember to check to make sure we have them with us.
 
We must always keep our glasses clean. I have, over the years, built a collection of various lens cleaning paraphernalia including cloths. sprays, buffers and a gadget that cleans both sides of the lens at the same time. None of which work as well as a Kleenex and some mouth vapor.

And then there are the visits to the optometrist.
 
Lately, each time I sit in the chair and try to read the chart on the wall, I can see one line less than on previous visits. I am up to line 7. I know the next visit I’ll be lucky to make line 6. Soon, only the “E” will I see.
 
Fortunately, because I am a Medicaid beneficiary, these visits are free as are the two pairs of glasses I am permitted every 6 months. I even get to choose from a variety of stylish frames.

Unfortunately, my eyesight is getting worse. I have had to increase the lens strength of my reading glasses twice in the last year. How long it will take until I’ll be one of those old folks who use a magnifying glass just to read a newspaper I don’t know. I am already at a point where I can’t read a paperback book for more than a minute or two without having to rub my eyes. I do most of my reading electronically which allows me to increase the font size at will. I’m composing this blog at a setting of 120% normal size.
 
A few years ago I almost lost my sight altogether because of a fungal infection which scarred both retinas. I know what it’s like to having the possibility of losing one’s sight altogether. Only the quick action and expertise of a wonderful ophthalmologist at Mt. Sinai do I still have my eyesight today.

I am at the time of life when most of my contemporaries have undergone cataract operations. All of whom have reported an improvement in their eyesight. Some have even given up their reading glasses. This makes the possibility of such a procedure less stressful.
 
Wearing glasses doesn’t bother me. In fact, I think it adds a certain amount of “authenticity” to my look. And besides, glasses become a great prop when you are trying to make a point. Just whip them off quickly and look like you know what you’re talking about. They always believe a guy with glasses…………………………………

Editor’s note: For information regarding the dangers of too much time in front of computer screens, check out this article from Harvard…https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/electronic-screen-alert-avoid-this-vision-risk
 

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Preventing falls and raising awareness

September is nationally recognized as Falls Prevention Awareness Month. During this time, a special focus is placed on raising awareness about ways that seniors — and those who care for them — can prevent falls, the most common accident experienced by older adults. But of course the information highlighted during this time is valuable all year.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-fifth of assisted living residents are injured in falls every year. Unsteadiness caused by medications, as well as obstacles in the living environment, can contribute to falls.

Preventing falls in senior living communities is much like preventing them in a traditional home. The following prevention strategies can go a long way toward keeping older adults safe in their living spaces: 

1.    Install handrails in stairways, hallways and bathrooms to ensure steadiness.
2.    Clear all clutter, and arrange furniture to create walking space.
3.    Immediately clean up spills when they occur.
4.    Ensure that older adults don’t stand on furniture to reach for items.
5.    Help seniors to always keep walking aids close by.
6.    Encourage older adults to have a flashlight within reach and a nightlight in the bedroom in case they need to get out of bed in the middle of the night.

Continue reading>> https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/columns/guest-columns/preventing-falls-and-raising-awareness/



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6 trends to watch from senior housing headlines

Roughly 15% of the population in 2017 were senior citizens, and this number is expected to rise as the years go on. As a result, senior housing is almost guaranteed to rise with it.

The growth of senior housing is just one trend to watch. The current issues and successes within the senior housing sector are already paving the way for new trends.

There are a lot of things to watch for in Senior Housing News, and we’ll talk more about some of them in the paragraphs below.

1. Transitioning Home

More and more, seniors are choosing to stay at home for as long as possible. Advancements in modern medicine are turning this into a reality.

Many of the diseases that may have once limited the activities of the senior population have been largely destroyed. Today’s seniors are among the first in history that have grown up in a world without polio, which was cured in 1953.


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App to improve lives of older adults
is set for first major user tests
By Lenora Smith


A new app that aims to improve the functional lives of older adults is about to get its first major user tests.

Developed at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) through a collaboration that began in 2015 between the College of Nursing, the Department of Psychology and the Department of Art, Art History & Design, the app is called mPACT, for mobile Physical Activity Training.

It integrates low impact physical activity in the form of chair exercises with colorful brain training games that have been proven to improve cognitive function and mind-body coordination. Participants win gold star rewards for their successes and improvements.

"Research has shown that physical activity and brain training will improve cognition," says Dr. Lenora Smith, an assistant professor of nursing and distinguished educator in gerontological nursing. The new app is the first time anyone has combined the two in a single venue, she says.



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Move Over Stanford Dropouts:
Older Americans Are Learning to Code and They're Getting Good


Who says technology is only for young people?

A growing number of older Americans are learning how to code, thanks to an assortment of college coding “boot camps” cropping up across the country.

Dozens of these coding boot camps — intensive, months long-training programs that teach you how to program computers — are gaining popularity with older people who want to develop a second professional skill set and continue working. As retirees continue to live longer and leave the workforce earlier than planned, there’s an increasing appeal — even necessity — to expanding your professional expertise to include technological skills as a veteran worker.

Right now is the perfect time to get your foot in the door in Silicon Valley: by 2020, there will be more open jobs in the technology sector than workers who can fill them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus, you may even impress your grandkids or your neighbors at the same time.




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NEXT BLOG MONDAY OCT. 21st 2019


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Facebook is trying to make it easier to get in touch with people over Messenger, so it's rolling out a number of new ways to start chatting. As with all Facebook accounts, all Messenger accounts will now have dedicated links that people can visit to start a chat — they'll all be located at m.me/[username]. Facebook is also rolling out what it calls Messenger Codes, which are Messenger's equivalent to Snapchat's snapcodes. They look pretty neat: Messenger Codes are just a series of dots and dashes circling around your profile photo. When someone scans one with their camera, it'll presumably add that person as a contact.

read more >> https://www.theverge.com/2016/4/7/11383958/facebook-messenger-codes-announced-900m-mau


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