GOOD MORNING

IT'S THURSDAY

JULY 9TH 2020


QUARANTINE DAY 118
==================================





TODAY'S BLOG CONTINUES BELOW







Is Our Diversity Killing Us?

The words at the base of the Statue Of liberty read, in part…
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,…”
 
Could it be those “Huddled masses” may aid in the spread of the Covid-19 virus?
 
No, not because they are carrying the disease, but because diverse opinions have caused a rift among America’s citizens.
 
Did you ever wonder why countries like China and Korea got a handle on controlling the emergence of fresh cases even though, as in China’s case, they have a larger population than we do?
 
It’s simple. And it all has to do with this… (-), the hyphen.
 
In countries like China, Korea, Japan and even Italy, there are little or no hyphenated groups.
 
There are no Afro-Chinese or Ital-Koreans or Greco-Japanese. They are only Chinese, Koreans or Japanese.
 

Even in most western countries, the hyphenated community is so small they hardly make a difference.
 
Foreigners who migrate to other countries either keep their ethnicity intact and rarely assimilate with the indigenous population or they completely immerse themselves in the culture of their adopted nation.
 
Only in America do we try to have it both ways. And while that has made us great for over 300 years, it may just be our downfall.

When unity is not only essential but critical, we find ourselves dangerously divided.
 
We are split by the exact thing that has given us the rich culture we so proudly cherish. Our right to individual thinking.
 
Instead of being just Americans fighting a common enemy, we have taken sides along ethnic, religious, and political lines.
 
Groups who identify themselves as patriots, mostly white Anglo-Saxon Americans, believe that being forced (or even asked) to wear a mask is an attack on the Constitution and our rights and refuse to do it. They have shamed others for wearing a mask, calling them “wussies” or worse.
 
Pro-mask wearing group’s view non-maskers as stupid, ignorant, anti-science and worse, Republicans.


Members of various racial and ethnic groups feel discriminated against because they have been viewed as being “The one’s who started this virus thing in the first place.”

Older Americans believe they have been singled-out as targets of the virus and therefore are considered “expendable”, while the young think they are eternal.

Independence and individuality is great. It’s what we strive for. The freedom to be Americans while embracing our heritage have always been at the forefront of American thought.

Now, if we wish to perpetuate this and insure America’s future, we will have to back-off on our independence in order to preserve it.


We need to begin thinking as one for the good of the many.......
 





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‘Misleading’ report tied to federal bill with
COVID-19-related requirements for assisted living


Assisted living communities would be required to report confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 to federal, state and local health officials, as well as to residents and their families — and would have one day to do it — under legislation announced Thursday by two U.S. senators and one congresswoman.

The report on which the bill is based, however, “falls short” and is “misleading,” according to one association representing operators.

The Assisted Living Facility Coronavirus Reporting Act, introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions and Aging committees; Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA); and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, also would subject assisted living communities to the same reporting requirements established for nursing homes by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “to the extent practicable.”


______________________________________________________

Here’s Why You Should Soak Your Feet
in Apple Cider Vinegar —
and how to do it

By Katherine Marko


A little in your salad, a little in your foot bath! Apple cider vinegar’s long history as a natural remedy means that it has been used to treat everything from sore throats to obesity — and even the feet. Feet are particularly sensitive to their environment, making them susceptible to bacteria, fungi, calluses, and more. Apple cider vinegar contains many beneficial properties that could help improve these conditions. Here’s why you should soak your feet in ACV and how to create the optimal foot bath. 

What’s so special about apple cider vinegar?

For centuries, people have turned to organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV) for medicinal purposes. Its high levels of acetic acid are believed to be the reason why. ACV is made from apples that have been crushed, distilled and then fermented, according to research published in the Journal of Food Science. Adding yeast to the mix is what ferments the sugars and turns them to alcohol. Bacteria are then added to ferment the alcohol further, which turns it into acetic acid — the active compound in vinegar. Studies suggest that the acetic acid (normally five to six percent) gives vinegar its pungency and many beneficial properties. Other health benefits of ACV are believed to come from a substance called the “mother.” This natural substance gives ACV it’s murky appearance and is made up of strands of enzymes, proteins, and friendly bacteria.


__________________________________________________________

During COVID-19, a Catch-22
for Grandfamilies


Barbara Johnson has rarely left home in the last three months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 71-year old retired math teacher and guidance counselor from Edmond, Okla. has a rare blood disorder and Type 2 diabetes, putting her at high risk of complications should she get sick. But, it’s difficult for her to remain completely isolated while also caring for three teenage grandchildren — twin 18-year-old boys and a 17-year-old granddaughter, all of whom are on the autism spectrum.

“I was in the hospital in 2016 and put on a ventilator,” she said. “The kids see these things about COVID on the news and are afraid it’ll happen to me again.” One of her grandsons often comes into her room in the middle of the night to make sure she’s still breathing.

Johnson is one of the estimated 2.6 million grandparents or other kinship caregivers raising children. It’s a challenge even in the best of times, but the COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional stress and burden on these families.


___________________________________________________

Complications following colonoscopy
more likely in older adults



Just under 4 percent of adults who undergo their first colonoscopy experience complications after the procedure, according to a study published Thursday by JAMA Network Open.

Those who do suffer complications tend to be older and have other, underlying chronic health conditions, the researchers said.

"Colonoscopy is a very important test for detecting cancers, premalignant polyps and other digestive diseases, but it is associated with a greater risk of complications for individuals who are over 75 years old or have other serious medical conditions," study co-author Dr. David Armstrong told UPI.




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10 tips to start your family history journey


Follow these tips on how to find family history without having to browse multiple ancestry sites to build your family tree. Our genealogy experts compiled advice to get you started with your family search  and answer some of the most asked family history questions.

1. Start your family tree

Your immediate family often holds the key to starting your family history research. Record the memories of your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins as you start exploring your family tree online. Ask each relative about specific individuals and gather details surrounding their lives including nicknames, places they lived, vital information (including birth, marriage, and death dates), occupations, and other important clues. Enjoy a free questionaire below to get started with your family history.

2. Search your home for scrapbooks...



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07.09.20



Doing Time In Yonkers
By Inmate 1680557

5 minutes

Two or three years ago one resident I took meals with here at the ALF confessed that he had a criminal record and had been a prisoner in several New York State’s penal institutions on and off for 15 years.
 
While he didn’t get into detail about his crimes (and I didn’t ask him) he said that at least one of his convictions was for illegal possession of a firearm which sent him to Attica for five years. Having never met a convicted felon, I had many questions about what it was like to be locked up in one of New York’s toughest prisons. And while he wasn’t a fountain of information, he told me not that bad.
 
He said, if you kept your mouth shut, wasn’t a wise guy and showed the other prisoners respect, they left you alone to finish your sentence in relative peace.
 
When questioned what he did to pass the time, he told me he was lucky to have a job working for Prison Industries sewing jeans. He spent the rest of his time reading, playing cards or sleeping.
 
Naturally, sitting at a dining room table in an institutional setting such as we have here at the ALF, the conversation turned to food. Prison food.


“Better than most of the stuff we get here,”, he said. “The cooks knew how to make the best of what they had to work with.”
 
He said, “they always served the meals hot and the portions adequate and well seasoned.”
 
“While the men griped about everything else, there were only minor complaints about the food,”, he added.
 
Somehow, that didn’t surprise me.
 
It’s almost impossible to find out exactly how much they spend per person per meal on food at the facility where I live, but industry figures put the amount at $5 to $8 per meal each day. The money spent on prisoners, according to information released by food vendors, is about $3.50 to $4.50 per meal per prisoner each day. Proving, it’s not what’s being cooked, it’s who’s cooking it that matters. [1]

I will not beat about the bush or try to sarcastic.
 
The residents of this and other assisted living facilities are being kept like prisoners.
 
We can’t leave the premises. They do not allow us visitors. We are eating cheap-substandard food, hastily prepared and poorly cooked.
 
They limit our activities, and they prohibit us from gathering in groups. They sentenced us an undetermined amount of time. All without the benefit of a judge or jury.
 
But, unlike real convicted prisoners, we have no advocate or representation.

 If you think I’m whining, or being too critical of the system, think on this.
 
While they permit the rest of the people of this state to do and act as they please, go where they please, cook what they want, and eat when and with whom they want, we are the only group in the state that can’t. And I’m sick and tired of it.
 
What’s next? Orange jump suits?…………………………………….. 

[1] Perhaps the possibility of having one’s throat cut is a good motivator to do better in the kitchen.






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Seniors: There are more of us now
By Alice L. Haber Frederick


Recently, I read an article that with the COVID-19, suddenly 60 is the new 65 for us. So our pool of senior citizens is growing.

During the past months, I have greatly missed many of the pleasures of being an "older American." I miss going to a nice restaurant to have a good dinner with my family and watching other diners enjoying their repasts. I miss attending concerts where the music soothes my soul. I miss short day trips going to new places or to old ones that are familiar and exciting. I miss seeing my first great grandchild who probably will be walking and talking by the time I am introduced to him. I miss participating in a current events group which is not only interesting but it gives me the opportunity to vent about the worst president of the United States.

Hopefully, some of my favorite pastimes will return when this pandemic is controlled by a new vaccine available to everyone. But I am enthusiastic that we now have many more people who have been identified as older Americans, seniors, or the pejorative term "elderly." Enlarging our group has many advantages of which we can surely take advantage First, they have refreshing notions of how they want to spend their leisure time. We can certainly use more ideas about what to do when you no longer are in the work force. Secondly, their joining our ranks will greatly improve the offerings of senior centers, retirement complexes, classes at universities, junior colleges, and other institutions whose audiences includes people of a certain age. Their voices are strong and their determination is even stronger.



========================================================================================================


These 13 States
Tax Social Security Benefits
By Sean Williams


If you live in one of these 13 states, you could be parting with more of your Social Security income than you bargained for.


The Social Security program may be in long-term trouble, but its importance for current and future retirees is growing.

According to national pollster Gallup, a survey conducted in 2016 on retirees showed that 59% rely on Social Security to be a major source of income in retirement, with another 28% citing their benefits as a minor source of income. As for non-retirees, 29% expect Social Security income to represent a major source of their income, with another 50% anticipating it'll be a minor source of monthly income. Without Social Security income, quite a few current and future retirees would struggle to make ends meet.



===============================================


New Law Requires Long-Term Care Facilities
in New York to Create Pandemic Plans

Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in New York must create pandemic emergency plans within the next 90 days and update them annually under a bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law.

The legislation requires all residential health care facilities in the state to develop plans that address communication with family members as well as measures for protecting residents, staff and family from infection.

The bill seeks to apply lessons learned over the past few months as the COVID-19 pandemic spread statewide, including into nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The plans must be made available on the websites of the facilities and include:



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Best Grocery Delivery Plans for Seniors

New York-based FreshDirect is the oldest player in the game, having debuted 19 years ago in the Northeast. While it has been mostly regional in its formative years, it now covers other major American cities. Perusing the website in a day takes you through an array of 98 dairy-free products, 536 vegan products, 595 kosher items, 463 “organic and all-natural” offerings, and 1285 gluten-free foods. And while the “FreshDirect” name connotes fresh produce, the store’s comprehensive inventory includes wine, spirits, household and beauty products, baby needs, and pet supplies.

FreshDirect offers dozens of excellent meal kits for beginning cooks with thoughtful wine pairings and easy-to-understand nutritional information. Best of all, there is an extensive array of gourmet delicacies from sliced-to-order salmon to bialys. You’ll find party platters, food “bundles,” and holiday spreads for everything from Fourth of July to Rosh Hashanah.

FreshDirect is proud to have “pioneered the short supply chain” so its customers can experience the freshest deliveries possible. Food comes to the fulfillment center straight from the source and is delivered at peak freshness within days. Fresh Direct aficionados praise the prepared meals, frequent deals on popular items, and its high-quality, mostly organic, produce.



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07.07.20



ALF’s Need to Adjust To The New Norm
(With Reservations)

4 minutes


As a nation, we are going backwards with getting a handle on this virus. Today we are little better off than we were four months ago, with no sign of relief or vaccine in sight. The only thing we have in the way of protection are thin layers of paper or cloth covering our mouth’s and noses and the hope that people will wear them.
 
While that’s terrible news for the nation, it’s worse news for those of us in long-term care facilities. There’s some unwritten law that says “However tough we have to be with the rest of you, we have to be twice as tough with old people.”
 
This means many more month’s (some estimates are 18-24) of quarantine and lockdown.
 
Sadly, many of our older and more frail residents will see nothing like normal again. What a way to end one’s life.

Personally, I don’t know how much more I can handle living this way.

I need more than just having my basic needs met. I am a human being which means I need the companionship of other humans, some stimulating conversation and decent, edible, thoughtfully prepared food. Things I’m getting none of.

Fortunately, there are some forward thinking administrators of assisted living facilities who realize they need to come up with a way to deal with the possibility we may be in this for a very long time.

Devising a plan that meets both the infection control methods dictated by governing agencies and meeting the social and culinary needs of a vulnerable population is difficult. How can they reopen dining rooms and still maintain a safe Covi-19 free environment.?

One method, and one that I hardily endorse, is a reservation system.

“One of the biggest fears is reopening dining services that have been reduced to in-room meal delivery for the past three-plus months. Associates have not had to wait a table during the pandemic, and most diners will likely not wear masks once they sit down because they need to eat.
Moreover, dining is primarily a social activity and congregating in large groups increases the risk of transmitting the virus. Providers need to look at ways to reduce congregation while still enhancing the social component of dining, Perkins Eastman Principal Joe Hassel said.
The firm identified ways for providers to take charge of these situations. Providers should be implementing reservation systems, including calls or texts reminding residents when their reservation time is ready.” [1]

If the current situation is to last as long as they say it might, thought must be given as to how residents of senior housing venues will be able to cope with the continuing isolation and sub-par treatment.

We are not asking for a complete return to normal. Just some sorely needed relief…………………………………

[1]https://seniorhousingnews.com/2020/07/01/senior-living-providers-create-next-normal-with-dining-disinfection-changes/

Editor’s note: In case you didn’t know. We (residents) are not permitted to do any cooking in our rooms. We are not permitted any appliance that produces heat. That includes microwave ovens and coffee makers. Since the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown, the one microwave oven available to residents has been removed from a common area.





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Nursing homes ‘dumping’ residents and
 defying ordered safeguards


Owners and operators of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have mounted a “nimfy” (Not My Fault) defense for the tens of thousands of deaths and infections of their residents during the Covid-19 pandemic. They claim they did the best they could under tough circumstances. And now they want not only special legal protections from those who suffered harms but also taxpayer bailouts.

But the industry’s disingenuous bleating has a big problem: It gets undercut by the second by infuriating actions — including by profit-mongering facilities “dumping” thousands of aged, sick, and injured residents on the streets or into flophouses, and by homes that still fail — despite warnings and penalties — to take basic steps to safeguard the vulnerable.

The New York Times — conducting the kind of sleuthing that real federal watchdogs could be taking on — reached out to “more than 80 state-funded nursing-home ombudsmen in 46 states” to detail “involuntary discharges.” As the newspaper explained of these inappropriate evictions by care giving centers, which may number more than 6,400 nationally:




-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Senior Living Providers Create ‘Next Normal’
With Dining, Disinfection Changes

By Chuck Sudo


As the U.S. gradually reopens after nearly four months of lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, senior living communities can take cues from how various businesses operate in the new normal.

Plans for restaurants operating at reduced capacities or with only socially distanced, outdoor dining can be adopted by providers looking to re-open dining rooms. Curbside service and meal deliveries can be leveraged for residents to engage with each other over themed meals and activities. Outdoor spaces can be repurposed into small gathering spots. And anti-microbial surfaces and ultraviolet light can be used as disinfectants and to protect residents.

With the industry facing at least another 18 months of pain stemming from the pandemic, operators waiting for a vaccine will be ill-prepared to maintain operations, or keep residents and staff safe in the short term, GlynnDevins Outgoing President, East Coast Sharon Brooks said Tuesday during a webinar hosted by architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman.



________________________________________________________


For Social Security Beneficiaries,
This Is the Most Important Time of the Year



There have been 14 recessions in the United States since 1935. This means our nation's most important social program, Social Security, has survived some of the darkest days in U.S. history. And despite the rampant uncertainty associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it'll survive this recession, too.

Today, Social Security is responsible for paying benefits to nearly 64.7 million people, many of which are retired workers (45.7 million). Of these seniors, more than 15 million are singlehandedly pulled out of poverty each year because of their guaranteed payout from the Social Security program.


Given this reliance on Social Security income, it should come as no surprise that the single-most important event every year for these 64.7 million beneficiaries is the October release of the upcoming year's cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).



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BONUS ARTICLE

Good manners mean never using the refrigerator as a restroom
By Roger Alford


A pastor was talking with a 90-year-old member of his church about things eternal.

"How is your relationship with the Lord," the pastor asked.

"Oh, we're on great terms," the old fellow said. "He couldn't be any better to me. Why, he has even fixed it so that when I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, all I have to do is open the door and, poof, the light comes on. When I'm done, poof, the light goes back off."

"Wow," the pastor said, "that's incredible."




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2020 List of Senior Discounts for Restaurants

The demand for senior discounts continues to grow as boomers and seniors alike are feeling the pinch of increased prices. This list of senior discounts on restaurants is dependent on you, our Community Members! If you know of a discount that needs updating, please help us build this list by submitting the information here or let us know in the comments area below.


We reached out to all of the national chains, but some chose not to reply. Many of the discounts noted below are offered by franchise owners in local markets. As such, the senior discounts can vary and change without notice.

2020 List of Senior Discounts Restaurants

Applebee’s Senior Discount: 10-15% off (varies by location) MAY require Golden Apple Card (60+) verified

Arby’s Senior Discount: 10% off – Also reports of a free drink (55+) varies by location

A&W Senior Discount All American Food: 10% Senior discount varies by location verified

Backyard Burger: Free drink with purchase

Ben & Jerry’s: 10% off for seniors (60+) varies by location verified....





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07.06.20



A Loud And Lonely 4th
5 minutes

I woke up late Sunday because the barrage of clandestine fireworks in the neighborhood surrounding our little enclave was deafening and kept me awake most of the night.
 
Some booms and bangs were large and close enough to rattle my windows.
 
I remember the fireworks we set off as kids. They consisted mostly of those little firecrackers strung together, some bottle rockets, sparklers and an occasional M-80 which was the size of a shotgun shell and about as loud.
 
They made a lot of noise and, though far from safe, were rarely destructive.
 
But the “ordinance” I heard last night was different. It was big. Very big, earth-shaking and continuous. But it was far from a 21-gun salute to a departed general. More than a celebration of a nation’s independence, it sounded like an attack on an unseen enemy. An attempt to scare the virus away with “shock and awe.”

Meanwhile, back at the Asylum, we had a subdued July 4. So subtle, if was not for an impromptu “concert” held in our employees parking lot behind the main building and attended by a handful of masked and socially distanced residents, one would think it was just another pandemic Saturday.
 
I remained at the “festivities’’ just long enough to see if any of my peeps (who have been cowering in their rooms for over three months) were brave enough to show their faces. They weren’t.
 
The event was too sad to warrant sitting in a hot parking lot for. And since there was no food. I bid a hasty retreat for the air-conditioned comfort of my room.

Though done with all good intentions, the attempt at being festive was like putting a Band-Aid on a heart attack.

What They needed was an old-fashioned BBQ, or at least some old-fashioned BBQ food. But our clueless and highly incompetent food service department couldn’t figure out how to do that or they were just too lazy. So, nothing. Not even a baked burger or boiled hot dog.
 
No corn on the cob or watermelon or potato salad or coleslaw.
 
The closest they could come to a July 4th cookout was to serve us a chicken breast drenched in out-of-the-jar BBQ sauce and a side of zucchini. That’s something to set your patriotic spirit ablaze, ain’t it?

The mood here, I believe, reflects the mood of the rest of the country. We feel depressed, isolated, lonely, and forgotten.  
 
Other than following the basic guidelines for infection control set by the DOH, little is being done to help us.[1] Everyone is too busy meeting our physical needs, they have forgotten about our mental and emotional requirements.
 
Seniors, perhaps more than any other group, need the companionship of their peers. Only another old person can truly understand the tribulations we face daily. And only another resident of this and similar long-term care facilities can understand how poorly we are being treated and how alone we feel.

 The next major holiday America celebrates as a group will be labor day on September 7th.
 
Sadly, they give us little hope labor day weekend will be any different from the one we just finished. And may be worse. The numbers are going up while our faith in our government is declining.
 
The best they can do is bring back baseball, basketball, hockey and football.
 
The Roman empire, in its declining years, did the same thing with bread and circuses, packing the Coliseum with unsuspecting citizens in an attempt to soothe the uneasiness of the population.
 
We all know how that turned out.
 
Pax America everyone…………………………………………
 
[1] Such as mask wearing by staff and residents. Taking of temperatures. Testing staff twice a week and disinfecting environmental surfaces. And it’s working.






* * * *






A Pandemic Lockdown Just
For Older People? No!
By Chris Farrell


An idea is gaining traction among some economists and scholars to deal with the pandemic in America: Isolate and lockdown older Americans, possibly until there is a vaccine. Everyone else gets to go back to work and regain something resembling normalcy.

Some proponents call it “shielding” the eldest, usually defined as those 65 and older. Others prefer terms like “targeting” or “cocooning.” One Georgia freeway sign said: “Isolate the Elderly.” I’d label this pandemic proposal wrong, deeply wrong.



________________________________________________

Warren, Markey Report Finds ‘Crisis’ In
Nation’s Assisted Living Facilities

By Miriam Wasse, Kimberly Atkins

Nursing homes have been in the spotlight during the pandemic, but assisted living facilities, whose residents are also older and likely to have underlying health issues, have received far less attention from the federal government. For that reason, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, launched an investigation in late April into COVID-19 outbreaks at these facilities.

The lawmakers surveyed the top 11 assisted living operators in the country — which collectively house over 153,000 older adults, or about a sixth of the nation’s assisted living population — and found, in the words of Markey, that “we are simply not doing enough to protect our seniors or workers in assisted living homes from this deadly virus.”


________________________________________________

Seniors With These 5 Diseases Are
Most Often Hospitalized for Coronavirus

By Chris Kissell

Seniors with five chronic conditions are especially vulnerable to ending up in the hospital due to exposure to the coronavirus, according to new data from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS says more than 325,000 Original Medicare beneficiaries were diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, between the start of the year and May 16. Of those beneficiaries, 111,000 were hospitalized during that period.

The CMS data reveals that five chronic conditions were most commonly found among the Original Medicare beneficiaries who had been hospitalized:

    Hypertension: 79%
    Hyperlipidemia: 60%
    Chronic kidney disease: 50%
    Anemia: 50%
    Diabetes: 50%



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BONUS ARTICLE

Moderate drinking may improve
cognitive health for older adults, study says

By Sandee LaMotte

If you enjoy a daily cocktail or some wine with dinner, you'll want to raise your glass to this: A new study found low to moderate drinking may improve cognitive function for White middle-aged or older adults.

Low to moderate drinking was defined as less than eight drinks per week for women and less than 15 drinks per week for men.
The findings support prior research which found that, generally, one standard drink a day for women and two a day for men -- which is the US guidance -- appears to offer some cognitive benefits.

A standard alcoholic drink in the US is defined as 14 grams or milliliters of alcohol. That measurement varies around the world; for example, a standard drink is 8 grams in the UK and 10 grams in Australia. In Australia the guidelines suggest no more than 10 standard drinks a week.



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Quote








A Loud And Lonely 4th
5 minutes

I woke up late Sunday because the barrage of clandestine fireworks in the neighborhood surrounding our little enclave was deafening and kept me awake most of the night.
 
Some booms and bangs were large and close enough to rattle my windows.
 
I remember the fireworks we set off as kids. They consisted mostly of those little firecrackers strung together, some bottle rockets, sparklers and an occasional M-80 which was the size of a shotgun shell and about as loud.
 
They made a lot of noise and, though far from safe, were rarely destructive.
 
But the “ordinance” I heard last night was different. It was big. Very big, earth-shaking and continuous. But it was far from a 21-gun salute to a departed general. More than a celebration of a nation’s independence, it sounded like an attack on an unseen enemy. An attempt to scare the virus away with “shock and awe.”

Meanwhile, back at the Asylum, we had a subdued July 4. So subtle, if was not for an impromptu “concert” held in our employees parking lot behind the main building and attended by a handful of masked and socially distanced residents, one would think it was just another pandemic Saturday.
 
I remained at the “festivities’’ just long enough to see if any of my peeps (who have been cowering in their rooms for over three months) were brave enough to show their faces. They weren’t.
 
The event was too sad to warrant sitting in a hot parking lot for. And since there was no food. I bid a hasty retreat for the air-conditioned comfort of my room.

Though done with all good intentions, the attempt at being festive was like putting a Band-Aid on a heart attack.

What They needed was an old-fashioned BBQ, or at least some old-fashioned BBQ food. But our clueless and highly incompetent food service department couldn’t figure out how to do that or they were just too lazy. So, nothing. Not even a baked burger or boiled hot dog.
 
No corn on the cob or watermelon or potato salad or coleslaw.
 
The closest they could come to a July 4th cookout was to serve us a chicken breast drenched in out-of-the-jar BBQ sauce and a side of zucchini. That’s something to set your patriotic spirit ablaze, ain’t it?

The mood here, I believe, reflects the mood of the rest of the country. We feel depressed, isolated, lonely, and forgotten.  
 
Other than following the basic guidelines for infection control set by the DOH, little is being done to help us. Everyone is too busy meeting our physical needs, they have forgotten about our mental and emotional requirements.
 
Seniors, perhaps more than any other group, need the companionship of their peers. Only another old person can truly understand the tribulations we face daily. And only another resident of this and similar long-term care facilities can understand how poorly we are being treated and how alone we feel.

 The next major holiday America celebrates as a group will be labor day on September 7th.
 
Sadly, they give us little hope labor day weekend will be any different from the one we just finished. And may be worse. The numbers are going up while our faith in our government is declining.
 
The best they can do is bring back baseball, basketball, hockey and football.
 
The Roman empire, in its declining years, did the same thing with bread and circuses, packing the Coliseum with unsuspecting citizens in an attempt to soothe the uneasiness of the population.
 
We all know how that turned out.
 
Pax America everyone………………………………………… bwc
 
[1] Such as mask wearing by staff and residents. Taking of temperatures. Testing staff twice a week and disinfecting environmental surfaces. And it’s working.

Insert poster here


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A Pandemic Lockdown Just For Older People? No!
By Chris Farrell


An idea is gaining traction among some economists and scholars to deal with the pandemic in America: Isolate and lockdown older Americans, possibly until there is a vaccine. Everyone else gets to go back to work and regain something resembling normalcy.

Some proponents call it “shielding” the eldest, usually defined as those 65 and older. Others prefer terms like “targeting” or “cocooning.” One Georgia freeway sign said: “Isolate the Elderly.” I’d label this pandemic proposal wrong, deeply wrong.




Warren, Markey Report Finds ‘Crisis’ In
Nation’s Assisted Living Facilities
By Miriam Wasse, rKimberly Atkins

Nursing homes have been in the spotlight during the pandemic, but assisted living facilities, whose residents are also older and likely to have underlying health issues, have received far less attention from the federal government. For that reason, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, launched an investigation in late April into COVID-19 outbreaks at these facilities.

The lawmakers surveyed the top 11 assisted living operators in the country — which collectively house over 153,000 older adults, or about a sixth of the nation’s assisted living population — and found, in the words of Markey, that “we are simply not doing enough to protect our seniors or workers in assisted living homes from this deadly virus.”




Seniors With These 5 Diseases Are
Most Often Hospitalized for Coronavirus
By Chris Kissell


Seniors with five chronic conditions are especially vulnerable to ending up in the hospital due to exposure to the coronavirus, according to new data from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS says more than 325,000 Original Medicare beneficiaries were diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, between the start of the year and May 16. Of those beneficiaries, 111,000 were hospitalized during that period.

The CMS data reveals that five chronic conditions were most commonly found among the Original Medicare beneficiaries who had been hospitalized:

    Hypertension: 79%
    Hyperlipidemia: 60%
    Chronic kidney disease: 50%
    Anemia: 50%
    Diabetes: 50%




BONUS ARTICLE

Moderate drinking may improve
cognitive health for older adults, study says
By Sandee LaMotte

f you enjoy a daily cocktail or some wine with dinner, you'll want to raise your glass to this: A new study found low to moderate drinking may improve cognitive function for White middle-aged or older adults.

Low to moderate drinking was defined as less than eight drinks per week for women and less than 15 drinks per week for men.
The findings support prior research which found that, generally, one standard drink a day for women and two a day for men -- which is the US guidance -- appears to offer some cognitive benefits.

A standard alcoholic drink in the US is defined as 14 grams or milliliters of alcohol. That measurement varies around the world; for example, a standard drink is 8 grams in the UK and 10 grams in Australia. In Australia the guidelines suggest no more than 10 standard drinks a week.



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Home cures while on quarantine
By Vaughn Alviar

Start acting like you have COVID-19, we’ve heard experts say.

This frame of mind helps us dodge a virus for which we have no immunity nor a vaccine yet. It reminds each one to stick to hand hygiene and thorough disinfection, as well as social distancing and face masks. This also highlights the importance of self-isolation of up to 14 days when we exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. To spare our families, circles and communities from the threat of an outbreak, especially when testing and treatment are inaccessible, we must stay at home. In isolation, we can weather symptoms more easily through simple home remedies.

Help yourself sweat by drinking hot beverages.

Water with lemon can do wonders for the body.

Fever. Take a lukewarm bath or give yourself a cool sponge bath focusing on armpits and other high-heat areas. Help yourself sweat with hot beverages and spices on your food. To hydrate, drink lots of water or, for more taste and nutrition, fruit juice.





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07.05.20



Like No Other July 4th Ever
5 minutes

First, let me wish all of you a very happy 4th of July. And that goes for those of you in Glen Waverley, Victoria, Australia and Liverpool, United Kingdom.
 

July 4th, or Independence Day, marks the day back in 1776 when we declared our independence from the folks who, up to then, had done fairly well by us.
 
Believing we were nothing more than a wilderness populated by a bunch of malcontents, Great Britain left the colonies alone to fend for themselves.
 
However, somewhere around 1764, the boys back in parliament noticed that the trade balance had shifted in favor of those colonies. Apparently, we had a lot of what the homeland wanted and enough people there who will pay for it.
 
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much we needed from England. We had all the powdered wigs and kidney pie we could use.
 
Therefore, wanting to narrow the deficit, like any good despot, they voted to put a tax on all that stuff we send to them and they send to us. Taxes on things like sugar, tea, currency and stamps.
 
This did not sit well with the colonists because, having no American MP, they couldn’t vote on the matter.
 
Things got nasty after that. Tea “party’s” and massacre’s in Boston, rioting and civil disobedience culminating in hand to hand combat and loss of life. This gave way to thoughts of breaking free of Mother England.
 
And so, on or about July 4, 1776, two men put their names on a document knowing that to do so was an act of treason and declared the colonies to be free of Britain, its laws and its king.

This year, as then, July 4th finds America involved in a struggle. Not against a foreign power, but against a foe more dangerous than any musket-toting Redcoat.
 
Usually a common enemy unites and solidifies a nation. But this adversary has done what none has done before. It has driven a wedge firmly between the left and the right.
 
When we should celebrate our strength and unity, we are debating whether our liberties overshadow our right to life. Whether our wallets are more important than our health.
 
On one side there are those who blindly follow a clueless leader whose intentions are suspect. While on the other we have people who believe the only way to get ahead of the enemy is to listen to experts. In the middle we leave a betrayed and confused population.

People will still “celebrate.”

They will go ahead with their cookouts and fireworks and beer drinking as if they too are declaring their independence.

Some will wear masks and observe social distancing. But most won’t. It’s part of that revolutionary spirit we like to pride ourselves in.

Unfortunately, that revolutionary spirit may kill some of us in two or three weeks.

Instead of celebrating as usual, we should have made this day one of true solidarity. We should have made it mandatory, at least for this one day, that everybody either stay indoors or wear a mask. We should have banned all gatherings and events where people stand close to each other. That’s what our July 4th message to the world should have been.

Instead, we'll be holding rally's, lighting off fireworks, laying close together on a beach and stuffing our unmasked faces with overcooked burgers and undercooked hot dogs.

Sometimes we are just too independent for our own good……………………………






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What It's Like to Recover From the Coronavirus


When someone with COVID-19 leaves the hospital, doctors’ discharge instructions and the media tend to focus on physical recovery, which can be difficult. But we hear much less about the psychological toll.

Coronavirus survivors often have psychological effects ranging from anxiety to depression to PTSD. Many recovering from the disease feel stigma.

Megan Hosey, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School and a clinical psychologist who works in the ICU and a COVID-19 inpatient rehab unit, says some recovering from the coronavirus live with survivor’s guilt.


___________________________________________________________________________________

Health history might predict life
expectancy in seniors with diabetes



Physicians might be able to predict the five- and 10-year life expectancy of older adults with diabetes by examining their health history, including other chronic diseases and prescription medicines they use, according to a study published Friday in the journal Diabetes Care.

Thirty-seven factors linked with, or suspected to impact, risk for death in older adults with diabetes -- including demographic variables and metrics such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels -- had "high predictive validity," researchers said.

Researchers say they were accurately able to identify those who would die within five years, within 10 years or more than 10 years later.


_______________________________________________________________________________

Senior living communities need PPE but face challenges
with traditional distribution channels:


A majority of senior living communities and other “alternate site providers” report a more than 50% increase in personal protective equipment needs since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a recent survey.

Charlotte, NC-based Premier Inc.’s poll of 221 non-acute care and services providers found that alternate site providers, including long-term care facilities in assisted living and skilled nursing, have struggled to secure PPE and other critical products due to allocation, which restricts ordering when product demand spikes.

Allocations typically match a customer’s history purchase volume and are designed to prevent hoarding, but the process limits the product amounts healthcare providers can legitimately buy, according to the company. Because alternate site providers do not typically have a PPE purchasing history, they have an even more difficult time securing product on allocation.



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4TH OF JULY BONUS ARTICLE

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


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

It’s that time of year again, when fireworks light up the sky and we all think about the wonder that is America. Friends remark to friends, “Isn’t America beautiful?” and answer, “Indeed, from sea to shining sea.” Well, maybe this is the year to celebrate with some truth fireworks. While fireworks may improve any party, truth fireworks burn them to the ground. Have a fun barbecue!

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



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Is Your Family Eligible for Food Stamps?

Use SNAP Program Benefits at Your Local Grocery Store


You may have heard of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a federal nutrition program. Known before as "food stamps," SNAP benefits can help you stretch your food budget if you have a low income. If you are eligible, you will get help each month on a plastic electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, which is like a credit or debit card. You can then use it to buy eligible food items at your local authorized grocery stores and some farmer's markets. Find out if you’re eligible, how to apply, and state-specific information on SNAP.



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07.03.20


6 minutes


My dear friend Al was laid to rest on Thursday.
 
Al passed away and was cremated over a year ago. But because of paperwork, bureaucracy and this virus thing his actual funeral and internment in Arlington National Cemetery did not happen until yesterday.
 
Al was a Vietnam veteran and a patriotic American and deserved all the honors they afforded him.
 
I’ve thought about Al often since his death. He was a nice guy and a person you just enjoyed having around.
 
But time and bad kidneys and who knows what else took its toll, and even a tough guy like Al couldn’t beat the inevitable.

 
Thinking about Al, listening to the news and reading the articles about how poorly we are doing in our fight against the Covid-19 virus, I could not help but think about my own demise. Especially because I’m an older person and a resident of a long-term care facility.
 
As you know, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been hotbeds of Corona virus breakouts resulting in a disproportionate number of deaths among their residents.  

I thought about my end back in 2009 and 2010 as I lay in a hospital bed dealing with an illness whose end was not in sight. Sometimes I felt so sick and in so much pain, death became actual and a welcome option.
 
Eventually, I responded to surgery and medication and lived to see another day. And, while death was no longer a viable alternative, the fact I had come so close continues to haunt me. Not so much how I will die, but what happens afterward. The thought of nothingness disturbs me terribly.
 
I find it difficult to get a handle on.
 
How can it be that one minute you are here, part of the world, a father, brother, cousin, friend and then, you’re not?
 
All that you ever were is gone.
 
Seventy-five, ninety a hundred years of thinking thoughts, eating, drinking, conversing with friends and laughing gone.
 
Or is it?

What’s next, or what we think is next, depends on one’s religious beliefs. I’ve always thought it odd that religion should play any part in an afterlife. It all seems so pointless when we’re dead.
 
But, never the less, where you go or don’t go when they punch your ticket appears to depend on who punches it.
 
Many believe that what you did and how you behaved here on earth will determine your existence in eternity.
 
You either wind up in paradise hanging out with God or condemned to an everlasting Hell where the thermostat is always set on “inferno” and the food is bad.
 
Others think one gets to do it over again in the form of an animal.
 
Jews have a unique view.
 
As a Jewish person I always thought we did not believe in a heaven or hell. However, after a little research, I learned that is not true. At least in part.  
 
The prevailing thought among Jews is that heaven is a place where you meet your kin and continue to learn.
 
It’s like going to college and living with your relatives.
 
The Jewish heaven is a place open to everybody.
 
The closest we get to hell is the fate of apostate (a person who renounces God, faith and morality in this world), who is said to be “cut off from his kin.”
 
I think that belief is something I could “live” with.

 There is one universal factor. After we are dead, our existence is in the hands of someone or something else. And there is very little we can do about it. We are no longer in the equation.
 
I’d like to think as a reward we get to know all the answers to all of life’s mysteries. Or, at the very least, a good pastrami sandwich.
 
In my heart, though, I still think it just ends. And any hope of an afterlife is that which we live through others.
 
“The Reform Jewish prayerbook expresses this idea through the metaphor of a leaf and a tree. A leaf drops to the ground, but it nourishes the soil so more plants and trees spring up. The same is true in our lives. We nourish the future through the influence we have on those who follow us. It can happen in unimaginable ways.”………………………….. .
 
 
 




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As global temperatures rise, researchers are
concerned that senior citizens are at higher risks of
heat and climate-related catastrophes


Hurricanes and tornadoes are widely publicized, leaving little room for heat-related catastrophes — weather’s top killer. Scientists have estimated that around 12,000 people die each year from some heat-induced event. And what’s staggering, over 80% of heat victims are the elderly, primarily of ages 60 and older. These statistics come from a recent research debrief showing the linkage between temperature increase and the deaths of senior citizens.

Of course, many factors contribute to the elderly’s disproportionate amount of heat-related deaths. One of the leading causes, however, is due to the aging body’s inability to regulate heat. And as a person is unable to maintain their internal body temperature, it weakens their cardiovascular systems and decreases blood circulation—which aids in one’s ability to sweat.

As the global climate only continues to rise, we need to pay more attention—especially now on the elderly that could be at risk.



_____________________________________________________

When Mom Moves in... Key Legal Considerations Before
an Aging Parent Moves in with an Adult Child


As Americans are living longer, more and more seniors are turning to family members for care and support as they age.  In some cases, seniors are even moving in with their adult children.  For some families, this dynamic of multiple generations living together in a household meets many needs for those involved. Seniors no longer combat isolation.  Adult children no longer worry about a parent’s safety or well-being. Even younger children benefit from the wisdom, oversight, and help of an older adult in the household.

The adult children who welcome aging parents into their homes are among the “sandwich generation,” a term used to refer to middle-aged adults who are caring for elderly parents as well as children at the same time.  For some families, the addition of a parent to a household can be seamless. For other families, however, an extra person in the home could present logistical challenges to finances, providing care for a senior, or even upgrading the home’s safety measures to meet a senior’s needs. With every family who opens their doors for an aging loved one, there are key considerations to make as a family to ensure everyone’s needs are met.


_______________________________________________________

$1,200 coronavirus 'Control Chamber':
Eldercare homes levy steep fees amid pandemic



The bill from her sister's Texas senior care facility must be a mistake, Claire Harrison thought. She skimmed the unexpected line items: $11.04 for masks and gloves, $805 for care coordination, $1,200 for supplies including a coronavirus control chamber.

The last figure – the same amount her sister had recently received in stimulus money from the federal government – stood out. Harrison said she felt it couldn’t be a coincidence. 

"It was the first thing that entered my head," said Harrison, whose sister had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the bill from Legend of Mansfield arrived in late April. "I thought, 'Well there goes the $1,200.''



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Preparing and Organizing Legal Documents for the Future

No one ever plans to be sick or disabled. Yet, it's this kind of planning that can make all the difference in an emergency.

Long before she fell, Louise put all her important papers in one place and told her son where to find them. She gave him the name of her lawyer, as well as a list of people he could contact at her bank, doctor's office, insurance company, and investment firm. She made sure he had copies of her Medicare and other health insurance cards. She made sure her son could access her checking account and safe deposit box at the bank. Louise made sure Medicare and her doctor had written permission to talk with her son about her health and insurance claims.

On the other hand, Ben always took care of family money matters, and he never talked about the details with Shirley. No one but Ben knew that his life insurance policy was in a box in the closet or that the car title and deed to the house were filed in his desk drawer. Ben never expected that his wife would have to take over. His lack of planning has made a tough job even tougher for Shirley.

What Exactly Is an "Important Paper"?




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07.02. 20



Who’s That Masked Man?
Why, It’s Me

6 minutes

There is little in the news these days that is not depressing. So much so, I feel like asking my doctor to up my dose of Lexapro.
 
Learning we are heading in the opposite direction as far as getting a handle on this virus thing coupled with our government’s inability to do anything about it does not bode well for our country and especially for me and my fellow residents here at the ALF.
 
Three months ago, we all knew we could be in this for the long haul.
 
We were told it could be weeks or even a few months before we would see the tide turning in our favor. And now, 110 days later, they tell us the virus has not lessened its grip and probably will get worse. Much worse. Not because it has morphed into something even more virulent and therefor harder to control, but because we are so divided in this nation we won’t even take the simplest precautions that has proven to slow down and even eliminate the number of new cases.
 
Somehow, wearing a mask and social distancing has become a political statement with Republicans on one side, Democrats on the other and us, seniors, in the middle.
 

While the idiots debate whether being forced to wear a mask or shut down business impedes our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the number of people in the ICU’s increases by the minute.  

While I was one of the first to adopt wearing a mask as being the right thing to do, as time went on and the precautions taken by our facility were working, I decided wearing a mask in a virtually virus-free environment was unnecessary. So, I took it off and went about my daily routine without one. Nobody said anything or told me I had to wear one, so I didn’t. My reasons were more of a protest against the overristrictive we are forced to endure rather than a curtailing of my rights.

 

Now, I have decided to re-mask. Not because I believe that, in our very isolated surroundings, my chance of contracting the virus is any less than if we didn’t wear one, but because I don’t want to be known as “That idiot who refused to wear a mask and endangered the rest of us.”
 
So, while I still decline to have my temperature taken every day, I’ve gone back to donning the mask while walking about the facility.

Therefore, I cannot fathom the reasons some people in some parts of this country have for not doing the simplest and easiest thing one can do for his fellow citizens.
 
You don’t believe in the science? Okay, I understand. The word “science” is something “them atheists” refer to when they’re out there dissing God. Or, “I look funny wearing one.” Or, “it restricts my breathing.” Or the one I like the best, “I have a medical condition.” [1]
 
From the first day I moved into this facility, I noticed how easily residents allowed themselves to be lead around like sheep, afraid to speak up on their own behalf.
 
I vowed never to be that way. And mostly, I have not.
 
So when we were told we must conform, we must quarantine, we must do this or that, my very nature told me to rebel.
 
But this is a whole new ballgame. It’s not about me anymore. It's now about every person in the country who are at the breaking point. Not observing social distancing and mask wearink does nothing more than prolong the agony.

 
I know the readers of this blog are located all over this country and the world. Some of you live in areas where the number of fresh cases is growing out of control. I’m sorry for that and frightened for you.
 
The thought of you becoming ill or worse saddens me no end.
 
I’m not asking you to be just another sheep. I’m asking you to be “the leader of the sheep” and wear a mask and stay out of crowds.
 
I don’t have so many readers that I can afford to lose any of you…………………………. .
 

[1] Doctors say any medical condition that would prevent someone from wearing a mask would be so serious, it would also keep you from walking around.






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Social Security is under pressure,
senior citizens are battling a health crisis —
it’s not easy aging in America

By Alessandra Malito


Many Americans rely on Social Security for a majority of their retirement income, yet the future of the program is riddled with uncertainties. And right now, senior citizens are disproportionately affected by the health risks posed by COVID-19.

And there are numerous ways to improve the lives of older Americans, said Max Richtman, president and chief executive officer of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

Older Americans are facing many challenges, said Richtman. Like the rest of the country, older people are living through a global health crisis — but they are at a higher risk of complications from becoming infected with the coronavirus. They also suffer financially for other reasons, such as insufficient Social Security benefits, a lack of retirement savings to last them through their old age and potential federal spending cuts to programs that support their health, nutrition and safety, he said.


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Amid pandemic, fears that older Americans
are feeling 'expendable'

by Amy Norton

From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it's been clear that older adults are especially vulnerable to serious illness.

Now, experts are concerned that older Americans are falling victim to ageism and messages that they are "expendable" amid the crisis.

The pandemic has seen "horror stories" from around the world on the toll exacted on older people, said Gordon Flett, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto.

In countries around the world, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has swept through nursing homes, sometimes aided by decisions to move ill patients from hospitals into care centers. Some of the worst stories, Flett noted, have included certain care homes in Spain where staff abandoned residents, leaving the military to find some dead in their beds; and hospitals in Lima, Peru, that stopped admitting older patients, partly because they are less likely to survive than younger people.


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How COVID-19 Reveals the Caregiving Mystique


America’s 66 million (pre-COVID-19) family caregivers — people caring for loved ones with complex, chronic and ongoing care needs — are thrust into their role with no training, no background and no support infrastructure. Preposterously, most feel like the only one on earth.

Why? Because caregiving is the modern-day mystique.

Betty Friedan’s classic 1963 book The Feminine Mystique revealed that many homemakers were suffering in silence, weighed down with responsibilities they were expected to love. It sparked a revolution of truth-telling and collective action. Today’s COVID-19 crisis might just spark the same revolution with caretaking.



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5 Tips to Keep Cool and Dry
While Wearing a Face Mask

By Andy Markowitz



1. Choose the right fabric

A light, breathable material like cotton will likely keep your face cooler than medical and N95 masks made from synthetic materials, and in the right configuration can be effective in preventing contagion, according to new research by Taher Saif, a professor of mechanical science and engineering at the University of Illinois.

Saif's team tested 10 common fabrics, from 100 percent cotton to polyester and silk blends, to see which best balance comfort and droplet-blocking impermeability. The “sweet spot,” he says, is a two-layer mask made from a cotton T-shirt, which comes close to matching a surgical mask's efficiency in stopping potentially infectious droplets from coughs and sneezes and is about twice as breathable.

All-cotton tested best, but up to 40 percent polyester will do the job, Saif says. “I'm not a cloth expert. I just buy things from Walmart and Target,” he adds with a laugh. “Our study showed that if you have these layers on top of your mouth and nose, you don't have to have an official mask where it goes with the elastic behind your ears. You can just wrap it around your nose and mouth, like a bandana.”


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07.01.20



Still Driving?
7-8 minutes

I haven’t discussed driving very much on this blog. Mainly because I no longer drive and it’s not something I have to deal with. But over 44 million seniors in this country drive, which makes it a topic worth talking about. [1]
 
Like many kids, I couldn’t wait to get my license. Neither could my mom and dad.
 
Not being drivers, they were counting on me to chauffeur them around.
 
Oddly, I didn’t mind. Any time behind the wheel was okay with me.
 
I was 16, and that car meant more to me than just transportation.
 
Sixteen is the minimum driving age in my state. Now, as I look back, allowing an idiot 16-year-old kid to operate 4400 lbs of rolling sheet metal was insane. But that was back in the 1960s and lots of things were nuts then, anyway.

 
The car which belonged to my brother (the only other driver in my family) was a 1962 Oldsmobile 98 4-door sedan.
 
Fully equipped and bigger than my mom’s living room.
 
Its massive size and poor handling characteristics made me a better driver as I got older and drove other cars. If you could park anything that big and had the skill to maneuver that behemoth safely through New York City traffic, driving anything else was kid’s stuff.


I’ve owned and driven many cars over the years. Some of them very good and some terrible. And I enjoyed every one. [2]
 
That’s why having to get rid of my car 11 years ago was difficult, but necessary.
 
Not only did I give up my car, I gave up driving altogether. I let my license expire. I knew I could never drive again.
 
Not because the state wouldn’t let me, but because I no longer felt it was safe. Not for me, and not for others on the road.
 
My eyesight had deteriorated partly because of age and partly because of a scar on my retina which left one eye with distorted vision.
 
However, I could still pass a vision test. As far as the state was concerned I was ready. But I wasn’t.
 
Diminished vision combined with loss of hearing in one ear and a general slowing of reflexes told me it was time to give up my share of the highway.
 
May 18th, 2009 was my last day on the road. And, while I didn’t miss driving all that that time, I miss it now. Strangely, for the same reasons a 16-year-old kid wanted his license back when. Freedom and independence.

I believe there are only two residents here at the ALF that still drive their own cars.
 
One has a breathing problem and is on constant oxygen therapy, while the other has mobility issues and g-d knows what else. I wouldn’t get into a car with them behind the wheel for all the chocolate ice cream cups in our facilities freezer.
 
One look at the condition of the body panels on their vehicles tells me they bump into lots of things.
 
How do you feel about having to re-take a driving test after you reach a certain age?
 
I think it should be mandatory. However, I’m in the minority…
 
“There are relatively few states that have retesting requirements for license renewal that are aimed strictly at drivers in older age groups. Only two states, Illinois and New Hampshire require a road test (at age 75). A road test may be administered at age 75 in the District of Columbia, but it is not mandatory. Although 10 states require only drivers who have reached a certain age to have a vision test before license renewal, there is little consistency with respect to the age threshold at which the requirement applies. Two states begin vision testing at age 40, one at age 50, and the others at anywhere from age 64 to age 80.

Other types of age-based conditions involve states that either prohibit mail renewal by elderly drivers (five states) or make older drivers renew their licenses at more frequent intervals than other drivers (15 states).

But four states, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nevada, have laws explicitly stating that age alone may not be considered justification for reexamination.” [3]
 
There are two major reasons all states don’t require some manner of testing older drivers.
 
Strangely, non-test states argue why bother if other jurisdictions allow their older drivers to operate a vehicle while those in our state can’t? (Our older drivers like to play bumper cars as much as the rest).
 
The other reason is cost. “Why spend all that money when statistics show older drivers don’t get into accidents any more frequently than younger drivers.”
 
That does not take into account the number of older drivers that cause others to get into accidents because of their poor driving skills. Driving 45 mph on the Interstate or cutting over three lanes of traffic because some old coot missed his exit makes them more dangerous to other drivers than Dale Earnhardt Jr at Daytona.

One other reason for not re-testing may be the best. Older drivers, in many places, need to drive because there’s no other transportation available. I understand this more than you know.
 
I live in a NYC suburb and the nearest bus stop is ten blocks away, uphill.
 
As more and more people turn old, there will be older, and badder drivers on the road.
 
Perhaps future technology (i.e., self-driving cars) will help make it safer for everyone.
 
For now, I’ll let a car service or UBER be my chauffeur. I’m sure mom and dad would approve……………….. .

[1]as per the CDC: In 2017, there were almost 44 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the United States. This is a 63% increase from 1999.
[2]The best car I ever owned was my last. A 2001 Honda Civic. The car I loved to drive the most was a 1972 Buick Regal 2-door coup.
[3]Source: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0457.htm







* * * *






For seniors, heat and Covid create
'a perfect storm for bad things,' researchers warn

By Jeniffer Solis

As summertime temperatures climb in Nevada and across the country, baby boomers— the generation born between 1946 and 1964— will be among the hardest hit by climate change, and Covid exacerbates the peril, according to a new Climate Central report.

Average summer temperatures in Nevada’s cities have substantially climbed over the past 50 years — in Reno’s case by double digits — leaving today’s seniors at higher risks of dying from heat-related causes in the near-term.

In fact, heat-related deaths have more than quadrupled in Nevada over one recent four-year period, soaring from 28 deaths in 2014 to 139 in 2017, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


_______________________________________________________________________

Isolation getting harder for older adults,
could have health impact

By Haley Hernandez, Andrea Slaydon


Social distancing has been tough for a lot of people, especially our elderly friends and family. This long period of isolation is causing more than just mental stress for some. How do you know if someone you love is suffering from depression? What can you do to help them? We are here to help.

Connecting with neighbors

From brightly colored chalk drawings to a heartfelt song from the driveway, the Darville family from Kingwood use creative ways to reach out to their homebound neighbors.

“I think a lot of the elderly are really lonely right now, so just to bring them a little joy is just, that’s what we want,” said Whitney Darville.

The family has formed a special bond with neighbors Don and Ronnie Sheera. Interacting with them really brightens their days during this time.


_____________________________________________________________________

With the novel coronavirus,
suddenly at 60 we’re now ‘old’

By Katherine Ellison


More than 20 million Americans ages 60 to 65 got a rude surprise this year.

Many of us, BC — before the novel coronavirus — had counted on a little more time before we had to see ourselves as “old.” Yet in recent weeks, we’ve been shoved toward senescence as supermarkets have scheduled “senior hours” for those 60 and older, and major media have reported experts’ warnings that the elderly, starting at age 60, are extra vulnerable.

Suddenly 60 is the new 65. At 62, I believe I speak for many other late-stage boomers when I say: Wait, what?

“I turn 60 later this year so I noticed that acutely,” said Chip Conley, founder of the Modern Elder Academy, which he calls the world’s first midlife wisdom school. “It was all of a sudden: I’m in a high-risk group? I’m perceived as elderly?”


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BONUS ARTICLE

Seniors deserting Trump cult?
Polls say ‘yes.’ So do seniors.

By DOUG THOMPSON


As a 72-year-old man who turns 73 this year — and a college dropout — I have found myself out of step with senior citizens with the combination of age and educations who voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016.

Maybe my difference in opinion comes from working for two Republican presidents and three GOP members of Congress during our 23 years in Washington, DC. Even though the GOP paid me handsomely during the time I worked for them as neither a Congressional staff member, a presidential operative, or a political operator, I have never been a bona fide member of the party of the elephant.

I’ve always been an independent who votes for the person, not the party, and I’ve voted for Democrats, Libertarians, Independent and, sometimes, Republicans.




* * * *




Practical changes can help older
drivers stay on the road safely


7 tips for driver safety


Driver safety requires more than understanding road signs and traffic laws. As you get older, you'll likely notice physical changes that can make certain actions — such as moving your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal — more challenging. Still, older drivers can remain safe on the road. Consider seven tips for older drivers.

1. Stay physically active


2. Schedule regular vision and hearing tests


3. Manage medications


4. Understand your limitations


5. Drive when the roads — and you — are in good condition


6. Stash your cellphone and focus on the road


7. Update your driving skills




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06.30.20


How’s Your Health (Insurance)?
8 minutes

My health insurance is just fine, thank you. That’s because my healthcare is paid by a national health system that actually works. And it doesn’t cost me a dime.
 
No, I don’t live outside of the U. S or am I a citizen of another country. My free healthcare is as American as Pop Tarts and I have had it for ten years. You probably have it too.
 
It’s Medicare, in case you couldn’t guess. It’s universal healthcare that’s been around for 55 years next month.
 
44 million beneficiaries—some 15 percent of the U.S. population—are enrolled in the Medicare program. Enrollment is expected to rise to 79 million by 2030.
 
Not bad for a country that doesn’t believe in socialized medicine.
 
For the other 85% of the population there are only two kinds of heath insurance. The one you (or your employer) pay out-of-pocket for or nothing.
 
Over the years efforts to give every American access to the healthcare they need have been for naught. No matter which party is in power, we just can’t agree on what may be the most important thing a government can provide for its citizens.
 
We came close about 4 years ago when the former president pushed through the Affordable Care Act (what they like to call Obamacare) and, though it’s still around and provides not free but affordable, health insurance to 20 million people. And, while it has its flaws, it’s at least a start.
 
Unfortunately, because it’s expensive and even more important (as far as our current president is concerned) it has Obama’s name on it, the pressure to do away with it is tremendous. Which sounds really bizarre now that we are faced with the biggest national health crisis in over 100 years.  

We can argue the reasons the U.S. is the only major nation without universal healthcare, but what it all boils down to is money. Not the money the government would have to spend, but the money people like doctors, insurance companies, hospitals, big Pharma and others, won’t make.
 
But, as I said, I don’t worry too much about that anymore because I’m covered. And it’s a big load off my mind.
 
I can see a doctor any time I want. I don’t have to worry about paying for a second opinion should I need one. And, should they have to take me to the ER at three in the morning, all I need is my Medicare card and I’m okay to go.
 
I’ve seen three doctors this month alone and I won’t receive a bill from any of them.
 
And they are not second-rate physicians who graduated 99th out of 100 in their class from a medical school located in Guatemala. They are as knowledgeable and caring as any doctor I, or my private insurance paid for. [1]

Which brings us to the present when people who have had nothing worse than a head cold find themselves in a hospital bed attached to all the bells and whistles today’s medicine is known for. Stricken with a virus that is so virulent, many people don’t realize how sick they are until it’s too late. And who do you think will pay for it? It depends...
 
"The average cost to treat a hospitalized patient with the virus is $30,000, according to a study released Wednesday by America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurers. (Other estimates have come in both lower and higher.)
 
Regardless of the amount, though, the tab generally wouldn’t be the responsibility of patients with insurance. And even for those with no coverage, there’s a good chance — as of now — that you won’t get billed for at least some parts of your treatment.
 
Here’s what you should know.
 
The uninsured
 
Although details are still being worked out, the Trump administration said last week that it will use funding under recently passed legislation to help cover the cost of treating uninsured coronavirus patients — as long as the hospital accepting the government’s reimbursement rate does not bill the uninsured patient for any remaining balance (i.e., “balance billing”).
 
“The uninsured would be able to go into the hospital without being worried about facing thousands of dollars in hospital bills,” said Karyn Schwartz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
 
However, it’s unclear whether the government’s offer of reimbursement extends only to hospitals or to other providers as well, Schwartz said. That includes physicians who treat a coronavirus patient in the hospital and may not be directly employed by the facility.
 
If it does apply to all coronavirus-related treatment in a hospital, and there’s broad acceptance by providers to accept the conditions of getting the money, the cost for an uninsured patient could be next to nothing — meaning they could fare better than some insured patients." [2]
 
Amazing how we can find the money when there is a national emergency or because to do otherwise would be a political disaster for the party in power.
 
There may be some good to come out of this. We now know how unprepared we were to cope with the number of victims who needed hospitalization. The shortages of staff and equipment in a country that touts itself as having the best health care of any nation made us the laughingstock of the world.
 
Maybe, when the new administration takes office early next year, we will finally get enough votes to pass a proper universal system.
 
As always, it takes a catastrophe to wake us up.…………………………………..
 
 
[1]Editor’s note: Yesterday I had my first ever telemedicine “visit” to my nephrologist. I have a mildly serious kidney problem that needs watching. The visit, which was done in the office of our case management supervisor, lasted about 15 minutes during which we went over my blood work (the results of which were faxed to his office two days ago). He told me nothing had changed since the last time and he would “see” me in 6 months. All in all, I thought it went well and the doctor didn’t mind either. He’ll get his regular office visit fee paid by Medicare.

[2] Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/09/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-coronavirus-treatment-costs.html


 



* * * *




Replies to my emails get more absurd.
Every non-response makes me think we will never return to normal.







* * * *






Trump’s Geriatric Race War
By Jeet Heer

The House of Representatives made history on June 26, when it voted 232-180 to approve the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. This, noted the congressional delegate who advocates for the 705,000 Americans who live in the nation’s capital, was “[the] first time since the creation of the District of Columbia 219 years ago that either chamber of Congress has passed a bill to grant statehood to D.C. residents and, with it, equal citizenship.”

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the civil rights movement veteran who for decades has championed D.C. statehood, framed last week’s debate as an argument over the promise of democracy. “Congress has two choices,” explained the delegate, who has a seat but no vote in the House. “It can continue to exercise undemocratic, autocratic authority over the 705,000 American citizens who reside in our nation’s capital, treating them, in the words of Frederick Douglass, as ‘aliens, not citizens, but subjects.’ Or Congress can live up to this nation’s promise and ideals and pass H.R. 51.”

What was at stake in the vote on the D.C. Admission Act, explained Representative Jamie Raskin, was the question of whether members of the people’s house were prepared to “give democratic self-government and equal representation to 700,000 American citizens.”



______________________________________________________________________________________________



Social Security Retirees Could Lose $38.9 Billion of
Their Benefits This Year to This One Huge Expense



These taxes weren't originally charged on retirement benefits but were introduced in 1983 by amendments intended to shore up the program's finances. And when taxation was first introduced, it was largely well-to-do Americans who had to bear the brunt of it. But the thresholds at which taxes are charged wasn't indexed to inflation, and now they aren't very high.

For single tax filers, taxes are due on up to 50% of annual benefits once your countable income hits $25,000. Married filers owe taxes with a combined countable income starting at just $32,000. And for singles with a countable income of $34,000 or married filers with $44,000, up to 85% of benefits are taxable.

You'll notice these thresholds apply only to "countable" income, though, which includes half your annual Social Security benefit plus other taxable income. So the threshold at which you begin losing out on your benefits is a little higher than it appears at first glance. Still, millions of seniors are being deprived of nearly $40 billion in hard-earned retirement benefits in 2020.


______________________________________________________________________

Technology solutions work best when you take
into account your loved ones perspective


Before you choose a healthcare or safety technology consider these things.

The coronavirus pandemic has forever changed the way we think about healthcare and caregiving. Before COVID-19, many families struggled with the decision to place a family member in an assisted living facility. Now that decision has taken on a deeper meaning as we see how facilities have struggled with inhouse outbreaks. In some cases, families have chosen to withdraw their loved one and bring them home. We also know how difficult lockdown has been on residents and their families.

Now what?

Well… all the care you thought might fall upon the shoulders of others may now be on yours. And you’re likely asking yourself two questions:

1. Do I have the patience and stamina to be a primary caregiver?
2. Is my home properly equipped to make sure they are safe?



_________________________________________________________________________

The world's oldest person? China claims its most
senior citizen has celebrated her 134th birthday

By Carlos Christianhttps

Is this the world’s oldest person? China claims its most senior citizen has celebrated her 134th birthday

A Uighur woman turned 134 years old yesterday, the local government said
Footage shows Ms Seyiti being surrounded by her family at a massive banquet
She was reported to be born in 1886 and could be the most senior citizen in China
But her alleged incredible longevity has been doubted in the West since 2014

A Uighur woman who was allegedly born in 1886 has reportedly celebrated her 134th birthday.
Chinese government news outlets claim that Almihan Seyiti is the most senior citizen in the united states, though the authenticity of her birth records remains to be verified.
If the officials’ claims are true, Ms Seyiti may be the oldest person in recorded history on the planet.
A handout picture from Shule’s government media outlet shows Almihan Seyiti celebrating what was reported to be her 134th birthday on Thursday in her hometown near Kashgar in Xinjiang


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BONUS ARTICLE

Trump payroll tax cut would come at a time when
Social Security is already facing trouble



President Donald Trump wants the next stimulus package to include a payroll tax cut, with his administration arguing the reduction would help boost economic growth. But a cut to the primary source of revenue for the Social Security program would come at a time when the retirement program is already facing strains.

Payroll taxes fund social insurance programs including Social Security and Medicare, with employers and workers splitting the 15.3% levy. Last year, the tax provided more than $900 billion in funding for the Social Security program, according to the most recent financial report from the Social Security Administration.

The idea behind a payroll tax cut is to put more money in the pockets of both businesses and consumers at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread economic pain. But it would slash the primary source of funding for Social Security, leading to concerns that future benefits could be reduced to pay for that payroll tax cut, according to the Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan group focused on issues impacting older Americans.




* * * *



Know the Difference Between Medicare Parts A, B, and D

Learn More About Medicare Coverage


Medicare is a federal health insurance program that serves Americans over 65 years of age, certain younger people with disabilities, and those with End-Stage Renal Disease. Before you choose your coverage or seek medical support, know the different parts of Medicare and what they cover:

    Part A helps pay the costs of a stay in a hospital or skilled nursing facility, home health care, hospice care, and medicines administered to inpatients.

    Part B helps pay bills for physicians and outpatient services such as rehab therapy, lab tests and medical equipment. Additionally, it covers doctor services in the hospital and most medicines administered in a doctor's office. Part B also covers many preventive services.

    Part D adds prescription drug coverage to a variety of Medicare plans.

What Does Medicare Cover?  Read more >> 


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06.29.20



The Other Issue
Confronting America



While the virus has been around for only a few months, Racism has been festering for hundreds of years.


Not overshadowing Covid-19, but coming in a close second is the other issue facing America today.

But, unlike the virus, we may have found a “vaccine” for it.

Created not in a lab, but on a street in Minneapolis.
 
Not a cure, but a means to an end unfortunately brought about by an act of violence and at substantial cost. The death of George Floyd.
 
The delivery system for this new serum is not a hypodermic needle or nasal spray. It’s something much more accurate and readily available. People. And not just the people who the plague of racism has infected for years, but people of all races and beliefs. A dose of empathy and understanding injected into a population. Not to calm, but to awaken violently the sense of respect and dignity we were born with and somehow lost.

It’s amazing what people can do when they realize enough is enough. When the level of frustration with the status quo becomes so overwhelming that people, who were content to sit back and let others protest, get up off their asses and take to the streets.
 
Also amazing is what we can accomplish in such a brief period.
 
Within a week of when the BLM protests began, police departments all over the country were firing officers, revising their training methods and, with the Minneapolis P.D., starting over with a new police force.
 
Quick too were the politicians, whose speed in denouncing racism was matched only by NASCAR (one of the best places to see the stars and bars proudly displayed by a bunch of red-neck race “enthusiasts”) proclaim their solidarity with their only black NASCAR driver.

Yes, it makes me proud to be an American.
 
But there is one group that makes me sad. One I have been a member of (if you go by government standards) ten years. America’s Senior Citizens.
 
As of late, membership in this group has left me to wonder what happened to the once vocal young people who took to the streets in the 1960s and 70s and demanded an end to a war that killed 50,000 of their contemporaries. It took a while, but they changed history.
 
But now, when there is a cause that effects them directly and drastically, they remain uncharacteristically silent and afraid.
 
We, who have been “imprisoned” in our own residences for over 100 days without the benefit of a trial or even a hearing, sit calmly by allowing those who do not understand what we are going through dictate our lives.

Any other group, black or white, would be up in arms if what is being perpetrated on old people was happening to them.
 
Every pony-tailed ACLU lawyer would line up to take their case.
 
The airwaves would crackle with words of praise for the victims and disdain for the perpetrators of such a dastardly act.
 
How could they so drastically deny one’s freedom and nobody gets outraged? It’s easy, and it’s called ageism.
 
Ageism is catch phrase people don’t like to talk about. But it’s as ingrained in the American culture as any act of racism, anti-Semitism or homophobia. But because they think it affects only a handful of relatively banal old folks living in assisted living facilities, they pay it no mind. It doesn’t exist. At least not so much as they should make a big deal over it.
 
But what they don’t realize is there are over 28,000 assisted living residences in the U.S., housing more than one million people.
 
A MILLION PEOPLE. Where’s the outrage?
 
A million people whose fate is in the hands of frightened and confused administrators, government agencies and no-nothing bureaucrats whose only answer to “What’s the plan” is “We are monitoring the situation.”

I know we are old and many of us are tired and sick and just want to be left alone which is the major reason for the situation we are now in. But what about the people who are supposed to be our advocates? Our children and grandchildren and the friends we have known for years. Where is their outrage?

Oh. I know where they are.

They are out eating in restaurants. Getting their hair and nails done. Shopping at Walmart’s and generally enjoying the basic freedoms all Americans are entitled to.

Take off your mask kid. Have another beer. Hang out with your friends. And don’t forget to suck-in and spread those pesky Covid germs. We old folks don’t mind being locked up for another three months, a year or maybe, forever…………….
 





* * * *





Payroll Tax Cuts Worsen Social Security
and Medicare Funding Issues

By Mary Johnson

“Today’s retirees— more than 61.2 million people— depend on Social Security and Medicare payroll tax revenues for their Social Security and Medicare benefits,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst.


President Trump is insisting on another payroll tax cut for any economic stimulus package. But the proposal is unlikely to provide financial help for unemployed workers who need the money, and would worsen existing financing problems for Social Security, Medicare, and program beneficiaries, warns The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “Today’s retirees— more than 61.2 million people— depend on Social Security and Medicare payroll tax revenues for their Social Security and Medicare benefits,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst. “Their number one concern is that down the line, benefits will be permanently cut to pay for these ‘temporary’ tax cuts,” she says.

According to the most recent Social Security Trustees report, Social Security already pays out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes. In 2019, Social Security paid $1,047.9 billion in benefits versus receiving $944.5 billion in payroll tax revenues. Taxation of the benefits of retirees provides another $36.5 billion in revenues, and $80.8 billion is money from “interest” earned by the assets of the Social Security Trust funds, special non-marketable bonds. Social Security trustees forecast that the program will be depleted by 2035.


___________________________________________________________________

Should diabetes treatment lessen for
older adults approaching the end of life?



One in four people aged 65 or older has diabetes. The disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and a major contributor to heart disease. Experts have recommended that the best way to slow the progression of diabetes—and help prevent its many complications—is to maintain strict control of blood sugar levels. For healthy younger people, this means keeping the target blood sugar level (known as A1c or HbA1c) lower than 6.5 percent to 7.0 percent.

For older adults who have a limited life expectancy or who have advanced dementia, however, maintaining that target blood sugar level may cause more harm than good. For example, these older adults may not live long enough to experience potential benefits. What's more, maintaining these strict blood sugar levels can raise the risk of potentially harmful events such as low blood sugar (also known as hypoglycemia). This can cause falls or loss of consciousness.

For these reasons, many guidelines now suggest targeting higher HbA1c targets—such as between 8.0 percent and 9.0 percent—for older adults who have multiple chronic conditions or limited life expectancy, or who live in nursing homes.


__________________________________________________________________

COVID-19 Has Forced 16% of
Baby Boomers to Resort to This



The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge economic impact ever since U.S. case numbers started climbing in March. Not only have millions of Americans lost their jobs in its wake, but investment and retirement plan portfolios have taken their share of beatings.

It's not surprising, then, to learn that the pandemic is causing a large chunk of older Americans to change their retirement plans. In fact, 16% have already delayed retirement because of COVID-19, according to a recent TD Ameritrade survey, while 21% are considering it.

If you're nearing retirement, you may be in a strong enough financial position to move forward with it. Or, you may be too nervous to pull the trigger on retirement at a time when there's so much economic uncertainty. Both decisions have merit, but here's why it could pay to delay that milestone and wait things out.

Continue reading >>  https://mooresvilletribune.com/business/investment/personal-finance/covid-19-has-forced-16-of-baby-boomers-to-resort-to-this/article_7bb9f58b-346b-5e09-a3f3-8340f399c599.html

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BONUS ARTICLE

In 2020, Reviving the Spirit of FDR


In a new book, John Nichols outlines tragic decisions that quashed past progressive dreams but offers hope for the years ahead.
by Harvey J. Kaye

Instigated by the 2016 election debacle that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats “should have won by a landslide,” John Nichols’ new book, The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Antifascist, Antiracist Politics, asks a couple of questions that have haunted many of us:

Whatever happened to the liberal, social-and-industrial-Democratic party that FDR built in the course of leading Americans against the Great Depression and Fascism?  And can progressives yet redeem it?  His answers are timely and challenging—though presumably, given the outcome of the 2020 primaries, not the way he had hoped.


As his new book, attests, Nichols, national correspondent of The Nation magazine and author of many provocative works on American history, politics, and media, knows progressive politics past and present, inside and out.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I should make it clear that John and I—fellow Wisconsinites—have been friends for years. We share an admiration for both Roosevelt and Thomas Paine, and he graciously praises my work in this new book. With that explained, I write this not for comradely but for historical and political reasons.




* * * *





What Should You Do When Faced With
Age Discrimination At Work?

By Bonnie Marcus

Have you noticed the increased attention to women over 50 lately? From Nancy Pelosi and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Glenn Close, older women are being labeled as notorious and powerful and impactful. Yet beyond the celebrities who are in the spotlight right now, there is a tribe of older women in the workplace who are struggling to keep their jobs due to ageism and sexism. These women suffer as they are marginalized, passed over, and pushed out.


In a 2018 report by AARP, women over 55 are a growing segment of the workforce. Currently, they represent over 30% of all employees over 55 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that by 2024 there will be twice as many women over 55 in the workforce as women between the age of 16 and 24. By 2022, nearly 35% of all workers will be age 50+. These numbers are impressive.

And, no surprise, the result of the increased presence of older workers is the growing number of age discrimination complaints. In 2017, the number of charges filed by workers over 65 doubled from 1990. According to the EEOC, 18,376 age discrimination complaints were filed in 2017. AARP found that 6 out of 10 older adults have seen or experienced age discrimination at work and 90 percent say it’s common. Important to note: more than half of older workers feel age discrimination starts in their 50’s.



* * * *


Presented Without Comment
A Week Of Breakfasts At The A.L.F.




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06.28.20



The News Is Not
Good for ALF Residents

7-8 minutes

I truly believe we (ALF Residents) will not see a return to normalcy this year.

This story out of Washington DC is the worse news I could have read since this Lockdown began. It reinforces my opinion that my state, NY has, and never will have, a plan on how or when to reopen or even moderate, restrictions placed on assisted living facilities.


While I am focusing on New York, the article lists all state’s positions on reopening facilities under their jurisdiction. You can view the entire article here >>




“Opening Up America: Recent COVID-19 Data And Congressional Hearings
 Show That Nursing Homes May Be The Last To See “Business As Usual”

New York

“New York has remained silent on the timeline for when relatives of nursing home residents may resume visiting, saying only that the visitation ban will remain in place “until further notice.” This has led to push back from families seeking the resumption of visitation rights amidst the reopening of other businesses across the state. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo first implemented a stop to nursing home visitations two months ago to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term facilities. The Health Department maintains that it’s simply trying to protect this vulnerable population given nearly 6,000 people have died form COVID-19 across the 600 such facilities in the state.

In an effort to quell family concerns about social distancing and provide updates on residents, the state Health Department has required nursing homes to conduct video calls and assigned staff members as “primary contacts”  with families for inbound and outbound calls.

Still, residents’ family members argue it’s time to allow them to be with their loved ones. One family member, whose 100-year-old mother died alone in the nursing home during the ban, claimed, “Nursing homes can tell us anything they want. My family was mailing my mother cards and pictures and I asked the nurses to read the cards to my mother because she was frail. They said they would, but when I received my mom’s possessions, the envelopes had never been opened,” Yet another family member, whose brother suffers from a traumatic brain injury, explained her issue with the dehumanization of the ban by claiming, “I know we are all feeling some social deprivation during these times. But I can’t imagine feeling any more lonely than my brother, in a nursing home bed, paralyzed, with nothing but the TV for company, day in and day out. Not seeing your loves ones is cruel.”

Officials from the Health Department and nursing homes have attempted to express their sympathy with family members’ frustrations while maintaining that they’re simply attempting to abide by the guidelines to prioritize this vulnerable population. Chuck Hayes, spokesman for an Illinois nursing home stated, “Nothing can replace the warmth of a visit from a loved one, but we must adhere to the proven guidelines that safeguard this very vulnerable population.” Jeffrey Hammond, spokesman for the Health Department, insists that the top priority must be “protecting our most vulnerable population.”

This news has disheartened me terribly. I always knew the DOH was clueless and unresponsive to the real needs of patients and residents under their control, but now It’s official. And I don’t know what to do next.

If they (the DOH) has no valid answer for the media, how can I expect to reach anybody that will listen to me?

The best I could do, and the best information I have received from an actual human at the DOH, came in reply to an email I sent over three weeks ago. While it was not the answer I wanted, at least I was put on a possible path to gain some enlightenment on what, if anything, is to become of us.

I sent the following email to the Division of Nursing Homes & ICF/IID Surveillance…


Subject: Covid-19 - re-open assisted living facilities
Bruce Cooper
Fri 6/26/2020 4:49 PM

I am a resident of an assisted living facility in Yonkers NY. 

My fellow residents and I have been living in this nightmare quarantine/lockdown for over 100 days with no end in sight.

While the rest of the state slowly returns to normal, they leave us virtually ignored.

We are not part of any plan, nor are we being considered for one.

I am not asking to throw caution to the wind and allow us to regain all of our pre-Covid-19 status right this minute. All I am asking is for someone to give us some idea, some hope, when they will permit us too, to live our lives with the dignity we deserve instead of being treated like prisoners or inmates in an asylum.

My attempts to reach someone, anyone, in authority who can give more than just a link to a DOH website have gone for naught. I really need to explain our situation to someone who will listen to an actual victim and not some administrator whose only focus is on keeping their license and avoiding litigation.

Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Bruce Cooper.
Resident of The Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted Living

I’m afraid this will be the end of the line for me to get someone to assess and reply to our situation.
In all my years of dealing with the public, researching and solving problems in the business world, I have never come up against a bureaucracy as stone-cold solid as this. The wall the DOH has built around itself to protect their autonomy is one even our president would be proud of.

As usual, we are off Sunday but we’ll be back Monday, June 29 with more.

Have a great and safe weekend ………………………………..




 


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Virus cases surge among the young,
 endangering older adults

By CARLA K. JOHNSON and TAMARA LUSH


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Coronavirus cases are climbing rapidly among young adults in a number of states where bars, stores and restaurants have reopened — a disturbing generational shift that not only puts them in greater peril than many realize but poses an even bigger danger to older people who cross their paths.

In Oxford, Mississippi, summer fraternity parties sparked outbreaks. In Oklahoma City, church activities, fitness classes, weddings and funerals seeded infections among people in their 20s, 30s and 40s. In Iowa college towns, surges followed the reopening of bars. A cluster of hangouts near Louisiana State University led to at least 100 customers and employees testing positive. In East Lansing, Michigan, an outbreak tied to a brew pub spread to 34 people ages 18 to 23.

There and in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, young people have started going out again, many without masks, in what health experts see as irresponsible behavior.



_________________________________________________________________________


The coronavirus requires taking calculated
risks as the country re-opens.

By Debra Hallisey


It is not a comfortable feeling.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, family caregivers were forced to make decisions with little information based on fact. Should we keep mom in assisted living or bring her home? Should we keep the home health aide or let them go while we are working from home? Should we postpone the trip to the doctor, the chemo treatment or the visit with family for the holiday?

I live in New Jersey and we were hit hard. Early on mom and I were forced to make decisions based on calculated risks. It required intentional conversations between mom and me and with her live-in caregiver. Because her caregiver is with mom when I am not, we knew she was not working for multiple families. Because she does not drive, we knew her outside interactions would be limited to her daughter. We shared with one another the precautions we were taking at home in terms of disinfecting, shopping and no visitors. We agreed that we would all abide by these limits. The decision to keep mom’s live- in aide finally came down to this: If the aide got sick, I was her backup. If I got sick, she was my backup. Keeping her on was a risk we were willing to take.


_________________________________________________________________________

Elder abuse appears to be climbing
during the pandemic

Early on in the pandemic’s sweep over the U.S., a nursing home resident in Minnesota left her home for a weekend visit elsewhere. When she returned, the facility wouldn’t allow her back inside, for fears surrounding the coronavirus. The nursing home demanded a COVID-19 test. But at that point in the outbreak, tests weren’t available.

“She was on the verge of being homeless,” says Amanda Vickstrom, executive director of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center in St. Paul, Minn., adding that the woman had immediate medical needs that were previously met in the nursing home and were now being neglected.

Vickstrom’s nonprofit worked with the woman for nearly two weeks while she was couch hopping, using legal services to intervene.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Yes, Somebody Does Want Your Stuff


When you downsize, your kids probably don’t want your stuff, but I’m here to tell you other people do. Lots of people, many of whom may need, and value, your stuff far more than you — or your kids.

Before the pandemic started, this truth was made clear to me when my husband and I downsized from our large suburban home to a smaller city townhouse and I faced the task of disposing of 30 years-worth of couches, chairs, rugs, records, office equipment, tables, dishes, kitchen goods and God knows what else.

Although no Marie Kondo, for years I had prided myself on keeping a lid on accumulation, but once all our “valuables” were unloaded from the attic, basement and closets, I realized we had been kidding ourselves.




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Resources for Help With Energy Costs This Summer

Having trouble paying your home cooling bill? You may be able to get help. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a program that helps with:

Assistance to pay your heating or cooling bills.

Emergency services in cases of energy crisis, such as utility shutoffs.

    Low-cost home improvements, also known as weatherization, that make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills.

If your income is too high to qualify for LIHEAP but you need help paying for your energy bills, support may be available from other sources like your local social services agency or a nonprofit organization.

See If You Are Eligible For Help With Energy Bills:

 


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06.26.20



Diet and Exercise?

5 minutes

Every article I’ve read on staying healthy in one’s senior years includes a healthy diet and proper exercise.
 
A healthy diet, to me, means cutting back on the carbs, watching the fat intake and eating more protein.
 
Here at the ALF we have a dietitian who is supposed to look after our nutrition needs but, the number of meals where carbs (in the form or bread, pasta and potatoes) are the chief ingredient might surprise you.
 
Meetings with the dietitian(s) have met with empty promises to adjust the carbs-to-protein ratio. And conversations with our food service director (s) have fallen on deaf ears. They claim they are following the DOH guidelines. But those guidelines are concerned only with minimum portion sizes. As long as there are at least 3oz of protein it doesn’t matter if they serve the amount of carbs they do. So, it’s “pile on the pasta boys, and make that plate look full.” And besides. It looks better to have a bunch of fat, roly-poly old folks than skinny, frail ones walking around the premises.

Some day, maybe someone will understand they need to feed seniors living in long-term care facilities like adult humans and not like a herd of cattle fattening up for slaughter.
 
On the matter of exercise, I hate it.
 
Not the exercise itself, but the routine of having to do it even when you don’t feel like it turns me off.  All that energy spent on performing the exercise seems like a waste to me. Maybe if they hooked me up to a generator or a giant ceiling fan, I’d feel better.
 
Not that I don’t exercise. I just do the low-impact variety. Walking.
 
I’ve always enjoyed walking. Living in NYC, the best walking city in the world, my two feet were my chief means of urban transportation. Walking, not only gets you from one place to another, it affords you time to contemplate your place in the world, plan ideas, view new and interesting things and tune out if you so desire.
 
In my pre-ALF days, I would take at least one day of the week (usually Sunday) and just walk. I’d pick a street or neighborhood I’d never been to and walk from one subway or bus stop to the farthest one in the area. That could be as much as seven or eight miles. I’ve walked Harlem, the upper-west-side, the lower-east-side, most of Brooklyn and Queens and even some of Staten Island, always with camera in hand. At the end of those walks, I felt invigorated, renewed and informed.
 
Now, since I lost much of my mobility and walking has become just an alternative to a wheelchair, I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to. But I do it anyway. It’s just not as interesting and a lot more painful.

Below is the route I take here at the ALF. It’s not as interesting as 5th Avenue or Central Park, but it’s the best I can do and still remain I within the confines of our facility’s grounds.

 

I’m not sure of the actual distance, but I guess it’s about an eighth of a mile and involves both indoor and outdoor travel. It takes about 20 minutes door to door with two of three short rest stops on the way. I do it without a mask because, I’m the only one around. Walking is not a big activity here.

If they ever let us out of here, I’d like to go beyond the main gate and walk around our neighborhood. It’ll seem like the old days…………………………………




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Older adults concerned about retirements,
look to alternatives to pad portfolios


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. adults are feeling regret over their lack of emergency and retirement savings and are concerned about their retirement, according to two recent surveys of older adults.

Bankrate’s survey found that older adults see paying down debt as a top priority going forward, whereas a survey from American Advisors Group indicated seniors are open to alternative solutions to bump up their retirement portfolios.

Bankrate’s online survey of 1,343 adults was conducted by YouGov Plc. More than half of survey respondents said they feel regret over their emergency savings (55%) and retirement savings (54%).


_____________________________________________________________________

This stimulus plan would exclude
most Social Security retirees


The proposal that's gaining ground that retirees should be wary of is called the Reopening America by Supporting Workers and Businesses Act of 2020. It was introduced by representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee.

This Act would give people on unemployment who return to work $1,200 for doing so. It's intended to serve as an incentive to get people back to their jobs, even as 67% of those receiving jobless benefits get more money on unemployment.

Out-of-work Americans are getting these big unemployment payments because coronavirus relief legislation provided an additional $600 per week in benefits on top of state maximums (through July 31). Brady's proposal would allow workers to keep this extra money for up to two weeks after going back to work. That means those who resume their jobs before the end of July would get $600 in extra cash per week for a total $1,200 stimulus payment.


====================================================================

5 Ways the Coronavirus May Impact
Long-Term Care Insurance


In Wisconsin, we are soon to reach 25,000 positive COVID-19 test results, over 3,200 hospitalizations, and close to 750 deaths attributed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. It is being recognized that the coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the elderly, particularly those in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. People age 65 and older and those who have chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk for COVID-19. Both of these groups are heavily represented in the nation’s nursing home population, and according to AARP, these factors have contributed to why 1 in 5 U.S. deaths from COVID-19 has occurred in long-term care facilities.

With this in mind, questions have come to light about how the virus has influenced the costs and provision of long-term care insurance, which may cover some or all of the cost of nursing home, assisted living facility, and in-home care services.

If you or a loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, you may wonder how it is affected by the coronavirus pandemic. If you don’t have a policy, you may wonder if the pandemic will make it more difficult to get one. An article by US News and World Report, examines issues with long-term care insurance that have arisen in the last few months, including the following:


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BONUS ARTICLE


'Granny Pods' Allow Grandma to Live in Your Backyard



When families are faced with finding a place for grandparents to live out their golden years, the options can be complicated. Full-service nursing homes can be costly and don't always make the most financial sense. The steep fees paired with the guilt some families feel about an aging loved one living alone often leads to Grandma or Grandpa moving in with their adult children. But if home size or lifestyle won't allow this arrangement, what next?

Enter the "granny pod." Also known as an in-law cottage or in-law apartment, these detached tiny homes allow grandparents to stay close to their loved ones, while still offering some privacy. It's often difficult for the elderly to give up their independence 100 percent, so this solution offers a balance—they still have a space to call their own, and the whole family has a certain peace of mind knowing they're just steps away if they need assistance—or to share that homemade cake recipe.

What Is a Granny Pod?

A granny pod is a modified 'guest house' that allows caregivers close proximity to aging loved ones. They are also called ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, and are designed with safety and accessibility top of mind (for example, slip-resistant floors, wide doorways, and rounded countertops). Some versions offer high-tech medical extras.




Choosing the Right Pet for You

Having an animal friend at home can make your days so much more fun and fulfilling. Pets provide opportunities for entertainment and physical contact – things many of us have been missing lately. Countless studies have shown that pets can lift our spirits and even lower our blood pressure. Most importantly, having a pet to care for and talk to can alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness for anyone who lives alone.

This is a good time to mention that if you’re thinking of getting a pet as a surprise for someone else, please don’t. Getting a pet is fun and exciting, but it requires planning and forethought to ensure a smooth introduction for any type of animal into a household. Whether the pet is for you or someone else, the following information covers all the important points to consider when thinking about getting a pet.

Checklist for Choosing a New Pet….



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06.25.20


Where's The outrage?
Residents Remain Quiet
As The lockdown Continues With
No End In Site.

5 minutes


As the progression of this virus went from a page 6 news story out of an obscure city in China to world-shattering front-page headlines, protests and demonstrations went from small groups of concerned citizens to defiant mobs of people demanding the restoration of their “freedoms.”
 
Giving in to that extraordinary pressure, governments, national and local, caved in and agreed to the demands of merchants and public alike to reopen certain businesses and enterprises so its citizens could get back their lives and livelihoods.
 
Then, in the middle of all that came what could be a defining moment in American history. The death of George Floyd at the hands of police evoked demonstrations and riots we haven’t seen since the early days of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war.

Going back as far as the Boston Tea Party, Americans have publically protested. Our constitution gives us the right to do that. The picket sign is as much a symbol of freedom as our flag.
 
And, if marching isn’t your thing, there is always the “sit-in.” A less energetic, but none the less effective method of getting a point across. Sit-in’s usually get a lot of media attention.
 
I remember, and took part in, a sit-in or two in the late 1960s protesting my school’s compliance [1] in a war in Southeast Asia, always leaving before the arrests began. I wasn’t ready to go to jail, or worse, get sent to Vietnam because I sat on the floor in front of the dean’s office.
 
We, the children and grandchildren of WW2 veterans, hearing the stories and seeing what war did to human beings, decided that we would not partake in our parents’ outdated idea of peacekeeping through intimidation. So we tuned-in, turned-on and dropped out and spoke out. Although it took seven years and 50,000 American lives, we put enough pressure on the government to stop the fighting, pack-up and go home.
 
Now we, the generation who would protest injustice anywhere, anytime, anyway, sit quietly in assisted living facilities unable or unwilling to stick up for our rights. Even when those rights have been so blatantly ignored by those who proclaim to be our protectors.
 
You cannot imagine how many times I have tried to organize a peaceful show of our displeasure with the way they do things here at the ALF. And, while they usually meet my suggestions with approval, when it comes time to show up, everyone crawls back into their own little worlds of apathy and lethargy. Afraid something will happen to them.

I understand. Many of our residents no longer can physically take part in any show of unity. While some other’s ability to understand the reasons for protest have become lost in the fog cognitive decline. But there are many who are as sharp and aware as they were when Nixon was president. And yet find their desire to let the status remain Quo outweigh the need for change. Even when they know that change will drastically improve their lives.
 
It’s a sad thing to see. And even sadder when I realize we could accomplish so much if we only stuck together.
 
Over 100 days have passed since they put us under the yoke of quarantine. You would think, by this time, there would be enough of us who can see how poorly they treat us and how forgotten we have become.
 
When the “Friends and relatives parade of cars” began on Father’s Day, the only sign of protest was mine.
 
The rest were content to wave and smile through their face masks, indifferent to the situation that becomes more intolerable every day……………………………………….

[1]Many schools and colleges permitted ROTC programs on their campuses.





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Coronavirus Vaccines May Not Work for the Elderly—
and This Lab Aims to Change That

By Karen Weintraub


Everyone agrees that a vaccine will be essential to stop the global spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But Ofer Levy, a physician-scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital, worries that vaccines being designed today are not going to be effective enough for the people who need them most: older adults.

“Whatever we develop, we’ve got to make sure it works in the elderly. Otherwise we don’t have our eye on the ball. And right now, the way vaccines are developed, the eye isn’t on the ball,” says Levy, an infectious disease doctor who directs the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s. Initial data suggest the virus that causes COVID-19 most severely affects people who are older than 60 and those who have preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease. A vaccine that protects young people would slow the virus’s spread, but one that protects the most vulnerable will directly save lives, he says.

On the eighth floor of the Harvard Institutes of Medicine building, Levy and his colleagues are aiming to design a vaccine that will work for people of all ages. Their strategy involves testing candidates in a more realistic setting than most laboratories use and adding an adjuvant—a substance that boosts the vaccine’s effectiveness while allowing the minimum possible dosage.


__________________________________________________________________________

Nobody Knows Exactly How Hard The Coronavirus
Is Hitting America’s Assisted Living Facilities

By Rosalind Adams and Ken Bensinger

BuzzFeed News has reporters around the world bringing you trustworthy stories about the impact of the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member.

When Darien Schnaithman’s breathing grew labored and she started having trouble walking in late March, doctors at a hospital in Yonkers suspected she had coronavirus. They administered a test and then discharged the 70-year-old back to her assisted living facility, the Bronxwood Home for the Aged.

Darien, who had lived there for three years, was given strict instructions to isolate while she awaited the results; according to her daughter, Sandy Schnaithman, that never happened.

Darien’s roommate at Bronxwood, who she affectionately called “D,” wasn’t initially moved to a different room. Aides came in and out without wearing masks or other protective equipment and took Darien downstairs to meet a doctor, where other residents could’ve been exposed.


_________________________________________________________________________

Senior Living Providers Develop New
Move-In Protocols as Nation Reopens

By Chuck Sudo

Do not expect a “return to normal” for senior living move-ins as the nation gradually reopens during the coronavirus pandemic.

New residents will need to be prepared for testing prior to moving in, quarantine periods before joining the larger census and the continuation of virtual tours and sales processes in searching for the right community. And communities will not fully reopen to non-essential personnel, especially in states that have seen spikes in positive Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Testing will be a linchpin in many providers’ move-in procedures. Charter Senior Living demands a “double negative” test before new residents can move-in, COO Jayne Sallerson told Senior Housing News.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Too much alcohol can cause similar effects to dementia –
 and the two are often confused

By Rebecca Ward


In the UK, 21% of people are drinking more alcohol than they did before the pandemic, according to a recent survey. This follows a reported 31% increase in alcohol sales at the start of lockdown.

For while pubs and restaurants were forced to close their doors, off licences were considered essential retailers. And as traditional social gatherings were put on hold, virtual pub quizzes and online parties swiftly replaced them. Twitter hashtags such as #Quarantini and #FurloughMerlot revealed how drinking was, for many, a key element of the pandemic experience.

Some may have turned to alcohol to ease anxiety, stress or even to fill time usually spent at the gym or socialising. But whatever the reason, while most drinkers are aware of the effect that alcohol can have on their livers or waistlines, many do not realise how excessive (and continuous) drinking can cause long-term damage to the brain.





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How to Retrofit Your Home for Seniors

While it is less common than in prior decades for multiple generations to live together under the same roof, as a general practice, it is becoming more common for aging parents or family members to move in with children so that they might age in place rather than moving into an assisted living community nearby.


There are some basic questions to ask yourself before determining what modifications to make to your home for senior safety:

  •    Are there loose rugs that might be tripping hazards?
  •    Are the cabinets easy to reach?
  •    Are the dishes and glassware within reach?
  •    Are the countertops at a comfortable level?
  •    Is the bathroom large enough to accommodate any walkers or wheelchairs that might be necessary?
  •    Can your senior enter and exit the shower or bath safely?
  •    Is the water heater set at a temperature that won’t be a burn risk?

These questions will prompt conversations that your family can have together. You can also find a home safety checklist at Rebuilding Together that may prove helpful as you review your home to see what may need to be done.
Review Your Floor plan....




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06.24.20




 Independent Day

4-5 minutes



There are three basic things that I need in my life.
 
“If you have your health, you have everything.”
 
This is not just a saying we hear bantered about whenever old folks get together. It’s the truth.
 
While this may seem like a no-brainer, many people give this little heed. Especially those who have never had a serious health crisis. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I have experienced firsthand how a single illness can ravage one’s life and turn it on its end. So, yes, my health is very important to me. And that’s why I get regular check-ups, take the medications prescribed for me and try not to abuse my body with cigarettes, drugs or alcohol. And it is why my decision not to wear a mask, or have my temperature recorded, was  difficul to make. But I will sacrifice some safety to make a point.[1] And that point goes directly to one of my other basic needs. Independence.

I never realized how fleeting independence is until I became ill and had to depend on others for just about everything.

I could never have imagined someday I would need help to dress, bathe or just stand up.

I have rarely depended on anybody for anything.

I delighted in cooking my food and even doing my own household chores.

I mowed my lawn, fixed my car and loved to drive everywhere and anywhere I wanted.

Even as a kid I hated being told what to do or how to dress. And, even if some of those choices may not have been the best, I was content with them and that’s all that mattered.

Therefor, you can imagine my distress when I moved into the ALF and found that the words “Independent Living” on the sign over the main entrance was just a suggestion and not totally the truth. Because of the various regulations placed upon facilities like ours by regulatory agencies and by the facility itself, Independence must be fought for.

And now, with all the over-the-top hindrances to living an independent lifestyle, you can imagine how violated I feel.

I said there were three basic things I need in my life. And that last item would be privacy.
 
At one time privacy would have been at the top of this list. However, the last ten years has taught me that, when you live in a semi-institutional setting such as an assisted living facility, privacy is a condition in name only.

Any staff member who has a key to your room can come in any time of the day or night and there is nothing you can do about it.

Although the state recognizes that there should be a minimum amount of privacy, they don’t give any guidelines to that end.
 
I don’t like it, but I have learned to live with it.  
 
Maybe, someday there will be a place, a healthcare facility where they will treat a resident more like an adult guest in a hotel rather than a child in daycare……………………………………. .
 
[1]And that point being, as soon as the state comes up with a viable plan, one that release residents of assisted living facilities from the hardships of quarantine, I will be glad to abide by any infection control procedures they want including mask-wearing, temperature taking and testing.









EDITOR’S NOTE:

I am deviating, slightly, from the norm for today only.

The following article I found on leadingage.org says it all.

It represents what, for me, is the culmination of what I have been asking for since our lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus began over 100 days ago.

The people at leading age have compile a list of the states that, unlike the great State of New York, actually have a plan for the residents of assisted living facilities residing in their states along with the guidelines for initiating that plan.

The plan(s) are specific and do-able. The prerequisites that have to be met by an ALF are the same precautions we have been following, with great success, here at our facility.

This article proves there is no reason not to at least think about bringing our facility back to normal.

I have reproduced the article in its entirety below. Or, if you prefer, you can go to the original website and read it there.





"Reopening" to Visitors:
 A Review of States' Guidance for assisted living

by Dee Pekruhn

7-8 minutes

As of this writing, ten states or jurisdictions have developed “reopening guidelines” that include Assisted Living. Below, we summarize the core areas where states have offered guidance, primarily related to family visitors, communal dining, and group activities. As additional states issue guidance, we will update this article accordingly.

Note: States reviewed here are so listed because the state specifically referenced “Assisted Living” in their guidance documents. If you think your states applies “Long Term Care Facilities” to Assisted Living, and you don’t see your state listed here, please review our companion article on Resuming Visitations at Nursing Homes.

“Reopening" to Visitors

The States/ jurisdictions that have issued visitation guidance to Long Term Care Facilities that specifically include Assisted Living, include (as of this writing) are: District of Columbia, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota,Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Tennessee.

While there are a few exceptions, these states are commonly requiring and/ or recommending the following:

Outdoor Visits Only: With one exception, states are “reopening” visitation to Assisted Living in outdoor settings only.

Parameters around such settings include ensuring that residents can safely travel to and from a designated outdoor setting, that the setting is protected from weather, sun exposure, and temperature changes, and that the setting is disinfected with cleaners that kill the coronavirus, in between visits.

COVID-19 Requirements: The majority of states listed in this article will only allow the resumption of visitation provided that the community has no new cases of COVID-19, and provided that the residents and visitors who are participating have not tested positive for COVID-19 and are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Visitor Requirements: Each state’s guidance delineates specific criteria that visitors must meet in order to visit a family member in Assisted Living. These include:

        The visitr must be screened and symptom-checked for exposure to and/or symptoms of COVID-19.

        Visitrs are limited in number (typically 2 or fewer) and visits must be scheduled in advance with the facility;
        Visitrs should wear PPE and practice the universal COVID-19 precautions as put forth by CDC (washing hands, maintaining a six foot distance, avoiding physical contact);

        Sme states restrict visitors by age (12 or older); others permit children to visit under supervision of parents, provided they abide by the other visitor requirements.

Resident Requirements:

        Residents shuld be screened prior to the visit to ensure they are not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. (One state, Tennessee, does provide exceptions to permit visitors in the event the resident has symptoms.)

        Residents shuld wear a mask, if tolerated, for the duration of the visit.

    Facility Requirements: States are requiring several key steps from the facility in order to resume on-campus, outdoor visitation:
        The facility shuld set up and manage a schedule for visitation;

        The facility shuld assign staff members who have been trained in COVID-19 infection control and prevention to assist residents to and from the designated visitation space, and should remain present to observe the visit while providing space for confidentiality;

        The facility shuld provide the space, the PPE and alcohol-based hand rub for residents and visitors to use during the visit;

        The facility shuld thoroughly disinfect the space used for visits between the scheduled visits, and should ensure good airflow and accessibility.

        Visitrs should be able to access the outdoor visitation space without having to enter any indoor areas of the facility;
Notable Exceptions: The following states, below, have a notable exception to the common steps most of these states/ jurisdictions are taking to allow visits on campus.

        Gifts frm Visitors: In Maine’s guidance, the exchange f gifts, food and other items is discussed. Specifically, visitors are permitted to give residents a gift of food or another item, as “Current data suggest that COVID-19 is primarily spread by persn-to-person transmission and risk from objects is low.”

        Pst-Visit Monitoring: Bth New Hampshire and Maine’s guidance also states that the facility should follow up with visitors and residents, post-visit, to check to see if either party begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 following the visit.

        Essential Family Caregivers. Indiana’s visitatin guidance limits visitors to “Essential Family Caregivers” only.
 
Indiana has defined this designation in this way, “Recgnizing the critical role family members and other outside caregivers (e.g., friends, volunteers, private personal caregivers) often have in the care and support of residents, we recommend LTCFs consider designating as Essential Family Caregivers (EFCs) those family members and other outside caregivers, who prior to visitor restrictions, were regularly engaged with the resident at least two or more times per week in providing companionship and/or assisting with activities requiring one-on-one direction.”


Communal Dining and Activities

Three states/ jurisdictions – District of Columbia, Nebraska and North Dakota – have included guidance on Communal Dining and Group Activities. These areas are viewed as a part of a general, phased reopening plan that the state/ jurisdiction has put forth to Assisted Living and Nursing Home providers.

The District of Columbia has created its own, two-phased approach that covers a variety of core service areas in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes: in addition to communal dining and group activities, this includes non-medical personal caregivers, field trips, screening of staff and residents, testing of staff and residents, testing of staff and residents, data reporting, new admissions, and the provision of PPE. Most of the resumption of services and “reopening” to visitors is permitted, with guidelines as per above, under phase two.

Nebraska and North Dakota have staged their “reopening” plans in these areas in agreement with the CDC’s Guidelines for Assisted Living, and CMS’ Guidance for Visitation. Both states recommend that providers refer to these guidances; North Dakota has also prepared a Vulnerable Population Protection Plan that is imbedded within their ND Smart Restart plan.

The novel coronavirus pandemic is an ever-evolving and challenging threat to all our member communities, and the care and safety of residents and the people we serve must come first. As new information is made available, or best practices change, LeadingAge will continue to keep you up to date. If you have questions or comments on this issue, please reach out to us at covid@leadingage.org





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Tips And Tricks For Successful Senior Independent Living

Today, successful senior independent living is a more viable option than ever. Contrasting with the antiquated periods in recent history where residents in a retirement community or senior housing community were all treated the same, seniors today have an abundance of choices to pick and choose from as they map their personal blueprint detailing their emotional and physical health needs in addition to considerations such as activities of daily living and any corresponding assistive care they may require.


1. Create and maintain a safe, functional, and healthy living environment.
   
2. Have a grasp on basic technological equipment, such as a cell phone (at the minimum)
   
3. Implement solutions for home maintenance, household upkeep, chores, and meal prep
   
4. Make appointments with and travel to doctors and health care providers while also ensuring timely administration of medication(s) at home
   
5. Ensure security measures are in place in case of accidents, trips, or falls resulting in harm or immobility

6. Invest in a medical alert system and medical ID jewelry such as a pendant or bracelet indicating any conditions you have and medications you take.



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY JUNE 25TH 2020


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




06.23.20


Familiar Words That
Breed Contempt

7 minutes

Words, especially empty ones, do little for my confidence.

 
When I hear the same rhetoric and worn-out phrases I have heard in the past spew from the mouth of our administrator and others, my heart sinks and my spirit falls.

 
When our state Department of Health replies to my inquiries with a stock answer and tells me to refer to their website [1], I feel nobody in charge has a clue what to do next.
 
 
Not only are the words “Continue to monitor” not an answer and demeaning, but it tells me they have no problem keeping us in these hellish conditions forever, or at least until it satisfies them no one will blame them if anybody dies.
 
 
I know, dear readers, you are most likely tired of reading about my disappointment with the “system.” And if I’m boring you, I apologize. But this has become my primary concern since the lockdown began over 100 days ago, and now, even more so as I see the how the rest of my state and the nation gradually, through a phasing strategy, returns to their lives. Not 100%, but at least something.

 
Unfortunately, for us, who just because we are old, don’t protest in the streets and are very manipulative, there is no “phase.” There is not even talk of a plan. At worse of all. There is nobody to talk to.
 
The Governor, the DOH, our clueless administrator don’t give a s**t.
 
Often, I feel like a lone voice. (I know I am, at least within the confines of this facility). Which only adds to my isolation and feeling of impending doom.
 
Now, I am about to do something I have never done.
 
I am asking for your help.
 
It won’t cost you anything except a few minutes of your time.
 
I am asking you to go to the NYS Dept. Of Health Facebook page and post a comment…
 

 
You can use my words, “What’s the plan to open assisted living facilities in New York,”, or use your own words.
 
I hope to flood their Facebook page with messages from concerned people who, unlike the government, have compassion and empathy for our older citizens.
 
 
Anything you can do will be much appreciated by those of us who have no other voice but social media.

_______________________

All of this follows my brief, one man protest at Sunday’s “Parade of Cars” Father’s Day extravaganza where I stood in the hot sun with a sign pointed at each arriving visitor to get them to help with our plight. I don’t know how much good that did, but it sure pissed off our administrator who followed me into the building spewing the same crap I’ve heard before, “What do you want me to do. My hands are tied.” But my hands aren’t.
 
The facility has asked (not required) us to wear a mask outside of our rooms. I stopped doing that last week as a protest against… well… everything.
 
Today, I went one step further.
 
They began, some three month’s ago, with the taking of our temperature’s three-times-a-day.
 
I protested that, and they cut the testing back to only once-a-day. [2]
 
However, today when the tech came to take a reading, I refused.
 
Though surprised, she didn’t question my refusal and left. I knew that would not be the last I would hear about that.
 
Later in the afternoon, a supervisor (who must have noticed a blank space on the tech’s temperature report) visited me, thermometer in hand.
 
Again I refused which I am sure cause her to grimace.  I couldn’t see that because, unlike me, they require her to wear a mask.
 
I explained to her my refusal to have my temperature recorded.
 
“But it’s a state requirement,” she said.
 
“Let the state come here and tell that to my face,” I replied.
 
I explained my frustrations and, noticing a quizzical look on her brow, I continued to explain that, while she and all the rest of the staff and management, get to go home every night to the comfort of their homes and the arms of their loved-one’s, eat real home cooked or restaurant food, we are imprisoned here 24 hours-a-day with no activities, no visitors and horrid meals.
 
That must have got to her because, as I again refused to have my temperature taken, she did not protest and left quietly.
 
I hate doing things like this. It’s really not my nature. But I have had it. Not so much with the virus, but with the stupidity exhibited by those who should know better.
 
The very people who are charged with our care and supposed to be our advocates, have become our “jailers” who have convineintly the keys.……………………………………………… .
 

[1] Standard comment from The NYS DOH…“In an effort to protect some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo announced only medically necessary visits will be allowed at nursing homes. This policy will be effective Friday, March 13 at 5:00 PM.
The state is also asking nursing homes to set up skyping and other online communication capacity so families can tele-visit their loved ones.
Additionally, the state will require health screenings for all nursing home workers each day when they enter a facility and require them to wear surgical masks to guard against any potential asymptomatic spread.”
source:  https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/protecting-public-health-all-new-yorkers#long-term-care-facilities

[2]I doubt that is any of my doing, I think even they thought it was excessive.





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Know the signs of elder abuse
and exploitation


Approximately 10 percent of persons age 60 and older have experienced some form of abuse or exploitation, and it is estimated that as many as 5 million elderly adults suffer each year according to national research.

Still, researchers believe many instances go unreported. It is of particular concern in West Virginia, where U.S. Census estimates show persons 65 years and older account for approximately 20 percent of the state’s population.

Loved ones should watch for these red flags of financial abuse.

● Needs are not met by caregivers who have access to a senior’s finances.

● Unexplained changes made in wills, powers of attorney or bank accounts.

● Suspicious changes to a senior’s financial condition.

● Unusual wiring of money or purchase of multiple gift cards.

● Presence of a stranger who begins a new relationship and offers to manage a senior’s finances.

● Signatures on checks that do not match the senior’s handwriting.



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Advocates push to safely allow nursing home and
assisted living facility visitation to resume

by Matthew Paddock

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As hospitals and group homes begin to allow visitors again, some in New York State are also hoping the rules can be loosened for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Advocates say, while virtual visits have helped, it’s still not the same as seeing loved ones in person.

“If the state of New York is opening up hospitals, and they figured out how to do that safely and they figured out how to open up group homes safely, certainly the Cuomo Administration and the Department of Health can figure out how to do that for nursing homes because at this point it’s very frustrating for AARP to hear from our membership about how they can’t go and visit their loved ones in nursing homes,” said AARP New York State Legislative Representative Bill Ferris.


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Senior Living Communities Now
Being Rated On Inclusiveness

 A joint effort between SAGE (www.sageusa.org) and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (www.HRC.org) is resulting in the creation of the “Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI)”, which will measure how well senior living communities address concerns of their LGBTQ residents through policies and procedures, staff training and other measures.  SAGE’s website says: “The goal of the LEI is to create a network of long-term care communities across the country that are providing a welcoming home for older LGBTQ people”.


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Majority of assisted living communities have less
than 2-week supply of masks,
gowns to fight COVID-19:


More than half of assisted living communities have less than a two-week supply of vital personal protective equipment, placing them at a “significant disadvantage” in protecting older adults and staff from COVID-19, according to a new survey.

The National Center for Assisted Living queried 375 members June 10 to 17 on the availability of PPE at their communities. According to survey results released Thursday, 53% of respondents reported a less than two-week supply of N95 masks, and 52% reported a low supply of gowns. Low supplies also were reported for surgical masks (36%), face shields (34%) and gloves (31%).

Having asked for help, more than 70% assisted living communities are still reusing PPE in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards to optimize supplies, and many communities are still using homemade or improvised PPE. Seven out of 10 assisted living communities reported contacting state and local officials, and nearly half said they solicited donations from the public.






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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY JUNE 24TH 2020


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06.22.20



The Truth Hurts.
Even On Father’s Day


As our residents enjoyed the first “contact” with friends and relatives in 100 days with a Parade of Cars, I was at the beginning of the procession with a one-man protest against the conditions we are living under.

Management did not approve.
 
When I saw the sign posted in our lobby Friday, I knew it might be just the opportunity I was looking for.
 
“ATTENTION ALL RESIDENTS,” it said.
“SUNDAY JUNE 21ST AT 2:30PM
WE WILL BE HAVING OUR FAMILY PARADE.”

It’s almost impossible to get a group of our resident’s family and friends together all in one place. In fact, it’s never been done except for a smattering of guests that come to one of our barbecues. It was too good an opportunity to miss. I found a 2x3 foot piece of foam board that folded in the middle. And, with a black Sharpie marker, I wrote the words…



A few minutes before the parade was to begin, I positioned myself at a spot where I would be the first thing they noticed as they drove by. When they signaled for the cars to proceed, I raised my sign proudly above my head.

While I hoped for some curiosity from the visitors, I did not expect the cheers and the thumb’s up signals of approval I received.

Most stopped or slowed down to read the sign and even took pictures.

Some hung their heads from their rolled-down windows to shout their approval.

The parade made two revolutions around our extensive driveway, giving everybody a second chance to read my protest.

I propped the sign up against the railing and walked to another location farther down the line so I could get at least one decent photo of the event.

Returning to retrieve my sign, I saw that an aid had removed it and had handed it to our Activities Director who promptly gave it to another aid to, I guess, dispose of.

I demanded they return the sign, which they did after I exchanged a few words where I said “How dare they remove my personal property”, or something to that effect.

That’s when all hell broke loose.

Our Activities Director, with whom I usually have a good rapport, went ballistic saying things like what does this (meaning the sign) have to do with the event, and how I was spoiling it for the other residents.

I forget what I said back, but it was probably something to do with having the right to voice my opinion.

With that, she walked over to our head administrator.

There was a lot of looking and pointing in my direction, which meant only one thing. A confrontation was about to ensue.

It would not be the first time and, I am sure, not the last.

As he approached me, I handed him the sign and told him to keep it as a souvenir.

I didn’t want anymore to do with the sign, or with him.

But he would not let it go.

Following me into the lobby, he expounded the words I know very well whenever situations like this arise.

“What do you want me to do, It’s out of my hands?”

Things would have become nastier had it not been for my self-control gene kicking in.
I left him standing there telling him he was clueless.

I was under the assumption management and staff were supposed to, not only provided the care we need, but to act as our advocates as well. There is very little of that happening here.

I am sure I have not heard the last of this. Which is exactly what I want to happen……………….



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Victims And Villains And Pawns.
Oh My.

6 minutes

Yesterday was Father’s Day. A day when tens of thousands of dads everywhere were treated to a special Father’s Day breakfast.
 
Special everywhere but here, and at hundreds of assisted living facilities throughout our state.
 
Our ‘special’ breakfast comprised a half cup of Cream of Wheat, lukewarm coffee, cold French toast and one very shriveled slice of bacon.

Happy Father’s Day.
 
As we began our 100th day of quarantine, 100 days of isolation, loneliness and fear, no one had the wisdom, or inclination to prepare something special for the dad’s and grand dads in our facility.
 
THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. But I am not surprised.
 
This was just one of the many thoughtless, inconsiderate, and cruel actions taken by this, and I dare say other, long-term care facilities since this pandemic began over three months ago.
 
To care for our physical bodies, they ignored the toll such an extended lockdown would have on our souls.
 
Unfortunately, this attitude has been the guiding force behind everything here at the ALF.
 
I agreed whole-hardily when they quickly closed us down on March 13.
 
The virus was running rampant through nursing homes and assisted living facilities, specifically targeting old folks.
 
I felt safe and protected while I watched the death toll rise higher and higher outside of our building.
 
And I still feel the same way.
 
But now as the rest of our state, and the giant metropolis just a few miles south of our main gate, prepare to ease many of the harsh restrictions placed on businesses and the public we, in our very safe and virtually virus-free environment remain, to all intents and purposes, the villains of this story that has no ending.
 
They have used the guise of keeping us safe and alive as an excuse to cover their asses in case residents dropped like flies because they caught the virus.

Our status is like no other. They view us as both victim and villain.
 
Victims, in so far as we were among the first group whose mortality numbers went sky high.
 
And they see us as villains because (if you listen to millennials and other young people0 it’s because of us they have to take precautions drastically curtailing their lifestyle.
 
We are neither victim nor villain. We are, however, pawns in an open-ended game of finger pointing.
 
The state was pointing to ALF operators to get their act together. And, providing no funding for PPE, expected them to insure the safety of the residents at any cost. They published guidelines with no understanding of the costs (both monetarily and socially) their decision would have.
 
On the other side are the owners and operators who, struggling to make ends meet due to a cutback of medicaid funding, blaming the DOH and anybody else they could find, for the increased mortality and morbidity figures.

America, unlike many countries, has never treated its old folks with respect. Not to the extent Asian countries and most European countries have.
 
We see our elderly as we see all people who don’t contribute (financially) to our country. Freeloaders feeding at the public trough.
 
It matters not how hard or how long we worked or the amount of taxes we paid, “What have you done for us lately” is the standard by which we judge people.
 
Our wisdom or council has no value to a society that sees only the present and cannot learn from its history.
 
And they view us as the curators of a bunch of dusty junk taking up valuable space better suited for technology, expensive sneakers and a failing economy.
 
It has never been as bad for seniors as it is today.
 
They are proposing cuts to the very programs and institutions that we need to survive. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
 
On one hand, they claim they will harm no senior. While on the other, they push for legislation to reduce spending on everything our parents and grandparents fought for.
 
And what makes it sad, and almost funny, is they think we don’t notice.
 
While we are powerless now, we will not be when this all ends.
 
Hopefully, we will emerge from whatever hell-hole they kept us in and raise our arthritic middle fingers at them in a show of unity and shout “Older Lives Matter Too.”…………………………………….
 
 








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When Decluttering Your Stuff
Never Let Go of These 5 Things


When decluttering your stuff, you probably have a list of things to let go of. I always recommend starting with the easy stuff like …

1.    clothes that don’t fit
2.    duplicates (How many spatulas and wooden spoons do you need?)
3.    knick knacks and odds and ends with no meaning
4.    almost everything in your junk drawer
5.    books you’ve read and won’t read again

As you get to items that aren’t as easy, you may come up with excuses like, “I’ll keep this just in case.” or “I’ll keep this for my kids.” but what those excuses are telling you is that you aren’t quite ready to let go. That’s ok. Keep coming back to those items and for now, get excited because there are five things you never have to let go of. In fact, I recommend holding on tightly to these five things.



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Should hospitals transfer COVID-positive patients to nursing homes?
Top public health officials say they’re still open to it

By Frederick Melo

Despite growing political and media attention, Minnesota officials have not ordered long-term care facilities to close their doors to infected residents returning back from the hospital.

In fact, just the opposite. Minnesota Department of Health officials said a visiting team from the Centers for Disease Control recently encouraged such transfers, based on the belief that nursing homes and other care facilities provide the most well-trained care.

“I know it sounds counter-intuitive,” said Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, but a team of visiting officials from the CDC told state officials that facilities with managed outbreaks “are probably the best places to put a COVID-positive patient that needs a place to go.”

Continue reading >>  https://www.twincities.com/2020/06/19/some-coronavirus-patients-recover-in-nursing-homes-heres-why/

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Isolated Seniors Part 2: Sheltering in place
takes a toll on the elderly

By Dayne Marae

Many states across the country are easing restrictions. Local health officials are reporting a decrease in coronavirus cases, but say the virus is still very much a threat.

That’s why many nursing homes are keeping their residents isolated.

It was imperative to keep the elderly population inside and away from others as the coronavirus quickly spread across the country. Several months have passed and many senior citizens are still in isolation.

One woman says that did more harm than good for her husband. But one area facility says it is already allowing patients to get into a new normal routine.


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Most Enjoyable Jobs for Older Workers

Older workers who are 50 to 65 aren’t so different from their younger counterparts. Flexible schedules and meaningful work are priorities that transcend generations, and 94% of talent professionals say the employee experience is becoming more important, according to the Global Talent Trends 2020 report from LinkedIn. That means relationships with colleagues, work environments and the work itself will all become key to attracting and retaining workers.

“As people of any age, we thrive when we have purpose and direction. We languish without it,” says Sharon Duncan, a certified financial planner and president of Selah Financial Services, which has two locations in the Houston area.

However, older Americans may be in a better position to pursue their dream job. With years of workplace experience under their belts, they may already have savings, benefits and retirement plans from earlier jobs as well as the insight to know what type of work appeals to them.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Miss Going Out to Restaurants?
 Here’s How to Make Takeout Feel Special.

By Caleb Pershan

Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Bill Addison isn’t dining out at restaurants anymore, but he’s still showing us how to eat well. At home last week, he neatly plated some takeout from Syrian restaurant Kobee Factory in Van Nuys — he’s still vetting carryout restaurants for the Times — and snapped a photo for Instagram.

“I scooped out the hummus, and I did the little swirl in the center like the restaurants do, and I put an extra little glug of olive oil in there, and that gave it a little sense of occasion,” says Addison, the former national restaurant critic for Eater. “On a really pragmatic level, it just feels like a good practice for me now, to honor the food and the people who prepared it, and to create something beautiful for myself — even something as simple as taking food from the styrofoam, or cardboard and plating it up.”

During a global pandemic, a sense of occasion is still possible to find, and it might be even more valuable than before. As many diners turn to takeout and delivery to feed themselves and to support restaurants whose other revenue streams have run dry, regaining that feeling of ceremony associated with a restaurant meal might be as simple as getting out the good plates and the nice olive oil. And while there’s no evidence of food being associated with COVID-19 transmission, it is recommended that you throw away or disinfect packaged materials that come with takeout and delivery — so fresh plates are a doubly good idea.







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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY JUNE 23RD 2020


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06.21.20


What’s Up Doc?
And Please Don’t Rain On
Our Parade.

4 minutes

I had an appointment with one of my doctors on Friday. I only see this guy once every six months because of the very slow progression (if any) of a disease I recently acquired. The last four visits resulted in a 15 minute exam and exchange of pleasantries concluding with the doctor telling me my status hasn’t changed. Therefore, I could see no reason to keep an actual face-to-face session and risk the chance of contracting Covid-19.
 
I met with our director of case management who contacted the doctor’s office and set up a telemedicine visit for next Friday. This will be my first encounter with new-age medicine, and I’m looking forward to it. As long as there are no procedures or tests and I still get to confer with the doctor, why should I have to leave my ultra safe environment just for him to say hello?

Actually, it’s a win-win for everybody (except for the van company that normally would get paid to transport me there).
 
I’ll get whatever benefits that a regular office visit would provide, and the doctor will get paid his usual fee from Medicare. Plus the added benefits of safety and freeing up his time.
 
I think this is something that will continue even after the threat of infection disappears. And, as the technology improves and more people accept it as a valuable tool, telemedicine will be as normal as Netflix and online casino gambling.
 
Already there are gadgets that can remotely take an ECG and blood pressure and your pulse/ox levels.
 
They have been sending prescriptions (via fax and email) directly to pharmacies for years, which; they quickly deliver to the patient.
 
All this needs for it to work is an acceptance by the public and the medical community.
 
I’ll let you know how my online visit went next week.

Meanwhile, back here at Quarantine Central, the facility has arranged a “Friends and Family Parade” for tomorrow, Father’s Day.
 
Beginning in the afternoon and continuing for as long as it takes, relatives and friends of our incarcerated and here-to-fore visitor-free residents, have been invited to do a contact-less “Drive-by” visit .
 
As our residents stand on yellow “Xs” taped to our sidewalk, loved-one’s, in their cars, will circle the parking lot and wave to grandma or grandpa.
 
If anything, it should be a good photo op.

As usual, there will be no new blog on Sunday as I take a break, not only to relax, but to contemplate the future.

I do want to wish all the dads out there, and in here, a happy Father’s Day. You deserve a lot better celebration than this.

Until Monday………………………..

 




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Restless Leg Syndrome:
Everything You Need To Know

By:  Varsha Vats


Restless leg syndrome is a very uncomfortable sensation which usually happens in the evening or at night. It is a disorder that can affect your quality of sleep.

 
Restless leg syndrome is a kind of sleep disorder


Restless leg syndrome is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease
This syndrome causes a strong urges to move legs
It can cause sleeplessness

Restless leg syndrome is one of the possible causes of sleeplessness. This is a neurological disorder that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs. It is a very uncomfortable sensation which usually happens in the evening or at night. It is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. It is a sleep disorder that can be severe or mild depending on the symptoms one is experiencing. Moving your legs while experiencing the unpleasant feeling may give you temporary relief. But is left uncontrolled, restless leg syndrome and insomnia can increase the risk of health conditions.



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Social Security Unveils Redesigned Retirement
 Benefits Portal at socialsecurity.gov




The Social Security Administration announced the first of several steps the agency is taking to improve the public’s experience on its website. The newly redesigned retirement benefits portal, at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement, will help millions of people prepare for and apply for retirement.

“We are working hard to continue improving our website to provide people with clear, helpful information and easy access to our online services,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security. “Our new retirement portal is more user-friendly and easier to navigate, whether someone is ready to learn about, apply for, or manage their retirement benefits.”

The redesigned portal will make it easier for people to find and read about Social Security retirement benefits, with fewer pages and condensed, rewritten, and clearer information. The portal also is optimized for mobile devices so people can learn and do what they want from wherever they want, and the portal now includes the ability to subscribe to receive retirement information and updates.

Click on www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement
to find out how to Learn, Apply, and Manage retirement benefits, and learn how to create a personal my Social Security account online.

More improvements to Social Security’s website are planned for later in 2020 as the agency seeks to continuously improve the public experience at www.socialsecurity.gov.



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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.


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Trump Is Losing His Hold
 on the Senior Vote

By Bruce Bartlett


If you had any doubt that America is a gerontocracy, consider that we’ve been talking for three days now about the president’s uncertain gait as he descended a ramp at West Point on Saturday. On the following day, Donald Trump turned 74—making him one year older than Ronald Reagan when, in the recollection of his son Ron Jr., he appeared “lost and bewildered” during a 1984 reelection debate with Walter Mondale. (Reagan nonetheless went on to win a second term, during which he displayed more visible signs of mental deterioration.)

In 2020, as in 1984, cognitive function will likely play no decisive role in our presidential balloting. That’s not, mind you, because Trump is a shoo-in for reelection (at the moment he seems poised for defeat). Instead, it’s because Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden, will be 78 on inauguration day next year—and he’s a little unsteady himself (as Trump never tires of suggesting, in a barrage of Twitter asides about “sleepy Joe”).






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NEXT BLOG MONDAY JUNE 22ND 2020


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06.19.20



I’m So Tired Of This
4 minutes

 
I’m tired of this. And by “this” I mean everything going on nowadays. It’s just too much.
 
I have no time for all this nonsense. At 75, I should enjoy what little time I have left on this planet. Instead, I’m worrying about the virus, the riots, the bad cops, the idiot president.
 
I’m in trepidation overload. I feel like a hockey goalie having to fend off one shot-on-goal after another.
 
Each day it’s something else. And none of it is good.
 
The pandemic is not subsiding. If anything, we are looking at a second wave. Second wave? We haven’t seen the end of the first wave.
 
Civil disobedience has become a “job.” Protesting, an avocation.
 
“Experts” abound. Suddenly everybody has a degree in epidemiology and pandemics.
 
The “anti-sciencer’s” who would rather believe a reality TV host than one of the world’s foremost authorities on the subject are all around us.
 
I guarantee, many of those yahoos honestly think the virus was created just to screw things up for Trump.
 
And speaking of our illustrious leader, he’s not looking too well either.
 
Could this all be a set-up as a way for him to bow out of the race and then resign the presidency? He could leave with people actually feeling sorry for him.

For him, the end is near in any event.
 
He has already lost two critical decisions in the Supreme Court despite his attempt to pack that hallowed institution with “guys who think like him.” Didn’t work out as planned, did it Mr. President?

His power, even within his own party, is waning. Only the hard-liners, whose constituents are equally bull-headed, still cling to the belief he will build that wall, bring back jobs, and make America great in the eyes of the rest of the world. Talk about delusional.

And finally. I’ve had it with most of the infection control procedures I have to put up with every day here.
 
The masks, the lack of activities and the food, which I am convinced will kill me faster than any virus.

 
Beginning tomorrow, I will stop wearing a mask on my walks around the facility. It’s ridiculous to have to do that in a closed environment like ours.
 

I will also refuse to let them take my temperature. Not because it’s annoying, but as a protest. What we need is for them to test every resident and then decide on the extent and duration of our quarantine. I hope my refusal will gain the attention of someone in charge so I can give them a piece of my mind. Our administrator crawled into his little mouse hole a few weeks ago and we haven’t seen him since………………………….




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Retiring After 65?
How to Avoid Costly Medical Bills


Health care can be expensive even in the best of situations. Sometimes, even if you have top-flight medical insurance from your job, deductibles, copays and prescription costs can still be costly — especially if you have health issues that you’re struggling with. This gets only more complicated once you reach retirement age.

After 65 you can enroll in Medicare, but that only covers a certain percentage of your medical costs unless you take extra steps to manage your medical bills. Don’t worry, though; if you’re looking for the best ways to keep yourself healthy during retirement without breaking the bank, the following tips are for you.




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50% Of Seniors Don’t Get To Keep Their
Social Security Benefits in Full. Here's Why.

By Maurie Backman


Social Security serves as an important source of income for millions of seniors today, with the average recipient collecting roughly $1,500 a month, or a little more than $18,000 a year. The problem? Half of those people don't get to keep their benefits in full, according to a new survey by the Senior Citizens League, and the reason boils down to taxes.

Social Security benefits aren't free from taxation

Not every senior pays taxes on Social Security. If those benefits are your sole source of retirement income, there's a good chance you won't be liable for taxes. But if you have other retirement income -- say, investments, savings, or a rental property -- then there's a good chance you'll lose a chunk of your benefits each year.


To see if you'll be subject to taxes on Social Security, you'll need to calculate what's known as your provisional income, which is your non-Social Security income plus 50% of your annual benefit. You may be taxed on up to 50% of your benefits if your provisional income lands between:

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Senior Living Industry Confronts
New Infection Control Reality

By Chuck Sudo


Infection control procedures in senior living have come under intense scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic.

With the immediate crisis and response in the rearview mirror, providers are now turning to keeping their communities safe for the long haul, and are applying the lessons learned responding to the virus as states across the country gradually reopens.

Tighter infection control procedures will be paramount moving forward, because the virus shows no signs of being eliminated and new Covid-19 hotspots are emerging in states that were not initially impacted by the virus or were slow to implement shutdowns. Fourteen states and Puerto Rico recently recorded their highest seven-day averages of new Covid-19 cases since the pandemic started, according to Washington Post data analysis.


_________________________________________________________________________

The Future of Aging in America


What does the future of aging in America look like? For answers, every year we ask some of our newest Influencers in Aging to offer their views at the American Society on Aging’s Aging in America conference. The pandemic turned this year’s in-person panel into a June 11 webinar, and the Influencers’ forecasts — as well as their laments — couldn’t have been timelier.

“I want to acknowledge that we as a country have had a few rough months and weeks. We are living and dying in at least two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism,” said panelist Imani Woody, named an Influencer in Aging for her work to create Mary’s House, an independent living community for LGBTQ older adults in Washington, D.C.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Lawmakers move to repeal senior living industry
 COVID-19 immunity provision


New York lawmakers have introduced legislation to hold senior living communities accountable “for harm and damages incurred” during the COVID-19 pandemic by repealing a blanket immunity law that shielded facilities from legal action.

The bill, introduced by state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) and Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), would repeal protections in the public health law related to the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act, which provided immunity from liability for “any harm or damages” sustained as a result of providing health care services during he COVID-19 pandemic, unless the act was “willful or intentional criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct or intentional infliction of harm.”

The law, which protects hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities, including assisted living communities, also shields facilities from lawsuits alleging misconduct due to resource or staffing shortages.






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NEXT BLOG SATURDAY JUNE 20TH 2020


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06.18.20


Is This A Good Time To Move
Into An ALF?
The Pros and Cons
As I See It

7 minutes


There are many articles available (see one in the “Need To Read” section of this blog) that tell you what you should look for before you or your loved one move to an assisted living center.
 
While the information is valuable and informative and not to be dismissed, they are written by people who most likely have not spent one day as a resident of one of these facilities. Let alone, months or years. Many of the articles are from industry trade or referral services whose interests and viewpoints lie elsewhere.
 
I, on the other hand, have been a patient in a nursing home for two years and a current resident of an ALF for nearly seven.
 
In addition, although I have never been an owner or administrator, I have kept close eyes on the industry and have a good idea what its problems are.

I will not get into the difficulties the long-term care industry is having because of this pandemic. They have put them up against the wall by the media and public opinion because of the number of deaths that have occurred in some facilities. They were caught off-guard with no plan how to deal with the problem. 


While most of the blame for those casualties has to be on the facilities themselves, much of the problem came about because of local health departments slow reaction to the situation.  The individual facilities were equally unprepared, and many lacked the funds necessary to deal with such a virulent disease.
 
With that in mind, and also that we are far from even coming close to seeing an end to the pandemic, it would be difficult for me to recommend a move at this time.
 

But what if you want to or have to leave your current living situation? What should you be aware of that has changed specifically because of the virus?

It’s all about safety.
 
Frankly, nursing homes and ALFs are scared stiff. Primarily because they really want no more residents to die and also because their licenses, and therefore their very existence, are at risk.
 
Any new resident will see an unprecedented amount of infection control measures.
 
Masked and gowned staff, posters and signs on the walls instructing people on the use of masks and hand sanitizers, and the lobby and other rooms where residents usually gather, devoid of furniture are some changes you will immediately notice.
 
There will be few, if any residents, visible as many have remained in their rooms or forced to quarantine because they show symptoms of the virus. You may see quarantine signs on some resident’s doors.
 
People who may have chosen one facility over another because of the recreation and amenities will be shocked to find none of those available.
 
And, if the glorious photos of the food and congenial diners happily chatting away in a sumptuously decorated dining room was a factor in your decision to select one facility over another, forget about it. They will most likely serve your meals in Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils. And it won’t look or taste like anything you have ever eaten.
 
Finally, be prepared to say goodbye to your loved ones at the front desk or even outside. And make it one that lasts. Because they will not permit you to see them in person for what may be a long, long time.

Those are the “cons.” Hopefully, they are temporary and won’t last long. But are there any pros? Maybe there are.
 
New admissions are way down, causing occupancy rates to fall. And a decline in those rates can mean less government money and less rent money collected. This makes for a buyer’s market. One where you may cut a deal, even if only a temporary one.
 

Do not be afraid to ask for a break on the rent for as long as the restrictions stay in place. After all, you are not getting what they advertised. Also ask for a private room, if that’s what you desire. They may miraculously find one available where there wasn’t one before.
 
In the end it all rests on how resilient and adaptable you are. If you can stick it out for as long as it takes, you may reap some benefits from your decision to move now rather than later.
 
However, if you find change difficult and “roughing it” is not your thing, then stay where you are for as long as you can.
 
What I have told you is the truth, as it exists in most facilities today in most states.
 
Even the best high-end places have drastically cut services. And, if a facility was not that great to begin with, you can expect it to be even worse now.
 
Sorry for the gloom and doom, but that’s the facts Jack………………………………………..
 


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The Best (And Worst) States for Older Americans, Ranked
By Samuel Stebbins and Michael B. Sauter

The retirement-age population in the United States is projected to nearly double between 2018 and 2060. For many Americans entering their golden years, living somewhere that is warm -- or perhaps closer to family -- is a top priority. While preferences like these are by no means trivial, there are parts of the country where conditions for older Americans are objectively better.

It is important for Americans of all ages to have financial security and access to health care, but these factors take on increasing importance for older Americans. Other such factors include safe streets, availability of social venues, and reliable public transit. Some parts of the country are more likely to have these advantages than others.

Using data from sources including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of measures related to income, health, education, environment, and access to in order to identify the best and worst states for older Americans.



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Before Moving a Parent Into
Assisted Living, Consider This.



Nicole Dunn was all set to move her mom, Barbara, into an assisted living community in St. Petersburg, Fla. in April. Then COVID-19 struck. The facility temporarily banned outsiders and “that meant us,” Dunn says. Her mother, who has dementia, continued to live on her own in Florida.

But in mid-May, the assisted living community, which had no known cases of COVID-19, started to welcome new residents again, although newcomers would be quarantined in their apartments for two weeks. So Dunn’s mother moved in.

The early days were rocky. “I had to constantly reassure her that this was a good place for her,” Dunn says. Even so, the benefits outweighed Dunn’s concerns about her mom living in a communal setting during the pandemic.



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More Harm Than Good? Reporter’s Family Struggles
With Nursing Home Visitation Rules

By Beth Adams

On March 12, just as the novel coronavirus starting showing up in local communities, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order to keep visitors out of nursing homes.

It was clear, even at that early stage, that senior citizens were at the greatest risk of serious illness and death if they contracted the virus.

As of this week, between 42 and 47 percent of the 250 people who have died from COVID-19 in Monroe County have been nursing home residents.


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Tips to Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse

The PA Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) is reminding Pennsylvanians about signs of senior financial exploitation and ways to help prevent this type of abuse.

“Social isolation is a leading factor contributing to the financial exploitation of older investors,” said Acting Secretary Richard Vague. “Social distancing and other mitigation efforts have helped to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but it provides more opportunities for scammers to take advantage of seniors. It’s important for all of us to know the signs of elder financial abuse and what to do about it.”

While elder financial abuse can happen at any time, perpetrators often strike during times in a senior’s life when they may be more vulnerable, such as during a health crisis or after the death of a loved one. Scammers often gather personal details from obituaries and social media posts and use this information to target their victims. Some even will exploit trust within seniors’ social and support groups to become more involved in their lives.

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New TILDA research highlights online habits
of older adults in the age of our 'new normal'



The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly and dramatically changed how people interact, moving work and social communication online. Use of the internet to stay connected, socialise, shop and conduct business has expanded since the implementation of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Researchers from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College have released a new report today (Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020) entitled ' Internet access and use among adults aged 50 and over in Ireland: Results from Wave 5 of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing' that delves into the internet habits and behaviours of adults aged 50 and over in Ireland.

The report is part of concerted efforts by researchers at TILDA to refocus its research outputs to provide a better understanding of relevant aspects of Ireland's older population and help shape policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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BONUS ARTICLE

VR vacations provide comfort from being stuck at home:
'The first time I tried it I saw a city in Spain'

By Alison DeNisco Rayome


With MyndVR, seniors can explore everything from fall foliage to European cities in virtual reality.

Eighty-one-year-old Georgina Schuldt isn't used to being tied down. After retiring from a career in nursing, Schuldt and her husband lived on a boat for eight years, sailing from Canada to Panama. When they returned, they went camping in the Pacific Northwest every summer.

But Schuldt's husband passed away last year. Now she uses a walker, unable to go long distances. She has no interest in getting on a plane or being dependent on someone else to push her in a wheelchair.
For more like this

Despite all of this, Schuldt was recently able to explore a European city -- in virtual reality. Her Florida assisted living community owns three headsets from MyndVR, a company that creates VR experiences geared toward people age 65 and up.






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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY JUNE 19TH 2020


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06.17.20



Lifeline At My Fingertips
9 minutes

My first encounter with shopping online happened before I owned a computer, probably around 1994 or 1995.
 
I bought my first digital camera (a low megapixel Nikon) from an online store. I used my office computer and yes; I did it on company time. I must confess, the entire experience was traumatic and lifting at the same time.
 
The trauma came from buying something without touching it, or at least seeing it in person. Not being a catalog shopper, I viewed the entire procedure with trepidation. The camera cost about $200, expensive for a camera back then. [1]
The experience became more disquieting when I had to input my credit card information.
 
Where did it go? Who will read it? Will somebody steal that info and drain my checking account? And will I receive the merchandise I ordered?. This was only a website. They had no actual store.
 
The camera arrived two days later, as advertised, and it was just what I had expected it to be. My first online shopping experience went without a hitch and set me on a road that would see many purchases, of not only camera gear, but of just about everything else.

 
Now, some 25 years later, online shopping has become more than just a convenient way to buy things, but an essential part of life in these very trying times. And for the older consumer, it often is the only way they can get the items need.

While online shopping may be the best thing for seniors since Depends, I am amazed at how many of my fellow residents are still ignorant of it or just don’t trust it.
 
Some trepidation stems from the fact that many of our people, especially our older residents, are not computer savvy and don’t care. And, while others use their smart phones and tablets to play games, they do not understand how to connect to or use the internet. And offers to teach them draw no takers.
 
This is a shame. Especially now since the restrictions on leaving the facility’s confines for any reason other than medical, are strict. But they do not restrict deliveries from stores, supermarkets and even restaurants.
 
I have “shopped” for a few of my friends here who have asked me to get a specific item for them [2], but others are reluctant and would rather wait for a relative to buy it for them. Some folks will never get over their fear of technology. I’m not making fun of them, but I wonder where it comes from. I guess it’s a generational thing. There are seniors, and then there are SENIORS.  

For those of YOU who are still hesitant to shop online, let me try to dispel your fears.
 
As far as security is concerned, the technology in place to keep your information protected is the best it has ever been. Just make sure you see the letters “https” before the name of the website in the address box of your device.[3] And remember, since you are using a credit card, you are not responsible for any purchases you did not make.
 
But what about the shopping experience itself?
 
If you like dealing with salespeople, or have to see, feel and try on everything you buy, then online shopping may not be for you. However, for items you purchase regularly like toiletries or dry goods or common household items like mops or brooms or Lemon Pledge, why not buy online? It’s the same stuff you get in the store, only you don’t have to schlep it home.[4]
 
Where is the best place to buy stuff online?
 
Putting politics or your dislike of Mr. Bezos aside, Amazon is still the go-to place to start. There is a reason they are so big. They have just about everything. Walmart, too, has a vast assortment of items and their pricing is often better that Amazon.
 
Both have decent customer service and make returns and adjustments easy, although there may be a return or ‘restocking’ charge on some items.
 
For home goods like furniture (chairs, tables, wall hangings) I like Wayfair. They have decent prices and a very responsive customer service department.
 
How about groceries?
 
Amazon and Walmart both sell food and groceries, but I prefer to shop locally because delivery is faster and more accurate.
 
For my food items, I have been using Instacart. It’s a service that has real shoppers who pick your items and deliver them directly to you, the same day if needed. It’s expensive but more like an actual trip to the supermarket than the other services. There’s a $35 minimum order that’s easy to meet.

I know shopping this new way is scary for some. You are afraid you will make a mistake and it will cost you big time.

While I’m not here to say it will never happen, if you use the same amount of diligence as when shopping in a store, and read all the details and instructions before you check out, your online shopping experience should go without a hitch.

My suggestion to you newbies. Buy some familiar (toothpaste, shampoo etc.) items at one of the big online stores. You’ll be shopping like Kim Kardashian in no time………………………………...


[1]This was before digital SLRs. The Nikon I bought was a viewfinder camera.
[2]A watch and a water bottle among the items.
[3]You’ll notice this website has that security level.
[4]Since I now need a cane to get around, schlepping anything is a problem.



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Elder Fraud
 Federal Bureau of Investigation


Each year, millions of elderly Americans fall victim to some type of financial fraud or confidence scheme, including romance, lottery, and sweepstakes scams, to name a few. Criminals will gain their targets’ trust and may communicate with them directly via computer, phone, and the mail; or indirectly through the TV and radio. Once successful, scammers are likely to keep a scheme going because of the prospect of significant financial gain.

Seniors are often targeted because they tend to be trusting and polite. They also usually have financial savings, own a home, and have good credit—all of which make them attractive to scammers.

Additionally, seniors may be less inclined to report fraud because they don’t know how, or they may be too ashamed at having been scammed. They might also be concerned that their relatives will lose confidence in their abilities to manage their own financial affairs. And when an elderly victim does report a crime, they may be unable to supply detailed information to investigators.



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Here’s how some nursing homes and assisted-living
facilities blocked the spread of the deadly coronavirus

By Joe Cooper


Before COVID-19 began to spread across Connecticut in early March, The Retreat in Hartford took several precautionary steps, including going into immediate lockdown.

The affordable assisted-living facility’s early and aggressive reaction is likely why none of its 100 low-income seniors or 100 staffers have contracted coronavirus, despite the disease running rampant in other nursing homes and senior-care facilities across the state, said Heidi Lubetkin, who has been the vice president of clinical support services at The Retreat since its inception more than 15 years ago.

“We skipped all the [response] steps and immediately went to the high-risk level,” said Lubetkin. “Many [elderly care] facilities were electing to select the low-risk response at that point.”


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Trump announces new initiatives
to protect senior citizens

by Anna Wiernicki

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ President Donald Trump said his administration is taking an aggressive approach to protecting one of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.

During a White House meeting on Monday, Trump announced a new $2 million Department of Justice grant to fight senior fraud, which has been increasing during the pandemic. He also pointed to $81 million already earmarked for increased inspections of nursing homes nationwide.

“We have to keep all of our seniors safe, this is a very perilous time,” Trump said.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said while 80% of nursing homes haven’t had any cases or deaths from COVID-19, those that did have been devastated.


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Special Report: Pandemic exposes systemic
staffing problems at U.S. nursing homes

By Chris Kirkham


One night in April, as coronavirus swept through the Hammonton Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, Robyn Esaw, a double amputee, signaled for help with her bedpan. She said she hit the bedside button that turns on a red hallway light. None of the few remaining staff showed up - and one of them turned the light off. Esaw only got help, eventually, by wheeling herself to the nursing station and yelling.


On another night in another room of the New Jersey home, Barbara Grimes noticed her roommate sitting in a puddle of urine, which seeped into a wound on her tailbone. No one checked on the roommate for three hours. The woman, Grimes said, had given up on calling for help.

That same month, Hammonton staffers moved David Paul and another man into a room last occupied by two residents infected with the coronavirus, one of whom later died of COVID-19. The floors were still dirty, the bathroom littered with trash, Paul said. Paul and the other man, he said, soon tested positive themselves, and his roommate died. In all, the Hammonton outbreak resulted in 238 infections and 39 deaths, state data shows.






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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY JUNE 18TH 2020


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06.16.20




America Reopens:
And I’m Worried

3-4 minutes


Headlines like this make me nervous.
 

 
 
They say to me, we may never be free of this virus. At least not until they find a vaccine and distribute it globally.
 
While that does not bode well for anybody, it is especially dire news for us seniors locked away in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
 
For us, it means days, weeks or months of continuing isolation, loneliness, decreased services and just plain boredom.
 
As the threat continues rather than the decline we had expected by this time, those strict measures taken by agencies in charge of keeping seniors living in long-term care facilities safe will only continue and may even broaden.
 
Those people we see congregating outside of bars and restaurants, maskless and not observing social distancing. don’t realize how much added hardship they cause by their foolishness.
 
And it’s not just a canceled Bingo game or a missed holiday barbecue that’s causing us so much pain. It goes to the very heart of what a facility such as ours is all about. Which is to allow us to “Be all we can be.”

People (and it’s not only seniors) live here because they don’t need to be in a nursing home. And, though most of us suffer the ravages of old age, we are not sick. Many have debilitating illnesses like Parkinson’s, COPD and the result of strokes or other mobility-restricting afflictions, but are still capable of a considerable amount of independence.
 
Some of our residents have cognitive or emotional disorders which, while they rarely keep the resident from living a normal life, now are worsened by restricting their socializing and drastically changing their routines.
 
This is not the way they are supposed to treat us. This is not what “we signed up for.” And, by adhering to and promoting the extraordinary precautions foisted upon us by various government agencies, they are adding to the callousness usually found in penal institutions. Continuing to do so, is nothing more than wide-scale Elder Abuse in the guise of safety and caution making the administrators of assisted living facilities as compliant to our misery as those who continue to ignore the recommended precautions for the sake of the economy and their own hedonistic pleasure.

Neither the government or the media is making any of this a priority.

It is truely a case of "Ignorance is bliss."

Maybe they think we will all just disappear or won't remember what they did to us.


Sometime in the future, when this is finally over, there will be many questions needing answers. And there will be many of us who will be around to ask those questions. It will be interesting to see what happens when the shoe is on the other foot and they will be in an uncomfortable position..........



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What Are the Main Types of Elder Abuse?

The following are the most common forms of elder abuse. This is a topic that can be difficult to read about, but it’s important to know the signs if you have a vulnerable elderly loved one who is dependent on others for care.

The 6 Types of Elder Abuse

These six types of elder abuse happen far too often. Understanding what abuse looks like can help you to recognize it and put a stop to it.


Physical
Psychological
Sexual
Emotional
Financial
Abandonment



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A Former Nurse Discusses Restrictions
As An Assisted Living Resident

With SCOTT SIMON

Ninety-five-year-old Virginia Chandler was leading a pretty active life in her assisted-living facility in Albany, Ore., until the coronavirus shut everything down. Three months on, restrictions are beginning to loosen and Ms. Chandler can now have visitors. She can even leave to run errands. She has to get permission first. That annoys her. But as a former nurse, Virginia Chandler understands why the lockdown was necessary. She told us about the restrictions under which she lives.

VIRGINIA CHANDLER: We can see almost anyone as long as we stay 6 feet away from them. We cannot go to another area. For instance, my friend is very ill. They don't believe that she will live much longer. I would love to go visit her, but I can't. And this isn't just from my Mennonite home. This is true by the state. I mean, the state has laid down the rules, and then we're to follow what they want done. And by the way, every governor has a different idea and a different way of handling it. Some are opening their doors to everything and anything, and that's not wise either.

SIMON: Yeah. So do take your meals with friends?

CHANDLER: Yes, but we can only one at a table.


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What Older Workers Should Know
Before Returning to Work


Now that we’re entering a new stage of the coronavirus pandemic in many parts of the country, many Americans will be told to come back to their workplaces. Employers like Apple and Facebook are spelling out the new rules. But whether to return can be a difficult decision for older workers concerned that it could heighten their risk of contracting COVID-19.

In a recent survey of workers from workplace well-being expert Michelle McQuaid and the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University, 78% of the workers reported “not feeling positive” about the prospect of returning to the office as pandemic restrictions ease. And just 22% of those who started working at home due to COVID-19 said they are feeling positive about returning to work.

Some employers, however, are giving employees little choice. Or, as at Tyson Foods, they’re penalizing ones who miss shifts and potentially firing them for too many absences. According to The Wall Street Journal, “state and federal workplace safety agencies have fielded complaints from workers and advocates from at least 34 workplaces expressing concerns that older workers or employees with pre-existing health conditions weren’t being properly protected from, or in some cases informed of, the coronavirus spread in the workplace.”


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Older Americans face new coronavirus Risk:
Robocall scams

By Bill Versen

As the coronavirus pandemic has evolved and new data emerges, we know COVID-19 poses a risk to everyone regardless of age and gender. That said, the health risk to older adults is high: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report eight out of 10 coronavirus deaths in the US have occurred in adults 65 and older.

Communicating the health risks of COVID-19 to older Americans and their family members is priority number one. But sadly, the risks don’t end there: scammers historically seize on chaos that health crises cause by trying to fleece senior citizens out of their money and personal information.

Already, we’ve seen a spike in robocalls targeting older Americans with promises of fake cures, testing kits, masks, stimulus checks and other services. In March, our own analysis tracked a 3M scam circulating with tens of thousands of calls — primarily to Los Angeles phone numbers — offering a coronavirus safety and medical kit.







<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY JUNE 17TH 2020


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06.15.20


The Covid 19lbs
A Weighty “Side Effect”

7 minutes

There was a knock on my door Friday afternoon, one of many that day. It was an aid who told me I had to go to the lobby to get weighed.
 
“I don’t do weight,” I told her. “They should know that.”
 
The aid shrugged and left.
 
Every month here at the ALF they (attempt) to weigh each resident.
 
There’s a platform scale set up in the lobby at the entrance to the dining room of all places.
 
While they have never explained the reason for this monthly weigh-in, I believe it’s done to see if we, as a group, are gaining or losing weight allowing the DOH to evaluate the data and recommend adjusting the meals accordingly.
 
I have never taken part in this ritual for several reasons. The major one being I don’t think anybody but me and my doctor has any reason to know my weight, and I’m not sure how secure is the data once it’s collected.
 
I figured my flat-out rejection to have my weight recorded would have ended the matter. Therefore, they surprised me when, later that day, a supervisor caught me on one of my walkabouts and insisted I get weighed.
 
I explained my concerns, and she explained they needed it to determine if the virus was causing any weight loss among the residents.
 
I laughed, stepped back two or three feet, and asked “DOES THIS LOOK LIKE I’VE LOST WEIGHT” thrusting my already extended stomach in her direction.

After some back-and-forth conversation, she finally convinced me to get weighed. And, since the scale was still in the lobby, we did it then and there.
 
While I won’t tell my weight, I will say it came as no surprise. I had put on an additional 6 lbs since the quarantine began.
 
But I’m not blaming the virus, the food or our food service for the extra avoirdupois. There is only me to blame.


Me, and the fact I have a tendency to console myself by eati. Specifically, comfort food.


And by comfort food, I’m not referring to celery stalks, rice cakes, or a chopped salad.


And no, it’s not ice cream or cake or Reese’s peanut butter cups either. [1]


It’s more base than that. It’s food that goes to who we are and where we came from.


Although my heritage is not Italian, my mom made a mean bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. And, for a long time, even made her own sauce. And I, if given the time and inclination, can cook it too. Minus the sauce. Therefor, it’s no wonder that my main go-to comfort food is pasta. And I’ll eat it in any form. Including Ramen noodles which, in a pinch, I can transform into a quick pasta dish complete with sauce, cheese and even a meatball. It’s not like moms, but it’s better than canned.

Since this Covid thing began over three months ago, they have brought our meals directly to our rooms.

The meals come in Styrofoam containers, are usually cold, poorly cooked and portioned-sized for an elf.
 
So now, whenever the dinner I am being served is inedible or something I don’t like, out comes the ramen and whatever I have in the fridge (leftover meatballs, hot dogs, spam or even chicken) and I have that for dinner instead. Unfortunately, I have been cooking more and more pasta as the food here becomes less and less palatable. Unfortunate too, is that pasta, like every carbohydrate, is loaded with calories. And, being as sedentary as I am, those calories just pile up. Mainly around my waist.

On the opposite end of the gastronomical planet is Chinese food. Specifically, the take out (delivered) kind.
 
For me, Chinese food has always been what I want to eat when I need to think things out.
 
I had my favorite Chinese restaurant in my old neighborhood in Queens, where I went almost every Friday. I would sit in one of the dark corner booths after a long week of solving other people’s problems, and just take in the atmosphere.
 
The Maitre D’ knew me, and would let me sit and read the menu while I sipped the Dewar’s and soda he would bring me without asking.


The restaurant has long since closed and I can’t travel to one now, but there’s still delivery, and just eating the food gives me that same sense of peace. Maybe it’s the MSG or the soy sauce, but it makes me feel fulfilled as well as just filled.

But Chinese food, like everything else that tastes good, is, again, full of carbs. The sauce, the noodles, the rice, the egg rolls and even the fortune cookie. And, because the minimum order for delivery is $10, There’s a lot of everything to fill me up.
 
If this quarantine lasts much longer, they will have to wheel me around on a hand-truck because the strain on my knees and hips will keep me from walking on my own.
 
I really need to get back on my usual schedule and the bland and boring meals they serve us and save the “home cooking” and food deliveries for special occasions.
 
But that could be weeks or months from now. Time enough for me to explode in a perfusion of noodles and Moo Goo Gai Pan……………………………………………………..


[1]Although I wouldn’t refuse these if you stuck one in my face.



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Dieting After 60: What You Need to Know
By Katherine Tweed


Keeping a healthy weight is a worthwhile goal at any age. As you get older, it can get trickier.

You might not be burning calories like you did when you were younger, but you can still take off extra pounds.

The golden rules of weight loss still apply:

    Burn more calories than you eat or drink.
    Eat more veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, beans, and low-fat or fat-free dairy; and keep meat and poultry lean.
    Limit empty calories, like sugars and foods with little or no nutritional value.
    Avoid fad diets because the results don't last.

There are some other things you need to do if you're over 60 and want to lose weight.



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COVID-19 and its impact on retirement


COVID-19 is not only deadly for senior citizens’ health, but also potentially for their wealth. Unless they re-evaluate their retirement plans, anyone who has retired in the past year or two faces potential financial catastrophe because of the pandemic’s effect on the stock market.

Anyone who regularly put aside $600 a month in a prudently invested retirement account from the time they were 30 almost certainly has a little over $1 million by the time they’re 67. While it is true that very few Americans are able to put aside anything in savings, these “millionaire” senior citizens are by no means the elites or one-percenters that so many have collectively come to loathe. They include small business owners, people with long-term jobs, teachers, municipal workers, contractors, nurses and doctors.

Upon retirement, most financial advisors recommend withdrawing 4% annually from your savings. On the face of it, this sounds reasonable. 4% from $1 million saved is a fixed income of $40,000 a year. Supplemented with Social Security it sounds like a good living, especially if your home is paid off. Only, it’s not that simple. Albeit at a lower rate, you owe taxes on this income. Secondly, the buying power of this money will be reduced by one-third in 15 years. In other words, you will need $60,000 to maintain a lifestyle that costs $40,000 today.



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The COVID-19 Pandemic's Long Term Impact on
Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes!

By Anthony J. Enea

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the residents of New York’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities have felt the brunt of the ravages of the Covid19 Pandemic. For example, at the time of this writing it has been reported that approximately thirty-seven (37%) percent of the deaths from Covid19 are nursing home residents and that 42 nursing homes in New York had at least 10 Covid19 deaths.

The impact of New York’s decision to require nursing homes to take patients with active Covid19 for rehabilitation and care has received and deserves scrutiny as to its impact on the number of deaths. The elderly with pre-existing conditions have always been vulnerable to the flu and it now appears they are significantly more vulnerable to Covid19. This vulnerability is exacerbated when the elderly are residents of nursing home and assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, the very nature of how nursing homes and assisted living facilities are designed and operated magnifies their exposure to viral illnesses. The very reasons that have made assisted living facilities and nursing homes attractive for senior housing, being, the socialization aspects of the facilities, such as the dining rooms, game rooms, concerts, movies, bingo, etc., are their Achilles heel with respect to Covid19. The events that bring people together in a nursing home and assisted living facility, unfortunately, can be breeding grounds for viral illnesses such as the flu and Covid19.


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Pre-COVID-19 poll of older adults hints at potential
impact of pandemic on eating habits



Most people in their 50s and older were capable home cooks just before COVID-19 struck America, but only 5% had ordered groceries online, according to a new national poll.

The cooking skills that enabled half of older adults to eat dinner at home six or seven days a week may have served them well during the height of the pandemic, the poll suggests. However, they may need added support for grocery shopping as the pandemic continues and older adults seek to avoid COVID-19.

Those who cooked dinner at home the most often before the pandemic were most likely to rate the overall health of their diet as excellent or very good. And those who said their physical health was excellent or very good were the most likely to say they were confident in their cooking skills or enjoyed cooking.


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Volunteering improves health,
well-being of older adults



Volunteering more than 100 hours per year was associated with health benefits — including reduced risk for mortality — in adults aged 50 years and older, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“Humans are social creatures by nature,” Eric S. Kim, PhD, of the department of social and behavioral sciences and the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a press release. “Perhaps this is why our minds and bodies are rewarded when we give to others.”

Kim and colleagues examined data from 12,998 participants in the Health and Retirement Study, which was a nationally representative study of adults aged more than 50 years in the United States. Participants in the study were asked how many hours they spent volunteering at religious, educational, health-related and other charitable organizations in the last year.






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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY JUNE 16TH 2020


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06.14.20


Sometimes An Answer Is
Worse Than No Answer At All


Earlier this week I sent, via email and instant messenger, an open letter Governor Cuomo and to the Commissioner of the NY State Department of Health. Friday I received an answer to the IM inquiry. The thread of that IM appears below.

Their first reply (which took three days to compose) was nothing more than a terse response.

After demanding more than just a “Form Letter” response, I received a little longer but none the less vapid reply referring me to the DOH website. The short, three paragraph, message is as clueless and meaningless as the DOH itself.


I cannot tell you how disheartening this has been for me and how sad it is for all the residents of assisted living facilities throughout the state.


Here is that thread, along with the official DOH answer to “What’s the plan?”



My frustration level is officially off the scale

I’ll be fuming all weekend but I’ll be back on Monday……………………………………………………………






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Support Aging Parents at Home
10 Home Safety Tips for Seniors


Is an aging parent living at home a good thing? It depends! Our homes provide comfort, familiarity, and feelings of continued independence and security. So, having a senior continue to live at home makes sense, right? Not necessarily. Deciding whether the home environment is safe is an essential factor. Use this list to assess your parent's living situation and help them safely age in their own home.

10 Tips on Home Safety for Seniors


What should a family caregiver look for specifically?


1.Remove fall hazards.
2.Protect against fire.
3.Ensure a safe bathroom.
4.Assess the bedroom.
5.Assess lighting.
6.Visit the senior’s kitchen.
7.Consider any stairs.
8.Remain safe in the home.
9.Alert your loved one about ongoing scams targeting seniors.
10.Check in with them – frequently. Finally, home safety for seniors




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Call for $5 billion in funding, coronavirus
testing for assisted living facilities

By PAN PYLAS

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Advocates are calling for billions of dollars in funding and more focus on fighting the spread of COVID-19, specifically in assisted living facilities, not just nursing homes.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and FEMA, arguing that assisted living homes have received no direct resources or assistance, while nursing homes have received federal funding, PPE supplies and testing priority.

“What we need now is to rally around assisted living communities like the country is now doing for nursing homes – and in the same way the public health sector has around hospitals,” the letter reads. “With a vulnerable population much like nursing homes, assisted living communities will not be able to overcome this unprecedented health crisis and protect our residents and caregivers without adequate funding and resources.“


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New model offers way to provide assisted
living beyond traditional boundaries


The barriers and challenges to affordable senior living are numerous.

But a New Jersey program addressing the increased health needs of low-income older adults outside of the traditional assisted living model is providing a potential model for other states to address the needs of an expanding population with increasingly complex healthcare needs.

During a Tuesday session of the National Council on Aging’s Age+Action 2020 Virtual Conference, a panel discussed how the New Jersey Assisted Living Program was developed to address the increased health and long-term care needs of low-income older adults with limited access to care through traditional, stand-alone assisted living communities.

The presenters discussed key challenges and barriers to providing assisted living to very low income older adults, how the ALP model relates to the support of complex care needs for residents living independently in publicly subsidized and public housing, how the model affects key metrics, and how the model can be scaled and replicated in other states.


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Blood pressure drugs extend life in elderly,
even the most frail, study shows



June 8 (UPI) -- Adults 65 and older can extend their lives by taking blood pressure medications as prescribed, according to a study published Monday in the journal Hypertension.

Researchers found that older adults who used blood pressure medications as prescribed lowered their risk for death during the seven-year study period by up to 44 percent.

"Our findings definitely suggest that even in very frail people, anti-hypertensive treatment reduces the risk of death" over a seven-year period, study co-author Dr. Giuseppe Mancia, professor emeritus at the University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy, said in a press release.



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BONUS ARTICLE

Senior Living Move-Ins Accelerate to
 Quickest Pace Since Covid-19 Began

By Chuck Sudo


With states across the country gradually lifting Covid-19 shelter-in-place restrictions, a majority of senior housing operators expect to resume move-ins within the next 30 days, and move-ins are accelerating at the best rate since the pandemic started.

Moreover, the rapid occupancy declines that impacted the industry as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the country appear to have stabilized, and some communities are even reporting occupancy gains, according to the latest executive survey insights report from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). The industry association surveyed 150 senior housing and skilled nursing executives from across the nation between May 25 and June 7.

Move-in deceleration improved across all care levels during this time frame, compared to the previous survey. Independent living providers reported a 46% deceleration in move-ins from 62%, assisted living providers reported a 42% deceleration from 65%, and memory care provider move-in deceleration improved to 39% from 59%.





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NEXT BLOG MONDAY JUNE 15TH 2020


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06.12.20



3-4 minutes


In one week I’m supposed to visit my Nephrologist for an appointment made last December. Way before the word Covid became a household name. The appointment requires me to get in a van and travel outside of this facility, about 10 miles, to an office building crowded with people and then sit in the doctor’s waiting room for a half an hour. And, after he examines me (after seeing perhaps a dozen patients that day) I have to get back in a van for the return trip. That’s a lot of contact for a person who hasn’t been past this facility’s front gate for three months. As you can tell, I’m not happy about going.


An in-house technician has already taken the blood as a prerequisite for this visit. The results, plus a urine test, will be forwarded to the Nephrologist. And, unless there is some drastic change in the numbers, he will tell me what he has told me on my last 3 visits. “Come back in 6 months.” [1]

 
My inclination is not to go.


 Every resident (and there have been several) who has contracted the virus has done so because of an outside visit to a doctor, hospital or as part of a series of treatments.
 
Another resident, who I had a brief conversation with, told me she recently did a tele-medicine visit with one of her outside doctors. This makes more sense to me.
 
At one time I had great faith in my immune system. I rarely took ill.
 
For years, when flu was raging all around me, I remained unscathed. [2]
 
I rarely caught cold. And when I did, it was over within a day with very little to show for it.
 
But now, that I am older, and have had my immunity compromised many times, the thought of going to places where infection control may not have been as much of a priority as it is in our facility, scares the heck out of me.


I’m going to inquire about the tele-medicine visit and what I need to do to in order to participate. I’m sure there’s an app for that.


It amazes me how something so routine as a simple doctor’s visit suddenly has become a major undertaking. …………………

[1]For which he gets paid over $200.
[2]No, I didn’t take a flu shot.






The emails I sent to the Governor and the Dept. Of Health have, as I predicted, gone unanswered.

There was however, a slight easing of the restrictions here at the ALF. A Bingo game was permitted for the first time since the lockdown began. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

The food may be improving ever so slightly. Our new food service director, absent since the quarantine, has returned, and supposedly will be initiating a new menu.

The swelling in my feet has gone down considerably. Most likely due to an increased amount of walking. Who new?


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Should You Plan a Trip This Summer?

Whether you had to cancel a vacation due to the coronavirus pandemic or are itching to plan one, you’re probably buzzing with travel questions. So, Next Avenue spoke to a few experts for their best advice.

After months of quarantine living, some people lately have begun leaving home and taking trips; more are expected to do so this summer and fall.

James Larounis, travel industry analyst for the Upgraded Points site, notes that the number of travelers going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints increased by 100,000 from March to April — to 230,000. By May 24, according to The Wall Street Journal, it hit 267,451. That’s still down markedly from over 2 million a year ago, though, since so many Americans are still fearful of traveling.




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Senior citizens will be the
'deciding factor' in 2020 election



WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pennsylvania ⁠— The ad shows a drive-by of rural post-industrial unnamed town in this western Pennsylvania county. The woman in the ad explains her name is Janie. She is a fisher who caught two legal Northern Pike the day her daughter was born, voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and now believes the choice was wrong because of his attempt to try to cut Medicaid.

The most important bit of information in the ad is her age; she is 82 years old, and strategists and experts agree she and her peers may be the most important voting bloc in November’s election.

Not the suburban soccer mom, not the suburban security mom, not the NASCAR dad, and not the people showing up to protest in the streets.


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International ‘pop-up’ coalition develops guidelines
to include family presence in assisted living, other settings


A “pop-up” coalition of more than 60 international organizations has developed recommendations for family presence in senior living and other long-term care communities as well as hospitals following the unintended negative consequences of visitor restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coalition to Preserve Family Presence, including members representing long-term care resident and hospital patient advocates, quality and safety professionals, and global healthcare policymakers, developed “Person-Centered Guidelines for Preserving Family Presence in Challenging Times.”

“The widespread restrictions on the presence of loved ones and care partners in care settings across the continuum during the pandemic have resulted in serious unintended consequences for people at end-of-life, childbearing women, children and those with cognitive impairments,” according to a joint statement from Planetree International and the International Society for Quality in Health Care. “The coalition developed a comprehensive set of guidelines for minimizing unintended consequences of restrictive family presence policies during a pandemic.”


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HHS announces $15 billion in COVID-19 relief
funding for assisted living operators, others


The Department of Health and Human Services will distribute approximately $15 billion in grants to eligible state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program providers, including assisted living operators, the federal agency announced Tuesday.

The funds will come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Provider Relief Fund and are designed to provide relief to Medicaid and CHIP providers who are experiencing lost revenues or increased expenses due to COVID-19, HHS said.

“The first general distribution of the Provider Relief Fund, $50 billion back in April, made payments to over 1 million providers. Approximately 450,000 of these providers care for Medicaid and CHIP recipients,” Eric D. Hargan, deputy HHS secretary, said Tuesday in a call with members of the press. “This distribution we are announcing today will make Provider Relief Funds available to the remaining 275,000 providers that care for Medicaid and CHIP recipients but did not receive funds in the general distribution. These Medicaid and CHIP providers typically operate on thin margins and often include practitioners like dentists, pediatricians, assisted living facilities, and behavioral health providers like opioid treatment programs.”



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BONUS ARTICLE

Annual Reminder to Review Your Social Security Statement


We’d like to remind you to review your Social Security Statement online. The Statement has important Social Security information and, if applicable, estimates of your future benefits.

If you are working, we encourage you to check your Statement yearly to make sure your earnings record is correct. The Statement also will help in planning your financial future.

To view your most recent Statement, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/reviewyourstatement
and sign in to your account.

On June 10, 2017, we added a second method to verify your identity each time you sign in to your account. This is in addition to your username and password. Using two ways to identify you when you log on will help better protect your account from unauthorized use and fraud. Now, when you sign in to your account you will complete two steps: 






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NEXT BLOG SATURDAY JUNE 13TH 2020


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06.11.20



4 minutes



When was the last time you had a day off?
 
I mean a proper day off. Not just one where you don’t have to go to work.
 
That one day when you could do whatever you wanted.
 
For all my working life I depended on the sacred weekend or the occasional weekday holiday for relief from the pressures of THE JOB.
 
Retirement, I thought, would just be a string of those days lasting into eternity. Or at least my eternity.
 
I could not have been more wrong.
 
For the last 11 years my life has run on somebody else’s schedule. A schedule not always in tune with my lifestyle.
 
For instance. I can’t remember the last time they allowed me to eat when I wanted rather than being forced to eat at “meal times.”
 
And, not only eating when I wanted but eating what I wanted, how I wanted it cooked and where I wanted to eat it.
 
That’s a lot of “wants” to want. But choice is at the heart of freedom, which is what a day off should be all about.

As a resident of an assisted living facility, there’s little time or opportunity to do anything on your own.
 
While the time you go to bed is your choice, when to wake up is governed by when you have to take your medications and what time they serve you breakfast. Sleeping late is an impossibility.
 
Privacy, a key component of true down-time, is another hard-to-come-by option. At the ALF, it doesn’t exist.
 
During normal times they visit my room at least three times a day. Now, since the start of the Covid quarantine, I have more intrusions than ever.
 
There’ s the people who bring me my meals. Three times a day.
 
The housekeeping staff who take out my trash (after each meal) and the people who bring me towels, make my bed and vacuum my room.
 
My meds come around once-a-day, as does the snack lady. And four times a week, they pick up and deliver my laundry.
 
There are the occasional Amazon or Walmart deliveries, mail, memos, doctor's visits and case reviews. All requiring people coming into my room. So, no privacy. I have to be dressed at all times. I refuse, as some residents here, to come to the door in my underwear (or less). I AM NOT AN ANIMAL.

I try to make things better by setting my own schedule when I can.
 
I set time aside to put this blog together. Usually after my evening meal.
 
Lately, I’ve been doing my walking and sunning therapy. Preferably in the mornings.
 
Nap time comes at 1pm and lasts until four or four thirty.
 
I know it’s structured, but I structured it, which gives me a little sense of autonomy. It's not much, but it's something.

What's your downtime like. I'll bet you are as much a victim of somebody else's agenda as I am.

After all, we all have obligations.


Visits with the kids, the grandkids, relatives and friends. Our time is rarely our's


Unless, by some miracle, I leave this gilded asylum I will never truly have an actual day off.

 
I suppose it’s the price one must pay for being old.……………………………….. 
 


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6 Great Leisure Activities for the Elderly


Participating in leisure activities offers aging adults the opportunity to make new friends, enhance their overall health, and stimulate their brains. Whether they’re living alone or receiving elderly home care, La Mesa seniors should consider engaging in the following leisure activities.

1. Enrolling in a Book Club

 2. Quilting

3. Taking Part in a Theater Group

4. Going on a Fishing Adventure

5. Growing Plants

6. Visiting a Museum

Details go here >>>  https://coastcarepartners.com/6-awesome-leisure-activities-older-adults-consider/




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For Older People, Despair, as Well
as Covid-19, Is Costing Lives

By Louise Aronson


‘This is like being in prison.’


Earlier this month, a colleague who heads the geriatrics service at a prominent San Francisco hospital told me they had begun seeing startling numbers of suicide attempts by older adults. These were not cry-for-help gestures, but true efforts to die by people using guns, knives and repurposed household items.

Such so-called “failed suicides” turn out to be the most extreme cases of a rapidly growing phenomenon among older Americans as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic: lives stripped of human contact, meaningful activity, purpose and hope that things will get better in a time frame that is relevant to people in the last decades or years of life.

Since late February, the stories from nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been appalling: people dying of neglect; people starving to death; defeated people lying in bed or staring out windows with no hope of reprieve; people with dementia fighting draconian restrictions they cannot understand and being sedated for these “behavioral issues,” sometimes to the point of becoming bedbound and unable to eat.


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Here’s What The Racial Wealth Gap
In America Looks Like Today

By Sarah Hansen


Nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd have thrown issues of economic inequality, already exasperated by the coronavirus crisis, into sharp relief. The wealth gap in America has been growing since at least the 1970s as income levels stagnated for lower and middle class households while continuing to grow for households at the top of the spectrum.

Centuries of racism and discrimination mean that this divide is a great deal wider for black households that are denied the access to the opportunities and resources available to white households. “No progress has been made in reducing income and wealth inequalities between black and white households over the past 70 years,” according to economists Moritz Kuhn, Moritz Schularick and Ulrike I. Steins who published a 2018 paper on U.S. incomes and wealth since 1949. The Brookings Institution points out that the ratio of white family wealth to black family wealth is higher today that it was at the beginning of the century.


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The Importance of Behavioral Health
Screening in Older Adults



Depression affects millions of Americans each year. Symptoms of depression for them occur most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks. Depression can affect your thoughts, feelings, physical health and behavior. There are several types of depression, but major depression (also sometimes referred to as clinical depression) is the best-known.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 14% of those 65 and older seek treatment for depression, and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 20% of people age 55 and older have some type of mental health concern such as anxiety, severe cognitive impairment and mood disorders. Many older adults with serious illness report facing significant cognitive and mental-health challenges, including forgetfulness, sadness and depression, feeling like a burden on others, and loneliness.

Depression is often underrecognized in older adults, and yet if properly diagnosed, it can be improved through treatment around 80% of the time. To determine your total care needs, routine health checks should include physical, behavioral and social health assessments.



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BONUS ARTICLE

USC-Designed Smartphone App Aims to
Get Older Adults “Moving Up”


USC researchers are seeking to increase physical activity in older adults through Moving Up, a mobile phone app

Stacey Schepens Niemiec has long been passionate about using technology to improve the health and wellness of older adults. She became concerned with the widening of a “digital divide” among older adults that was limiting their access to technology-based health resources and services that are typically more widespread with younger populations.

Schepens Niemiec, an assistant professor of research at the Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the USC Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, has made it her mission to help close this digital divide however she can. One way is through Moving Up, a mobile phone app designed to help improve physical activity in older adults. The research project includes co-investigators from the USC Keck School of Medicine and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and is built on the innovative DERIVA data management platform through a collaboration with researchers from the Informatics Systems Research Division (ISRD) at the Information Sciences Institute (ISI), part of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. To date, Moving Up is the only smartphone app that offers a suite of features specifically optimized to address inactivity in older individuals.

As Schepens Niemiec, the PI on the project, pointed out, most ads for health and wellness apps and wearables target younger demographics, or late-midlife at most, and the specific issues older populations may have with physical activity end up getting ignored. “The issue isn’t just about to whom [health and wellness] products are marketed,” she continued. “These technologies rarely include consideration of the unique factors relevant to older adults that may facilitate or hinder utilization of these tools to assist them in living a healthy lifestyle.”





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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY JUNE 12TH 2020


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06.10.20



5-6 minutes

I finally did it. I broke down and got a smart phone.
 
Notice I didn’t say “bought” a smart phone. What do you think I’m made of money?
 
I got it for free from Assurance Wireless who offers free cell phone service to anybody whose is a card-carrying Medicaid recipient. [1] But it wasn’t the fact it’s free that changed my mind about getting one. I wanted one so I could download one particular app that isn’t available for my laptop.
 
It’s an app for Android and some other operating systems which allows me to take a picture of a bank check [4] and have it drop into my savings or checking account at my bank. Without it, depositing a check has been a problem.
 
It’s almost impossible for me to get to my bank.
 
The nearest branch is too far to walk to and there is no public transportation available. And, while I could take a cab or Uber [2] why would I want to pay $10 or $15 just to deposit a check?
 
My only other option was to mail the check to what my bank aptly calls “Bank By Mail” with an address somewhere in Iowa. [3] This makes me very nervous.
 
I don’t want to say I don’t trust the U.S. Postal Service. But I don’t trust the U.S. Postal Service.
 
Having to write the name of my bank and the words “Bank By Mail Dept.” all over the envelope is like saying to any prospective thief “NICE FAT CHECK INSIDE THIS ENVELOPE. HELP YOUR SELF.”
 
The other drawback to mailing a check is the time it takes for it to show up as a credit in my account.
 
The last check I mailed took four weeks to clear. I was sure they lost it.

If depositing a check and calling for an Uber ride is the major reason I wanted a smart phone, curiosity is another.
 
I want to know what all the fuss is about.
 
What’s so fascinating about having a phone that also connects with the internet? I really didn’t get it. And, after using the thing for a week, I still don’t.
 
First, it’s not designed for someone with fat, arthritic fingers and poor eyesight.
 
I’m not a poor typist on a regular keyboard. But that Lilliputian thing that pops up every time I inadvertently touch any part of the screen is something only a child, or the bony fingers of the Grim Reaper, could use properly.
 
And then there’s the screen itself. I’m convinced it has a mind of its own.
 
Tapping on the screen to respond to a command like “NEXT” will elicit an immediate response on one occasion, while on another will take multiple tappings to get the thing to answer.

And how the fork are you supposed to keep the screen clean and smudge-free if you are always schmearing it with your greasy fingers? Huh?
 
I suppose the kids have figured that out.
 
Like everything technical in this world, kids take to it first. That’s because they are fearless. They have no problem picking up a $500 piece of technology and playing with it as if it were a set of Lincoln Logs. And, once they find something they like, they make it their own. The device gets smaller, more powerful and more complicated. It’s as if they were purposely trying to keep us old folks from using it.
Well, I show them. From now on I’m writing everything using cursive script.


 
Unlike many other seniors I know, I am not a technophobe. I’ve been using computers since the early 90s when all they had were flickering, mono-color screens and they called the operating system DOS.
But for me, technology has to be useful, easy to use, and cheap. That’s why seniors have taken to cell phones like ducks to water.
 
Smart phones may take a little longer.
 
Wait. I think I have a call. My phone is playing Beethoven.

Hey! It really is a smart phone………………………….
 

[1]Other requirements may qualify. Go to assurancewireless.com
for details and start and application
[2]the ability to access Uber or Lyft is the other reason I might need a smart phone
[3]The address has changed 3 times over the last 7 years so I have to check before I mail anything.
[4] The origin of the checks vary from rebate checks on purchases to any excess funds I have in my resident’s account here at the ALF. I use this money to pay off my credit card balance.



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How Do I Apply?

Need help with your living expenses? Get information on government programs that may help you pay for food, housing, health care, and other basic needs. Learn about eligibility requirements for programs like food stamps, welfare, and Medicaid, and how to apply for them. You can also learn more about specific government grants and loans for states, small businesses, and organizations.

Learn About Government Benefits, Grants, and Loans 



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Varied assisted living infection control policies
could cause confusion during epidemics and pandemics


Although most states have infection control policies and procedures for residential care and assisted living communities, they vary in detail and requirements and could cause confusion during epidemics / pandemics, according to a new study in JAMDA – The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

The researchers, from Portland State University and Brown University, reviewed assisted living regulations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and found:

    32 states list or describe infection control as a training requirement, although the level of detail in those regulations varies.


_____________________________________________________________________________

Half of Retirees Report Paying Tax
on Social Security Benefits
for 2019 According to New Survey


Half of retirees participating in a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) say they paid income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefit income for the 2019 tax year. “There was no change from previous years in the 50 percent of retiree households who report that they pay tax on a portion of their benefits, despite the 2017 tax reform law, says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League.

The revenues from taxation of benefits are earmarked for funding Social Security and Medicare benefits. “Those revenues take on new importance in 2020, as the coronavirus takes a significant toll on Social Security and Medicare payroll tax revenues with more than 40 million people out of work,” Johnson says.

The number of older taxpayers who find that a portion of their Social Security benefits are taxable tends to grow over time. Unlike income brackets that are adjusted for inflation, the income thresholds that subject Social Security benefits to taxation have never been adjusted since Social Security benefits became taxable in 1984. When the law was first passed, less than 10 percent of all Social Security recipients were estimated to have incomes high enough to be affected by the tax on benefits. But today, even retirees with modest incomes can be affected by the tax.

__________________________________________________________________________


Increased physical activity equals
reduced cancer risk in older adults



Does any form of physical activity (PA) reduce the risk of cancer in older people, who often have less capacity to exercise?

In a new study, researchers from the department of epidemiology at the Sacker Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel, suggest that even low levels of PA have a beneficial effect in the primary prevention of cancer.

The team recruited a group of 1542 older adults (mean age 73 years) who were initially free of cancer and followed them for an average of nine years. Leisure-time PA was self-reported via personal interviews based on two questionnaires; one enquired about vigorous PA whereas the other addressed any form of PA which lasted at least 10 minutes, for instance, walking outdoors, jogging, swimming cycling etc. Based on their answered participants were categorised as “sufficiently active’, insufficiently active” or “inactive”.

There were a total of 254 new cancers during the nine-year follow-up period and leisure-time PA was inversely related to cancer incidence with adjusted hazard ratios of 0.66 and 0.59, for the insufficiently active and sufficiently active groups compared to the inactive group.

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BUNUS ARTICLE

Education appears to protect older
adults against memory loss

By Pranjal Mehar

According to a new study, early-life education improves memory in old age-, especially for women. The research by the Georgetown University Medical Center, suggests that the children (especially girls) who attend school for longer tend to have better memory abilities in old age.

Scientists think that the outcomes of the study may have implications for memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

The study tested declarative memory in 704 older adults (58-98 years age). Here, declarative memory means our ability to remember events, facts, and words, such as where you put your keys or the name of that new neighbor.




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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY JUNE 11TH 2020


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06.09.20


4 minutes

What’s in my wallet? Nowadays, not much. Truthfully, if it were not for the $1200 stimulus check, there would be even less.
 
Living mostly on what Social Security gives me, leaves very little in the way of discretionary income for anything more than clothing and toiletries. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s just that at this time in my life I had expected to be in a much better position, financially. But you know what they say about the “Best laid plans.”
 
My plans went awry shortly after they forced me to retire.
 
Laid off by the company I had been at for many years, it became necessary to look for work.
 
To my surprise, a man my age (62 at the time) out of work, looking for a high-paying job, was not in great demand. And, while I could secure several interviews (I know how to write a heck of a resume), I could see the look on the faces of the HR people when they saw that I was not that 26-year-old hotshot they were hoping for.
 
As my severance pay and unemployment benefits disappeared and I had to dig into my savings and IRA’s to pay the rent. I realized I had to stop the bleeding. The only resource big enough to fill the gap was Social Security.
 
Other than an IRA and a small 401K, I hadn’t given my retirement much thought.

 
I had my health, my faculties and what I thought was a secure, steady job. One that would support me until that time when I would have decided when to retire, probably at 66 or beyond.
 
I knew I would lose a lot of my SS benefits by retiring early, but I figured I only had to hold on until I reached 65, when Medicare would kick in and therefore save me a lot by not having the burden of paying out-of-pocket for health insurance.
 
At least that was the plan.
 
You know what the bible says about those who make plans?
 
 “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” [1]
 
Actually It should read, “The plans of the poor schnook lead surely to poverty, though he thought he was diligent.” [2]

Fortunately, things have worked out okay. Not great. Not what I wanted, but okay.
 
While I have little, I need little.
 
I have learned to “work the system” which provides me with housing, food, medications, healthcare, cable, Wi-Fi and even a smart phone, all for free.
 
Yes, I miss my car and I miss having the ability to buy what I want and not just what I need. But mostly, I miss the independence money gave me. My folks didn’t bring me up to depend on others for my well-being. It’s the old Judeo-Christian work ethic kicking in, I suppose.
 
And, speaking of old Jews, there’s an old Yiddish proverb that reads “We plan, God laughs,”
 
Somehow it doesn’t make me feel better knowing I am the subject of some celestial stand-up comedy routine.
By the way. What's in your wallet? ............................................……..

[1] Proverbs 21:5
[2] TheSeniorLog: 06/09/20




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The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) are committed to helping you gain information and access to public and private benefit programs so that you can live with dignity and independence for as long as possible. We developed the You Gave—Now Save campaign to help spread awareness of the many forms of assistance available to older adults who sometimes find it difficult to pay for basic needs such as health care, food, housing and transportation.




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Long-Term Care Facilities Came Under Fire
for COVID-19 Cases... Is It Fair?

By JOHN MOONEY


FANWOOD, NJ – The coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly took a harsh toll on the elderly. Nearly 80% of the deaths in New Jersey have occurred among residents 65 and over. Almost half of the deaths (47%) were of residents 80 or older, Gov. Phil Murphy reported during his daily COVID press conference on June 4.

The senior population is the most vulnerable to sickness and possible death for several reasons: pre-existing medical conditions, diminished immune systems, the natural processes of aging, and the rapid spread of COVID-19 itself, a new disease for which people had not yet built immunity.

New Jersey’s Departments of Health, along with local health departments, has lumped nursing homes and assisted living facilities together during the pandemic, although the typical regulations for each industry are different, according to Roger Bernier, president of Chelsea Senior Living.

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Second stimulus check: Will it happen and
could it include another $1,200?
Here's the update

By Clifford Colby

White House and Congressional leaders are working on different proposals for a second economic stimulus package for 2020.


As millions of Americans wait for the IRS to complete the first round of stimulus checks, Congress and the White House are considering a possible second wave of payments to help prop up an unsteady US economy, shaken from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on businesses and employment.

Plans from House Democrats, Senate Republicans and White House advisers lay out their separate paths for a second financial rescue bill -- including how much money would be allocated for individuals, families and unemployed workers. It's also possible that the next stimulus package would combine elements of all three approaches, as White House and congressional leaders work to find common ground.

The timeline for a second stimulus payment is also prone to shifting. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congress may decide in the next few weeks if it will take up another round, CNBC reported, and White House officials anticipate that the executive branch will work on its own proposal through July, according to The Wall Street Journal. It's hard to know if the protests sweeping the globe in response to the death of George Floyd will affect the government's agenda.



__________________________________________________________________________

The Coming Crunch on Electric Bills
and Shutoffs
By Paul Steidler


More than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance since March and many of them could soon be without electricity in the hot summer months.

This is not merely an inconvenience. With electricity essential to all aspects of modern life, including refrigeration for medicines that many senior citizens need and power for medical devices, this is an issue of human safety and welfare.

Even before the pandemic hit, tens of millions of Americans were affected by high electricity bills. A September 2018 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that 31 percent of U.S. households faced a challenge in paying energy bills or sustaining adequate heating in their homes. More than 20 percent reduced or went without necessities, such as food or medicine, to pay the electric bill.

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BONUS ARTICLE

What will it take for us to trust a robot?



A robotic vacuum cleaner is easy to trust. We really need a lot more confidence in a robot that might be performing vital surgery on our body.

Medicine dispensing robots are already in use in home care. A robot sitting on the kitchen bench ensures that older people who live at home get the correct medicine dose every day.

"The medicine robot gives the home care nurse more time to other tasks," says Trenton Schulz.

Schulz has done research on how robots in our homes could perform even more tasks, for example in care of older people.








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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY JUNE 10TH 2020


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06.08.20



9 minutes

Look. I get it. There’s a lot of f***ed-up stuff going on in our state and our nation right now. Government officials have their hands full dealing with the worst health emergency in over 100 years on one side and the frustration of millions brought about after hundreds of years of injustice and inequality on the other. Add to that the delicate balancing act of laboring to keep us healthy and avoiding a personal and national financial disaster and we have a situation where not trying to cater to everyone’s needs can only result in increased hardships for all.
 
We know the virus is far from being under control and every day we don't keep up our guard and follow the prescribed precautions means another day or week or month of suffering for an already disheartened public.

We know too, keeping an already angry population from their ability to earn a living will cause civil unrest not seen here since the great depression. So we proceed with caution. Gradually reopening essential businesses at first and then those enterprises whose value is more a matter of comfort and convenience rather than a necessity in an effort to get more people back to work so they will be able to support themselves and their families. The nation cannot ignore the value of the American worker and their contribution to society. We have heard their voices from coast to coast and those in charge acted accordingly by allowing people to return to their jobs even if it means an increase in the number of infected people. It’s something we just have to do.


The “squeaky wheel” made noise and got the grease. We did not ignore them. Unlike a group of citizens whose productive years are behind them and therefore, in a money-driven world, are swept in a corner and forgotten about like so much dust.

I‘m speaking, of course, of all of us seniors who they have singled out just because circumstances have landed us in a long-term care venue like a nursing home or assisted living facility. We are the only group of American citizens who they will not permit regaining even a smattering of the freedoms now, or soon to be, available to everyone else.

Naturally, they say, we (residents and patients) need to be "protected" from what's okay for everyone else because we are the most vulnerable of all. The truth is, they have no idea what to do with us. They are as conflicted, confounded and clueless about why institutionalized elders were exposed to the virus (and therefore died) more than the general population as they day this began. So, they came up with the easiest solution available. Let the status be quo. Throw every precaution known to man at the problem and hope for the best. And the heck with any hardships that solution may place on a group of emotionally fragile people. "Hey! At least they ain’t dying so much anymore. Right?"

You have probably sensed my frustration level has reached a peak.

On a scale of one to ten, I’m at twelve. 87 days, virtually incarcerated, will do that to you.

I am so frustrated and incensed that it compelled me to email the Governor and send a similar email to the Commissioner of the NY State Department Of Health expressing my concerns and asking for answers. A copy of that letter appears below.

Dear Governor Cuomo.

Although I am a resident of the Westchester Center for Independent and Assisted living in Yonkers, I am writing on behalf of all seniors living in assisted living facilities in our state.

As you well know, we are approaching three months since the instructions and precautions set forth by the DOH regarding the measures taken by facilities like ours to protect the health and safety of its residents were initiated. And I commend you and you and the DOH for the rapid and thorough response to this deadly serious new virus. I am sure many lives were saved because of those actions.  But now we have a problem. A problem that extends far beyond protecting residents from Covid -19.  And it’s a problem that only you, as Governor, can solve. I am referring to what appears to be a complete disregard for the hardships placed on us. Hardships that directly affect the mental and emotional health of a group of innocent people who are being singled out because of their age and status.

As the rest of NY State prepares to return to some form of normalcy, no such consideration is on the horizon for assisted living facilities to follow suit. From all appearances, you have left us out of the loop. Forgotten without a plan.

The only plan to end, or even ease, the current Draconian measures is to keep us locked up as long as possible. How long is that Mr Cuomo? Another month? Three months? A year?

To keep us in this state of limbo with no end in sight is not only arbitrary, but exceedingly cruel.

I am not asking for a complete return to the way things were before the pandemic. All I want is some easing of some precautions that no longer serve a purpose.

Restricting visitors and outside visits and trips and the testing of staff and the isolation of any suspected cases of the virus should continue. However, in facilities, such as ours, where there have been no Covid-19 cases for well over two weeks and where they monitor the residents and staff daily and follow all infection controls, there should be no reason services such as communal dining and recreational activities cannot return to normal with only some limitations.

Mr. Cuomo. We need to know that it’s not okay to treat us as non-entities.

Yes. We are old. And some of us are frail and have mobility and cognitive issues. But we are feeling, thinking and now, suffering human beings who need to know what is to become of us. Because living under these conditions, isolated from friends and family. Forced to eat cold, ill-prepared food and having to face the boredom associated with inactivity cannot continue much longer. We need help now.

Yours truly,
Bruce Cooper.

I doubt I will get an answer, at least not the one I want. But I had to do something. We aren’t receiving any answers from anyone here at the ALF.

Maybe what we need to do is grab some cardboard and a Sharpie marker and make some signs proclaiming “OLD LIVES MATTER” and walk up and down in front of our building. And, if we are lucky, some guy with a microphone and a camera will give credibility to our cause and then, finally, they will do something.............





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Safe Driving Tips for Seniors


Our driving abilities change as we age. Think back to when you were a new driver in your teens. You were probably fearless behind the wheel; perhaps taking unnecessary risks with speed or ignoring common driving rules and etiquette. As you became an adult and had a family, you likely became a more conservative driver who followed the rules of the road. Now as you are entering your senior years, you may have noticed you are once again making adjustments to your driving habits.


As we age, it’s important we take greater care with our driving habits. Fatal car crashes rise when a driver reaches the age of 70. Factors including medications, vision concerns, slow motor functions, and hearing impairment make driving more challenging as we age. Here are some tips you can keep in mind to ensure your safety and the safety of others when driving.




1. Get your eyesight and hearing checked.

2. Consult with your doctor regarding medications and health conditions.

3. Get enough sleep.

4. Choose the right car.

5. Be a defensive driver.




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Older adults with chronic conditions
at higher risk for tooth loss

By Janel Miller


Older adults with certain chronic conditions were significantly more likely to have severe tooth loss compared with adults who did not suffer from chronic conditions, according to an analysis published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Oral health reflects overall health, and having a healthy mouth is important,” Marcia L. Parker, DMD, MPH of the CDC’s Division of Oral Health, told Healio Primary Care.
During 2011-2016, the prevalences of edentulism and severe tooth loss were 50% or higher among older adults with certain chronic conditions vs. older adults without those conditions.
Parker ML, et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6921a1.

Parker and colleagues analyzed data from adults aged 50 years or older during two time periods captured in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The first sample, from 1999 to 2004, included 6,283 adults, and the second, which spanned 2011 to 2016, included 7,443 adults.


____________________________________________________________________


As Baby Boomers Age, Geriatricians Are In
High Demand And Short Supply

By Josh Conaway


For this segment in our Sense of Community series, Dementia in the Ozarks, we’re looking at the shortage of geriatricians—and what that means for the aging population here in the Ozarks.

As Americans get older, they require more care from professionals to help manage medical issues, including dementia.  A geriatrician is a doctor who specializes in treating the health problems of elderly patients.

In Missouri, the number of doctors trained to treat these patients is not growing at the same rate as the population of older adults.

The current pandemic is throwing a curveball by targeting this exact population as high-risk for developing complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.


_________________________________________________________________________


Older crowd embraces online banking,
rewards firms' digital push

By Laura Alix

It took a global pandemic to get many baby boomers to bank online. Lenders have taken notice.

Over the past two months, Americans flocked to websites and apps to manage their finances as the coronavirus limited access to branches, according industry executives. For JPMorgan Chase, existing online clients are using the offerings more frequently, while Bank of America found that older customers are seeking out its digital services.

"We may have opened some people's eyes to the future," Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told investors at a conference last week. "We're just on a relentless push."

The coronavirus has given a boost to digital banking, which entails less paper, greater use of electronic services and fewer in-person meetings. Tech has been viewed by banks as both an offensive and defensive tool. Online services have the potential to bring in customers, help cut costly branches and pare workforces, while also making it harder for new competitors to poach clients with the allure of better technology.



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BLOG BONUS

Why some older adults remember
better than others



Even among healthy people, a faltering memory is often an expected part of aging -- but it's not inevitable.

"Some individuals exhibit remarkable maintenance of memory function throughout late adulthood, whereas others experience significant memory decline. Studying these differences across individuals is critical for understanding the complexities of brain aging, including how to promote resilience and longevity," said Alexandra Trelle, a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University.

Building on studies that have focused on young populations, Trelle and colleagues are investigating memory recall in healthy, older adults as part of the Stanford Aging and Memory Study. In new research, published May 29 in eLife, this team has found that memory recall processes in the brains of older adults can look very similar to those previously observed in the brains of young adults. However, for those seniors who had more trouble remembering, evidence for these processes was noticeably diminished.







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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY JUNE 9TH 2020


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




06.07.20




Getting A Tan At 

Club MEDicaid

The ability to work on my tan is one of the few rays of sunshine (pun intended) to come out of this entire quarantine/lockdown situation mess we are in. And, with nothing better to do, I am well on my way to that “extra-crispy” look that only I and George Hamilton can appreciate.
 
I can hear some of you saying “No no Bruce. Tanning is not good for you. It wrinkles the skin and you can get cancer.” While that may be true for some, it does not apply to me. At least in my naïve, Pollyanna-like mind it doesn’t.
 
I am very careful not to burn. I use a sunscreen and never stay out for over 20 minutes. And, since I have been doing it for many years, I’m sure that wrinkles will not be a problem. [1]
 
There are two or three other sun-worshipers out on our patio and we are careful to keep the proper social distance as prescribed.
 
Actually, the tanning is just an excuse to get out and get some fresh air and to get me walking. Something that has been severely lacking ever since this unwanted change to my daily routine began.
 
Pre-Covid, I would walk to and from my room and other places three to four times a day. And, while it’s not a great workout and far from the two or three miles I once walked every day as part of my commute, it was enough to keep me in decent shape. The quarantine ended my need to walk anywhere and, according to my podiatrist, caused my feet to swell and hurt. I am happy to report, the swelling of my feet and legs has subsided a lot and should be back to normal shortly. It’ll be nice to put on shoes again.  
 
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On Vending Machines

I was happy to see they have lifted at least one Covid-related restriction.
 
As I was on my way back to my room from a “’round-the-parking lot walk”, I passed the two vending machines in the lower-level of our main building. To my amazement and delight, someone had turned them back on. So now residents, and staff, can get a cold soda or a bag of Cheetos any time of the day or night. Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter most.

_________________________________________________________________
 
On Laundry

They pick up and deliver our laundry twice-a-week. And, while there are usually no problems, this week was an exception. Out of the 12 or 15 items I sent out, only 3 came back. The other items, comprising some sweatpants, T-shirts and underwear, did not belong to me. Naturally, I packed them up and had them returned to the people here that handle such matters. But the fact remains. SOMEBODY HAS MY LAUNDRY.

I can only hope they are as astute as I am to notice the error and don’t keep it. Otherwise I must file a claim with the laundry company which can take months to resolve and rarely makes up for the loss.
Meanwhile, it looks like Amazon will receive another order. Can't go commando.



Taking Sunday off (to look for my underwear). Back on Monday with more..............
 

[1] I apply Nivea moisturizer immediately after coming in from the sun.



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Sunscreen Safety Tips for Older Adults


Summer is a season when most families spend a lot of time outdoors. Picnics, baseball games, family reunions, and trips to the beach are fun intergenerational activities. One thing that isn’t much fun is sunburn or sun poisoning.

Older adults grew up in a time when the benefits of sunscreen weren’t widely known. Today we know more about the importance of sun safety. The need for protection is especially true for seniors who often have very fragile skin. Some seniors also take medications that have sun sensitivity as a side effect.

Here are sunscreen basics that seniors and their caregivers should know in order to protect their skin from the summer sun.

Sunscreen Basics for Senior Safety

1. Older adults need sunscreen.

2. Sun damage can happen fast.

3. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher.

4. Protect skin from UVA and UVB rays.

5. Utilize different sunscreen formats.

6.Follow the directions on the bottle.






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Were Nursing Homes Doing a
Poor Job Prior to the Pandemic?


Nursing homes across the country were caught off guard when the coronavirus swept through their facilities in early 2020, leaving scores of frail and elderly patients at risk of catching the deadly disease.

Staggering numbers of them did. Then they started dying. Over 30,000 – and counting – of the nation’s 1.4 million nursing-home residents have perished after contracting the relentless respiratory ailment. Why? Besides overcrowded conditions and shared spaces such as dining rooms, common areas and, often, bathrooms, staff members failed to follow proper protocols to prevent and control infection in those in their care.

A government analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found that over 80 percent of the 14,550 nursing homes surveyed fell short of maintaining standard-operating procedures involving the most basic of behaviors by their employees: staying home when they are sick and washing their hands.


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Willingness to navigate technology helps
assisted living residents stay connected

By Lauren Lethbridge


Assisted living homes are finding technology helps connect residents to family members outside during isolation.

Megan Johnson, the marketing specialist at BeeHive Homes of Provo, said there has been an increase in the technology used by residents.

Many residents are using Skype and FaceTime. Since residents don’t have cell phones, they call family members using the landline or borrow staff members’ phones to use FaceTime.

Facebook and Skype are popular with residents since they can access both using computers instead of phones.

“Our staff have had to really step up and help residents,” said Johnson. “None of our residents can use the technology by themselves for the most part.”


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‘Smaller is Better’: Covid-19 Primes Senior Living
for Rise of Small-House Models

By Tim Regan


Small-house senior living may be well-suited to handle the disruptions of the Covid-19 era. This may help boost the model’s popularity going forward — but the industry will first need to overcome obstacles regarding the way these communities are developed, financed and licensed.

Just ask Jim Stroud, co-founder and former chairman of Capital Senior Living (NYSE: CSU) and current president of Dallas-based holding company Stroud Companies. After leaving Capital at the end of 2008, Stroud set out to find the next generation of senior housing models.

“We said … let’s figure out what model we think that the baby boomers will move into, and that will be flexible and resilient enough to withstand future change,” Stroud told Senior Housing News. “We settled on the small-house concept.”


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BONUS ARTICLE

How the coronavirus pandemic is shaking
retirement confidence across generations

By Lorie Konish


It’s no secret that Americans are feeling financially vulnerable in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

And a survey shows how much their confidence has been hurt when it comes to one long-term goal: retirement.

Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 23% of workers who are employed or recently unemployed said their confidence that they will be able to retire comfortably has gone down.

That insecurity was highest for baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, who are closest to retirement. Of those respondents, 32% said their confidence in their ability to retire has gone down due to Covid-19.






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NEXT BLOG MONDAY JUNE 8TH 2020


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06.05.20

Who Thought This Would
Last This Long?

4-5 minutes

84 days ago they gathered us residents in our auditorium waiting to hear a message from our administrator on “A matter of great importance.” Having met just a few minutes earlier, I and the other members of the resident’s council knew what was coming.
 
It was March 13th, and the virus had been raging all around us for at least a week.
 
They had already curtailed some of our activities.
 
Our weekly trips to the supermarket and other activities that involved going outside the facility had also been canceled. Family and friends were told not to visit, and they called off a cooking contest involving all the cooks from our sister facilities.
 
As I stood against the wall in a packed room, observing the bewildered faces of my fellow inmates, I wondered when we would see a gathering like this again. I had been here before so I knew what to expect.
 
Quarantines are not new to facilities such as ours. Living in such close quarters, sharing so much, we are, and always have been, a susceptible group. So much so that, in the last 5 years, we have had to be in a lockdown situation three times.
 
Those incidents were as the result of a virulent stomach ailment known as a Norovirus. However, while easily transmitted [1] and often resulting in violent bouts of vomiting and fever, it lasts only a few days and is rarely deadly.
 
On those occasions we had to endure anywhere from a few days to almost three weeks of a facility-wide quarantine. And, while it was a hardship on our residents and a pain-in-the-neck for our staff, at least we knew it would end and we wouldn’t be any worse for the wear coming out of it.
 
But, as we listened that day, to the impassioned plea from our administrator who confessed he had been up all the previous night debating what to do, little did we know we would be just at the very beginning of a world-wide nightmare with no real end in sight and no plan to end it except to wait, possibly a year or more, for a vaccine which may or may not work. And who could have imagined that we, a here-to-for mostly placid and unremarkable group of people, would be the ones to take the brunt of all this unknown virus offered.

Now, as we approach three months of isolation, indecision, panicky management and clueless officials, it is clear nobody has any idea what to do with us.

As the rest of the world (for better or worse) prepares to go about its business and protesters are free to roam the streets unabated by the strict regulations they force us to live by, it appears they are once again brushing us aside.
 
When will our plight be acknowledged by an outraged population? Where are our rallies? When will we see even a smattering of the indignation expressed by divergent groups of Americans? I dare say, never.
 
So we wait. We wait for any inkling that there has been any thought given by anyone as to the difficulties we are going through or how to solve them.
 
Watching the marches and speeches and listening to the oratory and reading the signs, I can only come to one conclusion. All lives matter, but some less than others and older Americans living in age-segregated communities have become nothing more than collateral damage.………………..
 

[1]The Norovirus is common in ALFs and can usually be traced to the food prep area as ground zero.


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5 of the best exercises for older adults


Staying physically active comes with a whole host of health benefits for older adults from maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints to potentially helping to reduce high blood pressure, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Older adults can obtain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily,” according to the CDC.

However, the CDC also notes that those beginning to exercise for the first time should start slowly. And some exercises may be better suited for older adults than others.

Dr. Barbara Bergin told SilverSneakers that she recommends older adults focus workouts meant to build strength and improve balance rather than high-impact exercises like running.

Some of the best exercises for older adults include:

Swimming

Yoga

Walking

Cycling

Body-weight workouts




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COVID-19 impacting mental health of seniors


Depression is often described as a chemical imbalance in the brain and, of course, mental health affects people of all ages. The issue with mental health is that often there is no cure, simply just ways to better manage the symptoms.

Geriatric depression is also slightly different from depression in younger people because a trend toward depressive moods is more common with older age. Mixing that with the cognitive decline in the brain is one of the main reasons seniors in senior living facilities are prescribed some sort of antidepressant.

COVID-19 has not helped anyone with their moods at all. Many people have been cooped up inside their homes for months with no human interaction. But for some senior citizens, they don’t get many visitors as it is, especially if they’re living far away from kids and family.


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COVID Senicide – The Overlooked Tragedy
By Brian C. Joondeph


Senicide is not a new disinfectant or the latest drug touted as a cure for the Chinese coronavirus, but instead is the systematic killing of the elderly. It’s specific to the elderly, as opposed to genocide, the extermination of entire peoples on racial, religious, national, or ethnic grounds. Another term, when used generally and not specific to Nazi atrocities, is holocaust, slaughter on a mass scale. What have we been witnessing?

Nursing homes care for the elderly and infirm in our society. These vulnerable citizens have fared poorly during the Wuhan virus pandemic. As Forbes reports,

    2.1 million Americans, representing 0.62% of the U.S. population, reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

    An astounding 42% of all COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


___________________________________________________________________________

CDC updates COVID-19 reporting, infection control
guidance for assisted living communities


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to assisted living communities on Friday, providing recommendations on infection reporting, visitor restrictions and group activities.

The guidance came on the same day eight U.S. senators wrote to the CDC and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services chiefs calling for CDC guidance on reopening long-term care facilities to visitors.

Although assisted living communities do not have the same federal requirement as nursing homes to report COVID-19 cases, facility staffing and supply information to the National Healthcare Safety Network Long-term Care Facility COVID-19 module, participation is encouraged.

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BONUS ARTICLE

Opinion: Trump is pushing to eliminate payroll taxes.
It could doom Social Security

By Max Richtman


There are terrible ideas that wither over time, and there are some, like the payroll tax cut, that refuse to go away. Although payroll tax cuts would cut off the primary funding stream for Social Security -- and serve as an inequitable and ineffective means to stimulate the economy -- President Trump continues to peddle them anyway.

Social Security is exclusively funded by payroll contributions from workers and employers. Tampering with its funding is dangerous for the program, its 65 million beneficiaries and countless more Americans in years to come. In fact, we believe that additional cash relief payments that target lower and middle-income workers are a far better remedy for the financial pain so many are feeling.

President Trump has indicated he would like to see a permanent payroll tax cut, but even a temporary one could have dire consequences for Social Security.






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NEXT BLOG SATURDAY JUNE 6TH 2020


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06.04.20



3-4 minutes


At any one time, we house between 185 -195 people here at the ALF. Plus another 100 staff and management.
 
I’m guessing about 1/3 of our residents are black or Hispanic with a smattering of Asians thrown in for good measure. Most of our staff are black or brown who, along with our residents, practice all three major and some exotic one’s.
 
While we are apolitical (at least we don’t outwardly express our affiliations) my gut feeling is, on a whole, we don’t much care for our current president. He has mentioned his wanting to cut Social Security payments one too many times as well as cutting Medicaid money for states. Since all of our residents depend on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for their very lives, they consider Trump a pariah around these parts.

In a way, we are a condensed version of the real world. Only we do it better.
 
We don’t throw bricks or block traffic or burn cars. At least not on purpose.
 
We don’t loot. Unless you consider taking handfuls of Sweet & Low and dinnerware from the dining room as looting.


Aggression among residents happens, but it’s usually of the verbal kind. And, when an actual physical altercation occurs, they separate both parties immediately, sometimes even removing one or both of the parties from the facility.
 
There is some racial attention. Unfortunately, prejudice does not abate with age. But on the whole everybody gets along very well with everybody else. That’s probably because we all have more things in common than the rest of the population.
 
Age and poverty are great equalizers. So is illness. There are no residents here who are not old, poor or have some chronic illness.

 It’s difficult to be bigoted towards somebody who has the same breathing problems or mobility issue as you. If anything, it makes you more empathetic and understanding.  

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting this facility is a bastion of racial harmony and everything is all huggy-kissy. But it’s much less of a problem than it is for those outside these walls. Part of it has to do with indifference and apathy. But mostly I think the reason why we get along as well as we do is we all know time is not on our side and it’s too dams precious to waste on something that’s non-productive and foolish. …………………………………….
 



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How to Recover From Covid-19 at Home
By Maggie Astor



Rest and fluids are essential, but not always enough. Here are some more things you can do to feel better.


Getting infected with Covid-19 is a frightening, isolating experience. But as more people endure it, the community of survivors is growing — and with them comes better guidance.

My husband and I got sick from the coronavirus in late March. We had so-called mild cases, meaning only that we weren’t hospitalized: In fact, we were sicker than we had ever been. Because we could breathe fine, we knew we weren’t supposed to go to the hospital. But what were we supposed to do?

The standard advice — rest, fluids and fever reducers — was and is essential, but at times it felt inadequate to the severity of the illness.




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The government tally of COVID-19 nursing
home deaths is missing 14,000

By Suzy Khimm

Three months after the coronavirus began rampaging through U.S. nursing homes, the federal government has released the first nationwide data on the virus' impact on long-term care facilities, showing nearly 26,000 resident deaths and 449 staff deaths to date.

But the figures released Monday are significantly lower than other estimates, as they capture only a part of total coronavirus deaths associated with nursing homes. The federal government is not requiring facilities to report data on cases or deaths that happened before May, and the administration said nearly 3,000 nursing homes have yet to submit data to the government.

According to the latest NBC News tally, nearly 40,000 coronavirus deaths are associated with nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities since the beginning of the pandemic — representing almost 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths in the U.S. The NBC News tally is also likely to be an undercount, as a handful of states have still not released their nursing home death tolls.


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Senior Citizens in Subsidized Housing Have Been
Dying Alone at Home, Unnoticed
Because of Coronavirus Distancing

By Mick Dumke and Haru Coryne



Someone needed to check on Leonard Graves. The 57-year-old lived alone in a senior building on Chicago’s North Side, and no one had seen him in at least two days.

Volunteers called community ambassadors usually checked on fellow residents in the Edith Spurlock Sampson Apartments, a 394-unit Chicago Housing Authority complex. But after the coronavirus began spreading in Chicago, leaders say the CHA suspended the program.

With the help of a building maintenance worker, a worried friend entered Graves’ apartment on March 14. Inside, they found him face down on the kitchen floor. From the condition of his body, it was clear he had been dead for some time. He appeared to have died of natural causes.


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Memory loss, gnarled fingers, panic attacks:
COVID-19 didn't kill these Americans,
but many might never be the same

By Rick Jervis, Lindsay Schnell, Alan Gomez, and Deborah Barfield Berry,



Coronavirus death toll reaches 100,000 in U.S., experts reaffirm social distancing

America hit a somber benchmark in the coronavirus pandemic, with the U.S. death toll reaching 100,000.


An avid skier will lose eight of his fingers and three toes due to complications from the coronavirus. A 27-year-old who beat the virus is plagued by panic attacks and depression. A Florida survivor struggles with memory and vision loss.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Why Broad Spectrum Hemp Is the
Best of Both Worlds for Seniors.

By Richard Cowan & Dr. Igor

When it comes to cannabis, broad spectrum hemp is one of the best options available for senior citizens. Rather than turn to opioids and other potentially deadly medications, patients can get a safer, healthier alternative. Now that the stigma surrounding cannabis has come to an end, senior citizens have more options for treating chronic conditions and taking control of their health.

If you want to buy hemp-based products, there are a few options you can choose from. The first decision you have to make is whether you want full spectrum hemp, broad spectrum hemp or hemp isolate. Your best choice depends on what you are looking for in your Blue Ribbon Hemp product.

When you buy full spectrum hemp oil, you can get a product that contains a wide range of phytocannabinoids and terpenes. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the component in marijuana that gets people high. While hemp oil does not have enough THC to make you high, it could still have enough THC to make you fail a drug test. You can fail a drug test if there is any THC at all. If you need to take a drug test for work, this product is probably not the best option.





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06.03.20


THE MORE WE LEARN ABOUT THE VIRUS
THE MORE BAD NEWS IT IS FOR
SENIORS IN LONG TERM CARE

7-8 minutes

Sadly, the more we get to know about the Covid-19 virus and its effects on humans (especially older humans) the worse it looks for residents of long-term care venues like assisted living facilities. And, as the days and weeks go by, and the stats come pouring in, the likelihood residents of those facilities will return to normal soon becomes fewer and fewer.
 
With the opening up of cities and towns across America, specifically the easing of restrictions right next door in New York City, I had hoped we quarantined (for over 80 days) residents would see at least some easing of the brutal restrictions placed upon us by the various departments that pretend to watch over us and, as they say, have only our best interests in mind. But their reaction has been the opposite. The noose is only getting tighter.

The more we learn, the tougher it gets. And we’ve learned a lot.
 
We have learned what works and what doesn’t.
 
And most of it doesn’t work well for seniors in assisted living.
 
What we’ve learned: This coronavirus doesn’t survive on surfaces as long as once feared, and it appears to transmit much more easily indoors than outside.
 
Why this is not good for residents in assisted living: they do not permit us to leave the facility’s grounds. The only way it can get transmitted to us is from someone inside who has given it to us.
 
What we’ve learned: The virus doesn’t get weaker. It’s as contagious as ever.
 
Why this is not good for residents in assisted living: This means more restrictions on our need to be around others, leading to more isolation and loneliness.
 
What we’ve learned: The virus is deadliest for people older than 60 or who have an underlying medical condition.
 
Why this is not good for residents in assisted living: We only have one or two residents under 60.
 
What we’ve learned: Senior-care facilities also need to invest heavily in protective equipment, conduct frequent testing and draw up plans to minimize contact among workers and residents.
 
Why this is not good for residents in assisted living: The more money spent on precautionary measures, the less there will be for things like food and recreation if, and when, we ever return to normal.

Okay. That’s the official position of the “experts.” None of whom are residents of an assisted living facility. But I am. And have been for a while. Here’s my take on the matter.
 
Yes, we residents are vulnerable. Very vulnerable to the virus and all its hideous ramifications. But we are also the most protected and isolated group in the nation. And we have been since this entire thing began. While it is true many older people have died in nursing homes and some ALFs[1], facilities that secured their premises early and aggressively have fared well and have kept the virus at bay.[2] Not one of our residents who have remained within the facility’s grounds have become ill. So, what does this mean?

It means that everyone inside this building is virus free. Most likely 100%. Far better than the general population who, unlike us, are slowly returning to normalcy. The tide has turned. We (residents) are no longer the dangerous ones. Yet we are the only group not permitted even the slightest easing of the restrictions.
 
I am a resident, not of an ALF, but of a veritable virus-free island where the only threat of infection comes from without.
 
Therefor, if nobody here has the virus (they test the staff twice-a-week and check them for symptoms upon entering the building and they keep any resident leaving the building strictly isolated in their rooms for two weeks) and no visitors may enter, then there should be no reason not to permit us to return to some of our normal activities now. Or, at the very least, an easing of those restrictions just enough to take some of the pressure off before all of wind up in therapy.

First, all residents must be tested and found virus free.

They could start with bringing back the coffee makers and microwave ovens so we could get some boiling water and warm up the cold food they serve us. The area where they keep these machines can be monitored and kept clean.
 
Next, the opening of our dining room. If we all test negative there is no longer a reason to keep us segregated. They could start with a buffet style service where residents could sit at socially distant tables or take the food to another area of the facility.

Also, small, socially spaced residents could enjoy some activities like BINGO. There is no reason they can’t play BINGO while wearing a mask.


Finally, they need to allow us contact with one another. We need to talk with our contemporaries, even if we have to wear masks. Above all, we need to know we are not alone and expressing our feelings helps to do this.

Am I asking too much? Maybe. I can accept less if it means we can get even a slight taste of the “freedoms” we have not enjoyed for over 80 days.

But, alas. There appears to be no one who has the balls to implement any change. And, unlike those who have taken up arms, and won, the right to open-up, we, the quiet, respectful and, yes, apathetic and lethargic residents will just sit and remain more isolated than ever.

The sheep are alive and well at the ALF………………………………………. .

Source: https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-lockdown-lessons-2f2e28cb-848b-42e2-a9da-b2d31fb8bda6.html
[1]About 40% of all Covid-19 deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities.
[2]The only residents in our facility who have contracted the virus are those who had to leave the facility to keep medical necessary medical appointments or treatments. 




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The Financial Perks of Growing Older



Aging certainly comes with plenty of problems. Wrinkles, gray hair, vision and hearing loss and general aches and pains are all common ailments. But there are also many perks of growing older, especially where your finances are concerned.

Here’s how getting older can save you money:

— Senior discounts.

— Travel deals.

— Tax deductions for seniors.

— Bigger retirement account limits.

— No more early withdrawal penalty.

— Social Security payments.

— Affordable health insurance.

— Senior services.

— Free college.


To find out how, continue reading >> https://wtop.com/news/2020/06/the-financial-perks-of-growing-older/



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The old and the resilient
By Dr. Anita Sharma

"Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese."  ― Luis Bunuel

Aging is a natural life process.  It is a movement from inexperience to experience and from self-focus to life-reflections.  It is a contemplation of changing realities and changing priorities in life.  Old age is a celebration of life.  Every May, our nation celebrates “Older Americans Month” and pays tribute to older adults.  In 1963, a meeting between President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens, led the way to designating the month of May as the “Senior Citizens Month” which was later re-named as the Older Americans Month.  The Administration for Community Living provides a theme for each year’s celebrations.  The theme for 2020 is "Make Your Mark." 

“Make Your Mark” is an ironically appropriate theme for 2020 when the entire world is experiencing a pandemic crisis.  Individuals from different occupations have made their mark in so many courageous ways to help their communities.  However, the one group of people that have made the most visible and brave mark are our senior citizens who have been affected the most by the COVID-19 crisis.  People over the age of 60 have suffered life-loss, freedom-loss, and social-losses.  The grief of COVID-19 has been quite profound for our senior citizens.  Whether residing in their own homes or living in long-term care facilities, the pandemic has left a distinct mark on them.  Yet, they have dealt with this crisis with resilience and fortitude.


__________________________________________________________________

Here's how senior living facilities
are changing with the times



Much of the focus for modern product design is on how the next generation will embrace a product or concept. Terms like Millennial or Gen Z are thrown around when retailers talk about attracting new customers, and their needs and wants are often at the forefront of how something is designed.

The changing demands of the customer are also at the front of mind for developers of senior living communities. As Americans age, the needs and preferences of those moving into senior living facilities change. The challenge for the modern senior living designer and builder is to anticipate what the next generation will want.

“If you think about our original communities, they were 100 percent independent living,” said Nicolle Blais, chief operating officer for Statesman USA, part of The Statesman Group of Companies. “When we started to see a changing need in our existing resident and incoming resident, we said, lets make some adaptations within the building and let’s offer assisted living. And then, let’s offer memory care and then let’s get creative with some of the lifestyle offerings that we have.


_________________________________________________________________________

Do Not Let Life-Threatening Ailments Go
Unchecked During the Pandemic

By Kathleen A. Cameron

Hospitals across the country report that emergency department (ED) visits have declined significantly for illnesses not related to COVID-19. In particular, heart attacks and strokes appear to be going unchecked. Some hospitals also observe a decline in fall-related ED visits.

Doctors believe that people are so scared of contracting COVID-19 that they’re not seeking help for life-threatening ailments. Nationwide, nearly a third of adults say that they have delayed or avoided medical care because they are concerned about contracting COVID-19, according to a poll from the American College of Emergency Physicians. Nearly 75% of poll respondents also expressed concern about overstressing the health care system; more than half worried they won’t be able to see a doctor.



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BONUS ARTICLE

Adult Children 101: Navigating Life And Finances With Aging Parents
By Cindy Hounsell

You probably don’t know this, but May is Older Americans Month (and has been since 1963). This year’s theme is Make Your Mark - celebrating contributions older Americans make to communities—as volunteers, parents, grandparents, and more.

But as many Americans get older “not being a burden” would likely be part of their ideal Mark.

So here are a few things that adult children can do to help parents and grandparents keep their lives and financial future intact.






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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY JUNE 4TH 2020


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06.02.20


What Are You Afraid Of Most?

4 minutes


There are a lot of scary things out there now.

Marauding groups of protesters, marauding cops and marauding viruses are just some things people have to be afraid of. No wonder we hunker down in our bunkers, wishing the entire thing would just go away. Those are today’s fears. They are the latest “worries du jour’ and will eventually subside as the weeks, months and years go by. But, there remains in all of us, the fears and anxieties that are so much a part of who we are they never go away. For many, they have been with us for years.

For some older folks angst come in the form of suspicion. Some of it justified, some not.
 
Old folks have always been targets of con men who prey on the innocent natures of the elderly. And now, the internet has made it, if not worse, faster. Unscrupulous people can get your money before you realize you’ve been scammed.
 
I suppose finances have always been a problem as we get older. Most of us never seem to have enough money to make us feel comfortable when we open our wallets. Being on a fixed income doesn’t help much on that front.
 
My biggest fear, as some of you already know, is being homeless. 

 
I have had this fear for many years even though I have never been without a place to live, I always believe that whatever roof I have over my head is temporary and that I could lose it at any time.
 
That’s why I have always paid my rent or room & board fees on time. It’s why I make hotel reservations well before my stay and always confirm those reservations before I arrive. The thought of having to hunt for a room in a strange town scares the heck out of me.
 
Even now, when there is much here at the ALF I am not happy with and would like to be more vocal about, I hold back my anger so as not to give anybody a reason to kick me out. I know it’s irrational, but I can’t help it.
 
I’ve saved this fear for last. Maybe because it’s not a fear at all. It’s more of an inevitability that we don’t relish, but it’s something we can’t do much about.
 
I’m referring to death. Something, I dare say, we all have been thinking about a lot lately. Especially since we are among the most vulnerable groups on the planet affected by the worst Covid-19 offers.

I don’t have a problem with dying. I’ve come close enough to realize there are worse things. I just want it to be painless and on my own terms.

There’s another reason I won’t mind being dead. At least, I won’t have to worry about being homeless.

What scares you most?………………………….. 





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5 Summer Outdoor Safety Tips for the Elderly
By Robin Wright


As we approach summer again, it's time to make sure that you can enjoy the outdoors safely. The outdoors can be a great retreat from staying indoors all the time, but it's critical to take safety precautions for a number of reasons, especially in this time of COVID-19. Studies have indicated that the virus spreads less in the turbulent outdoor air than indoor environments, so it may be a welcome break to visit with family outdoors—but still at a safe physical distance, and, if possible, with masks. Please check with your doctor about your particular health condition and mask wearing, as it can be complicated for seniors with certain health conditions. In those cases, family and friends without health problems should still wear masks to protect their elderly loved ones. Follow this and these other summer safety tips and enjoy the outdoors as much as you can! And, as always, please contact At Home Personal Care at (703) 330-2323 for any questions about home care, skilled nursing care and senior healthcare issues.

1. Stay Hydrated the Right Way

Our elderly loved ones especially need to keep a cool water bottle handy on hot days as their bodies don't maintain moisture levels as efficiently as they used to. This makes dehydration a real danger. Staying hydrated may also require an electrolyte solution, depending on your individual needs. So, talk with your doctor about the right amount of water you need to stay healthy each day, especially during the summer when you may need more.





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Senior citizens deserve better
than to be left in isolation



On March 4, 2020, California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomSenior citizens deserve better than to be left in isolation Supreme Court denies California church's challenge to state restrictions Supreme Court denies Illinois churches' request for action after state eases restrictions MORE (D), and later the Los Angeles County Health Department, declared a state of emergency, which included mandatory lockdowns of all senior living centers and nursing homes.

This was prompted by events at a nursing home in Washington State, where many died of COVID-19 and precautions were inadequate.

Similar orders were soon promulgated all over the country, by most states and counties. Though the rest of society is now opening up, there is still little interest in lifting or modifying these senior care facility lockdown orders. Government seems determined to prevent any senior in a residential community from dying of COVID-19. That is a noble goal, but has unintended adverse consequences. 



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Sunshine Retirement CEO: We Can’t Sustain
Industry-Wide Lockdown For Much Longer

By Tim Regan


Like many other senior living providers in its shoes, Sunshine Retirement Living has not received any financial assistance from the government since the pandemic began, despite Covid-19 hurting its bottom line.

The provider’s occupancy has dipped 250 basis points in independent living and 800 basis points in memory care since the provider enacted its infection control strategy in the beginning of March. But CEO Luis Serrano is determined to make do with the hand that the Bend, Oregon-company was dealt, and he thinks the pandemic could have a silver lining, too. For instance, it might result in pent-up demand for senior living services or increased demand in middle-market senior living, a focus for Sunshine and its 32 communities. The provider’s “sweet spot” for rates lies between $1,800 and $3,500.

“We believe that some of that demand is just delayed … and hopefully we can capture at least part of that as states start reopening and families start feeling more comfortable,” Serrano told Senior Housing News. “It’s certainly hurting us financially.”




_________________________________________________________________________



Surveys Suggest Seniors Aren’t Using
Telehealth During COVID-19


Despite a nationwide shift to telehealth to replace most in-person visits during the coronavirus pandemic, seniors aren’t using connected health platforms to access care.

In a survey of roughly 1,000 seniors on Medicare Advantage plans conducted earlier this month by the Better Medicare Alliance, just 24 percent said they’ve used telehealth during the COVID-19 crisis. And just 52 percent of the seniors said they’d be comfortable using telehealth to access care, while 30 percent said they’d be uncomfortable and 18 percent were unsure.


Meanwhile, a Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll taken in March found that only 11 percent of those age 65 or older had used video-based telemedicine to talk to a doctor within the previous two weeks – even though 68 percent had access to the technology. In that survey, 38 percent of seniors said they had used video technology to talk to family or friends during the same time period.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Should You Plan a Trip This Summer?


Whether you had to cancel a vacation due to the coronavirus pandemic or are itching to plan one, you’re probably buzzing with travel questions. So, Next Avenue spoke to a few experts for their best advice.

After months of quarantine living, some people lately have begun leaving home and taking trips; more are expected to do so this summer and fall.

James Larounis, travel industry analyst for the Upgraded Points site, notes that the number of travelers going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints increased by 100,000 from March to April — to 230,000. By May 24, according to The Wall Street Journal, it hit 267,451. That’s still down markedly from over 2 million a year ago, though, since so many Americans are still fearful of traveling.








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06.01.20




7 minutes

I’ve been having some weird dreams lately. And, while I’m no shrink, my being locked down for almost 80 days surely has something to do with it.
 
They’re not hallucinations. I’m very familiar with those. And they are not my usual dreams either.
 
 
I’ve never had “shrooms” or dropped acid, or licked a frog, but they gave me some very powerful steroids [1] about 10 years ago which produced some vivid scenario’s in my head. Different from dreams, even the lurid kind, hallucinations make you the chief character of a “B” movie that has no beginning and no ending. It drops you into the middle of a story that is so real it’s like you are actually there.
 
You can feel, hear and smell things. Something ordinary dreams rarely offer. Here’s an example.
 
I was lying in my hospital bed waiting for the next procedure or test or IV, hopped-up on a pharmacopoeia of medications not knowing if I would ever walk out of there alive. The TV, suspended from the ceiling opposite me, was off. I was too ill to watch it. But I was not too ill to see what was coming out of that TV. Emerging from somewhere beneath the TVs chassis were beautiful, larger than life, Monarch butterflies. Hundreds of them. And headed right for me. As they passed my head I could hear, and feel, the sound of their wings as they fluttered by. I knew they weren’t really there. (unless Mt. Sinai hospital had a terrible bug problem), but I enjoyed the “show” anyway.

That was a happy hallucination. Pleasant, almost. But some were not. Many were terrifying and personal. They made me the victim or perpetrator of horrible events.

One hallucination had me being chased through the streets of some South American city by a mob of angry football fans who were trying to kill me. I could feel objects being thrown at me and hear my heart beating as I ran for my life. There were others with similar plots. 

Not all hallucinations happen in a dream state. One occurred while a nurse was changing an IV bag.
 
Just as she was finishing hanging some new medication I saw something move in the room's corner. It was a yellow-striped cat peeking out from behind a potted tree.
 
“Whose cat is that?” I said.
“Cat, where?” said the nurse.
“The one behind the plant in the corner,”, I replied.
“Sir. There is no cat and no plant in the room?” she chuckled.

I glanced back at the corner. The plant and the cat were still there. I kept my mouth shut.
 
At this point you are probably asking “Where can I get some of that stuff?” Believe me, you don’t want it.

Dreams are different. They are usually hazy and disconnected and feature characters you know, or have met. They often have recurring themes and you wake up before anything bad happens.
For years, I have dreamed I am driving a car (one that I or someone I know owned) and the brakes give out. As I hurtle hopelessly downhill, I attempt to slow the car down by bouncing it off curbs, trees and other parked cars. The dream always ends before I crash. [2]

But things have changed.

Since I have been in this lockdown/quarantine hell, no longer am I in a car. Now, I’m in prison. A big prison and the prisoners are many of the residents here at the ALF. But it’s not like an ordinary prison. This prison has no mess hall or exercise yard. The prisoners may not speak to other prisoners and they feed us terrible food, cooked by surly cooks who toss the meals at us in our cells. 

There are no visiting hours and council does not represent us.

The warden doesn’t respond to any of our requests and I have no idea how long my sentence is or when they will release me.


The worst part of this dream is I have it all day and all night. And I can’t wake up.

By now, you’ve guessed it’s not a dream. It’s all too real for me and about 200 other “inmates.”

A few miles from where I am lies the town of Ossining, NY.

It’s an ordinary town except, within its borders, is one of the most notorious prisons in the U.S.  The infamous Sing-Sing Penitentiary.

I wonder what the inmates there dream about.

From somewhere “Up the river” I wish you sweet dreams…………………………………… .

[1]The steroids were given to me during a lengthy hospital stay in an attempt to cure a GI problem I was having.They didn’t work.
[2]You don’t have to be a professional to analyze that dream. Yes. I’m a control freak and having no control over a car is a metafore for having no control over my life.





* * * *




Some people have received a second stimulus payment.
Here’s why you shouldn’t spend it.

By Karin Price Mueller


The IRS recently sent out prepaid debit cards to 4 million Americans. There’s been some confusion about the cards, in part because some recipients were expecting paper checks. Some have thrown out the debit cards.

...some... are reporting they have received a second round of stimulus payments. And it’s not a good idea to spend it.


The IRS didn’t give details when asked about the new extra payments, but it did refer us to the part of its website where people are instructed on how to return payments.

The website says if the payment was a paper check, write "void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check. Include a note explaining the reason you are returning the check, and mail it back. For those who live in New Jersey, the check should be mailed to: Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit, 333 W Pershing Rd., Mail Stop 6800, N-2, Kansas City, MO 64108.

If you already cashed a paper check or if the payment was a direct deposit, send a personal check along with an explanation to the same address. Make the check payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write “2020EIP” and your Social Security number on the check.

So if you get an extra payment, don’t spend it. Just wait for additional guidance from the IRS, which we’ll bring you once it’s available.




* * * *

Spring Goes On Without Us

While we here, at The Westchester Center are in a never-ending
lockdown, Spring happened. Caring not about social distancing or
face masks the flowers and plants that dot our grounds did their
thing as they do every Spring and Summer.
Early rains and sunny days produced a bumper crop of Roses and
Azaleas and other colorful blooms.
The trees too, are in full leaf providing a home for a variety of birds
That visit us. Even the wild turkeys are back fatter and bigger than ever.

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Estate Planning: Remaining at home as a senior citizen
By DENNIS FORDHAM


Many of my clients want to remain in their homes for as long as they are mentally and physically able to do so.

Nowadays, with the pandemic, people who avoid going into a residential care facility, such as an assisted living or a skilled nursing home, are much less likely to get COVID-19 and other communicable illnesses that spread easily in senior living facilities.

This reality motivates seniors to consider the option of remaining at home as long as possible.

If assistance is required with their activities of daily living then they want such assistance to be provided at home so long as it is feasible.

 



_________________________________________________________________________


Preventing COVID-19 in Assisted Living Facilities—
A Balancing Act

By Grace Y. Jenq, MD; John P. Mills, MD; Preeti N. Malani, MD


Since the initial cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were identified in the US, the unique vulnerability of older adults has been painfully demonstrated with several nursing home–associated outbreaks.1 The public health response, though entirely appropriate to halt transmission and save lives, requires draconian limits on movement and visitation.

As a consequence, similar interventions have been put into place in other residential communities, such as assisted living facilities. As the name implies, assisted living facilities provide older adults with a range of assistance for activities of daily living. Nearly 1 million older adults live in an estimated 25 000 assisted living facilities in the US, most with impairments in cognition or mobility.

In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Roxby and colleagues2 report the findings of a prospective surveillance study of COVID-19 in an independent and assisted living facility in Seattle, Washington. After 2 residents were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19, universal testing of all residents and staff using severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed through a cooperative effort with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health authorities.



______________________________________________________________________


Senior Housing Needs to Serve Residents Better


Ron, my significant other of 25 years, is a retired psychologist with Parkinson’s Disease. He lives in a small apartment in the assisted living section of the best continuing care community in the city, having moved there from independent living in October. He had begun to require more physical services but remained engaged in life and mentally alert.

When the coronavirus began to invade south Louisiana, however, Ron’s assisted-living facility responded with a reaction that I would call extreme and absolute, no doubt derived from a fear of contagion and a concern for their own liability. They effectively closed down the campus. But they hadn’t prepared for what that would mean to Ron and others like him.
Quarantined in the Assisted Living Facility

All visitors except caregivers were barred; neither Ron’s daughter and grandchildren nor I could visit. We couldn’t take him off campus, even just for lunch, or he’d then be confined to his unit for two weeks. All residents were required to remain on the premises except for medical appointments, when the facility’s van driver would take them.





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BONUS ARTICLE

Boomers Are the Future of AI and Virtual Reality, Not Millennials
By Nick Fouriezos

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because Baby Boomers have more disposable income, and more at stake, when it comes to futuristic tech.

Key takeaways:

    A growing number of firms are developing tech targeted specifically at older people — from speech recognition and robotic assistants to entertainment.
    As America and the world age, the A.I.-based elderly care industry is expected to cross $5.5 billion by 2022.

At the world’s largest consumer tech show, CES, a hot red Lamborghini with Amazon Alexa voice capability is surrounded by selfie-takers. In comparison, a relatively small crowd is gathered around an exhibit owned by an organization that, to the uninitiated, hardly screams innovation: the American Association for Retired Persons, America’s largest interest group for elders.

Yet the AARP, itself a sexagenarian, offers something arguably more groundbreaking than most of the trendy consumer products on the glitzy Las Vegas trade floor: A virtual reality program that could one day replace social media sites like Facebook or Instagram as the go-to spot for online interaction between friends and family. Dubbed the “Alcove,” the Oculus headset compatible platform recreates a standard home, with a couch to watch TV on, multiple rooms and a porch to see the view outside — whether you want that vista to be a beachfront, a cityscape, a grassy yard or a roiling sea.







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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY JUNE 2ND 2020


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




05.30.20


Still No Plan On The Horizon For Us
(Heck! There's Not Even An Horizon)


Editor's note: Forgive me if you have heard this topic before. It's been a bad week for me, and my frustration level is running on high. An email to the administration concerning the food produced no results or reply, and there are no signs of anything but more of the same being the norm. I am seriously considering involving the print or broadcast media in our situation or, at the very least, social media. Lots of things to ponder this weekend.


The one thing I’ve learned from this whole virus thing is, it’s good to have a plan.
 
We all saw, firsthand, how indecision and procrastination cannot only be costly but deadly too.
 
Today was a big day here in the Northeast for plans. The Tri-State area (NY, NJ and CT) have all announced that they plan to reopen businesses as early as next week. And not just essential business. Everything from restaurants, barber shops and even casinos and race tracks will cautiously begin a return to normal. Even those businesses whose openings will not come for another month at least know when they too may earn money again.
 
The only group that remains outside of any (known) plan is us. The residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. At least in my state, NY, anyway. So far only one state, Ohio, has announced a plan to allow limited visitations from friends and relatives. While it’s not a wide-open free for all, it shows at least someone has given us some thought.
 

There may be a plan, but we have heard nothing about it. In fact, we (residents) have heard very little from anybody for over a month. The lack of information and communication leads me to believe nobody at the state or county level have a clue as what to do with us or when to do it.
 
This week has been particularly tumultuous for America.
 
The horrible incident in Minneapolis and other places shows prejudice is alive and well.
 
Unfortunately, while all the other hyphenated minorities can demonstrate their frustrations and get some results, one group remains out of the loop. The other hyphenated citizens. Older-Americans.  
 
 
Soon the rest of the country may lie on a beach, drop coins in a slot machine, attend day camp or bet on f***ing horses while me, and my companions, quietly sit here stewing in our own juices watching the world, and life, go on without us.  We are helpless minority, our fate in the hands of clueless people whose only plan is to keep us from dropping dead on their watch.
 
78 days and counting. But to where?……………………………………… 



* * * *




THE '411' ON THE CAP ON INSULIN PRICES
DO YOU QUALIFY?




Seniors in Certain Part D Plans, Medicare Advantage to
See Insulin Costs Capped in 2021

By Allison Inserro and Mary Caffrey

President Trump announced the plan today at the White House, accompanied by insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, as well as AHIP and major health plans.

CMS said Tuesday that senior citizens who use insulin for diabetes and are enrolled in Medicare Advantage and certain Part D pharmaceutical plans will see co-pays drop by 66% in 2021 and capped at $35.

President Donald Trump announced the plan at the White House, accompanied by insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Sanofi, as well as America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and major health plans.



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No Intubation — For Some, COVID-19
Changed Their Living Will



Last month, Minna Buck revised a document specifying her wishes should she become critically ill.

“No intubation,” she wrote in large letters on the form, making sure to include the date and her initials.

For some, this is their greatest fear: being hooked to a machine, helpless, with the end of life looming.

Buck, 91, had been following the news about COVID-19. She knew her chances of surviving a serious bout of the illness were slim. And she wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be put on a ventilator under any circumstances.


___________________________________________________________________

Study: Older adults underrepresented
in cholesterol drug trials


Women are also underrepresented in the same trials

A recent study shows that the people most likely to be affected by heart disease — older adults and women — are the least represented in randomized clinical trials for cholesterol-lowering medications.

Older adults are more likely than young adults to have heart and vascular disease while the leading cause of death in women is heart disease, according to a press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine.


But in an analysis of the trends in the types of 485,409 people enrolled in 60 studies from 1990 to 2018, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine found that despite some progress, older adults and women are still vastly underrepresented in lipid-lowering therapy trials compared to their disease burden.


_________________________________________________________________________

No telling how long COVID-19
will challenge senior living



Although economists have proposed an alphabet soup of possible economic recovery outcomes from the pandemic, for the seniors housing industry in particular, recovery will be exclusively tied to what happens with the COVID-19 virus.

“Instead of a U-curve or a V-curve, I view the industry’s recovery as the track of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” Aegis Living CEO Dwayne Clark said Friday during a Marcus & Millichap webinar that examined the future of investments in senior living.

John Chang, senior vice president of research services at Marcus & Millichap, took a similar position. He noted that as the firm has attempted to develop modeling forecasts for the industry, uncertainty has been problematic.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Benefits of Dog Walking in Older Adults

By Susha Cheriyedath

Research has shown that pet ownership offers a lot of health benefits to older adults. The bond between pets and their owners can help lower stress and provide happiness to the owners, while also helping increase their fitness levels.


The health benefits of owning a pet include decreased cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decreased blood pressure, constant companionship, and more opportunities for socialization.

One study that explored the link between bonding / walking with a dog and health status of older adults found that walking a dog was associated with lower BMI, fewer visits to the doctor, and significantly increased activity levels.







<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY JUNE 1ST 2020


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05.29.20




It’s dinnertime here at the ALF, and I just threw the entire thing in the garbage. Chicken leg and all. I could have had a sandwich, but I could barely eat the one I had for lunch. I’m fed-up, distraught, depressed and annoyed. But the one thing I’m not is angry.
 
After 76 days in this macabre situation, a literal prisoner in my home, I should be angry. The problem is, there’s nobody to be angry at.
 
Yes, I can direct my anger over the food to the administration, and I have. But the food, the isolation and all the rest of the craziness are because of a world-wide tragedy, a pandemic, a villainous act without a villain at whom to direct our wrath.
 
Sure, there’s the city in China where we think the virus first made its appearance. But you can’t get angry at an entire city. And who knows if that’s where it really came from.
 
What about pati
ent zero? The bastard. Let’s find him and string him up by his face mask. Well maybe, if we knew who it was and if they’re not already dead.
 
Politicians are always a ready target for our loathing. And lord knows, they have given us plenty of reasons to make us mad. Unfortunately, even in their ignorance or downright stupidity, all of this is not their fault. They are only the unwilling ally of an already well-entrenched enemy.
 
I suppose we could be angry at the virus itself. But the virus is a mindless, almost invisible entity put on this earth for some unknown sinister purpose. Go ahead, get angry. But you’ll look like Don Quixote flailing his sword at a windmill.

America needs an enemy with a face. Preferably one that doesn’t look or speak American.

If this virus wore a turban and spoke a funny language, we’d have ended this weeks ago……


* * * *



Controlling Anger — Before It Controls You


We all know what anger is, and we've all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage.

Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion. This brochure is meant to help you understand and control anger.

The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.

Are You Too Angry?

There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.

Why Are Some People More Angry Than Others?





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This FYI has nothing to do with our topic. It just makes me feel better.
It remids us of when we had time to wonder about something so trivial.





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 What’s Behind the Nursing Home Horror
By Charles C. Camosy

After decades of mistreatment, older Americans are bearing the worst of the pandemic.

We knew it from the beginning. A nursing home in Washington State was the center of the first known coronavirus outbreak in the United States. We knew that institutions caring for the elderly and disabled in close quarters would be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic.

But we did not act. Personal protective equipment, special training and extra staff went almost exclusively to our critical care facilities. Nursing homes got virtually nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. In New York and other places we gave them patients, and even nurses, infected with the virus.

The result has been a raging wildfire of infection and death. We don’t have full reporting of anywhere close to all the deaths at this point, but the best estimates right now are that about half of those who have died from Covid-19 have been nursing home residents. In some places, it’s much more: Connecticut reported that nearly 90 percent of its Covid-related deaths between April 22 and April 29 occurred in nursing homes.



________________________________________________________________________

Distress in seniors surges amid coronavirus pandemic
What seniors really need during the coronavirus pandemic

By Judith Graham

As states relax coronavirus restrictions, older adults are advised, in most cases, to keep sheltering in place. But for some, the burden of isolation and uncertainty is becoming hard to bear.

This "stay at home awhile longer" advice recognizes that older adults are more likely to become critically ill and die if infected with the virus. At highest risk are seniors with underlying medical conditions such as heart, lung or autoimmune diseases.

Yet after two months at home, many want to go out into the world again. It is discouraging for them to see people of other ages resume activities. They feel excluded. Still, they want to be safe.
Growing isolation


______________________________________________________________________

Trump Unveils Plan To Cap Insulin Costs For Seniors
By Ayesha Rascoe



Seniors with diabetes will be able to sign up for Medicare plans that cap their co-payments for insulin at $35 a month beginning next year, the White House announced on Tuesday.

The news comes as some polls show Trump's support slipping with seniors, a voting bloc that may play a pivotal role in the November election. In 2016, he won over older voters, but recent polls show him trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The new options for reducing insulin costs are the result of an agreement reached by the Trump administration with insulin manufacturers and major insurance companies.


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BONUS ARTICLE

York County woman kept dead grandmother in
 a freezer for years to collect Social Security

By Jenna Wise

A York Haven woman stowed her grandmother’s remains in a freezer for 15 years so their family could continue to collect her Social Security, Pennsylvania State Police said.

Glenora Reckord Delahay died at her Ardmore home in March 2004, but wasn’t found until state police got a report last year of human remains inside a Warrington Township home.

Delahay’s granddaughter Cynthia Carolyn Black told police she kept her grandmother’s body because her family needed the income. She even moved the freezer from Ardmore to Dillsburg in 2007, state police said.






<30>



NEXT BLOG SATURDAY MAY 30TH 2020


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05.28.20




3 minutes


The Declaration Of Independence was very specific. It had to be. The drafters of that document wanted to make their intentions very clear. Not for a new nation, but for the rest of the world. They wrote each sentence, each line carefully. That’s why the phrase “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness” was written in that order. It was important everyone know LIFE was the most valued possession people can have. 244 years later, we have other priorities. Made clear by the actions of so many this past Memorial Day weekend.
 
One look at the photos of the crowds at a pool near The Lake of The Ozark’s Missouri shows that ignoring social distancing and wearing masks (or even clothes for that matter) has nothing to do with the economy or even our rights as Americans. In 2020, Hedonism is the new inalienable right with LIFE coming in a poor third.

At the risk of being called a “Youth-basher” or old fuddy-duddy, I sadly noticed most of those at that pool, and the beaches and the restaurants, mask-less and close together, were young.
 
While I understand the exuberance of youth and their inability to respect mortality, I don’t understand their ignoring the possibility of spreading the virus to others. As one feckless youth said, “If you don’t want to get the virus, stay home.”
 
That kind of thinking is a direct incursion on me and my liberties and everybody who has to leave their homes to work or buy food or just get some exercise. It’s as much of an assault as if they took a two-by-four and attacked me with it. But what can you expect when you have a “leader” who thinks it’s macho to not wear a mask in public, doesn’t believe in science, ignores all the advice from experts and thinks the virus is a plot to stop his reelection. And now, with the death toll officially placed at 100,000, it’s apparent that, in his twisted logic, he believes the sanctity LIFE is just an afterthought.………………………………… 


* * * *



7 Sources of Free Legal Services for Seniors
Get legal help for seniors – free!



As a caregiver, part of the job is to help your older adult take care of legal matters and make sure important documents are complete and up-to-date.

That could include setting up an estate plan or making sure that essential legal documents like a living will and power of attorney are in place.

It might also include figuring out how to pay for long-term care, qualifying for Medicaid, or dealing with housing problems and other disputes that require legal action.

But legal services can be costly, especially for seniors on a fixed income.

Fortunately, there are many nonprofit and community organizations that provide free and low-cost legal services to older adults.

Here, we’ve rounded up 7 sources of free legal help for seniors.

1. Legal Aid

2. Community legal services for seniors

3. Pro Bono programs

4. LegalHotlines.org

5. National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)

6. Employer-sponsored legal services

7. Additional low-cost legal services for seniors




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43% Of COVID-19 Deaths Are In Nursing Homes
& Assisted Living Facilities Housing 0.6% Of U.S.

By Avik Roy


Americans are vigorously debating the merits of continuing to lock down the U.S. economy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A single statistic may hold the key to resolving this debate: the astounding share of deaths occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities: The #1 COVID problem

2.1 million Americans, representing 0.62% of the U.S. population, reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. (Nursing homes are residences for seniors needing help with activities of daily living, such as taking a shower or getting dressed, who also require 24/7 medical supervision; assisted living facilities are designed for seniors who need help with activities of daily living, but don’t require full-time on-site medical supervision.)

According to an analysis that Gregg Girvan and I conducted for the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, as of May 22, in the 39 states that currently report such figures, an astounding 43% of all COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


How to manage care of loved ones in
assisted living facilities


The “sandwich generation” is the point in adulthood when we must balance the responsibilities of parenting along with the responsibilities of caring for parents who are experiencing a decline in health and independence.

This period involves the stress of meeting the needs of both the elder and younger generation, without the support we once received from parents. While the financial and time demands during this time may be taxing, many also experience feelings of frustration and helplessness as they witness their beloved parents lose their autonomy and independence.

The current pandemic and resulting social distancing and quarantine requirements have robbed those in the sandwich generation of whatever sense of control they may have maintained. No longer able to visit and provide the same intimate contact that our parents enjoy, we are left feeling helpless and guilty.  The increased health risk faced by older adults creates even more uncertainty and need for control, despite the helplessness of the situation.


__________________________________________________________________

Long-term care residents face mental health challenges
amid coronavirus pandemic isolation

By Jacob Myers


Restrictions on visitors and general movement inside Ohio’s long-term care facilities remain in place despite the return of some Ohioans to workplaces and into commercial areas. Those restrictions have made it a challenge to preserve the mental health of facility residents.

Carolee Noonan noticed a change in her mother when they spoke a week before her death.

Her mother, Helen Watkins, was living at Wesley Glen, an assisted living facility in Clintonville, and hadn’t seen her daughter, whom she depended on, for more than a month.

“She said repeatedly, ‘I wish I were dead. I can’t do this much longer. I’m going to die tonight. I feel like I’m going to die.’” Noonan said.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Americans take a dim view of raiding their Social Security
to cover pandemic expenses, poll finds

By Lorie Konish


Americans could use a financial boost. How to get that money into people’s hands has been a hot topic of debate.

Democrats have proposed expanding unemployment insurance and giving Americans as much as $2,000 per month to get back on their feet.

Meanwhile, one Republican proposal has called for giving Americans $11,000 now in exchange for every year they agree to delay their Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage.

Now, a poll conducted by Data For Progress and Social Security Works, an advocacy organization, asked Americans which of those two options they would pick. They also asked if people think the government has already done enough.






<30>



NEXT BLOG FRIDAY MAY 29TH 2020


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05.27.20




4 minutes

After having met my states guidelines the county where I live, today, relaxed the rules governing the reopening of certain businesses closed since mid-March. And frankly, I’m scared.
 
Two months ago this county, Westchester County, New York, was the hotbed of Covid-19 infection in the nation. Where I am sitting now was only 7 miles away from ground zero, the city of New Rochelle where some of the first cases were reported. Fortunately, the county recognized the situation and quickly shut things down. Apparently it worked. Today there are no recent cases of the virus reported in New Rochelle or the immediate area. That’s a good thing. But all is not rosy pandemicville. And it has to do with geography.

 
The problem, and it is a problem, is that now “open” Yonkers (the city in which I live) borders directly on the still ‘closed’ and presumably infectious New York City borough of The Bronx. And since you don’t need a passport, citizenship papers, a green card or work permit to enter Yonkers, you darn well know who will drive over the border to shop and enjoy our parks and even our beaches. And this frightens me.

It frightens me, not because I believe that NYC residents will flood the streets infecting everybody they meet. No, but the math and the way we calculate the spread of infectious diseases says otherwise. Even if the vast majority of people entering our city comply with all the social distancing procedures, there will be a new influx of the virus. And that directly affects me.
 
I’ve been languishing in this perpetual quarantine hell for 75 days. I was hoping with incidents of infection in our area diminishing we would see some relaxation of the rules implemented way back on March 13.
 
I had hoped we could at least reopen all or part of our dining area so we no longer have to suffer the contemptible meals they feed us. [1] But now, I doubt it. In fact, infection control measures have become more stringent.
 
Hand sanitizers are hanging all over the place and they have placed adhesive-tape lines on all the rugs and floors at 6-foot intervals because the state has increased the protection guidelines for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This can only mean one thing. There is no end in sight for us residents who have become virtual prisoners in our own home.

Now before you call me a communist or anti-business, let me inform you I was once one of those folks who owned a small business so I’m well aware of the difficulties those people face. Further, let me say I have no problem with businesses opening on a cautious and limited basis. What I have difficulty with is those dingbats who think an open restaurant or barber shop or shoe store means they can toss the mask aside as they cough and sneeze their way down the street or on a beach. Every one of those people who refuse, either out of some misguided notion that their liberties are being infringed upon, or because they are just plain stupid are keeping me locked down for another day or week or month….
 

[1] One of the methods suggested is having a limited number of residents dining alone at socially distant tables. Or, a buffet where residents could grab a hot, fresh meal and bring it back to their rooms.
 

* * * *




How to Put on and Remove a Face Mask

What is a face mask

Face masks are one tool utilized for preventing the spread of disease.  They may also be called dental, isolation, laser, medical, procedure, or surgical masks. Face masks are loose-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth, and have ear loops or ties or bands at the back of the head. There are many different brands and they come in different colors. It is important to use a face mask approved by the FDA.

What is a face mask used for

Facemasks help limit the spread of germs.  When someone talks, coughs, or sneezes they may release tiny drops into the air that can infect others. If someone is ill a face masks can reduce the
number of germs that the wearer releases and can protect other people from becoming sick.  A face mask also protects the wearer’s nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of body fluids.

When should a face mask be worn

Consider wearing a face mask when you are sick with a cough or sneezing illness (with or without fever) and you expect to be around other people.  The face mask will help protect them from catching your illness.  Healthcare settings have specific rules for when people should wear face masks.




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The Pandemic Paradox for Older Workers

Americans of all ages are feeling the devastating economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. But older workers in their 50s and 60s — especially women — have been among the hardest hit. Based on recent studies and views of retirement and aging experts, this much is clear: The whacks older workers have felt to their jobs and retirement savings may have long-lasting, painful financial implications for many of them.

“The pandemic could be devastating to older workers who are too young to retire and are forced out of work,” said Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

In his recent webinar I attended, about COVID-19 and an aging society, London Business School economics professor Andrew Scott noted that the combination of job losses and investment losses (the Dow is down 14% this year) will mean more older workers will need to work more years than they had planned, if they can.

‘The Labor Market Is Going to Be a Tough Place for Older Workers’


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Routines a must for seniors in age of isolation
By Maria Sonnenberg

While many of us recently have been spending our days awaiting the arrival of the package delivery guy or binging on the exploits of “The Goldbergs,” Eunice Zelle has found a way to gain peace and happiness during this quarantine period with the simpler things in life.

Zelle is not a young woman and she is medically fragile with an oxygen tank by her side, but the resident of Courtenay Springs Village on Merritt Island is enjoying the garden she created on the small porch of her digs at the assisted living facility.

Her garden is as miniscule as Annie, the little dog that is her constant companion, but bigger is not necessarily better for Zelle.

“I want to let everyone know that I am growing a garden right outside on my front porch to keep me busy during this time,” said Zelle, who moved to Courtenay Springs four years ago.


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What Women 50+ Want From Financial Advisers:
Much More Than Men


Recent research from the Hearts & Wallets financial research firm found that when women and men 50+ were asked what they want from financial advisers and financial services firms, the percentage of women saying they wanted something was far more than men. Those factors deemed more important to women ranged from low fees to a person or team assigned to their account to online account access and tools to clear and useful statements to sharing their values.

The biggest gaps between what women and men told Hearts & Wallets were important to them from advisers and financial firms: “has specialized expertise,” “explains things in understandable terms,” “has been in business a long time” and “is proactive when market changes/when I’m losing money.” (One caveat: Hearts & Wallets only looked at two genders, and some people don’t define themselves as men or women.)

    Women’s attitudes have been shifting to an “I demand respect and performance” attitude when working with money pros.







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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY MAY 28TH 2020


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05.26.20



6 minutes

2012 was a dreadful year for me. I was at one of the lowest points of my life.
 
Physical therapy back at the nursing home was progressing, but at a very slow rate.
 
Two years there, mostly in a wheelchair, was playing havoc with my psyche and my body.
 
And then, as if I needed anything else, they diagnosed me with a potential thyroid problem which had caused my calcium level to spike well above the norm. They sent me to a local hospital for tests and treatment, which stretched in to a two-week stay.
 
Knowing that would set my PT back plus having to go through test after test to cure my calcium problem and then, having nothing more to look forward to except more time in the nursing home and I as ready to pack it in.
 
They speak about seeing a light at the end of a tunnel. Well, not only was there no light, there wasn’t even a tunnel.
 
But fortunately, about three days into that two-week stay, I met a doctor who changed not only my short-term outlook but how I would cope with whatever came at me for the foreseeable future.

Mental health professionals had visited me in the past.
 
Anyone who spends more than a week in a healthcare facility will receive a visit from a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
 
At the nursing home it was routine. A “shrink du jour” would stop by my room at least once a month, presumably to see if I was still cognitive of my whereabouts and whether I had any inkling of doing myself in. The latter being the primary reason for the session. How do I know this? Because the first question they ask me, even before asking me how I’m feeling, was always “Have you ever thought about suicide or doing harm to yourself.” At that point I throw them out of my room. They’re not interested in my happiness or my mental health. They only want to make sure I don’t kill myself on their watch. They are covering their, and the facility’s asses.
 
Therefore, when yet another psych-doc walked into my hospital room that day, I was prepared to read her my usual speech and send her packing. But I didn’t. Because, instead of her first words being of a self-serving ass-covering nature, they were something different.

“Why are you in a nursing home?” She asked after telling me she was a psychiatrist and if she could speak to me.
 
I told her my story, leaving nothing out.
 
We talked at length about my immediate family (there was none) and my marital situation (there was none anymore) and my surgeries and my life generally. I rattled off one ugly detail after another. Something I had never done with anybody.
 
After about forty minutes, during which she had let me do all the talking, I was done. Then, without a pause, she gave me her diagnosis.
 
“My God,”, she said. “I’m surprised you’re handling it as well as you are. No wonder you are feeling so lousy. You’re depressed as hell.”
 
This was the first time being diagnosed with depression and I didn’t know how to take it.

“There’s help, Bruce. I will prescribe an antidepressant,”, she said.
 
I must have made a face because her next words were, “No, they’re not what you think. They’re won’t make you woozy or sleepy or anything like that. They just help take the edge off so you can concentrate on getting well,” she said.
 
I won’t go into detail about how the medication works or how it affects me. I’ll only say that it has helped me tremendously.
 
With that medication, and the medication they gave me to correct the calcium problem, I could complete my rehab and eventually leave that Godforsaken nursing home.
 
I continue to take that antidepressant. Frankly, I don’t think I could handle all of this current crap without it. Even with it, I can feel a strain on my mind and body. But I’m able to hold it together. I just wish I knew for how much longer………….
 


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Symptoms of Depression: 10 Warning Signs

People with serious depression do not all have the same symptoms, but they may include:

Sadness. When feeling sad is a symptom of depression, it may include feeling hopeless and empty. You may find that no matter how hard you try, you just can't control your negative thoughts. You may find yourself crying for no obvious reason.

Guilt. People with severe depression may feel that they are worthless and helpless. They may even experience their depression as a sign of weakness, and can be overly self-critical.

Irritability. This depression symptom may cause you to feel angry, anxious, or restless. Men who are seriously depressed often express their depression through aggression or reckless behavior.

Mental symptoms. If you have trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering details, these could be symptoms of depression. People with depression may feel that their thought processes have slowed down.

Physical symptoms. People with depression often have aches and pains, headaches, or digestive problems that do not seem to have any other medical cause and do not respond to treatment.

Loss of energy. If you have depression, you may feel tired all the time. People with depression may feel that their physical abilities are slowed down.

Loss of interest. A common depression symptom is loss of interest in pleasurable activities like sex, hobbies, or social interactions. This may also show up as neglecting your responsibilities and your physical grooming.

Sleep changes. Waking up too early in the morning, not being able to fall asleep, or sleeping too much can all be symptoms of depression.

Appetite changes. Changes in eating habits due to depression can result in eating too much or too little. A weight gain or loss of more than 5 percent of your body weight in one month is one of the warning signs of depression. Some people experience a loss of interest in food, while for others food becomes a way of compensating for feelings of depression.

Suicidal thoughts. Having thoughts of harming yourself is a serious symptom of depression and always needs to be taken seriously. If you’re thinking about suicide, you need to get help immediately.

Symptoms of Depression: No Shame or Weakness

If you have some of these classic symptoms of depression and the symptoms are severe and have lasted longer than a few weeks, you should seek help. The best place to start is with your doctor.





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Memorial Day is not supposed to be about the sales or the food.
But as we all know it really is. This year, with this virus Americans
have lost so much of what we hold dear.
Usually, here at the ALF, we would have had an old fashioned
barbecue with burgers and franks and chicken, corn on the cob and
watermelon. This year, none of that. Our celebration was reduced
to what you see below.





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Assisted living ‘ignored’ in COVID-19 discussions,
expert tells Senate Aging Committee



Thursday’s Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing was held in one of three hearing rooms that can accommodate social distancing, Sen. Susan Collins, chair, said. Some committee members attended the hearing in person, whereas others participated from remote locations.

Although assisted living communities are home to residents who “are completely just as vulnerable” as nursing home residents to COVID-19, “we sort of tend to ignore them in these situations” because the communities are licensed by states instead of the federal government and don’t receive much funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, one expert witness told the Senate Special Committee on Aging on Thursday.

“There is a tendency to focus only on nursing homes, and in many states, assisted living facilities look very much like nursing homes in terms of the level of care needed and provided and the vulnerability of the residents,” said R. Tamara Konetzka, Ph.D., a professor of health services research at the University of Chicago.


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When Can I See My Grandkids?
By Tara Parker-Pope


Grandparents have had enough. They want to see their grandchildren.

A life in seemingly endless lockdown and isolation from grandchildren is not how grandparents want to spend their golden years. But adult children don’t want to risk exposing an older, more vulnerable generation to the new coronavirus during a family visit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that eight out of 10 deaths from Covid-19 are in people aged 65 and older.

But a healthy life is more than just physical health. Loneliness is also a general predictor of decline and death in people over 60. As reality sets in that pandemic living will be measured in months and possibly years, grandparents are asking, “How can I safely visit my grandchildren?”

“This is a tricky one because older people are particularly vulnerable to this virus,” said Julia Marcus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor in the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Of course the safest approach is to avoid any interactions with grandparents, but that won’t be sustainable for everyone, and there are important ways to minimize risk if people do choose to see older relatives.”


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States Enact Good Samaritan Broker Laws

On January 22, 2016, the members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) released the Senior Model Act.  It was developed and approved to serve as a model statute for states to adopt to target financial exploitation of seniors and to shield from liability brokers and brokerage firms who acted to assist those seniors. The Senior Model Act comports with a multitude of legislation and regulatory protection for seniors. Broadly stated, the Senior Model Act proposes language for legislation that would require “qualified individuals” such as broker-dealers and investment advisers, and those who work in a supervisory or legal capacity for them, to report any suspicions of financial elder abuse. The Senior Model Act proposes the protection of “eligible adults,” defined as those over the age of 65.

Key Provisions of the Senior Model Act:


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BONUS ARTICLE

The secret behind Biden's strength with seniors

By Alexi McCammond & Margaret Talev

President Trump's declining support among older voters since the coronavirus took hold is well documented, but new data offers a clearer understanding of why that's happening — and how it could impact the November election.

The big picture: Among the 65+ crowd, it's women driving the exodus. Joe Biden's appeal with senior men climbed during his surprise comeback to be the presumed Democratic nominee, but not necessarily at Trump's expense — and new polling suggests it may be ebbing in any case.

    The coronavirus matters, but so does health care policy overall.

By the numbers: A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows Biden leading Trump by 22 points among female voters 65+, while Trump leads Biden by 11 points among older men. That's what gets Biden to a 10-point overall lead over the president among seniors.





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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY MAY 27TH 2020


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05.25.20


7 minutes

Today we celebrate Memorial Day. A day when we honor those who have fallen fighting for America’s freedom in wars far from our shores. But today is unlike any Memorial Day we have ever celebrated. Not because there will be no parades or large invite-the-whole-family barbecues or even many graveside ceremonies. It is different because we find ourselves, for the first time since the Civil War, fighting a war on our own soil. And, while we have always done well when we fight overseas in someone else’s land, we now find that, when the battle comes to our streets and our beaches the fight doesn’t always go as planned. We do a terrible job.
 
In the past we had no problem sending billions of dollars worth of men and equipment, at breakneck speed to places in the world most Americans never heard of. And, while there, our forces spared no effort to contain whatever enemy we faced. Not winning was not an option. And yet, when faced with a rabid enemy in our backyards, we had a problem sending masks and respirators and protective clothing to New York and Los Angeles and all the other cities that begged for help at the start of this conflict. The richest country in the world, a nation that spends trillions on missiles and ships and planes to protect and defend our homeland, suddenly has a problem finding an impetus to fight an enemy that has the potential to destroy everything we fought those wars for.

What should have been a rapid response by our government made without bias or the influence of politics became, instead, a partisan free-for-all with both sides wielding their swords at each other to show who was more concerned about the health and welfare of their supporters than doing something about it.
 
Can you imagine if, on December 7th 1941, Congress debated the pros and cons of protecting ourselves from an enemy bent on wiping us out? Of course not. It was, as it should have been now, a no-brainer. So, what makes this war different from the others? Is it the enemy or something else?
 
It’s easy to fig
ht someone or something that you can see. It’s easier still if that someone has yellow skin, wears a turban or goosesteps under a twisted flag. But when something is so small that we cannot even see it with the naked eye and won’t die no matter what we throw at it, rallying around the flag becomes more difficult. But it shouldn’t be that way. We should have treated this enemy like any other. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Not because we couldn’t but because we didn’t have the leadership qualified to recognize the threat and act upon it with alacrity. Even when they warned him about it as early as January.

While you can debate the timing, you cannot ignore the fact that the warning was tossed aside and viewed as the rantings of a pro-Chinese, anti-American group of whiners know as the WHO.
 
World War two showed us it takes not only the same leadership qualities that brought us out of a depression a decade before, but the decisiveness it takes to win a conflict such as the world had never seen. We had men like FDR and Eisenhower and MacArthur. Men who governed and lead not by bullying or threats but by knowing the strength of the enemy and that listening to their staff was not a sign of weakness. Recent events have shown us we no longer have that leadership. Instead we have, well, you know what we have.
 
As I write this over 100,000 Americans will have died from this virus. Not as many as died in WW2, but more than the 50 thousand plus who sacrificed themselves in Vietnam. How many of those 100,000 died in vain? I dare say most.
 
While I know we will win this war, I am reluctant to believe history will show we learned anything from it. Except perhaps we were more dependent on the President than we thought.
 
Therefore, today, as we sit either by ourselves or in small groups celebrating as best we can, we need to not only remember those who gave their lives fighting oppression in foreign wars but the tens of thousands who perished in just the last three months right here at home and can't celebrate with us. And to remember how we found ourselves in this position………………………….. .
 
 
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Barbecuing a chicken today
Here’s some food for thought




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Isolation spurs problems among
senior care center residents

By  Jordan Chavez


Isolation can lead to stress and depression. A downward turn in a person's mental health can also have adverse effects on their physical health.

Current public health orders are in place to protect our most vulnerable populations, but some families of residents in senior care centers say those very rules are starting to become the problem.

That's the concern of Sara Spaulding, the daughter of Warren, 89, and Janet, 90, Spaulding who currently reside in an assisted living facility in Golden.


Sara said her parents have lived there for about two years now. Before that the couple was adventurous biking across Europe in their 70s and skiing into their 80s before Janet blew out her second knee, Sara said.

"They have been unbelievably active in their lives," she said.

Even in their new living situation, the couple remained active -- regularly attending exercise classes, going to happy hours and dancing.


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 America’s seniors, sacrificed
on the altar of reopening

By Dana Milbank


“As we take steps to safely reopen our country, we must remain especially vigilant in sheltering the most vulnerable older Americans,” President Trump declared last month, duly reading words that had been written for him.

If only he had meant them.

Of all his unkept promises, this one is particularly personal for me.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been juggling my day job with helping my wife, sister-in-law and brother-in-law to provide care in our homes for two elderly relatives with serious health conditions, cancer and diabetes among them. We removed them from their assisted-living facility when the first covid-19 case hit there. “GET THEM OUT!” their doctor demanded, and he was probably right. Cases there quickly grew to more than a dozen. Though our lives became a blur of doctors, quarantines and prescriptions, we figured that if we could keep them safe for a while, federal and state governments would fix the group-living problem with the necessary testing, equipment and infection control.

That didn’t happen. Now we’re sending them back to the facility, aware that it could be a fateful choice. But they would be no safer with us as the economy reopens: Kids return to their orthodontists, camps and schools, and we return to postponed appointments and eventually offices and mass transit.


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Coronavirus could wipe out
Social Security COLA for 2021

By Brittany De Lea


Negative economic fallout related to the coronavirus pandemic is already expected to put pressure on the solvency of the Social Security trust fund, but it could also hit beneficiaries’ checks in 2021.

Recipients look forward to a possible benefit increase each year, known as a cost of living adjustment (COLA). That increase, however, is tied to inflation – which has been depressed by the pandemic.

Based on the consumer price index data through April, which measures inflation, the Senior Citizens League estimates the cost of living adjustment for 2021 will be 0.

The COLA for 2020 was 1.6 percent.


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BONUS ARTICLE

GOP ‘plot to gut Social Security behind closed doors’
gains steam in Senate Covid-19 talks



A proposal by Sen. Mitt Romney to establish congressional committees with the specific goal of crafting legislative “solutions” for America’s federal trust fund programs has reportedly resurfaced in GOP talks over the next Covid-19 stimulus package, sparking alarm among progressive advocates who warn the Utah Republican’s bill is nothing but a stealth attack on Social Security and Medicare.

Politico‘s Burgess Everett reported Wednesday that Romney’s TRUST Act, first introduced last October with the backing of a bipartisan group of senators, “is getting a positive reception from Senate Republicans” in coronavirus relief discussions, which are still in their early stages. The legislation, Everett noted, “could become part of the mix” for the next Covid-19 stimulus as Republicans once again claim to be concerned about the growing budget deficit.

Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), told Common Dreams in an interview that he is not at all surprised to see Romney’s bill crop up again and said it should be diligently opposed.






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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY MAY 26TH 2020


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05.24.20




5-6 minutes


After 70 days it was bound to happen. I’m cracking under the pressure.
 
Perhaps not so much crack as giving up.
 
At the start of this mishegoss in late March and early April I was at the door of the kitchen almost every day here at the Asylum screaming at the kitchen staff about the poor quality of the food they were feeding us.
 
Now, even though the food has not improved and actually may be worse, I’ve done nothing. My fighting spirit is gone.
 
I fear I am succumbing to the two ‘afflictions’ prevalent at many assisted living facilities. Lethargy and apathy.
 
And I know I’m not the only one.
 

In a brief conversation with a fellow member of the resident’s council and another with the head of our resident’s food committee, the feeling I got from them was one of desperation and resignation.
 
Is it possible that this feeling of hopelessness and the inability to change the inevitable is a side effect of this lengthy quarantine and separation?

I’m sure if I searched the web I could find some scholarly opinion backing me up on that. But I’m too apathetic to care.
 
If things like apathy, lethargy and desperation are too nebulous for you to comprehend how about something more pathological. Like feet.
 
I awoke the other morning to find both of my feet swollen to the point where I could not put shoes on them.
 
My feet have not been this swollen since when I first moved here almost 7 years ago.
 
I was fresh from a nursing home where my mobility was severely curtailed. It appears I may revert to that time completely wiping out any progress I have made in the last 7 years.
 
I spoke with the traveling podiatrist who visits here once a week to check the feet and clip the nails of our residents.
 
Performing no tests. His initial diagnosis was that the edema was most likely caused by not walking as much as I had been. My tendency is to agree with him.
 
The truth is, I’ve been hardly walking at all since this who thing began.

 
Add to that the salt-heavy processed food they’ve been feeding us and I’m not surprised my feet are the way they are.
 
 
Meanwhile, I’m trying to walk more. But it’s difficult with swollen feet.
 

Under normal circumstances I would walk three to four times a day just going and coming from the dining room or other activities. Now, we don’t even do that.
 
 
I’m wondering what other surprises, health-wise, are in store for me.
 
 
I already have 3rd stage kidney disease. Will this take me to the next level?
 
 
I’m supposed to have an appointment with my nephrologist next month. I doubt whether I’ll be going to that. Hopefully, they’ll draw my blood here and send the results to the doctor so he can see if my problems have progressed.
 
 
I’m more concerned about the state of my health and well-being than I am contracting the Covid-19 virus.
 
 
I fear that to keep us out of harm's way; they are forgetting about the other conditions we have that are just being exacerbated by this lengthy, and possibly cruel, lockdown.
 
 
As usual, there’s no new content on Sunday. I will use the time trying to find a pair of shoes that fit.
 
 
Back at you Monday with more……………………………………………
 
 
 

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Find Disability Assistance Online
How do I find disability assistance programs?


Wherever you are in your search for government benefits, Benefits.gov is a great tool to help you find benefits you may be eligible to receive. Are you looking for benefits related to disability assistance? Benefits.gov has resources to help with your search.

    A great place to start is our Benefit Finder. The Benefit Finder asks you a series of questions about your situation and provides a list of benefits you may be eligible for.

    Browse the Disability Assistance category through our Browse by Category feature to view disability assistance programs on the site. Filter by state to personalize the list.

    Use the Search feature to search for information by keyword. Filter by Benefits, News Articles, and Videos to narrow your search.

What disability assistance programs are on Benefits.gov?

Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities helps people with disabilities live independently by providing financial aid for rental housing. If you're curious about your eligibility for this program, take a short questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.

Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Veterans and Service Members is a program provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that makes a one-time payment to eligible veterans to buy an automobile or pay for adaptive equipment required due to a disability. If you're curious about your eligibility for this program, take a short questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.

Caregiver Programs and Services delivers training and educational resources to help caregivers provide support for veterans. If you're curious about your eligibility for this program, take a short questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.
Where can I apply for disability assistance?

Benefits.gov does not accept or manage applications for government benefits. While you cannot apply for benefits or check your application status directly on the Benefits.gov website, we can help guide you to the next steps in the application process. For application information, refer to the Application Process or "Quick Info sections on each of our benefit pages.
Want to learn more about disability assistance and Benefits.gov?

Check out our news article, A Guide to Benefits.gov for People with Disabilities, to read more about how Benefits.gov can help connect you with information about disability assistance. This article highlights several additional programs and resources on Benefits.gov.



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Older adults who use the internet daily
more likely to be socially isolated'



Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) examined data from 4,492 adults in England with an average age of 64, and found those who went online either once a week or month were less likely to be socially isolated than those who used it daily.


Searching for information, sending emails and shopping were the most common online activities for more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of respondents who went online every day. More frequent web users were more likely to use a smartphone, while those logging on less often were more likely to use laptops.


_____________________________________________________________________

Invisible Industry: Patience Wears Thin As Senior Living
Pleads for Government Support

By Tim Regan


As the Covid-19 pandemic drags on and the industry worries its hardest weeks still lie ahead, many are wondering when — or even if — they will receive more support from federal, state or local governments. And, their frustration is rising.

Senior living providers and industry associations have been clamoring since the outset of the crisis for more access to personal protective equipment (PPE), testing supplies and financial support. These resources are still sorely lacking, even as some senior living providers are subject to increased regulatory and oversight requirements, frontline caregivers are working hard with limited supplies while seeing senior living blasted in the press, and other industries have received substantial dollars. At the same time, there is a fear that, as the national death toll climbs, senior housing communities could be treated as a scapegoat or face new federal scrutiny.

Some organizations, like non-profit senior service provider association LeadingAge, believe the federal government can and should do much more to aid senior living residents and workers during this unprecedented time. The organization has had sharp criticism for the Trump administration in recent weeks over what it views as a lackluster response to protecting senior service providers and older adults amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


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Why testing is the best way to
fight pandemic in nursing facilities


As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Michigan, one thing became clear – it was most unmerciful to our senior citizens.  A staggering 69% of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Michigan were individuals ages 70 and older.

The Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM) member nursing facilities across the state are in a battle against COVID-19. The average resident in our nursing facilities is 82 years old, and our residents are often compromised with multiple medical complications. In Michigan and across the globe, we have seen the impact when the virus takes hold in these settings.

This data dictates that the fight against the virus must prioritize the protection of our residents in nursing facilities. At the onset of the pandemic, nursing facilities remained a low priority for personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing. Hindsight is 20/20. We now know that a robust response ensuring universal testing of nursing facility residents and staff, along with prioritizing these facilities in the allocation of PPE, could have saved lives.


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BONUS ARTICLE


Biden grabs big lead with
Fox News demographic — senior voters

By Eric Boehlert



Fox News continues to flail around trying to lead a grassroots rebellion against public gathering restrictions during the pandemic, urging viewers to revolt in the name of "liberty" and "freedom." The rallies are often attracting crowds in the dozens, as polling shows most Americans, including Republicans, support the restrictions put in place to safeguard public health, and remain nervous about "reopening" too quickly without an effective vaccine, prompting a deadly second wave of the disease.

Not only is Fox failing to lead an uprising, but there's a campaign-defining voter migration underway in the last few months, as senior voters turn sharply away from Trump and in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. That's telling because Fox News' entire business model is built around attracting, and frightening, older viewers and to urge them to vote GOP. (More than half of Fox News viewers at any given moment are over the age of 65.)

The scary villains in the staged Fox News productions usually include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi. Those mainstays have been replaced this spring by a deadly pandemic. Fox hosts are doing their best to downplay the threat while older Americans remain disproportionately at risk for coronavirus complications — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates nearly 80 percent of all confirmed US Covid-19 deaths have been among those over the age of 65. That seems to have sparked a stampede away from Trump and his historic failure to protect Americans.







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NEXT BLOG MONDAY MAY 25TH 2020


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05.22.20

5 minutes

“Guidelines.” We’ve heard that word a lot lately. “A guideline is a statement by which to determine a course of action. A guideline aims to streamline particular processes according to a set routine or sound practice. ... A guideline is similar to a rule.”
 
Both the states and the federal government have been setting guidelines for just about everybody and everything to bring our nation safely out of this Covid-19 nightmare.
 
Among the most stringent guidelines are those which they imposed (some say too late) on facilities where old folks live or cared for including senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living centers. Most of the new regulations require stricter testing of employees and some patients and tightened disinfection procedures. Adding to the already draconian measures like no visitors, no recreation, no co-mingling with other residents (except out of doors and close to the building and with masks) and definitely no communal dining, the main means of interaction among residents here at the ALF.
 
There are guidelines for restaurants, barber shops, supermarkets, churches and even dog grooming parlors. Each designed to give at least some evidence of a plan, eventually allowing everybody a way back to normal. Everybody but us seniors who are residents of assisted living, that is.

While the rest of the nation, and the world, can walk in the streets, go to beaches, get a haircut, go to a supermarket and dine facing one another at a restaurant. We ALF residents continue to languish in limbo, not knowing when, or if, we will ever have a decent meal or conversation with our friends in the foreseeable future.
 
WE HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN AS ANY PART OF EITHER A SHORT OR LONG-TERM PLAN THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO RETURN TO OUR NORMAL LIVES.
 

I realize the dire situation facing all seniors during this crisis. We have been singled out as the most likely to die of Covid-19. I also understand the need to use extra-ordinary measures to keep us safe. And I applaud those measures.
 
I support our isolation from ‘outsiders.’ It’s much too early to allow the community in general to come in close contact with any resident or patient. And I even uphold our internal separation, for now. There are still too many loose ends.
 
But what I object to, and I can’t say this strongly enough, is the apparent total lack of any plan. Or, if there is one, when are they going to let us know about it? Are they treating us like little children to spare us the grim news that there is no plan and never will be a plan? And the only way it will be considered safe for us to return to normal is when the virus completely disappears by itself?
 
WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT OUR FUTURE IS EVEN IT MEANS MANY MORE WEEKS OR MONTHS IN LOCKDOWN. WE NEED TO KNOW THE PLAN AND WE NEED TO KNOW IT NOW!
 

I don’t think that’s asking for too much. Do you?……………………………………….. .
 
 

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How to keep healthy while in
isolation or quarantine



Whether you are in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19, you will inevitably be spending more time at home. Following general healthy living advice such as eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, being physically active, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are the best recommendation for staying healthy during quarantine or self-isolation. If you are interested in food-related issues with COVID-19, read Food and coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to know

1.    Eat a balanced and varied diet
2.    Establish a routine and practice mindful eating
3.    Keep hydrated
4.    Practice safe food hygiene
5.    Stay active at home
6.    Get enough quality sleep
7.    Get information from trustworthy sources


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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery



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New CMS Guidance Can Help Assisted
Living Buildings Re-Open, Testing an Issue

By Chuck Sudo


On Monday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to ensure that nursing homes have safe re-opening plans as states prepare to relax lockdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance includes benchmarks that may be adopted by independent living and assisted living communities transitioning from their own access restrictions. But it fails to address assistance in obtaining enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing on the facilities — an issue raised by industry associations since lockdowns began in mid-March.

While some of the benchmarks can be adopted by senior living providers, industry groups stress that relaxing restrictions is not uniform and will vary by state, city and care acuity.



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Will the Pandemic Lead to Better,
Safer Long-Term Care Facilities?



The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to America’s most vulnerable elders, in long-term care facilities. The New York Times calculates that staff and residents at nursing homes and other long-term care developments account for more than a third of coronavirus-related deaths in the United States.

In some states, the toll is higher. Residents in Minnesota long-term care facilities represent less than 1% of the population yet comprise about 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the state.

“The elderly are the most susceptible to high risk, bad outcomes,” says Robyn Stone, senior vice president at Leading Age, an organization that advocates for nonprofit aging service providers.


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Evidence That Grandmothers Were
Crucial for Human Evolution



For many years, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have not been able to explain the ‘why’ of menopause.


How could it be beneficial for women to no longer be able to have children, when they still have decades left to live? Menopause is also a unique stage present only in human life, it is not shared with our primate relatives.

A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B  explains how to answer to ‘why menopause’, is a woman’s need to be a grandmother, and how this has been a crucial role in human evolution.

The grandmother hypothesis explains that “grandmothering was the initial step toward making us who we are”.







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NEXT BLOG SATURDAY MAY 23RD 2020


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




05.21.20


Editor’s note: For those of you who are familiar with the story of my “transformation” from a normally aging retired gentleman living comfortably in Queens NY to an almost penniless invalid now living in a subsidized assisted living facility, then read no further. You can skip right to the other features without guilt or the fear of recrimination. For the rest, the following is a brief accounting of what I like to call…


(Parts One and two May Be Viewed By Scrolling Down To The End Of This Post)
7 minutes




Things were looking bleak for me in May 2010.
 
My health insurance refused to pay for any more of my nursing home stay and I wasn’t anywhere near to being rehabilitated.
 
My bank account was down to a point where I’d be out of funds in another three months. It was time for me to seek some professional help. Fortunately, the nursing home had a great staff of social workers ready to do just that.
 
After going over my finances they determined that the only way for me to get me out of this situation was to turn 65. But I’d have to wait until August to do that. “We’ll be able to help you much better after you turn 65” she said. “Magical things happen.”
 
Meanwhile, I’d have to keep paying for my stay at the nursing home out of my own pocket.
 
August arrived. Never has a person wished to be 65 more than I.
 
Down to the last of my money and desperate for relief, I returned to the social worker who got the ball rolling.
 
She made sure they enrolled me in Medicare, which would immediately begin paying my nursing home bill. But there was still a problem with the other part of state-funded health care, Medicaid. Medicaid paid for the rehab part of my care, and the problem was, I had too much money in my bank account to be eligible for Medicaid. I needed to divest myself of a few thousand dollars.

 
“I’ll buy some expensive jewelry” I said.
 
“No good” she said
 
“A used car, digital camera, fur coat?”
 
“No, no, and no,” was her answer. “And you can’t give it away either.”
 
There is practically nothing Medicaid accepts as a legal way to get rid of excess funds. But there is one.
 
Pre-planning and paying for your funeral.
 
That week I met with my friendly local funeral director who helped me spend just enough on a proper burial for me to qualify for Medicaid.[1] I was on my way to spend nearly two more years getting me back in shape.
 
The timeline gets a little fuzzy from here on.
 
There was another 2 week stay in a hospital to identify and correct a thyroid problem setting my rehab back. It was not until the middle of 2013 that I finally could get out of the wheelchair and on to a walker and eventually to a Rollator. It was then that they informed me I would need to think about leaving the nursing home. But where?

I knew I could not return to my apartment, the only solution was assisted living.
 
I wasn’t sure what assisted living was, but I went along with what she said.
 
That’s when I learned all ALFs are not alike. And choosing the right one can mean the difference between joy and misery.
 
They arranged tours of some local (Queens) ALFs. None of them looked like a place I would like to spend any time in.
 
Some were dark and cramped, others crowded with unkempt residents. I refused to see any more like that.
 
Once again my social worker came to my rescue.
 
“If you don’t mind going out of the city, there’s an alternative place just opened in Yonkers” she said.
 
They took me on a tour of the facility I now call home. I liked it as soon as I saw it.
 
The grounds were beautiful; the rooms were bright and airy, and the residents were neat and clean. And best of all. My Social Security along with some government subsidies would foot the bill.[2]
 
For two years I had prayed that I would leave the nightmare of the nursing home. They answered those prayers in Yonkers.
 
Are things here perfect? Far from it. And, after 70 days in quarantine, I’d rather be somewhere else. But It’s what I needed at the time and still need. A roof over my head and a safe environment to live out my days.
 
Life often throws you curve balls and you can’t always hit a home run. But sometimes a ground ball to left field isn’t so bad. At least you’re still in the game………………………………………………………
 
[1]It wasn’t as morbid as you would think. I had planned to do it anyway and this seemed as good a time as any.
[2]Approximately $5000 a month. Expensive, but still cheaper than a nursing home.


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At-home beauty treatments for your
hands, feet, hair and skin

By Jordan Muto and Bobbie Thomas

If spending more time at home has inspired you to step up your beauty game and give yourself a little TLC, style expert Bobbie Thomas has you covered!

Thomas shared her go-to remedies to help you from the top of your head (aka your hair) down to your toes. The best part is that you already have most of these superhero products at home — you probably just haven't tried them in your beauty routine yet.
Skin care
All it takes is sugar and olive oil to make a DIY exfoliator. Bobbie Thomas

Does your skin need a bit of extra moisture? You're not alone! Try adding some olive oil to your bath. Just like coconut oil, olive oil is a great natural moisturizer.

Stuff We Love



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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery



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For millions of Americans, the coronavirus
pandemic will make retiring harder

By Annie Nova

Labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci began studying retirement in 2008, when the Great Recession was making it impossible for millions of Americans to retire. “The phenomenon of Granny working in McDonald’s really started to ramp up,” said Ghilarducci, who leads the Retirement Equity Lab at The New School in New York.

Yet, as bad as it was then, she sees the current Covid-19 recession making life even more uncertain and even more difficult for those in their 50s, 60s and 70s. By her calculations, the pandemic will force another 3.1 million older workers into poverty in their retirement, with many forced to choose between their health and their need for a paycheck.

CNBC spoke with Ghilarducci about why older Americans are particularly vulnerable to this recession, and what the pandemic’s fallout has revealed to us about the risks of our current retirement system.


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How to Be a Great Virtual Grandparent


Nothing is “normal” these days. While we don’t yet know how bad COVID-19 will ultimately be, we do know that people over 60 are at particular risk for complications, should they become ill. That has many grandparents sheltering in place and unable to be physically with their grandchildren.

However, many are making extra efforts to maintain a regular presence in their grandkids’ lives during the pandemic, albeit in a different form. As a grandparent myself, I understand how difficult it is to be apart. So I reached out to friends and colleagues to see how they were coping.

Here are some ideas they shared which you can use or adapt to strengthen connections with your family:


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If your memory feels like it's not what it once was,
it could point to a future dementia risk



Research led by Dr. Katya Numbers from UNSW's Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) has shown that certain presentations of memory concerns by older adults are predictive of future dementia.

The findings published today in PLOS ONE highlight the importance of general practitioners in listening to their older adult patient population in relation to memory.

"We found that when older adults go to their general practitioner with memory-specific subjective cognitive complaints it would be wise to take it seriously as they may predict future dementia," says Dr. Numbers.






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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY MAY 22ND 2020


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




05.20.20


Editor’s note: For those of you who are familiar with the story of my “transformation” from a normally aging retired gentleman living comfortably in Queens NY to an almost penniless invalid n