GOOD MORNING



IT'S MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21ST 2020



QUARANTINE DAY 189
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TODAY'S BLOG CONTINUES BELOW







Six Months Late And A Lot Short
4 minutes

We received the following memo late Friday evening...




How Munificent Of Them

While I am thrilled this day has arrived, it comes after over 6 months of the New York State Department of Health and the Governor dragging their collective feet. They had no plan and no intention of devising one until residents and their friends and relatives put pressure on them to act. The late-to-the-game organizations that represent long-term care facilities in our state are equally complicit, as are many owners and administrators of the facilities.

Okay, we now have a half-assed plan for allowing very short, very restricted visits. Hooray! Now what about all of our other needs? When will we see our activities return? When will they allow us to interact with one another? When will communal dining resume? Will we have to wait another 6 months?
 
The DOH thinks, just because they have been so magnanimous in throwing us this very lean bone, they can go back to being their usual complacent selves content to let us wallow in this mire for as long as needed to clear their consciences of past wrongdoings. I know a big steaming pile of anal-retentive crap when I smell it.

We have no advocates.

By allowing visits, the state has essentially neutralized the only support we (residents) had. Nobody else will put themselves out to get us what we really need. As long as our friends and relatives got their 30 minutes of “guilt” visits and can see for themselves that mom hasn’t shriveled away to nothing and that dad isn’t walking around talking to himself than, as far as they are concerned, everything is just hunky dory. They either don’t know or don’t care that visitations may be the least of what we need. And because we will never make our needs known, they will continue to keep us in limbo, hovering in the twilight between safety and imprisonment.

The governor and his henchman, the NY State Health Commissioner, couldn't care less about our emotional condition. As along as the death toll doesn’t surge into the stratosphere like it did in March and April, it’s okay if we are locked-in and locked down with nothing to do and no place to go. They think old people don’t know the difference. And if they do, they won’t make waves. So they are content to allow the status to remain Quo until somebody says something or brings attention to the injustice they are imposing on the residents of over 500 [1] ALFs in the state.

I have tried, through posts on this blog, Facebook and other social media sites to tell the story of what we are facing here and how the prospects for a speedy change or modification of our present state are dim to none. There is nothing in the pipeline. No evidence that they are even thinking of allowing us the simple rights afforded to practically everyone else in this country. It appears, “With liberty and justice for all’’ extends only as far as the front door of our building……..........................

[1] That’s aprox. 80,000 to 100,000 people.


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A pandemic upshot:
Seniors are having second thoughts about where to live

By Judith Graham

Where do we want to live in the years ahead? Older adults are asking this question anew in light of the ongoing toll of the coronavirus pandemic — disrupted lives, social isolation, mounting deaths. Many are changing their minds.

Some people who planned to move to senior housing are now choosing to live independently rather than communally. Others wonder whether transferring to a setting where they can get more assistance might be the right call.

These decisions, hard enough during ordinary times, are now fraught with uncertainty as the economy falters and Covid-19 deaths climb, including tens of thousands in nursing homes and assisted living centers.

Teresa Ignacio Gonzalvo and her husband, Jaime, both 68, chose to build a house rather than move into a continuing care retirement community when they relocate from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Indianapolis later this year to be closer to their daughters.

Having heard about lockdowns around the country because of the coronavirus, Gonzalvo said, "We've realized we're not ready to lose our independence."


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3 ways the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccination
plan involves assisted living


A new “playbook” for public health officials shares three ways that federal and other efforts related to the development and distribution of a vaccine against COVID-19 will affect senior living: implementation, prioritization and provision of vaccination services.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday released a 57-page “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations” to help state and local public health programs plan and operationalize their vaccination responses to COVID-19. The document will be updated with new information as needed, CDC director Robert R. Redfield, M.D., said on a call with members of the media.

The playbook recommends that state and local governments establish implementation committees to “enhance development of plans, reach of activities, and risk/crisis response communication messaging and delivery.” Such groups, the document notes, should include representation from long-term care facilities such as assisted living communities and nursing homes.


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Baby boomers delaying retirement
because of COVID pandemic



The coronavirus pandemic has spared very few in its impact in 2020. One in four baby boomers say they are delaying retirement due to the uncertainty surrounding their investment portfolio.  Entering their final stage of life without a solid financial plan is unnerving for those nearing retirement. Independent financial planning advisor Mike Reeves of Strategic Wealth Designers says building a robust, safe financial plan is imperative to navigate the recession that investors are facing.

“Unfortunately, right now a lot of people are flying a plane without landing gear.  Their investments are a hodge-podge of assets accumulated of 20 or 30 years but their really isn’t a sound financial planning strategy in place,” Reeves says. “We see clients all the time who come in with a bunch of statements but they really don’t know if their investments are working together and what kind of safety nets are in place to protect against the huge crash like we saw in early March.”

For one in four baby boomers to feel like they must push off retirement, typically means they haven’t worked with a financial professional or the advice they have been given has not protected their assets in a manner that gives them a peace of mind to be able to retire. Many are concerned that not only are their investments volatile but having a full Social Security benefit will not be available to them either. Reeves says build a financial plan that makes Social Security an add-on bonus and not a significant need for everyday life.



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Health system clinicians perform better under
Medicare value-based reimbursement

By Jeff Lagasse

Clinicians who were affiliated with health systems had better performance scores and received fewer payment penalties and more payment bonuses under the Medicare merit-based incentive payment system than clinicians not affiliated with health systems, found a team led by Kenton Johnston, an associate professor of health management and policy at Saint Louis University's College for Public Health and Social Justice.

The investigation of the association between health system affiliations of clinicians and their performance scores and payments under Medicare value-based reimbursement was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Outpatient physicians' payments from Medicare will be increasingly tied to their performance under MIPS, with the authors estimating that payment penalties and bonuses will hit 9% of total Medicare reimbursement by 2022. Maximizing success in MIPS, they found, will require the management, administration and technological infrastructure to report performance measures to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.




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Old People Elected Trump.
 Will They Make Him a One-Term President?

By Jim Newell

The Trump campaign isn’t subtle. In an ad over the summer titled “Break In,” an older white woman is watching news coverage about activist demands to “defund the police” when she spots a burglar scouting her home’s perimeter and begins to dial 911. As the burglar attempts to force his way in, we hear Sean Hannity’s voice coming from the television, talking about how Joe Biden is “absolutely on board with defunding the police.” Before the woman can alert the authorities, the intruder crowbars his way into the home. He approaches her, and, following an implied assault, the phone falls to the ground.

“You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” the screen reads.

The ad is a lurid rehash of Trump’s 2016 campaign strategy: using fear of American carnage to mobilize elderly white voters. The political problem that the Trump campaign now faces, though, is that those voters—older, white women, specifically—don’t feel safe in Donald Trump’s America.




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Can You Transfer Your Medicare and Medicaid Plans
When You Move to Another State?


If you plan to move states, can you take your Medicare or Medicaid plans with you? The answer depends on whether you have original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicaid.

Medicare...

If you have original Medicare (Plans A and B), you can move anywhere in the country and you should still be covered. Medicare is a federal program, run by the federal government, so it doesn’t matter what state you are in as long as your provider accepts Medicare. Your Medigap plan should also continue to cover you in the new state, but your premiums may change when you move. The exception is if you move to Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin because those states have their own specific Medigap plans.

Both Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) and Medicare Advantage plans have defined service areas, which may or may not cover more than one state. If you have Part D or Medicare Advantage, you will need to determine if your new address falls within the plan’s service area. When you move to a new service area, you have a special enrollment period in which to change plans outside of the annual open enrollment period (which runs October 15th through December 7th). If you tell your current plan before you move, your special enrollment period begins the month before you move and continues for two full months after you move. If you tell your plan after you move, your chance to switch plans begins the month you tell your plan, plus two more full months.



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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY SEPT. 22ND 2020


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      Our director of case management has just informed us that, starting Monday, September 21, after 6 months, we will be permitted visitors on a limited basis. I will have more on this in the next blog.

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09.18.20



I Need To Cook Something
7 minutes


I wouldn’t have believed it. The one thing I really miss after moving to this assisted living facility is cooking.
 
As I have mentioned, because of “regulations” they don’t permit any “heat producing appliance” in our rooms and we must bring any food that needs re-heating to the one inconveniently located microwave oven they allow residents to use. This makes the possibility of ever having fresh-cooked food nearly impossible. Even if we receive a home-cooked meal from friends or relatives, there is no practical way to heat it up. The only food available that's not cooked here, in our kitchen, is takeout, which is expensive and limited to only a few choices.


I would never describe myself as a gourmet cook, or even an innovative one. However, I do have one particular talent. I can make a decent meal out of almost anything. It’s not a trick. It’s a matter of knowing what foods go well with others, how to cook it in a way that blends the flavors and textures together without winding up with soup, and how and with what to season it all to bring out the flavor. The skill comes more out of necessity than an actual desire to create a meal.
 
I had been “batching” it for many years [1] which usually means I ate out a lot, or ordered food delivered. This was fine when I had a well-paying job and could afford the luxury. But after being laid-off, and having no prospects of ever finding a job whose pay would allow me to even have a meal in a diner more than once-a-week, I realized the only way I would ever eat anything decent again was to make it myself. Fortunately, I had a mother that was not only a superb cook, but encouraged me to take part in the art of food preparation at an early age. They were mostly simple and basic skills but it made me appreciate the food I ate.
 
Though, at 6 or 7, I could not actually cook scrambled eggs, my mom showed me the proper way to beat an egg. I learned not to whip the heck out of it, but to stir it in such a way as to incorporate air into them, making for fluffy rather than dense scrambled eggs. Usually, just allowing a kid to break an egg was a big deal, let alone beat one. This continued over the years and by 11 or 12, I was making my breakfast and sandwiches and even the occasional burger or hot dog. Little did I realize the ability to cook for myself would come in handy some day. Not only as a way of saving money, but as a way to nurture my creative side. Something I find the need for more and more lately.

Any activities requiring the creative process are virtually non-existent. Because of the virus there are no arts and crafts and the access to materials is limited. Add that to the food being just so damn bad and you have a group of people who are quickly becoming sullen, disoriented and forlorn. The “art” of creating something, either from scratch or even from prepared ingredients, would mean so much to all of us.
 
I have never had the urge to flip a burger, grill a piece of salmon, make an omelet or stir-fry something more than I have at the present time. I need to feel my food again. I want to form a meatball, peel an eggplant and pound a chicken breast again.
 
I miss the smell of fresh food. The scent of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning. A warm slice of hot-buttered toast or a grilled cheese sandwich. Being able to enjoy an un-shriveled slice of bacon and two sunny side up fried eggs would be a godsend.
 
I know some of you are laughing at me. And, I suppose, describing cooking as being akin to creating a symphony or a painting may be a stretch. But the ability to eat, not just food that meets the minimum requirements of some government agency, but something that you actually enjoy, cannot be taken lightly.
 
We may never know who the first person to throw a piece of meat on a fire was. But I will bet you. Once he learned how to do it, he took pride in what he had created. And maybe even more satisfaction when he served some of what he made to the couple in the next cave. Meals are something we should share and enjoy with others. Something else they have denied us since the quarantine began.
 
There are some places that permit residents to microwave food in their rooms. If this is important to you, and thinking about moving to a long-term care or assisted living facility, make sure you understand the rules and regulations before you sign. While it may not be a big deal now, after you have eaten another soggy sandwich or room temperature spaghetti or chicken fingers for the umpteenth time you will beg for the chance to eat something you cooked.…………………………………. .
 


[1] After my divorce. Not that the ex was much of a cook, but she tried.





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New 'Three's Company'
a modern-day solution in Colorado Springs
By Mary Shinn

The high cost of housing in Colorado Springs helped to bring roommates Kimberly Bolding, Ardene Hagadorn and Louis John Vastine together in what they like to think of as a modern, more mature version of "Three’s Company," the late 1970s to early '80s television sitcom about two women and a man who share — platonically — a Santa Monica, Calif., apartment.

The shared housing is a creative alternative to formal senior housing that they believe could work for others.

The seniors faced serious medical and financial challenges before finding each other and hope to establish a new family of sorts to support one another, rather than turning to assisted living, where they fear they would be socially and physically isolated.


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Grandma Wants Digital Banking Too —
Don't Ignore Her Needs
By Jake Levant


Banks that speak about digitizing often focus on attracting Generation Z and millennials. While these groups are important, another crucial demographic is being left out of the conversation: senior citizens. 

All the reasons that banks want to shift other customers to digital banking — cost-effectiveness, efficiency, improved CX — apply to seniors as well. And considering that 83% of U.S. household wealth is held by people over 50, this is a group with considerable financial clout. It’s about time to start bringing grandma and grandpa on the digital banking bandwagon.

However, more work needs to be done to streamline online banking. Today’s digital banking offerings are characterized by broken journeys, insufficient human input and overly complex security measures. To capture the emerging senior interest in digital banking, customers need to address and adapt to their needs. 


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Should seniors take extra precautions
against COVID-19 this fall? Experts weigh in
By Kerry Breen

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and flu season begins, leading to concerns of a "twindemic" in the United States, health experts are urging those who are high-risk for either or both illnesses to limit their social bubbles to stay healthy.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country, said on Sept. 10 that people needed to prepare to "hunker down and get through this fall and winter."

“We've been through this before,” Fauci said. “Don't ever, ever underestimate the potential of the pandemic. And don't try and look at the rosy side of things."

Despite Fauci's "cautious optimism" that a coronavirus vaccine will be developed this year, experts say that for those who have underlying health conditions or are over the age of 60, it's extremely important to limit your social bubble during the next few months.




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From Nana to PopPop:
 How Grandparents Get Their Names

Bigi. Gigi. Babcia (pronounced bahp-cha). Dziadziu (pronounced JAH-Joo). Donk. Meema. Popeye (a boat was involved). Welcome to the interesting world of naming grandparents.


“They call me Mom Mom Cherry because when my two oldest granddaughters were little and I would visit, they would always go into my purse and put on my lipstick which was cherry flavored, and that’s how they knew me from the other grandmoms,” explained OHara of Millsboro, Del.

When it comes to grandparent names, you don’t always have a choice, as Lord Grantham of PBS’ “Downton Abbey“ realized. His granddaughter, Sibbie, addressed him as Donk. The nickname was a reference to a donkey, as in Pin the Tail on the Donkey.




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Biden Campaign Launches Legal Operation
 In Anticipation Of November Election Fights
By Matt Perez

Former vice president Joe Biden's campaign announced on Monday a new legal team in preparation over voting challenges surrounding the November presidential election, as President Trump continues to spread disinformation regarding the election and his campaign enters legal battles to restrict access to mail-in ballots amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, depart the Delaware State ... [+] Building after early voting in the state’s primary election. Biden has scheduled campaign stops in Florida, Pennsylvania and Minnesota later this week.

Biden campaign general counsel Dana Remus and former White House counsel Bob Bauer will lead the operation, which will oversee state-level legal challenges, work to chip away at voter suppression efforts and mitigate the threat of foreign interference, according to the New York Times.




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Getting Rid of Your Stuff:
Tips From the 'Friends Talk Money' Podcast


Getting rid of stuff that’s taking up space in your home can be tough — even for money experts.

That was made painfully clear on the new episode of the “Friends Talk Money” podcast I co-host with Terry Savage (personal finance syndicated columnist and author of “The Savage Truth on Money”) and Pam Krueger (the “MoneyTrack” public television host and founder of the financial adviser vetting firm WealthRamp). You can listen to the podcast wherever you get your podcasts or at the end of this article.

Savage sheepishly confided that her home is cluttered with boxes of her tax returns going back to the 1970s. “I still have my son’s baby carriage in it and my rocking horse from when I was a little girl,” she said. “So do not ask me how to give things away.”

Do You Really Need to Pay For a Storage Unit?




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09.17.20



Politics As A Spectator Sport

8 minutes

Usually I wouldn’t care a flying fig about politics or politicians. I have always found the whole subject boring, and those involved in it some of the dullest people around. After all, aren’t most of them lawyers?
 
Not that I didn’t vote or care who runs the country. I’m not so dense to believe that it doesn’t matter whose hand is at the helm. I believed that, because of the marvelous system of checks and balances our founders built into our constitution I would be safe from any wild and woolly legislation or, legislator. And, I believed that, although the president has significant power, there would always be cooler, calmer heads around to temper any boiling pot.
 
Therefore, when election time rolled around, I would listen to what the candidates said, took each promise with a grain of salt and voted for the man (or woman) who would be best for our nation and for me. This is something I have done for every election since 1968, when I cast my ballot for Hubert H. Humphrey. I was on the verge of being drafted into a war I was not particularly inclined to fight, and I believed the Democrats had the best plan for ending it. Unfortunately, the rest of the nation didn’t see it my way and elected Nixon. Oh well, there were dopey people even back then.

That was then, and now… well… it’s different. Not only have I grown as a voter, but the nation has become more aware of who they vote for has consequences for their jobs, their finances and their lives.
 
I thought with the election of Barack Obama in 2008, America had finally reached adulthood. What a magnificent symbol for a nation. Older nations have always thought of as the new kids on the block. A country innovative on one hand and eager to pick a fight on the other, and always that hint of racism that kept us from becoming as truly great  nation. And, when we elected Obama for a second term, I was sure we had made significant changes . Unfortunately, we failed to believe in our slogans. The words “And crown thy good with brotherhood”, and “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” became just so much lip service. The 2016 election showed that, not only had we not grown up, we reverted to our very troubled childhood.

This election is, to paraphrase both candidates, like no election ever. We have learned, the hard way, that who we vote for is important and has a direct effect on almost every aspect of our lives. Personally, it has made me aware the system that I naively thought would protect us from incompetent mad-men and their misogyny isn’t fool-proof. Our forefathers goofed when they allowed the president to nominate Supreme Court justices and to appoint federal judges without additional approval. Thank heaven for the House of Representatives, who may be the only barrier we have left that can protect us from the right-wing wacko’s.
 

In less than 50 days we will go to the polls or the mailbox. [1] to vote, not on just who will lead this nation for another 4 years, but on the direction we will go for many years to come. As of now, we still have a chance to undo what the current administration has done. And to at least start on a plan by which we really can have universal healthcare, free or affordable higher education for all, and a justice system that actually is blind.
 
I forced myself to watch the president on ABC Tuesday night in what they billed as an open, no questions barred, give and take with real voters. While the questions may have been straight and to the point, the answer’s given by Mr. Trump were more like the campaign speeches he makes to those hoards of drooling MAGA hat wearing dinosaurs he likes to surround himself with. He distorted the truth and contradicted himself so many times my neck hurt. I thought I was watching a tennis match where one player (the president) had a giant racquet and the opponents left with only a ping-pong paddle. And, when he committed a foul, he completely ignored the judge and just kept on hitting the ball foul thinking the judges wouldn't notice. I had to restrain from throwing a shoe at the TV.

When I began this blog 6 years ago, I never wanted to get into politics believing my target audience, Older Americans, were more or less apolitical and wouldn’t be interested in the subject. Man, was I wrong. Seniors in this country are champing at the bit with a resolve I have never seen from this demographic. So much so, that the senior vote could sway the election in many states.
 
My political leanings are clear. I’m not necessarily anti-Republican. But I am fiercely anti-Trump. We cannot allow this man, and the people who follow him and his warped sense of what’s good for America to prevail. You know we need a healthcare system accessible to everybody. You know we need to keep Social Security funded and available beyond that 2030 deadline. You know we need better schools for our grandchildren and their children, and we need to set this country on a proper path to equality for all. We can do anything we want. We have shown this many times in the past. But we cannot do it if we have leaders who have a different and distorted agenda that excludes minorities, immigrants, the poor and yes, the old………………………………….. .

[1] If you are voting by mail-in or absentee ballot you better not wait for November 3rd to send it.
 






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New Pennsylvania Aging Department study:
Family often behind elder financial fraud

A new state report suggests that it’s not the anonymous IRS employee, lottery agent or Medicare representative on the other end of the phone that older Pennsylvania residents need to worry will take their money.

It’s the people who know them best: their children, grandchildren, friends and caregivers.

Elder abuse has been described as a burgeoning public health crisis in the U.S. In Pennsylvania. among the states with the largest senior populations, financial exploitation is the second largest source of elder abuse allegations after caregiver neglect. 

The crime is one that not only impacts the bank accounts of senior citizens, but taxpayers, according to a new study released by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. 


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Return of loneliness:
Faye and her life in an assisted living facility
H. Frances Reaves

One of my clients, Faye, has not seen anyone but staff since the middle of March. Our twice a week FaceTime calls are her only connection to people who don’t work for the Assisted Living Facility.

When I met Faye she was living in the home she and her husband had purchased over 50 years ago. It was falling down around her. She laid on a torn leather couch and watched a tiny TV.

I had been brought into the case because her excellent attorney (a Key Biscayne resident and colleague) did not know what to do as she was running out of money and had no family. She did have two caretakers, one of whom was her Power of Attorney and Health Surrogate.


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A special week during an unusual time 

If ever there was a year that “Caring is Essential,” it is 2020. Indeed, the theme of this year’s National Assisted Living Week (with an emphasis on the AL in essential), which began Sunday, is very appropriate.

When announcing the theme back in June, the sponsoring organization, the National Center for Assisted Living, said the week “highlights the incredible care provided by essential caregivers in assisted living communities across the country.”


“With many friends and family still unable to enter the buildings due to COVID, caregivers in assisted living communities are playing an even more critical role to residents,” NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle said Sunday. “This National Assisted Living Week, in addition to the hundreds of thousands of heroes working in assisted living today, we must recognize the special relationships residents have with staff and how those bonds enrich everyone’s lives.”

NCAL began the observance in 1995, and every year, the start of the week coincides with Grandparents’ Day.




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COVID-19 SENTIMENT REPORT:
Survey of Independent Living Desirability and Safety

As we look to the future, there are many questions about how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is going to impact senior living communities.

How will this health crisis reshape consumer priorities and delivery of services to older adults?

Are social isolation requirements and community quarantines causing people to re-evaluate senior housing options?

How do staff members feel about the added pressures they are facing and how is the new normal impacting their ability to provide services?




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Some older Americans committed
 to voting in person despite COVID

Cleadel Waye, a New Jersey college professor and veteran educator, fought hard for civil rights in the '60s -- laying down in front of bulldozers in her teenage years to defy developers who refused to hire people of color.

Now, at age 71, she looks back at the battles she waged -- protesting at segregated lunch counters and rallying community voters -- and it all seems to be on the line amid fears that votes will be suppressed in the 2020 general election, either through restrictions such as ID laws or issues with voting by mail as the coronavirus pandemic rages.

"It really feels like a lot of it is coming back and there is a lot of evilness behind it. We have to realize that everybody does not want you to vote," Waye told ABC News. "So they're going to put up barriers, but that lets me know that we need to vote now even more than before.




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5 unanswered medical questions about coronavirus


Seven months into the pandemic, we continue to unravel the mystery that is COVID-19. There continue to be critical questions that remain unanswered.

Experts interviewed by ABC News shared five scientific mysteries that persist amid the race to end the pandemic.
When are we going to have a safe and effective vaccine?

This may be one of the biggest questions on the minds of many. Vaccines may be the most effective way to develop herd immunity, so that the virus can't spread effectively.


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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY SEPT. 18TH 2020


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09.16.20



Has Your Style Changed
Over The Years?
6- MINUTES


 The thing about living in a room that has a closet smaller than a refrigerator is you know where everything is, and by necessity, it limits your wardrobe. This means your decision on what to wear is made for you. Just choose something you didn’t wear yesterday. Not that it matters. At the ALF, fashion went out the window along with the closet space.
 
For men, the tight closet space and subsequent limited apparel choice is not that big of a deal. It doesn’t matter if we wore it yesterday or last year. If it’s clean, it’s good to go. For the ladies, it’s a completely other matter.

Most women come to the ALF with more clothes than they should. And, with no place to hang it all, they come up with a variety of ways to solve the problem.
 

The most common one is to use the shower curtain rod in the bathroom as a closet. Having to remove the clothes every time they take a shower does not concern them.
 
Others buy a pipe rack (like in the garment district) and use that. While still others go for a real wardrobe closet that takes up most of the already confined space.
 
Having never been able to understand why women wear what they do, I will keep my comments short. I’ll just say they have a sense most men will never have. They are most likely genetically programmed as a way of attracting the male of the species. Like feathers on a bird.

But I digress. I just wanted to say a few words about how, you as an older person, have changed your style to suite your needs or if you still wear the same kinds of clothes, you always have.
 
It’s easy for women. You can always distinguish the ladies whose fashion style has been the same for years. They dress conservatively, mostly in dark-colored clothes with timeless style. Their dress could be from 2019 or from 1999. Men, mostly, have learned to make do with whatever is available. If we can button it or zip it up, we’ll wear it. And, if it has a sport’s team logo or the name of a defunct rock band on it, so much the better. And the heck with color coordination. You like a green shirt with purple pants. No problemo. Men will always choose comfort over correctness any day.
 
While comfort is very important, the need to look like a clown does not appeal to me. I do not own a pair of sweatpants (yet) or anything with a team name or player on it. I even try to avoid garments with the designer’s name or logo on it. I had an Izod polo shirt once. Somehow, the alligator didn’t offend me. I would be happy to wear a shirt with Ralph Loren’s name on it if he agrees to wear a shirt with my name on it. I haven’t heard from him.

My wardrobe has remained the same over the years. Mostly solid colored loose-fitting oxford or polo shirts with jeans or chino pants. I have had to adapt my choice of style slightly due to a surgical appliance I have glued to my lower abdomen. So now, instead of pants with flat fronts, I wear ones with pleats which hide a multitude of sins. Other than that, and tennis shoes with Velcro closures, I dress as I did when I was in my twenties. For me, it’s always casual Friday.
 
Except for my Bar Mitzvah, I have never owned a suite. I have worn some very nice sports jackets and slacks and looked good in them. But I’m just not one of those guys that gets invited to functions that require me to dress-up. I wore a tux at my wedding. I was not comfortable, and I hated it. The whole bow tie and cummerbund thing is archaic and doesn’t reflect who I am. I’m just a button-down-Oxford-Dockers and tennis-shoe-wearing person. That’s what I want them to bury me in and have left instructions to that end. The tennis shoes are optional………………………… .
 
 

 




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2021 Social Security COLA Likely To Be About 1.3%
Says The Senior Citizens League


Social Security recipients are likely to get a 1.3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) in 2021, making it the second lowest ever paid, according to The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “Our forecast is based on CPI data through August, and there is still one more month of consumer price data to come in before we get the official announcement in October," says Mary Johnson, Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League.

Based on historic trends, there’s only a 5 percent chance that the COLA could rise above 1.3 percent and a 15 percent chance that it could be lower. "Although the inflation rate during May through August suggests the COLA could go up to 1.4 percent, the more recent three - month rate from June through August, and a new downward trend in gasoline prices seem to indicate it will probably be 1.3 percent,” Johnson says.

Should the forecast prove to be correct, this would make the 5th time since 2010 that there will be an extremely low, or even no, annual inflation adjustment. “This is more evidence that our system to adjust benefits for inflation, is broken,” Johnson says.


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Senior living industry concerned as Nebraska
drops mask and distancing mandates

Beginning today, nearly all of Nebraska’s social distancing restrictions will end as Gov. Pete Ricketts moves the state into the fourth phase of its reopening plan.

Under Phase IV, indoor gatherings are limited to 75% capacity and gatherings of 500 people or more will need approval from local public health directors. But all other state-imposed mandates are dropped in favor of voluntary guidelines for masks and social distancing.

State officials indicated they made the decision based on the availability of hospital beds and ventilators.


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Beneficiaries' lack of Medicare knowledge
could lead to dissatisfaction in plans
By Mallory Hackett

More than two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries find their insurance confusing and difficult to understand, according to a recent survey by MedicareAdvantage.com, which also revealed that many don't grasp basic insurance terminology.

The study sample included 1,000 respondents enrolled in Medicare and took place from August 17 to 19. Participants were quizzed about topics ranging from Medicare enrollment and benefits to insurance terms and definitions.

Less than half of the respondents could correctly define deductible or coinsurance. Just over half (52%) could describe what a premium is.




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Study Shows How Medical Cannabis
Improved Quality Of Life In Seniors
By Johnny Green


The aging process for humans can really be a sad thing.

As time goes by the human body starts to break down and condition(s) develop.

Unfortunately, it’s a reality that cannot be overcome.

Getting older can be a tough thing to navigate for many people.

The aches and pains are a constant reminder that Father Time is undefeated.

Getting adequate sleep is particularly tough for many senior citizens for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is side effects from pharmaceutical prescriptions.

Anyone who has looked at a seniors’ medicine cabinet will be quick to point out that the number of prescriptions adds up with age....


Bonus article__________________________________________________________________________________________

More Senior Citizens Exploring Cannabis Use
By Sean Marsala

 As of 2020, 33 states have legalized at least one form of cannabis; its use is spreading across all age ranges of adults.  Several studies have shown surprisingly strong uptake by senior citizens across the country, increasing each year. As many as 1 in 20 senior citizens in America are exploring marijuana products. Let's take a look at how they’re using them and why.

Why Is Marijuana Use Increasing?

Cannabis, the plant from which marijuana is refined, may help ease symptoms of some conditions such as chronic pain and insomnia. Acceptance among the general public and some in the medical community has been growing in recent years. Even AARP, one of the most trusted resources for seniors, now supports medicinal use in states where it is legal.

Medical professionals consulted by AARP were optimistic. Peter Grinspoon, MD, a Harvard Medical School professor, explained, “It makes sense to try cannabis when you consider the track record of other medications a lot of older adults take, especially for pain, sleep and anxiety…. Cannabis can be as effective as anything.” Daniel Reingold, CEO of RiverSpring Health in Riverdale, NY, had high praise after a pilot program was completed at this Hebrew Home facility: “The benefits are nothing short of amazing and should be more widely available to residents of long-term care facilities."





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How Trump Could Win
By Benjamin Wallace-Wells


Among the categories of professionals that Donald Trump seems intent on obliterating, one is Republican political strategists. The figures who guided his political rise in 2016 have been much diminished, because of criminal indictment (Steve Bannon), criminal prosecution (Roger Stone), incompetence (Brad Parscale), or domestic ruptures (Kellyanne Conway). Trump’s campaign does not have many strategists, nor, it has often seemed, much strategy. At the Republican National Convention, the idea of a second Trump term remained so undefined that the Party did not even offer a formal platform. Asked by the Times’ Peter Baker what he meant to do with a second term, Trump said, “I think it would be very, very, I think we’d have a very, very solid, we would continue what we’re doing, we’d solidify what we’ve done, and we have other things on our plate that we want to get done.” The President has long succeeded by creating an environment of constant chaos; now his campaign seems to be drowning in it.

The professionals who remain at Trump re-election headquarters are, with fewer than sixty days until the election, faced with a challenging set of statistics. For months, Joe Biden has led in national polls by at least seven percentage points. In order to win the Electoral College, Trump would need to beat Biden in about half of six swing states: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona. He trails Biden in all of them, though the margin in North Carolina and Florida is under two per cent. About forty-two per cent of Americans approve of the job he has done as President, a number that has remained fairly constant throughout his Presidency, but fifty-four per cent now disapprove, which puts him behind the ratings of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan at similar points in their reëlection campaigns—though well ahead of George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. In other words, Trump looks likely to be either the least popular incumbent to win reëlection in the modern polling era or the most popular one to lose it.


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 The Best Adaptive Clothing Guide for Seniors

Adaptive clothing is a type of garment that’s available for seniors, the disabled, and other people who are in need of a convenient, easy way to get dressed independently each day.


The purpose of adaptive clothing is to provide simple and straightforward style choices that are comfortable to wear and easy to put on and take off. Adaptive clothing is often made to address certain health-related issues such as for the prevention of pressure sores or clothing that’s not restrictive for Parkinson’s patients.


For seniors and the disabled, getting dressed can sometimes be challenging, and for certain individuals, it’s a task that requires assistance. Adaptive clothing options are designed to offer a clothing solution that makes it possible for seniors and the disabled to get dressed easily with little to no help from caretakers.

Adaptive clothing items are equipped with special features that make them particularly easy to wear. Plus, they’re made to be extremely comfortable! Here are some of the most important defining features of adaptive clothing:






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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY SEPT. 17TH 2020


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09.15.20



Oh No. Not More Chicken
And Other Observations
5 minutes


If we had a mascot here at the A.L.F. it would be a chicken. On a per capita basis, we probably consume more chicken than any other people on the face of the earth. We eat so much chicken that the very mention of the word sends shivers down the spines of our residents. Last week alone, we had something made from chicken 15 out of the 21 meals served here. And that’s not counting any eggs at breakfast.
 


There are several reasons for this.
 
Chicken is a significant source of protein.
 
It is comparatively cheap as compared to beef or fish.
 
And, unlike beef, it’s rarely ever tough to chew. A feature of some importance here at the Asylum.
 
Also, although you would never know it if you were a resident here, they can cook it a variety of ways.
 

However, none of that makes any difference when you are “forced” to eat it.
 
No, nobody stands there while they stuff chunks of chicken nuggets down your throat. But if you don’t want to go hungry, sometimes there’s little choice. Variety, in the time of Covid-19 leaves much to be desired.
 
And just to prove I am not exaggerating, guess what they served as a main course for dinner after having a similar dish for lunch….. That’s right, Chicken.
 
It’s life at the ALF folks.





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Meanwhile, on the Covid-19 front, it’s still more of the same old same old here at Virus Central.
 
The good news, if you consider it good news, is the one resident that tested positive for the virus almost a month ago, is out of quarantine. What this means is we can now begin the 2 week waiting period countdown. And if there are no additional positive cases, presumably, they may ease some infection control regulations we have lived under for over 180 days. One of which is to allow residents visits with their friends and loved ones. I say “presumably” because the state has flip-flopped and delayed their plans so many times it’s hard to recognize the truth. So, maybe, by the end of September, there will be some smiling faces behind the masks.

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The constant reminder of how this virus has not lessened its control over us is most evident here at the A.L.F. And it’s affecting all of us.
 
Temper’s have become short and the listlessness of once active residents is clear.
 
Many, especially some of our older folks, have not been out of their rooms since this began. While I know they are being cared for physically, I pray someone is paying attention to their mental well-being.
 
Most of you only truly come in contact with extreme infection control procedures when you leave your homes. And even then the rules and regulations may be loosely observed. But just imagine having to live with every known way to prevent the spread of a virus 365/24/7. It can weigh heavily on one’s psyche.
 
The warning signs hung on every corridor wall, the wearing of masks by everyone, the hand sanitizing stations dotted throughout the facility, the tape on the floors reminding us to keep our distance and the utter isolation from the outside world is a hardship none of us, let alone the elderly should have to contend with.
 
At some point, this will end. Perhaps too late for many of us. And when it does my hope is they will, at least, acknowledge they may have forgotten that old people have the same needs and feelings as the rest of the population and, instead of acting with compassion, they acted out of fear.
 
In any event, there will be much explaining to do……… .
 


 



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Death in the time of Covid:
Hospice care is tough to get right now


Difficult as the past six months have been on the living, and the terrible cost paid by those who have died, there’s another category of people for whom the coronavirus pandemic has shown little mercy — those seeking hospice care.

Whether they’re in the final stages of a long-term illness, or they’ve been diagnosed with terminal cancer, or they’re suddenly stricken with COVID-19, dying people are facing a variety of pandemic-related hurdles to get a service designed to comfort the afflicted and ease the burden for their family members.

That service includes helping people handle fear.

Even when their health is in decline, many people with serious illnesses remain afraid to visit a doctor or go to a hospital because of the specter of coronavirus. As a result, they don’t get the assistance that could ease the final stage of life.


______________________________________________________________________

Sanitizer Science: What Works and What to Avoid

It wasn’t that long ago during the pandemic that finding hand sanitizer in stores was a similarly hopeless quest to searching for toilet paper. But as supply chains caught up with demand, sanitizer now seems to be everywhere. Cases of them are stacked near the entrances at home improvement warehouse stores. Even the neighborhood hardware store has an assortment right next to the cash register, as hand sanitizer has become one of those last-minute grab items.

But are all sanitizers created equal? Not quite.

    “Drying off” the sanitizer with a towel reduces its effectiveness.

The most common active ingredient is some form of alcohol: usually ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. There is a difference between the two.


______________________________________________________________________

When and how to vote in all 50 states
By Stef W. Kight,Naema Ahmed


Millions of Americans who normally vote in person on election day will turn to early voting or mail-in ballots this fall — but that only works if you understand your state's election rules, deadlines and how to ensure your vote is counted.

Driving the news: Axios is launching an interactive resource, built on research by RepresentUs, a nonpartisan election reform group, to help voters across the country to get the information they need.

    "This election year, voters need to take more time and effort to navigate the challenges of a pandemic," U.S. Elections Assistance Commissioner Donald Palmer tells Axios.

    It will be critical for voters to have updated information on their options "to make sure that this election is a true reflection of the will of the people," said Matt Strabone, senior counsel for RepresentUs.





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The 5 Biggest Technology Trends In 2021
 Everyone Must Get Ready For Now
By Bernard Marr

It might seem strange to be making predictions about 2021, when it’s far from certain how the remainder of 2020 is going to play out. No-one foresaw the world-changing events of this year, but one thing is clear: tech has been affected just as much as every other part of our lives.


Another thing that is clear is that today’s most important tech trends will play a big part in helping us cope with and adapt to the many challenges facing us. From the shift to working from home to new rules about how we meet and interact in public spaces, tech trends will be the driving force in managing the change.

In many ways, Covid-19 will act as a catalyst for a whole host of changes that were already on the cards anyway, thanks to our increasingly online and digital lives. Things will just happen more quickly now, with necessity (long acknowledged as the mother of invention) as the driving force. And should it be the case that – as certain US presidents have predicted – Covid-19 “magically disappears” – the changes it has brought about will not, as we will have learned to do a lot of things more efficiently and safely. 




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Donald Trump, Joe Biden tied in
 Florida poll as 2020 race tightens
By Steven Nelson


President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden are tied in a new NBC News/Marist poll of Florida voters in the latest sign of a tightening race.
For months, Trump has lagged behind Biden in national and swing-state polls, but recent surveys, especially in Midwest battlegrounds, show him gaining on Biden.
The Florida poll of likely voters found 48 percent support for both Trump and Biden. The Democratic candidate is one point down among registered voters.
The poll results, released as Trump travels to Florida on Tuesday, indicate that Trump gained significant support among Hispanic voters since 2016, but is at risk of losing his edge among retirees.



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MediaWise for Seniors

Older Americans are increasingly engaged online, with more than 40% of people over the age of 65 actively using social media platforms like Facebook. But as older Americans spend more time online, they’re exposed to more conspiracies, scams, hoaxes and false news stories. In the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic and a presidential election, spotting misinformation online can be a matter of life, death and democracy. That’s where MediaWise for Seniors comes in.
mediawise-seniors-seminar

In this small class that meets online weekly, you will improve your media literacy and learn tools and techniques for fact-checking what you see on social media.


Our story

MediaWise has been teaching teens how to sort fact from fiction online since 2018. This year, MediaWise expanded to first-time voters and America’s 50+ population. The MediaWise for Seniors program focuses on identifying misinformation surrounding the presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to support from Facebook, MediaWise for Seniors offers two engaging online classes, a social media awareness campaign and a series of Facebook Live videos with Poynter’s PolitiFact to teach media literacy (the first features Dr. Sanjay Gupta).




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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY SEPT. 16TH 2020


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09.14.20






7 - 8 minutes

My dislike of Donald Trump goes way back. Back before the 2016 election. Back before his reality TV show. Even back before his Marriage to Marla Maples. Remember her? You don’t? That’s okay. Neither does he. 

As a New Yorker, my disdain for the man began the first time I noticed that they emblazoned the name TRUMP on what 
seemed like every  newly constructed buildings in town. 

We know New York City for its ability to build tall, iconic buildings. But few have the name of the developer or owner on them. And believe me, they certainly could have. Take Jacob Raskob as an example. 

Oh, you never heard of Mr. Raskob? There’s no reason you should. And yet he built the world’s most famous skyscraper
 ever. The Empire State Building.

You’ll notice the name“Raskob” does not appear anywhere on the building. Nor does the name “Harry Helmsley” when he bought the building. [1]  But for some reason, Trump has to have his name on almost everything. Office buildings, hotels, failed casinos and luxury apartment houses all have TRUMP somewhere on the exterior.

Why does having one’s name on everything bother me so much? Because, like most New Yorker’s, I am neither a bully nor a show-off. If we do something magnanimous, we do it quietly and without fanfare. Michael Bloomberg, whose worth a whopping $55 billion, has donated more than $9.5 billion to a wide variety of causes and organizations. [2] And I don’t believe his name is on any of it. While Trump, too, has donated to causes, he prefers to make sure everybody knows about it. And the best way to do that is… (pregnant pause)… That’s right. So he can put his name on it. [3]

I could almost forgive Trump for his misogyny, his boasting and his incredible ego. He’s only human and, like many of us, he has his faults.

To be honest, in the long run (providing we don’t have to suffer another four more years of him) we could undo much of what he has screwed up. But the remarks he made to Bob Woodward goes far beyond audacity, arrogance or chutzpah. His declaration that he knew how dangerous the Covid-19 virus was weeks before the rest of us and failed to alert the American people (his base included) proves he is sadistic as well.

Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal and is one of the nation's most respected journalists, interviewed Trump 18 times from December to July…

Trump knew Covid-19 was deadlier than the flu before it hit the country but wanted to play down the crisis.

Trump is quoted as saying the virus was "deadly stuff" before the first US death was confirmed.

Trump indicated that he knew more about the severity of the illness than he had said publicly.

Later that month, Trump promised the virus was "very much under control", and that the case count would soon be close to zero. He also publicly implied the flu was more dangerous than Covid-19.

Nine days later, after the White House declared the pandemic a national emergency, the president told Woodward: "I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down.

He said he had wanted to avoid causing public panic.

"We want to show confidence, we want to show strength." [4]

The statement “he had wanted to avoid causing public panic” not only shows he knows little about safety and security, and nothing about his fellow Americans or New Yorker’s.
 
Americans, when confronted with danger, don’t panic. Instead, we come together to face a foe head on, with determination and resolve.
 
Wasn’t he around on 9-11? In our darkest hour did he see any sign of panic?
 
The police and firefighters didn’t panic. Even the people fleeing ground zero by the thousands didn’t panic. Instead, they helped one another. America, as it has always done, became one.
 
Nobody ran screaming over the Williamsburg Bridge with me that morning. We walked, slowly and calmly, even stopping briefly to look back, not in despair but with courage and conviction.
 
And in the hours that followed, did we see President Bush panic or lie about the severity of what had transpired. And what did we do as soon as they cleared the last piece of debris from the “pile?” We rebuilt a building bigger and better because that’s what Americans do best.

 
That he wanted to “avoid a panic” is just another one of his distortions of the truth. He wasn’t worried about a panic as much as he was worried that anything negative this late in an election year would be another blemish on his already well-tarnished record.

Never breaking character, he continues to pervert the facts to cover his lies.
 
He tells us to wear a mask while he himself will not wear one.
 
He praises social distancing and yet holds rallies, making sure his equally clueless supporters stand shoulder to unmasked shoulder because he thinks it’s not manly to wear a mask.
 
And, just to make sure you know he takes no responsibility for nearly 200,000 dead Americans, he blames Bob Woodward for not exposing his comments earlier. What a P.O.S.
 
Fifty days from today we can put an end to the “Great American Mistake.” We will come together as one great, fearless nation, not to make America great again, but to make America what it always was.…………………………… 



PS. It appears the rest of the Republican party is as complicit as their boss…..

FROM TODAY'S HEADLINES

“RNC chairwoman says history will vindicate Trump's coronavirus handling
Ronna McDaniel defended Trump after revelations that he purposely downplayed the pandemic in the early weeks, saying that the president sought to keep Americans "calm."
In an interview with “Meet the Press,” McDaniel maintained that "20/20 vision is, in hindsight, perfect,” and insisted that Trump acted “calm and steady and methodical” as he handled the pandemic, pointing to early steps he took like cancelling travel from China and creating the coronavirus task force.”



[1]  Mr. Helnsley’s estate at the time of his death was estimated to be worth $5 to $8 Billion putting Donny’s 2,5 billion to shame.

[2] Bloomberg has donated more than $9.5 billion to a wide variety of causes and organizations, including $1.8 billion to allow Johns Hopkins to permanently accept and enroll students without regard to their ability to pay – the largest gift in the history of American higher education.

[3] Trump purchased the property for $2 million in the 1990s, and donated it in 2006[1][2] after he was unable to gain town approvals to develop a private golf course on the property.[3] At that time Trump claimed the parcel was worth $100 million. He used the donation as a tax write-off.. New York State announced the park's closure due to budget cuts in February 2010.[6] It was questioned whether the closure was necessary since the operating budget for the park was only $2,500 a year 

[4] Source https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54094559

[5] Source:  https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/rnc-chairwoman-says-history-will-vindicate-trump-s-coronavirus-handling-n1239977?cid=db_npd_nn_fb_fbbot








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New Technologies Are Ushering in the Biggest
Revolution in Senior Care in Over a Century
By Arick Wierson

COVID-19 has put a spotlight on a fragile senior care system, but a vibrant health-tech ecosystem is laying track for a technology revolution that is centered on the homes—just in time for the ‘Silver Tsunami’—of aging baby boomers.


From the explosive growth of telehealth to a renewed sense of the importance of epidemiology, COVID-19 has upended nearly every nook and cranny within the sprawling American health care juggernaut. But nowhere are the tectonic plate shifts ripping across the health sector more evident than in senior care, as crowded nursing homes and assisted living facilities have essentially become ground zero for the deadly virus.

A recent New York Times article summed up the catastrophe: “Of all the missteps by governments during the coronavirus pandemic, few have had such an immediate and devastating impact as the failure to protect nursing homes. Tens of thousands of older people died—casualties not only of the virus, but of more than a decade of ignored warnings that nursing homes were vulnerable.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly half of all coronavirus fatalities in Europe have been traced to nursing homes. In the U.S., where COVID-19 has spiraled out of control, more than 40 percent of all coronavirus deaths are linked to long-term care facilities.



___________________________________________________________________


Seniors have the potential to transform
economy and the healthcare system
By Laura Lovett

The 2020s are seeing a silver surge as populations around the world continue to age. While Japan has the highest percentage of senior citizens in the world, other countries in Europe and North America are quickly catching up.

However, an ageing society could mean new potential for health and the economy, according panelist at the 'Silver Health & Economy: New Demographics, New Opportunities' session at HIMSS & Health 2.0 European Digital Event. Finland’s former prime minister, Esko Aho, even compared the promise of a new silver economy to climate reform.

“I believe personally that the ageing of a population is more of an opportunity than a problem for societies. I very much like the phrase 'Silver is the next green,' which means we have to have a similar comprehensive approach to understand this is fundamental systemic change.”


____________________________________________________________________

Common Meds Tied to Faster
Mental Decline in Seniors
By Amy Norton


THURSDAY, Sept. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A group of widely used medications might speed up older adults' mental decline -- especially if they are at increased risk of dementia, a new study hints.

The medications in question are called anticholinergics, and they are used to treat a diverse range of conditions -- from allergies, motion sickness and overactive bladder to high blood pressure, depression and Parkinson's disease.

The drugs are known to have short-term side effects such as confusion and fuzzy memory.



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Coping with Pandemic Fatigue:
Nature, Music and Deep Breaths

Sometimes all it takes is a soothing cup of hot tea. A Next Avenue reader named Kim says that slowing down, putting the kettle on to boil and brewing a pot of good quality tea, served along with some tea biscuits, “creates a small spot of normalcy in the chaos and misery.”

Normalcy is something we are all seeking more of right now as the country (and the world) is approximately six months into living through the coronavirus pandemic, with the end not clearly in sight.

Across the population, sadly, many have died, while others have mourned the loss of loved ones or found themselves unemployed, and many are struggling to cope with missing their family and friends who are not safe to see for a variety of reasons. Daily routines have been thwarted and favorite local shops and restaurants might have closed. Social groups and classes may still be meeting, but now it’s over Zoom and not across a table.



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In battleground states, Trump has the upper hand on
one key issue that has Dems nervous
By Sahil Kapur


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump trails Joe Biden nationally and in most swing states. He trails on questions of character and most policy issues, like the coronavirus, health care and even crime.

Except one — and it's a big one: Americans in battleground states still trust Trump over Biden on the economy, which often tops the list of decisive issues for voters.

The president's edge on the economy has begun to worry some allies of Biden, who say he needs to do more to neutralize it or Trump could use it to nail down swing voters as Election Day nears. His lead persists even with 8.4 percent unemployment and during a recession that Democrats say has been fueled by Trump's mishandling of the pandemic.





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Helping the Elderly Pay for Prescription Drugs


Prescription drugs are a major component of the overall cost of caring for the elderly. By some reports, persons sixty-five and older spend an average of over three percent of their income on prescription drugs. That percentage is even higher when over-the-counter medications are included. While Medicare Part D pays for some medications for those enrolled in a plan, it is reported that over sixty-five percent of seniors’ prescription costs are out-of-pocket.

There are three ways by which seniors can better afford the cost of prescription drugs. First is make sure one understands their insurance's prescription benefits, be that Medicare, Medicaid or Medicare supplementary insurance (Medigap). The second is to find financial assistance that helps pay for medication or for insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles. Finally, the third and frequently overlooked option, is to lower one's costs through a variety of methods described further down this page.

Did You Know?  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 50% of elderly individuals (65 years of age and older) take a minimum of 4 prescription medications. 



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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY SEPT. 15TH 2020


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09.11.20



9 minutes


It’s been 19 years since the events of that morning back in 2001 changed America, and the world forever. And, as I have done for every one of those years, I use this forum to remember that day by recounting my personal experiences. I do it as much for myself as a tribute to those who perished.

I could write reams about that day and it still would not tell the full story of how the city, and a nation came together. But, for what it's worth, this is what I remember most.
 
It was a sparkling, warm early September morning as I drove over the venerable Williamsburg bridge, my preferred route to my job in Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan. The sun had just risen, framing the twin towers of the World Trade Center in silhouette against the sky. It was a view I had seen almost every morning. A view I never got bored with since they completed the second tower in 1973. I could not have imagined I would walk over that same bridge just a few hours later, together with thousands of my fellow New Yorker’s.
 
I had been at my desk for over an hour. As I entered an order on my computer terminal, I could hear the unmistakable sound of a large jet airplane, just outside the north-facing window behind me.
 
“Flying a little low today” I thought as I turned back to the computer. A few minutes later somebody came on to the floor and announced that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. It was just past 9am. A time when thousands of people would be in that building beginning their day. I immediately knew it was that jet I heard. Less than a hour later we would watch (on TV) that building, 2 World Trade Center, collapse in a pile of dust, debris and humanity. 


It took only a minute for me to remember that two of my best customers were in that building. People I spoke to every day. Jack, who worked for Fuji Bank, and Barbara as a receptionist at Fred Alger Management. Both offices above where the plane hit. Like me, they arrived at their jobs early. I knew they were gone.
 
Meanwhile, work had all but stopped as we watched TV, transfixed by the reports of what we thought was a horrible accident. But when they hit the other tower and the Pentagon shortly thereafter, it became apparent New York and America was under attack. At approximately 10:45 they closed the office, and they sent everybody home. That’s when my odyssey began.
 
Learning the bridges and tunnels had been closed to vehicular traffic and that the subways were no longer running in Manhattan, I left my car, safely parked in a nearby garage, and walked. 

The shortest way home, on foot, was the reverse of my morning commute. I left the building on West 10th street and headed south.

I headed over to 7th Avenue past St. Vincent’s Hospital. Lined up, on the sidewalk were dozens of Gurneys and, at the side of each was a doctor or a nurse. They were waiting for what they thought would be hundreds of casualties. They never came. There was only death.
 
Continuing south, past the NYU campus, I saw dozens of students on line in front of a phone booth (not everybody had a cell phone back then) frantically waiting to make a call to what must have been equally frantic parents.

Making my way over to Broadway, heading toward the Lower East Side and the bridge, the smoke and dust from the collapsed buildings covered everything in a light coating of whitish-gray ash. People coming at me in the opposite direction were all covered in the same dust. Was I going in the wrong direction? Should have I headed north, away from the chaos? It was too late and too long of a walk to the 59th Street bridge, so I continued south.
 
It was warm, very warm for September. And, except for the dust, the sky was blue and crystal clear. I looked down at my once shiny shoes and was glad they were the most comfortable ones I owned. I did not know how far I would have to walk. Home was 14 miles away in Queens.
 
Approaching Delancey Street, the crowds heading for the bridge grew to epic proportions. I had never seen so many people on foot, going the same way. "At least I'm not alone" , I thought.
 
Only the outer lanes of the Williamsburg bridge were open to pedestrians, all the others were busy with emergency vehicles headed for wherever they were needed.

One would have thought the sound of thousands of stressed-out, confused and frightened people would have been deafening. But it was just the opposite. There may have been thousands of us, but we all walked alone with only our thoughts as companions. The only noise came from the police, fire and ambulance vehicles and overhead from the screaming F-16s and helicopters.
 
I continued for what seemed like an eternity. Some people had stopped to look back where two mighty edifices once stood, now only a dense cloud of dust. They watched, some whimpering, as a plume of detritus wafted over lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Fortunately, it was not going where I would be.
 
Half way over the bridge, the heat and dust made my throat and lips dry. I knew there was a small playground on the other side of the bridge where I could find a water fountain. I kept that thought in mind as I came to the last few yards of the bridge when I came upon a 9-11 miracle. As if reading my thoughts, there, dressed in their traditional garb were a group of one of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Hasidic sects, handing out ice cold bottles of Poland Spring water to anybody who wanted one. They may have been doing a “mitzvah” [1], but to us, they were angels in black coats.
 
I eventually would get on a bus which took me to a subway line that brought me home. It was 3pm. It was also Election Day in New York. Even though it was an off-year election, I made it a point to always vote. And on that day, I needed to do it more than ever. But to my astonishment, the polling place, in the basement of a nearby apartment building, was closed. They had canceled the election. To this day, I thought that was a mistake.
 
I went home, called my brother in Florida, and collapsed on the sofa.

The days and weeks that followed were almost as poignant as the data began to come together. 

Signs, taped to utility poles with pictures of the missing, were everywhere. 

Impromptu memorials sprung up in every neighborhood. 

I returned to work the following Monday. Though the dust had cleared, the smell, a pungent mixture of burnt office equipment, crushed plaster board, wiring and one could only imagine what else hung in the air for weeks. At times, I think I can still smell it.
 
I am not a proficient enough writer to express accurately my feelings on that day.
 
I was a reluctant eyewitness to history. Few people can say that. The sights, sounds and smell of September 11th will be in my memory forever..……………………. 

[1] A good deed that every devout Jew must perform each day.





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Okay, but far from what is needed…


NY Eases Restrictions on Visits at Assisted Living Homes

New York is now allowing visitors to see loved ones at assisted living homes that are COVID-free for 14 days, up from 28 days under previous guidance.

Family members and friends of residents at the state’s nursing homes and assisted living homes have been urging the state for months to ease its March 13 ban on most visits. The state’s guidance has allowed visits for medically necessary or end-of life services.

New York announced July 10 that it would begin allowing restricted visits at nursing homes and assisted living facilities that haven’t had a COVID-19 case among residents or staffers for 28 days.

Visits are limited to outdoor areas with weather permitting, though visits of no more than 10 individuals in a well-ventilated space can be allowed in “certain limited circumstances.”


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CMS Proposes to Expand the Scope of
Medicare Coverage Determinations


On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a proposed rule that would, for the first time, establish formal criteria to define the “reasonable and necessary” standard for Medicare coverage, and would make Medicare coverage available immediately for medical devices deemed to be breakthrough devices by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).[1] If the proposed rule becomes final, it would be a significant expansion of the scope of Medicare coverage. CMS has solicited comments on several important aspects of the proposal, and interested parties should submit comments to CMS by November 2, 2020.

Defining the “Reasonable and Necessary” Standard for Medicare Coverage

Since its inception in 1965, the Medicare program has covered those items and services deemed to be “reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of illness or injury or to improve the functioning of a malformed body member.”[2] However, that phrase was never defined in any statute or regulation; this gave CMS and Medicare Administrative Contractors (“MACs”) wide discretion, but often left health care providers, suppliers, and manufacturers to guess about the availability of Medicare coverage. The proposed rule would not establish a bright-line test for Medicare coverage; instead, it would adopt the criteria currently in the Medicare Program Integrity Manual, which is an interpretive guideline for MACs.[3] While this provides a degree of clarity, CMS and the MACs retain a large measure of discretion. In order to meet the “reasonable and necessary” threshold, an item or service must meet the following three criteria:




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'This Isn't Sustainable': Covid-19 Testing Pushes Senior
Living Providers Closer to Financial Crises

By Tim Regan

The financial burdens of the coronavirus pandemic have squeezed senior living margins for months — but some providers are now openly wondering how much longer they can operate normally without an even greater level of federal support.

The federal government has pledged to offer some support to the private-pay sector, both in the form of additional funding and Covid-19 antigen tests. But as the pressure continues and the pandemic shows no sign of letting up, some providers say it’s not nearly enough, especially during a time when many of their peers fear imminent financial failure.

Morningside Ministries, a San Antonio, Texas-based non-profit provider with two life plan communities, expects to spend between $30,000 and $60,000 per week on Covid-19 testing for residents and staff in the weeks ahead. But that is simply not sustainable in the long-term without some kind of outside assistance, according to Patrick Crump, the organization’s president and CEO.

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Study: Medical Cannabis Use by Seniors
Associated with Improved Quality of Life


The use of medical cannabis by those over the age of 60 is positively associated with self-reported improvements in subjects’ health-related quality of life (HRQL), according to data published in the journal Clinical Gerontologist.

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa surveyed seniors regarding their use of medical cannabis and self-reported outcome changes over a one-year period.

Investigators reported a “strong positive association” between subjects’ frequency of cannabis use and self-reported improvements in pain, health-care utilization, and overall health-related quality of life. Participants failed to report any statistically significant association between medical cannabis use and adverse events.



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Does yoga reduce the risk of falls in older people?
By Tew Garry A, Ward Lesley,
Hewitt Catherine, Tiedemann Anne.


What you need to know

    Exercise programmes that involve balance and functional exercises are effective at preventing falls in older people living in the community

    Yoga provides small to moderate improvement in balance and mobility in this population, but there is lack of evidence on effect of yoga on falls

    Health professionals can recommend yoga to older people to promote physical function and mental wellbeing if there are no clinical contraindications, but there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend yoga specifically for preventing falls

Nearly a third of people aged over 65 years and over half of people older than 80 have a fall at least once a year.123 Falls and fall related injuries can be life changing and may result in chronic disability, admission to assisted living, or death. A fall can also precipitate a fear of falling, which may lead to restriction of activity and hence physical deconditioning. This in turn increases the risk of future falls.45





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Here’s when you should get your flu vaccine,
 according to one doctor

By Herb Scribner

Public health officials suggested recently that all Americans to get their flu shot in order to keep themselves safe as the pandemic heads toward fall. But when should you get it?

Dr. Miriam Alexander, with LifeBridge Health, recently told WBAL-TV 11 that October might be the best month for a flu vaccine since the flu strains often last for six months — from October to March.

    “The reason for that is the flu shot seems to only work for about six months and we always have quite a lot of flu in our communities in March. We want to make sure people are protected against the flu in March.”

Alexander said there should be increased urgency from Americans to say safe from the flu in 2020 because of the novel coronavirus.

    Continue reading  >>  https://www.deseret.com/u-s-world/2020/9/8/21427086/coronavirus-flu-shot-when-to-get


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Kevin McCarthy Warns Trump Attacking
Mail Voting Bad For GOP

By Sarah Rumpf

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is highly concerned President Donald Trump’s opposition to mail-in voting could hurt both Trump and down-ballot Republicans’ chances for victory during the November elections, according to a new report from Axios.

Axios White House Reporter Alayna Treene interviewed McCarthy last week and discussed Trump’s recent comments criticizing mail-in voting as presenting a high risk for fraud. The White House has sought to distinguish universal voting-by-mail from absentee ballots — which Trump himself has frequently used — and insisted, without evidence, that mail-in voting was plagued by fraud.

Treene traveled with McCarthy to campaign and fundraising stops in Oregon and Utah, and reported that she witnessed McCarthy telling Republicans to “vote by any means necessary” at each stop, clearly not following the president’s messaging on the topic.



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NEXT BLOG MONDAY SEPT. 14TH 2020


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







09.10.20

6-7 minutes

Chances are you are not living in the what you imagined the future would look like.
 
For some of us, who sheltered under a desk in Miss Newman’s 3rd grade class waiting for the “Ruskies” to drop the big one on Brooklyn, the future may have appeared bleak. Looking back, I wonder why they thought a one inch slab of laminated plywood would protect us from a 20 megaton nuclear bomb. I imagined, back in Minsk, Russian kids were doing the same thing? Remember all those yellow and black “FALLOUT SHELTER’’ signs we saw all over town? Were we supposed to stay in a basement for 50 years while every living thing had turned to ash a few feet above us?

In any event, the threat of being blown back to the stone age has diminished over the years, making all those preparations seem pointless. 

Depending how you look at it, not having to repopulate the earth (A job I was ready to take on single-handed) may have come as a disappointment. Like so many other visions of the future that never materialized.

Seriously. How many of you thought we would all be “driving” flying cars by now, safely zipping around town well above the traffic? Or maybe we would live on the 300th floor of a state-of-the-art building high above the streets of a glistening city. Of course we would have no problem affording such an abode because poverty will have been eradicated or, at the very least, all rent would be free. And, most certainly, we would be shuttling between here and Mars just for the fun of it.
 
Robots were a big thing. They would do everything humans didn’t want to do, like work. You don’t want to go to your job today? No problem. Send the robot. Kids, especially lonely nerds, would have robot buddies to play with and do our homework. We believed everything was possible as long as we had the technology to make it happen.

The future we waited all those years for is here. So now that we have the technology, why don’t we have all that they promised us? Two reasons. Practicality and money.
 
Should people have flying cars? The streets are dangerous enough now without needing to worry about being crushed by a falling Buick. And do you really want some near-sighted old codger who can barely see over the dashboard up there scaring the daylights out of the pigeons?
 
Yes, we could make flying cars. But it’s impractical, dangerous and expensive.  Unfortunately, we still have that pesky thing called gravity to contend with and lifting a two or three thousand pound vehicle off the ground doesn’t come cheap.
 
Truthfully, nothing about technology is cheap. Something futurists never figure in when making predictions. Those who foresaw a glorious future back then could never have predicted the gap between the haves and have-nots, or that poverty would be a factor in the 21st century. The one thing technology hasn’t overcome is human nature. Greedy bastards have always been around and always will. The need to outdo your neighbor is as strong as ever and no technology will make that go away. If you have the $$ you can have all the fun.

While there may not be flying cars, there are private jets.
 
“Let’s pop over to London for lunch. I’ll have them warm-up the Grumman. What about work? Not to worry. The people who I pay 200 times less salary than I make in an hour can take care of that.”
 
That may be an extreme example and one that has little relevance in today’s world. But what has relevance is that now, in the 21st Century, people in the greatest, richest country in the world, still die because they don’t have access to first-class healthcare. I’ll bet you never thought about that hiding under your desk at PS 92.
 
Yes, we have picture phones and hand-held computers and little radios we stick in our ears. But we don’t have free higher education or a decent minimum wage. And yes, there are robots that vacuum our floors and can remotely remove an enlarged prostate. But we don’t have comfortable, safe, affordable housing for all. And we still have people sleeping over subway grates because we don’t have the compassion to take care of them. The shining society that we pictured for some has become a dystopia of poverty, hunger and disease for others.

We will never know what our grandchildren’s future will be like. Most of us will be long gone by then. But if history has taught us anything, the speed at which things will change, will only happen if we have the will to make it change. Sadly, from what I have seen so far, what is to come will be just more of the same old same old……........................ .






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State’s ‘inhumane’ nursing home visit
policy has families frustrated
By Daniel Telvock

Beverly Noody has not hugged or kissed her mother since March as strict state rules have made it nearly impossible for some families to schedule in-person nursing home visits in the Covid-19 era.

“Beverly, I want to come home for good,” wrote her mother in an emotional letter.

“I don’t know how to get out of here. This is for good. I wish I could get out of this place. I would do anything to get away. I was told today this is forever. Do you know how I can get away?”

News 4 Investigates interviewed four families that haven’t seen their loved ones face-to-face at nursing homes since the pandemic resulted in statewide lockdowns by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They are all at wits’ end and believe the state could be more lenient with them on the policy that prohibits in-person nursing home visits for four weeks each time a resident or employee tests positive for the disease.


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Older Adults Often Left Out Of
Clinical Trials For Vaccines
By Kathy Ritchie


Historically, older adults have been underrepresented in clinical trials for certain treatments. But with the coronavirus, it’s critical that older adults be included in vaccine trials since the virus can impact them at higher rates. 

Dr. Shad Marvasti is as associate professor and the director of public heath and prevention at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix. He says medical research has been mostly limited to a certain demographic — specifically, "middle aged white men," he said.

While efforts have been made to include more people from diverse backgrounds, Marvasti said it isn't enough.


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Providers should test 50% of staff, residents weekly even
if coronavirus risk is low, researchers suggest

A research study recommending weekly testing of staff and residents in skilled nursing facilities is applicable to assisted living communities looking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, according to the lead author.

The research letter, “Evaluation of testing frequency and sampling for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance strategies in long-term care facilities,” was published this month by the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association and sought to identify optimal testing strategies for SARS-CoV-2 in long-term care facilities.

Researchers compared the effect of various coronavirus surveillance strategies and concluded that weekly testing of at least 50% of staff members and residents was necessary to minimize outbreaks.




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Jobs of the future: 10 fastest-growing occupations
(and how much they pay)
By Audrey Conklin

NEW YORK - An aging population and dramatic advances in technology and energy will determine the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. over the next decade, according to an updated forecast released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

BLS' top-10 list of fastest-growing American occupations between 2019 and 2029 is comprised of six health care-related jobs and three tech/green energy-related jobs, though projections do not include the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, BLS said.

Titles in BLS' Top 10 list include:...



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5 Big Retirement Myths
(and Why They're Untrue)


Isn’t retirement that time of life we all look forward to? No more getting up on a set schedule, slogging through our morning routine and starting our work day. Instead we get to kick back, relax, perhaps enjoy a cup of coffee while reading the news, or, frankly, anything else we want to do.

That’s what we all envision, right? And yet, there are a lot of common misconceptions and even downright myths associated with retirement. Most are relatively benign, but misunderstanding these myths can lead to some serious trouble. That’s why we’ve selected the five biggest retirement myths to debunk, so you can be better prepared for what lies ahead.

1. Myth: Retirement is Far Off in the Future

First and foremost is the proximity of when you think you’re going to retire. Many of us tend to have a slightly skewed perception of the timeline; we think we’ll be working for longer than we actually end up working. Many of us even expect to work in our retirement. The truth, however, is much different: according to a recent survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only half of those who say they intend to work past retirement are actually capable of doing so or end up wanting to, when the time finally arrives.




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5 Reasons Biden’s Odds of
Victory Look Better Than Ever
By Eric Levitz

Democrats will not breathe easy until Donald Trump has officially conceded. The New York Times’ election needle has been taken offline — and the computers that generated it, ritually burned — so that nothing resembling the events of November 8, 2016, will ever happen again.

Blue America has spent the past week wringing its hands and chewing its benzos. Liberals couldn’t refresh their social-media feeds without glimpsing new portents of electoral ruin. A riot in Wisconsin, a Republican National Convention featuring actual nonwhite people, a communist who wrote a bad book — all looked like proof of the inevitability of Biden’s defeat (and/or the advisability of googling “canadian immigration law”).

But reports of “Dems in disarray” have been greatly exaggerated.





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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY SEPT. 11TH 2020


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09.09.20


6 minutes


Let’s go back about 11 years.
 
I’m sitting in a wheelchair in a rehab facility in New York waiting for my therapist so I can begin my one-hour-a-day PT session. I haven’t been able to walk for almost a year, ever since I left the hospital after weeks on my back. In my wildest nightmare, I never could have imagined I would be in this position. Nor could I believe that recovering the use of my legs would be so difficult and so painful. I didn’t know it takes only a few weeks of not using your legs to atrophy the muscles; but it takes months, or even years, to get them to work again. However, there was something else I found out about being in a wheelchair. Something I never knew I had. Empathy.
 
Across from where I was sitting in that therapy room were the parallel bars.
 
The two wooden bars are about 3 feet apart and 10 feet long. It would be awhile before I would be strong enough to use them. But on the bars that day was a man about 15 years my senior. I watched as he struggled to lift himself up from his wheelchair and position his body between the bars.

 
I saw his face contort to a grimace as he put one leg in front of the other, gnashing his teeth as he proceeded down the platform. Just watching him would have made anybody sympathetic to his suffering, But it wasn't only compassion that I felt. I actually felt his pain.
 
His agony became mine with every step. I felt things I never felt before. Emotions I never thought I had. My feelings for that man, a man I had never met or spoken to, was real and profound.


I don’t know why it happened at that time. Or why I had never felt that way at any other time previously in all my weeks of therapy.
 
Perhaps it was just a buildup of some chemicals in the brain that triggered those feelings. I was more surprised than anything else. My therapist asked what the problem was. He must have seen the tears rolling down my cheeks. But I was ashamed to tell him. I just said I was tired and feeling a little down.
 
There are three types of empathy. Cognitive, compassionate and emotional. [1]
 
Cognitive empathy, also known as ‘perspective-taking’ is not really what most of us would think of as empathy at all.
Cognitive empathy is basically being able to put yourself into someone else’s place, and see their perspective.
Effectively, cognitive empathy is ‘empathy by thought’, rather than by feeling.
 
Compassionate Empathy is what we usually understand by empathy: feeling someone’s pain, and taking action to help.
 
Emotional empathy is when you quite literally feel the other person’s emotions alongside them, as if you had ‘caught’ the emotions.
Emotional empathy is also known as ‘personal distress’ or ‘emotional contagion’. This is closer to the usual understanding of the word ‘empathy’, but more emotional.
 
It was the last of those I had experienced. I never felt that exact way again. Fortunately, even though I am now an almost fully functional human being, the empathy has not left, just changed. I have moved from the “Emotional” to the “Compassionate.”
 
I say “fortunately” because living at an A.L.F. I am confronted with the sight of people, many of whom are in far worse condition than I, every day. And not to have feelings for these people, and not react to and understand their pain and frustration and their emotions would make my stay here meaningless.
 
I never considered myself as being altruistic or even sympathetic before that incident. Like most of us who see pain and suffering, we feel sorry, shake our heads and walk on. But I believe there is something more inside all of us. Something that goes to the heart of what being human is. We are basically a decent species. But sometimes we allow the herd to take over and control the way we think and act. We see it now more than ever. The divisiveness and mistrust may be more of an epidemic than the virus that now affects all of us. And while there may not be a vaccine for Covid-19, there is a cure for the antagonism and hostility. A little dose of empathy would go a long way now………..

[1]Source: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/empathy-types.html







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Overlooked and Undercounted: 
The Growing Impact of COVID-19
on Assisted Living Facilities


Since the COVID-19 pandemic first surfaced in the United States, the number of cases and deaths in long-term care (LTC) facilities has been rising. As of August 20, 2020, over 70,000 COVID-19 related resident and staff deaths have been reported in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, which is a conservative estimate because not all states publish these data. The increase in deaths among long-term care facility residents and staff has become an urgent concern for federal and state policymakers, the long-term care industry, family members of residents, residents themselves, and the general public.

While COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in nursing homes have received a fair amount of attention, assisted living facilities (ALFs), which are home to over 800,000 mostly frail, elderly residents, have been largely overlooked. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities are not federally regulated, leaving states to decide whether or not to publicly report data or to impose restrictions to protect residents. This analysis examines the impact of COVID-19 on assisted living facilities as well as changes over time, using state-level data on COVID-19 cases and deaths reported in early June 2020, and again in early August. These counts are a subset of the state-level COVID-19 cases and deaths in all long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, as reported in other KFF analyses. (See Methods for details).

Less Than Half of All States Report COVID-19 Cases in Assisted Living Facilities and Even Fewer Report Deaths


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COVID-19 makes it hard to inspect nursing homes
By Christine Sexton


If you are a California resident, the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) gives you the right to opt out of the “sale” of your “personal information”.

The opt-out on this page applies only to “sales” of “personal information” in relation to targeted advertising. If you wish to opt out of other sales of personal information, please visit https://www.tribpub.com/ccpa/

As described in Tribune Publishing Company’s Privacy Policy, this website and our advertising partners use cookies and other technologies to collect information, such as device identifiers, advertising IDs, and IP addresses and usage activity, and may share this information with third parties, to help us deliver ads we and they believe are more relevant to you. Certain of these activities may be considered a “sale” of “personal information” under the CCPA. 


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5 Top Concerns for Senior Living This Fall
By Chuck Sudo

One thing is certain as the coronavirus pandemic enters its sixth month in the U.S.: Covid-19 is not going away.

“We are going to have to live with Covid-19 in the world,” Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD) CEO Cindy Baier told Senior Housing News.

And, in many regards, the senior living industry is in fact learning to do so. Providers are now well into a management phase of the pandemic, adapting in order to stabilize operations, boost occupancy rates, rein in expenses and provide safe environments for residents and workers.


Yet, there are obstacles that can cause further disruption as fall approaches. Smaller communities across the country are at risk of financial distress and bankruptcy. Investors are returning to the capital markets but remain cautious about the opportunities they seize. Continuing care retirement communities are at risk of bond distress because of occupancy issues in higher care segments. And the pandemic will dovetail with flu season.

Here are five issues to watch as senior housing, and the pandemic, 





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Senior Romance Thrives In The Pandemic: 
7 Ways To Avoid Catfishing Schemes
By Julie Jason, JD, LLM

Looking for love over 50? You are not alone. Online dating sites such as SilverSingles.com are seeing increases in users and activity. But beware: Your “perfect match” may just be a fraudster who would love to target you with a romance scam. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “reports of romance scams are growing, and costing people a lot of cash.”

“The number of romance scams people report to the FTC has nearly tripled since 2015. Even more, the total amount of money people reported losing in 2019 is six times higher than it was five years ago – from $33 million lost to romance scammers in 2015 to $201 million in 2019” the FTC said.


Making a love connection online has never been easier, but it comes with risk



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Trump and Cuomo spar over N.Y. nursing home deaths,
crime spike, and investigations as feud spirals
By Dave Goldiner

President Trump and Gov. Cuomo traded nasty accusations Thursday over coronavirus, crime and probes into the president’s alleged misdeeds as their ugly war of words spiraled into a second day.

“11,000 people alone died in Nursing Homes because of his incompetence!” Trump tweeted about Cuomo.

The president later questioned why New York prosecutors have time to investigate the allegedly fraudulent business practices of the Trump Organization and his relatives.

“Cuomo should get his puppet New York prosecutors, who have been illegally after me and my family for years, to investigate his incompetent handling of the (pandemic),” Trump tweeted.




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The Seniors E-Guide “Questions to Ask” Series

Seniors E-GuideThe Seniors E-Guide “Questions to Ask” Series is a web based resource focused on learning about the variety of senior resources and services that are available. From our experience we have discovered that many seniors and their families do not know what questions to ask when it comes to senior services. Our “Questions to Ask” series is all about education.
Infographic

Where to Turn Resources – An overview of Senior Resources

Seniors e-Guides – Questions to Ask Series

Aging in Place and Assistive Technology
Care Options for Developmentally Disabled Seniors
An Overview of Senior Resources and Services
Resources for Low to Moderate Income Independent Seniors
When Selecting Active Independent Living & Retirement Communities
When Selecting Assisted Living & Higher Levels of Care
When Selecting In-Home Care & Companions or Home Health Agency Services




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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY SEPT. 10TH 2020


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09.08.20

9 minutes

When my mom passed away over 35 years ago, [1] I figured I was released from the yoke of parental control. Finally, at 40 years of age, I was no longer somebody’s child. I was an adult. And I expected to be treated as such. And, for many years, that’s the way it was. I was a grown man with all the problems and responsibilities associated with that demographic.
 
I had a responsible job, earned a reasonable salary, paid my bills and my taxes and never had a run-in with the law.
 
I had adult friends, had my apartment, had sex (with adults) and was called “sir” by waiters, car salesmen and most whippersnappers. So, why now, in my 75th year, am I treated like a child?

I know you know what I mean.

If you are fortunate enough to have children that still care for you and see you regularly, I am sure you have experienced some of what I am talking about.

 
At some point, (it may be difficult to determine exactly when), the parent becomes the child and the child now believes they have dominance over the parent. And it extends farther than just caring and concern. It goes to the basics of the relationship. And it comes with an attitude. That attitude being one of control and disregard of anything you might say or want.
 
As you once admonished your child for not listening to you without the benefit of hearing the child’s reasoning, your kids believe you no longer have a say in your own life.
 
 I’m not talking about those who have severe cognitive decline or a disability that prevents them from making rational decisions. I’m referring to a situation where, out of genuine concern or just a need for retribution, they believe you are incapable of making any rational decisions on your own, or worse, they need to “protect you from yourself.” And nowhere is that better demonstrated than at an assisted living facility.

The sign on the marquee covering the entrance to our building reads, in part, “Assisted and Independent Living”, which would signify I have some autonomy over my life and lifestyle. While there may be some venues that leave the resident alone to do as they please, most A.L.F.’s treat their “guests” as their charges, that have to be "guided" into doing what they think is best for their well being and safety. I will use myself as an example.
 
I have some mobility and balance issues and some other problems that prevent me from living entirely on my own.
 
For instance, I could not properly maintain my living area. Dusting, vacuuming, washing floors would be difficult to do regularly. I could not fix or replace anything that needed repair. [2] Therefore, I require the help of the housekeeping and maintenance staff to do those things for me. That’s where the “assisted’’ part should end. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.

 The most obvious, and perhaps the most contentious thing they won’t allow residents to own is a microwave oven. There is only one microwave available to residents, and that is in a common area inconvenient for most residents to use. Having an appliance that would allow us to reheat leftovers, make soup, popcorn or even a prepared dinner would mean we wouldn’t have to endure the often tasteless and usually room-temperature food they serve here. Or maybe we just don’t feel like getting out of bed just to have breakfast. The last time I checked, the only groups of people who may not eat when they like are prisoners, the military and us.
 
The reason they give for the prohibition on such devices as microwave ovens, coffee makers (like Mr. Coffee) immersion heaters or anything else that produces heat is that “insurance regulations prohibit the use of those items.” That may or may not be true. But what kind of insurance are they referring to? Fire insurance or liability insurance?

Oh, by the way. We are also not permitted to have in our possession any knives with blades over 4 inches or even sharp scissors. Just like in kindergarten.
 
Our building is fully sprinklered with automatically closing fire doors in the corridors. There are many emergency exits, CCTV and fire and smoke alarms throughout the facility. The alarms go off at even the hint of smoke, let alone fire. Microwave ovens rarely burn anything, and if it does, they contain any flames within the unit.
 
No, I think the real reason they don’t permit some leeway in this matter is that the facility needs to have control over us to maintain a system that stereotypes old people as being incompetent with low intellect and little ability to safely operate anything more complicated than a TV.
 
Meanwhile, we have residents who not only use a TV, but can operate and maintain complicated medical devices like oxygen units and computers and yes, even microwave ovens.

There is something else that goes beyond their ill-conceived notion that we are incapable of using common kitchen utensils. It’s the assumption that all old people need to be spoken to as one would a child.
 
I have seen staff speak to some of our older residents in such a manner as to make one believe they are intellectually challenged or too feeble to comprehend the simplest instructions. And the sad thing is, many of our residents allow themselves to be treated that way. They are easily manipulated. After all, many of them are here only because they allowed someone to convince them they needed what the facility offered. I, on the other hand, came here of my own free will. And that’s why I let them know from the start, I would allow them to go only so far in their quest to assert any dominance over me.
 
One day, after an incident that involved the withholding of some pain medication because of some procedural mishap and me subsequently blowing my stack, they called me into the Case Management office for “counselling.” I listened quietly before I got up from the chair, walked over to the office door and closed it.
 
I then turned back to the two young women who had just read me the riot act and, using a calm voice, told them to go f**k themselves. I then reminded them who was who here, and that they had some nerve keeping me from my prescribed medication. I let them know it was wrong and god help them if it happened again. The silence in the room was deafening. This was probably the first time a resident had ever spoken up. It would not be the last. Since then, I have done pretty much as I please, staying within the rules and regulations set forth by the DOH. Unfortunately, while I have expanded the envelope, I have not yet broken it open. They are still the overbearing, manipulative SOBs they always were. But at least they no longer treat me as a child.………………… .
 
 

[1]My father had died some 10 years earlier.
[2]I did change a light bulb a few weeks ago.






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How Many of These 68,000 Deaths
Could Have Been Avoided?


Nursing home residents and staff members account for around 40 percent of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. There’s no justifiable reason for that.


Jose Velasquez, a 79-year-old father from Bexar County, Texas, tested positive for the coronavirus on March 26 and died on April 17. During those weeks, the staff at the nursing home where he lived assured his family that he showed no symptoms of Covid-19 and, according to a lawsuit filed by his children, failed to ensure that he received proper medical care. The staff did not transfer him to a hospital as he deteriorated or even warn his family that he was sick, according to the suit. Mr. Velasquez’s family says that just hours before he died, the staff at the home reported he was “doing fine.”

The facility had a bad safety record, according to the lawsuit, was chronically understaffed, had received citations for failing to carry out basic infection-control programs and, in the months after the coronavirus erupted, its operators did not heed state guidelines for keeping the virus in check. At least 18 residents and one staff member have died from the virus at the nursing home — more than at any other nursing home in San Antonio, according to an analysis by The New York Times; other homes owned by the same company have lost at least 43 more people.


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Who Will Fight for the Health Safety of
Older Teachers As Schools Open?


Today was a big day in our house. My husband is a 63-year-old, African American sixth-grade teacher headed back to the classroom in Michigan for in-person instruction. But, since it’s happening during the pandemic, I’m fearful. Many other older teachers and school staffers across America who have pre-existing conditions or are caregivers are concerned about contracting coronavirus at work, too.

Their tough decisions about whether to return to school come at a time when there have been over 5 million diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the United States and a death rate that’s likely to exceed 200,000 before September.

    “I have been teaching for fifteen years, and I love the return to school, but not this year.”


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Independent Living Proves Resilient
to Covid-19 Pressures
By Chuck Sudo


When the novel coronavirus first swept the United States in late March and April, the pandemic raised fears about vulnerabilities for independent living, but this part of the senior housing continuum has so far proven resilient.

In the early days of Covid-19, the better health, mobility and independent nature of residents made social distancing and self-isolation a bigger ask, and the leaner staffing to operate these communities gave residents less support in the form of caregiving and other services. But independent living communities have largely been able to keep the virus at bay; the penetration rate for independent living averaged 0.4% as of June 30, according to an executive survey insights survey released July 26 from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). The penetration rate for the virus was 2.9% for assisted living communities, and 3.9% for memory care.

Occupancy rates among independent living have declined at a slower pace than assisted living and memory care, as well. And providers are reporting an accelerated pace of move-ins, and interest in the product type — a positive sign, given concerns that consumers might avoid this less needs-based type of senior housing due to fears of communal living.





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The health & wellbeing of baby boomers concerns
 employers more than that of any other generation 

Employers are more concerned about the health and wellbeing of baby boomers than they are about any other generation in the workplace, across all areas of physical and mental health, according to research* from Group Risk Development (GRiD), the industry body for the group risk protection sector.

In fact the research highlights that employers’ concern for the health and wellbeing of staff increases with employees’ age: they have least concerns for their Generation Z employees, their concerns rise to a greater degree for millennials and Generation X, and peak for baby boomers.

Employers were asked to compare how six different key areas of health and wellbeing affect four different generations of their staff. The findings show that baby boomers are the generation that they are most concerned about across all areas.

    Baby boomers’ general lack of fitness caused by a non-active lifestyle and sedentary working was the biggest worry for employers (32%), although their concerns for Generation X (29%) and millennials (30%) were not far behind. Only 23% of employers have concerns for Generation Z in this area.




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Trump Could Kill Social Security in
2.5 Years With This Proposal
By Sean Williams


Social Security is a program that senior citizens have come to rely on during their golden years. According to the Social Security Administration, 62% of retired workers lean on their benefit to account for at least half of their monthly income, with 34% of seniors relying on Social Security for virtually all of their income (90%-100%). Without this program, elderly poverty rates would be over four times higher than they are today.

Unfortunately, this game-changing social program also finds itself in serious financial trouble.

Every year, the Social Security Board of Trustees releases a report that outlines the short-term (10-year) and long-term (75-year) outlook for the program. For each of the past 35 years, it's cautioned that long-term outlays would outpace collected revenue. In the 2020 report, the Trustees estimate there to be a $16.8 trillion funding shortfall between 2035 -- when Social Security's $2.9 trillion in asset reserves are forecast to run out -- and 2094.




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Grandparenting
Tips to Help You Flourish in Your New Role

By Kathy Simpson and Eric Vo


Grandparenting can be one of life’s greatest joys. Whether you’re a new or expecting grandparent, you’re probably looking forward to this new chapter of life with unabashed delight. But like any other major transition in life, becoming a new grandparent presents new challenges. What role will you play? How will you fit in with the growing family? What’s changed since you were a parent? And what if you make a misstep?

The answers to these questions aren’t always clear-cut, and everyone’s situation is unique. But whatever your circumstances, certain universal truths apply. These tips and guidelines can help you navigate this time with greater ease—and discover its greatest blessings.
Grandparenting Books

One of the best ways to get ready for grandparenting is to read up on the subject. Grandparenting books run the gamut, from journals and keepsake albums to guides on making the most of your relationship with your grandchild—and your grandchild’s parents. Here are a few helpful books to reach for.



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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY SEPT. 9TH 2020


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09.07.20




A Labor Day Like No Other

6 minutes

If, in 2015, somebody asked, “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, any answer you gave would have been wrong.

More than 175 days have passed since we here at the A.L.F. and many other places around the globe, began a journey we could never have foreseen.

The voyage began by not knowing where we were going or how long it would take to get there. But this was not some Sunday drive with dad in the Chevy to the beach. It was more like a schlep with your grandma in her 4-door Buick Roadmaster to buy underwear at Macy’s.

If you remember, March came in like a lion and went out like the same lion, only this time it was dragging the lifeless carcass of a water buffalo back to the pride for lunch.

Most of us never heard of Covid-19. And, if we did, we believed it was something that only affected those teeming masses in China who eat raw bats and dog spleens. After all, this is America, where our food comes in packaging so tightly sealed only a trained locksmith can get them opened. And besides, if it was going to be a problem, wouldn’t our government warn us about it and do something like have a plan, maybe?
 
Little did we know that, while our fearless leader knew about the possibility of a pandemic he not only dismissed it calling it “The China Virus”, but he also dismantled an emergency plan put there by the Obama administration, that would have enabled us to get a handle on the virus and reduce the number of deaths by making sure hospitals had enough PPE and respirators at hand instead of them having to scramble for supplies.
 

It was not until March was half over did we realize the severity of the virus and how quickly it had spread.

 
The president likes to boast of how he closed our borders to visitors from China. Yes, that’s true. But by that time the virus was already infecting the UK and Europe, whose citizens had free access to the U.S. By the end of March, we were well into a full-fledged epidemic.

 
Almost from the beginning, people were asking, “When will this be over?”
 
“Don’t worry,”, said the government. “It will all be over by Easter. 

But by April 4, over 60,000 Americans had died from the disease.

“Blame the Chinese”, they said. “They fed us false statistics, They tried to cover it up by playing it down. “But don’t worry, it will run it’s course by July 4th. It’s America’s birthday after all, and we can’t be sick on our birthday.” Unfortunately, we were sick. Very sick.

Now, almost six months and 190,000 dead Americans later, another big holiday has come and gone. While the number of cases has decreased, we are still dying at a rate of thousands per day. And if that number doesn’t do it for you, perhaps the fact the unemployment rate is hovering about 9% with over 13 million of us out of work. Which means, for many of us, Labor Day weekend wasn’t much of a holiday or even much of a weekend.
 
The next big milestone comes in November. It’s not so much of a holiday as it is an event. An event that may have the biggest turnout since the Kennedy-Nixon election in 1960 when over 62% of registered voters went to the polls.
 
The election may have little effect on ending the hardships of the virus on our citizens. It may be too much for any president to deal with. But who we elect as  president will have consequences far beyond the pandemic. For seniors it will determine the amount of your hard-earned benefits, or even if there will be any. For all Americans, it means the possibility of finally having a realistic healthcare system that all of us can afford.
 
The outcome will influence how we treat immigration and higher education and minimum wages and international trade. And, although there are some that don’t believe it, the person who should be the next president will be the one who actually can make American great again.……… .
 
 







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65% of Workers Plan to Work in Retirement;
Surprisingly Few Actually Do


For many Americans, their vision of retirement doesn't include long days gardening, or sunning on the beach. Instead, it involves more work -- either because of jobs they enjoy or, more commonly, financial need.

Research from Allianz Life shows an estimated 65% of people think it's likely they'll work either part time or full time in retirement. Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, the actual number of retirees still holding jobs is far smaller.

How likely are you to work in retirement?


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‘I could get sick looking at four walls’:
older Americans left out in the new normal
By Victoria Bekiempis

Marion Coleman walks six long blocks from her Athens, Georgia, home to a nearby McDonald’s several times a week. While Coleman, 73, likes the sausage biscuits and other breakfast items, her outings to this fast-food restaurant are very much about feeding her soul, not her body.

Like many other US senior citizens, Coleman has been avoiding most social activity because of Covid-19. Going to McDonald’s on foot means she can see friends without riding a bus. Coleman, who believes “strongly” in wearing a mask, recognizes the risk – but fears there’s also danger in staying home.

“I’d go crazy sitting there all day long if I didn’t get out, talk to a soul. Internet’s fine, but I still like talking to somebody, you know,” she said. “I could have a mental breakdown, or I could get sick looking at the four walls.”


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Will COVID-19 Nursing Home Tragedies
Lead to Real Reform?

Editor’s Note: COVID-19 has reaped a horrific toll on our nation’s 2.5 million nursing home residents and their families. People living in nursing homes make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population yet account for approximately 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths to date.

Others who rely on long-term services and supports (LTSS) also have been disproportionately affected. Medicare beneficiaries who also are eligible for Medicaid contracted and were hospitalized for COVID-19 at more than four times the rate of non-dually eligible Medicare beneficiaries; about half of dual eligibles use LTSS. Similarly, people with developmental disabilities living in group homes are four times more likely than the general population to contract COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from it.

In a new article posted on the Health Affairs blog, summarized below, The SCAN Foundation and Manatt Health discuss how the current public health crisis has exposed underlying weaknesses in the LTSS system and the actions that providers, state and federal administrators, and policy makers will need to take to drive bold and lasting changes. 




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Changes to Dining Plans in Senior Housing

Baby Boomers will be the next generation to enter independent and assisted living facilities, and those who move by choice will be discerning when it comes to choosing a facility. It’s no secret that the pandemic has highlighted the ways that technology enhances our lives, and even if there comes a time when we are not as reliant on technology as we are now, it’s likely that we have become accustomed to the technology that makes our lives more convenient, and will continue using it even when we do not have to.

 One of the technologies that we have all grown accustomed to during the pandemic is food delivery. Even the fanciest and most high-end restaurants are currently delivering food to your door. This has changed the dining experience for many people. Gourmet food that used to be enjoyed in dimly-lit restaurants is now being enjoyed at home, and everyone, including Baby Boomers, are latching on to this trend. While it is possible that not all restaurants will continue offering stay-at-home dining options after the pandemic, dining in – even on high-end restaurant food – is likely a trend that is here to stay.

 Even before the pandemic, McKnight Senior Living recognized a trend in senior living facilities of residents ordering meals in through third-party delivery services, and recognized that changes to dining plans in senior housing were necessary to accommodate such change in preferences.  It is likely we will find that trend continuing to an even greater degree for seniors who enter senior living during and after the pandemic, and senior living facilities should start considering what those changes will look like now, to remain competitive for choosy Baby Boomers.



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Trump's Second-Term
Proposals for People 50+

To analyze President Trump’s re-election policy proposals for Americans 50+, I’d planned to do what I did for my Joe Biden post: scrutinize the party platform and talk to analysts about it. Problem is, there is no 2020 Republican platform, even though Trump told delegates to write a “short form” version.

Instead, there’s a six-page agenda document, called “Fighting for You!” with 50 bullet points representing a “set of core priorities,” but without details or legislative plans.

The “Fighting for You” announcement says that “over the coming weeks the President will be sharing additional details about his plans through policy-focused speeches on the campaign trail.”

In Trump’s 50-point bullet list, only two points are directly targeted at Americans 50 and older.



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Ten Resume Tips For Older Workers


As an older job seeker, writing a resume can bring an additional set of challenges. It can be hard to know what to include and what to leave out of the document when you have had a long work history, and it may have been years since the last time you even needed a resume. Resume etiquette has changed, and it is important to change along with it.

Here are 10 tips for updating your resume to remain relevant in the eyes of the hiring manager and possibly eliminate potential bias from the process.

    Nix the fax number and always include your e-mail address. No employer will need to know your fax number; including the information on your resume suggests you are stuck in the 80s. If there is no e-mail address listed on your resume, it will be more difficult for an employer to contact you quickly, so they may just pass you up in favor of the next candidate who listed an e-mail address. Even though mainstream e-mail is less than 20 years old, you will look ancient if you don’t include an e-mail address.

    Include links to social media profiles. Social media has gained enormous traction over the past few years, and many believe that its use will eventually surpass or even replace e-mail. Be current by creating a LinkedIn profile and displaying the URL within your contact information. Or go one step further and include your Twitter handle, or Skype and instant message names.




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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY SEPT. 8TH 2020


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09.06.20



7 minutes

 

I’m sure there are not too many of us old-timers that can remember a worse spring/summer than this.

Unlike other regions of our country that enjoy summer-like weather all year around, we Northerners must endure frigid, bleak wet and frozen winters just to enjoy only a brief few weeks of mild temperatures, sunny days and soft nights. And we take advantage of this time with a passion rarely seen anywhere else.


Some of the world’s best beaches are in this part of the country. Unfortunately, we can only take full advantage of them for two or three months before the icy winds turn white sand to snow 



As a kid, growing up in Brooklyn, places like Coney Island, Rockaway beach and Riis Park were our Malibu, Miami and French Riviera. And, if your folks were fortunate enough to own a car, the list of places to get your feet wet were limitless. All of Long Island (Jones beach and Long Beach) and the magical Jersey Shore were just a short drive away.

There were summers I remember when I went to the beach almost every day, living off of the “cuisine” one could only find at the shore, on the boardwalk.

New York in the 1950s and 60s was a fast-food desert. If you wanted a burger or pizza [1] you had to go to a restaurant and sit a table. Only at the beach could you walk up to a stand in your bathing suit and get a hamburger, fries or a slice of pizza or a hot dog. Or, if you were adventurous, a dozen Little Neck clams on the half shell.  

For us, in NYC, summer started the last Friday in June when school let out and lasted until a day or two after Labor Day. It didn’t matter what the weather was like. When you returned to the classroom, summer was over. Soon it would be back to work and to heavy winter coats, boots, scarves and hats with earflaps.

Forward to 2020. If it weren’t for the weather, it was hardly a summer at all.

Perhaps you were among the select few allowed to sit on a public beach. And it’s not like you didn’t have the time. You didn't have a job to go to which would have given you that extended vacation you always wanted. Of course, you couldn’t go anywhere. They restricted travel, as were most summer activities.

Amusement parks were mostly off-limits, as were movies, museums, libraries and other cultural venues. It seems as if everything we like to do with our well-deserved leisure time has been taken from us. It’s almost like they have made us the object of some cruel celestial joke that’s still being played out with no end in sight.

While summer may be a kid’s favorite season, as an adult, fall has become my favorite time of the year. I love fall, not just for its mild temperatures and crisp, clean air, but for its complexities. Only fall exhibits nature in all its glory. The changing colors, the falling leaves and the cooler weather signals that winter is on its way continuing the cycle of life we have known all of our lives. But this fall, and I expect winter, will be like no other. There is no reason to believe that a miracle will come along and wipe this virus away before next spring. Even if there were a 100% effective vaccine available by November, it would take months to administer it to every person on the globe. Which means the virus will be around for a long time.

Forward to 2020. If it weren’t for the weather, it was hardly a summer at all. Only a truncated version of what we remember as summer

If you were lucky, you were among the select few allowed to sit on a public beach. And it’s not like you didn’t have the time. The chances you had no job to go to would have afforded you that extended vacation you always wanted. Of course, you couldn’t go anywhere. They restricted travel, as were most summer activities.


Amusement parks were mostly off-limits, as were movies, museums, libraries and other cultural venues. It seems as if everything we like to do with our well-deserved leisure time has been taken from us. It’s almost like they have made us the object of some cruel celestial joke that’s still being played out with no end in sight.

We only hope that as human beings, we will have the good sense to realize that the only way to prevent us from having to endure another summer of restrictions, illness and death is to comply with what we know stops the spread of the virus. And that’s listening to the doctors and scientists when they tell us to wash our hands, stay away from crowds and wear a mask.

I’m 75-years-old. I don’t know how many more summers I have left. I don’t want to spend them as a prisoner in my home.

We'll be back Monday (Labor Day) with a virtual bar-b-que………………………………. 

 

[1] I had my first slice of pizza at a stand at Rockaway beach. I must have been 7 or 8. It only took one bite of the hot, gooey, garlicky concoction and I was hooked.







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Wasting the Elderly:
Coronavirus and the Calculus of Death
By Binoy Kampmark


The director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, has welled-up because of it. In March, he feared that the world’s elderly citizens risked being marginalised in any pandemic policy. “If anything is going to hurt the world, it is moral decay. And not taking the death of the elderly or the senior citizens as a serious issue is moral decay.”

The elderly have, along with other categories of doomed vulnerability, found themselves centre stage in this epidemiological play of death. They feature in morbidity reports across the globe. They are designated objects of state charity to be protected in some cases, shunned in others. Often, they are abandoned, left to perish alone, with only medical staff for company, if that.

In March, the theme of abandonment featured strongly in accounts from Spain, where choices on the elderly, cruel and desperate, were made. Retirement homes had become bits of paradise for coronavirus transmission. Staff, poorly equipped and terrified, neglected and ignored their obligations. During the course of disinfecting various care homes, the country’s military made alarming discoveries. Residents were abandoned; others were found dead in bed. Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles promised that the government would be “strict and inflexible when dealing with the way older people are treated.”


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Senior care facilities urge NY to
reconsider 28-day visitation policy


Staff and administrators working at several skilled nursing and senior living facilities in the Rochester region are encouraging New York state health leaders to reconsider the 28-day policy for visitors at the facilities.

In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced limited visitations would be allowed to resume at nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities with strict guidelines in place. Among those guidelines was a mandate that eligible nursing homes must be COVID-free for at least 28 days.

Only 10 percent of residents at each facility are allowed to have visitors each day. Each visit is limited to two people per each resident, and visitors have to go through screening and maintain social distancing.


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Assisted living to receive point-of-care
COVID-19 antigen tests soon

After previously being left out of the federal COVID-19 test allocation program, assisted living providers are about to receive a new antigen test authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration last week. 

The federal government has purchased 150 million new BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag Card tests from Abbott Laboratories with the intention of beginning distribution in mid-September to states and congregate care facilities, including assisted living communities, Admiral Brett P. Giroir, M.D., assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a call with members of the media on Tuesday.

First in line for distribution will be states coping with natural disasters, Giroir said. Distribution to assisted living communities, senior centers, home health staff and nursing homes will follow, with the “overwhelming majority” of tests going to states to help reopen schools and protect first responders, he added.


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Congress Considers Targeted Aid
For Local Senior Programs


Lawmakers in Washington are calling for $1.1 billion in targeted aid for nutrition programs that benefit older Americans as a broader COVID relief package continues to stall. 

The measure, backed by Republican Rep. John Katko, has support from Democrats in Oregon and Pennsylvania as well as North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik. 

The measure would provide funds to local programs like Meals on Wheels and other efforts that support the health and well being of older people, including job training, benefit enrollment assistance and caregiver support. 




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Why America Needs More Innovation in Eldercare


We are two people from the tech sector who believe in its power to change lives. We're also two of the millions of Americans who have witnessed the challenges of caring for elderly family members--challenges that could have been alleviated through innovation. One of us, Renee, remembers how, for her aging grandmother, once-easy tasks like getting dressed turned into 30-minute struggles. The other, Jason, helped with his granddad as the proud family provider relied on relatives for full-time care in his final years.

While "cutting-edge technology" and "senior citizens" aren't often talked about in the same breath, we believe there has never been a greater need--or greater opportunity--for these two conversations to converge. What's more, we think a lot of lives will improve when they do.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed major cracks in America's caregiving system. How many of us know someone who is older, vulnerable, and isolated at home, cut off from social services and basic human interaction? Or an older adult living with an essential worker who is regularly exposed to the virus? How many fear for a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility, knowing that two out of every five Covid-19 deaths in the United States have occurred in these settings?




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Essential Politics: Trump's big problem is seniors
By David Lauter

Six months before the November election, President Trump has fallen behind among a group central to his victory in 2016 — voters 65 and older.
Trump’s significant deficit among seniors shows up in poll after poll, nationwide and in key states, including surveys done by nonpartisan groups and by pollsters in both parties.
The problem predates the intense public focus on the coronavirus, but Trump’s erratic response to the crisis has probably worsened it, strategists in both parties say.





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New to Medicare or Want to Learn More?
 Virtual Tutorials Help Navigate System

Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) will sponsor several free virtual presentations in October for people interested in better understanding Medicare. The programs are as follows:


Topics will include a comprehensive introduction to Medicare, including what Medicare covers, supplemental insurance, Part D prescription coverage, Medicare and employer group health plans, and retiree health plan considerations.

“HICAP is offering this presentation to help new beneficiaries and their caregivers better understand this comprehensive health care program,” said Jim Talbott, president, Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens. Even those who currently have Medicare coverage can benefit from this detailed overview.

HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues. HICAP does not sell, recommend or endorse any insurance product, agent, insurance company, or health plan.



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NEXT BLOG MONDAY SEPT. 7TH 2020


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09.03.20




6 minutes

Pandemic aside, what if I told you there were people that were being held against their will, and the wishes of their loved ones, in an enclosed area, kept apart from others, fed poor quality food, banned from having visitors and unable to leave because they were set apart as being “different” by their own government? You might ask, “What country? Where? Why aren’t there protests? Where’s the media? Where are the demonstrations? 
 
Rarely do I get angry with my fellow A.L.F. residents. They are friendly folks who mind their own business and rarely argue with anybody. And, if you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I could let you have cheap. The truth is, half are too ill or apathetic to do much of anything. While the other half are cranky, boring, half-demented old bastards ready for a fight at the drop of a hat. And that’s just the ladies. The men are worse. Some of them get physical. And it is those people I am most angry with.

 
After 170 days of this insane quarantine/lockdown, I would have expected at least a modicum of outrage. But all I have witnessed is complacency and resignation. And that contentment with the status quo is the exact reason I and thousands of assisted living residents throughout the land are in the predicament we are. A.L.F. residents are as much to blame for their plight as the virus, the government and the local authorities that think it’s okay to treat us like prisoners. Because they know we will do nothing about it. And so far we have remained true to form.

Any other group of Americans, treated the way they have treated us, would be up in arms demanding an end to what seems very much like persecution against a particular class of people. But no. We sit, and smile and sigh and say, “Thank you for keeping us so safe from the horrible pandemic, we don’t mind if they have taken away most of our liberties.”
 
But because we are not members of a historically persecuted or underprivileged ethnic group. Or caged-in immigrants or all women or all men, we get no marches on Washington, no speeches by incensed civil rights leaders or grief-stricken relatives. We don’t even have T-shirts with “OLD LIVES MATTER” emblazoned on them.

We do, however, get ignored. Almost to the point of being forgotten altogether. 

It has been over a month since we received notification that there was some movement by the state that would permit a slow return to normalcy after a 28-day period that would include testing and isolation for those residents who prove to be positive for the virus. 

That was the plan. Unfortunately, as we approach the end of that 28-day period, we have heard nothing from the Governor, the DOH or our own management when the “plan” will begin. It appears they have lied to us as they have in the past. To them, we are just a bunch of old people who don’t mind being the victims of the government’s inability to manage this pandemic in a fair and sensible manner.

As we begin September with Labor Day upon us and the prospects of going into winter, no farther along in containing the virus than we were in March, I can’t help but be dismayed at the callousness of the people who claim to have our best interests at heart. There’s no empathy here. There’s no compassion, there isn’t even any thought of improving our quality of life. They are content to let us sit and rot only because they know anything we say or do will be ineffectual.
 
I have tried, unsuccessfully, to rally the troops here. I have asked around to see if anybody would peacefully march, (or just sit) with signs, just outside our facility’s gates. I got no takers. I expected as much.
 
I am frustrated, angry, depressed and saddened by an almost complete lack of response to the pleas of A.L.F. trade associations like the Empire State Association of Assisted Living who have begged the DOH to permit their member facilities to allow residents to at least have visitors. As of now, that request has gone unheard.
 
A few weeks ago they heartened me by the possibility of seeing a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Now, as we approach nearly a half year of Isolation, that light gets dimmer and dimmer.………………………………… .
 





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One-third of older Americans worried about
 taking a pay cut if they lose their job 
By Graeme Bruce

While the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are disproportionately hurting young Americans, an Economist/YouGov Poll suggests older Americans are the ones more likely to be worried they would have to take a pay cut if they lost their job. 

About one in five (21%) of adult Americans under 30 years old say it would be very hard to find a new job that pays as much as they’re making now and they’d probably have to take a pay cut, compared to 27 percent of the nation as a whole.  

Climbing the age ladder the research shows that any perceived difficulty in finding a similar-paying job increases to 23 percent among those aged 30-44, 30 percent among those aged 45-64 and 37 percent among those over 65 years old. 



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DeSantis re-opening Florida’s nursing homes
to visitors, with restrictions
By Cindy Krischer Goodman


JACKSONVILLE — After nearly six months of keeping Florida’s most vulnerable elders isolated, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday he will sign an order to allow visitors back into nursing homes and assisted living facilities immediately, with some restrictions.

The families of more than 150,000 residents of long-term care facilities will be allowed to see their loved ones as early as Wednesday. Essential caregivers who provide emotional support or care with daily tasks can touch their loved ones, while general visitors will need to keep a 6-foot distance.

DeSantis, who choked up as he started the announcement, said closing the facilities to visitors was the right thing to do in March to protect vulnerable residents.



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Feds Formally Announce Financial Covid-19 Support
for Private-Pay Assisted Living
By Chuck Sudo


Private-pay assisted living providers now have the ability to apply for funding under the Provider Relief Fund Phase 2 General Distribution allocation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes about two weeks after the federal agency told the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) during a call that relief would be coming very shortly, spurred by months of lobbying by ASHA and other industry groups.

Providers eligible for relief will receive 2% of their gross 2019 revenue allocation, which is in line with what other groups across the health care continuum, such as Medicaid providers and hospitals, have received.


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The Alexander Technique:
A Mind-Body Practice for All of Us

Ruth Rootberg, 69, once called it her “personal antidote to middle age.” Gordon Riggs, 65, says it has “seeped into my daily consciousness,” something that surprises him. Riggs’ wife Susan, 65, reports that finding it was “gold.” 

They’re referring to the Alexander Technique, a century-old, mind-body practice supported by scientific research that addresses the functioning of the nervous, muscular and skeletal systems to determine how best to alleviate tension. That, proponents say, leads to ease of movement and can alleviate pain.

    “Now there is an ease of being in my body, and my mobility and range of motion have increased.”

Continue reading



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Opinion | Biden introduces a powerful new issue for 2020: Social Security
By Jennifer Rubin

You might not have noticed it during his speech in Pittsburgh on Monday, but Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slipped a big issue into the mix for 2020. While focusing primarily on President Trump’s liability for the ongoing pandemic, the rotten economy and the surge in racial violence, Biden also hit Trump’s plan to eliminate or suspend the payroll tax after the election. Biden declared, “The Social Security Administration’s chief actuary just released a report saying if a plan like the one Trump is proposing goes into effect, the Social Security Trust Fund would be ‘permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023, with no ability to pay benefits thereafter.’” Oh, that seems like a big deal.

Biden was referring to Trump’s suggestion to eliminate the payroll tax, the funding mechanism that supports Social Security and Medicare. The Associated Press explained: “These taxes raised $1.24 trillion last year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Over a 10-year period, Trump’s idea would blow a $16.1 trillion hole in a U.S. budget that is already laden with rising debt loads.”

The chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, Stephen Goss, sent a letter last week to Senate Democrats, explaining, “If this hypothetical legislation were enacted, with no alternative source of revenue to replace the elimination of payroll taxes on earned income paid on January 1, 2021 and thereafter, we estimate that [the Disability Insurance] Trust Fund asset reserves would become permanently depleted in about the middle of calendar year 2021, with no ability to pay DI benefits thereafter.” Goss added, “We estimate that [the Old Age and Survivors Insurance] Trust Fund reserves would become permanently depleted by the middle of calendar year 2023, with no ability to pay OASI benefits thereafter.”



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5 Signs You Should Stop Decluttering

I’m a big fan of decluttering. I’ve spent several years doing it and writing about it. I’ve gotten rid of most of my stuff, rarely shop for new stuff, and have completely changed my relationship with stuff and shopping.

Before decluttering … 

    I always thought something new would change my life.
    I thought I deserved things because I worked so hard.
    I felt like I needed to own certain things to keep up.
    I thought shopping reduced stress.
    I spent a bunch of money, time, attention, and energy on my stuff.

After decluttering … 




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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY SEPT. 4TH 2020


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




09.02.20




7 minutes


Let’s face it. The major reason we are all so weary, vexed and downright PO’d over the restrictive infection control rules and regulations imposed on us during this pandemic is not political or economic or because we are lonely. What it all boils down to is that they have prohibited us from pursuing our God-given right as Americans…. our right to shop. But not just the right to shop, but to shop in person, at an actual store.
 
They have not completely taken shopping from us. We can still do it online. But that's just a panacea for the real thing. A placebo for the elixir we call retail therapy.
 
Shopping is more than just spending money. Besides from the basics, food, clothing and the occasional cheeseburger with fries, shopping fulfills an ancient, ingrained part of man’s very nature. The need to hunt.

 
Unless you are one of those reality show freaks that live off the grid in some god-forsaken mountain wilderness or Montana, there is no longer any need to pick up a club or a spear or an AK47 and kill something, bring it back to the cave and eat it. Or wear it. However, the need to skillfully stalk prey that’s bigger and faster than you cannot be satiated by scrolling through the pages of Amazon or the Eddie Bauer catalog online.

“Okay”, you say. That’s why men need to shop. But what about women? Traditionally, they were never hunters. So why the need? But shop they do, and with such fervor and skill as to put most men to shame. Shopping for women comes down to one word. Nesting.
 
Feminism aside, women have always been the heart and soul of the home (or cave). let’s face it guys. We men would be sleeping on an animal skin bed surrounded by half-gnawed bones, wearing the same ratty loincloth and using a rock for a chair if it weren’t for women. Not to mention what would become of our kids. Without the guidance of a good mom, they might grow up to be president.

For women, shopping is not so much hunting, but gathering. Assembling the items that make a house a home. A place to raise our prodigy. And, because the man has no idea how to do that without losing all the bearskins, women must find a way to “feather the nest” as economically as possible. And they will pursue that need even if they have to do it under the most egregious circumstances, like a half-off sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond or Loehmanne’s [1]. It’s in their DNA.
 
For both men and women, shopping online does little to placate the need to browse. It’s not enough to read a description of an item. We need to touch it, feel it, smell it and, most important, to try it on. That cannot be duplicated online.
 
Shopping at home does not allow one to bring four or fewer items into the sweaty-cheap-perfumed-scented confines of a department store fitting room, select the one that doesn’t make you look like a sausage and discard the rest as one would a head of wilted lettuce.

Some day, this Corona nightmare will end and they will allow us to go about our business as usual. But the question remains. Will we have lost, not only our ability to shop, but our need to do it in person?

That question that has not been lost on retailers and real estate people.

What’s the need for shopping malls and giant big-box stores if people have lost the will to shop? We see this now. Over 13,000 retailers have already shut their doors including Bath & Body Works, Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, The Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, JC Penney and Lord and Taylor to name just a few. Large spaces will need to be filled. But with what?
 
In my opinion, for what it’s worth, I believe that, while many of the former giant retailers will have closed forever, there will always be enterprises that will take their place. New names with new ideas will once again dot the landscape. And the space left behind by the likes of Macy’s and Sears will be re-purposed into something we really need. Affordable housing. It’s not crazy, and it is very do-able.
 
I think too, we will see a comeback of the small, local boutique style store that once made cities what they were. Landlords. Looking at revenue-draining empty store fronts will be eager to rent those venues. Greed, like shopping, is just human nature. And I know, when they lift the restrictions and retailers once again fling open their doors ,there will be a line of bargain-hungry minions eager and willing to hunt, gather and Shop Till they Drop. After all, we are Americans. And conspicuous consumption is what we do best.…………….. .

[1]Loehmanns was a discount women’s clothing store that went out of business in 2014.  






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83% of Older Americans Agree, Congress Should Boost
Social Security Benefits Wages Subject to Payroll Tax

“This is an extremely high level of agreement among retirees of varied political persuasions,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).


Eighty-three percent (83%) of the participants in a recent survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) agree that Congress should boost Social Security benefits by 2 percent. The same survey found that 72 percent (72%) respondents think that Social Security’s financing should be strengthened by applying the payroll tax to all earnings, not just the first $137,700 of wages as is currently the case under law.

“This is an extremely high level of agreement among retirees of varied political persuasions,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “In recent years, The Senior Citizens League has found broad support for these two changes to Social Security, yet Congress has failed to take action on this issue,” Johnson notes.


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Doctors have discovered another
puzzling coronavirus symptom
By Chris Smith

Researchers discovered another coronavirus symptom that might appear after surviving COVID-19.
Some patients who experienced severe cases of COVID-19 complained of hearing loss and ringing in their ears (tinnitus).
It’s unclear whether the virus infected the ear directly, impacting hearing, or whether other factors caused the hearing problems.

Just when we thought we knew everything about the way COVID-19 impacts the human body, a new study reveals another puzzling symptom that may affect patients infected with the novel coronavirus. And, like most COVID-19 symptoms, this one wouldn’t be strong enough to allow physicians to diagnose the illness without a test. That’s one of the strengths of this contagion. It lacks any particular signs that would enable physicians and patients to diagnose the disease without a PCR test. What’s worse is that symptoms can take up to two weeks to develop, and some people do not develop any symptoms at all.


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Vitamin C could help older adults retain muscle mass
By Richard Hayhoe

As we get older, our skeletal muscle mass, strength and power to move gradually decline, which may lead to a condition called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia affects more than 50 million people over the age of 50 years worldwide, and contributes to type 2 diabetes, frailty, physical disability, loss of independence and poor quality of life. So it’s an important condition to prevent during ageing to minimise both personal and societal costs.

Currently there are limited solutions for treating sarcopenia, so early intervention, before symptoms become too severe, is preferable. Most research has focused on the effect of increasing protein intake to prevent or treat sarcopenia.

But very few studies have actually investigated the importance of dietary vitamin C with loss of skeletal muscle mass and function in middle and older age. Our new paper shows that the more dietary vitamin C middle-aged and older adults consume, the greater their skeletal muscle mass.




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Deepfakes and Other Trickery in Imagery
By Xavier Hardingy

Misinfo Monday is a weekly series by Mozilla where we give you the tools, tips and tricks needed to cut the crap and find the truth. For more, check back weekly on our blog or on our Instagram. —

Deepfakes: like a photoshopped image, but the video version and easier to make, thanks to AI. Doctored video is becoming simpler to create and it has some scary implications for this post-truth world we live in. Combine a simple video-editing app with low-cost artificial intelligence and it's easier than ever to make famous figures say whatever you want them to on video — in a believable way, no less.

Examples of deepfakes are impressive and chilling all at the same time. We’ve even seen deepfakes that impersonate figures like Barack Obama and Adele. Unfortunately, for truth-seekers like us, they’re only becoming more prevalent. “Deepfakes are algorithmically-manipulated digital assets,” says Peter Adams, a senior VP of education at the News Literacy Project. Adams helps oversee the organization’s education program. “Deepfakes can be video or audio or even, nowadays, just an image.”




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The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2020
By Simone Pathe, CNN


With the political conventions behind us and Labor Day approaching, it's the time of year when down-ballot elections start to kick into high gear. At the start of the 2020 cycle, the Senate wasn't expected to be all that exciting, with Republicans largely on defense in red states.

But that's changed. With President Donald Trump trailing in national polls, Democratic challengers raking in millions and demographics shifting across the South, many of those Republican incumbents are sitting in states that don't look as red as they used to.

Democrats need a net gain of three seats to flip the chamber if they also win the White House -- since the vice president would break a tie -- or four seats if Trump wins reelection. Although those net gains are possible, Democrats' path is still complicated by the fact that they're likely to lose a seat in Alabama, where Sen. Doug Jones tops CNN's inaugural ranking of the 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2020.




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Senior Food Shopping Strategies

Senior Food ShoppingEveryone can agree that we need to eat to live. Buying food and preparing meals is a necessity of life. As we get older, the ability to move around may diminish, let alone our capacity to drive our own personal vehicle. Appetites may decrease and preparing food may become a dreaded chore. Many seniors are independent and are able to drive themselves to the grocery store, while others aren’t able to get behind the wheel any longer. Whether someone drives them or they drive themselves, there are helpful food shopping strategies before and while at the grocery store. Since getting to the grocery store may become a challenging dilemma, here are some senior food shopping tips to help your aging loved ones tackle the task of food shopping.

Calling In Help

Senior Food ShoppingHiring a home health agency is one solution to consider. Many agencies allow caregivers to drive either their client’s vehicle or their own car to the grocery store. The caregiver can help make a grocery list, get the groceries inside the home and assist with meal preparation. Meals can be portioned and frozen for future use. This option gives seniors a way to keep their independence when they cannot drive and family members do not live locally to take them.

Because health agencies can be expensive, contacting the local Area Agency on Aging is another possibility. They often have volunteer programs that include transportation and helper assistance.



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY SEPT. 3RD 2020


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




09.01.20



How’s Your Credit?
Part 3- Repaired
(Scroll to the end to read parts 1&2)
8-9 minutes

Fast forward to 2012. I am a new resident here at the A.L.F. Thankfully, the rehab I received at the nursing home brought me to where I no longer needed what they offered. Their social services people did an outstanding job finding me a place where I could live a fairly normal life and receive the care I still needed.
 
With my basic needs (food and shelter) taken care of, I needed to work on repairing my financial situation.
 
My only income was my Social Security benefits (all of which went to pay for my room and board), a small stipend ($20) given by the state to all A.L.F. residents and some SSP, the states equivalent of SSI (Supplemental Security Income). My net worth, having cashed in my I.R.A., my 401K and some CDs, was less than $1700.

 
I came to the A.L.F. with only the clothes on my back and some things I salvaged from my apartment. I was living in a mostly bare room devoid of TV. I didn’t even have toiletries except for a small care package the nursing home put together for me with some toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo and deodorant and disposable razors. But they were all those small travel sizes that wouldn’t last more than a few weeks. I needed money to buy stuff. And I needed it soon. I also needed it to be in the form of a debit or credit card so I could order online. My mobility was not yet to a point where I could travel to a store to shop.

Meanwhile, the two large doctors’ bills they sent to collection were nowhere in sight. I received no further request for payment after telling them I would not pay them and to get their money from Blue Cross. But just because they didn’t contact me does not mean they forgot about me as I was soon to find out.
 
(Before I continue let me say that what I did to check on and repair my credit is not an endorsement of any product or service. What worked for me may not work for you).
 
While watching TV in the residents’ lounge, I saw an ad for Credit Karma, a service that would provide me with access to my credit information as compiled by the major credit reporting companies. The service, as they pointed out, was free.
 
In order for Credit Karma to work, it needs to match your identity with your TransUnion and Equifax credit files. To do that, you must give the site some personal information, including your name, address, and birth date. You’ll also be asked to provide the last four digits of your social security number.[1]

It was not long before I found out what happened to those two outstanding doctor’s bills. They showed up as black marks on all the credit reports. Which was almost as bad as owing the money. Open balances like that usually prohibits you from getting a credit card, no matter how good your credit was in the past. I needed to have that removed from those reports. Fortunately, Credit Karma provides a way to do that.
 
Besides offering access to your credit reports, letting you know how your credit score compares to others by age, income and state and other services, they have a way to dispute anything negative you see on your credit report and will help with having that info changed or removed.

I filled out the online form to have the two outstanding balances removed from my reports. I gave them a brief explanation of my circumstances and the reasons I was not responsible for the debt. Truthfully, I didn’t have much faith they would do anything and those black marks would burden me with bad credit for years. Surprisingly, a few days later I received some unexpected good news.
 
The debtors evidently saw the error of their ways and removed the two black marks from my credit reports. I was now 100% free of any debt. It was like being reborn. I could now re-enter the world of the credit-worthy, with the hope of once again having a credit card to use as I saw fit.
 
I turned to Credit Karma for help in getting a new card. They provided me with a list of several cards I was qualified to receive. Though not pre-approved, applying for the cards would have no effect on my credit even if they rejected me.
 
I found a card that met my needs (and offered 1% cash back on purchases with no fees) and applied. A few days later I received a letter telling me they had approved me and I would receive my card in the mail.
 
I have used that card ever since and, by paying them on time and in full, I raised my credit score to where I am now solicited by card companies with pre-approval offers.
 
Having a credit card comes with some responsibilities.
 
I never buy more than I can pay off when payment is due.
 
I pay the full amount and I pay it fast.
 
I don’t have a wallet full of credit cards. I only have two now, and that’s enough.
 
This method may not work for you. But it costs nothing to try. At the very least, it will give you an idea of how you stand as far as your credit is concerned.
 
The most important thing I can tell you about dealing with creditors who demand payment you don’t owe is to be firm and consistent. If you are not sure if you owe the money demand they provide you with a detailed bill and not just a statement. The idea is to keep them tied up as long as you can. This may not free you from debt, but it will give you some time.
 
Start by knowing your rights as a debtor. The government has a website with more information…
 
 
I hoped this has helped some of you. As we age, we need to watch our finances more than most people..………… 
 
 [1] Some additional online research confirmed that Credit Karma was all they said they were. Safe and free. Credit karma is a credit card referral service whose business is to provide crdit card companies with a supply of names and addresses of people that might want a credit card. They get a fee from the credit card companies for this service. 







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Social Security Could Stay Solvent 
Forever by Issuing Bonds
By Peter Coy

A monthly check from Social Security is the only thing keeping millions of older Americans out of poverty. Half of married senior citizens and 70% of unmarried seniors get at least half of their income from it, according to the Social Security Administration. It’s the indispensable retirement solution. But the trust fund that pays old age and survivor benefits is going to run out of money sometime in the 2030s.

Those hard facts have raised a question: Should Social Security stop depending just on payroll taxes and the trust fund to pay benefits and start supplementing those sources with general tax revenue? The debate came to a boil in August, when President Trump floated the idea of a permanent cut in payroll taxes, which would presumably necessitate a big infusion of general tax revenue to keep beneficiaries whole.

A lot of advocates for Social Security worry that tapping general revenue will make people perceive the program as welfare rather than a mutual insurance compact among workers. Democratic Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, responded to Trump’s gambit with an Aug. 14 statement saying, “Make no mistake: This is an attempt to undermine Social Security entirely.


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Nitrate supplementation could help breathing
 and lung clearance in the elderly


New research published today in The Journal of Physiology shows that nitrate improves function in the diaphragm, the muscle involved in coughing and breathing, by improving power. The study done in old mice, if replicated in humans, could provide a strategy for helping elderly people clear the lungs more effectively and avoid infection.

Previous studies showed nitrate was helping muscles by improving use of calcium in the muscle. This finding that it's additionally affecting power is significant, especially in the context of COVID-19, because the diaphragm is the primary inspiratory muscle used for breathing and coughing, the latter being relevant for clearing the lungs.

The research team at the University of Florida found that dietary nitrate supplementation elicited a pronounced increase in contractile function (power) of the diaphragm, a respiratory muscle, of old mice.


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Is Social Security Becoming a Pawn in
 the Postal Service Crisis?
By Mark Miller


Top Democrats are warning that the problems afflicting the United States Postal Service pose a threat to more than voting rights — a slowdown in services, they say, will also hurt seniors who rely on letter carriers for Social Security checks, medications and other critical mail.

Already, concerns about prescription drug deliveries are surfacing — but how about Social Security payments? Should beneficiaries be concerned?

Accounts of mail slowdowns and curtailed service emerged after Louis DeJoy, a Republican megadonor and ally of President Trump, became postmaster general in May. Mr. DeJoy has pushed changes he says will help the Postal Service grow and “embark on a path of sustainability.”



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Worst jobs in America
By Betsy Vereckey


Work satisfaction is based on multiple factors, including pay and benefits, work environment, public and personal perceptions of the work, work-life balance, and interpersonal relationships with colleagues. Stacker has looked at data from PayScale and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the 50 worst jobs in the United States.
Worst jobs in America


American workers are reporting higher overall job satisfaction in 2019, with 85% of respondents to a quarterly poll by CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, and SurveyMonkey reported in July. Those numbers are virtually unchanged from first-quarter reporting and expected to remain throughout the rest of the year. They also represent a continued uptick in job satisfaction since the decade prior, which was wrought by the Great Recession of 2008 and punctuated with massive layoffs lasting into the 2010s. 

Work satisfaction is typically based on a combination of multiple factors, including pay and benefits, work environment, public and personal perceptions of the work, work-life balance, and interpersonal relationships with colleagues. With wage growth largely flat when adjusted for inflation, many Americans feel like they are underappreciated at work. On top of that, there are plenty of jobs that are just plain unattractive to the average American worker.



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Americans love Social Security but fear 'socialism.'
Trump is exploiting that


Analysis by John Harwood, CNN Dark warnings tumbled out from one Republican convention speaker after another this past week: electing Joe Biden as President would wreck the economy, crush liberty and enslave Americans...

Dark warnings tumbled out from one Republican convention speaker after another this past week: electing Joe Biden as President would wreck the economy, crush liberty and enslave Americans in a socialist nightmare.

"This election will decide," President Donald Trump declared, "whether we save the American Dream or whether we allow a socialist agenda to demolish our cherished destiny."



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Cheap Eats For Seniors

When it comes to scoring a discount, members of an older demographic should have one credo in mind: Ask and you shall eat cheap. Most major chains offer some sort of senior discount – as confirmed by older bloggers such as the Gift Card Granny – but they don’t always advertise them because the terms and conditions vary depending on the location. To help you score some cheap eats, MainStreet beat the crowds and rounded up some early bird specials and other great restaurant offers geared toward older Americans. Don’t let these offers slip!

National chain Denny’s partners with AARP to give members a 20% discount on their total check. This discount is available every day from 4 to 10 p.m. A bonus? AARP members and their guests can get $1 cups of coffee all day long. Some restrictions do apply, which means basically that some Denny’s locations might not offer the deal, but you can call headquarters (1-800-733-6697) to find out if a location near you obliges. Denny’s also has a Special Seniors Menu that features healthier and lower-priced items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so it may be a good choice to get a deal on any meal. 



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<30>



NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY SEPT. 2ND 2020


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




08.31.20




How’s Your Credit?
Part 2- Fuggedaboutit!
(Scroll to the end to read part 1)
8 minutes

In part 1 of this post I told of how screwed-up my credit was after an illness that not only took part of my digestive system but most of my savings as well.
 
Besides the $13,000 monthly nursing home bill, I was being hounded by doctors and collection agencies who wanted payment for services incurred during my hospitalization that my insurance company said they didn't cover. I’ll get to that in a moment. But before I continue with my personal tale of credit repair and bill reconciliation, I feel it my duty to let you know about the standard prescribed method of fixing your credit.
 
There are many websites that can help, I found this one to be worthwhile...


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After a lengthy hospital stay (for over 3 months), they released me to a nursing home for post-op care and rehab.[1] I was not yet 65 and the only insurance I had was a policy from Blue Cross/Blue Shield for which I was paying about $400 a month out of pocket. It was not a “top-of-the-line” policy but, as far as I understood, it would pay for all services, procedures and medications incurred while I was a patient in a hospital.
 
Therefore, when they admitted me to a local hospital on May 19th, 2009, the only thing I knew I had to worry about was getting better. Paying for it would not be a problem. So I thought.

Later that year, when they finally released me, I was not billed, as I had expected. After all, every surgery and all the tests and post-op care I received occurred within the confines of a hospital building. That’s what I paid my premiums for, and that’s what I expected. And, since I never left the facility for anything I expected that would be the end of it. I knew I had weeks or months of rigorous rehab ahead and worrying about bills was the last thing I needed.
 
Bu three months and three rehab facilities later, I received my first bill. A staggering $13,000 from the nursing home in which I was a patient.

Naturally, I questioned the bill. I wanted to know why, after three months in three different nursing homes, were they first sending me a bill? They found the answer in the fine print of my insurance policy. Blue Cross would only be responsible for 90 days of post-operative nursing care. And that time had come and gone. I paid the bill.

That was only the first of several requests for payment from various doctors and medical groups. Some I recognized, and some I didn’t.

I didn't know why was I being billed for something I was covered for. I only knew I wasn't going to pay it.


 
At this point I need to inject a disclaimer. The methods I used pertain only to me. I make no claim that any of what I did will work for you. They worked because I was in the right and because I had nothing to lose. And because I didn’t let them intimidate me.
 
I received several bills in amounts ranging from $500 to $3500. After making copies, I sent each back to the sender with a note attached which read, “Please refer this invoice to Blue Cross (my insurer) for payment. I enclosed my account number with the note.
 
I could have just ignored them and hoped for the best. But showing that I acknowledged it and intended to do something about it is a good way to start.
 
It must have worked because, of the 5 bills I received, three of them went away. I don’t know what happened. I presume my insurer approved payment. However, two bills, one for $2000 and the other for $3500, came back as not approved. Again, I sent them back with a note explaining the terms of my policy and that I had no intention of paying their bill.
 
By now, I had turned 65 and was eligible for Medicare and, because of the recent changes in my financial status, I would also receive my state’s Medicaid benefits. That, and my Social Security, would pay for the last few weeks of my nursing home care and subsequent long-term care facility room and board.
 
While the medical bills were still open, my credit card companies decided it was a good time to demand payment for their past due statements. These I owed, and there was no way to get away without paying. I knew if I didn’t come to some terms with the card companies, I could never get a credit card again. But perhaps I could reduce the amount of the payments. And, with the help of the nursing home’s social worker, I did. 
My social worker called Visa explaining my illness and current status and my intention to pay. She got them to cancel the interest on the unpaid amount. I would only have to pay the principle, which amounted to $150. The only drawback was, they canceled the card.
 
The other past due card was from American Express who also made a deal. They would settle for half of the $500 I owed and cancel my card.
 
With that settled, I turned my attention to the two outstanding doctor’s bills which, by then had been turned over to a collection agency for payment. This is where the fun starts.
 
But more about that tomorrow, in what I promise you, will be the final part……………… 
 
[1] After being bedridden for so long, I had to learn to walk again.







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Top nursing home association begs Cuomo, 
Zucker to relax testing, visitation rules
By Bernadette Hogan


ALBANY — One of New York’s top nursing home associations wants Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to change two strict policies: a mandate requiring staffers get tested once a week and another governing visitation standards.

“We respectfully request the State to revise its current policies concerning nursing home and assisted living COVID-19 staff testing and resident visitation restrictions to safeguard the health and well-being of our residents and ensure the continued provision of necessary long term care services throughout New York,” wrote Steve Hanse, CEO of the New York State Healthcare Facilities Association, in a letter Friday.

The group which represents 425 nursing homes and adult care facilities housing 70,000 individuals — argues a two-day-old Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services testing guidance makes more sense compared to the DOH’s current rule that requires all nursing home staffers get tested for the virus once a week.


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Hundreds of Thousands Of Nursing Home Residents
Don’t Need To Be There
By Howard Gleckman

Hundreds of thousands of older adults and younger people with disabilities are living in nursing homes only because that is where Medicaid drives them. They have no clinical need for skilled nursing care, and, if better options were available, many could be living in other settings, including their own homes.

Medicaid—the joint state/federal health care program for the very poor—sends frail older adults to nursing homes even though they often are the most expensive and least appropriate option. And, as covid-19 has taught us, they can be a high-risk setting for many. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as of Aug. 20, more than 70,000 residents and staff of long-term care facilities (including nursing homes and some assisted living facilities) have died from the pandemic.

This is a complicated story, so let’s unpack it by first describing Medicaid long-term supports and services (LTSS) and then looking at nursing homes.


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CMS Establishes New Long Term Care Facility Rule for
COVID-19 testing of Residents and Staff

Due to the high risk for infection, serious illness and death in long term care (“LTC”) facilities, CMS is amending the current infection control requirements for LTC facilities by adding obligation to “test all of its residents and facility staff for COVID-19.”[1] Staff includes any individuals employed by, under contract or arrangements with or volunteering to provide services to a LTC facility and that are physically working on-site, including a hospice.

During this period, LTC facilities have a statutory obligation to allow facility access to state surveyors and ombudsmen requesting immediate access to residents.  State agencies are responsible for ensuring the surveyors are following CDC guidelines for infection protection and return to work parameters. 

The rules do not specify the details of such testing and the Secretary is charged with setting the parameters for testing, which may include:




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10 Books Senior Book Clubs Should Read

There’s nothing like snuggling up with a good book. Being transported into unfamiliar worlds. Meeting unique and compelling characters. Traversing every unexpected twist and turn of the plot. Reading’s great fun and it’s good for you.

That’s what we tell children when encouraging them to pick up the habit. And it’s what we should continually remind ourselves as we age. Reading’s still good for you.

The Benefits of Reading
Seniors who read enjoy much more than just a good story. Scientific studies identified a number of positive benefits of reading, including improved memory retention, sharper decision-making skills, stress reduction, better sleep, and even the delayed onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.




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Trump vows to 'protect' Medicare, Social Security. 
His budgets have sought cuts.

Trump vowed that he "will protect Medicare and Social Security" — a promise similar to one he made as a candidate in 2016.
But throughout his first term, he repeatedly tried to cut the programs in his proposed budgets.
His fiscal year 2018 budget (proposed in 2017) didn't propose cuts to Medicare and Social Security, but it would have made cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance, which would have affected nearly 10 million people.
His fiscal year 2019 budget (proposed in 2018) proposed massive cuts to Medicare, while his fiscal year 2020 budget (proposed last year) sought to cut more than $1 trillion from Medicare over a decade and $26 billion from Social Security programs.



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Staying Connected
Enrichment Activities

It’s important to stay engaged and active while visitation is limited and activities are changed to accommodate safe physical distancing.Enjoy the activities in this workbook to stay entertained, active and connected.



Table of Contents

Residents’ Rights Month Information...................................
Residents’ Voice Challenge.................................................
Postcard Contest.................................................................
Word Searches....................................................................
Sudoku Puzzles...................................................................
Crosswords..........................................................................
Coloring Pages.....................................................................
Share Your Story Activity.....................................................
Trivia Questions...................................................................
Exercises..............................................................................
My Personal Directions for Quality Living Fact Sheet..........
Answer Keys.....................................................................…




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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY SEPT. 1ST 2020


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08.28.20

How’s Your Credit?

5 minutes


These days if you are a senior and don’t have a credit card, you’re in trouble.

 

Unless you want to physically enter a store, market or eatery and follow all the safety procedures and occupancy limits not to mention the very real chance of contracting the virus, the only way to get the goods and services you need is to order by phone or online. And the only way to do that is by using a credit card to pay for those purchases.

 

Amazon, Walmart, and grocery delivery services all require you to enter your credit card number before you can check out.

 

I do all of my shopping online using a credit card. I haven’t paid cash for anything since March. And I’m not alone.

 

“The average credit card holder has at least four cards. On average, each household with a credit card carries $8,398 in credit card debt. Total U.S. consumer debt is at $13.86 trillion. That includes mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans.”[any2010, [1]

 

While I could not find figures on what part of that debt is owned by seniors, there is this…

 

According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, the percentage of households headed by an adult aged 65 or older with any debt increased from 41.5% in 1992 to 51.9% in 2010 to 60% in 2016.” [2]


And back in 2010 when that survey was taken, I was one of those seniors who owed money. Lots of it.


When I took ill in 2009 and was institutionalized (hospitals, nursing homes and rehab facilities) my credit was shot to hell.

 

Not only was I too ill and incapacitated to even care about my credit or finances, Any money I would have used to pay off that debt went to paying uninsured medical expenses like doctors and the $13,000 per month nursing home bills.

 

When I finally left my last nursing home (there were three all told) and entered the facility I now call home, my entire net worth was less than $1700. And much of that was from a stipend given to all nursing home patients by the state.[3] The chances of paying off any credit card debt and uninsured medical bills were slim to none.

 

The only silver lining in that cloud was, because I had no money, they allowed me to enter this facility and have most of the room and board subsidized by Medicaid and the rest by my only source of income. Social Security.

 

But that didn’t help to pay down my debt.

 

I owed Chase Visa a few hundred dollars and American Express a lot more. I hadn’t paid either for months.

 

There was close to $10,000 in medical bills that hadn’t been paid and had been turned over for collection.

 

I knew I had to rectify that situation as soon as possible or I could never have even the bare minimum trappings necessary for today’s lifestyle. TV, Laptop, cell phone, Chinese food delivery.

 

I would need a credit card and to do that, I would need to get rid of the debt.

 

At first I thought it could not be done. At least not quickly. But necessity is the mother of invention, and, to use another cliche, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” And it all began with a phone call.

 

For that, you’ll have to wait for Monday……………………………………… 

 

[1]source: https://www.debt.org/faqs/americans-in-debt/#:~:text=The%20average%20credit%20card%20holder,credit%20cards%20and%20student%20loans.

[2] Source: https://www.ncoa.org/economic-security/money-management/debt/senior-debt-facts/

[3] Each nursing home patient is given $50 a month by the State. I received close to $1200 during my nearly two years in nursing homes and rehab recuperating.

 






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Trump Administration Announces New Requirements
For Coronavirus Testing In Nursing Homes
By Lisa Washington

There are estimates that four out of every ten coronavirus deaths are from nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

On Tuesday, President Trump issued a new requirement for nursing homes, mandating that they test staff on a regular basis.

Testing is now required to occur twice a week, weekly, or monthly depending on local factors such as an individual facility’s risk for COVID-19 transmission.

The Pennsylvania state health department numbers show there are 20,835 resident cases of COVID-19 in nursing and personal care homes across Pennsylvania. 



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Study: Taking Blood Pressure Medications as
Prescribed Extends Life Span of Elderly
By Aislinn Antrim

A new study published in Hypertension found that taking blood pressure medication as prescribed helped even the frailest elderly patients live longer, whereas the healthiest patients saw an even more significant increase in survival.

Investigators analyzed data on nearly 1.3 million people aged 65 years and older in the Lombardy region of Italy. With an average age of 76, patients had 3 or more blood pressure medication prescriptions between 2011 and 2012. The researchers examined the public health care database to calculate the percentage of time over the next 7 years, or until death, that each person continued to receive their medications.

Finally, the researchers analyzed approximately 255,000 patients who died during the 7-year follow-up period, comparing age-, gender-, and health status-matched controls who survived. They divided the patients into 4 groups according to health status: good, medium, poor, or very poor.


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Technology and the Human Connection in Senior Living

Technology has been making our lives more convenient for decades, and nothing has highlighted this reality more than the pandemic. It is now the norm to have groceries and gourmet food delivered to your door, meetings and summits are taking place virtually, and education will likely not take place in-person for many months.

While these advances are keeping us healthier and safer, some seniors are missing out on much-needed human connection. This could easily be remedied for seniors living in senior living facilities, with small, cost-efficient changes. Senior living facilities should ensure their technology capabilities are in top shape, and should make helping seniors utilize the latest technology a priority. This could easily be worked into wellness and entertainment initiatives. Staff members should be trained to help residents use technology (like video calling) to stay in touch with family, and events (movie nights, bingo, etc.) should move to a virtual platform if they haven’t already. Although the end of the pandemic will bring with it a resurgence of in-person socialization, we can expect many of the changes we’ve seen during the pandemic to persevere, especially video conferencing. Prioritizing technology for seniors will only continue to get more important.




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Tips To Help Seniors Return To Normal
 After Battling COVID-19


Experts from Fyzical Therapy & Balance of Palm Beach County and Seniors Helping Seniors have been sharing insights for senior citizens who won their battle with COVID-19 and are now looking ahead to the future.

The road to recovery has been a challenge for everyone who has suffered the devastating effects of the virus, but for seniors in particular, it looks a little different.

For younger victims, hospitalization is usually only required in the most severe cases. For seniors, hospitalization is more common, and the consequences of bed rest and time on a ventilator can make for an extremely difficult recovery. For seniors who are recovering from COVID-19, returning home from the intensive care unit requires care and additional physical therapy and is especially important for those who were hospitalized for more than two weeks.



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These are Donald Trump’s
40 biggest broken promises
By Robert Reich

Trump voters. Nearly 4 years in, here’s an updated list of Trump’s 40 biggest broken promises.

1. He said coronavirus would “go away without a vaccine.” You bought it. But it didn’t. While other countries got the pandemic under control and avoided large numbers of fatalities, the virus has killed more than 130,000 Americans*, and that number is still climbing.

2. He said he won’t have time to play golf if elected president. But he has made more than 250 visits to his golf clubs since he took office – a record for any president – including more trips during the pandemic than meetings with Dr. Fauci. The total financial cost to America? More than $136 million.

3. He said he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, and replace it with something “beautiful.” It didn’t happen. Instead, 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance since he took office. He has asked the Supreme Court to strike down the law in the middle of a global pandemic with no plan to replace it.



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15 Best Credit Cards for Seniors & Retirees in 2020 
By: Brittney Mayer 

With so many options available these days, it may seem impossible to know where to begin when searching for the best credit cards for seniors and retirees. Well, we’ve done some research for you — keep reading for some of our top choices.

It’s estimated that by 2030, a full 18% of the US population will be 65 and older, with a projected 10,000 people retiring each day. For most folks, aging and retirement come with many major lifestyle changes, including a number of shifts in their financial needs.

As you set out on new adventures, it makes sense to re-evaluate your current credit cards to determine whether they still merit a place in your wallet. You may also want to take a look at the options to see if there are replacements that will better suit your new lifestyle.




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NEXT BLOG MONDAY AUGUST 31ST 2020


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08.27.20




Senior Voters:
Why Should We Care?
4 - 5 minutes

If things go well, I figure I’ve got a good 10 years left to me. That’s if whatever I have now doesn’t get worse and I develop nothing new. At my age, any illness is potentially deadly. [1] And, because of the “time compression” factor that makes the days, weeks and years appear to go faster for older folks, those ten years will seem an almost meaningless speck in time. Therefore, why should I, as someone whose future is limited, care about the future of this country? The answer is more complex than it seems.
 
Naturally, there are the obvious reasons.
 
We will still need the programs available to us that have made the difference between life and death for many of us Older Americans.
 

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are in danger of being terminated or drastically reduced or worse. They want to turn them over to the private sector to imvest your money in less than safe financial instruments.
 
Under an administration that believes any social welfare program is tantamount to Communism, other programs like affordable housing, subsidies paid to nursing homes and assisted living facilities and even unemployment compensation for seniors would be drastically cut.

Indirectly, but none the less important, is our concern for our children, grandchildren and their children. We, as parents and grandparents, have a responsibility to future generations to make sure we will protect them as well or better than we were.

Proposed changes in the way they will fund and administer these programs as crafted by the current administration, will make these programs unavailable to Americans who haven’t even been born yet.
 
So, yes. How we vote on election day will have a direct effect on our lives, even if that life lasts only a relatively short time.
 
But there is one important factor that may not be as overt or as apparent. And that is the stake I have in this country.

I was born here, as were my parents. My grandparents came here because of an intolerable situation in their homeland.
 
Everything I have, the safety and security I had as a child, my extraordinary free public education, the ability to continue that education and to obtain decent employment and live a relatively comfortable life and even a good part of my current, secure, lifestyle is because I am an American citizen.
 
Without the programs developed and implemented by past generations of concerned, knowledgeable, compassionate (and bi-partisan) legislators, I might not be here today. I could have easily fallen through the cracks and wound up on the streets.
 
I have paid my taxes here since I was 18 years old without cheating or hiding my assets. And yes. If they had chosen me, I would have served my nation in the armed forces without question. And, I am still ready to protect and defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic.
 
Therefore, I will vote this November. Whether it be in person at my local polling place or, as I have done in the past, by mail-in ballot or whatever it takes, I will make sure that act, the most important thing we can do as citizens, will not be taken from me………… .
 
[1] Editor’s note: This number is based on the lifespan history of my family who have rarely made it past their 80s. 
 
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COMMENT ON YESTERDAY’S POST

In Tuesday’s post I said that America was not ever really great and was subject to the faults suffered by other great nations. 

Some of you took this as the rantings of an old left-wing hippy liberal with a hatred for our country and all things American. 

Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. 

To clarify. America, as much of the world at the time (post WW2) was terribly naive and very nationalistic. We believed we had won the war singlehandedly and we could do no wrong. We were so taken with ourselves that we failed to see the wrong in this country. The racism, the inequality for women, the rise of the military-industrial complex were all hidden under the guise of patriotism.

And, as much as I hate to admit it, was part of  all that.

I went to an all white school in an all white neighborhood where we learned the history they wanted us to learn and to revere our founders without giving us the backstory. It was meant to do harm or as a conspiracy against the truth. It wa just the way things were back then (the good-old-days) and there was no reason to question it.

 It was not until the 1960s, and the involvement by the U.S. in a politically and idealistically motivated war in a part of the world nobody ever heard of, did we finally grow up and realize that what much of what we thought was great about America was nothing more than a thin veneer of big cars and easy money.

If that’s still too left wing for you, sorry……. Bruce.





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Hundreds of thousands of seniors
may not be able to vote in November — here’s why


Walter Hutchins cast his first vote for president for Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, and he has voted in every election since. The last thing he wants is for his “68-year streak,” as he proudly calls it, to end in November.

An industrial engineer, Hutchins helped design the M16, the weapon of choice for American soldiers during the Vietnam War, and he invented several tools that may be currently sitting in your garage. He and his wife, Margaret, a teacher and ordained Episcopal minister whom he married the year after he voted for Ike, were “executive gypsies,” she said. They followed his jobs from Connecticut to Florida, New York and Wisconsin, until they retired to North Carolina. Wherever they were, they always voted — in fire stations, churches, their retirement community. When Walter became blind and hard of hearing, Margaret helped him in the voting booth.

This year, what stumped Hutchins, despite all his resourcefulness, was how he was going to exercise his basic constitutional right to vote during a pandemic. The Davis Community nursing home in Wilmington, North Carolina, where Hutchins has lived for two years, has barred visitors since March. Margaret, still in the retirement community nearby, can’t help him, nor can their four kids and eight grandchildren.


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Is It Harder for Seniors to Get Credit Cards?
By Erin Hurd


Whether it’s to earn rewards toward vacations or just finance everyday purchases, there’s strong demand for credit cards among older adults.

According to a report from credit bureau Experian, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) carried an average of 4.8 credit cards in the second quarter of 2019, more than any other generation in the report.

One might think that an older adult's chances of getting approved for a new credit card would be relatively high. It's a demographic that's had more time to establish long credit histories, pay mortgages and exhibit responsible borrowing. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act even bars creditors from discriminating against an application on the basis of age.

If you fall into that demographic, though, there are several reasons why it could be challenging for you to get approved for a new credit card. Here’s what could be influencing your creditworthiness, and what you can do about it.


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For those 65 and older, thunderstorms might
induce respiratory troubles, study says


Is a thunderstorm in the forecast? Your roof may not be the only thing in danger. A new study suggests that if you’re 65 or older, you are more likely to visit the emergency room for a respiratory problem in the days before a severe storm.

In a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a group of researchers analyzed Medicare insurance claims and found a correlation between respiratory ER visits and thunderstorms.

The analysis combined insurance and Medicare data associated with acute respiratory diagnoses during ER visits with weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for all counties within the continental United States between 1999 and 2012. All told, they looked at more than 822,000 days with major thunderstorms and more than 22 million emergency department visits.




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STDs at a record high for older Americans


A new study shows seniors are contracting STD’s nationally at historic levels and Idaho ranks No. 47 for infections among states.

Nationally, senior infections have increased 107.3 percent and Idaho ranks No. 47 with 24.8 seniors infected per 100,000 people. The national average 103.2 per 100,000.

Older Americans once viewed STD’s as a young person’s problem, but they must begin to take all necessary precautions.

TheSeniorList.com today released a study on the Record Rise of STD Rates Among Senior Citizens using the most recent data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



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President Trump's proposal to eliminate payroll taxes would deplete the
Social Security retirement trust fund by 2023, and its disability insurance fund
by the middle of next year, according to the Social Security Administration.

Absent other sources of revenue, the programs would stop paying out benefits when the funds were depleted.

In early August, President Trump signed an executive order permitting companies to stop withholding payroll taxes from their employee paychecks, a gambit to increase take-home pay.

But Trump also went a step further, promising that he would cancel the tax altogether if he were to be reelected in November, a move that has little support from either party on Capitol Hill and is unlikely to advance. Federal payroll taxes fund Social Security.



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9 Job Search Tips for Professionals Over 50

While there’s plenty of universal job advice out there, there’s also a good amount of advice geared toward entry-level candidates, people looking to make a career change after five or 10 years in a specific industry, individuals intent on not job-hopping but career-building, entrepreneurs, and the going-back-to-school group.

Sometimes, it can seem as though few are offering legit tips to a group of people with decades of experience. I’m talking about the over-50 crowd. Where’s the specific advice for this group?

I reached out to several of our career coaches for tailored advice for this particular group of professionals, and here’s what they had to say.

1. Think About Where You’re Valued



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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY AUGUST 28TH 2020


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08.26.20




6 MINUTES


There aren’t enough blood pressure pills in the world that would make me want to watch the RNC Convention in its entirety. But I watched and listened to the clips of the speeches on the news, and what I heard made my eyeballs want to pop out of my head.
 
It wasn’t the lies or name calling, or the phony outrage that got me upset. It’s the obvious attempt to further divide a nation that is already so divided it’s ready to split in two.
 
No matter what the MAGA people think or say, we never had a great America. Like any superpower, we have our faults, both foreign and domestic.
 
The world has always seen us as bullies or, at the very least, like a know-it-all uncle who wants to impose his way of life on nations that don’t want it. But they forgave us our sins because we had great compassion when they needed us. The U.S. was always first to give aid when natural disasters struck another country. And we have forgiven the billions of dollars owed to us by international borrowers.
 

But remember, we also sell arms and munitions to countries that pretend to be our friends who wind up using those guns and missiles against us. Our loyalties shift with the wind like desert sands. We have supported dictators just because they said they were anti-Communist, not caring that most of them were murdering thugs. 

But all of our foreign transgressions, pale compared to how we treat our own citizens. We can spend billions rebuilding the infrastructure of another country while American bridges and roads go to seed. And now, with our country having the highest unemployment in decades (10.2%) the best our Republican administration can come up with is to lower taxes and impose tariffs on foreign goods.

Wouldn’t it be better if the government put some of those chronically unemployed people to work repairing America?
 
What? The government should provide work for those who need it? OMG Bruce! That sounds like… like… like Socialism.

Ah, Socialism. The buzz word the Republicans love to use every time their political opponents mention things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and, G-d forbid, universal healthcare.
 
They sight countries like Cuba as a Socialist society that doesn’t work, conveniently leaving out the fact that Castro was a Communist and a Marxist and as far away from Socialism as you can get. But their brain dead, un-read minions hear the word “Socialism” and immediately think, “The Russians are coming to take your freedom, your right to make money and enslave you in a frozen Siberian gulag.”

Fortunately, we are not irreparable.
 
While his term in office has done considerable damage, we are far from needing a total renovation. But it will take more than a coat of paint and some new kitchen cabinets to make America saleable.
 
The first, and maybe the easiest thing Biden can do after fumigating and moving into the White House, is repairing our status as a world leader. The new president will to call every one of our allies and let them know there’s a new sheriff in town. One they are familiar with and can work with as partners.
 
Unfortunately, undoing what they have done to us hear at home may require a complete overhaul in the way we think as a nation.
 
It’s okay to wave the flag, as long as that flag has stars and stripes and not stars and bars or a swastika.
 
It’s okay to want to make America great as long as “greatness” does not mean de facto segregation, white privilege and discrimination in jobs and education.
 
We cannot go back to a time when equality for the majority only and everyone else would just have to do their best to survive.
 
We have to make sure the cliche chanting wall building yahoos crawl back into the nests they came from before Trump threw away the Raid and allowed them to roam free to infest our society.


And the best way to do that is to make sure we defeat Trump in November by such a large margin the streets will run red with the dye from discarded MAGA hats…………………………………………. .
 


 
 

 

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Experts stress the importance of mental health
when it comes to elderly and COVID-19
By Liz Lewin

The reality for seniors in assisted living communities and nursing homes is — life is still very much on lockdown. What does this mean for their mental health?

Though many states are starting to reopen and regain some degree of normalcy in the midst of this pandemic, the reality for seniors in assisted living communities and nursing homes is — life is still very much on lockdown.

Per the CDC, seniors are among some of the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19, especially hospitalizations and deaths. In fact, the CDC published data showing 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. have been adults 65 years old or older. 


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RELATED STORY

Florida family calls nursing home
isolation a death sentence
By Mary Ellen Klas


Nan Thomas came home Friday from the car parade at the Zephyrhills assisted living facility where her 95-year-old mother lives, and wept.

Her happy, healthy, active and “always smiling” mother had become distraught, pale, skinny and “a woman who begs to die.”

“She often doesn’t know who anyone is, can’t turn on or off her TV, doesn’t know how to use the phone, erroneously thinks her parents are alive, cries because she thinks my sister is dead,” Thomas said Sunday.

She blames her mother’s confusion on her constant isolation alone in her room, which Rosecastle of Zephyrhills Assisted Living & Memory Care required after DeSantis ordered a no-visitor policy at nursing homes and assisted living facilities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


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Many of the Nation’s Nursing Homes Had a Bad Record Before COVID —
Now Hit With an Alarming Spike in New COVID Cases

The agency that represents 14,000-plus nursing homes across the country recently released a revealing report related to COVID-19 that does not bode well for the facilities entrusted with the care of the elderly.

The report shows coronavirus cases have been on the rise in nursing home since June – in direct relation to increased community spread. As of mid-July, the latest date for which figures are available, the number of coronavirus cases in such facilities hovered at 8,628.

“The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA / NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a report today showing nursing homes in the U.S. have experienced an alarming spike in new COVID cases due to community spread among the general population according to recent data recently released from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS),” states the report, titled “DATA: Nursing Homes See Spike in New COVID Cases Due to Community Spread.” “The CMS data shows COVID cases in nursing homes significantly increased last month after having dropped significantly throughout the month of June. As experts have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes.”




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It is impossible for us to stop the spread’:
Nursing homes overwhelmed by coronavirus
By Suzy Khimm

Since suffering a traumatic brain injury five years ago, Eliot Loshak, 87, has been unable to get out of bed on his own. His eyesight is heavily damaged, and he needs help from the staff at his Manhattan nursing home just to call his only daughter, Pam.
With the coronavirus now spreading through the nursing home, Pam Loshak fears for her ailing father — and for the staff members at the Mary Manning Walsh Home, who don't have enough personal protective equipment to slow transmission of the disease, despite their hands-on care for those most vulnerable to the virus.
ArchCare, which runs the facility and four other nursing homes in the New York area, has been forced to outfit staff members in rain ponchos and beautician gowns to stretch their dwindling supply of protective gear, according to Scott LaRue, president and CEO of the company, which is affiliated with the Archdiocese of New York. Employees are given one N95 mask — meant to be single-use — to last an entire week.




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Biden only needs to win 3 battleground states to defeat Trump
– and he's leading in all 6
By Jason Lemon

President Donald Trump trails presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in all six of the key battleground states less than 100 days ahead of the November election. Meanwhile, Biden actually only needs to win three of those states, while maintaining all the states former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won in 2016, to secure victory in November.

Under the Electoral College system, each state is granted a certain number of electoral votes in proportion to its population. In 2016, Clinton garnered nearly 3 million more individual votes than Trump, but the president won by a significant margin in the Electoral College due to a series of wins in battleground states. Trump won 306 electoral votes while Clinton only garnered 232.

Several of the key battleground states – including Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Pennsylvania – had gone blue for former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 before flipping red for Trump. Democrats aim to regain these states come November, while they hope to pick up others that have historically leaned Republican.




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How to Make Your Retirement Money Stretch Farther


You’ve worked hard all your life. When it’s time to retire, you can finally enjoy a well-earned break, and it’s precisely because you’ve put in those long hours on the job and saved your pennies that you can have the opportunity to enjoy a long and relaxing retirement. Of course, thanks to better medical care, people are living longer every day, which means your retirement money needs to last longer than ever before.

Thankfully, making your retirement money stretch as far as possible isn’t nearly as difficult as it might seem. There are some great, easily-obtainable methods for maximizing your retirement budget so that you can enjoy yourself in comfort and style. Here are a few of the best examples for how to make your retirement money stretch further.





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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY AUGUST 27TH 2020


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




08.25.20




Un-Carceration
162 Days And Still No End In Sight
5 minutes


I’m getting to where I can no longer remember what life here at the Asylum was like before Covid-19. Sadly, I’ve become so used to the bad food, inactivity, isolation and infection control procedures, when the time comes for the quarantine/lockdown to end, It’ll feel strange. The body and mind, adapts.
 
I suppose that’s how people sentenced to long prison terms cope with their incarceration.
 
If they were to find me guilty of a felony and sentenced me to 6 months in the hoosegow, I could, as they say, do it “standing on my head.” I already feel like I’m doing time, but I don’t recall having a trial.


There might be a case here for illegal imprisonment, except nobody is keeping me from leaving. But they can keep me from coming back. I call it “un-carceration.” We’re not exactly locked in, but we’re not exactly allowed to come and go as we please. It’s a situation that exists nowhere else. And it’s targeted directly at seniors in assisted living facilities.

For months now I’ve been telling you how the state Department of Health had been unresponsive when asked about their long-term plans for returning thousands of A.L.F. residents to a “normal” life. And, when they finally came up with a plan, it was, as usual, a half-assed one like everything else the DOH does.
 
The 28 day virus-free scheme is not only bad in theory but in practice as well. It’s not a plan at all. It’s another way of delaying what they desperately need to do. And that’s allowing facilities to give us our lives back. And by that I mean resuming communal dining, activities and services like our general store, beauty parlor/barber, and returning the furniture to our lobby and other common areas so residents can interact with one another like everybody in the state may do.
 
One would think after 160 days of observing the most stringent infection control procedures on the planet we would have been well on our way getting back all we have lost. But no. Instead, it’s more of the same with no end in sight.

The one resident who tested positive for the virus during our last test is still under quarantine. And as long as she remains so, the facility cannot even think about implementing the back to normal phase of the DOH’s “plan.”
 
I know I’m sounding like a whiny old man fed up with his life, the system and authority. Well, that’s exactly what I am. At 75 I think they should treat me like the sane (mostly) adult I am and allow me to take some control over my life.
 
I don’t think we are asking for too much. We just want what everyone else has.
 
We don’t want to gather in large crowds, with or without masks.
 
We don’t want to have unprotected visits with outsiders. Truthfully, most of us don’t want to leave the grounds. We know it’s still dangerous out there and that we are more susceptible to contagion than others.
 
What we want. What we need is for them to allow us to conduct business as usual (with precautions) within the confines of our very well protected environment.
 
We have done everything asked of us for over 5 months. I think it’s time to give us a break.
 
Am I asking for too much? I think not……………………………………….. .
 





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Positive changes for seniors seeking free medication
By Renee Beasley Jones

During the past six months, some pharmaceutical giants — Eli Lily, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi — made it easier for senior citizens on Medicare to qualify for free medications.

For example, Eli Lily and Novo Nordisk no longer require eligible seniors to meet out-of-pocket spending limits to receive assistance for some prescription medications, such as Victoza, Tresiba, Levemir or Trulicity. All of those are popular insulin medications.

In the past, Eli Lily required customers to spend $1,100 before they were eligible, said Suzanne Craig, project manager of the Community Access Project.



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Larry King And Jacobi Niv Launch Royal Age E-commerce And
Education Platform As An Emergency Act
To Meet Immediate Needs Of Seniors During COVID-19


Larry King and Jacobi Niv announce the launch of their e-commerce and education platform, Royal Age, created to meet the needs of today's senior citizens.  Live today, King and Niv moved up the launch date from late 2020 as an emergency act to respond to meet the immediate needs of seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Royal Age has been in the planning stages for months, but efforts to pull their resources together with tremendous effort to expedite the launch date to August during this crisis.  


Helmed by King's trusted voice to provide the most needed products in the comfort and privacy of one's own home, Royal Age is committed to the values of community, education and trust.  The site's moniker is: "Royal Age is a place for young people over 60.  Reliable. Informative," and offers content, products and information;  and a daily newscast broadcast with headlines concerning seniors to keep them informed with the latest news and trends affecting their daily lives.

Says King:  "From my own personal quarantine, I understand how big the need of senior citizens in America is to have their own reliable and safe online platform which will deliver our most needed products right to their doorstep -- with content and an experience tailored specifically for us."  He adds, "That's why I created Royal Age. Give it a try. I made it for you."


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83% Of Retirees Support Restricting Prescription
Drug Price Increases to Rate of Inflation

"There are few issues that have this much common consensus among retirees as the issue of lowering prescription costs,” Johnson says.

A new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) finds that 83 percent of adults age 65 and up think Congress should restrict increases in prescription drug prices to the rate of inflation. “Medicare beneficiaries of every political persuasion are fed up with excessively high prescription drug prices,” says Mary Johnson, a Medicare analyst for The Senior Citizens League.

The online survey found that only 5 percent of those participating in the survey were opposed to the idea of tying drug prices to inflation, while 12 percent were not sure. “There are few issues that have this much common consensus among retirees,” Johnson says. 



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Do Parents Really Want to
 Live with Their Adult Children?
By Carol Bradley Bursack

It’s difficult to pinpoint how many aging parents live with their adult children, but there is certainly a lot more interest in this type of arrangement now than there was a decade ago. Part of the reason for this increase in multigenerational living is the economy. It’s cheaper for two families to live in one house than for each to have a separate home. I believe another significant factor for many adult children is that it seems easier and cheaper for us to care for our aging parents personally than it would be to pay for in-home care or consider a move to assisted living.

Of course, delicate care decisions like this one aren’t only made based on financial reasons. Most of us have at least a little of the “we take care of our own” mentality. Our parents took care of us and likely their own parents. Now it’s our turn to take care of them. Furthermore, many people are distrustful of hired caregivers. This may be because providing hands-on personal care is such an intimate task and because troubling stories and bad experiences with professional caregivers have been circulating for years. Together, these feelings can make the idea of parents moving into an adult child’s home seem like the best solution for all involved.

Respecting an Elder’s Desire for Independence

While popular opinion seems to be that most aging parents would jump at the chance to live with their adult children, that isn’t necessarily so. Less than a third (31 percent) of seniors surveyed for a Gallup & Robinson research project on aging and quality of life said they would live with a younger family member when they could no longer live on their own. By contrast, more than half (51 percent) of adult children expressed willingness to have an older parent move in with them when they could no longer live on their own.



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In Departure From Past Elections,
Seniors Lean Toward Democrats
By Yusra Murad

In latest poll, 52% of voters whose No. 1 issues are Medicare and Social Security say they would vote for a Democratic candidate, while 33% pick a Republican

17% of voters prioritize seniors’ issues, the 2nd-highest priority after the economy

In July poll of 2,128 seniors’ issue voters, 88 percent say they are motivated to vote

Last week, President Donald Trump published an op-ed in USA Today titled “Democrats ‘Medicare for All’ plan will demolish promises to seniors,” drawing attention to the midterm battle at the convergence of health policy and a key bloc of extremely motivated voters: seniors.



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6 Steps To Protecting Your Assets
From Nursing Home Care Costs
Edited by Michele Ungvarsky

This is a must read if you or a loved one is worried about nursing home care costs and the government…

STEP 1: Give Monetary Gifts To Your Loved Ones Before You Get Sick

Of course, there’s no way to know with certainty if or when you will need nursing home care, but giving gifts to your family members well ahead of time helps protect the money from creditors seeking to collect after your death. In the case of Medicaid, any assets you transfer within the five years prior to entering a care facility are subject to seizure after your death. Transferring funds before you fall ill shelters your money and ensures your family members can legally keep the gifts they receive.

STEP 2: Hire An Attorney To Draft A “Life Estate” For Your Real Estate...



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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY AUGUST 26TH 2020


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08.24.20





7-8 minutes

This past Saturday was my birthday. And, while I don’t celebrate or even acknowledge them, I’m still aware of the years that have passed and wonder at how and why I’m still here.
 
Normally I wouldn’t mention my age. Attaining it was no great accomplishment, and therefor requires no celebration. But It marks a milestone of sorts. How many people can say they have exceeded the limits of their warranty (three score and ten) and made it to the 3/4 of a century mark.
 
In case you were absent in math class that day, that’s 75.
 
It doesn’t mean much, it’s only a number, but one has to recognize that there’s more years behind me than lay ahead. Unless, that is, I live to be 151. That would be an accomplishment worth celebrating. 

But would I, or anybody, want to live to be that old? It’s something to think about because (except maybe for this year) our life expectancy has been steadily increasing over the years.
 
The current life expectancy for the U.S. in 2020 is 78.93 years, a 0.08% increase from 2019. The life expectancy for U.S. in 2019 was 78.87 years, a 0.08% increase from 2018.
 
The life expectancy for a person born in the year 2100 is projected to be 81.69 years. [1] However, many of us are doing pretty well right now in the longevity department.
 
In 1990, of the 31 million people who were aged 65 and over,37,306 were classified as being centenarians. This figure most likely exceeds the true number of centenarians in 1990 (the last year they took a count).[2]

While it would be nice to tack on a few extra years to one’s life, doing it would most likely bring some problems.
 
 
But what about your health? Will you need more care than other old people? The answer to that might surprise you as it did me…
 
“As they age to 100, centenarians are generally healthier than nonsurviving members of their cohort, and a number of individuals who become centenarians reach 100 with no self-reported diseases or functional impairments. About 23% of centenarians reached age 100 with no major chronic disease and approximately the same number had no disability (18%). Over half (55%) reached 100 without cognitive impairment. Disease and functioning trajectories of centenarians differ by sex, education, and marital status.

While some centenarians have poor health and functioning upon reaching age 100, others are able to achieve exceptional longevity in relatively good health and without loss of functioning. This study underscores the importance of examining variation in the growing centenarian population.”[3]

It appears centenarians may be pre-programmed to live full, healthy lives. Where does that leave the rest of us who just want to live just a little longer?
 
No group wants to cling to life more than we Baby Boomers.
 
Not only do we want to keep all the toys we bought, but want to play with them for as long as possible. You can see it in the way we hold on to all those material possessions like our cars, our tech and our land. We love all the “stuff” so much the very thought of having to give all that up over a little thing like death drives us nuts.  

Knowing how we love our belongings so much and because they love their stuff too, a giant tech company is trying to do something about lengthening our lifespan. That company is Google, no less.
 
In 2013 Google acquired Calico Labs for the sole purpose of finding out why people die and how we may slow down or completely end dying.
 
They want to know why some people die young and why some animals live to be hundreds of years old. And they have found something.
 
“In the first significant announcement from Calico Labs since it was formed, researchers Rochelle Buffenstein, Megan Smith, and J. Graham Ruby have announced that the naked mole rat is a “non-aging mammal.”
 
Completely bald and with wrinkly skin, the naked mole rat is one of the ugliest creatures around but lives an exceptionally long life for a small mammal. It rarely develops the chronic diseases of aging, such as cancer, and lives 10 times longer than regular rats.
 
The researchers followed the naked mole rats–housed at the Buck Institute–over a three-decade-long study period. They found that these creatures show hardly any signs of aging, such as problems with their metabolism, heart, or bones. Females do not go through menopause and continue to reproduce into their 30s, which is an amazing feat for an animal that lives at least 30 years of age in captivity. Even the cells in their bodies have a remarkable resistance to oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Small rodents the size of the naked mole rat live for no more than six years.”[4]
 
So who wants to be the first to have some naked mole rat juice injected into them? No? Okay. I guess we will have to beat the Reaper the old-fashioned–way through diet and exercise. Boo.

How long we live depends on our genes and our lifestyle. How long we WANT to live depends on how much we appreciate what we have, the world and people around us and how that world and those people treat us.
 
Right now it seems we are in some world-wide, out-of-control beat-down. How well we survive and thrive will prove how much we really want to continue. Unfortunately, many of us (perhaps 300,000 before New Year’s) will have no say when their time here on earth will end. Perhaps there is some cosmic reason for this pandemic. Maybe it’s a way the universe is telling us, “It’s our party and you’ll die if we want you to.” And if mankind gets too cocky about cheating death, we'll throw another pandemic at you to even things out……………… 
 
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Social Security's 2021 COLA:
It's a Good News/Bad News Scenario
By Sean Williams


For many Americans, this has been one of the most challenging years of their lives. The coronavirus pandemic has completely altered our social norms, cost more than 20 million people their jobs, and sent the U.S. economy into its steepest recession in history.

Although retired workers arguably haven't been hit as hard -- financially -- by the pandemic as working Americans, there have nevertheless been concerns raised about how it could adversely affect Social Security's cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the upcoming year. With the first of three important data points revealed last week, it's looking as if Social Security's 2021 COLA offers a good news/bad scenario for the program's over 64 million beneficiaries.


A step-by-step of how Social Security's COLA is calculated


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Covid could lead many older workers into early retirement —
not necessarily by choice

More than half of unemployed older workers are at risk of involuntary retirement, and older non-white women have been hardest hit by recent job losses. 

That’s according to research from the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at The New School, which found almost 3 million workers between ages 55 and 70 have left the labor force since March. 

The Covid-19 pandemic, which hit just as a “gray wave” of older adults delaying retirement was predicted to change the workforce, has taken an economic toll on all generations. But older Americans are faced with less time to recover financially. 


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Study focuses on low-carb, high-fat diet
effect on older populations
By Leo O'Connor


A new study, published in Nutrition and Metabolism, from researchers with the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Nutrition Obesity Research Center observed improvements in body composition, fat distribution and metabolic health in response to an eight-week, very low-carbohydrate diet.

Older adults with obesity are at particularly high risk of developing cardiometabolic disease such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Rather than total fat mass, deposition of fat in certain areas, such as the abdominal cavity and skeletal muscle, may confer this greatest risk of disease development.

The study's lead author is Amy Goss, Ph.D., RDN, an assistant professor with UAB's Department of Nutrition Sciences. Goss says her team aimed to determine if a very low-carbohydrate, or VLCD, high-fat diet would deplete these fat depots and preserve lean mass without intentional caloric restriction in older adults with obesity, thereby improving outcomes related to cardiometabolic disease, such as insulin sensitivity and the lipid profile.





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Half of assisted living providers are operating at a loss,
 unable to sustain operations another year

Half of assisted living providers are operating at a loss, and 64% say they won’t be able to sustain operations for another year, according to survey results released Wednesday by the National Center for Assisted Living.

In the poll, conducted Aug. 8 to 10, 193 assisted living providers shared that they are facing a financial crisis similar to that experienced by nursing homes as their COVID-19 response has significantly increased costs while also affecting revenue streams. A majority (73%) of survey respondents reported operating at a profit margin of 3% or less.

Unlike nursing homes, assisted living providers have not received any direct federal funding while incurring significant cost increases for personal protective equipment (95%), staff “hero pay” (55%), cleaning supplies (50%) and testing (29%), according to NCAL. Poll participants shared that they expect to continue to incur significant expenses in response to the pandemic, especially for PPE (97%), testing (55%), hero pay (62%) and cleaning supplies (80%).




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Essential Politics: Trump's big problem is seniors
By David Lauter

Six months before the November election, President Trump has fallen behind among a group central to his victory in 2016 — voters 65 and older.

Trump’s significant deficit among seniors shows up in poll after poll, nationwide and in key states, including surveys done by nonpartisan groups and by pollsters in both parties.

The problem predates the intense public focus on the coronavirus, but Trump’s erratic response to the crisis has probably worsened it, strategists in both parties say.




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Three Resources for Senior Investors


In case you missed it, Senior Citizen's Day was August 21. Designated by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the day offers a time to pay tribute to the many contributions seniors make to their communities, and to bring awareness to issues of particular importance to America's older citizens.

One of those issues is investor protection. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) offers three helpful resources for seniors that they can use year round:

1. FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors®. This free service was launched in 2015 to provide older investors with a place to get assistance from knowledgeable FINRA staff related to concerns they have with their brokerage accounts and investments. Seniors may have unique needs that elevate the need for expedited attention with securities brokerage concerns, including lack of outside income, potential health complications and diminished mental capacity. The FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors provides investors who feel that their account has been mishandled by a broker, and other concerns, with quick and easy access to information and resources.




 


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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY AUGUST 25TH 2020


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08.23.20




I'll Drink To That....Not.


When it comes to drinking, I’m considered a lightweight. It’s not that I don’t like to drink, it’s just that I don’t handle the excess ingestion of spirits well. But instead of becoming a falling-down drunk, I just fall asleep. Not a good thing if you have to drive home from wherever you did your drinking. I did it once back in 1970, returning from a New Year’s Eve party, and never did it again. I didn’t fall asleep that time because I kept the windows open in 20 degree weather, which is enough to get your attention. But it was scary. I made it home without being stopped by the cops which was nothing short of amazing considering I never went above 30mph on the parkway.
 
Since that time, I’ve kept my drinking to a minimum because I know what it does to me.
 
Falling asleep aside, the major reason I can’t drink has to do with the medications I’m on. The indications listed for all of them specifically state “Not to be taken or used with alcohol.”
 
Normally, that wouldn’t stop me from having a snort or two now and again. And I would, except that my access to any adult beverage here at the ALF is non existent. THEY DON’T ALLOW IT, PERIOD. It’s a rule that has gone unnoticed by some of our residents.

Every so often they catch a resident with a six-pack in their rooms. They confiscate the stash, but usually not without protest.
 
Two years ago, I awoke to a commotion outside my room.

 
I opened the door and peered out and saw a staff member wrestling a bottle of Bud out of the hands of my next-door neighbor who argued that he was a grown man who they should allow to have a brewski if he wanted.
 
The noise brought out residents who immediately took sides. Some agreeing with the resident and some with the staff member. The resident lost that battle and the next day they asked him to leave the facility. They don’t take kindly to booze here.

Strangely, the no-alcohol rule does not apply at all assisted living facilities. Some not only permit it, but serve it at dinner and in-house “Bistros.”
 
When my aunt was a resident at a facility in Florida, they informed me she had won their annual Halloween costume contest. The prize, a bottle of wine. This not only surprised the heck out of me, but made me question the care she was receiving. I later discovered that serving alcohol at ALFs is not that uncommon.
 
There are pros and cons on the subject… [1]
 
“Some argue it’s unsafe and irresponsible to provide residents alcohol, while others argue that it’s unkind, unnecessary and belittling to deny residents the pleasures and benefits of a drink.”
“The foremost duty of assisted living communities is to keep their residents safe. Alcohol can be dangerous to people of any age who misuse it, but seniors can be vulnerable to problems from alcohol even when they consume only modest amounts. A lot of the negative aspects of alcohol are exaggerated for assisted living residents.
· Alcohol affects the aged brain different, causing more pronounced intoxication.
· Assisted living residents frequently take medicines that can have unpredictable or dangerous side effects when mixed with alcohol.
· Older residents often have mobility problems, and for obvious reasons alcohol could increase the fall risk.
· Seniors with memory impairment can also react unpredictably to alcohol. They may become disoriented or confused, or possibly even act or become disruptive.”
“A 2012 study published in Research on Aging found that 70% of assisted living residents consume alcohol, which indicates that if even it’s not served at the community, residents will just acquire it other ways (on shopping outings or as gifts).”
 
My feeling on the subject lies somewhere in the middle. I think they should permit a responsible adult a limited amount of alcohol in most instances. They should determine that responsibility on a case-by-case basis after a review of the resident’s physical and mental condition.
 
“One could argue that if residents are drinking, they should do so a social setting where they are served by the community, such as a weekly happy hour. This allows staff to assure that residents are not abusing alcohol (through the prevention of over-serving), and allows the alcohol consumption to take place in a setting that’s both social and supervised.” [1]

The last time I had a beer was over a year ago during a outing to a local steak house for lunch. I had a medium-rare steak, a baked potato, some hot garlic bread and a tall, cold mug of Beck’s. And you know what? I didn’t pass out or fall ill or become obnoxious or fall asleep. So yes, I think a beer or some wine should be allowed here. It would certainly loosen up some very uptight people here.


The staff and I are taking the weekend off. We’ll be back on Monday……………………………… 
 
 

 

 




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For today’s seniors, age is just a number
By Ellen Mortensen


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 40.3 million U.S. residents 65 years and older in the 2010 Census and more than 54 million on July 1, 2019. The nation’s 65 and older population has been growing rapidly since 2010, driven by the aging of Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed Aug. 21 as National Senior’s Citizens Day. In his proclamation President Reagan wrote, “Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.”

There is no question that people today are living longer than those a generation ago, and staying healthier into their golden years. A decade from now, the year 2030, marks an important demographic turning point in U.S. history according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections. By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65. This will expand the size of the older population so that 1 in every 5 residents will be retirement age.


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This year will never be the good ol' days


National Senior Citizens Day is this Saturday, the day when they all get together and talk about how they miss the good ol’ days. For instance, coming home from work and not having to unlock the front door. For that matter, never even having a key for the front door, or if you did, it was permanently lost. That’s the house I grew up in, and I’m pretty sure it was the same for most everyone else in town.

It was a different world, I suppose. You didn't have all the options. You had to make do with regular Fritos since there were no chile-cheese Fritos. Or if you wanted to see Star Wars again, you had to wait a couple of years for it to be broadcast on TV with commercials. If you wanted to keep pictures you had to have a physical photo album. No Flickr or Photobucket or I-cloud storage.

Wait, Stop. I’m starting to digress before there’s something from which to digress. Am I getting old?



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Senior living can emerge from pandemic stronger


Senior living communities scrambled to respond to the COVID-19 virus that was tragically hitting areas around the country, especially affecting older adults with associated health problems. Because the residents living in assisted living have an average age of 86 years and four chronic conditions, it was like watching a freight train bearing down toward residents and staff.

Many senior housing operators took the early reports seriously and quickly began to adjust their best practices in everything from infection control to sourcing medical supplies to how to assess and move in new residents.

Leadership was essential in keeping communities operating at a level of stability and quality, even while the virus affected many residents and staff. And leadership wasn’t demonstrated just by people in the top positions; staff members at all levels stepped forward to fill the void where needed, working to keep residents safe and engaged.


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Older adults with existing depression
show resilience during the pandemic


A study involving older adults with pre-existing major depressive disorder living in Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, and St Louis found no increase in depression and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers from five institutions, including UCLA, found that the older adults, who were already enrolled in ongoing studies of treatment resistant depression, also exhibited resilience to the stress of physical distancing and isolation. The findings were published in peer-reviewed journal, The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

“We thought they would be more vulnerable to the stress of COVID because they are, by CDC definition, the most vulnerable population,” said Helen Lavretsky, MD, a professor-in-residence of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. “But what we learned is that older adults with depression can be resilient. They told use that coping with chronic depression taught them to be resilient”




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Who’s spreading fake news? 
By Jack Ryan

An opinion column last week in the Los Angeles Times included these four sentences that should be interesting to readers of this newspaper, many of whom are senior citizens:

“Researchers have found that falsehoods are 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth. Recent studies also show that age is the strongest predictor of engagement with fake news. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news sites as young users. Old age predicted (this trend) even when accounting for partisanship, education and overall posting activity.”

Everybody who has a Facebook page has seen something forwarded by a friend that seems sketchy — or simply inaccurate. But if the column by Harvard psychology post-doctoral fellow Nadia Brashier and Harvard psychology professor Daniel Schacter is accurate, older users of the internet are being fooled a lot more often than younger ones.




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Senior citizens, less educated about only
ones happy with Trump transition

Pew Research finds most unhappy with President-elects performance so far

unhappy voterDec. 8, 2016 - Donald Trump is off to a rough start with his transition to be President of the United Stated. A solid majority of Americans are unhappy with his work. The only two groups solidly in his corner are the elderly and the least educated Americans - a solid base of his Republican party.

This extensive new study by the Pew Research Center finds that 55% of the public says that, so far, they disapprove of the job he has done explaining his policies and his plans for the future.  Only 41% approve of the job he has done making clear his “policies and plans.” That number is significantly lower than past presidents.

“In December 2008, 72% said they approved of the job then President-elect Obama had done explaining his plans and policies for the future. And in the wake of the disputed 2000 election, 50% said they approved of the job George W. Bush had done explaining his plans and policies,” according to the Pew analysis. 




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The 4 best home remedies to
 cure your hangover naturally
By Honah Liles


For as long as there has been alcohol, there have been people searching for a cure to the next day fatigue, nausea, and headaches that can come with a hangover. 

Most hangovers will go away on their own within 24 hours. There is no single cure for a hangover, but treating the symptoms can help you feel better. You can use the following home remedies to help relieve your hangover symptoms: 
 
1. Get some food in your stomach 

Eating something may help you feel better from a hangover. But if you ask people for their favorite hangover-fighting breakfast, you will likely get several different answers. Some good options include:






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NEXT BLOG MONDAY AUGUST 24TH 2020


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




08.20.20



What’s The Matter With Kids Today?


“Kids!

I don't know what's wrong with these kids today!

Kids!

Who can understand anything they say?

Kids!

They a disobedient, disrespectful oafs!

Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!

While we're on the subject:

Kids!

You can talk and talk till your face is blue!

Kids!

But they still just do what they want to do!

Why can't they be like we were,

Perfect in every way?

What's the matter with kids today?”

                                  -

From the Broadway Musical By, By Birdie

Written By

Charles Strouse & Lee Adams



I am not one of those Gen-X, Millennial bashing old codgers who hate the young and think the “old days” were better than today.

To be truthful, except because my parents, brother and many of my friends were still alive, the old days sucked.

We drank, smoked, drove gas guzzling soon-to-be rust bucket cars which ruined much of our environment.

We were politically naïve, blindly patriotic and, whether we knew it, overtly racist.

And we rarely questioned authority which, as it turns out, may not have been a bad thing considering what we are witnessing today

There is no doubt in my mind that if this pandemic had happened in the 1940s or 1950s, all of us would wear masks without question. And we would have done it because the president of the U.S.A. told us to, no matter what his political affiliation.

 

Having just come out of the most devastating war in the history of mankind victorious and with our patriotism at the highest point it’s ever been, would have made going mask-less tantamount to waving a Nazi flag.

Maybe it’s because we had no-nonsense, genuine leaders in Eisenhower and Kennedy. Real heroes who knew how to give orders and take them and could bring two opposing parties together and come up with a compromise for all.

And there were others too who we respected. Our parents, for one and our teachers for the other.

If you brought home, a note from the teacher describing an incident that involved you. Your mom didn’t question the teacher. It was “What have you done now?” followed by the appropriate punishment

For better or worse, things are different now.

We bombard kids today with so much more information, so many opposing views and more peer pressure from social media than ever that knowing the right thing to do is not as clear as it was back when we were teens and young adults.

Our instant and easily available communications in the form of mobile phones and the internet can quickly bring together groups set on being antisocial.

Beach parties, house parties, dorm room parties, raves, crowded bars and festivals are all part of a new alienated behavior by youths who either don’t know or just don’t care about the harm and suffering they cause as a result of their dangerous behavior.

And the stats don’t lie…

More Than 6,600 Coronavirus Cases Have Been Linked to U.S. Colleges [1]

"As college students and professors decide whether to head back to class, and as universities weigh how and whether to reopen, the coronavirus is already on campus.

A New York Times survey of every public four-year college in the country, as well as every private institution that competes in Division I sports or is a member of an elite group of research universities, revealed at least 6,600 cases tied to about 270 colleges over the course of the pandemic. And the new academic year has not even begun at most schools.

Confirmed coronavirus cases on college campuses

Outbreaks have emerged on Greek Row this summer at the University of Washington, where at least 136 residents were infected, and at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, where administrators were re-evaluating their plans for fall after eight administrative workers tested positive.

The virus has turned up in a science building at Western Carolina, on the football team at Clemson and among employees at the University of Denver.

At Appalachian State in North Carolina, at least 41 construction workers have tested positive while working on campus buildings. The Times has identified at least 14 coronavirus-related deaths at colleges."

And it’s only recently that many colleges and universities have made this unabashed party-going a punishable offense which may cause suspension or expulsion. Much to the dismay of those students who say “That’s why we came to school in the first place” or, “That’s just part of the college experience.”

Yes. We protested with sit-ins and draft card burning and anti-war demonstrations. And yes, there was some violence. But never did our actions put the lives of thousands of individuals in danger.

I don’t like to say it, but I’m beginning to hate these spoiled brats who think they are entitled to infect the planet because they want to parrtayy.

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about it.

We can hand out summonses, but we can’t put them in jail because to do so would only exacerbate the situation and spread the virus even farther.

We have gotten ourselves into a very sticky situation. One, I am afraid, will only diminish with the unnecessary deaths of thousands more Americans.

No. We weren’t “perfect in every way.” But we sure weren’t  as stupid either………………. .

 

  [1] source:https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/28/us/covid-19-colleges-universities.html as of July 28t





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Even in pandemic, scammers try to take advantage of elderly


Scams typically target people when they are most vulnerable, and now it seems even a pandemic is considered fair game to those preying on unsuspecting victims.

A warning issued last week by the state Departments of Health and Aging noted that Pennsylvanians should be aware of scams involving contact tracing, the process of health officials calling people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to alert them and determine their recent contacts who may also have been exposed.

Contact tracing is considered a key step in controlling the spread of the coronavirus, but for it to be effective, citizens have to be trusting and open with tracers. Scams threaten that requisite confidence.

According to the state warning, scams are cropping up in which callers posing as contact tracers may ask for someone’s Social Security number or payment for tracing services -- neither of which are ever a component of a contact tracing 
inquiry.


_____________________________________________________________

ARE YOU STILL CONFUSED ABOUT 
VOTER REGULATIONS IN YOUR STATE
LOOK HERE FOR HELP


The national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition works year-round to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to vote and have that vote count. Made up of more than 100 local, state and national partners, Election Protection uses a wide range of tools and activities to protect, advance and defend the right to vote.

Election Protection provides Americans from coast to coast with comprehensive information and assistance at all stages of voting – from registration, to absentee and early voting, to casting a vote at the polls, to overcoming obstacles to their participation. Election Protection helps voters make sure their vote is counted through a number of resources, including:

    A suite of voter helplines administered by coalition members:
        English: 866-OUR-VOTE – Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
        Spanish/English: 888-VE-Y-VOTA – NALEO Educational Fund
        Arabic/English: 844-YALLA-US – Arab American Institute (AAI)
        Asian Languages/English: 888-API-VOTE – APIAVote & Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)
    Voter protection field programs: legal – managed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and grassroots managed by Common Cause

    Digital outreach tools: including 866ourvote.org, @866ourVote, and facebook.com/866OurVote

Throughout the election cycle, our volunteers provide voter information, document problems they encounter when voting and work with partners and volunteers on the ground to identify and remove barriers to voting. Election Protection focuses on the voter – not on the political horse race – and provides guidance, information and help to any American, regardless of his or her voting choices.


____________________________________________________________________

Aging memories may not be 'worse', just 'different'
By Justin Petrone


Everyone has heard it, and decades of research studies seem to confirm it: While it may not always be the first sign of aging, some faculties, including memory, do get worse as people age.

It may not be that straightforward.

Zachariah Reagh, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, looked at the brain activity of older people not by requiring them to recite a group of words or remember a string of numbers. Instead, Reagh looked at a "naturalistic approach," one that more closely resembled real-world activities.

He found that brain activity in older adults isn't necessarily quieter when it comes to memory.



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THE IT'S ABOUT TIME DEPT.

Assisted living facilities look to separate from nursing homes
when it comes to COVID regulations
By Samantha DiMascio


Empire State Association of Assisted Living (ESAAL) is working with the New York State Department of Health to separate and differentiate policies for assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Lisa Newcomb, Executive Director of ESAAL said blanket rules continue to be enforced by the state despite stark differences in the characteristics of the two resident populations, and the difference in COVID-related data.

“ESAAL represents more than 300 licensed Adult Care Facilities and Assisted Living providers throughout New York State. It’s our job to make sure that the residents in these communities are being treated fairly,” said Newcomb.

As the state starts to re-open, ESAAL is requesting that the health department allow assisted living facilities to re-open their hair salons so that their residents can get back into their routines. “I don’t really know what the hold up is. They (DOH) haven’t explained that,” said Newcomb.



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Here's how Joe Biden plans to change
Social Security if he is elected president
By Lorie Konish


The coronavirus pandemic could have a big impact on Social Security’s financial prospects. And that means the future of the program could be a bigger issue in the 2020 presidential election.

This year alone, about 65 million Americans will receive more than $1 trillion in benefits through Social Security retirement, disability and survivor benefits.

But the funds used to pay those benefits will likely become depleted sooner than previously anticipated due to the effects Covid-19 has had on the U.S. economy.





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Gig work could help older
Americans work around ageism

HOW IT WORKS

The gig economy has changed work in America in a big way over the past several years as former full-time employees turn to freelancing, driving for Uber, or taking one of the growing number of remote, self-employed roles available.

And there's one group that could majorly benefit from this rise in flexible work: retirees.

Aging and retirement expert and author Elizabeth White expects freelancing to become a norm for older Americans. During the coronavirus pandemic, when many older workers are being faced with the choice of continuing to work and facing infection, or retiring, the gig economy provides an alternative.





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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY AUGUST 21ST 2020


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08.19.20



How Are You Eating These Days?

One thing we can all agree on during these strange times is that our diets and eating habits have taken it on the chin, and the stomach, thighs and butt. It’s not that we are eating more, we’re just eating the wrong foods, at the wrong time and under stressful circumstances.
 
Dining should be a pleasurable experience. It’s not meant to be something we do just to keep from dying.
 
It’s one of those things that requires no special training, expertise or great skill. All one has to do is open the mouth and shove in the food. We can even customize it to meet our own needs and desires.
 
Under normal circumstances, people eat when and where they want and with whom.
 
Before Covid if you wanted to have breakfast at home at 6am, go ahead. Or you could have stopped at the nearest diner, sat at a counter with 20 other people and had your bacon and eggs at 4pm if you so desired.
 

Remember those nice, cozy, romantic dinners with your significant other? Or those fun lunches with the girls at that nice little spot overlooking the harbor. Or that traditional Sunday dinner with the family. Well, they’re all gone now. These days our only dining “companion” is the TV and the food we eat is just that, food.
 
And for us. Here at the A.L.F. and for seniors in long-term care facilities, it’s worse.
 
Not only are we eating alone, we are eating crappy, hastily assembled to-go meals prepared by an overworked and unmotivated staff whose major priority is to get through another day.
 
Right now, I’m eating a cold sandwich and an off-brand diet cola (we don’t get Coke or any name brand drinks here), and listening to the ABC evening news. And, as much as I like David Muir and find what he reports interesting, he’s no substitute for my usual table-buddies in the dining room and their usual banter.

Besides the company, I miss the routine. After 7 years here having three meals a day at approximately the same time every day is, to some extent, comforting. There’s much to be said for eating at a regular time. One of those things is “regularity.” You could set a watch to it. The other is the ability to plan your day which now, in my dotage, has become more and more necessary. As I age, I’m no longer comfortable with spur-of-the-moment activities. And I don’t like surprises. “Out of the ordinary” for old people usually means bad news. When was the last time an unscheduled visit to your doctor was something to be happy about?
 
For the rest of our lives, this will be the summer that never was.
 
One thing we residents look forward to each summer is the barbecues they throw for us three or four times during the season. Those outdoor functions gave us a chance to sit where we wanted and eat a variety of “happy” food. It was a welcome break in the routine and a chance to relive better times when we were surrounded by friends and relatives enjoying life and food. They canceled all of that. No Memorial day, Fourth of July and, most likely, no Labor day BBQ’s this year. Just more gloom, doom and Styrofoam meals.

I am hoping and praying our facility will soon be able to return to some normalcy. As of now, things are not looking too good for that to happen.
 
The one resident who tested positive for the virus is still under quarantine. And, until that ends, they will not even think about returning us to the way things were.
 
And, when they finally clear us, we are still not sure if they will include communal dining in their plans.
 
Six months ago, if you had told me I would look forward to eating an institutional-like meal in a crowded dining room with a bunch of crabby old people, I would have thought you were nuts. Today, that’s all I think about. And to think we could have been out of this months or weeks ago with just a bit more precaution on the part of the popuplation and some real guidance by the government........................................ .  
 
 



 
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Life will never be the same for people over 60
— even with a COVID-19 vaccine
By Bruce Horovitz

These are the likely long-term impacts on gatherings, travel, eating, medicine, home life and even public restrooms

Imagine this scenario, perhaps a year or two in the future: An effective COVID-19 vaccine is routinely available, and the world is moving forward. Life, however, will likely never be the same — particularly for people over 60.

That is the conclusion of geriatric medical doctors, aging experts, futurists and industry specialists. Experts say that in the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly everything will change, from the way older people receive health care to how they travel and shop. Also overturned: their work life and relationships with one another.



___________________________________________________________

Americans and the right to vote:
Why it's not easy for everyone to cast a ballot
By Caitlin Huey-Burns and Sean Gallitz


Amid the coronavirus and protests against racial injustice, CBSN is launching a new series focused on voting rights, safety, and access. This is the first in the series, which will include in-depth reporting and conversations.

In the lead-up to November, you'll hear a familiar refrain from politicians and on the airwaves: "Want to make a difference and effect change? Vote."

It seems like an easy course of action, and it should be. But voting isn't easy for everyone. There are regulations in place that make it more difficult for some people. And that's no accident.

"The vote is the heart of American democracy. We all believe that passionately, but it's also been a big fight over the centuries about how we vote, who votes, and very often people trying to make it harder for other people to vote," says Michael Waldman, president of the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. 


___________________________________________________________________

Maine Lab to Study Blood Condition
That Puts Seniors at Risk


The National Institute on Aging has awarded a Maine laboratory nearly a half million dollars to research a blood condition that is common in older adults.

Jackson Laboratory associate professor Jennifer Trowbridge will conduct the research on clonal hematopoiesis. The disease puts older people at risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Maine independent Sen. Angus King and Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the research is an example of work at Jackson Laboratory that is “making great strides to conquer diseases that affect nearly every American family.”




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Nursing Homes With Safety Problems
 Deploy Trump-Connected Lobbyists
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Jesse Drucker


Nursing homes, the center of the pandemic, are seeking tax breaks, federal cash infusions and protection against lawsuits.

Some want direct government aid. Others want tax breaks. Many want protection against lawsuits.

Nursing homes have been the center of America’s coronavirus pandemic, with more than 62,000 residents and staff dying from Covid-19 at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, about 40 percent of the country’s virus fatalities. Now the lightly regulated industry is campaigning in Washington for federal help that could increase its profits.

Some of the country’s largest nursing-home companies — including those with long histories of safety violations and misusing public funds — have assembled a fleet of lobbyists, many with close ties to the Trump administration.




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Easy Meals for Seniors to Make on Their Own


According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), seniors will do best by choosing foods, which are high in nutrients (lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals) and low in calories. Your options include: 

    Lean poultry and meat
    Seafood
    Eggs, beans, and nuts (preferably unsalted)
    Whole grains
    Low- or non-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, kefir)
    Vegetables
    Fruits

Other tips include:

    Prepare meatless entrees (use plant-based options)
    Use whole wheat pasta
    Try ancient grains, quinoa, faro, barley, etc.
    Use lower sodium broth for soups
    Use fresh herbs whenever possible



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY AUGUST 20TH 2020


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08.18.20





7-8 minutes



For many of us old-timers, the U.S. Post Office was our first contact with government.
 
The post office was the place where the feds met the public.
 
Besides the mail, it was the place where you got tax forms, applied for a passport, bought money orders and sent and received official-looking documents. When you signed for a letter at the post office or with the mailman, that was that. It was official. You received it.
 
They designed older post offices to represent the strength and solidity of America itself. Some looked more like banks or court houses instead of a place where you bought stamps or picked up your mail. The bars on each window meant there was something important going on there. The almost military appearance of the employees uniforms told you these people took their job seriously and were not to be fooled with.
 

And, when you put that letter into the familiar blue painted mailbox (which seemed to be on every corner much like Starbucks is today) that letter or post card became the property of the U.S. Mail. And it was sacred.
 
Mailing a letter meant that thousands of postal employees dedicated themselves to only one thing. Delivering your letter orparcel safely and as quickly as possible. And, it didn’t matter if that letter was a contract awaiting the signature of the president of a giant corporation or a postcard from Aunt Joan vacationing in Miami, every piece of mail was important. And it’s important to America as well.

The founding fathers thought it so important, it became part of the U.S. Constitution.

Article 1, Section 8 says that [The Congress shall have the power] to establish Post Offices and Post Roads.
 
Unfortunately, today that sanctity and trust has come under fire from the same person who thinks drinking bleach may kill the virus and who also wants to make shower-heads stronger because he can’t properly wash his hair. But don’t let this fool, fool you. He is dead serious about making sure the post office will be the worst way to cast your ballot in the next presidential election. And it all began with his appointment of a man as qualified to be Postmaster General as I am. I’m not joking.


                             Louis DeJoy was born in Brooklyn.
  • .... I was born in Brooklyn.
  • Louis DeJoy received a Business degree from an “okay” college.
  • ........I received a BBA degree from an okay college, too.
  • Mr. DeJoy was a CEO of a business. ....Guess what? So was I.
  • Like him, I had never worked in a post office and have no clue how the system works.

But, unlike me, DeJoy is rich and a big contributor to the Republican party and D.J.T. which makes him infinitely qualified for any position in the federal government. Including, it seems, running the world’s largest mail delivery service.
 
Appointing unqualified people to head important government agencies is what the “Golfer” does best. Take the other Twinkie he gave the Department of Education to. Betsy DeVos, who never taught in, or went to a public school. [1] [2]
 
DeJoy wasted no time making sure the already stressed USPS becomes more so by cutting overtime, removing strategic mail sorting equipment and some of those familiar blue mail boxes. All that, in the guise of making the USPS more efficient and “profitable”. Since when was a federal department supposed to be profitable. Oh wait. I guess when you’re a businessman who has run several once profitable companies into the ground, the bottom line is the goal and the hell with whether the mail gets delivered on time or to the right place.
 
They gear all this to only one thing. Making sure the post office becomes so slow and inaccurate that you would never want to trust that all-important presidential election ballot to the post office again. Which means the only way for your vote to get where it’s supposed to and counted is to risk possible contamination, illness and death, by going to your local polling place. And that’s where you, my old friends, come in to the picture.

“In 2016, according to exit polling, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by seven points with voters 65 years old and up. Now polls show him trailing Biden by at least that much with those voters.”[3]
 
Traditionally, we seniors go to vote at the polls. But that was then. Now, it’s different. Back in 2016, one did not have to put his life in danger to vote. And what if the weather on November 3rd is not so great? How many seniors will stand (socially distant from one another) outside, in the cold, waiting to get into that nice, warm polling place? The only alternative is to use an absentee ballot. It’s not the best way. It means you have to ask for one, fill it out, put enough postage on it and get it to a mailbox in time to make the deadline. Sometimes that inconvenience would be just enough to discourage some of those Biden-loving old people not to vote at all. Walla! Trump gets re-elected by a hair. That, at least, is the plan. One I think it will backfire.


While many American voters might be dumb in who they elect, they are all adamant with preserving their right to vote. And I believe even they will see through Trump’s obvious ploy to prevent his largest opposition from exercising their franchise.

If you are not sure about the voting regulations and restrictions in your state, you can find out here…
 
 
 ... or contact your local board of elections.
 
Election day is not that far away. Make sure your vote gets counted…………………………. 
 

 
[1]DeJoy, Devos? Am I seeing a pattern here.
[2]We don’t know if Mr. DeJoy ever mailed, or knows how to, mail a letter.
[3]According to Susan McManus of the University of South Florida.








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How to Manage Your Loneliness
By Julie Halpert

Shelter-in-place orders have hit those who live alone particularly hard.

Afia Ofori-Mensa, 39, has lived alone for 16 years. For nine of those years she taught at Oberlin College in rural Ohio, where she had a limited social network. Last August, she moved to New Jersey to become director of Princeton University’s presidential scholars program — which provides resources to help undergraduates, including those from populations underrepresented in academia, pursue Ph.D.s. She said she was finally hitting her social stride, reconnecting with Oberlin alumni and family members in the area and routinely hopping on the train to attend events in neighboring cities. But then the coronavirus hit and it brought her feelings of isolation into sharp focus.

“The moments that are most difficult are when I think about not knowing when I’ll be able to touch another human being again,” she said. As someone with no pets, no partner — not even a plant — she said she felt profoundly lonely. “Sometimes I feel like I’m disappearing,” she said.


Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University who has studied loneliness extensively, says social connection is something we biologically crave. “We’re social beings and our bodies respond when we lack the proximity to others,” she said. So the new normal prompted by Covid-19 “is a difficult kind of situation where we need to try to still remain socially connected while being physically distant,” she said.

____________________________________________________________________


FL seniors fear Trump's payroll-tax cut
could threaten Social Security

By Laura Cassels


With billions of dollars of Social Security benefits flowing into Florida yearly, seniors are concerned about a presidential order to suspend payroll taxes that fund the social program.

Dave Bruns, a spokesman for AARP Florida, said he has taken many calls in the last two days from seniors worried about the long-term viability of Social Security if President Donald Trump suspends payroll taxes for now but then eliminates them, as he has long advocated.

“This is critical for Florida,” Bruns said. “It’s a very serious concern for older people. They know perfectly well what funds Social Security and that cutting the payroll tax is a threat to their livelihood.”

Continue reading >>  https://www.floridaphoenix.com/2020/08/11/fl-seniors-fear-trumps-payroll-tax-cut-could-threaten-social-security/

_____________________________________________________________________


Attorneys general asking lawmakers to add
senior citizen protections to Victims of Crime Act



Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is asking congressional leaders to amend a law to add protections for senior citizens.

On Monday, Hunter sent a letter to congressional leadership, asking them to amend the 1984 Victims of Crime Act to include senior citizens victimized by fraud as eligible for reimbursement by the Crime Victims Fund.

Reimbursements from the fund are usually reserved for victims of violent crime, not financial or white-collar crimes.

Edith’s Bill, or the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act, would direct penalties and fines from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements into the Crime Victims Fund, and the money would be used to compensate seniors who are victimized by fraud.  



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What It Costs to Retire Comfortably in Every State
By Michael B. Sauter


One of the reasons that many Americans get up and go to work every day is to put some money away for retirement. While Social Security payments can be a helpful financial foundation in retirement, it is often not enough to cover anything but the most basic expenditures, especially in the uncertain financial times wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on average annual spending for American seniors and the national average life expectancy at age 65 of 19.4 years, the average American will spend about $987,000 from retirement age on. And those hoping for a more comfortable and financially secure retirement should plan on saving a little more.

Of course, both cost of living and life expectancy vary considerably by state — and so, too, does the cost of retirement. Using the average annual spending of Americans 65 and older — adjusted at the state level for cost of living and life expectancy — 24/7 Wall St. calculated what it will cost to retire comfortably in each state. All data used in the ranking came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington.


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READ: Pelosi's Letter to Her
Democratic Colleagues About the USPS


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Sunday sent a letter to the Democratic Caucus, letting them know she will be calling the House back in session. She also wants the Democrats to hold a PR stunt outside of the post offices in their district.

Below is the letter ...

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    The Postal Service is a pillar of our democracy, enshrined in the Constitution and essential for providing critical services: delivering prescriptions, Social Security checks, paychecks, tax returns and absentee ballots to millions of Americans, including in our most remote communities.

    Alarmingly, across the nation, we see the devastating effects of the President’s campaign to sabotage the election by manipulating the Postal Service to disenfranchise voters.  Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, one of the top Trump mega-donors, has proven a complicit crony as he continues to push forward sweeping new operational changes that degrade postal service, delay the mail, and – according to the Postal Service itself – threaten to deny the ability of eligible Americans to cast their votes through the mail in the upcoming elections in a timely fashion.  These delays also threaten the health and economic security of the American people by delaying delivery of life-saving medicines and payments.  In 2019, 1.2 billion prescriptions were delivered through the Postal Services, including almost 100 percent from the VA to veterans.




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Dealing with Debt | USAGov

Learn about common debt problems, including filing for bankruptcy.

Credit Counseling Services

Credit counseling services provide resources to help solve your money problems. Counselors discuss your entire financial situation and help you develop a personalized plan. They can assist you with starting a budget. And they can help you find educational programs on money management.
Credit Counseling Service Locations

You can find free or low-cost credit counseling options at:

    Credit unions
    Extension offices
    Religious organizations
    Nonprofit agencies



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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19TH 2020


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08.17.20




5-6 minutes

This past Friday I had the unique experience of being interviewed by a reporter for the New York Times.
 
Journalist Danielle Ivory got my name from my friend (a resident living in a different long-term care facility) who recommended me as someone she should talk to.
 
Ms. Ivory is currently working on a story about how residents of assisted living facilities and other like venues are coping with the trials and tribulations placed upon them by the Covid-19 pandemic. Needless to say, I had much to tell her.

 
I was told by my friend to expect Ms. Ivory’s call, which gave me some time to think about what I would say on the subject. After all, it’s not every day one has the ear of a Globally read newspaper.
 
There were two possibilities at hand.
 
My instinct told me to be vindictive. Here, at last, was an opportunity for me to vent my frustration.
 
I could have gone into a tirade about the food, the over-the-top restrictions regarding infection control and the lack of communication from management. The same things I have been telling you for months. Or, I could be magnanimous, and praise the way our facility has handled the situation.
 
I chose, and I believe correctly so, not to do a hatchet-job on the place that has kept me safe for 5 months.

Why, at this late date, should I express my indignation to a journalist who was not interested in my individual problems, I wanted to make sure I represented everybody here.
 
So, what did we talk about?
 
Ms. Ivory was specifically interested in what effect not being able to see friends and relatives in person is having on us. My answer was simple.”It’s heartbreaking, it’s depressing and makes us feel hopeless”, I said. But I didn’t stop there. I mentioned the overly strict precautions taken to isolate residents from themselves. I told her how they had removed the furniture in the common areas and the discontinuance of recreational activities and communal dining to deliberately discourage any interaction between residents, which is the lifeblood of facilities such as ours.

Ms. Ivory went on to ask when and how residents would be permitted to have visitors. I asked if she was aware of the “28 day virus-free” plan to normalize the routine in long-term facilities. She was, but asked me for clarification. This is where I departed from my neutrality and decided to do a little editorializing of my own.

I explained that the 28 day rule starts from the day when there are no cases of Covid-18 in the facility and, if there is a case, the 28 day clock resets after the afflicted resident (or staff) is quarantined for 14 days. She was taken aback by that. Especially when I told her we had just such a situation here at Center which meant we would not begin to even think about visitors until late September or November. 

Aware our time was ending, I did not want to leave without making my feelings known about how the N.Y. State Department of Health and their total lack of compassion in their treatment of residents of assisted living facilities has left us wondering if anybody cares. I spoke of how I could get no one from any state agency to answer the question, “What’s the plan to re-open long-term care facilities?” I hope she adds that to any story she writes. It’s important to let people know how we were, and still are, being treated as second-class citizens.
 
Being interviewed by a reporter working for a newspaper as important as the N.Y. Times is big deal. I’m also glad I used some restraint. It was difficult not to lose it and go on an incoherent old-codger rant.
 
We ended the interview with me thanking her for listening, and she asked if I would be available to answer more questions.
 
“Sure”, I said. “Where else can I go?”………………………….. .
 






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Report: Nursing homes see 'alarming' spike in COVID-19 cases


The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately 5 million people each year, released a report Wednesday showing nursing homes in the U.S. have experienced an alarming spike in new COVID cases due to community spread among the general population, according to data recently released from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The CMS data show COVID cases in nursing homes significantly increased last month after having dropped throughout the month of June.

As experts have repeatedly noted, COVID-19 cases in a surrounding community is a top factor in outbreaks in nursing homes. Dr. David Grabowski, professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School recently stated, “According to preliminary research presented, larger facilities located in urban areas with large populations, particularly in counties with a higher prevalence of COVID-19 cases, were more likely to have reported cases.”



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Savvy Senior: Financial aid out there for
senior citizens harmed by pandemic
By Jim Miller


Are there any financial assistance programs you can refer me to? The coronavirus pandemic has cost me my part-time retirement job and has shrunk my measly IRA account.

Absolutely! In addition to the $1,200 federal coronavirus stimulus check that was distributed in April and May, there are many other financial-assistance programs (public and private) that can help struggling retirees, as well as give relief to family members who help provide financial support for their loved ones.

To find out what types of assistance you may be eligible for, just go to benefitscheckup.org, a free, confidential web tool designed for adults 55 and older and their families. It will help you locate federal, state and private benefits programs that can assist with paying for food, medications, utilities, health care, housing and other needs. This site — created by the National Council on Aging — contains more than 2,500 programs across the country.

To identify benefits, you’ll first need to fill out an online questionnaire that asks a series of questions like your date of birth, ZIP code, expenses, income, assets, veteran status, the medications you take and a few other factors. It takes about 15 minutes.


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Tuberculosis vaccine research could
benefit the elderly and diabetics
by James Cook University


A study of older mice with type 2 diabetes has yielded highly promising results for researchers investigating potential new vaccines for tuberculosis (TB).

A team of researchers from Australia, Bangladesh and France investigated a potential vaccine, BCG::RD1, and found it highly protective when administered directly into the lungs of diabetic mice, which were then exposed to TB.

According to the World Health Organisation, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death world-wide, and the leading cause from a single infectious agent. The only currently licensed vaccine, BCG, is not effective in adults.



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How to Handle Lifequakes and Life Disruptors


Life transitions can be jarring at any age, but they often pile on top of each other in your 50s and 60s. Transitioning to retirement…to empty-nesterhood…perhaps to a single life…living through a health trauma. Heck, it’s partly why our site is called Next Avenue. Bruce Feiler, author of the excellent new book, Life Is In the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age, knows all about it.

Feiler, 55, a brilliant storyteller (Walking the Bible, The Council of Dads…) interviewed 225 people of all ages to learn about the transitions they experienced and are experiencing. The new book’s title comes from the phrase William James, the founder of modern psychology, coined a century and a half ago.

Life Is in the Transitions: Two Types

Life Is in the Transitions is flying off bookshelves (“it had four printings in ten days,” Feiler told me) and I think is worth reading, especially for people in midlife or beyond. I recently interviewed Feiler about transitions — which he says are sometimes disruptors and sometimes “lifequakes” — and how to manage them and thrive from them. Highlights:


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55+ Creative Ways To Use Up Leftovers
(Bread, Rice, Veggies + More)


Rach is a big fan of what she calls "rollover meals" — where one recipe can be repurposed to make additional meals throughout the week. Not only does this save you time, but it also helps stretch your grocery budget further, because dinner leftovers won't go to waste.

If you're looking for ways to use up your leftovers, check out our master list of rollover meals, bottom-of-the-jar recipes and other creative ideas for turning leftovers like day-old bread, rice, cooked meat, veggies and more into new dishes for lunch, dinner and dessert.

IF YOU HAVE LEFTOVER RICE

MAKE: Coconut Rice Pudding Made With Leftover Rice

Coconut Rice Pudding Made With Leftover Rice

Gail Simmons shows you how to transform plain leftover rice into a creamy, gluten-free dessert with spices + coconut milk.

MAKE: Leftover Risotto Balls

Turn leftover risotto into a whole new dish with this recipe.

MAKE: Rachael's Fried Rice Balls (Made With Leftover Pork Fried Rice)

Fried Rice Balls

It's easy to transform leftover pork fried rice into a tasty, crunchy appetizer with this recipe from Rach.

IF YOU HAVE LEFTOVER BREAD

MAKE: Bread Pudding With Bourbon-Butter Sauce



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2020 Election: What Biden's Democratic
Platform Proposes for People 50+

We know that the 2020 election is vitally important to our readers and we’ve been continually publishing articles about the policy proposals from Democratic presidential hopefuls and President Trump. Here’s a close look at ideas in the draft of the Democratic platform that could keenly affect Americans 50 and older; the Democratic presidential convention starts August 17. Once there is a draft of the 2020 Republican platform, we will publish an article analyzing its proposals, too.— The editors

What might be the implications for Americans 50 years and older if Democrat Joe Biden wins the race for the White House?

A close look at the Democratic platform draft as well as Biden’s website and interviews with analysts suggests that Biden wants to tackle several major challenges confronting those in the second half of life. It lays out the kind of policy framework President Obama had, but several initiatives take it a step farther — perhaps an additional two to three steps.


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7 Quick Reminders to Help You Simplify Everything

When the world (or our little corners of the world) feels overwhelming or complicated, it’s time to simplify everything, at least everything within our control.

Streamlining things and even a slight mindset shift can help remove what is weighing us down and distracting us. Trade chaos for ease and confusion for clarity by simplifying everything.

HOW TO SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING

1.Simplify Everything for Less Chaos

Before simplifying further, think about what you really want out of this life of yours. Is this the time to simplify more, or is this the time to deepen a connection with someone you love? Is this the time to move on to your bookshelves, or is this the time to create something new, or serve in your community? Perhaps it is simply time to rest.

As you create more time, energy, space, and attention in your life, use simplicity to make a life you are excited to wake up to every day. Use it to better engage in relationships. Use it as confidence to live where you want, work where you want, and most importantly … to finally be who you are.



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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY AUGUST 18TH 2020


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08.16.20




 Fat-igued

6-minutes


This virus, this quarantine, this insanity is doing a number on my psyche and my waistline. Both are on the verge of exploding.

Saturday, the 15th, will mark the date when 5 months ago the administrator here at the A.L.F. put us in “lockdown” mode. And, while it was the right thing to do, the speed at which it came left all of us (residents and staff) unprepared for what was to come.


Back in March when they herded us into our auditorium for a hasty and impromptu meeting we were told that they were implementing drastic measures (hand washing, mask wearing, limited social contact, no visitors and no communal dining or recreational activities etc.), to protect us from a rapidly spreading virus. And those restrictions would last “As long as necessary.” Little did we know what was meant by “As long as necessary” would cause us to be virtual prisoners for over 150 days and counting.

What we also did not know was the effect such measures would have on our already restrictive lifestyle.

Any person who has been a resident of a long-term healthcare facility (nursing home, assisted living or rehab) grudgingly complies with the rules and regulations placed upon them by a system that regards all seniors as second-class citizens. It’s not that administrators or operators mean to be mean or they enjoy doing what they do, but the laws and guidelines set upon them by an often clueless governing body like the Department of Health, put them in a position of having to be both caretakers and wardens while we residents suffer the consequences. Those consequences being loneliness, isolation, inactivity, and mind-numbing boredom. Not to mention the food, which is little more than the minimum needed to comply with the nutritional standard set by, you guessed it, the Department of Health. 

And what those standards are is hard to figure out.
 
The DOH dictates minimums (3oz protein, 3oz carbs etc.), but they don’t say what foods they must serve to meet those standards. They tell you at what temperatures they must cook the food, but not how hot it must be when they serve it. They are not even concerned about “variety” which means they can give us chicken every day and still comply with the rules.
 
However, what they are concerned with is weight. Not the weight of the food, but the weight of us, the cannon fodder caught in the barrel of their bureaucratic cannons. So, by law, the facility must weigh the residents once a month and report it to the DOH. And, while they like to see those numbers remain steady with no decrease in average weight, they LOVE to see those numbers skew higher rather than lower. Higher weights means, in their minds, that we are well-fed and happy. Something the facility is more than glad to show them. And how does a facility bring about those higher numbers? They pile on the carbohydrates.[1] And we residents gobble them down like cattle in a feed yard because potatoes, bread and pasta taste better and are more filling than the inedible meat, cold eggs, and rubber chicken they call dinner.

Okay, I’m not blaming all of my weight gain on the facility or the DOH. I’m a grown man and know what I should and should not eat to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But while I have battled with my weight and losing for many years, never have I been at such odds with it as I am now. I am caught between not eating or eating food I just don’t like. And, unfortunately, because of my upbringing, and that I (at least for now) am a free-thinking American used to having a say in what I eat, I find having to deal with the lack of choice hard to accept.

 
Back when I was “whole” I could walk or work the pounds off. I even went on a carb-free diet where I lost 70lbs and could maintain that for many years. But that required me to make my own meals. And now I can’t. So, while I can still choose whether to eat the carbs, there is no alternative. “Eat what we give you, or go to bed hungry.” So it’s pasta over pork chops and potatoes over pot roast. And the only people happy about it are the folks at KINGSIZE.com, who, even as we speak, are taking possession of their new Porsche because of my purchases alone.
 
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “It’s an enigma, in a mystery wrapped inside a potato latke.”
 
I’ll be back on Monday, August 17, probably with my pants unbuttoned…………………..



 [1] Not to mention it but, as we know, carbs are cheaper than most proteins and preserving the “bottom line” is always the goal.

 




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How the pandemic is affecting senior women
By Mariel Padilla

Every morning, 100-year-old Angela Little reads the newspaper in bed, does the crossword while having breakfast, reads a book and sends texts and emails to her loved ones. Living through the pandemic in her San Francisco home, it’s the same thing day after day, she said. 

“It’s a circumscribed life that has not got much joy to it,” she said. “And all the anxiety of what I read and what I hear is enough to make the day dismal.”

Older adults, facing a high risk of infection, were hit especially hard by the pandemic. Public health officials encouraged them to stay in their homes and limit contact with family members and friends. Eight out of 10 reported COVID-19 deaths have been in adults 65 years and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The 65-and-older population is the nation’s fastest growing demographic in the past decade, driven by aging Baby Boomers and lower birth rates. This older population grew by more than a third, a growth of nearly 13.8 million people, according to 2019 Census Bureau estimates. And most of them are women.


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When Will It Be Safe to See My Grandchildren Again?

When will I see my grandchildren again? When will it be safe for us to be together?
These questions haunt me every morning as I wake up to another day of the pandemic.
I miss our grandkids, I yearn for them — and I admit I sometimes feel depressed that I can’t see them. It’s a combination of separation anxiety and empty nest syndrome that I haven’t felt for years.
Making a socially distanced visit just isn’t possible for us. They live too far away and in opposite directions. Our two grown children, who each have two kids, live in different states: Massachusetts and Maryland. My husband and I live right in the middle, in New Jersey.



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Inappropriate prescriptions sending
 hospitalized seniors back to the ER

Two in three hospitalized seniors are prescribed drugs that should be avoided by older adults, increasing the risk of injury and adverse drug reactions. Improving hospital prescribing practices can reduce the frequency of inappropriate medications and resulting harm, according to a new study led by McGill University researchers.

Potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) are drugs that should be avoided by seniors because the risk of harm or injury outweighs the expected benefit, particularly when safer or more effective alternatives are available for the same condition. A new study published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society is the first to examine the impact of these medications as a result of decisions made by care teams during hospital stays.

As patients recover, they are especially vulnerable in the short-term period after discharge, when the associated risks and adverse reactions can result in emergency department visits, rehospitalization, and even death within 30 days.


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Aspirin may accelerate progression of 
advanced cancers in older adults


Results from a recent clinical trial indicate that for older adults with advanced cancer, initiating aspirin may increase their risk of disease progression and early death.

The study, which was conducted by a binational team led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Berman Center in Minnesota, and Monash University in Australia, is published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Compelling evidence from clinical trials that included predominantly middle-aged adults demonstrates that aspirin may reduce the risk of developing cancer, especially colorectal cancer. Information is lacking for older adults, however.




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Both parties need to create a pro-aging party platform

As the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC) prepare for conventions, their policy committees are drafting party platforms. But when it comes to policy on aging, these platforms haven’t changed significantly in 20 years. While Social Security, Medicare and caregiving do matter, the exclusive focus on these policy issues wrongly assumes the homogeneity of older adults. In addition, it perpetuates and reinforces ageism. It’s high time the DNC and RNC take a new, broader look at their platforms to include more policies that address the modern and diverse needs of older adults.

Aging is the ultimate non-partisan issue. But common to both parties is a dependency view — the notion that getting older only means decline, deterioration and decay. This view ignores the numbers: in the 2016 Presidential election, 71 percent of Americans older than age 65 voted, compared to 46 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds; consumers older than age 50 account for more than half of all spending and control more than 70 percent of total net worth;  in 2019, 52.5 million Americans were ages 65 and older, and average life expectancy has increased.

To innovate and create policies that reflect what aging looks like in the 21st century, here are three important goals that should be added to party platforms:



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Instant Insomnia Relief: 7 Remedies
That'll Help You Sleep Tonight
By Uzair Nadeem

Do you find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night? You’re not the only one. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 30 percent of the population complains of sleep problems.

The good news is, there are many simple solutions that can help you get the sleep you deserve. Here are seven remedies for insomnia relief that you can try today.

    Limit Daily Activity in Bed

For those who work from home or spend a lot of time in their bedroom, it’s tempting to crawl into bed during the day time. Be sure to limit the amount of time spent in bed that isn’t for rest. This will help your brain associate your bed with sleeping and recharging before anything else.



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NEXT BLOG MONDAY AUGUST 17TH 2020


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08.13. 20




Interesting Times
3 minutes


In 1966 Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech that included an instance: There is a Chinese curse which says, “May he live in interesting times. And, by interesting, they mean times of danger and uncertainty; and creativity. Who among us (post-war Baby Boomers) cannot say that is true?

I can’t think of any time in history when humans have advanced, and perhaps declined, as a species more than the last 75 or 76 years. These are the events that stand out in my mind…


The end of World War 2.

The dawning of the Nuclear Age

The Cold War

The House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and blacklists.

Transistor radios.

Commercial passenger Jets.

The Russians put a satellite (Sputnik) in orbit.

The first Catholic president elected (JFK) and his subsequent assassination. And the murder of the suspected assassin on live TV.

U. S. Puts man on the moon.

Color TV, Videotape and FM Stereo radio.

Push button Telephones.

The Vietnam war which took the lives of 50,000 young men and women my age.

President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act.

Robert Kennedy assassinated.

Martin Luther King assassinated.

Watergate.

A U.S. President (Nixon) resigns.

An actor elected president (Reagan). And another assassination attempt.

The Berlin Wall comes down. Germany re-united.

The fall of the Soviet Union.

The digital age: The Internet, Home computers, CDs, MP3 players, Social Media.

Cell phones.

The attack on The World Trade Center and Pentagon kills over 3000 (9-11).

International terrorism. Increased security.

First African American Elected President (Barack Obama)


Feel free to fill in your own highlites.


I have purposely left out all my personal life-changing events, many of which are very “interesting.”

There are many more like electric cars, I-Phones, landings on Mars, Space Stations, organ transplants and artificial hearts and laser surgery. For a more complete list, see… https://ap.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/essays/1945-present for more. But perhaps the most most interesting times are happening right now including events that will define our lives for years to come…

  • A reality TV host elected president (Trump), ruins nation.
  • Pandemic kills 160,000 American (and counting).
  • First Black/Asian women candidate for Vice President.

Hopefully, in the next few months, we will see the end of some of those events and the start of new  and better ones that will take us into the next decade and beyond………………….. 






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Seniors having a high time:
Marijuana risks you should know
By Nancy Werteen

Weed, pot, grass, dope.

Whatever you call it, more and more people are doing it. Some for stress relief, others to ease their pain. It used to be a young person’s drug. But now, more older adults are firing one up.

According to a study published in JAMA, the number of Americans over age 65 who smoked marijuana or used edibles doubled between 2015 and 2018. So, what do seniors who smoke need to know?

Weed isn’t just for teens. New research shows more senior citizens are turning to marijuana than ever before.

"I would like to try it," said Richard Corse, who suffers with chronic back pain.


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New York may be undercounting
coronavirus deaths in nursing homes

New York’s coronavirus death toll for nursing homes may be significantly underestimated due to its counting methods, according to an analysis by The Associated Press reported Tuesday.

New York is unique among states, the AP notes, in that it counts residents as assisted living fatalities if they die on the facility's property but not if they were taken to hospitals and died there. Officially, 6,600 people in the state have died of the virus in nursing homes, but with the addition of these deaths, it could be thousands more, according to the AP.

Federal regulators require nursing homes to submit weekly data on coronavirus deaths whether they occurred in the facility or a hospital, but the requirement was imposed in May, after the peak of New York infections.


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Vitamin D doesn't prevent depression
in older adults, large study finds
By Katie Hunt

Vitamin D is required in small quantities for normal cell function, growth and development.

Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because your body absorbs the nutrient primarily through exposure to the sun.

Some researchers had thought insufficient levels of vitamin D may play a role in depression but the findings of a large study of more than 18,000 US adults ages 50 years or older published Tuesday has found no evidence of that impact.

"There was no significant benefit from the supplement for this purpose. It did not prevent depression or improve mood," said Dr Olivia I. Okereke of Massachusetts General Hospital's Psychiatry Department and lead author of the study, in a news statement.

Vitamin Ds effect on Covid-19 maybe be exaggerated. Here's what we know.

Half of the adults, who had no clinically relevant depressive symptoms at the start of the study, took vitamin D3 (one of two types of Vitamin D supplements) in the amount of 2000IU per day, more than the current recommended amount in the United States. The other half took a placebo. Participants were tracked for 5.3 years on average.



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TWO TAKES ON THE SAME STORY


THE WAY DEMOCRATS SEE IT...

Trump vows to end revenue source for Social Security system

Donald Trump has spent much of the year demanding a payroll tax cut. For reasons that he's never been able to explain, the president has gone so far as to argue that such a tax break is the "only" thing that will "make a big difference" for the economy.

Practically everyone in the broader debate over economic policy, including many Republicans, seems to know better. A payroll tax cut will deliver literally nothing to the tens of millions of Americans who are unemployed -- if you're not receiving a paycheck, you're not paying a payroll tax -- and for everyone else, the benefit is so modest, the economic impact is quite limited.

Trump has nevertheless convinced himself that this is absolutely necessary, so he announced over the weekend a payroll tax holiday, to take effect in September, running through the end of the year.


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THE WAY REPUBLICANS SEE IT...

Trump's payroll tax deferral could add
 $40B a month to Americans' paychecks
By Megan Henney


Mnuchin on stimulus negotiations: 'We didn't make any progress today'

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows discuss the Capitol Hill meeting between Democratic leaders and White House negotiators, and Mnuchin says he will recommend President Trump move ahead on some sort of executive orders including rental evictions and college loans.

President Trump's decision to halt the collection of payroll taxes – bypassing a deadlocked Congress – could add an additional $40 billion a month to the paychecks of Americans, JPMorgan Chase said in a new research note.

Trump on Saturday signed an executive action deferring the payroll tax collections from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 for individuals earning less than $104,000 annually, or less than $2,000 per week.



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What anyone over 60 needs
 to know about identity theft
By Kristine Solomon


Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. Some of the products written about in this article are offered in affiliation with Yahoo Life's parent company, Verizon Media.

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

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



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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY AUGUST 14TH 2020


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