GOOD MORNING

IT'S SUNDAY, AUGUST 9TH 2020


QUARANTINE DAY 149
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The Power Is Back On. But I'm Not.
I'm Taking The Weekend Off.
Back On Monday, Aug. 10th

THE LATEST BLOG CONTINUES BELOW



08/07/20





7-8 minutes

The median income for seniors over 65 in the U.S. is about $20,000 per year from all sources. If you depend entirely on Social Security as your only source of funds than your income is somewhere between $13,000 and $15,000 a year, which puts you in the “poverty” portion of the income bracket. It’s safe to say, most seniors are not rolling in dough.
 
You wouldn’t know that from the adds we see of happy senior citizens enjoying La Dolce Vita in some tropical setting with a sprawling golf course or white sandy beach as a background. I don’t know how those folks got their money, or better yet, how they kept it and retire to a lifestyle most of us can only dream about. If you are one of those folks, I’d like to know how you did it. For the rest of us, making ends meet is a day-to-day struggle, and balancing act.
 
Life becomes a matter of, not what you want, but what you need, and can afford.
 
In many ways, I’m lucky. I need very little and want for less. Most of my needs are met, not because I saved and scrimped, invested wisely, inherited a fortune or retired from my job with a “golden parachute.” No. I have what I need because I have nothing. That’s right. I’m on “The Dole.”
 
The roof over my head, the food on my plate, the Wi in my Fi, the pills in my cup and even my cable TV is subsidized, not by the government as some of our right leaning friends would have us believe, but by me, and you, and every American who has a job and pays his taxes and doesn’t complain when a hefty chunk of his paycheck is ripped from his grasp to pay for the “extravagant” lifestyle I enjoy in my dotage.

Those on the left like to refer to Social Security, our Medicare and Medicaid as “Entitlements” like it’s a dirty word. I see it as what it is supposed to mean. It’s the money we are entitled to get back because it is ours to begin with.
 
But enough about where we get our bread. Let’s talk about what we do with it.
 
I think it would be safe to say that most of whatever money you take in goes to pay the rent (or the mortgage).
 
At one time, the percentage of the paycheck dad brought home every week spent on rent was about 25%. Over the years that increased to 1/3 of your pay. Now, if you are lucky, you are spending nearly 50% putting a roof over your head. Which means, if you are living entirely on Social Security as your sole source of income and you are not taking advantage of the resources made for people like us, you are most likely living in a cardboard box over a subway grate somewhere.
 
Fortunately, for me, I had help from some marvelous Social workers who know the ins and outs of “the system” and made the contacts and helped me fill out the reams of paperwork necessary to get what I paid for. One look at my bank account as of 2012 would have told the entire story. It’s amazing how fast your money goes writing checks for $13,000 every month just for a bed in a nursing home.

Okay, your home is not a Maytag carton and a sleeping bag. You have managed to come up with the rent money. Where does the rest of it go?
 
Here’s a chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that puts your spending in proportion…
 
 
I’m amazed that food is so high on the list. Aren’t people supposed to eat less as they age? Look at all those wafer thin, frail old ladies walking around.
 
That’s a stereotype the young like to use to further denigrate seniors. Appetites of the seniors I know are the same or better than they were when younger. The lure of a juicy burger or a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs rarely diminishes with age.
 
Number 3 on the list is my favorite.
 
For someone who goes nowhere special and hates to dress-up, I spend an inordinate amount of my discretionary income on clothes.
 
Being a person who hasn’t worn a size medium since the third grade, a simple wardrobe comprising a “T” shirt and jeans can set me back almost $100. Add a pair of sneakers to that and you have spent a sizable chunk of whatever money you have leftover.
 
The other categories, for me, are not applicable.
 
I no longer have a car, and issues with my mobility prevent any trips I might think of taking. So transportation is nil.
 
And, as far as entertainment is concerned, what I’m doing now and (when the power is on) watching TV is all the entertainment I need. The “party boy” in me went south along with my colon.

Do I wish I was fabulously wealthy? I’d be a fool to say otherwise. Money does buy happiness, or at least eases the sadness.

Why are some so blessed while others struggle just to stay alive? That’s one of the questions that may be answered in another existence where, will all be equal in the eyes of our maker.

Word to you Mark Zuckerberg and to you too Bill Gates.

I’m off Saturday and Sunday a while. I’m tired and need to re-boot. See you Monday……………………


 
 
 
 

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Why some retirees could face reduced
Social Security benefits unless Congress acts
By Lorie Konish


Washington lawmakers are deciding the financial fates of millions of American families with the next coronavirus stimulus package.

But there’s one unintended consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic they have yet to fix: potential reductions to Social Security benefits for one particular cohort of Americans.

The people affected would include those who were born in 1960 or who become disabled or die in 2022, thus prompting lower benefits for their survivors.


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How to Get Rid of Stuff: The Survey Says...


Ever since I wrote the viral 2017 Next Avenue post, “Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff,” I’ve been a little obsessed with Americans’ love/hate relationship with their possessions and downsizing. So, I was fascinated to read University of Kansas sociology and gerontology professor David J. Ekerdt’s new book, Downsizing: Confronting Our Possessions in Later Life, and to have a chance to interview him about it.

Ekerdt has actually conducted exhaustive interviews with Americans over 50 about their experiences shedding their stuff.

In 2002-2003, he and his researchers spoke with 38 people age 60 and older who’d moved in the previous year within, or to, the region around Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City, Mo. They also interviewed 98 people 60+ in the area around Detroit and again in Kansas and Missouri between 2008 and 2013. And in 2010, they put questions about relocation and possessions into the mammoth University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study (HRS), surveying 1,814 Americans age 50 and older.


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Diet Tips: Healthy Eating For
The Elderly Just Got Tastier!


Contrary to popular notion, food for the elderly does not neccesarily be dull, boring or flavourless. Here's how you can make a meal for senior citizens healthier and tastier!


Highlights

    A wholesome diet for elders shouldn't be boring
    It should be nutritionally balanced as well as immunity-boosting
    Here are 6 tips ensure a healthy yet tasty diet for senior citizens

Food for the elderly does not have to be boring, containing only steamed veggies and lacking flavours. As a chef at a facility dedicated to the holistic wellness of seniors, I've added to my bag of tricks ways to make healthy food more appealing for the elderly. To create a wholesome diet plan for seniors, one must keep three factors in mind - calorie intake based on activity levels, nutritionally balanced diet, and inclusion of immunity-boosting foods.





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Fresh take: My three forbidden words, Roger Campbell
By Craig Garrett

When Bill Hawks was 64 years old, he accepted a call to be a missionary to Kenya, East Africa, even though accepting that call hadn’t been part of his plan. Having completed a long pastoral ministry, he intended to retire.

Upon returning to his home in St. Joseph, Missouri, after teaching at a youth conference, however, he discovered a letter in his mailbox from the secretary of his denominational mission board saying missionaries were urgently needed in three areas: Singapore, India and Nairobi, Kenya.

“But, Lord, I’m too far along — too old to go to the mission field,” Bill said.



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18 Ways Retirees Waste Their Money

Congratulations! After years of working and careful saving, you get to kick back and crack open that retirement nest egg. But don't get too giddy just yet. Retirees still need to avoid plenty of financial pitfalls as they transition into their golden years. And while you've certainly earned the right to spend your hard-earned money how you wish, some decisions will leave you in much better shape than others. Here are 18 choices, big and small, that you may want to avoid to stretch your savings.


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NEXT BLOG MONDAY AUGUST 10TH 2020


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



08.06.20



6 minutes

Until this morning, I still believed America was the greatest country in the world. But as of Wednesday afternoon at approximately 4:30 pm, the faith I had in this the land of my birth, the place where my ancestors came seeking refuge from tyrannical despots, religious oppression and financial hardship, came abruptly to an end.

It’s not just one incident, but the culmination of a series of events and circumstances that have made me look negatively at the state of America today.

For me this awakening began March 15th when our worried, confused and perplexed administrator announced we would be going into lockdown mode because of the widening threat of this new virus.

Having been through lockdowns before here at the Asylum, I was annoyed, but not worried. In the past, these “bugs” stay around for a few weeks and then disappear. Everybody complains and then, when it’s all over, we go back to normal.

But after three and then four weeks went by without a word when this would end, I knew there was something terribly wrong with the way things were being handled.

Suddenly we are wearing masks, taking temperatures (daily), washing our hands incessantly, afraid to touch anything or anyone.

Who ever heard of such a thing in the U.S.A.?


Masks and exorbitant measures to control a disease is something they do in one of those far-away places like Asia or Africa. You know, those countries with the crowded streets and where 10 people ride on one motor scooter and they eat slimy fish guts out of paper cones and call it breakfast. Those places. But not here, in America.

Here in America our attention to cleanliness and good hygiene are second to none.

We shower every day and have the best toilets in the world, dammit! How could this be happening here? And why isn’t the government doing something about it?

The answer to both those questions can be found in the words of our clueless leaders who, even as the virus raged out of control around us, denied its virility.

“I’m in charge and we have this under control,”, boasted our president. “It’ll all be over in a few weeks,” he blustered.

“We have tests for anybody who wants one.” There’s plenty of masks and hand sanitizer and ventilators for everybody”, he assured.

And, like the banana republic leader that he is and fearing that wearing a mask would make him look more foolish than he already is, refused to set an example that might have prevented some 150,000 plus deaths from happening.

And as if things weren’t bad enough, I, and my fellow inmates, became the chief victims of this pandemic.

Day after day, week after week, the reports coming out about how dozens of older Americans living in assisted living facilities or patients in nursing homes were dying left and right as a direct result of negligence by the owners and administrators of some of those facilities. 

For the first time I feared for my life, like a deer caught in the headlights waiting for the inevitable.

Now, 146 days into this living hell there’s one more thing to make our status as a third-world country secure.

Tuesday afternoon a hurricane-like storm swept through our area bringing 100 mph wind gusts and torrential rain. 

And, though the storm passed quickly it left a wide path of destruction in most areas north, south and east of NYC. 

Because our facility is on a hill, flooding is never a problem. But all of our power lines fell victim to the elements. Toppled trees and utility poles knocked out electrical service for over a million folks.

Us included. And, while we have a backup generator, it only provides power to the common areas. The power to our rooms, and the air conditioners and the refrigerators is off. 

While I understand that extreme weather and it’s effects happen from time to time, what I don’t understand is why, in this the most technically superior nation this planet has ever seen, the utility company (ConEd) still, after twenty four hours, has not restored our electrical service.

Last night we sat in the dark. No TV, no AC, no lamps to read by. Like bumps on a log.

And tonight will most likely be the same. And we’ll sit here, in the dark, like peasants of some medieval fiefdom waiting to catch up with the 21st Century. 

Sleep cool my friends. We won’t…………………………………bwc.





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Baby boomers show concerning decline in cognitive functioning:
Trend reverses progress over several generations, study finds
By Tammy Worth

In a reversal of trends, American baby boomers scored lower on a test of cognitive functioning than did members of previous generations, according to a new nationwide study.

Findings showed that average cognition scores of adults aged 50 and older increased from generation to generation, beginning with the greatest generation (born 1890-1923) and peaking among war babies (born 1942-1947).

Scores began to decline in the early baby boomers (born 1948-1953) and decreased further in the mid baby boomers (born 1954-1959).

While the prevalence of dementia has declined recently in the United States, these results suggest those trends may reverse in the coming decades, according to study author Hui Zheng, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.



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Why Quarantining Can Be
Bad for Your Health

As our country braces against the ebb and flow of mandates to stay-at-home, we should give serious consideration to the repercussions of self-quarantine or isolation on the mental and physical well-being of those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

As a health psychologist and expert in human immunodeficiency, I know the lessons learned from the field of behavioral medicine can help us better understand how isolating at home may have paradoxical effects on immune health, particularly among our oldest.

The immune system can be described as a regimented system of defense against pathogenic threats to the body, both foreign and domestic. Helper T-cells are considered generals in this army, coordinating a systematic and efficient defense against the pathogen. When T-cells ratios become skewed or depleted, so does our resilience to opportunistic infections such as COVID-19.


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Data collection effort paves way for potential federal
COVID-19 aid for assisted living providers

Several associations representing assisted living providers hope a new data collection portal will bring members and nonmembers one step closer to receiving federal relief for their COVID-19-related costs.

As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers a possible distribution of CARES Act Provider Relief Funds, the American Seniors Housing Association, Argentum, LeadingAge and the National Center for Assisted Living are “strongly” encouraging licensed, registered or certified assisted living operators to submit data to a private, secure HHS Provider Fund portal they have established to collect data requested by HHS.

All private-pay assisted living and memory care providers that are stand-alone communities or part of continuing care retirement / life plan communities can submit data, which could help the government distribute aid. Providers do not need to be a member of any of the associations to participate in the data collection effort.


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Low Vitamin K Levels Associated With
Greater Risk of Death in Older Adults
By Sara Karlovitch

Older adults with low vitamin K levels are more likely to die within 13 years compared with those who have adequate vitamin K levels, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Vitamin K is found in leafy greens and vegetable oils such as soybean and canola. It is important for maintaining healthy blood vessels and may also have protective health benefits, according to the study authors.

The study, which was led by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University and Tufts Medical Center, was composed of nearly 4000 Americans between the ages of 54 and 76 years. The data were a meta-analysis of 3 different ongoing studies: The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study, The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and the Framingham Heart Study.

Continue reading  >>  https://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/low-vitamin-k-levels-associated-with-greater-risk-of-death-in-older-adults



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Will Democrats accept election loss? New report says no.

For weeks, there have been news reports and commentary on whether President Trump will "accept" the results of November's election. The president started it on July 19 when he was asked, on Fox News Sunday, "Can you give a direct answer you will accept the election?"
"I have to see," Trump said. "I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say no, and I didn't last time, either."
The answer set off a long trail of headlines: "Trump declines to say whether he will accept November election." "Trump won't commit to accepting result if he loses election." "Trump not ready to commit to election results if he loses." The president has continued to stir the pot since then, most notably with a tweet asking whether, because of potential problems with voting by mail, the Nov. 3 election should be postponed.




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Benefits and Insurance for People with Disabilities

Find information about health care coverage including Medicare and Medicaid. Also, learn about workplace disability insurance, compensation benefits for disabled veterans and Social Security benefits for people with disabilities.

Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance


If you can't work because you get sick or injured, disability insurance will pay part of your income. You may be able to get insurance through your employer. You can also buy your own policy.
Social Security Benefits for People with Disabilities

If you have a disability, two programs from the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be able to help.

Health Insurance and Health Resources for People with Disabilities




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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY AUGUST 7TH 2020


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08.06.20



Editor’s note: A massive storm here in the New York area has played havoc with the electricity. As I write this the power to our building (which is an annex) is out. We have a backup generator which powers the lights and AC in the hallways along with other essentials. However it does not send power to our rooms or our room AC’s. The power company has been notified, but they have no idea when the power will be restored. Fortunately the battery in my laptop was fully charged so I can at least continue writing. The bad news is, there is only about two hours left on the charge. Hopefully, we'll be able to complete this post.


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I Need A Pet
6-Minutes

My first pet was a turtle. One of those little ones that probably cost 50 cents. We kept it a fishbowl with some gravel, water and a little “Tropical Island” complete with plastic palm tree.

I was 5 or 6 and it was my job to feed “Myrtle.” He ate Hartz-Mountain turtle food which. upon close examination was comprised of microscopic dried flies.

It was difficult to tell whether Myrtle enjoyed the food. Turtles have the same expression all the time. But he ate it and thrived, for a while at least. One morning I went to feed her (or him, we weren’t sure) and noticed she was unusually listless. In fact, she wasn’t moving. I called for my mom, who made an immediate diagnosis. “It’s dead, throw it out.”

We never replaced Myrtle, and that ended my curiosity with reptiles. They’re nice to look at, but not much on conversation. Unlike my next pet. Pete, the parakeet.

Parakeets are magnificent birds. Almost as smart as their larger cousins. But they are difficult to train. It takes time even to get them to stand on your finger. Fortunately my brother, unlike the rest of our family, had the patience of a Saint and worked with Pete every night. Eventually Pete would hop on to your finger as soon as you stuck it near him. He even learned to talk and talk and talk.

Apparently, once they learn, they don’t shut up. He learned everybody’s name and repeated it when you came into the room. It was cute and annoying all at once.

We had Pete for several years until one day he decided to see the world and flew out the window of our 4th floor apartment in Brooklyn. He was last spotted heading south.

Years went by before we let another animal into our home. But when we did, it was to influence us as no other pet ever had.

He was a dog, and his name was Sandy.

Although I was to feed and walk Sandy (a dog of mixed ancestry), he belonged to no one. He may have been our dog, but the house was his. And he protected it, and us, from all who would dare to enter.

By that time we had moved from Brooklyn to a house, with a yard, in Queens. And, upon occasion, Sandy would be let free to “guard the perimeter.” But despite his affection for his house, there was a bit of a tramp in him.

Somehow Sandy figured out how to open the gate on the chain-link fence that surrounded our property and would roam the neighborhood until it was time for dinner when, he would come trotting through the gate like he just came home from a hard day’s work.

Occasionally, as a token of appreciation, he would bring back a gift. Something he had found somewhere.

Sometimes it was only a dirty rag or cardboard. But more often it was of some value.
Magazines and newspapers were his (and our) favorite.

One summer, for days on end, he would bring the latest edition of the Daily News direct to our door. He must have stolen it off a neighbor’s porch.

Sandy was with us throughout my high school years and when I started college.

He was 18 when he passed and a part of us passed with him.

We never got another dog. But I have always had an affection for them.

I could sure use one now. In fact, all of us here could use a pet.

Pets give unconditional love. Unlike most humans.

More so now than ever, when much of the love has gone out of our world, a furry friend would go a long way in easing some loneliness.

But, like everything else here at the ALF, pets, at least the four-legged kind, are not permitted.

The closest thing we have is a tropical fish tank in our lobby.

But fish, like Myrtle, are just to stare at. And we don’t need any more of that right now……………………………. .
 
 





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What Senior Citizens Can Expect as Their
New Normal in a Post-Vaccine World

By Bruce Horovitz
 

Experts say folks 60 and up must continue to limit exposure in the years to come - even after there is a vaccine for COVID-19.


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, everything will change, from the way older folks receive health care to how they travel and shop. Also overturned: their work life and relationships with one another.

“In the past few months, the entire world has had a near-death experience,” said Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave, a think tank on aging around the world. “We’ve been forced to stop and think: I could die or someone I love could die. When those events happen, people think about what matters and what they will do differently.”


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After COVID-19:
A Health Care Forecast for Older Americans



(This is Part 2 of a two-part series forecasting life for older adults after COVID-19. Part 1 focused on what housing is likely to look like for the oldest Americans. Part 2 looks at the future of health care and geriatric medicine.)

Once the coronavirus pandemic fades — whenever that happens — two health trends for America’s older adults seem nearly unquestionable. Medical appointments through telehealth will be common, especially for those on Medicare. And the need for geriatricians will be great.

Since people over 65 have accounted for roughly 80% of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the older adult population has been at the heart of the pandemic.

Here’s what experts forecast regarding telehealth and physicians specializing in geriatrics post-pandemic:


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Could Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines
Lower Alzheimer's Risk?



With vaccines top of mind at the White House and across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic, two studies presented this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2020, shed new light on how vaccines for flu and pneumonia may lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Both studies were previewed at AAIC prior to peer-reviewed  journal publication.

    “Vaccines are strongly associated with lower prevalence of dementia.”

The first study, conducted at the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, was done because previous research had shown a possible connection between vaccines and reducing or delaying cognitive decline. Until now, no comprehensive analysis had been done on this theory.

Researchers analyzed a dataset of 9,066 American health records and found annual flu vaccinations correlated to a 17% lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s with an additional 13% reduction for patients who continued to receive the vaccination over a period of years.




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Uncertainty on Drug Pricing Remains Following
Trump Administration Executive Orders

On July 24 2020, President Trump signed three Executive Orders targeting prescription drug prices and proposed a fourth.  The Orders represent the Trump Administration's latest effort to implement previously outlined strategies designed to lower consumer out-of-pocket costs and reduce government spending on drugs.   Although the President's actions are making headlines, the extent to which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") will be able to implement the directives from these Orders remains to be seen; particularly with the election looming, and major industry stakeholders identifying concerns and signaling their opposition.

President Trump's Executive Orders, which we summarize below, come at a time of public concern about the cost of prescription pharmaceuticals.  Collectively, this series of Orders would allow certain low income individuals access to 340B prices for insulin and epinephrine, restrict anti-kickback safe harbors for manufacturer rebates paid to middlemen in Medicare Part D, open a pathway for drug importation, and (in the proposed Order) implement a "most favored nations clause" to tie Medicare prices to levels paid by other countries.

From a policy perspective, however, there is little new in the Orders.  Indeed, each covers proposals that have stalled in the regulatory or legislative process for various reasons.  For example, the drug importation directive includes provisions already covered by a set of HHS proposed rules that are still making their way through the rulemaking process.   Similarly, the revisions to the anti-kickback safe harbors mirror those in rulemaking previously withdrawn by HHS  amid concerns that the action would lead to an increase in government spending and Part D premiums.



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The Best Pets for Seniors


Different pets have different qualities and require varying degrees of commitment, energy, and resources. Some pets are ideal for active individuals or people that appreciate a challenge and who want to spend a lot of time and effort in caring for a pet. Other pets are better for people who may not have as much energy to expel, smaller living environments, and financial constraints.

Senior citizens are often looking for a pet that allows them to maintain their current standard of living on a fixed income, does not need a lot of space, and does not require excessive amounts of cleaning or exercise. Thankfully there are all kinds of pets available to all kinds of people, including seniors.

     
Many senior citizens like the idea of having a dog but know they physically can't handle an active, large pet. This is why small dogs, such as a cavalier King Charles spaniel, Shih Tzu, or Maltese, make great companions for seniors.




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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY AUGUST 6TH 2020


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08.04.20


3 minutes

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never had much patience. Waiting for anything is just not my thing.

I have never waited for more than a minute to buy a movie ticket or for a table at a restaurant.

The longest I have ever waited in a line was at the DMV. This was before computers. It took an hour just to pick up some license plates. I thought my head would explode.

But what I really have no patience for is people. Not all people, just stupid people.

And this Covid-19 thing has spawned an entire population of them.

One look at a “cluster” map pinpoints where they gather. Each red dot represents an outbreak of stupefaction beyond the norm.


My patience wore thin months ago when I could see the time it took for officials to come up with a plan to get us out of this mess. They are still procrastinating. Stupidity and indecision go hand in hand. And there’s a lot of this going around.

Here we are. Over 140 days into a quarantine and things haven’t change much at all.

We still can’t get a decent meal. There are no activities and we still can’t have visitors.

As I’m writing this, I have the TV on in the background. I can hear the president, at a press conference, telling reporters he thinks everything is “going well.”

150,000 dead Americans and he thinks it’s going well.

There’s an old saying. “A fish rots from the head down.”

The cheif fish may be in Washington, buI can smell the stench from here.………




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Families plead for New York to relax COVID-19
rules on visiting nursing homes
By Bernadette Hogan

ALBANY — Fewer than 20 percent of New York’s nursing homes have reopened to visitors amid the coronavirus — and now family members desperate to see their loved ones again are calling for the state to relax the requirements.

Out of the state’s 613 nursing homes, 117 have received approval from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state Health Department to accept outside visitors since July 15, after facilities were shut to non-essential visits due to COVID-19 worries on March 13.

To allow guests again, facilities must clear a high threshold of proving they have gone 28 days without recording a single positive case in either a resident or staff member. If some tests positive, the nursing home must reset back to day 1.


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‘Mom says she has been suicidal.’ Families say nursing home residents
face despair as they struggle with isolation.
By Susan K. Livio


142 days.

That’s how much time has passed since residents of long-term care facilities in New Jersey last welcomed a visitor inside their rooms. It’s the last time they were allowed to sit in a communal dining room or take a day trip with their family.

With long-term care residents facing the the highest risk of dying from the coronavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department of Health swiftly ordered the facilities locked down in mid-March.

No one understood at the time what it would take or how long it would take to contain the virus, and the how the prolonged isolation would take its own toll on the mental health and resilience of the roughly 48,000 New Jerseyans in long-term care. Public health experts say it’s still just not safe to let up.


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‘Active Adult’ Is The Newest Housing Option For Older Adults
By Sara Zeff Geber


If you have studied the landscape on private-pay residential options for older adults, you are probably familiar with the terms Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care. That has been the spectrum of senior living options for at least the past decade. Recently, however, there is another term being bandied about and I think it’s an exciting entry into the older adult housing line-up.  It’s called Active Adult.

Residential options for older adults can be organized in somewhat of a linear fashion based on the care or support they offer. As the name indicates, Independent Living (IL) is the senior housing option that works for older adults when no on-site care is needed. It typically includes full services for maintenance-free living: a meal plan, laundry, housekeeping, transportation, and a variety of organized activities.

An assisted living (AL) community offers everything IL offers, plus assistance (care), as needed, with the activities of daily living (ADLs), which can include bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, and/or transferring. Memory care facilities include everything ALs include, with the addition of a specialized environment and activities for residents with memory impairment or dementia.



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Opinion: The stock market is cheating us all
—and here’s by how much
By Brett Arends



For most of the middle class, the stock market is going to make the difference between retiring with dignity or not retiring at all.

We haven’t got gold-plated, “defined benefit” final salary schemes, we didn’t inherit trust funds, and we know that Social Security is there to provide a basic level of existence but little more.

So if we want to escape the rat race and kick back, sooner or later, it’s going to come down to what we manage to save in our 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement accounts each year, and how much that money earns in annual returns.


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Safe Investments for the Elderly

The closer you get to your retirement years and claim your status as a senior citizen, the fewer risks you may want to take with your investments. You may be looking at a smaller fixed income during your senior years, and you want to explore the best investment options for senior citizens that put your hard-earned money to work for you. At the same time, you're also looking for safe investments that carry minimal risk.

Diversify Your Investment Portfolio


The best investment option for elderly investors may be to avoid putting all your eggs into one basket so you can better manage your risk. If you diversify your portfolio, you can spread your investments over numerous vehicles. By doing this, you won't lose everything if one investment takes a downturn. But even in your retirement years, you want to look at the growth potential of your investments to counter the economy’s rate of inflation as well as prepare for what may be many retirement years ahead of you.

While there’s a certain measure of risk associated with any investment, some options are safer than others. Although these safer choices will likely not offer the growth potential of a higher-risk option, you’ll at least walk away with your principal amount, if the investment goes south. Look for safety in an investment if it is insured – for example, by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).



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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY AUGUST 5TH 2020


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08.3.20



I am forgoing my usual Monday rant to bring news of importance to all mankind. A recent discovery has shocked the scientific community.

Scientists Discover New Human Species
4-5 minutes

Miami Fl. (TSL Newswire) Aug. 1 2020: Working closely with the National Science foundation, The University of America and others, Anthropologists have discovered a new species of human.

Scientists believe the new genus, named “Homus Ignoramus”, (because of its inability to absorb any knowledge) has evolved as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While several scientists who studied these humanoids knew they had always existed, what they did not know was how many of them there were and how they have survived despite having little or no brain matter.  As one researcher said, “It’s mostly CO2 and cheese fries in there.”

“We know of one-celled animals that function on less cerebral contents than these creatures, but we have seen none that wear pants,” said Dr. Miriam Gould, head of the Anthropology department at the University.

The speed at which these creatures reproduce and their ability to find others of their kind has baffled experts ever since they sighted the first one in a Walmart’s in 2016.

“Back in 2016 they were harder to spot”, said one unnamed researcher. “They looked like everyone else except for the skin tone, which became crimson when you mention “Obama” or “Hillary.”

Another sure giveaway are their eating habits.

They have a tendency to shy away from any foods that sound ethnic, foreign or healthy. Knishes, fresh vegetable and anything without bacon are some of the foods they can’t tolerate. However, they like to gather at fast-food restaurants, especially Chick-Fil-A.

Though lacking any common sense, and having complete disregard for the safety of other’s, they are amazingly social creatures.

Despite risking their health, the health of their offspring and their elders and others in the herd, they insist on meeting in large groups, standing very close to each other, and refusing to wear a face covering. In fact, the very mention of a mask sends these “people” into a frenzy not unlike that found in lower primates and red ant colonies.

“The noise these creatures make”, said the study’s founder Dr. Purell Handwasher, is akin to the screech of a howler monkey in heat.

Using sophisticated audio equipment to record their sounds, engineers have discovered at least two distinct “calls.”

“We don’t know if they are mating calls or they mean danger or distress”, added award-winning audiologist Dr. Malleus Cochlea. “They are difficult to understand because of the unusual dialect, but one call sounds like “faken-ews faken-ews” and the other like “lockerupp” (repeated several times in succession).”

Other vocalizations are more distinct. “libtard” and “snowflake” are two of the more commonly heard phrases. If nothing else, their language is colorful.

But despite their reproductive prowess, Anthropologists fear for their existence. As the number of cases of Covid-19 continues to rise, attrition will take many of the Homus Ignoramus population, causing a decline in their population.
“Their only hope to remain a viable species is for them to crawl back into the woodwork whence they came and hide for the next 50 or 100 years,” said Handwasher.

When asked when that migration might begin, most experts are looking to November 3rd as the most likely time.

If you want to spot one before the all disappear just watch any presidential rally. You’ll see them seated directly behind the president’s podium……………………………………...
 
 

 


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Helping our seniors before it's too late

COVID-19 has been the worst health care tragedy in decades. Millions have been stricken ill and more than 120,000 Americans have been killed by it. And perhaps the biggest tragedy of all is that the disease disproportionately targets the elderly.

That’s why I’m calling for the federal government to do more for our elderly and to do it more quickly. We need to focus on getting resources to help these vulnerable Americans. And we need to do it now before it’s too late.

As the ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, I have worked closely with Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyHouse approves .3 trillion spending package for 2021 Helping our seniors before it's too late House approves two child care bills aimed at pandemic MORE (D-N.Y.) in a bipartisan way to ensure that stimulus money was provided for just these types of situations. Yet it is now obvious that in administering some of these programs, the Department of Health and Human Services has not acted quickly enough. Of course, this pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced before. And HHS has worked hard to make the best of a bad situation. But we still have to make sure we are getting it right when it comes to helping out our seniors.


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Research assesses the prevalence of
overscreening for cancers among older adults



Older Americans may be receiving cancer screenings not recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

The task force recommends routine screening for colorectal, cervical and breast cancers. These recommendations end for people at upper ages or who develop a condition that decreases their life expectancy. A routine screening above the recommended age is called overscreening.

    There are two reasons why people should stop screening for cancer. First, when they 'age-out' of the recommended screening age, or second, when their life expectancy is too low. As with any clinical procedure, there are risks from the cancer screening tests. These risks are even higher for people who have aged-out or who have a low life expectancy."

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Technology divide between senior ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’
roils pandemic response

By Judith Graham



Family gatherings on Zoom and FaceTime. Online orders from grocery stores and pharmacies. Telehealth appointments with physicians.

These have been lifesavers for many people, including many older adults, staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic. But an unprecedented shift to virtual interactions has a downside: Large numbers of seniors are unable to participate.

Among them are older adults with dementia (14% of those 71 and older), hearing loss (nearly two-thirds of those 70 and older) and impaired vision (13.5% of those 65 and older), who can have a hard time using digital devices and programs designed without their needs in mind. Think small icons, difficult-to-read typefaces and inadequate captioning, among other hurdles.



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Eight Go Mad in Arizona: How a Lockdown
Experiment Went Horribly Wrong

By Steve Rose


It sounds like a sci-fi movie, or the weirdest series of Big Brother ever. Eight volunteers wearing snazzy red jumpsuits seal themselves into a hi-tech glasshouse that’s meant to perfectly replicate Earth’s ecosystems. They end up starving, gasping for air and at each other’s throats – while the world’s media looks on.

But the Biosphere 2 experiment really did happen. Running from 1991 to 1993, it is remembered as a failure, if it is remembered at all – a hubristic, pseudo-scientific experiment that was never going to accomplish its mission. However, as the new documentary Spaceship Earth shows, the escapade is a cautionary tale, now that the outside world – Biosphere 1, if you prefer – is itself coming to resemble an apocalyptic sci-fi world. Looking back, it’s amazing that Biosphere 2 even happened at all, not least because the people behind it started out as a hippy theatre group.

“Just the fact that the same number of people came out as went in is a triumph,” says Mark Nelson, one of the original eight “biospherians”. Far from a failure, he regards Biosphere 2 as an unsung achievement in human exploration, as do many others. “I like to say we built it not because we had the answers. We built it to find out what we didn’t know.”




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UPDATED: Coronavirus:
 What Older Adults Need to Know
By Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH

Note: This blog post was updated on March 11 with the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Please check back frequently for updates and visit CDC for the most current news.

The situation around the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing rapidly, and NCOA is taking proactive steps to share the best information we have to protect the public’s health, especially among older adults. Now is the time to stay informed and follow basic tips to protect yourself and those around you.
Older Adults at Higher Risk

The CDC has identified older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease at higher risk for more serious COVID-19. According to the CDC, early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19.


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08.01.20

Retiring Moments

5-6 minutes

In 2004 I lost my job. The one I had for 13 years.

My company was consolidating their offices into one big one in Colorado. I was not going to move to Colorado and start over at my age.
 
 
Our severance pay comprised one week’s pay for each year employed plus any unused vacation or sick pay. And, because  we were technically laid off, we qualified for unemployment insurance.
 
But as I packed my stuff into boxes on that last day in 2004, I knew finding another job that paid as much as this and had benefits like ours would, for a person my age, be almost impossible. It was.

While collecting, and living on, my severance and unemployment benefits, I was actively looking for work. And although I had two interviews and one job offer, none came even close to  what I would need to live even a scaled-down lifestyle. As my 62nd birthday approached and my money running out, the one thing I was reluctant to do became my only option. The dreaded retirement and subsequent Social Security.
 
Naturally, before making a life-changing decision, I went over my finances and found I was not prepared to be unemployed.
 
It wasn’t as if I had no retirement plan. I had begun an IRA back in 1994 and contributed to my company’s 401K since its inception three years before they laid me off. But even though I paid as much as I could into those accounts and was fairly frugal, the money would not be enough to sustain my modest lifestyle for too long. I needed to downsize.
 
Without getting into the gory details, my new spartan existence started with finding a cheaper health insurance plan. I went from one that cost nearly $600 per month to one at half that amount.
 
I cut back on my car insurance, dropping the costly collision part. If they totaled the car, so be it. I would do without.

And, if things got very bad, I could get a part-time job for minimum wage. “Hello, welcome to Walmart.”
 
For the next few years, things were working okay.
 
I was paying my rent. My car was running good. I learned to shop wisely, used coupons to buy in bulk, and even return my empty soda cans for cash. And, since I was almost 65, I would soon be on Medicare taking the need for private health insurance out of the equation. And the best part was that I could enjoy a carefree, though reduced, retirement.
 
I had my hobby (photography) and I lived in a city with good public transportation to take me anywhere, and plenty to see and do once I got there. And the best part, I had my health…. So I thought.

In 2009 all hell broke loose sending me on a path of hospitalizations, surgeries, nursing homes and now assisted living. My retirement plans, along with my independence, and my finances shot to hell in a few short years.


Life, I found, does not always go as planned.
 
I’m not whining or complaining. What happened to me was no one’s fault. There was nothing about my lifestyle that caused my illness and little I could have done to prevent it. [1]
 
Like an airplane in a tailspin, things go south real fast to a point where recovery becomes impossible. Fortunately, I could pull back on the stick and miss hitting the ground by a few inches. But knocking over a few trees and hitting the side of a hill is no way to land. Or retire.
 
And now we have this virus to add a little more tsuris [2] to our lives.
 
However, I have this for consolation. To all those who thought they would glide worry-free through their golden years. Welcome to the club.

There's a moral to this story. One you probably know.

No matter how much money you have, or think you will need to retire, it's not enough.

We’ll be back on Monday to do this once again……………………………


[1]A colonoscopy, taken at an earlier age might have saved me from serious illness. But that’s on me.
[2]Noun. 1. tsuris - (Yiddish) aggravating trouble.



 





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1 in 4 Baby Boomers Say They'll
Postpone Retirement Due to the Pandemic

By David Bach


Nearly a quarter of Baby Boomers plan to postpone their retirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey, and about the same number say the crisis has changed when they plan to claim their Social Security benefits.

Some 24% of those 56 and older say the pandemic has caused them to push back their planned retirement date, according to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Nationwide Retirement Institute. While 401(k) balances remain buoyant for now, the U.S. is mired in a recession: the official unemployment rate is 11.1%, up from 3.7% at this time last year, and the country’s real gross domestic product plunged at an annual rate of 32.9% in the second quarter, according to numbers released Thursday morning. The bleak economic outlook probably won’t improve until a vaccine for the coronavirus is developed and distributed widely.

“There’s just a lot of uncertainty,” says Tina Ambrozy, senior vice president of strategic customer solutions at Nationwide.



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The Ways the Pandemic Has
Influenced Our Eating Habits



Last week, my husband and I decided since outdoor dining resumed in our state, we would go out to dinner. For the first time in several months, I decided to get dressed up. I noticed that all my “real” pants felt snug at the waist.

The pandemic and staying at home had changed my eating habits immensely. Over the past few months, dinner had become the focal point of our family’s day. I was cooking more elaborate meals. Indulging in more “happy hours” and baking banana bread on a weekly basis. I also found myself snacking more frequently throughout the day (especially after watching the news) and craving heartier fare like pasta and sandwiches, rather than my usual salads.

My experience is not uncommon. A recent survey by OnePoll on behalf of Nutrisystem found that 76% of respondents shared they’ve gained up to 16 pounds during their time in self-isolation (dubbed #Quarantine15).

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Seniors Are Embracing Technology:
From Healthcare Needs To Binge Watching


Just call them 'Silver Techies'. Medicare eligible seniors are embracing technology and loving it.  Six in ten are embracing technology more during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new healthinsurance.com survey.


Seniors are using technology for their healthcare needs. The survey reveals an incredible 340% increase in telemedicine usage among Medicare recipients since the start of COVID-19. One-third report ordering their prescriptions from an online pharmacy. And it's not just telemedicine and the internet. Nearly one-third say they monitor their health using a wearable. In fact, 4 in 10 are interested in a wearable that helps them and those around them maintain appropriate social distance.

The survey also explores seniors' internet usage, healthcare cost concerns, Medicare enrollment, grandma and grandpa's binge-watching habits, and more.


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Senior living’s hidden gem: Independent living
paired with a la carte healthcare


We who work in senior living know that the number of Americans aged 65 or more years is projected to almost double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060 (the specific figure I quote is according to a recent report by the Population Reference Bureau). This increase will translate to increased demand for all types of senior living communities.

We also know that when an older adult determines that he or she no longer can remain at home, there are many options to consider, from aging-in-place at home with support to senior communities that offer a continuum of care. Some seniors need more extensive care, which limits their choices. But for others, one option many offer allows for a high level of independence while providing flexible home and healthcare. This option — independent living paired with a la carte health services — could be considered “a hidden gem” within the senior housing spectrum. As baby boomers age, I believe there will be growth in this model because of the value it offers, because older adults can save money by paying only for what they need.

While enabling older adults to enjoy a higher level of independence, a model with a la carte services still offers the reassurance provided by 24-hour on-site medical staffing for all residents. Plus, if and when needed, seniors choose what homecare and healthcare services they want through a partnership with a trusted provider. This allows for personalized services as needed, from laundry, to medication management, to assistance with bathing, to physical therapy.


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U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Model COBRA Notices
and Extends COBRA Deadlines



The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued new model COBRA Notices primarily to highlight that an individual may enroll in Medicare instead of COBRA continuation coverage after his or her group health plan coverage ends. The new COBRA model notices point out that it may be advantageous to enroll in Medicare before, or instead of, electing COBRA. They also explain that if an individual is eligible for both COBRA and Medicare, electing COBRA coverage may impact enrollment into Medicare as well as certain costs to the individual.

The model general notice for single-employer group health plans is found here, and this model notice in Spanish is found here.  The model election notice for single-employer group health plans is found here, while the Spanish version is found here.

Additionally, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the DOL, along with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), issued a joint announcement which extends certain participant deadlines affecting an individual’s right to continue group health plan coverage under COBRA after employment ends. The joint announcement may be found here. Although not specifically required, it is advisable to include notice of the extensions when providing COBRA election notices and other COBRA notices.  Employers should be aware that the joint announcement does not specifically allow employers extended time to send COBRA notices to terminating employees. Thus, employers should therefore continue to send COBRA notices to terminating employees based on the usual time frames.



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25 Things to Do When You Retire
By Phil Taylor

After decades in the workforce, retirees finally get complete control over how they spend their time. There are many terrific things you can do with your time and energy in retirement.

Here's what to do in retirement:

    Live within your means.... Travel the world.... Buy a motor home.
    Remodel your home....Move to the country.   Move to the city.
    Start a business.... Get a part-time job....Teach.
    Volunteer....Go into public service....Spend time with friends.
    Visit family....Babysit....Be a mentor....Get educated.
    Read....Write a book....Start a blog....Learn a new language.
    Learn to play music....Start a new hobby....Take up a new sport.
    Join a fitness group... Nothing.




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.07.31.20





4 minutes


I received the results of the Covid-19 test they gave us on Monday. Thankfully, it took only a day and a half. I am glad to report that the results (as I expected) came back NEGATIVE for the virus.
 
An accompanying letter from our administrator here at the Asylum was not as encouraging.
 
He told us there was one confirmed case detected among the residents. They have isolated that person and he/she is doing well. But now, because of that positive result, the 28 day time clock has to be reset and won’t start back until that resident, and all others, test negative. So now, once again, the hope I had that we would see some return to normalcy by this time next month has been put on hold. And if they find another case anytime in the next 28 days, they’ll start all over again. I imagine this could conceivably go on indefinitely.
 
It’s just another cruel injustice foisted upon a group of people whose voices are too weak and too unimportant to be heard.
 
 
-()()()()-
 
 
While I’ve never been keen on “working out” or any formal method of exercise, I find walking beneficial for many reasons.
 
Not only does it provide a low-impact way to improve one’s mobility, but we can use the time spent on walking for quiet contemplation. Unfortunately, because they have confined us to a small patch of fenced-in suburban landscape, walking has become as boring as daytime TV and our lives generally.
 
There are just so many times I can walk past the same tree, bush, Dumpster and parking lot filled with the same cars before I say “screw this’’ and just stop.
 
I had been walking religiously around the perimeter of our little paradise-on-the-hill ever since my legs and feet swelled. Both my podiatrist and Nephrologist “prescribed” walking to reduce the edema. And it worked. Both my feet and legs have returned to their naturally pudgy shape. I even continued to walk that route well after my legs improved. But for the last week I have hardly had the strength or desire to continue. I did a quick once-around the parking lot (about 100 feet) and that was that. I couldn’t wait to get back in my room, take off my mask and lie down. This is not like me at all. I despise doing nothing.

Exercise, like dieting and weight loss, requires motivation as much as energy and physical ability. I seem to have lost all of those.
 
Maybe it’s this quarantine that’s got me down. Or the news we read and see daily about how our friends and neighbor’s disregard for the safety  that has me wondering if we will ever see an end to this. And, if there is no end, or that end is so far in the future that many of us will not live to see it, why the heck should I waste my time exercising.

It’s a strange paradox indeed…………………………





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New study reveals older adults
coped with pandemic best



Adults aged 60 and up have fared better emotionally compared to younger adults (18-39) and middle-aged adults (40-59) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new UBC research published recently in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.

Based on daily diary data collected between mid-March and mid-April of this year, the researchers found that older adults experienced greater emotional well-being and felt less stressed and threatened by the pandemic.

"Our findings provide new evidence that older adults are emotionally resilient despite public discourse often portraying their vulnerability. We also found that younger adults are at greater risk for loneliness and psychological distress during the pandemic," says Patrick Klaiber, the study's lead author and a graduate student in the UBC department of psychology.



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The real and false risks of mail-in voting
By Thomas E. Patterson

Voting procedures have rarely been a theme of election news coverage. This year is an exception. COVID-19 threatens to disrupt ballot access, creating the need to expand early voting and mail-in voting.

Despite polls showing that a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike support such measures, many officials — nearly all of whom are Republicans — have opposed taking these steps. The most vocal is President Donald Trump. In a tweet last week, Trump wrote: “Mail-In Voting . . . will lead to the most CORRUPT ELECTION in our Nation’s History!

Voter fraud is a legitimate concern. It’s rampant in some countries and, when it occurs, it’s destructive. But it’s exceedingly rare in the United States. After the 2016 election, the New York Times queried state election officials across the country about voter fraud. No state said that fraud had been widespread and 26 states reported no instances of it.  In an attempt to show that voter fraud was widespread, Texas’ Republican attorney general launched an exhaustive investigation and found only two prosecutable instances of it — this in a state where 9 million voters go to the polls. Kansas’ Republican secretary of state sought to prosecute illegal voters, scouring the state’s nearly 2 million registered voters looking for culprits. He ended up with a mere handful, which a judge concluded were “explained by administrative error, confusion or mistake.”


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Understanding Generic Medications:
What Are Your Options?



Most of us know about generic medications — drugs that work in the same way as brand name medications and are usually available at a lower price. But you may not be aware of all your generic medication options, including Authorized Generics.

It’s important to understand your choices when it comes to filling your prescriptions and to figure out which is best for you. Let’s take a closer look at generic medications, and options that may be available to you.

Generics Overview

All generic medications work in the same way and provide the same clinical benefit as the brand name versions.

Generic medications become available when the patent expires for brand name drugs — medications sold by a drug company under a specific name or trademark. All generic medicines must meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for approval, such as FDA’s quality and manufacturing standards, and the FDA considers all generic drugs to have the same safety and efficacy as the brand name drug.



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A Shot Across the Bow of the Pharmaceutical Industry:
 President Trump Issues a Quartet of Executive Orders on
 Drug Pricing that Might Eventually (OR NEVER?) Take Effect



On Friday, President Trump announced four executive orders directed at decreasing prescription drug prices by ordering certain actions by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).  One order – which has received the most negative reaction from the pharmaceutical industry – would create a “most-favored nation” policy to limit the price Medicare Part B pays for certain drugs to the lowest price paid in another Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development country.  The White House did not release the text of this order on Friday and stated that it would not take effect until August 24, or at all if pharmaceutical companies can offer an alternative proposal to substantially reduce drug prices or if Congress acts.

Another of the executive orders would require HHS to exclude from federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) safe harbor protection rebates provided by drug manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”), health plans, and pharmacies but not passed on to patients.  Instead, HHS would be required to create new safe harbors to allow plans, pharmacies, and PBMs to apply discounts to reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs, as well as allow for bona fide PBM service fees.  However, the order provides that before taking these actions, HHS must confirm that they would not increase Federal spending, Medicare beneficiary premiums, or patient out-of-pocket costs.  Further, the regulatory revisions demanded by the order could be subject to legal challenge, both as an illegitimate attempt to narrow the AKS’s statutory discount exception and a violation of Medicare Part D’s non-interference clause.



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4 Exercises Older Adults Should Do Every Day
By K. Aleisha Fetters

Consider these moves the foundation for a fitter, more functional you.
woman doing squat with chair

“Everything in moderation.”

If you pay attention to your health at all, there’s a good chance you’ve heard this advice before. It makes sense in many instances—mainly your diet—but the truth is that some healthy habits are much more effective when you do them every single day. One such example: moving your body.

While any movement is always better than none, there are certain foundational exercises that need to be performed on more than designated workout days, says Ann Phelps, D.P.T., a physical therapist at Athletico Physical Therapy in Chicago.

Why? Because that’s how you’ll get the results you want, from improving strength and mobility to building better balance to staying independent longer.




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07.30.20




5 minutes

I will never be ashamed of being an American. The strides we have made for ourselves and the impact we have on rest of the world over the last 240 plus years are incomparable in human history. But, while I am not ashamed of this country, I am embarrassed by the stupidity of some of my fellow countrymen.
 
Leaving the current administration out of the equation (I consider the present infestation of the White House as a glitch in the time warp we will correct in November) the actions of people over the last 4 months I can only describe as selfish, ignorant, callous and dangerous.
 
Wednesday we passed a milestone. Over 150,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. Think of it. From two or three deaths just 4 months ago to a number that equals the population of some American cities. Imagine if we were to find the inhabitants of cities like Peoria, Paramus or Syracuse dead. We would be shocked and horrified and demand we do anything to avoid 
this happening to any more of our citizens. Instead, we gather at a concert or a house party or at the beach or a bar and celebrate by doing the same thing we know killed many of those 150,000.[1]

The arrogance of some people amazes me. And, by some people I’m talking about those who believe (incorrectly) that, by wearing a mask or social distancing, we are diminishing our Constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom and assembly and god knows what else. These are the same people that conveniently ignore portions of our Constitution that guarantee equality for all.
 
And it’s not as if we want people to do anything dramatic or risky. We are not asking them to stay inside, close the drapes and eat canned sardines for two weeks. We do not require them to undergo some radical procedure or take away any of their civil rights. All we are asking is for them to WEAR A F**KING MASK OR STAY 6 FEET AWAY FROM OTHERS. It’s not rocket science, folks.
 
And it’s not just those folks from, what I like to call, the “Goober States” who reject the rules. People from the supposedly “enlightened” deep blue areas are infected with a case of stupid too.
 
This past weekend the heavily Democratic Hampton’s played host to a concert at which thousands were near each other in front of the stage. NY State prohibits gatherings of over 50 people. It was to be a “drive-in” event. People were to stay in their cars. But, either through ignorance and complete disregard of the law and for their fellow concert goers, they packed themselves, shoulder to mask-less shoulder in carefree abandon.  

And lastly we have a man who has my vote for the second dumbest person in America. It’s none other than Rep. Louie Gohmert (R) of the great state of Texas who just today tested positive for Covid-19. As you might have gathered, cogressman Gohmert is an anti-masker. Which is dumb enough. But it's what he said after finding out he had the virus that sets this man apart from the usual mentally challenged individual. Instead of acknowledging that he got sick by not wearing a mask he comes out and blames the mask for his illness because, and I paraphrase... "I was constantly touching the mask and adjusting it and touching my face and I might have somehow sucked some of the virus in."

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. I rest my case....................................

[1] BTW, this is more than 50x the number of people that died on 9/11.
 





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Boomer grandparents can give working parents
a virtual hall pass for kids' online school



A lot of people my generation — the over-65 population — have gone more than four months without hugging our grown children. Odds are, it will be several more months until we can again. Senior citizens like me follow a strict protocol for socially distanced bubble-living: groceries delivered, no visitors, no unmasked contact, no weddings, no funerals. We are lonely but well (if distantly) cared for.

For those unhugged young adults, life under COVID-19 is more complicated. Our millennial son, single and in his early 30s, lost his tavern job during quarantine but shares his house with roommates and gets by on unemployment insurance and savings. He was in middle school on 9/11 and assures me that he and his cohort have grown up remarkably resilient to catastrophe.

His Generation X older sister’s hard-won work/family balancing act is a lot more complex. In March, like most of New York City, her husband’s media office moved onto their dining table and their fourth grader’s school shut down — just as all my daughter's documentary filmmaking projects were at a critical point. Hospitalizations surged. Domestic bedlam followed.



______________________________________________________________________________________
   
2nd round of coronavirus stimulus checks:
How much could you get?

By Kerry Breen

After disagreements between the two main U.S. political parties about continuing unemployment assistance and other coronavirus relief programs, a new deal is on the table.

The $1 trillion HEALS Act, proposed by Senate Republicans on Monday, includes a second relief payment of up to $1,200. The proposal has already faced criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.

The package still has to be approved by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, which could lead to changes — the HEALS Act and the Congress-proposed HEROES Act, which passed the House in May but was never considered by the Senate, have some key differences — but there is bipartisan support for more direct payments.


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The Most Insidious Form of
Age Discrimination at Work



About 10 years ago, my boss, mentor and close friend Angelina — who was then in her early 50s — lost her job at our well-known and respected Fortune 50 manufacturing company after working her way up to the executive suite. In the year before, I had noticed some subtle and troubling things about how she was being treated.

I would attend a meeting and discover Angelina hadn’t been invited. She was also asked to take on assignments well beneath her skill and talent level. Something didn’t add up.

When I asked the CEO about this, he said, “Listen, Angelina has been in this business a long time. Maybe she’s just tired, that’s all.” Angelina was anything but tired. That’s when I knew two things for sure: tired is an ageist code word for old and marginalizing someone is an effective way to get them to choose to leave, taking the employer off the hook.




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Biden seeks to peel older voters from Trump


Joe Biden hits Trump's 'law and order' message: He's trying to 'scare the devil' out of people Biden notes show talking points about Kamala Harris The opportunity cost of Congress's 'Big Tech' antitrust obsession MORE unleashed new ads Monday making the case that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden hits Trump's 'law and order' message: He's trying to 'scare the devil' out of people Pelosi bashes Barr after testimony: 'He was like a blob' and 'henchman' for Trump Schumer: Trump should want COVID-19 deal to help GOP election chances MORE’s handling of the coronavirus has hurt older voters most of all.

The $14.5 million ad buy is the most forceful example yet of the Biden campaign’s belief that seniors can be peeled away from Trump.

If the presumptive Democratic nominee is right, it will have huge ramifications for November’s election.




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COVID-19: Finding Food and Nutrition Programs and Shopping Safely

Benefits.gov is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date information to help citizens access resources from our Partner agencies throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has created more flexibility within their programs to best serve citizens in need.


What food and nutrition services are available for my family?

Benefits.gov has several other programs you and your family may be interested in to satisfy your nutritional needs. Several of these programs have recently received additional funding in light of the coronavirus pandemic to better serve citizens in need.

The Special Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for:

    Low-income pregnant women.
    Breastfeeding women.
    Non-breastfeeding postpartum women.
    Infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Services provided by WIC:

    Breastfeeding education and support.
    Supplemental nutritious foods (cereal, milk, cheese, eggs, juice, beans, peanut butter and infant formula) at no cost.
    Nutrition education and counseling.
    Money-saving system that can be used to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, baby foods, and other foods the program does not provide.
    Screening referrals to other health, welfare, and social services.
    Vouchers to buy WIC-approved fruits and vegetables from authorized farmers' market.

Read more about the WIC program and how it can help you and your family, in our article, “Everything You Need to Know about WIC”.



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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY JULY 31ST 2020


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07.29.20



Feeling The Years

4 minutes

When you inquire as to someone’s health, the answer you get will differ depending on who you’re asking.
 
Young people, unless they are obviously ill, will usually say “Okay” or “Couldn’t be better.”
 
But when the question is asked of people of that certain age, the answer may be more than you bargained for.
 
And if that person is really up there in years, be prepared to listen to what may sound like an episode of Gray’s Anatomy.
 
That’s because old people rarely feel well. And it’s not necessarily because they are sick. It’s because, well, they're old.
 
Okay, I know you have seen pictures of “active” seniors playing tennis, diving from cliffs, skydiving. They appear to have the vim and vigor of a teenager. They also all appear to be very well off. Those private country clubs cost money.
 
While I’m not saying those people don’t exist, they aren’t typical. And if you ask, they will tell you they have always been active and athletic, as were their parents and grandparents. Genes don’t fall far from the trees. However, not all of us are so blessed.

 Most of us old codgers and codgerettes are in a medical limbo. While we are not sick, we are not well either. The best way to describe this delusive contentment is to say we are “un-sick.” Take me as an example.
 
Yesterday, as usual, I awoke after a fretful night. Just barely getting my 4 hours of sleep.
 
Every bone, joint, sinew and muscle complained. My sinuses dripped, my stomach growled, and my eyes were late to focus.
 
Fifteen years ago I would have brushed that off as being hung over after a night of booze and debauchery. But those days are gone forever. Now when I feel that way, it’s without the “fun” part.
 
I’m not sick, but I’ve got stuff. Old people’s stuff. Stuff that comes from living the life of a typical male American Baby Boomer. Trying to emulate my father’s work ethic while attempting to enjoy “the good life.”
 
Unfortunately, that takes its toll on the body. Not all at once, but slowly, culminating as one approaches the Golden Years.

I have actual illnesses. But they are not automatically because of old age.
 
High blood pressure, kidney disease and thyroid problems can come at any age and, as in my case, are treatable. And, when treated properly, rarely cause any overt symptoms. Certainly none that are debilitating. But not so old age.
 
Being old is a disease. It’s not pre-existing, but it is preordained. And, If you hang around long enough, you may live to regret it.

One can console themselves by ignoring it like I do. It has become part of who I am.

So, whenever someone asks how I am. I smile and say “Older than dirt dammit.” Now, where’s my Tylenol?……………………….
 
 


 

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These 3 smart objects remind senior citizens to take pills,
read without strain and stay connected!



There are not enough product designs that focus on the senior citizen demographic. As life around us speeds up, we incorporate gadgets that help us keep up. But for those who are much older, life is slowing down and they need gadgets that keep up with their pace to make life convenient for them. It is kind of like the fear of missing out if they don’t adapt to the faster tech, but that is the beauty of design – with products like Familia they don’t have to worry about missing out anymore!

Familia is a collection of smart objects that aim to restore dignity to seniors by making them feel less dependent and more confident. These are specifically created to appear like everyday objects with minimal aesthetics and simple UI to make sure it isn’t another thing they have to learn to operate. As people grow old they often tend to hide things that make them feel “old” and with a help of this smart clock, lamp/magnifying glass, and digital mirror, senior citizens can live without being stigmatized. Each object offers subtle functionalities that respond to challenges faced by the elderly ranging from memory loss and health issues to vision damage and isolation.


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Elderly who distinctly smell roses, paint-thinner or
lemons 'have half the risk of dementia'

By Alexandra Thompson


Elderly people who really can smell the roses may have a lower risk of dementia, research suggests.

Scientists from the University of California, San Fransisco (UCSF), followed 1,800 people in their seventies for up to 10 years.

Read more: Asthma drug shows promise as Alzheimer’s treatment

They found those who retained good sensory function – including being able to identify the scent of roses, paint-thinner and lemons – were up to half as likely to develop the memory-robbing disease.

As to why this occurs, the scientists wondered if the parts of the brain affected by dementia may also regulate our sense of smell.

Sensory decline in itself may also trigger memory loss, possibly indirectly by hindering socialising or affecting mental health.


_______________________________________________________________________________

The Most Insidious Form of
Age Discrimination at Work



About 10 years ago, my boss, mentor and close friend Angelina — who was then in her early 50s — lost her job at our well-known and respected Fortune 50 manufacturing company after working her way up to the executive suite. In the year before, I had noticed some subtle and troubling things about how she was being treated.

I would attend a meeting and discover Angelina hadn’t been invited. She was also asked to take on assignments well beneath her skill and talent level. Something didn’t add up.

When I asked the CEO about this, he said, “Listen, Angelina has been in this business a long time. Maybe she’s just tired, that’s all.” Angelina was anything but tired. That’s when I knew two things for sure: tired is an ageist code word for old and marginalizing someone is an effective way to get them to choose to leave, taking the employer off the hook.



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DeSantis' earlier bravado fuels
Florida's pandemic crisis

By Greg Krieg


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stood outside the White House two months ago bragging about his state's triumph over the coronavirus.

"We succeeded and people just don't want to recognize it," he blustered. Then, jabbing his finger at reporters, he scolded the press: "You've got a lot of people in your profession who waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York," he said.

That was May 20. A little less than 10 weeks later, Florida, with DeSantis at the helm, has become a global ground zero for Covid-19 cases and a poster child for the Trump administration and its closest allies' failures in responding to the pandemic. The nationwide angst over schools is playing out in pointed clashes between teachers and DeSantis, who is pushing hard for a full-scale reopening. Trump's obsession with hosting a live, in-person convention extravaganza, supported by DeSantis, collapsed under the weight of the crisis. And the Major League Baseball season has been thrown into doubt as the sports world waits to see if the outbreak among Miami Marlins players and coaches spreads to other teams.

As the hot-button fights rage on, so too does the spread of the virus among ordinary Floridians. The state surpassed New York's total count of Covid-19 cases, with 414,511 and rising. Only California, with its larger population, has recorded more. Hospitalizations in Florida are up and ICU capacity across the state is tumbling. On Saturday, the state's Agency for Health Care Administration reported that only 17% of ICU beds were still available. And in hard-hit Miami-Dade County, the virus positivity rate exceeded 19%, nearly double its target.



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OTC Meds for Older Adults:
How to Stay Safe

By Barbara Brody

The body metabolizes many drugs differently when you’re older. Treat your symptoms and stay safe with this guide.
older man with medication and glass of water

Most of us reach for over-the-counter (OTC) medication without giving it too much thought. When you have a throbbing headache, you pop a few Advil. When you’re feeling constipated, you chew on some Ex-Lax. And when you have a lousy cold, you grab whatever bottle promises the fastest relief.

While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with using these and other types of OTC drugs, it’s a mistake to think that there’s no downside. “OTC drugs are remarkably safe when used as directed, but they are not harmless,” says Eric P. Brass, M.D., Ph.D., professor emeritus of medicine at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “These are real drugs, many of which were available by prescription only in past years,” he says. “You must read the labels carefully and follow all the directions.” (If you need help understanding labels, check out the FDA’s guide.)

You should also check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking an OTC medication, even though you don’t need a prescription to get it. Many drugs are metabolized differently in seniors—meaning your body might process it more slowly or quickly than it did when you were younger—which could lead to side effects if you don’t adjust the dosage for your age.



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY JULY 30TH 2020


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07.28.20




Tested. Finally
4 minutes

The news came suddenly. They handed me a notice to come to the library for a Covid-19 test. I knew it was coming, but not this quickly. Usually things move at a snail’s pace around here.
There was no waiting when I arrived at our library where the tests were being done. After giving my name and birth date, they handed me a zip-lock bag containing a Q-Tip like swab and a test tube. The test kit already had my name on it.

They ushered me into the library where a “nurse” I did not know took the kit from me and confirmed my identity.

They asked me to sit down while she removed the swab from the bag and stuck it my nose. When it reached its eventual destination about 3/4 of the way in, she twirled it around. It tickled slightly, and I almost sneezed. And that was it. There was no mention when we would get the results, but from what I’ve heard on the news, New York is having some delays in processing these tests.

I’m glad they have finally tested us. It’s a long time coming. They should have done it two months ago. We would have been a long way on to returning to normalcy if they hadn’t waited so long.

The tests mean more than just an affirmation of our (hopefully) virus-free status. It means the beginning of the end to this 4 month-long nightmare foisted upon us by a Health Department more interested in covering their asses than the comfort of the residents living in the facilities which they oversee.

The current plan is, if all of our residents test negative and there are no cases within our facility for 28 days, they will allow us to return to communal dining, in our dining room with real plates, utensils and food. But most important, we will able to sit across the table and talk to our friends. This, above all, has been the biggest hardship we faced since the quarantine began. We will still have to observe all the infection control measures, but anything is better than what we have now.

 I know this test, and the subsequent easing of restrictions it will bring, is not a return to our Pre-covid status. I believe we will see nothing close to that before the new year. And, even when it comes, seniors will be the last to normalize. But as long as we can do it together in an atmosphere conducive to openness and freedom, we can endure whatever comes next………….




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Researchers Discover Two Paths of Aging and
New Insights on Promoting Healthspan


Molecular biologists and bioengineers at the University of California San Diego have unraveled key mechanisms behind the mysteries of aging. They isolated two distinct paths that cells travel during aging and engineered a new way to genetically program these processes to extend lifespan.


Our lifespans as humans are determined by the aging of our individual cells. To understand whether different cells age at the same rate and by the same cause, the researchers studied aging in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a tractable model for investigating mechanisms of aging, including the aging paths of skin and stem cells.

The scientists discovered that cells of the same genetic material and within the same environment can age in strikingly distinct ways, their fates unfolding through different molecular and cellular trajectories. Using microfluidics, computer modeling and other techniques, they found that about half of the cells age through a gradual decline in the stability of the nucleolus, a region of nuclear DNA where key components of protein-producing “factories” are synthesized. In contrast, the other half age due to dysfunction of their mitochondria, the energy production units of cells.

Continue reading >>  https://scienceblog.com/517391/researchers-discover-two-paths-of-aging-and-new-insights-on-promoting-healthspan/

___________________________________________________________________________

FEMA Says Preparing Makes Sense for Senior Citizens

The reality of a disaster situation is that daily conveniences will be impacted. Seniors may have physical, emotional or financial barriers to preparing for an emergency.

Creating a personal support network and having a plan to shelter safely with loved ones will give peace of mind to all involved. If undergoing routine treatments administered by a clinic or hospital or regular services such as home health care, treatment or transportation, talk to your service provider about their emergency plans.

In addition to standard hurricane preparedness, the seniors must also consider their specialized needs when gathering supplies for their kit.


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48% of Older Americans Have Gone
Without Essentials During Pandemic


A new survey seeking to learn the financial impact of the coronavirus on older Americans indicates that almost half of retirees say they have gone without essential items. According to the survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), 48 percent of survey respondents report they have gone without food, prescription drugs, face masks, and disinfecting cleaning products during the coronavirus pandemic. "Our survey suggests that almost half of the nation's retirees may not have the resources needed to cope with COVID-19," says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League.

The online survey, taken by 401 participants, was conducted in June and early July 2020. Here are some key findings:

How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Affecting the Finances of Older Households



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Research Reveals that Being a Centenarian Depends
a Lot on the Environmental Conditions

By Sony Sherpa MD


Scientists are as curious to find out more about the secrets of longevity as anyone. New research conducted by scientists of Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Washington State University, revealed that the secret to being a centenarian depends a lot on the environmental conditions. Based on this study, scientists suggest that although hereditary factors have an irrefutable effect on longevity, the living environment contributes significantly to determining life expectancy of an individual.Old Couple

Read Also: Anti-Aging: HGH Can Reduce Biological Age by One Year and a Half Study Shows
What Secrets Of Centenarians Did The Study Unveil?

Mortality rates of Washington State from 2011 to 2015 were utilized for conducting this research and it included information of around 145,000 individuals living up to the age of 75 years or more. This study, which was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, revealed that individuals residing in more walkable areas get naturally involved in the habit of walking more and are consequently prone to living longer than others.




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My Spouse is in a Nursing Home and Receiving Medicaid Benefits,
Is There Anything Else I Need To Do?


Donna’s husband Phil is in a nursing home and receives Medicaid benefits to pay for his care (a.k.a. Medical Assistance or Title-19). Donna wants to make sure Phil’s Medicaid remains in place and is protected, so she wants to know “Is there anything else I need to do?”

As the spouse who is not receiving Medicaid benefits, Donna is referred to as the “community spouse.” A community spouse is allowed to have a certain amount of assets in addition to certain other “exempt assets.” There are many Medicaid exemptions available to the community spouse, such as the home, retirement accounts in the community spouse’s name, and one vehicle. Even though the community spouse is allowed to have these assets, Donna, as the community spouse, must complete two additional steps now that Phil is on Medicaid: (1) transfer assets (even exempt assets) into her sole name and (2) update her estate plan.

Step 1 – Transfer Assets: Phil is allowed to have no more than $2,000 of assets in his name to still qualify for Medicaid. In Wisconsin, the Medicaid rules require all but $2,000 of Phil and Donna’s assets be moved into Donna’s sole name within 12 months from the date Phil’s Medicaid benefits started.



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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY JULY 29TH 2020


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07.27.20

Paying A lot For A Little More
6 minutes

It’s well past 9am Sunday and I’m still waiting for the staff to arrive with my breakfast. I haven’t eaten in over 12 hours and I’m hungry.
 
If they allowed me to prepare food in my room, I wouldn’t care what they brought or when. Not having the luxury of eating what you want and when you want to eat is one drawback of most assisted living situations. There are some facilities that have separate levels of independence where they permit cooking in individual rooms or apartments, but not here at the Asylum. Nothing that produces heat, including Crock Pots, microwave ovens, coffee makers, immersion heaters and even hair dryers are permitted.
 
They say the regulations are there to protect residents from injuring themselves. But I think it’s more of an insurance thing. They just don’t want to pay the extra $$ for the liability coverage. So we are at the mercy of the cooks who prepare our meals and the servers who bring it. However, there is one way to get around this and that is to supplement what they give you with some of your own groceries. Something that more of our residents are doing every week.
 
Before the pandemic, which put an end to any outside trips, they drove residents (weekly) to a local supermarket to buy coveted grocery items. Now that has ended. The only way to get anything is to use one of the grocery delivery services available online. That’s what I’ve been doing since this madness began. And while it’s convenient, it’s also very expensive.

I am a person with an appetite befitting an adult male. Unfortunately, they size the portions for anorexic 80-year-old ladies who have eaten nothing more than a hard-boiled egg and a half slice of toast for the last 20 years. I need more.

I have tried most of the services available in my area. Fresh Direct, PeaPod, Jet, Amazon and Instacart. Walmart, which has a food service and good prices, no longer makes deliveries to my zip code. Our Walmart closed about a year ago and the nearest one is too far. Their loss is Instacart’s gain.
 
Instacart is efficient, fast, accurate, and very expensive. On top of paying for the actual groceries which they sell at a markup slightly above the store’s regular shelf price, there’s a delivery charge (about $10) a service fee ($2.00) plus tip. You also have to order a minimum of $35. But you get the services of a personal shopper so, to some, it’s worth it.
 
It’s worth it to me because it helps supplement a boring, bland portion-controlled diet I get here.
 

I buy things like ketchup. They only hand out small packets here and only when they feed us stuff like burgers or fries. But I like ketchup with my eggs and a lot of it. Mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper are also in short supply. They’re simple items but take a big step towards making a meal “interesting.”
 
There are also juices. My favorite is V8 or my new love, Clamato.
 

Blue cheese dressing makes a salad or even a burger better, as does grated Parmesan and garlic salt.
 
I even buy things like ramen noodle soup. I can heat water in the one microwave oven they permit us to use.
 
These items are usually inexpensive. But when using a delivery service, the price for a bag of groceries can go sky high.
 
Last week I spent a little over $50. It wasn’t even enough to fill one bag. And that’s with no meat, poultry or veggies.

Someday we’ll be able to get back on the bus and shop for ourselves. But for now we are at the mercy of a virus that has taken a toll on our wallets as well as our health…………………………..
 
 






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Feds Give Nursing Homes $5 Billion;
Assisted Living Facilities Left Out

By Kathy Ritchie


On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced his administration will provide $5 billion to help nursing homes deal with the coronavirus. But, assisted living facilities will not be receiving any federal money.

Assisted living facilities in Arizona are regulated by the state. And during the pandemic, they have not received any federal dollars for testing, leaving it up to the facility to cover the costs.

"If you want testing done weekly, we must have help," she Karen Barno, CEO of the Arizona Assisted Living Federation of America. "Right now, and I can only speak for Arizona, a lot of our assisted living centers are testing the residents themselves because it's their job, their mission, to protect the residents."



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The Senior Citizens League  Submits Petition to
The Democratic National Committee for Platform Plank



The Senior Citizens League, which works to protect the earned benefits of older Americans, is petitioning the Democratic Party Platform committee to include two proposals that would further protect Social Security benefits that were not included in the draft platform plan.


The Senior Citizens League, which works to protect the earned benefits of older Americans, is petitioning the Democratic Party Platform committee to include two proposals that would further protect Social Security benefits that were not included in the draft platform plan. The Senior Citizens League is proposing that:

Congress appropriate funds to the Social Security Trust Fund to replenish payroll tax deposits lost due to the impact of COVID-19.

Congress provide a minimum guaranteed COLA.

According to Doug Osborne, the Legislative Liaison to the Board of Trustees of TSCL, "Our petition is a far cry from everything the Senior Citizens League would like to see on the Democratic Party Platform but, if our recommendations are accepted, it would go a long way to helping America's seniors who are currently drawing on the program and the next generation who are relying on Social Security still being solvent for them."


________________________________________________________________________________

Older Americans may find it difficult to adapt to a
cashless society brought on by COVID-19



A cashless society could be what consumer life after the COVID-19 pandemic looks like, but older Americans may find it hard to adjust to this new reality, according to Plamen Nikolov, assistant professor of economics at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

COVID-19 may persist on money for a more extended period than cardboard or paper-based products because cash in the U.S. is composed of 25% linen and 75% cotton, not paper. Although not using cash might help to stop the spread of disease, it also comes with many trade-offs. One of these trade-offs relates to older Americans.

"Older Americans are not as tech-savvy as younger generations and will likely be affected negatively due to their more limited use of electronic forms of payments," says Nikolov. "Other vulnerable populations (e.g., low-income populations) who do not use mobile forms of payments are also likely to be negatively affected."

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Nearly Half of Older Americans Need to Get Schooled
on Long-Term Care Insurance



It's easy to think of long-term care as somebody else's eventual problem, but the harsh reality is that 70% of Americans 65 and over end up needing some type of long-term care in their lifetime. That doesn't always mean a two-year nursing home stay; it could mean a few months of home healthcare, or a stint at an assisted living facility that promotes independence. But either way, the cost of long-term care can be downright astonishing to those who aren't prepared for it. And unfortunately, a large number of older Americans may be in that very boat.

An estimated 48% of Americans aged 55 to 64 are not familiar with long-term care insurance, according to the Center for a Secure Retirement® and Bankers Life. And that means these same people might lose out on a key opportunity to make an otherwise terrifying expense a lot more manageable.

How much does long-term care cost?




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Best Vegas Casinos for Seniors

Believe it or not, when it comes to senior citizens and gambling, the older generations seem to have caught the gambling bug more so than the rest of society. It’s probably not that surprising, considering how popular bingo is among older folks, with bingo being played at casinos nationwide.

Plus, you have retired citizens who really just looking to get the most out of their later years. Taking a trip to the Las Vegas Strip or staying on Fremont Street and playing poker at the Golden Nugget is a perfect way to spend your time while on retirement if you ask me!

A lot of casinos actually have better promotions for senior citizens (people who are 65 or older) compared to what is available for residents of other demographics, especially in Las Vegas. And a lot of casinos boast about how friendly they are for older people. Below, you’ll find more information about the best casinos for older demographics in Las Vegas.

Visiting a Casino in Las Vegas as a Senior Citizen...


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4 Tips for Helping Seniors Budget on a Fixed Income

Budgeting is important for seniors on a fixed income

Today, many retirees don’t have 401(k)s or any other pension plan. As a result, many senior citizens will have to get by using just their Social Security earnings and possibly revenue from low income jobs. For those who had been accustomed to living well beyond that income bracket, making the necessary adjustments can be a tough process. Yet, with the right information and access to assistance programs, it is possible to get by comfortably when making less than $1,500 a month.

Eliminate Home Maintenance Costs

A senior’s money might be better spent renting a house than trying to maintain their homes they own. For seniors, the cost of maintaining a home is usually far greater than the cost of renting. If something happens, like the air conditioning breaks or the roof leaks, the landlord would be responsible for fixing them. In addition, the stress of rising interest rates can also be overwhelming to seniors. A one-bedroom apartment would be more than enough for a senior, or they could consider getting a roommate and renting a decent two-bedroom apartment. If they take the time to look around, and depending on their location,  it is possible to get a two-bedroom apartment for around $700 a month. You can search easily at  ApartmentGuide or hire a real estate agent to do the work for you. There is no cost to you for a realtor to find an affordable rental to live in. You can also utilize sites like Care.com to find reasonable priced assisted living facilities or nursing homes near you.




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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY JULY 28TH 2020


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07.26.20



On The Front Lines:
Our Healthcare Workers

5-6 minutes

As they handed me breakfast this morning, I realized there was something that I have not mentioned in this blog. And that’s the staff here, and in healthcare facilities across the nation who are part of this Covid mess as much as we are. Maybe more so.

I had a “chat’ yesterday with our administrator who said this quarantine/lockdown has been an immense strain on the staff and some have quit. I can’t blame them. Who would want to have to get tested twice a week, wear a mask for 10 hours a day, constantly having to wash your hands and having to put up with a bunch of stressed-out surly residents?

My failure to give credit to these heroes comes not from forgetfulness or apathy but because they have surrounded me, night and day, for the past 10 years and I have taken them for granted. They have become like the furniture, quietly doing their job while being inconspicuous.

 Usually we don’t get to appreciate the job these people do unless we had the misfortune to spend some time in a hospital. It’s only then do we observe their professionalism and dedication and their ability to stay cool under tremendous pressure. I know. I spent over two months in hospitals, and many more in nursing homes over the past ten years.
 
But my affinity for those who tirelessly provide those services began way before my tenure as a patient. In 1976, I fell in love and married one.
 
At first I was attracted to her because of her good looks, infectious smile, quick wit plus she laughed at my stupid jokes. But as time with her went on, I realized there was something else deep inside. Something I had never seen in other people. And that was the dedication to her job. I found it both fascinating and puzzling.

When we first met, she was a new RN at one of New York’s busiest city hospitals. I quickly knew her’s was not a 9-5 job. In fact, it was often an 11 to 7 job. Dating around her schedule was difficult, but we found the time. We spent much of that time at her apartment eating takeout Chinese food. A ‘date’ was a quick trip to Burger King. She was just too tired after work to do much more. This continued through most of our marriage. Unlike other jobs, being a nurse is not just what you do, but it’s also what you are.
 
Eventually we went our separate ways. But she left me with an affection not only for nurses, but for the job they do. Over the years I have been attended to by nurses of all races, colors and religions. I owe my life to them. Something I will never forget.
 
Now every person who works in a healthcare situation faces something they did not sign up for. It’s not the hard work, they know about that going in. It’s not the hours. Caring for the sick is a 24/7 job. It’s having to not only face death on a scale never seen before, but also the possibility that they could be next.
 
When you become a cop or a fireman, they supply you with all the equipment you will need to keep yourself and those you serve safe. But where is the safety apparatus for our healthcare workers? We have a kink in our supposedly “Best healthcare system in the world.”
 
If and when this pandemic is done with we are going to have to take a long hard look at how prepared we are to cope with a crisis if it should happen again. But most of all we need to make sure every person whose job is to treat the sick and dying has everything they need to do their job without fear for their lives…………………………..





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Coronavirus a 'Category 5 emergency' for
Florida's older population

By Dennis Romero

Even as young adults have been the recent focus of concerns about growing COVID-19 cases across the United States, a Florida senior living advocacy group is likening the state's skyrocketing deaths to the kind of destruction caused by a catastrophic hurricane.

"If the coronavirus in Florida were a hurricane, its intensity in two weeks has reached Category 5 status," LeadingAge Florida CEO Steve Bahmer said during a video conference Monday.

On Tuesday, the state Department of Health's latest figures for coronavirus cases among residents at long-term care facilities reached 4,798, a 139 percent increase since June 22. Cases among staff members rose 82 percent to 7,084 in the same time.


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Why COVID-19 Could Shrink Social Security Benefits


The economic fallout from the pandemic is so severe that it’s likely to move up the long-anticipated date of the depletion of the Social Security Trust Fund for retirement benefits from 2035 to 2033 or perhaps even 2029 — just nine years from now.

On top of that, the president and his economic advisers had hoped to include a temporary suspension of the Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes in the next coronavirus relief package. On Thursday, July 23, the Trump administration dropped this idea.

No question, Congress and the administration need to come to terms on another fiscal relief package fast. But cutting payroll taxes would have only created unwanted additional financial pressure on Social Security and Medicare, endangering some Americans’ retirement and health care security.


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80% of older Americans can't afford to retire -
COVID-19 isn't helping


    
More than 25 million older Americans are financially insecure - living at or below the federal poverty level. We spoke with a few senior citizens who shared about their economic challenges.

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Co-housing in retirement

Friendships and social interactions during retirement years play a key role in emotional wellbeing, physical hardiness and happiness, according to scores of scientific studies.

The National Institute on Aging says that older people with “social capital” — a term for meaningful relationships with family, friends and neighbors — have an 85 percent chance of being in very good to excellent mental health, vs. 25 percent for loners. As for physical health, not having friendships and social interaction is as harmful as smoking or obesity.

The challenge as you age: Friends and children move away, work connections fade, your circle of connections shrinks.

Enter co-housing (community housing). Think of it as social capital on steroids. Rooted in a dormitory-like lifestyle, co-housing revolves around like-minded homeowners living in independent households that are grouped together in a common space, usually attached condos or homes clustered together. Homeowners are typically expected, but not required, to prepare and eat weekly or monthly group meals in a communal kitchen and dining room. They share resources, like books and household tools, and organize lectures and outdoor activities.


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More from  "A Village of Idiots"

With a COVID-19 death in Florida every 8 minutes,
 this community fears who will be next

By Kevin Baxter

THE VILLAGES, Fla.  —

Jack Forst and Don Garcy have been close friends longer than most elderly couples have been married.

For years they were neighbors in Longwood, Fla., where Forst was a marketing and sales executive for a beverage company and Garcy ran an insurance office. For the last decade they’ve lived near one another in the Villages, a sprawling retirement community not far from their old homes.

But when they met at a Starbucks on a recent rainy weekday morning, their greeting was infused with the fear that has gripped many across this state.

“My wife’s in quarantine,” Forst called across the lobby.

Garcy, 84, nodded but didn’t speak, as if a bemused character in a John Updike novel. He had recently finished two months in quarantine himself, and has become so accustomed to the blue cotton face mask he wears that he sometimes tries to eat with it on.



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From the archives:

The Basics Of Assisted Living


What are assisted living facilities? What services do they provide? Should your loved one consider a move to assisted living? Here are the answers.

Assisted living facilities—also known as congregate housing, residential care, adult congregate care, boarding home, or domiciliary care—are suitable for individuals who need very little daily care. In terms of medical needs, little care might be considered assistance with medication or intermittent skilled nursing care.

Currently, nearly 1.2 million individuals live in the nearly 30,000 assisted living facilities in the U. S. In general, the average resident of an assisted living facility is an 80-year-old mobile female who has moved from a private living arrangement to the facility and has an average annual income of approximately $30,000. Individuals who require a wheelchair for locomotion, have a severe cognitive impairment, or show behavioral symptoms such as wandering are discouraged from becoming residents of an assisted living facility.


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<30>



NEXT BLOG MONDAY JULY 27TH 2020


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



07.24.20



All My Pills

5 minutes


I stared at the little paper cup full of pills the med-tech just brought to my room.
 
A large tan oval shaped tablet. Some smaller white and pink ones along with a two-tone gray gel-cap and a tiny red pill not much larger than the period at the end of this sentence.
 
Except for that small red pill, I have no idea what their names are. Although I know what they are for.
 
Two of them are vitamins, prescribed by our house doctor and given to all our residents at the start of the quarantine.
 
One is vitamin D and the other vitamin C. We are taking them to improve our immune systems because many of our residents eat a very poor diet and get no natural sunlight. I’m glad the doctor thought to do this and may have saved many of us from serious illness. For me, it’s just two more medications adding to a growing list of drugs I now take every day. Amazingly, none of them are for any actual disease. They are all regulatory drugs designed to control a bodily function that has gone a little wacky.

Ten years ago I was on no medication at all. And except for an occasional Tylenol, I took no pills. I’ve always believed the fewer foreign substances you put in your body, the better. That’s why I never was much of a pot smoker and have never tried “recreational” drugs. My only addiction, like many of my contemporaries, was nicotine. And even that I gave up 35 years ago.
 
Now, I feel like aliens have invaded my body, sent to enslave me on a cellular level. If I stop taking my meds my blood pressure could go so high my eyeballs could pop out of my head, my prostate would grow to the size of a basketball, my parathyroid would produce so much calcium I could turn to stone in a second and, without that little red pill, I could become so depressed my ability to function could cease altogether.
 
I don’t know for sure if any of that would happen because, after taking these pills, I don’t feel any different from before I took them.
 
There’s no sudden burst of energy or feeling of euphoria. I don’t have the urge to go mountain climbing or run around the block.
 
The pounding in my head hasn’t stopped because my head never pounded.
 
I still go to the bathroom more than I should, and my mood is as lousy as ever.

 I suppose that’s what pills are for. Not to reverse anything, but to keep things from getting worse. Which is kind of the way life for many of us seniors is nowadays.
 
Doctors, by giving us these pills, hope that, as long as things don’t go downhill, they have done their job.
 
That’s like a used car salesman saying “Yes, the body is rusted and the tires are bald, the transmission doesn’t shift too well and the doors don’t close, but the brakes are great so you probably won’t kill yourself hurtling downhill at 80 mph.”
 
It’s not that I have anything against medication. I despise them only because I know, as I get older, there will be more. And the day will come when they have given me every pill, applied every treatment, tried every procedure until there is no more and they look you in the eye and say “we’ll keep you as comfortable as possible.” Which is just another way of saying, “Here’s another pill.”
 
Bottoms up……………………………...
 
 

 



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Older adults excluded, underrepresented
in clinical trials for COVID-19

By Emma Stefanutti


Older adults are routinely excluded from participating in COVID-19 clinical trials, according to a preliminary study at Harvard Medical School. The Daily interviewed Marina Martin, an assistant professor and section chief of Geriatric Medicine at Stanford Medicine, to learn about the implications of elderly underrepresentation in clinical trials, particularly for a virus that sees 8 of 10 deaths occurring in adults over the ages of 65.

The ongoing study, led by medicine professor Sharon Inouye at Harvard Medical School, examines ageism in clinical research and shows that around 15% of clinical trials for COVID-19 systematically exclude adults between the ages of 65 and 80.

Martin noted that elderly underrepresentation in trials may lead to inaccurate data and additionally worsen crisis conditions for older adults, who are already among the most vulnerable to complications of the virus.


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Trump Outlines Actions to Protect
US Seniors Amid CCP Virus Pandemic

By Mimi Nguyen Ly

President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed his support to senior U.S. citizens and announced actions his administration is taking to protect them amid the CCP virus global pandemic.

“I want to send a message of support and hope to every senior citizen who has been dealing with the struggle of isolation in what should be the golden years of your life,” the president said at a press briefing. “We will get to the other end of that tunnel very quickly, we hope. The light is starting to shine. We will get there very quickly. But we send our love; we send a message of love—very important. We’re with you all the way.”

Trump noted that the median age for people who die from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, is 78 years old. He also noted that nearly half of the deaths have occurred among people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, which equates to about half of the COVID-19 deaths occurring “among less than 1 percent of the U.S. population.”


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Changing Perceptions About Aging
Means Changing the Words We Use

By Brenda Schreiber


Carol Burnett once said: “Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.”

Words matter. Words label and define us.

In the same way that none of us would expect to hear “old folks’ home” used today, so too do we hope to retire outdated expressions that no longer define the work we do or the population we serve.
Today’s older adults are redefining life after 50 with a renewed emphasis on the things that matter most. And we all should be right alongside them on the journey to what’s next, turning ordinary moments into extraordinary ones and changing the way we talk and label things in our industry, in order to break down long-held stereotypes.

Mather is known for purposeful and unique language. As with many in this industry, you won’t hear our team saying words like senior, facility, or unit. We’re deliberate in how we describe things and how we market our residences and services.

The careful use of language surrounding residences—and aging in general—is about much more than spin or euphemisms. That’s why all of us at Mather have long been advocates for challenging beliefs by changing up everyday language, which, in turn, changes perceptions of aging. The senior-living lexicon with words and phrases needs to be rewritten based on clarity and heart.





57,000 reasons why U.S. needs to
fire the top U.S. nursing home watchdog


With the calendar pages flying off to the fall presidential elections, why isn’t today an excellent time for President Trump to thank Seema Verma for her service and send her packing as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the Department of Health and Human Services?

Two news organizations — Vox and Politico — have posted detailed and disturbing takedowns of CMS and its oversight failures that have helped to worsen the terrible Covid-19 toll in the nation’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

CMS, for example, halted nursing home inspections as the pandemic broke out — with disastrous consequences, as the Washington Post explains in a separate report. The agency earlier had also acceded to industry bleating about tough regulation, with Verma and her agency relaxing fines on owners and operators for detected problems and easing training requirements for under paid, over worked, and already ill-trained caregivers. The training standards have gotten so lax that a reporter, in 40 minutes of online effort, became certified temporarily to be a 24/7 caregiving aide.



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The complete medication
management guide for seniors



Given the risk of chronic disease increases for all of us as we age, it’s not surprising that two out of three older Americans have multiple chronic conditions. These conditions often involve complex treatments, like juggling a handful of different medications. That’s why we put together this toolkit. This medication management guide will empower seniors, caregivers, and family members with helpful information about medication use, storage, organization, and more.

In this guide, you’ll learn how age changes our response to medication, and how to keep track of the medication you’re taking. You can also find out how you can reduce your medication error and drug interaction risks.

Throughout this guide, you’ll find tips for becoming a more active part of your own health care. We believe education empowers you. Of course, it’s important to always check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any new medication or make changes to your medication regimen, so be sure to ask your healthcare provider how the information in this guidebook can apply to your individual health.




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<30>



NEXT BLOG SATURDAY JULY 24TH 2020


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  07.23.20




Housekeeping

Every now and again I feel the need to do some housecleaning. Cleaning up some loose thoughts and observations that have been cluttering my wastebasket of a mind for a while.
 
1. Thank you.

 I’ve been meaning to do this for some time. I just want to thank all of you who have found an affinity with me and this blog to return to it day after day. And to all of those who have just discovered us, thanks for taking time to glance at us. In the past few days, the number of views to this blog has increased by about 50%. To me, that’s better than a shot of vitamin ‘B’ or free pizza.
 
I especially want to give a shout-out to you readers outside of the U.S. I’ve always found it odd that someone from Australia or England and even China would be have interest in what the life of a resident in an American assisted living facility is like. Perhaps it’s this world-wide epidemic that has piqued your interest in what’s happening on this side of the pond. Which brings me to this.
 
I will get political now. So if that bothers you, skip this part.

2. How can we be so stupid?

 I will come right out and say it. WE HAVE THE STUPIDEST FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH.
 

I love this country and would defend it with my life, but the people running it are dumb as s**t. They act (with all deference to kids) like kids. Spiteful bullies reacting to the most serious health crisis our country has faced in over 100 years, as if it were a scraped knee or a paper cut. It’s refusal to start a national plan that would mandate social distancing and face masks has been nothing short of criminal. Thank God we have (some) local leaders who have the sense to see beyond politics and do the right thing. But now even some of those folks have left me to wonder if we have all lost our minds.

I don’t have kids, but I like and respect them. They are our future and we need to treat them as such. That’s why this rush to get them back in the schoolrooms, knowing that doing so will cause the infection rate to grow, is insane.
 
Why isn’t the government (both national and local) listening to teachers and parents, most who will keep their kids at home no matter what anybody says? I don’t understand what effect a few months wait to re-open will have on an overall education.
 
We opened the nation’s businesses too soon and we are paying the price with more cases, hospitals bursting at the seams, refrigerated trailers to keep the dead and an out-of-control epidemic. And now we want to repeat it, but with our children as the victims of our stupidity.

3.Something I always knew.

I refused the dinner they brought around yesterday evening. Not because I wasn’t hungry (which I wasn’t), but because I will not eat hot dogs for the second time this week. I threw breakfast in the garbage too. Cold French toast (again for the second time this week) and a slice of ham is not my idea of the way to start the day. Lunch was just as poor. One BBQ rib (mostly grizzle) and a scoop of grits with a cup of cole-slaw as a side dish. It’s very disheartening. And it will never change. Unless we get a new administrator whose concern is not for the bottom line, but for the happiness [1] of our residents.
 
I received an email from a friend at another facility owned by the same company that owns ours. They told me the food there has been fairly decent and served on real dinnerware with real utensils. And what they told me next didn’t surprise me one bit.
 
A conversation they had with their admin confirmed what I always knew. Our admin is a corporate toady, and that’s just fine with the corporation who lets him do his fiscally responsible thing.
 
Money drives any amenities we get here. From recreational activities, outings and, unfortunately, food. While the dining experience has never [2] been good, this lockdown/quarantine which has kept us away from our friends has kept us away from a decent meal. In short, we are being served crap. The cheapest food made the cheapest way and served with a complete lack of civility.
 
When this is all over, I will yell and complain and post more rants and it will do no good. As long as our current management continues to choose profit over compassion they will never treat us the way we deserve.

Thanks for listening. I feel a lot better now………………….

[1]I didn’t use the word “wellbeing” because they way they have kept the virus away from us has been nothing short of exemplary and I have no complaint with what they have done.
[2]Never in the seven years I’ve been here.


 



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5,000 nursing home investigations delayed,
thanks to Covid-19

By Lou Michel

The New York State Health Department has a backlog of nearly 5,000 unresolved complaints filed against nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Citing privacy laws, the Health Department refuses to shed any further light on those complaints other than to say they are pending and under review.

While fighting the virus that killed more than 6,300 nursing home residents, the Health Department gave top priority to investigating complaints of infection control and immediate jeopardy. Other complaints – including at least one about a local fatality – have not received the same attention.

Continue reading >>  https://buffalonews.com/news/state-and-regional/5-000-nursing-home-investigations-delayed-thanks-to-covid-19/article_abaa7896-c205-11ea-8c7b-4f2c25860c00.html

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Senior living communities offer
residents many benefits

By Rebecca Maitland

Change can be challenging at any stage of life, and when seniors consider moving into one of Houston’s many senior living communities with varied levels of care, there are things they have to sift through when making choices about their future lifestyle, leaving their current homes behind.

“Residents are free from homeownership responsibilities — expensive, unexpected repairs, costly house insurance and replacement of appliances are things of the past. Our full-time maintenance team takes care of standard repairs in and around the apartment homes of residents,” said Pamela Burgeson, director of sales at Eagle’s Trace, a continuing care retirement community developed and managed by Erickson Living.

With regard to social interaction, a crucial factor in choosing a residence, Eagle’s Trace in west Houston provides many social engagements, as opposed to seniors being isolated in their home. There are more than 100 groups and clubs in a range of activities and interests so residents can stay busy, active, focused and engaged.


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Aging-in-place initiatives another
lifeline for our elderly



Amid the backdrop of protests and demonstrations, the steady drumbeat of coronavirus infection and death rates continue. For the elderly, it’s too often a death march as the virus continues to devastate the places where seniors are too often a captive audience — nursing homes, assisted living facilities, generational housing and veterans housing.

Just recently, families of veterans in the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home filed a $176 million lawsuit arguing that the staff violated patients’ rights through their failure to contain the virus. It has also been heartbreaking to see renderings of changes to the Chelsea Soldiers Home recommended years ago but ignored. It makes you wonder, had they been implemented, how many lives might have been saved.

Of the 8,214 deaths from coronavirus in Massachusetts, 7,995 were people aged 60 and older.





Senior Living Could Be Big In
London If Planners Would Let It



London and Birmingham will be massive markets for senior living, if planners can get their act together.

New research produced by Knight Frank and law firm Irwin Mitchell has revealed that councils across England are under-prepared to provide suitable housing for seniors, with London facing particular problems.

The research has identified 10 opportunity areas ripe for development of senior housing across England, looking at both private sector and affordable options. The data shows areas where demand is high but the barriers to progress have meant limited supply.

London is an increasingly ageing city and London boroughs exclusively make up the nation’s top 10 ageing local authorities, the research said. The capital’s over-65 age group is expected to increase by 32% between 2017 and 2029. Yet Knight Frank and Irwin Mitchell said London is underperforming when it comes to delivering housing for its senior citizens, with 22 boroughs rated low on their preparedness for senior housing.




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Previous "Basics" has discussed grovery shopping services. But what if cooking  is not your thing. Here's a way to get read-made meals deliverd to your door.


Best Meal Delivery for Seniors in 2020
By Amie Clark

Our experts share the ins-and-outs of the best meal delivery services for seniors. Here’s how to eat delicious and nutritious on any budget.

About Our Expert:

Amie has been researching the best healthy meal options and delivery services designed for seniors for over 10 years. As a caregiver, Amie saw her grandmother’s nutritional needs changing as she aged. She wasn’t eating healthy and some foods were becoming too complicated to cook. Below are her favorite options for seniors.

Best Senior Meal Delivery Service in 2020

    Freshology – Best Overall Meal Delivery
    Diet-To-Go – Best Healthy Meal Delivery
    Silver Cuisine – Best Weekly Specials
    Magic Kitchen – Best No Contract


Good nutrition is important at any age, and never more so than in later years. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meat or fish, and starches such as brown rice or whole-grain pasta helps provide seniors with the nutrients they need.




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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY JULY 23RD 2020


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07.22.20



Getting Tested. Finally


It was after 9pm yesterday evening and I had just eased into my easy chair when, after knocking, two aids entered my room.
 
One had a clipboard. Which usually means they want my signature on something. I was not wrong.
 
“This is a consent to allow us to test you for the Covid-19 virus,” she said.
 
“Right now” I answered.
 
“No silly, but soon,” she replied.
 
I signed without hesitation. Finally, after four months of inaction, they decided that it might be an excellent idea we (residents) get tested.
 
While the rest of the state, nation and world are falling over themselves to get everyone tested as soon as possible, it took 130 days for them to remember there were thousands of people in long-term care facilities whose lives depend on knowing if they have or had the virus, who they have never even considered for such a test.
 
Amazing.
 
Why? What are they afraid of? Were they worried their stats are wrong, and the virus has affected many more people than they cared to admit? Have they aligned (perhaps unwittingly) with the Trumpian,” theory that “the less we test, the less virus there is?”

The knowledge they will soon test us is the most encouraging news we have heard since this Covid mess began.
 
If all of our residents test negative, and we remain that way for 28 days, they may permit us to return to normalcy.
 
I’m sure they will still require us to wear masks when not eating, and we will still have to observe social distancing for all gatherings. But just the fact we will meet with our friends and eat proper food, off of real dinnerware with metal utensils, is a big step forward.
 
I can’t wait to see our halls and corridors busy with residents and staff coming and going from the various activities that make this place home and not just a place they keep old people.
 
These past few months have taken their toll on us. And it’s not just the isolation and loneliness.
 
It’s the feeling they have forgotten and neglected us and left us to rot while the rest of the world goes about its business.

I’m well aware we have a long way to go before we, and the rest of the world, sees a real end to this pandemic. And I’m aware that we will be among the last to receive any approved vaccine. And also, that those vaccines may not be affective against the virus in old people.

I am also mindful that many of us will never see this to conclusion.

But like survivors of a shipwreck clinging desperately to a lifeboat, that’s all we got…………………………
 
 







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COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the
physical activity of older adults



By now, we're all aware that COVID-19 is especially dangerous for older adults--the older you are, the higher your risk for serious illness and even death if you contract the virus. Because there is no treatment or a vaccine yet, it's vitally important that we practice social distancing and wear masks to protect ourselves from the disease.

But as we work to keep ourselves safe, we also need to be sure we're not falling into physical inactivity. When we cut ourselves off from shopping, walking in malls, and going to the gym and other places where we can exercise, we can become sedentary. Older adults who don't get regular exercise may become prone to chronic diseases, weakened muscles, and frailty.

Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil recently reported on the dangers of physical inactivity for older adults during COVID-19. Their paper was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.


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Is Trump Using Next Stimulus Package To Undermine
Funding Of Social Security And Medicare?

By Shahar Ziv


Could a payroll tax cut be a Trojan horse to undercut Social Security and Medicare?
Trump Demands Payroll Tax Cut For Next Stimulus Bill

President Trump has thrown an unnecessary wrench into the next coronavirus stimulus package negotiations by demanding that it include a payroll tax cut. Earlier in the week, his advisor, Stephen Moore, foreshadowed Trump’s red-line. “High-ranking White House officials have told me that we will not sign a phase four deal without a payroll tax cut," Stephen Moore, a White House economic adviser, told The Washington Post. "I have talked to several high-level people in the White House who said the president will not sign [the legislation] if it does not include a payroll tax cut.” Trump confirmed this view, although in his usual equivocal way, during an interview with Chris Wallace, saying, "I would consider not signing it if we don’t have a payroll tax cut."

Payroll Tax Cut Are Effective, But Not Against Coronavirus Crisis...


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Answers to the most pressing
second-stimulus proposal questions


... there are a boatload of questions concerning this second round of stimulus payments and what they might entail. While we don't have all the answers yet, here are some of the facts and/or clues we've been given to the 10 most asked questions.

1. Will there be a direct stimulus payment in the next package?

Although nothing is set in stone or even put on paper as of yet, the growing consensus is that there'll be some form of direct-stimulus component in the next proposal.

For those of you who might recall, the HEROES Act, which the Democrat-led House of Representatives passed on May 15, called for another round of direct payouts to Americans. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have all echoed this sentiment that another round of funding is needed, and it should involve putting money directly into the hands of Americans.


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A Village of Village Idiots

COVID-19 sweeps through Florida mega-retirement Villages community —
as residents ignore precautions


By Dartagnan


The Villages is a sprawling “age 55-plus” community in central Florida, home to approximately 120,000 well-to do Floridians, mostly retirees. Boasting “an amazing selection of recreation facilities and parks” as well as “many social clubs and activities,” the community is so large it resembles a small city, encompassing three zip codes.

According to Kimiko de Freytas Tamura, writing for the New York Times, residents of the Villages had, for the last four months, basically lived without paying a great deal of attention to the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged other areas of the state. Two-thirds of those claiming residence are registered Republicans (some of the more politically active folks within the community were recently
celebrated by Donald Trump when he retweeted a golf cart procession commemorating Trump’s birthday, notably highlighted by one Villages resident shouting “White Power!”). In fact, the political affiliations of Villages residents seem to be among the easiest to discern anywhere in the country. As the leader of the Villages Democratic Club, quoted in the Times article, explains, “You can tell who is a Democrat, who is a Republican by their masks.”

The relative insularity of the community and its physical distance from areas of serious Covid-19 outbreaks within the state had apparently, up until this point, prevented significant increases in Covid-19 infections during the first four months of the pandemic. Those halcyon days, however, appear to be ending, and for a hugely vulnerable population, the mounting number of cases within the Villages since the beginning of July has been alarming.




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How to Figure Out Your Blood Type


Ask a person of a certain age what their blood type is, and chance are they’ll know it offhand. From military dog tags to Cold War-era tattoos on children, the idea was that knowing your blood type could save your life in an emergency situation where you might need blood immediately. But what used to be a crucial piece of personal information that people could rattle off alongside their date of birth, home address and Social Security number, is no longer something everyone knows or remembers.

Blood type has been in the news again recently thanks to COVID-19. Initially, some thought there might be a connection between blood type and the severity of COVID symptoms, but a new study from Harvard University found that this is not the case. Even so, given all the other potential complications with the diagnosis, it’s a good idea to know your blood type. So, do you have one of the eight most common blood types (A+, A-, B+, B-, O+, O-, AB+, AB-), or one that’s rare? Here’s how to figure it out.

How to find your blood type...




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07.21.20


Covidwear 2020
6 minutes


This will not be a fashion post.
 
My knowledge of Haute couture, or any couture, extends only as far as an occasional glance at TVs “America’s Top Model.” And even then, my focus is not on what they are wearing. However, unless there is a clothing optional assisted living facility that I don’t know about, we all have to wear clothes. But what clothes?
 
Dressing casually has developed over the years.
 
Back in the day they considered a man casually dressed when his choice of neckwear was a bow tie and the piping on his coat was a contrasting color.
 
Even in my father’s day, circa 1930s and 40s, sportswear was a pair of pleated slacks and a short-sleeve collared shirt (usually white). Footwear may have been a pair of tasseled loafers. I never saw my father in jeans or sneakers, ever.

This pandemic has given license to some odd choices both in and outside the building.

By observation, they have stretched the term “casual wear” far beyond its intended meaning.

Take the guy living in the room directly across from mine. While his dress has always been “unique”, lately he has abandoned even his three-cornered hat, his pirate bandanna and pink sneakers for the very minimal attire permitted by social norms.  
 
Every morning at 8:00am the food service folks knock on our doors as they go from room to room handing out breakfast.
 
I know I have to be dressed when that happens. I allow myself plenty of time to shower, shave and put on a top, pants and shoes before I answer the door. Its common courtesy. Unfortunately, my neighbor has ignored that deference.
 
Ever since this pandemic began, I have been “treated” to that man’s idea of proper attire.
 
While his choice of morning-wear varies slightly from day to day, it rarely strays from the general theme. No shirt. Boxer shorts. No shoes. It’s not a pretty sight. His ultra-white, doughy, hairless torso back-lighted by the morning sun steaming through his window is something you can’t un-see.


I don’t know what the servers (mostly women) think of him or how much they look forward to looking at that every morning, but they haven’t complained, which is a testament to their professionalism and their ability to disconnect from reality. I try not to look for fear of spoiling an already disgusting breakfast.

Hopefully, the rest of our residents give more attention to their wardrobe than nature boy.

Before my retirement, my day-to-day attire was khakis (with a belt), and a button-down cotton blend shirt. My work shoes were usually something made of soft leather. I once had a pair of shoes made of deerskin. They were the most comfortable shoes I ever wore. Now, I wear sneakers with Velcro closures. I’ve given up shoelaces in favor of adaptability. I just can’t bend like I used to.

My shirts are mostly of the knit variety. Pocket Ts and polo shirts. Jeans have replaced the Dockers and I no longer wear a belt. I’ve adopted the “untucked” style.

Most of the other men here will wear anything as long as it has a team name on it.

Being close to the Bronx, anything with the NY Yankee logo on it is a big hit. Unfortunately, as a Met fan, I find it intolerable. But you will never catch me wearing anything with a name on it. Why should I wear a shirt with Ralph Lauren’s name on it if he won’t wear one with mine.




I can’t leave any post on senior attire without mentioning a recent story that made headlines around the country.

It’s a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of America’s youth and their ability to persevere against all odds when it comes to acquiring beer. And, not only that, I have to admire their observational skills as well.

While they could have just gone with the stereotypical garb of an old person, they did actual research and found just the right contemporary senior citizen look.

How come we never thought of that? ………………………..
 






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‘If It’s Here, It’s Here’:
America’s Retirees Confront the Virus in Florida

By Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura


As cases spike across Florida, the virus appears to have caught up with the residents of the Villages.
The Villages is a sprawling palm-tree-lined complex so big it has three ZIP codes, 12 golf courses, and multiple libraries and movie theaters, drawing affluent retirees from all over the country.


THE VILLAGES, Fla. — For months, many of the residents at one of America’s biggest retirement communities went about their lives as if the coronavirus barely existed. They played bridge. They held dances. They went to house parties in souped-up golf carts that looked like miniature Jaguars and Rolls-Royces.

And for months they appeared to have avoided the worst of the pandemic. From March through mid-June, there were fewer than 100 cases in the Villages, a sprawling community in Central Florida where about 120,000 people mostly 55 and older live.

But now as cases spike across Florida, the virus appears to have caught up with the residents of the Villages.


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Millions of Seniors Live In Households
with School-Age Children


There are many factors that state and local officials, as well as individual schools or school systems, are likely to consider as they decide when and how to reopen in the upcoming school year. One set of issues involves the myriad of practical considerations needed to keep students, teachers and others who work at schools safe, particularly those who may be at higher risk of severe illness if they become infected with coronavirus. Doing so is challenging, however, given the concentration of students and teachers in relatively tight spaces, limited budgets to cover additional expenses for personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical space reconfiguration, along with the difficulty in enforcing social distancing and safe habits among school-age children. For these reasons, there is a concern that transmission will occur in schools, potentially placing students and teachers at risk. Our prior analysis shows one in four teachers are at-risk of becoming seriously ill if they contract COVID19. So far, the effects of opening schools in other countries has been mixed.

Another concern is that children may become infected at school and carry the virus back to their homes, potentially infecting others in their household. It is still unclear how frequently children transmit the virus to others. While experts believe children are not the main source of infection in communities, transmission from children does occur. Evidence so far indicates that children are at a lower risk of infection, present with milder symptoms, and are much less likely to die from the infection compared to older adults, but they still could present a risk to others in their household, especially in households with people at higher risk, such as older adults and others with pre-existing conditions. To better understand how big this group might be, we used data by state on family composition to analyze the number of older adults with at least one school-age child at home.

Continue reading  >>  https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/millions-of-seniors-live-in-households-with-school-age-children/

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New online tool helps you prepare for
a tricky cost that may sink your retirement

By Sarah O'Brien

One of the trickiest parts of retirement planning is knowing whether you’ll need long-term care down the road — or how much it might cost.

While not everyone will need such care — help with daily living activities like bathing or dressing — those who do can face a big tab. Medicare — relied on by most retirees — generally doesn’t cover long-term care. (Skilled nursing care and rehabilitative services do get limited coverage related to certain hospital stays.)

“It’s truly impossible to predict if, when, and for how long you may need long-term care,” said certified financial planner Michael Hennessy, founder and CEO of Harbor Crest Wealth Advisors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Costs vary substantially, so it’s difficult to carve out the exact amount you may need.”




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WOMEN

5 Tips For Dressing in Your 70s


1. Fancy up your flats

Just because a shoe is flat, doesn’t mean it can’t be dressy. Gone are the days of boring, “sensible” flats. Today, there are endless options, from embellished and rhinestone-encrusted to laser-cut and brightly colored. Build a fun collection of flats to add interest and pop to classic looks.

2. Try new collar shapes

Blazers and structured jackets will never go out of style. But one way to make them feel current is to play with different collars. Make this wardrobe stable ooze subtle sophistication by trying a Mandarin collar, a standup collar, or forgetting the collar entirely.

3. Make an understatement

Personal style takes time to cultivate and requires the kind of calm confidence and self-awareness that women in their 70s are famous for. Flawless style doesn’t have to be flashy, edgy, or fussy. Sometimes the simplest looks are the chicest.


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MEN

How to dress in your 60s (and beyond)

By Nick Carvell, Harvey James, Faye Fearon

After 60, many men become preoccupied with trying to appear younger, whether that's through buying a sports car (approved), getting a younger partner (encouraged) or dressing like you're a teenager again (nope). Just remember: dressing to appear younger doesn't mean dressing like a younger man, it means dressing well for a man your age. And GQ is here to help show you how to dress in your 60s and many years beyond.

With any luck you'll find yourself with far more free time on your hands after 60, combined with an enviable expendable income - of course you're going to want to have a good time, and, more importantly, you're going to want to dress for it in comfort.

Suits will have less importance as you head beyond your 60s, and instead you're going to want to invest in smart, multitasking separates.




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07.20.20





I’m not the person who likes to hold on to old stuff. Especially if they no longer have any use.
 
I tend not to attach any sentimental value to inanimate objects.
 
One of my favorite TV programs is “American Pickers.” That’s the show where two guys drive around the country looking for junk to buy.
 
Sometimes, when they find something valuable and make the owner (usually some old goat who has bought nothing new since 1967) an offer that even a Corleone couldn’t refuse, they won’t let go of it. It may be rusty and bent and it’s been laying in the back of a barn for 40 years, but they want to keep it. This is when I yell at the TV, “Hey schmuck. They want to give you $5000 for a bent motorcycle frame, take it.” But they are so firmly stuck in the past, not even money can bring them to part with it.

I’m not one of those guys. I’ll sell anything I don’t use or can replace with something better.
 
When my mom passed, I couldn’t wait to get rid of the “stuff.”
 
The sterling silver service for 12 - SOLD.
 
The 10 place-setting china - SOLD.
 
Some ornate gold jewelry - SOLD
 
Even a mink stole and Persian lamb jacket. All gone. Sorry mom.

So why then do I still hold on to a relic of a bygone era? [1]
 
Why do I still have a checking account?
 
Because, like that old codger surrounded by old gas pumps, rusty Coke machines and a 1954 Plymouth truck, “I might need it someday.”
 
Even though I haven’t written a check in 6 months and only two or three before that, I still believe they have some value.
 
A check, handwritten, is something that directly reflects on a person’s character and values.
 
Checks are a promise. They say, “If you accept this instead of cash, I promise I have money in my bank to cover it when you cash it in. You’ll just have to believe me.” It requires the good intentions of at least two parties to make it work.That’s a lot of faith to put into one piece of paper.

Today, most checks aren’t checks at all. They are just some digits that magically zip money from one bank to another. People prefer that to something written by a human being. Go figga’. The recent stimulus check distribution showed how important and perilous that can be. There was money flying all over the place. Some went to dead people, some went to dogs, and some never made it at all. Fortunately, mine did. But even that didn’t wind up in my checking account.
 
I instructed the money to go directly into a savings account I’ve had at the same bank since I was 18 years old. I’ve had a checking account there too, but ever since online banking there’s no reason to keep much money in it. And in that lies the problem. As of last year, my bank (one of the largest in the country) decided they needed to squeeze a little more out of me by dropping its no-fee checking for accounts with less than $1500. I rarely have that at any one time in both accounts combined. So the bank, because of all the trouble it takes to maintain my $130 dollars, charges me $12.50 per month whether or not I write a check. It’s a reverse bank heist.

This is just another example of how the world has changed.

The schools no longer teach longhand cursive writing.  This means signatutres will no longer be considered legal and binding. Who wants to trust a signature signed in block letters?

And what about tax preparation?

I remember the joy of spreading my tax materials on the kitchen table and working way into the night, pen in hand, filling out each line on a five page 1040 form.

Now we do it online. and print it out. Nice and neet. I finished my last Federal Income tax in less than a half an hour. Where's the fun in that?

Now, I have a problem. I need to ditch the checking account and hope I will never have to write another check again. Or, I can try to find a bank that has free, no minimum, checking. The latter seems like a better idea. Like everything else I do that involves money, I need to research the heck out of it. That may take a while. If anbody has cancelled or moved their checking accounts let me know how that worked out. .................................


[1]Early personal checking accounts began during the Civil War but checks may go back to the 1600s.





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Food insecurity haunts seniors

As part of Older Americans Month, Feeding America® released The State of Senior Hunger in America in 2018, a study about seniors facing hunger in the United States. The report sheds light on the extent to which food insecurity – or having limited access to enough nutritious food to live a healthy lifestyle – affects our neighbors age 60 and older.

The report shows that 5.3 million seniors age 60 or older (7.3%) were food insecure in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. In Indiana, the food insecurity rate for seniors is higher than the national average at 7.9%

The findings are released amidst the COVID-19 pandemic when up to 17 million more people are expected to face hunger due to rising unemployment and poverty rates according to analysis by Feeding America released in early April. Seniors – who are disproportionately impacted by the virus – are now asked to stay indoors and social distance, making it that much more challenging to access nutritious food. In sum, senior food insecurity is likely to remain a public health challenge in years to come.


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7 Quick And Easy Ways Baby Boomers
Can Earn Supplemental Retirement Income

By Chris Carosa


Sure, it’s a cliché, but it’s also a reality for many retirees. Helping out in a low-key part-time manner at a big box retailer has long been seen as a comfortable way to stay active and earn a few extra bucks in retirement.

Covid-19 changed all that. Those friendly greeter positions relied on a vibrant retail economy. Safe distancing and remote working have dramatically changed consumer habits. Why take a risk when you can order online? And that assumes your state allows anything but grocery stores to open their doors to customers.

Baby Boomers need not give up when it comes to generating supplemental income during retirement. There are still plenty of opportunities available. In some ways, thanks to the now nearly universal acceptance of web-based commerce, it’s both easier and faster to start earning money, no matter what your age.


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IRS updates annual Dirty Dozen
tax schemes for 2020



The IRS on Thursday issued its “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for 2020, pointing out that it was placing special emphasis on aggressive and evolving schemes related to coronavirus tax relief, including economic impact payments (IR-2020-160).

“Tax scams tend to rise during tax season or during times of crisis, and scam artists are using pandemic to try stealing money and information from honest taxpayers,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said.

New to the 2020 list are “offer-in-compromise mills” and ransomware.

Here are the 2020 scams:




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How to Choose the Best Bank
Accounts for Seniors

By Tim Parker

Whether you’re looking for a new checking account for yourself or a loved one, it's worth the time to research checking accounts designed specifically for seniors. These specialized checking accounts sometimes offer features that you won't find in other accounts.

However, just because it’s labeled as a “senior” account doesn’t mean that it’s the better option. Sometimes a bank’s regular offering is a better deal, but you won't know for sure until you dive into the details for yourself.

The Perks of Using a Bank's Special Account

Whether you're a senior, a college student, or a small business owner, finding a specialized account that's designed for your situation can offer perks that you won't find anywhere else. Often, switching to these accounts costs little more than the time you invest in the search. Banks want the business of seniors, and they'll offer competitive perks to entice them to join. Look at some of the perks offered by well-known banks:



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07/19/20



4 minutes



I’ve feared for my life only once before.
 
 As I lay on a table, watching as a doctor snaked a camera through my colon and saw what looked like an abandoned mine shaft complete with debris, old lanterns and discarded picks and shovels. I didn’t like what I heard either.
 
Remarks like, “I’ve never seen THAT before” and “We’ll need a sample of THAT” does not instill hope for a quick recovery, if any.
 
The way I felt, and the way my insides looked, I knew things were not good. As I got up from that exam table and put my pants on, I was sure I would die, and soon.  
 
At first I was more angry than afraid. Angry at myself, the world, God?
 
But then fear took over and numbed me from head to toe.
 
I remember laying in my hospital bed wondering what my last days or hours would be like.
 
Would they let anybody know I was dead? Where would they bury me? Crazy thoughts spun in my head all night.
 
Fortunately, the lab tests came back negative for cancer, meaning I would live to see another day. Whatever they wanted to do to me after that was okay.
 
It was the closest I came to fearing for my life.  

That was ten years ago. I’ve not been afraid of much until now.
 
Knowing a virus lurks out there that has targeted and killed many of my contemporaries has brought back the same dread I felt that day on the GI floor of Forest Hills Hospital.
 
Adding to this fear is a feeling of hopelessness fomented by my government’s inability or irresponsibility to do anything about it.  
 
The denial that there even is a problem by people who are supposed to represent us when the facts are as plain as those polyps I saw during my colonoscopy is insane. And not wanting to test for it is even crazier.
 
Saying the more tests we do just makes the situation worse is like saying colon cancer will disappear if we just stop ramming that damn camera up people’s asses

Seriously. What’s wrong with people? Were we always this dumb? Is this the same country that all but cured polio, smallpox, sent man to the moon, invented the telephone and brought electric power to the world? Why the sudden disavowal of the truth?
 
Maybe we are devolving.  
 
How long will it be before we use bloodletting to cure disease and when do we throw our dead into the streets to be hauled away by some medieval body collector?
 
This frightens me now. This is why I won’t leave the confines of the facility. At least I know that (as far as infection control goes) in here it’s the 21st century, while out there it might as well be the 1300s.

Hey, I heard the Wright brothers are working on something interesting.

I’m going to devolve this weekend but I’ll be back Monday with more ugly reality. ……………………………….
 
 

 




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How Ads Do a Terrible Job
Portraying Older Adults


(In their new book, What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life’s Third Age, authors Ken Dychtwald — a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging — and Robert Morison explore marketers’ misconceptions and mistakes regarding older Americans. The book is based on surveys of more than 100,000 boomers as well as expert interviews and focus groups. In this excerpt, the authors show how marketers frequently misunderstand or lampoon retirees and other older Americans and how they could fix this problem. Full disclosure: Next Avenue Managing Editor Richard Eisenberg was interviewed for the book.)

Due to America’s obsession with youth — ironically formulated and solidified when boomers were young — most marketers direct much of their attention to millennials and Gen Zers. But those cohorts are predominantly cash-strapped, time-constrained and only marginally loyal to products and services. Focusing on the historically “sought-after youth market” is a costly mistake when today’s older men and women now have considerable wealth, time and interests to satisfy.

Ageism continues to blind marketers and prevent them from seeing the growth potential of the retiree market.



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About One Third of Older Americans
Receive Shingles Vaccine



The number of Americans aged 60 years and older who report receiving shingles vaccination had risen steadily since 2008 and has leveled off during the past few years, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Center for Health Statistics reveal.

The proportion of people in this age group who were vaccinated rose from 6.7% in 2008 to 34.5% in 2018, for example.

Rates of people who reported receiving at least one vaccination with Zostavax (Merck) or Shingrix (GlaxoSmithKline) varied by factors that included Hispanic origin, education, and family income. An unexpected finding was that rates did not vary significantly between men and women.



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Weight loss tied to loss of hip
bone density in older adults


Obese and overweight older individuals who lose weight have lower bone mineral density (BMD) in their hips, according to a study published in the November issue of Obesity.

Daniel E. Kammire, of the Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues gathered data from 77 adults (mean age, 67 years) at baseline, 18 months, and 30 months as they participated in an 18-month weight-loss program for a separate study. Specifically, the researchers collected data on the patients' body mass and body composition, as well as their BMD, trabecular bone score, and regional bone scores at the hip, femoral neck, and lumbar spine. Patients were classified into two groups: weight regainers (WRs) and weight maintainers (WMs).

The researchers found that of the measurements taken, only total hip BMD was significantly reduced during the 18-month weight-loss intervention in both WRs (3.9 percent loss; 47 percent of patients) and WMs (2.4 percent loss; 53 percent of patients). With adjustment for weight change from zero to 18 months and baseline characteristics, WRs were found to have slightly lower losses in hip BMD compared with patients who maintained their weight (2.6 percent compared with 3.9 percent for WMs) at 30 months, but the difference was not statistically significant. Researchers also found that change in hip BMD had a direct association with change in total fat mass and total lean body mass; however, there was a nonsignificant inverse relationship between total body lean mass and trabecular bone score.





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How to argue like an adult not on Facebook
By Brandon Hansen


During the pandemic, social media has been… interesting. Arguments are apparently still allowed by the State of Washington for now and people have gotten into a lot of them.

But I’ve noticed many of them are unnecessary or last way too long. Since we’re not face-to-face, it’s easy to get heated behind a keyboard. So, before your blood pressure becomes deadlier than COVID, ask yourself these questions to see if it’s worth it to get in a Facebook argument.

DOES THIS PERSONALLY AFFECT MY WELL-BEING AND LIFE?
I’ve heard reports by people I know that they were accosted for wearing a facemask. I dunno, maybe the masks help broadcast 5G or something. Ask yourself before you get in an argument or social confrontation, “Does this personally affect me?” Since we live out in the middle of Eastern Washington, where everybody has about eight square miles to themselves, the number of things that other people do that directly affect you are less numerous than oceans and NBA basketball teams out here.




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07.17.20

Tuckered Out

Beat, exhausted, bushed, spent, wasted, dead-tired, pooped, zonked. Call it what you want. I’m tired.
 
The last few weeks have taken their toll on my physical and mental health. I’m having trouble falling asleep and, when I do, I have trouble waking up.
 
I drag my feet and my legs feel like lead.
 
Some days are more exhausting than others.
 
Yesterday, despite the beautiful weather, mild temperatures and low humidity, I felt as though I had 10lb weights strapped to my legs.

 
And speaking of legs, mine have swollen so much they look like bowling pins. And while they don’t hurt, they itch like crazy. What’s that all about?
 
The doc says I need to walk more and keep them elevated. So, I drag myself around the grounds and sit on my recliner as much as I can. Personally, I think it’s my lousy diet that’s causing all these problems. I’m eating it.

 Mostly, I’ve had it up to here (I’m placing my right hand two inches above head). I’m in a grand funk without a railroad and no amount of Lexapro will help. The only cure is for me, and all of us here, to get back to our peeps, our Bingo, our shopping and our dining room. I need to see an entire face again unencumbered by a 1/4 inch of paper and rubber bands.
 
I want to complain about something else besides how poorly the state has treated us.
 
I’d like to turn on the TV News and not have to hear about the next stupid comment coming out of Washington.
 
I’d like to hug somebody or shake their hand or pat them on the shoulder without having to disinfect myself.
 
This is not a natural state for humans. And no matter how well we think we can adapt, the separation and isolation will eventually take its toll on even the hardiest of souls.

But mostly, I have to get away from this.


Yes. Another chicken dinner.



It looks like an early dinner and some Netflix, again...................….





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New study to examine COVID-19's impact
on the mental health of older adults



Rates of depression and stress have increased among the general population since the COVID-19 pandemic began. However, we know little about the current state of mental health of older adults (65+), who are at a higher risk for illness and death due to infection, and account for more than 95% of COVID-19 deaths in Ontario. They are also vulnerable to the effects of social isolation, such as depression and worsening of medical conditions, that may result from physical distancing - one of the main defenses we have in the fight against COVID-19.

A new, joint study by Baycrest and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) aims to deepen our understanding of this problem and identify ways to support older adults during this time. Led by Dr. Linda Mah, clinician scientist at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (RRI), the study will examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing on the mental health of older adults. In addition, it will look at resilience and coping among this group, both of which are known to support mental health. The study involves Sunnybrook, University Health Network and St. Michael's Hospital in addition to Baycrest and CAMH.

Co-leading the investigation is Dr. Benoit Mulsant, clinician scientist in the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute at CAMH and Labatt Family Chair of the Department of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto (U of T).

Continue reading >> https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200712/New-study-to-examine-COVID-19s-impact-on-the-mental-health-of-older-adults.aspx

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Long Island senior citizens
debunk myths of aging
By Cara S. Trager


Despite many senior citizens demonstrating their unquenchable desire for living an active life and doing everything from skydiving to holding top-level jobs well beyond their 70s, the demographic suffers from a negative image. The public generally pigeonholes older adults as technology-averse, not “woke” or engaged in political and societal issues, unwilling to learn new things and lacking a sense of adventure.

According to experts, viewing older adults through such a negative, stereotypical lens smacks of ageism.

While the public gives younger folks a wide berth to be different from one another — whether bookworms, star athletes, couch potatoes or musical virtuosos, no matter how differently older people act from one another, “it’s not enough to combat ageism,” said Toni Calasanti professor of sociology at Virginia Tech and a faculty affiliate of its Center for Gerontology and Women’s and Gender Studies.


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Coronavirus-related syndrome
surfaces in older adults;
stillbirths cause worry

By Nancy Lapid

The following is a brief roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

COVID-19 inflammatory syndrome now seen in adults

A rare and life-threatening condition seen in some children and young adults after exposure to the novel coronavirus is being reported in older adults now as well. The condition, known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), can attack multiple organs, impair heart function and weaken heart arteries. Children initially experience fever, rash, conjunctivitis, lower-limb swelling, pain in arms and legs, and significant gastrointestinal symptoms. Doctors at New York University, in a report on Saturday in the Lancet medical journal, reported a similar case in a 45-year-old man. Doctors at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn reported last month in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine a case in a 36-year-old woman. While both research teams cautioned against drawing conclusions from these isolated cases, they said they want to "heighten awareness" of the possibility that the syndrome can occur in adults.


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BONUS ARTICLE

Study of 17 Million Identifies Crucial
Risk Factors for Coronavirus Deaths

By Katherine J. Wu

The largest study yet confirms that race, ethnicity, age and sex can raise a person’s chances of dying from Covid-19.


An analysis of more than 17 million people in England — the largest study of its kind, according to its authors — has pinpointed a bevy of factors that can raise a person’s chances of dying from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The paper, published Wednesday in Nature, echoes reports from other countries that identify older people, men, racial and ethnic minorities, and those with underlying health conditions among the more vulnerable populations.



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How to Contest a Will: The Basics

We all know that a person can control who will own his or her property after death by signing a will. But when questions arise as to the circumstances surrounding the signing of the will, what can be done to challenge it?

The validity of a will is formally challenged in what is known as a caveat proceeding. A caveat proceeding addresses the issue of whether a will that has been admitted to probate should be declared void.

A caveat proceeding is effectively a type of lawsuit that must be filed with the Clerk of Superior Court. Caveat actions have their own special procedures (different from many other types of lawsuits) found in Chapter 31 of the North Carolina General Statutes. Any "interested person" can bring a caveat action. "Interested persons" include potential heirs to the estate in question (that is, family members who would receive property from the deceased person in the absence of a will) or beneficiaries named in a lost, destroyed, or prior will.




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07. 16. 20



Cautious Optimism
4 minutes

After allowing N.Y. State’s new guidelines for re-normalizing long term care facilities and the subsequent information-letter we received from our own administration to roll around my head for the last few days I realized, like with everything else here, nothing is a done deal. That’s because, what the state says we can do and what the facility says it will do, conflict.
 
While both memos agree on allowing facilities to accept visitors with certain precautions, only the letter from our admin. mentions anything about reopening our dining room and allowing some recreational activities to resume.
 
There was a sign, although small, that the facility may put its food where our mouths are.
 
Today, quietly and with no prior information. They invited a small group of residents to eat outdoors, together while socially distancing.
 

About 20 residents ate burgers, chicken and hot dogs cooked on the gas grill.
 
I only found out about it because I was looking out of one of our annexes doors and saw tables and chairs set up around the patio and smoke emitting from the grill.
 
At first I thought it might be something the facility was doing for our staff, which is okay. But it was not until I walked over to the cooking area and confronted our recreation director did I discover the reason for the tents and umbrellas.
 
How they selected the residents for this “experiment” or how they were told, I don’t know. All I know is, nobody told me.
 
This kind of secrecy is not uncommon here. As is their ability to be arbitrary and capricious. Last second changes in dining times and menu and cancellation of recreational activities occur regularly. Many times I’ve gone to dinner at my usual time only to find out they combined the two seating times, leaving me to hurriedly gulp down my food before they stopped serving.
 
It’s not that I mind the facility going outside the box. I only wish they would let us know.There is a very poor communication system here.

To the facility’s credit, they have “pushed the envelope” in other ways.
 
They now permit us to use the annex door to enter and exit the facility. They removed the caution tape and re-connected the automatic doors. This saves me a lot of unnecessary walking just to get some fresh air.
 
That is besides replacing the only microwave oven (removed because of the lockdown) and plugging in the two vending machines on our lower level. Residents can get a cold soda or package of Cheeto’s once again.

It’s not everything I hoped for, but it’s a start.

My only fear is the state will come in and say it’s too much too soon.

I say, it’s too little, too late. This should have been done two months ago.

I pray we can move forward, cautiously but quickly, and end this 4 month nightmare……………………………
 

 
 




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Social Security Benefits Have Lost 30% of
Their Value in the Past Two Decades. Here's Why

By Christy Bieber


Social Security benefits are supposed to be protected against inflation because seniors receive cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) most years. This is important as millions of Americans rely on them as a primary source of income, or even as the sole source of income in retirement.

Unfortunately, COLAs aren't doing a very good job of making sure retirement benefits retain their value. In fact, a disturbing new study from Senior Citizens League reveals Social Security benefits have lost 30% of their buying power between January 2000 and January 2020. And, sadly, this isn't likely to change any time soon, so future retirees can expect the value of these earned benefits to continue to fall, providing them with even less in their later years.

Here's how much the buying power of Social Security benefits has eroded...



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For older adults, soy & wheat protein
can't compare to animal protein


For older adults trying to build or maintain some muscle, all proteins are not equal. That’s the main finding of a new study from The Physiological Society that analyzed the gram-for-gram benefits of animal and plant proteins.

Derivatives from animals, such as milk, cheese, and meat, may be among the first food items that come to mind when one thinks of protein. But, over the past decade or so, veganism has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity. More people are choosing to forgo animal-based foods due to health, environmental or animal-rights related concerns.

There’s no question that a vegan lifestyle carries numerous benefits. But the jury is still very much out regarding a vegan diet’s impact on muscle maintenance and growth among older adults. So, the study’s authors decided to investigate.


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Covid-19 ‘Caution Fatigue’ Taking Hold,
But Most Senior Living Residents Satisfied

By Chuck Sudo


Living in a senior housing community during the Covid-19 era brings a host of hardships to residents, and providers have had to adapt quickly in an effort to maintain consumer satisfaction levels.

The good news — according to new survey data shared with Senior Housing News — is that residents do appear to largely be satisfied with Covid-19 responses. However, there are also emerging pain points as the pandemic drags on.

The survey of 2,000 senior housing residents and their families in Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah highlighted where senior living providers have excelled and blind spots in their response protocols, Jacquelyn Kung, CEO of the Senior Care Group at Activated Insights, told Senior Housing News. Activated Insights is a Great Place to Work Company, and the firm behind Fortune’s annual best workplaces in aging services list.



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Coronavirus: How to safely use a public bathroom
By Ann Marie Barron


As the state’s coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions loosen, and we begin to venture out to parks, beaches and outdoor eateries -- it’s bound to happen to each of us: Eventually, we’ve all gotta go.

But, just how risky is a quick visit to a public restroom? And can you catch the coronavirus there?

Science tells us there’s no doubt that restroom surfaces are infected by touch -- we wipe with toilet tissue after using the toilet, then spread bacteria as we touch flush handles, walls, door latches and other surfaces before we get to the sink to wash our hands, all the while spreading viruses and bacteria.


Yet, the current thought process is that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is not spread this way, said Dr. Philip Otterbeck, chief medical officer at Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC).



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07.15.20



EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday’s news that we here at the Asylum may finally see some mitigation to our 4 month imprisonment took me by surprise. So much so that I didn’t have much time to fully assimilate the information and form my thoughts on the subject. I was actually in the middle of writing about something completely different when an aid handed me the news. Because there is much in that letter to digest I will hold off any further comment until I can confirm some of the items mentioned….bwc.

And speaking of digesting…..



A Case of The Chicken Blues


I used to like chicken.
 
Chicken is versatile. It works well roasted, sauteed, baked, fried, boiled, broiled and barbecued. You can even chop its liver and use it as a spread. And you can season it any way you want.
 
So why am I down on chicken?
 
For the same reason I would be down on steak or lobster or pizza if I had to eat it every day.

Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. It’s not every day. But it’s served to us here at the Asylum so often one would think there’s a chicken coop out back somewhere.

Growing up, we ate chicken for dinner (as in most households), weekly as part of regular food lineup which might have included pot roast, lamb chops, broiled fish, chopped meat or a rare dinner at the local Chinese restaurant.
 
Sometimes, mom would sneak in an extra chicken-based meal in the form of chicken soup. She used the entire bird, including the bones. The meat (except for what remained in the soup), became dinner the next day or chicken salad.

 For many years I would shy away from restaurant chicken. I guess I was used to the way my mom cooked it and anything else didn’t compare. She had a thing for fresh-killed kosher chickens. It made a difference that you could taste.
 
Then one day, about 15 years ago, while driving through New Jersey, my stomach told me it was time to eat.
 
New Jersey is Mecca for roadside eating. Diners and fast-food joints are all over the place. I was sure there would be at least a Burger King or Mickey D’s just around the next bend. There wasn’t. The only place open was a KFC. I never ate at KFC.
 
But I was hungry, so I tried it.
 
To my surprise, it was good. The chicken was tender. Not greasy and well seasoned. I ordered the extra-crispy with some fries and corn-on-the-cob. I was hooked. Chicken had once again become part of my weekly menu.

That was until I came here to the ALF, or as I like to call it, “The place where chickens come to die.”

And now, if I never see another chicken dinner, I will consider my life complete.

It’s easy to understand why they serve it so much. It’s cheaper and easier to cook than beef. It’s also easier to chew.
 
Most of the beef or pork-based items are too tough to even cut, let alone chew. So, it’s groun
d meat or chicken.
 
And don’t think the condition will improve once we get back to the dining room. It’ll get worse.
 
But in the dining room we’ll have a choice of entrées. And choice is what it’s all about.
 
And just to show that I’m not joking about the abundance of chicken dinners we get, as providence would have it, tonight’s dinner is (so help me), chicken.
 
It’s time for me to get the cluck out of here……………………………………..
 
 
 


 




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Life Beyond COVID Seclusion: Senior Citizens See
Challenges And Change Ahead

By Judith Graham

Many remain fearful of catching the virus and plan to follow strict precautions — social distancing, wearing masks and gloves, limiting excursions to public places — for the indefinite future.

Mortality is no longer an abstraction for those who have seen friends and relatives die of COVID-19. Death has an immediate presence as never before.

Many people are grieving the loss of their old lives and would love nothing better than to pick up where they left off. Others are convinced their lives will never be the same.


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75 or Older? Statins Can
Still Benefit Your Heart
By Dennis Thompson

Older adults with healthy hearts probably would benefit from taking a cholesterol-lowering statin, a new study contends.

People 75 and older who were free of heart disease and prescribed a statin wound up with a 25% lower risk of death from any cause and a 20% lower risk of heart-related death, researchers reported July 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Based on these data, age is not a reason to not prescribe statins," said lead researcher Dr. Ariela Orkaby, a physician-scientist at the VA Boston Healthcare System and associate epidemiologist with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.


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Population of Older Adults Increasing Globally
Partly Because of Declining Fertility Rates


Older adults ages 65 and older now account for 9% of global population, in part because of declining fertility rates. This fact is one of the insights from the 2020 World Population Data Sheet released today by Population Reference Bureau (PRB) in advance of World Population Day (July 11). In 91 countries and territories—nearly 45% of the world's population—total fertility rates are below replacement level, the average number of children at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next in the absence of migration. And in 21 countries and territories, including several that have suffered devastating loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, people ages 65 and older account for at least 20% of the population.

This trend is most pronounced in Europe and East Asia. In contrast, many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and some in Asia continue to experience rapid population growth and high fertility rates. The population of 25 countries is expected to at least double between 2020 and 2050.

Published since 1962, PRB's annual World Population Data Sheet tracks global population data. This year's edition provides 24 population indicators for more than 200 countries and territories. Users can also explore key trends through an interactive map.

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Letter: Amid pandemic, senior citizens
should be released from prison


Dear Editor:

I read with outrage that President Trump commuted the sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone.

A press release from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., reminds us that Stone was “convicted on seven counts of obstruction, false statements and witness tampering by a jury of his peers.”





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The Importance of a Proactive
Approach to Estate Planning
By LAUREN C. ENEA, ESQ


I have always found it important to follow the motto “Hope for the Best, but Plan for the Worst.” When it comes to estate planning, this motto especially runs true. Today more than ever a proactive approach to handling one’s legal and estate planning affairs is essential.

There are a number of benefits to being proactive. A mentor of mine once told me that if I wanted to truly understand the concept, I needed to read Stephen Covey’s best-selling book entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” For those of you unfamiliar with this particular writing, Professor Covey’s first habit is to “Be Proactive.” He defines proactive people as those who take responsibility for their lives and do not find external sources to blame for their behavior or circumstances. Covey emphasizes that instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions or situations over which you have little control, proactive people focus their time and energy on the things they can control.

The different reactions—and frankly, stages of grief, worry and stress—we have encountered during the Covid-19 pandemic best illustrates the difference between proactive and reactive people. Over the past three months I have heard many clients, colleagues, friends and family say that they are putting off making any major plans and decisions, including seeking medical or financial advice, formulating their estate plans and drafting their advanced directives (such as Health Care Proxies and Powers of Attorney) until “things go back to normal.”




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07.14.20

BREAKING NEWS


Wonder of Wonders
Or, Too Good To Be True?


A memo from our administrator, delivered late Monday may be the answer to our prayers.

This is the first communication we have had for almost two months, and it’s big:




This is the best news we’ve had since the lockdown began March 15. And, while it took them long enough, It means there is a plan at last.
As the memo says, there are many hurdles to overcome including having all of us residents tested. Something I have been asking for for months and what they should have done weeks ago.
I am extremely glad to see that communal dining is included as part of the re-opening plan. That will go a long way in making this place livable again.

My only hope is that this is not just another piece of cheap, shiny jewelry dangled in front of as a a way to appease those whose voices could not be silenced any other way. ………………………………….






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Social Security Recipients May
Score Another "Raise" in 2020



Next month, Social Security will celebrate its 85th anniversary since being signed into law. For each of the past 80 years (payments began on Jan. 1, 1940), Social Security has been responsible for providing a financial foundation for our nation's retired workforce. In fact, it's singlehandedly responsible for pulling more than 15 million retired workers out of poverty each and every year.

But the Social Security program is also rife with problems and contending with more than a half-dozen ongoing demographic changes. According to the 2020 Social Security Board of Trustees report, the program is staring down a whopping $16.8 trillion funding shortfall between 2035 and 2094 -- and this unfunded obligation figure seems to grow with each passing year.

But demographic changes aren't the only worry for Social Security recipients.



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Senior living overlooked again as federal COVID
relief announced for nursing
homes, hospitals, dentists


Announcements from federal health authorities on Friday found the senior living industry still on the outside looking in as nursing homes, hospitals and even dentists were identified as recipients of new COVID-19-related resources from the federal government.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that it will deploy quality improvement organizations across the country to give “immediate assistance” to nursing homes in COVID-19 hotspot areas identified by the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

CMS also said it will implement an enhanced survey process to meet specific concerns in hotspot areas and will coordinate federal, state and local efforts “to leverage all available resources to these facilities.”


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Senior Living: The new normal,
and what the past can teach us

By Jo-Ann Mahony


While traveling one morning on Hampton Roads Center Parkway I looked up and noticed a sign that read, “The New Normal. Same Rules. Buckle Up.” I had to smile as a car’s engine revved past me, followed by a motorcycle, both vehicles challenging the speed limit.

Here we are at a new normal which doesn’t seem normal since dinner plates with broccoli still have to be cleaned before dessert is served. But now face masks and social distancing are part of our new normal, along with broccoli. Face masks have become the new political football. Retail and restaurants have restrictions that are foreign to us. We don’t like them. However, they have accommodated social distancing guidelines to keep customers safe. The guidelines are easier to obey than the COVID-19 consequences.

There are those of us who have experienced a new normal several times. Early in our lives we learned about foreign enemies and how we had to obey when there was an air raid drill. That could mean hiding under our desks or sprinting to an air raid shelter until we heard the all-clear signal. Was this fun? No. It was inconvenient but necessary, just as a mask and social distancing are today. Did fear and anxiety exist? Of course. How did we cope? We helped one another by respecting those in authority whose responsibility it was to keep the country’s citizens safe just as a mask and social distancing are today.


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BLOG BONUS

A blessing, not a burden – An Irishwoman’s Diary on
rejecting ageist stereotypes

By Una Mullally

There are so many reasons to admire the recent astonishing achievements of “Captain Tom” Moore, who raised £32.5 million (€36.5 million) for Britain’s National Health Service charities by walking 100 laps of his English garden. For me, one in particular stands out: that he did this on the cusp of his 100th birthday.

What Captain Tom achieved in solid hard cash for charity is truly staggering.

But what he demonstrated by osmosis is just as important: that older people can remain the thoughtful, ambitious, and driven persons they always were.

They do not, in fact, undergo a massive personality change once retirement age arrives, and they become less visible in society.

Continue reading >>  https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/a-blessing-not-a-burden-an-irishwoman-s-diary-on-rejecting-ageist-stereotypes-1.4302577


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What Senior Citizens Should Know Before
Going Ahead With Elective Procedures

By Judith Graham


People who put off care as COVID-19 surged are easing back into the medical system. Here’s how to know if it’s safe.

For months, Patricia Merryweather-Arges, a health care expert, has fielded questions about the coronavirus pandemic from fellow Rotary Club members in the Midwest.

Recently people have wondered “Is it safe for me to go see my doctor? Should I keep that appointment with my dentist? What about that knee replacement I put on hold: Should I go ahead with that?”

These are pressing concerns as hospitals, outpatient clinics and physicians’ practices have started providing elective medical procedures — services that had been suspended for several months.





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07.13.20




“I NEED A VACATION”
5-6 minutes


I can hear you echoing that statement.
 
I need a rest from all of this.
 
I need to get away from the constant barrage of negativity. The divisiveness and all those people in some states in our nation who didn’t believe the stats and are now paying for their stupidity.
 
But mostly, I need to get out of here. I mean really get out. Out of this building. This place that's supposed to be home but has become a prison.
 
I need to go to a place where I can take off my mask, not wash my hands after I touch something and not have to socially distance myself from other humans.
 
I want to eat a meal with friends. Shop in a supermarket (without the need to be quarantined for 2 weeks when I return).
 
I need to sneeze, cough and register a temperature of 99 without somebody looking at me as if I were Typhoid Mary.

Unfortunately, unless there’s an island somewhere, I can’t see that happening anytime in the near, or distant future. At least not for older people.
 
A recent article [1], offers more gloom and doom for the over 50 population.
 
Even when they approve a vaccine against the Covid-19 virus, it may not work on the segment of the population that needs it most. ME.
 
It is our old immune systems. Most vaccines work because they stimulate the human body’s own immune system into fighting the disease. Age-weary immune systems like ours weaken the vaccine’s ability to do that.
 
They can make vaccines for old people, but you can bet your wrinkled ass nobody is rushing to do that now.
 
We only hope that a “trickle-down” effect takes place where, because everyone else is immune, it lessens the chances of us old folks contracting the virus.
 
And, being the timid little sheep we are, we’ll sit quietly in our hovels waiting patiently for somebody to remember where we are, and tell us, “It’s okay to come out now.”

I haven’t been away from my hovel for a while.
 
The last real vacation for me was… well… I’m not sure.
 
I spent a long weekend in Southern New Jersey about 12 years ago. If that counts.
 
Mostly, I spent my mandatory two weeks close to home taking day trips or overnighters. Long vacations to faraway destinations are not much fun when you do it alone.
 
The best trips I took were with my wife. She was an excellent traveler, not picky and willing to try almost anything.
 
St. Maarten, California, Las Vegas, Canada, Ireland. All fun.
 
But after our divorce, I felt funny traveling by myself. I always had the feeling people were staring at me. Wondering who the old guy at the corner table was and why was he alone. Try a day at Disneyland by yourself. You will never do it again.

This pandemic has forced many of us to take a vacation. If you can call being out of work a vacation. Somehow time off isn’t much fun if you’re not getting paid. And it’s doubly depressing when you think about how long it will be until your next paid vacation. Two, three years maybe?
 
This virus may have changed, perhaps forever, the way we look at leisure time.
 
Will we want to go to places crowded with tourists knowing that the family next to ours on that packed Jersey Shore beach may spread the next virus?
 
Will we think twice about standing room only theaters, movie houses or sporting events? I’ll bet the travel and tourism industry is.
 
I know my vacation days are over. My time for travel is over. That saddens me. There are so many places I wanted to visit and so many people I might never see again. The lack of time, so it seems, makes a lousy travel partner…………………… .

[1]…https://www.moneytalksnews.com/why-a-coronavirus-vaccine-might-fail-people-50-and-older/?fbclid=IwAR1P5WeU7ayjoOgfCWuBAJwH0KGkzpGLstYCdakXHl4lFk7Faeu_e0r1kgk


 
 

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How Does the Nursing Home Reform Act
Protect Elderly Residents?

By Joseph Klein

Senior citizens typically enter a nursing home because their health and safety can no longer be assured if they continue to live independently. As a result, nursing home residents are extremely vulnerable to the actions of the facility to which they have been admitted. Fortunately, laws exist at the federal and state levels to protect our senior citizens. The most significant of these laws is the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA).

If someone you care about is living in a nursing home, understanding the NHRA can better equip you to ensure the protection of his or her rights, safety, and well-being. A compassionate elder law attorney will be able to address any concerns you have.

What are the Basic Provisions for Minimum Standards of Care Under the NHRA?
The NHRA was passed by Congress in response to a 1986 study which concluded that nursing home residents across the country were being abused and neglected on a continual basis. The basic provisions of the NHRA include establishing a set of minimum standards which all skilled nursing facilities must meet in order to be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid payments. These provisions cover eight areas, including the following:


____________________________________________________________________________

What Are The Risk
Factors For Elder Abuse?


As senior citizens age, their bodies gradually work less effectively as they once did. This often results in needing special care to smoothly get through the day.

Unfortunately, elders are naturally vulnerable to mistreatment as a result of depending on someone else for care. This is known as elder abuse.

Many behaviors classify as neglect and abuse, which means it may not always be obvious when an elder is being abused. Instead, it’s helpful to understand what the risk factors for elder abuse are so you can determine if your loved one is at risk.

Some qualities and characteristics make a senior citizen particularly susceptible to being mistreated. We’ll analyze the primary risk factors for elder abuse below.


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Complications following colonoscopy
more likely in older adults



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

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

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



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COVID-19 TRAVEL TIPS

This page is about travel that is different from your everyday activities, away from your local community. For advice on how to safely meet basic household needs within your local community, see CDC’s webpage about running essential errands.

COVID-19 cases and deaths have been reported in all 50 states, and the situation is constantly changing. Because travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
If you are thinking about traveling away from your local community, ask:

  •     Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going?
  •     You can get infected while traveling.
  •    Is COVID-19 spreading in your community?
  •     Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can spread COVID-19 to others while traveling.
  •     Will you or those you are traveling with be within 6 feet of others during or after your trip?
  •     Being within 6 feet of others increases your chances of getting infected and infecting others.
  •     Are you or those you are traveling with more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
  •     Individuals who have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should limit their travel.
  •     Do you live with someone who is more likely to get very ill from COVID-19?
  •    If you get infected while traveling you can spread COVID-19 to loved ones when you return, even if you don’t have symptoms.
  •     Does the state or local government where you live or at your destination require you to stay home for 14 days after traveling?
  •     Some state and local governments may require people who have recently traveled to stay home for 14 days.
  •     If you get sick with COVID-19, will you have to miss work or school?
  •     People with COVID-19 disease need to stay home until they are no longer considered infectious.



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07.12.20



3-4 minutes

When I saw this headline and subsequent story pop up in my news feed yesterday morning, I thought, “At last, a plan.” But after reading the article, I realized this was not the news I had hoped for.


While it’s great that the state has finally taken the emotional and psychological health of it’s quarantined and locked down seniors into consideration, their efforts fall far short of an actual plan to normalize the conditions in our assisted living facilities.
 
After 120 days of having to deal with horrid food, mind-numbing boredom, isolation and loneliness the best they could come up with is “Limited Visitation. And even that comes with restrictions. Whereas a 2 week virus-free environment is okay for the rest of the world, we residents, who have lived under the strictest infection control rules and regulations for nearly 4 months, will have to undergo 28 days without a case of Covid-19. That’s like saying, “We really don’t want you to have visitors, but there’s just too much outside pressure to keep you isolated any longer.”[1]
 
Not only have they given us a bone with no meat, but they have the Gaul to dangle it in front of our noses for a month before they allow us to chew on it.
 
But it’s what the ruling does not say that is more disturbing than what it does.

There is no mention of what’s next. Not a clue when, or if, they will release us from this nightmare.
 
I fear, by giving us this “too little too late” spec of consideration, they will think that’s enough to appease us and thereby lulling us into a false notion that somebody actually gives a damn.
 
It took four months for us to get them to listen. Four months for them to even respond to us. Four months before they recognized there is a serious situation occurring in our long-term facilities.
 
How many more weeks, months or years will we have to wait for them to drop the other shoe?
 
We are off Sunday. I’ll use the time to chew on this before, like my dinner last night, I spit it out…… .


[1] Editor's note: Some of you are thinking." But Bruce, they're doing this for your own good. They just want to keep you safe."  No, they are doing it for their own good. They are trying to soften the bad press our Governor has been reciving in regards to him forcing nursing homes to admit Covid-19 patients before they were cured thereby causing a life-threatening condition in those facilities. 





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No One Should Be Surprised That America
Abandoned the Elderly to Die

By Sarah Jones

The elderly pay a high price for America’s neglect. Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Trump is trying to move on. So are state governments. But the novel coronavirus isn’t finished with us yet. In Florida and Texas, hospitals are nearing capacity; to the west, Arizona sets case records. Behind the case counts and hospitalizations, deaths follow, and once again the toll will fall heaviest on the elderly. The virus is lethal for senior adults, but not only because the immune system weakens with age. Though most seniors live at home, adults older than 65 make up just over 83 percent of all nursing-home residents, and 93.4 percent of residents in assisted-living facilities. In these so-called congregate settings, COVID-19 spreads like quicksilver, and can claim dozens in weeks.

By mid-May, around 5,000 nursing-home residents in the State of New York had died from COVID-19. Elsewhere, matters were equally grim. By mid-June, ProPublica recently reported, the virus had claimed 5 percent of all nursing-home residents in Michigan. The total was even higher in New Jersey, where the virus killed 12 percent of the state’s nursing-home residents in the same time frame. Rising case totals in Arizona and Florida promise future suffering for the elderly. Both states are home to rapidly graying populations. Whether they live at home on their own, or in care with other people, for the elderly the next few weeks may be among the most critical of their lives.


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Older Americans Not Concerned About Drug Makers’ Threat,
According To New Survey From The Senior Citizens League



    “Lowering the cost of prescription drugs was a top election issue during the 2018 election cycle, and now voters of all political persuasions want this Congress to follow-through,” Johnson notes.

Drug manufacturers and some Members of Congress claim that allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices would limit funding for research and development. But a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) finds that only 3 percent of survey participants said they were concerned that drug makers would limit new drugs coming onto the market.

“There are a few Members of Congress who cite this argument as their reason for opposing drug pricing legislation” says Mary Johnson, a Medicare and Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “But there is little sympathy for drug makers among the public,” Johnson says. “Lowering the cost of prescription drugs was a top election issue during the 2018 election cycle, and now voters of all political persuasions want this Congress to follow-through,” Johnson notes.



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Struggling seniors need a
moment of joy....from you

By Marc Schollett


Over the past several months, chances are you have had to deal with a sense of isolation and separation. At times, that's hard, it's no fun, and it can be lonely. Those feelings may be having an even bigger impact on senior citizens at assisted living centers. As the pandemic has stretched on, those on the inside say it's taking an emotional and physical toll. Tonight, they are asking that we all help.

"It was a little tear-jerking in the very beginning to see so much of the same thing happening," explains Connie Hintsala, as she reflects on what she has witnessed and heard from inside a handful of Northern Michigan assisted living centers.


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Ringo Starr and Other Rock Stars
Reflect on Aging


At the Aging in America conference I just attended, the annual gathering of the American Society on Aging, most sessions dealt with heavy topics such as Alzheimer’s, senior housing and family caregiving.

I’ll blog about those in coming days, but today I want to share highlights of a fun panel from the San Diego confab: Elder Rock ‘n’ Roll Musicians Reflect on Aging.

While this one might not have had the gravity of the others, the standing-room-only crowd and I found it enlightening to hear what Ringo Starr, Keith Richards and the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh — all still performing — said about growing older and staying creative plus musings about aging from Joni Mitchell and Grace Slick, who no longer are.


To set the scene, as the three music-loving presenters — gerontological social worker Roy Earnest; Aging Better, Together’s President Janice Blanchard and Bunker Hill Community College Professor of Human Services Pamela Braverman-Schmidt — prepared to begin, an audience member shouted: “Can we smoke?” Another replied: “At next year’s conference in Denver!”



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3 Reasons Therapeutic Recreation
is Important for Seniors


Many seniors, especially those in long-term care systems, spend a substantial amount of time being cared for by various healthcare professionals. While frequent visits with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and other professionals are essential to maintaining good health, spending so much time discussing health ailments can become quite tiring. Therapeutic Recreation focuses on finding leisure activities that seniors can participate in, regardless of their health conditions. Patients who typically undergo therapeutic recreation include those who have physical, cognitive and emotional challenges as a result of an injury or disease.

If you are thinking about enrolling in Therapeutic Recreation courses, or you have recently started your program, read on to learn how therapeutic recreation can contribute to the health and happiness of seniors.

Therapeutic Recreation Improves Physical Health

During your Therapeutic Recreation training, you will learn how to create programs consisting of activities that can benefit seniors in one-on-one environments and in group settings. Seniors benefit from activities that involve light exercise, such as going for walks, swimming, or perhaps completing seated chair exercises. Such activities can help improve mobility, joint flexibility, agility, balance and much more.




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07.10.20

5 minutes

As we here at the ALF prepare to enter our 4th month of incarceration (I’m no longer using “quarantine” or “lockdown” as euphemisms for what it really is, a jail sentence) I wonder if there is anybody willing to listen to us.
 
I know nobody is listening to me. At least nobody with any power to do anything about this situation they have put us in.
 
And that’s okay. Who am I but an itinerant blogger plying his wares in the cruel and often indifferent wilderness of the internet.
 
Anybody who has ever written an article for a magazine, newspaper or blog, wonders who and how many people will not only read and understand his words, but act upon them.
 
More often than not, especially for internet bloggers, what we write disappears as fast as one can click the “next” button.
 
That is why people who are angry (or insane) enough to put their thoughts online must be able to get their point across quickly, fervently and with as few words as possible. Online readers are not known for their long attention spans.

The origins of this blog go back almost 7 years when, as a new resident here, I needed something to occupy my time and to make me feel better about myself.  
 
I thought a blog focusing on life in an assisted living facility might interest some people who were residents or potential residents contemplating a move. Other were other blogs, written by professionals and paid for by the facility, that were biased, sugar-coated fluff. Those blogs are still out there and, while they pretend to be informative, are nothing more than an infomercial for their residence.  
 
I wanted people to know what they are getting themselves into. Not to frighten them away or to discourage but help them make an informed decision. Moving to an ALF is a life-changing experience and they should not do it without considerable thought.

As time passed, I realized assisted living was too narrow a subject to sustain people’s interest. And besides, there’s not that much fresh information regularly to sustain a daily, weekly or even a monthly blog. I needed to expand.
 
Being that my target audience were seniors, why not a blog merging stories and information just for them? So far, it’s worked out well. And, while there aren’t the thousands, or even the hundreds of readers I would have liked, there are enough of you to make me want to continue. And for that, I thank you. But, as of late, I’m having some second thoughts. While I appreciate every one of you, I feel I am, as they say, preaching to the choir.
 
When the country’s interest is focused on all things virus, America’s most vulnerable citizens are being denigrated and even vilified. For many, we are both the cause and the reason we can’t control the virus. And to make things worse, people now think it’s okay to treat us as pariahs who are draining the resources of the nation.
 
So it’s all right to lock us up and throw away the key. Serve us awful food and take away our freedoms. What the heck, we have no voice, anyway.
 
None of my posts go “viral.” I guess I’m just not cute enough, or hip enough or controversial enough to warrant any notice.
 
Maybe I should show pictures of abused kittens or videos of guys getting hit in the groin by a three-year-old quarterback to get people’s attention. Because abused old people doesn’t seem to be enough to inspire a nation to action.
 
I could use a stiff drink, but they won’t let me.……………………………………. 
 
 




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COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes are Not Unavoidable —
They are the Result of Deadly Discrimination


We as a society must reckon with our relentless marginalization and de-prioritization of people with disabilities and the people who support them.


COVID-19 has ripped through nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals, and other congregate settings for people with disabilities. People living in these settings make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, but nearly 50 percent of COVID-19 deaths.
 
Some have said these deaths are inevitable. Some have even called for “weeding out the weak” as part of herd mentality. But these deaths are far from inevitable. They arise from decades of indifference, invisibility, and deadly discrimination against the people who live and work in these settings. They also arise from our government’s abdication of its responsibility to regulate and monitor these segregated institutions.  


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79% of assisted living providers report 1 or more residents
leave their assisted living communities in
New York for outside visitation or services



State regulations continuing to prohibit outdoor visitation; on-site services compel residents to leave communities for services and support


It has been nearly four months since New York-based assisted-living communities closed to outside visitors and temporarily suspended in-community services like hair salons. As New York continues its phased reopenings, which now allow for outdoor dining, hair and nail services, assisted living residents are being forced to leave their communities to visit loved ones, and to receive services such as hair appointments – two freedoms typically allowed in assisted living communities, which provide a more independent model of long-term care.

Without any immediate timeframe for outdoor visitation to begin, many assisted living residents have begun to leave their communities for family visits, medical appointments, hair and nail appointments and dining at restaurants, increasing the risk of contracting COVID-19 and infecting other residents, employees, and the assisted living community as a whole.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________


Complications following colonoscopy
more likely in older adults


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

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

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


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BONUS ARTICLE

‘The Bachelor’ Senior Citizen Spinoff
 Still in the Works at ABC

By Elizabeth Wagmeister



“The Bachelor” franchise has had 40 seasons of its two flagship dating shows and spawned a number of spinoffs from “Bachelor in Paradise” to the raunchier “Bachelor Pad” to a romantic singing competition show and even a Winter Olympics-inspired series. All of those shows have one thing in common, which is the cast members are typically in their 20s. But that could all change with a new spinoff that Variety hears is a hot idea at the network: a senior citizens version of the long-running dating show.

Earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic forced the entertainment industry and the world into quarantine, ABC teased a casting call, airing a promo that read, “Now casting seniors looking for love.”

The prospect of “The Bachelor” for Baby Boomers gained a considerable amount of speculation online. But after that promo ran, no word has been spoken of the senior citizen spinoff. A few weeks after the casting call was announced, the coronavirus crisis halted most productions in Hollywood, including “The Bachelor” and its spinoffs.



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Retirement communities:
independent or assisted living?


As you begin your search for a senior living residence, it can be overwhelming to navigate through so many options.

By learning the differences between independent and assisted living communities, you can be sure to make the right choice for you or your loved one. Senior independent living communities offer options for seniors who are independent with few medical problems. These types of communities are ideal for seniors who are ready to move out of their family home, downsize their living space and simplify their daily living.

A retirement community such as Hearthstone Communities in Woodstock offers a wide range of living options, including independent, assisted and healthcare.

Independent Living at Hearthstone is for seniors over 55 who desire the conveniences of living within a community that provides services and amenities such as housekeeping, social activities, dining, transportation, and security. It’s perfect for those who are looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle!




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07.09.20



Is Our Diversity Killing Us?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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





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


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

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

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


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

By Katherine Marko


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

What’s so special about apple cider vinegar?

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


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During COVID-19, a Catch-22
for Grandfamilies


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

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

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


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Complications following colonoscopy
more likely in older adults



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

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

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




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10 tips to start your family history journey


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

1. Start your family tree

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

2. Search your home for scrapbooks...



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07.09.20



Doing Time In Yonkers
By Inmate 1680557

5 minutes

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


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

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

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

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






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


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

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

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



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These 13 States
Tax Social Security Benefits
By Sean Williams


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


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

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



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

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

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

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



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Best Grocery Delivery Plans for Seniors

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

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

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



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07.07.20



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

4 minutes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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Nursing homes ‘dumping’ residents and
 defying ordered safeguards


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

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

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




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

By Chuck Sudo


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

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

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



________________________________________________________


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



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

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


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



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BONUS ARTICLE

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


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

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

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

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




* * * *




2020 List of Senior Discounts for Restaurants

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


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

2020 List of Senior Discounts Restaurants

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

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

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

Backyard Burger: Free drink with purchase

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





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07.06.20



A Loud And Lonely 4th
5 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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






* * * *






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


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

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



________________________________________________

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

By Miriam Wasse, Kimberly Atkins

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

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


________________________________________________

Seniors With These 5 Diseases Are
Most Often Hospitalized for Coronavirus

By Chris Kissell

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

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

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

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



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BONUS ARTICLE

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

By Sandee LaMotte

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

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

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



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Quote








A Loud And Lonely 4th
5 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Insert poster here


* * * *






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


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

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




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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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




BONUS ARTICLE

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

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

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

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



* * * *




Home cures while on quarantine
By Vaughn Alviar

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

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

Help yourself sweat by drinking hot beverages.

Water with lemon can do wonders for the body.

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





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07.05.20



Like No Other July 4th Ever
5 minutes

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

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

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

People will still “celebrate.”

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

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

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

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

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

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






* * * *





What It's Like to Recover From the Coronavirus


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

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

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


___________________________________________________________________________________

Health history might predict life
expectancy in seniors with diabetes



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

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

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


_______________________________________________________________________________

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


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

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

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



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

4TH OF JULY BONUS ARTICLE

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


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

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

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



* * * *




Is Your Family Eligible for Food Stamps?

Use SNAP Program Benefits at Your Local Grocery Store


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



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07.03.20


6 minutes


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

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

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

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

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




* * * *





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


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

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

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



_____________________________________________________

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


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

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


_______________________________________________________

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



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

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

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



* * * *






Preparing and Organizing Legal Documents for the Future

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

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

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

What Exactly Is an "Important Paper"?




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NEXT BLOG SATURDAY JULY 4TH 2020


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07.02. 20



Who’s That Masked Man?
Why, It’s Me

6 minutes

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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






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

By Alessandra Malito


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

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

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


_______________________________________________________________________

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

by Amy Norton

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

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

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

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


___________________________________________________________________________

How COVID-19 Reveals the Caregiving Mystique


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

Why? Because caregiving is the modern-day mystique.

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



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

By Andy Markowitz



1. Choose the right fabric

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

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

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


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07.01.20



Still Driving?
7-8 minutes

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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







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

By Jeniffer Solis

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

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

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


_______________________________________________________________________

Isolation getting harder for older adults,
could have health impact

By Haley Hernandez, Andrea Slaydon


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

Connecting with neighbors

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

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

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


_____________________________________________________________________

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

By Katherine Ellison


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

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

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

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


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BONUS ARTICLE

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

By DOUG THOMPSON


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

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

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




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Practical changes can help older
drivers stay on the road safely


7 tips for driver safety


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

1. Stay physically active


2. Schedule regular vision and hearing tests


3. Manage medications


4. Understand your limitations


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


6. Stash your cellphone and focus on the road


7. Update your driving skills




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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY JULY 2ND 2020


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06.30.20


How’s Your Health (Insurance)?
8 minutes

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

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

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

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


 



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







* * * *






Trump’s Geriatric Race War
By Jeet Heer

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

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

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



______________________________________________________________________________________________



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



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

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

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


______________________________________________________________________

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


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

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

Now what?

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

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



_________________________________________________________________________

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

By Carlos Christianhttps

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

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

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


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BONUS ARTICLE

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



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

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

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




* * * *



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

Learn More About Medicare Coverage


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

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

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

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

What Does Medicare Cover?  Read more >> 


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06.29.20



The Other Issue
Confronting America



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh. I know where they are.

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

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





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Payroll Tax Cuts Worsen Social Security
and Medicare Funding Issues

By Mary Johnson

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


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

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


___________________________________________________________________

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



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

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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BONUS ARTICLE

In 2020, Reviving the Spirit of FDR


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

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

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


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




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

By Bonnie Marcus

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


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

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



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




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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY JUNE 30TH 2020


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



06.28.20



The News Is Not
Good for ALF Residents

7-8 minutes

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

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


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




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

New York

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

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

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

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

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




 


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Virus cases surge among the young,
 endangering older adults

By CARLA K. JOHNSON and TAMARA LUSH


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

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

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



_________________________________________________________________________


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

By Debra Hallisey


It is not a comfortable feeling.

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

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


_________________________________________________________________________

Elder abuse appears to be climbing
during the pandemic

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

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

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


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BONUS ARTICLE

Yes, Somebody Does Want Your Stuff


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

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

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




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Resources for Help With Energy Costs This Summer

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

Assistance to pay your heating or cooling bills.

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

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

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

See If You Are Eligible For Help With Energy Bills:

 


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06.26.20



Diet and Exercise?

5 minutes

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

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

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

 

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

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




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


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

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

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


_____________________________________________________________________

This stimulus plan would exclude
most Social Security retirees


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

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

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


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

5 Ways the Coronavirus May Impact
Long-Term Care Insurance


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

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

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


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BONUS ARTICLE


'Granny Pods' Allow Grandma to Live in Your Backyard



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

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

What Is a Granny Pod?

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




Choosing the Right Pet for You

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

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

Checklist for Choosing a New Pet….



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06.25.20


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

5 minutes


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

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

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

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





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

By Karen Weintraub


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

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

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


__________________________________________________________________________

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

By Rosalind Adams and Ken Bensinger

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

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

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

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


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

By Chuck Sudo

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

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

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


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BONUS ARTICLE

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

By Rebecca Ward


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

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

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





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How to Retrofit Your Home for Seniors

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


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

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

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




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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY JUNE 26TH 2020


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06.24.20




 Independent Day

4-5 minutes



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

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

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

I have rarely depended on anybody for anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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









EDITOR’S NOTE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

by Dee Pekruhn

7-8 minutes

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

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

“Reopening" to Visitors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resident Requirements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Communal Dining and Activities

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

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

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

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





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Tips And Tricks For Successful Senior Independent Living

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


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

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



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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY JUNE 25TH 2020


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06.23.20


Familiar Words That
Breed Contempt

7 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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Know the signs of elder abuse
and exploitation


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

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

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

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

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

● Suspicious changes to a senior’s financial condition.

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

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

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



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

by Matthew Paddock

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

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

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


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Senior Living Communities Now
Being Rated On Inclusiveness

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


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


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

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

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






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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY JUNE 24TH 2020


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06.22.20



The Truth Hurts.
Even On Father’s Day


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s when all hell broke loose.

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

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

With that, she walked over to our head administrator.

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

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

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

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

But he would not let it go.

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

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

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

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

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



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Victims And Villains And Pawns.
Oh My.

6 minutes

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

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

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

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








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When Decluttering Your Stuff
Never Let Go of These 5 Things


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

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

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



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

By Frederick Melo

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

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

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

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

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

By Dayne Marae

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

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

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

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


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Most Enjoyable Jobs for Older Workers

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

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

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


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BONUS ARTICLE

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

By Caleb Pershan

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

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

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







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06.21.20


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

4 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

Until Monday………………………..

 




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Restless Leg Syndrome:
Everything You Need To Know

By:  Varsha Vats


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

 
Restless leg syndrome is a kind of sleep disorder


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

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



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Social Security Unveils Redesigned Retirement
 Benefits Portal at socialsecurity.gov




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

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

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

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

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



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What Is Elder Justice And Why Do We Need It?


Right now, the idea of justice is on the minds and hearts of the masses.

Justice is sought for anyone who is wronged. Justice can be defined by an individual and looks differently for everyone. Acts of injustice are seen on large scales against historically marginalized groups: People of color. Indigenous people. Immigrants. People living in poverty. The LGBTQ community. People with disabilities. Women. People of different faiths. And elders.

It’s up to everyone to keep the elders in our communities safe.

Elders are subject to mistreatment and abuse at rates unknown to many. Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans over 60 are abused, neglected or exploited. Research estimates that one out of every 10 people age 60 and older are victims of abuse every year. This cruelty, referred to as elder abuse, comes in the form of physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse; abandonment and neglect.


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Trump Is Losing His Hold
 on the Senior Vote

By Bruce Bartlett


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

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






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06.19.20



I’m So Tired Of This
4 minutes

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

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

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

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

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

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




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Retiring After 65?
How to Avoid Costly Medical Bills


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

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




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

By Maurie Backman


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

Social Security benefits aren't free from taxation

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


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

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Senior Living Industry Confronts
New Infection Control Reality

By Chuck Sudo


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

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

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


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The Future of Aging in America


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

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


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BONUS ARTICLE

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


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

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

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






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06.18.20


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

7 minutes


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

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


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

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

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

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

Do not be afraid to ask for a break on the rent for as long as the restrictions stay in place. After all, you are not getting what they advertised. Also ask for a private room, if t