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IT'S SATURDAY JUNE 19TH, 2021

 IN QUARANTINE FOR - 1YR + 3 MONTHS AND 5 DAYS







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    JUNE 19, 2021

It’s that day again. For some it's the day they have been waiting for all week. For others, it’s just another boring COVID-19-quarantine-lockdown day. But the one thing we all have in common is the NEWS. Continually changing and always interesting. And that is why, every Friday, we take a break from the usual blog dribble and bring to you….





SENIOR NEWS


Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2022
could be higher based on rising consumer prices

By Lorie Konish


Rising consumer costs have helped push the latest estimate for next year’s Social Security cost-of-living adjustment to 5.3%.


Whether that will actually be the bump retirees see to their monthly checks in 2022 depends a lot on the economy, including whether the Federal Reserve decides to raise interest rates.

The 5.3% estimate was calculated by The Senior Citizens League, a non-partisan senior group, based on Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics through May.





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At Social Security, the deck is
stacked against the disabled

By David Weaver

The Biden administration recently released its first official budget plan, which recommends a 9.7 percent increase in the administrative budget of the Social Security Administration (SSA). This increase in top-line funding would partially reverse the chronic underfunding of the agency by Congress (SSA's core operating budget, adjusted for inflation, fell 13 percent from 2010 to 2021, while the number of beneficiaries SSA serves grew by 22 percent). However, problems with SSA's administrative funding go beyond insufficient funding of top-line numbers.

Increasingly, Congress has directed funding away from service delivery to disability reviews that remove individuals from the rolls based on SSA's assessment of medical improvement. This trend came about because of a peculiar “Inside the Beltway” dynamic where SSA was desperate for administrative funds and Congress saw reviews as a politically acceptable way to reduce the disability rolls. Using the argument that disability reviews, on net, saved the government money, Congress exempted their administrative costs from budget caps. Last year, the appropriators earmarked $1.6 billion of SSA's administrative budget for disability and other reviews.


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Helping seniors find discounted
high-speed internet services

By Jim Miller

Do you know where I can find cheaper high-speed internet services for my home? I’m 70-years old and live strictly on my Social Security and would like to find something faster and less expensive than I currently have.




There are actually two new resources available today that can help you save money on your home internet services, but what’s available to you will depend on your income level and where you live. Here’s where to begin.

Internet Discounts

Depending on your financial situation, a good first step to reducing your home internet costs is through the new Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program. This is a temporary federal benefit that provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands.


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Survey Found Senior Citizens Prefer
Texting with Emojis Over Phone Chats

By Alan Ball


More seniors are finding the speed of texting and sending emojis more fun that phone chats with their grand-kids. A study by the market research company ‘Onepoll’ surveyed 2,000 Americans, half of which were over 65 revealed that they bond with their grandkids using emojis.  The most popular emojis among seniors are the heart, the happy face, beer, and various animals.



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THE WORLD


'I did what I came to do': Biden,
Putin leave summit with agreements,
but clear tensions remain



President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin are expected to talk for four to five hours.

Biden has tried to lower expectations for the meeting . He isn't expecting many deliverables
.
Putin has met five U.S. presidents since coming to power in 1999.

Biden has described Putin as "a worthy adversary."


President Joe Biden struck a firm but mostly conciliatory tone Wednesday as he described talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Geneva, but he made clear the two nations remained a world apart on issues including digital espionage and human rights.

"The bottom line is I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by," Biden told reporters after his meeting with Russia's leader in Switzerland. It lasted three hours.


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Kim Jong Un warns of 'tense' food
situation in North Korea,
extended COVID-19 restrictions

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned about possible food shortages and urged the country to brace for extended COVID-19 restrictions as he opened a major political conference to discuss national efforts to salvage a broken economy.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency also said Wednesday that Kim called for discussions on how the North should deal with the “current international situation,” though it did not mention any specific comments from Kim about the United States or South Korea.

North Korea has ignored the allies’ calls to resume nuclear negotiations that have stalled for two years after the collapse of Kim’s ambitious summitry with former President Donald Trump. It was derailed by disagreements over exchanging relief from crippling U.S.-led sanctions with denuclearization steps by the North.


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Botswana diamond could be world's third largest


A diamond believed to be the third largest ever found has been put on display in Botswana.



The stone - weighing 1,098 carats - was shown to President Mokgweetsi Masisi, two weeks after the diamond firm, Debswana, unearthed it.

The huge gem is only slightly less heavy than the world's second-largest diamond which was also found in Botswana in 2015.

Botswana is Africa's largest producer of diamonds.


* * * * *

Japan looks to ease virus emergency
ahead of Olympics

By MARI YAMAGUCHI


Japan is expected to ease a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and most other areas this weekend, with new daily cases falling just as the country begins making final preparations for the Olympics starting in just over a month.

Japan has been struggling since late March to slow a wave of infections propelled by more contagious variants, with new daily cases soaring above 7,000 at one point and seriously ill patients straining hospitals in Tokyo, Osaka and other metropolitan areas.


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Nato warns of military challenge posed by China


Nato leaders meeting for a summit in Brussels have warned of the military threat posed by China, saying its behaviour is a "systemic challenge".



China, they said, was rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal, was "opaque" about its military modernisation and was co-operating militarily with Russia.

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg warned China was "coming closer" to Nato in military and technological terms.




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New Israel government vows change,
but not for Palestinians

By JOSEPH KRAUSS

Israel’s fragile new government has shown little interest in addressing the decades-old conflict with the Palestinians, but it may not have a choice.

Jewish ultranationalists are already staging provocations aimed at splitting the coalition and bringing about a return to right-wing rule. In doing so, they risk escalating tensions with the Palestinians weeks after an 11-day Gaza war was halted by an informal cease-fire.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s best hope for maintaining his ruling coalition — which consists of eight parties from across the political spectrum — will be to manage the conflict, the same approach favored by his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, for most of his 12-year rule. But that method failed to prevent three Gaza wars and countless smaller eruptions.



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THE NATION

Supreme Court upholds Obamacare with a 7-2 vote
By Chris Matthews

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to confirm the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act by a 7-2 margin, with 4 conservatives justices joining the court’s three liberals to protect the landmark achievement of former President Barack Obama’s two terms.


The case, California v. Texas, hinged on an argument made by Republican governors and attorneys general, and supported by the Trump administration, that following Republicans’ successful effort in 2017 to eliminate monetary penalties for not maintaining health insurance, the entire law must be struck down.

The argument follows from a 2012 case against the ACA mandate that all Americans get insured, or else face a monetary penalty. In a 5-4 decision, conservative Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the court’s four liberals, then wrote an opinion ruling the law was constitutional because the mandate was actually a constitutional exercise of the government’s right to tax, not an unconstitutional requirement that all Americans must purchase a product on the marketplace. With the erasure of the penalty for those lacking insurance, supporters of California v. Texas say the previous justification for the law’s constitutionality has been eliminated.



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House passes bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday
By Erin Doherty

The House voted 415-14 on Wednesday to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The big picture: All those voting against the measure were Republicans. The vote comes one day after the Senate unanimously approved the bill and three days before the holiday.

49 states and D.C. already commemorate Juneteenth, but the passage of the bill makes the day a legal federal holiday.


Worth noting: The bill's passage comes amid GOP-led attacks on critical race theory, which dismisses the notion that racism stems from acts of individuals and says instead that it's ingrained in our society and how the country formed.



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Justice Dept., Congress probing
Trump seizures of Dems' data

By MARY CLARE JALONICK and MICHAEL BALSAMO

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation Friday after revelations that former President Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks probe. Democrats called the seizures “harrowing” and an abuse of power.

The announcement by Inspector General Michael Horowitz came shortly after Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco made the request for an internal investigation. Horowitz said he would examine whether the data subpoenaed by the Justice Department and turned over by Apple followed department policy and “whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations.”

Horowitz said he would also investigate similar Trump-era seizures of journalists’ phone records.


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Biden administration to invest
$3.2B for Covid-19 antiviral pills

By Lauren Egan

The Biden administration announced Thursday a $3.2 billion plan to build up the nation's supply of drugs that can be used to treat Covid-19 and future viral threats.



The plan, called the Antiviral Program for Pandemics, will spur clinical trials and the manufacturing of promising treatments for Covid-19, with the goal of gaining FDA authorization for some antivirals and making them available to the public within a year, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

Effective antiviral medicines could be taken at home, preventing surges in hospitalizations and leading to fewer deaths, the department said. The effort, which also will include research on other viruses with pandemic potential, will be funded by the American Rescue Plan, it said.


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Millions Fear Eviction as
the U.S. Housing Crisis Worsens

By KEN SWEET and MICHAEL CASEY


More than 4 million people say they fear being evicted or foreclosed upon in the coming months, just as two studies released Wednesday found that the nation’s housing availability and affordability crisis is expected to worsen significantly following the pandemic.

The studies come as a federal eviction moratorium is set to expire at the end of the month. The moratorium has kept many tenants owing back rent housed. Making matters worse, the tens of billions of dollars in federal emergency rental assistance that was supposed to solve the problem has not reached most tenants.

The housing crisis, the studies found, risks widening the gap between Black, Latino and white households, as well as putting homeownership out of the reach of lower-income Americans.



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Supreme Court rules in favor of Catholic charity
that wouldn’t allow same-sex foster parents

By Pete Williams

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the city of Philadelphia went too far in imposing its anti-discrimination law on a Roman Catholic charity, Catholic Social Services, that refused to consider same-sex parents eligible to adopt foster children.


The case required the justices to decide whether the Constitution allows a religious freedom exception to anti-discrimination laws. It was the first of this term's major legal disputes to be heard with Justice Amy Coney Barrett, an appointee of President Donald Trump, on the court.

The court's ruling was unanimous, but it was narrowly confined to the facts of this case and is therefore unlikely to have a nationwide impact.


 
MacKenzie Scott, citing wealth gap,
donates $2.7 billion



MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to ch
arities and racial equity causes, announced Tuesday that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. It is the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations.

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, wrote in a Medium post that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, made the donations to enable the recipients to continue their work and as a “signal of trust and encouragement” to them and others.







* * * * * *

Bipartisan infrastructure group
swells to 21 senators
By LISA MASCARO

A bipartisan senators’ group working on a $1 trillion infrastructure compromise more than doubled in size to 21 members Wednesday, a key threshold that gives momentum to their effort as President Joe Biden returns from overseas at a pivotal time for his big legislative priority.

Biden told reporters he had yet to see the emerging proposal from the group but remained hopeful a bipartisan agreement could be reached, despite weeks of on-again, off-again talks over his more robust $1.7 billion American Jobs Plan.

“I’m still hoping we can put together the two bookends here,” Biden said as he prepared to depart Geneva after attending a summit of European leaders.


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ENTERTAINMENT

The unanswered 'Jeopardy!' question:
Who's the new host?

By LYNN ELBER

 “Jeopardy!” needed a host, and Lucille Ball had an enthusiastic suggestion for creator Merv Griffin: The smooth-voiced, debonair emcee of the “High Rollers” game show.



That was 1984. Decades later, filling the void left by the late Alex Trebek involves sophisticated research and a parade of guest hosts doing their best to impress viewers and the studio that's expected to make the call before the new season begins taping later this summer.

Think of Sony Pictures Television as clutching the rose, and Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric and “Jeopardy!” champs Ken Jennings and Buzzy Cohen among the suitors so far, with more to come including Robin Roberts, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and LeVar Burton.



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PASSINGS

Ned Beatty 
By Matt Grobar


Ned Beatty, a prolific, Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor who did memorable turns in such films as Network, Deliverance and Christopher Reeve’s first two Superman pics and was a three-season regular on Homicide: Life on the Street, died Sunday in his sleep. He was 83.


Beatty’s manager, Deborah Miller, confirmed the news to Deadline, saying the actor died of natural causes, surrounded by his family and loved ones. No other details about his death were provided.

“Ned was an iconic, legendary talent, as well as a dear friend,” said Miller, “and he will be missed by us all.”







LOCAL

Elderly New Yorkers rejoice
as senior centers reopen

By Maria Caspani

After more than a year of pandemic-forced separation, 85-year old Justo Fleitas was back at the pool table at his neighborhood’s senior center, finally reunited with a small group of friends and his cue stick.

“It’s beautiful, no words to say how I feel,” said Fleitas, an avid pool player and a regular at the Star Senior Center in Manhattan.

On Monday this week, senior centers in New York City welcomed back the city’s elderly for indoor activities after being closed for more than a year.



MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE ALF…


This week, when Governor Cuomo announced that N.Y. State had reached its goal of 70% of its citizens vaccinated and that most of the COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted, I had high hopes that we (residents) would be included in that group. Alas, that was not to be. In fact, we were specifically not included. For how long, nobody knows. Just more neglect and disrespect.

We’ll be back bright and early on Monday morning with another week of news you need to read……………




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    JUNE 17, 2021
THE LATEST SENIOR NEWS


COVID mortality for assisted living residents
merits attention, new data suggest

Assisted living residents experienced increased mortality in 2020, in line with the higher rates observed among nursing home residents during the pandemic, a new nationwide study finds.

The plight of nursing home residents has received the bulk of research and policy attention during the pandemic. But most assisted living residents are similarly susceptible to poor outcomes for COVID-19, investigators noted. Using data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, they found that assisted living residents had 17% higher rates of overall mortality in 2020 compared with the year prior.

In the 10 states with the greatest community spread of COVID-19 during the study period, rates were even higher — at 24%. These included Rhode Island, South Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama, New York, Mississippi, Florida, Arizona, and Louisiana, reported Kali S. Thomas, Ph.D., of the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, Brown University, Providence, RI.


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Breyer suffers ageism attacks
from Democrats
By Jazz Shaw


After Midnight Mitch told Hugh Hewitt that wasn’t going to commit to consider any Supreme Court nominees if the GOP retakes the Senate majority next year, the response from Democrats was something that can likely be taken as a sign of our times. When one of the top-ranking Republicans in the legislature does something that makes you angry, the obvious response is to start yelling at one of the most reliably liberal voices on the Supreme Court. The calls for Stephen Breyer to retire immediately were renewed with vigor, with some prominent liberals claiming that the elderly associate justice was “placing millions of lives in danger.” The breathless leftists were going so far as to suggest that Breyer is just being “selfish” and they even managed to get in a backhanded shot at the now deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (NY Post)

Democrats and progressives stepped up their calls for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down Monday after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not permit a vote on a potential Biden nominee if Republicans control the chamber in 2024…

McConnell’s comments led to outrage on social media, with Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY), tweeting: “When I became the first person in Congress to call for Justice Breyer to retire now, while President Biden can still appoint a successor, some people asked whether it was necessary. Yes. Yes, it is.”


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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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Advocates Call on CMS to Restore
Full Visitation Rights


Consumer Voice, along with partner advocates, have sent a letter calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to fully restore the visitation rights of nursing home residents.

In March 2020, CMS issued guidance which closed nursing home doors, banned in-person visitation, and, in many cases, left nursing home residents confined to their rooms.  While the guidance was initially put in place to protect residents from the impact of COVID-19, over time it has resulted in residents declining, suffering, and dying from isolation, loneliness, neglect, and poor care.



Despite additional guidance from CMS in September 2020 and March 2021 allowing more indoor and outdoor visitation, varying state policies and significant discretion provided to long-term care facilities has resulted in widespread and arbitrary variation in visitation practices, often not reflecting the needs and preferences of the residents, nor the presence, or lack thereof, of COVID-19 in a facility.   As a result, residents continue to suffer and decline.

With the success of vaccination efforts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) easing of masking and social distancing measures in nursing homes, it is time to remove restrictions on visitation rights. While recognizing that all visitation needs to comply with CDC Core Principles of Infection Prevention, our organizations call on CMS to take immediate action to restore nursing home residents’ full right to visitation and lay out a plan and timeframe for implementation.








4 minutes

I know many of you are still working. Either because you need to or because you want to. I’m not. Partially because I can’t and partially because I no longer need to.
 
The last time I drew a paycheck was in 2007. I remember it was December, a week before Christmas, and I had just quit a job that lasted only 8 days. While the circumstances that caused me to leave a job after such a short time are complicated, my reason is not. I was not comfortable with what they wanted me to do. And, even though I had been out of work for months and was lucky to find a job after being laid-off and at my age (62), the thought of having to work at a job I hated outweighed the advantages. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.


The only thing I regret about not working is the lack of income. I know that sounds like a “duh” statement, but money appeals to me only as far as its ability to provide the basics of life. Food, clothes, shelter and health care. With my unemployment benefits ending and my savings dwindling, I was forced to sign up for Social Security benefits much earlier than I had planned. I would rather have been working, but I could find nothing meaningful. But perhaps, even more than the paycheck, I missed the routine associated with having a job.
 
I found getting up at a certain time to be at an assigned location to do a job I was familiar with, together with people I liked, to be comforting and reassuring. It’s like knowing the sun will rise and set the next day. I also like that I was a contributing member of society. My job meant I was not only paying taxes, which helped my community, but provided employment for unseen others around the world as well. There’s much to be said about being a cog in a wheel.

I even liked the people I worked with. They were the family I no longer had. Maybe better. We not only worked together, but ate and even drank together. My favorite time of the week was the Friday evenings we spent at a local bar drinking frozen margaritas. The steam we let out fogged the windows.

Shortly before my taking up residence here at the Asylum, I went back to the old neighborhood where my job was located. It was in one of New York’s great locations. Greenwich Village.

 
I walked the route I took from the subway to the building which housed our offices. The neighborhood had changed little, but the building had. The once very industrial-looking warehouse structure had gone the way of so many other buildings of its kind. It was now an apartment house. Where once I toiled, others now call home.
 
I suppose I miss the idea of a job more than the actual job. After all, work is still work and having to be obligated to do something no longer appeals to me. Maybe that’s what retirement is all about, choice. Or at least, it should be. Unfortunately, reality often rears its ugly head and one finds themselves not too much better off than the time they spent at work……....
 
 




  
Hoping to Take a Cruise?

Here's What to Know

Your guide to the new rules for boarding, booking, buffets and having the best time



You may have been able to hear the champagne corks pop and cheers resound on June 5 as the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship weighed anchor for a Caribbean cruise departing from St. Maarten, with North American passengers. It was the first major ship open to them since the pandemic shut things down in March 2020. The first to sail from a U.S. port will be the Celebrity Edge, leaving Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on June 26, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given permission for cruises to sail in U.S. waters if they complete "trial" cruises or comply with the agency's vaccination requirements.









 


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    JUNE 16, 2021
THE LATEST SENIOR NEWS



Deaths of assisted living residents
spiked during COVID-19 pandemic

While significant attention has been paid to COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, public health leaders have understood less about the effects of the virus in assisted living communities. These settings are also home to older adults who are often at a higher risk for disease severity, but they differ from nursing homes in key ways and present more of a challenge for data collectors.

To address this gap in COVID-19 data, researchers at Brown University and the University of North Carolina conducted what they say is the first national study of COVID-related mortality in U.S. assisted living communities. Their results, published in JAMA Network Open, showed that deaths in these settings were significantly higher in 2020 than in 2019.

“Our study underscores the importance of understanding the unique challenges faced by assisted living communities during a pandemic or other emergency,” said Kali Thomas, an associate professor at Brown’s School of Public Health. “When responding to a pandemic, assisted living communities need their own preparedness plans. The guidance that’s provided for nursing homes needs to be tailored specifically to this population.”


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Homeowners Insurance for Senior Citizens
By Mandy Sleight

Home insurance coverage for senior citizens is not much different from coverage for other age groups. But some seniors may have modifications done to their home that require additional coverage, like having a stairlift or wheelchair ramp. These home modifications should be discussed with your insurance agent to determine if you need to increase dwelling or other structure coverage.

Seniors may also want to consider higher limits for guest medical payments and personal liability coverage. A standard home insurance policy provides limited guest medical payments, but can be increased if needed to cover visitor injuries on your property. If you are sued because of injuries or damage you cause or happens on your property, having higher limits for personal liability can help you navigate a settlement or court case.
Common coverage limits for home insurance

Most standard homeowners insurance policies offer the same coverages, but limits can vary. Some coverages can be increased or added to customize your home insurance policy to meet your needs as a senior.


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One-third of Americans plan to
retire later due to Covid-19
By Lorie Konish


It’s no secret that Covid-19 has upended people financially at all stages of life.

Now, one new report shows just how the pandemic has changed the way people think about retirement.

The study from Age Wave and Edward Jones finds that about 1 out of every 3 Americans who are planning to retire now say that will happen later due to Covid.

About 69 million Americans now say Covid prompted them to change their retirement timing. That’s up slightly from 68 million as of May 2020.







THIS SPEAKES VOLUMNS ABOUT  
WHAT THIS STATE THINKS ABOUT ITS
OLDER CITIZENS LIVING IN ASSISTED LIVING FACILIITIES
THE GOVERNOR IS COMPAIRING US TO
HOMELESS SHELTERS AND PRISONS.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted once 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series. State's New York Forward industry specific guidelines — including capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing — will become optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and personal care services, among other commercial settings. Large-scale event venues, pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and healthcare settings must continue to follow the State's guidelines until more New Yorkers are vaccinated. [1]

How many more? 80%? 90%….100%? Go screw yourself Governor Cuomo…….Ed.


OUTRAGE!

As you can tell, I’m livid. Not at the fact that New York State has reached a milestone, but at the omission of a segment of the population that has quietly, dutifully and with little complaint complied with the all the restrictions piled on them by a clueless Department of Heath and all of their henchmen who continue to perpetuate a policy far and above of what is necessary. And to make things worse, they have the unmitigated gall to compare us to prisoners and the homeless. I’m referring to the thousands of residents of assisted living and other long-term care facilities in the state. Today’s announcement was a slap in the face for all of us.

Perhaps more egregious is the way the governor announced this latest event.

 
In a presser reminiscent of a campaign victory speech, our magnanimous governor triumphantly lauded his accomplishment being able to vaccinate 70% of New Yorker’s. And, in a “Caesar-like” gesture offered “bread and circuses” by opening-up the state, as an audience of all those who have been impacted financially by the COVID-19 protocols cheered wildly.
 
There were the bar and restaurant owners. The Barbers and nail spa owners, The sports venue owners and all of those groups who have been waiting for this day for over 15 months. Yes, they were all there cheering and applauding themselves and the governor, while the sound of cash registers rung in their ears. But not everyone was cheering or present at that rally. Noticeably quiet were the owners and operators of long-term care facilities.

All I can say is “where is their outrage?”

If there were any group of taxpayers who should have been infuriated by the obvious omission of their businesses from the lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions, it should be the people who have, and continue to suffer, massive losses and hardships. But where are they? We hear not a word. Not a protest. Not even for a clarification of the part of the governors announcement that says, “…nursing homes, and healthcare settings must continue to follow the State’s guidelines until more New Yorker’s are vaccinated.
 
That last remark was typical of the attitude this state has regarding the status of this sector of the citizenry. The plan is, there is no plan. Unless you consider that inane dictum “Until more are vaccinated” a plan. That policy is so open-ended that you could drive a truck though it and shows how incapable the state is regarding compassion.
 
And, unfortunately, it also points out how impotent the owners and administrators of the facilities whose job it is to make sure we (residents) are well cared for are. They act like a bunch of scared little boys afraid of being scolded by the principal. It’s time they grew a pair and stand up for what they know is right……………….
 

[1] source: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-most-remaining-covid-19-restrictions-be-lifted-when-70-adult-new#:~:text=Governor%20Andrew%20M.%20Cuomo%20today,their%20COVID%2D19%20vaccination%20series.




 

7 Superfoods to Eat After 50
By Alison Gwinn


Whether you've been a healthy eater your whole life — or lately fallen off the nutritional wagon — it's important to take a hard look at your diet after age 50. Around that point, experts say, it pays to be choosier about your foods, and make sure you're getting enough nutritional bang for your buck. “Our need for energy declines starting in middle age,” says Christine Rosenbloom, registered dietitian and nutritionist, professor emerita at Georgia State University and coauthor of Food & Fitness Over 50. “There's less room for drinking a pitcher of margaritas and having a basket of chips — unless we want to start seeing that weight creep. And nobody wants that.”


Beyond adapting to a potentially slower metabolism, you also want to compensate for things like a tendency for bones to weaken, bowel function to slow and muscle mass to decline (around 1 percent a year until age 65, after which the loss can double.) In general, older adults “need to make sure they're getting lots of fruits and vegetables, eating lean meats if they are eating meat, chicken or fish, and avoiding saturated fats and sugars,” says Marie Bernard, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and NIA's senior geriatrician. “A good diet can help get blood pressure under better control, decrease the risk of heart problems and contribute to the prevention of things like diabetes and cancer."






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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, JUNE 17TH 2021


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-30-




    JUNE 15, 2021
THE LATEST SENIOR NEWS


The Drug That Could Break
American Health Care
By Nicholas Bagley

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration overruled—to much criticism—its own scientific advisory committee and approved the Alzheimer’s treatment Aduhelm. The agency made this decision despite thin evidence of the drug’s clinical efficacy and despite its serious side effects, including brain swelling and bleeding. As a result, a serious risk now exists that millions of people will be prescribed a drug that does more harm than good.

Less appreciated is how the drug’s approval could trigger hundreds of billions of dollars of new government spending, all without a vote in Congress or indeed any public debate over the drug’s value. Aduhelm’s manufacturer, Biogen, announced on Monday that it would price the drug at an average of $56,000 a year per patient, a figure that doesn’t include the additional imaging and scans needed to diagnose patients or to monitor them for serious side effects.

The federal government will bear the brunt of the new spending. The overwhelming majority of people with Alzheimer’s disease are eligible for Medicare, the federally run insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans. If even one-third of the estimated 6 million people with Alzheimer’s in the United States receives the new treatment, health-care spending could swell by $112 billion annually.


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Boomers To Boost Spending
On Luxury, Healthcare


Senior citizens, a demographic whose spending was significantly curtailed by the pandemic, are expected to spend substantially across a number of sectors as COVID-19 restrictions and fears reside, Bloomberg reported.

Fund managers and other market insiders told Bloomberg the expected surge in spending is due to new comfort with online purchasing among many senior citizens and also pent-up demand for medical procedures and devices.

The number of people 65 or older around the world will double between now and 2050 to 1.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. The report also quoted data from consultancy World Data Lab that put the spending power of those 65 old or order at $14 trillion 10 years from now, up from $8.4 trillion in 2020.


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Should You Leave Your House to
Your Kids in Your Will?
By John Waggoner


Your house, with its beautiful gardens, rows of bookcases and lovely keepsakes, is a treasure to you. It’s probably also your largest financial asset. You’d like to give it to your children when you pass on.

Many times, it’s not just a home’s emotional value that makes people decide to leave the house to their heirs. It’s a desire to leave a financial legacy, too.

But is this a wise strategy? Oftentimes, yes, as long as everyone gets along, the house isn’t stuffed with 50 years’ worth of National Geographic and you don’t mind if the kids sell it immediately after the funeral. We talked to several certified financial planners (CFPs) with experience in estate planning and found five questions you should answer before you make the decision to leave the old place to the next generation.


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7 minutes

The house doctor got a new gadget. At least new for us.
 
In the past he measured our blood pressure with the standard, familiar and only mildly annoying, hand-pumped blood pressure machine. He would know just how much to squeeze the little bulb so that the cuff, wrapped around my upper arm, would inflate to cause pressure on the arteries to get a reading on the attached gauge as he listened to my pulse on his stethoscope. It was uncomfortable, and at the same time, personal and reassuring. But my last exam was different. The old sphygmomanometer was gone. And in its place, a new, impersonal, and merciless machine.


The inventor of the self-inflating, digital readout, no-brainer-blood-pressure-taking-device had to be a graduate of the Joseph Mengele school of medicine.
 
Never in my life have I been assaulted by a piece of medical equipment as I was last Friday during my quarterly visit with my primary care physician. With the press of a button, the cuff inflated…and inflated…and inflated some more. It became so tight around my arm that I turned and told the doctor, who was busy making a note on my chart, that my fingers we turning purple and about to pop. Fortunately, just as I was about to rip the thing off, it stopped and rapidly deflated. The doc gave a casual glance at the digital read-out on a little screen and said, “Okay. Pretty good. One hundred over eighty.” I could not have cared less. I was happy the damn contraption didn’t kill me.

The exam continued with a quick listen to my chest which decided not to wheeze that day and the doctor giving me a clean bill of health. Or at least as clean as a broken-down old man can be.
 
“Everything looks and sounds okay,” he said. “But 
(There’s always a “but.”) you need to lose some weight.” 
 
What he really meant was I need to lose a lot of weight. And I know it. It’s something I have heard from doctors for years and something I have tried to do for just as long.
 
I’ve been a bit rotund most of my life. I clocked in at birth at close to 10lbs. And while genetics have something to do with it, I am the one ultimately responsible for every corpuscle of avoirdupois I posses.

Never have I been as heavy as I am now. And I can feel it. I feel it in the way I get tired after only mild exertion and the way my legs and knees feel after a brief walk. But most noticeably is how my pants fit. Or should I say, “don’t fit.” It’s become so bad I had to give up wearing some of my favorite Levi’s and switch to a “pretend” brand from “KINGSIZEFORMEN.” And it’s not as though I can’t lose weight. I can, and have. A few years ago (well, maybe more than a few) I lost 70lbs in less than 9 months on the once maligned Atkin’s diet. Now, the entire world knows the benefits associated with a low-carb regimen. The only problem with that diet is, you must cook or prepare it yourself, at home. That is an impossibility here in the land of “heaven forbid we should be permitted to cook our own food lest we kill ourselves.” So what can I do?

Not much, I’m afraid. Perhaps when the quarantine ends around here and we get back in
to a regular dining room routine where the menu is more flexible and we get to choose what we eat instead of having to eat what food they think is filling and cheap, then I can design a diet that suits me. But until that happens, there is little hope (outside of complete starvation) I can do in the way of cutting back on the carbs.
 
As it is, I throw away much of the food handed to me. I never eat the sides of mashed, boiled, or fried potatoes. Except for breakfast, I rarely eat any bread. And the rice goes right into the dumper. The only problem is the pasta. There’s a lot. Three or four times a week in various
 forms. Spaghetti, macaroni, ziti, stuffed shells and a variety of noodles. The only redeeming factor is that most of the pasta sucks so the chances I would want more of it is slim.
 
Last night, as an example, they served meatballs and a tube-like pasta. I tossed the pasta and kept the meatballs, which I’ll heat (in the communal microwave) with a little of my own pasta sauce and some grated parmesan. Not great, but low carb. I probably won’t lose any weight. The best I can hope for is not gaining any. Now, how about desert?……….............


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Summer begins on Sunday, June 20th. And with all there was to worry about this year you may have forgotten to prepare for those steamy, and often dangerous, days when the heat gets too high for comfort or your health. As a way of helping we’ll bring you articles explaining what you need to keep it cool this summer.


How to Know If Your Air Conditioner
Has the Right Energy Capacity for Your Room

Not all air conditioners are going to suit your needs.

It’d be pretty convenient if any portable air conditioning unit could slot right into your window and immediately cool down your home, but the size of the room in question is the most important aspect of your search for satisfying air conditioning. You don’t want to situate a smaller unit in front of a large, sprawling room in the hopes that it will offer respite from the heat.

The size and energy capacity have to work in direct correlation to the size of your room. This sounds logical enough, but it’s imperative that you purchase the right unit so you don’t wind up sweating all summer or turning your living room into an ice box.


How to find the right portable air conditioner

The basics are easy enough. You should measure your window, or if you’re lucky enough to have a slot meant for an AC unit, measure that. The majority of big box retailers are going to have options, including Amazon, Home Depot and Best Buy. Once you have the sizing figured out, you’re going to want to get into the more important deliberations: Namely, how many BTUs you’ll need.







 
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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16TH 2021


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-30-




    JUNE 14, 2021

THE LATEST SENIOR NEWS


COVID-19 Still Killing 800
a Month in Nursing Homes

By Emily Paulin

Nursing home deaths from COVID-19 remain sharply down from their winter peaks, but the declines have now plateaued and more than 800 residents and staff members each month continue to die from the virus, according to an exclusive new analysis of federal data by AARP.

There was little change in the national rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths in nursing homes from mid-March to mid-May, the analysis shows, even as rates in the wider community continued dropping. More than 10,000 residents and staff members are becoming newly infected each month.

Experts say that limited vaccine uptake among long-term care workers, worker shortages and the recent relaxation of nursing home restrictions might be causing the plateau, although more data and analysis are required.


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Anxiety Is on the Rise


Everyone seems to be more stressed out these days as we continue to be impacted by social distancing and the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Health care workers and those in the restaurant and tourism industries have been hit particularly hard, but older adults account for some grim statistics of their own.
Older Adults at Risk

Close to half (46%) of older adults in a July survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) said that worry and stress related to COVID-19 was having a negative effect on their mental health, up from 31% in May. These numbers don’t include older adults in care facilities, where isolation (and the risk of infection and death) are even higher. It’s well documented through numerous studies that loneliness among older adults leads to an elevated risk of premature death, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety and suicide.

The same survey found higher rates of anxiety and depression among the following groups:


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Tech-savvy seniors: 1 in 3 older folks now prefer
sending texts, emoji, GIFs over phone calls


Move over kids, grandma and grandpa are ready to enter the smartphone conversation. A new study finds Americans over 65 have finally mastered the art of the text. In fact, one in three now prefer texting to phone calls.

For today’s seniors, figuring out texting and social media has given them quite a bit of joy as they say it’s a great way to bond with their grandkids. A recent survey finds that those over 65 even have favorite emojis including the heart (43%) and the happy face (43%). Other popular emojis for those over 65 include the beer emoji and assorted animals. One in 10 have even surpassed emoji use and now send GIFs to stay in touch with their grandchildren.
Seniors finally adapting to the future of communication

grandparents Finding JoyThe pandemic also prompted one in three seniors to learn how to use social media and brush up on their pop culture skills as a way to bond with the younger members of their family. Nearly one in five (17%) add that their children or grandkids introduced them to Netflix during COVID.


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Women’s Financial Insecurity


The wealth gap between men and women starts early; boys get twice as much allowance as girls, on average, according to recent studies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Women hold 71% of their assets in cash, versus 60% for men, so women are less likely to invest than men. Women also need more money in retirement since they usually live longer than men and are more likely to need long-term care.

Women also fare worse than men after a divorce and struggle more financially when they are single. They are more often the caretakers of children or older family members and get paid less than men when they do work. They are less likely than men to make investment decisions when they are married.

All of these women have one thing in common: they are risk-averse and often afraid to put their money to work (even though the real risk is to avoid investing and watch that cash lose money every year as inflation lowers its value). As a recent study found, lower levels of earnings and workforce attachment could not explain the extent of the wealth differential; a contributing factor seemed to be “a lack of adequate financial literacy.”








4-5 minutes

If you are a person who likes to be left almost totally alone in a quiet suburban setting bereft of human contact eating subsistence level food than you will love it here at the A.L.F. Of course you will have to contend with, not only the isolation but with the almost total lack of communication as well. It has been weeks since we have have had even as much as memo concerning our current status, any plans for the future or when we may return to normalcy. The silence, as they say, is deafening.
 
The truth be told, our administrator has never been very forthcoming with communicating with residents. Preferring to carry out the dictates of our parent company rather than listening to residents’ concerns about their daily interests. We are almost always kept out of the loop when they change the daily routine. Kept secret too are the reasons for changes in staffing and policy. And adding to the mystique is the lack of communication, typical of the culture associated with many assisted living facilities. “Feed the peasants just as much information as they need to know, and no more”, is the order of the day. Because to be totally transparent is to show weakness. And heaven forbid, that an administrator (much like a warden) should show weakness, or compassion.
 
The bulk of my information regarding what’s going on here comes from infrequent, and brief, meetings with other residents. Some of them have a way of extracting news from a variety of sources way better than I. Mostly from aides and dining room servers. Unfortunately, the efficacy of what is gleaned is often half-true, misconstrued, or just wrong.
 
As an example, two weeks ago, I was told by a person who I considered to be a reliable source that the quarantine/lockdown would end in two weeks. They heard it from a staff member. Sadly, two weeks have gone by and we are as “incarcerated” as they day this all began 15 months ago. So much for “reliable sources.”

There used to be a sign that hung from the portico covering the main entrance to our facility that said “WELCOME HOME.” The sign blew off during a heavy wind and rainstorm pre-pandemic and never replaced. Little did we know that would be a prophecy of things to come. Any resemblance to “home” around here has been thoroughly washed away along with that sign. We have become less like home and more like an institution. Things we used to be “asked” to do we are now “told” to do. Very much like first-graders who dutifully queue-up for everything. But even first-graders get “Junior Scholastic” or the “Weekly Reader.”[1] We get nothing.

Next week will mark the start of our 16th month in lockdown. That may be a record. Most quarantines last only two or three weeks. During that time, we have received very few positive memos. Most were just repeats of former communiques that tell the same old story about new cases and how the quarantine will continue. But not one word concerning our freedom. Not even a “sorry” from anybody. Why? Because saying “sorry” is admitting that a grave error was made in the way things were and are being handled.
 
They say “Confession is good for the soul.” For administers of assisted living facilities, confession might be good for an indictment……………………….

[1] I had to check if they still distribute the Weekly Reader to school kids. Unfortunately, they stopped publication back in 2012. Junior Scholastic is still in business.



  

COVID-19 Resources for
 Individuals and Families


As part of the federal response to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Food and Nutrition Service plays a vital role by responding to nutrition assistance needs during this pandemic. Through our state and local partners, FNS is working to ensure that children and low-income Americans maintain access to food. In addition, the consumer resources listed below are provided to help individuals and families like you during this time of exceptional need and uncertainty.


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An Updated Guide to Benefits.gov Resources

What is Benefits.gov?

One of the longest-serving E-Government initiatives, Benefits.gov was launched by the U.S. Department of Labor in April 2002, creating the U.S. government’s official benefits website. Our mission is to increase citizen access to benefit information while reducing the difficulty of interacting with the government. On Benefits.gov, you can find information on over 1,000 government assistance programs, check your eligibility, and learn how to apply.
I’m interested in a specific program, where can I learn more?


If you are looking for specific benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), you can search for these programs directly on Benefits.gov, where you can also find application and contact information and use the eligibility checker for each program at the bottom of the page. On Benefits.gov, you can also Browse by Category to browse a list of similar benefits, such as Employment and Career Development or Food and Nutrition and filter by state to find programs specific to your state.
How can I check my eligibility for benefit programs?

Benefits.gov has made improvements to the way citizens access government services online. In direct response to user feedback, we enhanced our Benefit Finder, a free and easy-to-use eligibility prescreening questionnaire which will help you determine, which benefits you may be eligible to receive. The updated Benefit Finder features a modern design, intuitive navigation, and fewer questions so that you can more quickly find the assistance you need. If you don’t know what type of benefits you are looking for, the Benefit Finder is a great place to begin.

Using the Benefit Finder is simple; you begin by answering a set of questions on the first page before proceeding to optional questions. The more questions you answer in the Benefit Finder, the more accurate your results will be. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire, a list of benefits you may be eligible for will appear. Then, you can navigate to the program pages to learn more and find the next steps for applying.

How can I apply for benefits?

Benefits.gov does not accept or manage applications for government benefits. While you cannot apply for benefits or check your application status directly on the Benefits.gov website, Benefits.gov can help guide you to the next steps in the application process. You can find application information on each program page on Benefits.gov. You will also find a link to the managing agency’s website where you can contact the agency directly about the application process.


What other resources are available to me?

Benefits.gov offers two customized websites, GovLoans.gov, which offers information and eligibility criteria specific to government loans; and SSA BEST, which offers information and eligibility criteria specific to Social Security programs. Benefits.gov is proud to have recently upgraded these websites with improved features, including a new design and layout. Recently, Benefits.gov improved our eligibility screening tools, including the Benefit Finder, making it easier to identify the right benefits for you and your family.

Visit our Get Involved page to access fact sheets, including a Guide to Benefits.gov and guides to finding benefit programs for families, people with disabilities, unemployment resources, senior citizens, students, veterans, and Native Americans.

Benefits.gov also publishes helpful, timely news articles to keep people informed about government benefit programs. To stay up-to-date on benefit program information, subscribe to the Compass Newsletter or follow Benefits.gov on Twitter and Facebook.










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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, JUNE 15TH 2021

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-30-






    JUNE 13, 2021

THE LATEST SENIOR NEWS


America's nursing homes fight
to find enough caregivers

By Marisa Fernandez


Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the country are having trouble hiring enough caregivers, and many have turned to perks like referral bonuses and transportation to lure more talent.

The big picture: The industry historically grappled with high employee turnover for its lower-skilled jobs. But now nursing facilities are facing reputational hits from the pandemic and a red hot market for minimum wage workers.

 "We're not just competing with the restaurants and hotels for workers here," said Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills, which offers assisted living and skilled nursing care in Washington D.C. The industry is fighting for hourly and nursing staff amongst each other and other hospitals giving out much more competitive pay right now, Sandri tells Axios.


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How to improve health and quality of life
for long-term care residents:
Sit less, move more

By Kirsten Dillon


Sitting around is a known risk factor for disease and disability. Yet, when older adults start to lose independence — becoming less functional physically or showing signs of cognitive impairment — they move into residences that may allow them to sit for 85 per cent of their waking hours.

As the baby boomer population ages, older people are starting to outnumber younger people. It’s not surprising that admissions into assisted living facilities are growing each year. People are also living longer, which makes it important to ensure that those added years have a high quality of life.

New research is indicating that reducing sitting time could preserve or even improve quality of life, physical functioning and cognition in these facilities.


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Here are the trends shaping
senior living development


America is aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Population Projections, in the next few decades, 1 in every 5 residents will be older than age 65, a number that’s projected to outpace those younger than 18 for the first time in history.

“There are 10,000 people turning 65 every day in our country,” notes Sharon Harper, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Plaza Companies, which develops and manages three retirement communities in Arizona: Vi at Grayhawk and Vi at Silverstone, both in Scottsdale, and Splendido at Rancho Vistoso in Tucson. “By 2050, the senior population will have doubled to 90 million.” More specifically, the number of adults ages 85 and older will nearly quadruple. And as people age, their needs — from housing to wellness — change. To keep up with these ever-shifting lifestyles, senior living communities are also evolving, offering innovative care models, an abundance of amenities and levels of luxury previously unheard of in both independent- and assisted-living environments.


Traditionally, age-restricted communities were located outside of urban centers, but members of the baby boomer generation — now ages 57-75 — don’t wish to give up all of the conveniences and activities of everyday life.





 OMG!. I can’t believe it’s Friday again. Time is flying by faster than Mark Zuckerberg can make money, and not pay any income tax. The world, too, goes on and often it’s difficult to catch up with all that’s happening. That’s why, every Friday we take a break from the usual and bring to you…







THE WORLD


US to donate 500 million doses of
Pfizer vaccine to the world

Amid intensifying calls for wealthy nations to share their COVID vaccine surplus with the rest of the world, the U.S. is poised to step up big time.

President Joe Biden will announce the U.S. has purchased 500 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to donate to 92 low-income countries and the African Union, a person familiar with the plan told USA TODAY.


Biden is set to announce the donation Thursday in remarks at the Group of Seven summit in Britain. The doses will be distributed through the global vaccine alliance known as COVAX, with 200 million to be shared this year and the remaining 300 million to be donated through the first half of 2022, according to the person, who confirmed the report on condition of anonymity.



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The new guy? Biden debuts at
democracy's most exclusive club

By MATTHEW LEE


They’re the board of global democracy’s most exclusive club, and they’re meeting this week after four years of U.S. disruption and a two-year coronavirus interruption.

Already on a first-name basis with relationships that range from just months to years, the leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies are gathering Friday amid hopes that the departure of their most unruly member and a new era of personal friendships enhanced by face-to-face discussions can restore a global anti-authoritarian consensus on climate, the coronavirus, China and Russia.


* * * * * * *

Emma Coronel Aispuro:
Wife of El Chapo pleads guilty to drugs charge



The wife of infamous Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has pleaded guilty to a range of charges including conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs.

Appearing in court in Washington, Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, admitted helping Guzmán run the Sinaloa drugs cartel and assisting in his prison escape in 2015.


She could face life in prison and be fined up to $10 million (£7.1 million).

Guzmán, 63, is currently serving a life sentence in Colorado for drug trafficking and money laundering.


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Medieval martial arts teacher who
slapped French leader gets jail time

By Elaine Cobbe


The 28-year-old man who gained instant infamy by slapping French President Emmanuel Macron has been handed an 18-month jail sentence, but will only serve four months behind bars as the rest of the sentence was suspended. He told investigators that he'd acted "without thinking" when he struck the president.



The medieval history and martial arts enthusiast, identified only as Damien T., said he wanted to "express his unhappiness" with Macron's policies.

The public prosecutor believed him, saying it was clear there was no premeditation, and that the man had acted on the spur of the moment when the president walked directly over to him as he went to greet a waiting crowd in the village of Tain-l'Hermitage in the southeast region of the Drome. A video of the incident was posted to Twitter.


* * * * * * *

Covid cases on the rise in every region in England;
WHO warns of autumn resurgence in Europe

By Patrick Wintour


Venezuela’s government has been unable to complete a payment required to receive coronavirus vaccines because transfers to the global COVAX vaccine program had been blocked, Reuters reports.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro for months said it was unable to pay for the COVAX program because of U.S. sanctions, and then in March announced that it had made almost all the required $120 million payment. Vice President Delcy Rodriguez in a televised broadcast on Thursday said the government had been unable to pay down the remaining $10 million because four operations had been blocked. “The financial system that also hides behind the U.S. lobby, has the power to block resources that can be used to immunize the population of Venezuela,” Rodriguez said. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza later tweeted a copy of a letter from COVAX saying it had received information from Swiss bank UBS that four operations, totaling $4.6 million, “were blocked and under investigation.” It was not immediately evident who blocked the operations or why. UBS said for legal and regulatory reasons it is “unable to comment on matters relating to potential client relationships.”



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THE NATION


 Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal
 How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax

   by Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen and Paul Kiel

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. The Secret IRS Files is an ongoing reporting project. Sign up to be notified when the next installment publishes.

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica has obtained a vast trove of Internal Revenue Service data on the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, covering more than 15 years. The data provides an unprecedented look inside the financial lives of America’s titans, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. It shows not just their income and taxes, but also their investments, stock trades, gambling winnings and even the results of audits.



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Senate passes $250 billion bipartisan tech and
manufacturing bill aimed at countering China

By Thomas Franck


The Senate on Tuesday passed one of the largest industrial bills in U.S. history in a bipartisan effort to ensure the U.S. remains competitive with China as one of the globe’s technological powerhouses.



The bill, which passed the chamber 68-32, commits roughly $250 billion in funding for scientific research, subsidies for chipmakers and robot makers, and an overhaul of the National Science Foundation.

The scope of the bill, the final product of at least six Senate committees and almost all members of the chamber, reflects the many fronts in the U.S.-China rivalry.


* * * * * * *

Biden shifts infrastructure talks to
new bipartisan Senate group

By Trevor Hunnicutt,David Morgan,Susan Cornwell

President Joe Biden on Tuesday broke off talks on an infrastructure bill with a key Republican, instead reaching out to a bipartisan group, after one-on-one talks with Senator Shelley Capito were described as hitting a "brick wall."

Biden changed course after Capito, the leader of a group of six Senate Republicans handling the negotiations, offered $330 billion in new spending on infrastructure, far short of Biden's reduced $1.7 trillion offer.

"He informed Senator Capito today that the latest offer from her group did not, in his view, meet the essential needs of our country," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.


* * * * * *

U.S. job openings, quits hit record highs in April
By Lucia Mutikani


U.S. job openings surged by nearly one million to a new record high in April, while more people voluntarily left their employment, strengthening the view that a recent moderation in job growth was due to supply constraints.

The Labor Department's monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, on Tuesday also showed layoffs hit a record low in April. Millions of unemployed Americans remain at home because of trouble securing child care, generous unemployment benefits and lingering fears over COVID-19 even as vaccines are widely accessible and the pandemic is subsiding.

"The evidence continues to grow that the lackluster job creation of recent months is a result of constraints on labor supply and that the labor market is tight," said Conrad DeQuadros, senior economic advisor at Brean Capital in New York.


* * * * *

Vaccination rates fall off,
imperiling Biden’s July Fourth goal

By Dan Diamond, Dan Keating, Chris Moody


Small armies of health workers and volunteers often outnumber the people showing up to get shots at clinics around the country, from a drive-through site in Chattanooga, Tenn., to a gymnasium in Provo, Utah, or a park in Raleigh, N.C.
Johns Hopkins University Epidemiologist Gypsyamber D'Souza explains how the U.S. can reach coronavirus herd immunity and what happens if that goal is missed. (John Farrell/The Washington Post)

The slowdown is national — with every state down at least two-thirds from its peak — and particularly felt across the South and Midwest. Twelve states, including Utah, Oklahoma, Montana, the Dakotas and West Virginia, have seen vaccinations fall below 15 daily shots per 10,000 residents; Alabama had just four people per 10,000 residents get vaccinated last week.


* * * * * *

US recovers most of ransom
paid after Colonial Pipeline hack

By ERIC TUCKER


The Justice Department has recovered most of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment made to hackers after a cyberattack that caused the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline to halt its operations last month, officials said Monday.

The operation to seize cryptocurrency paid to the Russia-based hacker group is the first of its kind to be undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Biden administration Justice Department. It reflects a rare victory in the fight against ransomware as U.S. officials scramble to confront a rapidly accelerating threat targeting critical industries around the world.

“By going after the entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital extortion attacks — including criminal proceeds in the form of digital currency — we will continue to use all of our resources to increase the cost and consequences of ransomware and other cyber-based attacks,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a news conference announcing the operation.


* * * * * *

Government report on UFOs finds no evidence of aliens.
But no evidence it’s not aliens either

By Mike Murphy


A highly anticipated government intelligence report on unidentified flying objects finds no evidence of alien spacecraft — but it also doesn’t say it’s not aliens, according to a new report.

Scores of odd aerial sighting in recent years that have baffled scientists and the military remain a mystery, according to a New York Times report Thursday night.

Citing senior government officials who have been briefed on the largely inconclusive finding of the report, which will be presented to Congress later this month, the Times also reported top-secret U.S. technologies have been all but ruled out in most of the incidents, leaving a major question hanging: So if they weren’t ours, what were they?


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ENTERTAINMENT



‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Finale:
Proposals, Weddings, Heartbreak & New Beginnings

Mark End Of Heavy & Hopeful Season 17



ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy closed out its 17th season Thursday night with a finale that fast-forwarded through eight months of the pandemic, from July 2020 to April 2021, and the major life events for the Grey Sloan Memorial doctors over that period, including two attempts at a Maggie-Winston wedding (one aborted and one successful), two attempts at a Link-Amelia proposal (one aborted and one unsuccessful), one Owen-Teddy proposal (accepted) and a successful adoption for Jo who became Luna’s mom — and, in one of the finale’s biggest twists — possibly Link’s new love interest.


Like many episodes this Covid-themed season, the finale started at the beach, with Meredith, in April 2021, throwing rose petals on the sand and reminiscing about all the times people have asked her what she had learned from surviving Covid. “It taught me that I’m still alive,” Meredith says. And with that, we go back to…





* * * * * *

Concerns about holding the Tokyo OIympics continue to surface,
but at least one participant is ready to go all in on it.


NBCUniversal plans to broadcast 7,000 hours of Olympics coverage across NBC, USA, CNBC, NBCSN, and Peacock, among other properties, signaling the intense economic interest in keeping the athletic extravaganza going despite the challenges of holding it amid coronavirus outbreaks in Japan.  “We are going to deliver the most comprehensive — and accessible — coverage for any sports event in history,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Production, in a prepared statement. “The depth and breadth of our broadcasts will be unprecedented, showcasing once-in-a-generation athletes and storylines that will capture the incredible uniqueness of these Games and our times.”

NBCU made no mention of whether it expects fans to be in the stands during the events or whether it would have to alter any facet of its production to accommodate health or safety requirements.

Read more  >>  https://variety.com/2021/tv/news/nbc-tokyo-olympics-plans-covid-1234990153/

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PASSING'S



Jim Fassel former New York Giants head coach
By Linnea Crowther

Jim Fassel was head coach of the New York Giants from 1997 to 2003, leading them to the 2001 Super Bowl.

Died: June 7, 2021  in Las Vegas of a heart attack at the age of 71, according to his son.
   

Fassel’s playing career was brief after his graduation from Long Beach State. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the 1972 NFL draft and played for the Bears, San Diego Chargers, and Houston Oilers in 1972. He was with the short-lived Hawaiians of the WFC in 1974 and 1975 before beginning his coaching career. He coached at several colleges, including the University of Utah, before moving to the NFL.


Fassel joined the Giants as an assistant in 1991 and became their head coach in 1997. In his first season as head coach, he was named NFL coach of the year, but he became less popular in the ensuing years as the Giants tended to lose to teams they should have been able to beat during his tenure. In the 2000 season, Fassell famously “guaranteed” that the Giants would reach the playoffs. They did – and they won the NFC championship. Two years after leading the Giants to the Super Bowl, where they were bested by the Baltimore Ravens, Fassel resigned.


* * * * * *

Clarence Williams III,
‘The Mod Squad’ and ‘Purple Rain’ Star, Dies at 81

Clarence Williams III, an actor known for portraying Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad” and Prince’s father in “Purple Rain,” died on June 4. He was 81.



Williams’ management confirmed his death to Variety, citing the cause as colon cancer.


Williams broke through in 1968 as one of the stars of the counterculture cop show “The Mod Squad,” also starring then-unknown actors Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. He was a mainstay of the series until its end in 1973, and went on to have a career in film, television and theater spanning four decades.

Williams portrayed Prince’s father in 1984’s “Purple Rain” and had a recurring role as FBI Agent Roger Hardy on beloved TV show “Twin Peaks.” He also had a long-running collaboration with director John Frankenheimer, playing Bobby Shy in 1986’s “52 Pick-Up,” Chaka in 1994’s “Against the Wall,” Archie in the 1997 TV movie “George Wallace” and Merlin in 2000’s “Reindeer Games.”




That’s it for this week, and me. Looking forward to a few days off. It looks like it’ll be a nice weekend here (weather wise) and a chance to soak up some rays. At least I’ll look healthy. Back on Monday with more……………………….



 



Skillet Dinners That Satisfy
By Samantha Lande

Skillet Chicken Enchiladas


Sometimes the most daunting part of cooking is the sink full of pots and pans to clean up after you eat.

But you can avoid this, even without turning to takeout. With a single pan, you can make tasty meals on the stovetop with enough to feed your family and maybe have leftovers throughout the week


Skillet Stacked Green Chili and Chicken Enchiladas
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30
Serves: 8–12


    1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
    1 cup chicken stock (plus all of the juice in the bottom of the rotisserie bag)
1 cup sour cream

    1 can green chilis, diced (4 ounces)
    1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped, divided in half
    1 green onion sliced thin, whites and greens separated
    2 Roma tomatoes, diced and divided in half
    2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or Chihuahua cheese
    1 12-ounce can cream of chicken soup
    3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
    24 corn tortillas (6 inches in diameter, white or yellow corn)
    1 mini head of Romaine lettuce, shredded
    Vegetable oil spray

Instructions: …..








 
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    JUNE 10, 2021


Rx Price Watch Report:
Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs
Widely Used by Older Americans

By  Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer

The latest Rx Price Watch report by Leigh Purvis and Dr. Stephen W. Schondelmeyer finds that retail price increases for widely used brand name prescription drugs consistently exceeded the rate of general inflation between 2006 and 2020. In 2020, retail prices for 260 brand name prescription drugs widely used by older adults increased by an average of 2.9 percent. In contrast, the general inflation rate was 1.3 percent over the same period.

The average annual cost for one brand name medication used on a chronic basis was $6,604 in 2020, more than $1,500 higher than the average annual cost of therapy in 2015. For the average older American taking 4.7 prescription drugs per month, the annual cost of therapy would have been more than $31,000 for 2020—more than three and a half times the cost seen 15 years earlier. This amount exceeds the median annual income of Medicare beneficiaries ($29,650).

Notably, the average annual cost of drug therapy for one brand name drug used on a chronic basis would have been almost $3,700 lower in 2020 ($2,911 v. $6,604) if retail price changes had not exceeded general inflation between 2006 and 2020.


____________________________________________________________________________________


Biden wants $14 billion for the Social Security Administration.
The funding could help customer service

By Lorie Konish

President Joe Biden’s 2022 budget could give the Social Security Administration a $1.3 billion — or 9.7% — boost in funding.

In total, the president is calling for $14.2 billion for the agency for fiscal year 2022.

The proposed increase comes as the Social Security Administration expects to pay more than $1.2 trillion in both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits to more than 74 million beneficiaries in 2022.

If approved, the extra money could help the administration improve one key area — customer service — as it regroups from the Covid-19 pandemic.


__________________________________________________________________


Seniors struggling with sensory loss
The past year has been a struggle,
especially for seniors coping with sensory loss.

By Sarah Buynovsky

Experts say 83 percent of senior citizens have some kind of sensory loss.

Whether it is hearing, sight, memory, or something else, this pandemic has made things even more difficult for them.

"It kind of opens your eyes up to understanding more and being able to empathize, oh, my gosh, this is what makes you appreciate what you have," said Jessica Blomain of Home Instead Senior Care.


Masks, for example, can muffle sound, making hearing and understanding people especially difficult.

“Maybe they rely on reading lips sometimes to make sense of what is being said. It is more difficult to understand what’s being said.”


__________________________________________________________________

Survival benefit of radioactive
prostate cancer drug is debated

By Adam Feuerstein

Radioactive drug helps men with advanced prostate cancer, but survival benefit is debated

A Novartis drug that delivers a lethal dose of radiation directly to prostate cancer cells delayed tumor growth and extended survival in men with advanced disease, according to results of a late-stage clinical trial.

Treatment with what Novartis calls radioligand therapy — thankfully, because its scientific name is 177Lu-PSMA-617 — reduced the risk of death by 38% compared with standard drugs. The risk of tumor progression was cut by 60%. Both outcomes achieved the main goals of the Phase 3 study with statistical significance.










6 minutes


While the cartoon character pictured in today’s topic header (above) is an almost perfect representation of your editor, I must add that I always wear a shirt and socks. Otherwise, that’s pretty much me, fast asleep in my recliner, oblivious to what’s around me.
 
The recliner (it’s an electric one by the way) has been my “bed” for the last year and a half. I found the actual bed in my room not to be conducive to sleep. The angle of my body, lying flat on a mattress while okay for the back, is not good for my “kishke’s.” [1]
 
As you may know, my intestines have been compromised. Ulcerative colitis took what was left of my colon, leaving some space in there. This rarely is a problem while standing or sitting, but extended periods of time spent on my back cause what’s left to shift and that is a problem. Nausea being the main one.
 
I’ve tried everything from using two pillows to dropping the foot of the bed to cause an angle. But it didn’t work. What I really need is a hospital-style bed with head and leg adjustments. That would be very expensive. Fortunately, I had access to a very nice recliner left by a former resident, which I had moved into my room for free. I immediately noticed the difference. Not only did I fall asleep faster, but I stayed asleep longer and woke up with a minimum of nausea, aches and pain. So I gave up the bed altogether and I now sleep in the recliner all night.

I’m telling you this because of a recent article [2], which states,
 
 “Waking up just one hour earlier could reduce a person’s risk of major depression by 23%, suggests a sweeping new genetic study published May 26 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The study of 840,000 people, by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, represents some of the strongest evidence yet that chronotype—a person’s propensity to sleep at a certain time—influences depression risk.

It’s also among the first studies to quantify just how much, or little, change is required to influence mental health.”
 
While I’m not disputing those claims, I can tell you I’ve been waking up an hour earlier for almost all of my life, with little effect on my mood or my depression.
 
I usually awake about 5 or 5:30am. There is no practical reason for me to get up that early other than to publish this blog. And, if I wanted, I could do that much later. Breakfast here isn’t until 8 or 9 o’clock. But rising early has been a habit of mine, one which I seem unlikely to break.
 
The truth is, I hate the night. It’s long, lonely and non-productive as well as a waste of time. And time is the one thing you can’t get back once lost. If I had my way, I would never sleep. Fortunately, my body knows better and makes me sleep.
 
According to experts, old folks should get 6 to 7 hours of sleep a night. …..pause while I try not to laugh… Old folks know that’s impossible. I don’t know any old man who gets that amount of continuous sleep unless they are in a coma or under heavy sedation. I also know that most old people do very well on the more realistic 4 to 5 hours of nightly sack time. I know I do.

 
Would I do better with more sleep? I don’t know and will never find out. On the rare occasion when I have managed to get maybe 5 hours of straight sleep, I felt no better or worse.

Therefore, I have decided not to fret about the lack of, or quality of, the sleep I get. My body will do what it needs to do until that time when it needs something more permanent. And if depression or grouchiness is a result, so be it. ……………
 


[1] Kishke, also known as stuffed derma is a Jewish dish traditionally made from flour or matzo meal, schmaltz (garlic flavored chicken fat) and spices stuffed into a cow’s intestine. It’s a lot like the Scottish dish, Haggis. It is also a slang word for one’s innards.  
[2] (https://www.colorado.edu/today/2021/05/27/want-reduce-your-depression-risk-wake-hour-earlier?utm_source=morning_brew

 

  

Do you REALLY want to live forever?
Only 33% of Americans would
take an immortality pill

By Stacy Liberatore

Do you REALLY want to live forever? Only 33% of Americans would take an immortality pill - and men are more likely to take it than women. The survey asked 911 Americans if they would want to live forever. This was done by telling respondents that they would take an immortality pill...

    Only 33% said they would take it, 42% declined the offer and 25% were unsure.

    The results also showed that more men said they would take the pill.

The survey also asked respondents what age they would like to freeze at...

    The youngest group of people, ranging from 18-28, said 23 years old.

    While another group that averaged the age of 72 wanted to live forever at 42.








 

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    JUNE 9, 2021



Average COVID Hospital Bill for
U.S. Seniors Nearly $22,000

By Amy Norton

The cost of COVID-19 hospitalizations averaged nearly $22,000 for older Americans in 2020 — and much more for those who became critically ill, a new government study finds.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the cost of COVID-19 care to the Medicare program, which covers Americans aged 65 and up.

On average, the investigators found, the program spent almost $22,000 for each patient hospitalized between April and December 2020.

But those figures were much higher for some patients, including those severely ill enough to need a ventilator. Their costs approached $50,000, on average.


__________________________________________________________________________


Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments
Aren’t Enough to Pay Higher Costs for Seniors

By Josephine Nesbit

The Social Security Administration announced that the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which is an increase in social security benefits to counteract inflation, increased by 1.3% for 70 million Americans on Social Security and Supplemental Security Income.


The estimated average monthly benefit increased by $20 per month for 2021, reports CNBC. This increase, however, isn’t enough to account for the rising costs for seniors.

The Senior Citizens League, one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups, surveyed 1,125 participants from mid-January through April 20, 2021. According to their data, more than 62% of retirees think that Social Security cost-of-living adjustments need a guaranteed minimum of 3%.


______________________________________________________________


Older workers are now least likely
to ask for a salary bump

By CW Headley

You might think that boomers, who have lived longer than Gen-Z and Millennial populations and generally have more work experience, would be the most confident in asking for a pay raise. A new survey, conducted by Indeed, revealed that they actually show the greatest hesitation.

This insight draws on research first conducted back in 2019 when 65% of workers between the age of 54 and 65 said that they felt comfortable, or somewhat comfortable, asking for a pay increase at their current job. That figure decreased to 51% in the latest findings — and the ambivalence applies to asking for promotions as well.
What causes job insecurity?

The economists behind the report suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic may have wounded confidence among older Americans more than any other group.







6-7 minutes


Let’s begin with some stats…[1]
 
Aging services providers continue to face exponential expenses due to routine testing, PPE, staffing, cleaning and other ongoing costs, while revenues have fallen substantially for many.
 
● Nursing homes and assisted living across the country are reporting operating losses of several hundred thousand dollars a month or more, and many affordable senior housing providers have COVID-related expenses far beyond their means.
 
● In nursing homes, short-stay/rehab admissions are falling as the volume of surgeries and medical care has declined and hospitals discharge patients to home care settings. At the same time, long-term care admissions have fallen as families have stopped bringing their older relatives to nursing homes.
 
● The pandemic has triggered revenue losses of up to 23% in nursing homes, and nursing homes have closed.

 
● Almost ¾ of nursing homes (72%) reported they cannot maintain operations for another year at this rate—and 40% said they would last less than six months.
 
● Not all long-term care providers have had access to federal funding relief including private-pay nursing facilities and assisted living communities.
 
And if that wasn’t enough…[2]
 
“According to a recent estimate by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), the combined cost for COVID-19 testing of every resident and staff of assisted living communities and nursing homes would be approximately $672 million nationwide.”
 
And it appears, hardly any of those expenses will be reimbursed by the government. And since all long-term care facilities have to operate at a profit to stay in business, guess who will eventually pay for all of that stuff? The thousands of senior citizens who call assisted living facilities home and were forced into something they had no say in. But how the facility’s will recoup some of that money is another story. One that does not bode well for us residents.

The A.L.F. that I call home is expensive and I could never afford it if it were not for the subsidies provided by Medicare and Medicaid and other programs.
 
Essentially, the only out-of-pocket expense for me is turning over most of my Social Security benefits to the facility. The various subsidies pick up the rest of the nearly $5000 -a- month rent. Because of this, the facility cannot raise my rent unless the government increases my benefits. And even then, the facility is entitled to only take a small percentage of that raise. Over the years, we have seen increases of $10, $12, or $20 per month. Hardly much at all considering the facility’s expenses rise and fall with inflation. So where will the money needed to provide all the services come from if not raising the rent? It’s a matter of, “If you can’t raise the bridge, lower the river.” And the “river” in this case being things like activities, maintenance and…food. What will that mean?

The food here has always been a bone of contention. But mostly it’s been a matter of not being able to cook it. The quality of the food that came in to our kitchen was usually of decent quality.
 
Fresh fruits and vegetables. Premium quality chicken (Purdue or Tyson) as well as fresh eggs and a variety of decent cold cuts. The quality was about as good as that of any diner. But not anymore.
 
Recently they have been serving us liquid eggs, frozen chicken patties instead of whole chicken breasts. Canned fruits and vegetables instead of fresh. Even items like pancakes are thawed and reheated from a factory. The same goes for fish, burgers and recently, meatballs. They are substituting turkey for beef. And, of course, the portions are getting smaller and smaller.  
 
My sources have told me they have switched the purchasing of our food from having our chef/supervisor ordering it to a central purchasing agent who will buy food for all the facilities owned by the corporation that owns ours. This means that the likes and dislikes of our residents will have no influence over what is bought. This can only result in poorer quality for everybody. And I’m sure that’s only the beginning. Cuts will have to be made in other areas as well. Like group activities and crafts. Parties and special dinners and outings to shows, malls and restaurants. All brought about by a pandemic that affected us (seniors) more than any other single group. But instead of trying to make up for our suffering, we will have to bear the brunt of the cost for something that is not our fault.

Meanwhile, we remain the unwilling victims, having to suffer the same disrespect we have endured for 15 months…...............................

[1]Source: https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.leadingagetexas.org/resource/resmgr/advocacy/2021legesession/ltc_covid19_fiscal_impact__3.pdf
[2] Source: https://stateofreform.com/covid-19/2020/05/combined-testing-costs-for-nursing-homes-assisted-living-communities-672-million-nationwide/



 

Most Common Tech Scams Targeting Seniors


One day, Georgina’s grandkids set her up with a Facebook account. She was happy to be able to connect with them in this new digital way and see the photos they posted.

Before long, Georgina received a friend request from Jim. He said he was a serviceman on peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan. They became friends, and when he told her his wife had died of cancer – just as Georgina’s husband had – their online friendship blossomed into a long distance romance. Soon, Jim said, his military service would end, and he and Georgina could be together in person. Georgina was ecstatic.

Their first obstacle was $15,000. Jim needed it, he told her, to pay the export tax on some gemstones he had collected to open a jewelry store. She sent him the money. Then he needed another $20,000.








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    JUNE 8, 2021
THE LATEST NEWS FOR SENIORS


FDA approves Alzheimer's drug from Biogen, against experts' advice
The approval comes after an independent panel to
the FDA urged the agency to reject the Biogen drug.

By Sara G. Miller

The Food and Drug Administration approved an Alzheimer's drug on Monday, the first time the agency has approved a new therapy for the disease since 2003. The moves comes after an independent advisory panel urged the agency in November to reject the drug, called aducanumab, warning that the treatment hadn't been shown to help slow the progression of the disease.

Aducanumab is the only drug that U.S. regulators have said can likely treat the underlying disease, rather than manage symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia. It's made by the Massachusetts-based company Biogen and will be sold under the name Aduhelm.


The decision, which could affect millions of older Americans and their families, is certain to spur disagreements among physicians, medical researchers and patient groups. It also has far-reaching implications for the standards used to evaluate experimental therapies, including those that show only incremental benefits.


________________________________________________________________________________________


Finding a therapist who takes Medicare
feels like a full-time job.
I've been looking for a year.
By Owen Taeger

My name is Owen, I'm an artist, a trans man, a dog lover, physically disabled, a gardener, and I'm not OK. This past year has been brutal for a lot of people; fear, grief, financial peril and an uncertain future have shaken us to our core. Add on a scoop of previously existing mental health issues, and you have a recipe for a heck of a rough time.

I've been managing mental illness since I was a teenager, and I have a well-stocked toolbox of coping methods and a great support system. So what happens when that's not enough? Usually when someone's support and coping mechanisms aren't sufficient, they turn to therapy. What happens when that's just not an option? Transportation isn't an issue; I have health insurance, and, because I'm on disability due to my genetic connective tissue disorder, my schedule is flexible. Why can't I get an appointment?

Like a lot of disabled people, I'm dual eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. It sounds like the best of both worlds, but for me, it's been a nightmare. While some people have trouble finding a therapist who accepts Medicaid, I've found it even more difficult to find a therapist who accepts Medicare. Because I'm dual eligible, it's crucial that any therapist I see accepts Medicare, which is insurance for people 65 and older and some people with disabilities. If not, they're off the table for me.


____________________________________________________________________________________


How to downsize your home for a move

Experts say that now is the perfect time for seniors to downsize and get the most out of a home sale.

DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: What tips can you offer for downsizing? My husband and I would like to relocate from our house into a retirement community condo near our daughter but need to get rid of a lot of personal possessions before we can move.

— Overwhelmed Willa

DEAR WILLA: The process of weeding through a house full of stuff and parting with old possessions is difficult and overwhelming for most people. A good place to start is to see if your kids, grandkids or other family members would like any of your unused possessions. Whatever they don’t want, here are a few tips and services that may help you downsize.  

Sell it

Selling your stuff is one way to get rid of your possessions and pad your pocketbook at the same time. Selling options may include consignment shops, a garage sale, estate sale and selling online.


___________________________________________________________________________________________


Best and Worst States for Elderly Healthcare
By Michael LaPick

What are cost-saving tips for seniors who need healthcare?

The biggest mistake people make shopping for health plans is focusing on the premium costs. Fact is, if the premium is low, the health plan operator raises other
elements to maintain its profits. So generally, the lower the premium, the higher your co-payments or percentage of cost-sharing for other provider services, the higher your deductible before the company kicks in a dime – and the smaller the provider network. Therefore, take a holistic approach. If you’re young and healthy, a lower-premium plan can work for you because you rarely need to see a doctor, perhaps not even for an annual check-up. On the other hand, if you have health issues, you may well get a better outcome spending extra to get access to the doctors and specialists you need to stay well.

If you have health insurance at work, as most Americans do, by law the insurance must pay at least 60% of your medical expenses. Also, the premiums cannot cost you more than 9.6% of your income. For instance, if you make $50,000, you should pay not a penny more than $400 in monthly premiums. If you suspect that your employer is breaking these laws, call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 800-318-2596 and ask for an “eligibility determination”. If that inquiry shows you’re being abused, you can sign up immediately for an Affordable Care Act health plan and likely collect federal subsidies that could cut your premiums to $100 a month or less for superior comprehensive coverage.








6 minutes

I cannot remember the last time I had an actual dining experience. I mean a REAL dinner, in a restaurant, with other people. While dining out may appear simple to most, for residents of an assisted living facility the action of going to a restaurant becomes not only a dream, but a major undertaking.
 
It used to be so easy. Call a friend, set a date and time, pick a nice place and go to dinner. And for millions of people, that’s the way it’s done. Whether the restaurant is a fancy four star venue or a chain taco joint, eating a meal in a place other than home should be no big deal. Even during the worst days of the pandemic, when restaurants were forced to operate under the most restrictive conditions, people went to dinner. Why? Because it is a pleasurable thing to do. Humans are social animals. And one way we can express and fulfill our social obligations is to have a meal with another human. And we will do a lot to make that happen. Just look at what restaurants had to go through just to remain open.


We have a dining room here at the A.L.F.. It’s a large room with the ambiance of a subway station and the intimacy of Yankee Stadium. Even in normal times the atmosphere is as conducive to dining as meal time in San Quentin. There is little spent on detail or decor. It’s a place to fulfil the facility’s obligation to provide three meals a day, and little else. It’s pleasant enough, but you never get the feeling they care about making eating there a pleasurable experience. Most notable is the lack of any professionalism. If you can imagine your 8-year-old grand kid running a restaurant, then you have some idea of how our dining room is run.
 
Cooks who do not know how to cook or what food is supposed to taste like.
 
A serving staff that never seems to have anything you need at hand and is constantly short-handed.
 
Tables that are never properly set with condiments (salt and pepper, sugar, mustard and ketchup). And when you ask for them, twenty minutes can go by before they bring it to you.
 
Despite the kitchen being only a few feet away, the food is rarely served hot.
 
A menu that has no imagination or variety.
 
Food which requires only the minimum of preparation. Mostly frozen, portion-controlled products used. Skimpy side dishes and even skimpier deserts.  

And a noise level that can make conversation impossible, especially if you are a little hard of hearing. Is there any wonder people would like to eat out?

For me, having dinner with a friend or relative (or a date) is only a memory. The last time I had a meal in a real restaurant was about 3 years ago, when the facility planned a trip to the local Long Horn Steakhouse. It was nice to sit and be served, not just fed, and to have a meal that was properly cooked, seasoned and plated. And best of all. I could sit at a table with friends of my choosing and not those who were “assigned” to eat with me. Simply, it’s all about choice. And choice is the one thing that is in short supply at the A.L.F.

 

It’s difficult for those of you who live in the real world to understand what it means to go to a place where the menu is printed on more than just one side of one sheet of paper. Or to order just what you like to eat. Or the pleasure of having an intimate meal with someone you love or admire. Some of my happiest times were spent having dinners with my best friends, my brother and my wife. And I miss it terribly.
 
Therefore, the next time you visit a friend who is living in a care facility and can leave, ask if they would like to go out to eat and watch their eyes light up. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A diner or chain restaurant will do. And you can be sure that the time spent there, with you, will be remembered for months to come. Bon appetite…………………..
 
 


Time to Give Up the Keys?
A Guide to Seniors and Driving

According to Michigan.gov, Michigan has over 1.2 million drivers that are age 65 and older. By 2025, it is expected that one in five drivers will be 65 and older. This is a trend that is sweeping across the country with more older drivers on the road than ever before. A person's ability to drive can mean everything to them; it serves not just as a means of getting from Point A to Point B, but it also represents their independence and personal freedom.

However data shows that driving gets riskier with age and while old age alone is not a reason to stop driving, a number of physical and mental conditions, such as dementia and vision/hearing impairment, can lead to an unsafe driver getting behind the wheel and possibly hurting themselves or others. So at one point does it become obvious that a senior driver must be told to give up the keys?

Warning Signs of an Unsafe Senior Driver…







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    JUNE 7, 2021

THE LATEST SENIOR NEWS


Will Congress Abandon America’s Seniors?
By Michelle Cottle


As negotiations grind on between the White House and Senate Republicans, the prospects for a big, bold infrastructure deal look bleak. President Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan — the first of a two-part package — is being picked apart by Republican lawmakers. They object to its price tag. They object to funding it by rolling back some of the 2017 tax cuts. And they vehemently object to the White House’s redefinition of infrastructure to encompass things like roads, ports, broadband, community colleges, electric-vehicle charging stations and elder care.

Republicans have countered with a radically reduced plan stripped of provisions they do not consider infrastructure. Their biggest target for elimination: Mr. Biden’s call to invest $400 billion in community-based and in-home care for older and disabled people. Characterized as “infrastructure of care” by the White House, the provision accounts for nearly 20 percent of the total cost of the president’s plan. Republican lawmakers are having none of it.

Republicans have a semantic point: The administration’s position that any policy aimed at helping people live productive lives should count as infrastructure stretches the term “infrastructure” to its limit. Within these parameters, it’s hard to think of a measure that wouldn’t qualify.


_____________________________________________________________


75% Of U.S. Seniors Are Now Fully Vaccinated
By Joe Walsh


About three-quarters of elderly Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, lending broad protection against a virus that’s killed more than 450,000 U.S. seniors in the last 15 months.


Some 41 million Americans over the age of 65 were fully vaccinated as of Thursday, meaning they’ve received either two doses of Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

Another 6 million seniors are partially vaccinated with just one Pfizer or Moderna shot, extending some level of immunity to 86% of the country’s 65-and-over population.


_____________________________________________________________________________


Older people living alone
at high risk of malnutrition



New research from Massey University highlights more than a third (37 percent) of older people who live in the community are at risk of malnutrition. Those at risk were likely to experience more social and emotional loneliness and have fewer social supports than those not at nutritional risk.

Researchers have identified a need for culturally appropriate interventions to provide the opportunity for older adults to eat with others, especially those living alone.

The research, recently published in the Australasian Journal on Ageing, was a cross-sectional analysis from the Health, Work and Retirement longitudinal study—a government-funded study of the determinants of health ageing in older New Zealanders and one of the largest studies to date to report malnutrition risk.






6 - minutes

I arrived a little early for my scheduled twice-weekly modified communal dining experience last Thursday morning to find about 30 of my fellow residents had already congregated in the lobby. It was only 7:10 am (an ungodly hour for breakfast), and yet, there they were. All groomed, dressed, conversing with their neighbors as if this were just an ordinary Pre-covid day. They showed little sign of having been incarcerated for over 440 days. As I watched them, I had to ask myself. “These have to be the most resilient, mentally stable people in the world.” That, or they all have gone completely nuts and don’t realize the injustice that has been forced upon them by well-meaning but clueless bureaucrats.

The only sign that we were still living under the overly cautious protocols evoked by the DOH were the face masks, dutifully worn (many below the chin) by most of the residents. Me, always the rebel, refuses to abide by those protocols, have my mask in my pocket. And, it would have stayed there if it were not for our administrator asking me to put it on.

“I’m sorry. I know it’s ridiculous. Even the CDC says we don’t have to wear masks indoors anymore. But just last week the DOH sent an inspector, and I was told that they saw too many non-masked residents which could result in a violation of our license,” he said. I grudgingly complied and put the mask on.
 
Normally, I would have argued about my rights being taken away and how spinless he (our administrator) was by not standing up to the Nazi-like demands of the DOH and defying the rules. But after all this time and all that has gone under the bridge this past year, my spirit, if not broken, has been severely bent.

This got me to thinking. Has this been the plan all along? Did the DOH know that old people don’t complain, especially to authority figures, and therefore would be easy to manipulate? It sure seems that way. Speaking to some of our residents waiting for breakfast, I got the impression that the “Que sera, sera” virus has spread as virulently as COVID-19.
 
“How you doin’”,  I asked some  of the older residents gathered there in front of the dining room doors. This is the first time I had seen many of them in months. And almost to the man (or women), their answers were the same. “Okay, as good as can be expected”, they told me.
 
I had at least expected an occasional “F**k this s**t.”,but no. The sense of resignation was overwhelming. And not only that. Many appeared to be in good spirits. Smiles on their faces and an extra lilt to their voices. Were these folks brainwashed or so emotionally drained that any signs of despair or gloom were gone? The truth may lie somewhere in between.

 Anyone who has survived at least a year in an assisted living facility is well on their way to learning that to resist is futile. And the facility has the paperwork to make your compliance legal. The admittance process alone comprises a barrage of forms (which you must sign) allowing them to open your mail, come into your room, inspect deliveries, restrict your movement inside and out of the premises and a myriad of other constraints on your freedom and independence. After a while, doing what you are told becomes expected and routine. And besides, it’s just so much easier just to give-in. Therefore, what may appear to be a group of seniors enduring their COVID induced quarantine with grace and dignity, is really only a bunch of shop-worn old people too used to being told what to do and too tired to care.  

Just for the record, not all of us are so brainwashed or complacent that we offer no resistance. I question every COVID related procedure and protocol they throw at us. And, while I too almost always fail to change anything, they at least know I have not given in or given up. There is a lot of anger and wrath left in me, just waiting to come out. And it will when this is all over and the time to do it presents itself. But until then It’ll be all “Yes sir” and yes mam.”……….
 

 


Older people have been
living challenging lives
By Jeff Bahr

My heart goes out to women in their 70s, 80s and 90s.

First of all, they have to keep track of an awful lot of birthdays. They faithfully mail cards and gifts to a large number of children and grandchildren.

It’s hard to keep addresses up to date because young people move a lot. Then, when Grandma sends a $20 check to her 21-year-old grandson, she finds that he almost never checks his mailbox. Sometimes, it’s a miracle if the gift gets to him.

Most older people have trouble walking. Their back hurts. Shoulders, hips and knees ache. I feel their pain.







Emergency Broadband Benefit
EBB: What It Is & How It Works


Help Has Arrived: The Emergency Broadband Fund is now available to help eligible American households connect to broadband; the Emergency Connectivity Fund will soon help schools and libraries.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.

About the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.









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-30-




    JUNE 4, 2021

THE LATEST SENIOR NEWS


More Than 50% of Senior Living Communities
Experienced No Covid-19 Deaths in 2020, NORC Finds

By Chuck Sudo

That’s according to a new study released Thursday by NORC at the University of Chicago, which reveals the extent to which Covid-19 impacted senior care settings across different levels of care.

Notably, two-thirds of independent living communities studied reported no deaths from Covid-19 last year, and residents in these communities were as safe as seniors living in non-congregate settings.

And mortality rates increased with care acuity, which took the research team by surprise, Caroline Pearson, senior vice president of health care strategy and lead researcher at NORC, told Senior Housing News.


_______________________________________________________________


Assisted living facility faces federal
discrimination lawsuit over ‘no wheelchair’ policy


A Manhattan assisted living facility is facing a federal lawsuit over allegations that it discriminates against people with disabilities who use wheelchairs.

The lawsuit, filed by the Fair Housing Justice Center against Vista on 5th Corp., is the result of an investigation the nonprofit civil rights organization began in 2019 using undercover testers. The testers repeatedly were told that older adults using wheelchairs were not eligible for residence at the assisted living facilities because they could not “self-evacuate in case of an emergency” and walk unassisted down the stairs, according to the lawsuit. One tester reportedly was told that the self-evacuation rule was a state mandate.

Vista on 5th did not respond to requests for comment by the McKnight’s Senior Living’s publication deadline.


______________________________________________________________


State Assisted Living Providers Billions
Out of Pocket in COVID-19 Pandemic Losses

New data released today underscore the dire predicament facing seniors and caregivers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Projecting through the second quarter of 2021, many of the largest 15 states for senior living will incur hundreds of millions of dollars to upwards of $2.4 billion in uncompensated losses due to the financial burdens imposed by the pandemic. The data was released by Argentum, the leading national association representing professionally managed senior living communities.  

While the federal government allocated money for provider relief in last year’s CARES Act, less than 1 percent of that funding has been allocated toward helping the nation’s senior living communities, which care for a vulnerable population.  

“During the pandemic, the communities providing assisted living went above and beyond to protect their seniors and caregivers and ensure they had access to the PPE, staffing, care, and services needed to keep people safe,” said James Balda, Argentum president & CEO. “Now, without federal intervention, many communities could be at risk of closing due to the steep and uncompensated costs stemming from the pandemic.”  


_______________________________________________________________


Sleep Problems That Can Occur In Old Age

It’s no secret that our bodies change as we age. Skin can lose its elasticity, bones and muscles can become more stiff. Teeth might not be as firm as they once were. But one area of changes that can occur in old age that deserves more attention is sleep. Many of us heard from our parents or grandparents that they once slept like a log but are no longer able to do so.

Insomnia can be a common problem among senior citizens, so much so that the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found 48% of older adults experience symptoms of insomnia. Worried about sleep problems that you might be experiencing? Here’s what you need to know about the causes and various sleeping issues:

Sleep problems and insomnia can come from a number of causes, both emotional and physical. For instance, those with chronic pain conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia may be kept up late due to the symptoms of their conditions, or may find themselves waking at various points in the night due to their pain. Depression can cause too little or too much sleep, while anxiety and racing thoughts can keep people of all ages up at night. Heart conditions can be worsened by sleep issues as well as potentially causing sleep issues.








How do I apply for the WIC Program?


If you’re interested in applying for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, we encourage you to check your eligibility with the Benefits.gov Benefit Finder tool or use the shortened questionnaire on the WIC Program page.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service administers the WIC Program at the federal level, state agencies are responsible for determining participant eligibility and providing benefits and services, and for authorizing vendors.


To apply to be a WIC participant, you will need to apply through your state (or local agency) to set up an appointment. To set up an appointment, find your state's website or call the toll-free number. If you call to set up an appointment, a coordinator will inform you of the nearest location to your home and instruct you on what to bring to your appointment.

You must meet the requirements under the following sections to receive WIC:





While we are locked inside, the world spins without us. But there’s no excuse to be ill-informed. That why every Friday we present….



THE WORLD

Japan's pre-Olympic vaccine dreams
going up in smoke

By Jazz Shaw


We recently learned that both IOC Vice President John Coates and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga have been taking a beating in the approval rating race due to their insistence that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will move forward. The country remains in an extended state of emergency because of the COVID pandemic and well over



 half of Japan’s citizens disapprove of the decision. As a solution to this dilemna, Suga announced that he would be setting up two mass vaccination sites in a pair of his country’s largest cities, attempting to develop enough herd immunity to avoid turning the games into one of the biggest superspreader events seen in the pandemic thus far.



* * * * * *

Netanyahu opponents reach
coalition deal to oust Israeli PM

By JOSEF FEDERMAN


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents announced Wednesday that they have reached a deal to form a new governing coalition, paving the way for the ouster of the longtime Israeli leader.

The dramatic announcement by opposition leader Yair Lapid and his main coalition partner, Naftali Bennett, came shortly before a midnight deadline and prevented what could have been Israel’s fifth consecutive election in just over two years.

“This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, those that voted for it and those that didn’t. It will do everything to unite Israeli society,” Lapid said.



* * * * * *


U.K. Covid Deaths Fall to Zero as
Calls Grow to End Lockdown

By Alex Morales, Joe Mayes


The U.K. recorded no new Covid-19 deaths for the first time since the global pandemic began, bolstering demands from industry groups for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift restrictions as planned this month.

Zero deaths have been reported in the past day, according to the latest statistics published on the government’s coronavirus dashboard at 4 p.m. Tuesday. That’s the first time since March 7 last year that nobody has died in the U.K. from the disease.


* * * * * *

Gaza's bereaved civilians
fear justice will never come

By KARIN LAUB and FARES AKRAM


The al-Kawlaks, a family of four generations living next door to each other in downtown Gaza City, were utterly unprepared for the inferno.

Like others, they were terrified by the heavy bombing in Israel’s fourth war with Gaza’s Hamas rulers that began May 10. The explosions felt more powerful than in previous fighting. At night, parents and children slept in one room so they would live or die together.


* * * * * *

China easing birth limits further
to cope with aging society

By JOE McDONALD


China’s ruling Communist Party said Monday it will ease birth limits to allow all couples to have three children instead of two in hopes of slowing the rapid aging of its population, which is adding to strains on the economy and society.



The ruling party has enforced birth limits since 1980 to restrain population growth but worries the number of working-age people is falling too fast while the share over age 65 is rising. That threatens to disrupt its ambitions to transform China into a prosperous consumer society and global technology leader.






* * * * * *

Australia's post-COVID economic recovery
lags behind comparable nations

By Alan Austin

It is not just Scott Morrison and his ministers disseminating dubious data. The head of at least one federal department is making factually questionable assertions of a political nature, writes Alan Austin.

WESTMINSTER TRADITIONS require ministers and senior public servants to invariably convey accurate information to citizens. Australia has seen recent Coalition governments fail to uphold this principle.


* * * * * *

Switzerland walks out of seven-year
treaty talks with EU

By Daniel Boffey


Switzerland has walked out of talks on a closer trading relationship with the European Union despite being offered better terms than the UK in key areas, EU officials have claimed.

On Wednesday the country’s foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis, pulled the plug on long-running discussions with the EU, saying that Berne’s conditions were “not met”.

Switzerland, while outside the EU, is the bloc’s fourth biggest trading partner and its economy is closely integrated with those of the 27 member states. Citizens of Switzerland and the EU member states have a mutual right to free movement.



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THE NATION


70 Percent Covid Vaccination Rate May Be in Reach


A new poll suggests the United States could be on track to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the adult population against Covid-19 by this summer.

In the latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 62 percent of respondents said they had received at least one dose of a vaccine, up from 56 percent in April. At the same time, about a third of those categorized as “wait and see” reported that they had already made vaccine appointments or planned to do so imminently.

Dr. William Schaffner, medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and a vaccine expert, found the results encouraging.



* * * * *

NYC’s Subway Operator and Martha’s Vineyard Ferry
Latest to Report Cyberattacks

By Robert McMillan, Joseph De Avila and Jacob Bunge


Revelations of cyberattacks on transportation systems in New York and Massachusetts heightened concerns about the threat to U.S. businesses and essential services Wednesday, after hackers held hostage the world’s largest meat processor this week.



An attack on JBS SA, the world’s biggest meat company by sales, upended U.S. meat supplies after it caused JBS’s plants to temporarily shut down. JBS said it restarted most of its plants on Wednesday, and that it anticipated operating at close to full capacity Thursday. White House officials said the hacking was likely carried out by a group based in Russia, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation attributed the attack to REvil, a criminal ransomware gang.


* * * * * *

Talk of Trump 2024 run builds as
legal pressure intensifies

By JILL COLVIN

Donald Trump was calling into yet another friendly radio show when he was asked, as he often is, whether he’s planning a comeback bid for the White House. “We need you,” conservative commentator Dan Bongino told the former president.

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” Trump responded. “We are going to make you very happy, and we’re going to do what’s right.”


* * * * * *

Drought saps California reservoirs
as hot, dry summer looms

By ADAM BEAM


Each year Lake Oroville helps water a quarter of the nation’s crops, sustain endangered salmon beneath its massive earthen dam and anchor the tourism economy of a Northern California county that must rebuild seemingly every year after unrelenting wildfires.



But the mighty lake — a linchpin in a system of aqueducts and reservoirs in the arid U.S. West that makes California possible — is shrinking with surprising speed amid a severe drought, with state officials predicting it will reach a record low later this summer.

While droughts are common in California, this year’s is much hotter and drier than others, evaporating water more quickly from the reservoirs and the sparse Sierra Nevada snowpack that feeds them. The state’s more than 1,500 reservoirs are 50% lower than they should be this time of year, according to Jay Lund, co-director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California-Davis.


* * * * *

Exhuming History: 100 years after an angry white mob destroyed
a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, descendants,
survivors and concerned citizens demand justice



When Regina Goodwin was a little girl visiting her grandmother in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she would sometimes ask to see the book. It was concealed in a study, in a desk, inside a chest that opened with a key. Her grandmother would pull out a slender volume and allow the child to thumb through its worn pages. They held an account of the massacre that had shaken and shaped her family.


Oklahoma state Rep. Regina Goodwin, pictured above, tells the story of how her great grandparents and grandparents survived the Tulsa massacre in 1921.

The narrative was kept under lock and key because it was precious, not because the family didn’t want the child to know. On the contrary, the harrowing history of how Goodwin’s great grandparents and grandparents survived the two days of murder that came to be known as the Tulsa Massacre has long been a point of pride and resolve for their descendants. It became such a driving force for Goodwin that in 2015 this daughter of Tulsa was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives, where she serves the community whose stories she absorbed in her youth.


* * * * * *

Biden to propose $6T budget, increasing federal spending to
highest sustained level since WWII: report

By Dominick Mastrangelo,Morgan Chalfant and Niv Elis


President Biden is set to propose a budget totaling $6 trillion in the coming days, The New York Times reported early Thursday, about a third higher than pre-pandemic spending levels.



The proposal would contain major investments in infrastructure, education and health care, according to the Times, and bring federal spending levels to their highest sustained level since World War II.

Under the plan, documents for which were obtained by the Times, the federal government would spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year and spending would increase to $8.2 trillion by the year 2031.  


* * * * * *

Jobs picture shows more improvement
as unemployment claims slide

By Jeff Cox


The U.S. jobs market edged closer to its pre-pandemic self last week as initial jobless claims totaled just 406,000 for the week ended May 22, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

While that level is still well above the pre-Covid norm, it is the closest to the previous trend since the crisis began in March 2020 and a decline from the previous week’s 444,000.


* * * * * *

Biden administration suspends oil and gas
leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By Alex DeMarban


The U.S. Interior Department said Tuesday that it will suspend controversial oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that were issued in the final days of the Trump administration.

The agency will also conduct a “comprehensive” environmental analysis of the oil and gas leasing program in the refuge, which Congress approved in 2017 at the urging of Alaska’s congressional delegation after decades of failed attempts.

“The department is notifying lessees that it is suspending oil and gas leases in the Arctic Refuge, pending the review, to determine whether the leases should be reaffirmed, voided, or subject to additional mitigation measures,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.



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ENTERTAINMENT


Kelly Clarkson to Take Over
Ellen DeGeneres’ Daytime Slot


NBC had carried 'Ellen' in major markets and will now fill the void in 2022 with a show it owns.



'The Kelly Clarkson Show' has been slotted to take over the daytime slot currently occupied by 'Ellen' when the latter show comes to an end next year.

NBC has locked in plans to fill the void created by the upcoming conclusion of Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime show.



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PASSINGS



Celebrity defense attorney F. Lee Bailey dies at 87
By Catherine Garcia

Attorney F. Lee Bailey, whose clients included O.J. Simpson, Patty Hearst, Dr. Sam Sheppard, and the confessed Boston Strangler Albert De Salvo, died Thursday in the Atlanta area, his former law partner Kenneth Fishman told The Associated Press. He was 87.

In addition to being a celebrity attorney, Bailey owned an aviation company and was a pilot, author, and television host. While he had many famous clients, Bailey was perhaps best known for his work defending Simpson against murder charges in the mid-1990s. He was part of Simpson's "Dream Team" of high-profile attorneys, and Simpson told The Boston Globe Magazine in 1996 that Bailey "was able to simplify everything and identify what the most vital parts of the case were." Simpson tweeted on Thursday, "I lost a great one. F. Lee Bailey you will be missed."


* * * * *

B.J. Thomas, 'Raindrops Keep Fallin'
on My Head' singer, dies at age 78
By Andy Rose, CNN


B.J. Thomas, whose smooth voice made him a country and pop crossover success, died Saturday of complications from lung cancer, his publicist said. He was 78.

Thomas first came to prominence with a cover of the Hank Williams standard "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," spending 13 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. Two years later, he broke into the Top 5 with "Hooked on a Feeling," a song written by his childhood friend, Mark James.

A movie soundtrack propelled Thomas to superstardom in 1970. He was chosen to perform the Burt Bacharach and Hal David number "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" for the film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," punctuating a memorable scene in which Paul Newman and Katharine Ross ride a bicycle together. It was Thomas' first No. 1 hit.


* * * * * * *

 Gavin MacLeod, ‘Love Boat’ Captain and
 ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Star, Dies at 90


Gavin MacLeod, a sitcom veteran who played seaman “Happy” Haines on “McHale’s Navy,” Murray on “Mary Tyler Moore” and the very different, vaguely patrician Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat,” has died. He was 90.

MacLeod’s nephew, Mark See, confirmed his death to Variety. MacLeod died in the early morning on May 29. No cause of death was given, but MacLeod’s health had declined in recent months.




Another week is in the books and, as always, it’s been my pleasure to share it with you. We’ll be back on Monday and do it all over again……………………………..






People Are Sharing The Strange Belongings They Found
After A Loved One's Death And Wow,
We All Have Secrets

by Mary Colussi

Recently, Reddit user u/OmegaMasterFlex asked people to share the strangest and most unexpected thing they found while going through the belongings of someone who'd passed away. Here's what people said:

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

1. "So here's a story from when my dad passed away a few years ago. While looking through a few old manila envelopes, a bag of blue gems fell out, along with an old letter from the bank in response to one my dad had sent in the early '80s."

"To cut a long story short, during his gap year in New Zealand, he stopped off in Bali and got convinced to buy some 'sapphires' he could sell for a tidy profit back in the U.K. He was very scam aware, so why he fell for this, we don't know.

On his return, he visited a jeweler, who told him that they're fake and he's happy to just take them off his hands. Cue Dad's letters to the bank seeking help recovering the money he spent, to no avail. He just seems to have accepted he got played and forgot about it.










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-30-




    JUNE 3, 2021


The Pernicious Reach of Ageism

As the U.S. grapples with all forms of prejudice, ageism remains under most people's radar. Some researchers say ageism is the last socially acceptable form of discrimination. This year, the World Health Organization and the United Nations called for urgent action to combat ageism. The stakes for all of us couldn't be higher. Ageism leads to poorer health and premature death.


Ageism is stereotyping or discrimination against a person based on their age. It's a global problem that costs society billions of dollars a year – $63 billion in the U.S. alone, mainly in excess health care costs, according to a Yale University study.

The coronavirus pandemic exposed some troubling aspects of ageism. In some places, blanket rules about a person's age decided access to medical care.


___________________________________________________________________


Many Americans forgo treatment
for hearing loss



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

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


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


_________________________________________________________________________


Could This Be the Way to Better
Home Care in America?



New legislation would expand the popular PACE home care program, but many would be left out

There's no doubt the pandemic put renewed emphasis on the need for viable, long-term care options to help older people age at home or in their community. One of the best known and effective programs to do it is PACE — the 25-year old federal Program of All inclusive Care for Elderly, an alternative to more traditional home and community based services for people 55 and older.

PACE uses a team-based approach, which helps people with long-term care needs stay healthier and out of nursing homes longer.




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Despite vaccines, nursing homes struggle
with Covid outbreaks and deaths


“While the outbreaks inside nursing homes now are much smaller, less frequent and less severe than during the height of the pandemic, there continue to be hundreds of deaths each week attributed to the coronavirus. According to federal data, 472 nursing home deaths were related to Covid-19 in the first two weeks of May, down from 10,675 in the first two weeks of January.”




See editor’s comments on this story below

7 minutes

I thought I would try something new. Something I’ve never done before. Something we usually leave up to the reader. And that is to comment directly on a news story. However, every now and again a story comes “over the wire” that not to explore it more fully would be amiss on my part.


The above article “Despite Vaccines, Nursing Homes Struggle With Covid Outbreaks and Deaths” is the best explanation I have read explaining why me, and thousands of patients and residents of long-term facilities in this state and others remain under Draconian protocols, rules and regulations brought about by COVID-19 than any other single group of individuals in the nation. I urge you to read it.


Perhaps no other words could have put the reasons for our extended incarceration more succinctly than these that appeared in the story…

“Covid-19 vaccines have allowed nursing homes in the U.S. to make dramatic progress since the dark days of the pandemic, but senior care facilities are still experiencing scattered outbreaks
that are largely blamed on unvaccinated staff members. The outbreaks and ensuing shutdowns have jolted family members who were just starting to enjoy in-person visits with loved ones for the first time in a year.”





It’s the dirty little secret facility owners and managers try to downplay or even admit. Despite that vaccines were offered to all residents and staff of every nursing home and assisted living facility in the state, not every person [1] in those places deemed it prudent enough to help the people they live with and work for and get vaccinated. And that one selfish act has caused misery for residents, their friends and families and their co-workers as well.


While I officially do not know how many unvaccinated people are roaming the halls here at the Asylum, the” grapevine” tells me “It’s quite a few.” And that’s a big problem. Not only is this one of the major reasons I am forced to spend most of my time isolated from my fellow inmates with no activities and limited communal dining, but it makes me continue to be susceptible to contracting the virus. And the saddest thing is, there is probably nothing anyone can do about it.

Despite what some right-wing politicians and their supporters would have you believe, the government cannot, and has no plans, to force anyone to get vaccinated. That’s not how we do things in a democracy. There are no indications that anyone who refuses to be vaccinated will lose their jobs or be penalized. And it would not be to anyone’s advantage to do so. The best they can do is to inform and urge people to do the right thing.  
 
The other ugly truth is trying to find qualified people to work in these places is next to impossible. Despite the difficulty of the job, people who work here are terribly underpaid. Barely making much more than minimum wage. And, as of late, the opportunities for overtime pay have diminished. Many of the people who work in our facility hold one or two other jobs just to make ends meet. And, because of the regulations that prohibit anyone convicted of a felony from working in venues like ours, the pool of workers is limited.

All of this is not good news for me and my friends. If things continue as they are, there is no telling when we will return to normal. 6 months, a year? Forever? This is not how I planned to spend my few remaining years. So what CAN we do? Well, education for one. The more people who know and understand the consequences of not being vaccinated, the better the chances are for those people to do so. But before we can educate we must get to the root of why nearly 50% of Americans won’t get the shot.
 
We can eliminate those that refuse vaccination because of religious reasons, health reasons or are just plain afraid of needles. They are a lost cause. But they do not represent most of those who refuse the vaccine. Most of them do so out of fear of government, mistrust in science or for purely political reasons. And it is those folks that will make or break our efforts to get 80% of the nation vaccinated by July 4th. Which puts facilities like ours in a difficult position. How much long can they sustain the level of infection control? When will the money run out? As of now there are no indications that any of the costs spent on PPE will be reimbursed. It’s easy to make the rules when nobody has any idea how to pay for them.
 
As we approach our 15th month of having our world turned around, I see little chance of a quick end. As long as we (residents) remain complacent, there will be no incentive to find a solution.
 
Perhaps what they need is what many states have been doing. Offering gifts and prizes and money to get workers to comply. The cost of doing so may be far less than the price paid by continuing on this path of over-caution, indecision and shameless disregard for our emotional and mental health…………………….
 
[1]It should be noted that it’s not only members of the staff that refused vaccination, but some residents as well.



 

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    JUNE 2, 2021


What seniors must consider before
booking their trips in post-Covid world

By Megha Paul

Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO and founder of the US-based VisitorsCoverage shares his views on what US seniors should consider before booking their trips such as destination travel restrictions and guidelines including those from state and city officials, travel insurance mandates, personal health assessment, etc.

Whether traveling domestically or internationally, US senior citizens should closely monitor the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions and guidelines set by officials of their travel destination. Since the start of COVID-19, many international vacation destinations have enforced strict requirements to keep locals and tourists safe. While entry restrictions for the fully-vaccinated travellers are loosening, some countries still require proof of travel insurance and vaccination cards/negative COVID-19 tests upon arrival as well as social distancing, and masking in crowds.

It is also important for senior travellers to know that Medicare and most domestic healthcare plans won’t cover US citizens when traveling outside the country, which means if an injury or illness occurs, all medical bills must be paid upfront, out of pocket by the traveller. For a little cost, seniors may buy travel medical insurance that will help them find a trusted doctor or hospital to receive treatment and may save them thousands of dollars in medical fees.


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Humans probably can't live longer than 150 years,
new research finds

By Eric Mack


Science is once again casting doubt on the idea that we could live to be nearly as old as the biblical Methuselah or Mel Brooks' famous 2,000-year-old man.

New research from Singapore-base biotech company Gero looks at how well the human body bounces back from disease, accidents or just about anything else that puts stress on its systems. This basic resilience declines as people age, with an 80-year-old requiring three times as long to recover from stresses as a 40-year-old on average.

This should make sense if you've ever known an elderly person who has taken a nasty fall. Recovery from such a spill can be lif- threatening for a particularly frail person, whereas a similar fall might put a person half as old out of commission for just a short time and teenagers might simply dust themselves off and keep going.


_____________________________________________________________________


Proposal to strip dollars from affordable housing,
HCBS ‘unconscionable,’ aging services leaders say


“Disturbing news” that Republican leadership’s $928 billion counterproposal to the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill strips out every dollar to support affordable senior housing is simply “unconscionable,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said Thursday.

She led a panel discussion on what she described as a crisis in meeting the housing needs of a rapidly aging population.

“It’s an outrage to hear that some congressional leaders want to strip every dollar for affordable housing and home- and community-based services for older Americans out of the legislation,” Sloan said. “Any infrastructure bill that goes forward must provide for safe and affordable housing designed specifically for older Americans, as well as home- and community-based services.”


_________________________________________________________________


Families are struggling to care for elderly parents or loved ones with disabilities.
President Biden wants to tax corporations to fund efforts to help out.

By Daniela Altimari


Dorristene Branham got divorced when her only child, Constance Dunlap, was a few months old and for years it was just the two of them.

Branham eventually remarried but after her husband died in 2006, mother and daughter found themselves together again in Branham’s West Hartford home.

Now, Dunlap says, “my best friend is slipping away from me.”

Branham, 73, has been diagnosed with dementia; she is incontinent, relies on a walker and is considered a fall risk. “I have a chair alarm and a bed alarm and I get very hyper every time she moves,” Dunlap said.





5 minutes

This past Memorial Day weekend got me thinking about the beach and how it was so much a part of my childhood.
 
I was born and bred in New York City and lived most all of my life there. And, while one does not immediately think of the City as having a beach culture, there is one and it plays an important part of who (we natives) are.
 
New York City beaches are like no other.
 
Yes, there’s sand. In fact, there are 14 miles of it. [1] All on an ocean of some note. But despite its size and accessibility, New York City has never been known for its seashore. Probably because, unlike other cities with beachfront property, NYC never exploited it like Miami or L.A. or Rio de Janeiro.
 
New York City beaches are not bordered by fancy, high-rise condos. There are no Marriot’s, or Hilton’s or Sheraton hotels with pricey ocean view properties that extend to the sea. The truth be told, most of NYC’s beaches are just a block away from some of the poorest neighborhoods. Amazingly, these areas are the few that greedy land developers have failed to get there hands on. And that’s because, historically, New York’s beaches have always been for the masses. They were designed that way. They were made for people of all means and all backgrounds.

One must think of NY’s beaches as a pressure valve. After a hot, steamy week of working and walking the broiling city streets, New Yorker’s who could not afford the luxury of a mountain retreat needed somewhere to go for relief. And that place was Coney Island. An amazing stretch of pristine beach, not hundreds of miles removed, but only a short subway ride away. You left early in the morning, stayed all day, and then went home. Nobody “stayed” overnight. And if the ocean wasn’t your thing, there were the amusements, rides and sideshows to keep you occupied.

My introduction to the beach came when I was 6.
 
The place was Rockaway, and the place was a bungalow on the beach.
 
For some reason we didn’t go to the other middle-class retreat New Yorkers (at least Jewish New Yorkers’s) went to. The Catskills. Going to the “mountains” was a ritual for many years. My mom and I would move there for the summer while my father and brother stayed, and worked in the city and would come up on weekends. We stayed in a bungalow in a bungalow colony. For me, it was a vacation. For my mom, not so much. She still had to cook and do laundry, but now it was in a cool woodland setting instead of our hot Brooklyn apartment.
 
I suppose my father was tired of making that two or three-hour trip “upstate” on the bus, and instead decided that a short train ride from the city would be easier. For me, living on the beach was paradise. I had only to step out of the front door and my feet would be in the warm, white sand. For my mom, it meant schlepping all the beach equipment needed to keep an active 6-year-old occupied and safe.
 
Out came the beach blanket, the towels, the pail and shovel, the gloppy Crisco-like sunburn cream and me. It was fun. And there were many other kids to play with. It was the Riviera, Rio and Cancun all in one. For my mother. At least it was cool.

Later on, when the family got a car, our trips to the beach included Riis Park, a beautiful beach at the tip of the Rocaway peninsula. No bungalows there. It was strictly a day outing. And when I learned to drive places like Jones Beach and Robert Moses Sate park on Long Island became my day in the sun.

I haven’t been to a beach in 12 years. And I suppose I may never see one again. But I will always remember the wonderful days I spent on the sand way back then…………
 

[1] NYC actually has 520 miles of coastline.



 


She stole checks from her elderly mother.
Now the ex-Mrs. Florida will head to prison.

By C. Isaiah Smalls II


The former Mrs. Florida 2016, a conservative media pundit, has been sentenced to a month in jail for stealing her late mother’s Social Security checks instead of spending the money on nursing home care.

A federal judge handed down the ruling on Thursday, saying that he wanted to send a message to Karyn Turk, 47, and anyone else contemplating Social Security fraud.

“You can’t steal from the government and not go to jail,” U.S. Magistrate Bruce Reinhart said, according to the Palm Beach Post.











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    JUNE 1, 2021


2 in 5 older adults with COPD
lack access to beneficial treatment

By Brian P. Dunleavy


Nearly two in five older adults with COPD lack access to needed pulmonary rehabilitation services, an analysis presented Tuesday during the American Thoracic Society's 2021 conference found.

Just under 40% of Medicare beneficiaries with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, live more than 10 miles away from the nearest pulmonary rehabilitation clinic, the data showed.

For nearly 15%, the closest clinic offering these services, which include exercise and educational programs designed to improve lung function, is more than 25 miles away.


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'There's got to be a better way':
CT woman shares struggle to protect
her mother with dementia from wandering

By Ed Stannard


Christine DiLeone was having “an anxiety attack like literally every day” as she watched her mother, Irene Vandenberg, sink into dementia.

Vandenberg, who died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2018 at 79 years old, had a tendency to wander out of the house, as six in 10 people with dementia do.

Fearing for a loved one’s safety makes caring for a person with dementia all the more heartbreaking, as the personality of a parent or other family member changes and their ability to make rational decisions declines.


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Biden’s Tax On Large Capital Gains At Death
Will Catch A Few With Annual Incomes
Of Less than $400,000

By Howard Gleckman


President Biden’s campaign promise never to raise taxes on those making $400,000 or less annually will inevitably conflict with his proposal to tax unrealized capital gains at death.

My TPC colleague Rob McClelland and I estimate Biden’s new capital gains tax could exempt about 98 percent of decedents who made $400,000 or less, but about 2 percent may face a tax increase. In other words, Biden would come very close to meeting his pledge, but a relative handful of lower-income decedents may pay higher taxes at death. And even that small number may add to the political challenges Biden faces as he tries to convince Congress to pass a tax on capital gains at death.


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The Big Role Older Entrepreneurs
Play in Business Innovations


Entrepreneurs over 55 are among the most active new business owners in America, starting companies at rates that exceed their younger peers. In fact, 80% of small business owners are over 45, according to the New York Federal Reserve.


With a wealth of knowledge gained over years of experience, older Americans are well positioned to put that experience to work building businesses of their own making. And with the average American living well past the traditional retirement age of 65, many start businesses to extend careers or, in some cases, to try a path not taken earlier in life.

Even coming out of the pandemic, older entrepreneurs are better positioned than their younger counterparts to succeed.








5 minutes

They say we die a little the second we are born. Technically, I guess that’s true. But how many two-year-olds do you hear complaining “I ain’t as young as I used to be”, or how his bunions are acting up again? It’s a prerogative for old people to bemoan their failing bodies, but at least most people are fortunate enough to experience the metamorphoses from young and healthy to old and decrepit slowly, over time. However, for many, the transformation comes on like a ton of bricks. Unexpected and unwelcome. I’m one of those people.

I won’t lie and tell you I was a picture of health all my life. I dare say the blush of youth diminished in my early twenties when the gray hairs started sprouting out from my ears and nose, of all places. And then, soon after I graduated from college, the telltale signs of a receding hairline slowly showed. And, by the time I got married, my follically- challenged scalp succumbed to my genetics and shed like a Golden Retriever in August. But, as I said, it was slow and expected. I had only to look at my older brother (by 14 years) to see what the future had in store for me. And, somehow, I didn’t mind the process. It was natural. The way all flesh must go, eventually. And I would have been content to have things go that way for me too. I actually looked forward to slipping gently into the arms of maturity. Little did I know that instead of mellowing like a plum, I would rot like an over-ripe banana. And I feel cheated.

Where was the mid-life crisis I heard so much about? Where was the sports car men in their 60s buy to fill the space in their Jockey shorts? And the women. Wasn’t I at that age when I should chase women 20 years my junior? I missed that phase. Taken from me by my damn colon that decided it wasn’t aging fast enough and skipped a few years by going bad before my 63rd birthday.
 
Nothing brings out the old in you like a long hospital stay and an even longer one as a patient in a nursing home where, if you weren’t old when you came in, you certainly would be by the time you leave. Nursing homes have a way of accelerating the aging process. Much of it because of being around old people 24/7. It’s almost as if it’s contagious. When I finally left for where I am now, I was totally indoctrinated into the cult all old people belong to. The one that has pain as its mantra and wrinkles as its reward.

Today, my life is one of an increasing number of pills, regimentation, doctor’s appointments, breath-consuming “walks” and mostly sedentary lifestyle which wouldn’t be so bad if it were not for my mind which has not come to grips with the worn-out body it’s entombed in. Things happened to me so quickly my brain, which still thinks its 17, did not have time to adjust. And so, there is a conflict between my mind and body which has taken its toll on my emotions and my state of mind. And being cooped-up in this insane asylum they call an assisted living facility for more than a year is not helping much.
 
The past 10 years have not been kind to me. I was caught off-guard and not ready for any of this. I imagine there will, at some point, be a reckoning with what has become of me. I just hope it comes before the final tick of the clock……...........................
 






Over 60? Stop Doing This ASAP, Say Experts
By Alek Korab

When it comes to being over 60, you should be proud you made it this long—and careful not to mess it up now. "Everyone knows the basics of how to live a healthy life even if they don't follow them," says Kay Van Norman, President of Brilliant Aging. But what are some things you may not know? The things you should stop doing now? We asked Van Norman, as well as Stephen Anton, Ph.D., Professor and Chief, Clinical Research Division, Department of Aging and Geriatric Research, College of Medicine, University of Florida; Stephen Golant, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Gerontology, University of Florida; and Gary Soffer, MD, an integrative medicine expert at Yale Medicine and assistant professor, Yale School of Medicine. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 19 Ways You're Ruining Your Body, Say Health Experts.

"What happens when you have a health crisis as a young person?" asks Van Norman. "You likely address the problem and then aggressively pursue physical therapy in order to get back to doing everything you could do before. Unfortunately, with age it becomes more common for people to accept a health set-back as a new health set-point. Instead of aggressively pursuing the fullest recovery possible they may allow healthcare bias against older adults drive them into a mindset of just getting out of crisis and then trying to prevent getting any worse. This insidious mindset will send you down the path of physical frailty – progressively losing more function each time you're hit with a health challenge. Just say NO and fight back with everything you've got!"








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    MAY 31, 2021


Older Americans are not delaying their retirement
despite Covid-19, research shows

By Lorie Konish


The Covid-19 pandemic was an unprecedented shock for many older workers. Even so, most do not plan to delay their retirement dates as a result, according to a report from Pew Charitable Trusts.

In April 2020, the unemployment rate for workers ages 65 and up climbed to 15.6%, the highest rate on record for that cohort. It also created the largest gap on record between that age group and workers ages 25 to 54, who had a rate three percentage points lower.

However, Pew’s survey found that a majority of older Americans do not plan to change their retirement plans. Just 16% indicated they will retire later than expected due to Covid-19.


______________________________________________________________________________


When One Partner Needs Long-Term
Care and the Other Doesn't



He required more long-term care than she could provide. Moving him to an assisted living facility improved both their lives.

Donna Pacer, of Essex County, N.J., had been dreading the phone call that came from her father's girlfriend informing her that it was time to move her dad to an assisted living facility.


"After my mother passed away, my dad started dating Pam," says Pacer. "Her husband had passed away, too, so they commiserated on their loss together. Eventually my dad, Joe, moved into Pam's apartment in the city where they lived together for about ten years."


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Older Americans Oppose Cuts
to Social Security, Medicare

By Dena Bunis


While the vast majority of Americans age 50 and older say the federal budget deficit is a big problem, almost that same majority strongly oppose using cuts to Social Security or Medicare benefits to reduce that debt, according to a new AARP survey.

Opposition to reducing either Social Security or Medicare benefits transcended party lines in the survey. Among all respondents age 50-plus, 85 percent strongly oppose cutting Social Security and the same percentage strongly oppose decreasing Medicare benefits to reduce the federal deficit. The survey also found that 87 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents and 88 percent of Republicans strongly oppose cutting Social Security. When asked about Medicare, 87 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of independents and 86 percent of Republicans said they strongly oppose reducing that program's benefits.

Among all respondents, 87 percent said the federal deficit is a big problem, with 56 percent viewing it as a “very big” problem and another 31 percent saying it is a “moderately big” problem. More Republicans see the federal debt as a big problem (99 percent) than Democrats (73 percent) and independents (87 percent).


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Long-term care advocates, worried about vulnerable residents,
say plans for COVID-19 booster shots must start now

By Laura Romero


Some worry nursing homes could see cases return before a booster is available.

Five months after the first COVID-19 vaccine doses made their way to the nation's nursing homes, long-term care advocates are sounding the alarm about the need for a plan for a potential booster shot, out of concern that elderly long-term care residents will be the first to see the effects of the coronavirus vaccine wear off.

Although vaccine companies have already begun clinical trials for booster shots, there is still not enough research to know if or when people will need them, experts tell ABC News.






6-7 minutes
For most of us, Memorial Day is just a reason to take off from work, barbecues and bargains. And that’s okay. It’s what the men and women who served in our armed forces fought and died for. The right to continue our way of life. And on this Memorial Day I hope we take a minute and thank them for it. But there should be another reason to celebrate this day. Not just to remember those who have fallen but also as a way of learning from past mistakes so as not to repeat the reasons we needed to go to war. To do so, we have to go back to the American Revolution.


The “colonists” had no problem being British. After all, what could be bad about living under an age-old civilization with its rules and laws. And besides, there was guaranteed trade with the motherland who liked the goods they were getting from their newly gained territory. Tobacco, lumber, furs and cotton to name a few. All needed to fuel the industrial revolution. And all was going great until the folks on the Themes thought the colonies should pay for the recently fought war with the French. So when Parliament passed laws such as the Stamp Act, which for the first time taxed a wide range of transactions in the colonies, the colonists who, although they enjoyed being British, liked their pocketbooks more. And nothing will turn friends into enemies faster than a dispute over money. We still fight over money issues. If you don’t believe me, what do you think they fought the Gulf War over?

 Skip ahead fourscore and twenty and you’ll see why money remained the root of all evil.
 
Old “Civics” textbooks will tell you they fought the Civil War to “Free the Slaves.” And that Abraham Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” The truth, as we now know it, shows that Lincoln’s views on slavery went only as far as an excuse to keep the southern states from seceding from the union and thus cutting off a sizeable chunk of America’s resources.
 
The South’s only reason to fight for the right to keep slavery was purely economic. Who would harvest all that cotton and other agricultural goods and not have to be paid for doing it?
 
Newer texts may tell you the Civil War had to do with “State’s Rights” and the federal government having too much control over local issues. Maybe there was some of that, but let’s not be fooled. The War Between the States was always about the almighty dollar. And still is.

Don’t wake a sleeping giant.

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of Congress to request a declaration of war against Germany because of Germany's resumption of submarine attacks on American passenger and merchant ships off the coast of Great Britain. It was a way to show the rest of the world you can only poke a sleeping lion so many times before he decides enough is enough. It also proved that America could become a very strong military power in a very short time. A fact that would again be tested 24 years later when Japan decided it would be a lot of fun to attack the United States hoping to gain control over China and Asia. While most Americans could not have cared less about China, they didn’t like the idea of a two-bit country like Japan destroying our Pacific fleet. This was just what President Franklin D. Roosevelt was waiting for. And from that time on, the U.S. would no longer be an isolationist nation setting the tone for our involvement in foreign wars ever since.   

Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia. All wars we were involved in ostensibly to save the world from the “Commies”, a dictator, or “Bad Muslims.” However, what it’s really about is protecting our “interests” (Translation: Money) overseas by making sure we have a steady supply of oil and other natural resources flowing into our economy to bolster exactly what President Eisenhower warned us against. The Military-Industrial Complex. And, while most Americans tsk tsk at the thought of us fighting in foreign deserts or jungles, they know that without the money spent on defense many large corporations would collapse.  


This year the Defense Department will ask for $715 billion, overshadowing $11 billion spent on the EPA to protect our environment or the $68 billion for education. The only thing we spend more money on is healthcare (about $4 trillion), yet we continue to rank near the bottom of industrialized nations in that. [1]

George Santayana (and later paraphrased by Winston Churchill) said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” He could not have been more correct. Regrettably, our collective memories are as short as our pockets are long when war is involved.

Therefor, on this Memorial Day, remember our fallen hero’s and all the men and women in the armed services. But never forget that wars are often fought for more than just freedom……

[1] source:  https://www.citizen.org/article/dead-last-u-s-health-care-system-continues-to-rank-behind-other-industrialized-countries/


 

A New Standard for Health +
Safety in Senior Care


While for much of the world, our enhanced focus on preventing the spread of illness indoors is a relatively new one, infection control has always been critical to senior care operations. Long before the pandemic, pathogenic threats like norovirus, VRE and MRSA have been ongoing challenges that required vigilant disinfection protocols across senior care facilities.

The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic brought about a particularly unprecedented challenge for the industry, as adults over the age of 60 were identified as the population most vulnerable to the disease – which is most easily spread through congregate facilities. As of April 2021, approximately 32% of U.S. deaths related to COVID-19 occurred in long-term care facilities. In eight states, at least half of COVID-19 deaths have occurred among nursing home, skilled nursing and assisted living residents and staff.

And yet, COVID-19 isn’t the only threat to older adults. While the mental and emotional health effects are only beginning to be understood, one study by the Global Health Research and Policy journal, found that “the outbreak of COVID-19 will have a long-term and profound impact on older adults’ health and well-being.” With “social isolation and loneliness likely to be one of the most affected health outcomes.”









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    MAY 28, 2021


47 Attorneys General Press Congress to Pass
Elder Financial Abuse Bill Aimed at Curbing E-Fraud - Tech

By Christina Tabacco


On Tuesday, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), on behalf of a bipartisan coalition of nearly all state attorneys general, appealed to Congress in a letter, asking the legislature to support the Fraud and Scam Reduction Act (H.R. 1215). According to NAAG’s press release, the legislation, comprising both the Stop Senior Scam Act (SSSA) and Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2021 (SFPA), will help stakeholders train their employees to recognize signs of elder fraud and intervene to prevent irreversible harm.

The letter notes that senior citizens comprise an increasingly large domestic demographic that will soon reach 20% of the population. It cites federal agency research finding that elder fraud and scams affect at least 10% of older Americans each year and result in nearly $3 billion in losses annually.

According to the letter, the SSSA will establish an advisory group accountable to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The group will be tasked with collecting information about the existence, use, and efficacy of educational materials to help retailers, financial services, and wire-transfer companies train their employees on how to identify and prevent scams that impact the elderly.


_________________________________________________________________


Working 9-to-3:
Addressing the social determinants of aging

By Karl Ulfers


As the number of Americans fully vaccinated against Covid-19 grows daily, the collective feeling of liberation is emerging as the next chapter in our national pandemic story. “I can see people,” declares what we have been deprived of and want to receive — the nourishment of human interaction. However, though our doors are beginning to open, for millions of older adults living alone in their homes, social isolation preceded the crisis and will remain even as the general population’s health is restored and restrictions are lifted. Older people have felt the chill of Covid separation with a particular anguish, knowing that the enduring state of isolation won’t be eradicated by a vaccine.

The Rising Trend of Isolation

The fact is, we’ve never been so alone. One-in-four older Americans live alone, and the trend of solo living is climbing across nearly every age group. Before 1940, almost no one lived alone. A multi-generational family residing under one roof or in close proximity was the norm, and the support necessary for the older members to maintain their quality of life and independence was provided by the close family structure.

But the dislocations of modern life changed that. Swelled by the graying of the U.S. population, the percentage of people living alone is now the highest in our history, as is their desire to remain independent by remaining at home. Ten thousand Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day and 90 percent say they want to live at home. Twelve million currently do. For the ageless generation that personalized the cultural forces of “freedom,” surrendering to what is perceived as a lesser existence is unthinkable. At the same time, this generation’s children live farther away than their predecessors’, making the imperative of caregiving even more complicated and stressful. I know this first hand. My story is no different than that of millions of others whose grandparents and parents want to age in place.


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Routine cognitive screening can help
detect early signs of dementia

By Nora Super and Diane Ty

Both of us lost our dads to Alzheimer’s disease, and both of our families carried extra burdens from dementia because the diagnoses were delayed. Diane’s family wondered if her dad’s personality changes were due to early retirement and feeling a loss of purpose. Nora’s family was puzzled by her dad’s trouble finding words and getting lost easily.

It took five years for Diane’s family to realize her dad’s behavior was not “normal aging” and by then he was past the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. For Nora, it wasn’t until her dad was admitted to a hospital that he received a diagnosis, several years after showing some symptoms.

Their diagnoses helped our families understand the angry outbursts or explain the confusion. Equally important, they were an essential step for beginning to marshal the energy to navigate the fragmented care system for people with dementia.


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Older, vaccinated Americans
drive new travel bookings

By Megan Cerullo

Older Americans who are fully vaccinated are starting to travel again after postponing international trips for more than a year.

Senior citizens who now feel safe boarding flights are even driving a surge in new travel bookings, according to travel agencies.

Travel advisor Hillel Spinner said that between February and March, he's seen a 110% increase in bookings from older clients.

"The reason for that is they've been vaccinated, they feel safe to travel again. The world is their oyster. They're like where can I go now?" he told CBS News correspondent Wendy Gillette.



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The long Memorial Day weekend has signaled in the unofficial start of summer. For most of us, this will be our second summer in isolation and quarantine. While the rest of the nation prepares to carry on business as usual doing all the things free people celebrating a holiday based on a fight for freedom do, we here in long-term care facilities have to be content to sit and watch. No backyard BBQs. No sitting around the pool with friends and family. No laying on a white sand beach. For thousands of us it will be just another boring, depressing weekend with no activities.lousy food and having to look at the faces of people who would rather be somewhere else. But while we are mired in limbo, the world goes on. And just in case you missed it, here’s what happened this week….Ed.




THE WORLD

Wuhan lab staff had Covid-like symptoms
before outbreak disclosed, says report

Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) sought hospital care in November 2019, months before China disclosed the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.

The newspaper said the report - which provides fresh details on the number of researchers affected, the timing of their illnesses, and their hospital visits - may add weight to calls for a broader probe of whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the laboratory.

The report came on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization's decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.


* * * * * *

Israeli police and protesters clash
at Al-Aqsa Mosque


Protesters have thrown stones and soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas amid unrest around the holy site in Jerusalem. It comes just hours after Israel and Hamas agreed a cease-fire.

Fresh clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police broke out at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday.

The unrest occured after Friday prayers at the mosque compound, just hours after an Egypt-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas came into effect in Gaza after almost two weeks of fighting.


* * * * * *

India virus death toll passes 300,000
3rd highest in world

By SHEIKH SAALIQ

NEW DELHI (AP) — India crossed another grim milestone Monday with more than 300,000 people lost to the coronavirus, while a devastating surge of infections appeared to be easing in big cities but was swamping the poorer countryside.

The milestone, as recorded by India’s Health Ministry, comes as slowed vaccine deliveries have marred the country’s fight against the pandemic, forcing many to miss their shots, and a rare but fatal fungal infection affecting COVID-19 patients has worried doctors.

India’s death toll is the third-highest reported in the world after the U.S. and Brazil, accounting for 8.6% of the nearly 3.47 million coronavirus fatalities globally, though the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater.


* * * * * *

Prince Harry tells Oprah Diana's death
led him to drink and use drugs

By Adela Suliman

LONDON — Prince Harry has accused the British royal family of "total neglect" and revealed he turned to alcohol and drugs years after the death of his mother, Princess Diana
.
The Duke of Sussex made the comments as he once again opened up about his mental health to the American media mogul Oprah Winfrey in a new interview released Friday.

The pair delve into Harry's personal life — from his trauma in the wake of his mother's death to his experience with therapy and recent royal feuds.


* * * * * *

Belarus opposition figure
detained when flight diverted

By LIUDAS DAPKUS

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — A prominent opponent of Belarus’ authoritarian president was arrested Sunday after the airliner in which he was traveling was diverted to the country after a bomb threat, in what the opposition and Western officials denounced as a hijacking operation by the government.

Raman Pratasevich, who faces charges that could bring 15 years in prison, was aboard the Ryanair flight from Athens, Greece, to the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius when it changed course to head for Minsk.

“I saw this Belarusian guy with girlfriend sitting right behind us. He freaked out when the pilot said the plane is diverted to Minsk. He said there’s death penalty awaiting him there,” passenger Marius Rutkauskas said after the plane arrived in Vilnius following several hours in the Belarusian capital.


* * * * * * *

Italy investigators probe why
cable car brake 'didn't work'

By NICOLE WINFIELD and CHARLENE PELE

STRESA, Italy (AP) — The investigation into Italy’s cable car disaster that killed 14 people will focus on why the lead cable snapped and why the emergency brake didn’t engage and prevent the cabin from careening back down the mountain until it pulled off the support line and crashed to the ground, the lead prosecutor said Monday.


Verbania Prosecutor Olimpia Bossi outlined the contours of her investigation based on what she said was objective, empirical fact of what occurred: “The brakes of the security system didn’t work. Otherwise the cabin would have stopped,” she said. “Why that happened is naturally under investigation.”

Bossi spoke to reporters as the lone survivor of Sunday’s horrific tragedy, a 5-year-old Israeli boy living in Italy, remained hospitalized in Turin in intensive care with multiple broken bones.


* * * * * *

Boris Johnson's former chief adviser Dominic Cummings
has made a series of explosive claims about mistakes made
by the government during the Covid pandemic.

During a seven-hour joint session of the Commons Heath, and Science and Technology committees, Mr Cummings made a number of allegations - here are the key points.

1. The government 'failed'

"Tens of thousands of people died, who didn't need to die," Mr Cummings said.
Earlier, he said sorry for ministers, officials and advisers "like me" for falling "disastrously short of the standards that the public has a right to expect"….



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THE NATION


'No words to describe the heartache':
9th victim dies in deadly shooting rampage
at San Jose, California, rail yard



Latest updates Thursday: Ninth victim dies after railyard shooting in San Jose; gunman was long-time rail employee

SAN JOSE, Calif.– A gunman opened fire at a Northern California light rail yard Wednesday, killing at least nine people in the latest shooting rampage to rock the nation in recent weeks.

Mayor Sam Liccardo said Thursday a ninth person had died.
 

"Now, all we can do is what we must: support our families and coworkers in pain, and assist their journey to healing," Liccardo tweeted.

The gunman, an employee at the sprawling Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail hub, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and other employees were among the victims, police spokesman Russell Davis said Wednesday.


* * * * * * *


White House counters with $1.7 trillion
infrastructure proposal in GOP talks

By Morgan Chalfant

White House officials are presenting a $1.7 trillion counterproposal to Republicans on Friday in pursuit of a bipartisan deal on infrastructure, reducing the price tag of President BidenJoe BidenSan Jose shooting victims, shooter identified Romney blasts political extremes in speech accepting JFK award Senate passes bill requiring declassification of information on COVID-19 origins MORE’s infrastructure proposal by $550 billion.

“In our view, this is the art of seeking common ground,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden faces growing pressure to take action on antisemitism Jean-Pierre makes history in taking podium at White House press briefing Biden renews Trump determination Cuba 'not cooperating' on antiterrorism efforts MORE told reporters at a briefing Friday. “This proposal exhibits a willingness to come down in size, giving on some areas that are important to the president ... while also staying firm in areas that are most vital to rebuilding our infrastructure and industries of the future.”


* * * * * *

George Floyd's family holds rally,
march in brother's memory

By MOHAMED IBRAHIM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Members of George Floyd’s family, and others who lost loved ones to police encounters, joined activists and citizens in Minneapolis for a march that was one of several events planned nationwide to mark the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death.

Hundreds of people gathered for the rally Sunday in front of the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis where former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted last month in Floyd’s death. Many carried signs with pictures of Floyd, Philando Castile and other Black men killed by police.

Amid chants of “no justice, no peace!” and “Say his name,” Gov. Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter watched alongside a dozen of Floyd’s family members as speakers called for justice for families of Black men slain by police.


* * * * * *

NOAA predicts another active
Atlantic hurricane season


For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.


“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA are poised to deliver life-saving early warnings and forecasts to communities, which will also help minimize the economic impacts of storms.”
A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. (NOAA)


* * * * * *


US jobless claims fall again as
some states end federal aid

By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week — the latest encouraging sign for the rebounding U.S. economy — just as Republican-led states are moving to cut off a federal benefit for the jobless.

Twenty-two states, from Texas and Georgia to Ohio and Iowa, plan to begin blocking a $300-a-week federal payment for the unemployed starting in June, according to an Associated Press analysis. All have Republican governors and legislatures.

Recipients have been able to receive the $300 federal benefit on top of their regular state unemployment aid. The payment, which lasts nationwide until Sept. 6, was included in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion financial rescue package.


* * * * * *

Couple indicted on murder charges for
missing children appear in court

By Marlene Lenthang, Meredith Deliso

"JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan were reported missing in September 2019.

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell appeared virtually for a court hearing Wednesday afternoon, one day after they were indicted for the murder of her two children, 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.


In the brief hearing, Judge Faren Eddins ordered Chad Daybell to be held without bail. His formal arraignment was set for June 9, the anniversary date of when investigators discovered JJ's and Tylee’s remains on his property.

Lori Daybell appeared virtually wearing blue prison garb and a face mask. Her attorney, Mark Means, asked to reschedule her appearance. Judge Eddins agreed despite the defense’s objection. No date was given for the next court appearance.



* * * * * *

One more thrill: Phil Mickelson
wins at 50 in raucous PGA

By BEN NUCKOLS

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Standing on the 18th tee with a two-shot lead in a championship he refused to imagine himself winning, Phil Mickelson took one last violent swing with a driver — the club that betrayed him 15 years earlier in the U.S. Open.

His tee shot Sunday in the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island landed only a few yards off the fairway, but it still nestled among the people — the gallery packed tightly between the ropes and a row of hospitality tents — screaming the name of their aging hero.

After Mickelson’s approach shot settled on the green, assuring the 50-year-old of becoming the oldest major champion in history, the crowd swallowed him up entirely.



PASSINGS

Eric Carle, Creator Of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle with a cutout of his famously hungry caterpillar at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass. Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images hide caption


Eric Carle's picture books were often about insects. Spiders, lady bugs, crickets and of course, that famous caterpillar, all as colorful and friendly as Carle himself. The Very Hungry Caterpillar — probably Carle's best-known work — came out in 1969 and became one of the bestselling children's books of all time.








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ENTERTAINMENT

Guy Fieri’s New Deal Makes Him One Of
Cable TV’s Highest-Paid Hosts

By Chloe Sorvino


Guy Fieri, cable television’s so-called Mayor of Flavortown, recently signed a fresh contract with the Food Network for his popular Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and Guy’s Grocery Games. It will pay the celebrity chef $80 million over three years, a $50 million raise from his prior agreement.


The eight-figure deal makes the 53-year-old the top-paid chef on cable TV. His longest-running show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, which has been on air since 2006, generated more than $230 million in 2020 ad revenue for the Food Network, according to data analytics firm Kantar.

“I got a chance of a lifetime,” Fieri recently told The Hollywood Reporter, stressing that his allegiance lies with specific Food Network executives and not its parent company, Discovery Networks. “I think I played it good.”




That wraps up another week here at TheSeniorLog.com. We’ll take a few days off to clear out the cobwebs an return on Monday, May 31st with new stuff. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend……..


 


How to Clear Clogged Drains


Quick results with a plunger and plumber's snake
Learn the best techniques for clearing clogged sink drains using a plunger and a plumber's snake. Avoid emergency visits from the plumber and save hundreds of dollars by doing it yourself with these inexpensive tools.

Time: An hour or less
Complexity: Beginner
Cost: Less than $20

START HERE >> https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/how-to-clear-clogged-drains/












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-30-





    MAY 27, 2021

Breaking down assisted living:
what to consider in making a life plan

By Jake Seaton


Making the decision to move a loved one into a senior living community poses its own challenges — and it can be difficult to know when to start planning, when to know if it's the right time and how to find the right community.

Even before you begin to notice signs of change in your loved one, having a plan in place helps save time, stress and even money.

"The number one thing for families is conversation, in learning about communities and options and in leading up to the move, no matter what, always be honest with your loved ones, have open honest conversations," said Traci Marks, executive director at Kempton of Jacksonville, a senior living community located in Jacksonville NC. "While they're still figuring out what the transition plan will be, I recommend finding a support system — maybe senior services, some exercise programs, even a health aid that can make visits. Anything that helps the family be involved and educated."


_____________________________________________________________________________


The many benefits of being
chronologically endowed

By Richard Lederer


May is Older Americans Month. This formal recognition of the chronologically gifted began with President John F. Kennedy in 1963, when he designated May as Senior Citizens Month. Back then, only 17 million Americans reached their 65th birthday. Today more than 40 million of us are alive and living vibrant years.

Fullness of years makes for fullness of life. For one thing, you’re surrounded by a lot of friends: As soon as you wake up, Will Power is there to help you get out of bed. Then you go and visit John. When you play golf, Charley Horse shows up to be your partner. As soon as he leaves, along come Arthur Ritis and his six aunts — Aunt Acid, Auntie Pain, Auntie Oxidant, Auntie Biotic, Auntie Coagulant and Auntie Inflammatory — and you go the rest of the day from joint to joint. After such a busy day, you’re Petered and Tuckered out and glad to go to bed — with Ben Gay, of course!

Another benefit of great maturity is that you’re worth a fortune. You have silver in your hair, gold in your teeth, stones in your kidneys, lead in your feet, mineral deposits in your joints and natural gas in your stomach.


_______________________________________________________________________________


Successful Aging in Place Doesn't 'Just Happen'


Most older Americans hope to live at home for as long as possible, a practice referred to as "aging in place." In a recent survey, in fact, AARP found that 3 out of 4 adults 50 and older want to live in their homes and communities as they age.


The good news is that aging in place is "often the most cost-effective" housing solution for older adults, according to Orion Bell, president and CEO of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging in Cleveland.

About 75% of people 85 and older report some degree of permanent limitation in performing activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing or dressing.






Questions to Ask When Touring an
Independent Living Community



One of the most important decisions you'll ever make as a retiree could be choosing the right independent living community. There's so much to consider, from pricing, dining, amenities, location and everything else. This is true if you're looking for a place to live out your own retirement or if you're helping an older loved one find the best community for them. This means it's absolutely imperative to learn as much as you can about any independent living community you're considering.

You need to ensure the independent living community you choose will be a perfect fit for you (or your loved one). In order to help you achieve this goal, we've come up with the best questions to ask while touring an independent living retirement community. Pay attention to the answers to these questions and you'll find it much easier to choose the best one for your needs.

Is an Independent Living Community the Best Choice for Your Needs?








6 MINUTES

My feelings towards this place have been put to a test. On one hand, I appreciate the incredible job this facility has done to keep us safe. Even before COVID-19 struck, safety was always job number one. When the virus came, this facility acted swiftly to provide us with the best infection control available. And, while we have not been 100% virus free, the number of incidence might have been much worse. And for all that, I thank the administrator and his staff. Being here, especially as an older person and therefore more susceptible to the deadly aspects of the virus, probably saved me from becoming ill or worse. But (and there is always a “but”), not all is rosy in ALF-land.

If all you ever read about life as a resident of an assisted living facility were what you read this past year, you would think that an A.L.F. was a terrible place for old people. And, I would have to agree with you. Long-term care facilities (A.L.F.s and nursing homes) were caught terribly off-guard when the virus struck back in March 2019. And to make things worse, little or no guidance was provided how to proceed as the virus worsened and then subsided. Over 435 days have gone by and we are essentially operating under the same protocols as we did when this all began. And, I’m sorry to say, there is no end in sight. But one pandemic does not a lifetime make. Nor does what has happened here represent what living here has meant to me and my fellow residents. In order to fully understand the position we are in, one must appreciate the fact that we are living here for a reason.
 
First let me clear up a misconception. People that live here are not here because they were dumped or pressured or dragged here. Every resident who puts his name on a contract does so with the full understanding that this is the best place for them in their current condition. No resident is kept here under duress and is free to leave whenever they want. The only exception are those people who are part of a cognitive care unit and have a guardian that makes those decisions for them.

Most of us live here because of either an illness or disability that prevents us from performing the many activities needed to live a fully independent life. My mobility was very compromised when I moved in almost 9 years ago. And, while I have improved slightly, it will not be long before the ravages of old age take its toll. Cooking, cleaning doing laundry and the other activities of daily life are difficult for me and would be next to impossible for me to perform if I lived alone. As a resident, I have all of that, and more, done for me. The only problem I have with this facility is the total disrespect for the abilities I have. Primarily, the ability to think for myself. Nobody knows me like I do, and having to be told what to do and where to go pisses me off to no end.

That’s one downside. At least for me. But there are those that need the supervision. Sadly, the way things are set up, there is no distinction made between those of us who do very well on our own and those who need closer monitoring. There is a definite lack of flexibility in the level of care given to us. This needs to be fixed. Regrettably, there is no one who will listen. Decisions regarding our needs and wants are made without our input. We are completely left out of the process that controls our lives. Once again, showing the lack of respect for what we can do and focusing only on our flaws. It’s ageism at its worst and more so considering it is the prevailing attitude of this and other assisted living facilities.

These past 430 plus days in isolation, loneliness and drastically curtailed activities and services has taught us much about the strength that old people posses. I think we have shown remarkable courage and endurance at a time when other (much younger) people have fallen apart unable to cope with a highly restrictive lifestyle. But I want to remind those in charge. Don’t mistake complacency and acceptance for not feeling outraged for what has been done to us. And all of those who have ignored us would do well to think about that when this pandemic finally ends……………..
 





We’d like to remind you to review
your Social Security Statement online.


The Statement has important Social Security information and, if applicable, estimates of your future benefits.

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

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

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

    Step 1: Enter your username and password.
    Step 2: Enter the security code we send you by text message or email, depending on your choice (your cell phone provider’s text message and data rates may apply).

With instant access to your Social Security Statement at any time, you will no longer receive one periodically in the mail, saving money and the environment. Thank you for Going Green!

Please do not reply to this email, as we are unable to respond to messages sent to this address.






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-30-





    MAY 26, 2021


Rom-con: How romance fraud
targets older people and how to avoid it

By Amer Owaida


Online dating scams often follow the same script – here’s what senior citizens should watch out for and how their younger relatives can help them avoid falling victim

Recently, we looked at how older people can avoid falling victim to various flavors of online scams. This time round, we’ll examine the costliest type of fraud to affect people 60 or older – online dating scams, also known as romance scams. According to a report by the United States’ Federal Trade Commission, this age cohort reported losing nearly $84 million to online dating scams in 2019, with losses to government impostor scams and to various types of sweepstakes and lottery fraud ‘only’ coming in second and third, respectively. The COVID-19 pandemic has since added to the problem, as online dating has exploded in popularity among people of all ages.

Indeed, older – and often lonely – people are at particular risk, including because the older generation is often trusting by nature and may not be attuned to the pitfalls that online dating platforms, or even technology as such, bring. Let’s review some common signs of romance scams, as well as how younger people can help their older relatives spot the red flags. Make no mistake, however; looking out for these red flags will stand even the younger generations in good stead.


_______________________________________________________________________________


Here’s how much your personal information
is worth to cybercriminals –
and what they do with it



Data breaches have become common, and billions of records are stolen worldwide every year. Most of the media coverage of data breaches tends to focus on how the breach happened, how many records were stolen and the financial and legal impact of the incident for organizations and individuals affected by the breach. But what happens to the data that is stolen during these incidents?

As a cybersecurity researcher, I track data breaches and the black market in stolen data. The destination of stolen data depends on who is behind a data breach and why they’ve stolen a certain type of data. For example, when data thieves are motivated to embarrass a person or organization, expose perceived wrongdoing or improve cybersecurity, they tend to release relevant data into the public domain.

In 2014, hackers backed by North Korea stole Sony Pictures Entertainment employee data such as Social Security numbers, financial records and salary information, as well as emails among top executives. The hackers then published the emails to embarrass the company, possibly in retribution for releasing a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un.


__________________________________________________________________


We Need To Rethink The Penalties And
Rewards Of Identifying As “Disabled”

By Andrew Pulrang


The CDC estimates that 61 million American adults have some kind of disability. That’s 24%, or 1 in 4 who have some kind of significant physical, cognitive, or mental impairment.

Such a high population should enable disabled Americans to wield real influence on disability policy and practices, as well as cultural attitudes about disability. But not everyone who has disabilities readily identifies themselves as disabled, or thinks of themselves as part of the population generally understood to be disabled.

There are several distinct groups of disabled people who tend to resist identifying as disabled:

2 in 5 people over 65 have a disability. This can include any kind of disability, but some of the most prevalent are partlly a result of age, such as difficulty walking –– using a cane, walker, electric mobility scooter, or wheelchair –– and cognitive impairments, from simple forgetfulness to more severe dementia. Age isn’t in itself a disability, but old age and disability overlap quite a lot, and a large portion of the disabled population is over 65.


_________________________________________________________________________

88 Percent Of Older Adults Want
Medicare To Negotiate Drug Prices

By Mary Johnson


Older Americans overwhelmingly support legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). The online survey, which had over 1,234 participants, found that 88 percent support tying prescription drug prices to what other industrialized countries, such as Great Britain, Canada and Japan, pay for the same drug.

“Reducing the cost of prescription drugs is essential for both Medicare beneficiaries and Medicare’s finances,” says Mary Johnson, a Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). The average monthly Social Security retiree benefit is just $1,552, while spending on prescription drugs is the fastest growing cost that most retirees face in retirement,” she says. Over time, drug costs take a growing portion of Social Security income, because prices are rising several times faster than annual cost of living adjustments (COLAs).

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 3, Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, prescription drug price negotiation legislation which is under debate in the House could lower government spending on Part D by $456 billion over a ten year period, but cautioned the estimates are uncertain, especially if price negotiations are implemented differently that the CBO’s interpretation.







6-7 minutes

It was our location’s turn to have breakfast in our dining room on Tuesday. They will play this game until the N.Y. State DOH decides we are “Safe” enough to return to a normal schedule. And, while the food is no better than that which gets delivered to us in our rooms (as it has been for over 430 days) the brief time we have together is well worth it.
 
After the usual cordiality and catching up on the latest gossip, the conversation turned to commiserating on how much we have lost since we went into this quarantine/lockdown mode we’re in. We all agreed that this “incarceration” has not only caused mental and physical hardships, but a possible loss, financially, too. And that loss comes as a breach of contract by the facility to provide certain services and amenities to its residents.

 It’s easy to throw the “S” word around when you do not know what you are talking about. But in the U.S. suing somebody is a game we like to play. Because nothing strikes fear into someone like receiving a letter in the mail from a lawyer threatening to sue. Over 100 million cases are filed each year in state trial courts, while roughly 400,000 cases are filed in federal trial courts. But while it’s easy to talk a good lawsuit, it’s not as easy to know who to sue and what for. And that’s the exact question I asked of my table-mate during our breakfast on Tuesday. So, what would we sue for?
 
When someone becomes a resident of an assisted living facility, they are asked to sign a lot of documents. Most of those documents cover just what the facility may do on your behalf. But there isn’t too much about what they HAVE to do to keep you happy. There is nothing in those documents that says they have to provide you with activities. Nowhere does it state that we may congregate in groups. There are no stipulations the facility has to provide residents with a place to sit. The facility is only required to do what is dictated by the laws of the state as they pertain to the licensing of assisted living facilities. And those are very basic. All they really are required to do is provide a roof over our heads, provide routine health care and feed us three times a day. Anything beyond that is “implied.” Can one sue for failure to provide implications? And even if we could, what exactly would we hope to gain? Money? Okay, how much? How much is not having “arts and crafts” on Wednesdays worth?

I suppose a good lawyer could make a case for just about anything. There’s always the old “Pain and suffering” offense to fall back on. And let’s say we won such a suite. And the amount was in the millions? The only thing that we would accomplish would be to put the facility out of business. Then where would we go? It’s a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
 
Okay. We won’t sue the facility. After all, they are only following the guidelines set forth by the DOH. Let’s sue the DOH. Again we face the problem. What do we sue them for? Keeping us alive? A shaved baboon could defend that case. It would never get to court. But there has to be something we can do. After all, we are the ones being wronged here. Perhaps there’s a hook here after all. It all depends on how far we are willing to go to prove a point.

We have a Constitution that gives us certain “inalienable” rights. Among them are the right to “life”, “the pursuit of happiness” and LIBERTY. While it is clear that our liberties have been seriously compromised, the quest is “were they done so in the name of safety and the common good”? Which opens a whole other can of worms. How far can a regulatory entity go in order to protect the health and wellbeing of an entire population?
 
I mentioned yesterday I contacted the ACLU via their online “complaint” form. Essentially, I asked whether we have had our rights taken away from us and have we (as old people) been singled out under the guise of safety over freedom. I expect nothing to come of this. After all, we are most likely seen as just a bunch of silly old folks who are upset over missing their weekly BINGO games. All I’m really after, and would consider it as a victory, is to elicit a response from someone in authority. If only as an acknowledgement that we exist……………………………

 


A Family Cookbook Project
Preserved This Family's Memories


Gathering recipes and stories for a family cookbook that was never about the food

For years, I've feared my 70-member family was coming apart at the seams. Marriages, relocations, and deaths loosened the bonds my parents stitched together a lifetime ago. Holiday potlucks in a rented clubhouse replaced regular Sunday dinners in someone's home.

Several years ago, when the clubhouse was unavailable, our communal Thanksgiving meal splintered into smaller family groups, and in 2020, the pandemic cancelled every holiday gathering.

I worried about leaving my two children a family smaller and more scattered, emotionally and geographically, than the one that anchored me. As a member of the oldest generation in my family and the youngest of five siblings, four of whom are still living, I wondered who would carry on family traditions. Who would teach the next generations about the grandparents and great-grandparents who loved them into existence?






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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, MAY 27th 2021


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-30-





    MAY 25, 2021

Seniors are the most financially secure
in these cities in 2021

By Ann Schmidt


Financial technology company SmartAsset recently found the U.S. cities where seniors are the most financially secure. The famed Florida retirement community, The Villages, took the top spot.

However, SmartAsset didn’t just leave it at that. The company also found the cities where seniors are the least financially secure and Florida took the number one spot on that list, too. According to the report, Hialeah, Florida, is where seniors are the least financially secure.


For its report, SmartAsset took the 100 U.S. cities with the largest population of people 65 and older and compared them based on seven measurements including the percentage of seniors who own their own homes, the percentage of seniors below the poverty line and the average senior retirement income.


___________________________________________________________________________________


Tips for Older Adults to Regain Their Game
After Being Cooped Up for More Than a Year

By Judith Graham


Alice Herb, 88, an intrepid New Yorker, is used to walking miles around Manhattan. But after this year of being shut inside, trying to avoid covid-19, she’s noticed a big difference in how she feels.

“Physically, I’m out of shape,” she told me. “The other day I took the subway for the first time, and I was out of breath climbing two flights of stairs to the street. That’s just not me.”

Emotionally, Herb, a retired lawyer and journalist, is unusually hesitant about resuming activities even though she’s fully vaccinated. “You wonder: What if something happens? Maybe I shouldn’t be doing that. Maybe that’s dangerous,” she said.


_________________________________________________________________________


Best Buy launches smartphone
for elderly community

By Corinne Reichert


Best Buy has announced it will be selling a new phone for the elderly community, with Lively Smart touted as being a simple-to-use smartphone packed with health and safety features. The $150 phone from Lively sports a 6.2-inch screen, a long-lasting batter, large text and a single list of features like video chat, camera and GPS.

Lively Smart helps "meet the needs of our customers and help them live independently at home," said David Inns, Best Buy Health's president of active aging.


You can buy health and safety add-ons from Lively in three optional monthly package offerings:

    $20 a month gets you an urgent response button so the Lively team can confirm your location and situation and get you help

    $25 a month includes urgent response, urgent care calls with doctors and nurses and "Lively Link," which sends an alert to your friends and family if you call urgent response

    $35 a month includes all of the above as well as a personal operator who can also help book Lively Rides through a partnership with Lyft.


_________________________________________________________________________

In the Search to Stall Aging,
Biotech Startups Are Out for Blood

By Elie Dolgin

Last year, two self-described “biohackers” in Russia had themselves hooked up to blood collection machines that replaced approximately half of the plasma coursing through their veins with salty water. Three days later, the men tested their blood for hormones, fats and other indicators of general well-being. The procedure, it seemed, had improved various aspects of immunity, liver function and cholesterol metabolism.

“The data we obtained demonstrate the potential therapeutic effect of plasma dilution,” the men wrote (in Russian) on their group’s website.

The practice of removing and replacing blood plasma, the yellowish liquid component of blood that carries cells and proteins throughout the body, has a long history in the treatment of autoimmunity. But the aim for the men, both in their fifties, wasn’t about dealing with a disease. Instead, they were self-experimenting with an offbeat proposal for fighting the aging process — the latest in a line of scientific efforts to harness the supposed rejuvenating properties of young blood.






 8 minutes

I can’t remember the last time I woke up and something wasn’t hurting. I’m not referring to those little stiff joints or creaky knees. Most folks wake up to those. After all, your body was immobile, probably in an awkward position for six, seven or more hours and it takes a while before the “muscle memory” kicks in. What I’m talking about are those pains that are out of the ordinary. Pains you may have had before, but are no less concerning. The back or neck pain which remains even after a nice hot shower. Or that stitch in your lower quadrant that makes you think you have appendicitis, except it’s on the wrong side. Fortunately, most of those pains turn out to be nothing and disappear before the day is out. But what of the pain that lasts for days or weeks on end? Do you worry about those? Or do you just check them off as a sign of old age?

As you get older you can expect an occasional twinge, cramp or spasm. In fact they may become so frequent you don’t even notice most of them. But at what point do you need to worry? Because pain manifest itself in different ways and it different parts of the body we need to be specific.

“Approximately 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, so it’s important to be able to identify the severity of your symptoms and track how long the pain lasts.
If back pain can be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or twisting wrong, and the pain goes away within 72 hours after resting and applying ice, it’s usually nothing to worry about. However, if pain creeps on gradually, appears suddenly, or doesn't go away, you might have a more serious condition.”

BACK PAIN: 5 sensations that might indicate a medical emergency

  • 1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.
  • 2. Radiating pain: This pain "moves" or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.Radiating pain could be a sign of nerve damage.
  • 3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.
  • 4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.
  • 5.Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.
If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage. [1]

If you are like me, you try to avoid doctors or hospitals like the plague. The probing, the endless tests, the shots and the needles are sometimes worse than the pain you were there for. But at some point, even the most obstinate among us must know when to concede and when to seek help.
 
   Seek medical attention for your pain if it’s:

The result of an injury or accident that may have caused substantial damage to your body, including severe or uncontrollable bleeding, broken bones, or head injury
An acute and sharp internal pain, which may be a sign of a serious problem such as a ruptured appendix or bowel perforation

Located in your chest, back, shoulders, neck, or jaw and accompanied by other potential signs or symptoms of a heart attack, such as pressure in your chest, shortness of breath, dizziness, weakness, cold sweats, nausea, or vomiting

Interfering with your day-to-day life, including your ability to sleep, work, or take part in other activities that are important to you [2]
 


As most men, I’m content to ignore (or at least, not complain about) most pain. I only become truly concerned when that pain becomes so excruciating that it interferes with my normal activities. And only after the pain does not respond to any of the vast array of OTC pain relievers I have stuffed into the top drawer of my nightstand. To the best of my recollection I have sought emergency outside help only three times in my life.

The first when I was in the third grade and impaled myself on a wrought-iron fence, resulting in a lot of stitches and an overnight hospital stay.

The next was an eye infection that become so bad I could no longer see out of one eye. I drove myself to my GP where I was diagnosed with conjunctivitis, given some salve and sent on my way.

The third, and most recent “pain without end” experience came after nearly a week of mild to severe to “Get help, the dam is about to burst” abdominal cramps. After going the home remedy route and not getting any better, something in my normally dense brain told me no amount of Pepto Bismal is going to cure this and I better seek professional help. And it’s a good thing too. Another day and, instead of the short trip via ambulance to the ER, there might have been an even shorter ride next door

Today I awoke with a slight pain in my upper jaw. It’s mild and does not interfere with any of my usual activities. It is annoying and I’ve taken some Tylenol which provides some relief for a few hours. I’ll give it a few days more and if it doesn’t go away or gets worse, I’ll see the doc. In the meantime, I’ll do what most men my age do. Kvetch………………..
 

[1 ]https://utswmed.org/medblog/5-signs-your-back-pain-might-be-emergency/
[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/pain#when-to-seek-help



 

5 Signs You're Ready for
That First Social Security Check



Deciding when to take your Social Security checks is nerve-racking for obvious reasons. For one thing, you have to think about your mortality to make the optimal choice. Plus, once you've started benefits, it's tough to reverse your Social Security decision.

Are you thinking 2021 could be your year to start taking Social Security benefits? Here are five signs that the time is right.

1. Your investments can outpace inflation

Anyone who's relying on Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to counter soaring inflation is in for a rude awakening. Between January 2000 and March 2021, the typical senior's expenses rose by 101.7%, according to The Senior Citizens League's 2021 Social Security Loss of Buying Power Study. In that same period, Social Security COLAs increased benefits by just 55%.









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-30-






    MAY 24, 2021


How older adults can regain their game
after being cooped up for over a year

By Judith Graham

Alice Herb, 88, an intrepid New Yorker, is used to walking miles around Manhattan. But after this year of being shut inside, trying to avoid Covid-19, she's noticed a big difference in how she feels.

"Physically, I'm out of shape," she said. "The other day I took the subway for the first time, and I was out of breath climbing two flights of stairs to the street. That's just not me."

Emotionally, Herb, a retired lawyer and journalist, is unusually hesitant about resuming activities even though she's fully vaccinated. "You wonder, what if something happens, maybe I shouldn't be doing that, maybe that's dangerous," she said.


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

A Beginner’s Guide to
Medicaid Planning


Please note that the information in the following blog post is meant to act only as a general guide. Medicaid is an extremely complex area and varies based on the individual. Your questions need to be addressed by an attorney with significant experience in the area prior to taking any action.

As we age and begin to need more assistance, we often hear the terms 'Medicare' and 'Medicaid' used interchangeably, but they are different on a number of fronts. Medicare is a federal program funded through tax payers and is based on age, although special circumstances such as certain disabilities, allow younger people to qualify. Medicaid is managed by individual states so the elements in the program can vary by region. Eligibility for Medicaid is based on income and resources available to the individual.

Whereas with Medicare we become automatically eligible when we turn 65, Medicaid only sees a small percentage of adults age 65 and older enrolled in the program nationwide, about 9 percent. In fact, 43 percent of those enrolled in Medicaid are children.


_____________________________________________________________________


Elder Abuse?: Conservative Media Company
Newsmax Hit With TCPA Class Action Alleging
Telemarketing Abuse Targeting the Elderly


This is a really interesting one folks.

A nonagenarian in Florida claims that he was harassed and duped by illegal telemarketing calls from conservative media outlet Newsmax as part of a plan to “target senior citizens, like Plaintiff, in its telemarketing campaigns and place repeated calls to them” in a bid to sign them up  for magazine subscriptions they do not actually ask for. This according to a complaint filed in federal court yesterday.

In the complaint–which can be found here Cohen complaint— the consumer (90+-year-old Bernard Cohen) claims Newsmax placed multiple unsolicited marketing calls to his cell phone, despite the fact that his phone number is registered on the national DNC list.

Making matters worse, the Complaint alleges that Newsmax charged him over $1,500.00 for magazine subscriptions he did not actually ask for in 2019 alone:


___________________________________________________________________________


Many seniors lost strength during the pandemic,
may need rehabilitative services



Ronald Lindquist, 87, has been active all his life. So, he wasn’t prepared for what happened when he stopped going out during the coronavirus pandemic and spent most of his time, inactive, at home.

“I found it hard to get up and get out of bed,” said Lindquist, who lives with his wife of 67 years in Palm Springs. “I just wanted to lay around. I lost my desire to do things.”

Physically, Lindquist noticed that getting up out of a chair was difficult, as was getting in and out of his car. “I was praying ‘Lord, give me some strength.’ I kind of felt, I’m on my way out — I’m not going to make it,” he admitted.







7 minutes


I was never much of a huggy-touchy-feely kind of guy. I really have to know you well before I’m ready to get that close. And, as for giving strangers a kiss on the cheek, well, I’ll leave that to the French. However, after 435 days of having minimal contact with others of my species, even I feel the need for some human contact. Nothing outrageous mind you, maybe just a little squeeze of the hand or a well-meant pat on the back. Something to let me know it’s okay to be near another human. We are social animals, and to deprive us of that much needed interaction with others is just cruel, if not criminal.
 
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness aside, I wonder what the powers that be thought would happen when they capriciously decided that residents of long-term care facilities would not be adversely affected by long bouts of isolation. Did they think we would be okay with it because, after all, we were particularly susceptible to the ravages of COVID-19? Perhaps, at the beginning, we were more welcoming to the idea that safety came first. I know I was. But after 6 months went by and then eight and the rest of the nation talking about slowly returning to normal. I had some misgivings why nothing was mentioned regarding when we, A.L.F., residents would see some relaxation of the rules. But nothing ever happened. Not even a “Sorry, folks, but it’s still too dangerous.” They were content to leave us out of the loop. But it was okay, because the virus was still rampant and people were still dying in droves. And then a miracle occurred. They came up with a vaccine. Not just one, but two or three. And they worked. Surely, that meant it would not be long before we would get our shots and be released from this nightmare we had been in for a year. But that was not to be.

I remember the day we got our vaccinations. “Finally”, I thought, “the beginning of the end.” A month, maybe 6 weeks, and we would be back at our usual routine. Activities would resume and we could be near one another again. Surely it would not be long before we return to communal dining, the heart of our personal relationships. A connection we had been deprived of for way too long. Unfortunately, those dreams soon faded as the status remained quo. Forgotten by society.

I questioned why I should have felt this way. After all, I’ve been alone for a long time. However, as I found out, there is an actual, physical need for human touch.

According to Healthline.com

“Humans are wired to be touched. From birth until the day we die, our need for physical contact remains.

Being touch starved — also known as skin hunger or touch deprivation — occurs when a person experiences little to no touch from other living things.

Wait, that’s a real thing?
Indeed. The condition seems to be more common in countries that are becoming increasingly touch averse.

For example, a 2015 study measured to what degree people welcomed touch in five countries. Finland and France were found to be at the top, while the United Kingdom was at the bottom.

Why cultures vary in their acceptance of touch, no one is sure. It may be due to the rise in technology use, a fear of touching being viewed as inappropriate, or cultural factors.

But research from 2014 has found that missing out on regular human touch can have some serious and long-lasting effects.” [1]



Interaction with others extends farther than just touch. It must also include conversation. Perhaps the one thing that separates us from other animals. Even during pre-covid times, finding someone with whom one can carry on an intelligent, or at the very least a coherent exchange of ideas, is not always easy at an A.L.F. But I have found a few, and I miss those people terribly. I have had only a few fleeting words with them in all this time. A return to communal dining would go a long way in restoring some of what the entire concept of assisted living is supposed to be about. A.L.F.’s are not just a place to warehouse old folks. It’s assumed that besides a roof and four walls and food, there will be other people to talk to.
 
There is a rumor going around that we might return to some semblance of normalcy in two weeks. This supposedly comes direct from someone in a management position. Whether this is true or just more wishful thinking remains to be seen. Rumors, dashed hopes, un-kept promises and lip service are common here and everything that is heard must be taken with skepticism. Until I see an official memo, I won’t believe anything I hear. However, what I know is, something must change, and soon. In the brief encounters I have managed in the past few weeks with some of my peers, I have a feeling that even the most complacent of them are feeling the effects of this lengthy separation and cannot withstand much more of it. If the goal of the authorities is to find out how far you can disconnect old people from friends and family without causing an adverse reaction, I think they will find out soon. And it won’t be pretty……………………….
 

[1] https://www.healthline.com/health/touch-starved#research






2024: The Historic Reversal of America's population
BY JOSEPH CHAMIE

As politicians, members of Congress, the media and many others anticipate, discuss and strategize for the 2024 presidential election, America’s population is expected to experience a significant demographic event with serious social, economic and political implications in that year: the Historic Reversal.

The Historic Reversal occurs to a country’s population when older persons aged 65 years and above outnumber children under age 15 years. That noteworthy demographic milestone expected in 2024 signifies a significant and far-reaching aging transformation of the U.S. population and society. It will usher in a new era unlike any in much of the country’s youthful past when approximately one out of three Americans were children under age 15 years.

America’s aging population, some warn, threatens to overwhelm the nation’s budget and also cause slower economic growth and diminished geopolitical stature for the country. Also as the U.S. electorate ages, the sociopolitical mood of the country is expected to become more risk-averse, have shorter time horizons and less willing to make long-term investments.








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-30-






    MAY 21, 2021


Discrimination and bias
found in dementia care



The Alzheimer’s Association released its 2021 Facts and Figures report and the statistics are daunting. More than six million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050 that number is projected to reach 12.7 million.

This year’s report is full of statistics about the incidence and prevalence of Alzheimer’s and dementia and its impact on society. It also includes a special report entitled Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer’s in America which we will review here.

The special report explores the experiences of Black, Hispanic, Asian and Native Americans related to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. All four groups report some level of discrimination when accessing care as patients and caregivers.


_________________________________________________



How Much Will Assisted Living
Cost You—or Your Mom?



Finding out how much assisted living costs—especially at a particular facility—can be frustrating. Assisted living homes don’t tend to advertise their costs on their websites. When they do, you might only get a broad range or starting price. Getting specifics often requires a conversation with the sales department, which you might find intimidating, annoying, or even shady.

Why isn’t assisted living pricing more transparent? These facilities may be afraid of scaring off prospective residents and their families with sticker shock. The price is not comparable to a mortgage or monthly rental payment because it includes far more than just housing.

The monthly cost of assisted living may include utilities, common area maintenance and repairs, landscaping, unit maintenance and repairs, nurses, nurse aides, and other staff. The size and location of your room—and whether you have a roommate—also affect cost. Then, the specific services each resident needs get factored into their custom cost. What’s more, that cost is likely to fluctuate throughout the resident’s stay as their needs change.


____________________________________________________________________________


How to Maximize Social Security Benefits
for a Married Couple

By Kent McDill


Here is the scenario: You and your spouse are approximately the same age, and are asking yourselves and your financial guru about Social Security benefits. Chief in your minds is how to maximize Social Security benefits for a married couple.

You are approaching the age when you need to make decisions about taking Social Security payments. Neither of you are required to take such payments at any age, but you could certainly use one of the monthly payments for the expenses you have.

It is fairly common knowledge among people who are near or at the age when they can begin to accept Social Security payments that the longer they wait, the more they will receive in their monthly payment. In your situation, you probably know which spouse is in line to get the most money. That would be the one of you who made more money and thus contributed more.


______________________________________________________________________


Seniors Are Using Dating Apps
And Tinder Leads The Pack

By Peter Suciu


Finding love in one's twilight year's likely isn't easy in normal times, but "love in the time of Covid" could make it all the more challenging. That doesn't mean that seniors have given up on dating.

According to a new survey conducted by Choice Mutual, an independent insurance agency, seniors are certainly playing the field – and increasingly turning to dating apps.

"Senior citizens are actively playing the dating game, and in the last five years alone, 37 percent have dated," explained Anthony Martin, founder and CEO of Choice Mutual, who helped put the survey and report together. "They're using a lot of the same methods for meeting people as the younger generations, including going online to meet potential partners via dating apps and websites, and even social media."


 


 Phew!. Another week has come and gone and with it the stories and events that impact the world we live in. As Seniors, who have been around the block a few times, we know the importance of keeping abreast of things. But sometimes we need help sorting it all out. That’s why, every Friday, we present…



THE WORLD

Israel, Hamas reach cease-fire
 to halt Gaza conflict

By Adela Suliman

The truce comes after international diplomatic efforts and growing pressure from Israel's closest ally, the United States, to bring an end to the flare-up in fighting.

Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to a bilateral cease-fire on Thursday to halt nearly two weeks of fighting that has left hundreds dead and parts of the impoverished Gaza Strip reduced to rubble.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Security Cabinet agreed "to accept the Egyptian initiative for a bilateral cease-fire, which will take effect at a later date," the government said in a statement on Thursday.

Senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan told Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen TV channel that the cease-fire would begin Friday at 2 a.m. local time (7 p.m. ET). "We obtained guarantees from the mediators that the aggression on Gaza will stop," he said.




* * * * *


India Posts Record-Setting
One-Day COVID-19 Death Toll 

The Health Ministry Wednesday said 4,529 people died in a 24-hour period, the first time the South Asian nation posted more than 4,500 single-day deaths during the pandemic.   

India now has 283,248 COVID-19 related deaths out of more than 25.4 million total infections, placing it second behind the United States, which leads the world with 587,219 deaths out of a confirmed 32.9 million total infections.

A surge of new infections in the world’s second most-populous country has created a humanitarian disaster, with hospitals filled to capacity and an acute shortage of oxygen to treat the sick, with scores of makeshift crematories rushing to burn the dead.  Experts believe the actual casualty figures are much higher than the official figures.




* * * * * *


Tokyo Olympics

Amid growing calls to cancel the upcoming Tokyo Olympics due to a growing surge of new COVID-19 infections, International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach pledged Wednesday in the Japanese capital that both the Olympics and the following Paralympic Games will be safe for everyone involved.  

Bach promised that more than 80% of residents in the Olympic Village would be vaccinated against COVID-19, and that extra medical personnel from various national Olympic committees would be available to help out during the games.

The demand to cancel the Olympics got its strongest boost Monday when the Tokyo Medical Practitioners Association, which represents 6,000 primary care doctors and hospitals, posted an open letter to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Monday warning that hospitals in the Japanese capital city “have their hands full and have almost no spare capacity.” 




* * * * * *


China has landed its first rover on Mars —
here’s what happens next


The Zhurong landing was the biggest test yet of China’s deep-space exploration capabilities. Within days, the rover could start to make geological discoveries.

China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft, in orbit around the red planet, has dropped its lander and rover — named Zhurong after a Chinese god of fire — completing the most perilous stage of its ten-month mission.

According to Chinese state news agency Xinhua, an entry capsule enclosing the vehicles separated from the orbiter at about 4 a.m. Beijing time on 15 May. After several hours, it entered Mars’s atmosphere at an altitude of 125 kilometres.It then hurtled towards the surface at 4.8 kilometres per second, protected by a heat shield. As the probe closed in on Mars, it released a huge parachute to slow its progress, and then used rocket boosters to brake. Once it reached 100 metres above the Martian surface, it hovered and used a laser-guided system to assess the area for obstacles such as boulders before landing.



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THE NATION

House Passes Bill To Investigate Capitol Riot,
But Its Fate In Senate Is Unclear



The House has passed a bipartisan plan to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, despite significant opposition from Republican lawmakers.

The vote was 252-
175, with 35 Republicans joining all Democrats.

The vote came the same day that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to the commission, dealing a setback to the proposal's chances in the U.S. Senate.

Just a day ago, McConnell, R-Ky., signaled the party was open to the commission to investigate the January riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump but added he wanted "to read the fine print." That openness was short-lived.


* * * * * * *


New York prosecutors investigating
Trump Organization in a 'criminal capacity'

BY TAL AXELROD

New York prosecutors said Tuesday they are now investigating the Trump Organization in a "criminal capacity” as well as a "civil capacity," ramping up pressure on the former president’s personal business.

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA. We have no additional comment at this time,” Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for the New York attorney general’s office, said in a statement.


New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has been investigating the Trump Organization since 2019 over the company’s sprawling finances.






* * * * * *



'They don't know what they're doing':
Maricopa County election officials
set record straight

By Jen Fifield


The private contractors hired by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann to audit Maricopa County's general election don't know what they are doing, and the county didn't delete any election files, county officials fired back on Monday.

Jack Sellers, county Board of Supervisors chairman, accused Fann of attempting to legitimize "a grift disguised as an audit."

He said the contractors, led by a Florida-based cybersecurity firm called Cyber Ninjas that was hired to lead the audit despite no experience, thought files were missing because "they don’t know what they’re doing. And we wouldn’t be asked to do this on-the-job training if qualified auditors had been hired to do this work."  



* * * * * *


Trial for Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter in shooting of Daunte Wright
could start in December; city OKs sweeping changes in policing

By John Bacon & Christal Hayes


The case against a white, former police officer who was charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center will proceed with a trial starting as early as December, a judge ruled Monday.

Kim Potter, a decorated, 26-year police veteran, resigned days after shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright last month. The tragedy occurred a few miles from where George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin less than a year earlier, and it took place days before Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The shooting touched off days of angry protests and prompted sweeping policing changes in the community.


* * * * * *

Court to weigh in on Mississippi abortion ban
intended to challenge Roe v. Wade

By Amy Howe


Pro-choice advocates protest in front of the Supreme Court in early March 2020 (Casey Quinlan)
The Supreme Court on Monday set the stage for a major ruling next year on abortion – one that could upend the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the court ruled that the Constitution protects the right to have an abortion before a fetus becomes viable. The court granted review in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to the constitutionality of a Mississippi law that (with limited exceptions) bars abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

The decision to review the Mississippi law comes nearly  a year after the court struck down a Louisiana law that required doctors who perform abortions to have the right to admit patients at a nearby hospital. In that case, five justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, relied on Casey in ruling that the Louisiana law imposed an undue burden on the right to obtain a pre-viability abortion. But the make-up of the Supreme Court has changed since the ruling in the Louisiana case last June: One of the justices in the majority, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a staunch supporter of abortion rights, died in September and was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose personal opposition to abortion drew criticism from Democrats at her confirmation hearing.

When the Mississippi legislature passed the law at the heart of the case in 2018, Jackson Women’s Health Organization – the only licensed abortion provider in the state – went to court to challenge the law’s constitutionality and block the state from enforcing it. A federal district court agreed with the clinic, reasoning that the Supreme Court’s cases do not allow states to ban abortions before a fetus becomes viable, which occurs at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.


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ENTERTAINMENT


Amazon Said to Make $9 Billion Offer for MGM
By Todd Spangler, Joe Otterson, Cynthia Littleton

Amazon is weeks into negotiations on a deal to acquire MGM for about $9 billion, industry sources tell Variety.

Chatter that Amazon (and other tech and media giants) have been sniffing around MGM has circulated for some time. But sources indicated that Amazon’s interest in acquiring the studio has taken on a new tenor beyond the usual rumor mill. The deal is said to be being orchestrated by Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Amazon Studios and Prime Video, directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich, whose Anchorage Capital is a major MGM shareholder.

Reps for Amazon and MGM declined to comment.

MGM had already effectively nailed up a “for sale” sign: Variety confirmed in December that the company was looking for a buyer.



* * * * * *


‘Friends’ Reunion Special at HBO Max
to Premiere in May
By Joe Otterson


“Friends: The Reunion” will now debut on the one year anniversary of the launch of HBO Max and exactly one year after it was originally supposed to air. However, the special was delayed multiple times due to the production shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally set to film in February 2020 but was only able to begin filming in April.





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PASSINGS



Charles Grodin, deadpan comic actor known for
'Midnight Run' and 'Beethoven,' dies at 86

By Daniel Arkin

The actor, beloved for his understated comic turns, specialized in playing world-weary businessmen and uptight fathers.

Charles Grodin, the actor who lent his droll wit and deadpan delivery to films such as "The Heartbreak Kid," "Heaven Can Wait," "Midnight Run" and "Beethoven," died Tuesday. He was 86.

The actor's son, Nicholas Grodin, told The Associated Press that his father died at his home in Wilton, Connecticut, from bone marrow cancer.


* * * * * *

Paul Mooney,
comedian and writer for Richard Pryor, dies at 79

Mooney served as the head writer on "The Richard Pryor Show" and co-wrote some of Pryor's material on several of his comedy albums and his "Saturday Night Live" sketches.

Paul Mooney, the comedian, actor and writer for Richard Pryor, died on Wednesday morning, his representative Cassandra Williams confirmed to Variety. He was 79.

He died at his home in Oakland, Calif., after suffering a heart attack.


\ \ \ \ \ \ \ / / / / / /

Another week in the can and a few days off for me. Back on Monday when we do it all again…………………






Salmon Wrap



Salmon wrap is another delicious, easy, and nutritious meal choice for the seniors. All the ingredients of salmon wrap are widely available and it takes around 4 to 5 minutes to prepare.



Ingredients:

· 1 Can Skinless and Boneless Salmon
· 1 Whole Grain Wrap or Pita
· Oz. Chopped Avocado
· Oz. Chopped Tomato
· Oz. Cream Cheese
· 1 Cup of Arugula

Spread the cream cheese on the inside part of the grain wrap or pita and then distribute the other ingredients such as tomato, avocado, arugula evenly.










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    MAY 20, 2021

Morphine: A Misunderstood Medication


Physicians and caregivers work to clear up myths about powerful end-of-life drugs

Within weeks of being diagnosed with multiple myeloma at 87, it became clear that Rosaire Roberts Hall was at the end of her life. Last summer, she moved from her lake house in the woods of northern Minnesota to a hospice home that was nearer to her family.


"The disease took off fast, but she was still sharing memories at the end. We sat together and she told stories I'd never heard," said her granddaughter Heather Kern, of St. Cloud, Minn.


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Our eldercare system is broken
By Lane Filler


A few weeks ago, I was lounging on my mother-in-law's sun porch when talk turned to the Cherished Matriarch’s future.

She’s healthy, but turned 80 last week. She’s still buying green bananas, but not Bonsai trees.

As Cherished made sure I had enough cobbler, ice cream, coffee, cigars, fresh ashtrays and spending money, she said of her future: "I just don’t want to be a burden on you kids. Or end up in a nursing home."

"Now that’s a problem, darling," I answered through a cloud of fragrant smoke and caramelized sugar, "because I’m not allowed to shoot you. And other than putting you down when the time comes, ‘nursing home’ and ‘burden on you kids’ are about the only options left."


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Campaign Focuses On Injury
Prevention For Older Adults


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching Still Going Strong, a national campaign that brings attention to ways older adults (age 65 and older) can age without injury.

The campaign is raising awareness about the leading causes of unintentional injuries and deaths in older adults. Still Going Strong will encourage older adults to continue participating in their favorite hobbies and activities, while informing them and their caregivers of steps they can take to prevent injuries that disproportionately impact this population: falls, motor vehicle crashes, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“Experiencing injuries doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging; many injuries that are common in older adults can be prevented,” said Debra Houry, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “We know that injuries and deaths from falls and motor vehicle crashes are increasing in older adults. We hope Still Going Strong will help inform our audience about simple steps they can do to prevent injuries and their lasting effects. Everyone has a role — older adults, caregivers, loved ones, and healthcare providers. By taking proactive steps, you can prevent potentially life-changing injuries from happening and maintain your independence and mobility longer.”


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ON WEDNESDAY’S POST



Screenings for colon cancer should
now start at 45, task force says
By Erica Carbajal

Colorectal cancer screenings should now start at age 45 instead of 50, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in updated guidance released May 18.

Overall, all adults aged 45 to 75 should be screened for the disease, according to the recommendations, which applies to all adults, regardless of symptoms, personal or family history.

The USPSTF classified the recommendation to start screening earlier as Grade B, meaning there is "high certainty that the net benefit is moderate or there is moderate certainty that the net benefit is moderate to substantial."

"Far too many people in the U.S. are not receiving this lifesaving preventive service," said Michael Barry, MD, vice chair of the task force. "We hope that this new recommendation to screen people ages 45 to 49, coupled with our long-standing recommendation to screen people 50 to 75, will prevent more people from dying from colorectal cancer."







YOU ONLY HAVE TO
PLEASE YOUR BOSS
  6 Minutes


I try to stay away from politics because, not only does it turn many people off, but it’s boring too. However, because of recent events, i.e. the wearing of masks, voter suppression and the June 6th Capitol riot, I believe it would be of some value to review just what is driving a certain political party… Ed.

 
Whether you work for a small company or a large corporation, the first thing to remember is the only person you have to please is the boss. He’s the guy that eventually decides if you keep your job or sends you packing. How you make him happy is your job and you better learn how to do it. For a good example of this you only have to look as far as the Congress of the United States, and to one side of the aisle in particular. The side where all the Republicans sit. You see all those men and women. They are professionals. They know how to make their boss happy. And it involves nothing more than a little lying, some ass-kissing and a complete loss of one’s morals and self respect. It also doesn’t hurt if you are delusional as well. And the odd thing about all this is, their boss is not really the boss. But he sure thinks he is and there are plenty of lickspittles who can’t wait to heap praise upon him and make him belive he’s still in power.

 
I’m speaking of the former President, the defeated and soon hopefully indicted Donald Trump. Mr. Trump, who says he should be president because the Democrats, through either magic or subterfuge, stole the election. And although he has lost every lawsuit and re-count, he continues to spread the “Big Lie.” And woe be to all (Republicans) that would dare to say different. Just look at what happened to two prominent Republicans who were singled out as not seeing eye to eye with Trump.

I’m referring to Rep. Liz Cheney who was voted out from her House leadership post last Wednesday for her persistent repudiation, and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, Utah Senator and presidential candidate, was booed and called ‘traitor’ at the Utah Republican convention. Both former Republican stars, now outcasts all because they would not kiss the ring of Donald Trump.

So what would make a seemingly educated, well-read person who has their fingers on the pulse of America want to sell his sacred honor to the devil? It’s the job dummy.
 
Being a member of Congress may be the best job you can have in government. The perks, the prestige, the money and the power of a congressional representative or Senator is very heady stuff. Did I mention the perks? Free trips (all for the good of the nation), the lifetime pension and healthcare to name just a few. No wonder they want to keep their jobs. And the only way to do that is to get re-elected by the folks back home where you live. And, if you are a Republican representing a primarily Republican state or district, the only way to do that is to support their “God”, Donald Trump. Because as delusional as those politicians are, their constituents are more so. And no politician, on either side, can ignore 175 million votes. The largest number of votes for a losing candidate ever. Trump is the leader of his party not because he has great political acumen or understanding of national and world events. He reigns because he is perceived by his supporters to be a man of the people. Which is true, if by “the people” you mean the racists, the pro-gun, and the rich which, as we found out, make up a large percentage of the population.

It’s obvious I don’t like Donald Trump. Truthfully, I never liked him. Even when he was just your ordinary rich New York a-hole. But you have to respect him. Just like you have to respect a rabid racoon. Those 175 million votes buys him a lot of respect. And those slimy men and women who have convinced themselves that to support the former president is the best way to achieve tenure know this. And they’ll be damned if they let honor and truth get in the way.

Like it or not, Donald Trump is the boss. And he is likely to remain so as long as there are enough misguided Americans who fail to see beyond the boasting and bullying and false bravado of the man who sits on the throne of the once great Republican party………………………
 
 




We Can't Combat Ageism By
Directing It Against Younger People


Recently, a former intern reached out to me via LinkedIn.  "Janine, I see your posts on ageism. But what do you call it when it is the reverse, when older people disregard the thoughts and expertise of younger people?"  she asked.

Now in academia, this talented woman shared that she faces this situation daily, with mostly older white male faculty members casting doubt on her expertise. She cited a recent example of someone telling her that because she did not yet have white hair or three decades of expertise on the topic, she could not possibly be as qualified as older faculty members to speak at an upcoming conference. This, despite the fact that she was being asked to speak about her funded research, her area of expertise.

"Ageism is prejudice stereotyping and discrimination based on age, and it can be directed against younger people as well as older people."








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    MAY 19, 2021

Zapping Nerves with Ultrasound Lowers
Drug-Resistant Blood Pressure


Brief pulses of ultrasound delivered to nerves near the kidney produced a clinically meaningful drop in blood pressure in people whose hypertension did not respond to a triple cocktail of medications, reports a new study led by researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian.


In a clinical trial of the procedure, called renal denervation, daytime blood pressure after two months had dropped 8 points compared to a 3-point drop in patients who were treated with a sham procedure. Nighttime blood pressure decreased by an average of 8.3 points in the treatment group versus 1.8 points in the sham group.

“For patients with drug-resistant hypertension, a drop in blood pressure of 8 points—if  maintained over longer-term follow-up—is almost certainly going to help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other adverse cardiac events,” says Ajay Kirtane, MD, professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, an interventional cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and co-principal investigator of the trial.


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California budget includes $3.8 billion
to build ‘age-friendly’ state for older adults

Revisions to California’s 2021–2022 budget include $3.8 billion in new funding to build an “age-friendly” state that supports older adults through a Master Plan for Aging.

The May revision to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s state budget includes $2.1 billion in one-time funds and $1.7 billion in ongoing funding to develop a California Department of Aging infrastructure to advance the goals of the state’s Master Plan for Aging, released in January. Those goals center around housing, health, isolation prevention, caregiving and affordable aging.

A spokesperson for the California Association of Health Facilities said that the association is happy the governor is “acknowledging the need to make an investment in senior health, especially with additional funding for Alzheimer’s education and improving the pool of workers who have experience in geriatric medicine.” CAHF President and CEO Craig Cornett was part of a group that made recommendations on the Master Plan for Aging to Newsom’s administration.


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Free College Courses for
Senior Citizens in All 50 States


We’re living longer than ever before, and doing so in better health. So what can you do when you retire and want to keep your mind sharp or need to gain additional skills to stay competitive at work?

For many, the answer is to go back to school. But tuition can be prohibitively expensive.

At the same time, schools want their classrooms to be full of engaged students, regardless of age. In the interest of continuing education, many colleges and universities offer reduced or free college tuition to senior citizens (typically, adults 60 and up, although the rules vary).


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Progressive fitness programs help
older adults age in place
By Gina Gallucci-White

As they age, more than three quarters of those 50 or older want to remain in their home, or at least in their current community, according to a 2018 AARP national survey. Yet, only 59% think they will be physically able to do so, with fewer than half of them believing they’ll be able to stay in their actual home and 13% percent simply hoping to remain in their community.

“One of the biggest reasons older adults have to go into assisted living or get help in the home is due to a decrease in strength, and that can lead to problems with walking,” said Katrina Wolf, owner of Agewell Senior Fitness and a certified personal trainer. Fragility can also present problems performing basic daily activities such as showering, getting dressed and eating, she said.

Indeed, nearly 11 million older Americans struggle to walk or climb stairs; 7 million have trouble living independently; and almost 4 million have difficulty bathing or dressing, according to a 2020 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.








 6-7 minutes


There are some dates you never forget. Happy ones like the day you were married or the birth of your kids. And sad ones like the passing of beloved friends and relatives. There are also the infamous dates. The anniversaries of which are indelibly etched in our minds. For me, there are two of those. One that changed the world, September 11th, 2001, and one that changed my life forever.
 
Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 was the last day of my other life. The independent, self-sustaining, mobile life I enjoyed. And, although I was no spring chicken, my energy was at an all-time high. But one 911 phone call for an ambulance changed everything and began a downward spiral that would last for years.


Three days of extreme intestinal difficulty, a temperature of 103 and the inability to keep anything in my guts for over ten minutes gave me cause to realize that what I had was more than just a virus or food poisoning. I was so sick that I was afraid to drive, so I called 911 to get me to the nearest ER where someone could tell me what I had, give me some pills and send me on my way. At least that was the plan. But the doctors at Forest Hills hospital had a different idea and, after a cat scan of my intestines, I was admitted, put in a bed and told to get ready for a colonoscopy the next day. An overnight stay in a hospital? How bad could it be?

As it turned out, it was as bad as it could get. After a wide-awake colonoscopy where I could view my colon in high def and living color, and listening to the remarks of the doctor who was aggressively snaking the probe further up what looked like an abandoned subway tunnel, I gave myself two weeks to live. Even to my untrained eye, I knew things did not look good. There were bumps, lesions, polyps and some things the doctor couldn’t identify. As I was wheeled back to my room, my only thought was who would even know I was dead and where would I be buried? Pretty grim thinking for someone who had never been seriously ill all his life.

If there was a bright side to all of that it came the next day when the doctor told me what I had was not the dreaded cancer I had convinced myself I had, but a severe case of ulcerative colitis or UC.[1] While my anxiety level dropped considerably, my apprehension about what lay ahead remained. And with good cause. Little did I know that benign diagnosis of UC would have a life-altering influence for years to come.
 
I won’t bore you details of colon surgery and subsequent removal of the offending organ. The surgery, for me, was the easy part. The recovery was not, and it put me where I am today. A Medicaid/Medicare dependent resident of an assisted living facility living in a 10x20 foot room and eating bad food.
 
Who knew that being bed-ridden for a couple of months could do so much damage to one’s body? And how, even with nearly two years of physical therapy, I will never return to my former self.
 
During those two years as a patient in a nursing home, propelling myself around in a wheelchair and enduring the indignity that accompanies that, I graduated to a walker and finally, a Rollator, which afforded me some semblance of mobility. But I could never return to my apartment and all of my stuff. I lost most of my money because, without Medicare (I was not yet 65) I had to pay out-of-pocket the nearly $13,000 per month nursing home bill. The only thing left for me was moving here, to the A.L.F. and to a lifestyle so completely different from what I had just 3 short years before.

 
Gone was the independence, the privacy, and the ability to go anywhere, anytime I wanted. My health, my finances and my body won’t permit it. So why am I telling you all of this? I’m doing it to show you how fragile life is and how things can change in a flash. And to let you know that no matter how prepared for emergencies you may think you are, it’s not enough. And finally, when they say that “if you have your health, you have everything” well, it’s true. Illness takes its toll, not only on your body, but on the very fabric of your life as well. I urge you to take care of yourself. Don’t wait for the “little things” to get worse. Have the recommended tests, see your doctor regularly and save, save, save for that rainy day…………………


 
[1]Ulcerative colitis (UC) belongs to a larger group of illnesses called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) that affect the large intestine (colon and rectum) in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is a chronic—or long-lasting—disease that can get worse over time if left untreated. While the exact cause of UC is not fully understood, research shows that it could be the result of several factors, such as genetics, the environment, or an immune system malfunction.
Source: https://www.humira.com/ulcerative-colitis/about-uc/what-is-ulcerative-colitis?cid=ppc_ppd_ggl_humira_uc_bv_exact_What_Is_UC_stlk_64Z1931391&gclsrc=aw.ds&gclid=CjwKCAjwy42FBhB2EiwAJY0yQtP6m7aVRrH9FurHsG0G_cysZOAE7_4DRG8rDO0ABmza8g8UHV1fkxoCyd8QAvD_BwE





Should There Be 'Gun Retirement'
for the Elderly?


Just as some elderly drivers need to give up their car keys, older gun owners may eventually face "firearm retirement." And a preliminary study suggests they are open to the idea.

In focus-group interviews with older gun owners, researchers found that many had considered putting limits on their firearm access -- though they usually hadn't yet laid out plans for when and how.


It's an important issue, given that 40% of older Americans live in a home with a gun, said lead researcher Laura Prater of Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington in Seattle.

















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    MAY 18, 2021

Senior Citizens Face Homeless Crisis as
Incomes Fall and Rent Skyrocket


Failing health, crumbling incomes and rising home costs have forced thousands of senior citizens into the streets. In California, for example, more than 30,000 Los Angeles area seniors will be homeless by 2030, explains Nick Saifan, CEO of the veteran-friendly company Vendaval, who adds that immediate public and community action are needed to save those who can't save themselves.

There is a looming crisis affecting America's senior citizens and if not addressed, thousands of them will end up in the streets with no place to call home. As Baby Boomers age, the number of homeless seniors across the US jumped nearly 70 percent between 2007-17. "Baby Boomers face a rough future," said Nick Saifan, CEO of the veteran-friendly company Vendaval Corp. "Many of us are in failing health and forced to live on Social Security. Housing costs have exploded. That's left many, who expected a comfortable retirement, facing foreclosures, evictions and life on the streets."

Researchers predict the number of homeless seniors in New York City will more than double from 2,600 to 6,300 by 2030. In Boston, the figure is projected to jump from 570 to 1,560 over the next decade. The number of homeless seniors in Los Angeles rose 22% in 2018, leaving 4,800 seniors on the streets. Experts predict that number could rise to 30,000 by 2030.


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Will the Government's New Broadband Subsidies
Close the Digital Divide for Older Americans?


Who'll get the discounts aimed at making the internet more affordable and accessible

Only 58% of Americans age 65 or older have broadband internet access at home, which means 22 million people that age lack it, according to the nonprofit Older Adult Technology Services (OATS). This became especially problematic during the pandemic, when so many people needed to get on the internet for telehealth appointments and to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment.


One reason many older Americans don't have broadband: affordability. But now, the U.S. government is about to step up to try addressing this problem.


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Bose built the first FDA-cleared hearing aids
that won't require a doctor's visit
By Jon Fingas


Bose is dipping into hearing aids for the first time, and they promise a big change in how you buy the assistive audio equipment. The company has introduced SoundControl wearables that it says are the first FDA-cleared hearing aids sold directly to customers. You don't have to visit a doctor, get a prescription or otherwise talk to an expert to buy and use them.

Not surprisingly, the aids take advantage of Bose's experience with personal audio. They center around a CustomTune feature in the companion mobile app that personalizes volume levels, tone, treble and bass for your ears within 30 minutes. You can magnify quiet sounds to avoid strain, or highlight vocal frequencies to better hear the people around you. A Focus feature lets you concentrate on specific areas, such as the front when you're in conversations or all around you when you're strolling through the park.


_____________________________________________________________________________________



3 Best Ways to Remain
 Independent As You Age


Odds are, you want to age in place — living in your home later in life, rather than in a long-term care establishment. There are three ways to make that dream more likely to be a reality.


My "Friends Talk Money" podcast co-hosts and I, plus "Retirement Secrets" author Kim Curtis, described them in our latest episode (you can hear it through a podcast distributor or by listening to it at the end of this article).

"Being independent does not equal being alone."

"How much time and effort are we putting into thinking about planning out that part of our lives? Probably not much. But it's important," said "Friends Talk Money" co-host Pam Krueger, co-host of MoneyTrack on public television and the founder of Wealthramp.com.










 6 minutes


Monday was as perfect a spring day as one could hope for. Mild temperatures in the low 70s, a clear and almost cloudless sky and a slight breeze that sent the smell of freshly mown grass wafting over my creaky old bones that were planted firmly in one of the wrought-iron chairs scattered about the sun-drenched patio. And, as I lay there, with little more to do than veg-out, my thoughts drifted to other times and other places.

Twelve or thirteen years ago the thought that I would sit, soaking up the rays as a mobility-impaired resident of an assisted living facility would never have entered my mind. No, because on a day like this, sitting would have been the last thing I would have done. Instead, I most likely would have donned my photographer’s/fishing vest (The one with a million little pockets), slung my Nikon camera over my shoulder and hopped on the subway to begin one of my favorite things to do, walk.


To the uninitiated, who see only the traffic-clogged streets and avenues and hear only the din of honking horns, screeching tires or the rattle of the subway beneath their feet, they would think that New Yorker’s did nothing but ride from place to place. But nothing could be further from actuality. New Yorker’s, perhaps more than any other big-city dwellers, walk almost everywhere in the city. Or, at the very least, use a combination of riding (mostly on subways or buses) and walking. And there is a reason for this. It’s faster, safer and far more interesting than riding.  
 
Even if you have lived in the city all of your life, you will find something new and different around each corner. That’s because NYC is always changing. An Italian restaurant that was there yesterday is now selling Peruvian cuisine. Or the row of old three floor townhouses that stood in the middle of the block is being raised to make way for a 50 story luxury high-rise. And it was that dynamic that made me want to explore. And explore I did. I became my own tour guide, planning where I would walk and what I might see. And all the time snapping photos of the people, places and things that make up the fabric of New York.

 I can’t say I have walked every street in every neighborhood in New York. There are only two or three people that can make that claim. But I have walked places where few tourists would go and, I dare say, few New Yorker’s as well. From quiet, rarely visited corners of Central Park to derelict areas of the Brooklyn waterfront where there are more rats than people, I’ve been there. Sometimes afraid but never bored.
 
I have walked NY in happy times taking photos of parades (St. Patrick’s Day), celebrations (Gay Pride Day) and events like the Halloween parade in Greenwich Village. And, I have walked it in sadness. I’ll never forget the nearly 12 mile walk I took on September 11th, 2001. To say it was eerie would not begin to do justice to that day.
 

I’ve walked a lot and seen a lot. And for most, that would be enough. But not for me. As I sat there yesterday on that beautiful morning, breathing the relatively fresh air of suburbia, my thoughts were of the teaming streets, the dark alleys and the understated elegance of what is the city. And, getting up from that wrought-iron chair, feeling every one of my 75 plus years, I felt sad that I would never do those walks again. Age and illness have made that almost impossible now. And, frankly, I don’t know how safe I would feel anymore now that I have become the perfect victim. An old white man with a cane. Maybe it would be different if I was living in Arizona or Florida where the only thing around the next corner is another palm tree. But I’m here. Just a half-hour train ride to midtown, but for me, it might as well be a thousand miles away. At least I have my memories, and my photos……………………

 
 



111-year-old Australian recommends
eating chicken brains today


Australia’s oldest-ever man has included eating chicken brains among his secrets to living more than 111 years.

Retired cattle rancher Dexter Kruger on Monday marked 124 days since he turned 111, a day older than World War I veteran Jack Lockett was when he died in 2002.


Kruger told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview at his nursing home in the rural Queensland state town of Roma days before the milestone that a weekly poultry delicacy had contributed to his longevity.

“Chicken brains. You know, chickens have a head. And in there, there’s a brain. And they are delicious little things,” Kruger said. “There’s only one little bite.”










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    MAY 17, 2021


2022 Social Security COLA Estimated at 4.7%
BY Ted Godbout


Next year’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security—a precursor of what can be expected for retirement plan contribution and benefit limits—could be the highest since 2009.

According to estimates by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), Social Security recipients may get a 4.7% COLA in 2022. Based on consumer price index data through March 2021, the study suggests that the next COLA will be considerably higher in 2022 than the 1.3% COLA paid in 2021.

Findings in the organization’s “2021 Social Security Loss of Buying Power” study show a temporary improvement in the buying power of Social Security benefits, but an abrupt jump in inflation wiped out the temporary improvement. “While the lack of inflation in 2020 did improve the buying power of Social Security benefits by two percentage points through the month of January 2021—from a loss in buying power of 30% to a loss of 28%—that improvement was completely wiped out by soaring inflation in February and March of this year,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for TSCL.



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Over 80% of the elderly suffering
 from anxiety over health


Four in every five senior citizens have anxiety over their health as Covid-19 cases and subsequent casualties are rising in the country, according to a survey.

Compiling data of conversations with around 5,000 people through its helpline and volunteers on the ground in the past one month, NGO Agewell Foundation claimed that 82.4% are complaining of health anxiety during the second wave of the pandemic.

A large number — 70.2% — of the elderly were found suffering from sleeplessness or nightmares, while 63% have developed symptoms of depression due to loneliness and social isolation.

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Agencies Target Mental Health
Issues in Older Adults

By Melissa Harris


SAMHSA and other agencies are introducing communications and tech campaigns to support the mental health challenges of older people.

The federal government is taking an inter-agency and multidisciplinary approach to supporting the mental health of older Americans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when increased isolation has worsened symptoms.

More specifically, agencies are gathering and analyzing data on trends in mental health, providing digital tools and telehealth, training mental health providers and expanding grants.


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New federal vaccination reporting rule
may have implications for assisted living


A new federal requirement for skilled nursing facilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination data may have implications for assisted living providers as efforts to increase vaccination uptake ramp up.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday announced a new interim rule that requires skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination status data for both residents and staff members. CMS said it plans to post facility-specific vaccination status information on its public COVID-19 Nursing Home Data website.

The interim rule, according to the federal agency, will become effective 10 days after posting in the Federal Register, which is expected to take place Thursday.







4-5 minutes

It has become more like a game of “Who do you trust” than “This is the definitive scientific truth.”


Last week, as a surprise to almost everybody (including the President of the United States and most epidemiologists), the group that heretofore has set itself up as final word in health care for America,(the Centers for Disease Control) has tarnished its reputation by apparently conceding to the wishes of many state governors and lifting the mask regulations for most places and situations. Therefore, if yesterday you were told that you still had to wear a mask even out of doors, today it’s okay to throw caution, and your mask, to the wind and ditch the darn thing. But only, so they caution, if you have been vaccinated. Of course they have given no guidance as to how to enforce any of this. Of course many red-state (Republican) governors like those in Texas and Florida, have been doing this for months which makes one wonder whose lead is the CDC following?

Whether you decide to go along with the new protocol or continue to wear a mask, the choice is yours, as every free and Constitutionally protected American citizen may do. Unfortunately, there remains a segment of the population that does not now or has ever had a choice, those of us who have been ‘incarcerated’ in our gilded cages (known also as long-term care facilities or assisted living). And the difference is very clear.

When I heard the news of the CDC’s new position on mask wearing in public and non-public places and combined that with the newly eased restrictions implemented by my state’s government, my hopes of a reversal, if only slight, of the overly cautious constraints placed upon all of us residents were heightened. But alas. That was not to be. We were told that, after a review of the new guidelines, and out of a continuing need for caution among the elderly population, little or nothing will be affected by either the state’s own precautions or those of the CDC. The best they could come up with as a way of showing us they “really care”, was to throw us a bone by re-activating a very limited form of communal dining which, for all practical purposes meant nothing more than an imposition for most of our residents because now they had to follow a confusing dining schedule based on floor and location. Many decided not to go to the dining room at their designated times and to remain on an in-room meal regimen.

I suppose some would look at the way the state wanting to be cautiously optimistic in the way they treat us as a good thing. However, I look at it as ignorance and a complete lack of compassion and sensitivity to the needs and wants of the seniors they have kept locked down for the past 427 days. And the saddest part of this is, as time goes by and more and more of the state and the nation comes back from this nightmare, we, the citizens residing in assisted living facilities will remain as deprived of our rights as ever. And nobody will give a damn………………………….


 



Hey Senior Living Pros:
Boomers Don’t Want Your Old, Tired Communities

By Sara Zeff Geber


The Senior living industry needs to wake up and understand that Baby Boomers just don’t want what their parents and grandparents were offered. No matter how fancy the furniture, how many lakes and golf courses they install on the property, and how large the gym and swimming pool are, baby boomers want an entirely different experience.

Right now, the large senior living companies (Brookdale, Holiday, Sunrise, Atria, and many others) are at a turning point.  Statistics reveal some of the lowest occupancy rates in 50 years. Senior living developers and operators are trying to figure out how to best survive and recover from the pandemic. This could be the incentive they need to pay attention to what’s working, listen to their future residents, and act boldly.


Recently, the media publishing website, Senior Living Foresight, sponsored a conference on ‘life enrichment’ for seniors. The focus was on innovative ways to provide enticing activities for residents of traditional senior living communities. There were sessions on strength training, spa experiences, spiritual connections, and enhanced physical activities. These are good first steps in fulfilling the desire boomers have for a healthy and meaningful life as older adults, but the industry has to go further in is efforts to meet the needs and desires of the baby boom generation.








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    MAY 14, 2021

Assisted living facilities may already be on
their way to reaching herd immunity

By Conor Wight

Herd immunity has long been the goal to beating COVID-19 and while many experts say we may not get there nationally, herd immunity could play out in smaller communities.

New York State Department of Health numbers show that nearly 9 out of every 10 nursing home residents are fully vaccinated and 60% of staff are vaccinated throughout the region.

The rate of vaccination inside assisted living facilities could mean a return to normalcy is in sight, leaving residents both grateful and hopeful.


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Grieving Survivors, Protect Yourself From Fraud

After losing a loved one, the last thing you want to deal with is scammers trying to take advantage of you. The Federal Trade Commission warns of people contacting grieving families to register them for funeral assistance. If someone calls you claiming to be from FEMA, hang up and report it. Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

Remember that:

    FEMA will not contact you until you have reached out to them or have applied for the assistance program.
    The government won’t ask you to pay anything to access financial help.
    You should not give your or your loved one’s personal information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.


________________________________________________________________


Big reconsideration under way for
long-term care as coronavirus toll eases


Residents and their loved ones may have reached a major turning point with nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, agonizing as to whether the institutions really can provide safe, hygienic, and welcoming places for the vulnerable — or whether other, tough options must be considered.

Who can forget that that 132,000 elderly, injured, and seriously ill residents died of the coronavirus during the many months of the pandemic, and almost 1.4 million infections were recorded in 38,000 long-term care facilities? The institutions — even as the pandemic’s terrible toll keeps rising — still account for a third of all U.S. deaths due to the disease.

The facilities’ covid-related deaths have plummeted by 91% since December, especially as public health officials campaigned to get residents and staff vaccinated, the New York Times reported (see chart above, based on federal data). But public confidence in long-term care facilities also has plunged, as reflected in admissions and occupancy:


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The Hidden Danger of
Self-neglect in Older Adults


For most of us, the phrase "elder abuse" conjures up images of a gray-haired woman cowering under the control of an ungrateful nephew who's skimming her Social Security checks or screaming and yelling at her, or unscrupulous scammers getting access to debit cards via telephone hoaxes.


One of the most significant threats to aging Americans, however, comes from within.

Elder self-neglect – a type of abuse that an older adult inflicts upon him or herself by being unwilling or unable to do needed self-care – is associated with increased rates of illness, hospitalizations and premature death, according to Farida Kassim Ejaz, a senior research scientist at Cleveland-based Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

It's also frighteningly common.






On Thursday’s Post


Anti-Maskers Ready to Start Masking—
to Protect Themselves From the Vaccinated

By Mack Lamoureux


A conspiracy ripping through the anti-vax world may finally drive some anti-maskers to do the unthinkable: wear a mask and keep their distance.

The conspiracy—which comes in several shapes and sizes—more or less says the vaccinated will “shed” certain proteins onto the unvaccinated who will then suffer adverse effects. The main worry is the “shedding” will cause irregular menstruation, infertility, and miscarriages. The entirely baseless idea is a key cog in a larger conspiracy that COVID-19 was a ploy to depopulate the world, and the vaccine is what will cull the masses.

Experts say the conspiracy is born from a fundamental misunderstanding of how vaccines work. It has been widely debunked and you can read about it here, here, and here, among other places.  
Anti-vax influencers are instructing their fellow anti-vaxxers as well as anti-maskers (at this point the two communities overlap to a huge degree) that one of the best ways to defend themselves from this blight is to co-opt…social distancing, the very strategy they have long decried.




TGIF, I really mean it. I need the weekend to catch up on some sleep. With so much happening in the world it’s difficult to keep up. Sometimes it’s best to step back and look at the news a different way, concise and in one place. That’s why we bring to you….





The World:

Escalation in Israel

The death toll from clashes between the Israeli military and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip rose to at least 72 yesterday, including 65 Palestinians and seven Israelis, according to reports. Hamas, an Islamic militant and political group that controls the region, has reportedly fired more than 1,000 rockets into Israel in the past three days, while Israeli officials say airstrikes have hit more than 500 targets.


Of the dead, 17 children have been killed (16 Palestinians, one Israeli), with officials saying 25 Hamas militants have been killed in strikes.  The violence is the worst since 2014, when a seven-week war left almost 2,400 people dead, mostly Palestinian civilians. The conflict appears likely to escalate—reports suggest Israeli military officials are considering the option of a ground invasion of Gaza. Meanwhile, clashes between Arab and Jewish nationals have broken out in the streets of many Israeli cities.


* * * * *

Pressure rises for India lockdown;
 surge breaks record again


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced growing pressure Friday to impose a strict nationwide lockdown, despite the economic pain it will exact, as a startling surge in coronavirus cases that has pummeled the country’s health system shows no signs of abating.

Many medical experts, opposition leaders and even Supreme Court judges are calling for national restrictions, arguing that a patchwork of state rules is insufficient to quell the rise in infections.

Indian television stations broadcast images of patients lying on stretchers outside hospitals waiting to be admitted, with hospital beds and critical oxygen in short supply. People infected with COVID-19 in villages are being treated in makeshift outdoor clinics, with IV drips hanging from trees.



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The Nation:

Fully vaccinated?
You can ditch the mask, CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear masks or physically distance — whether indoors or outdoors in most circumstances.

"We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy," the CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said during a media briefing Thursday afternoon.


"Based on the continuing downward trajectory of cases, the scientific data on the performance of our vaccines and our understanding of how the virus spreads," Walensky said, "that moment has come for those who are fully vaccinated."


* * * * *

Pipeline hack fuels gas crunch;
US suspects Russian origins


Motorists found gas pumps shrouded in plastic bags at tapped-out service stations across more than a dozen U.S. states Thursday while the operator of the nation’s largest gasoline pipeline reported making “substantial progress” in resolving the computer hack-induced shutdown responsible for the empty tanks.


Nearly 70% of North Carolina’s gas stations were still without fuel amid panic-buying. More than half the stations in Virginia were tapped out, as were about half the stations in South Carolina and Georgia, GasBuddy.com reported. Washington, D.C., was among the hardest-hit locations, with 73% of stations out, the site’s tracking service showed.

President Joe Biden said Thursday that U.S. officials do not believe the Russian government was involved in the hack of the Colonial Pipeline, which stretches from Texas to New Jersey. But he added, “We do have strong reason to believe that the criminals who did the attack are living in Russia. That’s where it came from.”



* * * * * * *

GOP votes to dump Cheney
from leadership

In an extraordinary bow to former President Donald Trump says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal MORE, House Republicans voted Wednesday to purge GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney from her leadership post, punishing the conservative Wyoming Republican for daring to refute Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen.


The decision was made by voice vote, meaning there will be no tally of the lawmakers who voted to dump Cheney, or of those who wanted her to stay on. Sources inside the closed-door vote said it was an overwhelming vote against Cheney. Some guessed the
split was three to one.




* * * * * * *

Taming the virus:
US deaths hit lowest level in 10 months

COVID-19 deaths in the United States have tumbled to an average of around 600 per day — the lowest level in 10 months — with the number of lives lost dropping to single digits in well over half the states and, on some days, hitting zero.

Confirmed infections have fallen to about 38,000 per day on average, their lowest mark since mid-September. While that is still cause for concern, reported cases have plummeted 85% from a daily peak of more than a quarter-million in early January.

The last time U.S. deaths from the pandemic were this low was in early July of last year. The number of people with COVID-19 who died topped out in mid-January at an average of more than 3,400 a day, just a month into the biggest vaccination drive in the nation’s history.


* * * * * * *

Ohio's million-dollar idea:
Lottery prizes for vaccinations


Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled a lottery system Wednesday to entice people to get COVID-19 shots, offering a weekly $1 million prize and full-ride college scholarships in a creative bid to overcome the vaccine hesitancy that remains a stubborn problem across the nation.

The move comes as governors, health officials and community leaders are coming up with creative incentives to get more shots in arms, including insider access to NFL locker rooms and an Indianapolis 500 garage, cash incentives, various other promotions.

With three weeks to go before most state restrictions lift, DeWine rolled out the big-ticket incentives during a prime-time address. Beginning May 26, adults who have received at least one vaccine dose may enter a lottery that will provide a $1 million prize each Wednesday for five weeks. In random drawings, the state will also provide five full four-year scholarships to an Ohio public university — including tuition, room-and-board, and books — to vaccinated Ohioans under 18.


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Entertainment:

Ellen DeGeneres is signing off.

Daytime’s most recognizable face has decided her upcoming season, the show’s 19th, will be the last. The decision, which fell to DeGeneres, is said to have been several years in the making. She informed her staff May 11 and will sit down with longtime pal and daytime predecessor Oprah Winfrey to discuss the news on Ellen‘s May 13 show.


“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged — and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres tells The Hollywood Reporter, discussing the move publicly for the first time.

Timing her departure is something DeGeneres has openly wrestled with in the past. In a 2018 New York Times profile, she revealed that her actress wife, Portia de Rossi, had been encouraging her to move on from the 180-shows-a-year gig, while her comedian brother, along with executives at Warner Bros., had urged her to continue. In the end, DeGeneres signed on for three more seasons but was clear with herself and her team that this contract — which would take her well beyond 3,000 shows, and a stunning 2,400 celebrity interviews — would be her last.


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Passings:





Norman Lloyd, Star of ‘Saboteur’
and ‘St. Elsewhere,’ Dies at 106

Norman Lloyd, the actor, producer and director whose collaborations with Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Bertolt Brecht and Jean Renoir made him a legend — albeit an off-the-radar one — in Hollywood, died Tuesday morning. He was 106.

Lloyd died in his home in Los Angeles, his son, Michael, told The Hollywood Reporter.


* * * * *

Lloyd Price, ‘Personality’ and
'Stagger Lee' Singer, Dies at 88


Kenneth Gamble, one-half of the legendary songwriting/production team Gamble & Huff, tells Billboard that Price was “a great dude who helped me, Leon [Huff] and Thom Bell a lot in the early days” when the three played as a band at Loretta’s Hi-Hat club in New Jersey where Price sometimes performed.

“We had fun competing with Lloyd, who had a funky band," Gamble continues. "Not only was he a talented singer and performer, Lloyd was also a skillful songwriter: ‘Personality’ was a monster of a song as well as others like the slow drag ‘Just Because.’ Always positive and uplifting, Lloyd was a fearless and independent force ... an original.”


* * * * *

Tawny Kitaen, ’80s Music Video Vixen and
 ‘Bachelor Party’ Star, Dies at 59


Julie E. “Tawny” Kitaen, who famously appeared in several music videos for the rock group Whitesnake in the ‘80s, has died. The Orange County, Calif. coroner’s office, which listed her as Tawny Finley, stated that she died at her home in Newport Beach on Friday morning, but a cause of death has not been revealed. She was 59.



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That’s it for this week. Back Monday (G-d willing and the crick don’t rise)……………….




What Caused the Roaring Twenties?
Not the End of a Pandemic (Probably)

By Lila Thulin

On the afternoon of November 8, 1918, a celebratory conga line wound through a three-mile-long throng on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. From high-rise windows, office workers flung makeshift confetti, first ticker tape and then, when they ran out, torn-up paper. They weren’t rejoicing over the close of the influenza pandemic, although the city’s death rate had begun to fall. That afternoon, New Yorkers let loose for another reason: the end of the Great War.

The jubilance proved short-lived. A report from the United Press had prematurely declared an armistice in Europe; in reality, it would be a few days more before the war officially ended. “For the moment,” reported the New York Times, “the whole population of New York was absolutely unrestrained, giving way to its emotions without any consideration of anything but the desire to express what it felt.”

In that same edition of the Times that detailed the celebration and described fake caskets for Kaiser Wilhelm being hoisted through the streets, a smaller headline documented 1061 new cases and 189 deaths from the influenza epidemic, still afflicting Americans coast to coast. “About twenty persons applied to the Health Department yesterday personally or by letter to adopt children whose parents have died during the epidemic,” the paper read.







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    MAY 13, 2021


Senior living preferred over nursing homes for
long-term care needs, but home still rules


When it comes to choosing a congregate setting for long-term care needs, 10% of adults in a recent study said they would prefer a senior living community, compared with 2% wanting to age in a nursing home. The balance, however, said they would prefer to age in their homes.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research study — “Long-Term Care in America: Americans Want to Age at Home” — funded by The SCAN Foundation, found that despite the effect of COVID-19 on older adults, few adults are prepared for their own aging and potential care needs. Overall, 88% of poll participants said they favor receiving ongoing living assistance in their own home, but only 16% reported being confident that they will have the financial resources to pay for care.

The study also found bipartisan support (70%) for the ability to obtain long-term care coverage through a Medicare Advantage or supplemental insurance plan.


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'Extra Life' Series Traces Our Astonishing Gains
in Life Expectancy



The new PBS four-parter examines scientific and medical innovations that have conquered some of the deadliest diseases

At one point in the docu-series "Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer," author and host Steven Johnson strolls down the streets of Philadelphia. But — unlike almost every other medical history review — Johnson doesn't talk about Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital, founded by Benjamin Franklin. Instead, his focus is on W.E.B. Du Bois, the famous Black sociologist, founder of the N.A.A.C.P. and its magazine "The Crisis," and one of the first to illuminate the health care disparities between Black and white Americans.

"Extra Life," a four-part series that premieres on Tuesday, May 11 on PBS, is full of these unexpected and appreciated detours into the world of medical history that illuminate the field's unsung heroes.


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Opinion | It Is Imperative We Fix the
Gaping Holes in Medicare

By Bernie Sanders, Pramila Jayapal


More than 55 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare—one of the most popular and successful government programs in our nation’s history—into law. Before the enactment of Medicare, about half of our senior citizens were uninsured and roughly 35 percent lived in poverty. Today, everyone in America aged 65 or older is guaranteed health-care benefits through Medicare regardless of income or medical condition, while the official poverty rate for seniors is now less than 9 percent.

That is the good news. The bad news is that, since its inception in 1965, Medicare has not covered such basic health-care needs as hearing, dental care and vision. The result: Millions of senior citizens have teeth rotting in their mouths, are unable to hear what their children and grandchildren say or can’t read a newspaper because of failing eyesight. It is a cruel irony that older Americans do not have coverage for these benefits at the time when they need it the most.

In the richest country in the world, the outrageous reality is that 75 percent of senior citizens who suffer from hearing loss do not have a hearing aid because of the prohibitive cost.







3-4 minutes

I’m going to make this simple, straightforward and plain enough that even a MAGA/QANON/TRUMP SUPPORTING/ANTI-SCIENCE BOOB can understand me. Get the f***ing vaccine already. I mean really, what’s wrong with you people? Millions of people around the world have received their shots with statistically low contraindications*. The numbers speak for themselves. Wherever people have been vaccinated the infection, hospitalization, death rate drops dramatically. Government leaders, some in your own party, have been vaccinated and encourage you to get it too. How much more proof do you need?
 
Nurse Sandra Lindsay was the first person to be vaccinated in the U.S. That was 5 months ago. She is still alive and well, as are millions who came after her. So, what’s the holdup?
 
Let’s face it. There are people who are just ornery, hard-nosed and obstinate. And they have been that way since they were young. They were the kids who held their breath until they got their way. The dissenters who revel in their obstinance. But those people don’t scare me. Some, after receiving enough information and enough time, will change their minds. It’s the others that bother me. The people that believe this is all a conspiracy promulgated by “Forces of Evil’’, meaning Democrats, Liberals, Jews, Socialists or Martians. And when shown proof that the vaccine is safe and effective, they refer you to some story they read or saw on one of those right-wing media outlets like Newsmax or the Epoch Times. Those folks will never be swayed. And there is enough of them to hinder the effort for this nation to return to normal.

I love the term “Herd Immunity.” It makes me feel so ‘beefy’ as though I should graze on the lawn here at the A.L.F. instead of sitting on it. And this pandemic has shown us just how much we are affected by those around us. It’s other people who are carriers and broadcasters of this virus. Not plants, not the dirty subway or your cat. That cute blond waiting in line at the supermarket is more of a health hazard than if you licked the stall door in the men’s room in Penn Station. The only way we can even hope to see anything that looks like normal is to have at least 80% of our population vaccinated. Unfortunately, it does not appear that will happen. The best we can hope for, according to real scientists, is that we will have to be vaccinated (like the flu) every year for the rest of our lives. Thanks anti-vaxxers, Welcome to the herd……………………


*Contraindication. Another way of saying “bad reaction.” See, I told you I’d make it simple.







Simple Chair Exercises You Can Do
at Home or at Work


If you find yourself spending much of your day in a sitting position—whether it’s because you are working from home, have limited mobility, or are fighting an illness or injury—exercise might not be the first thing you think about every morning. However, regular movement is critical to your health and mental well-being. Simple chair exercises can improve your range of movement, increase your strength, and even boost your mood.

When you spend a large portion of your day in a chair, you’re more likely to gain weight, weaken your bones and muscles, and raise your blood pressure while decreasing your strength, endurance, and flexibility. A sedentary lifestyle leads to poor circulation, but just a bit of movement can revive it.

Discover how you can exercise safely and securely, and regain your sense of YOU with simple chair exercises, stretches, and tips.



Disclaimer: To avoid injury, please consult your doctor before trying any new exercise (even simple chair exercises), as every condition and body comes with its own unique needs. TheSeniorLog.com
and its editor does not endorse any of the products mentioned in this article. Nor do we received any compensation for posting it.







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    MAY 12, 2021


Feeling younger buffers older adults from stress,
protects against health decline



People who feel younger have a greater sense of well-being, better cognitive functioning, less inflammation, lower risk of hospitalization and even live longer than their older-feeling peers. A study published by the American Psychological Association suggests one potential reason for the link between subjective age and health: Feeling younger could help buffer middle-aged and older adults against the damaging effects of stress.

In the study, published in Psychology and Aging, researchers from the German Centre of Gerontology analyzed three years of data from 5,039 participants in the German Ageing Survey, a longitudinal survey of residents of Germany age 40 and older. The survey included questions about the amount of perceived stress in peoples' lives and their functional health - how much they were limited in daily activities such as walking, dressing and bathing. Participants also indicated their subjective age by answering the question, "How old do you feel?"

The researchers found, on average, participants who reported more stress in their lives experienced a steeper decline in functional health over three years, and that link between stress and functional health decline was stronger for chronologically older participants.


________________________________________________________

A Third Of Seniors Seek To Work Well Past Retirement Age,
Or Won’t Retire At All, Poll Finds

By Palash Ghosh


More Americans plan to work past the age of 70 – or never retire at all – according to a survey released Thursday by reverse mortgage lender American Advisors Group, suggesting the pandemic prompted many aging Americans to rethink their retirement strategies in order to maintain their living standards.


Almost half (46%) of the more than 1,500 Americans aged 60 to 75 surveyed by AAG said they plan to work part-time after they retire from full-time work.


_______________________________________________________


VR could help improve
balance in older people



Researchers at the University of Bath are investigating whether virtual reality (VR) can help improve balance. They believe the technology could be a valuable tool in preventing falls, particularly in older adults.

As people grow older, losing balance and falling becomes more commonplace. This, in turn, increases the risk of injury and affects the person’s independence. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in over 65-year-olds and account for over four million bed days per year in England alone, at an estimated cost of £2bn.

Over the years, experts have observed that humans use three ways of keeping their balance: vision, proprioceptive (physical feedback from muscles and joints), and vestibular system (feedback from semi-circular canals in the ear). Of these, vision is the most important.





8 minutes


Editor’s note: For those of our readers who have no interest in baseball (especially those of you from across the pond), I apologize for today’s blog. I just needed a break from all of the crap we have had to deal with this year and go back, even briefly, to a time when all that mattered to me and my friends was who were the Dodgers playing tonight and did Jackie Robinson steal home again…….bwc


You know what’s wrong with baseball today? You can’t watch your favorite team play on free TV anymore. Yes, I know there are games every now and again on your local channel. But nothing like it was back when I was a kid growing up in the greatest baseball town in America, Brooklyn, New York.
 
You have to understand something about Brooklyn back then. Although it was a borough of New York City, for all practical purposes it was a separate city, a hometown, with its own mayor (borough president) and its own major league baseball team. Manhattan had the Giants, The Bronx had the Yankees, and Brooklyn had the Dodgers. And to be a kid in Brooklyn, the Dodgers were everything. And everywhere. Baseball on TV was as popular as any other show that popped up the relatively new medium. And along with Uncle Miltie, The Philco TV Playhouse, and Howdy Doody, the Dodgers was all there was to watch. And we could see all the games. Not just the home games, or weekend games, but every single game of the season right there on Channel 9. Day games, night games, away games, it didn’t matter. And it didn’t matter if the Dodgers were in first place or dead last, we watched. Not because we hoped for a miracle (which happened once in a while) but because we loved the game and, most important, the players.

Back then, the players were not the overpaid celebrities they are now. Many of the players were paid about what a good used car salesman would make. Many of them had other jobs in the off-season. They were little more than chattel, property owned by the club they played for. They could be traded or sold on the spur of the moment or the whim of the team’s owner. And losing a well-liked player was like losing a member of the community. Baseball players usually lived where they played. And Brooklyn was no exception. Pee Wee, Campy or the Duke could be your next-door neighbor. And, like you, they took the subway to the office. And in Brooklyn that “office” was Ebbet’s Field.

Ebbet’s field was as much a part of my neighborhood as Prospect park, Waldbaums Supermarket or Vito’s barber shop on Bedford Avenue. It was so close to where I lived I could walk there. And I did. Not necessarily to see a game, but just to be near the place where our heros were. For us it was the Roman Coliseum, The Stadium at Olympia or the Ballcourt of Chichen Itza all rolled into one. And it was as quirky as the team that played there and the fans that watched them.
 
The best thing you could say about Ebbet’s field is that it was intimate. Unlike the other two New York sports venues, Yankee Stadium and the cavernous Polo Grounds, fans sitting in the seats at Ebbets were up-close and personal with the players on the field. In some places, just a few feet away. Certainly close enough so that the player could hear every comment made by the people sitting in the stands. And if you were a member of the opposing teams, you got an ear full. Dodger fans were some of the most vocal in the country, and the most vulgar. Pity the poor right-fielder who had to listen to a barrage of insults and catcalls for 9 innings.

Living in that proximity to the ‘park’ meant I got to see a lot of Dodger games. Most of them with my dad and my older brother. We usually sat in the center field grandstand surrounded by die-hard Dodger fans who came to have a good time. Beer, then still sold in bottles, was passed from the vendor down the row of fans until it reached the intended user, as was the change from the purchase. And never was as much as a cent went missing. The same for hot dogs, peanuts, and Cracker Jack’s. Back then there was no pizza, tacos, or nachos. Most folks brought their own food and had a picnic right there in the stands. And I took it all in. The people, the beautiful green grass of the field. The colorful pennants and uniforms. The smell of beer and the aroma of hot dogs and mustard.
 
Baseball was resplendent in pageantry. From the national anthem played by Gladys Gooding on the organ to the 7th inning stretch, not to mention the “Dodger Sym-fony” (a haphazard group of musician/fans) who serenaded home team and visiting players alike. From playing “Three blind mice” when the umpires took the field to “It’s been good to know ya’” when a pitcher was sent to the showers, the sym-fony played the soundtrack.

Today, baseball is not just a business. It’s a big business. From selling the broadcasting rights to a game to hawking logo-emblazoned merchandise at the ballpark, baseball has become more than just a game. The players have become entertainers and are paid like them. And, while there is still drama on the field, more often than not the real show is played out, not in the sports pages but the gossip column. It’s a lesson I learned early on when, in 1957, my beloved team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. I was angry and heartbroken. How could they do that? Didn’t they understand it was BROOKLYN they were toying with? No, baseball ain’t what it used to be. But then again, is anything?………………………..







New report offers advice for
baby boomers aging in place

By Mark Huffman

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may accelerate the trend of seniors staying in their homes as they age instead of moving to assisted living or long-term care facilities.

Americans are increasingly making modifications to their homes because they are spending so much time there during the pandemic, and this may be a boon to seniors who want to stay in their homes as they get older. Modernize.com, which provides home renovation and other home services, has published a new report highlighting the best ways baby boomers can do just that by “aging in place.”
Small improvements

A survey completed in January, quizzing more than 3,200 homeowners, showed that 57 percent believed COVID-19 had affected their timeline for making improvements that would facilitate their remaining in their homes as they age. In the next 12 months, 63 percent of homeowners said they will explore accessibility projects for their homes.









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    MAY 11, 2021

Do I Need to File a Tax Return?
Internal Revenue Service


This interview will help you determine if you're required to file a federal tax return or if you should file to receive a refund.

Note: In 2020, the IRS issued two Economic Impact Payments as part of the economic stimulus efforts. The first payments were up to $1,200 person and $500 per qualifying child. The second payments were up to $600 per eligible person and $600 per qualifying child. For 2021, eligible taxpayers who did not receive the full amount, can claim it as the Recovery Rebate Credit when filing a 2020 tax return.

Information You'll Need...


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Pandemic Pets and Pet Companionship:
Seven Benefits/Considerations for Care
Coordination and Estate Planning

When my kids started to feel isolated and bored spending so much time at home due to the pandemic, we volunteered to be foster parents for a sweet four-week old kitty, Marigold. She was a fuzzball so tiny that I could hold her in one hand, and she was a little sick and not eating very well. She needed lots of love and attention! It wasn’t long before she was feeling well and had the whole family wrapped around her tiny paw. We learned that foster programs are more like pet adoption schemes, and Marigold became a permanent member of the Miller family. She was our first “pandemic pet.” Next came Patrick, the Vizsla puppy who recently joined our clan.

It turns out my family wasn’t the only one acquiring new furry members. One of the many unanticipated effects of the pandemic was a surge in interest in fostering and adopting pets. Stay-at-home orders decreased opportunities for social interaction, and people started looking for new companions. The forced time at home created a perfect environment for adding a pet — people could invest more time and money on pets. According to data from PetPoint, animal welfare organizations across the country saw a spike in adoptions starting in March 2020, and many shelters had a hard time keeping up with demand. Cats and dogs were being adopted at unforeseen rates, resulting in a shortage of so-called “pandemic puppies.” The pet care industry also benefited from the surge in demand for pet care products and veterinary services.


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Older people are giving up hope of paying off
their student loans before they die:
'There's a real fear in dying in this'
By Ayelet Sheffey


Over 8 million borrowers over age 50 hold 22% of the federal student-debt load, or $336.1 billion.
 Insider spoke with borrowers with debt burdens they fear won't be paid in their lifetimes.
One borrower started with $79,000 in debt, paid $175,000, but still has a balance of over $200,000.
    

At 59 years old, David Wise has $236,485 of outstanding student loans, according to documents reviewed by Insider. That's after making about $175,000 in payments over four decades.

He said that when he graduated from law school with the goal of becoming a public-interest lawyer, his debt load stood at about $79,000, and he had initially taken out just $7,500 in loans when he entered undergraduate school in 1981.


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5-6 minutes
 
I expected little this past Saturday, and that’s exactly what I got. Under new DOH guidelines, residents were permitted back into our dining room and allowed to eat three meals with other people no less. This was the first time since March 2020 that they permitted us to eat anywhere than in our rooms. And, although it was nice to once again eat off of real china and with metal utensils, having to do it while sitting alone, at tables kept socially distant apart was not what I had in mind as anything even approaching normalcy.
 
They divided our facility into 7 groups. Each group having its own day to use the dining area. In a room that normally would seat 150 individuals, only about 30 were permitted in. This made the usually noisy and lively room seem oddly morbid and sullen.


All 7 groups will have had their turn by the end of today, Tuesday. What the plan is for the rest of the week is anybody’s guess. But if it’s more of the same, I say, why bother? All they are doing is exhibiting their incompetence to come up with a real and meaningful plan to return us to normalcy. Seriously, what are they waiting for?
 
The CDC says it’s okay to return to full activities and visitations as long as all are vaccinated, which we are. The state of New York is opening up all around us. Restaurants, sports venues and theaters are or will return to full capacity. The subways, perhaps the most uncontrolled area in the city, returns to 24 hour service. And nobody will check to see if you have been vaccinated. Only we, the dopey little lemmings that we are, sit here in silence while we allow the government to take away our freedom. Where is the outrage?

As difficult as it is for me to understand the State’s position for keeping us virtual prisoners, it is more difficult to understand why the residents of this facility have not been more vocal.
 
I expected there to be some silence and acceptance. Especially at the beginning, over a year ago. Old people, as a group, take a wait-and-see approach to difficult situations. Therefore, when 6 months went by and then eight passed with no plan in sight, I thought it odd, but not unanticipated that there was no sign of anger from the residents. I knew it would take something akin to physical harm to get anyone here irate enough to express their feelings. But I never expected this abject complacency. Don’t they realize they have chosen us to be targets of discrimination? No other group, not Asians, not Blacks nor Muslims or Jews, would accept being treated as we have.

Under normal circumstance we would have expressed our grievances at one of our monthly resident’s meetings. But, because of the restrictions imposed upon us by the very agency that requires us to hold those meeting, we cannot. So now, not only have our freedoms been taken from us, but our right to complain about it as well. Doesn’t anybody see the absurdity of all this?
 
The people that I have been able to speak to about this are as angry and 
perplexed as I am. And yet they have no desire to actively try to do anything about. Not a protest, sit-in, or my favorite, a hunger strike has ever been spoken about. Could it be that the state’s plan to break our spirit is working? Bringing us to a position of such despair to make any concession given to us seem like manna from heaven.
 
We may never know the thinking of the DOH or why they have done what they have done to us. But what I am hoping to understand, when this is finally over for good, is why nobody got pissed off enough to do anything about it.
 
I’ll have more to say on this matter as we continue, head first, into the unknown……………………..

 
 
 





5 Skin Spots, Dots and Blotches
That Shouldn’t Worry You
By Patricia Corrigan


Finding new growths can be scary, but many are harmless and just a sign of normal aging.

When a 52-year-old friend noticed some "weird spots" developing on her body, she asked me, "What is this?" I replied, "This is the beginning!"  


Scaly, bumpy spots. Bright red dots. Discolored blotches. These and other growths are common on aging skin and, in most cases, they are not cause for concern. But like my younger friend, you may not know anything about them. What exactly are they?

Seborrheic keratoses: Waxy, scaly growths that are brown, black or tan. Many people in the U.S. call them "skin barnacles." In France, they are known as "fleurs de cimetière," which translates as "cemetery flowers." (Grim!) The cause of seborrheic keratoses is unknown, but most people develop them in middle age or later.





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    MAY 10, 2021


Older Adults Report Stronger
Mental Health In New Poll

By Christina Ianzito

 In many ways COVID-19 has been particularly hard on older adults, who are more vulnerable to complications from the virus. But when it comes to their mental health, the older they are, the better they’ve felt, according to recent surveys.

One is a newly released University of Michigan poll, in which 2 in 3 adults ages 50-80 (65 percent) rated their mental health as excellent or very good, 27 percent as good, and 8 percent as fair or poor.

Only 18 percent of the approximately 2,000 older adults surveyed in the January online poll, supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center, said their overall mental health had gotten worse since the pandemic began.

More than 80 percent said their mental health is as good as, or better than, it was 20 years ago.


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Why 'gray divorces' like Bill and Melinda Gates'
are becoming so common

By Susan L. Brown

After 27 years of marriage, Bill and Melinda Gates are calling it quits. Their high-profile split is emblematic of divorce trends in the United States as a whole. Increasingly, married couples who break up are in the second half of life. Divorce among middle-aged and older adults is so popular now that researchers like me have a term for it: gray divorce.

In the past, many couples would remain in these “empty shell” marriages largely because separations were stigmatized, or couples didn’t believe in divorce.

This phenomenon, which refers to divorce among people 50 and older, doubled between 1990 and 2010, with the rate rising from .5 percent to 1 percent per year, and has since plateaued at this new high. And a generation ago, less than 10 percent of divorces involved a spouse over age 50. Nowadays, though, more than 1 in 4 people getting divorced in the U.S are over age 50.


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Aging deteriorates the nervous system;
this is how to fight the consequences

By Omid Omidvar, M.D.


As you age, your body naturally changes. You may start to see more gray hairs and wrinkles that weren’t there 10 years ago. There are also changes that aren’t visible that happen within your nervous system.
Omid Omidvar, M.D., neurologist. (Courtesy of MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center)

Your brain is your body’s “command center.” The rest of the nervous system relays messages back and forth from the brain to different parts of the body. It does this through the spinal cord, which contains nerves that branch out to every organ and body part.

As you age, you lose cells in your brain and spinal cord. This breakdown results in nerve cells sending out messages a lot slower than before, affecting your senses and inhibiting your movements. As nerve cells break down, toxins build up in the brain tissue, causing them to malfunction, which can lead to neurological issues. Common age-related neurological issues include:


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How seniors can thrive in a cashless world
By Morey Stettner


Imagine a world without paper money or coins. Retail stores do not accept cash. Banks do not accept cash deposits.

That far-off world actually exists—or almost exists—today, at least in Sweden and a few other countries that are going cashless. Citizens in these places use debit cards, mobile payment systems and other digital tools to buy stuff.

Young adults who grew up online may view banknotes as a throwback to another era — like print newspapers and leather-bound encyclopedias. Heck, they may welcome the opportunity to implant a chip in their hand rather than futz with an actual wallet to retrieve an actual driver’s license.









6-7 minutes


The news that U.S. employers added only 266,000 jobs last month and not the one million or so that forecasters expected came as rather a shock. How could that be when all we hear is how much some industries are begging people to come to work and get paid a decent salary?

Here, in New York City, restaurants recently given permission to increase the number of customers permitted to dine indoors and expand their hours past 11pm, can’t find enough people to cook, serve, or do dishes. And the story is repeated all over the nation in other COVID restricted industries. Where are all the out-of-work people unable to make ends meet?

Many experts believe that workers, formerly employed by those now frantic employers, have either found other jobs, moved to another area or are making too much money on unemployment. This begs the question, “Where are all of you senior citizens who complained about not being hired because of your age?” Could it be that you are so content in your retirement that the thought of having to “punch a clock” makes you shudder?

To be fair, many older people, because of various health or mobility issues, no longer have the stamina needed to hold down a regular job. But there are many people over 65 who can, and at one time, wanted to find work to supplement their Social Security or pensions. Or just to keep busy. When I was 62 and laid off a job I had held for 13 years, I spent months pounding the pavement in search of employment. I would have taken almost any job that would help pay the rent and buy food. I never could find one and thus forced to sign up for Social Security and begin a life as an old man. Therefore, when I saw the stories on the news about how restaurateurs are spending thousands of dollars trying to recruit help, I asked myself, “Would I have taken a job (providing I was well enough and needy enough) in a restaurant?’’ or a warehouse or big box store? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” [1]

Having a job is a two-sided proposition. On one hand, you need it to survive, while on the other, you would rather do something else. While you are doing it, you give it “your all” while counting the hours to Friday afternoon and the start of the weekend when the job is the furthest thing from your mind. But working when you are supposed to be retired takes on an entirely new meaning.

Primary in this is knowing you will not be making the job a career. You had a career which you gave your life to and where did it get you? Waking up one morning and realizing you have become redundant?

The work you did and the people who depended on you now could not care less. “Remember that guy who used to work here? What was his mane? Brian, Bob, Bruce something? Do we have any donuts left?” This takes much of the pressure off of your shoulders. Knowing they can replace you means the only person you have to worry about is you. There is no more need to give it 110% because no one will care. Most likely you will work at minimum wage and they will not expect you to do anything more than what they tell you to do. Which is fine. You know your place and so does your employer. It’s a no-brainer. And, at the end of the week, someone hands you some money for what amounts to, just showing up.

In my waning years at work I would have loved just to be handed a pile of work to complete mindlessly without the burden of having to decide or take any actions that could have cost my company thousands of dollars not to mention the prospects of losing a million-dollar client. In at nine, out by five, and don’t take the work home with you.
 
I’m 75 plus now, and the thought of working turns me off. I admit I have become used to be taken care of. I literally have zero pressure in my life. Nobody depends on me for anything. The information I share with you on this blog, while interesting and useful, could disappear tomorrow and no one’s life would be impacted one iota. I make no money at doing it, so it’s not like being employed. And when I stop doing it, it will have been of my accord. Being retired allows one flexibility if only in the mind and not the body. But whatever you decide to do, embrace it. Be passionate about it. Passion, like currency, becomes more valuable over time…………………………...
 
[1] Fast food restaurants excluded.
 






Funeral Funds for Loved Ones Lost to COVID-19
Receive Up to $35,500 From FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Program


Sadly, hundreds of thousands of people have died of COVID-19, leaving behind bereaved friends and relatives. In addition to coping with a loved one’s death, you and your family may find yourselves worrying about covering their funeral expenses. Financial help is now available to families that need help paying the funeral costs of a relative who died as a result of COVID-19.



You can receive up to $35,500 through FEMA to cover a variety of funeral-related expenses. Before speaking to a FEMA representative over the phone to get your application started, learn more about the program’s eligibility requirements, and find out what documentation you may need to provide. You can also get additional resources, including a helpful video, to see how the program works.


 







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    MAY 7, 2021


Deal With Your Stuff

How to prevent your belongings from one day becoming a burden to others.

I recently played a small role in cleaning out my grandmother’s home after she died.

By “home,” I mean the culmination of 130 years — three generations of my family living on the same corner lot in a St. Paul, Minn. suburb.


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Supplements can
help senior citizens stay active, healthy

By Stella Wieser swiese

Ruth Overstreet opened Ruth’s Health Foods in 1999, and in 2021 she’s selling all kinds of supplements that can help people of all ages — she notes many are of particular interest to senior citizens.

The first thing Overstreet mentioned is the benefit of a multivitamin.

“There’s a lot of controversy on whether you should take vitamins or not; doctors will tell you eat from the food groups, but hey, who does anymore? And sometimes you can’t, and as you get older you don’t eat liked you used to eat,” she said. “So, every other day, two or three times a week just kind of covers their basics.”


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The Art of Getting Updates
on a Hospitalized Patient


It can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to make the process go smoother

As a professor of fashion design at Pasadena City College in California, Sunny Cannon, 46, is an expert in her field. But when her husband, author Jeff Sweat, who turns 50 this year, was hospitalized with COVID-19 recently, she had to learn a whole new language — "medicalese" (specialized medical terminology) often delivered at lightning speed by an overworked doctor at the end of a long day.


Over the next several weeks, as her husband "graduated" from being in the ICU on a ventilator to a rehab program, Cannon perfected the fine art of getting crucial medical information about a family member.



It’s Friday. A good day to reflect upon what’s happening in our world. And we’re here to help you do just that as we look at…



NATIONAL:

Average US deaths have not surpassed 1,000 in three weeks
as average daily cases fall to 6-month low


Coronavirus cases and deaths are continuing to plummet across the United States as more and more people get vaccinated against the disease.

Several former epicenters on the West Coast, in the Midwest, and on the East Coast, are seeing deaths and hospitalizations on the decline and test positivity rates falling to record low numbers. 

Los Angeles County, which was at one point, reporting a COVID-19 dearth every eight is now seeing fewer than 300 new cases per day and fewer than 20 deaths.
New York City, the country's very first epicenter, cases had plateaued for at least two months, and have now fallen by more than percent to around 1,200 per day.



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Facebook’s Oversight Board upholds Trump ban - but for how long?

The Facebook Oversight Board voted against reinstating the account of former President Donald Trump Wednesday, upholding Facebook's decision to suspend him in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The board also instructed Facebook, however, to review the decision "to determine and justify a proportionate response and deliver a new decision within six months."

"It was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension," the decision reads. "Facebook's normal penalties include removing the violating content, imposing a time-bound period of suspension, or permanently disabling the page and account."


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Births fall to 42-year low in U.S., new CDC data shows

The number of births in the U.S. fell 4% in 2020, dropping to the lowest level since 1979 and continuing a multi-year trend of declining birth rates. That's according to a report published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

The agency reported 3,605,201 births in 2020, down from 3,747,540 during the year prior, based on provisional data from more than 99% of birth certificates issued during the year. 2020 marks the sixth consecutive year that the number of births in the U.S. has fallen, the agency reported. Meanwhile, provisional figures show the general fertility rate dropped to a record low in 2020, falling to 55.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, down 4% from the previous year.

Among teenagers, many of whom shifted to remote learning due to the pandemic, birth rates fell precipitously, according to data released by the CDC. The birth rate for young women between the ages of 15 and 19 fell to a record low in 2020, dropping to 15.3 births per 1,000, an 8% decline from the year before. That continues a significant downward trend over the past two decades — down 75% from 1991, the most recent peak. The birth rate among girls between the ages of 10 and 14 was 0.2 births per 1,000 in 2020, unchanged since 2015.

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114-year-old Omahan is now
oldest living American, but she doesn't care

114-year-old Omahan is now oldest living American, but she doesn't care
Omahan Thelma Sutcliffe doesn’t give a hoot about being America’s oldest living person, but she bristles at the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“She’s just looking forward to the day that I can finally eat with her in the dining room again,” said Luella “Lou” Mason, a longtime friend. “She tells me, ‘I know we have to go by the rules, but I don’t like it.’ “





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THE WORLD:

India's gov't eases hospital oxygen shortage as demand jumps

Under order by the Supreme Court, India’s government on Thursday agreed to provide more medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital city of New Delhi, potentially easing a 2-week-old shortage that worsened the country’s exploding coronavirus crisis.

Government officials also denied reports that they have been slow in distributing life-saving medical supplies donated from abroad.

The government raised the oxygen supply to 730 tons from 490 tons per day in New Delhi as ordered by the Supreme Court. The court intervened after 12 COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, died last week at New Delhi’s Batra Hospital when it ran out of medical oxygen for 80 minutes.


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Israel mourns deaths of 45 in stampede at religious festival

The holiday of Lag BaOmer is one of the happiest days on the calendar for Israel’s ultra-Orthodox community — a time of mass celebrations in honor of a revered sage. But in a split second Friday, the festive gathering in northern Israel turned into one of the country’s worst-ever tragedies, with at least 45 people crushed to death and dozens injured in a stampede.

The disaster prompted a national outpouring of grief as devastated families rushed to identify their dead relatives and bury them ahead of the Jewish Sabbath. There was also anger toward authorities over an accident that experts had long feared, further clouding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hopes of remaining in office.

Netanyahu, who briefly visited Mount Meron at midday, offered his condolences. “In these moments our people unite and that is what we are doing at this moment as well,” he said.


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Woman from Mali gives birth to 9 babies in Morocco

A Malian woman has given birth to nine babies at once — after expecting seven, according to Mali’s Minister of Health and the Moroccan clinic where the nonuplets were born.

It appeared to be the first time on record that a woman had given birth to nine surviving babies at once.

The five girls and four boys, and their mother, “are all doing well,” Mali’s health minister said in a statement.

The mother, 25-year-old Halima Cisse, gave birth to the babies by cesarean section on Tuesday in Morocco after being sent there for special care, Mali’s top health official announced.


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Americans convicted in death of Italian officer

A jury convicted two American friends Wednesday in the 2019 slaying of a police officer in a tragic unraveling of a small time drug deal gone bad, sentencing them to the maximum life in prison.

The jury of two judges and six civilians deliberated more than 12 hours before delivering the verdicts against Finnegan Lee Elder, 21, and Gabriel Natale-Hjorth, 20, handing them Italy's stiffest sentence.

Elder and Natale-Hjorth were found guilty of all charges: homicide, attempted extortion, assault, resisting a public official and carrying an attack-style knife without just cause. There was a gasp in the Rome courtroom as the presiding judge, Marina Finiti, read the verdict.



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PASSINGS:

Olympia Dukakis

Olympia Dukakis, a character actress best known for her Oscar-winning supporting turn in Norman Jewison’s “Moonstruck” and for her role as the wealthy widow in “Steel Magnolias,” has died. She was 89.

Dukakis’ brother, Apollo Dukakis, confirmed her death in a Facebook post, writing: “My beloved sister, Olympia Dukakis, passed away this morning in New York City. After many months of failing health she is finally at peace and with her Louis.”









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 Bobby Unser

Bobby Unser, a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and part of the only pair of brothers to win "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," has died. He was 87.

He died Sunday at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, of natural causes, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway said Monday. Unser won the Indy 500 in 1968, 1975 and 1981.

"He is part of the Mount Rushmore of Indy," said Dario Franchitti, another three-time Indy 500 winner.


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Jacques d’Amboise

Jacques d’Amboise has died at the age of 86. The great interpreter of George Balanchine ballets and passionate dance educator had been incapacitated after a stroke but was taken care of in his home in Manhatten, where he died on Sunday 2 May.

D’Amboise, together with his contemporaries Arthur Mitchell and Edward Villella, was a mainstay of the New York City Ballet where he was dancer and choreographer from 1949 until 1984. His energetic and virile performances helped to reshape the way male ballet dancers were seen in America.

His main training was at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, and he made his professional debut at 12 with the Ballet Society and at 15 he joined the New York City Ballet. He created major roles in Western Symphony (1954), Stars and Stripes (1958), Meditation (1964), and many more. He was the prince in Nutcracker and Swan Lake and danced the title role in Balanchine’s Apollo. In 1980, more than 30 years after joining the company, he was cast in a new Balanchine ballet.





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ENTERTAINMENT:

 100 Best Sitcoms of All Time

From family stories to band-of-misfits hangouts, classic rom-coms to workplace mockumentaries, cringe comedies to antihero showcases, and some shows that defy definition, these are the hundred series that have made us laugh, think, occasionally cry, and laugh all over again.

For more than eight decades, the sitcom has both marked the times and provided a balm against them. From Rob Petrie tripping over his ottoman on The Dick Van Dyke Show to Ilana face-planting on a Broad City subway car; from The Honeymooners’ Ralph Kramden barely containing his frustration with Ed Norton to Atlanta’s Paper Boi doing the same with his cousin Earn; from Lucy Ricardo getting drunk on Vitameatavegamin to Fleabag enjoying Gin in a Tin with the hot priest, the genre’s most beloved characters have been by our sides.

To choose the 100 greatest sitcoms ever, we first had to decide how to define the term. Sketch comedies were out, from the explicit, like Saturday Night Live and The Muppet Show, to the more ambiguous, such as The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Ditto comedy-drama hybrids that ran around an hour — Freaks and Geeks, say, or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Half-hour dramedies presented a blurrier picture; we took those on a case-by-case basis, applying our own version of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of obscenity: “I know it when I see it.” Where Enlightened and The Wonder Years seemed to fall just too far over the drama side of the line, for example, Atlanta and Better Things had enough comedy to qualify. This list is also composed entirely of English-language comedies, primarily American ones, with a handful of British and Canadian shows making the cut.


And that's the way it was. What's next? Check back with us on Monday. Have a great weekend.....









Brain-Friendly Banana Pancakes!
By Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.


Carolyn, the mother of one of my patient’s, has been researching foods and food ingredients that are healthy for people with a brain injury. Over the past month, she has contributed some great nutritional information and suggestions, as well as recipes that she has made for her 6 year old son living with a brain injury. Carolyn has graciously given me permission to share her Banana Pancakes recipe!

The recipe below, provided by Carolyn, contains brain-friendly ingredients, including almond flour. Almond flour contains a good source of vitamin E, fiber, protein, magnesium, and phosphorous, and it’s also gluten-free! Additionally, rather than using butter, these banana pancakes are cooked in coconut oil. This oil is considered to be one of the best contributors to healthy brain function.











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-30-





    MAY 6, 2021


'Gray divorce' — getting divorced later in life — is on the rise.
Here's how an attorney says you should
handle separation when you're older.

By Nicole Sodoma

"Gray divorce," also known as "silver splitter" or "diamond divorce," is a term used to refer to the increasing trend of late-in-life divorces. This term first became mainstream in 2004, when AARP published a study on divorce at "midlife and beyond," and is generally used to describe adults aged 50 or older who are going through a separation.

In 2015, every 10 out of 1,000 couples aged 50 and over got divorced, which was double what their divorce rate had been in 1990. And for those over 65, the increase was even higher — it had roughly tripled in 25 years. In fact, while the overall rate of divorce has continually declined since then, the divorce rate of people over 50 is increasing.

Statistically, gray divorce is and continues to be on the rise, and not just in the United States. Canada, Japan, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom have reported increases in the last decade as well. While in recent years the discussion has become more prevalent online, this is a conversation that many divorce attorneys have grown familiar with for well over two decades.


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Many Older Americans Aren't
Telling Their Doctors They Use Pot



 Aging potheads are now past 50 and still puffing away, but new research shows that many don't disclose this to their doctors.

Folks who use marijuana for medical reasons are more likely to tell their doctors about it than recreational users. Still, just a fraction of medical marijuana users opened up about their use, the study found.

"Older adults may worry about how doctors would respond, as stigma about cannabis use as a psychoactive substance is still prevalent," said study author Namkee Choi. She is the Louis and Ann Wolens Centennial Chair in Gerontology in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.


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I'm Vaccinated: Where Can I Travel Now and How?


Talk to almost anyone who's been vaccinated for COVID-19 recently and you hear about their travel plans, some more adventurous than others.

People standing at a ticketing kiosk in an airport wearing face masks. Travel, vaccinated travel, Next Avenue
Travelers checking-in at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport  |  Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters via PBS NewsHour

R.C. Staab, of New York City, is "going to Philly, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma and Texas." Yves Gentil, a Denver public relations consultant has a three-day trip booked to Santa Fe in May for his birthday, saying: "I've always wanted to go, and I prefer to stay close to home for now." Sandy and Joe Colbert, of St. Petersburg, Fla., are thinking about where to drive around the country in their camper. "We don't expect to slow down our travel plans," said Sandy. "We are enjoying every moment we have together."


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Age Segregation, Loneliness and Addiction:
Why Aren’t We Connecting the Dots?



12-step programs reduce all three. What can we learn from them?

On March 23, 2021, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed as the Surgeon General of the United States. How fitting that an expert in loneliness (he is author of "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World") is taking the helm at a time when the issue is front and center in all of our lives.

During the pandemic — a time of strict generational separation — loneliness, alcohol consumption and drug use have all spiked. Murthy, a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging, is well positioned to connect the dots and seek solutions in unlikely places. Like 12-step programs, originated by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the 1930s.

The need to reduce loneliness, addiction and age segregation is urgent.









4 minutes

For those of you who have a spouse or significant other, you are very lucky. Going through life single is no picnic.


Oh sure, when you are young the single life seems like paradise. No responsibilities to keep you from doing “your thing.” You go and come as you please and with whom. Relationships can be intense but without commitment. It’s almost expected. But as you get older your feelings begin to change almost as fast as your body. Somehow the thrill of the hunt becomes meaningless. And all you want to do is settle down. Which is the way it was with me. I found the “one” at age 31. And I expected to be together until “death did us part.” Unfortunately, that was not to be. So I am left with only the thought of what might have been which leaves me with little consolation. And while no one could have predicted the future, I know, if I were married, it would be very different from what it is now.


Many words would be foreign to my vocabulary. Like, “assisted living” , “isolation”, and “loneliness.” And, most likely there would be no need for this blog which, although no substitute for a wife, fills part of the void that permeates my life. And, because my ex was an RN, chances are that I might not have become as ill as I did. It’s funny how wives can get a husband to see a doctor on a regular basis who probably would have diagnosed my UC early enough for me to have avoided a life-changing surgery. Yes, being married is good. And it should be cherished. And if yours is good consider it a gift.

 I haven’t been married since 1984, so what I remember about it may be a little fuzzy. But as I recall, for the brief time I was with my wife at least 7/8ths of that were good. So we ended our union with a grade of 86%. A solid B+ in any book. Why we split remains a mystery to me, but we had a rocky final year in which we grew farther apart. We weren’t kids, at least I wasn’t and we went into our marriage fully aware of its consequences. But reality does not always compare with fantasy, and one’s dreams do not always come true. And marriage, being what it is, may be too stressful for one or both partners. And back in 1984, there was a lot in our personal lives to be stressful about.
 
A combination of her career and school and my work kept us apart for periods of time. This put an end, not only to our marriage, but to our 12 year friendship as well. Would I have been better off if I had not been married? Definitely not. I like what we had, even if it was only for a brief time. There is something to say for having a companion. And today, considering what I have been through in the past year, having a loving companion would have been nice………..





7 Urgent Steps to Take When Your
Facebook Account Gets Hacked

By Jon Clark

Security and hacking issues are rampant in social media. If you have an account on Facebook, or any other social media network for that matter, it’s highly likely that your personal information has been compromised at some point.

In one recent Facebook hack, personal details including the full name, location, birthday, email address, phone number, and relationship status of more than half a billion Facebook users was stolen.

This includes 32 million accounts in the United States, 11 million in the United Kingdom, and 6 million in India.

Facebook has since released a statement claiming this breach was “old data” that was discovered and fixed in 2019.










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MAY 5, 2021


Why Baby Boomers Need Digital Literacy To
Defend Themselves Against The Retirement Crisis

By Matt Klein


One third of adults over 65 still have never used the internet, and half don’t even have internet access at home. In San Francisco, “the epicenter of tech,” 40% of older adults do not have basic digital literacy skills. Today, millions are disconnected to culture, but also opportunity. Before we can worry about the intricacies of media literacy, we first need to get more online and help them navigate the growing number sites and apps.

The disparity will only grow as over 10,000 Americans turn 65 every single day. By 2050, 22% of Americans will be 65 or older. Meanwhile tech is exponential. This equates to a large faction of our global population unable to proficiently use emergent technology... in a society whose adoption and application of technology is only accelerating.

An easy — but dark — argument to dismiss this concern is that seniors aren’t required participate in our techno-future. They’ll be well-off, retired and relaxing soon. But this is the farthest thing from the truth.


____________________________________________________________


Aging Right at Home: Addressing
Later-Life Sleep Problems



Some changes in our sleep patterns are perfectly normal as we grow older. Aging adults tend to go to sleep earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. Also, research shows that older adults may actually need less sleep than they did in their younger years.

However, not all sleep changes seniors experience is normal. Incontinence, pain from arthritis, digestive problems and mediation side effects can all affect sleep. To help spot some issues that may need to be addressed by a doctor, here are some common conditions that a sleep specialist could help identify and address:

Sleep Apnea in Seniors

This condition causes a sleeper to stop breathing for short periods — from a few seconds to even minutes and often repeatedly throughout the night. Sleep apnea may be accompanied by loud snoring, although not always. For seniors, this can not only disrupt sleep, but it could also cause a dangerous drop in oxygen levels. A sleep specialist can help prescribe a breathing support device (such as a CPAP), a special mouthpiece or, in extreme cases, recommend surgery.


___________________________________________________________________________________________


Music Therapy Found to Significantly
Improve Sleep Quality in Older Adults

By Matthew Gavidia


Sleep quality in older adults may be significantly improved through music therapy, particularly through slow-tempo, soft-volume, and smooth melodic music, according to study findings published today in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Affecting 40% to 70% of older adults, the researchers say that sleep issues increase with age due to changes in sleep architecture and circadian regulation. Moreover, the impact of impaired sleep could prove significant, with prior studies associating sleep issues with poor quality of life and an increased risk of dementia and death.

Recently, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials confirmed that listening to music is a potentially successful nonpharmacological intervention for improving sleep quality in adults.


_______________________________________________________


COVID pandemic forced many older adults
to become tech savvy, rely on themselves


When times are tough, sometimes the only person you can rely on is yourself. A new study finds over half of older adults in the U.S. say the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to be more self-sufficient.

The survey of 2,000 Americans over the age of 57 reveals 56 percent believe they’ve become more independent over the past year. Seven in 10 expect these newfound feelings of self-sufficiency to last moving forward.

Researchers also delved into what’s contributing to this feeling and finds that having to figure out new technology is playing a big role. Fifty-eight percent said technology allowed them to stay in touch with family and friends during COVID. Another 55 percent added figuring out new tech allowed them to have essential items delivered.









The first line of the memo distributed to us residents on Tuesday set my heart aflutter. But, as with many of the memos we have received in the past, any hope of returning to pre-COVID conditions were soon put to rest.
 

 
This is almost worse than doing nothing at all. They continue to keep us socially isolated. The only difference is that we’ll be able to look upon the distraught faces of our co-diners, sitting alone at their tables in an almost empty dining room. Where is the social interaction we have been deprived of for 415 days? This amounts to nothing more than a very lean bone of  “contrived compassion” thrown to us by the miscreants who run the New York State Department of Health, and whose lack of mercy knows no bounds.
 
After over a month “reviewing” the new guidelines suggested by the CDC, which said that it was okay for assisted living facilities to return to normal activities including communal dining, this is the best they could come up with?
 
The rest of the memo continues with a schedule designating which group of residents will be allowed in the dining room and when. It will be done according to location and floor. And not every day.
 
For example, my area will dine only on this Saturday, May 8th, for all three meals. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. This is the biggest crock of s**t to come down the pike since this entire fiasco began in March 2020. It is quite clear that nobody in the DOH knows what to do or how to do it. And we, unfortunately, have to suffer for their incompetence. A pox on all their houses……………………..
 





How Long Can We Live?
By Ferris Jabr

In 1990, not long after Jean-Marie Robine and Michel Allard began conducting a nationwide study of French centenarians, one of their software programs spat out an error message. An individual in the study was marked as 115 years old, a number outside the program’s range of acceptable age values. They called their collaborators in Arles, where the subject lived, and asked them to double-check the information they had provided, recalls Allard, who was then the director of the IPSEN Foundation, a nonprofit research organization. Perhaps they made a mistake when transcribing her birth date? Maybe this Jeanne Calment was actually born in 1885, not 1875? No, the collaborators said. We’ve seen her birth certificate. The data is correct.

Calment was already well known in her hometown. Over the next few years, as rumors of her longevity spread, she became a celebrity. Her birthdays, which had been local holidays for a while, inspired national and, eventually, international news stories. Journalists, doctors and scientists began crowding her nursing-home room, eager to meet la doyenne de l’humanité. Everyone wanted to know her story.







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    MAY 4, 2021


Democrats seek narrow path
to rein in cost of medicines

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR


President Joe Biden’s call for authorizing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices has energized Democrats on a politically popular idea they’ve been pushing for nearly 20 years only to encounter frustration.

But they still lack a clear path to enact legislation. That’s because a small number of Democrats remain uneasy over government price curbs on pharmaceutical companies.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will need every Democratic vote in a narrowly divided Congress. Otherwise Democrats may have to settle for a compromise that stops short of their goal. Or they could take the issue into the 2022 midterm elections.


______________________________________________________


A bipartisan plan to tackle
housing insecurity

By Scott Hoekman


Lenders and financial institutions play a critical role in creating and preserving affordable housing, and they could see an increase in business if the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act introduced last week is enacted. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation would expand and strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, a proven public-private investment in our nation’s housing infrastructure.

With this legislation, affordable housing developers — and the investors who utilize the Housing Credit — would be able to deepen their impact in serving some of the hardest-to-reach areas nationwide, including rural, tribal and high-cost communities, as well as extremely low-income and formerly homeless residents. Investors, financial institutions, and housing advocates should work side-by-side to make sure this bill becomes law.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a serious and growing housing crisis in the United States. Nearly one in four renter households in the U.S. — roughly 11 million — were spending more than half of their income on rent, leaving too little for other necessities like food, medical care, and transportation. The effect of housing insecurity — or worse, eviction — on families’ health and educational outcomes was already well known. The pandemic has only made the disparities in our housing markets more severe and more apparent — and made it more obvious that affordable homes are a vital part of the nation’s infrastructure.


_____________________________________________________________


Millions of Older Adults Living with Sensory
Loss Face a Greater Risk for Isolation



Eighty-three percent of older adults in the United States are living with at least one diminished sense, according to a survey1 by Home Instead, Inc. From touch and balance, to vision and smell, even the slightest deficit can create major challenges for older adults, especially in a world that is not generally designed to accommodate those with sensory loss. Seniors experiencing these impairments also find themselves at a greater risk for isolation, particularly amid the current pandemic.

And while this research indicates that one in three older adults living with sensory loss felt they missed out on social experiences such as hobbies, trips and events before COVID-19, safety precautions such as stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines have further exacerbated their ability to fully connect with the world around them, leading to deeper feelings of loneliness.

"It's too common for older adults to be excluded as they begin to show declines in their senses," explains Jeff Huber, Home Instead, Inc. CEO. "Those with hearing issues are oftentimes left out of conversations. Now imagine those challenges amplified by physical distance and technological issues. We may not explore why our aging loved ones are spending less time doing activities they love, such as cooking or traveling, as their vision, taste or smell shows signs of impairment. Rather than allow them to disengage, we should identify how we can better respect, empathize and accommodate their needs."









5 minutes


After over 14 months of quarantine, isolation, PPE protocol, visitor restrictions and all the rest of the craziness associated with virus and infection prevention. And given that the State of N.Y. and its DOH have no intention of adhering to the suggestions made by the CDC regarding assisted living facilities, I have decided there is only one way out. I need to be adopted.
 
 
 
“Too old”, you say. Not necessarily. It’s been done just recently by a Canadian couple who adopted an 86-year-old woman. And now, you, or someone you know, can do it too. I am formally offering myself “Up for adoption.”
 
Let me point out why you should make me part of your family.


 
1. I’m neat and clean. I shower by myself, unless you absolutely feel the need to bathe me, to which I am amenable to all suggestions.
 
2. I prefer to dress myself, but you can pick out my wardrobe. Just don’t make me dress like you because you think it will look cute.
 
3. I eat almost anything. I can cook it too. But since you are the “Mommy and Daddy’’, don’t expect me to cook your meals. Remember. You’re the parents now.
 
4. You don’t have to walk or drive me to school. Chances are, I have a better education than you.
 
5. I am fully covered by Medicare and Medicaid, so there is no need to add me to your health insurance policy. However, as my parent, I prefer if you accompany me to any doctors I may visit. They’ll probably want to talk to you, anyway.
 
6. You will have no trouble getting me to bed. I usually turn in around 8pm. Just don’t get frightened if you hear noises late at night. I’m a light sleeper and will prowl the halls. Best to keep the door to your bedroom locked lest you want “company.”
 
7. I am potty trained. Actually, I no longer “go potty.” because I have a colostomy. (This also means I won’t be putting a strain on your toilet paper budget).
 
8. I can babysit if you have young children. But not every night. I like kids, but not all the time. Oh, I can’t promise I won’t play with any of their toys. Better buy me some of my own. I like DSLR cameras (Nikon preferably) and computers.
 
9. I no longer drive, so I won’t be asking dad for the keys to the Volvo.
 
10. And the best thing. If you don’t like me, you can always send me back to the A.L.F. Or, just wait a few years. After all, I’m 75.
 
Also, I’m a good listener and rarely complain much. I own little stuff, but I need my own room. And I would not mind being adopted by a gay couple. Lesbians preferred.
 
There, you have all you need to know. If you have questions, you know where you can get a hold of me. But please don’t take too long. Deals like this don’t come around every day………...

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/trending/trending-globally/canadian-couple-adopts-elderly-woman-to-take-care-of-her-as-family-7299010/




4 Social Security Myths Busted

Talking with family and friends, listening to cable news or following public debate about the future of Social Security, you've likely heard one or more of the following comments asserted as incontrovertible fact:


• Social Security is going bankrupt, going broke, in crisis; young people will never see a penny in benefits.

• Social Security's trust funds are simply an accounting gimmick, worthless IOUs.

• Social Security is unsustainable. There just will not be enough working-age people to support retired boomers.

• Social Security is unfair to younger Americans.

Here is a point-by-point refutation of each of these assertions and how these claims undermine confidence in the future of Social Security and distract attention from what is really going on.







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    MAY 3, 2021


Celebrating the wisdom of our elders
 during Older Americans Month in May

By HELEN DENNIS

Dear readers,

During the pandemic, older adults have repeatedly made headlines. Unfortunately, many of those headlines have been less than positive, as older people are highly vulnerable to the ravages of the coronavirus and account for 80 percent of the deaths. This month, they occupy a positive headline. They are celebrated. May is Older Americans Month.

This formal recognition of older Americans began with President Kennedy in 1963 when he designated May as Senior Citizens Month during a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens. That was when only 17 million Americans reached their 65th birthday in comparison to over 40 million today. About one-third of those 17 million lived in poverty with few programs to meet their needs.

Each year, a different theme is selected. This year it’s celebrating Communities of Strength featuring the Aging Network, with the special emphasis on the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities.


________________________________________________________


The silver tsunami is coming’:
Inside the quest to help seniors age at home

By Ruth Reader

Rob Gorski’s grandmother was an independent woman. She lived alone in Youngstown, Ohio, far from the city center. When her memory started failing, he decided to move her into a nursing home near him. He says one of the main reasons was because she struggled with her medication.

“She couldn’t keep them straight. She knew what they were, but she would sometimes confuse a.m. with p.m. and think she took them when she didn’t—common things,” he says. The transition to a nursing home was difficult for her, he wrote in his blog. She didn’t know where she was or how she had gotten there. Six months after moving in, she died.

Since then, Gorski has started using a smart medication management system called Hero for himself. He takes a combination of treatments for depression, cholesterol management, and pain, as well as an assortment of vitamins. The device holds up to 10 different kinds of medication and dispenses doses on a programmed schedule. It’s connected to Wi-Fi, can send reminders to a mobile app, and can alert a family member or nurse if a person hasn’t taken their meds.


_________________________________________________________


Senior living industry unites behind message:
‘Don’t leave seniors behind’


That’s the message the senior living industry is putting out as Congress ramps up discussions about the Biden administration’s American Jobs Plan and newly introduced American Families Plan.

During a Wednesday Argentum Advocates virtual policy briefing with members, Argentum outlined its efforts to propose the SENIOR (Safeguarding Elderly Needs for Infrastructure and Occupational Resources) Act. The SENIOR Act aims to address immediate COVID-19-related challenges and plan for future long-term care needs.

Specifically, the SENIOR Act would establish a senior housing and sustainment relief fund to ensure that the nation can meet the housing and long-term care needs of its rapidly aging population. The act would allocate resources for infection control, including air filtration and purification systems, upgraded HVAC units, touchless fixtures and common area renovations; improved technology connectivity and access; sustainable funding; and a long-term care workforce development pilot program.

“Our message is, the need for investment in infrastructure for seniors is rapidly growing as our nation ages,” said Kyle Loeber, Argentum’s public policy manager. Argentum, he added, is building a coalition with other senior living associations and relevant industries to advocate for long-term care infrastructure.


_________________________________________________________


The Gift of Friendship: 6 Tips for
Making Friends as a Senior Citizen



Many people associate aging with physical health complications, like an aching back, arthritis pains, or cognitive decline. While considering the possible bodily ailments older folk may encounter is essential, it’s also crucial that seniors tend to their mental and emotional states.

As you age, you may experience feelings of loneliness, depression, or anxiety, all of which can wreak havoc on your overall wellbeing. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to mitigate unpleasant feelings. One tried-and-true cure-all for social isolation is mingling with other seniors in your area. However, despite bustling elderly communities nationwide, some senior citizens find it difficult to make friends, causing them to miss out on meaningful, beneficial relationships.

If you’re finding it challenging to engage with other elders in your area, read on for six sure-fire tips to making and keeping genuine friendships.








5-6 minutes

When I saw this headline[1] the other day it brought back a lot of memories from my youth…



As a rabid former smoker, I could not help feel a tinge of sadness at the news. Not because I think smoking is good, but because strangely, another facet of my misbegotten youth has been taken away.
 
So much of what we once thought was cool and good has been proven harmful for ourselves and our environment.
 
Big, powerful cars that were noisy and fast and guzzled gallons of cheap fuel were the epitome of 1960s chique. And to own and drive one was a sure way of being cool. But cars were expensive and living in NYC they were very expensive to run and keep. So most teens did not drive. But that did not keep them (us) from our coolness. We had our clothes (jeans, leather jackets), our music (Rock-n-Roll), and our smokes.
 
I didn’t smoke my first cigarette until I was maybe 16, which I most likely stole from my older brother. He smoked L&M’s. A filtered cigarette that came in a pack.

In my teenage mind, pulling the red tab that split the cellophane covering open, and then tapping the pack firmly on the back of his hand allowing the egress of one firm, round and immaculate white tobacco-packed tube as being the sexiest act a man could perform with his clothes on. And to top it off, he lit the cigarette with the coolest of the cool. A Zippo lighter.

I don’t remember what that first puff tasted like. I’m sure it was not what I expected. I can’t imagine it was pleasant. But why should I let a little sore throat, nausea and dizziness impede my coolness? And besides, what’s the harm? If it were bad for me, it would say so on the pack, wouldn’t it?
 
Although I don’t remember my first cigarette, I remember the first pack I bought.

It was at a drugstore on 8th Street in Greenwich Village. I was 17 and nobody asked for my I.D. The brand was Kent filters and they cost 25 cents a pack. It was the first full sealed pack of cigarettes I ever held. It felt very nice in my hand. And you know how grownup I felt opening it, following the ritual I had observed my brother perform many times. And now, it was my turn to enter that world. The world of THE SMOKER. From that time on, if someone asked me for a cigarette, I could whip one out of my shirt pocket along with my brushed chrome Zippo lighter and say, “Sure, want a light?”

By the time I was a senior in High School, I was a full-time tobacco addict. Much to the consternation of my mom who did not smoke and my dad who smoked only the occasional cigar. But they understood it as a rite of passage and never gave me much flack.
 
I tried many brands in my 24 years as a smoker, finally settling on Newport’s, a menthol infused cigarette. I quit in 1984, partly because I became ill and partly because it was time. My then wife did not smoke and out of deference to her health, and mine, I went cold-turkey and just stopped. It was difficult at first, but eventually it became a source of pride. Cigarettes are an addiction, and I’m happy not to be a slave to them. But that does not mean that I am sorry that a started smoking. Like dating, driving and sex, it was necessary for my growing up. And those menthol Newport’s were a large part of it. Therefore, when I saw they want to ban them, I thought of what I might have done if I were still smoking. And the answer. I would switch to regular cigarettes and go on my happy way. The only way you are going to make people stop smoking is to ban cigarettes completely or take away the cool factor. And fat chance of doing either……………….

[1]https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/fda-vows-not-target-black-smokers-menthol-cigarette-ban-n1265882?utm_source=morning_brew





A teenager says she accidentally moved into an apartment complex
for senior citizens and is documenting her new life on TikTok

By Joey Hadden


Madison Kohout, 19, relocated from Oklahoma to Arkansas to start a new life, and she said she accidentally moved into an apartment complex for senior citizens in the process.

Kohout retold the story on TikTok in a video posted on April 17 that had more than 3 million views and 600,000 likes at the time of writing.

TikTokers are sharing their amusement and admiration for the unique living situation in the comments.



"This could be a sitcom," one wrote.

"I had a friend who lived in one of these," wrote another. "Only a certain percentage had to be seniors, and it was such a nice place!"







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    APRIL 30, 2021

It's Official: Social Security Can't Keep Up With Rising Expenses

Millions of seniors today collect Social Security and rely heavily on those monthly benefits to cover the bulk of their living costs. There's just one problem -- seniors have been consistently losing buying power through the years, and those without additional income could see their struggles increase as Social Security raises continue to lag behind inflation.

Social Security falls short

Each year, Social Security beneficiaries are eligible for a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, that has the potential to raise their benefits. The problem? COLAs have been notably stingy in recent years, and seniors are losing buying power because of it.


In 2021, seniors on Social Security got a 1.3% COLA. For the average person, that meant an additional $20 per month. But many common living costs have risen drastically over the past year, reports the nonpartisan Senior Citizens League, to the point where that $20 doesn't go very far at all.


__________________________________________________________________________________


Scientists reveal the worst time
for older adults to drink tea

Millions of people around the world drink tea each day. The healthy beverage is a staple in many countries, which still observe “tea time” to this day. For older adults however, a new report is revealing when it’s actually a “bad time” for tea time. Scientists in Ireland find people over the age of 65 should actually avoid the drink while having their daily meals.

The new guidance comes from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), which is updating their nutritional recommendations for older adults in the country. As lifespans increase, seniors are becoming a larger portion of the population in many nations, including the United States. In fact, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau projected that older adults would actually outnumber children in America by 2034.

With that in mind, Irish officials are making sure their facts about healthy eating and dieting are scientifically valid. The report, Scientific Recommendations for Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Older Adults, examines the current diets of people over 65 in Ireland — over 630,000 seniors. Researchers say this group includes those who are still living healthy, independent lives and others with chronic conditions and diseases needing regular care.

Read more >>