MAY 28TH 2020



3 minutes

The Declaration Of Independence was very specific. It had to be. The drafters of that document wanted to make their intentions very clear. Not for a new nation, but for the rest of the world. They wrote each sentence, each line carefully. That’s why the phrase “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness” was written in that order. It was important everyone know LIFE was the most valued possession people can have. 244 years later, we have other priorities. Made clear by the actions of so many this past Memorial Day weekend.
One look at the photos of the crowds at a pool near The Lake of The Ozark’s Missouri shows that ignoring social distancing and wearing masks (or even clothes for that matter) has nothing to do with the economy or even our rights as Americans. In 2020, Hedonism is the new inalienable right with LIFE coming in a poor third.

At the risk of being called a “Youth-basher” or old fuddy-duddy, I sadly noticed most of those at that pool, and the beaches and the restaurants, mask-less and close together, were young.
While I understand the exuberance of youth and their inability to respect mortality, I don’t understand their ignoring the possibility of spreading the virus to others. As one feckless youth said, “If you don’t want to get the virus, stay home.”
That kind of thinking is a direct incursion on me and my liberties and everybody who has to leave their homes to work or buy food or just get some exercise. It’s as much of an assault as if they took a two-by-four and attacked me with it. But what can you expect when you have a “leader” who thinks it’s macho to not wear a mask in public, doesn’t believe in science, ignores all the advice from experts and thinks the virus is a plot to stop his reelection. And now, with the death toll officially placed at 100,000, it’s apparent that, in his twisted logic, he believes the sanctity LIFE is just an afterthought.………………………………… 

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7 Sources of Free Legal Services for Seniors
Get legal help for seniors – free!

As a caregiver, part of the job is to help your older adult take care of legal matters and make sure important documents are complete and up-to-date.

That could include setting up an estate plan or making sure that essential legal documents like a living will and power of attorney are in place.

It might also include figuring out how to pay for long-term care, qualifying for Medicaid, or dealing with housing problems and other disputes that require legal action.

But legal services can be costly, especially for seniors on a fixed income.

Fortunately, there are many nonprofit and community organizations that provide free and low-cost legal services to older adults.

Here, we’ve rounded up 7 sources of free legal help for seniors.

1. Legal Aid

2. Community legal services for seniors

3. Pro Bono programs


5. National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)

6. Employer-sponsored legal services

7. Additional low-cost legal services for seniors

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43% Of COVID-19 Deaths Are In Nursing Homes
& Assisted Living Facilities Housing 0.6% Of U.S.

By Avik Roy

Americans are vigorously debating the merits of continuing to lock down the U.S. economy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A single statistic may hold the key to resolving this debate: the astounding share of deaths occurring in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities: The #1 COVID problem

2.1 million Americans, representing 0.62% of the U.S. population, reside in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. (Nursing homes are residences for seniors needing help with activities of daily living, such as taking a shower or getting dressed, who also require 24/7 medical supervision; assisted living facilities are designed for seniors who need help with activities of daily living, but don’t require full-time on-site medical supervision.)

According to an analysis that Gregg Girvan and I conducted for the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, as of May 22, in the 39 states that currently report such figures, an astounding 43% of all COVID-19 deaths have taken place in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


How to manage care of loved ones in
assisted living facilities

The “sandwich generation” is the point in adulthood when we must balance the responsibilities of parenting along with the responsibilities of caring for parents who are experiencing a decline in health and independence.

This period involves the stress of meeting the needs of both the elder and younger generation, without the support we once received from parents. While the financial and time demands during this time may be taxing, many also experience feelings of frustration and helplessness as they witness their beloved parents lose their autonomy and independence.

The current pandemic and resulting social distancing and quarantine requirements have robbed those in the sandwich generation of whatever sense of control they may have maintained. No longer able to visit and provide the same intimate contact that our parents enjoy, we are left feeling helpless and guilty.  The increased health risk faced by older adults creates even more uncertainty and need for control, despite the helplessness of the situation.


Long-term care residents face mental health challenges
amid coronavirus pandemic isolation

By Jacob Myers

Restrictions on visitors and general movement inside Ohio’s long-term care facilities remain in place despite the return of some Ohioans to workplaces and into commercial areas. Those restrictions have made it a challenge to preserve the mental health of facility residents.

Carolee Noonan noticed a change in her mother when they spoke a week before her death.

Her mother, Helen Watkins, was living at Wesley Glen, an assisted living facility in Clintonville, and hadn’t seen her daughter, whom she depended on, for more than a month.

“She said repeatedly, ‘I wish I were dead. I can’t do this much longer. I’m going to die tonight. I feel like I’m going to die.’” Noonan said.



Americans take a dim view of raiding their Social Security
to cover pandemic expenses, poll finds

By Lorie Konish

Americans could use a financial boost. How to get that money into people’s hands has been a hot topic of debate.

Democrats have proposed expanding unemployment insurance and giving Americans as much as $2,000 per month to get back on their feet.

Meanwhile, one Republican proposal has called for giving Americans $11,000 now in exchange for every year they agree to delay their Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage.

Now, a poll conducted by Data For Progress and Social Security Works, an advocacy organization, asked Americans which of those two options they would pick. They also asked if people think the government has already done enough.



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4 minutes

After having met my states guidelines the county where I live, today, relaxed the rules governing the reopening of certain businesses closed since mid-March. And frankly, I’m scared.
Two months ago this county, Westchester County, New York, was the hotbed of Covid-19 infection in the nation. Where I am sitting now was only 7 miles away from ground zero, the city of New Rochelle where some of the first cases were reported. Fortunately, the county recognized the situation and quickly shut things down. Apparently it worked. Today there are no recent cases of the virus reported in New Rochelle or the immediate area. That’s a good thing. But all is not rosy pandemicville. And it has to do with geography.

The problem, and it is a problem, is that now “open” Yonkers (the city in which I live) borders directly on the still ‘closed’ and presumably infectious New York City borough of The Bronx. And since you don’t need a passport, citizenship papers, a green card or work permit to enter Yonkers, you darn well know who will drive over the border to shop and enjoy our parks and even our beaches. And this frightens me.

It frightens me, not because I believe that NYC residents will flood the streets infecting everybody they meet. No, but the math and the way we calculate the spread of infectious diseases says otherwise. Even if the vast majority of people entering our city comply with all the social distancing procedures, there will be a new influx of the virus. And that directly affects me.
I’ve been languishing in this perpetual quarantine hell for 75 days. I was hoping with incidents of infection in our area diminishing we would see some relaxation of the rules implemented way back on March 13.
I had hoped we could at least reopen all or part of our dining area so we no longer have to suffer the contemptible meals they feed us. [1] But now, I doubt it. In fact, infection control measures have become more stringent.
Hand sanitizers are hanging all over the place and they have placed adhesive-tape lines on all the rugs and floors at 6-foot intervals because the state has increased the protection guidelines for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This can only mean one thing. There is no end in sight for us residents who have become virtual prisoners in our own home.

Now before you call me a communist or anti-business, let me inform you I was once one of those folks who owned a small business so I’m well aware of the difficulties those people face. Further, let me say I have no problem with businesses opening on a cautious and limited basis. What I have difficulty with is those dingbats who think an open restaurant or barber shop or shoe store means they can toss the mask aside as they cough and sneeze their way down the street or on a beach. Every one of those people who refuse, either out of some misguided notion that their liberties are being infringed upon, or because they are just plain stupid are keeping me locked down for another day or week or month….

[1] One of the methods suggested is having a limited number of residents dining alone at socially distant tables. Or, a buffet where residents could grab a hot, fresh meal and bring it back to their rooms.

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How to Put on and Remove a Face Mask

What is a face mask

Face masks are one tool utilized for preventing the spread of disease.  They may also be called dental, isolation, laser, medical, procedure, or surgical masks. Face masks are loose-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth, and have ear loops or ties or bands at the back of the head. There are many different brands and they come in different colors. It is important to use a face mask approved by the FDA.

What is a face mask used for

Facemasks help limit the spread of germs.  When someone talks, coughs, or sneezes they may release tiny drops into the air that can infect others. If someone is ill a face masks can reduce the
number of germs that the wearer releases and can protect other people from becoming sick.  A face mask also protects the wearer’s nose and mouth from splashes or sprays of body fluids.

When should a face mask be worn

Consider wearing a face mask when you are sick with a cough or sneezing illness (with or without fever) and you expect to be around other people.  The face mask will help protect them from catching your illness.  Healthcare settings have specific rules for when people should wear face masks.

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The Pandemic Paradox for Older Workers

Americans of all ages are feeling the devastating economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. But older workers in their 50s and 60s — especially women — have been among the hardest hit. Based on recent studies and views of retirement and aging experts, this much is clear: The whacks older workers have felt to their jobs and retirement savings may have long-lasting, painful financial implications for many of them.

“The pandemic could be devastating to older workers who are too young to retire and are forced out of work,” said Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

In his recent webinar I attended, about COVID-19 and an aging society, London Business School economics professor Andrew Scott noted that the combination of job losses and investment losses (the Dow is down 14% this year) will mean more older workers will need to work more years than they had planned, if they can.

‘The Labor Market Is Going to Be a Tough Place for Older Workers’


Routines a must for seniors in age of isolation
By Maria Sonnenberg

While many of us recently have been spending our days awaiting the arrival of the package delivery guy or binging on the exploits of “The Goldbergs,” Eunice Zelle has found a way to gain peace and happiness during this quarantine period with the simpler things in life.

Zelle is not a young woman and she is medically fragile with an oxygen tank by her side, but the resident of Courtenay Springs Village on Merritt Island is enjoying the garden she created on the small porch of her digs at the assisted living facility.

Her garden is as miniscule as Annie, the little dog that is her constant companion, but bigger is not necessarily better for Zelle.

“I want to let everyone know that I am growing a garden right outside on my front porch to keep me busy during this time,” said Zelle, who moved to Courtenay Springs four years ago.


What Women 50+ Want From Financial Advisers:
Much More Than Men

Recent research from the Hearts & Wallets financial research firm found that when women and men 50+ were asked what they want from financial advisers and financial services firms, the percentage of women saying they wanted something was far more than men. Those factors deemed more important to women ranged from low fees to a person or team assigned to their account to online account access and tools to clear and useful statements to sharing their values.

The biggest gaps between what women and men told Hearts & Wallets were important to them from advisers and financial firms: “has specialized expertise,” “explains things in understandable terms,” “has been in business a long time” and “is proactive when market changes/when I’m losing money.” (One caveat: Hearts & Wallets only looked at two genders, and some people don’t define themselves as men or women.)

    Women’s attitudes have been shifting to an “I demand respect and performance” attitude when working with money pros.



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6 minutes

2012 was a dreadful year for me. I was at one of the lowest points of my life.
Physical therapy back at the nursing home was progressing, but at a very slow rate.
Two years there, mostly in a wheelchair, was playing havoc with my psyche and my body.
And then, as if I needed anything else, they diagnosed me with a potential thyroid problem which had caused my calcium level to spike well above the norm. They sent me to a local hospital for tests and treatment, which stretched in to a two-week stay.
Knowing that would set my PT back plus having to go through test after test to cure my calcium problem and then, having nothing more to look forward to except more time in the nursing home and I as ready to pack it in.
They speak about seeing a light at the end of a tunnel. Well, not only was there no light, there wasn’t even a tunnel.
But fortunately, about three days into that two-week stay, I met a doctor who changed not only my short-term outlook but how I would cope with whatever came at me for the foreseeable future.

Mental health professionals had visited me in the past.
Anyone who spends more than a week in a healthcare facility will receive a visit from a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
At the nursing home it was routine. A “shrink du jour” would stop by my room at least once a month, presumably to see if I was still cognitive of my whereabouts and whether I had any inkling of doing myself in. The latter being the primary reason for the session. How do I know this? Because the first question they ask me, even before asking me how I’m feeling, was always “Have you ever thought about suicide or doing harm to yourself.” At that point I throw them out of my room. They’re not interested in my happiness or my mental health. They only want to make sure I don’t kill myself on their watch. They are covering their, and the facility’s asses.
Therefore, when yet another psych-doc walked into my hospital room that day, I was prepared to read her my usual speech and send her packing. But I didn’t. Because, instead of her first words being of a self-serving ass-covering nature, they were something different.

“Why are you in a nursing home?” She asked after telling me she was a psychiatrist and if she could speak to me.
I told her my story, leaving nothing out.
We talked at length about my immediate family (there was none) and my marital situation (there was none anymore) and my surgeries and my life generally. I rattled off one ugly detail after another. Something I had never done with anybody.
After about forty minutes, during which she had let me do all the talking, I was done. Then, without a pause, she gave me her diagnosis.
“My God,”, she said. “I’m surprised you’re handling it as well as you are. No wonder you are feeling so lousy. You’re depressed as hell.”
This was the first time being diagnosed with depression and I didn’t know how to take it.

“There’s help, Bruce. I will prescribe an antidepressant,”, she said.
I must have made a face because her next words were, “No, they’re not what you think. They’re won’t make you woozy or sleepy or anything like that. They just help take the edge off so you can concentrate on getting well,” she said.
I won’t go into detail about how the medication works or how it affects me. I’ll only say that it has helped me tremendously.
With that medication, and the medication they gave me to correct the calcium problem, I could complete my rehab and eventually leave that Godforsaken nursing home.
I continue to take that antidepressant. Frankly, I don’t think I could handle all of this current crap without it. Even with it, I can feel a strain on my mind and body. But I’m able to hold it together. I just wish I knew for how much longer………….

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Symptoms of Depression: 10 Warning Signs

People with serious depression do not all have the same symptoms, but they may include:

Sadness. When feeling sad is a symptom of depression, it may include feeling hopeless and empty. You may find that no matter how hard you try, you just can't control your negative thoughts. You may find yourself crying for no obvious reason.

Guilt. People with severe depression may feel that they are worthless and helpless. They may even experience their depression as a sign of weakness, and can be overly self-critical.

Irritability. This depression symptom may cause you to feel angry, anxious, or restless. Men who are seriously depressed often express their depression through aggression or reckless behavior.

Mental symptoms. If you have trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering details, these could be symptoms of depression. People with depression may feel that their thought processes have slowed down.

Physical symptoms. People with depression often have aches and pains, headaches, or digestive problems that do not seem to have any other medical cause and do not respond to treatment.

Loss of energy. If you have depression, you may feel tired all the time. People with depression may feel that their physical abilities are slowed down.

Loss of interest. A common depression symptom is loss of interest in pleasurable activities like sex, hobbies, or social interactions. This may also show up as neglecting your responsibilities and your physical grooming.

Sleep changes. Waking up too early in the morning, not being able to fall asleep, or sleeping too much can all be symptoms of depression.

Appetite changes. Changes in eating habits due to depression can result in eating too much or too little. A weight gain or loss of more than 5 percent of your body weight in one month is one of the warning signs of depression. Some people experience a loss of interest in food, while for others food becomes a way of compensating for feelings of depression.

Suicidal thoughts. Having thoughts of harming yourself is a serious symptom of depression and always needs to be taken seriously. If you’re thinking about suicide, you need to get help immediately.

Symptoms of Depression: No Shame or Weakness

If you have some of these classic symptoms of depression and the symptoms are severe and have lasted longer than a few weeks, you should seek help. The best place to start is with your doctor.

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Memorial Day is not supposed to be about the sales or the food.
But as we all know it really is. This year, with this virus Americans
have lost so much of what we hold dear.
Usually, here at the ALF, we would have had an old fashioned
barbecue with burgers and franks and chicken, corn on the cob and
watermelon. This year, none of that. Our celebration was reduced
to what you see below.

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Assisted living ‘ignored’ in COVID-19 discussions,
expert tells Senate Aging Committee

Thursday’s Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing was held in one of three hearing rooms that can accommodate social distancing, Sen. Susan Collins, chair, said. Some committee members attended the hearing in person, whereas others participated from remote locations.

Although assisted living communities are home to residents who “are completely just as vulnerable” as nursing home residents to COVID-19, “we sort of tend to ignore them in these situations” because the communities are licensed by states instead of the federal government and don’t receive much funding from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, one expert witness told the Senate Special Committee on Aging on Thursday.

“There is a tendency to focus only on nursing homes, and in many states, assisted living facilities look very much like nursing homes in terms of the level of care needed and provided and the vulnerability of the residents,” said R. Tamara Konetzka, Ph.D., a professor of health services research at the University of Chicago.


When Can I See My Grandkids?
By Tara Parker-Pope

Grandparents have had enough. They want to see their grandchildren.

A life in seemingly endless lockdown and isolation from grandchildren is not how grandparents want to spend their golden years. But adult children don’t want to risk exposing an older, more vulnerable generation to the new coronavirus during a family visit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that eight out of 10 deaths from Covid-19 are in people aged 65 and older.

But a healthy life is more than just physical health. Loneliness is also a general predictor of decline and death in people over 60. As reality sets in that pandemic living will be measured in months and possibly years, grandparents are asking, “How can I safely visit my grandchildren?”

“This is a tricky one because older people are particularly vulnerable to this virus,” said Julia Marcus, an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor in the department of population medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Of course the safest approach is to avoid any interactions with grandparents, but that won’t be sustainable for everyone, and there are important ways to minimize risk if people do choose to see older relatives.”


States Enact Good Samaritan Broker Laws

On January 22, 2016, the members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) released the Senior Model Act.  It was developed and approved to serve as a model statute for states to adopt to target financial exploitation of seniors and to shield from liability brokers and brokerage firms who acted to assist those seniors. The Senior Model Act comports with a multitude of legislation and regulatory protection for seniors. Broadly stated, the Senior Model Act proposes language for legislation that would require “qualified individuals” such as broker-dealers and investment advisers, and those who work in a supervisory or legal capacity for them, to report any suspicions of financial elder abuse. The Senior Model Act proposes the protection of “eligible adults,” defined as those over the age of 65.

Key Provisions of the Senior Model Act:



The secret behind Biden's strength with seniors

By Alexi McCammond & Margaret Talev

President Trump's declining support among older voters since the coronavirus took hold is well documented, but new data offers a clearer understanding of why that's happening — and how it could impact the November election.

The big picture: Among the 65+ crowd, it's women driving the exodus. Joe Biden's appeal with senior men climbed during his surprise comeback to be the presumed Democratic nominee, but not necessarily at Trump's expense — and new polling suggests it may be ebbing in any case.

    The coronavirus matters, but so does health care policy overall.

By the numbers: A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows Biden leading Trump by 22 points among female voters 65+, while Trump leads Biden by 11 points among older men. That's what gets Biden to a 10-point overall lead over the president among seniors.



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7 minutes

Today we celebrate Memorial Day. A day when we honor those who have fallen fighting for America’s freedom in wars far from our shores. But today is unlike any Memorial Day we have ever celebrated. Not because there will be no parades or large invite-the-whole-family barbecues or even many graveside ceremonies. It is different because we find ourselves, for the first time since the Civil War, fighting a war on our own soil. And, while we have always done well when we fight overseas in someone else’s land, we now find that, when the battle comes to our streets and our beaches the fight doesn’t always go as planned. We do a terrible job.
In the past we had no problem sending billions of dollars worth of men and equipment, at breakneck speed to places in the world most Americans never heard of. And, while there, our forces spared no effort to contain whatever enemy we faced. Not winning was not an option. And yet, when faced with a rabid enemy in our backyards, we had a problem sending masks and respirators and protective clothing to New York and Los Angeles and all the other cities that begged for help at the start of this conflict. The richest country in the world, a nation that spends trillions on missiles and ships and planes to protect and defend our homeland, suddenly has a problem finding an impetus to fight an enemy that has the potential to destroy everything we fought those wars for.

What should have been a rapid response by our government made without bias or the influence of politics became, instead, a partisan free-for-all with both sides wielding their swords at each other to show who was more concerned about the health and welfare of their supporters than doing something about it.
Can you imagine if, on December 7th 1941, Congress debated the pros and cons of protecting ourselves from an enemy bent on wiping us out? Of course not. It was, as it should have been now, a no-brainer. So, what makes this war different from the others? Is it the enemy or something else?
It’s easy to fig
ht someone or something that you can see. It’s easier still if that someone has yellow skin, wears a turban or goosesteps under a twisted flag. But when something is so small that we cannot even see it with the naked eye and won’t die no matter what we throw at it, rallying around the flag becomes more difficult. But it shouldn’t be that way. We should have treated this enemy like any other. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Not because we couldn’t but because we didn’t have the leadership qualified to recognize the threat and act upon it with alacrity. Even when they warned him about it as early as January.

While you can debate the timing, you cannot ignore the fact that the warning was tossed aside and viewed as the rantings of a pro-Chinese, anti-American group of whiners know as the WHO.
World War two showed us it takes not only the same leadership qualities that brought us out of a depression a decade before, but the decisiveness it takes to win a conflict such as the world had never seen. We had men like FDR and Eisenhower and MacArthur. Men who governed and lead not by bullying or threats but by knowing the strength of the enemy and that listening to their staff was not a sign of weakness. Recent events have shown us we no longer have that leadership. Instead we have, well, you know what we have.
As I write this over 100,000 Americans will have died from this virus. Not as many as died in WW2, but more than the 50 thousand plus who sacrificed themselves in Vietnam. How many of those 100,000 died in vain? I dare say most.
While I know we will win this war, I am reluctant to believe history will show we learned anything from it. Except perhaps we were more dependent on the President than we thought.
Therefore, today, as we sit either by ourselves or in small groups celebrating as best we can, we need to not only remember those who gave their lives fighting oppression in foreign wars but the tens of thousands who perished in just the last three months right here at home and can't celebrate with us. And to remember how we found ourselves in this position………………………….. .
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Barbecuing a chicken today
Here’s some food for thought

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Isolation spurs problems among
senior care center residents

By  Jordan Chavez

Isolation can lead to stress and depression. A downward turn in a person's mental health can also have adverse effects on their physical health.

Current public health orders are in place to protect our most vulnerable populations, but some families of residents in senior care centers say those very rules are starting to become the problem.

That's the concern of Sara Spaulding, the daughter of Warren, 89, and Janet, 90, Spaulding who currently reside in an assisted living facility in Golden.

Sara said her parents have lived there for about two years now. Before that the couple was adventurous biking across Europe in their 70s and skiing into their 80s before Janet blew out her second knee, Sara said.

"They have been unbelievably active in their lives," she said.

Even in their new living situation, the couple remained active -- regularly attending exercise classes, going to happy hours and dancing.


 America’s seniors, sacrificed
on the altar of reopening

By Dana Milbank

“As we take steps to safely reopen our country, we must remain especially vigilant in sheltering the most vulnerable older Americans,” President Trump declared last month, duly reading words that had been written for him.

If only he had meant them.

Of all his unkept promises, this one is particularly personal for me.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been juggling my day job with helping my wife, sister-in-law and brother-in-law to provide care in our homes for two elderly relatives with serious health conditions, cancer and diabetes among them. We removed them from their assisted-living facility when the first covid-19 case hit there. “GET THEM OUT!” their doctor demanded, and he was probably right. Cases there quickly grew to more than a dozen. Though our lives became a blur of doctors, quarantines and prescriptions, we figured that if we could keep them safe for a while, federal and state governments would fix the group-living problem with the necessary testing, equipment and infection control.

That didn’t happen. Now we’re sending them back to the facility, aware that it could be a fateful choice. But they would be no safer with us as the economy reopens: Kids return to their orthodontists, camps and schools, and we return to postponed appointments and eventually offices and mass transit.


Coronavirus could wipe out
Social Security COLA for 2021

By Brittany De Lea

Negative economic fallout related to the coronavirus pandemic is already expected to put pressure on the solvency of the Social Security trust fund, but it could also hit beneficiaries’ checks in 2021.

Recipients look forward to a possible benefit increase each year, known as a cost of living adjustment (COLA). That increase, however, is tied to inflation – which has been depressed by the pandemic.

Based on the consumer price index data through April, which measures inflation, the Senior Citizens League estimates the cost of living adjustment for 2021 will be 0.

The COLA for 2020 was 1.6 percent.



GOP ‘plot to gut Social Security behind closed doors’
gains steam in Senate Covid-19 talks

A proposal by Sen. Mitt Romney to establish congressional committees with the specific goal of crafting legislative “solutions” for America’s federal trust fund programs has reportedly resurfaced in GOP talks over the next Covid-19 stimulus package, sparking alarm among progressive advocates who warn the Utah Republican’s bill is nothing but a stealth attack on Social Security and Medicare.

Politico‘s Burgess Everett reported Wednesday that Romney’s TRUST Act, first introduced last October with the backing of a bipartisan group of senators, “is getting a positive reception from Senate Republicans” in coronavirus relief discussions, which are still in their early stages. The legislation, Everett noted, “could become part of the mix” for the next Covid-19 stimulus as Republicans once again claim to be concerned about the growing budget deficit.

Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), told Common Dreams in an interview that he is not at all surprised to see Romney’s bill crop up again and said it should be diligently opposed.



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5-6 minutes

After 70 days it was bound to happen. I’m cracking under the pressure.
Perhaps not so much crack as giving up.
At the start of this mishegoss in late March and early April I was at the door of the kitchen almost every day here at the Asylum screaming at the kitchen staff about the poor quality of the food they were feeding us.
Now, even though the food has not improved and actually may be worse, I’ve done nothing. My fighting spirit is gone.
I fear I am succumbing to the two ‘afflictions’ prevalent at many assisted living facilities. Lethargy and apathy.
And I know I’m not the only one.

In a brief conversation with a fellow member of the resident’s council and another with the head of our resident’s food committee, the feeling I got from them was one of desperation and resignation.
Is it possible that this feeling of hopelessness and the inability to change the inevitable is a side effect of this lengthy quarantine and separation?

I’m sure if I searched the web I could find some scholarly opinion backing me up on that. But I’m too apathetic to care.
If things like apathy, lethargy and desperation are too nebulous for you to comprehend how about something more pathological. Like feet.
I awoke the other morning to find both of my feet swollen to the point where I could not put shoes on them.
My feet have not been this swollen since when I first moved here almost 7 years ago.
I was fresh from a nursing home where my mobility was severely curtailed. It appears I may revert to that time completely wiping out any progress I have made in the last 7 years.
I spoke with the traveling podiatrist who visits here once a week to check the feet and clip the nails of our residents.
Performing no tests. His initial diagnosis was that the edema was most likely caused by not walking as much as I had been. My tendency is to agree with him.
The truth is, I’ve been hardly walking at all since this who thing began.

Add to that the salt-heavy processed food they’ve been feeding us and I’m not surprised my feet are the way they are.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to walk more. But it’s difficult with swollen feet.

Under normal circumstances I would walk three to four times a day just going and coming from the dining room or other activities. Now, we don’t even do that.
I’m wondering what other surprises, health-wise, are in store for me.
I already have 3rd stage kidney disease. Will this take me to the next level?
I’m supposed to have an appointment with my nephrologist next month. I doubt whether I’ll be going to that. Hopefully, they’ll draw my blood here and send the results to the doctor so he can see if my problems have progressed.
I’m more concerned about the state of my health and well-being than I am contracting the Covid-19 virus.
I fear that to keep us out of harm's way; they are forgetting about the other conditions we have that are just being exacerbated by this lengthy, and possibly cruel, lockdown.
As usual, there’s no new content on Sunday. I will use the time trying to find a pair of shoes that fit.
Back at you Monday with more……………………………………………

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Find Disability Assistance Online
How do I find disability assistance programs?

Wherever you are in your search for government benefits, is a great tool to help you find benefits you may be eligible to receive. Are you looking for benefits related to disability assistance? has resources to help with your search.

    A great place to start is our Benefit Finder. The Benefit Finder asks you a series of questions about your situation and provides a list of benefits you may be eligible for.

    Browse the Disability Assistance category through our Browse by Category feature to view disability assistance programs on the site. Filter by state to personalize the list.

    Use the Search feature to search for information by keyword. Filter by Benefits, News Articles, and Videos to narrow your search.

What disability assistance programs are on

Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities helps people with disabilities live independently by providing financial aid for rental housing. If you're curious about your eligibility for this program, take a short questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.

Automobiles and Adaptive Equipment for Disabled Veterans and Service Members is a program provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that makes a one-time payment to eligible veterans to buy an automobile or pay for adaptive equipment required due to a disability. If you're curious about your eligibility for this program, take a short questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.

Caregiver Programs and Services delivers training and educational resources to help caregivers provide support for veterans. If you're curious about your eligibility for this program, take a short questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.
Where can I apply for disability assistance? does not accept or manage applications for government benefits. While you cannot apply for benefits or check your application status directly on the website, we can help guide you to the next steps in the application process. For application information, refer to the Application Process or "Quick Info sections on each of our benefit pages.
Want to learn more about disability assistance and

Check out our news article, A Guide to for People with Disabilities, to read more about how can help connect you with information about disability assistance. This article highlights several additional programs and resources on

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Older adults who use the internet daily
more likely to be socially isolated'

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) examined data from 4,492 adults in England with an average age of 64, and found those who went online either once a week or month were less likely to be socially isolated than those who used it daily.

Searching for information, sending emails and shopping were the most common online activities for more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of respondents who went online every day. More frequent web users were more likely to use a smartphone, while those logging on less often were more likely to use laptops.


Invisible Industry: Patience Wears Thin As Senior Living
Pleads for Government Support

By Tim Regan

As the Covid-19 pandemic drags on and the industry worries its hardest weeks still lie ahead, many are wondering when — or even if — they will receive more support from federal, state or local governments. And, their frustration is rising.

Senior living providers and industry associations have been clamoring since the outset of the crisis for more access to personal protective equipment (PPE), testing supplies and financial support. These resources are still sorely lacking, even as some senior living providers are subject to increased regulatory and oversight requirements, frontline caregivers are working hard with limited supplies while seeing senior living blasted in the press, and other industries have received substantial dollars. At the same time, there is a fear that, as the national death toll climbs, senior housing communities could be treated as a scapegoat or face new federal scrutiny.

Some organizations, like non-profit senior service provider association LeadingAge, believe the federal government can and should do much more to aid senior living residents and workers during this unprecedented time. The organization has had sharp criticism for the Trump administration in recent weeks over what it views as a lackluster response to protecting senior service providers and older adults amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


Why testing is the best way to
fight pandemic in nursing facilities

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Michigan, one thing became clear – it was most unmerciful to our senior citizens.  A staggering 69% of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Michigan were individuals ages 70 and older.

The Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM) member nursing facilities across the state are in a battle against COVID-19. The average resident in our nursing facilities is 82 years old, and our residents are often compromised with multiple medical complications. In Michigan and across the globe, we have seen the impact when the virus takes hold in these settings.

This data dictates that the fight against the virus must prioritize the protection of our residents in nursing facilities. At the onset of the pandemic, nursing facilities remained a low priority for personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing. Hindsight is 20/20. We now know that a robust response ensuring universal testing of nursing facility residents and staff, along with prioritizing these facilities in the allocation of PPE, could have saved lives.



Biden grabs big lead with
Fox News demographic — senior voters

By Eric Boehlert

Fox News continues to flail around trying to lead a grassroots rebellion against public gathering restrictions during the pandemic, urging viewers to revolt in the name of "liberty" and "freedom." The rallies are often attracting crowds in the dozens, as polling shows most Americans, including Republicans, support the restrictions put in place to safeguard public health, and remain nervous about "reopening" too quickly without an effective vaccine, prompting a deadly second wave of the disease.

Not only is Fox failing to lead an uprising, but there's a campaign-defining voter migration underway in the last few months, as senior voters turn sharply away from Trump and in favor of Democrat Joe Biden. That's telling because Fox News' entire business model is built around attracting, and frightening, older viewers and to urge them to vote GOP. (More than half of Fox News viewers at any given moment are over the age of 65.)

The scary villains in the staged Fox News productions usually include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi. Those mainstays have been replaced this spring by a deadly pandemic. Fox hosts are doing their best to downplay the threat while older Americans remain disproportionately at risk for coronavirus complications — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates nearly 80 percent of all confirmed US Covid-19 deaths have been among those over the age of 65. That seems to have sparked a stampede away from Trump and his historic failure to protect Americans.



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5 minutes

“Guidelines.” We’ve heard that word a lot lately. “A guideline is a statement by which to determine a course of action. A guideline aims to streamline particular processes according to a set routine or sound practice. ... A guideline is similar to a rule.”
Both the states and the federal government have been setting guidelines for just about everybody and everything to bring our nation safely out of this Covid-19 nightmare.
Among the most stringent guidelines are those which they imposed (some say too late) on facilities where old folks live or cared for including senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living centers. Most of the new regulations require stricter testing of employees and some patients and tightened disinfection procedures. Adding to the already draconian measures like no visitors, no recreation, no co-mingling with other residents (except out of doors and close to the building and with masks) and definitely no communal dining, the main means of interaction among residents here at the ALF.
There are guidelines for restaurants, barber shops, supermarkets, churches and even dog grooming parlors. Each designed to give at least some evidence of a plan, eventually allowing everybody a way back to normal. Everybody but us seniors who are residents of assisted living, that is.

While the rest of the nation, and the world, can walk in the streets, go to beaches, get a haircut, go to a supermarket and dine facing one another at a restaurant. We ALF residents continue to languish in limbo, not knowing when, or if, we will ever have a decent meal or conversation with our friends in the foreseeable future.

I realize the dire situation facing all seniors during this crisis. We have been singled out as the most likely to die of Covid-19. I also understand the need to use extra-ordinary measures to keep us safe. And I applaud those measures.
I support our isolation from ‘outsiders.’ It’s much too early to allow the community in general to come in close contact with any resident or patient. And I even uphold our internal separation, for now. There are still too many loose ends.
But what I object to, and I can’t say this strongly enough, is the apparent total lack of any plan. Or, if there is one, when are they going to let us know about it? Are they treating us like little children to spare us the grim news that there is no plan and never will be a plan? And the only way it will be considered safe for us to return to normal is when the virus completely disappears by itself?

I don’t think that’s asking for too much. Do you?……………………………………….. .

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How to keep healthy while in
isolation or quarantine

Whether you are in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19, you will inevitably be spending more time at home. Following general healthy living advice such as eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, being physically active, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are the best recommendation for staying healthy during quarantine or self-isolation. If you are interested in food-related issues with COVID-19, read Food and coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to know

1.    Eat a balanced and varied diet
2.    Establish a routine and practice mindful eating
3.    Keep hydrated
4.    Practice safe food hygiene
5.    Stay active at home
6.    Get enough quality sleep
7.    Get information from trustworthy sources

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New CMS Guidance Can Help Assisted
Living Buildings Re-Open, Testing an Issue

By Chuck Sudo

On Monday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to ensure that nursing homes have safe re-opening plans as states prepare to relax lockdowns stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance includes benchmarks that may be adopted by independent living and assisted living communities transitioning from their own access restrictions. But it fails to address assistance in obtaining enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing on the facilities — an issue raised by industry associations since lockdowns began in mid-March.

While some of the benchmarks can be adopted by senior living providers, industry groups stress that relaxing restrictions is not uniform and will vary by state, city and care acuity.


Will the Pandemic Lead to Better,
Safer Long-Term Care Facilities?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to America’s most vulnerable elders, in long-term care facilities. The New York Times calculates that staff and residents at nursing homes and other long-term care developments account for more than a third of coronavirus-related deaths in the United States.

In some states, the toll is higher. Residents in Minnesota long-term care facilities represent less than 1% of the population yet comprise about 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the state.

“The elderly are the most susceptible to high risk, bad outcomes,” says Robyn Stone, senior vice president at Leading Age, an organization that advocates for nonprofit aging service providers.


Evidence That Grandmothers Were
Crucial for Human Evolution

For many years, anthropologists and evolutionary biologists have not been able to explain the ‘why’ of menopause.

How could it be beneficial for women to no longer be able to have children, when they still have decades left to live? Menopause is also a unique stage present only in human life, it is not shared with our primate relatives.

A recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B  explains how to answer to ‘why menopause’, is a woman’s need to be a grandmother, and how this has been a crucial role in human evolution.

The grandmother hypothesis explains that “grandmothering was the initial step toward making us who we are”.



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Editor’s note: For those of you who are familiar with the story of my “transformation” from a normally aging retired gentleman living comfortably in Queens NY to an almost penniless invalid now living in a subsidized assisted living facility, then read no further. You can skip right to the other features without guilt or the fear of recrimination. For the rest, the following is a brief accounting of what I like to call…

(Parts One and two May Be Viewed By Scrolling Down To The End Of This Post)
7 minutes

Things were looking bleak for me in May 2010.
My health insurance refused to pay for any more of my nursing home stay and I wasn’t anywhere near to being rehabilitated.
My bank account was down to a point where I’d be out of funds in another three months. It was time for me to seek some professional help. Fortunately, the nursing home had a great staff of social workers ready to do just that.
After going over my finances they determined that the only way for me to get me out of this situation was to turn 65. But I’d have to wait until August to do that. “We’ll be able to help you much better after you turn 65” she said. “Magical things happen.”
Meanwhile, I’d have to keep paying for my stay at the nursing home out of my own pocket.
August arrived. Never has a person wished to be 65 more than I.
Down to the last of my money and desperate for relief, I returned to the social worker who got the ball rolling.
She made sure they enrolled me in Medicare, which would immediately begin paying my nursing home bill. But there was still a problem with the other part of state-funded health care, Medicaid. Medicaid paid for the rehab part of my care, and the problem was, I had too much money in my bank account to be eligible for Medicaid. I needed to divest myself of a few thousand dollars.

“I’ll buy some expensive jewelry” I said.
“No good” she said
“A used car, digital camera, fur coat?”
“No, no, and no,” was her answer. “And you can’t give it away either.”
There is practically nothing Medicaid accepts as a legal way to get rid of excess funds. But there is one.
Pre-planning and paying for your funeral.
That week I met with my friendly local funeral director who helped me spend just enough on a proper burial for me to qualify for Medicaid.[1] I was on my way to spend nearly two more years getting me back in shape.
The timeline gets a little fuzzy from here on.
There was another 2 week stay in a hospital to identify and correct a thyroid problem setting my rehab back. It was not until the middle of 2013 that I finally could get out of the wheelchair and on to a walker and eventually to a Rollator. It was then that they informed me I would need to think about leaving the nursing home. But where?

I knew I could not return to my apartment, the only solution was assisted living.
I wasn’t sure what assisted living was, but I went along with what she said.
That’s when I learned all ALFs are not alike. And choosing the right one can mean the difference between joy and misery.
They arranged tours of some local (Queens) ALFs. None of them looked like a place I would like to spend any time in.
Some were dark and cramped, others crowded with unkempt residents. I refused to see any more like that.
Once again my social worker came to my rescue.
“If you don’t mind going out of the city, there’s an alternative place just opened in Yonkers” she said.
They took me on a tour of the facility I now call home. I liked it as soon as I saw it.
The grounds were beautiful; the rooms were bright and airy, and the residents were neat and clean. And best of all. My Social Security along with some government subsidies would foot the bill.[2]
For two years I had prayed that I would leave the nightmare of the nursing home. They answered those prayers in Yonkers.
Are things here perfect? Far from it. And, after 70 days in quarantine, I’d rather be somewhere else. But It’s what I needed at the time and still need. A roof over my head and a safe environment to live out my days.
Life often throws you curve balls and you can’t always hit a home run. But sometimes a ground ball to left field isn’t so bad. At least you’re still in the game………………………………………………………
[1]It wasn’t as morbid as you would think. I had planned to do it anyway and this seemed as good a time as any.
[2]Approximately $5000 a month. Expensive, but still cheaper than a nursing home.

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At-home beauty treatments for your
hands, feet, hair and skin

By Jordan Muto and Bobbie Thomas

If spending more time at home has inspired you to step up your beauty game and give yourself a little TLC, style expert Bobbie Thomas has you covered!

Thomas shared her go-to remedies to help you from the top of your head (aka your hair) down to your toes. The best part is that you already have most of these superhero products at home — you probably just haven't tried them in your beauty routine yet.
Skin care
All it takes is sugar and olive oil to make a DIY exfoliator. Bobbie Thomas

Does your skin need a bit of extra moisture? You're not alone! Try adding some olive oil to your bath. Just like coconut oil, olive oil is a great natural moisturizer.

Stuff We Love

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For millions of Americans, the coronavirus
pandemic will make retiring harder

By Annie Nova

Labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci began studying retirement in 2008, when the Great Recession was making it impossible for millions of Americans to retire. “The phenomenon of Granny working in McDonald’s really started to ramp up,” said Ghilarducci, who leads the Retirement Equity Lab at The New School in New York.

Yet, as bad as it was then, she sees the current Covid-19 recession making life even more uncertain and even more difficult for those in their 50s, 60s and 70s. By her calculations, the pandemic will force another 3.1 million older workers into poverty in their retirement, with many forced to choose between their health and their need for a paycheck.

CNBC spoke with Ghilarducci about why older Americans are particularly vulnerable to this recession, and what the pandemic’s fallout has revealed to us about the risks of our current retirement system.


How to Be a Great Virtual Grandparent

Nothing is “normal” these days. While we don’t yet know how bad COVID-19 will ultimately be, we do know that people over 60 are at particular risk for complications, should they become ill. That has many grandparents sheltering in place and unable to be physically with their grandchildren.

However, many are making extra efforts to maintain a regular presence in their grandkids’ lives during the pandemic, albeit in a different form. As a grandparent myself, I understand how difficult it is to be apart. So I reached out to friends and colleagues to see how they were coping.

Here are some ideas they shared which you can use or adapt to strengthen connections with your family:


If your memory feels like it's not what it once was,
it could point to a future dementia risk

Research led by Dr. Katya Numbers from UNSW's Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) has shown that certain presentations of memory concerns by older adults are predictive of future dementia.

The findings published today in PLOS ONE highlight the importance of general practitioners in listening to their older adult patient population in relation to memory.

"We found that when older adults go to their general practitioner with memory-specific subjective cognitive complaints it would be wise to take it seriously as they may predict future dementia," says Dr. Numbers.



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


Editor’s note: For those of you who are familiar with the story of my “transformation” from a normally aging retired gentleman living comfortably in Queens NY to an almost penniless invalid now living in a subsidized assisted living facility, then read no further. You can skip right to the other features without guilt or the fear of recrimination. For the rest, the following is a brief accounting of what I like to call…

(Part One May Be Viewed By Scrolling Down To The End Of This Post)
5-6 minutes

In America illness consists of two parts.

The actual illness or disease which may involve surgery, medications, long hospital stays and rehabilitation is the first part. Bad enough, right? But then, if you were able to survive that illness, you are hit with part two. How to pay for it.

Fortunately, most of us have some form of health insurance, either private or government supplied through Medicare.

And when I became seriously ill in 2009, I was glad I had made all of my Blue Cross payments.

In 2009 I was just 63 years old. Not eligible to receive Medicare which wouldn’t kick in for another 2 years.

Fortunately, because I had saved my money, made a few decent investments and was very frugal, even though I had no income other than Social Security, I was able to afford, what I thought, was a decent health insurance policy. It certainly wasn’t cheap. My monthly premium was over $360. But it gave me the peace of mind I needed. And, while it wasn’t the best policy they had, it would at least pay for any treatments or procedures I would have incurred while I was a patient in a hospital.

Therefore, as I lay in my hospital bed, fighting for my life, I was comforted knowing I wouldn’t have to worry about the bill.

Lesson number one: No matter how much health insurance you think you have, it ain’t enough.

First there’s the hospital bill, then there are the bills you get from doctors you don’t remember seeing.

When you are very sick and have no one to monitor your care, they send in every doctor who practices a specialty that may or may not be related to whatever illness you have. It’s those bills that come later. Usually when you are on your way to convalesce.

You soon find out that health insurance policy, the one you paid $360 a month for and said that it would pay for any in-hospital procedures, isn’t. Thus begins the long and often futile attempt to find out why they won’t pay. Eventually they wear you out and you wind up paying the $2000, $5000 and $7000 to a collection agencythat is threatening to sue you.
But those “hidden” costs are only an insignificant part of why you could end up broke after an illness.

Lesson number two: Watching your money fly out the (nursing home) window.

They have discharged you from the hospital, but that doesn’t mean you are okay.
Following any serious illness you are weak, mostly bedridden and unable to care for yourself.
That’s where the nursing home comes into the picture. They provide everything you will need as you continue to get well. But these nursing homes are expensive. Very expensive.
The average monthly stay at a full-service nursing home costs about $13,000. And here’s the kicker. Although your policy will probably pay for it, it will only pay for 90 days. Unfortunately, you need 180 days or more just to get you to stand up. Who will pay for those extra months? Not the insurance company. They’ve washed their hands with you. Not the government. You are still three months shy of qualifying for Medicare, it’s you.

So, there I was, In my wheelchair, checkbook in hand, writing $13,000 checks and passing them out as if they were pancakes.
And finally, adding insult to injury, my landlord was demanding I pay the nearly $11, 000 rent I owed him.
Add that to an American Express card and Visa card bill for another five or six hundred dollars, and soon I had no money left. I had cashed in my 401K and my IRA. My savings and checking accounts were dry. Not only was I broke. I was homeless too.
Fortunately, there was a silver lining in some of those clouds. Not a windfall, mind you, but some relief I could not have done without.

I’ll tell you about that in part three tomorrow………………………………………………..

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Health coverage for retirees

If you’re retired and need health coverage, you can use the Marketplace to buy an insurance plan.

If you have retiree health coverage, you have different choices to consider.

If you retire before age 65 without health coverage

If you retire before you’re 65 and lose your job-based health plan when you do, you can use the Health Insurance Marketplace to buy a plan.

Losing health coverage qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. This means you can enroll in a health plan even if it’s outside the annual Open Enrollment Period.

If you want to enroll because you lost your job-based coverage, see our Special Enrollment Period page for more information.

When you fill out a Marketplace application, you'll find out if you qualify for a private plan with premium tax credits and lower out-of-pocket costs. This will depend on your income and household size.

You’ll also find out if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage through the Medicaid program in your state.

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Ways That Coronavirus Is
Boosting Relationships

Back in January or February, you may have thought that “liking” someone’s Facebook post qualified as catching up with a friend. But if you’ve been self-isolating at home since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve probably upgraded to phone calls and video chats.

This dramatic change in interpersonal connection has been one positive effect of COVID-19, fueled partly by concern for others and partly by the free time which people may have when they’re sheltering in place.

“This pandemic has completely shifted where our social needs lie and what we’re craving,” says Marisa Franco, a psychologist and friendship researcher based in Washington, D.C. “People often talk themselves out of reaching out to others because they assume people are too busy to talk. But now, we assume that others have more time.”


Millions of elderly people feel cut off
due to a lack of tech knowledge
By Darren Stocking

Millions of elderly people feel cut off due to a lack of tech knowledge – and would even avoid a GP appointment if it was over a video call, a study has found.

A poll of 1,000 adults who have a relative aged over 70 found more than half believe their loved one would wait for an appointment in person rather than trying an online alternative.

And 53 per cent said their relation has already struggled to adjust to an altered lifestyle due to coronavirus.

The study, commissioned by BT Skills for Tomorrow, also found six in 10 said their elderly relatives have felt more isolated than ever before as a result of the global pandemic.

And half think it would be life-changing for their vulnerable relatives if they were able to order their own food shop online.


For ‘grandfluencers,’ age isn’t a
social media hindrance – it’s a hook

In the Instagram Live show #CuarenTata, 95-year-old Luisa Cantero Sanchez, better known as Tata, reads haltingly off a script welcoming viewers. She and Miguel Ángel Muñoz, her great-nephew and co-star, then begin chatting and laughing, the love the two share emanating from every interaction.

Tata is one of many figures of advanced age to become a social media sensation lately. Indeed, while older people have often been portrayed as vulnerable, weak, or lonely during the pandemic, they have also become examples of life and resilience.

Mr. Muñoz moved in with Tata, who cared for him as a child, to care for her during lockdown. She lived through the Spanish Civil War and World War II, and has authority about how to endure hardship.



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


Editor’s note: For those of you who are familiar with the story of my “transformation” from a normally aging retired gentleman living comfortably in Queens NY to an almost penniless invalid now living in a subsidized assisted living facility, then read no further. You can skip right to the other features without guilt or the fear of recrimination. For the rest, the following is a brief accounting of what I like to call…

Part One
5-6 minutes

An un-aversary is an anniversary that’s not as much a celebration as it is a remembrance of an event that forever changes your life. Most of us will experience only a few of these in a lifetime. One of those times, for me, was Tuesday, September 11th 2001.
Being in New York City and personally witnessing the Twin Towers fall and all the actions in the days that followed stirs more than just a memory. It regurgitates the exact time the world changed forever.
Things like that don’t come along often. That’s probably for the best. One life-altering occurrence is enough. However, if you stay around long enough, chances are there will be others as it was for me.

May 19th, 2009.

I had not been feeling well for a few days.

Stomach cramps and some mild diarrhea were causing me some discomfort. I shrugged it off as a temporary stomach flu and went about my business as best I could and waiting for my immune system to kick in and make the entire thing go away.
However, after almost a week with the pain and diarrhea getting worse, I began to worry. 

It was only after my temperature spiked at 103 and I notice blood in the toilet did I realize this was more than just a stomach virus. 
Being all alone and having no regular doctor, I contemplated driving myself to a hospital ER. Instead, I called 911 for an ambulance to take me there. An excellent decision, as it turned out. I probably would never had made it had I driven.
I will spare you the details of my ER experience other than to tell you I begged to be admitted because the pain was getting worse.
A cat scan and a colonoscopy confirmed what the ER doctor suspected.
Somehow I had contracted a nasty case of ulcerative colitis.[1] The doctors gave me a choice. I could have some very invasive and very serious surgery which may result in the removal of my colon or they could try a course of medications to relieve the symptoms allowing the colon to heal. Not wanting anything removed from my body, I chose the latter. It was a colossal mistake.

The medicine did no good. I was getting sicker and sicker and in more pain than I had ever been in my life. Only I.V. Morphine and Percocet could give me some relief. After two weeks, I was ready for surgery.
My GI doctor was reluctant to do surgery because of my unstable condition. I looked him straight in the eye and told him, “If he couldn’t end the pain, I would.”
That got his attention. Four hours later I was in an ambulance on my way to Mt. Sinai hospital in Manhattan for what was to be some life-saving surgery by a marvelous team of doctors and nurses to whom I am eternally grateful.
Unfortunately, they had to remove my colon. But the pain had gone, and I was improving, gradually.

I spent all that summer and spring lying in bed unable to move very much.
The UC infection affected more than just my colon. I developed kidney problems, blood problems and even a retinal infection causing scaring and some vision loss in my left eye. And, because of some conflict between some strong meds they gave me, I lost hearing in one ear.
I left Mt. Sinai alive, but a mess.
The rest of my story involves lengthy stays in nursing homes and rehab facilities learning to walk again. It was utter hell and I could not wait for them to discharge me to the assisted living facility where I now live.
But this is only part of the story.
Why I’m still here at the ALF after six years and why I have no money is the real scary part.
I’ll tell that part tomorrow……………………………..
[1] Ulcerative colitis (UL-sur-uh-tiv koe-LIE-tis) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.

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6 Types of Affordable Housing for Seniors

As you join millions of other older adults searching for affordable senior housing, finding the right community may feel like a challenge—especially with the population of Americans ages 65 and older projected to nearly double by 2060 and comprise 23 percent of the total U.S. population.

Luckily, there are many affordable housing options available for low-income older adults, through both the government and the private market, and “affordable” doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality or a great lifestyle. By making the move to an affordable senior housing community, you can build new friendships, enjoy the activities you love every day and stay in a community you’ve come to call home.

Here are six types of affordable senior housing options available to low-income older adults on a fixed budget.

1.Co-Op Housing
2.Public Housing
3.Virtual Retirement Communities
4.Housing Choice Voucher Program
5.Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly
6.Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

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What’s Behind the Nursing Home Horror
By Charles C. Camosy

After decades of mistreatment, older Americans are bearing the worst of the pandemic.

We knew it from the beginning. A nursing home in Washington State was the center of the first known coronavirus outbreak in the United States. We knew that institutions caring for the elderly and disabled in close quarters would be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic.

But we did not act. Personal protective equipment, special training and extra staff went almost exclusively to our critical care facilities. Nursing homes got virtually nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. In New York and other places we gave them patients, and even nurses, infected with the virus.

The result has been a raging wildfire of infection and death. We don’t have full reporting of anywhere close to all the deaths at this point, but the best estimates right now are that about half of those who have died from Covid-19 have been nursing home residents. In some places, it’s much more: Connecticut reported that nearly 90 percent of its Covid-related deaths between April 22 and April 29 occurred in nursing homes.


Long-term care residents face mental health
challenges amid coronavirus pandemic isolation

By Jacob Myers

Restrictions on visitors and general movement inside Ohio’s long-term care facilities remain in place despite the return of some Ohioans to workplaces and into commercial areas. Those restrictions have made it a challenge to preserve the mental health of facility residents.

Carolee Noonan noticed a change in her mother when they spoke a week before her death.

Her mother, Helen Watkins, was living at Wesley Glen, an assisted living facility in Clintonville, and hadn’t seen her daughter, whom she depended on, for more than a month.

“She said repeatedly, ‘I wish I were dead. I can’t do this much longer. I’m going to die tonight. I feel like I’m going to die.’” Noonan said.


Answers to Questions About
Asymptomatic COVID-19

(Editor’s note: Blood tests that check for exposure to the coronavirus are starting to come online, and preliminary findings suggest that many people have been infected without knowing it. Even people who do eventually experience the common symptoms of COVID-19 don’t start coughing and spiking fevers the moment they’re infected. Dr. William Petri is a professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of Virginia who specializes in infectious diseases. Here, he runs through what’s known and what isn’t about asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.)

How Common Is It For People to Contract and Fight Off Viruses Without Knowing It?

Dr. William Petri: In general, having an infection without any symptoms is common. Perhaps the most infamous example was Typhoid Mary, who spread typhoid fever to other people without having any symptoms herself in the early 1900s.

    Possibly anywhere from around 10% to 40% of those infected might not experience symptoms.

My colleagues and I have found that many infections are fought off by the body without the person even knowing it. For example, when we carefully followed children for infection by the parasite Cryptosporidia, one of the major causes of diarrhea, almost half of those with infections showed no symptoms at all.



‘You lied to senior citizens about things that could kill them’:
Morning Joe delivers painful truth about Trump’s poll numbers

By Travis Gettys

Poll after poll shows President Donald Trump losing to Joe Biden, and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said there’s a simple — but painful — explanation.

The “Morning Joe” host pointed to polls showing the former vice president with narrow leads in Georgia and Texas, and he said that showed the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on public health, the economy — and the president’s re-election chances.

“One poll after another is showing Donald Trump get routed by Joe Biden when it comes to senior citizens,” Scarborough said. “As we predicted, you lie to senior citizens about things that can kill them, senior citizens probably less likely than more likely to vote for you in the upcoming election. It seems to make sense to me.”

“I don’t know much about politics, but I do get that,” he added.



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6 minutes

For two months and five days we have stagnated here at the ALF while 49 states (some reluctantly) have decided to re-open many of the places people not only must go, but want to go.

Gyms, barber shops and hairdressers, some restaurants and even bars will be among the first to open, with restrictions.

Even the most uptight keep-them-locked-down state in the nation, my state NY, will open up the beaches and parks allowing folks to catch some rays, smell the ocean and perhaps grab a slice or a hot dog on the boardwalk. [1].
Though they know there is a risk of exposing more people to the virus and folks will probably die because of easing the restrictions they have capitulated to the masses because, even in the haziness of their bureaucratic minds, they understand people cannot be pent-up with little to do for two or three months before they rebel and take matters into their own hands. At least this way, the government can still maintain some control of the situation.
Therefore, come Memorial Day, if not sooner, they will allow tens of thousands of people to experience places like the great beaches of the Jersey shore and Jones Breach in New York.
But simultaneously there will be thousands of people who, though citizens in good standing and through no fault of their own, will not be able to enjoy any of that.

I’m referring to all the residents of assisted living facilities in my state and many other states. That’s right. By law, they are continuing the lockdown. 

This is partly because our governor has been blamed for the late start our state took in beginning the lockdown leading to the high number of fatalities in adult care facilities.
So now, they ( DOH) are overcompensating and tightening virus-associated regulations even further.
Don’t mistake me for one of those gun-toting-flag-waving maniacs who think this entire thing is a hoax. Quite the opposite. However, what I want is at least some understanding of what this is doing to us old folks.
I realize the goal is to keep us from dying and the way to do that is to keep us from contact with the outside world. I’m okay with that. To be honest, we don’t want to leave here. It’s the safest place for us to be. We are probably the best protected people in the country. But, for G-d’s sake, give us some relief.
Relief from the abject boredom. The lack of human interaction. We need the ability to talk and eat with our friends and play Bingo and cards and everything else we did before the virus struck. We need to do something other than watch TV and sleep and be forced to eat the subsistence level third world swill they have been serving us. We need to return to normalcy now. And there is no reason we can’t have this.
We don’t want to go out. We don’t have to. We are almost 100% self-contained. An island of sorts. We don’t go to restaurants, supermarkets or malls anyway. So interaction with the community is unnecessary. We could do everything we did before, with some minor adjustments and still conform to the extra level of precautions.
New testing and Certification Requirements
EO 202.30 mandates twice weekly testing for skilled nursing and adult care facility staff and next-day reporting of positive results. Both the operator and the administrator of all nursing homes and adult care facilities–which includes all adult homes, enriched housing programs and assisted living residences–must:[2]

Toady, we are better equipped with more PPE’s and masks for all and increased sanitizing procedures than we have since the lockdown began. And, because they are no longer ordering facilities to admit Covid-19 recovering patients, we are safer than ever before.

We just need some compassion. Some understanding of what we are going through. Going forward, we need to have some input, or at least some representation, as to how our long term and immediate needs will be met. Because, at this rate, there does not appear to be any plan whatsoever as to what to do with us.

With these new regs. in place I'm happy to see they finally recognize we are not expendable. Maybe next, they’ll see we have feelings too……………………

[1]New York City beaches like Coney Island, the Rockaways and Orchard Beach will remain closed
[2 ]

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Editor's note: We tend to take for granted that every old person knows how to cook. But I'm willing to bet there are many of us (especially some of us old dudes) that can't do much more than boil water. Now, more than ever, we all need to learn some basic cooking skills at least until your favorite restaurant opens again.

12 Cooking Skills Every
Adult Should Learn

By Hayley Sugg

Everyone, young or old, can enjoy having a handy collection of basic cooking skills with a little practice. Mastering this list can help you make better meals, save time, be safer in the kitchen, and just plain have fun!

Properly Cooking Pasta
While most people can at least boil water to cook pasta, it's still a fairly easy food to mess up. It's a good idea to glance over the main pointers to make sure you're not using too little water or adding unnecessary ingredients (looking at you, salt).

Prepping Meals
If you don't want to wake up early to pack lunch or have been eating a bit too much takeout recently, then meal prepping might be for you. By investing a few hours each week and a little money in reusable containers, you can make healthy meals that will last you the whole week.

Roasting a Chicken
It might seem a bit intimidating at first, but learning how to roast a whole chicken is something that will continuously help your culinary ventures. Our easy fool-proof way is a great primer for those wanting to try their hand at making an impressive bird.

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Epidemiologists develop new tool for measuring
the pace of aging across the life course

A study just released by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health is reporting a blood-DNA-methylation measure that is sensitive to variation in the pace of biological aging among individuals born the same year. The tool—DunedinPoAm—offers a unique measurement for intervention trials and natural experiment studies investigating how the rate of aging may be changed by behavioral or drug therapy, or by changes to the environment. The study findings are published online in the journal eLife.

"The goal of our study was to distill a measurement of the rate of biological aging based on 12-years of follow-up on 18 different clinical tests into a blood test that can be administered at a single time point." said lead author Daniel Belsky, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School and a researcher at the Columbia Aging Center.

Midlife adults measured to be aging faster according to the new measurement showed faster declines in physical and cognitive functioning and looked older in facial photographs. Older adults measured to be aging faster by the tool were at increased risk for chronic disease and mortality. In other analyses, the researchers showed that DunedinPoAm captured new information not measured by proposed measures of biological aging known as epigenetic clocks, that 18-year-olds with histories of childhood poverty and victimization showed faster aging as measured by DunedinPoAm, and that DunedinPoAm predictions were disrupted by a caloric restriction intervention in a randomized trial.


Older workers have been clobbered by
the coronavirus unemployment crisis

By Alessandra Malito

The unemployment rate has skyrocketed in the last couple of months, up to 14.7% in April from 3.6% in January, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show. Some workers have fared worse than others, including those near retirement.

Americans 55 years and older had an unemployment rate of 13.6% in April, up from 2.6% in January. Men 55 and older had an unemployment rate of 12.1% in April, compared with 2.6% in January, and women in the same age group had a rate of 15.5% versus 2.4% during the same time frame, according to the BLS data.

Overall, 20.5 million jobs were lost in April, mainly in retail, dining and hotels (though all industries suffered). The unemployment rate is the highest it has been since the Great Depression, which is estimated to have been around 25% in 1933, and it’s even higher if it doesn’t include the workers who were furloughed and hope to return to their jobs eventually.


Will COVID-19 Make the Decline
Narrative of Aging Worse?

First, there was OK Boomer, the pejorative meme mocking older people. Then came #boomerremover, the morbid catchphrase used by some millennials and GenZers as a shorthand for the coronavirus pandemic to describe the higher vulnerability of boomers, generally, to COVID-19.

Now, there’s #Grandmakiller.

That delightful hashtag comes from the recent flurry of tweets by conservative commentator Bethany Mandel, 34, including these: “Remember when we were told we had to flatten the curve and we’d lockdown for a few weeks to ramp up PPE and free up ventilators or else we’d have to start death panels? When did that turn into indefinite lockdowns and economic destruction because ‘if it saves one life?… You can call me a Grandma killer. I’m not sacrificing my home, food on the table, all of our docs and dentists, every form of pleasure (museums, zoos, restaurants), all my kids’ teachers in order to make other people comfortable.”
The Decline Narrative of Aging

Ageism and the decline narrative of aging — the notion that getting older means decline, deterioration, decay and dependency — were around before the pandemic, of course. But outbursts in social media and on cable TV as well as COVID-19 health care guidelines from government officials, medical professionals and ethicists have made these views more public and, if you will, more virulent.



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5 minutes

I’m in an odd position.
For the first time in many years I have disposable income and I don’t know what to do with it.
This windfall fell upon me as a result of the current pandemic.
First, there are very few places open where I can spend any of the money I already had.
Many of the food delivery places are not open or not making deliveries. Our own general store is closed, as are all the vending machines.
I’m not permitted to leave the grounds to go anywhere unless it’s to a doctor’s appointment.
They supply my food and just about anything else I might need such as medications and yes, even toilet paper.
My “landlord”, the Asylum, automatically receives my rent payment which they take out of my Social Security. The rest goes into my resident’s account, which I have withdrawn no funds from since early February.
And last, but certainly not least, is the $1200 our nice president sent me to spend on things I can’t get out to buy even if I wanted to.

Therefore, I find myself with an embarrassment of riches.
Before you send me requests for donations or invitations to invest in your brother-in-law’s smiley-face surgical mask business be advised that the amount of money we are talking about is in the hundreds, not thousands. Okay?
But to a person whose needs are basic and spending habits conservative, an extra few bucks makes an enormous difference.
Primarily it means I can pay off a delinquent credit card bill and save all that nasty interest and late fees.
But all is not sackcloth and ashes. I have allowed myself some indulgences. If you call a new chair an indulgence.
The rickety chair, the one I spend hours on in front of my laptop slaving away at this blog, had become unusable. So I went online and bought a new one. A real office-type chair with casters and an adjustable seat. Now, my non-adjustable seat (and back) can once again feel the comfort and pleasure of a steady blood flow. It arrived last week, and it feels great.

I used part of this “bonanza” to buy some staples like underwear, room deodorant and shower gel. No sense putting on clean undies if your body ain’t clean, right?
The rest I must think about.
I’m putting together an order for some grocery items delivered via Instacart. [1] If you think you are paying outrageous prices at the supermarket, make an Instacart order and see what $75 will buy you. [2] So far it’s V8 and some Heinz ketchup.
It’s nice to have some extra cash. Not so much for what it can buy, but for how it makes me feel.
Part of that feeling is nostalgic. Taking me back a few years when I had a job and could afford just about anything I wanted.
I saw it. I liked it. I bought it. How American is that?
I feel for the people who are struggling and I will try to send some of my extra bucks to a worthy charity. Primarily one that helps feed people and the Biden campaign.
Meanwhile, I will bask in the warmth of my bi-partisan bonus and hope they send no more money. There’s just so much shame one can bear…………………………………………..

[1]If you are wondering why I’m ordering groceries if my meals are provided, It’s simple. The food sucks and, the portions are small and carb-laden. I’m buying things like juices, canned soup, condiments and other items I best not mention. I consider anything I spend as part of my quarantine therapy program.
[2] I’m not knocking Instacart. It’s more like a personal shopping service than a delivery service. They also have evidently hired new shoppers. There are plenty of time slots open and you can even get same day delivery. 

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Saving Basics

Throughout your life, you will be faced with many decisions about saving and spending. Your goals can vary from
smaller purchases such as a new smartphone to larger purchases, such as a car or a house to long-term savings for retirement and any unknowns. There are some life events that you can plan and save for, like higher education or starting a family, but it’s impossible to foresee unplanned expenses. That’s what makes saving important — so you’ll be prepared for any type of expense by having money set aside.

Many Americans spend more than they save, and nearly one in five people are saving less than 5 percent of their income (according to a 2015 Bankrate's 2015 Financial Security Index survey). If you’re reluctant to start saving or believe it isn’t possible, think of it as a path to exciting opportunities rather than a burden. Chances are you’ll need the funds for unexpected situations throughout your lifetime, good and bad. Here are some basic steps to get you started.

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Assisted living facilities plea for
help to fight COVID-19
By Jennie Runevitch

CARMEL, Ind. (WTHR) — Assisted living facilities have a message to lawmakers: there's a critical need for help fighting COVID-19 in the places where so many parents and grandparents call home.

Now a top executive has created a national letter-writing campaign to ask for federal funding.

The letters and emails that went out this week are a call to action.

They ask residents, staff members, family members and regular citizens to contact Congress and request money to protect seniors and staff members at assisted living facilities.

"When you speak of nursing homes and funding, assisted living should be part of that conversation," said Chandra Stradling, vice president of operations with Sunrise Senior Living, based in Virginia.


A License for Neglect.' Nursing Homes Are Seeking —
and Winning — Immunity Amid
the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Person Person

It was 11 p.m. on a Sunday in early May when Penny Shaw, a 76-year-old in Braintree, Massachusetts, picked up the phone and reported her nursing home to the local police. The staff on duty had just told her they couldn’t provide any of their usual care because they had no personal protection equipment (PPE). Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, the staff is supposed to wear PPE when helping all patients, but only the home’s administrator, who doesn’t work late on weekends, could give it out. So the certified nursing assistants wouldn’t be able to get masks, gloves or gowns until the morning.

Shaw was angry that her facility had put its staff, and her fellow residents, in that position, and so she called the cops. “They always make poor decisions and they continue to make poor decisions,” Shaw says. “I have to speak up for myself and other people.”

Since a nursing home in the Seattle area became one of the first major U.S. coronavirus outbreaks in March, nursing homes’ residents and staff have borne a heavy load of the pandemic’s burden. Deaths in long-term care facilities now make up at least one third of coronavirus fatalities in most states. Nursing home employees have become first responders to a disease whose contours are still unknown, though more than 80,000 Americans have died. But while the U.S. government’s slow and patchy response to the pandemic has made nursing homes’ job harder, so have the problems the industry faced long before COVID-19 erupted


Seniors turn to reverse mortgages as a cash
lifeline during the coronavirus crisis

By Ilana Polyak

With coronavirus shutdowns wreaking havoc on the global economy, investment portfolios are also getting battered. The S&P 500 is down more than 10% since the start of the year.

While that’s unpleasant for most investors, it’s especially devastating for retirees who count on their investments for income. And when those declines come at the beginning of retirement, they can permanently lock in a lower nest egg, known as sequence of return risk.

“The best thing to do is not take money out when the market has gone down,” said Mark Orr, a certified financial planner with Retirement Wealth Advisors and author of “Retirement Income Planning: The Baby-Boomers 2020 Guide to Maximize Your Income and Make It Last.”



My Frugal Father, Then and Now

My father had plenty of habits that irritated my mother. But nothing irritated her more than “Marty being cheap.” As a child, I didn’t understand it either.

For instance, my father turned off the lights in rooms that people had just left. Sometimes we were leaving just to come right back in, but whenever he was home, he would march cross the little hallway from wherever he was at either end of the house to click the light switches down. Did he like a dark house?

With the lights off, the forest-green end of the house was as dismal as a real Hansel and Gretel woods. My mother would march right back from wherever she had been to defiantly flick the switches up.

Over time, I noticed that as I told the stories, they had lost the tinge of being amusing foibles.



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Evictions For Money
5-6 minutes

Lately, most news stories don’t excite me.
They are bombarding me with so much Covid-19 news it’s all becoming one big blur.

Therefore, when another story came across my desk about how they mistreated a bunch of seniors living in a nursing home, I almost paid it no attention. However, something about the headline made it worthy of my consideration. Maybe it was the money aspect of the story I found interesting, so I read further.
The headline read:
“Cashing in on the COVID Crisis: Scores of nursing home patients evicted”

You can read or watch the complete story online.[1] However, if like me, you have the attention span of a fruit fly, I’ll give you a synopsis of what they reported.
A recent law approved by the New Mexico government mandates that rooms must be made at area nursing homes and care facilities for those patients recovering from Covid-19. (It says nothing about those patients h
aving to be old or young).
For their “trouble” the care facility will receive $600 per day for each Covid-19 patient they admit. In fact, they don’t have to admit anybody. They only required them to set aside a bed should somebody need it. Therefore, they are getting paid $600 per day per bed, even if empty. [2] 
While all this seems sketchy to begin with, the plot thickens because the nursing home in question didn’t have any empty beds in their facility to begin with. So they made an agreement with the state to evict the current residents (for whom the state was paying the facility only $280 per day) and immediately fill those beds with the $600 patients.

Evictions began almost immediately. They gave relatives as little as 24 hours notice that their loved ones were being moved to another facility. The swiftness of the move coupled with a complete lack of explanation or discussion with the patients left many feeling devastated and, as one relative put it, “disposable.”

When asked, New Mexico Health Secretary said. “We needed a location where we could isolate sick people. And it’s regrettable that anyone had to move to make that happen. I think the State has an obligation to make tough choices and do the best they can with whatever the ramifications are.”
Of course what they could have done instead of moving a group of vulnerable seniors around like pawns would be to do what other states have done when they needed additional space for the care of sick people. Create one.
New York State took little time in transforming a convention center into a hospital. They asked for, and received, help from the Army to get that done. Just as the state of New Mexico could have.
Other states have also converted sports arenas and other buildings into temporary care centers. How come those states didn’t feel it necessary to displace anybody from what is essentially their homes? The answer is simple. New Mexico, like some other states including one here in the Northeast [3] are part of a growing belief that old people are expendable. Just so much flesh to be used as fodder. One relative summed it up best…
“They knew that the elderly, and the disabled could not complain or question this, I believe that they hoped that those of us who love and support those folks would not have time to raise questions or concerns. And that’s why the move happened so quickly. I think that’s despicable.”
At some time in the future people will have to answer for their actions and those who have put their finances ahead of compassion will be severely dealt with. For now, it should be everyone’s priority to make sure that, by trying to ease the suffering of one group, we don’t cause anguish and pain to another……………………………………….

[2]Up to 30 beds.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A statement by the management of the nursing home in question can be found by going to the online story.

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Over 60s Fashion -
How to Build a Basic Capsule Wardrobe

Many of us are using lockdown as an opportunity to reassess our lives and cut out unnecessary clutter - and that applies to our wardrobes too. If you think you're stuck in a fashion rut, there's only one way to get out of it - short of giving yourself a head-to-toe makeover that is - and that's to go back to the start and build yourself a basic capsule wardrobe. For many women, how to dress over 60 and beyond is the source of some head-scratching, so we're here to get you off to a flying start. Here are all the wardrobe essentials you need, from the perfect jeans to the prettiest spring dress. Easy dressing here
we come!

"I revamped my (very aged) wardrobe. I now feel more comfortable about how I look and can put things together without too much thought as they all coordinate."

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of essential items of clothing - think jeans, skirts, jackets, trousers etc. - that won't go out of fashion and that can be paired with a variety of statement or seasonal pieces. The idea was coined by British boutique owner Susie Faux in the 1980s to encourage women to fill their wardrobes with high-quality garments that could be worn time and time again.

Fancy creating your own? Here are just a few reasons why you should switch to a minimalist wardrobe:

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Assisted living communities have special
considerations in COVID-19 battle

Tackling COVID-19 in assisted living communities presents its own set of challenges compared with other long-term care settings, noted researchers offering guidance in battling the disease in an article in the May issue of JAMDA, The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.

Assisted living communities are not staffed or equipped to provide the type of care offered in nursing homes, said the authors of  “Long-Term Care Facilities and the Coronavirus Epidemic: Practical Guidelines for a Population at Highest Risk.” They recommended that state governments have plans in place to prepare for residents with the disease and that states encourage assisted living communities “to have the staffing and infrastructure in place to meet the care delivery needs for this potentially vulnerable population.”

“Training staff and visitors on how to minimize their risk for picking up virus in the community and the facility, and transmitting it to others will remain our most important tools,” the authors stated.


Survey: U.S. Voters Strongly Support More Funding for
Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Communities
in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

    By a three-to-one margin, voters say that nursing homes and assisted living communities need more money for supplies, staffing and increased testing capabilities.

    72 percent of voters agree that a lack of government funding has had a negative impact on the quality of care that residents of these facilities are receiving.

    ​Nearly eight out of ten voters support the federal government providing $10 billion in emergency relief funding for nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to a new national survey​, a vast majority of U.S. voters believe long term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living communities, need more support from the government and the lack of support thus far has negatively impacted their ability to protect seniors. By a three-to-one margin, voters say that nursing homes and assisted living communities need more money for personal protective equipment (PPE), staff, and increased testing capabilities.

By an overwhelming margin, U.S. voters want the government to provide long term care facilities with the same level of support as hospitals, including more than 80 percent of those over 65-years-old supporting an additional $10 billion in funding for long term care facilities to provide additional PPE, staff, and testing to residents, according to the survey conducted on May 6-9, 2020 among 1,500 U.S. registered voters by GS Strategy Group.

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of American Healthcare Association and National AHCA/NCAL, said the survey shows that Americans are deeply concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on long term care facilities and want their government leaders to rally around nursing homes and assisted living communities.


Psychologist discusses how to keep social distancing
practices from becoming harmful for seniors

By Mark Loehrke

For Dr. Julia Kocal, a clinical psychologist and medical director of Behavioral Health with LaPorte Physician Network, feelings of isolation are a bigger problem for seniors than social distancing.

Now that the coronavirus has introduced large swaths of the population to the notion of social isolation, more people are beginning to understand an issue many senior citizens have been grappling with long before the pandemic took hold and will likely still be dealing with long after it has passed.

Social isolation among senior citizens is an ongoing challenge, and one that can hurt their health and well-being — and the widespread distancing measures enacted to slow the spread of the coronavirus have only exacerbated the problem.

That’s why it’s especially important in these times for caregivers and family members to keep an eye out for the warning signs that social isolation may be becoming an acute issue for a senior, and for seniors themselves to take steps to try and stay connected in a suddenly disconnected world. We reached out to Dr. Julia Kocal, a clinical psychologist and medical director of Behavioral Health with LaPorte Physician Network, to get a feel for how social isolation affects senior citizens and what they can do to weather the storm. An edited transcript follows:



Research shows evidence that bilingualism
delays the brain's aging process

The next time you get the urge to lapse into English while conversing in your other language, try not to and your brain will thank you for it.

Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) examined and found that active bilingualism—the regular balanced use of two languages and language switching—will offer protection against the brain's aging process. The paper was published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences.

Current literature on the effects of bilingualism on the adult brain were inconsistent and lacking in clear trends—some reported that second language proficiency meant greater neural efficiency, whereas others concluded that it made no difference whatsoever. So the researchers from SUTD set out to explore the executive control mechanisms and context under which bilingualism can be a protective source against cognitive decline in the normal aging process.




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5-6 minutes

Knock Knock.
“Come in”, I said I said to the young lady who had already made her way half-way to my desk.
“I clean bathroom” she replied in broken English.
“Go crazy”. My snide comment going for naught.
I wasn’t really trying to be nasty, nor did I not appreciate the above-and-beyond job our housekeeping staff is doing during this crisis. It’s just that my bathroom is not dirty. I clean it (at least all the surfaces I touch) myself every day anyway with bleach. Adding to that considering nobody uses the bathroom but me, there’s no way it can become infectious.
But, I guess my bathroom, like all the bathrooms in this place, is on the must clean list.
Cleaned like everything else in the building.
Handrails, elevators, stairwells, door handles, walls, floors, chairs and desks.
Everything outside our rooms gets disinfected every day. Sometimes twice a day.
I don’t have a problem with this. I need to be sure that whatever I come in contact with while in this building is as Covid-19 free as it can be.
Even I am not immune to the new cleanliness.
I just received three boxes from Walmart via FedEx. I shudder at the thought of how many people could have possibly touched, coughed and sneezed on them. And not just the merchandise, but the packaging too.
Therefore, when they brought the boxes to my room late this afternoon, I immediately went into contamination mode.
The person who brought me the boxes was wearing gloves, but I don’t have any. But I do have a mask, which I put on as I opened the boxes.
After removing the items, I wiped them down with a bleach solution and stored them away.
I put the empty boxes out in the hallway where the staff will remove them.
I then, after taking off my mask and being careful not to touch my face, I scrubbed my hands in soap and hot water.
I figure, without access to a haz-mat suit, it’s the best I can do.

Not surprisingly, Americans have become germophobes. 
Overnight we have morphed into Monk and Howie Mandel.
Cleaning supplies are flying off the shelf faster than you can say ewww.
Anything that sounds like it could kill germs is going fast.
Bleach, [1] rubbing alcohol, drinking alcohol, wipes, paper towels and hydrogen peroxide.
In fact, one item in those boxes delivered to me were bottles of hydrogen peroxide.
I have been using it for years as a cleaning solution for a medical condition I have. But recently, because of the virus, H2O2 has been difficult to find and, when it is available, has been price-gouged. However, the price finally dropped to a more realistic number, so I stocked up. I now have enough of the stuff to disinfect a 747.

 All this makes me wonder. How dirty were we before this that we had to run out and buy cleaning products by the skid-load?
Did we not have a normal supply of Lysol to keep our houses germ free for a few weeks?
Have we just discovered that Louis Pasteur was right all along?
Yes, it’s a dirty world out there. But should we all become “crazy-clean?”
Many say no. There’s a problem with the indiscriminate use of disinfectants.
“The overuse of disinfectant chemicals also contributes to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, more commonly known as “superbugs.” [2]
You mean “Superbugs” like Murder Hornets?
Okay, we’ve had our fun. Time to get real with the cleaning.
Yes, keep doing it. But don’t become obsessed by it.
Viruses are smarter than us. And they can reproduce faster than a Kardashian in heat.
A little soap and water will do as well as most harsh chemicals.

Let’s save the Vodka for a toast when this is all over………………………………………..
[1]The CEO of Clorox said, in an interview with ABC, sales of bleach and bleach products has risen by 500%.
[2]Consumers Reports.

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Where Older Adults Can Get Good,
Free Financial Advice Now

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” This quote by Fred Rogers, the soft-voiced creator of PBS’ Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, couldn’t be more apropos today. Thankfully, personal finance helpers are stepping up to lend a guiding hand gratis to those who need it due to the pandemic.

The need is great.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, had to shutter their small businesses (possibly forever) or seen their retirement accounts shrink drastically. An April 2020 online MassMutual poll of 1,000 Americans revealed that nearly a third of boomers and Gen Xers (29% and 32% respectively) say they’re stressed about their personal finances. And a recent Gallup Poll found that half of Americans surveyed age 50 to 64 are worried about maintaining their standard of living.

    “I looked at where I could help, and financial planning is one of the most impactful ways to change people’s lives.”

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New Study Found an Association Between Low/Average
Vitamin D and High Numbers of
COVID-19 Cases and Mortality

New COVID-19 research finds relationship in data from 20 European countries

A new study has found an association between low average levels of vitamin D and high numbers of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates across 20 European countries.

The research, led by Dr Lee Smith of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) and Mr Petre Cristian Ilie, lead urologist of Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, is published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.

Previous observational studies have reported an association between low levels of vitamin D and susceptibility to acute respiratory tract infections.  Vitamin D modulates the response of white blood cells, preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cytokines.  The COVID-19 virus is known to cause an excess of pro-inflammatory cytokines.


Among Older Adults, COVID-19 Has Highlighted Vulnerabilities —
But Also Some Opportunities

By Evie Hemphill

Even the quickest scan of statistics related to the coronavirus pandemic makes it painfully obvious the disease has hit some communities and segments of the population much harder than others. And to an expert on aging and social policy such as Washington University’s Nancy Morrow-Howell, those troubling realities come as no surprise.

But as the crisis shines fresh light on longstanding disparities on a multitude of fronts, along with the everyday impacts of systemic racism and ageism, Morrow-Howell also has some hope for real improvement — particularly when it comes to a deeper understanding of older adults as the diverse individuals that they are.

“The challenges we are facing can be expected, and in fact, none of them are new,” Morrow-Howell stated in a recent Wash U release about her recent paper on the topic. “Our state and regional agencies on aging, private and non-profit agencies, advocacy organizations and universities have been grappling with these issues in one form or another for years.


Data Note: Requirements for Nursing Homes and
Assisted Living Facilities in Response
to COVID-19 Vary Across States

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first surfaced in the United States, the number of cases and deaths in nursing homes and other long-term care (LTC) facilities has been rising. As of April 23, 2020, more than 10,000 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported among long-term care facility residents, which is a conservative estimate because not all states publish these data. In six states, long-term care facility residents account for 50% or more of all COVID-19 deaths. The steady increase in deaths among long-term care facility residents has become an urgent concern for federal and state policymakers, long-term care facilities, family members of residents, and residents themselves.

On March 13, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance for nursing homes to help curb the spread of coronavirus infections, including a prohibition on visitors (except for end-of-life situations) and non-essential staff as well as daily screening of staff for fever and respiratory symptoms at the start of their shifts. CMS issued updated guidance on April 2, 2020 recommending use of facemasks by all personnel while onsite, and full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by health care staff in facilities where a COVID-19 transmission has occurred or when caring for a resident with a known or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis. More recently, on April 19, 2020 CMS announced it will issue guidelines to require nursing homes to report COVID-19 cases and deaths to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



Trump’s advisers have a brazen
plot to gut Social Security

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the policy Donald Trump is fixated on has nothing to do with ramping up testing, getting protective equipment to workers, or sending resources to nursing homes where tens of thousands of seniors are dying of COVID-19. Instead, he’s obsessed with cutting payroll taxes, Social Security’s dedicated revenue.

Now, Trump’s economic advisers and his unqualified son-in-law Jared Kushner have another way to undermine Social Security: The so-called “Eagle Plan,” which would be more aptly named the Work ’Til You Die Plan. It would give people $10,000, but only if they agreed to sign away a portion of their future Social Security benefits. This plan asks desperate families, terrified of going without food or being thrown out of their homes, to sacrifice their retirement.

Plans like this one betray a willful refusal to understand the nature of Social Security, which is insurance, not a piggy bank. It replaces wages lost when a worker retires, becomes disabled, or dies leaving dependents. Workers earn these benefits with every paycheck.

Continue reading >>



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5-6 minutes

“There’s no denying it now”, I said to myself as I attempted (and failed) to button the third pair of pants I had tried on this morning, “I’ve put on some weight.”
Having nothing much better to do, I rearranged my clothes closet.
Here at the Asylum, the first thing one has to contend with are the exceptionally small built-in closets. People who move here with their entire wardrobe soon find they have no place to hang it. There is barely enough room for one week’s worth of clothes, let alone clothes they can’t wear or no longer fit. Having rarely ever thrown away worn-out clothes, mine belong in the latter category.
The sad thing is, those pants, which now sit forlornly on my bed, fit me three months ago. Apparently, I too have fallen victim to a side-effect of the virus, overeating. And it wasn’t very hard to do.
An analysis of why people are putting on weight by doing nothing but doing nothing shows what the problem is.
It’s not the quantity of food we are eating as the kinds of food we are putting in our bodies.
Volume-wise, I’m not consuming any more food than I usually would here at the ALF. Actually, I’m eating a lot less. However, what I am eating would have Dr. Atkins rolling in his grave. It’s mostly carbohydrates. And not just any carbs. It’s the carbs that one craves in times of crisis. Not the cakes or candy or sugary beverages but the comfort foods like ice cream, French fried potatoes and, my particular nemesis, pasta.
It matters not what ethnicity you derive from. Pasta means home, family and comfort.
From the wide noodles favored by Eastern Europeans to thin rice-flour noodles of Asia to the myriad variety of Italian Semolina, pasta (plus a great sauce) is all you need to bring you out of any funk you’ve found yourself in.

Seriously, what could be better to b (eat) away the blues than a steaming hot heaping helping of spaghetti and meatballs?
Or, if meat isn’t your thing, there’s the old standby Mac and cheese.
And, while I never cared for it when I was a kid, I’d kill for a bowl of kasha varnishkes right now.
Feel a little adventurous? How about some lo mein or ramen to make you remember the days when restaurants were open and you could actually go inside?
I don’t want to forget those whose pleasure is potatoes. Not just any potatoes, but the king of potatoes, the French Fry.
Hot, cold, soft or hard with ketchup or cheese People will eat those greasy, salty slices of tuberous goodness by the hundreds.
For my last meal on earth, I want fried potatoes to be part of it. And, if they could be Nathan’s fried potatoes, I would go to my ultimate reward a happy man.

By this time I’ve either made you so hungry you’ve stopped reading this post and have left to rummage through your fridge or you are screaming at me to stop talking about food so much. And I don’t blame you.  This is not the way I pictured myself at this time of my life. A fat old man scrolling through the pages of the
website in search of extra-wide, expandable-waist khakis to replace the ones I’m sending to Goodwill.
What will happen when we finally get back to our regular dining routine, I can’t say? At the very least, I’ll have a greater variety of things to eat besides pasta.
How that will convert to weight loss only time will tell. The older I get, the harder it is to take off the pounds. And starving oneself is not the answer.
For me, dieting has always been contingent on mind over matter. If you think I don’t look good this way, it matters. So, I promise I will try. But right now I’ve got a pot of Ronzoni number 9 about to boil over and I never have a wooden spoon when I need it.…………………………….

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10 Essential Facts About
Metabolism and Weight Loss

By Jennifer Acosta Scott

If you've ever struggled with the numbers on the scale, you've probably blamed it on your metabolism. But what is metabolism exactly, and how does it work?

The term metabolism actually refers to all the processes in the body that use energy, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, but the word is most commonly used when we talk about weight. "When someone says, 'I have a fast metabolism’ or 'I have a slow metabolism,' they’re usually referring to their ability to lose weight or maintain a normal weight," says Caroline Cederquist, MD, a bariatric medicine specialist in Naples, Florida.

Most people can increase or decrease the rate at which they burn calories throughout the day, but many don't know how, or that their gender, daily habits, and even health conditions can affect their metabolism. Here are 10 truths about metabolism that may just be the keys to unlocking your healthy weight.

1. It's Really About Your Resting Metabolic Rate, or RMR

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US creating guidelines to reopen nursing homes

Federal regulators have drafted guidelines for reopening nursing homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reportedly circulated a draft last week, proposing a multiphase reopening of nursing homes that mimics the White House guidelines for states to reopen economies.

The final version of the guidelines may differ significantly from the early draft, and the timeline of when it may be complete and released is unclear, the Journal, which cited unidentified sources, notes.


Planning A Florida Trip? Miami Herald Slams Governor
For Hiding Info Of COVID-19 Deaths

By Lea Lane

If you’re thinking about traveling to Florida for the beaches and theme parks as restrictions ease this summer, you might want to think again.

According to a May 7 editorial in the Miami Herald, the state’s own top medical examiner is calling Governor Ron DeSantis’ latest attempt to hide information about coronavirus testing a “sham.”

DeSantis still refuses to release names and full information about the Floridians who have died from COVID-19. According to the Herald, as of last week, Florida has had almost 40,000 cases and more than 1,500 deaths.

He has also stymied the state’s 21 medical examiners who had been releasing the information. And the Department of Health has been reluctant to disclose virus infections and deaths in the state’s 3,800 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.


Inside N.J.’s isolated retirement communities:
Staying indoors, but wanting to ‘break out’

By Kelly Heyboer

For nearly six weeks, Carolyn Barbara turned her two-bedroom apartment in her senior living community into an indoor walking track.

She circled from her kitchen, to her living room, to the first bedroom, then over to the second bedroom, through the walk-in closet and back around again and again.

“If I get bored, I turn around and go the other way to get a different view,” said the grandmother of five, who lives alone.

Getting in her steps every day was partly how Barbara, 73, kept her sanity after Cedar Crest senior-living community in Pompton Plains asked its more than 1,800 residents to stay inside their apartments 24 hours a day during the coronavirus pandemic. With the dining rooms closed, their daily meals, medicines and other supplies have been dropped at their doors since March.



Why So Many People Are Unhappy in Retirement
By Arthur C. Brooks

The psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed that successful people tend to see their own lives through the lens of this myth. “He is no hero who never met the dragon,” Jung wrote. “Equally, only one who has risked the fight with the dragon and is not overcome by it wins the hoard…He alone has a genuine claim to self-confidence, for he has faced the dark ground of his self and thereby has gained himself.” Jung sounds like an egg-headed Tony Robbins there: Want to be a winner in your career? Then live your own hero’s journey—set your goals, struggle, suffer, sacrifice, win, and return victorious! The End.

Read: When do Americans think they’ll actually retire?

It’s a nice narrative, especially if you’ve worked hard and done pretty well in life. The problem is the real-life ending, after the triumphant return. People have no script for that part. There’s no Star Wars sequel where Luke Skywalker hangs around the house all day, yelling because someone touched the thermostat and telling his grandkids about blowing up the Death Star for the thousandth time while they roll their eyes.



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4-5 minutes

I have seen March come and go.
April, and the glory of early Spring, was just a fleeting memory.
And now it looks like May will suffer the same fate.
Will there be another 60 days of abject boredom, isolation and questionable food?
I’m talking about this damn quarantine/lockdown scenario the residents of assisted living facilities in my state (and many others) have been forced to endure.

After three months, enough is enough.
No. I’m not one of those wackos who think it’s time to pull off our face masks, grab an American flag and stand zero inches apart from my fellow yahoo’s and demand we go back to normal and heck with the possibility of killing ourselves and others. 

I’m just saying that, after being good little old boys and girls who have followed all the rules, suffered the indignities of separation from friends and loved-ones and tolerated meals not fit for a galley slave we should at least see the start of some return to what this facility was before all this happened. A pleasant, active (and interactive) environment for seniors who, at this point in their lives, deserve a lot more respect than they have been getting.

Do I expect to see change anytime soon?
I’m ashamed and frighted to say no.
Knowing this facility and the way the DOH [1] operates, safety and security and covering one’s ass trumps quality of life every time.
When nursing homes and other senior living venues are under the greatest pressure and scrutiny they have ever encountered, the numbers (and I mean the number of deaths) are the only thing the officials are thinking about. Our comfort and happiness a distant second.
And while I can understand the need to be extra careful during this stressful time, I fear they are using the virus as an excuse to conserve resources and save money.

As of now we are receiving only the very basic of services including housekeeping, linen and laundry service and subsistence level food. Essentially, it’s “three hots and a cot.”
There are no activities, no interaction with other residents, no meals with friends, no goi
ng out for shopping or visits and no communication from management as to our status or plans to ease us out of this nightmare.
How much longer our residents can endure this is hard to say. We all have different levels of anxiety and tolerance. But if I am any sign of someone who is reaching their boiling point than watch out. Because I’m ready to explode.
The governor has said that as of the 15th of this month, some parts of our state will begin a gradual return to normal. Will any of that pertain to us? I doubt it. The area in which we’re located is still a Covid hot spot. But what I am most worried about is they will put us last  as a group needing some relaxation of the rules and will just leave us to rot on the vine like tomatoes in a forgotten garden………………………………… .

[1] The NY State Dept. Of Health is the governing and oversite agency that sets the rules, inspects and licenses all assisted living facilities in the state.

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Exercise after age 70
Harvard Health Publishing

There are no official fitness guidelines for older adults, but the basic exercises for senior are the same at every age.

The average 65-year-old can expect to reach her 85th birthday, and the average 75-year-old will live to age 87. How we'll celebrate those birthdays — as the life of the party or immobilized on the sidelines — has a lot to do with how we spend our time today. Although none of us can be certain that we'll be
 spared debilitating disorders that could rob us of our mobility, there's no doubt that regular exercise will help improve our ability to function at almost any age or level of fitness.

Why exercises for seniors are essential

During the 1970s, several studies of healthy older people indicated that strength, stamina, and flexibility drop significantly after age 55. For example, the Framingham Disability Study found that 62% of women ages 75 to 85 had difficulty kneeling or stooping; 66% couldn't lift more than 10 pounds; and 42% were unable to stand for more than 15 minutes.

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‘It’s Hard When You Can’t Go Anywhere’:
Life Inside an Assisted Living Facility

By Elliot Ross and Amelia Nierenberg

We gave disposable cameras to six residents of Evergreen Gardens, an assisted living facility in Colorado. Here are their photographs.


Assisted living facilities and their residents rely on routines. Meals are shared three times a day in a dining room. Television sets play daytime shows, the news, a home-shopping channel. An activity hour may break up the day.

Then, at night, there’s “Jeopardy!” Friends sit together, sharing photos of their grandchildren, telling old stories. Sometimes family members visit, a bright spot in an otherwise mundane daily schedule.

Now those visits are on hold, and a quiet hum of anxiety fills the halls: What happens if the coronavirus were to come here? Some long-term-care facilities have already suffered devastating outbreaks, and together they have accounted for one-third of the country’s Covid-19 deaths.


As coronavirus threatens nursing homes,
NY state struggles for a strategy

By James T. Mulder

Syracuse, N.Y. — Onondaga County’s nursing home residents, the people most vulnerable to the coronavirus, are not being adequately protected from the deadly disease.

New York state health officials and many nursing homes have failed to aggressively test these sick and elderly people.

The state’s response has been plagued by weak direction, inaccurate data and poor communication. Just Thursday, Onondaga County officials were surprised to learn of 19 nursing home deaths in the county that the state had not told them about.

“We are like the forgotten stepchildren,” said Dr. Elaine Healy, a vice president of the New York Medical Directors Association, a group representing nursing home doctors. Healy faults the state health department for not making sure nursing homes have what they need to fight the coronavirus, which causes Covid-19.


Will COVID-19 Make the Decline
Narrative of Aging Worse?

First, there was OK Boomer, the pejorative meme mocking older people. Then came #boomerremover, the morbid catchphrase used by some millennials and GenZers as a shorthand for the coronavirus pandemic to describe the higher vulnerability of boomers, generally, to COVID-19.

Now, there’s #Grandmakiller.

That delightful hashtag comes from the recent flurry of tweets by conservative commentator Bethany Mandel, 34, including these: “Remember when we were told we had to flatten the curve and we’d lockdown for a few weeks to ramp up PPE and free up ventilators or else we’d have to start death panels? When did that turn into indefinite lockdowns and economic destruction because ‘if it saves one life?… You can call me a Grandma killer. I’m not sacrificing my home, food on the table, all of our docs and dentists, every form of pleasure (museums, zoos, restaurants), all my kids’ teachers in order to make other people comfortable.”
The Decline Narrative of Aging

Ageism and the decline narrative of aging — the notion that getting older means decline, deterioration, decay and dependency — were around before the pandemic, of course. But outbursts in social media and on cable TV as well as COVID-19 health care guidelines from government officials, medical professionals and ethicists have made these views more public and, if you will, more virulent.



Anxious About the Virus, Older Voters
Grow More Wary of Trump

By Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman

WASHINGTON — The coronavirus crisis and the administration’s halting response to it have cost President Donald Trump support from one of his most crucial constituencies: America’s seniors.

For years, Republicans and Trump have relied on older Americans, the country’s largest voting bloc, to offset a huge advantage Democrats enjoy with younger voters. In critical states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida, all of which have large older populations, Trump’s advantage with older voters has been essential to his political success; in 2016, he won voters over the age of 65 by seven percentage points, according to national exit poll data.



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6 minutes

This weekend was an unusually quiet one here at the Asylum.
Not that this place is ever really noisy, but even here there is usually a background hum one would expect to hear in a building housing nearly 200 residents and 100 staff.
Cell phone “music” might be the number one ambient sound.
Ranging from the ring-ring of an old telephone to the opening notes of Beethoven’s 5th, it’s reminiscent of the warm-up sounds a Broadway show orchestra makes before the curtain goes up.
Cleaning goes on constantly here so the sounds made by vacuum cleaners and floor polishers is constant.
And then there is the unmistakable sound of a half deaf octogenarian speaking at a volume level somewhere between that of the Yankee Stadium field announcer and the MC at a rock concert.
They all contribute to those “busy” sounds that add life to the environment. The sounds you notice only when they are gone.
But now, almost nothing.

If there are phones ringing, they are ringing behind closed doors.

The cleaning continues, but without people walking around and the dining room and public restroom closed the jobs get done faster lessening even those sounds.

About the only things we hear now is the sound of the food carts wheeled down the corridors and the occasional voice of a staff person asking residents if they are okay.

But mainly what we don’t hear is the wonderful sounds of conversation, sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish, made by the residents interacting with one another as only seniors can.

The stories, the complaints, the reminiscence, the old jokes and the off-color remarks. All part of a marvelous patchwork quilt we have here.
Gone too, are the sounds made by people partaking in some of the scheduled activities we have.
There’s been no Bingo being called for months.
The voices of 20 or 30 residents playing the X-box version of Jeopardy are silent.

No arts and crafts, no movies, no meetings.
Just about everything that would normally take one’s mind off of the reasons they are here in the first place are gone.
This leaves a lot of time to think. And what we are thinking about cannot be good.

The news is depressing, and scary for us old folks and especially scary if we have to venture out of the friendly confines of this building. A trip to the hospital is tantamount to a death sentence. So, we think about our demise. 

I’m sure there are residents who have had an ‘end of life’ discussion with their offspring.

Having no other diversion people have nothing to take their minds off whatever particular ailment, disability or affliction they have that otherwise would be just an afterthought.

I have seasonal allergies which, this time of year, are working overtime to make me miserable.

Usually I take this in stride, swallowing an allergy pill and some nasal spray.

Now, every time I sneeze or cough I think I have the Covid, and visions of a tube being rammed down my throat dance through my head.
There is the din of the TV to keep me company. But how many episodes of Pawn Stars and Counting Cars can one listen to without wanting to either sell your watch or start a “from the ground-up” restoration on your walker.

But maybe the worst thing about all this quiet is when, late at night with no TV on and no other people around, I can hear all the noises my body makes. Not just the steady and reassuring sound of one’s breathing and heartbeat, but the other minor noises that signify I really am an old goat.

I never noticed my bowels growl as much as they have in the past few weeks. Maybe it’s just age or maybe it’s a protest to all the terrible food I’ve been eating. 

Also heard is the snap, crackle and popping of my overtaxed hip and knee joints protesting every step I take. It’s a constant reminder that someday I’ve put on a ton of weight.

It’s a noisy world out there, and a noisier one in here. 

I’ll bet even Simon and Garfunkel are no longer hearing the “Sounds of Silence.”

I hope this thing is over soon before I start to listening to my eyelids open and  close.


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The arthritis trigger foods you should avoid.

Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine examined disease prevention through diet. In their 2009 study, they found that decreasing the amount of fried and processed foods eaten can “reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defenses.”

What you can do: Cut down on the amount of fried and processed foods you eat, such as fried meats and prepared frozen meals. Include more vegetables and fruits in your diet.

AGE doesn’t refer to how many birthdays you’ve celebrated. An advanced glycation end product (AGE) is a toxin that appears when foods are heated, grilled, fried, or pasteurized.

AGEs damage certain proteins in your body. Your body tries to break these AGEs apart by using cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers. Depending on where the AGEs occur, they may result in arthritis or other forms of inflammation.

What you can do: Research has shown that reducing the amount of food cooked at high temperatures in your diet could potentially help reduce blood AGE levels.

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Now is the time to strengthen Social Security
— not tamper with funding

Last week's Social Security Trustees report tells us two fundamental things: that the program needs to be expanded and strengthened — and that our leaders should resist the temptation to tamper with Social Security’s finances to address the COVID pandemic.

The Trustees say that Social Security’s long-term outlook remains much the same as it did last year. If Congress takes no preventative action, the trust fund reserves will become exhausted in 2035, after which the program could pay 79 percent of benefits earned by seniors. But the report does not reflect the pandemic’s potential effects on Social Security — through diminished FICA payroll contributions due to rising unemployment or a flood of early claims by older Americans struggling to pay their bills.

Knowing that COVID likely will have some financial impact on Social Security, it’s even more crucial to bolster the program’s finances now. Congress could deal with Social Security’s long-term funding shortfall fairly easily, by passing separate legislation introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to eliminate the income cap on payroll taxes. That simple, common-sense measure – in which the wealthy begin paying their fair share into Social Security  — would keep the system solvent for decades.


How seniors deal with pandemic panic
By Bob Ramsey

Senior citizens have been targeted by today’s coronavirus pandemic. People over 50 are more likely to be infected by the disease and more likely to die for it. For many older people, pre-existing conditions, chronic illnesses and weakened immune systems make them particularly vulnerable to this particular virus.

Different viruses favor different age groups. Sometimes it’s children. This time, it’s my generation’s turn. The older members of the population are obviously at a disadvantage in this health crisis. But it’s not all bad news for old folks.

Experts predict that up to 80% of our population will be affected by the disease. But 100% of the population will be impacted by the crisis anxiety and old-fashioned fear accompanying the outbreak. We’re all scared of the unknown and we will all suffer from some level of pandemic panic. Dealing with this anxiety is where many seniors may have an edge.


COVID-19 study:
Impact of social distancing on older adults

The project—funded under the Scottish Government's Rapid Research in COVID-19 programme—will provide a crucial understanding of the negative impacts of social distancing in over 70s and explore strategies that could enhance social engagement and physical activity during the crisis.

Led by Professor Anna Whittaker, of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, the research will also seek to identify any positive impacts to emerge from the current situation—for example, considering whether the use of technology, such as video conferencing, has increased within this group.



How the Gray Divorce Trend Could
Shake Up the Real Estate Market

by Tara Mastroeni

In 2017, a study from The Pew Research Center found that the divorce rate for baby boomers had roughly doubled since the 1990s. By early 2020, additional research by SmartAsset had found that more than one in ten senior citizens are divorced. In short, this phenomenon, known as gray divorce, shows no signs of slowing down.

This climbing divorce rate could have a lasting effect on the real estate industry. With that in mind, read on to get a sense of how real estate could be impacted if the gray divorce trend continues into boomers' (those born 1946 to 1964) later years.
It could lead to more inventory on the market

The first way that rising rates of gray divorce could impact the industry is the most obvious. Basically, it could lead to more inventory flooding the market. Put simply, the family home is often one of the most expensive assets. With boomers quickly coming to an age where they'll start to rely on a fixed income, they likely won't have the resources to maintain a large home.



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Uncharted Waters

4-5 minutes

People dying by the thousands, bodies piling up in makeshift morgues, unemployment in double-digit numbers and government officials pleading for aid from foreign countries. Future history will show how easy it is to become a third-world country overnight.
As a bonafide, card carrying senior citizen of the United States, I can unequivocally say I have never seen, or ever thought I would see a time when our nation hardly leads the world in anything anymore. Unless you want to count the number of Covid-19 deaths, then we are the world leaders.
Yesterday, we blogged about who they would blame for our poor response to the pandemic and concluded that, while there are many people who could have acted more swiftly and honestly, the ultimate recrimination is on all of us and our absurd superiority complex upon which we based our belief the nasty virus wouldn’t dare come here. Because, after all, don’t we have the worlds best healthcare system?

When the fog clears, we’ll see we really don’t know where any of this will take us.

We are up s—ts creek without a paddle in a leaky boat whose captain wants us to head straight for a minefield with no idea where the mines are.
Closer to home, here at the ALF, a place the federal government has kept its runny nose out of, we do not understand where we are heading.
While the initial response was swift and decisive and probably the reason for our very low infection rate, little did we know we would soon be in the throes of the longest quarantine/lockdown we have ever experienced with no apparent plan to end it. And it’s beginning to take its toll.

Conditions have become intolerable.
The isolation, the masks, the lack of any activities, separation from our friends and relatives and terrible food as well a lack of communication and transparency have left many residents sullen and forlorn.
One can feel the tension in the air accented by the furniture-less lobby, the table-less day room and the inoperable vending and coffee machines.
Usually a group of residents would be out on our patio, and other areas, busy planting flowers in the many pots and boxes scattered around the grounds. Now, those receptacles remain empty with only dirt as a reminder that spring didn’t come this year.

Are we safe? I guess so. At least I have seen no bodies being wheeled out of here or a lineup of ambulances at our main entrance. But that’s not what life is supposed to be about.
All of us here have lived interesting and diverse lives and for various reasons have been thrown together in this place which ranks near the bottom rung of the amenity ladder.
Even in the best of times, we were hardly pampered and; we accept that. We are, if anything, very adaptable.
But at least there has always been a plan. Something for us to look forward to.
Now, we don’t even have that.
The large calendar near the lobby which lists a day by day, hour by hour activity schedule for the month is blank.
A bleak reminder that there is no immediate plan to get us out of this. And that’s the most depressing thing of all.
We’re off Sunday. Have a great Mother’s day………………………………….
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Never Too Old to Learn:
10 Best Free Online Courses for Retirees

Accredited schools from all over the world, including Ivy League schools, offer curricula and certificates for completing relatively short online courses, lasting about four weeks. These massive open online courses, or MOOCs, appeal to a variety of age groups. Retirees, though, are in an ideal situation to take full advantage. Offered for free on an endless number of topics, these classes provide an opportunity to learn and grow without sacrificing the comforts of home. Here are some of the most popular courses with appeal for retirees.
Food, Nutrition, and Your Health


More than 91,000 people have enrolled in "Food, Nutrition, and Your Health" on the platform Open2Study and more than 4,600 student reviewers have given it a 91 percent rating overall. Reviews praise the clear instructor, well-organized course, and variety of useful topics. The four-week course covers basic nutrition, dietary intake, eating disorders, and healthful nutrition, all of which retirees can apply to their daily lives.

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Does Your Home Health Worker
Present a Coronavirus Threat?

With high rates of COVID-19 infections in hospitals and nursing homes, and stay-at-home orders in force, the message we’re getting is clear: The safest place to be is within our own four walls.

But what if a loved one, or you, needs daily assistance? What if health or mobility challenges mean depending on others coming in to provide care, meals or medications? If so, precautions are in order to avoid contracting the coronavirus from the very person who is there to help.

“People have to weigh the need for the care with the risk of having more people in the home,” said Mollie Gurian, director of hospice, palliative and home health policy for Leading Age, an elder advocacy group.


What Families Can Expect From
In-Home Medical Care
While Sheltering In Place

Not all medical needs require a trip to the doctor’s office or hospital. During this time of social distancing, knowing your options is especially important. Questions to explore within your health care network – by calling your primary care provider, pharmacist, health plan and others – may be:

    Do you have a nurse line you can call to address your questions?
    Can your pharmacy mail your medications?
    Is your doctor doing telemedicine by phone or video?
    Does your community have a local medical group making house calls?

While some of your medical needs may be addressed by phone or a video, there may be times when you need to see a doctor in person. Fear of contracting the coronavirus may rightfully make you hesitant to leave your home. However, if you’re living with COPD, for example, you may need breathing treatments or steroid medications. Even a minor accident while preparing dinner may require stitches. These medical needs require in-person treatments, and home-based medical services can address these scenarios without the need to leave the comfort and safety of home.


Psychedelic Drugs Can Improve Quality Of Life
- And Death - For Older Adults

By Abbie Rosner

Even before COVID-19 set off a global tsunami of anxiety and depression, psychedelic drugs were already showing exciting promise for treating these and other intractable mental health conditions.

Compass Pathway’s recent raise of $80M to expand research into the clinical uses of psilocybin only affirms that no coronavirus is going to dampen efforts to make these treatments legal and widely accessible. If anything, the need for an effective answer to COVID-era angst makes this work even more urgent.

Especially for Baby Boomers and their elders, developments in the psychedelic space are worthwhile following, particularly because of their potential to radically improve quality of life, up to its inevitable end.



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The News May Be Bad.
But There Are Lessons
To Be Learned

By now many of us are up to here with virus news.

The networks, and just about every media outlet, are having a field day with this thing. And why not?
It’s a story that has everything.
There’s drama, international conspiracies, political intrigue, science fact and science fiction.
The story has its hero’s and its villains.
There are descriptions of great courage, tragic loss, incompetence and innovation.
And, if we dig deep enough, I’m sure we would find instances of romance and sex.
Unfortunately, the one element of an enjoyable story I could not find is comedy.
Unless you count the comedy or errors made by certain elements of the administration, there’s nothing funny about any of this.
Yes, there’s plenty of sarcasm being bandied about. Gallows humor, if you will.
Cartoons and memes on everything from odd toilet paper substitutes to how the only exercise people are getting is from opening and closing the refrigerator provide, I suppose, some relief from the gloom and doom.

At some point will have to think about coming out of this collective coma we’re in and return to normalcy. And that’s when the real soul-searching will begin.
As human beings, we are often quick to accuse. But we are just as keen to look for the good in even the worst of situations. And, though such instances are difficult to find, we can already feel some positiveness in the air.
For instance. We know we will never be caught short-handed again in our ability to supply our frontline workers with the proper equipment.
We know, too, that never again can we ignore even the earliest warnings of a pandemic.
And, perhaps the most important thing is that we now have a guide which hopefully will develop into a plan of what to do and what not to do if such a catastrophe happens again.
With any luck, we will not see a rehash of the past…
“After each major health crisis of the last two decades, American health and political leaders have launched preparedness programs and issued blunt warnings to their successors — only to watch as those programs were defunded, staff was allowed to depart and Washington forgot the stark lessons it had just learned.” [1]
Closer to home, this lockdown has taught us all something about finance.
We’ve all learned how woefully ignorant we are when it comes to saving for a rainy day.
Banks would do very well to offer, as a new product, and “Emergency Savings Plan.” that would act as an insurance policy against times of unemployment. I’ll let Chase work out the details.
Finally, if we gained nothing else from this, we should have now have a greater appreciation of people who have sacrificed their health and safety by putting themselves at the front lines of the battle.  And I’m not just talking about the EMTs, nurses and other healthcare workers. I’m speaking of the grocery clerks, delivery guys, burger flippers and janitors who were required to go to work knowing of the dangers they faced.
Maybe, all this will help the powers that be understand that maybe $15 per hour is not too much to pay someone to risk their lives.

See you at the drive-through. ………………………………………………….. .

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5 Ways to Find Work in the Pandemic

Job hunting is never easy. But the coronavirus pandemic is creating challenges unlike any we’ve ever seen, with unemployment expected to hit 16% or higher and employers laying off or furloughing millions. The job search engine site Indeed says job postings in late April were more than a third lower than a year ago. So, how can you find work these days?

Here are five strategies, they’re my follow-up to last month’s post on how to prepare for a layoff:

1. Research employers and industries in active-hiring mode. While some firms, nonprofits and government agencies are shedding workers, others are looking for new employees. A recent Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey found that 31% of health care organizations are actively hiring and 16% expect to be soon.

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Coronavirus NJ: Hard-hit nursing homes failed
infection control, staffing

By Susanne Cervenka

Eight out of every 10 New Jersey nursing homes with coronavirus-afflicted residents were warned over the years that they didn’t follow mandatory infection-control standards, which are crucial to stopping the spread of viruses and other deadly diseases, an investigation led by the Asbury Park Press and the USA TODAY Network Atlantic Group found.

At least 34 of the nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks were cited three or more times over a three-year review period for not following federal health standards, such as the New Jersey Veterans’ Memorial Home in Menlo Park, which reported 53 deaths and 165 residents with coronavirus as of May 4, the Network found. The Network is a consortium of 37 Gannett-owned newspapers and websites in the northeast.

New York has fared better, but not by much. More than half of New York nursing homes with COVID-19 deaths had infection-control citations from the federal government.


New York state reports an additional
1,700 deaths at nursing homes

New York is reporting an additional 1,700 deaths at nursing homes that were previously undisclosed, according to data state officials released Monday night.

At least 4,813 people have died in nursing homes and at least 155 have died in adult care facilities from the coronavirus between March 1 and May 3, according to a count released by New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoKansas farmer awarded college degree after sending N95 mask to Cuomo New York had fewer new COVID-19 cases than California on Tuesday Poll: Majority in NY, NJ and Connecticut aren't ready to reopen economies MORE’s (D) administration.

For the first time, these numbers include people believed to have been killed by the virus before their diagnoses were confirmed by a lab, The Associated Press reported.


‘Outrageous, callous, and cruel’:
Seniors rip Trump for holding Covid-19 relief
hostage to push cuts that threaten Social Security

By Jake Johnson

Grassroots advocacy groups representing millions of retirees and seniors across the United States are speaking out against and urging Congress to oppose President Donald Trump’s threat to block desperately needed Covid-19 relief legislation if it does not slash the payroll tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare.

“It is outrageous, callous, and cruel for President Trump to hold the American people, and seniors in particular, hostage if Congress doesn’t go along with his plan to gut Social Security for current and future retirees,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, an organization with over four million members nationwide.

“Choking off Social Security’s funding stream is an existential threat to seniors’ earned benefits.”
—Max Richtman, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare



Have we all over the world
become a People of neglect?

The biggest theme in all this  Chinese flu business is wash your hands. Which made me wonder how something so basic is now having to be told to people?     Have we all over the world become a people of  neglect?   Are Nursing Homes hardest hit because people are elderly and frail or because the basic hygiene has left a lot to be desired? 

One of the first jobs a Mother used to instil into the young members of the family was .. wash your  hands after going to the toilet.   Wash your hands before you sit down  at the table  to eat your dinner.   Brush your teeth before going to bed.     Have these old rules been overlooked  , have  parents become too busy to ensure that cleanliness  becomes a habit and not something that has to be reminded over and over again.

 It is no surprise to read about Hotel  guests being bitten by bed bugs , catching all sorts of skin complaints.   Is it any wonder that Recreational vehicles and Caravans have become so popular .   How clean you keep it is up to you as the owner.



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5 minutes

Let’s be frank. America functions best when it has an enemy to fight.
We pull together like no other people in the world when threatened by a common adversary.
So, why now, when we have the most deadly, insipid threat we have encountered in many years, are we so divided on how to fight it?
The answer is simple.
We have put a political face on an invisible foe.
Almost from the very start, the opposition placed the blame for a poor response directly on the president.
The president, in his inimitable style, spun that around and blamed his favorite thorn-in-his-side, Barack Obama for dropping the ball even before the ball was ever in play. And, even as late as yesterday he reinforced his stance by exclaiming he was so preoccupied defending himself against the “fake impeachment hearings” he couldn’t give his full attention to protecting the people of the U.S. from the most dangerous epidemic in 100 years.
And to make things worse, the administration has flip-flopped and contradicted itself on so many occasions, the American people, instead of fighting this thing with one resolved, flounders in a sea of misinformation and indecisiveness.

But is there really anybody to blame?
As much as we would like to find a source, an enemy, there really isn’t one.
An ‘enemy,’ is defined as… “a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent.”
A virus does what they’re supposed to do.
Find a friendly place to reproduce and prosper with no malice or discrimination.
It doesn’t care that it will eventually kill the very host that gave it life.
Usually, our bodies have a defense against most of these viruses in the form of an immune system, sending out millions of antibodies to fight the invader. This works well in a population of fit, otherwise healthy people. Unfortunately, the “army” we have deployed to fight this war comprises the sick, the infirm and the old. Or, as some call them, “cannon fodder.”

Right now is not the time for blame. It’s a time for unity and smart decisions. There will be plenty of time for recrimination later. And even though we won’t be able to put the onus for starting the pandemic on anyone in particular, we will have plenty of people to blame for the way we handled it. Not only in our country, but around the world.
Should we accuse anybody for a botched job? I think not.
I know we would all like to find a fall guy. It’s our nature. It reduces our own inadequacies. But what good would it do?
Pointing fingers will only further divide us. The last thing we need in a post-pandemic world.
Casting disparagement will not bring back the thousands of lives lost.
We have to realize we made a collective goof, All of us. We didn’t listen to the people who knew the truth. And after we knew, we put our wallets ahead of our health and the health of others.
I learned today we have lost possibly eight of our residents to the Covid-19 virus. [1] I knew most of them personally and they deserved better. Is there someone to blame for their death?
Yes, my friends. We have only ourselves to blame.……………………………………

[1]They were all in poor health and contracted the virus when they were sent to a hospital for treatment of a pre-existing disease. They did not get the virus in our facility.

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Fun Mother's Day Activities
(Even if You Can't Be There)

By Erin Cavoto

Sometimes a girl just needs her mom—plain and simple. But in the weird new world of social distancing—when you may crave her comfort more than ever!—your typical Mother's Day brunch or hometown visit with the woman you love most may not be viable. (If it is, lucky you!) So what's a doting, long-distance—or socially distanced—daughter (or son) to do? If you want to go beyond a simple Mother's Day card or mail-able Mother's Day gift and actually spend some quality time together, take heart. There are still lots of ways you can get past this whole weird social distancing hurdle and connect via a fun activity. For example, you can enjoy hearing her reassuring chuckle over the phone as you tune in to the best TV shows to binge watch with Mom (ahem, Gilmore Girls sounds like a winner), or watch her cheeks turn her signature shade of "flushed" as you and your siblings toast her with "mom"-osas during a virtual happy hour or wine tasting. You could even go on a virtual picnic, embark on the world's best garden tours from your sofas, or take a painting class from the comfort of your couches. Even better: Complete a Country Living paint-by-number of (wilt-proof!) flowers in a mason jar. Whatever you choose to do, take heart that your mom will find joy in simply hearing your voice and seeing your face. Because sometimes a mom just needs her girl—plain and simple.

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As COVID-19 Lurks,
Families Are Locked Out Of Nursing Homes.
Is It Safe Inside?

By Judith Graham

Families are beset by fear and anxiety as COVID-19 makes inroads at nursing homes across the country, threatening the lives of vulnerable older adults.

Alarmingly more than 10,000 residents and staff at long-term care facilities have died from COVID infections, according to an April 23 analysis of state data by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

But often facilities won’t disclose how many residents and employees are infected with the coronavirus that causes the disease, citing privacy considerations. Unable to visit, families can’t see for themselves how loved ones are doing.

Continue reading >>

Coping With Quarantine

I am a quarantine failure. Now before you think that means I’m not staying at home or social distancing in the coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’m following all of the stay-at-home rules and have been washing my hands and wearing a mask. But it’s society that makes me feel like I’m doing this quarantine thing all wrong.

All it took was some social media scrolling — the same scrolling I used to make me feel connected to my friends and family — to find the Marsh family, who wrote a parody of Les Misérables’ “One Day More” and made a hysterical video singing the rendition with their children. Of course it went viral. I thought I can do that. But I didn’t.

I found a post from the folks at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles where they challenged art fans to post photos of themselves recreating their favorite works of art from the safety of their homes. I thought I can do that, but I didn’t.


Physical Therapy When Physically Being
There Isn't Possible

Mary Mihaly had been dealing with knee pain for years but was able to manage it with ibuprofen or aspirin until last year.

“Last October, I went to Australia and the knee pain ruined it,” says Mihaly, 69, a Cleveland-area writer and author. “I couldn’t explore Sydney and I couldn’t enjoy the wineries.”

When she returned home, she saw her doctor, who diagnosed her with arthritis. Her treatment included steroid shots and a course of physical therapy. She started seeing a physical therapist every week in January at the Cleveland Clinic. Mihaly was about to transition to appointments every other week when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.



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4 minutes

At some point, we will have to begin a return to normalcy even before we have extinguished the Covid-19 virus.
Many locations are already permitting some non-essential businesses to open, including parks and beaches.
Even the more “reluctant” cities and states have devised a time-table they will allow people to get back to work and shopping and dining out.
It appears everybody everywhere has a plan and has let the people know what that plan is.
Everywhere ex
cept nursing homes and assisted living facilities, that is.
After over 50 days in virtual seclusion, cut off from our family, friends and even other residents, no plan for ending or even easing the confinement has been discussed.

While I totally understand and agree that we should not rush into anything, we deserve to at least have some idea when we can expect some relief to this hardship. At a minimum, we (the facility) need some official guidelines from the state or county departments of health.

But as of today, we have heard nothing.

We don’t even know if such a plan exists. Or, if they plan to devise one.

The communication between the facility, the government and the overseeing departments (in New York it’s the DOH) is poor to non-existent.
I guess they figure since we are, as a group, reluctant to complain and are the least rebellious and vocal folks in the state, there is no reason to worry too much about our emotional wellbeing.
Or perhaps it’s the high rate of fatalities in nursing homes that makes the authorities extra cautious. And that’s okay. But they are doing exactly what they have been doing all along.
They are treating all seniors as a distinct and single entity. Where in reality we are as diverse as any other segment of the population.
There are “young” seniors (55-74), middle-age seniors (75-85) and older seniors 85 and over. And within those groups are people who are healthy, disabled and chronically ill. And yet, to the government, if you are 65 or older you must be frail suffering from one or more devastating illnesses and not cognitive enough to understand social distancing and simple precautionary measures to keep themselves safe.

And as if to further compartmentalize us, they place those of us in assisted living facilities who are more independent under the same precautions as the highly affected nursing homes. Are we supposed to stay confined until they eradicate every last vestige of the virus or until the last nursing home patient dies?
We need a plan. We need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And we need it soon.
Yours in confinement,………………………………………………….


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Coronavirus and nursing homes:
Here’s what you need to know before choosing a site

By Robert McCoppin

Under normal circumstances, health care experts tell anyone deciding whether to seek the services of a nursing home to make an in-person tour of the facility. Better yet, two visits — one unannounced.

Since nursing homes in Illinois began banning visitors in mid-March due to the coronavirus, it’s been impossible for families to see what is going on inside these facilities. Yet new sick and elderly patients continue to need skilled nursing at these institutions.

For families faced with this dilemma, health care advocates say the most important aspect of a nursing home hunt has now shifted from inspections to interrogation. The lack of access has made one of the hardest decisions in life — and one of the most expensive — even harder.

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‘War on seniors’:
Experts torch Trump’s ‘terrible idea’
for coronavirus relief

By Travis Gettys

“Trump’s actions are a war on seniors,” said Nancy Altman, president of Social Security Works. “He wants to open up the economy, even though COVID-19 is disproportionately costing seniors their lives. Now he is insisting on threatening Social Security on which most seniors rely for their food, medicine and other basic necessities.”


As Older Adults Prepare to Walk Around,
Will Infrastructure Let Them?

Shelter-in-place restrictions are being lifted and the country is beginning to open up, which means that more Americans will be eager to get out and explore, or rediscover, their downtowns. But some — particularly those whose vision or coordination isn’t what it used to be — may find unexpected  difficulties.

Irma Sheppard, 80, knows a thing or two about that. She has lived in central Philadelphia for some 30 years and had been able to walk to most places she needed to go: the supermarket, CVS and her Silver Sneakers fitness class at a local gym. But Sheppard has recently noticed some lurking hazards. “The pavements are very bad here,” Sheppard said of her neighborhood. “Some blocks, you have to be very careful when you’re walking.”

Uneven, steep and broken sidewalks; cracked or missing curb ramps at street crossings to let people wheelchairs cross; restaurant signs on sidewalks; outdoor tables and ever-present scaffolding are increasingly causing challenges to people who can’t see well, walk with a cane or use a wheelchair.


COVID-19 Fears Fuel Increase in Fraud Targeting Senior Citizens;
IDology Provides Resources to Educate Them on Keeping
Their Information Safe

IDology, a GBG company, today announced it has launched a free Senior Security Series of videos to help combat a COVID-19-related increase in fraud attempts directed toward people over 65, many of whom may not be as technically savvy as other consumers and now find themselves homebound in order to protect their health.

Recent survey data found there is a strong misconception among elderly consumers about the security of their personal information, with 81% of seniors not knowing or believing that their personal information, such as Social Security numbers and bank account information, is available for criminals to purchase on the dark web. Through the collection of informative, online how-to videos, IDology, a leader in providing identity verification solutions for businesses, will help equip seniors with the knowledge they need to engage with digital services online while avoiding falling prey to fraud.

"When our fraud team discovered shifts in our data indicating that fraudsters are taking advantage of COVID-19 fears and the subsequent rise in online activities to target senior citizens, we wanted to do something quickly to help," said IDology COO Christina Luttrell. "Providing the senior community with immediate free resources to help them learn how to better protect themselves is our way of giving back while also combatting this specific area of fraud."



Aging parents and their finances — a delicate discussion
By Jeff Opdyke

Death and money — two topics many families try to avoid altogether — are a crucial discussion for aging parents and their adult (often middle-aged or older) children.

So buckle up. Neither side wants to contemplate the parents’ mortality. And discussing the parents’ finances — how they’ll be managed should the oldsters become unable, how property will be distributed when the parents die — is also touchy territory.

Of course, not discussing these issues is the bigger mistake. It’s likely your aging mom and dad will need help with their affairs at some point, and waiting until their memory begins to fail will be a frustrating experience for all parties. There’s also the danger of elder financial abuse scams. And it’s important to have trustworthy adult children keep an eye on their parents’ money coming and going.



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Stress? Yes.
But We're Dealing With It.
Sort Of.

6-7 minutes

I did a wonderful thing Monday morning. Something I haven’t done since last October.

I sat in the sun.

While this might not sound like a big deal, for me… for us, here at the ALF where we have been in a quarantine situation for over 50 days, the ability to leave our rooms and enjoy the fresh air is almost like a return to normalcy.

The temperature was a balmy 68 degrees under an almost cloudless sky. Perfect weather for sitting, putting your feet up and catching some dearly needed rays.
Although it's been spring around here for a while, you couldn’t tell it by the weather.
Cold, cloudy and damp have been the TV weatherman’s favorite words.

But Monday dawned bright and mild.
At 5am the temperature was already in the 60s. A wonderful way to start a week.
Over the weekend, the maintenance people took our patio furniture out of storage and placed the chairs and tables in a proper social distance arrangement around the patio, signaling something very important.
By having the chairs, tables and benches out there means a slight loosening of the extremely ridged anti-fraternization rules we have been living under ever since this mishegoss[1] began for us on March 13th.
It now looks as though a little mingling is okay, as long as it’s done outside.

I guess the message was not as clear to most of my fellow residents because at 11am, with the temperature now a 68, I was the only one enjoying the sun.
The reason for the low attendance may be because of several factors.
Because they serve all meals in our rooms, many folks don’t bother dressing. They eat three meals a day, in the same clothes they slept in. And, since they require all residents dressed in proper street attire when in public, many people just don’t need the hassle.
As an example, take the guy who lives directly opposite me.
Normally, he is up early. Showered, shaved, dressed and on his way to the dining room.
Now, I see him standing at the door of his room shirtless, wearing nothing but a pair of boxer briefs.
For me, and the ladies of the staff who bring us our food, it’s a sight we can’t un-see.

Then too, I suppose many of our residents are just frightened to leave the relative safety of their rooms. And who could blame them?
With the media reporting outrageous mortality numbers coming from nursing homes and assisted living facilities, many residents feel the virus has singled them out. So they hunker down, keep quiet and wonder when this will end. Or if it will end in their lifetimes. This has to be a stressful situation for them. I know it is for me.
According to the CDC: [2]

“The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children.”

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include--

1. Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
2. Changes in sleep or eating patterns
3. Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
4. Worsening of chronic health problems
5. Worsening of mental health conditions
6. Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
I must confess. When this all began, and I saw the concern on the faces of our administrator and the drastic methods implemented almost immediately to keep our contact with others at bay, I had concern for my health. My body doesn’t work as well as it used to.  My immune system let me down in the past. And just knowing that, if I catch this thing, I can’t fight it, causes me more than routine concern.
While I’m not freaking out, I’ve been walking around with a permanent knot in my stomach.
And I’m definitely experiencing changes to my sleep.
I’m hardly sleeping at all.
Any sleep I get has been part of a series of catnaps rarely lasting for more than an hour at a time.

Thankfully, I haven’t had any “worsening of chronic health problems”, and I certainly have not turned to drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

And, as far as my mental health is concerned, I’m not any crazier than I was two months ago. But I know my Lexapro has been working overtime.

They’re knocking on my door which means it’s dinnertime or maybe breakfast.

I can’t wait……………………………………………………….

[1] Mishegoss- Yiddish for “craziness.”

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Jeff Opdyke: Aging parents and their finances
a delicate discussion

Death and money — two topics many families try to avoid altogether — are a crucial discussion for aging parents and their adult (often middle-aged or older) children.

So buckle up. Neither side wants to contemplate the parents’ mortality. And discussing the parents’ finances — how they’ll be managed should the oldsters become unable, how property will be distributed when the parents die — is also touchy territory.

Of course, not discussing these issues is the bigger mistake. It’s likely your aging mom and dad will need help with their affairs at some point, and waiting until their memory begins to fail will be a frustrating experience for all parties. There’s also the danger of elder financial abuse scams. And it’s important to have trustworthy adult children keep an eye on their parents’ money coming and going.

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Opinion | The Coronavirus Is Killing Too
Many Nursing Home Residents

By Tyson Belanger

My family has owned an assisted living home in this town for over 44 years. Both of my grandmothers have lived in it, and my mother might soon need its care. As much as I admired my parents, I did not think I would someday lead it. I went to Yale, served three tours in Iraq as a Marine infantry officer and earned a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard. I had planned to turn my dissertation into a book.

But in 2016, after my father’s health took a turn for the worse, I bought the home, Shady Oaks, and moved in next door. The home is now my life, and that means I am consumed with one thing: trying to protect our elderly residents — and the people who care for them — from Covid-19. As is the case with so many homes for the elderly across the country, it is a battle we are not yet winning.

As of late April, more than two-thirds of nursing homes in Connecticut have had one or more residents with Covid-19. Confirmed and probable nursing home deaths from the disease represented more than half of the state’s total number of Covid-19 deaths. If we include assisted living homes like mine, the share of deaths in care homes for senior citizens is even higher.


Here’s How We Can Deal With COVID-19
In Nursing Homes Right Away

The first COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. was at a Seattle-area nursing home, where 37 residents and staff died. It was an almost unthinkable tragedy ― the kind that shakes a nation’s conscience and prompts immediate action, so that it doesn’t happen again.

Instead, the ensuing weeks have produced even more stories and even more horrific death tallies: 47 at a Minneapolis nursing home, 52 at a facility outside Pittsburgh, 70 at a New Jersey home where, notoriously, full body bags were piled in a holding room.

The aggregate numbers are just as arresting. At least 16,000 nursing home residents and workers in the U.S. have died, which works out to about 1 in 4 of all COVID-19 deaths, according to the latest tally by USA Today. The real number may be even higher because of inconsistent testing, autopsy and reporting practices.

Continue reading>>


Trump announces plan to protect
seniors in nursing homes

By Bob Fredericks

President Trump on Thursday outlined several new initiatives aimed at protecting elderly Americans who live in nursing homes as the coronavirus pandemic takes a disproportionate toll on the elderly.

“That’s a spot — that’s a spot that we have to take care of. I guess you could call it a little bit of a weak spot, because things are happening at the nursing homes, and we’re not happy about that. We don’t want it to happen,” the president said at the White House as he announced the initiatives.

Trump said he ordered the creation of a commission that includes industry experts, patient advocates and state and local officials that will meet in May and come up with recommendations to protect seniors.



What Will Never Be the Same Again in Healthcare?

The healthcare industry’s vocabulary has avoided the word “never.” The COVID-19 pandemic has tossed aside squishy, non-committal words like “iteration” and “evolution” and replaced them with “permanently” and “over.” Healthcare leaders are facing a very different healthcare world because of COVID-19.

HealthLeaders Exchange program director and editor Jim Molpus reached out to 17 trusted advisors to get their perspective on what will never be the same again in healthcare. The responses were passionate, diverse and hopeful:
Very little will be the same again in healthcare.

I expect very little will be the same as it used to be after this pandemic is behind us. This crisis is altering—perhaps permanently—how and where providers interact with their patients and with each other, how providers approach their work, and how health systems respond individually and collectively under intense pressures. Stay-at-home and physical-distancing directives have thrust a new telemedicine into the spotlight for giving patients more choices to be seen when and where they want to be seen.



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7-8 minutes

Here’s a quick lesson in nutrition.
The human body turns carbohydrates into sugar.[1]
Any sugar that’s not used to fuel the body is stored in the body as fat.
The more fat that’s stored, the heavier you get.
Eating fewer carbohydrates and more protein reduces the amount of fat in your body.
Carbohydrates are not inherently bad. If you are an athlete or very active person, carbs are necessary for stamina. Marathon runners “carb-load” on a spaghetti dinner the night before a race.
Today, they base most weight loss plans on a low carb high protein diet.
End of nutrition lesson.
Fact: The number of long distant runners, competitive weight lifters or professional athletes over 65 and who are residents of an assisted living facility… “0”.

Therefor, I ask you. Why is the ratio of carbohydrates to protein in most meals served to residents of assisted living centers so lopsided in favor of those pesky carbs?
That is the exact question I have been asking dietitians, food supervisors and administrators almost from the first week I became a resident of an assisted living facility almost 7 years ago.
Replies should be as simple as the question. Unfortunately, the answers are vague and elusive.
Their responses range from, “Really? You think there are too many carbs,” and, “I think they’re about equal,” to “I must check on that,” or, “I’ll get back to you.”
Not once in all the years I have asked that question have I ever received an honest answer, or any answer for that matter.
Why? Because nutrition and food service in facilities such as ours is one of those hush-hush topics administrators, dietitians and cooks won’t talk about. It’s a thorn in the side of any institution responsible for serving meals in bulk. As it is in our facility which serves about 200 meals three times a day, every day of the year.
And, as anyone who has ever been involved in institutional food service such as schools, hospitals, the military and prisons knows, it’s the number one expenditure next to salaries.
While it’s impossible to get an actual dollar amount on what exactly our facility or any facility spends on food, figures derived from industry sources put that number at about $5 to $8 per resident per day.[2]
It’s a tight budget.
“Ah!”, you say. “It’s money that determines what that carb-to-protein ratio. Everyone knows rice and potatoes and pasta are cheaper and more filling than protein-rich meat.”
Well, that’s only partially true.

While the budget is always a factor, there’s something else that rules that unbalanced proportion. And the state is partially to blame, on two counts. And one of them is a “dirty little secret.”
The state Department of Health regulates the basic minimum nutritional requirements for residents of facilities like ours.
Essentially, they must serve us at least 3 ounces of meat (protein) per meal. [3]
This may translate to two slices of bacon, or two sausages for breakfast. Or three ball-bearing size meatballs with lunch or a chicken leg (bone in) for dinner.

What the DOH directives do not regulate is the maximum amount of non-protein products they can serve to us.

This leaves it up to the facility to decide what they want to put on a residents plate to fill them up.
And I can assure you, it will not be an extra ladle of beef stew or an additional slice of brisket.
What it will be is a giant scoop of mashed potatoes, a mound of rice, or a pile of pasta that fills the plate, and our stomachs.

Okay, money is money. We can all understand that. But the cost factor is only one reason why they feed us so much starchy, sugary foods. The other is the dirty little secret I mentioned. And it has to do with weight.

Not the individual weight of any particular resident (that’s a matter for a doctor to determine), but the collective weight of the entire facility as measured by a curve.

Every month each resident has their weight recorded.[4]

That information is sent to the DOH which looks for one thing.

Has the overall weight of a particular facility gone up or down.

If the trend, over a number of months shows a steady weight loss among the residents, a flag goes up. This flag sets in motion a watch and possible visit from the DOH to determine the reason for the downward trend.

I have no problem with that. After all constantly declining numbers could mean the facility is “starving” their residents.

But here is what I do have a problem with.

The state couldn’t care less if those weight numbers go up. Most likely, they look at it as a good thing.

A group of fat people signifies that everybody is well-fed.

The facility is happy and, more important, the state is happy.

Everybody is happy except those residents whose knees and hips hurt, or has a heart condition or whose diabetes is out of control.

And that is why the rice overshadows the beans or why there are more fries than burger and more bun than hot dog.

They need us to be nice and plump in order to get those numbers to skew upward.

They say “You can never be too rich or too thin.”

When the lockdown is over, come for a visit. I’ll show you a place where nobody is rich, and most are not thin.* ……………………. .

*Editor’s note” To be fair, there are a number of residents here who eat very little and are extremely thin. These residents are given food supplements such as Ensure to balance their diets. Unfortunately, those people are figured into the mix and are a factor in driving the total weigh gain/loss numbers down. By that very fact, the more undernourished residents there are the more carbs the rest of us are fed.

[1]Just to refresh your memory some foods with a high amount of carbohydrates are: pasta, rice. potatoes, bread, cereals, cake, cookies and candy.
[2]In comparison, prisons spend about $3 to $4 per person per day.
[3]Eggs are high in protein and are often substituted for meat with breakfast.
[4]Everyone except me. I have refused to have my weight taken by the facility until they can tell me why they, and the state, need to know how much I weigh. All they say is “It’s a state requirement.”

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Food Assistance | USAGov
Find out how to get food in case of an emergency, apply for food stamps and what free or low-cost food programs are available for infants, children and seniors. Learn about rule changes during the coronavirus emergency.
Immediate Food Aid

If you’re hungry now:

Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). Information is available in English and Spanish. The hotline operates Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Eastern Time.

Contact community or religious organizations.
Food Programs Ease Rules for Coronavirus Pandemic
You may now have an easier time getting food through government meal programs. During the coronavirus emergency:
Food stamp (SNAP) recipients may receive supplemental funding
Parents can pick up school meals for their kids to eat at home
People can enroll in food programs remotely rather than in person. This applies to programs for pregnant women, families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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The Boom in Plant-Based Diets
Brings Healthy Creativity to Menus

The revolution is here–the veg revolution, that is. Plant-forward eating styles are changing the way residents and communities think about food.

“Plant-forward is an eating style focused on plant-based dishes like produce, whole grains, and legumes, but it’s not limited to that,” said Dana Fillmore, registered dietitian and marketing manager at Gordon Food Service.

For instance, a salad with real bacon bits is not vegetarian or vegan, but it is plant-forward.

An important motivation to going plant-forward is the list of benefits: Diets composed mainly of plant-derived ingredients are proven to improve health by lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and reducing the risk of heart disease.


Cities fear collision of virus
and heat waves
By Jada Yuan, Tim Craig and Holly Bailey

NEW YORK - The windowless corridor on a 20th floor in the Mott Haven Houses - a cluster of public-housing towers in the South Bronx - felt like a thoroughfare, even in the middle of a pandemic when residents are supposed to be avoiding one another.

People and their dogs poured out of the elevator, joining others in an already crowded hallway. Many residents kept their apartment doors open, allowing for a slight breeze even though the air stank of urine in some places and bleach in others.

If anyone had a face mask, they wore it around their neck.

Yet as he hung out in a stairwell holding his cane, Edgar Martinez said he believes the hardest days are still to come here.

"The summer is going to make it worse," said Martinez, 62, who is Puerto Rican and has lived in these projects since he was 12. "These kids can't go to the park no more. They can't play. Imagine if you have four, five kids in your house."


Risks of potentially inappropriate medications
post-hospitalization for older adults

"Potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs)" are treatments that sometimes pose risks that outweigh their benefits, particularly for people who are 65 or older. About 20 to 60 percent of older adults take medicines that may be potentially inappropriate. That can increase the risk for being hospitalized, needing to visit the emergency department, having poor quality of life, and/or experiencing a harmful reaction.

When older adults are hospitalized for medical reasons or for surgery, they often go home with prescriptions for treatments that may be different from those they were taking beforehand. These treatments may include PIMs. Until now, however, few studies have examined how PIMs affect older adults when prescribed at the time of their hospital discharge.

A team of researchers recently designed a study to learn more about this important issue. They examined information from medical and surgical patients to evaluate the association of PIMs (both the ones the patients had been taking earlier as well as those newly prescribed at their hospital discharge) with the risk of four outcomes. The outcomes were harmful drug problems, emergency department visits, readmission to the hospital, and death after hospital discharge. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.



The Therapeutic Power of Making Art
For a respite from COVID-19 worries

By Nancy Monson

Like most Americans, I’ve been feeling empty, numb, shell-shocked and dumbfounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been socially isolating as directed, except for daily walks. I am used to working from home as a freelance writer, but I’ve often had trouble concentrating on work and worry about spending even more time alone than I normally do.

A few days after the first directive to stay at home, I pulled out some of my sewing and quilting supplies, sorting through the many half-started projects, class and technique samples I’ve compiled for use “someday.” And suddenly, I was inspired and instantly so much happier.

I embarked on a “15 days of isolation” series of small art works. Part of my day is now spent designing little works, and then sewing or painting them. And while I’m creating, I forget about COVID-19 and the attendant health and financial crises it is wreaking on people around the world. My art is my little respite, distracting me from worries and giving me a sense of self-satisfaction.



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A Reporter With Nothing To Report
5 minutes

While I don’t think of myself as a reporter, I like to keep my ear to the ground, my finger on the pulse and my foot in the door in search of all of what goes on here at the ALF.

I do this for several reasons.

As a member of the resident’s council I try to get ahead of any recent activities, policy changes or personnel changes so I can convey that information to the residents.

This coming August will mark my 7th year here at the Asylum, which makes me somewhat of an expert on assisted living.

As the editor of a blog for and about seniors, with an emphasis on senior living, I try to gain as much knowledge about the business as I can without being an actual owner or administrator. [1]

Gaining accurate information is difficult under normal circumstances and now, with the entire industry under a microscope, acquiring the truth has been even more difficult.

The last official communication we’ve had from our administrator is dated April 21st and it just reiterates what I was told personally a few days earlier.

“There are currently none. or has there ever been, any case of Covid-19 at our facility. One resident succumbed to the virus. But that occurred in a hospital. One staff member was diagnosed positive, but never worked while contagious.” 

That’s the same as it was since this entire thing began for us 50 days ago.

I find this, not only a miracle (considering we are located in a county where the official death toll for assisted living facility residents is 30) but a statistical impossibility.[2]

If we are the only facility in the county (or maybe even the state) not to have any instances of infection why hasn't this been made public? At the very least, we could be used as an example of how to do things right.

 As anyone who has ever been a resident or staff member of any senior living facility, the inmate grapevine extends far and wide. And is usually accurate. It has always been my primary source of news. Now, that source has dried up.

Since nobody has ventured very far from their rooms and no one from the staff is saying anything, the usually very active ‘telegraph” is silent.

Even the Yentas[3], who I like to call “My reporting staff”, are MIA.

All this makes my job difficult. Any information I can give you is personal and, although I like to consider myself to be unbiased, my perspective can only be one-sided.

Personally, I believe I’m coping with things okay. I have all but resigned myself to accepting what I cannot change. I’m not happy about it. I think the facility could do a better job with the food service. But, since they have manged to keep me, and I suppose, many of my fellow residents alive and well for 50 days, who am I to argue.

However, as a person interested in the human condition, and has great empathy for everybody here, I find not knowing how others are managing, very frustrating.
I am hoping, although I have no reason to, that on or about the middle of this month, there can be some relaxation of the quarantine.

I would like to have the ability to gather in small groups (with masks if necessary) just to be able to see our friends again or play cards or just talk about the days events.

Perhaps, as the weather gets better, we might even be able to have one of our 5 or 6 outdoor barbecues.

Naturally, this would depend on all of our staff and residents being tested and found negative.

As of now, (and I find this absurd) there are no plans to test any resident symptomatic or not.

Until such a plan is put into effect, we might have to stay locked up until the first snow of winter.

If that happens even I might get a little antsy. ……………………………………….

[1]Because many nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not publically held corporations it’s almost impossible to get any information as to salaries or operating costs. The state Dept. Of Health publishes compliance data, but only quarterly and very vague, Transparency in the senior housing business is almost non-existant.
[2]The official NYS DOH website only lists the number of deaths, and not the specific assisted living facility where a death has occurred. Nursing homes are mentioned by name as well as the number of deaths. But even in those cases, if a facility had less than 5 fatalities, they are not mentioned by name.
[3]Yiddish for someone who gossips.

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Eating during COVID-19:
Improve your mood and lower stress

By Uma Naidoo, MD

Meal planning for a family, a challenge on its own, can be more so now with seclusion at home, more people to feed with different tastes, and more food stores with limited groceries and shopping times. There’s also the uncertainly of bare shelves, with normal staples of a nutritious diet unavailable, at least temporarily. It’s tempting to buy whatever is available, even if it’s not something that’s part of your normal diet.

It’s hard to cope with being quarantined and not reach for your favorite salty, crunchy snack because of boredom or feeling on edge. A few pretzels or chips are okay, but many people may not be able to step away from eating the entire bag once it’s open. Also, if you’re already feeling blue, the quick fix of cookies or cake will ultimately make you feel worse. Processed foods and shelf-stable items like baked goods contain a lot of simple carbohydrates that create a yo-yo effect on our blood sugar, which can drive anxiety and worsen mood.
How then can we mindfully make good food choices?

    Make a schedule or a daily meal plan.

    Consider apps to stay connected around a meal.

    Plan for groceries.

    Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.

    Save money.

    Plan and enjoy an occasional comfort food for a weekly treat

   Manage your environment.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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White House Offers 'Practically Nothing' to Assisted Living,
Pledges Nursing Home Aid

By Tim Regan

President Donald Trump praised his administration’s efforts in protecting older adults from Covid-19 — but LeadingAge, an association of non-profit senior service providers, believes far more must be done.

Trump announced the federal government’s newest move to aid older adults living in nursing homes during a White House event titled “Protecting America’s Seniors” Thursday. Included in those plans are the formation of a special nursing home task force, and an initiative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deliver two “care packages” consisting of one week’s worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 15,400 nursing homes across the country.

“We are deploying every tool, resource and power at our disposal to protect our seniors and Americans of every age and background,” Trump said during the event.


Why More Seniors Are Turning to
Entrepreneurship after Retirement


The world has changed for senior citizens, and they’re changing the world. Today, 50+-year-olds who have been given the gift of an additional 20 years of longevity and good health are turning to entrepreneurship.

Seniors have years of experience to draw from and they’re eager to embrace new opportunities.

According to a 2013 research in the US from the MetLife Foundation, over 34 million baby boomers want to start their own businesses. Also, the Kauffman Foundation and Global Entrepreneurship Monitor show that, contrary to the traditional belief that entrepreneurship is a young person’s endeavor, senior citizens are the most entrepreneurial age group. These senior entrepreneurs are optimizing their life and work experience to create everything from micro-businesses to multimillion-dollar technology businesses.


I clung to the middle class as I aged.
The pandemic pulled me under.

By Ray Suarez

We were on a busy D.C. street, waiting for the light to change, when my teenage daughter asked, out of nowhere, “Dad, what are you afraid of?” That might have been a cue for a heartwarming father-daughter conversation about overcoming life’s challenges. Nope. From my lizard brain, or from the primordial soup in my guts, came an answer I didn’t even consider, out of my mouth before I had a conscious thought of it.

“Being poor. That’s what I’m afraid of.” Then we crossed the street.

I keep returning to that exchange over the past few weeks, as my inbox fills with coronavirus-driven bad news. A paid speaking engagement in Texas? Canceled. Several days of work at an international conference? The organizers decided not to take the risk. A gig moderating a climate change conference in Chicago? Postponed, maybe until October. When I traveled as a reporter to health crises in Africa and Latin America in recent years, exposed to malaria, tuberculosis and pneumonia, I knew that if I got sick my health-care costs would be paid by my employer, as would any days I needed to recover. In 2010, covering the devastating Port-au-Prince earthquake in Haiti for PBS, I caught something that lingered when I got home, so I called in sick.



As average lifespans get longer,
 what that means for retirement

People are living longer now, which means retiring at 65 may make less sense for some people

“The big risk is outliving your money," Keith Bernhardt, vice president of retirement income for Fidelity Investments, told U.S. News and World Report.

A recent report from GOBankingRates found that having a comfortable 20-year retirement in Georgia costs more than $1 million or roughly $56,000 annually.

The high costs of a longer retirement, paired with longer life expediencies for U.S. adults means that more people are opting to stay in the workforce longer.


No New Content On Sunday


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Appreciating The Little Things
5 minutes

Liberal or Conservative, there’s one thing we can all agree on. We have all gained a new appreciation for the basics.
Those things we took for granted because they. (1) Were readily available, (2) relatively cheap and, (3) not very glamorous.
They are the items we have been using all of our lives and found in every household in America.
The first of these, of course, is toilet paper.
An item so mundane, so inelegant as to make it the brunt of many jokes.
But not anymore.
What once was just another minion of the grocery business, has attained a stature formally associated with truffles and caviar.
It did not take long before we found out there were very few substitutes for toilet paper. And the folks we used to see at Costco buying TP by the skid-load, who we all laughed at, we now look upon a savvy investor’s on the same level as Warren Buffett.
America, it appears, is no longer on the gold-standard but one based on a commodity with more intrinsic value.
Toilet paper is not the only staple we have elevated to celebrity status as anyone who has gone shopping knows.
Anything containing rubbing alcohol is now in demand more than a vintage Mouton Cadet. And just as pricey.
I’m a big advocate of hydrogen peroxide as a household disinfectant. I use it for everything from cleansing a wound to whitening my teeth.
A 32oz bottle usually sells for about $8.00.
The price, as of yesterday morning, was $17.00 at Amazon. And that’s for a generic brand.
I have about half-a-cup left, which; I am saving for an emergency.

Although always popular, some food items have become the new fresh stars of the pantry.
Beans, in all forms, are now hard to find. Especially the old tried-and-true brands like Heinz and Bush’s.
I found some at Walmart, but I had to buy a 6 pack.
I may eat beans into the next decade.
Pasta, especially Ramen, is in outrageous demand.
It’s one of the few products that has not increased in price. It’s just become hard to find in quantity.
The frightening thing is, what will be next?
There is already talk of shortages in ground beef, bacon, chicken and hot dogs.
Amazingly, all products we usewd to take for granted.
Now we know a little of what our parents and grandparents experienced during WW2, when they rationed things like meat and paper products.
Right now I have a new affection for seasoning and condiments, which are still easy to find.
Because the food we are being served here at the ALF is so bland and boring and just plain ugly, dousing it with as much garlic powder, ketchup, hot sauce and salad dressing is the only thing keeping me from tossing it into the trash.
I will never again look at a bottle of Dijon Mustard or chili sauce quite the same.
Finally, there is coffee.
I now drink an absurd amount of it.
Six or seven cups a day.
Perhaps it’s out of boredom or just a need to do something with my hands. I don’t know. But I find drinking the beverage very satisfying.
I’m sure a qualified mental health professional knows why. But they’re probably too busy drinking coffee to give me an answer.
I suppose we’ll be needing answers to a lot of things when this is over.
 I can’t wait to hear them………………………………..

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5 Easy At-Home Exercises for Seniors

Exercise is good for everyone, including seniors. In fact, research shows it can help stave off the mobility problems that can interfere with independence, not to mention benefit a person’s heart, bones and even mood.

For older adults who spend most of their time at home, it’s still possible to fit in the four basic categories of exercise — endurance, muscle strength, balance and flexibility — that help people improve their fitness, stay limber and reduce their risk of falls. The five exercises below may be a good place to start. You can do them during commercials.

Note: It’s important to check with your doctor before you start any new exercise regimen. If you feel unwell at any point, stop immediately.

Walking in place

Walking is one of the best and easiest ways to keep the heart and lungs healthy and build strength in the legs and lower body, and you don’t have to cover a long distance to get the payoffs. In fact, you can walk in place. Here’s how:

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Just In Time... Baby Boomers Discover
A New Way To Retire

By Chris Carosa

Watch out, Millennials! The OG “Me” generation is nipping at your virtual tails.

Yes, that’s right. Baby Boomers have found a new way to retire—by becoming internet entrepreneurs. Not all of them, but the numbers may shock you.

According to a recent study, nearly one in five people who remain working past age 65 are self-employed. This number does not include—and in fact exceeds the number of—independent contractors older than 65.

“There is an outdated idea that people want to retire at 60 or 65,” says Dave Smith, Founder of the Online Trainers Federation in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “Many Boomers still want to contribute to society and the economy. They have a lifetime of knowledge and experience that they want to share with others. They don’t want to simply play golf and sit by the beach.”


Trump says no to additional
COVID-19 stimulus checks

By Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump on Tuesday expressed opposition to providing additional direct relief payments on top of the $1,200 checks that are slowly trickling out to eligible U.S. households, saying he would instead prefer to slash the tax that funds Social Security and Medicare.

“Well, I like the idea of payroll tax cuts,” Trump said at a press conference when asked about the idea of authorizing another round of direct payments in the next coronavirus stimulus package as mass layoffs continue.

“I’ve liked that from the beginning,” the president said. “That was a thing that I really would love to see happen. A lot of economists would agree with me. A lot of people agree with me. And I think frankly it’s simple, it’s not the big distribution, and it would really be an incentive for people to come back to work and for employers to hire.”


Could a common heartburn drug treat COVID-19?
One hospital system is trying it

The active compound in heartburn remedies like Pepcid has emerged as part of the nation’s latest hope for a COVID-19 treatment.

Doctors at New York’s Northwell Health hospital system have been testing famotidine intravenously on patients “at nine times the heartburn dose,” Science Magazine reported.

The idea came to researchers after it was noted some older virus survivors in China had been taking famotidine for chronic heartburn versus more expensive treatments, CNN reported.



Telemedicine key to US health care
even after pandemic ends

By Gopal Ratnam

As thousands of patients struck by COVID-19 rushed to seek treatment in overcrowded New York City hospitals, intensive care specialists more than 350 miles away at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center stepped up to provide remote assistance to beleaguered colleagues in New York.

Specialists in Pittsburgh can read the electronic medical records of COVID-19 patients at the New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in Lower Manhattan and use telemedicine platforms to provide advice, for example, on how to care for patients on ventilators.

“There are more patients than ICUs or trained physicians can take care of” in New York, said Robert Bart, the chief medical information officer for the Pittsburgh Medical Center. To bridge the gap, New York asked non-intensive care specialists or so-called hospitalists to “manage the less acute patients on ventilators.”



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5-6 Minutes

I’ve never been one to dwell on, or overly glorify the past.
The old days weren’t that great.
The beginning of the 20th Century was rampant with poverty, racism and inequality for women.
The 1900s brought us two world wars, conflicts in Asia and the Middle East, not to mention the constant threat of nuclear conflagration.
Therefore, I have a hard time understanding the MAGA movement.
In what way do they want to Make America Great Again?
If they’re talking about bringing manufacturing back to our country, I’m all for it.
If they want a more equal balance in the trade deficit, I say, “Go for it.”
If they want the U.S. to be a world leader in exports, why not? We should be.
But, if it’s all-white schools, suppression of civil rights, restricted access to housing because of one’s color and inequality in the business world because of gender, they want, those MAGA people can shove it. It will not happen.

However, in all honesty, there were some things about the old days that were good.

The first that comes to mind is that kids could be kids.

My time was MY time.

From the time I got home from school until the streetlights came on, they allowed me to do my thing. Which, back then, was anything from a pickup stickball game, a bicycle race through Prospect park, checking out the latest comics at the candy store, or just hanging with the guys dreaming of what we’d like to be when we grew up.

I lived in a neighborhood packed with the offspring of the “Greatest Generation.” And, although we didn’t know it then, we would be the generation responsible for just about everything there is today.

But perhaps the best thing about growing up in that post-war era was the change in the family structure.

Though dad was still the head of the household, he shared his power with his wife. Family decisions were collaborative. 

Us kids knew where the money came from and we respected him for it.

We looked to mom as the great mediator and our advocate. 

Dad may have been the judge, but mom was our lawyer.

And if the “verdict’ went against us. Punishment was just and swift.

“No going out to play after school” was like doing 15 to 20 at Sing Sing and, “No TV for a week” was tantamount to solitary confinement.

Though we were not rich, money was never a problem. Because we were part of the great “Middle Class.” Culturally and economically, the most potent force ever to exist.

It was simple.

We worked and were paid a fair salary which allowed us to purchase, at a fair price, goods and services made by other middle class folks. 

Rent did not take away over 50% of our income and cars didn’t cost as much as a house.

But those days are gone forever. 

Gone because we forgot one thing.

Not everybody was middle class. And what made it worse, access to the middle class was limited for many people. Not because they didn’t work, and work hard, but because they were the wrong color or religion.

This had to change, and in the 1960s, it did. 

The Civil Rights movement saw a swift end to the old and a shaky start of a new era. 

Which brings us to now. 

Half of our nation wants to return to a past that cannot, should not, be repeated. While the other half wants to change overnight, things that took decades to foment. 

It’s a dangerous soup we’ve cooked for ourselves and the addition of a viral ‘seasoning’ doesn’t help.

What we really need is an all-inclusive middle class with the values of the past and an eye to the future.

Will this pandemic be the wake-up call we needed?

Time will tell. If we live that long. ………………………………………………
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Caregiver Support | USAGov

Get tips and information to help you care for your loved one with special medical needs, including programs for family members of veterans and people with disabilities to get paid to provide care.

Help and Support for Caregivers

These resources and suggestions can help you find emotional and task support as a caregiver for a parent, spouse, or child with special needs.

Federal Government Caregiver Resources

    Alzheimer’s Caregiving - Learn from the National Institute on Aging how to respond to the challenges of being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of dementia.

    Caregiver Resources - Get a basic overview from NIH’s MedlinePlus of caregiver services and a list of resources to help you protect your own health.

    Caring for the Caregiver - This resource from the National Cancer Institute is for family and friends who are caring for a person with cancer.

    Managing Someone Else’s Money Guide - Get tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on how to manage your family member’s finances and property when they can’t handle their bills themselves.

    The VA Caregiver Support Line helps people caring for veterans find services and benefits for their loved one and encouraging support for themselves.

    Office of Women’s Health Caregiver Page - Get tips on how to prevent or relieve caregiver stress, and how to find and pay for home health care services.

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See more cartoons in our cartoon gallery

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Social Security Recipients:
You May Have To Act To Get Your
Stimulus Money Electronically

By Bart Astor

IRS will need updated banking information from Social Security recipients.

Contrary to earlier reports, it now seems that many recipients of social security must go online to the IRS website in order to get the stimulus money — that is if we want to get the funds deposited electronically. If we’re willing to wait a while, we can do nothing and eventually we’ll get a paper check in the mail, assuming we’re eligible.

The reason? Turns out the IRS and Social Security Administration systems aren’t quite as in sync as we thought. So even though SSA has our banking information and we get our payments automatically deposited each month, the IRS does not necessarily know where to deposit the stimulus money. Many of us were perplexed when we checked with the IRS website about our eligibility only to get a response that read, “Status not available.” But now, it turns out, the IRS made significant changes to the “Get My Payment” website this past weekend and, as a result, they not only can tell you whether you are eligible, but also will walk you through the process of updating your banking information. Note that if you received a tax refund in the last tax year filed and the funds were deposited electronically, the IRS already has your banking information. But if you had to pay, the IRS does not have that information.


Andrew Cuomo: One Person with Coronavirus in
Nursing Home Like 'Fire Through Dry Grass'

By Joel B. Pollak

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday that the coronavirus spread through nursing homes like “fire through dry grass,” and that the state had feared that “from the get-go” — but did not explain why the state requires nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients referred from hospitals.

Cuomo has been criticized recently for a directive the state issued March 25 requiring nursing homes to accept coronavirus patients. California had a similar directive, but relaxed it after protests from medical professionals.

The New York governor told his Tuesday press briefing on the coronavirus that even one infected person entering a nursing home could cause massive problems:

    What is really happening in nursing homes is what we feared from the get-go, right? We were introduced to this virus in [the] State of Washington in a nursing home. This virus is an efficient, effective predator. And the virus preys on the vulnerable, and the vulnerable are primarily elderly people, people with a compromised immune system. And a nursing home is Ground Zero for this virus. Period. It is a congregate facility of vulnerable people. And to stop the virus from getting in, where every staff member who walks in, they have to take their temperature, et cetera, testing, et cetera, but it just takes one person — one facility person, one nurse, one orderly, one doctor, one anything — to walk in there with a virus and then it is fire through dry grass in that nursing home. That is — you look at the people who have passed with this virus, predominantly senior citizens., predominantly people with a compromised immune system. That is where this virus goes. And it is frightening. It is frightening. And if you have a loved one in a nursing home, yes, it is frightening.


Aging Immune Systems Are More
Vulnerable to COVID-19. Why?

Dr. Sean X. Leng and his laboratory team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study the biology of healthy aging with a focus on chronic inflammation in late-life decline. The lab also studies “immunosenescence” — the decline in immune function as we age. Leng’s team is interested in the relationship between immunosenescence and the basic biological and physiological changes related to aging and frailty in the human immune system.

A professor of medicine, molecular microbiology and immunology and a board-certified geriatrician at Johns Hopkins, Leng is also president of the Milstein Medical Asian American Partnership Foundation, which works to improve world health by developing mutually beneficial partnerships between the U.S. and China, as well as greater Asia.

We recently talked with Leng — a 2006 Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging recipient — about the role of immunosenescence in the COVID-19 pandemic, and how a geroscience approach can help address the problem.



Germany’s Covid-19 Story
By Axel Haverich

The Covid-19 pandemic isn’t over in Germany, but the country has managed its first wave of infections effectively. As a surgeon, I’ve been asked why Germany has lower mortality rates among infected patients compared with many other nations, in Europe and elsewhere. Most people assume that Germany’s resilience stems from its health system’s ample supply of mechanical ventilators and hospital beds for intensive care. Germany’s success thus far, however, isn’t related to the quality of its health-care system—German hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by demand at any point. The answer lies in a combination of good fortune and good planning.

One major factor is the age of most infected individuals when the outbreak began in the country. The first reported infections in Germany occurred six weeks after the official reports of Covid-19 in Wuhan and about two weeks after the disease’s onset in Lombardy, Italy. In addition to a minor outbreak near Munich, the virus was also identified in a small Rhine Valley town during the region’s carnival season. Most cases, though, occurred shortly thereafter among young and middle-aged Germans returning from skiing vacations in the Alps. These individuals spread the disease, mostly within their age groups. For a period of more than two weeks, the mean age of infected citizens remained at about 46 years; individuals 60 years and older represented no more than 16 percent to 18 percent of cases during that time. A fraction of those were admitted to the hospital. Few required ICU treatment, and only a small number died.

Thus, the initial presentation of Covid-19 in Germany was among middle-aged people at low risk—a matter of pure luck. This reality allowed government leaders and hospitals to prepare for the risk of viral spread to the country’s more vulnerable and elderly populations. So far, this scenario hasn’t occurred.



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5 minutes

Millennials and Gen-X’ers have blamed us Baby Boomers for everything from “… pillaging the nation’s economy, repeatedly cutting their own taxes, financing two wars with deficits, ignoring climate change, presiding over the death of America’s manufacturing core, and leaving future generations to clean up the mess they created.”[1]

About the only thing they haven’t blamed us for, yet, is the current pandemic. 

While they have no proof that it was a Baby Boomer who was patient zero, or that Boomers aided in the virus's spread, they definitely believe we are and will be the reason they can’t get back to school or work or go to the gym or the beach, go to bars, parties and just chill with their pals.
This is due, in part, by the government and (I’m sorry to say) the media, who have convinced everybody It’s not the young people who are getting sick, just those pesky old folks who are taking up all the hospital beds and making things difficult for the rest of America.

They use as proof the numbers of deaths in places where old folks live like nursing homes, assisted living facilities and housing projects.

People over 60 are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill than younger folks who don’t have underlying health conditions (those who have preexisting conditions are also at higher risk). Corona virus risk increases with age, making people in their 80s and 90s at the highest risk. [2]

Well, excuuuse us for having underlying health conditions. We probably got them from working our fingers to the bone making sure those little millennial ingrates had a roof over their head, food in their bellies and a college education.

But that doesn’t mean young people are immune to the severities of the disease. Up to 20% of people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the US are young adults between ages 20 and 44, according to a CDC report.

Sadly, young people being what they are, believe they are invincible and are protected from the worst-case scenario, which is death.

Reports of people who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 presenting symptoms no worse than a cold or flu only bolster and strengthen their resolve to re-open the country.

And this is where the problem arises.

While Millennials (and those even younger) feel empowered by and protected by their youth, they either forget or don’t care that they come in contact with people not as fortunate.

They also forget that many of the people, doctors, nurses and other health care workers, are Millennials like themselves who have warned those eager to return to normalcy that it’s way too early. And allowing people to return to pre-virus activities will surely increase the possibility of re-infection causing a further strain on the system.

So it’s not just us old folks who will be affected by the hastily conceived plan by several ill-informed governors to get people working again. It’s everybody that will be in harm's way.

While it is understandable why people are eager to return to work, and a paycheck, I find it inconceivable they would put their wallets ahead of the health and safety of thousands of people. 

And for those like the Lt. Governor of Texas who think seniors are expendable, remember.

You’re not getting any younger, fool.

Stay home America……………………………………..
[1] source: From Bruce Gibney in his 2017 book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America.

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Self-Care During the Covid-19 Outbreak
By Michelle Fritsch, PharmD, BCGP, BCACP
& Kathleen Cameron, BS Pharm, MPH

As we’re all navigating a lot of uncertainty, upsetting news, isolation, and grief, all of the self-care activities that were important for staying healthy before the pandemic may be even more critical now. Even though there is a lot of emphasis on COVID-19 right now, your overall health is just as important as any other time. The better controlled your chronic conditions, the better you’ll be able to fight the virus if you get it. Consider the following steps for managing chronic conditions during this time and after.
Daily movement

Even though you are staying home, remember to keep moving. Back pain, muscle tension, weight management, blood pressure, blood sugar, and even your emotional health can improve with movement.

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Senior Living Providers Fear Covid-19 Backslide
as Some States Reopen for Business

By Tim Regan

As some U.S. states ease stay-at-home orders and allow businesses to reopen, senior living providers worry that doing so imperils all of their hard work to keep residents and staff safe.

Governors in Georgia, Alaska and Oklahoma have all announced plans to begin reopening different economic sectors on Friday. In Georgia, for instance, Gov. Brian Kemp officially gave the go-ahead for hair salons, bowling alleys and gyms to open their doors to customers again. Similar trends are playing out in Alaska and in Oklahoma, both of which also allowed some businesses to reopen Friday. And even in other states which aren’t fully reopening, there are discussions to allow some business to resume operations as early as Monday.

In response, providers with communities in those states are reviewing their infection control protocols with associates, and stressing the need to keep practicing those measures as they go about their personal lives. One company, Hickory, North Carolina-based Affinity Living Group (ALG), is even getting its frontline caregivers to sign a “hero’s pledge” signifying they understand the threat that Covid-19 presents and will uphold the company’s infection control protocols at all times.


Government PPE plans could have ‘grave consequences’
for senior living residents and staff.

The Trump administration’s plan to exclude independent living, assisted living, memory care and continuing care retirement communities from an upcoming distribution of personal protective equipment, as described by Vice President Mike Pence in a call with governors on Friday, could have “grave consequences” for the 2 million residents and 1 million staff members who live or work in such communities, the leaders of Argentum and the American Seniors Housing Association said Saturday.

Pence told governors that PPE soon would be shipped to every nursing home in the country to help them prevent or contain cases of COVID-19.

“The exclusion of assisted living and other senior living communities from this order neglects to recognize the care delivered to our seniors and the work of our team members, and we strongly encourage the Trump administration to reconsider it,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda said. “Lives will be saved if we can get our communities the PPE that they still desperately need.”


Some Medieval Towns Handled Plagues Better Than
Trump's Unequal, Rundown America

By F. Douglas Stephenson

King Soloman in Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us that “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” President Harry S. Truman stated that, “The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.” Many plagues beside Covid-19 have occurred over history, and awareness of the history of epidemics, health programs, solutions and social policies used to combat them can guide us toward a more stable society and healthy future.

    1) Plagues of Yunan province China 1855 spread to India killing 15 million.

    2) The Great plague of London 1665-1666 killed 100,000. Quarantined houses had a Red Cross painted on the house to warn people to stay away. Children sang a little song: “Ring-a-round the rosie, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.”

    3) The Black Death in Europe 1347-1353 killed almost half of Europe’s population of 50 million.

    4) In 1629 to 1631 the Republic of Venice lost 1/3 of its population, and half the population of the Italian cities Parma and Verona.

    5) 1918 Spanish flu.

Interestingly, the Italian city of Ferrara managed to prevent a single death even as other surrounding communities were being devastated. Records from that time reveal that they prevented epidemic in their 12th century city by using basic principles of public health and social service, some of which are still used in the 21st century. Ferrara had paved roads in 1375 and a municipal sewer system since 1425. It was a walled city and during times of the plague they closed all but two of the city gates and posted surveillance teams at the gates to ensure that anyone who came in came from a plague free zone. They would then be screened for any signs of disease.




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I’ll bet by now you’re looking a bit scruffy. Aren’t you?

I know you haven’t shaved in two or three weeks (I’m talking about you too, ladies).

 And maybe you’ve skipped a shower, or two, or three. 

And why not?

After all, there’s nobody around to look at you and if you have to come face to face with another human, you can always cover yourself from head to toe and say, “Oh, the overalls, wool hat, bandanna face mask, and kitchen garden gloves are just for protection, Can’t be too careful you know.”

But let’s face it. Eventually you must “come clean.” 

It may be when you notice the dog isn’t begging for food anymore. He’s getting it himself.

Or the mirror fogs up every time you walk by. 

Or your neighbors have checked into a hotel… in Indonesia.

So where to start?

For me, it’s the shower. 

Showers are a great invention. 

They’re fast, feel good and, unlike a bath, the dirt goes somewhere you’ll never have to see it again.

You squeeze half a tube of that “Manly Scent” shower gel into a facecloth and lather up.

Who knew they concentrated the stuff?

Okay, now you at least smell good. But man, you look like that guy from Grizzly Adams. And I’m not talking about Dan Haggerty.

You’ve grown hair in places you didn’t know hair could grow.

Frantically, you look for scissors.

You head for the drawer where you put everything you think you’ll need but never use.

The only scissors there are the poultry shears, still in its blister pack, you got from your cousin who swore “once you use it, you’ll wonder why you ever used a knife.” She probably wasn’t referring to hacking off nose hairs or trimming a beard.

Fortunately, you remembered that little pair of scissors that came with the mustache wax you used once and then decided you didn’t want to look like Monty Woolley after all.
The scissors try their best, but it still takes nearly an hour to hack through the underbrush.

The beard and mustache are next.

This is where things become complicated. 

Lady’s, please forgive my masculine take on this, but it’s a guy thing.

The truth is, men don’t like to shave. But we don’t really like beards either. We have only convinced ourselves we do because we, mistakenly, believe women like them too. 

In some cultures, growing a beard is a religious thing. And by not shaving we are answering a higher calling. 

Leviticus 21:5-6…
“They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts on their body. They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God. For they offer the Lord’s food offerings, the bread of their God; therefore, they shall be holy.”

It may sound blasphemous, but I think G-d didn’t enjoy shaving either, so why not give the guys a break too?
You ponder keeping it, but finally you decide it’s more of a bother trimming it than shaving it. 

Off it goes and, for the first time in over a month, you look like your old self. And no. It doesn’t make you look younger.

You still look like an old man, just not a dirty-old-man.

You’re showered, shaved and trimmed. Just one more thing to do. And it’s what you’ve been dreading.

Your hair.

You usually visit the barber every couple of months. And you were just about to do that when the virus hit and put an end to hair cuts. 

So now it’s been nearly four months since your last haircut and those little curls you haven’t seen since college are growing in. And, while it may have looked “groovy” at NYU in 1970, you can’t pull that look off anymore. 

You will have to try and cut your hair yourself. 

You know it’s a bad idea, but you decide to do it, anyway.

You Google “How to cut your own hair.” 

As usual, there's more info than you needed. But there is one common denominator. They all require an electric clipper.

You order one. With 20 attachments. 18 of which you do not understand how to use or what they are for.

When it arrives, you stare at the unopened box for three days. Fear, it appears, comes in all forms.

This one comes as a buzzing, vibrating machine made of high-impact plastic and stainless steel.

You try it first on your sideburns.
ZAP! The hair is gone in an instant. 

Then around the ears.

Your confidence grows with every neatly clipped hair. 

You read the directions. They tell you the wider apart the tines on the clipper head, the longer it leaves the hair. 

That may be true on paper. But in reality “longer” does not mean long. 
In one fell swoop, you’ve cut a swath of hair two inches wide. 

Your head now looks like the 9th hole at Pebble Beach complete with rough, fairway and green. And there you are without your putter.

The rest is too ugly to to recount, but you tell yourself “It’ll grow back.” Probably about the same time the quarantine ends when you’ll go to a real barber and lie.

"That's the last time I let my wife cut my hair."

Stay safe, and hairy, my friends…………………………………………………

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10 Steps to Protect Your Loved Ones
From Elder Fraud Abuse

We have an elder fraud epidemic in this country. By one estimate, one in 10 people in the United States over the age of 65 falls victim to financial fraud every year. Telephone scams, caretaker abuse and contractor fraud are just three of the most common forms of this exploitation. As baby boomers grow older, and medical advances allow us to live longer, this problem will only escalate unless steps are taken to stop it. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic has emboldened even more fraudsters.

Here are 10 steps to create a legal safety net for seniors:

1.    Alert seniors and their loved ones to the potential for fraud and abuse and inform them various ways to protect themselves from these dangers.

2.    Put together team of key family members and trusted advisors such as an estate planning/elder law attorney, certified public accountant, financial planner and insurance advisor, each of whom, if each provided with enough of the client’s financial information, could allow them to ring the alarm should they notice suspicious activity or potential abuse.

3.    Insist that financial professionals restrict distributions from accounts if they have a reason to believe that the account owner is being subjected to financial exploitation. New federal laws expressly permit placing a temporary hold on disbursements from accounts of customers who are believed to be at risk.

4.    Consolidate financial accounts at fewer institutions, making identifying suspicious withdrawals more likely.

5.    Set up automatic payment of routine monthly bills, reducing the number of bills and checks that arrive by mail, thus, leaving less information for unscrupulous people to exploit.

6.    Automate financial transactions to reduce the amount of effort necessary to pay bills and make deposits, allowing more time to identify and stop inappropriate charges made by third.

7.    Update revocable living trusts to allow the naming of co-trustee with broad or limited powers as needed.

8.    Provide a trusted family member or key advisor with duplicate copies of monthly bank and investment statements for review.

9.    Revoke older Powers of Attorneys that may give unwanted people control over a senior’s financial affairs.

10.    Create new Powers of Attorney to allow for multiple agents, appointment of a monitor to oversee an agent’s activities, or limit an agent’s power over certain accounts or activities- or all 3!

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Seniors With COVID-19 Show
Unusual Symptoms, Doctors Say
By Judith Graham

Navigating Aging focuses on medical issues and advice associated with aging and end-of-life care, helping America’s 45 million seniors and their families navigate the health care system.

Older adults with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, have several “atypical” symptoms, complicating efforts to ensure they get timely and appropriate treatment, according to physicians.

COVID-19 is typically signaled by three symptoms: a fever, an insistent cough and shortness of breath. But older adults — the age group most at risk of severe complications or death from this condition ― may have none of these characteristics.

Instead, seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected by the coronavirus. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse.


Without Widespread Testing, Senior Living Communities
Are Covid-19 ‘Tinderboxes’
By Tim Regan

Efforts are underway all across the U.S. to test senior living residents for Covid-19 — but until tests are more widely available and produce results more quickly, providers are hamstrung in their ability to keep residents and staff members safe from infection.

There is a growing pile of evidence showing that the disease is contagious even while those who have it feel little or no symptoms, though researchers are still not definitively sure why. And while there were more than 800,000 confirmed positive Covid-19 cases in the U.S. as of Wednesday, the actual total is certainly higher than that, assuming there are many more people who have the virus and don’t know.

Given the likely wider magnitude of the disease’s spread, the senior living industry will need to test entire communities to truly determine who has Covid-19 and who does not among its resident and staff populations. And only when it does that can it get a handle on mitigating the disease, according to Lynne Katzmann, founder and CEO of Juniper Communities. That is evident in Juniper’s own, comprehensive testing efforts, which found a sizable number of asymptomatic cases in two communities.


What Is the Difference Between a
Fraud Alert and a Credit Freeze?

A fraud alert on your credit reports requires creditors to verify your identity before processing credit applications, while a credit freeze blocks access to your credit report altogether. Both measures are designed to prevent identity thieves from opening loans or credit accounts in your name.

Fraud alerts and credit freezes have advantages and limitations. Here's a rundown on each.
What Is a Fraud Alert?

The type of fraud alert most often discussed as an alternative to a credit freeze is an extended fraud alert, or fraud victim statement. Intended for victims of credit fraud or identity theft, an extended fraud alert will stay on your credit report for seven years unless you have it removed sooner. When adding one to your credit report, you must provide a copy of a police report or other valid identity theft report submitted to law enforcement.

An extended fraud alert attaches a notice to your credit report that indicates you are a fraud victim. It asks any business seeking your credit report to contact you to confirm your identity before granting credit in your name. These could include:



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6-7 Minutes

Another weekend has passed. So, how did you spend your time?

Did you visit the relatives or that friend in another town?

Oh! Wait. We can’t do that right now.

Maybe you went to the beach to get a head start on that summer tan or just to show off that new Bikini.

Darn! You can’t do that either. 

I know. You piled the grandkids in the car and went to Six Flags Over Canarsie or some such place. 

Sorry. I forgot they’re closed too.

I guess that leaves… um… NOTHING.
That’s right. This virus-quarantine-lockdown thing has made virtual hermits of us all.
By this time you have probably cleaned your kitchen a dozen times. Rearranged your underwear drawer and painted the living room at least twice. Who said puce wouldn’t go well with a green couch?
Or if, like me, you were lucky enough to receive your stimulus check this week, then perhaps you engaged in one of the few things left to do at home. 

Go shopping. Online, that is.

Look, they designed the stimulus check to “stimulate” the economy, which has taken a beating as of late.

And I, being the patriot I am, decided to do my part and help increase the GNP.
Therefore, I went forth and stimulated.

In fact, I did more stimulating than a $20 hooker at a Shriners convention.

I won’t go as far to say I went on a spending spree or what I bought was frivolous. But the extra bucks has given me the opportunity to be a little freer with the cash. It also gave me an excuse to buy things I normally wouldn’t buy on a limited income.

Mostly little things. And not very expensive.

I bought a small pocket AM/FM radio to use when (and if) I ever get a chance to sit out in the sun again.

It was only $19, but without that extra money, I would have just put that purchase aside.
And it’s not only about being able to buy things I want rather than need. Sometimes it all about upgrading.

The other day I mentioned that I would use some of that stimulus money to buy some badly needed underwear. 

Normally, I would look for the best price or the best value, but not necessarily the best quality. Going for the ten-pairs-for-$20 brand over one with a nationally known name.
But this time was different. It would be first class all the way. 

After some due diligence and research (just because you got money doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a good shopper) I went for a good old standard, Fruit of the Loom. 

Finally, underwear I can be proud to wear.
Food, too, was on my list of priorities. 

Eating meals, delivered to my room in Styrofoam containers, usually cold and usually yucky, I needed to supplement my diet with some “comfort food.” 

Real tomato juice, Bumble Bee tuna, a large Heinz ketchup, some name brand coffee and a large bag of Jolly Rancher hard candies would help go a long way toward fulfilling that need.
I must confess to at least one extravagance I hadn’t planned on buying. A new chair.

The chair I’ve been sitting on for over six years, the one that came with the room, is falling apart. 

The arms are loose and the seat is becoming less and less ‘useful’ for my ever-expanding posterior. 

I use this chair a lot.

I spend hours on it while writing this blog or just surfing the web and this chair just is not made for the task.

I need an office-type chair with adjustable height, arms, a cushioned seat, wheels and a lumbar support. 

After a little browsing, I found the right one at the right price. They’ll deliver it on Friday and the maintenance guys here said they would assemble it for me. Hopefully, I’ll be sitting pretty by next weekend. 

I know this may not seem like a big deal for many of you. But to me it brings back the old days when I had money and buying what I wanted was not a problem.

There are people in other countries that probably don’t understand this about Americans. 

The freedom to buy what we want when we want is part of who we are. 

Conspicuous consumption is not a game or a sport or something we should regard as flighty or irresponsible.

The sale and purchasing of consumer goods and services makes the wheels go round. And, like any well-oiled machine, when the lubrication dries up the machine grinds to a halt. 

So, my fellow Americans, in the famous words of W. C. Fields, “Ask not what that stimulus check will do for America. Ask your wife how to spend it.”

Stay solvent, my friends…………………………………….

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No Flour, Pasta or Eggs?
the Perfect Substitutes for
20 Common Ingredients

Like life itself, cooking at home is likely to change radically in the coming months. It will be a sanctuary for some and a chore for others, but in an era of lockdowns, we will all sometimes be frustrated by not having this or that ingredient to hand – and no longer being able to pop out to get it. How you work around that lack of ingredients may determine how well you eat in 2020. To help, we asked various chefs and expert foodies – the kind of people who improvise every day – for their tips on how to best substitute in and swap out key ingredients while still creating delicious meals.


The simple substitute, reckons Louis Korovilas, the executive head chef at Tavolino in central London, is “digging out a crushed stock cube from the back of the cupboard." Alternatively, suggests Stuart Ralston, the chef-owner of Noto and Aizle in Edinburgh: “Soy sauce is a direct replacement that gives better flavour.” Ralston would use soy in everything from stews to, if pushed, a white sauce for fish: “Right now, I can’t think of any broad rule of: ‘It can’t go in X.’ Go ahead.”

Tom Cenci, the chef at the Loyal Tavern in south-east London, flags up salty staple ingredients such as capers, parmesan and anchovies, while Aktar Islam, from Opheem in Birmingham, recommends the brine from tinned pulses: “There’s a Bajan recipe I do that uses lentils. I never season it, because I just pour the brine in, while cooking the lentils.”

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Covid-19 Takes Steep Toll On Senior Living Providers
in Pandemic Epicenters

By Tim Mullaney

Covid-19 presents enormous challenges for senior living providers across the country, but the pandemic is hitting operators in the current epicenters of New York and New Jersey particularly hard.

As of the afternoon of April 20, total Covid-19 cases in New York state were approaching 243,000, while New Jersey’s cases were above 85,300. By comparison, Massachusetts had the third highest number of cases in the country, at about 38,000.

Given these numbers, it is no surprise that regional provider Chelsea Senior Living and New York City-based RiverSpring Health have faced upheaval in every aspect of their operations, including staffing, finances and their interactions with the overall health care system. And they are striving to maintain the highest levels of resident care in the midst of these trying — even traumatizing — circumstances.


New COVID-19 Requirements and
Possible Penalties for Nursing Homes

By Williams Mullen

On Sunday, April 19, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will be issuing a new rule on COVID-19 reporting requirements with possible penalties for nursing homes that fail to comply. 42 CFR 483.30 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance already mandate that nursing homes must notify state or local health departments regarding positive or suspected COVID-19 cases within the facilities. Previously, reporting to the CDC has been optional.

Under the new requirements, reporting to the CDC will become mandatory through a new reporting tool, and CMS will then make the reported data publicly available. In addition, nursing homes will be required to notify residents and their representatives of COVID-19 conditions within the facilities. These updates must be provided weekly, each subsequent time a confirmed COVID-19 infection is identified and/or anytime three or more residents or staff exhibit new respiratory issues within 72 hours. In notifying residents and their representatives, facilities must include information on implemented mitigating actions. Failure to follow these reporting regulations could result in enforcement action against the facility, including civil monetary penalties.

CMS is also requiring nursing homes to fully cooperate with CDC surveillance efforts, which allow for immediate access to any residents by a representative of the Secretary of Health and Human Services of the respective state.


Sedentary Behavior Linked to Increased
Risk for Depression in Older Adults

Sedentary behavior is associated with depression among patients aged 70 years with longer daily periods of inactivity correlating with increased risk for depression, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

This study included data from 3633 Swedish participants from the Healthy Ageing Initiative who were aged 70 years, with data collected between 2012 and 2017. Participants wore an accelerometer at home for 1 week after their initial visits to objectively measure sedentary behavior and physical activity. The 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) was used to measure depression, with a score ≥5 indicating depression and <5 indicating nondepression. Covariate differences between depressed and nondepressed groups were investigated using the t-test and χ2 test, while the association between depression and sedentary behavior was investigated using hierarchical logistic regression.

The risk for depression was greater among individuals with a longer total sedentary time (odds ratio [OR] 1.031; 95% CI, 1.007-1.055), with each 1% increase in sedentary time associated with a 3% increase in risk for depression. The risk was also greater among individuals with longer average length of sedentary bouts (OR 1.116; 95% CI, 1.003-1.243), in which each 1-minute average increase in the length of sedentary bouts was associated with a 12% greater risk for depression.

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The untold story behind America's biggest outbreak
By Jessica Lussenhop BBC News

How did the biggest cluster in the US emerge in a corner of South Dakota? Infections spread like wildfire through a pork factory and questions remain about what the company did to protect staff.

On the afternoon of 25 March, Julia sat down at her laptop and logged into a phony Facebook account. She'd opened it in middle school, to surreptitiously monitor boys she had crushes on. But now, many years later, it was about to serve a much more serious purpose.

"Can you please look into Smithfield," she typed in a message to an account called Argus911, the Facebook-based tip line for the local newspaper, the Argus Leader. "They do have a positive [Covid-19] case and are planning to stay open." By "Smithfield", she was referring to the Smithfield Foods pork-processing plant located in her town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The factory - a massive, eight-story white box perched on the banks of the Big Sioux River - is the ninth-largest hog-processing facility in the US. When running at full capacity, it processes 19,500 freshly-slaughtered hogs per day, slicing, grinding and smoking them into millions of pounds of bacon, hot dogs and spiral-cut hams. With 3,700 workers, it is also the fourth-largest employer in the city,



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4-5 minutes

I’ve been an older single guy for a long time. Thirty-six years to be exact. So, I’m used to eating alone.

Not that I haven’t had some marvelous meals with marvelous people in all those years, just that the instances of that happening have been few and far between. 

When one is young, there is an inexhaustible number of friends willing to share a meal with you. So much so that often I wished I could just enjoy a quiet dinner at home alone one and a while. 

Marriage not only increases the number of shared meals but extends the circle of acquaintances at many of those meals.

Those dinners and that companionship are the among my fondest memories and one of the  things I have missed most over the years.

Divorce ended all of that, and it was back to solitary dining for many years.

While I enjoyed and could afford to eat in restaurants more often, sitting by oneself in a crowded restaurant with the sounds of animated conversation all around me just made me want to open a vein.

After a while I realized that, to their credit, many restaurants have special seating areas for lonely old dudes.

It’s usually in the back, near the kitchen. 

I’m surprised there wasn’t a sign on the table reading “RESERVED FOR GUYS WHO COULDN’T FIND SOMEBODY TO EAT WITH THEM.”

Therefore, I limited my “dining out” to two or three meals a week. 

A diner or fast-food joint on the weekends and Chinese, Japanese or Jewish deli during the week.

The rest of the week I would cook for myself. And, not only did I enjoy it, I found I was good at it.

There was nothing I wouldn’t try.

I bought a wok and learned to stir-fry everything.

I made corned beef and cabbage, brisket, beef stew, and even pot pies.

Eggs and omelets were my “spécialité maison’’ making breakfast my favorite meal of the day.

But that was long ago and far away.

I haven’t picked up pan, cracked an egg or stirred a pot for over ten years. And I miss it.

I miss the sight of pasta frolicking in a rolling boil, the giggle of bacon in a pan and the smell of a steak cooking on the grill.

And then there’s the seasoning.

Eating alone, and cooking for one’s self means never having to apologize for too much garlic in the sauce or using stinky Gorgonzola on a burger. 

It’s sad I can’t do that anymore as it is for many of my fellow residents who, could cook rings around anybody currently in our kitchen.

Cooking, as therapy has not been fully explored.[1]

I think it would help to dispel some of the feeling of uselessness experienced by many older Americans. 

As for now ill have to settle for making my own egg salad using the hard-boiled eggs we get for breakfast and some packets of mayonnaise and hot sauce I’ve collected over the weeks.

I know it ain’t much. But around here I’m considered a gourmet.

We’re off Sunday.

Until Monday, eat well, stay home, stay safe…………………………………

[1] The reason we are not allowed anywhere near a stove or open flame is the fear we would injure ourselves. This is not unfounded and probably makes sense. What I would like to see is permitting residents to “supervise” the cooking of some meals. Adding their personal touch to the food.


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How to Get Health Insurance
After a Job Loss

The numbers of Americans filing for unemployment benefits is staggering. Sadly, these people have not only lost jobs and income, but also their health insurance. If you’re among them, or will be soon, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences and advice on how to get health insurance after a job loss.

Tragically, up to 35 million Americans could lose their health insurance in coming weeks as businesses lay off workers due to repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study by Health Management Associates, a health care research and consulting firm.

Here’s what a few experts recommend for continuing the insurance you had or buying new coverage:

COBRA. If you recently lost job-based plan coverage, you can typically continue enrollment for up to 18 months (sometimes longer) under a federal law known as COBRA, which stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. It requires firms with at least 20 employees to offer this option. You have up to 60 days to elect COBRA and another 45 days to pay the first premium (covering the period dating back to your coverage loss).

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Life insurers halting applications from
elderly amid coronavirus pandemic

A handful of U.S. life insurance providers are temporarily suspending applications from older adults amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Prudential Financial, Lincoln National and Protective Insurance are among the few providers imposing stricter requirements for life insurance applicants, according to Reuters.

Prudent and Protective will temporarily suspend applications from people who are 80 or older, with Lincoln imposing similar restrictions for the same age group.

Other companies restricting age groups include Mutual of Omaha Insurance, preventing applications for those who are 70 years or older, while Penn Mutual Life Insurance will stop accepting applications from people 71 and older until at least June 15, the report added.


Anticipatory Grief:
What It Means, How to Manage

A profound sadness has settled over our planet. Whether it’s the loss of visits with loved ones, the loss of steady work and income, the loss of our usual routines or the full-stop loss of a person in our life whose own life has been extinguished by COVID-19, grief is now a part of our daily landscape.

So, let’s not deny it. And, please, let’s try to avoid constructing mental lists of who-has-it-worst, then arguing with ourselves about whether it’s appropriate for us to be upset about whatever is rocking our own universe.

Example: A neighbor of mine is quarantined at home with her two children, mourning the recent death of her husband from coronavirus. Given this family’s pain and isolation — neither friends nor family can drop by to offer comfort and support — am I entitled to the sadness I feel because I can’t see and hug my adult daughter? Answer: Yes, I am.


It's Time to Flatten the Loneliness
Curve for Older Americans

Just as the nation’s population of people over 65 is about to skyrocket, we face the intersection of two deadly epidemics: COVID-19 and loneliness. One is deadly now, the other a slow-motion threat of equal consequence.

Even before the current crisis, we were in a social recession, as evidenced by dramatic increases in loneliness and isolation. Now we’re in danger of entering a social depression that might last for years. And here, too, older people — the canaries in the loneliness coal mine — are most at risk. (The National Academy of Sciences recently published an important report documenting this, Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities for the Health Care System.)

Where’s the Social Stimulus Plan?

Policymakers in Washington, D.C. quickly adopted a $2 trillion economic stimulus, but where’s the social stimulus? It’s sorely needed to help us navigate the present dangers of disconnection and address the longer-term consequences of a fraying social fabric.



The pandemic is giving people vivid,
unusual dreams. Here’s why.

By Rebecca Renner

Ronald Reagan pulled up to the curb in a sleek black town car, rolled down his tinted window, and beckoned for Lance Weller, author of the novel Wilderness, to join him. The long-dead president escorted Weller to a comic book shop stocked with every title Weller had ever wanted, but before he could make a purchase, Reagan swiped his wallet and skipped out the door.

Of course, Weller was dreaming. He is one of many people around the world—including more than 600 featured in just one study—who say they are experiencing a new phenomenon: coronavirus pandemic dreams.

Science has long suggested that dream content and emotions are connected to wellbeing while we’re awake. Bizarre dreams laden with symbolism allow some dreamers to overcome intense memories or everyday psychological stressors within the safety of their subconscious. Nightmares, on the other hand, can be warning signs of anxieties that we might not otherwise perceive in our waking lives.



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5 minutes

How Will You Spend
Your Stimulus Check?

Mae West once said, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and rich is better.” And, while I can’t argue with Ms. Wests’ views on finance, I will say that being poor has at least two advantages. 

One, you learn the value of a buck. And second, you become an expert on how to keep to a budget. A skill that now, more than ever, everyone should know.

Over 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment.[1] This is unprecedented in our lifetime.

Offering only slight relief are the stimulus checks, whichm for most, is nothing much more than a band-aid.

For many people, $1200 wouldn’t even cover the minimum payment on a credit card balance, or even a month’s rental for a studio apartment.

But it will buy groceries and personal products, which run out quickly. They’re what economists like to call perishable and non-durable goods.

This is the position I find myself in. And the reason I was glad to see that check drop into my bank account yesterday.

I derive all of my income from Social Security benefits, which they deposit directly into my resident’s account here at the ALF.

After the facility takes out my portion of the rent, I’m left with very little. Even low-end assisted living facilities, like mine, are expensive.

Any money left over is used to help make life here a little more bearable. 

There are the essentials like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, mouthwash and all the other things an adult male needs to look and smell human.

Occasionally, I require other supplies which, while not essential, I need for my sanity. Like printer ink and paper. Post-it-notes and my latest infatuation binder clips. [2]

All that wild spending leaves me with little left for anything extravagant like pants, socks, shoes and underwear, which I go through at an alarming rate.

It leaves little for the one thing that I want now more than ever. Food.

As I have explained before, the food here at the Asylum, while meeting the State’s nutritional guidelines, is bland, boring and often skimpy. Therefore, it’s little wonder that the first thing I spent some of that stimulus money on was food. Anything that I can open, add hot water to or eat directly from the container. 

Condiments and salad dressing were high on the list. 

Ketchup, mustard and hot sauce all help to make ordinary food palatable. As does blue-cheese-dressing, which I can pour over salad or use as a dip for chicken when mixed with some of that hot sauce. 

Many of you might ask yourself, Do I really need $1200? They already supply me with most of what I need to live on. I don’t pay a dime extra for my medication or cable or Wi-Fi. I even get my cell phone for free. But I look at it this way.

When was the last time any of us who paid into the Social Security system for all those years received a decent cost-of-living increase? 

The last few years have only seen minuscule raises. All less than 1%. So don’t feel guilty about accepting that stimulus money. It was yours to begin with.

What will you be doing with your “windfall?”

Will you spend it on something you want or need?

I’ve made my choice. All I have to decide is… boxers or briefs.

Stay home. Stay safe……………………………………………………

[1]The actual number of unemployed is most likely much larger if we figure in those who do gig work, part time work or get paid off the books.
[2]There are more uses for binder clips than just holding papers together. Check out…, for more info.

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5 Tips to Help You Talk to Your Older Parents
About Social Distancing

Getting older parents to understand the importance of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic may be challenging for some people.

If your parent is less likely to listen to your advice, having another person your parent trusts speak with them, such as a family friend, sibling, or pastor, may be more effective.

Make sure parents are getting correct, science-based information from direct, trustworthy sources like the CDC.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub and follow our live updates page for the most recent information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Nearly 40% of Near-Retirees Don't Realize
Social Security May Be in Trouble

By Maurie Backman

Social Security serves as a financial lifeline for millions of older Americans. But the program is facing some financial challenges that, if left unaddressed, could result in a serious revenue shortfall down the line.

Where does that leave beneficiaries? According to the most recent Trustees Report, seniors on Social Security could see a 20% reduction in scheduled benefits come 2035. And similarly, future beneficiaries could wind up collecting 20% less than the amount they'd otherwise be entitled to based on their earnings records.

Of course, that reduction is by no means set in stone. There's a good chance that lawmakers will intervene with a fix, thereby preventing future benefits from taking such a monumental hit. But there's no guarantee that will happen, either, and so those expecting to rely heavily on Social Security should brace for the possibility that benefits may be reduced in the not-so-distant future -- whether by 20% or a different figure.


The 2020 Social Security Trustees Report Shows
We Can Expand Social Security. Coronavirus Shows We Must.

By Nancy Altman

Social Security will remain strong through the rest of the 21st century and beyond, according to the just-released annual Social Security Trustees Report. Though the exact impact of today’s pandemic and economic conditions will not be clear until next year’s report, Social Security’s strength will shine through next year, as well.

How do I know that? Because Social Security is built to withstand today’s events.

Social Security is built to be a solution in times of national emergencies and disasters. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, virtually every child who lost a parent that day received Social Security benefits, as did the surviving spouses and those disabled as a result of the attacks, and their families. Indeed, Social Security was among the first insurers working with families after the attacks. The first benefits were paid on Oct. 3, 2001, less than a month after that horrific day.

The same story unfolded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Emergency, on-the-spot payments were provided to tens of thousands of Americans who were driven from their homes and could no longer access their banks.


Coronavirus mystery:
 Disease infects more women but kills more men

Epidemiologists and virologists are scrambling to understand why the coronavirus that has infected hundreds of thousands of Americans appears to be so much more deadly for men than for women.

In most states across the country, data show that most of those who have tested positive for the virus are women. From the Deep South to New England states and the Midwest, most states have confirmed hundreds if not thousands more cases in women than in men, with a few notable exceptions.

But in states that report the genders of those who have died from the COVID-19 disease, every one has reported more deaths among men than among women, usually by a substantial margin — and scientists don't know why.



An ER doctor shared one patient's COVID-19 recovery story,
and it's genuinely beautiful

By Annie Reneau

In all the big numbers and chaos and heartbreaking stories of the pandemic, it's easy to miss the one-on-one connections that are happening through it all. Yet we need these stories to remind us of what it is we are fighting for—the beautiful human experience we're all a part of.

An ER physician, Dr. Halleh Akbarnia shared one such story about a COVID-19 patient on Facebook this week, and it's just...well, you'll see.

Working in emergency medicine for nearly 20 years Dr. Akbarnia has seen it all. "I'm used to the daily grind of heart attacks, gunshots, strokes, flu, traumas, and more. It's par for the course in my field," she wrote. "Yet nothing has made me feel the way I do about my 'job' as this pandemic has—that knot-in-the-pit–of-your-stomach sensation while heading into work, comforted only by the empathetic faces of my colleagues who are going through the same."



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4/ 23/20

Is Our Independence
Killing Us?


As they wheeled me through the lobby of the first of three nursing facilities I would call home for next 2 years, I knew I had lost something very important. My Independence. 

That was over 6 years ago and, though I have reclaimed much of that self-reliance, I will never have the autonomy I once enjoyed. But, even though I don’t like it, I have learned to accept it. 


Because it’s necessary to keep order and to maintain some measure of efficiency to insure our safety.

Sure, we would all love to congregate with our friends and be allowed to get a hug and a kiss from our grandkids or just to get into a cab and drive to a restaurant where we could get a decent meal. But guess what? We can’t. And, even though we’re old and we have spent years doing things our own way, we understand that in times like these, it’s not all about us or our “freedoms.” There’s something more important going on here. And it is whether we, as a nation, are ready to sacrifice a little of our freedom for the good of our countries most important resource. It’s citizens.

And, it pisses me off when I see those flag-waving, sign-toting, MAGA-hat-wearing mask-less yahoos’ marching in front of their state capitals bemoaning the fact that their freedoms are being taken away by a government whose main function is to perpetrate a hoax conceived by a political party that’s no longer in power.

What a bunch of ignorant fools to think they have immunity just because they don’t “feel” sick. 

And how sick is it to believe that, as one protester put it, “It’s not my job to look out for somebody else’s health,” or “99% will get better by themselves and we don’t need no vaccine.”

And you know what’s worse?

When we have a president who would rather listen to and appease a group of his hard-core supporters than heed the warnings of people who have spent their whole professional lives studying the idiosyncrasies of infections and how they spread.

And let us not forget the governors of those states whose vision of the future doesn’t extend farther than the reopening of a nail salon or fast-food joint. God forbid they should deny Georgians from their favorite fried chicken joint or manicure.

You want your freedom?

You think this virus is no more lethal than the flu?

Tell that to the mother of three who is lying in a hospital bed, a tube stuck down her throat, dying of something she caught just because she inadvertently touched her face after coming in contact with something that’s no worse than the flu.

Look, I understand the need for people to get back to earning money so they can feed their families, pay their mortgages or just buy some toothpaste. But remember. When this is all over and you want your job back at the Ford plant or the truck stop or the bowling ally, who will be left to buy your cars, drive those trucks or bowl a couple of lines?

While I hate to use a phrase that has become the mantra of many of those very same protesters, “What goes around comes around” seems to fit.

Stay safe, my friends. And stay home.……………………………………………

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Technologies to Help Older Adults
Keep Healthy During COVID-19 Crisis

Over a million people in the U.S. live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. With stay at home recommendations being implemented around the country, it is more important than ever that aging Americans maintain social connections, keep good health with exercise, manage medicine and persevere through this difficult time with high spirits.

Tips for older adults during COVID-19 include:


2.Facetime or Zoom Meals:

3.Control moods:

4.Get a care free companion pet:

5.Engage remote health monitoring devices:

6.Navigating the toilet paper shortage?

7.Keep the House Clean:

8.Install an automatic stove shutoff device:

"It’s time to help our loved ones learn to use technology to move from loneliness and fear to freedom during COVID-19 and beyond. While we navigate new social norms during COVID-19, don’t forget to look out for one another and set up the right technology for our aging loved ones, friends and family." adds Cini.

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4 ways to stop stereotyping
older adults during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic could be the “perfect storm” for reinforcing stereotypes about older people, Jake Harwood argues.

“Some of the discourse around COVID has, I think, suggested not that older people are less valuable, perhaps, but that it’s more acceptable for an older person to die…”

Many people are keeping a close eye on their parents and grandparents amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as adults age 65 and older have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to the virus.

But how people approach caring for and communicating with the older adults in their life is important, says Harwood, a professor of communication at the University of Arizona who studies problems that arise when members of different age groups communicate with one another.

Here, he offers tips for family members and caretakers for communicating respectfully.


A stunning reversal: Trump’s approval plummets among older
Americans as he pushes to ‘re-open’ despite COVID-19 crisis

By Travis Gettys

Older Americans have broken sharply with President Donald Trump on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Morning Consult tracked surveys showing that people older than 65 strongly believe — by a 6-to-1 margin — that the government should focus more on addressing the spread of coronavirus than on restarting the economy.

As the president signals that he wants to reopen states before their governors and public health experts recommend as responsible, older Americans are losing their support for him.

Senior citizens approved of Trump’s handling of the outbreak in mid-March at a higher rate than any other group, with a net approval of plus-19.

But Morning Consult found that approval had drained away by 20 points over the past month — and now their support is lower than any age group besides 18- to 29-year olds.


New Rules Promotes Patient Access
To Personal Healthcare Information

Two new federal rules will make it easier for consumers to access, use and transmit their personal healthcare information using an app on their smartphone or tablet. The regulations implement prior legislation and advance the current Administration’s intent to empower patients to be better consumers and transform the healthcare industry.

The two final rules were released on March 9 by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program final rule; and, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the final rule on Interoperability and Patient Access.

The new regulations build on provisions in the omnibus 21st Century Cures Act (Act). Enacted in 2016, the Act included interoperability requirements to enable the secure exchange and use of electronic health information by consumers through a “trusted framework” in a more patient-friendly manner. The increased access will give consumers more control over their healthcare information and decisions, hopefully driving healthcare providers and payers to improve quality, efficiency and service.



Why We Talk About Food When We Eat,
and Other Mysteries Explained

It’s a great experience to have a single taste of a favorite food bring us back to another time and place. For writer and historian Nadia Berenstein, such phenomena are a life’s work. She has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in history and sociology of science with a concentration on flavor. The James Beard award-winning writer writes and speaks on flavor—natural and synthetic—and what it means to lives, economies, cultures, and societies for outlets including Vice, Food & Wine, and NPR. Her blog, Flavor Added, has examinations of food lore and science from “space food” to celery. We talked about flavor, memory, and how to create memorable moments in dining.

Q. Are there real differences in the flavors of the past from those of today, or is that a trick of memory?

A. How often have you heard someone say, the apples they sell these days don’t taste like the ones I grew up with, or the corn or tomatoes tasted so much sweeter? One of the things that I was surprised to discover, when I was doing my research into the history American flavors and flavor science and technology, is how long this feeling has been happening. This kind of wistful look back to the flavors of the past has been happening from as early as the late 19th century. People were already lamenting that food didn’t taste as good as it used to. So sometimes this might be more akin to a common human condition instead of a change in how things taste.



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New Regulations and A New Look
4-5 minutes

The Bible tells us it rained for 40 days before the skies began to clear and Noah could send a dove from the Ark to look for dry land. 

We, here at the A.L.F., have been been riding the waves of the Pandemic for at least that long. But unlike the dove who came back to the ark with an olive branch, we got nothing.

There’s no sign of this thing abating, and no sign that we (residents) will return to normalcy soon.

The only easing of the regulations came in a letter distributed to us Tuesday morning. And along with the letter came something else. A face mask.

Until now, they discouraged us from leaving our rooms, although many of us did.

Now, we are more or less encouraged to get out of our rooms and take a walk around the halls or even outside as long as we wear the masks and practice social distancing. 

Unfortunately, that doesn’t do much for those of us who miss the interaction with our friends. 

Unfortunate too, there doesn’t appear to be any plan or timeline showing when they will allow some social contact which only adds to the dreariness of our situation.

I wonder how long it will be before we have a group of residents, marching in front of the administrator's office with American flags, MAGA caps and assault rifles demanding their freedom?

There is a way of easing the tension which will only grow as time goes on. And it can be done and still maintain the prescribed precautions.

But it depends on one thing. 


As of now, and to the best of my knowledge, not one person has received a Covid-19 test.
I find this amazing.

At a facility whose residents are at the top of the vulnerability charts, not to be tested is a great oversite.[1]

If they test us, and those who are virus free have been identified, and they continue to quarantine those who test positive or are symptomatic, they should permit us to resume a limited form of group recreation including and not limited to, Bingo and at least one meal per day served in the dining room with our friends.

Unfortunately, they are still prohibiting visits from relatives and friends. And we are being told they will suspend “through-the-window” visits as well. [2]

There are some rays of hope.

They will permit us to receive food delivery’s from restaurants and markets.

Deliveries will be made to an enclosed area at our main entrance where they will sanitized them and deliver it to our rooms.

This is good news for me. I just ordered a bunch of stuff via Instacart for delivery Thursday.

I hope the food won’t smell like Lysol.

Meanwhile, life continues here at the Asylum.

We continue to receive our “meals” in-room, delivered in Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils.

And they continue to take our temperatures, but with a new twist.

They have changed from an in-the-ear thermometer to one thay just point at your forehead.

Too bad. I will miss having something poked into my ear twice-a-day.

Stay well, my friends.………………………………………….
[1]This is not the fault of the facility or its management. The tests are not available for us.
[2]The reason for this is they don’t want anyone who may have the virus anywhere near where staff and residents may come in contact with it.

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4 Tips for Helping Seniors Budget
on a Fixed Income

Budgeting is important for seniors on a fixed income

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

Medical Alert Advice provides a number of tips that can help low income seniors budget on a fixed income.

Eliminate Home Maintenance Costs

Get Rid of the Car

Eat Healthier Food

Cut Out Unnecessary Spending

Assistance for seniors may very well be available in your area. Seniors with low incomes can check sites like AARP to view the government programs in their area. Lastly, seniors living on a fixed income should look to senior community programs for fun, FREE things to do!

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Affects of Retirement on Mental Health

Retiring could be a stressful life event or a welcome relief, depending on the individual and the circumstances. A recent study of government workers tries to illuminate the impact of retirement on mental health.

The researchers examined longitudinal data from the Whitehall II cohort study, a study of 10,308 civil servants living in London. Participants completed interviews, sometimes coupled with a clinical exam, every two or three years beginning at age 35 to 55. The sample for this study was composed of 4,751 individuals who left work to retire (70% men; average retirement age 60.5 years). Participants had completed mental health measures both before and after retirement, and the study excluded those who retired due to health problems. Mental health was measured with a 30-item questionnaire that assessed depression, anxiety, sleep, and social functioning. In addition, participants reported psychosocial working conditions, including job demands, decision authority (level of control over how work is done), skill discretion (such as repetitiveness of job vs. ability to do a variety of tasks), and social support. High decision authority, skill discretion, and social support are considered favorable, while high job demands are unfavorable.

The study found that retirement was positive for mental health, especially for those with poorer working conditions. Mental health substantially improved at the time of retirement for up to three years, and the improvements were maintained over the long-term (up to 16 years post-retirement). There were differences in mental health gains depending on psychosocial job conditions. Prior to retirement, persons with higher job demands, as well as persons with lower social support at work, had worse mental health. Upon retirement, these individuals had the biggest improvements in mental health. In addition, persons with lower levels of decision authority at work experienced greater mental health improvements upon retirement than those with higher levels of decision authority.


48 Hours With A Senior Living Executive Director
on the Frontlines of Covid-19

By Chuck Sudo

Like other senior living executive directors across the United States, Max Rheinhardt III had to scramble last month as the Covid-19 crisis escalated. With this staff suddenly down by about half, he moved quickly to secure The Firs, an independent living community operated by MBK Senior Living.

Now, the challenges remain intense, but they have changed. Staffing is still down, but a “new normal” has been established at the community. Today, maintaining vigilance and boosting morale are two of Rheinhardt’s toughest jobs as the pandemic grinds on.

Rheinhardt is used to big challenges. When he assumed his duties in October 2016, The Firs was struggling, but as of last year it boasted the lowest turnover and highest staff satisfaction in MBK’s portfolio.

Irvine, California-based MBK owns and manages 33 senior living communities consisting of approximately 3,800 units in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado.

The hardest thing about social distancing is one of the biggest tools residents have for reassurance is a hug, and we can’t do that right now.


Opinion | The Pandemic of Fear and Agony
By David Brooks

Dear Friends,

Last week I asked you to tell me about your mental health — how you are faring in this hard time. I don’t know what I expected; maybe some jaunty stories about families pulling together in a crisis. What you sent gutted me. There have been over 5,000 replies so far, and while many people are hanging in there, there is also a river of woe running through the world — a significant portion of our friends and neighbors are in agony.

A college student in State College, Pa., wrote that at first the lockdown seemed like a lark — a chance to get out of certain obligations. But “now almost a month into staying here, I’ve been gripped by a deep depression. My appetite is very low. I’m sleeping far too much to feel as lethargic as I do.

“My future, which seemed so bright a few months ago as I anticipated graduating in May, now seems bleak and hopeless: How will I find a job with the economy tanking? How will I pay hundreds of dollars per month when my loan bills kick in during August?”



What history can teach us about building
a fairer society after coronavirus

By  Richard Power Sayeed

In the middle of the 14th century, the Black Death killed perhaps a third of Europe’s population, hastening the breakdown of rigid social hierarchies – what we now call “feudalism” – to an astonishing degree. But there was nothing inevitable about that transformation. It happened because people such as William Caburn exploited the crisis.

Two years after the plague hit England, this Lincolnshire ploughman was in court for “refusing to work at the daily rate”. He had no legal right to do so, but leveraging the fact that landlords didn’t have enough workers to cultivate the land, he bartered for higher wages.

It wasn’t just wages – peasants also collectively bargained for lower rents. We see in the accounts of one landlord how, in the several villages dotted across his Warwickshire estate, most tenants suddenly went into arrears at the same time. Almost certainly they were secretly communicating and cooperating.



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9-10 minutes

After The Virus Life Will Go On.
But How Will America Change?
Part 2

There is not one person who just wants everything to get back to normal.

Do you remember that magical time, four weeks ago, when we could go where we wanted, hug who we wanted, shop where we wanted and toilet paper was just… well… toilet paper?

While I am sure much about what we took for granted will return, there are things that will not and should not be as it was.

Nobody can predict the future, especially with what’s in the minds of Americans who are as fickle as a teeny-bopper’s current boy-band romance.

But if we are to believe the experts, America may never be the same country it was pre-pandemic.

To put things into perspective, I have grouped some of these changes into two categories.

Those things that might change and those things that must change.

The former depends on the mindset of ordinary people while the latter will come about only when our government decides it wants to do right by its citizens, not just for now, but for the future.

“After the adjustment period follows a time of re-evaluation – essentially, a time in which we decide which behavioral changes we made during a crisis we will abandon, and which we will sustain. Early market research on re-evaluation in China reveals that people intend to resume spending money on many pre-quarantine pleasures like eating in restaurants (82%) and traveling (78%). Yet other industries are predicted to suffer due to potentially lasting, fundamental social shifts.”
What we will buy will most like undergo some changes.

Luxury goods may experience the biggest consumer fallout of any post-pandemic market.

“A large proportion of people said they wanted to cut back on luxury shopping because their time in self-isolation reconfigured their relationship to things like luxury.”

“In the coming months we will grow to understand the long-term effects of social distancing. Given experts’ anticipation that the safety measures we’re taking today will become a part of society’s “new normal”, with reoccurring periods of quarantine lockdown, it follows that we, like our world, will change. We are all sharing in misfortune; hopefully we will find some liberation, too.”

Consumers will have adopted short-term behaviors during the pandemic that in many cases will become permanent.

Consumers will emerge from the pandemic in a new economic reality, changing commerce behaviors in profound ways.

A significant consolidation of retailers will fundamentally alter the competitive and partner landscape.

Transition to Digital

"Even before the pandemic, the most profound behavioral change in commerce was the shift to digital shopping. Many product categories had already been significantly disrupted by digital over the past two decades (books, entertainment and consumer electronics), while others, like apparel, were earlier in their transition to digital. Most importantly, one of the largest consumer categories, grocery, was still nascent in terms of its transition to digital. According to Nielsen, just 4% of grocery sales in the United States came online in 2019.

Households that rely upon curbside pickup or home delivery during the pandemic are likely to continue to use those services once it’s over."


"Faced with this new reality, consumers are likely to be more germ cautious than ever before. No-touch deliveries may become the new normal. Bulk self-service food items, communal buffets and salad bars are likely to be less popular. Consumers may be less receptive to in-store food sampling and more hesitant to use public touch screens or keypads. Community play areas may be less appealing. Retailers will need to develop no-touch customer experiences with an emphasis on hygiene."


"Consumers that learned to cook while quarantined at home may continue to do so."

Brand Loyalty

"As grocery shelves for popular items sit empty, consumers brand preference erodes. You may prefer Charmin toilet paper, but when confronted with the reality of not having toilet paper, any brand will do."


"Stockpiling and hoarding of food supplies will become common and items such hand sanitizer have become impossible to find."
A new kind of patriotism.

”America has long equated patriotism with the armed forces. But you can’t shoot a virus. Those on the frontlines against coronavirus aren’t conscripts, mercenaries or enlisted men; they are our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, caregivers, store clerks, utility workers, small-business owners and employees."

"When all is said and done, perhaps we will recognize their sacrifice as true patriotism, saluting our doctors and nurses, genuflecting and saying, “Thank you for your service,” as we now do for military veterans. We will give them guaranteed health benefits and corporate discounts, and build statues and have holidays for this new class of people who sacrifice their health and their lives for ours. Perhaps, too, we will finally start to understand patriotism more as cultivating the health and life of your community, rather than blowing up someone else’s community. Maybe the de-militarization of American patriotism and love of community will be one of the benefits to come out of this whole awful mess.”
Other things will most likely change as well."
The way we worship.

How we teach our children. Perhaps home schooling will catch on as will online classrooms.
Telemedicine may take the place of some office visits.

Those are the things that will change only if Americans find change easier, less costly, less time consuming and less disruptive to their everyday lives.

However, some things, as we have so tragically learned, must change if we want never to have to go through this again.

Our federal government must be as cognitive about what threats to the nation’s health are probable as we are to what country is preparing to test a new nuclear weapon. If the CIA, or NSA or the CDC says there’s a nasty virus brewing in Timbuktu, we need to be on it like white on rice. We no longer have the luxury of waiting until a pandemic breaks out before we act.

We also need to stockpile essential protective clothing and devices for our frontline workers and organize a logistic system to get those items to where we need them faster.

Getting money into the pockets of people who most need it should be left to an agency set up for just that purpose. The IRS or Social Security should not have to be in the banking business.

Finally, if they change nothing else, we need to improve the healthcare system.
The “Best healthcare system in the world” failed us miserably.

The need for a free-to-everyone health delivery system has never been more apparent.
No one should ever have to make a choice whether to seek medical attention because they have no insurance or will lose their jobs if they stay home.

We have the money to do this, that’s obvious. All we need is for our legislators to do it.
One thing is certain. America will change as a nation. Let’s hope it’s for the better. .....


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How to Locate Military Records

Military records help prove military service when applying for jobs or government benefits. They’re also helpful for ancestry and historical research. There are different types of records that you may be looking for such as duty stations and assignments, disciplinary actions, enlistment dates, and awards.

Before requesting records, there are a few important things to note:

Most military records are on paper or microfilm and copies will need to be mailed to you. They are not typically available to view online.

Most requests are free for veterans and next-of-kin. You will be told if there is a fee.

Records of military personnel who separated from the military less than 62 years ago are called federal (non-archival) records. Those from more than 62 years ago are archival records.

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Finding Calm in the Pandemic Storm

(Editor’s note: We are all feeling stressed by the coronavirus pandemic. Many also feel anxiety, and worry about their loved ones and what our future as a nation holds. This essay by psychotherapist Reji Mathew provides helpful advice for taking stock of our feelings and finding ways to cope during this crisis.)

Finding calm in the pandemic storm of coronavirus is the challenge of the moment across the globe. In my journey as a clinical social work psychotherapist, I have had the privilege of being a part of mental health teams serving the public for broad health crises, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

National emergencies shatter our cherished sense of normalcy and safety and thrust us all into crisis responses, both individually and collectively. As I think about what has helped on the front lines over the years, for both patients and practitioners, a few things come to mind:
Make Inner Room for Your Emotions


The IRS started depositing stimulus checks –
but not everyone is happy

By Yoni Heisler

The IRS started depositing $1,200 into millions of bank accounts this week as part of the government’s $2 trillion stimulus package.

There have been some stimulus check problems as some people are receiving too much money and others not enough.

The IRS is aware of some technical issues and has rolled out a few online tools to help the situation.

With large portions of the economy at a standstill due to the coronavirus, and with unemployment at record levels, President Trump late last month signed a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to help keep the economy afloat. As part of the package, millions of eligible Americans will receive $1,200 checks to help them get through what is arguably an unprecedented economic downturn.

Earlier this week, the IRS started making said payments and many individuals noticed an additional $1,200 sitting in their bank accounts. But as it turns out, there have been quite a few glitches along the way. While some eligible individuals still haven’t received their payment, others are getting far too much deposited into their accounts and others far too little. As an extreme example, you may have seen that a man in Indiana checked his bank account earlier this week and noticed an IRS deposit of $8.2 million. More commonly, some individuals are noticing they’re not receiving additional funds for their dependents.

Now as to what’s going on, well, there are a few factors in play.


'They're Death Pits': Virus Claims At Least 7,000
Lives in U.S. Nursing Homes

By Farah Stockman, Matt Richtel, Danielle Ivory and Mitch Smith

The first warning of the devastation that the coronavirus could wreak inside U.S. nursing homes came in late February, when residents of a facility in suburban Seattle perished, one by one, as families waited helplessly outside.

In the ensuing six weeks, large and shockingly lethal outbreaks have continued to ravage nursing homes across the nation, undeterred by urgent new safety requirements. Now a nationwide tally by The New York Times has found the number of people living in or connected to nursing homes who have died of the coronavirus to be at least 7,000, far higher than previously known.

In New Jersey, 17 bodies piled up in a nursing home morgue, and more than one-quarter of a Virginia home’s residents have died. At least 24 people at a facility in Maryland have died; more than 100 residents and workers have been infected at another in Kansas; and people have died in centers for military veterans in Florida, Nevada, New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.



How Does a New Yawker Tawk?

The #BestNYAccent challenge on Instagram brought out the sound of an unflappable city.

For a city whose residents have been cooped inside for weeks, taking to pot-and-pan clanging, conch-shell blowing and clapping out of windows to express themselves publicly, the arrival last week of the #BestNYAccent challenge on Instagram was a chance for catharsis.

Here were oodles of videos of born-and-bred New Yorkers talking to the camera — it hardly mattered what they were saying, only how they were saying it. The casual disregard for pointy syllables. The pacing, which vacillated between dramatically drawn-out words and tight firework-syllable clusters. The occasional “yeeerrrrrrrr,” a herald trumpet announcing the arrival of royalty.

What we think of as the distinctive New York accent is really a pool of accents, a stew that draws liberally from various communities: Italian, Jewish, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Irish and many more. Slang might come from Yiddish, or it might come from hip-hop.



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After The Virus Life Will Go On.
But At What Price?
Part 1

Rich or poor, young or old, the Covid 19 virus has upended everyone’s life. Nothing is as it was just a month ago. And it’s not just losing the ability to meet with friends and relatives, or to enjoy a stroll down Main Street that has changed. It has affected almost every aspect of our lives. Hopefully, this nightmare will end, and things will get back to normal. However, we cannot deny the possibility that at least parts of our lives have changed forever.
For many older folks, loneliness and isolation are something we deal with regularly. So, when the time comes when they finally allow us to hug, kiss, and carry on a conversation with others and not have to do it through a mask, we may not notice a return to narrowing the social distance gap. But what about other facets of the American way of life?
The headlines may be the harbinger of things to come. Particularly the one that shouts out “22 million people have lost their jobs.” While no doubt many of those folks will get their jobs back, the monetary impact of having little or no money coming in for weeks and months will impact the average American’s lives for a long time.
And what happens if many of those small (and some large) businesses never return because they can never make up for the economic loss. As of now, the government has run out of money for small business loans. And even if there was money, how will they ever repay that loan? Many business will just close?
The butcher, the baker, the watch repair guy and the local auto supply store will disappear from the scene along with the jobs they provided. In fact, any business not deemed “essential” during the crisis, and therefor closed down, may have already seen their last customer.

And let us not forget the restaurants. Many of which make up the very fabric and essence of what a neighborhood is. The pizzeria, the sub shop, even the diner off the interstate, establishments that have been local landmarks for years, gone.

Inner-city people do not rely on the big box stores for a majority of their purchases. 

They buy their beer from the bodega on the corner, their booze from the liquor store, and get takeout from the Chinese restaurant. The dry cleaner and the dollar store and shoe store their mothers brought them to, to get a new pair of shoes for school. What will happen to them? Have we seen the last of the small, independent business forever? 

I know one thing already affected. The way we shop.

I haven’t had or driven a car for over 10 years. Combine this with some mobility issues that make hopping on public transportation difficult, means I have been doing my shopping online for some time.

I buy everything from underwear, printer ink, toothpaste and aftershave online, from places like Amazon, Walmart and Staples. And recently, food from my local supermarket via Instacart. And I’m not the only one.

The new contact sport now, is buying groceries, not by driving to the Stop&Shop or Publix, walking up and down the aisles and waiting on phalanx-like line at the checkout, but by looking at pictures of the items we want on our computer and adding them to our virtual “cart”. And then, waiting as little as an hour for delivery.

And, though we have over-booked those services, causing the waiting times for delivery to go into days instead of hours, how many of us will, after we get back to “normal” find we like not having to put up with the crowds, the traffic and the dangers of the supermarket parking lot and never go into a market again? This will not only change the way we buy things, but also the way they market them. Who needs fancy point-of-sale displays, or neatly stacked “specials” at the ends of the aisle. All that really matters is having a nice photo of that box of spaghetti to post online.

Entire industries whose sole business was to attract you to their products will no longer be necessary.

All of these changes may seem “dystopian.” 

No social contact.

Drone delivery.

Giant corporations supplying all of our needs.

But take heart. Not all change will be bad. 

We might even become better people because of it.

More on this Tuesday in part 2. …………………………………………….

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Six things your ophthalmologist wants
you to know about coronavirus

As information about the new coronavirus comes at a furious pace, at times offering conflicting and confusing advice, the Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology, the Medical Association of Alabama and the American Academy of Ophthalmology want to share what we know right now about protecting your vision and your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During these unprecedented times, our organization wants to clearly communicate and provide the most up-to-date information to help Alabamians maintain their health and safety,” said Dr. Russell Read, president of the Alabama Academy of Ophthalmology. “With so many people working from home and students using distance learning, we believe these tips offer simple guidelines everyone can use.”

    Avoid touching your eyes
    Pink eye is a COVID-19 symptom, but it’s rare
    The malaria drugs used to treat coronavirus will not blind you

    Have an upcoming routine eye care appointment? Call your ophthalmologist first
    Make sure you have refills of critical medications
   Consider home remedies for nonurgent relief

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Vulnerable Older Americans Need Nutrition
Support During COVID-19 Pandemic

National Coalition Offers Strategies to Provide Nutrition and Stay Connected During the Crisis

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to place older Americans at an increased risk for poor nutrition and its negative health impacts, according to a national coalition of more than 100 organizations and stakeholders working to defeat older adult malnutrition.

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Defeat Malnutrition Today is dedicated to supporting older adults and those who provide their care. The risk of getting severe symptoms that require hospitalization is higher for older adults, and this age group has an increased fatality rate from the virus. Older adult malnutrition further compounds these problems because poor nutrition is associated with decreased immune health.

During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Defeat Malnutrition Today is dedicated to supporting older adults and those who provide their care. The risk of getting severe symptoms that require hospitalization is higher for older adults, and this age group has an increased fatality rate from the virus. Older adult malnutrition further compounds these problems because poor nutrition is associated with decreased immune health.


The Coronavirus and the Risks to
the Elderly in Long-Term Care

By Nicholas Bagley

Key Points:

    Elderly in long-term care (LTC) and their caregiving staff are at elevated risk from COVID-19.

    Outbreaks in LTC facilities can threaten the health care system.

    COVID-19 suppression should focus on testing and infection control at LTC facilities.

    Family will not be able to visit LTC facilities, increasing isolation of residents.

    Lack of family visits also increases residents’ vulnerability to abuse and neglect.

The sick and elderly in long term care facilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Although the mortality rate of the disease is still uncertain, it is clear that it is far more lethal for adults aged 65 years and older than for children or younger adults.

 Worse, many aspects of long-term care facilities make them conducive to rapid spread of infectious disease. COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. This means that transmission risk is high between people who are in close contac.

 The risk of transmission is especially high in long-term care settings where older adults are particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of respiratory illness...


Increased Oversight of
Long-Term Care Facilities
Related to COVID-19

Despite the mounting pressures on healthcare entities related to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and recent announcements of regulatory waivers and flexibility in particular areas, regulators are still showing interest in the enforcement of federal requirements for life safety and emergency and infectious disease control preparedness for long-term care facilities.

OIG Medicaid Nursing Home Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness Reviews

On March 23, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) updated its Work Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see this post for more information about all of the OIG Work Plan updates. One of the areas that the OIG Office of Audit Services will focus on is Medicaid Nursing Home Life Safety and Emergency Preparedness Reviews.

OIG’s rationale for focusing on this is, in part, because the patient population in long-term care (LTC) facilities is especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks. The focus of the audit is LTC facilities’ compliance with federal requirements for life safety and emergency preparedness, as well as 2019 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded guidance on emerging infectious disease control.



Older Americans get chance to join virus vaccine study
By The Associated Press

A U.S. study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine is being expanded to include older adults, the age group most at risk from the new coronavirus.

The shot, made by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., is being tested in healthy young and middle-aged adults in Seattle and Atlanta.

Moderna announced Thursday the study is expanding to include older adults, divided into two age groups -- 51 to 70 and those over 70.

NIH said it is seeking 60 older adults, bringing the total being tested in the initial phase to 105.



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4 minutes

A Miracle in Yonkers

As we end yet another “week in hell”, I have some good news for a change. Or at least what passes for good news these days.
As mentioned, we here at the A.L.F. have had no communication from management for over two weeks. This lack of information prompted me to email our administrator asking him to give us the latest news, even if it is troubling to hear. What I received in answer to my inquiry was surprising.
I had half expected a terse reply via email, instead; I got a personal, in-room visit from our administrator along with the head of our Case Management department. My first concern was that my request for more info, and my complaint regarding the food, had put me in the doghouse. But that was not the case. Instead, I received what I believe to be an honest, straightforward report on our condition.
After explaining that things had been very hectic, and that he and his staff have been stretched-thin on both time and patience, which resulted in that lack of information. It astonished me to learn that as of Friday, April 17th, THERE ARE NO CASES OF COVID-19 IN OUR FACILITY. This is nothing less than a miracle.
With the virus swirling all around us we, like Daniel in the lions' den, have dodged the bullet.
Sadly, we have lost one of our residents. A dialysis patient who passed away at a nearby hospital.
One staff member has been quarantined at home.
I was also told of the Herculean job our staff and management are doing to assure our safety.
Staffing, during good times, is difficult enough. Considering what’s happening now, maintaining enough qualified personnel is almost impossible. And yet, our management has done just that. 
As far as the food situation is concerned, I was informed that, while there is no shortage of food or difficulty getting supplies from our vendors, the shortage of qualified kitchen staff, the haste and difficulty preparing nearly 200 transportable meals three-time-a-day, has resulted in the food not being up to par.
They made a promise to rectify the situation in an attempt to improve the food.
I did not wish to push the matter any further. Food is the least of our problems right now.
As I leave you today, and for the rest of the weekend, I feel blessed. We are probably the safest place in the state to be right now. I hope it remains this way.
Stay safe, my friends. We’ll see you Monday. ………………………………………

Editor’s note: I also asked our admin. Why I saw many doors with Quarantine/Warning signs on them. Fearing there may be more cases of the virus than we are being told. The answer was swift and imperative.
Keeping with the draconian measures to keep us safe, any resident who complains of, of has been observed as possibly having symptoms of the virus have been quarantined and are being monitored regularly. They do not have the virus.

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40 Suggestions to Help Especially Vulnerable
 Seniors During Coronavirus Crisis: Report

By Katie Kirker

The outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus, COVID-19, throughout New York City has led to over 11,400 fatalities. One group particularly hard-hit by both the virus and its cumulative social effects has been senior citizens, older adults who often have underlying health conditions and less ability to fight off a serious infection.

Data provided by the New York City Health Department shows that more than 70% of the coronavirus-related fatalities in New York City through April 15 are among those 65 years old and older. (More than 90% of the deaths have been among people 45 years old and older.)

Seniors are also the largest growing demographic in the city: “from 2005 to 2015, the number of New Yorkers over 65 grew by 19.2 percent, which was more than double the rate of the total population,” according to a report from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. The city, the report says, is home to “more than 1.1 million adults over 65, about 13 percent of the city’s total population.”

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Our elderly are not expendable
By Jonathan S. Tobin

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the globe with frightening speed, pushback against the notion that shutting down our regular lives and the economy is worth the cost continues.

Coronavirus scofflaws come from a variety of backgrounds. It was that same spirit of stubborn resistance against reality that drove both pleasure-seeking American kids to Florida beaches for spring break and some yeshiva students to attend their classes or weddings in recent weeks despite the clear danger such activities posed to themselves and others, especially those most vulnerable to the virus.

A more insidious threat comes from those proposing that we lift the restrictions for the sake of the economy or suggest that the elderly ought to consent to be sacrificed for the convenience of those who are younger.


In Shutting Out Threat, Seniors In Continuing Care
Communities Feel Shut In

By Judith Graham

With tight restrictions in place at their continuing care retirement community, Tom and Janice Showler are getting on each other’s nerves.

Most days, Tom, 76, likes to drive out of their community ― Asbury Springhill in Erie, Pennsylvania — to the store to pick up a few items.

“If you follow the right protocols, the likelihood is quite low that we would come down with coronavirus,” Tom said. “If I didn’t go out at all, I’d feel like the walls were closing in on me.”

Janice, 72, doesn’t think that’s a good idea. She has rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that raises her risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus. Her father died of pneumonia, and “what terrifies me more than anything is not being able to breathe,” she said.


Biden proposes lowering Medicare eligibility age to 60
and more student debt forgiveness as job losses soar

By Tucker Higgins

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at his South Carolina primary night rally in Columbia, South Carolina, February 29, 2020.

Joe Biden rolled out two new plans on Thursday to provide economic relief to struggling Americans as he kicks off his general election campaign against President Donald Trump amid soaring job losses caused by efforts to contain COVID-19.

The former vice president proposed lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 from 65 and bolstered his student debt forgiveness plan hours after the Department of Labor released new data showing 6.6 million people filed initial jobless claims last week.



The Food Expiration Dates You Should Actually Follow
By J. Kenji López-Alt

The first thing you should know? The dates, as we know them, have nothing to do with safety.

With most of us quarantined in our homes, chances are you’ve been reacquainting yourself with the forgotten spices and fusty beans from the depths of your pantry. But how fusty is too fusty? When is the right time to throw something out? And what about fresh ingredients? If I’m trying to keep supermarket trips to a minimum, how long can my eggs, dairy and produce keep?

Here’s the first thing you should know: Expiration dates are not expiration dates.

Food product dating, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls it, is completely voluntary for all products (with the exception of baby food, more on that later). Not only that, but it has nothing to do with safety. It acts solely as the manufacturer’s best guess as to when its product will no longer be at peak quality, whatever that means. Food manufacturers also tend to be rather conservative with those dates, knowing that not all of us keep our pantries dark and open our refrigerators as minimally as necessary. (I, for one, would never leave the fridge door open for minutes at a time as I contemplate what to snack on.)

Let’s start with the things you definitely don’t have to worry about. Vinegars, honey, vanilla or other extracts, sugar, salt, corn syrup and molasses will last virtually forever with little change in quality. Regular steel-cut or rolled oats will last for a year or so before they start to go rancid, but parcooked oats (or instant oats) can last nearly forever. (Same with grits versus instant grits.)



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6 minutes

The headline out of Andover, New Jersey, was devastating.

They discovered 15 bodies in a makeshift morgue in back of a nursing home.

And, while this may be an extreme case, the news has been rife with stories of death and illness associated with America’s long-term care facilities.

For me, a current resident of just such a location, seeing stories like that gave me reason to pause, take a breath, and ask, “what’s going on.”

Why are some people dying in great numbers at some facilities while others, as at our site, the number (as far as we know) is zero? And, not only have there been no deaths, the number of residents (of which there are nearly 200) affected with the virus is relatively low?
“The answer is obvious,” you say.

"Those high death rate venues have older and sicker residents with immune systems already compromised. What did you expect?”

While the frailty of the patients matters in determining a cause of illness and death, there are other reasons the mortality and morbidity rate is higher for that segment of our population and why, in places that should be virus-free sanctuaries, are people being infected at a rate higher than the general population. 

We must put the onus on the failure of the management of those places to act quickly and decisively to prevent the first cases to invade their space. 

Unlike our residence that went into lockdown mode days before it became apparent the virus was running rampant throughout our Westchester County New York neighborhood, many operators were, either afraid to close their facilities to visitors or were just plain ignorant of the infectious and aggressive nature of Covid-19.

But simple failure to act swiftly is only part of what makes nursing homes more susceptible to infection.

We should place much of the blame on the very nature of nursing homes themselves and the way they operate.

Having been a patient in three nursing homes over nearly a two-year period undergoing rehab after a prolonged hospitalization and now, a resident in an A.L.F. for nearly 7 years, I feel I am qualified to discuss the difference between the two.

Residents of assisted living facilities (A.L.F.’s) are not as ill as those in nursing homes. And, while the median age of an ALF resident is 85, they are not necessarily frail or in need of intense nursing care, And, in that lies the reason for a higher rate of infection and the subsequent demise of nursing home patients.

The hands-on, close-in contact with staff, necessary functions of any care facility, are the very cause of the high mortality rate. 

In addition, people in nursing homes receive more visits from friends and relatives, outside doctors and others. All potential carriers of the virus. 

Nursing homes, too, are usually larger than A.L.F’s. 

The New Jersey home mentioned on the news story had nearly 500 patients as compared to the 200-300 residents in an ALF. 

Also, usually they keep all of those patience in double (or even triple) bed rooms. Less than 6 feet apart with only a thin curtain separating the beds. Making those places literal Covid motels. 

Also, doors to nursing home rooms are not closed. They are open all the time allowing what ever drifts by to come in.

Who would have imagined a month ago, nursing homes would be the most dangerous places in America and those who have the least ability to survive would be the number one target of a the deadliest disease in over 100 years?

Wash you hands thoroughly. In fact, wash everything thoroughly. ……………..

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Car Insurance 2020 Tips: How Can Senior Drivers
Get Better Auto Insurance Rates is a top auto insurance brokerage website, providing car insurance quotes online from trustworthy agencies all over the United States. This website offers car insurance info about different coverage types, available discounts, and money-saving tips.

The age of a policyholder is a very important factor that is taken into account when car insurance companies determine his insurance premiums. Most insurance companies consider that drivers that are 70 years old or older, are more likely to be involved in car accidents and they charge them more on their insurance.

Senior drivers can easily find affordable car insurance if they follow the next tips:

    Enroll in a defensive driving course.

    Install anti-theft devices.

    Purchase a car that is cheap to insure.

    Enroll in a usage-based insurance program.

    Check online quotes.

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Laid Off? Many Boomers Are Headed
Into Forced Retirement

By Robin Ryan

“I’ve been a chiropractor my whole working life. At 63, I’m unlikely to get another job. Being laid off now is really the end of my career,” said Thomas as he looked at the layoff letter. “I’m shocked and surprised. It feels terrible, and it’s a major loss to be forced out of doing something you love. I’ve helped over 20,000 people during my long career. It feels like such a tragedy and loss to the public too. I kept many people from a lifetime of pain and disability,” this chiropractor stated.

He went ahead, and for the first time in his life, Thomas applied for unemployment. “I was grateful for the government buffer that sounded like if you are let go because of the coronavirus, you would automatically get unemployment. That proved to be a false assumption. Due to the way my State calculates eligibility, I was denied unemployment benefits. I was working for a small employer, so there wasn’t any severance package. Just a ‘you’re done,’” he said.

“It’s hard since I have all these years of experience, and now I’ll be sitting on the sidelines. Being a chiropractor has been my life. I’m happier and healthier working. I know things have to come to an end, but this isn’t the way to do it. No one wants to find themselves unemployed. It was not a gracious or gradual departure. It’s abrupt, and regardless of what the government is saying, there sure isn’t any safety net for me. I have no retirement plan and now need to figure out what I should do with myself and my days,” he said. “Somebody who has worked over 60 hours a week for 38 years just can’t stop overnight.”


Staying Out Of ‘The Good Nursing Home’

When our younger daughter was a teenager, she used to jokingly promise her mother that she would someday put us in “the good nursing home.” That promise was sometimes withdrawn when she found her parents annoying.

She was not joking recently when she amended her youthful pledge. Our daughter instead declared she would never place us in any kind of long-term care facility (a term that covers assisted living facilities as well as genuine nursing homes, although they are often co-located and treated as a unit).

The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted an inconvenient truth that the nursing home industry would prefer to keep in the shadows: Institutions catering to frail elderly and disabled populations in close quarters are highly efficient at transmitting deadly infections among their vulnerable residents. This truth does not apply only to a novel coronavirus for which humanity has neither acquired immunity nor developed vaccinations. Nursing homes are a weak link in the health care system during any bad flu season.


Restarting America Means People Will Die.
So When Do We Do It?

The politics of the coronavirus have made it seem indecent to talk about the future. As President Trump has flirted with reopening America quickly — saying in late March that he’d like to see “packed churches” on Easter and returning to the theme days ago with “we cannot let this continue” — public-health experts have felt compelled to call out the dangers. Many Americans have responded by rejecting as monstrous the whole idea of any trade-off between saving lives and saving the economy. And in the near term, it’s true that those two goals align: For the sake of both, it’s imperative to keep businesses shuttered and people in their homes as much as possible.

In the longer run, though, it’s important to acknowledge that a trade-off will emerge — and become more urgent in the coming months, as the economy slides deeper into recession. The staggering toll of unemployment has reached more than 16 million in just the last three weeks. There will be difficult compromises between doing everything possible to save lives from Covid-19 and preventing other life-threatening, or -altering, harms.

When can we ethically bring people back to work and school and begin to resume the usual rhythms of American life? We brought together by video conference five different kinds of experts to talk about the principles and values that will determine the choices we make at that future point. One of them, the bioethicist Zeke Emanuel, led a group from the Center for American Progress that earlier this month presented a plan to end the coronavirus crisis. First, the group said, the country needs a national stay-at-home policy through mid-May. (Eight governors still haven’t issued such orders statewide.) In the intervening weeks, testing would have to ramp up to test everyone who has a fever, or lives with someone who tests positive for Covid-19. Contact-tracing — identifying and notifying people who have been in proximity to someone infected — would become comprehensive. People who have the virus or a fever, or those in proximity to them, would be isolated. There would also be testing of a representative sample in every county, to determine the rate of infection in the population, as well as mapping and alerts to inform the public about the location of Covid-19 cases.



Why Did The World Shut Down For COVID-19
But Not Ebola, SARS Or Swine Flu?

By Kaleigh Rogers

When reports of a new virus circulating in China’s Hubei province first began to emerge, I was cautious about overreacting. I’ve reported on health long enough to know that just because a pathogen is new doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a crisis.

Of course, I quickly realized this isn’t just any virus. We’re currently battling a global pandemic unlike any we’ve seen in over a century.

But it’s also not the first modern virus we’ve faced. In the past two decades, the world battled Ebola, SARS and more than one major flu outbreak. Those left tragedies in their wake but didn’t cause the same level of societal and economic disruption that COVID-19 has. As a result, they can help us understand this new coronavirus — to capture how unique our new reality is, it helps to look back at similar outbreaks that threatened to upend society, but ultimately stopped short.



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I hate to admit, the president and I have something in common.

We are both control freaks. Although he might be a little freakier than I.

We define a Control Freak as; “A person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.”

Although I did not know it, I probably have been this way for a long time, which may have caused many of my fears and phobias. And, interestingly enough, you might have a touch of CF yourself.

Have you ever wondered why some people think nothing of riding one of those insane roller coasters that twist and turn and flip them upside down in an apparent effort to kill them, while you have difficulty even looking at them without getting nauseous?

You think to yourself, “Why am I such a scaredy-cat,” or, “Those people are so brave?”
It has nothing to do with brevity and everything to do with your inability to be in control of the situation.

Did your school grades suffer while your parents and teachers tried to understand why you, a fairly intelligent child, were doing so poorly?

You weren’t lazy or dyslectic or an underachiever. You’re a control freak.

Deep down inside you wanted to run the class. And, knowing you could not do so, caused you to rebel against any lesson where you were not the teacher.

CF may cause many of life’s let-down’s.

Bad marriages. The Inability to keep a job and your dislike of bad weather may all be symptoms of CF.

Now we are in a period of world history which puts the psyche’s of us control freaks in great peril.

Not only can we not control the virus, WE KNOW WE CAN’T CONTROL IT.

On one hand, we want to say “screw it, I’ll do whatever I think is good for me” while in our hearts we know we know we would not know what to do even if we were in control. And it’s driving us crazy.

This most likely accounts for the erratic rantings and bizarre behavior of our president, who is the mother of all control freaks.*

All of his life he had the last word. Right or wrong, his decisions were final. And, if he made the wrong choice, he would simply write a check or disavow any wrongdoing and it would all go away.

He can no longer do this. It doesn’t work. The virus is the one thing he can’t buy-off or intimidate.

There is no check big enough or threat strong enough to put an end to this crisis.
Only time, patience and solid science will control this nightmare.

I have learned to live with it. So should we all………………..

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”**

*A title formally held by Joseph Stalin.
** The Serenity Prayer is a prayer written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)
Editor’s note: Disclaimer. Being a “control freak” may, or may not be an actual form of psychosis, and my claim to be able to diagnose CF is purely a figment of my imagination. However, on the other hand, it sounds good, doesn’t it?

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Coping With Covid-19
What to do.

1.Visit for up-to-date information about the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including new recommendations about wearing face coverings.
2. Keep your doctor's phone number handy. If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider.
3. Taking a break from the 24-hour news cycle is a good idea. When you do seek information about the coronavirus outbreak, look to our partners in public media who, like us, exist to serve audiences and not shareholders. Look to PBS NewsHour and NPR. Incredible local coverage is also happening in communities across the country. Identify your local PBS and NPR stations and tune in.

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The next stimulus packages should help seniors

The relief package Congress passed on March 27, was a good start toward mitigating some of the worst impacts of the early stage COVID-19 crisis for seniors. Among other measures, the CARES Act included relief payments for Social Security beneficiaries and gave Medicare and Medicaid new flexibility to cover seniors’ health care costs during the pandemic. But the legislation also left some critical gaps unfilled. Congress must act again to close them.

Seniors are the most vulnerable to the ravages of COVID-19. “Older adults seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness,” reports the Centers for Disease Control. Not only are they more likely to suffer or die from the disease, but seniors also are more financially susceptible to the economic turmoil the coronavirus has wrought.

Millions of older Americans live on fixed incomes — dependent largely on Social Security to cover their most basic expenses. Many cannot afford the financial shocks of COVID-19 treatment. Contrary to what some Americans may believe, Medicare patients face potentially crushing out-of-pocket costs, especially if they do not have Medigap supplemental insurance.


If coronavirus scares you, read this to take
control over your health anxiety

By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

When news of the coronavirus broke at the end of last year, and as the stories from the outbreak became more alarming over time, I found myself wondering how health anxiety sufferers were coping.

You see, I used to be one. In late 2015, I suffered a post-traumatic stress disorder relapse which led to debilitating anxiety, much of which was health-related. During that period, I was paralyzed by the thought of becoming ill and dying. I was constantly checking for symptoms and signs of disease online and I was fixated on the health of my loved ones.

After treatment, including trauma-focused CBT, I almost completely recovered. But I remember vividly how it felt to be in an all-consuming state of panic. For many months, it ruled my entire existence. Approximately 40 million American adults – roughly 18% of the population – have an anxiety disorder, while in the UK there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety in 2013. There are few statistics about health anxiety, but it can affect those who have an existing anxiety disorder or those who have experienced a life event such as bereavement, birth trauma or an accident. In times like these, where a global pandemic is taking up most of the media conversation, it can be even more difficult to stay calm.

Here is some advice that may give some comfort to those of you who are struggling.


Pandemic likely to worsen financial woes
for assisted living operators

Assisted living communities have come under increased scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenges include deepening financial pressures, sicker residents, limited oversight and too few employees. Home to more than 800,000 people nationwide, the communities now face a crisis that could force some operators into bankruptcy, roil the industry and even close some facilities, Kaiser Health News reported Thursday.

More than 700 cases of COVID-19 at assisted living communities had been reported in at least 29 states as of Wednesday, according to public health authorities and news organizations.

The article pointed to Capital Senior Living as a case study of the new dangers facing the industry and the people it serves. The Dallas-based company, which owns or operates more than 120 senior communities nationally, told investors on a March 31 conference call that residents at three of its facilities had tested positive for the coronavirus.

But even before that, the company was ailing. Its stock had plummeted 80% since late February. Last week, the company disclosed a 2019 loss of $36 million.



Time Is Meaningless Now
By Shayla Love

In 1962, a French geologist, Michel Siffre, descended into a cave more than 400 feet below ground and stayed there for two months. He left his watch, and any other indicators of time, at the surface to experience what life was like "beyond time."

He discovered that without any external time cues, he started to lose track of the minutes, hours, and days. He went into the cave on July 16, and had planned to come out on September 14. His team alerted him when the day arrived, but according to his estimation it was only August 20. “I believed I still had another month to spend in the cave. My psychological time had compressed by a factor of two,” he said in a 2008 interview.

We are not currently plunged into darkness—in a cave with no natural light—nor are we stripped of our phones or watches. But many people are feeling, with social distancing and the world grinding to a halt, that time has similarly started to lose its meaning. Monday, Saturday, Wednesday; 10 AM, 4 PM, midnight—who knows what day or time it is? Last week, Stephen Colbert tweeted: “The last two weeks have been a strange ten years.” One cable news channel even launched a segment called “What Day Is It?,” announcing triumphantly one recent Tuesday: “And if you said Tuesday, you're right.”



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5-6 minutes

Usually by this time, thousands of people are freezing their butts off in the seats of places like Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. But not this year. The Covid-19 virus has done what a world war could not do. Shut down (or at least delayed) Major League Baseball. 

Baseball, like no other American sport, has a way of connecting with people of all walks of life and of all ages.

Unlike other games, baseball is for everyone. Black and white, rich or poor. And, by the young  who play it, and by we older folks who can regain some of our youth by connecting with the past. Baseball, like no other sport, loves its history. 

Every time we hear they have broken a record, and they mention the original record holder, we remember a bygone time when we had the world by the short and curlies and our whole lives ahead of us.

That’s what baseball means to Americans.

But now, we have no team sports, not even soccer, to help us pass the time. 

So what are Americans doing to while away the time? 

Television, which has always been the opiate of the masses, has taken its rightful place as the new American sport. 

Think about it. It has all the aspects of a real sport.

Families take sides and jockey for position in front of the tube.

The males vs. the females.

A fierce scrimmage ensues as hands grab for the ball (better known as the remote control).
Sometimes skill and dexterity win. But often it's just brute force that comes out on top. 

The person who controls the remote is the Captain of the team. He, and he alone, decides the next play, or in this case, what to play.

Will it be another incessant episode of NCIS, or will he go to the bullpen (Netflix) for yet another Bruce Willis flick?

Finally, seventh inning stretch. Dad drops the ball to go to the bathroom, and it’s quickly gobbled up by the ladies who waste no time changing the channel to watch Grey’s anatomy. 

Dad returns to find his team trailing. And, although he tries giving the boys a pep talk, it’s to no avail. They never get the ball back. This week’s “Anatomy” is a two-hour special.

If TV is not your thing, there is another diversion that has taken America by storm. Food.

Food, until now, was never a game. It involved very little skill to take part in it.
Even if you could not cook, food was always attainable. 

You get in your car and drive to McDonald’s and a nice young person puts food in your hand. It’s hot, it’s good, and it’s fast.

Or, we pick up the phone, and a guy with an accent sends over a meal representative of his native land.

For the more adventurous, we could go to the supermarket, crab a cart, meander up and down the aisles and casually throw boxes, bags, containers and cans into it. A good shopper can be in and out in 20 minutes with a week’s worth of food.

But that was then. Now we need a game plan just to feed ourselves.

What time is best to shop?

Where should we go to beat the crowds?

And then there’s the uniform.

Sweat pants, a baseball cap, comfortable shoes and a face mask. 

And here’s where the “skill’' part comes into play. We have to do all this while trying to stay as far away from other people as possible. 

I’m sure, as time goes by, other forms of amusement will take hold like lint removal, Venetian blind cleaning and my favorite, cleaning the whiskers out of my electric shaver.

Stay occupied mis amigos…………………………………………..

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Four Tips for Seniors to Stay Connected
During the Coronavirus Pandemic

by Laurie Archbald-Pannone

1. Learn the new technology

FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and lots more. All sorts of online options exist to talk with family and friends. And you don’t have to be tech-savvy. Doing the basics is easy, and for most people, fun. If setting up an account is daunting, ask a neighbor, niece or nephew for help and a quick tutorial.

2. Stay active in the community from home

It may sound counterintuitive. How can you remain a part of the community if the goal is to separate from the community? But maybe there’s a remote option. Many organizations — political parties, faith-based groups, nonprofits — rely on volunteers to make phone calls. You can do that clearly community-based activity right at home.

3. Go on a news diet

Stay informed, know what’s going on but don’t get locked into endlessly watching “breaking news” on the 24-hour news channels. Typically, not much changes hour to hour. But enduring the repetitious pummeling from TV all day long can bring needless anxiety. My patients have found the following advice helpful: Watch a news update in the morning, then check in again at night. Don’t stay with it all evening — 30 minutes or an hour is plenty.

4. Reach out to family and friends

Stay in touch with the people close to you, especially those who are social distancing too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that communities create “buddy systems” to make sure vulnerable and hard-to-reach people stay connected, particularly to news about COVID-19. This can be done through your church, social group or daily neighborhood email blasts. And for those of you who are not elderly – why not make it a point to check in on your older friends and relatives? Such thoughtfulness is always greatly appreciated.

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Old Folks Like Biden, and That Could
 Really Matter in November

By Ed Kilgore

There is an understandable tendency right now to throw all the evidence of what might happen in the November election right out the window, given all we don’t know about the duration and intensity of the coronavirus pandemic, not to mention its impact on voting. And it’s undoubtedly true that how Donald Trump is perceived as handling the situation is a variable that could tilt the outcome far in one direction or the other.

On the other hand, perceptions of Trump, even in this incredibly unexpected environment, seem to be relatively inelastic. His job-approval ratings, which benefited from a small “rallying effect” early in the pandemic, are settling back down into their accustomed narrow range. So while recognizing weird things could still happen, it’s not a bad idea to keep an eye on general-election polling. And one thing that stands out when you look at head-to-head matchups between Trump and Joe Biden is that the older of these septuagenarians has a pretty steady lead among seniors, the most pro-Republican of age demographics in recent presidential contests, and also the group most likely to turn out.


Trump obliterated nursing home safety regulations in 2017
COVID is showing why they’re desperately needed:

By Sarah K. Burris

Eldercare facilities are desperately trying to keep the contagious coronavirus from overrunning their facilities. Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, Andy Slavitt, the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said he can’t understand why President Donald Trump’s administration isn’t doing more.

First, MSNBC host Katy Tur noted that there isn’t a lot of testing in nursing homes and eldercare facilities, just as there isn’t a lot of testing nationally.

For some who aren’t mobile, the only way to get them tested is to take them to a testing location or to the hospital. If they’re not positive, taking them to the hospital just to get tested could mean that they contract the virus. Most nursing homes aren’t given their own test kits or the rapid test to give within the facility. Given that they’re all under quarantine, anyone who leaves a locked down nursing home would then be required to quarantine for 14 days before being allowed back into the general elder population of the home.


Thousands have died in nursing homes around the U.S.
But the federal gov't isn’t tracking them.

By Suzy Khimm

Nearly 2,500 long-term care facilities in 36 states are battling coronavirus cases, according to data gathered by NBC News from state agencies, an explosive increase of 522 percent compared to a federal tally just 10 days ago.

The total dwarfs the last federal estimate on March 30 — based on “informal outreach” to state health departments — that more than 400 nursing homes had at least one case of the virus.

The full scale of the virus’ impact is even greater than NBC News’ tally, as key states including Florida did not provide data, and nursing homes across the United States are still struggling for access to testing.



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3-4 minutes

31 days and counting. 

Over a month has gone by since we (residents) of The Westchester Center assisted living facility sat, or stood, in a jam-packed auditorium and listened to our administrator tell us the bad news. 

They would put us in a lock-down situation immediately. 

For most of the folks in that room, this was an entirely new situation.

While we are used to restrictions placed on our independence and a certain amount of regimentation, this was something different. And a little scary.

One could see and feel the urgency in our administrator’s eyes and in his words as he told us of his plan to keep us safe. His usual light-hearted optimism  was not present.

He told told us to stay in our rooms. Limit contact with staff and other residents and, absolutely no visits from family and friends.

Recreational activities would come to a halt and they would turn off the coffee and vending machines. Our general store would also be closed. 

In addition, they would cancel non-essential visits to doctors. Any resident who left the facility for any reason other than a medically related one, could not return to the facility. 

We were told of the other precautions that they would take, such as having meals and medications delivered to our rooms.

We were reminded of the need to wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and that they would provide masks to any resident who wanted to wear one.

The only thing we were not told was how long we would have to endure these severe restrictions.

I’m sure many of us who left that room that day believed it would be for only two or three weeks, or at the worst, a month. Nobody could have predicted we would enter our second month of confinement with no end in sight.

Also not envisioned is that our facility would be in the middle of an area with the highest concentration and reported cases of Covid-19 in the world.

That’s a lot for anyone to endure. And it’s especially difficult for seniors whose abilities to fight off even minor infections, let alone a challenging, virulent virus.

So, we sit and wait, sustained by the knowledge that they have done, everything they can to ensure our health and safety.

For now, we are resigned to the fact this will not be over soon and, we will just have to deal with it just like everybody else.

How long that resignation will last before it takes its toll on our physical and mental health is anybody’s guess...........…

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The Best Books for Seniors

If a senior is looking for a new hobby to pursue, reading could be a perfect match for them. Reading not only provides entertainment and knowledge, but it also provides substantial benefits for your brain.

It’s sometimes difficult to find a book to read, because there are so many to choose from. But luckily, goodreads put together a big list of the most popular books for senior citizens. We narrowed it down to 10 to get you started.

1. Invisible (Ivy Malone Mysteries #1)

2. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

3. The Old Man and the Sea

4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

5. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

6. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules

7. Prime of Life

8. Driving Miss Norma: One Family’s Journey Saying “Yes” to Living

9. The Things We Keep

10. A Man Called Ove

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Coronavirus tilted our world, but perhaps the
 crisis has nudged us back to what matters

By Celia Marszal-Iannelli

I have always maintained that life can change in a New York minute and we don’t see it coming. 

For most of us, March heralded thoughts of spring.  The clock was turned back adding light to our days—and bonus, Mother Nature was cooperating.  We spotted bright yellow daffodils and purple crocus breaking through the dark hard earth signaling new life—and it was coming, or so we thought.

Remember the aforementioned New York minute?

Bam!!  We found ourselves amid an unprecedented frightening pandemic that originated in Wuhan China. Our thoughts turned from spring to a mysterious highly contagious coronavirus that was sweeping through Europe.

 The COVID-19 virus touched down in Seattle Washington on January 21. On March 7, Governor  Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency.  I felt like I was part of the frantic crowd in a sci fi movie.


States with higher elderly population grapple with fear,
isolation and healthcare

This isn't the way Betsy Steen and her husband wanted to spend their golden years: Hunkered down at home, living with fear and isolation.

Steen, 76, and her husband David, 75, both take immuno-suppressant medications, placing them at high risk if they contract the coronavirus. They try to keep positive, but it's hard to escape the flood of bad news.

"It's just surreal," the retired teacher said from her home in Maine. "It's kind of like a dream. Every once in a while, you wake up and say that's real."

States with older populations carry special worries during the deadly pandemic: Loneliness takes an emotional and physical toll on fragile residents. Delivering food and medicine to the homes of isolated shut-ins presents an enormous challenge. Rural hospitals, meanwhile, worry about overwhelmed emergency rooms if the virus continues to spread.


Advocates say many assisted living homes
won't take seniors with COVID-19

By Emma Lockhart

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- The elderly are some of the most vulnerable during this COVID-19 crisis. But advocates said some older Arizonans aren't able to get the care they need outside of hospitals.

"We have been working all day trying to find an assisted living community or home and we have been running into roadblocks," Randy Medinger, board president of Professional Association of Senior Referral Specialists.

Medinger said during the pandemic, it is nearly impossible to find places willing to take seniors with coronavirus. "They had a list of homes that were supposed to be accepting COVID-19 positive residents, but as we went through that, it was no, we are full, we can’t do that," said Medinger.



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After a month of confinement and ultra-tight precautions, our status here at the A.L.F remains the same. At least as far as I know.

I say that because; we have not received one official word from management, as to our current health status, in over two weeks.

The March 27th memo sent to each resident, told us at least one (already hospitalized) resident and one staff member had contracted the virus. We don’t know if there are or were any more since that initial notice.

In a walk around the building a few days ago, I counted at least 14 doors with quarantine/caution signs on them leaving me to believe there were at least that many new cases of the virus or suspicions thereof. However, after a phone conversation with a fellow member of the resident’s council, I found that was not true. Here’s why.

As per regulations, they will confine, for a period of two weeks, any resident who has left the building for a doctor’s visit or hospital visit even if they have no symptoms of having contracted the virus.

This, most likely, is the reason for the quarantine signs.

But,as I said, I don’t know.

Often no news is not the best news.…………………………………. Bruce.

5 minutes

It’s important for you to know this; life at an assisted living facility (ALF) is weird under “normal” conditions. 

Let’s face it. How can any place housing 200 old folks afflicted with various disabilities, deformities, maladies, and psychosis’ be anything but? And now, under these special circumstances, things are even weirder.

In a moderately priced facility such as ours, the actual living quarters are “cozy.” 

Even in a single private room, like mine, space is limited.

Picture a motel room.

Not a room you would find in a Marriott Suites, or even a newer Holiday Inn. It’s more like a Super 8 or a Motel 6 without the vibrating bed and small bars of soap.

Now, think of having to stay in that room 24/7, with another person. Perhaps, a person you don’t like whose incessant stories about his grandkids, the Army and favorite sports team has you looking for something sharp. 

Then, add to that having to eat the most boring, ill-conceived, mediocre food on the planet, and you have a typical stay in a locked-down senior residence.

However, there is one redeeming* factor to all of this. 

Now, the rest of the world knows what it’s like to live as we do.

Benevolently confined.

When this is all over, more people will know something of what it’s like to be confined against your will.

And, even though there are no bars on the windows or guards doing strip searches or guys with homemade tattoos looking at you “that way”, make no doubt about it. We are all serving time. ………………………………………

*Editor’s note: I’m using the word “redeeming” not because of any joy I receive from knowing my loved one’s have to be in this situation, but rather as a way of “educating” those who have no idea what it’s like to have your freedoms taken away.

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New Guidance about COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments for
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Beneficiaries

 from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul

The Treasury Department launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for eligible individuals who do not normally file a tax return, and also announced that it would begin making automatic payments.  However, for some people receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration--specifically those who have dependent children under the age of 17--it is to their advantage to go to this portal to ensure they also get the $500 per dependent Economic Impact Payment."

For more information, please visit

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The Silver Lining to Staying at Home

You know all those things you say you want to do — then don’t? As disruptive as the coronavirus is proving in all our lives, there’s a silver lining: confinement is creating the time, as well as the hunger, opportunity and need, to pursue those interests, whether that means specific activities or a deeper connection with others.

Topping my own list of delights these days are phone conversations with my 25-year-old daughter. Until now, she, like many Millennials, has regarded her phone as a texting device and actual phone calls (at least from me) as an intrusion. Lately, though, we’ve been talking. And it’s lovely.

I’m not the only person surprised and delighted by the uptick in filial phone calls. Friends tell me they’re hearing from their kids frequently now.


'If I did it, you can do it': A 90-year-old who
survived coronavirus offers hope


Anna Fortunato, a 90-year-old survivor of COVID-19, has a message for the rest of us:Do not be afraid. Do not despair."Keep on fighting, have that positive attitude, and pray," she says. "And get out of bed. Don't stay in bed all the time. ... And I want to say to them, 'If I did it, you can do it.'"That she is here to advise others is something of a surprise to Fortunato herself."In the hospital, they said I was a miracle," said the Long Island woman, a daughter of Italian immigrants born the year the stock market crashed. "Maybe I was. But I worked at it, let me tell you something."The widowed mother of five developed asthma late in life but was otherwise healthy and strong. She lived in her own apartment until about a year ago, when she moved into assisted living after a fall. At The Arbors in Jericho, Fortunato — whose last name is Italian for "lucky" — was a regular at bingo and was always up for casino excursions. She began feeling ill March 13.


This Population Doesn’t Understand:
Rising to Covid-19 Challenges in Memory Care

By Chuck Sudo

The coronavirus pandemic poses new challenges by the day to long-term care providers across the continuum. But the challenges are even more pronounced for memory care operators.

Those challenges include limiting the ability of memory care residents to walk about freely and congregate with each other, and ensuring their daily routines are as unaffected by the response to the pandemic as possible in order to keep the chances of agitation low.

    “When you have an Alzheimer’s or dementia resident, it’s very hard to keep them isolated.

Memory care communities have already been battered by years of declining census due to oversupply, and limitations on tours and any slow-down on move-ins caused by Covid-19 threaten to further suppress occupancy. The good news is that occupancy appears to be holding steady through the early stage of the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States, and as a needs-based product, memory care could weather an economic downturn better than other levels of care — but operators must prove that they can create safe, secure and enriching communities.



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5 minutes

Considering we are only a month into this thing, it is probably premature to think about the future. But as long as we haven’t much else to do, at the least, it will provide a needed diversion.

 While it’s hard to pinpoint exact changes, our priorities (what’s important to us), will not be the same.
Take the way we will look at hand washing and our proximity to others. 

Most likely many of us will carry a hand sanitizer and we will think twice about shaking hands with others as a greeting. Perhaps the Japanese system of bowing will catch on. At the very least, reruns of Monk episodes will become must-see TV.*

Changing, too, will be a new way of looking at what really matters.

It’s amazing how something as mundane as toilet paper has attained a level of desirability on par with things worth a thousand times more. 

Will backyard stills making rubbing alcohol become a new cottage industry?

Will curbside pickup be the new way we shop?

Will we ever again want to sit in a crowded movie theater?

Will pajama bottoms become the new casual Friday attire?

These are things we will have to think about as we emerge from this nightmare.

And what about our jobs?

How many people will retire permanently? Some, because they will have no job to come back to. And other’s, because they like doing nothing, causing a further strain on the Social Security system.

One thing will change. And that’s the travel industry.

“Seeing the world” may not have the appeal it once had. Especially the cruise ship industry.

Do we really want to be trapped on a boat going from port to port and not being allowed to dock like in “The man without a country?”

I can see a return to the days when we vacationed closer to home. That bungalow colony in the Catskills is looking better and better.

My personal priorities have already changed.

My gratitude for takeout food has increased tenfold. As has my appreciation for things like toothpaste, shower gel and condiments.

Yes, condiments.

While we here at the A.L.F. are (for now) being fed regularly, there appears to be a shortage of condiments like salt and pepper, mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup.

I consider ketchup an essential food. Much like Ronald Reagan, who declared ketchup to be a vegetable.

While I’m not that person who pours ketchup on everything, I like it on certain things. 

Burgers, of course, and fries and meatloaf.

Most of all, I like ketchup with my eggs. And not being able to have any (at least in the quantity I feel comfortable with) has added to my anxiety and has already over-taxed clinical depression.

Therefor, before I asked my shrink to increase my dose of Lexapro, I took it upon myself to order a bottle of the precious red sauce online. And let me tell you. There’s nothing like the feeling of holding a big bottle of Heinz Ketchup in your hand and watching it cascade over a mound of scrambled eggs. 

The simple things kid. That’s what it’s all about.

I’m taking Sunday off to prioritize my priorities. Back on Monday. ......................…

*Editor’s note: In the same vein, famous movie lines may be changed. For example, from the Godfather;
“Keep your friends at a distance, and your enemies farther away.”

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Tips on how to safely grocery shop
during COVID-19 pandemic

By Jack Helean

The new coronavirus has changed many parts of our daily lives, including trips to the grocery store. Many people are wondering whether it's safe to visit the store like they used to.

Mirjam-Colette Kempf, Ph.D., MPH, an infectious diseases expert and a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, explained what you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 before, during and after your trip to the store.

Before you go to the store

The most important thing to do before you go to the store is ask yourself if it's really necessary.

“You should go to the store only for essential items that you cannot live without in the moment,” Kempf said.

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Coronavirus takes a toll. Here’s how to rev up your
 immune system for the challenge.

By Kevin Keister

A stronger immune system

You can support the immune system that you have, Keenan and others said, but the overall strength of your immune system is determined largely by genetics, Keenan said.

“The biggest thing is try to eat healthy, and wash hands, wash hands, wash hands,” he said.

That means using soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time you wash your hands, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Some herbal and home remedies can be helpful, Keenan said, but all should be used with caution and moderation. Autoimmune patients should be especially careful, he said, because some home remedies could worsen their symptoms. And don’t stop using medications or corticosteroids that suppress your immune system, he added.


Sanders fate sealed by the over 40 crowd

While Biden won his party’s nomination on the strength of his fellow senior citizens and with voters over the age of 50, Sanders was the clear winner among more than just college students , as many outlets reported.

My examination of voting patterns in this year’s Democratic primaries shows the real break between Sanders and Biden is not at college graduation, but at age 40.

Data from the Fox News Voter Analysis/AP Votecast of Super Tuesday found that Sanders finished first among voters between the ages of 30 and 39, with 43 percent of the vote. Among those in their 40s, Sanders only won 31 percent of the vote.

This pattern continued in the remaining contests that voted in March. Sanders won 60 percent of the votes among thirty-somethings in Arizona, but only 39 percent of those in their 40s; a 21 percent difference. There were similar large differences between the views of those ages 30 to 39 and those 40 to 49 in Missouri (59 percent to 38 percent), Illinois (54 percent to 35 percent) and Florida (45 percent to 24 percent). The numbers show those 40 and up were much less likely to vote for Sanders.


How Being a Cancer Survivor
Helps Me Cope With Coronavirus Fears

When you’re diagnosed with cancer, one of the worst things about it, aside from the obvious countless physical ramifications, is the emotional upheaval it causes. The raw feelings of vulnerability. The absolute terror of knowing that your body has betrayed you. The desire to close yourself off, make yourself as small as possible and hide inside an impenetrable antiseptic bubble of safety.

For years following my breast-cancer diagnosis, each sniffle, ache and pain elicited a fear so deep I felt I’d drown in my worry. A toothache surely meant referred pain from my jaw — oh, no, the cancer had spread there! (Even though there was absolutely no scientific sense to this.) A backache? Surely it spread to my bones (even though back pain is one of the most common complaints of an overwhelming percentage of the human race). Abdominal pain, fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, a cut that wouldn’t heal, an ingrown toenail —  I was sure the cancer had returned, and this time with a vengeance.
How Cancer Can Alter Your Emotions

I constructed all sorts of stories, convincing myself of impending doom, arguing with my spouse that he didn’t understand, couldn’t understand, how cancer had altered my emotions, rendering them raw and real (at least to me). The sky was falling and there was nothing I, or anyone who cared about me, could do about it.



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