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    APRIL 16, 2021

Hearing tests recommended for all seniors

Many older Americans suffer from hearing loss. But most seniors are not getting their hearing checked on any regular basis and too many doctors are not encouraging older patients to get their hearing checked, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Rebecca Weber, CEO of the organization, said about half of all seniors older than 75 have hearing loss. And, she said about one-third of those older adults 65 to 70 years of age can’t hear as well as they did when they were younger.

The National Institute on Deafness describes hearing loss as “a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear.”


42% of older adults have unmet need
for assistive bathing, toileting devices

By Madison Weller

A nationally representative cohort study estimated that 5 million older adults in the U.S. who have difficulty performing self-care tasks or are at risk for falls lack access to grab bars, shower seats and other assistive devices.

“In an older population, the evidence for non-pharmacological interventions like home modification, occupational therapy and physical therapy is robust. They prevent falls, improve quality of life, and reduce hospitalization — with effects that are more meaningful than things like vitamin D or aspirin, even though that's what we are typically trained to discuss in our visits with patients as clinicians,” Kenneth Lam, MD, a clinical fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, told Healio Primary Care. “Despite this evidence, I believe most older patients walk out of PCP appointments thinking about aspirin and vitamin D and not about how they might change up their home for the sake of their health and wellbeing.”

Describing the unmet need for assistive devices in the US


How Family Caregivers Can
Avoid Money Catastrophes

How big a financial toll can family caregiving take? Well, Amy Goyer, who is AARP's family and caregiving expert, says the costs of caring for her parents led her to file for bankruptcy.

"I wish I'd met with a financial adviser from the very beginning who would have kept me on track and maybe been able to steer me in different directions that would have avoided bankruptcy," Goyer, based in the Washington, D.C. area, told me in the new episode of the "Friends Talk Money" podcast I co-host. (You can hear the episode wherever you get podcasts or at the end of this article.)

When Family Caregiving Costs Are Staggering

"I don't know how I made it, sincerely."


COVID-19 Rent Assistance and Eviction Moratorium

If you're out of work or lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may qualify for rental assistance through your state HUD program. And a federal eviction moratorium from the CDC, extended through June 30, 2021 may help you stay in your home if you can't pay your rent.

Get Rental Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is helping renters during the pandemic by providing rental assistance through state HUD offices. To find out if you qualify:

Contact your state HUD office to find out about rental assistance programs, or
Call 877-542-9723 to speak with a housing counselor at HUD's Disaster Response Network

Learn About the Moratorium on Evictions During the COVID-

April 9 to April 15 2021

8 dead in shooting at FedEx facility in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Eight people were shot and killed in a late-night shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, and the shooter killed himself, police said.

Several other people were injured Thursday night when gunfire erupted at the facility near the Indianapolis International Airport, police spokesperson Genae Cook said.

At least four were hospitalized, including one person with critical injuries. Another two people were treated and released at the scene, she said.

The shooter wasn’t immediately identified, and investigators were in the process of conducting interviews and gathering information. Cook said it was too early to tell whether the shooter was an employee at the facility.


It appears we have survived another week of police violence, COVID-19, and notable losses. All stories that affect your world

Charges in Minneapolis:

An officer involved in a fatal shooting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, will face charges of second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors announced yesterday. Twenty-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black resident of the Minneapolis suburb, was killed by former officer Kim Potter during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon.

Potter, a 26-year-old veteran of the force, claims she mistakenly pulled her gun instead of her Taser as Wright attempted to flee from being detained (see body camera footage; warning, sensitive content). Experts say such mistakes are rare, with documented instances occurring about once a year. At least 24 people were arrested during the fourth night of protests since the shooting.[1]


The prosecution in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin rested its case yesterday, turning the floor over to the defense on the 12th day of the proceedings. Chauvin faces three charges—second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter—in the May killing of George Floyd. Read what is required to prove each charge here.

The trial has broadly focused on two lines of questioning. First, whether Chauvin's restraint—a technique known as prone restraint, which Chauvin applied for more than nine minutes—followed proper training. Second, whether drugs in Floyd's system, along with his general health, were the primary cause of death.

The prosecution called more than three dozen witnesses; see an overview of each witness and their testimony here. The defense called a number of witnesses on its first day, including an ex-girlfriend of Floyd and an officer involved in a 2019 drug-related arrest of Floyd. [2]

Johnson & Johnson Pause:

Federal health officials in the US recommended yesterday that states temporarily pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, while agencies review reports of blood clotting incidents. The recommendation falls short of an actual order to stop—though all 50 states followed suit—and agency scientists meet today to review case data.

To date, six cases of a rare blood clotting disorder known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (clots in the brain's sinus veins) have been observed, out of more than 6.8 million doses administered of the single-shot vaccine. The natural occurrence of CVST is about five in 1 million adults per year.

The incidents are similar to what has been observed in Europe's use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and all six cases have occurred in women aged 18 to 48 and arose in the second week post-vaccination. [1]


We lost two public figures yesterday: DMX and Prince Philip. While their work and platforms couldn’t have been more different, both made contributions that spurred emotional messages of remembrance on social media.

DMX. Earl Simmons’s family announced yesterday that he had died at age 50 after a serious heart attack following a reported drug overdose. Fans gravitated toward his intense lyrics, where he opened up about his struggles with addiction and his difficult childhood. Simmons released his first two albums in 1998, both hitting No. 1 and going multi-platinum. He was regarded as one of the biggest hip hop stars in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, was the longest-serving royal spouse in British history. He was 99 when he died yesterday at Windsor Castle. Philip took his role seriously and tried to modernize the royal family, but often made headlines for controversial, racist comments. By our standards, Prince Philip sending his children to school and cooking his own breakfast might not seem like a big deal, but everything is relative inside a palace.[3]

US troop pullout will leave behind an uncertain Afghanistan:

The Biden administration’s surprise announcement of an unconditional troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 appears to strip the Taliban and the Afghan government of considerable leverage and could ramp up pressure on them to reach a peace deal.

The Taliban and Afghan government can no longer hold the U.S. hostage — the Taliban with escalating violence and the Afghan president by dragging his feet on a power-sharing deal with the insurgents that doesn’t include him as president — because Washington made it clear that U.S. troops are leaving, no matter what.

Still, there are growing fears that Afghanistan will collapse into worsening chaos, brutal civil war, or even a takeover by the Taliban once the Americans are gone — opening a new chapter in the constant war that has lasted for decades.[2]

Cold War Still Active...

US expels Russian diplomats, imposes sanctions for hacking

The Biden administration announced Thursday the U.S. is expelling 10 Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions against dozens of companies and people, holding the Kremlin accountable for interference in last year’s presidential election and the hacking of federal agencies.

The sweeping measures are meant to punish Russia for actions that U.S. officials say cut to the core of American democracy and to deter future acts by imposing economic costs on Moscow, including by targeting its ability to borrow money. The sanctions are certain to exacerbate tensions with Russia, which promised a response, even as some experts said the measures appeared tailored to avoid an out-of-control escalation of retaliatory acts between the two countries.[2]

Unaccompanied Minors:

The number of unaccompanied minors reported by immigration officials at the US-Mexico border reached nearly 19,000 in March, the highest monthly total since such statistics began being tracked in 2009. The figures come amid a broader surge in migrants arriving at the borders—more than 168,000 encounters were reported in March, the highest monthly total since 2001.  

The Biden administration has maintained the Trump administration policy of refusing entry to most migrants under pandemic-related restrictions—but has exempted unaccompanied minors, who may apply for asylum. Traditionally, children are processed before being placed with a sponsor, usually a family member or friend in the country, while they await court proceedings. [1]

La Soufrière Erupts:

A Caribbean volcano dormant for more than four decades erupted over the weekend, including a Friday blast that spewed an ash cloud 6 miles into the air above the island of St. Vincent. A second eruption yesterday knocked out power across the island. Geologists first noticed an uptick in seismic activity in December after the formation of a new lava dome—a feature arising from cooled magma accumulating around the volcano's vent.

It's the fifth major eruption on record for the volcano, named La Soufrière, in four hundred years, and its behavior can be difficult to predict. Its magma is sticky and viscous, making it easier to trap gas and increasing the chances of an explosive event. Scientists say the activity could last for weeks; no deaths have been reported. [1]

At The A.L.F.:

Nothing to say. The same old same old remains. Communication from all of my sources have dried up as if everyone has given up on nearly 50,000 residents of long-term care facilities in New York State. It’s one thing to keep us alive and another to provide the quality of life we deserve.

Back at you Monday…………………………………..


Big Tech's 'trust' problem will soon cost lives by
scaring people away from life-saving technology

By Glenn H. Reynolds

Science and medicine can do a lot to make our lives better. But for that to happen, we have to be able to trust the public authorities, companies and institutions that produce and oversee the innovations.

We’re already seeing the sad fruits of distrust in the unwillingness of many people — including health workers on both sides of the Atlantic — to take the COVID-19 vaccines. People don’t trust experts and government agencies as they once did, which means assurances of vaccine safety often fail to persuade. When health officials and other authorities manipulate the public, as they have throughout this pandemic, they lose credibility.

I was thinking about this recently in connection with a coming generation of wearable medical devices that might radically improve health and prolong lives. Back in 2005, thinking about the wrist computer that tracks my nitrogen levels when I scuba dive and about the far more sophisticated implanted pacemaker/defibrillator that lives behind my wife’s left breast, I speculated that we would soon see a round of “body-computer”-type devices.

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    APRIL 15, 2021

Pandemic gives preview of ‘silver tsunami’

The flooding of hospitals during this pandemic is just a preview of the strain that'll be put on health care infrastructure during the impending "silver tsunami." That's according to a recent report from the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA).

The silver tsunami refers to the growing population of adults 65 years and older.

According to the WHA report, from 2017 to 2032, the nation's population under age 18 is expected to grow by 3.5%, while the population aged 65 and over is projected to grow by 48%. The population that's 75 and older, a whopping 75.3%.

"There's actually going to come a point in our world that we're living in that there will actually be more seniors living in communities versus children, and that's never happened in our history, in our time of living in communities," said Mary Pica-Anderson, the executive director for L.E. Phillips Senior Center. "And so I think we're all working hard to figure out what that means."


‘Somewhat chaotic’ assisted living sector will
be part of rethinking care for older adults

Successful aging requires a range of support services and housing options. But the system is rigged toward nursing homes, with many older adults spending their later years in those institutions because regulations, payment systems and outdated models of care make options difficult to provide.

That’s according to Stuart Butler, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution, who during a LeadingAge membership call on Thursday discussed a report from the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution that looks at revamping the caregiving model.

“Rethinking Care for Older Adults” brought together almost 50 experts on care for seniors last year to brainstorm on the practice, policy and business model changes thought to be needed to transform the system of care.


Why You Should Manage Your Medical Records

Tara Nurin has lived in seven states and seen at least a dozen doctors. So, in an effort to organize her health information, Nurin, a freelance journalist and author, started compiling decades worth of her medical records. Sometimes, the process has been surprisingly simple. Other times, it's been exasperating.

Nurin, 47, lives in Camden, N.J. — a city and state that both have health information exchanges, which enable record sharing across medical institutions. For Nurin, this means her current health care system links its virtual patient portal to her old system, making those records easy to combine.

"Your medical record ... varies from place to place. We're in an era where people need to be sure that they've got all the information and that information is right."

I’ve never spoken much about where I’m from and where I grew up. Not because I’m ashamed or don’t think it applies to the blog, but because as soon as I tell someone, the eyebrows go up, the attitude changes and they look at me with either envy or disdain. I call it “regional bias.” And nobody experiences it more than a New Yorker. Specifically, a New Yorker from one of the five boroughs of New York City.

To a resident of New York City, everywhere north of the Bronx is “Upstate”, or “The Country.”
“Hey Marvin, where you going in your car?”
“Oh, upstate. Make sure you got enough gas.”
Of course, Yonkers is just over the Bronx line and has plenty of gas stations. But to a native New Yorker to travel outside of your natural habitat is an adventure. A trip to Rochester or Albany is considered an expedition.

Upon return from one of those exotic locations, one might be asked…
“Hey Magellan, how was Poughkeepsie?”

Except for the last 7 years and few years back in the 70s and 80s, I have never lived outside of NYC.
From the place of my birth, Brooklyn, to where I grew up, Queens, I am a dyed-in-the-wool native. More of a rarity than might be expected. In fact, if you were to visit NYC as a tourist or on business, the chances of you meeting a native New Yorker are slim. And that’s what makes NYC the place it is. A conglomerate of the world’s humanity stirred together and yet remaining unique and distinguishable.
Upon arriving in New York, you’ll be driven to your hotel by a Russian, checked in by a Dominican, shown to your room by a Mexican and eat in a restaurant owned by a Greek. New Yorker’s all, but in many ways not. How can you tell who is a native?
The accent is usually a giveaway but not the only “tell.”
If you stop someone on the street and ask for directions to let’s say, The Metropolitan Museum, and what you get for an answer is a unintelligible mumble, and a finger pointed in a general direction you have not met a native New Yorker. A native will not only give you precise, clear directions, but will give you its history, current exhibitions, the best time to visit and a list of restaurants in the area. Not because he’s being friendly, but because he is in love with his city.

To a non-native, the love/hate relationship we have for our city is hard to explain.
Yes, we know it’s noisy, crowded, very expensive and sometimes a little dangerous. But it’s also a place of individual neighborhoods, hometowns, where are friends and family live, and work. It’s also a place of great cultural institutions, amazing shopping, superior entertainment and food and something new around every corner. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not easy living here. And, like many other big cities, NYC is losing its middle class. But for those who do thrive despite the adversities, NYC is a great place to live.
New York is convenient. You are never out of walking distance from a bank, market, restaurant, shoe store or public transportation. Which, despite what you may have heard, works, and works well.
Yonkers, where I now live is nice. But it’s like any other suburb. I miss New York City. I miss the variety, the diversity, the sounds and the smell. Everything that makes the city unique.
The main reason a native will leave NY is the weather. Except for spring and fall, it stinks. Too cold and snowy in winter and too hot and humid in summer. If they could only bring Miami’s weather to NY, nobody would ever leave.

New York has taken a big hit because of the pandemic. But it has come back as all us natives knew it would. And I predict that all those “deserters” who fled the city at the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak will rue the day they left.
How’s the subway in Keokuk, Iowa? Oh, they don’t have one? How about the buses? Wait, how long? But the pizza, bagels, corned beef must be okay? No? What a shame. Send me a postcard of the Pizza Hut why don’t you……………….


New York City is beginning to see the
 "real world" effect of COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 hospitalizations among senior citizens have dropped by 51% since mid-January, NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Choskhi said Wednesday. The drop is nearly twice the reduction in hospitalizations among New Yorkers younger than 65, which has decreased by 29%.

Chokshi pointed to COVID-19 vaccines, which were prioritized for older people through senior center programs and age requirements to reach the most vulnerable in the early days of the vaccine rollout. Over 61% of older adults have received at least one shot.

The drop in hospitalizations among older adults has been sharper since January. MAYOR'S OFFICE
“The vaccines are life-saving, and here in New York City, we are starting to see them have the real world benefit that has been observed in Israel, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere,” Chokshi said during a press briefing on Wednesday. Israel’s early and robust rollout meant nearly all of its oldest citizens had been fully vaccinated by mid-March. The nation witnessed a rapid decline in cases, first among older groups but then into children who haven’t been vaccinated, according to numbers compiled by Our World In Data.


For The Elderly, Climate Change
Poses More Risks To Wellness
By Melina Walling

It was two in the morning, and Mary could not sleep. Her medication for Parkinson’s disease had worn off, leaving her in discomfort and with a disorienting bout of insomnia. She noticed a faint orange glow on the hills, and reached for her binoculars. Then she realized it was a wildfire.

“She basically said ‘I’m lucky to have Parkinson’s,’ because [the insomnia is] how she survived,’” said her psychiatrist, Andreea Seritan, who described Mary’s experience using a pseudonym to protect patient confidentiality. As a geriatric psychiatry specialist working in the Bay Area, Seritan has seen firsthand the damaging physical and psychological effects of climate disasters on older adults.

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    APRIL 14, 2021

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine on Pause
After Six Cases of Rare Blood Clot Reported

By Liz George

More than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have already been administered in the U.S., but any future doses are on hold indefinitely, as the CDC and FDA, out of an abundance of caution, are recommending a pause in the use of the J&J vaccine. The pause is in response to six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine.

In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.

In a joint CDC/DFA medical call Tuesday morning, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA Center for Biologics, Evaluation and Research, said there has been no incidence of CVST in people who have been vaccinated with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.


Retirees Spent Less on Healthcare Costs in 2020

Although older Americans have been the most at risk of dying from COVID-19, the pandemic has resulted in a rare drop in healthcare spending for this group in 2020, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).  The nationwide survey of more than 1098 participants found a very large drop from 2019 to 2020 in the percentage of individuals reporting the highest level of healthcare spending, and a significant increase in the numbers of those with the lower levels of spending.  "This was most likely due to the large number of doctor, medical, dental other visits that were postponed or cancelled as our nation awaited vaccines," says Mary Johnson, a Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League (TSCL).

Johnson, who is 69 and receives Medicare herself, cites her own experience.  In 2019, her total healthcare costs, including premiums for Medicare Part B, a Medigap supplement, prescription drug plan, and dental insurance, as well as out – of – pocket spending, totaled $9,500 for the year, about $791 per month.  In 2020, however, her total healthcare spending fell a hefty 43 percent, dropping to $5,397, or $449 per month.  "Since starting Medicare, I can think of no other time since when my healthcare spending went down by this much," Johnson says.

"This was a temporary drop," she notes.  "Now that I'm vaccinated, I'm already making up postponed visits and getting routine care for this year as well," she says.  "What is not so clear is the extent to which other older adults will make up postponed care or experience increased spending for newly - diagnosed conditions or worsened health," Johnson adds.


Why Choose Assisted Living
With Tailor-Made Senior Services

Determining the best living situation for you or an aging loved one can be a complicated and emotional process. While most people want to remain in their homes for as long as possible, there comes a time when living alone may be unsafe physically and emotionally. Those seniors who live alone often experience issues like social isolation and loneliness, as well as problems with medication management, inadequate nutrition, fall risks, and other health and safety hazards. Assisted living is a safer, healthier option for older adults who need more help than family members can provide at home. If you are interested in the benefits of choosing assisted living for you or an older loved one, here are some reasons why assisted living is frequently better than living at home.

Enhanced Safety and Security– Safety and security issues tend to increase when we are older, particularly for seniors living alone. For instance, aging adults are more susceptible to dangerous slips and falls. Assisted living communities offer monitoring and care staff that can be contacted immediately in the event of an emergency. Assisted living facilities are specifically designed to accommodate the needs of older adults and offer greater accessibility and safety features that cannot be easily replicated in a home environment.


Convenience over reputation:
Study looks at how older adults pick a doctor

Convenience and access win out over reputation when people over 50 look for a doctor for themselves, a new study finds.

But online ratings and reviews of physicians play an important role, and should receive attention from providers and policymakers, the researchers say.

About 20% of older adults called such ratings very important to them, but 43% said they had checked such reviews in the past for physicians they were considering for themselves.

Death By Cop

7-8 Minutes

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be black, or a cop. But I have black friends and have had friends who were cops. And what they have told me makes me stop and pause and wonder if what is going on now will ever change.
I haven’t spoken to either my black friends or my cop friends in many years. Some have passed away and some I have lost contact with, so what I will tell you is not new. And that’s what makes it even more sorrowful. What they told me, over 20 years ago, has changed little over all these years.

I’ll begin with my cop friends. One in particular, a 20-year veteran homicide detective with the NYPD. But before he was a gold-shield detective, he was a beat cop with lots of stories to tell. But there was one central theme embroiled in those stories. In almost all cases, the story began with, “We stopped these two black kids walking down the street….” The stories usually ended with the arrest of the “perps.”

After listening to an hour of my cop friend relate those incidents, I asked him, “Do you ever stop white kids?”
“Yes’’, he said. “But only when we catch them in the act of committing a crime.”
“So why not the same with the black kids,” I asked.
“Because two black kids walking down the street late at night are up to no good. And when we frisk them, we usually always find drugs or a knife or a gun. It’s an easy arrest. Especially on a slow night.”
And that, my friends, is the crux of the problem. Suspicion, if not officially part of a cop’s training, may be the rotten apple that spoils the bunch. An ingrained notion that, if you are a black man in America, the chances are you have, or are contemplating, committing a crime. Today, they give it the fancy name of “Racial profiling”. But it’s out-and-out discrimination no matter what you call it.

I never had black kids as friends when I was young. There just weren’t that many in our neighborhood or my school back then. So all my experience with black people came later in life. But they told me about growing up and what they faced as a person of color. And, as a naïve, protected and pampered white kid, what I learned was horrifying. To a man, they had been harassed, frisked, detained or falsely arrested when they were young. “Why”, I asked. They just looked at me and smiled. I understood what that smile meant. I also told them what my cop friends told me about the “easy” arrest. They confirmed the story as true. The color of their skin automatically made them a suspect.

Yes, racism is the base for what’s going on now between cops and black Americans. But something has changed. In none of the stories related to me by my cop friends or my black friends was there any mention of deadly force used. Being ruffed-up, yes. Manhandled, yes. But never thrown to the ground, or choked, or, with my black friends, never had a gun pointed at them. In fact, my detective friend said, in the over 20 years on the force he rarely even touched his gun. Removing a gun from one’s holster brought about a ton of questions by superiors.
That was the attitude back then. At least in the NYPD. You had better have a good reason to brandish a weapon. Now, it appears the weapon comes out if the suspect just gives the officer a dirty look.
Here’s the problem As I See It.
There are more guns on the street than ever. And some of those guns are more powerful than the one’s the cops have. So the chances of coming across someone with a gun when making something as benign as a traffic stop are always a possibility. And the chances the black guy carrying that gun does not have a carry permit makes the use of deadly force acceptable.
Of course, this does not explain the George Floyd case. There was no gun, and Mr. Floyd only put up minor resistance. In fact, as we saw on the video, he was easily restrained and thrown to the ground. That’s where it should have ended. Officer Chauvin could have put the cuffs on him (with the help of the other officers if necessary) and put him into the police car. And all that we would ever had heard about was that there was an arrest of a person suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

Why the knee on the neck for over 9 minutes was thought necessary to subdue Mr. Floyd, we don’t know. And may never know. Or why is a young father stopped in a routine traffic stop, dead because he didn’t immediately comply with police orders? Are these random occurrences that just happen at the same time? Or is there a new breed of cop? And what are these cops being trained to do? The police say they train nobody to use a choke hold or place a knee on the neck of a suspect until he can no longer breathe. So, where are they learning to do this? Other cops? Clandestine groups of “concerned” citizens? All I know is we better find out fast or we will see a lot more bad guys and bad cops with guns and no hesitation to use them………………………….

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    APRIL 13, 2021

President Joe Biden's battle against ageism
By Adrian Maldonado

President Joe Biden announced that he would be running for reelection in 2024 during his first presidential news conference on Mar. 25. This has caused a lot of stir recently as Biden was reported to aides that he was considering only serving for a single term. Not a lot of people have faith in Biden’s ability to serve as president should he serve past a second term. At 78 years old, he is currently the oldest president to serve. He’s going to turn 82 in 2024 and turn 86 if he completes two full terms in 2028. However, this shouldn’t be a detractor of one’s capability to serve.

There is a saying that ageism is a fact of life in the American workplace and Biden has been fighting the uphill battle of this before he even took his oath of office. There was an incredible amount of campaign ads attacking his age with pictures of him looking clueless and withered, courtesy of photoshop. Ageism is a silent form of prejudice. Negative stereotypes undermine and criticize the status of elderly people. Take “Ok Boomer” as an example. At first glance, it’s a retort at boomers who berate or blame younger millennials or Gen-Z for problems. But if we look at the term as more than a playful comeback, it’s conditioned us to be dismissive of an older population of people whether we intend to or not.

Read more  >>

Factors To Consider Before Buying
Health Insurance For Senior Citizen
By Nirmala Konjengbam

It is always important to compare premiums and buy a policy that offers broad coverage at a low premium

Our parents become more vulnerable to health risks as they age, and the rising medical expenses and treatments are only going to get costlier with time. In such a scenario, a health insurance policy is a must to tackle any unforeseen medical and financial emergencies.

Due to the high cost of medical treatment for serious illnesses, it is highly advised to take a separate senior citizen health insurance policy for our parents even if they are covered under a family floater health insurance plan.


NY's elderly COVID-19
vaccination rate lags behind
By Natalie O'Neill, Jesse O’Neill

New York lags way behind the rest of the country when it comes to inoculating people over age 65 against the coronavirus, according to the latest CDC statistics.

The Empire State ranks 44th in the country on the percentage of folks over 65 who have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccination shot, according to CDC data.

Across the country, older people have been given vaccination priority, and 73 percent of Americans over 65 have now received at least one dose.

5 minutes

I admit I’m old. It’s been getting harder and harder to deny. Although I’ve tried my best, the evidence is too great to refute.
I probably should have realized it years ago when I noticed I was going to the bathroom 4 or 5 times during the night. But that’s normal, isn’t it?
Perhaps my suspicions should have been aroused when, after buying a really expensive mattress, I still woke up feeling like s**t. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t remember the last time I got out of bed feeling as though I could tackle anything. Is that the true sign of aging? Lack of hope and ambition?

It’s quite natural that, when we get old, some of our get-up-and-go, get’s up and goes.
Even a fine old car that has been lovingly maintained over the years will suffer the ravages of time and wear. The parts, no matter how well cared for, just wear out. We are, after all, just machines that never rest. We are “on” all the time. Our hearts beating 80 or 90 times a minute while our lungs expand and contract 10 to 12 times. I mean, just how long can that continue without some wear and tear? And that’s not even considering all that other stuff inside that has to work. Stuff we don’t think about like kidneys, livers, pancreas’ and (one that I’m very familiar with) the colon. But what about the spirit? When does that start to go bad?

While I can’t put an exact date on when things went south for me, I can pin it down to a decade. The 80s.
Just when things were looking up for America, my world was crashing. I lost my mom, my business, and my marriage. I felt as though I was being tested and failing. If I had any sense and knew then what I know now, I would have gone into therapy, swallowed some pills and put it all behind me. But who wants to admit they have emotional problems. Especially back then, when being macho was important and seeking professional help is a sign of weakness. So I let things slide, thinking everything will work out when, in reality, it never does. And now I’m paying for it.

Until a few weeks ago, I felt I was handling this pandemic well. Taking things one day at a time and looking forward to when this all would end and I could return to the relative peace I had become used to. And even as months turned to more months, I still had hope. But when a year went by without so much as a modicum of change, that’s when I began to really feel the years. I now find everything depressing.
The food, even the stuff I make myself or order in is boring and mundane. And having to eat it alone in my cell of a room does not help.
TV, for all of its variety, has become just a bunch of talking heads droning on about mass shootings, racial profiling and political divisiveness. My only refuge has been Netflix, where I can lose myself for a few hours on some mindless dribble.

But what I miss most is having someone to talk to. There’s literally nobody.
The few residents I see, while pleasant, cannot give me what I need. And what I need are answers. Something no person has done. I feel I am adrift in a sea of lukewarm soup that nobody wants to stir for fear of dredging up the muck that has sunk to the bottom. And if I have to endure much more of this, I’ll soon be down there with it. I hope it’s green pea. I really like green pea………………………….


Aging at Home Becomes a
Popular Option During Pandemic

Aging at home is the new trend. An article in The New York Times on April 4, 2021, talks about the movement of people away from institutional housing such as nursing homes and senior living facilities which has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty three percent (33%) of the lives lost in America to COVID-19 took place in American nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term facilities.

The result is that a growing number of people want to have mom or dad out of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and to take care of them at home. Although this shift might not be permanent in nature, there is definitely an accelerating trend to allow people to age in their own homes with care provided there.

While there has been a government bias in favor of institutional care, Medicaid funding has shifted. Home and community-based care accounted for more than half (56%) of spending on long–term services and support in 2018. Additionally, the $2 trillion infrastructure plan proposed by President Biden includes spending $400 billion over eight years to bolster long–term care in homes and not in institutional settings.

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    APRIL 12, 2021

Reforms follow deadly year in
New York nursing homes

After a deadly year in New York’s nursing homes, state lawmakers have passed legislation that could potentially force facility owners to spend more on patient care

Rules passed in recent days as part of a state budget deal would require for-profit homes to spend at least 70% of their revenue on direct patient care, including 40% on staffers who work directly with residents.

Under the deal, set to be signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, home operators will also face limits on their profit margins. Any profits in excess of 5% would have to be sent to the state.


Want to Avoid Paying Taxes on Social Security?
Here's How
By Christy Bieber

Throughout your working life, you pay taxes to earn Social Security benefits. That's why it comes as such a surprise to many retirees that taxes don't stop once you start collecting checks.

In fact, a report from Senior Citizens League found around half of all Social Security beneficiaries owe federal taxes on their money. And it's not just the IRS you have to worry about, either. A total of 13 states currently tax at least some seniors on their benefits.

The good news is, you don't have to just accept that you'll lose part of your hard-earned retirement benefits to the tax man. There are a few options to avoid this, especially if you start working on them early.


Why Clutter is Bad for your Health

We accumulate a lot of stuff from our long, well-lived life. Knick-knacks, memorabilia and gifts from beloved friends and family are a record of everything we've seen and done in our lives, and they serve as wonderful reminders of happy times. But there is a danger with accumulating all this stuff; you can, in fact, end up with too much of a good thing. A cluttered home is not the best environment, especially if you plan on retiring and aging in place.

Thankfully, there's a great alternative to living in your own clutter for years. This alternative is safer and healthier and still lets you take those important keepsakes with you. We're talking about downsizing your living arrangements. More particularly, we're talking about moving to an independent living community. Here's what you need to consider.


Arthritis Management In Senior Citizens:
4 Simple Exercises That Can Help
Manage Symptoms
By: Dr. Shabnam Mir

Arthritis is a condition that affects joints of the person. It lads to stiffness and inflammation in the joints. Here are some tips that help manage arthritis in seniors.

Arthritis Management In Senior Citizens: 4 Simple Exercises That Can Help Manage Symptoms

Often associated with ageing, arthritis is a disease that affects the joints. It affects both men and women, but it is more common among women and worsens more frequently as one gets older. If you're a senior citizen or their caretaker, it's important to keep in mind the symptoms of arthritis and techniques to manage it as it affects one's ability to do basic daily activities like walking or climbing stairs. If not dealt with at the early stages, arthritis can also cause permanent joint changes.

7 minutes

One of the biggest challenges a person moving to an assisted living facility will face is a loss of independence.[1]
The sign over the door may say “Independent and Assisted Living”, but that’s a bunch of malarkey. What you consider to be “independence” is usually quite different from what the facility thinks it is.

When I moved here to the A.L.F. 7 years ago, I came directly from a nursing home/rehab center. One of three I had been a patient in for over two years. And, while they all were very well-run places, the environment differs greatly from that of anything you may have experienced. They are more like hospitals, but without the fancy equipment. Nursing homes rarely treat you for anything, Their major purpose is to take care of you because you can no longer take care of yourself. They are there at a time in your life when you must put aside any thought of independence while you heal. At least that’s what they are supposed to be. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are nothing more than warehouses for sick and dying old people whose families have had enough and no longer want to care for them. Fortunately, I still had some life left in me so, after I completed my rehab and was able to walk on my own, it was off to the ALF I went.

I liked this place as soon as I saw it. There were clean, alert, well-dressed residents sitting in the lobby conversing. A cozy little kitchen-like area where one could get a cup of coffee or tea and meet with friends. A library and auditorium, a spacious dining room rounded out the facility’s amenities. And best of all, it didn’t smell like a nursing home or hospital. Without hesitancy or an actual understanding of the term “independence”, I signed my name on the dotted line and moved in. Perhaps I should have read the fine print. I quickly learned that assisted living facilities are not hotels where you are treated as a guest, and independence did not mean that I was free to do whatever I pleased. There are, you see, rules and regulations. And they will impose those rules to the fullest extent all in the name of safety.

Supposedly, there is a balance between safety and independence. In reality, safety weighs more. While some of that inequity is because of the very strict licensing rules set down by the state’s regulatory agency, the facility dictates how much freedom you can have.
One must always remember the facility’s primary goal is to keep you alive and happy. With emphasis on alive. And that means making sure they watch you as much as the law will permit. Hence the closed-circuit cameras which cover every nook and cranny except for restrooms and resident’s rooms. If you go anywhere they don’t want you to, they will find you in a minute. Do something like smoke in non-designated smoking areas, and you are toast. And just try to cook something in your room if you want to see what wrath really looks like. That’s the “fine print” I was referring to.

The reasons they prohibit us from cooking, or even warming up, food are fuzzy.
Some will tell you it violates Fire Department Rules or “the insurance company won’t allow it.” While others will say it’s for safety reasons. As far as assisted living facilities are concerned, they would just as quickly permit a three-year-old to deep-fry a turkey, then let a resident make a cup of coffee in their room. And it’s not only cooking. They have decided that old people cannot use safely, hair dryers or any heat-producing appliance (microwave ovens included) for fear of setting the building, or themselves, on fire. So much for trying to be independent.

Let me make one thing clear. I’m all for safety. And during this pandemic, our facility has done an outstanding job providing just that. There has been no widespread outbreak of COVID-19 here. I also realize that they cannot trust some of our residents with anything sharper than a plastic spoon, let alone a Crockpot. But we are not all like that. Most of us have the physical and mental capacity to use a microwave oven
 without causing a nuclear explosion. Or use a Mr. Coffee without scalding ourselves to death. Unfortunately, there are no provisions that would permit them to amend the rules for some and not for all. So we all must suffer the indignation of being treated as either too frail or too feeble-minded to use even the most basic of appliances. And that is truly a shame. Permitting us to have a fresh cup of tea, coffee or soup whenever we wanted would go a long way in bringing some normalcy and sanity back to the residents of this and many other facilities who have suffered under the oppressive protocols forced on us under the guise of “keeping us safe.”………………

[1] The other challenge is the lack of space for all your stuff. But we’ll leave that for another time.

'The Bachelor': Senior Citizens Spin-Off
Possibly Coming to Hulu

Fans of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are excited to hear about what’s to come with the franchise. We know Katie Thurston and Michelle Young are the next bachelorettes, and Bachelor in Paradise is upon us. Now, it looks like fans could be looking at a possible senior citizen spin-off of the show coming to Hulu. Here’s what we know.

There’s a possible senior citizens spin-off of ‘The Bachelor’ on its way

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have proven their success time and time again. The format works the same way for each show — one man or woman is the lead, and contestants spend weeks getting to know them in the hopes they’ll fall and love and get engaged in the end.

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    APRIL 9, 2021

A powerful way to keep retirees out of poverty
is to tackle this workplace problem
(and it has nothing to do with retirement accounts)
By Elizabeth White

A recent study by ProPublica and the Urban Institute found that as many as half of the 40 million working adults over age 50 will, at some point, be jettisoned from their jobs (fired outright) or forced to resign (jumping before they’re pushed).

And once pushed out, only 10% of these displaced older workers ever find replacement jobs with pay commensurate with the career jobs they left. That older guy or gal you see bagging groceries at Whole Foods is probably not there because he or she wants to be.

How bad is it?

Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist and nationally recognized expert on retirement security, estimates that “about 50% of workers over the age of 55 will be poor or near-poor adults when they reach 65.”


In Life’s Last Chapter, What Matters?
A Room With a View

In E.M Forster's novel, "A Room with a View," an older woman and her young charge agreed on one thing: their stay in Florence would be untenable if they couldn't have the promised room with a view of the River Arno. The same need for a view of nature proved crucial when my 95-year-old mother moved from her golf-course-adjacent condominium in Sarasota to an assisted living facility near me in Madison, Wis. As it turns out, life without a view is practically a jail sentence for older adults.

Nature-Deficit Disorder is a term coined by journalist Richard Louv in 2005 to describe the relationship of children to the natural world today — a deficient relationship that is leading to a number of physical and emotional disorders. His term has gained enough traction to stimulate research, accessible through the Children & Nature Network Research Library.


House Call: Fitness and aging –
exercise tips for senior citizens
By Dr. Jeff Markin

The other day, I received a note from a patient who has seen me for nearly 30 years. The patient recalled a conversation we’d had many years ago when I first expressed an interest in taking care of senior citizens and remarked, “I guess we’re both seniors now!”

With spring here, I want to focus this month’s column on a subject near and dear to my heart: fitness and aging. Having made many exercise mistakes over the years, I’d like to share guidance on do’s and don’ts, as well as stress the importance of a regular fitness routine as we age.

Regular exercise can improve balance and flexibility, which helps seniors prevent falls and maintain independence. While there are numerous examples of incredible fitness achievements for senior folks (e.g., Jack LaLanne at age 60 swimming to Alcatraz while handcuffed), most of us are content to simply get in reasonable shape without injury.

7 minutes

The U.S. continues to lead the world in the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19

As of 6 a.m. EDT April 4, a total of 61,416,536 Americans had been fully vaccinated, or 18.5 percent of the country's population. This includes 75% of America’s Senior Citizens. All this as President Biden sets new Covid vaccine goal of 200 million shots 
within his first 100 days. But despite this great effort, one out of 4 Americans say

they will refuse to get vaccinated. This is due partially to politics (The majority of those anti-vaxxer’s are Republican men) and partially just plain ignorance.

The more contagious variant of coronavirus that originated in the UK, the B-117 variant, has become the dominant strain in the U.S., CDC director Rochelle Walensky said on Wednesday. Fortunately, it appears the vaccines now being used show good results against the new strain.

But not all news is good. Coronavirus infections are inching up again. The country is averaging 64,000 cases per day this week, up from a daily average of 55,000 infections two weeks ago. Deaths have steadily been averaging about 900 a day.

Officials have warned that they could ban fans from ballparks if the numbers continue to rise. Even before the baseball season got underway Thursday, an opening game was postponed after a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Washington Nationals were scheduled to host the New York Mets on Thursday night, but after a Nationals player tested positive for COVID-19, the team canceled the game. It was not immediately rescheduled.

Despite that, The Rangers on Monday allowed fans to attend their 2021 home opener, at full capacity, against the Blue Jays. The MLB organization is the first to allow full attendance at its home stadium, roughly a month after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order allowing state businesses to operate at 100 percent capacity. Many fans were observed NOT wearing masks as suggested.

One more sports story: Los Angeles officials revealed yesterday a violent single-car crash involving Tiger Woods in February was caused by excessive speeding. Data retrieved from Woods' SUV suggested he was going between 84 and 87 mph on a downhill turn zoned at 45 mph south of Los Angeles, eventually hitting a tree at 75 mph.

Woods suffered broken bones in both legs, needing a rod and screws to stabilize his right leg, ankle, and foot. It was Woods' third high-profile vehicular incident in 11 years. Officials said they did not obtain a warrant for blood tests because Woods did not seem impaired at the scene.


The trial for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, wrapped its first week in Minneapolis, with opening statements and several key witness testimonies.

The high-profile trial is expected to last another three weeks, as Chauvin faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder.

In his opening statement on Monday, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury that Chauvin "betrayed his badge" when he dug his knee into Floyd's neck "until the very life was squeezed out of him."

In his opening statement, Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, countered that the case is "far greater than 9 minutes and 29 seconds," and urged the jury to consider all the evidence.

Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who has the most seniority of any officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, testified  this week. He told the jury that he has never been trained to kneel on the neck of someone who is in handcuffs, and that once a subject is in handcuffs, the threat they may pose to officers "goes down all the way."

The trial continues next week with the defense most like to present its witnesses.


Jack Hanna, the wildlife conservationist who played straight main to David Letterman through decades of comedic animal segments before becoming a TV star in his own right, is battling what is believed to be Alzheimer’s disease. That according to a statement posted to social media by his family on Wednesday.

“His condition has progressed much faster in the last few months than any of us could have anticipated,” reads the statement, which indicated he was initially diagnosed with dementia. “Sadly, Dad is no longer able to participate in public life as he used to.”



Trumps favorite dictator, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law yesterday a change to the country's constitution that would allow him to potentially remain in power until 2036. Previously, Putin would've been legally required to st
ep down in 2024, at the end of his second sequential presidential term.

Putin has effectively held power in the country for more than two
 decades, first as president (2000-08), then as prime minister (2008-12), then once more as president (2012-current).


One of the best programs on TV in the early 1950’s was a CBS show called “You are there.” It recreated historic events as though they were current news stories, complete with “on the scene” actual CBS news people. And at the end of the show, Walter Cronkite would sign off using this dialogue, "What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times... all things are as they were then, and you were there."

You and I will be “there” next week with the events that illuminate our times……………………………..

Why airlifting rhinos upside down
is critical to conservation

"... the upside-down position allows the spine to stretch which helps to open the airways. 
Additionally, the team found that when lying on their side, rhinos have a larger "dead space" -- the amount of air in each breath that does not contribute oxygen to the body.

The difference between the two postures was small, but because the strong anesthetic used on the rhino causes hypoxemia -- low oxygen levels in the blood -- even a minor improvement makes a difference to the rhino's welfare."

Read more >>  

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    APRIL 8, 2021

Fatal Evergreen Court fire exposes
increased safety risks for seniors

In the early morning hours of March 23, a fire erupted at the Evergreen Court Home for Adults,=completely destroying the 200-bed facility in Spring Valley and tragically killing a resident and a responding firefighter.

First responders from nearly two dozen fire companies bravely rescued building staff and more than 100 elderly residents, many of them infirm or with limited mobility.

In the aftermath of this heartbreaking tragedy, questions are being raised as to why the facility’s automated alarm was offline at the time of the incident, and whether that slowed down the response time. Evergreen Court was inspected by the Department of Health and other local authorities at various times throughout 2020, and no fire safety citations or violations were issued.


What Constitutes Neglect In A Nursing Home?

An issue that doesn't get enough attention in this country is elder abuse.

According to the Centers For Disease Control, more than 500,000 older adults over the age of 60 are neglected each year.

And those numbers are probably low because a majority of cases likely go unreported.

Nursing home neglect is a tragic but common problem in the United States.


Screen time for older adults: Mobile health
tech can support seniors with heart disease

Mobile health technology can be beneficial in encouraging lifestyle behavior changes and medication adherence among adults ages 60 and older with existing heart disease, yet more research is needed to determine what methods are the most effective, according to a new scientific statement from the American Heart Association published today in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Mobile health technology--the use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health objectives--can include voice and short messaging services (text messaging), global positioning systems (GPS) and/or Bluetooth technology, as well as wearable devices that can monitor and inform the user about specific health measures or behaviors to improve health.

For those of you who don’t realize how unfair being locked down and not permitted to engage in the same activities as the rest of the world is, let me describe it so you might understand.

I don’t own a car and haven’t driven one for over 11 years. But there are residents here that do own and drive their cars. In pre-covid times, they could go anywhere they wanted when they wanted. There is no rule against driving and no curfew. Now, think about this. What if someone told you you could no longer take your car out for a spin or go to the market, or a restaurant, or anywhere? The only place you could drive is up and down your driveway. And, if you left the premises, they might not let you back in. I’ll bet you would cry bloody murder. Well, that’s exactly what the situation is here at the Asylum. The people who own and drive cars have not used them for nearly 13 months for no other reason than that they are residents of an assisted living facility. Could you stay away from your ride for that long? Is it hitting home yet?



What I hate, even more than the virus or the restrictions it has forced upon us, is the devil-may-care attitude the authorities have taken with the lives of residents of long-term care facilities. It gets so frustrating just knowing that if anybody cared, really cared, they would know that just a few small tweaks to the current lockdown protocols would mean so much to all of us. We are not asking to throw the doors open to all or to permit mass gatherings. We need to interact with our friends, eat a meal together, and take part in some group activities. And we need one person in authority to give the go-ahead.

For a while they led me to believe that the state reconsidered and revised the rules. But those reports turned out to be more a dream than the truth. And, while the DOH website says we may congregate in groups of 10 or less, no such change to the status quo is happening here. Inquires made by me have gone unanswered.


Cu$tomer $ervice

There is a reason Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is worth $177 billion. He runs a great company.
I know there are those among you that have issues with the world’s retail giant. They have had their labor problems and they have all but wiped from the face of the earth shopping malls and some Main Street business districts. But purely from a consumer’s point of view, there are few negatives associated with the Amazon shopping experience. At least I have had none.
During the past year, I have probably spent close to $1500 dollars shopping online. And most of that with Amazon. Why? Because its easy. They have the variety, fair value, usually fast delivery and they fill your orders accurately. But even the best companies are only as good as their customer service. And my experience with Amazon’s had been nothing but great.

Nothing is ever perfect all the time. And Amazon is no exception.
I ordered an item on the 2nd of March and expected it to be delivered 3 days later. The delivery method, as stated on their website, would be by their own truck. Fine. But when three days passed and then four and five without receiving my item (worth $27), I contacted their customer service. The Amazon tracking widget said they delivered it, on time, to our mail room. We don’t have a mail room. Using the online customer service chatline, I was told to wait one more day and, if it still didn’t arrive, contact them again. Well, it didn’t arrive, and I did contact them. In less than 30 seconds I received an apology and told they would send a replacement. No questions asked. The package arrived the next day. Could you want anymore?
I expect Mr. Bezos will top the billionaire’s list again next year.

Enhancing life’s third act —
health, wellness and senior living

From skyrocketing healthcare costs to changes in household structures and ongoing concerns from the pandemic, huge shifts in the attitudes and behaviors of older adults are influencing multiple aspects of modern society — the most prevalent of all, residential living.

As go-to resources for developing spaces that allow for human connection, landscape architects continue to incubate ideas for inclusive environments that prioritize healthier lifestyles. Accelerating the adoption of place-based site design practices, designers are responding to the changing demand for senior living assets with shifting preferences toward more physical space that offers greater walkability, in-community services and connectivity to nature.

The realities of the diverging needs of the older adult population must inform the way future communities are planned and improved. You can build an environment that is limiting, segregated and insulated, or you can build one that encourages seniors to enhance their quality of life. It’s about offering delivery options for senior living and skilled care with richer programs and benefits.

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    APRIL 7, 2021

75% Of U.S. Seniors Have Now Been Vaccinated.
These 12 States Are Leading The Way.
By Joe Walsh

The United States has put coronavirus vaccine shots into 75% of seniors’ arms as of Saturday, a massive vaccination rate for one of the pandemic’s hardest-hit groups — but several states have charged even further ahead and immunized more than eight in 10 seniors.

About 41 million elderly Americans — or 75% of that age group — have taken at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, and 54.7% of Americans over 65 are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released Saturday.

First Place: Vermont is leading the country in vaccinating seniors, getting at least one dose to 88.9% of its elderly residents, partly because the state made seniors eligible for the vaccine before virtually every other high-risk group.


Could hearing loss be a side effect of COVID-19?
Author: Ben Thompson

Nearly every week we learn about new side effects associated with COVID-19.

We all know of the common ones, like shortness of breath and losing your sense of taste or smell. And now we're learning your hearing may be impacted.

A new study suggests a surprising number of coronavirus patients are dealing with hearing issues.

Let's connect the dots.

Research out of The University of Manchester in Britain found nearly 15% of COVID-19  patients reported tinnitus, a ringing in the ears.


Senior citizens lost nearly $1 billion in scams in 2020

Senior citizens lost nearly $1 billion dollars to internet scams in 2020, according to Atlas VPN Findings. KMVT News took a look at what scams are currently out there targeting seniors, and what they can do to protect themselves.

During the pandemic, many senior citizens in the Magic Valley area dealt with loneliness and isolation, as many senior centers were closed due to COVID-19.

“I think for a lot of them that was their social gathering, and they didn’t have that anymore. They didn’t have all the information senior centers give them, commodity,” said Shawna Wasko contracts manager for the CSI Office on Aging. “Then we had senior centers that opened, and COVID went ramped through them and had top close back down, so it has been an up and down battle with trying to get them open.”

COVID-19 Lessons:
 The Human Spirit.
It’s Not As Invincible As We Thought
6 minutes

If we learned anything from this pandemic, it’s how people react to crisis. And some of that information comes as a surprise for many sociologists and psychologists. We now know humans will cooperate with authority, and each other, for only so long.

While America came together for things like the events of 9-11, we are not so eager to work together to fight the greatest threat to our nation since WW2.

Incidents that are quick, onetime events like the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, for all its destruction and loss of life, lasted only a few hours.
Yes, we shut down air traffic and ordered all planes to land, and very few people complained.

We closed our borders and prevented people from entering our country. With little
We didn’t mind when they asked us (here in NYC) to stay out of Downtown Manhattan for a few days and not go to work.
And all Americans came together for the many memorials and tributes following that terrible day.

There were no Republicans, no Democrats, just fired-up Americans willing to do anything for our country.
But with this virus, it appears that we can get riled up for a short time, but not for anything that goes on for months. Which means we are not as resilient as we thought.

There is a time limit on how much we can take and for how long we can take it. Of the many determinants that factor in to the equation, the most prevalent is money. 

As it became more clear that long-term adherence to the strict shutdown and drastic restriction to free enterprise might last for months or even years, Americans became less eager to follow the recommendations' of  government as they were at the start of the outbreak. And once they saw some businesses were given preference over others (It was okay to shop at Walmart’s but not okay to workout at the local gym) people became more angry at authority than ever. But money and finance is not the only reason for our unrest.

For seniors, money is not the major reason for their dismay. Loneliness and boredom have dominated their lives for over a year, having serious consequences on their health and wellbeing. No other group has been so universally effected by this virus. We (seniors) were the first to die, and the last to be considered when they reduced or lifted some restrictions. To this day, in many states, seniors living in long-term care facilities are as confined and isolated as they the day they put those restrictions in place. And the amazing thing is, as difficult as this has been for them, very few have complained and continue to obey all the rules.

But as we approach our 13th month with little or no sign from the authorities that we will soon come out of this nightmare, it makes me wonder, just how much more of this can we take?
 Truthfully, I’m not sure how much more of this I can manage. I can feel the pressure to rebel building. And if I feel it, I can only imagine what my fellow residents must be feeling. And that bothers the heck out of me. At what point will the relative calm and order break down? And how will management respond? Will they continue to obey the protocols set forth by the authorities, exacerbating and already dangerous situation. Or will they do the right thing and ignore those regulations and provide us with the care and lifestyle so callously taken from us?

Obviously, America has had enough. The human spirit can take only so much restrictions on its freedoms before we become like caged animals. Never have they asked us to curtail our activities as they have this past year. And anybody who thought that we would stand as one and do what we had to for the overall good, no matter how long it took, was very wrong. There is a limit. The question is, will the virus’ persistence outlast our ability to fight it? And will future sociologists look upon this time as the age of enlightenment or as the age of unrest and instability?………………………..


Amp Your Internet!
By Erica Manfred

What does it take to get decent internet service?   It took $10,000 for Aaron Epstein, a 90-year-old man in North Hollywood, California.  He was so frustrated with his slow AT&T internet service that he spent $10,000 on newspaper ads telling the company’s CEO to do a better job.     Money talked.  AT&T sent out workers right away to extend faster fiber optic cable to his house.

Digital Deserts

Not having internet today is somewhat akin to not having a telephone in the 1950s when the last homes in the country were wired for phone service.   Lack of access to the Internet isolates seniors from modern life., stranding them in a ‘digital desert.”

It’s a fact that seniors are second class citizens when it comes to internet access.  A project called Aging Connected: Exposing the Hidden Connectivity Crisis for Older Adults  commissioned by OATS, Senior Planet’s parent organization,  found that 22 million seniors—almost half of all older Americans–don’t have internet at home, with Blacks, Latinos and rural Americans being the most internet deprived.  Aging Connected aims to remedy that lack. If you know anyone who needs help getting connected, please tell them help is available – and help them sign up.

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    APRIL 6, 2021

Pfizer-BioNTech Shot Elicits
Strong Antibody Response in Elderly
By Todd Gillespie

Pfizer Inc.’s and BioNTech SE’s Covid-19 vaccine generated strong antibody responses in 98% of elderly people in a U.K. study.

The patients aged 80 to 96 were also able to mount a defense against the Brazil variant after two injections, although it was less robust, according to the research conducted by the University of Birmingham.

Months after the vaccine was first introduced, scientists continue to investigate its real-life effects and study it in specific patient groups to gain a better understanding of its impact.

“I think we can be confident about gaining control of the variants with the current plans,” said Paul Moss, a professor of hematology at Birmingham and one of the research’s co-authors, when asked about the U.K.’s vaccination schedule.


What Are Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

Many Americans die in facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes receiving care that is not consistent with their wishes. To make sure that doesn't happen, older people need to know what their end-of-life care options are and state their preferences to their caregivers in advance. For example, if an older person wants to die at home, receiving end-of-life care for pain and other symptoms, and makes this known to healthcare providers and family, it is less likely he or she will die in a hospital receiving unwanted treatments.

Vase of flowers in a hospital roomLearn more about advance care planning.

Caregivers have several factors to consider when choosing end-of-life care, including the older person's desire to pursue life-extending or curative treatments, how long he or she has left to live, and the preferred setting for care.


Older adults begin to test freedom
after coronavirus vaccinations
By Judith Graham

With a mix of relief and caution, older adults fully vaccinated against the coronavirus are moving out into the world and resuming activities put on hold during the pandemic.

Many are making plans to see adult children and hug grandchildren they haven’t visited for months — or longer. Others are getting together with friends indoors, for the first time in a long time.

People are scheduling medical appointments that had been delayed and putting trips to destinations near and far on calendars. Simple things that felt unsafe pre-vaccination now feel possible: petting a neighbor’s dog, going for a walk in the park, stopping at a local hangout for a cup of coffee.

From The Editor

The news we skeptically reported on last week where in it was disclosed that the NY State Dept. Of Health had not only implemented new visitation guidelines as well as lifting most of the rules regarding the harsh quarantine protocols for long-term care facilities, appears to be incorrect.
The story, which appeared in two online local news websites and attributed to Lisa Newcomb, executive director of the Empire State Association of Assisted Living, has not been confirmed by any source, including Ms.Newcomb. Most of my inquires asking where I can find the official NYS DOH statement has gone unanswered. Except one. And that was from the DOH itself, which directed me to its formal statement listing the current guidelines for long-term care facilities. The information is as follows:

"Principles of cohorting and physical distance should be central components of plans to restart communal activities for residents who have fully recovered from COVID-19 and for those not in isolation or observation, or with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 status. The adult care facility should consider creating small cohorts (10 or less) of residents to be tablemates or “activities buddies.”

Source: (Page 3)

I do not know from where Ms. Newcomb received her information or why she would report something that is not true. Ms. Newcomb has not replied to my inquiries.  
While I hoped this news would be correct, it now appears we (all 50,000 residents in NY long-term care facilities) are victims of a cruel hoax.


A post on one of my Facebook groups (Elder Orphans - made me think about how much sticking to a routine has impacted my life.
While it’s understood that modern society almost forces routine on us (we go to work or school the same time most days) it is not as clear why, after we retire, are we still slaves to a schedule?

Some say they feel comforted by doing familiar things in certain order regularly. And I agree with that. I think back to times when I was out of work and there were no prospects in sight. I could have let myself go. Slept late. Not shave. Wear PJ’s all day. But I didn’t. Instead, I got out of bed at the same time I always have. Showered and shaved and ate breakfast on the same schedule as when I had a job to go to. The only difference, I didn’t stand on the subway platform at 6am, because that would just have been weird.

According to Psychology Today [1] :

“A routine is a series of habits. If you’ve got a good routine set up—say a morning routine of breakfast-exercise-shower-dress-commute, you’ve freed yourself from a lot of small decisions that could slow you down or capture valuable brain-space that you’d prefer to use for something else. You can now go on autopilot and still accomplish your goals. In this way, paradoxically, a good routine can be freeing. No need for constant decision-making about what’s coming next or what you should do. You’re gonna brush your teeth before you leave the house, and that’s that!”
Even though I don’t have to, I still try to maintain some order of semblance in my life, which includes knowing what I will do the rest of the day. This is not a hard task. Especially for a resident in an assisted living facility where they attempt to plan as much of your day as they can. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you feel about being told what to to do) the pandemic has put a damper on any attempt to keep to a schedule. The only routine we have maintained is when they feed us. 8 to 9 for breakfast. 12 to 1 for lunch and 5 to 6 for dinner.
My routine mandates I get up before 6 am. Boot-up my laptop and publish this blog. I check emails, news feeds, and Facebook. At 6:30 I’m in the shower followed by my morning ablutions.[2] Then I fill my coffee mug with the previous nights coffee, add milk and walk over to the main building where there is the only microwave in the facility for resident’s use and heat my coffee. I return to my room to await breakfast. The rest of the day comprises assembling and writing this blog. Eating lunch, napping, back to the blog, eating dinner and bedtime. I’m so regular you could set your watch by my activities. This is what my life has been for over a year. Why I haven’t slit a wrist, I don’t know. Maybe it’s exactly this routine that keeps me sane.

“Good routines can provide structure to your day, and they also can save lives and sanity. Witness the story of the 33 trapped miners in Chile who waited for months underground before they could be rescued. Older and experienced leaders

 organized work assignments for the men, since the miners needed to contribute to their own rescue by clearing away 3-4,000 tons of rock as the escape hatch was dug. The leaders also brought order and discipline to the men's lives by insisting that everyone wait to eat until food for all could make its way down small boreholes. One leader created a makeshift chapel for the men and organized a buddy system.” [1]

Although I hadn’t made any actual retirement plans, I’m sure none would have included being locked up in an assisted living facility for more than 12 months eating bad food and wondering when somebody will care enough to rescue us……

[2]BTW. I shower and shave every day. Something that too many of my fellow male residents have given up on.

The RIGHT Response to Elder Abuse
By Daniel Pollack & Elisa Reiter.

The real extent of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation is grossly unreported. The victims themselves are often hesitant to report mistreatment either because they are afraid of retaliation—physical or mental—or because they are simply unable to do so. Protecting older adults and incapacitated adults from abuse, neglect or exploitation means helping them to live in their own homes as long as possible, find appropriate living arrangements if necessary, and generally to remain as safe and self-sufficient as possible.

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    APRIL 5, 2021
The Nursing Home Vulnerabilities
That Led to Disaster

Experts say these five main factors caused the colossal failures during the pandemic

Patricia Olthoff-Blank thought everything was going just fine at her mother's nursing home in rural Buffalo Center, Iowa. Virginia Olthoff had lived there for 15 years, and the administration communicated frequently with her family about her care.

Then Olthoff-Blank got a 3 a.m. call from an emergency room nurse. She learned, to her horror, that her mother was severely dehydrated. An ER physician told her, "This did not just happen." He believed her mother had been without water for four or five days.


New book tells readers to stop keeping stuff
and start focusing on memories
By Ryan Johnson

Jeannine Bryant is a professional and author who helps clients and readers slim down their possessions, but you won't hear her talk about "downsizing."

Instead, she helps families and senior citizens achieve "rightsizing," a term she defines as "that perfect place between too much and too little." While her work means she often assists clients before they move into a smaller apartment or assisted living facility, she says her job isn't to make people get rid of the stuff they love.

"I help people identify the best things so that they can let go of all the other stuff that doesn't matter so much," she says.


The No Surprises Act: Congress
Takes Aim at Surprise Medical Bills

In the closing days of 2020, Congress passed federal legislation aimed at protecting patients against surprise medical bills and facilitating payment dispute resolutions among providers and insurers.  Slated to take effect on January 1, 2022, the “No Surprises Act”, part of H.R. 133, Omnibus Appropriations and Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act (the “Act”) targets three main areas: (i) surprise medical billing for emergency services, (ii) surprise medical billing for non-emergency services, and (iii) payment dispute resolution among providers and insurers.  This article highlights the major components of Act.

Surprise Medical Bills

A “surprise medical bill” is a bill sent to an insured patient who unwittingly receives medical services from one or more health care providers who do not participate with the patient’s insurance carrier (i.e., an out-of-network provider). Surprise medical bills are typically comprised of two components: (i) the difference in patient cost-sharing between in-network and out-of-network providers (e.g., an insured patient may owe only a 10% copay for charges by in-network providers but 40% for out-of-network providers), and (ii) the difference between the allowed charges (i.e., the discounted charges negotiated by providers and insurance companies) and the provider’s full charge.  This is often referred to as “balance billing”. Patients can receive surprise medical bills for both emergency and non-emergency services, and have historically borne the burden of these bills unless otherwise protected by state law.

4-5 minutes

The 17th century poet John Milton wrote, “They also serve who only stand and wait.“ While Milton was writing about how can a person be serving God by only standing and waiting, he might as well have been writing about me and all of us socially conscious people who have felt helpless this past year.

Normally, I’m not one to stand idly by when I see an injustice being done. And here at the A.L.F., injustices are a daily occurrence. At least in my mind. Perhaps I just have a different idea about how they should treat old people. Especially by those whose business it is to make sure our lives are as fulfilling and worry-free as possible. So when I see our residents (and that includes me) treated poorly by staff or management, I say something. And, while more often than not my complaints go unheeded, at the very least I leave knowing I tried. But now, during this pandemic, my most impassioned pleas have gone for naught. COVID-19 has given those intent on taking advantage of us an excuse.

With cries of “These are difficult times for all of us”, administrators of long-term care facilities, who have cut services and reduced amenities even before the pandemic, now find a willing partner-in-crime a.k.a., the DOH, as a justification for their austerity.

“We’d love to have an Easter Egg hunt but, unfortunately…well you know…the virus won’t permit it.”

“No Passover Seder this year…darn virus.”

“Sorry the food is so bad but, it’s the virus.”

“We would love you to leave the facility for a few hours to go to the store or a restaurant but, the Department of Health won’t permit it. It’s out of our hands.”

“We know we have vaccinated all of you as well as the staff, but you still have to stay apart from each other and wear masks. Because no one has told us not to. So let’s all be big sports about it.”

As bad as those half-hearted apologies may be, the thing that frustrates me the most is not having a forum in which to voice my grievances and objections.
Our administrator, while listening attentively, offers no help to solve our problems.
There is no way to voice one’s concerns to the state, the governor, or anybody with the power to help.

Emails and phone calls go unanswered. Or replied to with a form letter.

Even the media has little interest in any of this. Sure, they’ll report on instances of near-criminal treatment of nursing home patients, but never on what’s going on in assisted living facilities. Media doesn’t care if we are bored, lonely and isolated. As long as we’re not dying or covered in bed soars and nobody is beating us, then we must be okay.

And social media is no help either. Not because they won’t permit me to tell our story or lend a compassionate ear, but because they too have no power to do anything about it. In this era of COVID, the squeaky wheel does not always get the grease.  

 With any luck, and if the numbers (i.e., fewer cases of the virus, more people being vaccinated, less mortality) continue to improve, some of that will trickle-down to us so that they will permit us, as citizens of the U.S. to take part in the same freedoms the rest of the nation has enjoyed for many months. ………………

Dementia is linked to increased
pain years before diagnosis

People with dementia may experience increased levels of pain 16 years before their diagnosis, according to new research. The study, funded in part by NIA and published in Pain, is the first to examine the link between pain and dementia over an extended period.

Older adult having shoulder pain Dementia and chronic pain both cause changes to the brain and can affect a person’s brain health. Although many people who have dementia also have chronic pain, it is unclear whether chronic pain causes or accelerates the onset of dementia, is a symptom of dementia, or is simply associated with dementia because both are caused by some other factor. The new study, led by researchers at Université de Paris, examined the timeline of the association between dementia and self-reported pain by analyzing data from a study that has been gathering data on participants for as many as 27 years.

The researchers used data from the Whitehall II study, a long-term study of health in British government employees. Participants were between the ages of 35 and 55 when they enrolled in the study. Using surveys conducted multiple times over the course of the study, the researchers measured two aspects of participant-reported pain: pain intensity, which is how much bodily pain a participant experiences, and pain interference, which is how much a participant’s pain affects his or her daily activities. They used electronic health records to determine whether (and when) participants were diagnosed with dementia.

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    APRIL 2, 2021

America’s Covid-19 grief and
bereavement crisis, explained

By Brian Resnick

It’s been nearly a year since Julie Horowitz-Jackson’s mother, Arlene, died of Covid-19 in a nursing facility in Philadelphia. “What hit me recently is that the world is opening back up, and my mom’s still dead,” Horowitz-Jackson says.

At this point in the Covid-19 pandemic, as vaccines get rolled out in the United States and around the globe, there is a glimmer of hope that life will safely start shifting back to “normal” in the coming months. But so many people, like Horowitz-Jackson, are still working through their grief, and it won’t just disappear when the virus does. Horowitz-Jackson, 51, says she was coping well with the loss of her mom until recently, when, in Chicago, where she lives, she saw many people out and about, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in large crowds. “I get angry,” she says. “I get angry that people aren’t taking it seriously.”


Breakthrough study finds clues
for ‘silent’ stroke treatment

A team of scientists have uncovered the genes that are responsible for lacunar, or ‘silent’, strokes, pointing to clues for new treatments.

Silent strokes are a major cause of vascular dementia and difficult to treat. The findings from a decade-long study funded by the British Heart Foundation have discovered changes to 12 genetic regions in the DNA of people who have had a lacunar stroke – a type of stroke caused by weakening of the small blood vessels deep within the brain.

Dr Matthew Traylor, first author of the study at Queen Mary University of London, said: “Genetics offers one of the few ways we can discover completely new insights into what causes a disease such as lacunar stroke. It is only by better understanding of what causes the disease that we will be able to develop better treatments.”


Why older Americans with student loan debt
might want to consider refinancing

By Christy Bieber

Student loan debt is often viewed as a problem facing young people. But the sad reality is that millions of older Americans, including senior citizens, are also burdened with educational loans that impact their finances. This can be an especially big problem during retirement when income may be limited.

Unfortunately, according to recent research from Fiscal Policy Institute, Americans aged 60 and up are actually the fastest-growing age segment within the student loan market. In just the past decade, the number of adults 60 and over who have student loan debt has quadrupled. And the amount these seniors owe has also risen dramatically. In 2012, individuals 60 and older collectively owed around $5.2 billion in educational loans but by 2017, that number was up to $9.2 billion.

4 minutes

Dominating the headlines this week is the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin accused of the murder of George Floyd. It’s alleged that Mr. Floyd died as a result of Chauvin having his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes.

I have to admit that I had some doubts as to Mr. Chauvin’s guilt, but after seeing some of the video and listening to the emotional testimony of the Prosecution’s witnesses, It’s quite clear that Mr. Floyd’s death was because of unnecessary force put on him by Chauvin. Of course the defense has yet to present its case claiming Floyd was on drugs and resisted arrest and the “knee to the neck” was just normal police procedure. Lots of luck with that.


The COVID-19 situation has changed little except that they have vaccinated more and more people and, in many states, they have lifted age and category restrictions allowing almost anybody over 16 to get the shot. But, just as people are lining up for their vaccines, many states are continuing to end many of the protocols recommended by the CDC and the President. So far we have seen no great spike in the number of fresh cases, but experts say it’s just a matter of time and the possibility of a new surge of infections because of “variants” could be eminent. What the correct thing to do is anybody’s guess.


President Biden went on TV this week with a proposal to spend $2 Trillion to improve America’s infrastructure.

Included in that plan is $80 billion for railways.

The Republicans are against it because, as usual, it’ll cost too much, especially after we spent nearly that amount on the stimulus relief bill. The Dem’s argue the bill will create jobs while improving our crumbling roads, tunnels, bridges and other transportation projects. Considering the divisiveness that still prevails in congress, Biden has a tough job ahead of him.

See the entire plan here >>

Locally, we here at the ALF are still awaiting word from management if and when they will permit us to return to a “cautious normalcy” as per a report that the NY State DOH has lifted most of its infection control protocols including an end to quarantine, lockdown and suspended visitation and a return to communal dining among others. I still have received no answers to my many inquiries where the new guidelines came from.
The Governor of our state, who has his own problems, has said nothing on the topic but he had time to sign a bill legalizing the sale and growing of marijuana. We may not be allowed to eat together or play Bingo, but we sure can share a joint.

That’s it for this week. We’ll return on Monday with more news and comment for seniors. They’re knocking on my door with tonight’s dinner. Wow!. What do you know? It’s chicken.……………

The truth about lying
You can’t spot a liar just by looking —
 but psychologists are zeroing in on
 methods that might actually work
By Jessica Seigel

Police thought that 17-year-old Marty Tankleff seemed too calm after finding his mother stabbed to death and his father mortally bludgeoned in the family’s sprawling Long Island home. Authorities didn’t believe his claims of innocence, and he spent 17 years in prison for the murders.

Yet in another case, detectives thought that 16-year-old Jeffrey Deskovic seemed too distraught and too eager to help detectives after his high school classmate was found strangled. He, too, was judged to be lying and served nearly 16 years for the crime.

Former entertainment reporter Rona Barrett
now dedicates her life to helping seniors

By George Pennacchio

In the world of television entertainment reporters, Rona Barrett started it all many years ago on ABC7.

These days, she's hard at work making life better for our seniors.

She created something in Santa Ynez she believes can be replicated all across the country.

The Golden Inn & Village is now celebrating five successful years.

Making it happen was not easy.

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    APRIL 1, 2021

'These numbers are incredibly encouraging':
Vaccines show major success in protecting nursing homes

Vaccines are currently being offered to on-base health care personnel and first responders assigned to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport and critical national capabilities forces, deploying forces, frontline essential workers, and beneficiaries age 75 and older. COVID-19 vaccines are not available by walk-in for non-hospital personnel.

New Covid-19 cases have plummeted by 96% in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities since late December, a report published Tuesday by the industry group American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living revealed.

AHCA/NCAL reports (pdf) a decline in new U.S. weekly nursing home cases from 33,540 on December 20 to 1,349 on March 7, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Widespread coronavirus vaccinations began in early January, when new nursing home cases dropped precipitously.


Coming to terms with senior living

It wasn’t terribly long ago that old people needing help had two choices: stay put or move to a nursing home.

Times and terms surely have changed. These days, the eldercare concept encompasses a widening spectrum of categories, sub-categories and even sub-sub-categories. Then there are emerging models that simply stand alone. And in many ways, the party is just getting started.

Even nursing homes don’t much use that traditional moniker anymore, except perhaps colloquially. They now march under various new banners, including skilled care, skilled nursing care, transitional care, rehab care and even post-acute care. Then there’s the first among equals: long-term care. Wait, isn’t long-term care just a new name for nursing homes? Or does it encompass a wider continuum? Well, it depends.


One Major Side Effect of
Eating Mushrooms, Says New Study
By Amy Capetta

Whether you enjoy mushrooms stir-fried, sautéed, or grilled, this member of the fungi family provides more than a rich umami flavor to your scrambled eggs, appetizers, and entrées.

According to research presented at a March 2021 meeting at the Endocrine Society, white button mushrooms may slow down the progression of prostate cancer. Since the study authors had previously discovered in a phase one clinical trial that this food reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)—a protein made by the cells in the prostate gland—in the blood among men with recurrent prostate cancer, they decided to take a deeper dive into this research, but this time, using mice.

5 minutes

This past year has convinced me of one thing. We are truly a Nation of fools. So much so that they should declare today, April 1st (April Fool’s Day) a national holiday.

Actually, I was sure we had lost all sense of rationality the day after the 2016 presidential election when America selected the fool of all fools over a bright, dedicated, seasoned diplomat and former First Lady and U.S. Senator. Somehow, a stereotype of the classic bully, buffoon, braggart and misogynist appealed to a large enough segment of the population to become the 45th President of the United States. And in doing so, almost set our country on a one-way path to ruin. Fortunately, we saw the error of our ways and, with the victory of Joe Biden last November, we are now back on track as a world leader. Sadly, even though the present administration has attempted to scrub the White House clean of its former tenant, the stench of what Trump promoted lingers on. Racism, Anti-Semitic and Anti-Asian sentiment, wacko conspiracy theorists and, worst of all, Anti-Vaxxer’s and anti-maskers. It’s those last two that cause me concern.

As you all know, me, and my fellow residents along with tens of thousands of people (mainly seniors) across the land that live in long-term care facilities have suffered under the yoke of repressive and often unrealistic protocols because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures, which are exceedingly harsher than those required by the public, have caused untold misery and hardship for us.
For more than a year they have prohibited us from contact with our loved ones, ended all or most activities, forbade encounters with other residents, prohibited us from leaving the facility’s grounds and ended communal dining. These restrictions would be hard on any group and would surely evoke the ire of the average citizen. And yet, they think nothing of imposing what amounts to imprisonment on people who have no way to protest. No other group would accept what they have done to us. And what makes things worse , it should not have happened.

No, I’m not blaming the former administration for our troubles. The individual states dictate most of the restrictions on our liberties. But I will condemn Trump and his Republican cronies, because their refusal to recognize the seriousness and extent of the virus in a timely manor led to a wider and more rapid disbursement of the virus and caused us residents to experience the anguish they have forced on us.

If the manner in which the former administration handled the virus was the only foolish thing that happened, I would not be as concerned about our current state of health as I am. But what he did to the collective consciousness of the American people cannot easily be undone just because we have a different president. What Trump left us is a bunch of out-and-out dumb-ass fools who, despite the science and the numbers, continue to refuse to get vaccinated, or follow standard distancing procedures, or wear a mask. Calling these people fools does not adequately define what they really are, dangerous people that have put our country in peril. Because with every person who does not adhere to the current guidelines, the prospect that the virus will continue to spread and reoccur over and over is a reality.
And to think. All that needed to be done that would have drastically reduce the amount of infection and hasten the end to the restrictions was for Donald J. Trump to say, early on, “Wear a mask. I’m doing it and you should too.” A simple sentence that could have saved countless lives and relieved the suffering of millions. And if that’s not being a fool, I don’t know what is…………………………..

Planning for Post-Retirement
Medical Expenses with 401(h) Plans

Barron’s recently reported in an article called The Real Cost of Healthcare in Retirement. The article suggests that seniors with adequate Medicare coverage will spend on average $260,000 per couple on healthcare from age 65 on. Only a third of this cost can be attributed to premiums for Medicare and supplemental insurance with the balance of the costs attributed to actual medical expenses. Healthcare Services, a firm that analyzes medical expense statistics, provided Barron’s with an estimate of post-retirement, and estimated post-retirement medical expenses for high net worth couples at $565,140 in today's dollars. A senior can spend as much as $100,000 on dental care alone.

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MARCH 31, 2021

The weird science of loneliness
explains why lockdown sucked

By Matt Reynolds

Extreme isolation does strange things to the human mind. In late 1964 Josie Laures and Antoine Senni disappeared into two caves in the French Alps as part of an experiment to find out what effect isolation would have on their bodies and minds. When Senni emerged after 126 days in isolation – a record at the time – he thought that only a couple of months had passed. In 1972 Michel Siffre, a French caver who oversaw the pair’s experiment went even further, spending six months in a cave near Del Rio, Texas. “Physically it was not tiring, but mentally it was hell,” he told Der Spiegel four decades later.

Attempts to manufacture isolation in the laboratory are even more disturbing. In the 1950s, Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb paid graduate students at McGill University $20 a day to stay alone in tiny rooms. The volunteers’ hands were placed in cardboard tubes, their ears covered by thick U-shaped pillows to muffle any sounds and opaque goggles were placed over their eyes. Soon enough their mental cognition deteriorated and they experienced extreme restlessness and vivid hallucinations. One student reported feeling that his body was in two places at once, and he was unable to decide which one was really him.


COVID-19 Raises Broader Questions
About NYC's Ability to Age

By Jarrett Murphy

New York’s 65+ population is expected to grow five times faster than the city overall during this decade, raising challenges for housing, healthcare, social services, workplace justice and more. So far, few candidates are saying much about it.

Older New Yorkers did not get COVID-19 more than other people. But they died from it at shockingly high rates. And the death toll only begins to capture the impact of the pandemic on older New York. While the shutdown of services and social isolation took a toll on everyone, senior citizens were especially hard hit.


Calls for UN convention on older people's
rights amid pandemic ageism

By Rumbi Chakamba

Elder-focused charity HelpAge International is calling for a United Nations convention on the rights of older people, characterizing the treatment of older people during the pandemic as a crisis of ageism and reflective of long-term societal neglect.

In a press statement released on Monday, HelpAge called the myriad deaths of older people in care homes, while staff were struggling to access personal protective equipment and testing equipment they needed “one of the biggest scandals of COVID-19.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that those aged 65-74 are 1,100 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those aged 5-17 years. Those aged over 85 are 7,900 times more likely to die.

At this week’s global U.N. meeting on aging, HelpAge International, along with other partner organizations, plans to demand that a convention on the rights of older people be drafted, entrenching their rights and calling attention to the need for protection.


I am delaying comment on the BREAKING NEWS story posted yesterday which reported a relaxation of the lockdown protocols for NY State's assisted living facilities

Because this was reported by only one source, and an obscure one at that, and that the story is 5 days old has me concerned about its validity. I have inquiries out in an effort to confirm to story. I’ll keep you informed.


5 minutes

I never really had a bucket list. Simply put, a “bucket list” it is a collection of goals, dreams and aspirations that you would like to accomplish within your lifetime. Or more simply put, “I’d like to do this before I kick the bucket.”
The problem with making lists like that is, when you realize you will never have a chance to even come close to accomplishing anything on that list, you feel worthless and lousy. And the one thing I don’t need in my life is another thing that makes me feel any worse than I already do.

I know many of you like to make lists. They say it helps you to remember things. [1] And I won’t dispute that. But I also know that you can become a “slave” to that list and turn it into a compulsion. There are some who take them too far…
“Excessive list-making
People with OCD often fear they will forget something important, so they may make excessive lists to remind them to do daily routine activities (i.e. brush teeth, make breakfast, etc.) However, research has shown that people with OCD do not have memory problems, so the lists are actually unnecessary. List-making would be considered a compulsion because the list reassures the person with OCD and helps them to feel temporarily better, thus they never learn that they do not need the list to remember things. People with OCD may also make lists to remember things that may be contaminated to later wash or avoid, which also contributes to the OCD process. List-making can be in writing or verbalized aloud.”

I’m not saying I never made a list. As I grew older and a little more “unmindful”, I realized that in order to not make multiple trips to the supermarket, the making of a shopping list might be of some use. And even now I find it helpful to stick a post-it note on the laptop screen if there is something I must not forget. But those are not the lists of things we aspire to do. I may make a list of doctor’s appointment’s I have this month, but I’m not eager to do them.

A bucket list is as much a list of failures as it is a wish list. And let’s face it. Who wants a list of their failures staring them in the face?
Sure, there were things I would have liked to do that I now know will never happen.
Travel was on my agenda when I retired. I had some frequent flyer miles saved that would have paid for a nice European trip. I’ve always wanted to see Paris and London, and now, that will never happen.
I had dreams of a trip across this great nation of ours, including visits to friends and relatives I hadn’t seen for years. Sadly, that will have to remain unaccomplished.

At first I felt sad that I will miss out on a lot. I really wanted to make that cross-country trip to see people and take many photos. However, as time goes by, I have come to grips with all that. I have much more to focus on now. I need to concentrate on making what life I have as good as it can be. And at my age and my physical condition, that’s a lot to ask for……………..

[1]Bluma Zeigarnik was one of the first psychologists to look at lists in any kind of depth. Her 1927 study found that people are more likely to remember unfinished tasks than finished ones, and interruptions during a task helped people to retain more details of the task itself. This was dubbed the Zeigarnik Effect.

Opinion | President Biden Must Fire Andrew Saul and David Black
Immediately for Sabotaging Social Security

President Harry S. Truman famously had a sign on his desk that read "the buck stops here." If Andrew Saul, the man Donald Trump put in charge of the Social Security Administration (SSA), had a sign on his desk, it would say "it's never my fault."

"It's unclear if Saul and Black delayed the survival checks in a deliberate attempt to sabotage the Biden administration, or if they are just extremely incompetent. But their record shows that they deserve zero benefit of the doubt."

Nearly 30 million Social Security beneficiaries are facing weeks-long delays in receiving their COVID relief checks. These are seniors and people with disabilities, many of whom live on fixed incomes and desperately need these checks. Instead of taking responsibility, Saul and his deputy David Black are pointing fingers, making excuses, and flat out lying.

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This just in from the Empire State Association Of Assisted Living

Although the story is dated March 25th this is the first I have heard of it. If true, this will mean a complete turn around from what we have experience for over a year. I emailed our Administrator for comment.

Group activities and relaxed visitation OK'd 

for seniors in assisted-living facilities

Press release:

The patience of thousands of New York seniors and their families has finally been rewarded with relaxed visitation and communal activities now being authorized by the New York State Department of Health, the regulating agency. 

The Department of Health’s new guidelines, issued on March 25th, has essentially opened the doors again for over 50,000 residents who call the assisted living community their home. This long-awaited guidance is based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMC) guidelines and allows for visitation more widely and for residents to go on outings without the heavy burden of having to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

“Assisted living residents, family members, providers and staff have been through an extraordinarily difficult year," said Lisa Newcomb, executive director of the Empire State Association of Assisted Living, which includes the Manor House LLC in Le Roy.

"For providers, keeping COVID-19 out of buildings has been the core focus, but the human and emotional costs cannot be overstated. The new guidance will allow more frequent and meaningful interactions between residents and their loved ones.

These changes mean that residents will be able to enjoy time with their fellow residents, that they call friends, and enjoy all the wonderful amenities and activities provided by their assisted living community.

“The vaccine is the game changer," Newcomb said. "The overwhelming majority of our residents are fully vaccinated. Due to the pronounced efficacy of the vaccines in preventing COVID-19, the NYS Department of Health has given residents and providers the much-needed green light to reopen their doors and provide for a more active lifestyle for the seniors in our care."


MARCH 30, 2021

Assisted Living vs. Home Care: 4 Unspoken
Health Benefits of Aging in Place
By Linda Williams

If you’re a senior who has chosen to spend their golden years at home, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, 90% of seniors would opt for aging in place instead of resorting to costly institutional care. Further, aside from assisted living’s high costs, in some cases staying in a facility can deprive seniors of many health benefits that come from aging at home. From offering a safer living environment to promoting a greater sense of independence, aging in place can offer many hidden health boosts. Read on for four unspoken perks of growing old in the comfort of your own home.
Stronger sense of comfort

“Home is where the heart is” might be a tired cliché, but its message still rings true. Older adults who choose to move into an assisted living facility are forced to adapt to an environment that won’t ever really feel like home. Further, in addition to being uncomfortable, the disruptive changes that come from moving out of your home can result in anxiety and depression. In contrast, those who choose to age in place can continue enjoying a space where they’ve made many happy memories. And thanks to a wide variety of in-home care services like these, seniors who need help getting around the house or making meals can get the support they need from the comfort of their own house instead of relying on institutional care.


Encore careers provide
opportunities for older adults
By Carmen Rideout

What does retirement look like to you? Will you pack your bags and travel to exotic places? Will you become a master gardener and learn to can vegetables? Will you finally take on all those home projects that have eluded you over the years?

Or will you, like many other Americans, find that you have strived to reach retirement only to find that you have run out of things to keep you busy? Will you find that you miss the camaraderie and sense of purpose you felt when you were working?

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the labor force growth rates of those 65 and older are projected to outpace all other age groups over the 2014-24 decade. Just because you have hit retirement age doesn’t mean you have to be done working. There are many benefits of choosing to work after retirement.


Moving On With Life And
Looking At Assisted Living

With time life changes and this is not always a bad thing. As you get older your priorities and outlook can change. Just because you are getting older it does not mean that you have to lose your sense of self or sense of identity. At this stage you may not realize that you are struggling at home, or you may have realized that things are starting to get a bit more difficult and you want to implement change as and when you can. Accepting that you need and want help with those personal and welfare tasks is not a sign of weakness, it is actually a sign of strength. If you have noticed that you are struggling with washing yourself, doing the laundry or with meal preparation and cooking in general then it may be time to start looking at assisted living.

Assisted living may sound daunting but it shouldn’t be. It is personal independent living within a community or village setting, but with the added bonus of having help and support on your doorstep readily available for when you need it the most. Making the move and transition to assisted living does not have to be as difficult as you think. There may be lots of questions you want to ask and lots of information you want to gather to help you make the right decision, and hopefully this article will answer some of those questions.

6-7 minutes

At first, I thought I was seeing things. Something moving out of the corner of my eye. But when I turned to look, nothing. It was probably just the light or a pesky “floater” in my eye that has plagued me for years. Or maybe it’s just that my eyesight, damaged by a retinal infection a few years back, was acting up. But when the “sightings” became more frequent, I suspected something was afoot.

Not just one foot, but four very tiny feet attached to one of the smallest, and fastest, mammals I’ve ever seen.

Last week, what had been an illusive and subtle shadow revealed itself in all of its verminous glory. Its gray body complete with pink feet and matching tail bravely poked its whiskery head from behind a can of compressed air spray duster sitting next to my laptop.
We looked at each other for what seemed like a microsecond. I watched as the little bugger took off like a flash and disappeared somewhere behind a desk tray. It was official. I have a mouse.

Small woodland creatures are not uncommon where I live. Our 14 acres are home to chipmunks, moles, voles, skunks and mice. And it’s not unusual to encounter one who has made its way inside the facility.[1] But as of late there have been more and more of them coming inside.
A week after my initial confrontation with “Mike” one of our maintenance people came to my room asking if I had a mouse problem. I thought for a minute and said no. It wasn’t a lie because, for me, it wasn’t a problem. I hadn’t seen Mike since that first meeting, so why make a big deal over it. And besides, I didn’t want them to put a mousetrap in my room.

The vermin infestation (which includes not only mice but roaches and ants) is a byproduct of the COVID-19 quarantine/lockdown protocols they have forced us to endure since last March. Because we are taking all of our meals in our rooms, there is a lot of uncovered, leftover food and trash around resulting in a virtual smorgasbord for hungry animals and insects.[2]

I had been very careful not to allow any dropped or leftover food to remain in my room for too long and, since I hadn't seen the mouse for a while I figured he had found greener pastures elsewhere. Until the other night.
I was reclining in my recliner, half asleep and half watching a Netflix movie, when I heard scratching coming from somewhere near my desk. I muted the TV to further pin-point the sound. The noise was coming from my wastebasket. Mike was back, and he was gorging himself on what was left of my chicken dinner. Although I had left little meat on the bones to Mike, it must have seemed like the blue plate special. I was too lazy and too sleepy to get up to look in the wastebasket and allowed the little guy to eat his fill and leave on his own accord. Which he did. Until the next morning when, once again, he became bold enough to check me out. But this time he stayed long enough so we could get a good long look at each other. 

I watched as his little nose sniffed the air while, at the same time, always ready to move should he detect danger. He just sat there, next to that can of computer duster waiting for my next move. 

Not wanting to lose a staring contest to a mouse I yelled “BOO” which much have triggered the flight portion of his brain because he was off in a streak of pink and gray. I haven’t seen him since. But I’m sure he’s still around.

I have nothing against any living creature. They have a right to live here as much as I do. But not necessarily in the same room with me. And now, since Mike had taken it upon himself to be my new roommate, I think it’s time to get rid of the little rodent. But I don’t want to kill him and I know if I tell maintenance they will bring one of their traps which entices the mouse in where he finds some poisoned food and dies before he can get out. I’ll most likely try to find a “humane” mousetrap and set him free on the lawn so he can go about his mousy business. Or, I could just keep him as a pet. I’m sure management would have no problem with that………………. 

[1]Fortunately, I have yet to see a skunk indoors. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.
[2]They collect the trash from our rooms three times a day but crumbs still fall on the floor and the wastebaskets are not covered.

10% of older adults have got a
new pet during the pandemic

A lot of the attention around "pandemic pets" has focused on families with children getting a cat, dog or other pet in 2020, during a time when many people were learning or working from home.

But a new poll shows that older adults also got in on the trend.

According to the National Poll on Healthy Aging, 10% of all people between the ages of 50 and 80 got a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021.

The percentage was indeed higher - 16% -- among the people in this age range who have at least one child or teen living with them. But the vast majority of people between the ages of 50 and 80 don't live with someone under age 18 -- and nearly 9% of them also got a pet during the pandemic.

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MARCH 29, 2021

Some Social Security recipients say
they're desperate for latest stimulus checks

IRS officials have touted the agency's delivery of the latest round of stimulus checks as reaching eligible Americans in "record time." Yet some Social Security recipients in urgent need of financial assistance say they're still waiting for the emergency relief payment.

The problem may sit with the Social Security Administration (SSA), according to a Wednesday letter from the House Ways and Means Committee to the benefits agency. The letter states that 30 million Social Security recipients are still waiting for their checks, and that the IRS had asked the SSA to send it payment files two weeks before the checks were signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

"As of today, SSA still has not provided the IRS with the payment files that are needed to issue [stimulus checks] to these struggling Americans," the letter says. It is signed by Representatives Richard Neal, John Larson, Bill Pascrell and Danny Davis.


Just How Well Is Popular Culture
Portraying Older Adults?

With older adults still not being adequately represented in most types of major media, despite some recent improvements, the portrayals of later life in popular culture are significant to examine. That's because they impact how those old and young understand this time in the life cycle. Unfortunately, the representations these days often aren't great.

I say that as a cultural studies scholar with a new book on how older adults are being portrayed on television, in movies and in books ("Gray Matters: Finding Meaning in the Stories of Later Life").

Sadly, however, it didn't take long for the "old" jokes in "Mr. Mayor" to emerge.


Understanding the concern about
low blood sodium in older adults

Hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, occurs when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low. This can occur due to certain medications and medical conditions.

Sodium plays a key role in your body. It helps maintain normal blood pressure, supports the work of your nerves and muscles, and regulates your body's fluid balance.

In hyponatremia, one or more factors cause the sodium in your body to become diluted. When this happens, your body's water levels rise, and your cells begin to swell. This swelling can cause many health problems that are mild to life-threatening.


A Beginner's Guide to Therapy

As more people seek help to cope with pandemic and other stressors, an expert explains what to know about therapy

As a psychologist practicing psychotherapy, I've been receiving calls that sound like this: "My primary care physician says I need to see you. I'm depressed, anxious, lonely and feeling crazy. I know I need help, but I don't even know what I'm asking for." These types of vague requests have become the norm this last year.

Primarily because of pandemic uncertainty, isolation and social unrest, a greater number of people are asking for psychological help. We are in a mental health crisis in this country and like most of my peers, I am struggling to accommodate everyone who is requesting therapy.  


6 minutes

Every now and again I like to take an inventory of me. “Check stock”, so to speak. See what’s on the shelf. Fortunately, unlike the company I used to work for where it took 200 people two days to count nearly 30,000 items, my shelves are bare making the task relatively easy. There are only a few categories.
While every item is important to my general wellbeing, It’s that last item I consider the most valuable and the one I want to talk about today.

You’ll notice the two extra check marks after number 8. That’s because living in an environment that can be deleterious to one’s health including sucking the soul from your body and the brains from your head, I am amazed that I have as much gray matter remaining as I do.
Even when there is no COVID-19 to turn our world upside down, an assisted living facility has a way of isolating people from the outside world.
In an effort to make things easier for people, assisted living operators have made it more difficult for many of their residents to deal with everyday activities that most of us do with little difficulty.

While some may think not having to deal with traffic, mass transportation, cooking, cleaning and personal hygiene equivalent to paradise, the truth is not having to cope with the often annoying aspects of modern life leaves one dull and complacent. I’ve seen this happen with my own eyes.
As a resident here for over 7 years, I have seen many people come and go. The “go” part may come from increasing health problems and, unfortunately, death. But the illness is not the only reason many folks can no longer live here. More often than not, people have to leave because they have lost much of their cognitive ability. Not because of Alzheimer’s (which is a real disease and not necessarily due to one’s surroundings) but because they have, through inactivity, lost much of what made them functioning, active people. If your are not required to decide anything more difficult than if you want white or whole wheat bread with breakfast, you run a greater risk of having difficulty understanding more complex issues.

I have mentioned how I have witnessed many of my fellow residents become increasingly apathetic and complacent. So much so they won’t even attend our once-monthly residents meetings which, not only informs them of new activities or protocols but also provides them with a forum by which to ask questions of management, discuss policy, or complain about anything.

We have approximately 190 people living here. The highest attendance we have had for one of our residents meetings is about 70 people. Meaning more than half of our residents either don’t know there’s a meeting, or just don’t care. We have even gone as far as trying to bribe them to attend with gifts and ice cream. To no avail.

It would be easy to succumb to this malady which affects so many of my peers. Instead, I try to remain interested in just about everything that directly or indirectly has influence over the way I fit into society. I have made it my business to be aware of a much as I can and, if necessary, to comment about it on this blog or social media.  

Older people are thought of by many as the original “drop-outs” content to live in a protected cocoon or bubble. This is often perpetuated by the media who look upon seniors as children with gray hair and wrinkles. The opinions of senior citizens (our former and current president excluded) are rarely broadcast or reported. Most times when they do a story on seniors it’s about how “cute” we look doing it. “Wow!” Look, he can stand on a skateboard without falling off.”

I wake up every morning and thank G-d I still have all my faculties and can use them to make my life and the lives of all of those here at the A.L.F. a little better. And, though it has been a challenge lately, I’ll continue to rock the boat and pick at the scab until somebody listens………………………….

[1]Considering I’m an old man and subject to every ache and pain known to man, I’m not doing too bad.

Eating processed meat could increase dementia risk

Scientists from the University of Leeds's Nutritional Epidemiology Group used data from 500,000 people, discovering that consuming a 25g serving of processed meat a day, the equivalent to one rasher of bacon, is associated with a 44% increased risk of developing the disease.

But their findings also show eating some unprocessed red meat, such as beef, pork or veal, could be protective, as people who consumed 50g a day were 19% less likely to develop dementia.

The researchers were exploring a potential link between consumption of meat and the development of dementia, a health condition that affects 5%-8% of over 60s worldwide.

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MARCH 26, 2021

CDC data shows COVID-19 hospitalizations
for older adults are declining
By Caitlin Owens

Older adults' share of coronavirus hospitalizations is shrinking, per the CDC's COVID-NET, a surveillance network representing about 10% of the U.S. population.

Why it matters: Americans 65 and older are significantly more likely to be vaccinated than younger Americans. Their shrinking share of hospitalizations is yet another suggestion that the vaccination effort is working.


The Effect of Ageism on the
Digital Divide Among Older Adults

Older adults as a group are on the negative side of the digital divide. The term “digital divide” not only identifies who uses the internet and who does not, but also gradations of digital exclusion, that is, the complexity, depth, and variety of internet use. Lower use rates of computers and the internet among older adults have important social and cost ramifications. As the internet becomes more integrated into everyday life, people who do not use the internet are more likely to become more disenfranchised and disadvantaged. The literature attributes the digital divide affecting older adults to internal characteristics of older adults, such as lower levels of computer literacy, technophobia, lack of perceived usefulness and physical and cognitive deficits. This paper reviews the literature on ageism and on technology adoption for older adults and expands the literature by discussing why ageism may also contribute to the digital divide among older adults.


A jump in Social Security benefits

Next year's Social Security benefits are expected to jump by the largest amount since 2012, said David Payne at Kiplinger. According to our calculation, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) should be 3 percent in January 2022, "up from the increase of 1.3 percent seen this year." COLAs are calculated using an index that's similar to the one used to calculate inflation. Last year's COLA increase was the smallest since 2017. But the inflation outlook for 2021 is much different. Already, "gasoline prices have risen 23 percent since the beginning of the year, and medical-care costs are making up for lost time as well." Also, the passage of the recent stimulus package should "spur additional consumer spending."


Value-Based Care Can Help Drive Occupancy,
Valuations, Outcomes in Senior Living
By Chuck Sudo

Senior living’s shift toward greater clinical capabilities and integration across the care continuum is opening opportunities for providers to partner with primary care networks, physician-led accountable care organizations (ACO) and Medicare Advantage networks. Participating in value-based care could drive better outcomes for residents and their families, operators and investors.

Covid-19 will only accelerate the push toward a value-based care model, and providers with such systems in place will find it easier to return to pre-pandemic levels in occupancy, lead generation and net operating income (NOI), according to speakers on a webinar on value-based care on Wednesday, hosted by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC).


Almost overshadowing the COVID-19 crisis this week was the horrific news from Colorado that another automatic weapon carrying wacko killed 10 people at a supermarket. The gunman’s reason he drove 30 miles out of his way to this store and why he killed people is still under investigation. And the latest word from Boulder PD is this guy is not cooperating. While shocking enough, this incident follows last week’s murder of 8 people in Georgia. Six of those victims were Asian and part of a growing number of attacks against that group in recent weeks. Unlike other mass shootings, the suspects in both incidents are still alive. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be able to better understand what goes through the minds of these maniacs.

* * *

Almost as fast as an AR-15 can shoot, calls for gun control waft through the halls of Congress. And just as quickly, the Republicans, who think the only way to be safe is to be armed to the teeth and any legislation to make it harder to get the firearm of your dreams, violates the 2nd Amendment, are opposed to any control. Conversely, Democrats say while they don’t like guns and think no one should have anything more dangerous than a Daisy air rifle, would at least like it to make it as hard to get a gun permit as it is to get a driver’s license. My guess is, nothing will change and we will continue to have more incidents like those this past week.
* * *

While the news on gun violence remains grim, there is some good news on the vaccine front. President Biden’s promise to vaccinate 100 million Americans in 100 days worked so well that in a press conference on Thursday, the President upped that to 200 million in 200 days. And now, many states will give shots to anyone over the age of 16. That’s the good news. The bad news is, millions of dopey people refuse to get vaccinated and still more refuse to follow any of the CDC guidelines on infection control. Why do I have the feeling the same people who are against gun control are against wearing masks also.


Did your car ever breakdown on the freeway during rush hour holding up traffic for an hour causing thousands of people to be late for work? Maybe you got caught by the local traffic helicopter guy who put you on the air? While that might be humiliating, it’s nothing compared to what’s going on in the Suez canal. It seems a giant container ship (it’s as long as the Empire State building is high) has run a-ground blocking one of the world’s most important shipping lanes. The ship, The Evergreen, got blown off course by high winds and wound up sideways in the canal. Nothing can get past it. No ships in or out. They say it’s holding up a billion dollars a day in undelivered goods. So if you’re expecting that shipment of camels from Dubai, you might have to wait a little longer.

 * * *

That pesky North Korean is at it again. Flouting UN regulations, Premier Kim lobbed some ICBM’s into the sea of Japan. I have the feeling the reason he does this is not political. I think he just likes to watch them takeoff. You know, like a kid lighting fireworks on the fourth of July. He’s such a fun guy.


Another Spring and another season in lockdown. One year and 11 days have gone by and we here at the A.L.F. are little better off than we were a year ago. No group activities, no congregating, no communal dining and no indoor visitation and, no communication from the state, the governor or the DOH. It looks like another Spring and Summer in quarantine.
Hey! If your goal was to make it through another week, you won. I’m looking forward to having the next couple of days off. I have a lot to do. There’s my sock drawer that needs organizing and a closet to clean out. I’m giving away all the pants I’ve outgrown since the lockdown began. The Goodwill truck should be here on Monday. 


How To Make Kung Pao Chicken
That Tastes Better than Takeout
By Christine Gallary

Kung pao chicken has a lot going for it. The Chinese takeout favorite boasts tender chicken, crisp veggies, crunchy roasted peanuts, and a spicy, savory sauce coating each and every bite. With a few basic stir-frying techniques, you can make this satisfying dish at home anytime the craving strikes. Here’s how to do it.
What Is Kung Pao Chicken, and Where Did It Originate?

Kung pao chicken originated in Sichuan, although you can now find it all over China. The traditional version is a combination of chicken, peanuts, leeks, fried Sichuan peppercorns, and dried chiles, but the version that’s become popular in Chinese-American restaurants (think: P.F. Chang’s and Panda Express) is milder, and features a wider array of vegetables — sometimes bell peppers and onions, other times chunks of zucchini. Our version here takes inspiration from the latter, calling for easy-to-find ingredients and pantry staples to keep it simple and weeknight-friendly.

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MARCH 25, 2021

Here's how digital infrastructure can make
cities more inclusive for elderly people

By Sonja Pedell

Smart cities should provide the digital infrastructure to encourage senior citizens to engage in physical activity, write two academics.

Older people are often confined to retirement villages or nursing homes, rather than integrating into wider society.

One way to resolve this is adapting digital devices such as smartwatches to highlight facilities within urban environments which can help older people.

Senior citizens need help and encouragement to remain active as they age in their own communities. Given the choice, that’s what most would prefer. The smart city can provide the digital infrastructure for them to find and tailor the local neighbourhood information they need to achieve this.


How Women Over 50 Can
Feel Invincible, Not Invisible

It was the shockwave of rejection letters from hiring managers that goaded Guadalupe Hirt and Barbara Brooks to launch SecondActWomen, a Denver-based company designed to help working women in their 50s and older (and also some in their 40s) start companies, pivot careers and stay employed. "They didn't even give us a chance," Brooks said.

That was three years ago, when Hirt and Brooks, now 47 and 54, were mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore to paraphrase the line from the film "Network."

Both women had long careers as marketing and public relations strategists. Hirt's mojo had been entrepreneurial, founding or co-founding four firms. Brooks had worked primarily for corporations. In 2011, she launched her own agency, then pivoted five years later to partner with Hirt, a longtime friend, on the start-up, DECIBEL Marketing.


What COVID-19 Taught Us About
Race, Health and Wealth

The last time I saw my family in person was last February at a conference in South Texas. It was the first time my 10-year-old nephew and six-year-old niece saw me on stage in front of hundreds of people talking about racial inequities in Alzheimer's research, my area of expertise.

I don't know how much of the discussion they understood, but I know they saw their uncle, a first-generation college graduate, alongside experts from across the country holding his own. Afterwards, we munched on enchiladas and talked about the hamsters my husband and I gave them for Christmas — a subject they were much more interested in.

It was hard to anticipate the horrifying precision with which COVID-19 would prey on the most vulnerable among us.

6 minutes

Weak, powerless, isolated, worthless and maybe a bit emasculated. I knew it would be just a matter of time before I would begin to sweat and feel anxious. The symptoms of withdrawal.
It began in the wee hours of the morning. Maybe one or two o’clock.
I was in the middle of bingeing. It was French, pretty good, and it came from the Amazon when it happened.

The image disappeared, and the screen went dark. All attempts at retrieving it failed. I pushed the “Back” button on the remote. But instead of resetting the program, what I saw next was enough to strike fear into the heart and mind of any movie-streaming deviate. There, in black and white, were the words no “junkie” wants to see. “YOU ARE NOT CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET.”

 If it were only a matter of watching a French TV series about people returning from the dead, it would not have mattered that much to me. After all, there was still regular cable to help ween me off the effects of losing my streaming service. But knowing what would await me later that morning sent a chill up my spine.
From experience (this happens from time to time and always at unusual hours) I knew they would not restore the service until the office staff (which widely uses Wi-Fi and internet connected services) came to work, about 9am. Which does me no good.  

The one thing I try to do is get this blog published as close to the same time every day. About 6am, eastern U.S. time. Rarely have I missed that goal. So, when I booted up the laptop at 5:45 and noticed the Wi-Fi symbol had not appeared on the bottom tray, my heart sank. I don’t like missing deadlines. But something worse lay ahead. What if they couldn’t fix it?
Usually all it takes is for someone to flip a switch on the Wi-Fi network adaptor located in a closet near the office. One of our maintenance people accomplishes this task. And they usually do it quickly. But we now have a new maintenance supervisor who may not be as “on the ball” as the previous guy, so who knew how long it might take. The prospect of not having access to my email, Facebook, various news-feeds and my web host (the company that publish this blog) became very real. And very upsetting.

Am I really addicted to the internet. Maybe not in the strictest sense.
All types of Internet addiction contain the following components. [1]

“Despite the agreement that excessive Internet use is a key symptom, no one seems able to define exactly how much computer time counts as excessive. While guidelines suggest no more than two hours of screen time per day for youths under 18, there are no official recommendations for adults. Furthermore, two hours can be unrealistic for people who use computers for work or study. Some authors add the caveat “for non-essential use,” but for someone with an Internet addiction, all computer use can feel essential.”
I know I’m online a lot. Probably 6 or 7 hours a day. But you have to remember, If I didn’t have this access, I would have practically no contact with the outside world. And worse, no contact with friends and relatives who have been prohibited from visiting me for most of the past year. And there’s this. Without the internet, gathering information for this blog would be impossible. 
There’s another reason I don’t believe I have an actual internet addiction. These are the actual symptoms…
“Common Internet withdrawal symptoms include anger, tension, and depression when Internet access is not available. These symptoms may be perceived as boredom, joylessness, moodiness, nervousness, and irritability when you can’t go on the computer.”
Bored? Well, yes, but I’m far from exhibiting the other four. Okay, I’m irritable, but for me that’s normal.

 I never considered myself to be part of that group that has to be constantly connected. I grew up with newspapers, rotary dialing phones and telephone booths. And you needed money to use one, so you kept your talking to a minimum. And until a few months ago, I didn’t even have a smartphone. Can you imagine?
I suppose I could go without online access for a day or two, but after that. All I can say is, things might get ugly…….................

[1] source:,of%20coping%20with%20life's%20stresses.

Some older parents take their adult child's help for granted
Written By: Carol Bradley Bursack

Dear Carol: My parents are in their 70s and healthy. I love them, but I’m worried because they take for granted that when the inevitable health problems begin to happen, I will be their caregiver. This even includes moving in with them.

I’m single and renting, but I’m 41 and want to buy a home, have a social life and date. My work is demanding but enjoyable, and I need the income. I think they have this attitude because my grandparents lived with us, but Mom didn't have an outside job. I will do what I can to help them, but they can’t depend on me to give up my life. I want them to understand, but how do I do that? — JY.

Dear JY: You’re a good daughter, so don’t let your parents or

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MARCH 24, 2021

Money Smart for Older Adults

The Money Smart for Older Adults Program raises awareness among older adults and their caregivers on how to prevent elder financial exploitation and encourages advance planning and informed financial decision-making. Money Smart for

Older Adults was developed jointly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The curriculum consists of an Instructor Guide, PowerPoint slides, and a take-home resource guide. Materials are available in both English and Spanish. The materials are available for immediate download at Money Smart – Teach – For Older Adults.


Is It More Dangerous to Start
Smoking Weed Late in Life?
By Tanner Garrity

Seniors are the fastest growing group of cannabis consumers in the United States. Not high-school seniors — senior citizens. Between 2015 and 2018, the number of Americans aged 65 or older who smoked marijuana or ingested edibles increased by 75%.

The usage numbers are still small, especially compared to the 18-to-25 and 26-to-34 cohorts, which see close to 30% of the demographic smoking weed over the course of a month. The older folks only average around 8%.

But that still represents a tremendous shift in thinking from the early 2000s, when cannabis consumption was nearly nonexistent for those of a certain age. The surge can be attributed to the rise of medical dispensaries, successful legalization movements in 16 states (plus the District of Columbia), and — after decades of demonization — more reasonable rhetoric.


How the American Rescue Plan Act Will Help
More Than a Million Retirees and Workers
Why a little-covered part of the law will provide
many with their promised pensions
By Chris Farrell

Good news on the retirement-income front. Some 1.5 million workers and retirees faced the real risk that their pension incomes would be slashed over the next 20 years or significantly sooner. But the American Rescue Plan Act just signed by President Joe Biden will prevent that from happening.

That's because the massive legislative package includes the Butch Lewis Emergency Pension Plan Relief Act of 2021. It restores to financial health more than 100 failing pension plans known as multiemployer plans (they covered more than one company's employees) for union workers. Most notably, the Teamsters' storied Central States, Southeast & Southwest pension, covering some 400,000 workers and their families.
Which Retirees Will Be Helped and Why

Consequently, truckers, bakery workers, plumbers, construction trade workers and others will receive the benefits they were promised based on their years of work. (Butch Lewis, who died in December 2015, was a Teamster and a pension-protection movement leader.)

Gun Culture:
Why Are Americans Killing Themselves?
6 minutes

As of March 22, there were three mass shootings in the United States in 2021. This is compared to one mass shooting in 1982, one in 2000, and 12 mass shootings in 2018.

I could stop here, and you would have a decent picture of gun violence in the U.S. However, stats can’t explain the reason America is the mass shooting capital of the world. Why are we so intent on settling differences or righting wrongs with a gun? I have my own ideas on the subject.


To understand why we like our guns so much, we have to go back to the beginning when our nation was in its infancy.
We had just fought, and won, a war against the most powerful military force at the time. The British Army. The reason we could overtake that very well-trained army was, (A) we had the home advantage, and (B), we were better shooters.
The men that fought for in the Continental Army were mostly farmers and outdoors men. To them, a rifle was not just a weapon, but a tool needed to put food on his table and keep his livestock safe from predators. And he knew how to make every shot count.
Americans learned early on that the importance of owning a gun. So much so, the government gave us the permission to do just that by writing that into our most sacred document, the U.S. Constitution.
The Second Amendment, one of the ten amendments to the Constitution comprising the Bill of Rights, states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I will not try to debate the nuances, theories or hidden meanings in those words other than to say they wrote it in a different time by people who could not have foreseen a rifle that can shoot 400 rounds a minute. Nor could they have known how easy it would be for any idiot to get one.

Let’s skip ahead fourscore and twenty years to America’s greatest conflict. The Civil War. While they were still using swords, pikes and bayonets, the War Between the States was a shooting war. And man, could those southern boys shoot. They didn’t have to be issued a rifle. They brought their own. By the time the war ended, gun and rifle technology had advanced considerably. Especially the handgun.
Samuel Colt invented the 45 caliber revolver in 1860 and both sides widely used them in the Civil War,. And, while the victorious Northern Army confiscated most of the rifles, the soldiers could keep their handguns. And there were plenty of them. And as America moved west and opened up new territory, the Colt 45 went with them. But unlike other guns in the past that were used for hunting, this gun had only one purpose. To kill another human.

The opening of the “Wild West” left us with new land, unlimited natural resources, vast forests and a gun culture that lasts to this day.
Wearing a gun on one’s hip was common. And many of the laws written over 150 years ago permitting the open carry of firearms exist today. And god help any man that dares try to take that away. Just try, and the gun lobby will wave that 2nd amendment in your face faster than you can say Uzi. [1]
They will also use the old adage “If you make owning a gun a crime, then only criminals will have guns” to make you think anybody that uses a gun to kill 10 people in a supermarket must be a criminal. For most mass killers, that was the only crime they ever committed.

Will we ever have any meaningful federal gun control law? I wouldn’t hold my breath. Besides the lobbyists like the NRA, the Republican party has dedicated themselves to keeping things just the way they are. Why? Because their constituents want guns. They love the power having a gun gives them. And the bigger the gun, the less they have to worry about what it takes to really be a man. You don’t need empathy, or an education to make people take notice when you’re pointing an assault rifle or a Glock 9mm in their face. And there is nothing like a 44 magnum to make up for that empty space in your Jockey shorts either……………… 

[1] Today, while the civilian manufacture, sale and possession of post-1986 select-fire Uzi and its variants is prohibited in the United States, it is still legal to sell templates, tooling and manuals to complete such conversion.

U.S. nursing-home rating system ‘broken’ by
gamed data and poor oversight

Federal regulators, by allowing owners and operators to self-report quality and safety data and failing to audit vital information with diligence, have “broken” the national nursing-home rating system — what was supposed to be an invaluable tool for consumers to make life-and-death decisions about where to place vulnerable loved ones needing round-the-clock care.

Instead, the New York Times reported, the popular and convenient star rankings have become little more than an inaccurate means for facilities to advertise and market themselves, even while keeping from the public their serious problems — including abuse, neglect, over medication, sexual assault, and killings of the aged, injured, and ailing.

The system’s glaring shortcomings were exposed even more by the coronavirus pandemic, the newspaper reported. It launched its deep dig into the ratings when it became clear that highly rated homes, when the pandemic struck, did not fare notably better, as might be expected.

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MARCH 23RD 2021

The problems of today’s nursing homes
can be traced back hundreds of years:
How they evolved into what they are today

By Grace Birnstengel

We are currently at a pivotal point in the nation’s history of caring for the most frail and vulnerable. The way leaders respond to the horrific toll the pandemic has taken on nursing home residents will determine the future of nursing home care for years, possibly decades, to come.

This is not the first — or second — time where massive outrage has led to calls for significant change and reform in nursing homes. The problems that plague today’s nursing homes are, in many ways, reminiscent and tied to their history in the U.S.

As our 85-and-over population continues to grow, nursing home care is an increasing reality for many of our oldest old who require medical and personal care that can’t be met in home or through community services.


Opinion: The age of the ‘silver stoners’ is nigh
By Brett Arends

If you were thinking about spending your final years high as a kite—because, let’s face it, why not?—here’s a promising bit of news.

You might be well advised to do so—on doctor’s orders.

New research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease has added to the claims that cannabis, or especially the ingredient CBD, might help slow, stop or even reverse dementia.

Just a two-week course of CBD improved the symptoms and slowed the cognitive decline in laboratory mice with dementia, reported researchers at the medical and dental colleges of Augusta University in Augusta, Ga. The CBD improved the amount of two key proteins in their brains by about 600% and 900%, the university says.


COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
The Outlook for Healthy Aging

How might the pandemic change perceptions of, and investment in, scientific research — especially for healthy aging and age-related disease?

With COVID-19, we are seeing something powerful going on at the intersection of aging and mortality.

I wanted to gain a deeper understanding, so along with a few colleagues, I looked at data from a few countries where we could clearly see the impact of COVID-19 — meaning that their medical systems were not overwhelmed and people had wide access to high-level medical care.

What we observed was striking.

The chance of dying from COVID-19 doubled every five years from the age of forty. That alone is significant. But when compared to data about mortality, generally, and data about other factors like socioeconomic status, the picture becomes clearer.

7 minutes

At one time there was a sign attached to the marquee over our main entrance that boldly said “Welcome Home.” The sign blew off during a strong windstorm several months ago, and they have not replaced it. Call it fate, prophecy or a harbinger of things to come, but our assisted living facility has felt nothing like home for many months. If anything, the once cozy, welcoming and accessible long-term care facility has become more institutionalized every day.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is the major reason our little “Paradise on The Hill” A.L.F. has become a living hell, we cannot discount the part humans have had in transforming this place into perdition.
A year ago, even as little as six months ago, we could have forgiven the little things that had to change because of the increased need for infection control in the face of an unknown virus with deadly consequences and no cure. The wearing of masks, the washing of hands, closing of the facility’s common areas and the cessation of communal dining and the subsequent delivery of meals to our rooms were something we readily put up with. Residents and staff alike willingly became resolved to their plight. It was what it was, and we had to endure it.

However, as time went on, what looked like a temporary disruption in our lives had become the norm. And, although the prospects of more isolation, ending of visitations with friends and relatives and increased quarantine and lockdown procedures were in the offing, we didn’t complain. We understood that any confusion or mishandling was because of the uniqueness of the situation and would, in time, improve as the staff and management learned to do it better. And now, a year later, with all of us vaccinated, we had renewed hope that soon, we would see at least some return to the pre-covid conditions and to the life they promised us and deserve. Unfortunately, none of that has happened. Things have worsened. Instead of reappearance of a more “home-like” setting, they have turned this place into an cold, barren institution devoid of any of the amenities that make life bearable. We now have the ambience of a sterile clinic and the niceties of a city jail.

Primary on the list is the food.
I knew from previous lockdown’s because of a noro-virus attack several years ago, the food service would be the first to suffer. But those were relatively brief interruptions lasting only two weeks. And when the threat ended, we quickly returned to normal. Little did I figure that the food, in this grossly extended quarantine, would actually be worse than at the beginning of last March.
The best way to explain this is to show you photos taken last April and compare them to those I shot a day ago. As you can see, they have learned nothing.

Breakfast, a year ago, was a cold corn muffing and two hard-boiled eggs. Breakfast Monday comprised two cold toaster waffles and a dry, cold sausage patty. There was a half bowl of relatively hot oatmeal on the side.
Later meals fare no better. On the lower left, a meal from last April. That’s a scoop of tuna salad, a roll, and some beets. A half bowl of luke-warm soup sits on the side. Dinner for us on Sunday (lower right) was a small, very dry room-temperature nugget of fried chicken. A dinner roll and slice of packaged pound cake for desert. They used no actual cooking skills in preparing this food.
But the food is not the only conversion to a institutionalized environment. They way we now permit visitations is more like the local jail than a place when grandma lives…

Inside/outside. They have constructed new visitors booths in what is usually our casual “Country Kitchen” dining area. Visitors must enter an enclosed booth on our patio and speak to their loved-ones through a glass window via a wireless intercom. No touching. Just like at Alcatraz.

With proven vaccines and the coming of Spring, a time when the rest of America looks to renewal and when more and more venues are opening (cautiously) to the public, we sit here mired in red tape and bureaucracy.

When sporting arenas are allowing fans back into the stands and fitness centers are permitting sweaty, open-mouthed wannabe athletes to workout we, quiet, virus free residents are treated as no others have or should be. And no one cares………………………………………

The Creative Pastimes That Have
Sustained Us in the Pandemic

Those of us with time to spare have nurtured new interests and reinvented past ones to help us cope during the past year. When we rose from our couches after binging on the Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit," sales on chess sets jumped by 125%. Kate Middleton and Princess Charlotte, her 5-year-old daughter, go spider hunting in between home-schooling sessions. And many of us have turned to reading to help us escape the challenges of these odd times.   

Consider Susan Flanagin, 74, who festooned the lid of the cardboard cremation casket she bought from a funeral home in Missoula, Mont. "I spent a week going through all my photos, choosing many for a visual timeline of my life," Flanagin wrote on the Next Avenue Facebook page in response to our request that readers surprise us with their creative pandemic projects.

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MARCH 22, 2021

2020 Left Nearly One-Third of
Seniors with Financial Troubles

The year 2020 was difficult for everyone, especially the elderly. Lockdowns, virtual communication, and a fluctuating economy forced seniors to change their daily life and re-evaluate their future. To understand the impact that 2020 had on seniors' finances and home life, American Advisors Group (AAG), the nation's leader in home equity solutions, conducted the Post-2020 Retirement Survey with over 1,500 participants age 60-75.

"Senior citizens make up our entire customer base, so it was important for us to understand how the events of last year affected their well-being," said AAG Chief Marketing Officer Martin Lenoir. "This study showed us that not only are seniors still recovering from last year, but that they have a different outlook on the importance of their home. This may be the perfect time for them to bridge the gap and utilize their home equity to regain the peace of mind they had in years past."

How 2020 Impacted American Seniors:


White House Covid task force member Slavitt
is optimistic 89% of U.S. seniors
will take Covid vaccine
By Emily DeCiccio

Federal government will launch website to help people get vaccinated

Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for Covid response, predicted that a growing number of Americans will continue to take the Covid vaccine due to messaging and evidence from trusted sources.

“In Israel where they’re a little bit ahead of us, 89% of seniors have chosen to take the vaccine,” Slavitt said. “We think we can get up to those kinds of numbers, if we just continue to reliably answer people’s questions, because these are very good, safe, effective vaccines.”

Roughly 37% of people in the U.S. over the age of 65 have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States administered about 17 million shots in the last week alone.

In order to facilitate the vaccine distribution further, the Biden administration announced it will roll out a nationwide vaccine availability website to serve as a link among the multitude of vaccination registration websites from states, pharmacies and other businesse...


Spotting and Stopping Elder Abuse by
Those Exerting Undue Influence
During COVID-19

From increased unemployment to social and political unrest, COVID-19 has had far-ranging consequences beyond the obvious public health crisis. One area that deserves more attention is the increasing threat of elder abuse by those exercising undue influence over isolated seniors during the pandemic.

What is Undue Influence?

Undue influence occurs when one person influences another person to do something that is not of their own free will or in their best interest, such as when a caregiver uses their role to exploit the trust and dependency of their victim to financially exploit them. If the victim of undue influence is elderly, it is a form of elder abuse.

Some examples of undue influence may include:

5 minutes

I’ve avoided discussing marriage or married life on this blog for several reasons. The main one being, the subject is very personal and I’m not sure how comfortable I am sharing it with you. Also, I’m the last person you would want advice from regarding what makes a good (or bad) marriage.
The late, great comedian, Sam Kinison, may have explained married life best when he said, “You can’t frighten me, I was married for eight years.” Having been married for just as many years, that line really hit home for me.

If you think this is going to be a diatribe defaming the institution of marriage, or even a series of anecdotes in which I relive the details of my negative experience, you are wrong. On the contrary. I actually enjoyed being married… mostly.[1] It was the divorce I didn’t like.

No, it wasn’t messy or vindictive. It wasn’t even expensive. I didn’t lose any money and there was no alimony. In fact, I lost little of anything of value at all. Unless you consider the deprivation of companionship, a partner and my best friend as a loss. Which brings us to the question at hand.
I often wonder, “How different would my life be If I were still married?”
While nobody can predict the future, I’m sure things would have been much different.

A little background information is in order.
My ex was (is) an RN with a BSN in nursing and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. And, though I can’t say for sure that I never would have become ill, the chances I would have been as sick as I was, would be less likely. Somewhere along the way, I’m sure she would have insisted on me getting a colonoscopy which might have caught my disease at a stage where medication would have kept me from undergoing life-changing surgery. Wives have a way of being very persistent about getting regular medical exams. It’s all that “plumbing” they have that needs constant attention. So going to the doctor regularly is no big deal for them. Men usually will not seek professional help unless something is broken, bleeding or almost falling off.

Also, if married, I certainly would not be here locked up in this old peoples self-storage warehouse vegetating, while others drag their collective heels figuring out what to do with us. On the contrary. I’d be sitting comfortably in my home in the country somewhere enjoying my retirement, blissfully immune from the worries of the outside world.
But mostly, I would not be alone. There would be someone to listen to my thoughts, ideas, opinions and yes, my crazy rants. No matter how good a blog is for letting off steam, it doesn’t compare to a willing ear and a sympathetic word. Or more likely a “Snap out of it buster and stop feeling sorry for yourself.” Advice you never get at an assisted living facility.

There might have been the possibility we would have had some kids. Which adds an entirely additional dimension to one’s life story. It would have been nice to think that one’s bloodline would continue. Instead, having no kids, it ends with me.

Before all you married people feel sorry for me, there is much to be said for being single. I just haven’t come up with anything yet. If you are married, I envy you. It’s something to be proud of. It not only proves you can get along with others, but have the patients of a saint as well.

And finally, when it comes time for you to end this journey, there will be someone to hold your hand, tell you it’s okay, give you a kiss and send you on your way………………………

[1] Sam Kinison must have enjoyed it too. He was married 3 times

Stimulus check tracker

Why You Can't Afford to Leave a Spouse
or Partner in the Dark About Money

A message to married and unmarried couples about managing your money: it's a two-person job. Letting just one of the two of you handle all the household's saving and investing, bill paying, insurance, wealth building and debt management is a recipe for financial trouble, especially if you're over 50.

That's the big takeaway from the new "Friends Talk Money" podcast I co-host with personal finance syndicated columnist and author Terry Savage ("The Savage Truth on Money") and public television's MoneyTrack co-host and founder Pam Krueger. (You can listen to the episode wherever you get your podcasts or at the end of this article.)

Money Can Be a Tender Topic for Couples

Many of us older folks are downsizing. Smaller cars. Smaller houses and apartments and, small refrigerators. Thus we need to make good use of the little space we have. One way is not to clutter-up your fridge with foods that don't need to be there. Some of these you will know about and some will come as a surprise.

35 Foods That You Should Never Put In The Refrigerator

Dangerous bacteria are lurking all over your kitchen and the way you are storing your food might just be putting loved ones at risk. While some items always need refrigeration, others should firmly stay outside the fridge or else risk being ruined and

 inedible. Do you know which items to put where? Each food has its own unique criteria of how it should be handled and where it’s safe to store. Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones as well as keep your food fresher, longer and tastier. Read on to find out the 35 food items that you shouldn’t be keeping in your refrigerator.

MARCH 19, 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act
and Healthcare Providers – A First Look

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides $1.9 trillion in relief funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic, support the US economy, and provide relief for impacted Americans. Signed into law by President Joseph R. Biden on March 11, 2021, ARPA includes provisions affecting healthcare providers, who remain on the frontlines of the pandemic as the new law takes effect.

The $1.9 trillion package reinforces the nation’s healthcare safety net with funding for rural health providers, community health centers, and skilled nursing facilities. It also makes modifications to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, boosts funding for behavioral health needs and resources, and expands access to individual health insurance coverage.

With respect to COVID-19-related activities, ARPA directs substantial resources to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for testing, contact tracing, vaccines, treatment, and supplies, and for developing, expanding, and sustaining the public health system and associated workforce.


COVID-19 reinfections rare, but senior citizens vulnerable

People who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection are likely to be protected from reinfection for at least six months, but according to a study published on Wednesday, that protection drops dramatically for people over the age of 65.

According to The Hill, The study -- which was published in The Lancet titled 'Assessment of protection against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 among 4 million PCR-tested individuals in Denmark in 2020: a population-level observational study' -- found that protection in the general population to be 80 per cent or higher in those younger than 65, but approximately 47 per cent in those aged 65 years and older, meaning they were more likely to be infected again.

"We found protection in the population to be 80% or higher in those younger than 65 years but to be approximately 47% in those aged 65 years and older. We did not see signs of waning protection against repeat infection within the year 2020," the scientists said in the discussion of the research paper.


My Gray Hair Is An Asset, Not a Shame

An award-winning journalist who stopped coloring her hair opts to remain true to who she is

"I don't want you to get mad at me, but I think you should paint your head again," my 80-year-old dad told me over the phone. Two and a half years ago, at age 50, I'd let my hair go natural, embracing streaks of silver in my long brown hair.

My dad knows my company went through devastating layoffs a few months into the pandemic that included my beloved mentor and boss two months shy of his 60th birthday. "I think you should suck it up and go back to dyeing your hair," said my dad.

5 minutes

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to look at some events that transpired this week.
For those who asked, I’m feeling much better today. A little sleep and a little self-therapy in the form of a rant helped considerably. And for those who are living in another century, no, I did not have the “vapors.”
And now, the news:
Despite 100% opposition by Republicans, President Biden signed into law The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or as it's known, the 1.9 Trillion dollar Covid relief bill. The bill will provide funding for millions of Americans who are suffering economic hardships of the pandemic. And guess what? Nobody, not even dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters, is complaining. Talk about being out of touch with the public. The Republican legislators (none of whom voted for the bill) have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do Lucy.

And speaking of Republicans, not only are many out of touch, they are also stubbornly ignorant. Forty-seven percent of males who identify with the Republican party say they will not get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. While many of them used as a reason a distrust of the efficacy and the swiftness with which they created the vaccines, the real reason is purely political. It’s that MAGA defiance kicking in and overshadowing all sensibility and reality.

On Wednesday of this week, Donald Trump (the man who still thinks he’s President) finally poked his tousled head from his Mar-a-Lago cocoon and urged all those who fell under his MAGA spell to get vaccinated. He told everybody, “It works, and it’s great.” Why he didn’t do it sooner is anybody’s guess. Will this help change the minds of those dissenter’s? We’ll have to wait and see.
If one only heard the name “Georgia” when they watched TV, they would think, “Hey, that’s a real happening place.” It’s “happening” alright, but not good happening.
Forgetting that the state legislature is looking to change the voting rules so that it’s harder for minorities to exercise their franchise, something far worse happened just outside of Atlanta Wednesday when a 21-year-old gunman killed 8 people. Six of which were Asian American. Was it a hate crime? They are still investigating. But they spotted him last year wearing a shirt with the words “COVID-19, Imported from Chy-na.” mimicking the words of, you know who.

While we don't know if the shootings were because of hate, we cannot deny that crimes against Asians have grown over the last year. Since last March there has been over 3800 incidents of violence against Asians in major cities. Including, I’m ashamed to say, here in New York. Unfortunately, hostility against any group comes from sheer stupidity, and that’s a very hard thing to cure.
Meanwhile, here at the “Happy Acre’s Retirement Gulag”, we are all well despite that we have had to postpone visitations for another week. After posting last Friday’s blog, they informed us another of our staff tested positive for the virus, forcing another lockdown.
On a personal note, today marks the one-year anniversary of taking this blog daily. Until March 18th of 2020 we posted new material three days a week. But after I realized that I would have a lot of time on my hands and that there was a need for accurate COVID-19 information, especially as it applied to seniors, I decided to post something new every weekday. Little did I know one year later I would still do this.

There is some good news. I got my stimulus money and wasted no time spending some of it. See. It works!……

Stimulus check tracker

94% of older adults prescribed drugs
that raise risk of falling

From 1999-2017, more than 7.8 billion fall-risk-increasing drugs were prescribed to older adults in the U.S., and deaths from falls doubled

Nearly every older adult was prescribed a prescription drug that increased their risk of falling in 2017, according to new University at Buffalo research.

The study found that the percentage of adults 65 and older who were prescribed a fall- risk-increasing drug climbed to 94% in 2017, a significant leap from 57% in 1999. The research also revealed that the rate of death caused by falls in older adults more than doubled during the same time period.

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MARCH 18, 2021


The IRS and Treasury Department will postpone
 the April 15 tax-filing deadline to May 17

“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement.

In addition, taxpayers can also delay payment of any money owed the IRS until May 17. If payers still need more time to submit their returns, they can request an extension (but not taxes owed) until Oct. 15 by filing Form 4868.

The extended deadline applies only to federal income returns and taxes, meaning that taxpayers will need to check to see if due dates for state taxes have been changed. Not all states follow the same filing deadline as the federal government.


What Should You Do If You Suspect
Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?

When you've made the tough decision to place a loved one in a nursing home, you expect them to receive quality care.

That's what nursing homes are for, after all.

They are there to provide your loved one with a level of care that you are unable to.

Fortunately, most nursing homes do this and provide excellent care to all of their residents.

But, if you ever suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to take action right away.


Silent heart attacks appear to increase
future stroke risk in older adults

Silent heart attacks appear to increase stroke risk in adults 65 and older, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference 2021. The virtual meeting is March 17-19, 2021 and is a world premier meeting for researchers and clinicians dedicated to the science of stroke and brain health.

A silent heart attack, also known as a silent myocardial infarction, has no, minimal or unrecognized symptoms. An electrocardiogram (ECG) or some form of imaging of the heart like an echocardiogram or a cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is needed for diagnosis.

Long-term risk of death can be as high after a silent heart attack as it is with a recognized heart attack, and it turns out silent heart attacks are more frequent than traditional chest-crushing heart attacks in older adults. We found having a silent heart attack increases stroke risk, suggesting silent heart attacks may need to be recognized as a new risk factor for stroke."


New study emphasizes importance of
those with dementia getting vaccinated

New data shows that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are twice as likely to get COVID-19. The Alzheimer’s Association is now encouraging everyone to get the vaccine.

A sense of relief — that’s how Terri Littlejohn describes feeling after her 87-year-old mother Dorothy got two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“She had no problems, no reaction to any of that,” Littlejohn said.

Just A Crappy Day
5 minutes

I don’t feel well today. There’s nothing specific like a headache or an upset stomach. I don’t have a fever or chills, nor do I feel dizzy or lightheaded. However, I am tired. But it’s a tiredness that sleep can not cure. After all, how much sleep would it take to make up for a year of tedium, isolation and boredom?
Mental health professionals would most likely diagnose me as being depressed, But I’m already depressed and have been, officially, for 11 years. And besides, I know what real depression is and this ain’t it. Real depression is painful and all-encompassing. It interferes with everything you do, from work, eating and your relationship with others. And, in my case, it actually prolonged my healing process. But, as I said, this is different. Today, I’m just listless and don’t feel like doing anything. Not even this blog. The only thing that has kept me going all these months, today feels like a chore.
Television isn’t helping much. News about COVID-19, vaccinations, stupid Anti-Vaxxer's, dumb politicians and their even dumber constituents dominates the news. And so-called “entertainment” programs seem incomplete without a studio audience, or even a studio. Trying to do an interview via Skype or Zoom just isn’t the same as being in the same room.

Maybe the reason I’m feeling as I do is because I haven’t had a decent conversation with anybody for over a year. Other than a casual “Hello, how are you” the only exchange I’ve had has been with staff members whose major interest is whether I want chicken or fish for dinner. Even my primary physician, who I see every three months, seems bored with me. I feel maybe I should come up with some exotic symptoms just to keep him interested.
There’s no doubt that the entire facility has fallen into a deep funk. I can see it in the masked faces of the staff and the resident’s alike. It’s as if they have resigned themselves to the situation, to where they see no end to it. At least not soon. They shattered any hope of that happening days ago when, although they have vaccinated all of us and declared COVID free, we remain as we have for 12 months. Quarantined and locked down.
Many of us, our administrator included, believed that after the vaccinations the state would revise their restrictive hold on our freedom and permit a slow return to normalcy. But as another dawn broke over the horizon, it is as it has been. And, as far as anyone knows, they’re not ev
en talking about it.
I have written to every person, every agency and long-term care industry organization in the state. I’ve written to my congressional representative and my two senators. And all I get b
ack are “thank you” form letters.

I refused dinner last night. I just couldn’t face another dreary meal served on Styrofoam plates by weary servers and prepared by cooks whose budget they have to work with overshadows their lack of talent.
I know this is a rant you have heard before. And believe me, I am as tired of repeating it as you must be by listening to it. But it’s the only thing I have left right now that inspires me to action, as lame as it may be. I need the defiance to know I’m still alive……………………………


I received this in an email today. I thought it was worth sharing…

Too true

The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You Happier,
Healthier and More Productive

Of all the different things you can try to improve your productivity, a morning routine is one of the most effective.

There are a few reasons why morning routines are so useful. The first is obvious to anyone who has ever procrastinated, just getting started is often the hardest part. If you can start out with the right momentum towards your goals, you’ll avoid wrestling with yourself in the morning to get started.

The second is that the morning, particularly before the workday officially begins, is a quiet time with fewer social obligations. For many of us, the rest of the day can present a chaotic, ever-changing blast of responsibilities, urgent errands and unexpected interruptions. The morning, in contrast, is often the most consistent part of your day.

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MARCH 17, 2021

Maggots, Rape and Yet Five Stars:
How U.S. Ratings of Nursing Homes Mislead the Public

By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Robert Gebeloff

Nursing homes have manipulated the influential star system in ways that have masked deep problems — and left them unprepared for Covid-19.

Carrie Johnson was recuperating at Brookdale Richmond Place in Lexington, Ky., after spinal fusion surgery. An untreated infection left her unable to walk or even stand.

Twelve years ago, the U.S. government introduced a powerful new tool to help people make a wrenching decision: which nursing home to choose for loved ones at their most vulnerable. Using a simple star rating — one being the worst, five the best — the system promised to distill reams of information and transform an emotional process into one based on objective, government-blessed metrics.

The star system quickly became ubiquitous, a popular way for consumers to educate themselves and for nursing homes to attract new customers. During the coronavirus pandemic, with many locked-down homes unavailable for prospective residents or their families to see firsthand, the ratings seemed indispensable.


Why Older People Managed to Stay
Happier Through the Pandemic

By Benedict Carey

New surveys over the last year show that the ability to cope improves with age.

For all its challenges to mental health, this year of the plague also put psychological science to the test, and in particular one of its most consoling truths: that age and emotional well-being tend to increase together, as a rule, even as mental acuity and physical health taper off.

The finding itself is solid. Compared with young adults, people aged 50 and over score consistently higher, or more positively, on a wide variety of daily emotions. They tend to experience more positive emotions in a given day and fewer negative ones, independent of income or education, in national samples (work remains to be done in impoverished, rural and immigrant communities).

But that happiness gap always has begged for a clear explanation. Do people somehow develop better coping skills as they age?


Can Managing Blood Pressure
Slow Alzheimer's Disease?

By Judy George

Aggressively lowering blood pressure in hypertensive older adults did not consistently affect Alzheimer's imaging biomarkers, a substudy of SPRINT MIND participants showed.

MRI markers of Alzheimer's disease -- regional atrophy, cerebral blood flow, and mean fractional anisotropy -- were similar over 4 years whether patients had standard or aggressive blood pressure treatment, reported Ilya Nasrallah, MD, PhD, of University of Pennsylvania, and co-authors.

However, intensive blood pressure treatment was associated with a small but statistically significant larger decrease in hippocampal volume (mean difference -0.033 cm3, 95% CI -0.062 to -0.003, P=0.03), they wrote in JAMA Neurology.

Ignorance vs Stupidity

The “Year of COVID” has divided us more than any single event in our history. It also has taught us much about America and Americans. Perhaps more than we wanted to know.
For instance, we now know we are as racist as always. The only difference is, they have legitimatized it and brought out in the open because of a former administration whose words and deeds gave permission to his supporters to do so.
Besides the racism, we have learned how “cultish” we are and how so easily we could be manipulated by someone who knew just the right buttons to push.
And now we have learned something else. Something that may prove far more dangerous than anything Trump and the MAGA’s could ever have imagined.
The party that claims to be “Of the People, by the people and for the People” has become the party of ignorance and mistrust.

“A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Wednesday found that although 67% of Americans plan to get vaccinated or have already been inoculated, a significant segment of the U.S. population, consisting primarily of Republicans and individuals without college degrees, is hesitant about getting the Covid-19 vaccine, which could impact the aim to achieve herd immunity.

Some 21% of respondents in the AP-NORC poll said, “I don’t believe I need a Covid-19 vaccine.”

Some 23% of Republicans said they would “definitely” not get vaccinated, while another 21% said they “probably” won’t get the Covid-19 vaccine when it is made available to them.

Four in ten non-college graduates also say they definitely or probably won’t get immunized.
Only 7% of Democrats said they would refuse to be vaccinated, with 82% having already been vaccinated or planning to do so.” [1]

But just in case you thought it’s only a bunch toothless goobers who are ‘refusenicks’, there’s this…

"Incredibly, this vaccine resistance is not just playing out among the general populace, but on Capitol Hill as well. As Axios reported Sunday, a quarter of lawmakers in the House have still yet to be vaccinated—some because of medical conditions, some just out of a refusal to get one. And while the party-affiliation of all the holdouts keeping Congress from returning to normal business isn’t clear, Democratic leaders have implied that Republicans are at fault.

“Roughly 75% of all members in this House have had a vaccination for COVID-19,” Minority Whip Steve Scalise said on the floor last week. “There’s a strong desire to get back to a regular floor schedule.” [2]

What the heck is going on here? An what does it mean for the rest of us Americans who are eager to return to normalcy?

Remember that funny new phrase “Herd immunity?” [3]

According to Dr. Ashley Drews, medical director of infection prevention and control at Houston Methodist….

"It's still unclear exactly how many people will need to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19, but experts estimate that it will take somewhere around 70% of the population — with some estimates ranging as high as 90%," says Dr. Drews.

In the U.S., that means at least 248 million people will need to be vaccinated.

"What we need to keep in mind is that some people can't get vaccinated, either due to their age or medical history. So those of us who can get vaccinated need to do our part to protect those who can't," explains Dr. Drews."

While we don’t know the actual reasons so many Republicans are refusing to get vaccinated, I will bet not all of it is political. There are many people in our nation who are just plain ignorant. Not because they are stupid, but because they suspect anyone with an education. And by “education” I’m not referring to those with formal schooling. I’m talking about those people who have read nothing more informative than Marvel comics or a Chilton’s car repair manual.. And whose primary source of news comes from Fox.

But before we admonish Republicans for their empty-headedness, let us not forget about many of our fellow seniors whose lack of knowledge is surprising…

A new report shows, many older adults do not plan to be vaccinated because they believe they have to pay for it.
“According to the report from, more than 312,173 senior citizens nationwide fall into this category. The conclusion was made using data from the Census Bureau’s weekly Household Pulse surveys.
Levels of senior concern over COVID-19 vaccine cost regardless of the fact “The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States.” [4]
Fortunately, I don’t know any of those seniors. They must hang out at a different senior center that me. Or they have all been sipping too much elderberry wine or live in states where pot is legal.
How can we clear the cobwebs from these folks’ heads? The former president could be a big help. All he has to do is publicly admit he and his wife have been vaccinated and we should too. But for some reason, he won’t.
As for my fellow senior anti-vexers, I can only say, “How long will it be before you can play Bingo again?”…………..

[1] source:
Nearly half of U.S. men who identify as Republicans said they have no plans to get the coronavirus vaccine, according to a new PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released Thursday.
The study, which surveyed 1,227 U.S. adults from March 3 to March 8, found that approximately 30 percent of Americans overall said they do not plan on getting vaccinated.
The poll found a higher amount of opposition among Republicans, with 41 percent saying they would not get one of the three federally approved coronavirus vaccines and 49 percent of Republican men saying the same. Fifty percent of GOP men said they would get the vaccine or had already got it. One percent was unsure.
[3]"Herd immunity is when a large enough portion of a community is immune to a virus so that the virus can no longer spread easily from person to person"
[4] source:

New study emphasizes importance of
those with dementia getting vaccinated

According to a study by Case Western, people with dementia are two times more likely to get COVID-19

 New data shows that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are twice as likely to get COVID-19. The Alzheimer’s Association is now encouraging everyone to get the vaccine.

A sense of relief — that’s how Terri Littlejohn describes feeling after her 87-year-old mother Dorothy got two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“She had no problems, no reaction to any of that,” Littlejohn said.

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MARCH 16, 2021
Over 312,000 senior citizens in U.S. expected to
decline COVID vaccine over cost concerns
By Jeff Oravitz

In the U.S., the COVID-19 vaccine is free to anyone living in the country. However, a new report shows, a large number of older adults do not plan to be vaccinated because they believe they have to pay for it.

According to the report from, more than 312,173 senior citizens nationwide fall into this category. The conclusion was made using data from the Census Bureau's weekly Household Pulse surveys.

The report shows some of the top states with seniors who reported cost concerns in the survey include:


'Just cruel at this point': Nursing homes
 push to reopen for visits,
hugs after COVID-19 vaccine

A Missouri man worried about his mother’s weight loss after she spent a year in a nursing home under COVID-19 lockdown without his daily peanut butter shakes.

In Florida, a devoted husband celebrated his final wedding anniversary on opposite sides of his wife’s nursing home window.

A woman in the Bronx, New York, blamed her mild heart attack on stressful months of separation from her mother.

 “I couldn’t hug her for Mother’s Day, for the whole year,” Lillian Marrero said.


Floridians to live a long life,
but New Yorkers live longer
By Chris Perkins

Florida, with its warm climate and abundant sunshine, has often been considered a great place to live, especially if you’re older. But relatively speaking, Florida isn’t necessarily a place for residents, young or old, to expect to live a long life.

Florida, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ranked 22nd in life expectancy for residents. That’s behind Hawaii, California and New York, which comprise the top three in life expectancy.

Floridians who are 65 years old rank seventh in remaining life expectancy.

5 to 6 minutes

Ask most any old person how they feel, and chances are you will not receive an honest answer. It’s not because seniors are pathological liars by nature. Quite the contrary, most old folks are truthful. However, the reason you won’t get the truth is that they don’t know. Because what you might think is a straightforward question becomes subjective when asked of a senior.

To be honest, most seniors never feel well. There is always something that aches, throbs, sticks, rubs or makes you queasy, dizzy or nauseous. Sometimes it’s just a headache, or an earache that has suddenly come about. Or maybe your vision is abnormally blurry today. Or perhaps that chronic ailment you have had for years is giving you more “trouble’’ than usual.


As that great philosopher Roseanne Roseannadanna (played by Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live) used to say, “It’s always something.” Such it is with me.
Truthfully, I can’t remember the last time I was close to feeling 100%. Even when I was in fairly good shape during my teenage years, I can remember waking up feeling like crap. Does everybody feel that way when they get up? Is it just the body’s way of re-aligning itself after being in a prone position for seven or eight hours? Or is there something seriously wrong with us?

Sometimes I feel we are not supposed to feel good all the time least we become complacent and forget we are mere mortals whose fragile mechanism could give way, zapping us into oblivion. And the older we get, the closer that prospect becomes reality. Ask any group of old people, eight out-of-ten of them will tell you how close they have come to dying. Which brings us back to the original question, “How do you feel today?”
If you ask that question of a person who has faced death frequently (as many seniors have) and you ask him on a day when he is not in the hospital or about to undergo some painful and intrusive procedure where the instruments used will look more like a medieval lance than a modern medical miracle, he will probably answer, “I feel okay.” Not because he does, but because compared to other days, this one is not bad. Tomorrow? Maybe not so good.

Here at the ALF, the only vehicle pulling up to our main entrance more than the Chinese food delivery guy are the ambulances. Often our driveway looks more like a parade route on the Fourth of July. There are days when I have seen two Fire Rescue trucks, four police cars and three ambulances parked in our driveway, all with lights flashing, to attend to our residents who have fallen ill. Actually, ambulances are here so often, most of us pay little attention to them. It’s like watching the city bus make a pickup.
Old folks who have the good fortune not to be incarcerated in a long-term care facility will tell you they feel okay, even if they don’t. After all, they know most likely you don’t really care and are just being polite or, if they told you the truth, you would dial 911 before they finished listing all of their ailments.

Illness when you are old is expected. And you had better learn to live with it. Doctors know this, but don’t accept it. And often, instead of making the senior’s life better, put them through needless tests and procedures and prescribe medication whose side effects are worse than the disease they are treating or give them pain
 numbing drugs that keep them sleepy or dopey or both. Mostly, without the full consent of the patient who has become intimidated by anyone in a white coat. Something medical professionals have used to manipulate people since Hippocrates.
Therefore, the next time you meet an old person, instead of asking how they are, just say “Your looking well”. or better yet, say nothing.

By the way, how do I feel today? Better you shouldn’t ask………………..


Pandemic Forced Millions
of Workers to Retire Early
By Jon Marcus

Retirement is supposed to be a happy time, but Lucie Desmond expects there will be tears when her paperwork comes through.

Desmond, 62, has been a flight attendant for 36 years, most recently on the American Airlines route between Phoenix and London. But after repeated leaves forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, she has put in to retire much earlier than she had planned.

"I could have done that till I was 70,” Desmond says. “Then COVID hit."


Transportation and Mobility Needs of Older Women

The Department of Preventive Medicine of the University of Iowa College of Medicine was contracted to prepare a document addressing the research needs for maintaining the safe mobility of older women in the United States, with an emphasis of automobile driving as well as other modes of transportation. This activity was funded by a grant from the National Safety Council. The specific objectives were:

1. Through epidemiological databases, other databases, and literature sources, review current population health, function, socio-economic, and mobility and driving status of American women aged 65 and over and make consider the issues in projecting future population function and mobility status.

2. Identify existing data sets that summarize current transportation use, both public and private, in older women as defined in Objective 1. The relative availability of various modes shall be discussed, and their suitability for individuals with various functional decrements should be discussed.

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MARCH 15, 2021

I'm a chef at an assisted living facility.
Our residents' greatest wish is to dine together again.

The ban on indoor gatherings hits assisted-living residents hard, as they retreat to their rooms when they’d rather be dressing for dinner.

The dining room I supervise bears a sorry resemblance to a furniture showroom close-out sale these days, with boxes stacked along the walls, tables pushed to the four corners of the cavernous space, and chairs stacked in a geometric pile. This used to be the frenetic nucleus of the Ballard Landmark, a senior and assisted living community in Seattle, Washington where I am the corporate culinary director.  Since last March, it’s been stripped of its primary purpose, to provide meals – and a sense of community – to 150 vital seniors now held captive in their rooms.

Adults 65 and older come to senior and assisted living for reasons as varied and plentiful as the pills in their medi-sets. But once they have moved in, the predominant unifying theme is the desire for companionship. The dining room has the gravitational pull of the sun, providing a fertile environment for the seeds of new friendships. While some residents join in activities such as exercise classes or book clubs, everyone participates in meals three times a day, and spends even more of the day preparing for those meals — choosing tablemates and a time to eat and selecting the perfect outfit. Many bring the news of the day, possibly scribbled in pen on a recycled menu or envelope, as a conversation starter. Others bond over heated discussions about crisp versus soft vegetables and the near impossibility of making a moist skinless and boneless chicken breast.


States should fund senior living, relax visitation
restrictions, association leaders tell governors

The National Governors Association should “strongly encourage” state governments to provide financial relief to senior living providers and caregivers for COVID-19-related expenses, Argentum President and CEO James Balda told NGA Chair Gov Cuomo (D-NY) and Vice Chair Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) on Thursday in a letter.

Additionally, governors should “immediately revise state guidance related to visitation in senior living communities,” American Seniors Housing Association President David Schless told Cuomo and Hutchinson in a separate letter.

States could provide relief to senior living, Balda said in his letter, via funding allocated to state governments through the American Rescue Plan Act that was signed Thursday by President Biden. “Unfortunately, senior living, including assisted living providers, were not addressed with any funding” in the act, he noted.


Medicaid Could Help Unlock Middle-Market Senior Living —
But Policies, MCOs May Not Favor Providers

By Chuck Sudo

With their eyes on the huge cohort of lower- and middle-income baby boomers, senior living providers are looking to the Medicaid program as one potential avenue for growth. Large providers such as ALG Senior and Gardant have carved out niches in the Medicaid space, but recent Medicaid policy changes paint a decidedly mixed picture about where the program is going and how attractive the opportunities will be for assisted living.

On February 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package. Included in the bill is a a 7.35% rate increase to Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP), for states to enhance home- and community-based services during the pandemic.

If the provision survives budget reconciliation in the Senate, it could prove to be beneficial for assisted living providers with Medicaid-reimbursements of home- and community-based services as a revenue stream.

6 to 7 minutes

December 7th. November 22nd. 9/11. All dates that will “live in infamy.” Days on the calendar showing a point in time that changed America. And a time when America, with all its faults and diversity, came together as one in unity and support.

Now we have another date to add to that group. March 14th.(or 15th, depending on where you are). However, unlike the others on the list, this date is more about division than unity. It is the day, one year ago, when America joined the rest of the world and recorded its first death by a then little-known virus called COVID-19. And, instead of bringing us together as adversity has done before, it separated us in a way no foe could ever do. The virus has not only kept us apart physically, but ideologically and politically as well. And has caused untold damage to the minds and hearts of millions of Americans including its senior citizens.

Unlike any other group or demographic, they have singled out older Americans, most notably those who live in long-term care facilities, to endure every piece of misinformation, falsehood and unwarranted precaution they could come up with. No other citizens have had to put up with the indignities that we have. All in the belief that what they are doing is for our own good. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Every decision supposedly made on our behalf, they have made to cover the well-cushioned asses of politicians and others whose livelihoods depend on keeping old people alive and out-of-sight. At any cost.

The divisiveness began well before March 2020, when the president of the U.S. decided it was unnecessary to inform the public of the severity of the virus that had already ravaged most of Europe. Under the guise of “not wanting to cause a panic”, but in reality, not wanting to further smudge an already tarnished presidency, Mr. Trump played down the seriousness of the situation to cover up a tragically unprepared healthcare system when when he ended an Obama era plan on how to handle just such an emergency. A failure of leadership for America and a calamity for its seniors who, in the confusion, they overlooked as the first group to be affected by what proved to be a lethal pathogen.

I could have written this post anytime in the last 6 months. Not because America and the world continues to cope with the deadliness of the virus and its impact on almost every facet of our lives, but because, in those last months, even though we now have vaccines to combat the more dangerous aspects of the infection, as far as those of us who they have detained, quarantined and locked down within the confines of our respective facilities, nothing has changed. Nothing.

They have vaccinated all of us (staff and residents alike) and the infection rate for facilities like ours is extremely low; but despite that, they have not seen fit to end, modify, or reduce any of the regulations imposed on us. And there does not appear to be any desire to do so. As long as we remain silent and alive, why upset the status quo. But after a year, many of us, administrators included, are wondering what the f**k is going on? And even the most complacent, apathetic resident is exhibiting signs of depression and hopelessness. And now some of us are asking, “Why are they treating us differently from the rest of America, which has begun a slow return to normalcy while we sit here, stuck in the mire of a bureaucratic swamp.

The month of March 2021 began with so much hope.
They were vaccinating residents and staff of long-term care facilities at an amazing rate. We here at the A.L.F. waited in almost giddy anticipation for our jab in the arm believing, that soon after, they would allow us to return to most, if not all, of our regular activities. At least those that are conducted entirely within the confines of our building. After all, didn’t we do all they asked of us? Haven’t we complied with and suffered more than any other segment of society? Evidently not. As they have continued the misery rather than have to deal with the possibility, they may have done the wrong thing.
There is a glimmer of hope. But only if the Governor resigns. Because it is he, and his henchman, the commissioner of the Department of Heath Dr. Howard A. Zucker, that is responsible for our year-long isolation. It’s a slim chance that even if he does leave, any change will happen. But it is something to look forward to. After all, even a promise of relief is better than none.
From Quarantine Central in the hills overlooking the City of Yonkers, NY, still incarcerated after 365 days, I remain…..............................

Immune protein may link chronic
inflammation and frailty in older adults

Immune protein may link chronic inflammation and frailty in older adults
Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers have identified an immune system protein called interleukin-6 as a possible link between chronic inflammation and frailty in older adults. Credit: Public domain image

Chronic inflammation in people age 65 and older may be marked by frequent infections, pain, injuries and slow healing wounds. To make matters worse, the negative impact of chronic inflammation on older adults is often compounded by frailty—the state of aging characterized by weakness, weight loss, poor balance and other symptoms that makes older adults among the most vulnerable for accidents, mobility issues, poor outcomes following illnesses, and death.

In recent years, medical researchers have proposed that the dangerous connection between chronic inflammation and frailty may be due to a protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6). IL-6 is a cytokine, a molecule produced by immune system cells to help regulate the body's response to injury or infection. It is one of the main stimulators of inflammation and fever, two of the mechanisms the immune system uses to restore health.


How Our Attitude About Death
Affects The Way We Age

I belong to a tennis club in Woodstock, N.Y. that until recently had a membership with a median age of 65. Largely based around the members' advancing age, several of the club's participants have died over the past two years.

For me and some of my friends, this scattering of deaths triggered a host of thoughts regarding one's attitude about the inevitability of death.

One of my friends at the club, Steve Josephs, who is 78, was crushed by seeing several of his tennis buddies dying. It made him confront his own vulnerability and mortality. He also said that knowing that life is temporary alters your entire attitude toward living.


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MARCH 12, 2021

How Can The US Fix Long-Term Care
In A Post Covid-19 World?
By Howard Gleckman

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catastrophe for frail older adults. More than 170,000 residents and staff of long-term care facilities have died from the virus, and adults over age 65 living in all settings have accounted for about 80 percent of the nation’s deaths, or about 400,000 fatalities.

But what lessons have we learned? And how can we build on this public health disaster to repair a long-term care system that has been broken for decades? Last fall, the Urban Institute brought together 31 experts in long-term care to discuss how the US can fix the fractured system, given the hard lessons of covid-19.  

Participants included some of the nation’s leading scholars and researchers, policy analysts, and representatives of senior living communities, family caregivers, direct care workers, and managed care plans. The project was funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation.


A new drug that could help more than 128 million Americans
read without needing glasses has been submitted
to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

A new drug that could help more than 128 million Americans read without needing glasses has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.  

The investigational eye drop – called AGN-190584 – is expected to be approved by the end of this year, according to a statement released last week by Allergan Eye Care, an AbbVie company.

The eye drops are a pilocarpine solution meant to treat the symptoms of presbyopia, an age-related condition that causes gradual loss of the eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Exercise app lowers fall risk for older adults

A fall-prevention program that includes a tablet-based, gamified exercise app improved exercise frequency for low-income, homebound older adults and reduced their risk for falls, a new study shows.

The program addresses the fact that many older adults are unable to utilize community-based fall prevention programs due to their mobility limitations.

“Our participants were highly receptive to the program and felt empowered when performing the exercises on their own at home,” says Namkee Choi, professor and chair in gerontology at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the paper in the Journal of Applied Gerontology.


Many More Older Americans Willing to Get COVID Vaccine

Older Americans are far more willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine than they were last fall, a new survey shows.

The survey was conducted in late January. It found that 71% of adults aged 50 to 80 said they're ready to get vaccinated when a dose is available to them, or that they'd already been vaccinated.

That's a significant increase from 58% last October found by the National Poll on Healthy Aging at the University of Michigan.

The new findings are "incredibly encouraging, given the amount of hesitancy we saw in our poll from late fall," Dr. Preeti Malani, the poll's director, said in a university news release. She's a professor of infectious diseases.

It’s Friday. Which means it's time to have a look at what transpired in this crazy, COVID-19 infested world of ours in the last 7 days.
If you are an American citizen with a Social Security number, an address and a bank account and earn less than $75,000 a year, you may see $1400 appear in your account as early as this weekend.


After nearly two weeks of delaying tactics by Republican legislators, who think the money is theirs, and votes in both the Senate and House of Representatives, President Biden signed into law The Covid Relief Bill which will help millions of working people and retirees with paying bills, buying food, keeping a roof over their heads and providing relief for ailing transit systems and not to mention extending unemployment benefits. Sadly, not one Republican voted in favor of the bill.
Yes, 1.9 trillion dollars is a lot of money. But, as my cousin says, “The government owns the printing presses.”
On the other side of the Pond, there’s trouble brewing in Buckingham Palace.
While I’m far from a Royal Watcher and usually could not care less about Mehgan, Harry, Charles, Kate, the Queen or any of them, I must address the question of racism at the top of the British feeding order.
The Oprah interview with Princess Mehgan and her hubby, Harry, opened a can of worms the Royal Family would rather have remained closed. The only thing I’m not sure of is does the monarchy have a problem with Mehgan because she’s black or because she’s American? They must still smell the scent of Mrs. Simpson in the palace drapes.
And speaking of things that smell, my Governor Cuomo remains embroiled in a controversy that could lead to his demise as chief executive of N.Y. State. The allegations of sexual improprieties keep pouring in. Today, a 6th woman said the governor “reached under my blouse” while she was working in his office. However, she never made a formal complaint. The governor denies all the charges made against him, adding that he has no intention of resigning.
Normally, I would applaud his position, but after the way he has handled the COVID-19 situation regarding the treatment of residents of long-term care facilities, I would not mind seeing him go. Which brings me to things closer to home.
We met with our administrator on Wednesday for the first time in nearly a year. Among things discussed was the matter of when our facility would return to some form of normalcy given they have vaccinated all the residents and staff?


While our admin. could not give us a date, he said that the only person who could reverse the overly cautious measures imposed on facilities like ours, is (you guessed it) The Governator himself, Mr. Cuomo. Considering he has other things on his mind, I’m not holding my breath waiting for a decision. Monday will be the one-year anniversary of our lockdown and, while the world prepares for a near-normal summer, nothing has changed for us. And they wonder why I’m on anti-depressants…………………….. 


Swedish Egg Coffee Recipe:
What It Is And How To Make It
By Taylor Tobin

When we talk about a “smooth” cup of coffee, we’re discussing a brew that strikes a perfect balance of flavors without over-aggressive bitterness or acidity. This flavor profile can prove difficult to achieve for amateur baristas, but an intriguing brewing style known as “egg coffee” might just help you reach that ideal.

What is egg coffee?

Egg coffee is made by cracking a raw egg ― shell included ― into a cup, mixing it with your ground coffee, and then simmering it on the stove. The egg clings to impurities in the coffee, removing them from the liquid you end up pouring out and drinking, supposedly making for the smoothest cup of coffee you’ll ever drink.

Anyone who’s gone to culinary school and made consommé hundreds of times can attest that egg whites remove impurities from a liquid. When making consommé, a mixture of egg whites and raw ground chicken are stirred into a cloudy stock. As it slowly cooks, that mixture forms a “raft” on the top of the stock, attracting proteins and particles in the stock that cling to the raft, leaving behind a perfectly clarified consommé liquid. The raw egg in Swedish egg coffee serves a similar purpose.

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MARCH 11, 2021

The CDC’s new guidelines for vaccinated people:
hug your grandkids but don’t travel
By: Al Tompkins

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disappointed a lot of people when it issued its new guidelines on what fully vaccinated people can now do safely.

The CDC did not change its guidelines on travel, meaning the new guidelines are not a green light for you to climb on a plane or train and live life as you did a year ago. In fact, the CDC says outright that it discourages travel right now.

The guidelines carry a cautious tone even while schools open to in-person learning and states drop mandatory mask laws. The CDC says in most situations, vaccinated people should still wear a “well-fitted” mask and maintain social distance, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, cover coughs and sneezes and wash their hands often.


Nearly 55 percent of US seniors have
gotten at least first COVID-19 shot
By Natalie O'Neill

Nearly 55 percent of Americans age 65 or older have gotten at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot,  the White House said Friday.

“Six weeks ago, only 8 percent of seniors — those most vulnerable to COVID — had received a vaccination. Today, nearly 55 percent of people age 65 or older have received at least one shot,” Andy Slavitt, senior adviser to President Biden’s coronavirus response team, said during a White House press briefing.

“Altogether, we’ve administered more than 82 million shots — more than any country in the world,” Slavitt said.

Getting shots in seniors’ arms is crucial because people over 65 make up nearly 80 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the US, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


What Could Reduce Rising Hate Crimes
Against Asian American Elders

It was two days before Thanksgiving and Margaret Huang, 55, was on her daily afternoon walk. The route for the CEO of Credence, an Oakland, Calif.-based leadership development group, usually takes her through the city's Chinatown. But since Daylight Saving Time had just passed, her path was darker than usual.

Suddenly, two young men ran up behind Huang and proceeded to mug her, snatching her purse and pulling her Airpods from her ears. Stunned, Huang then saw her attackers running towards a white car where a third man was waiting. They entered the vehicle and took off.

6 minutes

A small group of us residents 
or what I like to call “The Inner Circle”, here at the Asylum, had a long overdue meeting with our administrator and our Director Of Recreation. The meeting was both informative and productive.
The meeting had been called to discuss a grant allocation, but the meeting morphed into a conversation about the virus and the trials, tribulations and costs of operating an assisted living facility in the time of COVID. We also addressed the problem of visitations and the big question, “When will this quarantine/lockdown end for us?”

They divide the grant into two categories.

The first section is to be used for capital improvements to the physical plant like a new roof, security improvements or, as in our case, replacement of air conditioning units, many of which have ceased to function. The other part of the grant must be spent on amenities for our residents.

Usually we would present a list of ideas to our residents during one of our monthly meetings. [1] But because of the virus, we could not have a meeting. However, since we must submit the proposal in a timely manner, we can’t wait until the next meeting, which could be months from now. Therefor we had to depend on our administrator to present a list of his ideas that would satisfy the provisions of the grant.
On the list was a tent-like structure erected in an area near our annex so that friends and family could visit with residents, outdoors. The tent would be a semi-permanent structure able to withstand the elements.
Also on the list was the purchase of some additional equipment to improve our regularly scheduled BBQ’s during the summer months and acquiring a new video projector for our auditorium. And finally, there was a suggestion, by me, for something I have wanted for many years. A closed circuit TV system so that residents could view meetings and other facility-wide activities, and as a way of receiving the latest resident news and information on events taking place here. The other council members and our recreation director thought the idea had merit.

Having some time left before adjourning the meeting, the discussion turned to perhaps the most pressing question of the year.
“Why, if all the residents and all the staff have been vaccinated and there are no cases of the virus in our facility and we are practicing all the infection control procedures as prescribed by the DOH, are we still not permitted to return to our normal, pre-covid activities. Among which is a return to communal dining?”
The answer was as I expected. It all boils down to one man. A person who I once had great respect for. The Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Mark Cuomo, who rules this state with an iron hand. Unswerving and unwilling to listen to the many industry groups who have pleaded with him to relax some regulations imposed on long-term care facilities.
According to our administrator, facilities like ours are losing a tremendous amount of money because of the ultra-strict measures put in place under the direction of the governor via the DOH.
The (non-reimbursed) expenses incurred by the ALF because of the cost of such items as PPE and sanitizing equipment and having to serve meals in disposable containers has placed real pressure on the bottom line. In addition, there are no new residents willing to move into long-term care facilities leaving many beds empty reducing the ability to generate cash.

While the answer to that question is not forthcoming, there is some positive news on the matter.
There are many groups and organizations and private citizens who are currently suing the Governor to have him reverse the measures undertaken 12 months ago. This will bring evidence of our suffering to a court of law where there may be a ruling that would get us some relief from the hardships we have endured. Hardships that no other group has been asked to undergo……………..

[1] By law, every assisted living facility in the state must hold monthly meetings conducted by and for the residents. Minutes of those meetings must be kept on file for inspection.

Medicare Patients and the
‘Observation Status’ Rule
By Dena Bunis

Medicare beneficiaries who are treated in the hospital under a so-called “observation status” instead of being formally admitted should be allowed to appeal that categorization, AARP and AARP Foundation argue in a legal brief filed as part of a long-standing federal lawsuit. The way patients are classified can cost many older Americans thousands of dollars in health care costs, especially for rehabilitative care they need in skilled nursing facilities after being discharged from the hospital.

The way Medicare works, if someone needs to go from the hospital to a skilled nursing facility for more care, Medicare will pay for those services only if the beneficiary has spent at least three days in the hospital before being transferred to rehab. (The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] has suspended that rule to some extent during the COVID-19 pandemic.) Such aftercare is common for people who have had strokes or other injuries and illnesses for which they no longer need to be in the hospital but who require more care before they can safely go home.

Medicare enrollees could lose out financially even if they don't have to go to rehab. If someone is in the hospital but classified as an outpatient, Medicare says they are subject to Medicare Part B rules, making them responsible for 20 percent of the bills for their hospital care. Medicare Part B pays for outpatient services. That 20 percent can be more than they would have to pay if they were admitted as a regular inpatient and classified under Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient services after a deductible is paid.


State prioritization of long-term care
bode well for assisted living communities

As COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to drop in long-term care settings, calls for reopening communities facilities are increasing.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released interim guidelines on easing restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals in non-healthcare settings.

The National Center for Assisted Living is taking a more measured approach for assisted living, telling McKnight’s Senior Living that communities “must remain vigilant until most residents and staff are fully vaccinated, and public health officials determine it is safe to reopen.”

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MARCH 10, 2021
Stimulus checks and older adults:
Third payment eligibility rules for
retired people, SSI, SSDI
By Alison DeNisco Rayome

At least one rule change for the third stimulus check might affect older adults and retirees.

The nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package has almost made its way through Congress, and could be signed into law this week -- which means a third stimulus check for up to $1,400 per person could arrive as soon as the end of the month. The way things stand right now, if you're age 65 or older and retired, receive Social Security benefits or are a veteran, it's very likely that you'll qualify for the new payment.  

So how much money could you receive from a third round of stimulus payments? That partly depends on how many dependents you're claiming this year, if any. It also depends on if the check does in fact arrive during tax season and what the finalized targeted stimulus check looks like.

Keep reading to find out what else could affect your third stimulus payment -- when you file your federal taxes this year, your adjusted gross income, pension and Social Security benefits, and if someone counts you as an adult dependent on their taxes. Plus, if you're still missing money from the first or second checks, you'll need to claim it as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 taxes, even if you don't usually file them. This story was recently updated.


Retiree Tax Uncertainty Triples

 “This could potentially mean lower than expected tax revenues for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League

The percentage of retired households that expect to pay tax on their Social Security benefits has experienced a rare decline this tax season, but that appears to be due to a much higher level of uncertainty than usual ahead of this tax season according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “This could potentially mean lower than expected tax revenues for the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League

Some 48 percent of participants in The Senior Citizens League latest survey, reported that they expect to pay income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits for the 2020 tax year. That’s down from 53 percent who reported paying income taxes on their Social Security benefits for the 2019 tax year. But that wasn’t the only change. Far fewer retirees also indicated that they would not pay tax on their Social Security benefits — 32 percent for 2020 tax year versus 41 percent for the 2019 tax year.


CDC Says It's Safe For Vaccinated
People To Do These Activities
By Allison Aubrey

As the U.S. accelerates its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday released new guidance for individuals who have been fully inoculated. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for vaccinated people, giving the green light to resume some pre-pandemic activities and relax precautions that have been in place.

Specifically, the new guidance says, people who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have gotten the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

4 to 5 minutes

In the summer of 1960, earning the minimum wage of $1.15 per hour was a big deal for a fifteen-year-old kid. For me, $500 for two months’ work was a lot of money. And back in 1960, while earning the minimum wage would not make you rich, it was possible to live, respectfully, in a society where gas was 30 cents a gallon. Unfortunately, the minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, which is why the Biden administration is pushing to make $15 the legal minimum federal age.

 Naturally, Republicans object to this saying it would mean a hardship on businesses and that such a large rise would cost jobs and add to inflation. But no matter who is correct, why should seniors care what the minimum wage is? As it turns out, a lot.
As seniors, contrary to popular opinion, we do not live in a vacuum. Like everyone else, we are affected by the trials and tribulations of society. Many of us still work, pay taxes and support others. And, even if we don’t and are living on a fixed income, how much the average American worker gets paid has a direct effect on our lives.
A common myth, often repeated, is that an increase in the minimum wage would primarily affect teenagers. Actually, fewer than 10 percent of those affected by an increase are teenagers. More than half of the 32 million workers who would benefit by an increase are age 25-54, and 59 percent are women. The 32 million workers who would be affected represent 21 percent of the wage-earning workforce.
Research conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a leading Washington think tank, concluded that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour in 2025 would generate $107 billion in additional wages for workers.
For those 15 percent of affected workers who are age 55 and older, an increase from $7.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour will make an enormous difference in a senior’s quality of life. An individual working full time at the current minimum wage earns approximately $15,000 per year, somewhat less than what an average Social Security retiree benefit of $18,500 per year. An increase to $15.00 per hour would boost annual full-time wages by $3,300 per year, bringing earnings in line with the average yearly Social Security benefit. For those older workers whose wages are increased, the added earnings would ultimately be reflected in the calculation of their Social Security benefit and motivate more seniors to delay claiming their Social Security benefits, thereby increasing their future payment.
What Is the impact on Social Security?

According to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an increase in the minimum wage would increase average Social Security benefits because they index initial benefits to economy-wide average wages, which would reflect the national
 increase. CBO also projects an increase in Social Security cost-of-living adjustments based on its prediction that inflation will increase.
CBO predicts that revenues from payroll taxes for Social Security are expected to increase by $11.8 billion from 2021 to 2026. [1]
Finally, The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare endorses an increase in the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour to assist seniors, their families and the overall economy and reduce the unacceptable income divide in our nation……………………………

5 Questions About the Health
Insurance Marketplace, Answered!

When is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the period within the year that people can enroll in a health insurance plan. Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace runs annually from early November to mid-December, with coverage starting in the New Year. In 2021, You can enroll in Marketplace health coverage February 15 through May 15 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency.

You can also still get 2021 health insurance these 2 ways:

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life event like losing other coverage, getting married, moving, or having a baby, you can enroll any time.

If you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you can apply any time.

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MARCH 9, 2021

Bill to protect seniors working during
the pandemic from financial hardship
By Tommie Lee

Representative Jackie Walorski introduced legislation on Wednesday designed to provide economic relief to seniors.

The bill is aimed at effectively suspending penalties for most Social Security recipients in the workforce during the pandemic. Seniors who continue working or return to work after claiming Social Security benefits would no longer face Retirement Earnings Test penalties.

The legislation would increase the early retiree earnings limits for two years and bring economic relief to the seniors in the workforce.


How to Stay Mentally and
Physically Healthy as You Age

The New Year has come and gone, and with it, many of us have already begun to waver in our resolutions for the months ahead. Don't feel bad; it's human nature, after all. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, even though we have the best of intentions while doing so — such as trying to renew our commitment to better personal health.

Well, don't worry just yet. We're here to show you that just because you might not be sure where to go or what to do with that "I want to be more healthy" New Year's resolution doesn't mean you have to give up on it. In fact, there are so many ways to keep yourself focused and motivated to improve both your physical and mental health that you'll be feeling your best in no time.


Pandemic will forge an
improved senior living product

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the senior living industry. But industry experts said Wednesday that they are optimistic it will emerge a better product on the other side.

“There’s nothing like a crisis to bring us all together,” Argentum President and CEO James Balda said during a session at the American Health Law Association 2021 Long-Term Care and the Law conference, held virtually. Balda was part of a panel of speakers discussing what the new administration means to long-term care operators. Topics covered included the pandemic effects and the related recovery, regulatory oversight, COVID-related legal protections, and workforce issues such as immigration and pay.

The senior living industry, Balda said, went into the pandemic on the tail end of a multi-year downturn in occupancy. Occupancy levels were just starting to improve in the fourth quarter of 2019 and then the pandemic hit, sending occupancy rates to historic lows.

5 to 6 minutes

As an older person, I’m afraid of many things.
I’m afraid that one day a vital body part will stop functioning just because it’s old and worn out. Or a blood vessel will go “pop” in my brain and turn the lights out, permanently.


I’m afraid that I’ll be without a roof over my head or without a source of income.
And, to some extent, I fear being forgotten and abandoned.
But what I fear most, almost more than death, is an altered ability to think rationally. Or, to put it plainly, losing my mind.
I know that irrational thinking is not limited to old people. Just listen to any QAnon believer or Trump supporter who still thinks they rigged the election, and that Biden is not the real president. But what I am concerned about is not some off-the-wall philosophy, but the inability to be aware of what’s going on around me. Or, even worse, falling victim to the apathy that affects many people my age.

I’m not speaking of pathological changes like Alzheimer’s or Dementia. As of now, we have little control over those disorders. I’m talking about whatever makes somebody no longer care. Either about the world , the nation or, themselves. Unfortunately, I see so much of that happening here. Especially now, as we approach the one-year anniversary of our COVID-19 induced incarceration.
While it’s true that I have not conducted a formal survey of my fellow residents, from the attitudes of the few I have spoken to concerning this prolonged period of isolation and quarantine, I get the impression that many have become complacent and resigned to their plight. It’s almost as though they expect to be treated poorly and have no other choice because, “we’re just a bunch of poor old people, living here by the good-graces of others and, any defiance to those obviously superior people would be detrimental to our wellbeing.

There has always been a certain amount of indifference and detachment from some of our residents. Some are concerned with other things like health issues and disabilities, while others are victims of over-medication, while still others are in the early stages of cognitive decline. I’m afraid we have lost those people permanently. But there are others who would just prefer the status-quo to continue. Not because they like it, but because it’s the simple way out. “Rocking the boat” or singling yourself out as a malcontent puts you in the spotlight. A place you don’t want to be in at any institutionalized situation. “Lay low.” Keep out of trouble and mind your own business. Not a poor attitude if you are an inmate in the state pen. But not good if you want to improve your life in a senior living facility. I know, if I start to exhibit any of those “signs” It will mark the beginning of the end for something I cherish dearly, my mind.

Therefore, I am very careful not to “give-in” or let things slide. If I don’t like something, I am not reluctant to voice my opinion. And instead of them treating me like a trouble-
maker, I have garnered some respect from management and staff. But there is a trick to it. And it’s something I have told residents who attend our regular monthly meetings. “It’s okay to complain about something, or to want to change something. But you have to have a solution ready to defend your position. You don’t have to be right, but you must show that you still have the ability for self-thought. Because without that, as a senior citizen, you will be doomed to a life of contempt and discourtesy.”
I know there will come a time when chemicals or plaque will turn my brain into a bowl of warm oatmeal. I just hope it comes on quickly so I won’t have to watch myself fall deeper and deeper into that hole into which so many of us have collapsed…......…

Study Links Kidney Stones to
Fracture Risk in Older Adults
By Patrick Campbell

An analysis of data from the Veterans Health Administration is providing insight into the apparent increase in risk of fracture or osteoporosis among older adults with kidney or ureteral stones.

Could the presence of kidney stones help clinicians identify patients at risk for osteoporosis? A new study from Stanford University has uncovered a possible link between kidney stone disease and risk of osteoporosis or bone fracture.

An analysis of more than half a million patients with kidney stones disease, results indicate nearly 1-in-4 patients received a diagnosis of osteoporosis or suffered a bone fracture and suggest screening of these patients for increased risk remains subpar.


'Falling through cracks':
 Vaccine bypasses some older adults

Jean Andrade, an 88-year-old who lives alone, has been waiting for her COVID-19 vaccine since she became eligible under state guidelines nearly a month ago. She assumed her caseworker would contact her about getting one, especially after she spent nearly two days stuck in an electric recliner during a recent power outage.

It was only after she saw a TV news report about competition for the limited supply of shots in Portland, Oregon, that she realized no one was scheduling her dose. A grocery delivery service for homebound older people eventually provided a flyer with vaccine information, and Andrade asked a helper who comes by for four hours a week to try to snag her an appointment.

“I thought it would be a priority when you’re 88 years old and that someone would inform me,” said Andrade, who has lived in the same house for 40 years and has no family members able to assist her. “You ask anybody else who’s 88, 89, and don’t have anybody to help them, ask them what to do. Well, I’ve still got my brain, thank God. But I am very angry.”

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MARCH 8, 2021

Medicare Could Be Insolvent in 2024:
How to Prevent It

Even as America's balkanized health care system struggles to deal with the pandemic, the coronavirus lurks behind another looming crisis. Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund is projected to become insolvent in 2024 or 2026 — just three to five years from now. Yet you probably haven't heard about that.

Spending for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the 52.6 million Americans 65+, was expected to exceed revenue in the trust fund even before the pandemic. But COVID-19 has worsened Medicare's finances because people losing their jobs has meant a drop in the program's payroll-tax revenue. And last year's COVID-19 relief CARES Act tapped $60 billion from the Medicare trust fund to help hospitals get through the pandemic. Meantime, Medicare rolls have been growing with the aging of the U.S. population.


Seniors Fraud Prevention Act

The Seniors Fraud Prevention Act is intended to help fight scams designed to rob seniors of their assets by directing the Federal Trade Commission to create an office to educate seniors about fraud schemes while also improving the agency’s monitoring and response to fraud complaints. The legislation is led in the U.S. House by Representatives by Ted Deutch, D-Fla, Vern Buchanan, R-Fla, and Peter Welch, D-Vt.

“All Americans deserve safety and dignity in their senior years, but too often, older Americans are the targets of deceptive scams,” Klobuchar stated in a news release. “New schemes designed to defraud seniors appear almost daily and can have serious consequences, such as wiping out a person’s entire life savings. This bipartisan legislation is a critical step towards combating fraud targeting seniors by identifying scams and educating consumers to prevent more seniors from falling victim to these tactics.”


How Our Attitude About Death
Affects The Way We Age

I belong to a tennis club in Woodstock, N.Y. that until recently had a membership with a median age of 65. Largely based around the members' advancing age, several of the club's participants have died over the past two years.

For me and some of my friends, this scattering of deaths triggered a host of thoughts regarding one's attitude about the inevitability of death.

One of my friends at the club, Steve Josephs, who is 78, was crushed by seeing several of his tennis buddies dying. It made him confront his own vulnerability and mortality. He also said that knowing that life is temporary alters your entire attitude toward living.


5 minutes

The Covid Relief Bill passed by the Senate of the United States and soon by the House of Representatives should wind up on the President’s desk later this week for his signature and shortly after that, according to Mr. Biden, American’s could see some 1.9 Trillion dollars drop into their bank accounts before the end of the month. For most of us, that will mean $1400 we can spend on anything. And we know it will be spent and not go into a savings account. American’s are suffering because of the affect the Covid-19 virus has had on our economy.


“Both the unemployment rate, at 6.2 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 10.0 million, changed little in February. Although both measures are much lower than their April 2020 highs, they remain well above their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020 (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively).”

 But that, and that the unemployment benefits for most of those out-of-work Americans are about to expire, meant nothing to the Republican legislators who voted against the bill. Even the sight of their fellow citizens lining up for groceries could not make them stray from the party line. They say they didn’t like the parts of the bill that were non-Covid related. Of course, they are wrong.
Here’s some of what they didn’t like: [1]
“A fully refundable child tax credit for 2021, increasing the amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17 and to $3,600 for children under the age of 6.

Housing assistance, The bill includes $30 billion in emergency rental assistance and an additional $5 billion to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks among homeless populations. Another $10 billion is earmarked for mortgage assistance. The bill does not directly extend the nationwide eviction moratorium, which is currently slated to expire at the end of March.”
And apparently they also found fault with…
“The allocation of $20 billion to create a national Covid-19 vaccination program, and an additional $50 billion for virus testing. The program is intended to help set up community vaccination sites across the country and eliminate vaccine shortages. Finally, the American Rescue Plan also provides funding for schools, restaurants and bars, state and local aid, vaccine production and distribution and paid leave, among other provisions.”
I was going to write about “Seniors and the Minimum Wage” for today’s blog. I’ll save that for later this week. The vote on the Covid Relief Bill (aka, stimulus package) had me so incensed I felt the need to comment.
Yes, the Senate passed the bill on Saturday. And that’s good. What’s bad is that not one Republican Senator voted for it. NOT ONE. The bill passed by only one vote. Why? If you ask Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, he’ll look you straight in the eye and tell you that 1.9 trillion dollars is just too much money to spend on things he thinks we (American’s) don’t need. Like aid for mass transit so those American’s
 that still have a job can get to it. Whether he actually believes is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that no matter what he says or does with lawmaking, if the Democrats want it, he’s against it. Even if it means continued untold hardships for his constituents back in Kentucky or for a struggling single mom in Columbus, Ohio. or an out-of work restaurant worker in NYC. He and the other 50 Senators who answer to no one, except maybe Donald Trump, have made it clear they will turn a cold shoulder on anything President Biden and the Democratic legislators may want.

It’s sad to think that most likely, any program introduced by the President that would drastically improve the lives of every citizen (Democrat or Republican) will not have a snowballs chance in hell to get passed should make every American think about what who they want to represent them the next time they vote…………………


Don’t let technology run
you out of a job you like
By Mark A. Stein

Ever feel like your employer is bringing in new software for the express purpose of driving you so crazy you’ll quit? You’re probably not alone.

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research crunched decades of data on 50,000 businesses and 11.6 million workers and found that the faster a company installs new software, the faster it loses older workers.

Older people are disappearing as businesses adopt new technology to stay competitive, says Richard Freeman, a Harvard economics professor and a co-author of the NBER report. “Companies will say, ‘We’ll train you,’ but people who feel they are close to retiring often say, ‘I don’t want to bother.’ "


Conventional Senior Living
 Needs Rethinking
By Ashutosh Saxena

There's currently an alarming intersection of two demographic trends that real estate investors and developers should take note of as they will directly impact senior housing developments:

Trend No. 1: People are living longer in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 1960 and 2015, the average life expectancy increased from 67.7 years to 79.4 years. By 2040, life expectancy in the U.S. is likely to be 85 years or higher.

Trend No. 2: According to estimates by the AARP, the number of caregivers to senior ratio is also changing dramatically. In 2010, there were seven potential caregivers for every senior in need of care or support. By 2030, the ratio is expected to be 4:1, and by 2050 it is expected to be less than 3:1.

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MARCH 5, 2021

Insurers Launch Pilot Program Aimed at
Getting 2 Million American Seniors Vaccinated

CNBC reports that more than a dozen health insurers are launching a pilot program to get 2 million American seniors inoculated for COVID-19 as quickly as possible, said President Biden's senior pandemic adviser Andy Slavitt. Vaccine Community Connecters aims to educate seniors on the vaccines, help schedule vaccination appointments, and arrange transportation to appointments. Slavitt added that insurers also will discuss "vaccine efficacy, safety, and the value of vaccination," and may deploy mobile vans to communities in greatest need. The White House is collaborating with America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association on the pilot. The Biden administration is concurrently striving to boost the supply of vaccines and get them to most Americans as soon as possible. Insurers will work with federal, state, and local officials to ship vaccines to underserved communities and cooperate closely with pharmacies and other vaccination partners. "Vaccines save lives, and health insurance providers have been working hard to break down barriers that stand between Americans and COVID-19 vaccines," said America's Health Insurance Plans CEO Matt Eyles. "We will continue to work on that commitment with all levels of government and every organization that shares our goal until we defeat the COVID-19 crisis together."


Ageism in the Workplace:
Companies Breaking the Mold

Furniture maker Herman Miller saw a potential brain drain since more than a third of its workers were over 50 

Last May, Mike Ungar, 62, happily headed off to retirement.  After 35 years working in management for tire manufacturer Michelin North America, Ungar, of Simpsonville, S.C., was looking forward to volunteer work and spending more time with his then 2-year-old grandson.

"People often say you should retire to something, not from something," says Ungar.


Only Two in 10 Older Adults Report
Being Screened for Hearing Loss

Eight in 10 older adults say they have not been screened for hearing loss in primary care within the last two years, according to a report published online March 2 based on the results of the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

Preeti Malani, M.D., from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in Ann Arbor, and colleagues surveyed a national sample of 2,074 adults aged 50 to 80 years in June 2020 about their hearing, use of assistive devices, and experiences with screening and testing for hearing loss.


Granny Cams Are Likely Here to Stay:
Taking Steps to Address the Inevitable

“Granny cams” or family-placed electronic monitoring in a nursing facility have become more commonplace.  Cameras are easier to obtain and set up and can easily be linked to one or more family member’s cell phones.  With COVID visiting restrictions making it more difficult for families to visit their loved ones in person, more and more people will be considering their options for keeping an eye on their family member living in a long term care facility.

Some states have passed legislation to establish certain regulations or parameters around the use of granny cams in the long term care setting.  Others, including Iowa, are considering such legislation. Most states, however, do not have any statutory or regulatory requirements and thus, long term care facilities must determine how to deal with use of such cameras.

6 minutes

It’s Friday, and that means one thing… okay, two things, the weekend is upon us and we are still mired in the grip of a pandemic. But things are looking a little brighter. Because they have vaccinated more people, and we have an administration in Washington that believes in science and encourages mask-wearing and social distance, both the number of cases and the number of fatalities has fallen. Unfortunately, nothing can negate the pain felt by the loss of 519,000 Americans. More on the virus and what some states are doing (for better or worse), later.


I’m writing this post Thursday evening March 4th. The date that some American’s believed would see Donald Trump inaugurated as the 19th President of the United States. The reason he would be number 19 instead of 45 or 46 is too wacky to get into here. But obviously that did not happen. I know. I clicked on every channel looking for the inauguration ceremony but couldn’t find it. Not even on Fox.  
Also failing to happen (so far) was a repeat of January 6th when Trump-inspired insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol wreaking havoc. Mostly because information gathered by the FBI and other agencies warning of another attack led to heightened security around the Capitol. However, the measures will remain in place (possibly until mid-May). There is no word from those believers why the “inauguration” did not happen, or if they have set a new date. Meanwhile, I'll bet they are keeping the Kool-Aid well chilled.

 Are you waiting for the next round of stimulus money to help with bills, rent, food, clothing or gas for the car so you can get to work? Unfortunately, we are all going to wait a little longer. Not because the President doesn’t want you to have the money, but because the Republicans are using every delaying tactic in the book to stall the bill from coming to a vote in the Senate. One ploy is the reading of the entire proposal (as passed by the House of Representatives), all 628 pages of it. But that’s not all. There will be debates, additions, alterations and more debates. Finally, perhaps 10 days after they have read the bill, there will be a vote which most likely be a tie. It will be up to V.P. Harris to break that tie for the bill to become law. And then, it goes back to the House for another vote on any changes. How long will it take for us to get the money? Remember the last time?

Back on the virus/lockdown/quarantine/social distance front, the good news that the increase in vaccinations and the decrease in the number and severity of new COVID-19 cases has made some Governors of some states drastically reduce, or end altogether, the restrictions placed on businesses because of the virus. Among those is the Republican Governor of what used to be the great state of Texas, Greg Abbott. He has thrown all caution to the wind and opened the state to a pre-pandemic level. That means no social distance in restaurants and other venues, and no masks either. How crazy is this? As President Biden has put it, “It’s Neanderthal.”
A little closer to home, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont of Connecticut has also ordered his state to re-open but with one important restriction. Masks will still have to be worn. The only problem I see is that people from neighboring states will flock to those open venues, further destroying the already fragile economy in New York and elsewhere. Will the Governor of NY fall into line and order a return to some normalcy? Don’t count on it. He has his own problems, which include a removal of his power to decide about anything to do with the virus. We always knew politics was a nasty business. Now we know it can be a deadly and costly one as well.

Last, things here at the ALF are looking up. The latest memo out today from our administrator says they will reinstate the visitor policy as prescribed by the DOH. Any visitors will have to make reservations in advance, go through a screening process at the door, and be restricted  to 2 people per resident for visits of only 30 minutes.

Also in the memo is the news that they will resume some in-house activities when space allows. They will restrict the activities to 10 residents at a time. Unfortunately, the one activity we need most of all, a return to communal dining they did not include in the new rules. It’s anyone’s guess why.

As always, I wish you a peaceful and safe weekend. Get vaccinated when you have the opportunity and wear your mask…….


We Need an Operation Warp Speed
for Alzheimer's and Dementia
By Maria Shriver

No president has entered the White House with as clear a focus on Alzheimer’s disease as Joe Biden. The commitment and attention on Alzheimer’s at the highest levels of our elected leadership is long overdue.

His pledge during his victory speech on November 7 to create an America that looks ahead to curing diseases like Alzheimer’s was a beacon of hope to 5.8 million Americans, their families and the 16.1 million caregivers currently devastated by a disease that has no cure.

President Biden understands the scope of this slow-moving pandemic, the opportunity, and the consequences of failing to seize the moment. “If we do not find an answer to Alzheimer’s, then in the next 19 years, every single solitary bed that exists in the United States of America now will be occupied by an Alzheimer’s patient,” he said at a campaign stop in Florida last fall. The fact is that Alzheimer’s is already our country’s most expensive disease, and continuing to manage it is more costly than developing a cure.


Phone therapy eases insomnia for older adults

Just a few short phone calls can effectively treat insomnia, according to new research.

The phone-delivered therapy, which consisted of guided training and education to combat insomnia, also helped reduce fatigue as well as pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Insomnia—trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early—is a common condition in older adults. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis causing joint pain, can exacerbate sleeplessness. While there are effective therapies for treating insomnia in older adults, many people cannot get the treatment they need because they live in areas with limited access to health care, either in person or over the internet.

‘This sauce will change your life!’
30 brilliant condiments to transform
your tired lockdown dishes

By Tony Naylor

Britain is splashing out on condiments like never before. To alleviate the grind of lockdown cooking, we are raiding the global larder way beyond ketchup and brown sauce, to unlock a world of hot, concentrated, punchy flavours with the ability to transform a meal in seconds.

Specialist retailers report booming sales, with the importer MexGrocer shifting double its usual amount of Valentina hot sauce last year. At one stage, sales of Lao Gan Ma chilli oils were up a staggering 1,900% at the online shop Sous Chef, a repository of revelatory sauces. But what should you try next?

We asked leading chefs and food obsessives for their homemade sauce hacks and store cupboard secrets, most of which are readily available online if you cannot get to an Asian or African supermarket or a continental deli. Please note: no one suggested

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MARCH 4, 2021

US nursing homes see 82% decline
in COVID-19 cases since vaccines began
By Natalie Musumeci

Nursing homes in the United States have seen a huge drop in new COVID-19 cases this year — suggesting that coronavirus vaccines are working, a report released Tuesday said.

There was a dramatic 82 percent decline in new cases among US nursing home residents since the peak during the week of Dec. 20, according to the report by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. That week, there were more than 33,000 new cases and on Feb. 7, just 6,077 cases were recorded.

By comparison, COVID-19 cases in the general population dropped by just 46 percent.


National Nutrition Month: Assisted Living Locators Encourages
Community Members To Make Sure Seniors Get
Nutrition Needed During Ongoing Pandemic

Each March, National Nutrition Month®, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, kicks off to bring attention to the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

During this month, Assisted Living Locators, a leading nationwide senior placement and referral service, is encouraging community members to check on their seniors, including older neighbors, friends, and family, to make sure they are getting the nutrition they need during the ongoing pandemic.

 According to Assisted Living Locators Angela Olea CEO RN, healthy eating and proper nutrition can be difficult at any age; but, for seniors, maintaining good nutrition can be challenging especially during this time."


Never too late:
Pandemic propels older shoppers online

In November, Paula Mont did something new: The 86-year-old, who hasn't left her New Jersey senior living community in nearly a year, went shopping — online.

Mont used an iPad, equipped with a stylus to help her shaky hands, to buy a toy grand piano for her great-granddaughter. She picked it out from more than a dozen versions of the instrument on Amazon.

“It is like a wow feeling. I found it!” Mont said.

5 minutes

As a kid, I was an early riser. When I was young, sleep seemed like a waste of time. There was all that neat stuff to do. Watching Saturday morning cartoons. Riding my new Schwinn Hornet bicycle around the neighborhood. Or hanging out with the other kids. Maybe a pickup softball game in the parking lot of the National Guard building was in store that day. Oh yes, there was school too. The day did not contain enough hours for all the things I wanted to do. But now that I’m old, I wish I could get back all those unused hours of sleep.


The last few nights have been especially bad for me in the sleep department. Not only am I having trouble staying asleep, but falling asleep as well. Which is new for me. I can usually drift off to dreamland at the drop of a hat, or while watching a bad TV show. But now, even that has been illusive. And I’m suffering because of it.
The lack of sleep at night has caused me to snooze during the day. Often when online or assembling this blog. But it’s not sleep. It’s more like passing out and then, coming to. The restorative properties associated with a good night’s sleep are not there. Instead, it’s more like a morning-after hangover without the benefit of a good time the night before.

It’s not that I don’t sleep at all. I manage to eek out an hour or two during the night. But often that brief time spent in the arms of Morpheus only makes things worse. I usually snap out of these brief sleeps feeling queasy and confused, not to mention every muscle and joint in my body is screaming in protest. It takes a few minutes before I come to my senses. And then, I’m wide awake until the first light of dawn peeks through the slats in the blinds.

 I have tried taking some OTC meds for this problem. And they work, to some extent. They make me fall asleep, but they are unreliable and their effects linger for hours afterwards which can be disconcerting when you need to get some work done or have an appointment. And none of them can keep me asleep for more than two or three hours.
I know part of the problem comes because of my “condition.” Now that I’m missing about 8 feet of intestine, there’s room for the rest of my innards to move around in there. This causes some nausea which wakes me up thinking I need to vomit. The nausea quickly disappears when I sit up straight, which allows everything to fall back into place. I’ve tried adjusting the lounge chair in which I sleep to different positions, but it does little to ease the problem.

The only thing I have found that does any good at all is, when I feel as though I’m going to fall asleep, to shut the TV off and lower the chair to an almost completely prone position.

Every piece of literature I read says old people need just as much sleep as everyone else. And the lack of sleep can have dire consequences on one’s health. Experts blame everything from dementia and Alzheimer’s to cardiac problems on lost sleep. Just what I need.
I’m not sure how to break this vicious cycle. My doctor only wants to prescribe some sleeping pills, which I’m afraid of. I’ve seen what medications like Ambien can do. And it ain’t pretty. I’d like to do something “natural” to help me, but I’m not sure what. I’ll try to do some research. If I don’t fall asleep, that is………………………

How Naps Can Keep You Happy and Healthy

I love napping. I've been known to fall asleep on a jerking, lurching New York City subway train. I once slept through the clanging bells of a college fire drill. My greatest pleasure is swinging in a hammock, gently lulled into oblivion until I'm asleep like a very contented baby.

"Napping whenever I want to is one of the great pleasures of retirement."

Bestselling author Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote, "We sleep to recharge our bodies. We nap to care for our souls." And the best news is that not only do naps feel good, but they are (mostly) good for you.         

The National Sleep Foundation Sleep Health Index 2014 reported that 53% of adults nap regularly, defined as napping at least once every week. Men tend to nap more often than women. Older people and retired individuals are also more frequent nappers.


Boom In Senior Drivers Pushes
Auto Industry To Face Up To A Challenge
By Dale Buss

The coming tsunami of elderly drivers is a challenge that automakers, policy makers, insurance companies, healthcare advocates and everyone else has seen arriving for decades. But American society remains far from prepared even for mid-decade, when about one in four U.S. drivers will be 65 years of age or older.

Traffic deaths rose in the middle of the last decade thanks in part to the scourge of texting while driving. The figure declined for the last few years due to more automated safety features in cars and, last year, because of the falloff in driving amid Covid-19 lockdowns. But it isn’t hard to imagine fatalities spiking significantly in the next few years as record numbers of Americans enter the years after 65 when drivers involved in crashes, and fatalities, fare significantly worse in their ability to navigate things behind the wheel.

Families, companies and authorities have tried to stay ahead of the problem by making cars safer, establishing safety monitoring behind the wheel, making driver’s license renewals more challenging — and asking problematic seniors to hang up their car keys. Technologies including fully driverless automobiles promise advances, too, at some point.

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MARCH 3, 2021

COVID-19’s Devastating Impact on
Senior Citizens Should Not Be Understated

By Marina Howard

Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, “No one can live without relationship. You may withdraw into the mountains, become a monk… but you are related. You cannot escape from that absolute fact. You cannot exist in isolation.”

One of the greatest uniting forces is tragedy. It has been 11 months since the COVID-19 lockdown first started, and along the way, there have been over 500,000 deaths in the US alone. The pandemic has taken away not only these lives, but for many, the things worth living for.

In order to overcome this immense tribulation, it is crucial to go through the world as if you are the “weakest” link in society. Older people are at high risk for contracting the virus, usually with the most devastating consequences, yet are so often cast aside in the minds of younger generations.


Vaccinations should be enough to
lift visitation restrictions in senior living

Citing resident vaccination rates, the American Seniors Housing Association is asking the nation’s governors to begin easing “harmful” visitation restrictions in senior living communities.

ASHA President David Schless penned a letter Tuesday to National Governors Association Chair Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and Vice Chair Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), and all state governors, saying “it is imperative that the states take steps to allow residents to visit with families and loved ones.”

Most senior living residents are expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of March, Schless noted. He called on the governors’ association and governors to review and update their policies to allow visitation in the coming weeks in independent living, assisted living, memory care, and continuing care retirement / life plan communities.


Don’t let technology run
you out of a job you like

By Mark A. Stein

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that many older workers flee as new software arrives.

Ever feel like your employer is bringing in new software for the express purpose of driving you so crazy you’ll quit? You’re probably not alone.

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research crunched decades of data on 50,000 businesses and 11.6 million workers and found that the faster a company installs new software, the faster it loses older workers.

Older people are disappearing as businesses adopt new technology to stay competitive, says Richard Freeman, a Harvard economics professor and a co-author of the NBER report. “Companies will say, ‘We’ll train you,’ but people who feel they are close to retiring often say, ‘I don’t want to bother.’ "

5 minutes

There are two reasons this might be one of my last blogs.
If the right-wing-wacko conspiracy theorists are correct, on March 4th, Donald J. Trump will (depending on which nut-job you listen to) either remain the 45th President of the U. S, become the 19th President of the U.S, or the first president of a new order. Or, if that does not happen, there will be such outrage that Trump supporters will rampage through the streets wreaking havoc throughout the land before taking over the government. If any of that happens, I will open a vein and watch as the lifeblood drains from my body.

News broadcasts have been showing interviews with people (Trumper’s all) outside of the CPAC meeting in Florida (where else?) who, not just believe but REALLY believe that someway, somehow the former president will take his rightful place on the throne and once again lead the nation towards the destiny God and the Conservative Republicans have set as a goal. And all this will take place on March 4th, Thursday. But what law enforcement fears most is not if the prediction comes back, but if it doesn’t. Signs point to a repeat of what happened on January 6th, but on a nationwide scale. So much so, the FBI and other agencies have warned local law enforcement agencies to be prepared.

But why do people believe in conspiracies?
An article on The National Geographic website explains it this way…
“... human tendencies—to believe whatever satisfies our preconceptions, whether true or not.”
“Experts say that the majority of people do not easily fall for falsehoods. But when misinformation offers simple, casual explanations for otherwise random events, “it helps restore a sense of agency and control for many people,...”

“Another psychological factor that can lead to belief in conspiracies is what experts call “collective narcissism,” or a group’s inflated belief in its own significance... research suggests that collective narcissists are apt to look for imaginary enemies and adopt conspiracy explanations that blame them.”

“This urge is particularly strong when narcissistic people fail, or members of their group fail. “For some people, conspiracy beliefs are the best way to deal with the psychological threat posed by their failure,”

And finally, “People “who believe in conspiracy theories usually seek a savior—someone who will help them protect their in-group from conspiring enemies,”
But experts say that educating people about the ways misinformation spreads can make a difference…

“In a recent study, van der Linden looked at whether pre-emptively warning people about the techniques that are used to spread falsehoods can help them gain immunity against fake news. He found that once people were warned about common misinformation techniques—including appealing to people’s emotions or expressing urgency in a message—participants were more likely to identify unreliable information.”
This is where I must disagree with the experts. As far as I know, no amount of education, verified facts or just plain good old common sense will have any effect on any of those tens of thousands of Trump supporting conspiracy believers. They are, I am sorry to say, about as sharp as a bowl of jello.
I also don’t believe there will be any major protests or riots if, on March 4th, Trump is not inagurated. Because, as with all “Doom and Gloom, End of the World” prophets, they will just set the date ahead to cover their asses.
But just because there will be no insurrection, does not mean these people are not a genuine threat to our nation and our democracy. Their agenda remains as clear to them as the truth does to the rest of us. And that’s the scariest thing of all……….

Pandemic Creates 'Perfect storm' For Eating Disorders,
But Treatment Could Be Hours Away

By Beth Adams

“When you’re a person with an eating disorder,” said Mary Tantillo, “your enemies are uncertainty, ambiguity, unpredictability.”

Tantillo, the director of the Western New York Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders said that’s why there’s been a surge in new cases in the past year. The coronavirus pandemic, combined with social and political unrest in the past year, created a perfect storm for the disorders that affect nearly 1 in 10 Americans.

“Even people who were doing well in the past found themselves relapsing, because it’s very frightening and anxiety-provoking, and it’s overwhelming,” Tantillo said.


Seniors + Eggs:
What is Healthy For Your Diet

Older adults are faced with a range of issues that can affect their food intake, including a reduction in appetite, loss of muscle mass and decreased mineral absorption. Additionally, the number of calories you need begins to decline making it necessary for every calorie you consume to be packed with nutrition in order to hit the mark.

Eggs are nutrient-dense, economical, easily prepared and soft in texture which makes them appropriate for people of this age group. Moreover eggs are an excellent source of all the 9 essential nutrients which senior citizens require (shown below) and Eggland’s Best eggs multiply the nutrient value of eggs even further!

  • Vitamin B12: Senior citizens who lack vitamin B-12 are prone to heart diseases, breast cancer and some age related muscular degeneration. One serving of egg contains 33% Vitamin B12. This nutrient is important for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis, and many older adults do not consume enough.  Large eggs provide 20% DV vitamin B12.

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MARCH 2, 2021

Study: Low levels of air pollution
a threat to older adults hearts, lungs

Breathing in air that has even low levels of pollution poses a threat to older adults' heart and lungs, a new study warns.

Researchers analyzed medical records of more than 63 million Medicare patients from 2000 to 2016. They found that long-term exposure to low levels of air pollution could increase the risk of pneumonia, heart attack, stroke and the irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation, or a-fib.

The threat to the seniors' heart and lungs was seen even at levels of air pollution below national standards, according to findings published Monday in the journal Circulation.


Stop taxing Social Security benefits

The 2.3 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. AMAC Action is a non-profit, non-partisan organization representing the membership in our nation’s capital and in local Congressional Districts throughout the country.

“We’re not giving up on our efforts to eliminate the unfair income tax on Social Security benefits. The Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act is being reintroduced and the Association of Mature American Citizens will be doing what it takes to encourage lawmakers to support the measure,” says Bob Carlstrom, president of AMAC Action, the association’s senior advocacy affiliate.

The original Social Security and tier 1 railroad retirement benefits were specifically exempted from income taxes when they were created in the mid 1930s. “After all, workers pay for them with taxes that are taken out of their paychecks to begin with. To tax retired seniors a second time is plain and simple a money grab.”


Alzheimer's may strike women
and men in different ways
By Steven Reinberg

The ravages of Alzheimer's may strike later in women than men, but once it takes hold women tend to deteriorate far faster than men, according to a new study.

Something known as cognitive reserve helps the aging brain function better for longer, and researchers report that women appear to have more of it than men. But once the reserve runs out, mental decline in women speeds up.

"Women appear to have faster cognitive decline than men. And these sex differences in cognitive decline might be due to differences in sex hormones, structural brain development, genetics, psychosocial factors, lifestyle factors, functional connectivity and brain pathology," said lead researcher Dr. Deborah Levine, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

4 minutes

It’s March 2021. Or maybe it’s March 2020. I’m not sure. For a brief time yesterday, I felt as if I had been here before.
The virus is still with us. They still ask us to wear masks and social distance. Arenas, restaurants and theaters are still operating under restrictions. And me and my fellow assisted living residents are still as locked-up and isolated as we were last March. And to add a little icing to this past-life-experience, I saw and heard Donald J. Trump (sounding as presidential as ever) spout the same lies and rhetoric to the same Kool-Aid drinking minions as he did last year. Only the venue had changed. This time it was in front of an unmasked, tightly packed group of Republicans at the CPAC convention in Orlando.

Not everything has remained the same. There are vaccines available that appear to be effective against most of the strains of COVID-19, and it looks as if we are finally getting the hang of being able to produce and distribute them to an anxious population. Emergency rooms around the nation are reporting an easing of the number and severity of new cases. Hopefully, we will not become too complacent and see a reversal of all that we have accomplished. Unfortunately, the faith I once had that my fellow countrymen would always do the right thing has waned considerably over the past four years.

Speaking of faith, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a word or two about my governor, Andrew Cuomo. Once the darling of Daytime TV and a fountain of information about the virus, PPE, and respirators during the early stages of the outbreak, now has run into some difficulties.
First, they have charged him with possible improprieties concerning the reporting of deaths because of COVID-19, of nursing home patients in order to make it appear the transfer of those patients from hospitals did not cause a spike in the number of infections in said nursing homes. And now, in what has started as a war of words, Mr. Cuomo has been accused, by at least two former staffers, of making improper remarks and advances towards them and, in doing so, made them feel their jobs were in jeopardy if they did not comply. The N. Y, State Attorney General, is looking into those allegations. This, while members on both sides of the N.Y. State Assembly want his resignation.
Here’s the problem I have with that.

It’s true that I have had my difficulties with the Governor concerning his position on quarantine and lock-down regulations foisted upon ALF’s without acknowledging the hardships those orders have had on us residents. But to replace a governor that over 3.6 million people voted for in 2018 because of the yet unfounded claims of a couple of disgruntled employees is doing a disservice to all of those voters, me included. In any event, it’s a story who’s ending is yet to be told.
You may notice I have adjusted the format of this blog in order to streamline it and remove some clutter. A little early Spring cleaning if you will…………………


10 Things Every Woman Should
Do to Protect Her Heart

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, but it often goes undetected until it's too late

Every February, the nation shines a spotlight on the devastating toll of heart disease during American Heart Month. If you're a woman, knowing the symptoms and risks that are unique to females can help protect your heart. The good news is that controlling — or even preventing — heart disease is often something women can do for themselves.

Dr. Gretchen Wells, director of the Gill Heart & Vascular Institute's Women's Heart Health Program at the University of Kentucky, says the lifestyle choices and changes that women make — or don't make — really do make a difference in their heart health.


COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
Meeting Generational Challenges

Editor’s note: This article is the 18th in a weekly joint series on COVID-19 and the Future of Aging from the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging and Next Avenue. The articles are Q and As with thought leaders in fields ranging from health care to retirement planning to intergenerational relationships.

How does COVID-19 impact generations differently? Are we coming together to meet the challenge or are societal divides growing?

This is not the first time we have faced a pandemic with disproportionate generational impacts. We remember polio, of course, which I contracted at only six months old. Children were most susceptible to that disease, with older adults working to protect them. Pools and summer camps were closed, children were sequestered; society came together to protect its youngest.

How To Make French Toast
Even Better than the Diner
By Tami Weiser

Start with some bread, a few eggs, and butter and voila! You’ve got French toast. Right? Well, maybe not so fast. French toast has few ingredients, and it’s a quick-cooking recipe for sure, so it seems like it should be pretty straightforward. But for a dish so common, it’s not that hard to make poorly. There’s the burnt-outsides-and-raw-insides problem, that unpleasant-center-layer-of-un-eggy-bread issue, and the over-soaking-until-the-bread-falls-apart conundrum.

The real trick to making classic French toast is to pay close attention while you soak and cook. We’re going to show you how to do it well so you always have the French toast you deserve.

Dry Bread Is Your Friend…


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MARCH 1, 2021

Stop Blaming the Elderly for
Vaccine Website Confusion

By Sarah Green Carmichael

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout is picking up speed across the U.S., with more doses on the way. That’s unmitigated good news. However, one problem is unlikely to go away with increased supply, and may even get worse: the challenge of navigating the vaccine appointment websites.

So far, problems with vaccine sign-ups have often been laid at the door of the users. Above all, we’re told — however sympathetically — those eligible for vaccines are too old to have computers or understand how to use the Internet.

There’s a principle of user-centered design that would be helpful to remember at this juncture: You don’t blame the user when they can’t use the product. You do not, as the founder of Lululemon did in 2013, blame quality problems with your pricey yoga pants on the bodies of your customers. You do not, as Steve Jobs did in 2010, tell the user that the new iPhone works fine, they’re just holding it wrong.


5 or fewer hours of sleep may increase
risk of dementia in older adults

Sleep and health are inextricably connected. New research from investigators at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital explores the connection between sleep disturbances and deficiencies among older adults and risk of dementia and death, finding that risk of dementia was double among participants who reported getting less than five hours of sleep compared to those who reported seven to eight hours of sleep per night. The team also found associations between sleep disturbance and sleep deficiency with overall risk of death. Results are published in Aging.

“Our findings illuminate a connection between sleep deficiency and risk of dementia and confirm the importance of efforts to help older individuals obtain sufficient sleep each night,” said lead author, Rebecca Robbins of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders.

To investigate the connection between quality and quantity of sleep and risk of dementia and death, Robbins and colleagues used nationally representative data collected from older adults participating in the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). NHATS is a longitudinal study of Medicare beneficiaries 65 years and older. Survey data from NHATS participants has been collected annually since 2011.


Universal coverage of long-term care for
 older Americans may stabilize provider revenues

By Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic's heavy toll on older Americans highlights the need to strengthen the nation's safety net for people in need of long-term services and support, an Oregon Health and Science University researcher and co-authors argue in a new report published by Milbank Quarterly.

The report proposes a system of universal coverage to support the long-term care of all older Americans. The purpose would be to protect against financial catastrophe, and to move away from a system in which only the poorest Americans are able to access coverage via Medicaid.

In addition to benefiting individuals and families, the authors argue this would also create a more stable and generous funding stream for providers.


How Senior Guardianship Trend
 Leaves Some Isolated

By Kenneth Miller

Larry Davis tried his best to help his stepmother, but distance made it difficult. Davis lived with his wife in Sonoma County, Calif.; Kise (pronounced KEEˇ-say) Davis lived in Las Cruces, N.M., 1,200 miles away. She was struggling with dementia, and Larry, who held power of attorney over her affairs, spoke with her regularly, kept tabs on her via local contacts and visited as often as he could. He was working toward moving her to an assisted living facility near his home.

That began to seem more urgent in the fall of 2016, when Kise, then 85, began complaining that a longtime acquaintance, Larry Franco — a handyman who helped her with household tasks — was stealing from her. But Kise’s illness sometimes made her paranoid; she’d lodged such accusations against friends before. Larry, who was 74, planned to fly out and investigate after the holidays. Then, shortly before Christmas, he came home from a shopping trip to learn that Kise had gone missing.

“This is Kise’s neighbor Donnie,” said the voice on the answering machine. “I thought you should know that a van just came and took her to some kind of institution.”

Extra: 19 Scenes From "I Care A Lot" That Were Utterly Ruthless

6 minutes

Over the weekend, the House of Representatives approved President Biden’s stimulus package. And, while it’s not everything the President wanted (there will be no $15.00 per hour minimum wage), it was passed and sent to the Senate for final approval. That’s a good thing. The package will put $1400 in the pockets of most Americans and extend unemployment insurance benefits to millions more. But what will that mean for me and the thousands of long-term care facility residents throughout the state and nation? Let’s look at where we are today.

It’s Monday, the first day of March, and before this month is gone, I will have been incarcerated in this semi-gilded cage here at the ALF, for one solid year. A year in which there has been no respite from isolation, boredom, inactivity and awful food. Not even for a day. Since the 15th of March 2020, our residents, and the residents of all the long-term facilities in our state and others, have suffered genuine neglect by the Governor and the Department of Health. And, even though, by this time, all of us, and our staff, have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, we are in the same position, following the same rules, living under the same Draconian quarantine/lockdown conditions as we have since this entire mess began. And nobody wants to do anything to change that.

Yes, there are groups and organizations that claim to have voiced their indignation at the way they have treated us but, mostly, they have been ineffective. Our living conditions and lifestyle have not improved one iota.

So why do I have mixed feelings about receiving the $1400 the government will send me? Let me put it this way. I view the stimulus money, not as a way to boost the economy or even to help people keep their heads above water. For me, that money is a reparation for keeping me unlawfully locked up for a year, plain and simple. But recompense should not end there.

What should happen, and what we need to bring to a court of law, is for the facility to refund to every resident a percentage of the money they pay for room and board. Not because they were forcibly confined, but because there was a deliberate effort made to withhold services, contractually implied upon, when the resident put his signature on the original agreement made between the resident and/or the person paying for their stay, and the facility. Those unlawfully withheld services include various activities such as arts and crafts, Bingo, clubs and communal dining. They should also compensate residents for punitive damages such as those extra charges incurred because of having to shop online instead of being permitted to leave the facility and shop at local stores where prices are usually cheaper and there are no delivery charges. Don’t worry. I’m not holding my breath. No lawyer would take a case they couldn’t win or couldn’t make money off of.

Of course, none of that will keep me from spending the money. Despite everything, I really need it. This pandemic has drained my coffers dry. My number one expenditure is on food. From delivery of pizza, Chinese and an occasional Cheeseburger deluxe from a local diner, to supermarket shopping via Instacart and Amazon, I have had to (unnecessarily) spend money to supplement or replace most of the meals served to me. Not to meet my nutritional requirements but to overcome the shear monotony of the menu.
And then, there’s the other COVID-19 related expense. Entertainment.
Besides the $20 monthly fee I pay for basic cable, there is the money I spend for Netflix, not to mention the yearly Amazon Prime membership. I need both those services to maintain my sanity and as a hedge for when the DIRECT TV satellite dish gets out-of-whack every time there is a breeze or a rainstorm. Bingeing on an eight-season Netflix series is sometimes the only thing keeping me from opening a vein.

Ratification of the Stimulus package by the Senate most like will come in the next few days.
[1] How long it will be before that money drops into the bank accounts of desperate Americans is anybodies guess. It could be weeks, or many weeks. But whenever I get mine, it will go out as fast as it comes in. Just watch how quickly I can order a months’ worth of food online……………………………...

[1]   ....after which a new version will head back to the House, and ultimately to Biden’s desk for his signature.

California Has a Master Plan for Aging. Now What?

When California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom took office in January 2019, he announced the state would embark on creating a "Master Plan for Aging." Now that the ambitious 44-page Master Plan for Aging has been released, I wanted to find out what will keep it from sitting on a shelf, like so many other blue-ribbon government reports.

After speaking with numerous people who helped create California's Master Plan for Aging (government officials, academics and nonprofit leaders) and reading analyses from others, I came away pleasantly surprised about the blueprint's prospects to "build a California for All Ages by 2030."

We really framed it as a 'California for all ages.' Not as this [aging] deficit and decline."

Don’t lose sleep:
Seniors obsess over ‘maximizing’
their Social Security

By Tom Margenau

“I want to make sure we maximize our Social Security payments.”

“I am very concerned that we will make a wrong decision and leave Social Security money on the table.”

“My wife and I both took our benefits at 62. We are now in our 70s. Everyone I talk to says we made a huge mistake by starting our benefits early. I am so worried that we did something stupid.”

“I see programs on late-night TV that say there are hidden secrets to getting the most out of our Social Security checks. What are they?”

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FEB. 26, 2021

A Long-Term Care Strategy
That Provides More Than Hope

Growing up, my parents would frequently reiterate that hope is not a strategy. Although I did not always adhere to this guidance, their mantra has been confirmed more often than not. As my family is currently structuring long-term care plans for a loved one, I am reminded of the importance of an actual strategy in long-term care. In other words, hope is not an appropriate strategy for addressing long-term care planning either.

As my family has learned, long-term care is a necessity. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70% of people turning age 65 will need some type of long-term care service. In the same study, results demonstrated around 48% of people turning age 65 or older will need some type of paid long-term care services. These percentages suggest the need for a long-term care strategy more definite than hope.


'Why are we being attacked?'
Cuomo budget ‘punitive’ to assisted living,
association leader says

By Lisa Newcomb

An industry expert is calling on the New York Legislature to reject Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2021-2022 state budget amendments, which she said contain “unnecessary and punitive” measures against assisted living providers.

“It was shocking to see this scourging punishment at a time when assisted living providers and staff have fought valiantly and tirelessly to protect their residents during this pandemic nightmare at great peril to their emotional, mental and financial well-being,” said Lisa Newcomb, executive director of the Empire State Association of Assisted Living. “Instead of the praise and honor that our provider members and their staff so clearly deserve, the governor is inflicting upon them harsh punishment.

“Why are we being attacked?”


Loss of muscle mass among elderly can lead to falls,
and staying put during the pandemic doesn't help

Older adults are at much higher risk of death from COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, but many also face another, less recognized health risk associated with the pandemic: loss of muscle mass. This loss is one of the primary reasons for falls - the No. 1 cause of accidental death in those 65 and older.

Also known as sarcopenia - from the Greek "sarco," meaning flesh, and "penia" referring to deficiency or poverty - loss of muscle mass and strength is common among elders, but starts as early as our 30's. Poor diet is a risk factor for sarcopenia; so is physical inactivity. Now, with gyms closed and community centers on lockdown, many older people are arguably more sedentary than ever.

Feb. 19 to Feb. 25

COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines, and our lives. And on Monday, the US passed the half-million mark in the number of deaths attributed to the virus. A year ago, when the government first acknowledged that the virus may be more than just another flu-like affliction, the estimates for the number of people that could possibly succumb to COVID-19 was somewhere around 230,000. On Monday evening the White House paid homage to those who had died by lighting 500 candles.

Monday also brought good news for us, and horrible news for the former president when the SCOTUS ruled that the Attorney for the Southern District in NY, can subpoena Trumps personal and corporate tax returns. This is the first step in finding that those returns may reveal illegal payments and deductions. A criminal offense. 

On Thursday we got the news that they delivered those documents to Mr. Vance’s office. Unfortunately, the public will most likely never get to see them.

In Texas, while the weather may have warmed up, most Texans have turned a cold shoulder to a system that was supposed to protect them against high electric bills. Instead, what they got was a shock, not from the electric outlet, but from “price adjusted” bills they received for 3 days of increased usage. Hopefully, the government will help them with those bills.
On Capitol Hill, hearings to determine if a lack of intelligence hampered the response by Capitol Police began. It was a matter of who knew what and when. And how soon was that information transmitted to law enforcement to prevent the attack of January 6th.

Also in Washington, Tuesday was supposed to be the day when the President delivers the State of The Union Address to a joint session of Congress. Well, it didn’t happen. Many factors, including COVID-19, were to blame. They have postponed the speech, if there will be one, to a future date yet to be determined.
Closer to home (my home) our Governor continues to come under attack from members of both parties, some of whom are asking for Mr. Cuomo’s resignation. They held a hearing Thursday in Albany, where assemblymen listened to testimony in order to determine if any wrongdoing occurred when COVID-19 patients were moved to nursing homes instead of remaining in the hos
pital. In question is whether the numbers related to those deaths were incorrectly reported. Adding to the Governor’s woes are continuing allegations of sexual improprieties towards female members of his staff. The Governor repudiates all of those allegations.
Thursday marked 10 days after all of our residents and staff here at the Asylum received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The ten day waiting period is the last step in securing our best protection against the virus. That, along with the most stringent precautions taken anywhere by any facility, should make our little paradise on the hill the safest place in the state. But is there any sign of a relaxation of the rules pertaining to visitations or a return to normal activities like communal dining? No, there is not. The state prefers to keep us locked down for as long as possible just to protect their collective asses. Meanwhile, over 10,000 residents of long-term facilities are waiting for their freedom.
When we return on Monday with new content, it will be March. For many of us, the new month will mark one year since they kept us from our friends, relatives and all of our normal activities. It is a milestone I never thought we would reach. Yes, I’m alive, but at what cost?……………………………………

The Financial Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
By Todd Christensen

Be Prepared! Whether you have already experienced the health effects of COVID-19, it is certain to affect your personal and household finances.

What should you do financially to get through the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic?

Regardless of the current or coming health effects of COVID-19 on you or your family, the pandemic has affected and will likely continue to affect household finances for years to come. Having a plan, prioritizing spending, and using resources efficiently will be key to your financial stability.
Economic Impact of COVID-19

As of the publication of this post, COVID-19 is having a massive effect on the US Economy, even if it is not felt yet on everyone’s household budgets. From cancellation of sporting events and religious gathers to the closing of travel between the US and other countries, international trade is being severely disrupted.

How to File Federal Income Taxes
for a Deceased Taxpayer

By Kimberly Lankford

When a loved one passes away, someone has to file a final tax return for them. If that someone is you, here's what you need to know.

When to file

If a loved one died in 2020, you need to determine who will file their final income tax return. “A final return must be filed if required, either by the spouse or executor, which notes the date of death,” says Michael Eisenberg, a CPA with Baker Tilly Financial, LLC in Encino, California.

Use the same IRS Form 1040 as you would for living taxpayers, but note the date of death on the top. If there's no surviving spouse, then the trustee, executor or administrator must file Form 56 letting the IRS know that they're the person responsible for the final tax return. “All income up to the date of death has to be reported, and all credits and deductions to which they are entitled can still be claimed,” says Steven Hamilton, an enrolled agent with Hamilton Tax and Accounting in Grayslake, Illinois.

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FEB. 25, 2021

A $15 minimum wage could boost Social Security
benefits by about $5,000 a year
By Lorie Konish

Some Washington lawmakers are pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour to put more money in workers’ pockets.

The wage bump could also eventually provide a boost to their Social Security benefits.

The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 has stayed where it is since 2009.

At the same time, workers contribute 6.2% on wages of up to $142,800 in 2021 to Social Security. Employers, in turn, match that 6.2% contribution. (If you’re self-employed, you pay 12.4% in Social Security taxes


Downsizing Tips for a New Year

The New Year is here, and you know what they say: new year, new you. Well, even if you're not looking to completely redesign who you are and what you do, there's one thing you should definitely think about doing in the new year: clearing out some of the clutter in your home.

Whether you're considering moving to a new home for work or retirement or you just want to reclaim some existing space, there's nothing like shaking things up with a good downsizing. Here are some great tips to ring in the new year right:

Start Small

How often does this happen to you? You're all raring to go when it comes to downsizing clutter, but then you open that closet or garage and see a giant, intimidating mess — and suddenly you run for the hills. The mess is still there, you now feel terrible and the clutter only gets worse. How in the world do you get around this?


10 Best Senior Dating Sites For Love:
 Dating 50, 60, 70+

When you think of dating, you may think of lovelorn teens incessantly texting, or twentysomethings bonding over drinks at the bar. Dating isn't just for the young, however. As divorce and deciding not to marry become more popular, more people find themselves dating in their golden years. Recent research into the matter revealed that nearly 20 million singles over the age of 65 make up nearly 20 percent of all unmarried people in the US.

Men and women in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond are looking to date. More than ever, they're turning to the internet to find someone special to spend their time with. Luckily, there are many dating sites that make online dating easy and accessible for seniors.

If you're a single of a certain age looking for that special someone, you might find dating sites for seniors to be very fulfilling, and not your typical hookup site. It can help you meet singles your age easily, whether you're looking for someone local or looking to meet fascinating senior singles from around the world.

6 - 7 minutes

The first thing I thought of after hearing the news that an automobile accident had severely injured Tiger Woods Tuesday and his subsequent orthopedic surgeries, was the long and arduous month’s, or even years, of physical therapy he has ahead of him. Even an athlete, with his background and training, will find it difficult regaining his ability to walk, let alone compete, after being immobile for any length of time. And, while I am sure that he will have the best therapists and the best equipment available, how quickly and how well he recovers is entirely up to him. Just because the flesh may be willing, the mind, as they say, may be weak. The biggest obstacle is not the pain associated with fractured limbs, but the strain one’s psyche must deal with, and overcome.

Physical therapy is as much a healing of the mind as it is of the injured muscles, the torn tendons and the broken bones. I know. I’ve been there.
Although the reason for my therapy did not come about as the result of an accident, the damage done to my body was just as debilitating.


After spending two months in a hospital, in a bed, recovering from a difficult surgery and a lengthy recovery, I completely lost my ability to walk. Not only could I not walk, I couldn’t sit up or stand up on my own. They had to lift me out of bed with the aid of a contraption called a Hoyer Lift™ which hoisted me into the air, in a sling, like a sack of potatoes and plopped me down into a waiting wheelchair. It was humiliating, as it was awkward. But nothing they could do to me would compare to the pain, frustration and depression I felt every day in those therapy sessions.

Mobility therapy is a slow, methodical process.
At the beginning, they wanted little more than for me to sit up on my own. A task to which ‘normal’ people give little thought, but to someone who has been on their back for months becomes as difficult as trying to bench-press a 500 lb. barbell with one hand. My body would just not respond to what my mind wanted it to do and, eventually, my mind gave up. I fell into a deep funk. I felt betrayed by my body and my will. Eventually, after much encouragement by my therapist and much cursing by me, I could lift my body up and sit at the edge of the bed for short periods of time. My back, so I learned, is a large part of walking. And I would have to regain strength in it as much as my legs.

Weeks became months, and I had made very little progress. I could now slide into the wheelchair with some help, eliminating the need for the “lift.” But I still could not stand on my own, let alone walk. It was not until they sent me to the hospital to correct a thyroid problem That I saw a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
I’ve told this story before, but I will retell it for the sake of clarity.
While in the hospital, undergoing some tests, a psychiatrist visited me as part of a general evaluation of my condition. I had never spoken to an actual “shrink” before, having seen only a psychologist in the rehab facility. After nearly an hour of pouring out my heart to her, she diagnosed me as having a mild form of depression. She prescribed an antidepressant, and I returned to the facility.

I won’t say it was a miracle, but after taking the antidepressants for about a week, I began to not only feel better physically, but they swept away the cobwebs that had clogged my head with gloom and despair for over a year.
My appetite improved, which gave me the strength needed to complete the tasks assigned to me by my therapist. The weights on my ankles to build up my legs and calf muscles and the ones to develop my atrophied back and arms were working. And soon, I could lift myself out of the chair which had been my “prison” and on to the parallel bars where the actual work to restore mobility and balance began.
I don’t know if I the medication played any part in my actual rehab. But I know that having the ability to think clearly, without the barriers that make the world seem dark and foreboding, went a long way in making my time in rehab more tolerable and, by doing so, made me want to regain some of what I had lost.
My advice to anyone facing physical therapy is to think about consulting with a mental health professional. They are as much a part of the healing process as is any piece of equipment in the rehab room…………………


2021 Health Care Predictions

One year ago – in early 2020 – most of us did not know what COVID-19 meant (co-Corona; vi-Virus; d-disease; 19 – 2019); had no idea how to “zoom”; did not know what social distance meant; and, were largely unfamiliar with working from home on a normal weekday and certainly not week after week and month after month.

The health care delivery system has had to react as well – and is still doing so! Institutional and individual providers have demonstrated to all they are the true HEROES of this pandemic. And their work is not done, even as the roll-out of vaccines continues to increase in numbers and extend beyond health care providers and the ‘elderly’.  

So what will happen in 2021 to the health care delivery system? Just as members of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP and our Health Care Practice have done in years past, we have made some predictions of what we expect to see for the balance of the calendar year.     

Top 20 gifts under $20 for
assisted living residents
By Diane Rehor

Now that our beloved elderly are being vaccinated, according to my dear friend, Dr. Charleen Jaeb, resident of Generations Senior Living of Strongsville, they would love a visit!

Charleen and I met in college as “non-traditional” students many moons ago. Charleen continued her education, completing both an MBA and law degree to pursue her career as a college professor at various colleges in Cleveland. Charleen received multiple awards throughout her career. Most recently she won the Women’s Club “Woman of the Year” in Middleburg Heights.

Upon retirement from teaching, she accepted the position of Bus Tour Guide for Lake Front Bus Lines, where she wrote articles for the Bus Tours Magazine. Her favorite articles were “20 Tips for Bus Tour Planners.”

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FEB. 24, 2021

COVID Crisis Triggers Increase in Elder Abuse

There’s been a worrisome increase in cases of elder abuse since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

 The senior advocacy organization’s CEO, Rebecca Weber, says the surge is mainly due to self-isolation and other preventative measures that are in place to combat the spread of the virus.
Rebecca Weber

According to the Website, PubMed.Gov, Weber says, “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, elder abuse affected one in 10 American older adults annually. It has been assumed that the pandemic has brought with it a surge in elder abuse due to individuals ordered to stay at home combined with increased interpersonal stressors.”  


Older adults and antibiotics:
Study shows healthy attitudes but unhealthy practices

While most adults over 50 understand that overuse of antibiotics is a problem, and say they’re cautious about taking the drugs, a sizable minority have used antibiotics for something other than their original purpose, and appear to think the drugs could help treat colds, which are caused by viruses not bacteria.

These findings, contained in a new paper in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, come from a national poll of people between the ages of 50 and 80 carried out as part of the National Poll on Healthy Aging.

The authors, from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, say their findings highlight the importance of careful guidance from health care providers to older adults, about the proper use and disposal of antibiotics prescribed to outpatients.


Nearly Half of Retirees Say Their Savings
Did Not Recover by End of 2020

“Depending on how long it takes one’s retirement savings to recover, the 2020 coronavirus recession could have a deep and life changing impact on the retirement security of older Americans,” says Johnson.

How is the pandemic affecting retirement savings? Forty - eight percent of retirees with retirement accounts say that their savings have not recovered pre-pandemic levels, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “There’s no doubt about it, the Coronavirus - caused recession is forcing many older adults to rethink retirement plans,” says Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “While the U.S. stock market ended 2020 at an all - time high, the retirement savings held by many retired adults do not appear to have benefited from the run up,” Johnson says. “This is exactly why the guaranteed income nature of Social Security is so important,” she notes.

The survey, which was conducted from mid - January to mid-February of this year, asked the following “How has the coronavirus - caused recession affected the value of your retirement savings as of December 31, 2020?”

This Shouldn’t Stay In Vegas

As most of you know, me and my fellow residents here and in assisted living facilities across the state have been in a quarantine/ lockdown situation for nearly a year. During this time they have prevented us from taking our meals as we usually do, in our dining room, with our friends. Instead, they have fed us our breakfast, lunch and dinner in our rooms. What this means is not only are we missing that very important interaction with our peers, but they have forced us to suffer the indignity of eating from Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils. In addition, to accommodate the method of food distribution to our residents, the quality, preparation, variety and portion sizes and the temperature have suffered too.

As of this Thursday, February 25th, all of our residents and staff will have not only received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but we will have passed the 10-day period suggested by the CDC for the vaccine to be most effective.
The article below explains how the city of Las Vegas Nevada will lift its restrictions on communal dining in ALF’s because the local infection rate has dropped below 10%. This will allow bored, lonely and isolated residents to once again mingle with the only people they see regularly, the other residents. It also means that some manner of normalcy will have returned after all these months, ending the boredom and isolation they have endured.

Keeping all that in mind. And considering the similar situation the Las Vegas residents have to ours and also that the current infection rate in NY State is lower (7.4%) than that of Nevada’s 10%, why is the New York State Department of Health continuing to keep nearly 10,000 ALF residents statewide in a state of virtual imprisonment?

Editor’s note: The Governor of New York just announced that fans will be allowed back in the arenas as well as movie theaters. This is in addition to the recent relaxation of the indoor dining prohibition. It really makes you wonder why we (residents) have been singled-out as New York’s number-one scapegoats.

* * * * * * * * * *

Assisted living facility reopens communal dining
as Las Vegas infection rate drops

The coronavirus infection rate dropped below 10% in Las Vegas for the first time since November. The lowering case rates also means assisted living facilities are able to loosen some restrictions.

The Oakmont Assisted Living Facility in Las Vegas opened its dining hall on Monday for the first time since November.

"We were fortunate enough at this community to be able to have completed both rounds of vaccinations, for a lot of residents and staff as well, and this was really the next step to get them as close back to normal in a pre-COVID world," facilities director Chris Mirando said.

DEA Tip of the Week:
What to do if you suspect a senior citizen
is struggling with drug abuse

Substance abuse among senior citizens can be a problem and there is a variety of contributing factors.

The Drug Enforcement Agency, El Paso Division joined KTSM 9 News to talk about this issue, saying that while illicit drug use typically declines after young adulthood, nearly 1 million adults aged 65 and older live with a substance use disorder, according to data reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chronic health conditions tend to develop as part of aging, and older adults are often prescribed more medicines than other age groups, leading to a higher rate of exposure to potentially addictive medications.

9 Ways to Extend the Time
You Spend Living Independently

One of the biggest decisions as you age is where you will age. Three-quarters of adults in a 2018 AARP survey said they wanted to remain in their homes, but only 59% thought they would be able to do so. If remaining at home is your preference, here are nine steps you can take:

1. Prevent Falls

Falls are the most common cause of nonfatal, trauma-related hospital admissions for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-quarter of Americans 65 and older fall every year.

A fall can trigger a decline in functioning "which may affect your ability to remain independent," explains Liz Barlowe, aging life care manager with Barlowe & Associates in Seminole, Fla.

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FEB. 23, 2021

Cuomo's COVID nursing home catastrophe underlines
Americans' poor treatment of their elderly

By Daniel Davies

The nursing homes and assisted living care facilities have been quick to take advantage of that unethical attitude.  There is big money to be made taking elderly into nursing homes and assisted living.  Medicare and Medicaid, which most elderly have to use, provides limited funds for nursing home costs.  The result: Most elderly end up in facilities with little privacy, hospital-like rooms with dozens of beds, and low-paid and low-motivated help.  The elderly have no voice and are often abused, neglected, and disrespected.  Those few elderly who have the means fare better.  Their money buys them privacy, respect, care from better paid staff, and more comfortable accommodations.


Cannabis lowers blood pressure
in older adults, study finds

By Nancy Clanton

A new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and its affiliated Soroka University Medical Center found that medical cannabis might reduce blood pressure in older adults.
ExploreMore older adults turn to cannabis to treat common ailments

“Older adults are the fastest growing group of medical cannabis users, yet evidence on cardiovascular safety for this population is scarce,” wrote Dr. Ran Abuhasira of the BGU Faculty of Health Sciences, one of Israel’s leading medical faculties, and the BGU-Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute. “This study is part of our ongoing effort to provide clinical research on the actual physiological effects of cannabis over time.”

The researchers studied patients ages 60 and older who had hypertension. The patients were prescribed cannabis, then monitored with 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure devices.


Six Reasons Why Now is a Good Time to
Move to a Senior Living Community

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, hopefully with a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of vaccines, both organizations and individuals have been forced to adjust their practices and behaviors in so many ways. “Normal” looks very different now than it did only a year ago and no one is sure when, or even if, things will go back to the way they were before.

Many people are wondering, are senior living communities, including assisted living and independent living, safe during COVID-19? In this environment, the highest quality senior living communities have adapted quickly and responsibly. Those that do it best are, more than ever, some of the safest and most fulfilling places for an older adult to live. While moving into assisted or independent living during a global pandemic could be perceived as a challenging decision, we believe now may be the smartest time to make that move.


Could Accessory Dwelling Units Be the
Next Big Trend for Assisted Living Facilities?

On Sunday, February 7, 2021, The New York Times published an article entitled, “Converting Backyards into Family Compounds” involving the latest trend in assisted living – accessory dwelling units. These are small homes built on the property of existing homes usually in the backyard which used to be referred to with antiquated nicknames such as “mother-in-law suites” or “granny flats.”

While the cost of building such a home for one’s parents is expensive, it is on a comparative basis less expensive than putting one’s parents into an assisted living facility.

General Electric and General Motors began their corporate lives as the manufacturers of light bulbs, turbines, and automobiles/engines. Over time a large part of their income was drawn from setting up themselves as lenders with mortgage loans and credit cards.

5 minutes

For most of my adult life, I made a living out of talking to people. On a normal weekday, I probably spent eight or nine hours doing nothing but conversing with folks on the phone and in person. Not texts. Not Instant messages, but an actual give and take, tongue wagging, lip flapping exchange of ideas and opinions. Today, because of this damn virus, I’ve barely had more than a five-minute conversation with anybody in 11 months. How long will it take before we will have forgotten how to speak altogether?

Many of our young people have already lost that ability.
As teenagers back in the day, we spent hours on the phone with our friends. And that’s after being with them all day. We just couldn’t get enough of that interaction we loved and needed.

Today’s kids still spend countless hours on the phone, not to talk, but to send snippets of inane, grammatically challenged and misspelled text messages back and forth trying, in vain, to keep some communication skills before they completely lose them.

And it’s not only the kids. The non-verbal communication debacle has made its way to the adult sector as well.

Take business as an example.

Most companies today, not only have cut back on using the phone as a business tool, but have discouraged its use.
Everything, from sales, shipping, adjustments and returns they handle by text or email. No need to actually speak to a live customer service representative. Just check one of the “reasons for your inquiry” and a friendly network server will solve your problem. If it fits into one of its predetermined categories, that is. If not, good luck trying to get an actual human being on the phone to explain your situation to.

And now, things have become worse for human conversation. This COVID mess has turned us all into a society of un-inter-actors. Instead of giving in to our instinct to be among our own kind, and in doing so, perfecting our social skills, they have asked us to stay as far away from others as possible, lest we kill them or cause them harm. What will this lead to? Will we become a race of technologically advanced hermits cowering in our dark little lairs, hunched over a smart-phone, tablet or laptop, tapping out volumes of encoded messages, (LOL, LMAO, UOK, WTF) never seeing the reaction of the person reading them.

Humans are the most social of all creatures. We need each other more than any other species. Our society is so complicated that one person cannot know everything we need to thrive and prosper. I may be a brilliant doctor, but do not know how to invest the money I make. For that, I need a financial advisor who, while he may not know how to remove a kidney, knows exactly which hedge fund to use to get me the most bang for the buck. But would I trust my money to someone I know only through a few lines of email or a glossy brochure? I want to meet the guy face to face. I want to look into his eyes, see the sweat on his lip and listen to the sincerity in his voice. Something you can’t get with “dw. ur $$ is sfe w/ me.”
Let’s face it. If this COVID quarantine/social distance thing doesn’t end soon, I predict we will all become blithering idiots unable to put two coherent sentences together, let alone carry on a conversation. Do we really want to return to caveman status where a grunt, a shrug and a club over the head is all we needed to get our message across?……………….


Start Planning Your Bucket List Vacation Now

Retirees Liz Miller and Lou Hoyos, of Long Branch, N.J., had planned to spend two weeks vacationing in Spain last April: Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo and Malaga. But like millions of others, the couple's plans got postponed, and then canceled, as the pandemic spread across the globe. But Miller isn't giving up on the dream.

"I had done everything and created this amazing trip for two weeks," she says. "But now I'm thinking, 'Nope, we're going to stay for a month, and I have twelve more places I want to go.''

Nearly a third of Americans say they're planning to splurge on travel or dining out after they get vaccinated.

What Seniors Should Know Before Filing 2020 Taxes
By John Waggoner

Getting ready to tackle your federal income taxes for 2020? Due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic, your return could be different — and perhaps a bit trickier — this year than in years past. Here are 10 things taxpayers should understand before filling out a 1040.

1. Deadlines are deadlines

Death and taxes may be the two certainties in life, but at least you know when the taxman will come knocking. Federal income tax returns are due April 15 this year, the traditional filing deadline. Congress extended the deadline to July 15 last year because of the disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) set Feb. 12 as the start date for processing 2020 returns, which is later than normal. It was Jan. 27 last year. The IRS says it needed the extra time to reprogram systems due to the tax law changes on Dec. 27 that authorized a second round of stimulus payments.

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FEB. 22, 2021

Pointers on Booking a COVID-19 Vaccination

One couple trying to get their COVID-19 vaccines put their names on five different lists. One devoted son waited up until 1 a.m., juggling three computer screens to snag an elusive slot for his dad and stepmom. A friend persuaded a patient's longtime pharmacist to make a house call to administer the vaccine. Another couple endured a 5 1/2-hour wait for their second dose.

They're just a few examples of the tens of thousands of Americans who've been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (as part of groups 1B or 1C  per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations), struggled to receive it and finally did.

They weren't trying to "jump the line," explained Andy Giambarba, who spent three late nights refreshing multiple browser windows in hopes of snatching a slot through Walgreens for his 92-year-old father and 86-year-old stepmother. It's just that difficult to get an appointment in many parts of the country right now.


8 Things to Know Before Your
Second COVID-19 Vaccine

By Michelle Crouch

If you've already received your first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, congratulations — you're well on your way to being protected from the coronavirus. But to be fully immunized, it's critical to get that second shot.

Across the country, some people are running into snafus as they try to get their second dose. Winter storms have shut down clinics in some areas, while others have closed because they temporarily ran out of vaccine. There are also scattered reports of scheduling glitches.

If you've had an appointment canceled, don't wait for someone to call you — be proactive about rescheduling your second shot, advises William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.


15 Facts To Consider When Selecting a
Continuing Care Retirement Community

By Chuck Robinson

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), also known as life plan communities, allow seniors to "age in place" at a single facility while their health needs change over time. While you can start out living completely independently in a condo, skilled nursing, assisted living, and other services are also available if and when they're needed. Unlike many other retirement options, CCRCs recognize the fact that most seniors want to live independently for as long as they possibly can.

In a typical scenario, a CCRC resident will rent or purchase a condo within the community, with a range of accommodation sizes and styles available. A tiered price structure and program will be available according to the amount and type of services needed or desired. As the person ages and their healthcare needs change, they can keep living in the original condo for as long as possible and transition into an on-site nursing facility if required.


At 93, She Waged War on JPMorgan
—and Her Own Grandsons

By Tom Schoenberg

Beverley Schottenstein was 93 years old when she decided to go to war with the biggest bank in the U.S.

It was a June day, and the Atlantic shimmered beyond the balcony of her Florida condominium. Beverley studied an independent review of her accounts as family and lawyers gathered around a table and listened in by phone. The document confirmed her worst fears: Her two financial advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who oversaw more than $80 million for her, had run up big commissions putting her money in risky investments they weren’t telling her about. It was the latest red flag about the bankers. There had been missing account statements. Document shredding. Unexplained credit-card charges.

Although some relatives urged Beverley not to make waves, she was resolute. What the money managers did was wrong, she told the group. They needed to pay, she said. Even though they were her own grandsons.

5 minutes

Old folks have always been a target of discrimination. But never so much as in the last few years.
Early on, it became quite clear that Trump and the Republican-led congress had it in for seniors. They quickly considered putting Social Security, Medicare and other services for Older Americans on the chopping block, which could have been devastating for millions who depend on the benefits from those programs just to survive. Fortunately, those cuts never went through. But in the meantime, they did nothing to improve the lives of our seniors either. An example of which is the measly 1.3% increase to the Social Security benefits, while the actual COL salary adjustment for all Americans went up by 2.3%.

But all of that pales in comparison when we look at what we have done to seniors during this pandemic.
The former administration barely acknowledged the virus until patients in a Washington State nursing home started dying in droves. And even then, it barely phased anybody in authority that the aged were particularly susceptible to catching COVI-19. “Old people get sick and die, so what else is new?”, was the general consensus.
It was not until local governments became involved did the realization that seniors may be more vulnerable to the effects of the disease than the general, younger, population.
In the words of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “I sit on the aging committee in the Senate and one of the things I hope we can do is actually have a thorough review. Older Americans in nursing homes all across the country suffer disproportionately because when COVID got into these nursing homes/assisted living facilities, it spread like wildfire. A lot of our older Americans have really bore the brunt of COVID.”
But just acknowledging the problem does not lessen the magnitude and the extent at which ageism has spread throughout the nation. And not all of it by ignorant, uninformed people…

There are increasing reports of medical doctors, public health officials and policy makers promoting the idea that younger people should receive COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of seniors so they can lead us to get the pandemic under control.” [1]

Unfortunately, discrimination against seniors, especially those who are residents of long-term care facilities, does not end with who should or should not get vaccinated. The inequities range from forced isolation to mistreatment, unintentional and otherwise. Mostly because of the policies of clueless state’s Departments of Health and mindless nursing home and assisted living facility administrators who don’t have any idea how the lack of interaction with others may have caused irrefutable damage to an already emotionally challenged population.

In general, we older Americans are not known for our activism. We don’t speak up for ourselves. Instead, we depend on others to be our voice. But all too often, our priorities take a back seat to promote insurance policies, or discounted travel by so-called “Retired peoples” associations. And even those that should know us the best, our families, are at a loss how to get the people in charge to re-open or, at least, ease some restrictions imposed on us. For those “in charge” it’s easier to do nothing than find a solution that may open a nasty can of worms and cause a worsening of the situation.

We are closing in on the one-year anniversary of the locking down of our facility and others across the nation. And, while that lockdown and the subsequent precautionary measures taken to deter the spread of the virus may have been the responsible thing to do at the beginning, it’s time they took a long, hard look at what we need now, nearly 12 whole months later. And they better do it quickly before their efforts to “save us’ becomes the very thing that does us the most harm………….. .

[1] “This is flawed thinking, and the claim that “evidence” is emerging on this is suspect.
What swath of our nation has re-routed vaccinations to younger people in sufficient numbers to produce the data to support this notion? It seems more likely that this idea is motivated by economic reasons. which in and of itself is an acceptable initiative. But, at what cost?
In one area that the data are abundantly clear is that people between the ages of 29 and 49 are the greatest spreaders of the disease. Should large numbers of these be vaccinated, they will likely exacerbate the problem because there is clear evidence that one can spread the disease just as easily after being vaccinated.”


Should Older Americans Be Booking Trips
Right After Getting the Vaccine?

By Tanner Garrity

There’s a concept called “mortality salience,” which refers to an individual’s awareness that his/her death is inevitable. Most of us have perceived it — if you’ve shared a joint during college, you’ve definitely stumbled into it — but it’s especially relevant for senior citizens. As the end of their days looms, they make new plans, enlist new friends or try new behaviors to distract from that reality.

For their demographic, this year could be mortality salience on steroids. After a near-year of bubbledom, those in their 60s and above have had far too much time to sit around and reflect on exactly where they are in their lives. Now, as the first in line to get two doses of the vaccine, they seem especially eager to get out and see the world in order to make up for the lost time or make more memories before their time officially runs out.

According to a recent survey by travel agency Virtuoso, older people are more likely to travel than any age group in 2021. And they’re pegging it precisely to when they get the vaccine; 95% of those polled said they would travel only once they received the shots. Meanwhile, The New York Times recently spoke to a variety of luxury cruise operators and resort executives. The refrain is the same throughout — bookings are trending up, and the 65-plus crowd is leading the way.

Receiving an Inheritance While on Medicaid

For most people, receiving an inheritance is something good, but for a nursing home resident on Medicaid, an inheritance may not be such welcome news. Medicaid has strict income and resource limits, so an inheritance can make a Medicaid recipient ineligible for Medicaid. Careful planning is necessary to make sure the inheritance doesn't have a negative impact.

An inheritance will be counted as income in the month it is received.  You or whoever is representing you will have to inform the state Medicaid agency, and Medicaid coverage will then end until you have again spent down your assets to the countable limit, which is $2,000 in most states. If you receive an inheritance and the amount puts you over the income limits for your state, you will not be eligible for Medicaid for at least that month. If you can properly spend down the money in the same month it is received, however, you will be eligible for Medicaid again the following month. The first thing to do is pay the nursing home for the current month (at the Medicaid rate).

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FEB. 19, 2021

Nursing home coronavirus cases and deaths
decline as vaccinations increase

The campaign to vaccinate millions of residents and staff in the nation’s thousands of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities against the coronavirus is gaining momentum and showing early, positive effects.

At the same time, however, information is emerging on shabby treatment of the vulnerable, including their exposure to illness exported into their facilities from hospitals, explaining the increasing number of civil lawsuits that owners and operators face.

Good news has been so rare with the pandemic that it may be worth considering first the coast-to-coast drive for long-term care facility vaccinations.


The True Toll Of COVID-19 In Assisted Living Homes
Is Hidden By A Regulatory ‘Black Hole’
By Molly Redden

When Tony Chicotel walks his dog around downtown Berkeley, he passes a nursing home and an assisted living facility. The nursing home, in the middle of a pandemic that has claimed the lives of more than 163,000 long-term care residents and staff, is like a miracle: It suffered only a few, isolated cases of COVID-19, and no one has died.

The assisted living facility is another story. Inside, an outbreak that began around Thanksgiving has spread to nearly 60 residents and killed 14, making it one of the deadliest long-term care facilities in the Bay Area.

Chicotel, who works for the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, can’t see inside to know why the outbreak is so bad. Neither, really, can anyone else.


Stroke incidence declines among older adults,
remains steady among younger adults

Rates of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage remained steady in adults aged 18 to 49 years while decreasing in older adults, particularly in those aged 70 years and older, according to results from a 13-year study.

Stroke mortality also decreased during this period, study findings showed. Researchers published the results in Neurology.

“Stroke remains a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, although estimates from the Global Burden of Disease study showed a decline in incidence rates in high-income countries between 1990 and 2010,” Nils Skajaa, MSc, and colleagues wrote. “Some studies, however, suggest that the decline in incidence is heterogeneous by age, with flat or increasing trends in younger adults.”


Vaccine hesitancy vs. vaccine refusal —
nursing home staffers say there’s a difference
By Aneri Pattani

It had been months since Tremellia Hobbs had an excuse to bring out the pompoms.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, they were a crowd favorite at movie nights and bingo tournaments that Hobbs organized as activities director at the Brian Center Health & Retirement/Cabarrus nursing home, in Concord, North Carolina.

On Jan. 14, she finally had a reason. After nearly a year of living with pandemic restrictions and a summer outbreak that killed 10 residents and infected 30 staff members, the nursing home was hosting its first coronavirus vaccine clinic.

Just a few things to comment on as we end another week in America.
 I received my second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine last Saturday. The procedure went well. CVS, the people who have been administering the shots to area nursing homes and assisted living facilities, have done a marvelous job. They promised to finish vaccinating all long-term care seniors by the end of February, and they did. What that will mean for those of us who have been “incarcerated” for over 11 months is yet to be determined. Will they allow some easing of the restrictions imposed on us such as the return of communal dining, recreational activities and visitation? Or will they continue to ignore our pleas as they have done since the beginning of the lockdown last March?

Elsewhere, things are not so good. Especially in the great state of Texas. Their Conservative policies may have backfired. For years, Texas has lured businesses away from other, less corporate friendly states, by offering low or no taxes, cheap real-estate and cheap, mostly fossil fueled, energy. And now they are paying the price. Most of Texas is not part of a National Grid which would have allowed it to buy energy from other locations. And while that may have been “cost-conscious” it doesn’t work so well in emergency situations. Fortunately, warmer weather forecast for the area will help get things back to normal.

It’s been nearly a month since our former president has been out of office and a whole week since he once again “beat the impeachment rap”, but he’s still in the news. Speaking from Oz-A-Lago, Mr. Trump blasted his former best friend and supporter, Mitch McConnell, for what he said at the conclusion of the impeachment trial. With Trump, it’s not what you have done for me, but what have you done for me lately, that determines his loyalty. As they say, “with friends like that who needs enemies.”
Finally, we come one step closer to discovering if there was/is life on Mars.
“NASA successfully landed its fifth robotic rover on Mars on Thursday, with the U.S. space agency confirming that Perseverance touched down safely on the red planet’s surface. The rover is the most technologically advanced robot that NASA has ever sent to Mars, with the agency aiming to spend nearly two years exploring the surface. Perseverance is also carrying a small helicopter named Ingenuity, which is a technology demonstrator that NASA plans to use to attempt the first flight on another planet.”

The craft landed in what they believe was once a lake that may show that life once existed on the red planet. And if it did, what happened to it? The implications of finding the answer to that question are enormous for the future of our own planet.
I’ll end this week with well-wishes and prayers for all those suffering from cold, power outages and complications from the pandemic. Spring is just about a month away and with it the hope that we will have at least turned the corner on the virus, the weather and this crummy year…………………………..


Artificial Intelligence And The End Of Work
By Rob Toews

Dating back to the Industrial Revolution, people have speculated that machines would render human ... [+] work obsolete. Unlike in earlier eras, artificial intelligence will prove this prophecy true.

“When looms weave by themselves, man’s slavery will end.” —Aristotle, 4th century BC

Stanford is hosting an event next month named “Intelligence Augmentation: AI Empowering People to Solve Global Challenges.” This title is telling and typical.

How Older, Low-Income Adults
Can Get Skills and Jobs

At the end of 2018, Ida Lane, 63, was jobless, living in a Chicago homeless shelter and facing an uncertain future. Today, she resides in a subsidized apartment and earns $20 an hour as a part-time COVID-19 contact tracer.

Lane credits the new path her life has taken to the U.S. Department of Labor's little-known Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP), which helps low-income Americans 55 and older enter or re-enter the workforce.

"When I got the job last September, my heart just soared," says Lane. "I'm helping people in my community during a really uncertain time."  

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FEB. 18, 2021

Risk of Death From COVID in Nursing Homes: Race Matters
By Amy Norton

U.S. nursing homes have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the toll on Black and Hispanic residents has been especially harsh, a new study confirms.

Researchers found that COVID-19 death rates were more than three times higher at U.S. nursing homes with the highest proportions of Black and Hispanic residents, compared to those with mostly white residents.

The study, of more than 13,000 nursing homes nationwide, is not the first to document such racial disparities.


The Pandemic Shines the Spotlight on Ageism

Remember when Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick went on Fox News last March and suggested older Americans should sacrifice themselves for the economy during the pandemic? "Let's get back to living," he said. "Let's be smart about it. And those of us who are seventy-plus, we'll take care of ourselves, but don't sacrifice the country."

His comments sparked an immediate backlash. But remarks like those have also given momentum to a perspective embraced by a disturbing number of scholars and members of the media commentariat: Segregate those over 60 or 65, since they're at greatest risk of dying from the coronavirus, and let the younger generations go about their business.


Top 5 Differences Between Assisted Living
and Nursing Homes

Is your elderly parent at the point where they need more care than you can provide them?

If so, you’re probably thinking about making alternative living arrangements for them. Two of the most popular living arrangements for seniors are nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

But, what’s the difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility? How do you decide which is right for your loved one?

5 minutes

I’m 75 years old, and the one thing I’ve learned is to take promises with a grain of salt. Better yet, a mound of salt.
From the time we are very young, people have promised us things.
My mom.- “If you eat all your vegetables, I promise you’ll get a great dessert.” Sorry mom, but a bowl of Mott’s applesauce doesn’t cut it.

My Dad. - “Study hard. Go to college and you’ll get a good job and make lots of money. I promise.” Nice try, dad. I went to college and got an okay job for just okay pay. I would have done better if I learned to install aluminum siding.
My (ex) Wife.- “To love and honor till death do us part.”
Shall I go on?. Very few things promised to us come true. Not because people don’t mean well, but because they are pathological liars. Even if they don’t mean to be. We can’t help ourselves. Lying makes almost everything go away. For a while, anyway. And besides. It’s just easier to lie than to do all the work and research it takes to tell the truth.

Take our former president as an example.
According to the Washington Post, since January of 2020, Mr. Trump “had made more than 16,241 false or misleading claims as president, an average of about 14.8 such statements per day.” And look where that got him. Almost another term, that’s where. People just love to be told exactly what they want to hear. Especially if it comes as a promise. The words “I promise” add a touch of sincerity to even the biggest lie. It just sounds so darn heartfelt.
And our new president is not immune to making promises he might not keep “100 million people vaccinated in 100 days” is far from being on track. Yesterday, at a televised “Town Meeting” in Wisconsin, Mr. Biden said that, by July, all Americans who want the vaccine will be able to get i by July. He did not use the words “I Promise.” I’m sure that we will hear many such statements in the next 4 years. Hopefully, not as many as we have heard in the past.

Have I made promises I knew I couldn’t keep? I suppose so. But I have purposely tried to keep those to a minimum. Especially now, in my latter years. There’s one thing about old people. They can handle the truth. And they have respect for those that tell it.
One reason I no longer make any promises has to do with memory. I know, if I don't write it down, I will have forgotten anything I may have said. So, unless I make a note to “Bring the article on Prozac” to the next meeting of the “Pill and Tablet” club, I’ll most likely will forget to do it.

Even the assisted living facility where I live knows not to make promises.
To their credit, they have never promised us that things will soon get better. Actually, they say little about anything. I guess that’s because they know we know a lie when we hear it. Part of telling a fib is knowing your audience.
There is nothing wrong with promising. But you must do it sparingly and with intent to keep it. A promise, unlike an idle remark or sarcastic comment, should be sacred. It’s like writing a check, A check isn’t actual money but it is a “promise” to pay the amount written on the document. While a verbal promise is not legally binding, people of honor and strong moral character strive to keep promises whenever possible. The problem is finding those people………………...


 Remembering the polio epidemic
and looking forward to vaccination again

By Evadna Bartlett

With all the discussion of pandemics, there seem to have been few references to the polio epidemic of the mid-20th century. Each summer it struck without warning, killing some, leaving others in iron lungs or crippled for life.

We didn’t know the cause. We heard of nearby neighbors in an iron lung. We gave up our trips to a community swimming pool or theater. Group activities were out.

It terrified us and put me, then 12 years old, in a hospital room with no roommate, no parental visits and quite unhappy.

Cooking With Limited Mobility:
7 Tips for an Accessible Kitchen

While cooking may seem like a simple task for many, it can be difficult for someone with limited mobility. Over 30 million people in the United States have trouble walking, and approximately 20 million have difficulty lifting or gripping objects. When provided with the right tools, cooking can instill confidence in anyone, including those that face challenges due to illness, injury, or age.

After all, being able to prepare food for yourself is an act of independence, creativity, and self-expression. Creating a meal can be an escape, and everyone should be able to take part. Luckily, a more accessible kitchen might be the only thing between you and a newfound sense of freedom.

There are both mental and social benefits of being able to cook for yourself, but, unfortunately, the average kitchen isn’t designed for accessible cooking. Over time, this lack of accessibility has sparked several creative and innovative solutions and also, simultaneously, helped drive the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement. In an attempt to further enrich your lives with people’s ingenuity over the years, we’ve compiled some of the best tips for making the kitchen a safe, supportive, and fun place for all.


Seven Ways to Pay for Assisted Living

A new year brings hope and possibility. It’s a time to set goals and plan for the year ahead. While the pandemic has understandably adjusted some of our planning, it’s always a good time to plan ahead as it relates to the care of elderly family members.

One of the key pieces to the conversation about senior living housing is cost. It’s no secret that long-term care can be expensive. The average cost of assisted living in the United States is $3,628 per month. Although the cost of care varies based on care setting, geographic location and level of care required, it’s still a hefty price tag.

The thought of paying such a monthly sum can be overwhelming and burdensome. But it doesn’t need to be. There are a variety of ways a family can finance a loved one’s care at an assisted living facility. When discussions happen early and well before the need arises, families find creative ways to incorporate senior living costs into their budgets.

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FEB. 17, 2021

When will it be OK for kids to
hug their grandparents again?

As more grandparents receive the COVID-19 vaccinated by the day, many have a simple question: Is it OK now to get hugs from the grandkids? Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinOne doctor said it's not a simple answer.At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a very real danger of a hug could kill close family members.As the country closes in on a year of social distancing and a vaccine becomes more widely distributed, nearly everyone is yearning to be physically close again.That includes snuggling with grandkids."Usually right now, I'm just talking to the grandkids through the phone, so I think that's the safest thing to do right now," said Tony Cicero, a grandparent waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine


States racing to vaccinate older Americans
By Carla K. Johnson, Bryan Anderson and Andrew Dalton

Two months after the first COVID-19 shots were administered, the race to vaccinate older Americans is gaining traction, with more than a third of people 65 and up having received their first dose in states that have provided data.

The finding comes from an Associated Press analysis of information from 27 states where data is available. Those states account for just over half of all first doses administered nationwide.

“This is very good news. This is a sign we’re doing it right,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. Vaccine hesitancy is dropping quickly as older Americans talk to their friends who have been vaccinated, he said. “They’re watching people they know get the vaccine and seeing it’s safe.”


A third of Americans say they definitely or probably
won’t get the coronavirus vaccine, poll finds


About 1 in 3 Americans say they definitely or probably won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new poll that some experts say is discouraging news if the U.S. hopes to achieve herd immunity and vanquish the outbreak.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that while 67% of Americans plan to get vaccinated or have already done so, 15% are certain they won’t and 17% say probably not. Many expressed doubts about the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

The poll suggests that substantial skepticism persists more than a month and a half into a U.S. vaccination drive that has encountered few if any serious side effects. It found that resistance runs higher among younger people, people without college degrees, Black Americans and Republicans.


Delaying retirement might not solve savings shortfall after all:
4 policy recommendations

By Alan Goforth

“Spreadsheet models used by advocates of delaying retirement assume older workers delay claiming Social Security to accrue additional benefits,” according to a research report from Teresa Ghilarducci, Michael Papadopoulos, Bridget Fisher, and Anthony Webb at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School.

Spreadsheet models don’t reflect actual experiences, “But in reality, by age 65, most older workers have already claimed Social Security, often to supplement low wages, and working longer does not increase their Social Security benefits. Working longer increases retirement savings significantly less than predicted by spreadsheet models, which don’t reflect older workers’ real experiences in the labor market.

6 minutes

Editor's note: This post requires the reader to read between the lines.

I like food. Not just eating it or the way it tastes or even for its nutritional values. I like it for its texture, variety, and the skill it takes in its preparation. But mostly, I like food (or should I say, cooking it) because of the way it fulfills my need for creativity. Something that has been lacking in my life as of late.
I can’t draw, paint or sculpt. And, as you can tell, I can’t write either. But the one thing I can do is cook. And the meal I cook best is breakfast. Especially, eggs.


This whole food and eating thing is most likely genetic, from my mom’s side of the family. (My dad could barely make instant coffee). But he didn’t have to. He wisely married a woman who knew her way around a kitchen, keeping him well fed for over 60 years.) Fortunately, some of those skills found their way down to me, and my late brother as well. But the love of food and cooking does not come without its trepidation. When they interrupt the process (or cut it off completely) I can become sullen, depressed and angry.

Such is the case ever since I became a resident here at the Asylum. Or, as I prefer to call it, “The Goo-lag.”
Food, and all the aspects of its preparation and service they do in our graveyard of a kitchen where all good meals go to die. It’s managed by a “mortician” of a chef whose idea of cooking is boiling an egg or popping a frozen waffle into the oven. And now, because of the restrictions forced on us by the virus, the food, as bad as it was, has become worse. It is repetitive and boring. And, if that is not bad enough, the food, like revenge, is served cold.
This has become an intolerable situation. If I eat much more of this crap, I’ll go crazy. 

I only wish there was some way to “improve” upon what I eat here. Something I could do, clandestinely. One simple device that would allow me, not only to enjoy a decent meal now and again, but satisfy my need to create.

I could cook pasta (not the generic kind they serve here, which they undercook and forget to season), with sausage or leftovers.
I would be able to heat canned foods like chili or soup and not have to suffer that swill they dish out. And I could eat it hot. When I want to.
But best of all, I could make breakfast as I like it.
To me, breakfast is the best and most important meal of the day.
They usually serve us breakfast at about 8:30 am. Which means I haven’t eaten for nearly 14 hours. [1] And I am starving.

Having to look at cold, scrambled eggs, pathetically shriveled strips of bacon or turd-like breakfast sausage every f*****g morning is more than I could bear. But if I had device that I could use to cook poached, sunny side up or even an omelet it would be great. I would be able to heat the cold pancakes or waffles and the other food they dish out. I could feel human again and not like just a body in a room they have to feed.

Of course they would not permit such an appliance to be used by residents. They think we are 5-year-old children not capable of using even the simplest things. So, no kettles, no microwave ovens, no crockpots and no coffee makers. 

Hopefully, soon, they will permit us to return to our dining room where we can eat hot food, on real plates with real dinnerware. In the meantime I guess I'll have to put up with the bad food and service a little longer all. Or will I?…………………….. 

[1] Dinner is brought around about 5:30pm the previous evening.

Black coffee can be good for your heart, studies show

It's another home run for coffee consumption -- as long as it's black and caffeinated, that is.
Drinking one or more cups of plain, leaded coffee a day was associated with a long-term reduced risk of heart failure, according to a review of diet data from three major studies using analytic tools from the American Heart Association.

Compared with non-coffee drinkers, the analysis found the risk of heart failure over time decreased between 5% and 12% for each cup of coffee consumed daily.

The benefit did not extend to decaffeinated coffee. Instead, the analysis found an association between decaf coffee and an increased risk for heart failure.

Over 60? You need to know
about these online scams

By Kristine Solomon

Imagine finally paying your mortgage off at age 65, only to find out that another loan was recently acquired in your name—and now creditors are demanding payment from you. Or logging into your bank account at age 70 to discover that your entire retirement savings has been depleted overnight.

The sad truth is that many senior citizens are sitting ducks for online fraud and identity theft. Americans over 60 lost a jaw-dropping $650 million to online fraud in 2018—and cyber crimes directed toward elders have increased by 400 percent in the last handful of years, according to the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub. Seniors are targeted because they tend to be more trusting and considerate, often own assets like a home or a car, and are likely to have good credit, according to the FBI.

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FEB. 16, 2021

Virus may never go away
but could change into mild annoyance


Experts say it’s likely that some version of the disease will linger for years. But what it will look like in the future is less clear.

Will the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 2 million people worldwide, eventually be eliminated by a global vaccination campaign, like smallpox? Will dangerous new variants evade vaccines? Or will the virus stick around for a long time, transforming into a mild annoyance, like the common cold?

Eventually, the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 will become yet “another animal in the zoo,” joining the many other infectious diseases that humanity has learned to live with, predicted Dr. T. Jacob John, who studies viruses and was at the helm of India’s efforts to tackle polio and HIV/AIDS.


Sleep deprivation may exacerbate frailty's
effects on mental health in older adults

Previous studies have linked sleep deprivation and frailty with depression. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that examined their combined effect suggests that short sleep intensifies the impacts of frailty on depressive symptoms.

Among 5,026 community-dwelling older adults in China, participants who were frail at the start of the study were more likely to later develop depressive symptoms. Also, those who experienced worsening frailty throughout the study tended to develop higher levels of depression. Short sleep exacerbated these effects.

The findings suggest that interventions that target sleep disturbances--such as exercise and mindfulness-based stress reduction--might help alleviate the negative effects of frailty on psychological well-being.


Pay Close Attention to Dental Health

Older adults (and their caregivers) face a number of obstacles when it comes to dental care.

Isolation, lack of mobility or transport and medical issues all play a part in poor dental health. Retired Americans who have lost company dental benefits or are on fixed incomes may ignore their dental health. But poor dental health can lead to many more problems.

Building a Dental Bridge

"In our opinion, the greatest challenge for dental health is lack of awareness – about its importance to overall health and how vital daily care is to preventing disease," says Deborah Jacobi, licensed dental hygienist, policy director and spokesperson for Apple Tree Dental, a Minnesota nonprofit providing dental care to people in need. "Better, broader oral health literacy could change personal behaviors and increase the priority of daily oral care for dependent adults."

5 - 6 minutes

The last time I was behind the wheel of an automobile was May 8 of 2009.
Little did I know when I parked my Honda the night before, just down the street from my apartment building, that I would never drive again. In fact, it would be many years before I was even a passenger in a car. Suddenly, and with little warning, my transportation options became limited to ambulances and ambulettes. That’s what happens when you become suddenly ill and driving takes a back seat to staying alive.
By the time I had recovered enough to even think about driving again, it was 2012. My driver’s license had expired a year earlier. And, while technically, I could have re-applied, filled out some forms and take an eye exam to reinstate my license, I thought it best not to. I gave up my privilege to drive in favor of my safety and the safety of others. It was not a hard decision to make.

One would think that after driving a car for nearly 50 years they would have had to pry the keys out of my cold, dead hand before I would stop driving. And, perhaps for some, that’s exactly what they would have to do. But I never thought of driving as a sport, or a rite of passage, or as a necessary way to get around. To me, driving was just another means of transportation that I used to make my life easier and save time. And besides, owning a car in the city is expensive and frustrating. New York hates cars and, in recent years, has done everything in its power to discourage automobile ownership. From alternate side parking to no parking anytime. Congestion pricing and bridge and tunnel tolls that go up every year. Bike lanes that make streets narrower and traffic slower, New York is a driving nightmare. But what made me finally decide it was time to give up the keys required a complete assessment of my abilities.

I had always considered myself to be a good driver. My record proves it. In 50 years of driving, I received only one moving violation and involved in two minor fender-benders. And I wasn’t a timid driver. I drove in all weather on all road surfaces, in heavy traffic and empty interstate highways. And I always felt comfortable doing it. I never drove drunk, or when ill, or in any way incapacitated. And, on more than one occasion, I had to maneuver out of harm’s way. Something I could not have done if I wasn’t 100%. But that was then. Now, things are different.

My eyesight, while probably good enough to pass an DMV eye exam (with glasses) is not what I would like it to be. My peripheral vision (important in city traffic) is impaired due to a scarred retina.
Also, I am completely deaf in one ear. And, while that would not disqualify me from having a driver’s license, I certainly would feel uncomfortable not able to hear traffic coming from my left side. Just like having depth perception is important when judging distances, having two working ears to let you know from where the traffic is approaching is just as crucial.

That, and a few other factors, were the major factors that made me decide not to drive again.

Do I miss driving? I won’t lie to you. Yes. There are so many things I could do, now that I have the time to do them that only a car could help with. Just simply going to a restaurant or supermarket without having to wait for Para-transit or bum a ride from a friend would mean a lot. But I’m mature enough to realize me being on the road with drivers whose eyes are better than mine and whose reflexes are faster would be dangerous. I only wish that more senior drivers would do an appraisal of their driving skills and ask themselves this question. “Would I want to be in the car behind me driving on the expressway on a Saturday afternoon?”……………………….. .


Why the 401(k) won’t fix the U.S. retirement crisis
By Annie Nova and Carmen Reinicke

Kyla Ernst-Alper, a 38-year-old aerial performer in New York City, has never had a 401(k) retirement plan.

She holds multiple jobs at once to support herself, and none of them offer her any retirement options. She socks away what she can in an individual retirement account, but those savings are not always consistent. That’s due to her line of work, which was especially hard hit when live shows were canceled because of the public health crisis.

“Before the pandemic, people in my community were barely paying their bills,” Ernst-Alper said. “You’re lucky if you’re able to save money.”

The 401(k) is framed today as the main way for Americans to save for retirement, especially as traditional pensions become less common. However, a large share of workers, particularly low-income earners, women and people of color, are left behind by lack of access to the

The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You
Happier, Healthier and More Productive

Of all the different things you can try to improve your productivity, a morning routine is one of the most effective.

There are a few reasons why morning routines are so useful. The first is obvious to anyone who has ever procrastinated, just getting started is often the hardest part. If you can start out with the right momentum towards your goals, you’ll avoid wrestling with yourself in the morning to get started.

The second is that the morning, particularly before the workday officially begins, is a quiet time with fewer social obligations. For many of us, the rest of the day can present a chaotic, ever-changing blast of responsibilities, urgent errands and unexpected interruptions. The morning, in contrast, is often the most consistent part of your day.

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FEB. 15, 2021
Are Pain Relievers OK for
COVID Vaccine Side Effects?
By Michelle Crouch

If you're experiencing common side effects such as a headache, fever or chills after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, it's perfectly fine to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve your discomfort, experts say.

But don't take those medications before you get your shot, unless advised to do so by your doctor, because you could dampen the effectiveness of the vaccination, said Gregory Poland, M.D., an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and director of Mayo's vaccine research group.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also advises against the use of pain relievers before vaccination “for the purpose of preventing post-vaccination symptoms.”


It's Time to Discard These
Outdated Myths About Dementia

"You don't look like you have Alzheimer's," people tell Terry Montgomery. "Well, that's like saying, 'You don't look like an alcoholic,'" she says. "I'm just not as cognitively sharp as I used to be." Montgomery, 63, was diagnosed with young-onset (also called early-onset) Alzheimer's five years ago.

"I don't look any different or talk different. I'm not deaf, so you don't have to shout. I understand English," adds the retired businesswoman of Duluth, Ga., who's now on the advisory board of Dementia Action Alliance. "I hate the stigma placed on us because people don't know any better. Once I met others like me, it took away my fear and phobia."

People diagnosed with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia often hear outdated or simply wrong beliefs about their conditions, says Mayo Clinic behavioral neurologist Dr. Jonathan Graff-Radford. He tackles such myths and more in the new "Mayo Clinic on Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias" (written with Angela Lunde), a complete revision of a 2013 guide by Dr. Ronald C. Petersen. The update adds personal stories from people with dementia and their care partners as well new sections on brain health and living well with cognitive disorders.


Fully vaccinated people don't need to
quarantine if exposed to Covid, CDC says
By Sara G. Miller

People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday in updated guidance on its website.

Quarantine is typically recommended for healthy people who have been exposed to the virus. During quarantine, people are asked to isolate from others for one to two weeks to see whether they develop symptoms of Covid-19. By not exposing others, quarantining can help stop the spread of the disease.

5 minutes

Though many Americans may view last week’s attempt to impeach Donald Trump for a second time as an exercise in futility, I see it as a history lesson. And while some believe the verdict to acquit signals an end to democracy as we know it, I look at it as a reaffirmation of of what our founding fathers intended. A free people, under the Constitution, permitted to express  their grievances in an open forum with the entire world watching.

No, they did not vote, in sufficient numbers, to impeach the former president. And that is something they will have to live with the rest of their lives. And so will the people who put them in the position to act on their behalf. Because, at the end of the day, it’s all about the votes over what’s right. And when you are a politician, that’s what allows you to live a lifestyle afforded to only a few.
An annual salary of $174,000. A pension for life.[1] Free airport parking. A free, on-site gym for House members. Up to 239 days off. Health-care subsidies. A better retirement plan. Death benefits, and a $1.2 million to $3.3 million allowance for staff and offices. And all it takes to keep that is to vote in a manner you believe will appease most voters in your state. And, if you are superb at knowing who to kiss and where, you can keep that gig for up to 36 years. [2] For that, many senators would sacrifice their reputations and their souls.

As for the rest of us poor schnooks who had to listen to the House Managers deliver one piece of condemning evidence after another understanding that, in the end, no matter how convincing, 43 Republican senators would overlook the evidence, we can take solace in knowing the process works. At, least as far as the Constitution is concerned. And, for some, that’s enough. We can also find relief in so far as they still can find Trump guilty in a criminal court if anyone has the guts to pursue that course of action.
Here’s something else you may not have considered as being something positive to come out of this. We, you and me, are eyewitnesses to a historical event we (hopefully) will never see occur again.
From the insurrection charged speech on January 6th, to the riot and the cowardly vote on February 13th, they will teach, discuss and dissect in history and law classes for centuries to come. And we were part of it.
We are also participants in another chunk of history we would rather not be a part of. The COVID-19 pandemic.

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 will go down as the most significant event to befall humankind in hundreds of years.

With 2.4 million deaths worldwide (and nearly 500,000 in the U. S), this virus has impacted the lives of more people than any in history. An experience we are not only observing, but

participants in as well. While few people can say they were witness and casualties of calamity’s like the San Francisco earthquake, The Chicago fire or 9-11, all of us on the globe have known the jolt of this pandemic.
To paraphrase a Chinese saying, “We live in interesting times.” I’ll add, “Whether or not we want to.” And, while I would rather have attended the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the Wright brother’s first flight, few people have had the opportunity to say they viewed, first hand, even one historic, life shattering event. We will be able to sadly say we were there to see two. One, that could have wiped-out humanity. The other that might have ended Democracy………….

[1]Congressional pension is a pension made available to members of the United States Congress. A full pension is available to members 62 years of age with 5 years of service; 50 years or older with 20 years of service; or 25 years of service at any age.

[2]A Senate term is six years long, so senators may choose to run for reelection every six years unless they are appointed or elected in a special election to serve the remainder of a term.


Is End of Life Its Own Stage of Life?

Deborah Carr, professor and chair of the sociology department at Boston University, has spent much of her career studying death and dying. That expertise led, in 2019, to an invitation to write an article in the Annual Review of Sociology about well-being at the end of life.

"When I started writing what I knew about things like pain and suffering at the end of life, it dawned on me that we need to interrogate: What is end of life?" Carr said. "We don't actually have a clear definition."

At the Gerontological Society of America's annual scientific meeting last year, Carr proposed that "dying" or "end of life" should be considered a new life course stage. In an interview with Next Avenue, she discussed the merits of the idea.

The Six Morning Routines that Will Make You Happier,
Healthier and More Productive

Of all the different things you can try to improve your productivity, a morning routine is one of the most effective.

There are a few reasons why morning routines are so useful. The first is obvious to anyone who has ever procrastinated, just getting started is often the hardest part. If you can start out with the right momentum towards your goals, you’ll avoid wrestling with yourself in the morning to get started.

The second is that the morning, particularly before the workday officially begins, is a quiet time with fewer social obligations. For many of us, the rest of the day can present a chaotic, ever-changing blast of responsibilities, urgent errands and unexpected interruptions. The morning, in contrast, is often the most consistent part of your day.