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IT'S SATURDAY JAN. 23RD 2021

DAYS IN QUARANTINE - 313




THE LATEST BLOG CONTINUES BELOW




JAN. 22, 2021

Families wrestle with isolation, sadness in nursing homes:
‘Some people really regret being alone’
By Jennifer Johnson, Anna Kim, Steve Schering



Prevented from seeing her father in the early days of the pandemic last year, Janelle Silva thought up a new way to let him know she was near.

During her morning runs, Silva would stop outside Summit of Uptown in Park Ridge and write a message in chalk on the driveway where her father, Henry Silva, could see it when he looked outside the window of his independent living apartment.

“I was doing it so frequently that I would leave chalk pieces underneath the car port in a little nook,” Janelle Silva said.


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Why booking a Covid shot isn’t easy
By DARIUS TAHIR


THE PANDEMIC'S NEWEST HURDLE: Anyone who’s ever wrangled RSVPs for a potluck and tried to figure out who’s bringing what might appreciate that scheduling millions of patients for coronavirus vaccines isn’t so simple.

Compounding the problem: There are few health information networks for choreographing such an undertaking from start to finish. Some states have centralized, government-run systems for booking appointments. Others are relying on local governments and the private sector — including, perhaps most notably, the online ticketing platform Eventbrite.

Whatever the system, problems are starting to multiply as the vaccine rollout expands. Patients may not know where to look for scarce appointments. Sometimes-complex forms are dissuading people eligible for shots who aren’t fluent in English or tech-savvy. And there are myriad reports of website outages or other strange user experiences, confounding even health experts.


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Joe Biden inauguration: How did the 46th president's speech
compare with previous US leaders?
By Alix Culbertson


Joe Biden has made his inauguration speech after being sworn in as the 46th president - but how did it compare to previous US leaders?

Most presidents use their speech to talk about themes and are generally short on specifics - but not all.

Sky News looks at Mr Biden's speech, and back at the previous three presidents' addresses.




FRIDAY JAN 15 - THURS. JAN 22 2021

A Week of Ups and Downs
4 minutes


The inauguration overshadowed most of the past week’s news. While that is important for those here at the ALF and many other assisted living facilities across the state and nation, COVID-19 remains foremost in our minds.
 
The virus has taken its toll on our emotional health as much as it has on our physical wellbeing.
 
Last Friday they ushered me into the office and asked me to sign a consent form ahead of our receiving our first COVID-19 shot. A shot that we should have received a month ago. While that was good news, I became disheartened when I leaned it would be another month (Feb. 14th) before we would get the vaccine.

 
Then just this past Tuesday they informed us they rescheduled the vaccinations for tomorrow, Saturday. With that news came even better news. The facility would immediately resume visitations from friends and family. Many residents haven’t seen their loved ones since early fall.
 
 Unfortunately, just as that good news was settling in, they informed us a staff member had tested positive for the virus, once again forcing them to end in-person visitation for at least another 10 days.
 
This is the emotional roller coaster they have subjected residents of long-term care facilities to for nearly ten months.

We cannot end a weekly wrap-up without mentioning what is perhaps the most significant event in American history in over 100 years. We took back our democracy.

With the simple act of placing his hand on a bible and repeating the oath of office, Joe Biden ended four years of uncertainty, lies and relentless attacks on our Constitution by a megalomaniac bully and put us on a road which, hopefully, will end with America being the vision of freedom and democracy the world expects and respects.


While it was encouraging to see that the nationwide anti-Biden demonstrations did not take place, we cannot forget the forces of evil have not disappeared with Trump’s departure. Even with his final public speech given to a small crowd of well-wishers on a windswept tarmac, Trump was still as convinced as ever he won the election. And while he halfheartedly wished his successor well, (his exact words were “good luck’’) he left no doubt in his supporters’ minds that he intends to continue to be a thorn in our side for years to come. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

As I mentioned, I’m getting my first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday (unless they screw us again). I’ll be sure to let you know how that worked out when we meet again on Monday. I plan to take my Camera, so look for pics……………



 

It’s Not Your Parents’ Hip Replacement Surgery


If I’ve learned anything during nearly six decades of reporting on medical science, it’s that the longer you wait, the better the methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment are likely to become. That’s true for almost every field of medicine — cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology, etc. And it may be particularly relevant for orthopedic surgery, a specialty facing ever-increasing demands from an aging population with bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles that break down after decades of wear and tear.

Although repairing these body parts is rarely urgent, many people endure painful joints for years, even decades, often out of fear of surgery. The delay can have both obvious risks of ongoing pain and increasing disability, as well as unexpected consequences like injury to previously healthy muscles and joints that are overstressed as a result.

I have good news for people with degenerated hip joints that are in serious need of replacement. The last decade has seen significant incremental improvements in surgical techniques and the ability to fit patients with artificial hips that are highly resistant to mechanical failure or a need for revision.







Medicines and You: A Guide for Older Adults


As you age, it is important to know about your medicines to avoid possible problems. As you get older you may be faced with more health conditions that you need to treat on a regular basis. It is important to be aware that more use of medicines and normal body changes caused by aging can increase the chance of unwanted or maybe even harmful drug interactions.

The more you know about your medicines and the more you talk with your health care professionals, the easier it is to avoid problems with medicines.

As you age, body changes can affect the way medicines are absorbed and used. For example, changes in the digestive system can affect how fast medicines enter the bloodstream. Changes in body weight can influence the amount of medicine you need to take and how long it stays in your body.  The circulation system may slow down, which can affect how fast drugs get to the liver and kidneys. The liver and kidneys also may work more slowly affecting the way a drug breaks down and is removed from the body.






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NEXT BLOG MONDAY, JAN. 25th 2021



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JAN. 21, 2021


Can Your New Year’s Resolution Impact Your Longevity?


While 2020 wasn't anything like we planned, most of us have probably forgotten that it started out the same as other years. We rang in a new decade, popped open a bottle of bubbly, and resolved to make some lifestyle changes.

As you might expect, the most popular new year's resolutions involve exercise, healthy eating, weight loss, and financial goals. Last winter, as Americans looked ahead to 2020, two surveys found that these were the most common responses. Of those who planned to make resolutions, 50% said they wanted to exercise more, 49% wanted to save money, 43% wanted to eat healthier and 37% wanted to lose weight, according to YouGov. Similarly, an Ipsos public opinion poll found that more than half of Americans who planned to have a new year's resolution set goals related to finances (51%), eating healthier (51%) and being more active (50%). Also on the list were improving mental well-being (38%) and learning a new skill (22%).



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Tech Use Among Seniors 65+
Skyrockets During Pandemics
By Erik Gruenwedel


The pandemic has widened the market for consumer electronics beyond millennials to include aging baby boomers, according to new data from Parks Associates. The Dallas-based research firm finds that during the coronavirus pandemic, 55% of seniors have an online video service subscription like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, while 29% of U.S. seniors ages 65 and older have used video conferencing services, 27% have used telehealth/remote consultation services, and 22% have used a grocery store delivery or pick-up service.

“The shift toward tech service solutions is very pronounced among seniors as a result of COVID-19,” senior analyst Kristen Hanich said in a statement.



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Johnson & Johnson Is Working on a COVID-19 Vaccine
That Requires a Single Dose
By Korin Miller


While Pfizer and Moderna both have COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S., other vaccine candidates are still in the works, including a single-dose option from Johnson & Johnson, which has about 45,000 people enrolled in ongoing phase 3 clinical trials. According to early data just released by the company, this vaccine also shows major promise.

Interim phase 1/2a data were published on Jan. 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the results show the company’s vaccine candidate created an immune response in patients for at least 71 days—the full length of time measured in the study so far.

The vaccine was also “generally well-tolerated” in study participants, Johnson & Johnson said in a press release. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are similar, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine also has plenty of differences. Here’s what we know so far, plus what lies ahead.






A Day Of Endings, and Beginnings.

 4 minutes

America has had an abundance of great endings and beginnings.
 
The end of the American Revolution and the start of a democracy that has held for over 200 years.
 
The end of a civil war and the re-unification of America.
 
The end of male-only voting. The end of prohibition and the end to the great depression. All signaling significant turning points in our nation’s history. But perhaps the most momentous ending occurred today at Andrews Air Force base when Air Force One closed its doors and took off carrying a defeated Donald Trump and with him, the foulest, most corrupt. Inefficient and perhaps the most dangerous period for America in modern times. In a day filled with memorable events, for me, that was the best part of the entire day. 



I won’t re-hash the inaugural events. You saw it and you know how important it was that we, and the world, saw it. We were on shaky ground for a while two weeks ago, but now, on the same spot where crazed insurgents forced their way into the foremost symbol of American democracy and tried to widen the divide between us, we heard words of unity and hope.
 
However, there were highlights I must mention.
 
I have to admit, a chill went up my spine as I listened to Lady Gaga sing our National Anthem. It was heartfelt and inspired.
 
And one could not help but notice how Kamala Harris’ face beamed with pride as she took the oath of office.
 
We will not soon forget the poem, written and read by a heretofore virtually unknown young Black woman Amanda Gorman, whose words brought smiles and nods of approval from the assembled dignitaries.
 
And, although not the greatest inaugural address made by an incoming president, it was perhaps the best for our times. Mr. Biden did not fill his speech with the boasts and false promises we have become used to hearing, but with words meant to heal and unite and a promise to always be truthful with the American people.

To paraphrase a popular commercial, the best part of waking up was knowing I can go to sleep tonight with one less worry on my mind and awake tomorrow to a new beginning and hopefully the end to the toxic environment we had to endure these past four years. Sleep well, America……………………….. 
.





How to Escape From Retirement Hell


Full-stop retirement may not be the fun, relaxing ride you thought it would be. This can be not only disappointing but downright anxiety-provoking, and it can give you that same sick feeling in your stomach that you get from riding a roller coaster.

In the beginning, the ride is pleasant, starting off on a slow, steady incline. The view looks quite nice and things are feeling pretty good — until you hit the sudden drop straight into Retirement Hell. From there, you experience many twists and turns that seem never ending. When you think the ride is about to end, suddenly you get hit by another curve. Thankfully, at some point things start to settle down and you start the long uphill climb out of Retirement Hell.

Being unprepared for retirement often leads to Sudden Retirement Shock, which is Retirement Hell at its worst.





How to Manage Chronic Pain

We are a nation in pain. Pain is the most common presenting symptom for all who seek medical counsel. At best, pain is an immediate sensation signaling that something has gone wrong and needs closer attention. At worst, it disables, depresses and impairs quality of life.


The degree of an individual's pain is a predictor of stress as it lowers feelings of mastery and effectiveness in moving through day-to-day activities.

Historically, pain has been identified by its cause: injury, illness or infection. Because pain is a fully subjective experience — one person's pain cannot be felt by another — a common language provides a level playing field.






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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, JAN. 22ND 2021



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JAN. 20, 2021

The Social Security retirement age could change.
What that could mean for benefits
By Lorie Konish


Many retirees count down the days until they are eligible for Social Security benefits.

But that age could change as lawmakers look to improve the program’s financial outlook.

Social Security’s trust funds are running low. Based on the most recent projections, just 79% of promised benefits will be payable by 2035.

That has prompted Washington lawmakers and Social Security experts to contemplate how to restore the program’s solvency for current and future beneficiaries.


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Can you be too old to travel?

Can you be too old to travel? Only you can know the right answer but consider these factors:

Slowing down was the last thing on Elaine Schaefer's mind when she turned 70 last year. She'd enjoyed an ambitious travel schedule for the previous decade, which included a 10-day horseback safari in Botswana and a snorkeling tour of Bora Bora. She didn't feel too old to travel.

Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, with the exception of a cautious staycation or two, she was confined to her home. Being in a high-risk group didn't help. But she says that's not going to stop her.  


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Senior living communities can navigate the
pandemic through a ‘nuanced’ approach

A “nuanced approach with attention to details” is necessary for senior living communities to navigate the uncertainties, hesitancies and logistical issues of COVID-19 vaccination, according to Patricia Davidson, Ph.D., dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Nursing.

Davidson made the observation during a COVID-19 vaccination virtual town hall Wednesday for senior living and affordable seniors housing administrators, managers and staff members. A panel of experts from the Johns Hopkins Schools of Nursing and Public Health, LeadingAge and the Baltimore City Health Department addressed the science behind vaccines, vaccine distribution, messaging strategies, infection prevention vigilance, and other pandemic challenges in senior living communities.





Good News.
And Better News.
4 minutes

First the good news. They informed us Tuesday that they moved the date for our first COVID-19 vaccination to this Saturday instead of the original date of February 14th. It’s the Pfizer version and requires a second shot 21 days later. Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end to 10 months of utter hell for all of us here at the ALF.


 
Besides the vaccine news, they are resuming visitations. They will require visitors to register in advance and go through a screening process before being allowed to meet their loved ones in an area set up inside our facility. This marks the first time since early fall that they have permitted our residents to see their friends and relatives. Visits ended when a couple of staff members tested positive for the virus and the facility had to go back to quarantine mode.

Now, the better news. It’s inauguration day. And it feels like the first day of the rest of our lives.
 
Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, will take off on Air Force One on his way to his new digs in Florida. And shortly after he lands, he will no longer be president ending a four-year nightmare. At 12 noon, Joe Biden will take the oath of office as president amid one of the most tumultuous periods in our history. It will be like no other inauguration we have ever seen.
 
American flags replace the crowds, which should have stretched from the steps of the Capitol to the Washington Monument.

The ceremonial ride/walk down Pennsylvania Avenue will not happen because his predecessor left the nation in such shambles they had to restrict entry to Washington DC.  The throngs of cheering people, usually seen on this day will not be there. Instead, armed law enforcement and military personnel will take their place.

But even the extraordinary security cannot dampen the spirits of millions of Americans who have waited for this day.
 
The election of Joe Biden is vindication for so many of us who witnessed what could have been a complete breakdown of our society. We will probably never know how close we came to losing it all. What if that riotous mob got to members of Congress and did them harm? What if they hung the Vice President or Nancy Pelosi? Or held them hostage. They would have accomplished what our enemies could never do. Take down the government of the United States.



Mr. Biden has a big job ahead. But it’s important for us not to expect too much too soon. Most of what he will do is try to undo what Trump did. That will take time and cooperation from both sides of Congress. Not a simple task. But, just as Trump was the worst person we could have had as our leader during this, the most dangerous period in American history, Joe Biden might be the best. He is a Washington professional with friends on both sides of the aisle. Just the man we need right now.
 
Like millions of people around the world, I’ll be glued to the TV. I might even put pants on.………………………….




 


Science Confirms That People
Who Speak To Their Pets Are Smarter


Have you ever spoken to your pet thinking you went crazy? You can now calm yourself down since studies have shown that talking to your pet doesn’t mean you are nuts but smart.

Pet owners often talk to their beloved furry companions. Many who don’t own pets might think that people who talk to their pets should go check themselves. But it’s now official, people who speak to their pets are smarter than those who don’t.
Pixabay

Studies have shown that people who have conversations with their pets considered to be of higher intelligence. Anthropomorphizing is the act of attributing human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, animals, plants, etc.








48% of Older Households Are Making
This Dangerous Social Security Mistake
By Maurie Backman




Here's how you can avoid falling into a similar trap.

It's no secret that Social Security is a major income source for many retirees today, but some older Americans are relying too heavily on those benefits. In fact, 48% of households aged 55 and over have no retirement savings or pension outside of Social Security, reports the Senior Citizens League. Nearly half of seniors today risk falling behind on their bills and struggling to make ends meet.

Why Social Security alone won't cut it

The average senior on Social Security today collects $1,523 a month, or $18,276 a year. That's not a lot of money to live on to begin with. When we look at healthcare costs alone, those benefits start to look even weaker.










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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, JAN. 21ST 2021



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JAN. 19, 2021


Joe Biden, 78, will lead an American gerontocracy
By Dan Zak


When he was born, Americans were rationing coffee and bootlegging gasoline. Schoolchildren were salvaging newspaper for the war effort, smearing their hands with ink about Hitler and Hirohito. On the radio, Louis Prima was playing “That Old Black Magic.” In Scranton, Pa., the Junior Catholic Daughters of the Americas were preparing to read “The Song of Bernadette.” And less than a week after baby Joey Biden was brought home from St. Mary’s Hospital, in November 1942, a film premiered in which a jaded nightclub owner steps off the sidelines and back into the fight.

“I’m no good at being noble,” Humphrey Bogart would say to Ingrid Bergman in “Casablanca,” “but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”

Joey Biden, stepping back into the fight in January 2021, is now 78 — 78.2, if you want to be actuarial. Technically a late-stage ...


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Frustrations Boil at Pace of Vaccinations
at Long-Term Care Facilities
By Rebecca Robbins


In mid-December, a top Trump administration official floated an enticing possibility: All nursing home residents in the United States could be vaccinated against the coronavirus by Christmas. “It’s really a remarkable, remarkable prospect,” Alex Azar, the secretary of health and human services, declared.

It turned out to be a fantasy.

A month later, vaccinations of some of the country’s most vulnerable citizens are going more slowly than many state officials, industry executives and families expected. Their hopes had been buoyed when government officials said long-term care facilities would be at the front of the line for vaccines.



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Nursing homes make big push to change
minds of workers who refused vaccination
By Suzy Khimm


The pandemic has taken a deadly toll on A.G. Rhodes Cobb, a nursing home on the outskirts of Atlanta. Twelve residents have died after contracting Covid-19. Forty-four staff members have fallen ill.

But despite their up-close look at the virus's impact, most workers at the facility have been reluctant to get vaccinated. At the three clinics held last month at A.G. Rhodes Cobb and two other facilities in Georgia run by the same company, about 30 percent of staff members chose to get vaccinated, while 57 percent of residents opted in, according to management.

"Some people think if you get the vaccine, you'll get sick. And some are afraid and distrusting of the government," said Sonya Williams, the activities director at A.G. Rhodes Cobb, who was vaccinated in late December. Williams, 42, is now encouraging her hesitant colleagues to do the same — pointing to her own experience as proof that the vaccine is safe. "The faster we can all get it, the faster we'll be able to move forward," she said.





He Had One Job…
(and he failed miserably)

 5 minutes


In the coming months and years, there will be many programs, books and articles on the Trump years. Most, I assume, will not be favorable to his legacy. A good number of them will list his failures, of which there were many. They will delve into his criminal activity, his collusion with foreign powers and his incitement to riot and seize the Capitol. And we will view all as an important witness to one of the darkest, if not the weirdest, periods of American history. But his greatest failure is not what he did to the nation, but for what he didn’t do. What he should have done. What he needed to do, but didn’t. And it most likely cost thousands of Americans their lives.



And the saddest thing is that it would have been the simplest and least costly (which is very Republican) thing he could have done. And that was to encourage all citizens to wear a mask, social distance and stay out of crowds and to set an example by wearing a mask in public. But he didn’t and now we are reaping the penalty for such behaviour by having the highest number of cases, and deaths, of any other place in the world.
 
We could attempt to dissect the reasons for his actions, resulting in several plausible results.
 
There’s the politics, of course. Nothing the president did was without partisan intent. If the Democrats were “for it”, he was against it. It was a plan of action that worked for him throughout the campaign and the early days of his administration, so why not continue doing it?

Some believe his inaction had to do with machismo. Somewhere, in his twisted mind (and in the minds of many of his supporters) he decided that wearing a mask wasn’t manly. A point he liked to make at those rally’s he loved. He incessantly mocked his rival, Joe Biden, who rarely was seen without a mask, as if to question Biden’s manhood.
 
But the real reason for his anti-mask stance is not politics or masculinity. It’s all about his failure to act on the information given to him by the WHO and CDC and others early on.
 
Even after the number of cases rose, he continued to play down the seriousness of the virus. Not because he didn’t know or understand the implications his inaction could have, but because he was too vain, too arrogant to admit he made a mistake. Instead, attempting to blame somebody else, he accused the Chinese of not being forthcoming enough with information about the virus and even withholding PPE for their own use.

Trump has tried to cover his ass by extolling the virtues of his “Operation Warp Speed.”
 
And in many ways it was successful.
 
“The Trump administration did help deliver a pair of working vaccines in 2020, with more shots on the way.
 
But even that hasn’t worked out as promised.
 
“Governors say the Warp Speed effort has made promises it didn’t keep, with deliveries of doses falling short and reserve supplies exhausted. Physicians and logistics experts have critiqued the disorderly rollout, arguing that the Trump team should have done a better job of coordinating the nation’s mass vaccination effort.” [1]
 
It’s impossible to put a number on how many of the lives of 400,000 dead Americans they could have saved if Trump had taken a different path. But whether it’s 100,000, 10,000, 5,000 or just one person, we know that all that they could have done was not. And there is only one person to blame…………………...
 

[1]https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/17/crash-landing-of-operation-warp-speed-459892?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits




 

Luxury senior living platform is
seeking undercover grandma
by Veronika Bondarenko

To see whether luxury housing for seniors truly lives up to the hype, one assisted living search platform is looking for a “glamorous grandma” to go undercover as a tester.

CaringAdvisor.com, a search platform for various assisted living options across the country, is planning to release a repository of senior facilities that call themselves “luxe” — they will typically start at $6,000 a month (an average senior home in the U.S. commands $3,000 a month) and climb much higher. It is offering $500 a month, as well as covering all living and travel expenses, to a senior interested in testing the living arrangements themselves as well as the different amenities (pool, gyms, senior activities) typically offered at these types of luxury facilities.

“We hope to gain a truthful insight into some of the best senior living facilities,” a spokesperson for CaringAdvisor.com told Inman in an email. “These facilities are luxurious and therefore not always the most affordable option. It’s important to us that people can make well-informed decisions when investing into living facilities for themselves or their families.”





Food as Medicine:
How What We Eat Can Fight Disease


A renowned doctor recommends adding, not restricting, foods to protect our bodies

Dr. William Li's book "Eat to Beat Disease" isn't a traditional rundown of foods to avoid and cut. It's instead a refreshing guide to the hundreds of healing foods that support the body's defense systems.


Li is an internationally-renowned internal medicine physician, scientist and president and founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation — a nonprofit championing fighting disease through angiogenesis (the process the body uses to grow new blood vessels).








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NEXT BLOG WEDNESDAY, JAN. 20TH 2021



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JAN. 18, 2021



Medicare Beneficiaries Are Facing Crushing
Out-of-Pocket Costs for Prescription Drugs



Sharon Clark is able to get her life-sustaining cancer drug, Pomalyst — priced at more than $18,000 for a 28-day supply — only because of the generosity of patient assistance foundations.


Clark, 57, a former insurance agent who lives in Bixby, Okla., had to stop working in 2015 and go on Social Security disability and Medicare after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. Without the foundation grants, mostly financed by the drug makers, she couldn't afford the nearly $1,000 a month it would cost her for the drug, since her Medicare Part D drug plan requires her to pay 5% of the list price.

"It's just strange you have to make a decision about your treatment based on your finances rather than what's the right drug for you."


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COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
Ways Philanthropy Will Support Aging



Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging: How has philanthropy partnered with nonprofits and academic institutions to address gaps in services, funding and research during the COVID-19 crisis?

There are many examples of philanthropic partnerships addressing various aspects of the COVID-19 crisis.

The Committee for a Greater LA, formed at the inception of the pandemic, is an example of philanthropy working with nonprofits and academia. It researches and measures the short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable communities in Los Angeles. This effort is funded by a group of philanthropic organizations, including the Annenberg Foundation, but led by community voices and supported by research from UCLA and USC.

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Older Adults More Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
By Patrick J. Kiger

More older Americans are warming to the idea of the COVID-19 vaccine, as a new poll finds that 76 percent of people 60 and older want to get the shots and 46 percent would get them as soon they’re available to them.

A new poll of 1,611 U.S. adults by the Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling and Analysis at Long Island University has found that older Americans’ willingness to be vaccinated has doubled since the center’s poll in October.

Andy Person, the center’s director and chief of strategy, said the results indicate “a considerable positive shift during the past two months in the way Americans are thinking about the vaccine. It suggests that more Americans are optimistic and hopeful that the vaccine is safe and effective.”





Ruffles and Flourishes
5 minutes


President Donald Trump announced on January 8 that he is not going to the inauguration, making him the first POTUS since the 1800s to skip his successor’s ceremony. But instead of  slinking off to Elba[1], or as it’s commonly referred to as Mar-a-Lago, Emperor Trump would like to go out in style.

“Donald Trump wants to leave Washington DC on the final morning of his presidency on a red carpet and with a military band serenading him, it is claimed. The outgoing President of the United States hopes his departure to Florida early on Wednesday morning will have some of the ‘pomp’ he has grown to enjoy during his four years in office,”[2]

 
Of course, none of this is normal. This is not how the “peaceful transfer of power” should happen. Even if it’s only for show.

I’m sure there was no love lost when outgoing Barack Obama welcomed Donald Trump and Melania to the White House in 2016, but he did it anyway. Not because he liked the new President, but for the good of the Union.
 
On second thought, it’s probably better Biden won’t be going to the White House on Inauguration morning. Can you imagine the scene at the breakfast table?
 
Trump, muttering under his breath, “You stole it Joe” while Jill tries to grab the fork from Joe’s hand.
 
But will Trump leave a note in a drawer of the Resolute desk in the Oval Office for Biden to find as most outgoing presidents have done?
 
What would such a note be like? The mind boggles.

We know that Trump will fly to Florida Wednesday (before the inauguration) on Air Force One at a cost of over $16,000 per hour. Adding to the multi-million dollar tab, he’s already run up flying to his golf courses around the world. But maybe sending Trump off with a brass band, a twenty-one gun salute, and a flyover is not such a bad idea.

At the very least it could act as “closure” for many Americans who felt that this mans very presence as Commander-in-chief posed a threat, not only to the nation, but for them personally. And, as a bonus, Trump may actually keep quiet for a few weeks while Biden tries to straighten out the mess he left. It may also give some vindication to his supporters in that they weren’t 100% wrong about him because they can say, “See how much America loves him. They’re paying tribute to him.” That means a lot to people who like to drape themselves in the American flag while chanting “Hang Pence” will have some consolation.

 
Speaking of the Vice President, while I don’t like his politics or his handling of the COVID-19 Task Force, I have to admire his end game. And his good sense.
 
Refusing to go down with the ship he acted in the best interest of the nation (and himself) by, not only refusing to bend to Trumps outrageous desire to declare the election void, but by formally accepting Joe Biden as the legitimate President-elect to the dismay of those who made a mockery of our democracy.

For some, Trumps departure will wash away much animosity. While for others, the end of the Trump era will foster even more resentment and bitterness.

This will be an interesting week for all of us. The ceremonial end to a tumultuous 4 years on one hand, and the perceived notion that a new administration can make all the nasty stuff go away on the other. I think the best we can hope for is somewhere in between………………………..
 

[1]The French Emperor Napoleon was exiled to Elba, after his forced abdication following the Treaty of Fontainebleau, and conveyed to the island on HMS Undaunted by Captain Thomas Ussher; he arrived at Portoferraio on 4 May 1814.
[2] Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2021/01/15/donald-trump-wants-glitzy-red-carpet-brass-band-farewell-when-he-leaves-white-house-on-wednesday-13913085/?ito=cbshare




Rotten egg gas could guard
against Alzheimer's disease

By Lauren Dembeck

Typically characterized as poisonous, corrosive and smelling of rotten eggs, hydrogen sulfide's reputation may soon get a face-lift thanks to Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers. In experiments in mice, researchers have shown the foul-smelling gas may help protect aging brain cells against Alzheimer's disease. The discovery of the biochemical reactions that make this possible opens doors to the development of new drugs to combat neurodegenerative disease.

The findings from the study are reported in the Jan. 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

"Our new data firmly link aging, neurodegeneration and cell signaling using hydrogen sulfide and other gaseous molecules within the cell," says Bindu Paul, M.Sc., Ph.D., faculty research instructor in neuroscience in the Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead corresponding author on the study.






How to Decide Between Home Care
or Long-Term Care During COVID



Remembering my father's advancing Alzheimer's disease and my 10 years as his co-caregiver, each day brought unexpected challenges, new responsibilities and conflicting emotions (from grief to joy). I helped move him and my mother repeatedly, paid his bills and managed his investments, shuttled him to doctor's appointments and in due course, served as his joint guardian and alternate trustee, making key life and financial decisions for him.


And now there's yet another issue – the coronavirus pandemic, which hasn't just hit long-term care facilities, it's also hitting family caregivers.

Should a loved one stay in a care facility, move elsewhere, come to a family caregiver's home and rely on care provided by one or more family members or receive professional home care?







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JAN. 15, 2021


Older adults struggle to access
COVID-19 vaccine appointment websites

By Nicole Wetsman

Buggy websites and complex online tools are being used to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments across the United States. The systems are hard to navigate for many people, but they’re particularly inaccessible for older adults. People over the ages of 65 and 75 are prioritized for early waves of vaccination and are most at risk from COVID-19 — but they’re also often uncomfortable and unfamiliar with technology.

“The most vulnerable people are left behind even more so than if we hadn’t used more of a technology-oriented solution,” says Ethan Basch, a medical oncologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and physician-in-chief at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital.


_____________________________________________________________________

Senior communities ease family concerns,
offer independence

By Collin Cunningham


As loved ones grow older and families begin to discuss assisted living or nursing home options, the most difficult step is often getting everyone on the same page to coordinate what types of services are needed and where to go for them.

That’s why residential facilities and assistance programs take steps to ensure patients retain their independence.

According to Kelly Rose Stallard, corporate director of business development at Danbury Senior Living Communities in North Canton, and Leslie Fulford, director of community outreach for Wexner Heritage Village in Columbus, many older adults are hesitant to relocate because they feel like they’re surrendering their sovereignty in exchange for assistance.


____________________________________________________________________

The top benefits of being over 65 are being free to speak your mind,
a seemingly endless supply of spare time –
and finding pleasure in the little things


The top benefits of being over 65 are being free to speak your mind, a seemingly endless supply of spare time – and finding pleasure in the little things.

A poll of 2,000 UK adults aged 65 and over, found that half think having grandchildren is the best blessing to be found in later years – with more than a third proclaiming it to be even better than parenthood.

Realising there is more to life than work, wearing clothes for comfort and not feeling pressure to do anything you don't want to, also featured in the top 30 list.








The week began much the same as it ended the previous Friday, with the smell of last week’s riot still fresh.
 
The Democrats pushed Vice President Mike Pence to consider a bill to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office. Nobody believed that would ever happen, but they had to ask.
 
So it was on to Plan B. Impeachment. And that did not take long.
 
The Democratically controlled House Of Representatives wasted no time voting in favor of impeaching the president for an unprecedented 2nd time. It’s now up to the Senate to complete the job. And, while it’s unlikely to happen quickly (or at all) the debate could continue long after Trump leaves office Next Wednesday. The idea is to make sure Trump can’t ever run for president again, even though it’s not sure whether impeachment prevents him from doing so.

On Wednesday, Washington DC prepared for next week’s inauguration by locking down and beefing up security around the Capitol, the sight of Joe Biden’s and Kamala Harris’ swearing in ceremony. In addition, over 20,000 National Guard Troops are on duty to make sure a repeat of last week’s siege on the Capitol does not happen.
 
And overshadowing everything, the nemeses that has affected more Americans than any single incident in our history, COVID-19, continues to run rampant through every facet of society. And despite that we have a vaccine(s) to help guard against it, we have failed in our efforts to get it into the arms of our citizens. The 20 million people that were supposed to be vaccinated by January never happened because the administration failed in its duty to devise a plan to accomplish what the president bragged about for months. 

On a more personal note, we here at the ALF finally received a memo regarding when they will vaccinate us. The date is February 14th, with a second dose delivered on March 17th. A little late, but it’s a start. We should have had both doses weeks ago. But, as our president says, “It is what it is.”


AND THIS JUST IN:

Biden lays out $1.9 trillion Covid relief package with $1,400 stimulus checks

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to lay out his $1.9 trillion relief package in a primetime address on Thursday — which will focus on a new round of stimulus checks to struggling Americans and an ambitious vaccine distribution plan to control the deadly pandemic.

Biden will ask the new Democratic-controlled Congress to approve the “American Rescue Plan.” A chunk of the funds —$416 billion— will help launch a national vaccination program with a goal of vaccinating 50 million Americans and reopening schools in the first 100 days of his administration.

His speech comes as the pandemic continues to worsen. According to NBC News' Covid-19 data tracker, there have been 384,375 deaths and more than 23 million cases in the U.S. [1]



Have a great weekend. Wear a mask, Stay away from crowds, appreciate your loved one’s. And stay safe……………






5 Reasons Why Disability Issues Should
Be A Higher Priority, Even Now

By Andrew Pulrang


The phrase “Everything that’s going on” has rarely been so potent.

Presidential Election results have been openly challenged in Congress. The Capitol building itself has been physically attacked by a wild but disturbingly directed mob. The Covid-19 pandemic seems to be escalating everywhere. So it may be tempting for elected officials and political strategists to set seemingly specialized concerns aside in 2021 and focus just on a few of the perceived “fundamentals” that are understood to affect “everyone,” rather than narrower “special interests.”

Disability issues in particular risk being sidelined even more than they usually are. Despite some notable recent success in bringing disability policy to the attention of politicians, disability is still widely regarded as a niche concern. Conventional wisdom might suggest that with American democracy literally teetering on the brink, matters like Social Security rules, disability rights laws, and even health care eligibility should be put not just on the back burner, but in the deep freeze for the foreseeable future.





Best Medical Alerts - 2021
By Joe Schwartz

Most Commonly Asked Questions About Medical Alerts

Medical alert systems are lifesaving devices that bring peace of mind to seniors and people of all ages who live alone and have medical conditions which may require emergency assistance. Not sure which medical alert system is right for you? Find the answers to the most important questions about medical alert systems below to get started.

Who Is the Medical Alert Monitoring Service Right For?

Medical alert systems make sense for seniors and people of all ages that live alone or spend long periods of time alone and may require emergency medical assistance. This can include those with medical conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, seizures, heart conditions, or those with a history of falling. In the event of an emergency situation, the person can quickly contact operators to have them dispatch police, ambulance, or firefighters or alert designated caregivers and contacts.







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JAN. 14, 2021


Ways the New COVID-19 Relief Law Will,
and Won't, Help Older Americans



One little-known provision: landmark funding to curb elder abuse and assist victims

During a graduate course I taught this fall for Virginia Tech, I presented a basic reality of the legislative process in Washington, D.C.: it often goes from the perfect to the possible to the passable. The new COVID-19 relief law is a perfect illustration, especially for older Americans.


In October 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill which would have provided about $2.2 trillion in emergency aid. For aging services programs, it constituted "the perfect," with $1.175 billion allocated to elder justice programs, housing assistance, government nutrition benefits, nursing home strike teams and more.


_____________________________________________________________________

Seniors Need A Boost in Social Security Due to Covid 19

An eye - popping new list compiled by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) indicates that, by late 2020, price increases for many of the expenditures of older Americans far outstripped the modest 1.3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) boost that Social Security recipients start receiving this month. “This list is a snapshot of how COVID-19 affected prices of certain items through the end of November 2020,” says Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “There are surprising price aberrations that we haven’t seen before,” Johnson says. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that toilet paper and disinfecting wipes could wind up on our annual list of fastest growing retiree costs,” Johnson says.

The far greater worry, however, is a sharp increase in almost every source of quality protein — including meat, poultry, and even canned tuna. “With many meat price increases in the double digits, we are highly concerned that older households may not be getting adequate supplies of protein in their diets,” Johnson says. “This was a nationwide problem prior to the pandemic, and the problem has been exacerbated by shortages and disruptions during the pandemic,” she points out.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The Essential Caregiver Program:
An Idea Whose Time Has Come


The Essential Caregiver (EC) program is a simple concept: Allow a single person, a family member or loved one, to have a controlled visit and help someone in senior living, even during times of restricted visitation, in order to counter the often severely detrimental health effects of loneliness and social isolation.

But the implementation of an EC program takes some care, collaboration, and preparation. Processes and rules vary from state to state, and it can be tough to push change in a time of crisis.

However, having a blueprint for an EC program can make the process easier. As several states, including Indiana, Minnesota, and Oklahoma established programs, they began to share their lessons learned.





Coming Together

4 minutes

I watched the circus that played-out Wednesday in the House of Representatives and shook my head. What a waste of time.
 
Yes, you heard right. Me, a person who is about as left wing as an old man can get, thinks that impeaching the president is a waste of time and will do more to hurt the incoming president than anything the Conservative Republican wacko’s could do.
 
Do I think Trump incited a riot? Although he did nothing to stop it, and he may have even condoned such action, the people we saw storming the Capitol could have cared less what the president said or did. They came to do what insurgents do, to destroy the rule of law and extend their agenda of hate. At the very worst, all Trump did was give the “kids” permission to play with matches.

Now, before you think I’ve been sipping the Kool-Aid and gone over to the dark side, let me clarify.

Trump is not the cancer. He is only a symptom. A big bad pus-filled symptom, but a symptom none the less. And any attempt to pop that pustule will only result in the cancer to metastasize to every corner of America.

This second attempt by Democrats to remove the president from office is being done out of spite. And they are doing themselves and Mr. Biden a disservice by continuing this futile attempt to punish a man who is un-punishable. Un-punishable because he has no sole, no guilt and cares for nobody but himself. Can you punish a cockroach for being a cockroach?

Joe Biden needs to come into office with as little trouble on his plate as possible. His number one priority must be getting a handle on the virus that will do more to harm to our country than any face-painted, Confederate-flag-waving domestic terrorist can do. And the only way that can be done is by getting as many Americans to do the right thing. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, social distance and stop believing COVID-19 doesn’t exist. And he can’t do that with over half of the nation angry at the other half.
 
Trump needs to be made accountable for what he did. Not just for his actions since the election but for four years of picking at a scab on a wound he knew would never heal. But shaming him or censuring him or calling him names won’t mean a thing to a man who is shameless. The only way to make a dent in that orange veneer is to remove him from the public view. Give him no platform from which to spew hit rhetoric. Scrape his name from the halls of government and let the people that can cause real trouble for him, like the Attorney General of N.Y. State, do their thing.

Maybe I’m mellowing in my golden years. Or perhaps I’ve had enough. Being confined to a 15 x 20 foot room, isolated from friends and relatives, eating boring food and watching TV all day will do that to you. I just want this all to end. Preferably, sometime before I die. And we will not get there if we continue to follow a path of vindictiveness and animosity……......................




The Perils of Downsizing


Okay, I'm gonna blame this on my husband because husbands are good for that sort of thing. But the truth? I should have known better. When Bob and I decided to downsize from a three-story house to a three-bedroom condo, there was the inevitable deciding what would go, what would stay, what would be given away, what would be discarded.

As we made our decisions, it became increasingly clear to me that what I found most painful to part with was my vast library of hundreds, probably thousands, of books.

Case of colorful books, downsizing, downsize, next avenue
Credit: Adobe

Bob was unsympathetic. He'd downsized twice before and had had no difficulty getting rid of books that he'd already read. What could I possibly want with all those yellowing and often crumbling pages that I'd likely never look at again?





How to Spot and Stop Fake News

Though we've been debating the validity and consequences of partisan news since the dawn of cable television, it seemed the concept of "fake news" — and a tangible, almost viral fear of it — sprung up almost overnight during the final throes of the presidential campaign.

Some people credit fake news for clinching the presidency for Donald Trump after a BuzzFeed News investigation showed that made-up news stories got more engagement on Facebook in the final three months leading to the election than did stories from the top news sources in the country. (Facebook's COO denies this had anything to do with the election results.) The Washington Post profiled a man who writes viral fake news for a living and believes "Donald Trump is in the White House because of me." And, of course, our news feeds were filled recently with the cautionary tale of the man who was so outraged by the fake news story he had read about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place in Washington, D.C., he went to the restaurant and fired an assault rifle inside of it. (Nobody was hurt.)








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JAN. 13, 2021
Fears of 'twindemic' recede as
US influenza rates stay low
By Lauren Aratani


As Covid-19 continues to surge in the US, with a record number of more than 4,000 virus deaths on Friday, some good news has come from data about the flu.

During a typical flu season, the number of people getting the flu would just be starting to rise, with the peak typically coming in February. Yet so far, only 0.2% of 400,000 swabs for the flu have been positive, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the same time last year, the positivity rate was 13%.

With hospitals across the country near or at capacity with Covid-19 patients – about 132,000 people are currently hospitalized with Covid – flu’s minimal presence is a blessing. At least 38 million Americans had the virus during the 2019-20 season. While the flu is less deadly than Covid-19, it has the potential to strain the healthcare system during a bad year. Last year, 400,000 people were hospitalized with the flu and 22,000 died from it.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________

5 Ways to Earn Extra Money in 2021
Without Leaving the House


Maybe your savings account took a major hit in the pandemic. Or maybe you racked up some holiday debt on your credit cards that you're eager to pay off. There are plenty of good reasons to boost your income this year, and the good news is that you don't have to take a single step outside your door to do so. Here are some viable side gigs you can pull off from the comfort of home.

1. Become an online tutor

Unfortunately, remote learning is causing a lot of students to fall behind this academic year. But that means you have an opportunity to earn money as a tutor. If you're strong in math, you can help children navigate everything from algebra to precalculus. And if you're good at science, you can assist students struggling with key concepts. There are a number of online tutoring services you can sign up to work with (just search online and a bunch of names will pop up), but you can also try venturing out on your own -- you may earn more money that way and have more flexibility. Ask around with nearby schools, since some are likely to maintain lists of tutors.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Report ‘grabby’ assisted living operators
taking stimulus checks, FTC tells consumers

With a second round of stimulus checks on the way to many Americans, the Federal Trade Commission is advising consumers to report “grabby” assisted living and nursing home operators who try to take residents’ checks.

Lois C. Greisman, an elder justice coordinator with the FTC, said in a Jan. 4 blog post that communities and facilities that try to do so should be reported to the FTC and to the attorney general in the state where the effort is occurring.

The checks are meant for individuals, not for the assisted living communities or nursing homes where some recipients may live, said Greisman, who had made a similar post in May when the first round of so-called economic impact payments were issued.



Finally….

Sometimes I think there are more people reading this blog than the statistics show because, as if by magic, my prayers, and the prayers of hundreds of residents of assisted living facilities in New York State have been answered. We have just received this memo from our administrator…



While the news is encouraging, the late date at which they scheduled us to receive the vaccine is not. We should have been much higher on the list (at least up there with nursing homes). At least for our staff. It also appears that CVS was also in error when they said last week, they would vaccinate all ALF residents and staff by the end of January. In any event, it’s nice to know they haven’t completely forgotten us.

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5 minutes

Don’t you wish you could point your TV remote out the window and change the channel? Maybe to a world where there are just cuddly animals frolicking in a pristine glade somewhere. At the very least, we wouldn’t have to watch this never-ending s**t-show of a soap opera playing out in front of our eyes. Unfortunately, like actual TV soap’s, this one will not end just because its star leaves the show. The only thing that will happen on January 20th is that some members of 

the cast will change. The plot will remain the same, but will we enjoy it as much?
 
Yes, I said, “enjoy.”
 
C’mon. Admit it. Didn’t you enjoy getting up every morning, turning on the TV to see what dumb-ass thing He said overnight, and then talking about it with your friends? Face it. It was the best thing on TV.


What we are witnessing now is what the networks call “A trailer.” The few seconds after the main show ends when they let you know what to look for in the next episode. They show just enough to whet your appetite and leave you wanting more.
 
Oh! You want no more of this drama that has been playing out the last four years? Or maybe you just were hoping for a different ending. The one where the good guys win and the bad guys get what’s coming to them? Sorry to disappoint you, but we haven’t seen, or heard, the last of this story line.

Why? Because there are over 74 million “viewers” in the guise of a political party that don’t want to see it end. And the people who have promoted this melodrama know it. They realize most of the “audience” are mindless twits, but the producers can’t ignore their presence.  
 
Our only hope for a better performance rests on the shoulders of the new cast of characters and it’s star. The polished, classically trained performer who knows what lines to speak and when to speak them. He also knows what every seasoned artist knows. You don’t excel by upstaging others. Instead, you act as part of an ensemble whose goal is to give a good show that makes the audience want to stand up and cheer.

Okay. I think I’ve exceeded my allotment of soap opera references. But you can’t deny that if this were a novel or a made-for-TV movie, you would dismiss as being too far-fetched to be plausible. At least so far as the last chapter is concerned.

How many Americans, Democrat or Republican, could have foreseen what 
we have witnessed the past three-plus months. That is the total moral and mental breakdown of the President of the United States.
 
It’s true, many knew Trump’s term in office would be a disaster. After all, how could a man whose primary purpose for running was to undo everything his predecessor did just to e
ndear himself to a far right-wing element of the Republican party possibly amass enough support to make him the driving force in American politics. Of course, they were wrong, and we ended up with a divided nation and a tarnished democracy. 
 
And let us not forget this. The sub-plot and the protagonist of the play. The COVID-19 virus that has taken over and controlled every facet of our lives for nearly a year. That is one character that won’t go away soon. It will be “carried over” for many seasons and episodes to come. Stay tuned, viewers. The show ain’t over………....... 






How to Find and Listen to Great Podcasts


While exploring everything from entertainment to education, here are some smart suggestions to enhance your experience

The pandemic has led even the most technologically averse to embrace new ways to use computers and mobile devices.

While many of us began using online video chats during COVID-19 to stay connected with friends and loved ones, online content consumption for our individual enjoyment has also increased in popularity.




Overview of Senior Living Options:
Where Do I Start?

There are many things to consider when the time comes to downsize from a large family home, such as: what kind of community is going to meet your needs and wants? What can you afford?  What do you want the next chapter of your life to look like? My goal is to give you a quick overview of the various choices available, along with the associated costs. This information should help direct your search and save you time.

Highest level of support: Skilled Nursing will provide all meals and all levels of care that can be provided outside of a hospital setting. Short-term stays for rehabilitation are usually paid for by Medicare and supplemental insurance. Average age is 85, and programs/activities are limited.  Long-term stays are privately paid (unless you have a long-term care insurance policy) and the average cost is between $8,000 and $12,000 per month.




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JAN. 12, 2021


Research Reveals Increasing Rates
of Food Insecurity in Older Adults
By Olive Marie

New research published in the American Geriatric Society on January 5, 2021, indicates that between 2007 and 2016, limited access to nutritious foods or food insecurity due to lack of financial resources rose substantially from 5.5 percent to 12. 4 percent among older adults in the United States and such an increase was more noticeable among people with a lower wage.

The study, EurekAlert reported, which collected data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, found, too, those older adults who experienced food insecurity tended to have lower quality in terms of diets.

According to Cindy Leung, ScD, MPH, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who's also co-author of the study, their results offer more evidence that food insecurity "is a serious health concern among older adults."



_____________________________________________________________________________________________

NY extending COVID-19 shots to people
over 75 and essential workers
By Bart Jones

Teachers, police, firefighters and people over 75 years of age will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as early as Monday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, though he cautioned that doses remain in short supply and people likely will wait weeks to months for their first shots.

Cuomo expanded the group currently eligible — largely health care workers and nursing home residents — as he announced he is dramatically expanding the state’s distribution and vaccination network.

Health care workers will remain the priority, he said Friday, but in theory some people in Phase 1b could get a vaccine next week.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of smell in mild Covid-19 cases
occurs 86% of the time, study says
By Sandee LaMotte

Some 86% of people with mild cases of Covid-19 lose their sense of smell and taste but recover it within six months, according to a new study of over 2,500 patients from 18 European hospitals.

A case of Covid-19 was considered mild if there was no evidence of viral pneumonia or loss of oxygen and the patient was able to recover at home.

The sense of smell reappeared after an average of 18 to 21 days, the study found, but about 5% of people had not recovered olfactory function at six months.


________________________________________________________________________________________


How the senior living industry
can heal itself and all of us
By Jacquelyn Kung, Robert G. Kramer and Ed Frauenheim

COVID-19 gave the senior living industry a black eye.

But the industry, still reeling from the deaths of many older residents and the workers who serve them, has a unique opportunity to recover its reputation, reframe its aspirations, and offer hope on a wider scale. Recent events can prompt us to rethink how we view senior citizens and help us engage elders in the work of healing a divided nation.


Few industries have been as wounded by COVID-19 as the senior housing and care sector. The statistics are eye-popping. “Residents of long-term care facilities constitute less than 1% of the U.S. population, yet 43% of all COVID-19 deaths through June occurred in those places,” AARP Bulletin reported in December. “The number has changed little since.”






WHERE’S MY SHOT?

6 minutes

There are so many things going on in our nation and state that take priority over me and my problem. I understand that. After all, I’m just an old man tucked away in a nondescript assisted living facility in a suburb of a city that is trying desperately to deal with ever-increasing hospitalizations and deaths because of a second-wave of the COVID-19 virus. But if I don’t speak out, I fear my voice, and the voices of thousands of residents of the over 300 ALF’s in the State of New York will never be heard. After all, no one has listened to us for over 300 days.

 
I don’t know why they have made assisted living facilities and the people who call them home the “orphans” of the healthcare system. Perhaps it’s because of a notion that ALF’s are nothing more than resorts for old people whose only concern is are there enough Bingo markers for everybody. Or that we somehow have a “special immunity” to the virus because we are self-contained and therefore not as likely to come in contact with infected people. All of which is false.
 
 
If that were true, why have they forced us to endure the strictest isolation measures in the state. ALF residents have been literal prisoners from the beginning of the COVID crisis and haven’t let up one iota.
 
From day one, March 15th, 2020, they put us on notice that all they would suspend all activities. They would serve all meals in our rooms. There will be no congregating among residents. And we all had to wear masks anytime we left our rooms for any reason.
 
They have not allowed us to leave the facility for any reason except medical. And when we return from those visits, they put us into quarantine and not permitted to leave our rooms for two weeks. And, as if to make sure that we received the entire “prison experience”, they ended all in-person visits from friends and family. Talk about the “Threat to Democracy.” I don’t recall anybody asking us how we felt about all that.

Amazingly, we did not complain. We went along with all the over-the-top rules, regulations and indignities believing it would be for only a brief time. But weeks became months and now, those months have become what feels like a lifetime with no end in sight.
 
There was a brief time when we thought we might actually see some light at the end of the tunnel when they announce that they had developed a vaccine with seniors in long-term facilities among the first to be vaccinated. But that was not to be. At least not for us seniors who are residents of assisted living facilities. Instead of them “fast-tracking” us to the top of the list. They put us in a relative no-man's-land behind drug addicts and prison inmates. And as of today, we still have no idea when we will get the shot.[1]

Part of the problem stems from us having no voice.

There are a few organizations representing the owners and management of assisted living facilities, but none who have our interests at heart. No one to say “enough is enough.” No one to cry “foul.” Even the media has given us only a cursory glance, with very few articles written that give our plight the recognition it deserves. I guess we are not dying in sufficient quantities enough to warrant any respect.


And so we sit here, waiting and waiting. CVS, the distributors and the organization designated to be the ones who give us the vaccine said they hope to have all patients in nursing homes and residents of assisted living facilities vaccinated by the end of this month. I’m not holding my breath.

 
The way the state and federal government has handled the entire distribution and administration of the vaccine has been nothing less than immoral and has added to the suffering of thousands.  
 
Eventually they will inoculate us, and as if it never happened, they will have forgotten the shameful way they have treated us during this entire filthy mess. But I won’t. I’m looking forward to becoming the thorn in the side of everyone who treated us in this deplorable manner…………………………..


 
[1] Editor’s note: That includes the staff (front-line workers) too.




Why Backers of Intermittent Fasting
Believe It Can Slow Aging
By Sarah Sloat


At the offices for HVMN, the workplace culture is all about fasting. At the San Francisco-based biohacking startup, formerly known as Nootrobox, fasting can be as short as two days or as long as 60 hours.

The ethos at HVMN (it’s pronounced human) is that intermediate fasting is just one of the routes to optimizing human performance — cognitively, and physically. The end-game? Anti-aging and longevity.

“When people think about fasting, they think about weight loss or weight management, and for us, it’s very much like okay, we’re not going to lose weight,” Geoff Woo, the CEO and co-founder of HVMN, tells Inverse. “We’re trying to get more productive, more cognitive function, and potentially live longer. Great. We’ll try it.”





Understanding the Social Security Rules
for Widows and Widowers


During a recent Minnesota Public Radio program I hosted about Social Security, I was surprised at the number of callers with questions and complaints about the program's survivor benefits for widows and widowers.


One caller protested the "unfairness" of the benefits since she felt they ignored her own work years and contributions. Another worried that it was only by happenstance — reading an article — that she learned she qualified for benefits. "Widows should know about this," she said.

So, let me try to explain what Social Security's survivor benefits are, what they mean for widows and widowers and how President-elect Joe Biden wants to enlarge and clear up confusion about them.









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JAN. 11, 2021


Nature-based therapy can boost immune
system function among older adults, study finds

By Beth Ellwood


A new study suggests that contact with nature can alleviate the aging immune system. Older adults who partook in six-months of horticultural therapy showed reduced T-cell exhaustion and inflammation. The findings were published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A.

As the immune system ages and declines, older adults are left with a greater risk of infection, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. While there are existing medical interventions that target age-related changes in the immune system, these procedures are costly and difficult to carry out over a wide population.

Study authors Glenn Choon Lim Wong and team describe a psychosocial intervention that has shown promise among the older population. Horticultural Therapy (HT) combines the mental health benefits associated with nature activities with the added physical benefits of breathing clean, less-polluted air and engaging in physical exercise. The researchers conducted an intervention study to explore HT as a potential candidate for improving immunological fitness.

_________________________________________________________________

How is Technology Making Senior Care Efficient
By Prateek Saxena

The great businesses of the 20th century are a product of the labor of baby boomers who’ve stepped on to the senior citizenship mantlepiece. Now, at a juncture when society must bend over backward to extend all the necessary help to the elderly, it finds itself in a rather embarrassing spotlight.

The ratio of available healthcare assistants for every senior citizen is dwindling. This downward drift is attributed to the increasing demographic numbers for those aged over 60. This cohort will experience an impending growth in the next decade at speeds that are 56% higher than for the rest of the global populace, further exacerbating the situation.

One way to curtail this unhealthy gap between the seniors and technology relies on, well, technology. With widespread sensors, wearables, and smart health IT systems, the opportunity cost for entrepreneurs who miss out on the future technology for the elderly could be huge. Let us find out how!

_________________________________________________________________

How to Manage Stress When
It’s Affecting Your Health


Diana Zwinak, 53, was a teacher in a rural district outside Chicago when she developed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder where antibodies chronically attack the thyroid. “Basically, my thyroid stopped functioning,” says Zwinak. Her doctor’s recommendation: “You have got to get rid of some of your stress.” The stress she was under was causing her adrenal system to shut down.


Zwinak’s doctor told her point-blank that she was taking years off her life. So, Zwinak did what many people faced with this news don’t — she took a good look at her stress and made a major change in her life.

Ask anyone who is trying to get their psoriasis under control, manage heart disease or suffering with anxiety and you'll hear that managing stress is one of their toughest goals.






Yay! We Won. But What Exactly?
5 minutes

If these were normal times, the time when America was not insane, we would be looking forward to a new year and a new administration with all the possibilities that could bring.


The country needs so much in the way of healthcare, housing, upgrading our crumbling infrastructure, education, expanding renewable energy and a myriad of other social reforms that have been totally neglected the past four years. Neglected, not because there were no bills or proposals on the
Congressional calendar, but neglected out of spite driven by the one man and his legislative cronies whose idea of the perfect society was personal enrichment. And he did it by appealing to the one group that he knew would support him. The racists, bigots, Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white trash who, although we don’t like to admit it, constitute a large part of American society.  


It was those people who became his “base”, the same people we watched storm our Capitol, with larceny, hate and insurrection in their hearts, all to keep a misogynist racist, not to mention insane bully, in power.

It was only until after that siege last Wednesday, did the members of his own party awaken from their collective coma and realize what their support has done. And, as if they had all become amnesia victims, they tried to disassociate themselves from him. The worst among them, Ted Cruz who now says he has always had a disagreement with the President. What a load of BS.

We are 8 days away from the inauguration of a new President, and there is talk of impeachment, not that it will actually happen or that it will do much good. Impeachment will only serve to widen the divide between us and keep the hopes and dreams of those who would destroy us alive. The best thing we could do is to forget about him. But we can’t. The damage he has done cannot easily be reversed. Like a cancer, the hatred he has promoted has metastasized and now effects every part of the American character, and will for a long time. Those maniacs we saw at the Capitol are just the tip of the iceberg. And, while they might not represent all of Trump’s supporters, most of Trump’s constituents have still not condemned their actions.  

On January 20th, Joe Biden will preside over a nation where over 74 million people don’t support him and believe that he and the left-wing liberals stole the election. That’s a helluva way to start a new job. But unlike his predecessor, who had no honesty nor honor, Mr. Biden has the capacity and compassion to realize that many Americans have legitimate complaints about the direction our nation is going. Complaints that he will have to address in the next 4 years.

If that were not enough, there is the slight matter of a pernicious virus that has permeated every fabric of our lives to deal with.

Can he deal with all of this? Yes. Not because he is a superman or genius, but because he will listen and take advice from the people he has selected to be in his cabinet and the person he selected as his running mate.

And there is one other thing.

Our new president is 78 years old. The oldest man ever to take the office. Should that make a difference?

For the answer I refer you to an article in the NY Times by Jennifer Senior in which she says, “tilt the prism” and look at Joe Biden, who will be 78 when he is sworn in, as an inspiration and to be proud of “proof that we, as a culture, still choose wisdom and experience to lead us.” [1]. That’s good enough for me……………………….

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/12/opinion/biden-age-president.html

 




Americans begin to feel old
for the first time at this age


The average American feels old for the first time at age 47, according to new research. A new survey of 2,000 Americans over the age of 40 found that the average American starts to actually worry about the effects of aging at age 50. In fact, 65% of people surveyed said one of their biggest fears is aging and getting older. Nearly half of Americans ranked a decline in cognitive function as their biggest aging-related fear. Further to that, 64% said that they are concerned that their mind or normal cognitive function won't last as long as their physical health. Outward perception of old age or aging is less important for most, with only one in four worried about losing their youthful looks, and another 25% fearful of becoming uncool and no longer in tune with what's "hip." Commissioned by Elysium Health and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also found that 56% of Americans actively worry about their brain health. And it may be for good reason, as nearly half of those surveyed said they have a family history of age-related memory loss. In fact, nearly 66% of those polled freely admit their memory is not quite what it was when...






Research Backs These Methods for
Reducing Depression and Anxiety


Looking for relief from garden-variety stressors? Feeling mired in one of life’s larger challenges? Weary of sweating the small stuff? The recently published results of a five-year study show that people who learn stress-intervention skills — and then practice them daily — develop more positive approaches to life.


“The skills, known as a positive emotion regulation intervention, are not specific to any particular kind of stress,” says Judith Moskowitz. “We’ve seen that individuals in all kinds of challenging life circumstances with high levels of depression and stress have the ability to experience positive emotions, and doing that helps them cope better. The same skills also help with daily hassles.”

"When you're hyper-focused on things that are stressful, you don't notice the good things."







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JAN. 8, 2021


CVS aims to finish first round of nursing home
COVID-19 vaccinations by Jan. 25

By Nathaniel Weixel


CVS is on track to finish giving the first of three rounds of COVID-19 shots in nursing homes across the country by Jan. 25, the company said Wednesday.

The Trump administration is partnering with CVS and Walgreens to inoculate nursing home residents and staff against the coronavirus. The campaign launched Dec. 21, and is now underway in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

CVS said it is partnering with nearly 8,000 of the 15,000 skilled nursing facilities nationwide.

________________________________________________________________

U.S. could ramp up slow Covid vaccine rollout by giving
two half volume doses of Moderna shot.

By Jesse Pound


The head of the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccine program said Sunday that health officials are exploring the idea of giving a major group of Americans half volume doses of one vaccine to accelerate the rollout.

Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that one way to speed up immunizations against Covid-19 was to give two half-volume doses of the Moderna vaccine to some individuals.

“We know that for the Moderna vaccine giving half the dose for people between the ages of 18 to 55 — two doses, half the dose, which means exactly achieving the objective of immunizing double the number of people with the doses we have — we know it induces identical immune response to the 100 microgram dose,” Slaoui said.

_________________________________________________________

Survey helps older adults assess
their vulnerability to scams

By David Brancaccio and Rose Conlon


New research suggests that certain risk factors can help indicate which older Americans are most at risk of falling victim to financial scams.

In a national study, Peter Lichtenberg, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University in Michigan, found that our physical and mental health as well as the health of our relationships are important predictors when it comes to our self-reported feelings of our own financial vulnerability.

“Financial health is one part of health along with physical, mental and functional health,” said Lichtenberg.






5 minutes


Wednesday was graduation day for America. It was the day we went from naïve 7th graders to a PHD in politics, government, the Constitution and law. It was the day America learned just how fragile our democracy is. And, if we are lucky, we can mark January 6th, 2021 as the day we learned a valuable lesson. Never again can we take for granted the consequences of electing the wrong man to be our President.
 
And boy, did we elect the wrong man. Not just for his total inability to do the job, but for using his position to feed his ego to hold on to the only thing that has ever mattered to him, power.

But who is actually to blame for putting a misogynistic egomaniacal bully into a position of being the “Leader of the Free World?”

It would be easy to accuse and criticize the people we characterize as his “base.” But there was no base. There were just a group of average Americans who were not happy with the status quo at the time which, in their minds, leaned too much to the left and therefore (to their way of thinking) meant losing the democracy our forefathers fought and died for. And when they looked at the two candidates for the office, the choice for the person who would best fulfil their needs was obvious.
 
The lady in the pantsuit represented the new and the future (one where America was not number one) while the slick, plain-talking man in the business suit defined their idea of a tough, no-nonsense executive that would get us back our jobs, restore our economy and our position of world leader. Not such a terrible thing to want. But mixed in with all those patriotic, well-meaning citizens were those whose idea of an ideal America meant something else. Do I have to spell it out?

There were the racists, the Neo-Nazis, the anti-Semites, the anarchists and all those who believe being born male and white gave them superiority over all others. And in Donald Trump they saw just the person to help promote that agenda. They were not wrong. Trump, like the sniveling little rat he is, sniffed them out and gave them someone to rally around. But what they failed to see was while he was sinking his teeth into the whole pie, all they were getting was the crust. And wasn’t even stuffed with cheese. And in the end, he even failed them. Instead of the  world he promised, all he left was a stain on our democracy and a wound that may take years to heal.

Have we learned our lesson? Have we learned that who we trust to hold the keys to the kingdom is not just a popularity contest? Only time will tell. At the very least, I hope we will never take the promises made during a campaign as the truth or as the measure of a man.
 
Fortunately, we are not ruined for ever. Like an old car whose paint has dulled and whose body is dented and rusted in places, we are still drivable. But it will take a “from the ground-up restoration” by a skilled technician to bring us back to a point where we can truly say “We are great again.” We can only hope that we found that man in Joe Biden. It will be an interesting four years.
 
We’ll be back on Monday. And may God bless America……………………….
 



New Year’s Resolutions That Will
Actually Lead to Happiness

By Arthur C. Brooks


“How to Build a Life” is a biweekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness.

If you are someone who follows a traditional religion, you most likely have a day such as Yom Kippur, Ashura, or Ash Wednesday, dedicated to atoning for your sins and vowing to make improvements to your life. But if you are not religious, you might still practice a day of devotion and ritualistic vows of self-improvement each year on January 1. New Year’s Day rings in the month of January, dedicated by the ancient Romans to their god Janus. Religious Romans promised the two-faced god that they would be better in the new year than they had been in the past.

According to the Pew Research Center, historically between one-third and one-half of Americans observe this pagan rite every year by making their own New Year’s resolutions. The most common resolutions are fairly predictable: financial resolutions, like saving more money or paying down debt (51 percent in 2019); eating healthier (51 percent); exercising more (50 percent); and losing weight (42 percent).





Are You "Over The Hill" In Your Job?


Feeling old at work? Maybe a bit over the hill?

Sure, maybe you were once the new kid at work, but those years have passed.

Colleagues used to praise you for your fresh, new ideas and your energy. Now they use words like "experience" and "wisdom." You can't help but think they're all a euphemism for ancient. Maybe those black "over the hill" balloons weren't a joke, but the truth.






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JAN. 7, 2021


Most nursing home residents in the US remain unvaccinated
despite national plans to prioritize the elderly

By Grace Kay

Only about 13% of the roughly 3.26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed to nursing home residents and staff in the US have been administered, according to the CDC.

Nearly 40% of coronavirus-related deaths in the US have taken place in long-term care facilities.
The federal government has partnered with CVS Health and Walgreens to administer vaccines to the majority of long-term care facilities.


About 3 million people live in nursing homes, assisted living centers, and group homes nationwide, 105,000 of which have died from the virus. Residents from long-term care facilities make up nearly 40% of coronavirus-related deaths in the US.


__________________________________________________________________

Advocates: COVID-19 Relief Leaves Out
People With Disabilities


Congress approved legislation in late December to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but disability advocates say that their priorities went unaddressed. (Thinkstock)

With a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, Congress yet again denied stimulus payments to some people with disabilities and failed to offer funding for home- and community-based services.

Under pressure, federal lawmakers approved the massive stimulus package after much wrangling in late December. The measure includes $600 cash payments for many Americans — including those receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits — who earn less than $75,000 annually, with tiered amounts beyond that.


_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Forced to work past their 60s and 70s,
seniors have been hit harder
by COVID-19 economy



Charles Pettus seemingly has everything an employer could want in a prospective hire.

The Rockledge resident has an extensive resume. He's held jobs everywhere from the aerospace industry to, most recently, a hardware store. He had to quit that job earlier this year — because of COVID-19 and his wife's health, he can't risk a job working with the public. A Navy vet, he hopes to go back to work at some point, preferably in a field using his technical and management skills.

One major stumbling block, in a competitive job market magnified by pandemic workplace cuts: He's 80 years old.

__________________________________________________________________

Pandemic may put 56 percent of assisted living
operators out of business in a year


As 2020 was ending, President Trump signed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill that adds $3 billion to the Provider Relief Fund. That aid can’t come fast enough for assisted living providers, according to a recent survey.

Fifty-six percent of assisted living operators don’t believe they will be in business in a year, due to increased COVID-related costs, according to the survey. It was conducted in November, before the relief package was approved, and results were released in late December by the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living.

“Given the gravity of the situation we are facing with this deadly virus and its impact on our vulnerable community, which cannot be overstated, long-term care facilities, including assisted living communities, require essential funding and support from federal and state governments to reduce and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” NCAL Executive Director Scott Tittle said. He called on Congress to direct more funding to senior living and skilled nursing in 2021.


________________________________________________________________________

COVID-19 precautions seem to be squashing flu season,
doctors say, while coronavirus rages in California

By Laura Anthony


SAN FRANCISCO -- Amid a deepening pandemic, doctors are crediting masking, hand-washing and distancing with stopping one virulent disease in its tracks--the flu.

"The silver lining is we're not seeing the flu. The flu is almost absent," said Dr. Andra Blomkalns, Director of Emergency Medicine for Stanford Health.

"There's no question this year is an extraordinary year," said Kaiser Permanente flu expert Dr. Randy Bergen, who told ABC7 News that by early January, California would normally see a serious uptick in flu cases, but not this year.





No Words
4 minutes

I had planned an entirely different editorial, but today’s events have left me at a loss for words.  
 
On Facebook yesterday afternoon I said, “I fell asleep watching the Georgia election results on CNN, and woke up two hours later in a 3rd world country.”
 
As the cobwebs left my brain and my eyes and ears adjusted to what I was hearing and seeing, I realized I was not looking at a normal protest by a group of disgruntled Trump supporters but an all-out riot and an attempt to take over the Capitol of the United States. And, while I hesitate to call this a coup, it certainly appears to be an insurrection. But that’s not the worst part. The President of the United States encouraged and condoned this entire riot. And then, in a half-hearted effort to restore some order to the situation, Trump appears (on a taped message) telling the rioters that, while he “feels their pain’’ and literally thanks them for their support, suggests they go home in peace. All while continuing in his deranged attempt to reverse the results of the election.

I like to call myself “A Seasoned Citizen.” There is not much I haven’t seen in my 75 years. And, as a New Yorker, I’ve seen a lot. But I never thought I would see this, at least not in a country that calls itself the world’s greatest democracy. We were just one banana peel short of a coup. Fortunately, and to their credit, the “authorities” regained control.
 
It would be easy to put the blame for this directly on the rioters. But most of those people are just ignorant fools who have no idea how government works, nor do they care.
 
We could easily accuse the President too. But we now know he is a maniac and may not be in control of all his faculties. And besides, he’ll be gone in two weeks.
 
We must position the bulk of the blame on the shoulders of those Republican lawmakers who continued to perpetuate the President’s lies of a stolen election even though all the evidence showed otherwise. Those are the really dangerous people in our government, and they need to be made accountable for the damage they have done to our democracy. [1]

The dawn will break over our land as it has always done. Our democracy intact. They will have cleared the anarchists from the Capitol grounds and the Congress will continue with its business of certifying a fair election. But the stain left on our nation, our psyche, and our Constitution will last for ever………………….

[1] And, unfortunately, as we now know, the loss of a life as well.
 



Three myths about unemployment
By David Riemer and June Hopkins

As a new administration prepares to grapple with the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, three myths about unemployment continue to muddle the thinking in Washington about how to help unemployed American workers.  

Myth 1: Federal job creation did little to end unemployment during the Great Depression.

Fact: The CCC, CWA, WPA and other job-stimulating programs cut the unemployment rate in half. Early measures treated workers in New Deal jobs programs as unemployed; thus, the "official" unemployment rate after 1933 remained artificially high. In fact these workers were clearly employed, often doing tough physical labor. Once counted as employed, the true unemployment from 1933-1937 dropped sharply well before the U.S. beefed up its military spending in late 1939 and then entered World War II.





Seniors Can Stay Fit During the Pandemic With
Basic Weight Training. Here’s How.

By Neal Templin


The health crisis upended a world of fancy gyms and personal trainers. Fear of infection keeps millions of Americans at home, and it will be many months until enough people are vaccinated to quell the pandemic.

The good news is you can remain reasonably fit without a gym full of shiny equipment. I wrote a column earlier during the pandemic about workouts you can do without any equipment

Exercise physiologist Louis Degnan says there are many ways to keep fit in your home. “I know it seems hard during this time when you don’t have heavy weights or your favorite piece of cardio equipment, but now is the chance to get creative,” he says.








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JAN. 6, 2021



Nature-based therapy can boost immune
system function among older adults, study finds

By Beth Ellwood


A new study suggests that contact with nature can alleviate the aging immune system. Older adults who partook in six-months of horticultural therapy showed reduced T-cell exhaustion and inflammation. The findings were published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A.

As the immune system ages and declines, older adults are left with a greater risk of infection, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. While there are existing medical interventions that target age-related changes in the immune system, these procedures are costly and difficult to carry out over a wide population.

Study authors Glenn Choon Lim Wong and team describe a psychosocial intervention that has shown promise among the older population. Horticultural Therapy (HT) combines the mental health benefits associated with nature activities with the added physical benefits of breathing clean, less-polluted air and engaging in physical exercise. The researchers conducted an intervention study to explore HT as a potential candidate for improving immunological fitness.


________________________________________________________________________

How older adults can protect
their heart with nutrition

By Jamie Mok

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, accounting for one in every four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Heart Association estimates that more than 85 million American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease, with about two-thirds of cardiovascular disease deaths occurring in people older than 75.

The National Institute on Aging, meanwhile, says that people older than 65 are more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, or develop heart disease.


____________________________________________________________________

Exercising and quitting smoking
lowers dementia risk

By Emily Webber


A healthy heart in middle age lowers the risk of developing dementia in later years, a new study has claimed.

People who quit smoking, enjoyed a healthy diet and exercised in midlife all boosted their chances of avoiding the incurable condition.

The study looked at nearly 1,500 people as part of a long-term study started in 1972 in Finland.






I AM WHAT I EAT
5 minutes


I looked down at the Styrofoam container that has become so familiar to me the past 10 months and sighed. Two hard-boiled eggs and a corn muffin stared back at me. It was another disappointing breakfast in a slew of disheartening meals we have received ever since they put us into what has become a never-ending sentence of isolation and quarantine.
 
As I stared at the boring food, I swear I could hear it laughing at me. Or maybe it was the kitchen staff who appears to have lost any desire to actually cook anything. If they can’t boil it or microwave it, they don’t serve it. Our dinners have become nothing more than portion controlled pre-fabricated meals bought from what I can only believe are the same people that cater San Quentin.


While the food technically meets the minimum standards of nutrition set forth by our state’s Department of Health, the desire to eat it becomes a different matter. What’s the use of serving veggies, chicken, BBQ ribs or fish if it’s under-cooked, rubbery, impossible to chew or just plain mushy. It’s one thing to comply with regulations and another to be genuinely concerned about the actual nourishment of the residents who are not eating the food because it’s inedible.
 
Tonight, after listening to what they were serving us, I shook my head and closed the door. It was the second night in a row that I declined dinner. Essentially, it was a variation of what we have been eating every evening. Tonight it was chicken (which is on every dinner menu every day) or hot dogs, which they served for lunch just two days ago. The thought of even having to look at it made me ill. Fortunately, I have a can of chili, which I’ll mix with some leftover pasta from the other day and warm it in the only microwave available to us. As objectionable as that may sound, it’s better than mostly everything they think passes as food.

If filing my belly was my only concern, I wouldn’t care as much. They feed us plenty of crap to do that. Everything they serve comes with a generous helping of something starchy, fatty or sweet. I’ve had meals where the baked potato was twice the size of the roast beef or the pasta side-dish outweighing the protein 2 to 1. What I am concerned about is what this is doing to my body and my health.
 
I know I’m putting on weight which, on its own, takes its toll as increased blood pressure, diabetes and strain on the joints. But I’m more concerned about what this diet is doing to my other organs.
 
I already have 3rd stage kidney disease, which I can only imagine is being exacerbated by my poor eating regime. And g-d only knows what’s happening to my heart, liver and general body chemistry. At a time in my life when I should be doing everything to keep as healthy as possible, just the opposite is happening.

My only salvation, and for the others who live here with me, is that we get vaccinated soon. Hopefully, that will set us on the path leading to getting us back into the dining room and the possibility of better food and more nutritious carb to protein ratios. In any event, I am apprehensive about the long-term effects of not only our diet, but what the entire quarantine/lockdown situation has done to us. I fear the extent to which this has damaged our health is yet to be felt………………….
 




Stimulus payments for people,
not nursing homes

By Lois C. Greisman

If you, or someone you care about, lives in an assisted living facility or nursing home, read on. Because the bill funding the second round of Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) has now been signed into law. The money — right now, $600 per person who qualifies — is being sent out over the next few weeks. And, like last time, the money is meant for the PERSON, not the place they might live.

In the first round, which I’ll call EIP 1.0, we know that some nursing facilities tried to take the stimulus payments intended for their residents…particularly those on Medicaid. Which wasn’t, shall we say, legal, and kept some attorneys general busy recovering those funds for people.

Now, with EIP 2.0, we would hope those facilities have learned their lesson. But, just in case, let’s be clear: If you qualify for a payment, it’s yours to keep. If a loved one qualifies and lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it’s theirs to keep. The facility may not put their hands on it, or require somebody to sign it over to them. Even if that somebody is on Medicaid.






Exercise Plan for Seniors:
Strength, Stretching, and Balance



If you’re an older adult looking to establish an exercise routine, you should, ideally, be able to incorporate 150 minutes of moderate endurance activity into your week. This can include walking, swimming, cycling, and a little bit of time every day to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

The Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source suggest this amount of time for generally fit Americans aged 65 and older. Even though this sounds like a lot, the good news is that you can break it down into 10- or 15-minute chunks of exercise two or more times a day. Here’s an example of what a week might look like, along with suggestions for some exercises you can do to get started:

There are dozens of exercises you can do to build strength without having to set foot in a gym. Here are a few examples for people who are just getting started.








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JAN. 5, 2021


Making seniors comfortable with telehealth
will be a goal for healthcare in 2021

By Jeff Lagasse

Telehealth has played a critical role in healthcare delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is especially true for older Americans. Given the numerous restrictions and guidelines that have been enacted to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, virtual care has been critical in helping seniors safely get the care they need.

Yet, according to data from Medicare-focused digital health company GoHealth, three in five Medicare beneficiaries and seniors nearing eligibility admit to not knowing how to use video call technology. The main issues boil down to access and education.

Prior to the pandemic, reimbursement had been an issue as well, with stringent rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about what is reimbursable and what is not representing a barrier to entry. Recently, though, the regulatory environment has eased somewhat, with CMS making allowances for reimbursement, and Congress mulling permanent changes to the payment landscape when it comes to virtual care.


____________________________________________________________________

How are 'super agers' protected from
Alzheimer's and mental decline?

By Alan Mozes

Some older folks are still sharp as tacks and dementia-free well into their 80s and beyond. Now German researchers have uncovered a possible reason why: Their genes may help them fend off protein build-up in the brain.

The finding is based on a study of brain images of 94 participants, all aged 80 or older. They were characterized by the amount of tau protein tangles and beta-amyloid protein plaques found in their brains.

Those who scored highest on memory tests—so-called 'super agers'—had brain protein profiles similar to those of healthy folks who were much younger. In other words, they had very little build-up of tangles and plaques.

_______________________________________________________________

Female Workers Could Take Another Pandemic Hit:
To Their Retirements

By Mark Miller


Unequal job losses now will translate into smaller nest eggs and Social Security benefits down the road.
&ldquo;Women can&rsquo;t be full participants in the labor force and pay into their retirement if they don&rsquo;t have child care,&rdquo; said Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, an assistant dean at the University of Texas.


During the first months of the pandemic, Leah Tyrrell found that she could pull off a balancing act: working in sales for a San Diego clothing maker and caring for her three young daughters at home. Her hours had been reduced, and working remotely in the morning left her time to be with the children the rest of the day.

“At the time, I thought I could tackle it,” Ms. Tyrrell said. That changed in August when her employer started asking people to return full time. Her company was flexible, but something had to give — and since her husband was bringing home a bigger paycheck, she quit work to help her girls, ages 9, 8 and 5, with online school.





In Lonely Expectation
5 minutes

The older we get, the more waiting we do. We treat it as if it’s part of the aging process. Waiting is not only something we expect, but is something others think it’s okay for us to endure. Maybe they think we have nothing better to do, or that our time is less important than others. They ask older folks to “take a seat and we’ll be with you shortly” more than any other group.

They make you wait for hours in the doctor’s office so a man who’s 30 years younger than you can give you a hasty exam after which he scolds you like a 6-year-old.

“Have you been taking your pressure pills, drinking enough water, sleeping, eating, exercising? I don’t like some of these numbers.”
To which I answer, “For this I had to wait an hour?” I usually leave by promising to try to not get any older in the next 4 months.

And waiting does not limit itself to health care. There’s a lot of “age-prompted” waiting in other places. Restaurants in particular often overlook the older diner when seating and being served. The perception that old people don’t tip well makes it okay for them to ignore us.“Hosts”, servers and even bus boys will leave you sitting at an uncleared table for ten minutes while all around you people are being served. And, if you are an old person eating alone, they will seat you at the worst table in the room. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a restaurant by myself and seated at a table near the bathrooms or the kitchen or in a dark corner. And let us not forget waiting on the phone.

Heaven’s forbid you need to speak to someone at the Social Security office or Medicare or any of the agencies that cater to Seniors. You will feel your beard grow before you get served.

But all that pales compared to what they make us wait for now. The wait continues for the vaccine that will protect us from the ravages of COVID-19 for the millions of seniors who they promised would be among the first to receive it. And for residents of assisted living facilities, the wait is growing longer. And it’s not the first time they have neglected us during this crisis.

We rejoiced when we learned the people in long-term care facilities would take priority over others. We reveled at the idea of finally ending this nearly year long torture. But, as we soon learned, Long-term meant nursing homes and not ALFs. Some old folks’ lives are worth more than others, I guess. And now, we have no idea when we will be inoculated. The state has forgotten about us.
 
We were among the last to be tested and, as of today, they have only tested us once, about 6 months ago. And while we wait, residents and staff continue to contract and fall ill to the virus. And they will continue to quarantined us, lock us in, and remove all of our privileges and prohibit visitors.

But that’s okay. We’re old and what does it matter if a few more of us die while we wait. I mean, after all, it’s not like we have anything to offer society. And since none of us can do anything about it, we will continue to be the “step child” of the health-care industry. Not frail enough or demented enough to receive special treatment, but expendable enough to be shoved into the corner.

I believe what they are doing to us is criminal. Or, at the very least, immoral. And, when this is all over those of us who are left need to take those who delayed our vaccinations into account for their actions.
And by the way. I’m still waiting for my $600…………………………………



The failure of COVID-19 vaccine distribution
 confirms government incompetence

By Alejandro Badia, MD


The COVID-19 vaccine has failed.

I don’t mean that the vaccine itself doesn’t work—far from it. I mean the ineffective way such an important lifesaving, pandemic-ending vaccine is being rolled out. The slovenly effort is putting the lives of millions of Americans at risk. At the vaccine’s current injection rates, or even if they got it to 1 million a day, it’ll still take a year before all Americans are fully vaccinated! With 3,000+ people dying from COVID-19 every day, every minute matters. We are running out of time.

With health care still in unqualified government officials’ hands, states have failed to deliver the vaccine to the American people. Once again, the government-run system has failed.

This “feet in cement” comedy of errors exemplifies why U.S. health care is failing: The government is running it.  Health care has become increasingly entrenched in bureaucracy, and health care providers have little to no say in giving effective, efficient care to their patients.

read more  >>>https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/01/the-failure-of-covid-19-vaccine-distribution-confirms-government-incompetence.html




Choices, Chance And Living While You Can:
Bookends To The Year Of COVID-19

By John Henning Schumann


In late 2019, the patient's choice to move to an assisted living facility seemed like a good idea — a chance for more social interaction and help with meals and medical care.


Carl was in his early 70s. A Vietnam vet, he suffered from PTSD along with his diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking-induced COPD. He'd survived a bout of kidney cancer, too, along his medical journey.

In late 2019 he came to see me because he was considering making a move to an assisted living facility. I thought it was a good idea — as an older male with previous suicide attempts, I was worried that loneliness would compound his difficulties.





10 Jobs Affected by COVID
That Could Be Hiring in 2021

By Kenneth Terrell


A new year means new opportunities, and that's especially true for workers who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are some reasons to think that hiring could increase in 2021 in a number of positions that are popular with older workers.

In early March, AARP used data from PayScale to determine the 25 best part-time jobs for retirees. Then, just a few weeks later, most of the nation shut down temporarily to deter the spread of the coronavirus. By the end of April, more than 20 million people had lost their jobs, including many who worked in the occupations that made the list of jobs for retirees.

But many of those fields could be poised to bounce back in 2021 as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19. In fact, some of these jobs will be very important to helping the nation return to business as usual. We took another look at that list of the best part-time jobs for retirees to identify the 10 that could present the most hiring opportunities in 2021.







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JAN. 4, 2021
New York Is Sitting On 2/3 Of
The Vaccine Doses It’s Received
By JAZZ SHAW

New York has administered less than a third of the coronavirus vaccine doses it has on hand so far — even as Mayor de Blasio boldly claimed Thursday he’d have a million city residents inoculated within a month.

Around 630,000 vaccine doses have been sent to the Empire State, but just 203,000 doses had actually made their way into New Yorkers’ arms as of Wednesday, state data shows…

In New York City, some 88,000 people have received a first dose over the last three weeks, as the vaccine began being administered to health care workers and nursing home residents.


___________________________________________________________________


Older adults, minorities and people with lower incomes
face inequities in telemedicine use

After "COVID-19," the term that most people will remember best from 2020 is likely to be "social distancing." While it most commonly applied to social gatherings with family and friends, it has impacted the way many receive medical care. Historically, the United States has been relatively slow to broadly adopt telemedicine, largely emphasizing in-person visits.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the spring of 2020, necessitated increased use of virtual or phone call visits, even prompting the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to relax some of its regulations, primarily for video-based telemedicine. These large scale changes made telemedicine exponentially more popular than it had been even at the start of the calendar year.

But while this was a positive for those who otherwise would have delayed or foregone care due to the pandemic, a new study led by researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, published in JAMA Network Open, uncovered significant inequities, particularly by race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, and when someone needed to use a language other than English.


____________________________________________________________________

This Is Why Nursing Homes Failed So Badly
By E. Tammy Kim


Eight months into the pandemic, Brendan House, a nursing home in Kalispell, Mont., had not had a single resident test positive for the coronavirus. It was an extraordinary feat, given that 40 percent of the deaths from Covid-19 nationwide had occurred in long-term care facilities.

For years, Brendan House had received a top five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or C.M.S., the federal agency that oversees nursing homes, and its staff members took pride in looking after the 110 residents. Because the facility was connected to the local hospital, it hadn’t faced the shortages in personal protective equipment or lack of testing and expertise that bedeviled other nursing homes during the pandemic. It seemed to be a model of how to survive a plague.


__________________________________________________________________

Sex-specific Alzheimer's treatment
could benefit males over females


A University of Ottawa study has found a specific Alzheimer's treatment is effective in male and not female mice, providing a window into the biology of the disease and the effectiveness of targeted treatments.

The paper, 'AB oligomers induce pathophysiological mGluR5 signaling in Alzheimer's disease model mice in a sex-selective manner', published in Science Signaling Magazine highlights the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease are fundamentally different between men and women in regards to one specific treatment.

The study was led by first author Dr. Khaled Abdelrahman alongside senior author Dr. Stephen Ferguson, both of the Faculty of Medicine's Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the Brain and Mind Research Institute. 




It’s 2021:
So, Now What?
5 minutes

You made it trough 2020. Congratulations. Now what?
 
I hope you are not one of those folks who believe that turning over the page of a calendar or the turning over the leadership of the country to someone who isn’t a lunatic is going to make one bit of difference as far as controlling the spread of COVID-19.
 
The die has been cast and only drastic, heavy-handed measures can reverse the damage done. The question is, do we have the courage and the mindset to do it?
 
The only way we are going to see the virus’s impact change direction is by having every one of us accept and practice what we know needs doing. And we have to do it, even if that means shutting down the nation and putting all our resources into one concentrated effort to end this once and for all. And if that means sending in the military, so be it.

We know we cannot continue on this path of apathy, stupidity, political and racial disparity and expect a quick end to the ruin this nation faces. And even if the death of a half million people doesn’t get your attention, how about the thought of losing everything you own and worked for all your life grab you? 

Why are we so set on killing ourselves? Why do we continue to take part in activities we know are dangerous? Is there an adrenalin rush I don’t know about? Do we flaunt the law just to be macho?
 
I get incensed when I see headlines like this:

An Oct. 17 wedding at the North Fork Country Club in Suffolk County saw at least 41 people — including 34 attendees — become infected with COVID-19.

At least 41 people tested positive for COVID-19 after attending the five-day Naughty in N’awlins event, which kicked off Nov. 10

01/01/21 @ 0100 HRS: Deputy Sheriffs shut down illegal bottle club @ 177 Prince Street, Manhattan: 145+ people, violation of emergency orders

U.S. Air Travel Hits Pandemic High, Adding to Fears of Yet More Case Surges and the New Variant

And why, when we were told not to, did we travel to all parts of the nation knowing that such action would only cause a spike in the number of cases and deaths? Not only once (on Thanksgiving), but again over the Christmas/New Years holiday?
 
WTF is wrong with these people?
 
I’m an old man, and maybe I don’t “get” a lot of things. I understand It’s a different world from what I knew in my younger days. But at what point did insanity, inhumanity, and insensitivity to the suffering of others become a “thing?’’ When are we going to say, “this has gone on too long and it has to end?’’
 
It’s great we have a vaccine, but the urgency to get it distributed appears lacking when compared to the speed at which they developed it. The product is here. The distribution people are ready and the need is most certainly here, so why have we vaccinated only about 3 million people instead of the 20 million they promised us? Has the politics of the past 4 years created a rift so wide and done so much damage to our collective will that not even the threat to our lives and livelihood can bring us together?

It’s a new year and, whether THEY like it, the man (and his cronies) that infested the White House and the national psyche with hate and distrust will be gone. But not so much the stench he leaves behind. At this very moment there are Republican members of Congress that vow not to certify the results already certified by the electoral college. So-called patriotic Americans who would prefer to return to the ineptitude and poor management of the Trump years rather than possibly save thousands of lives. It’s sick, disgusting and treacherous…………………………..




Wall Street minted 56 new billionaires since the pandemic began —
but many families are left behind
By Martha C. White


The bifurcated economy that took shape in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic destroyed the lives, savings and small businesses of innumerable Americans, but the year wasn’t a financial washout for everyone.

Between roughly mid-March and Dec. 22, the United States gained 56 new billionaires, according to the Institute for Policy Studies, bringing the total to 659. The wealth held by that small cadre of Americans has jumped by more than $1 trillion in the months since the pandemic began.

According to a December report issued jointly by Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies using data compiled by Forbes, America’s billionaires hold roughly $4 trillion in wealth — a figure roughly double what the 165 million poorest Americans are collectively worth. The 10 richest billionaires have a combined net worth of more than $1 trillion.




LONG-TERM CARE RESIDENTS AND LOVED ONES:
Answering Common Questions About COVID-19

Vaccines based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) be included among those offered the first supply of COVID-19 vaccines. Making sure LTCF residents can receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as vaccine is available will help save the lives of those who are at the highest risk for infection and severe illness from COVID-19.CDC has provided frequently asked questions and answers especially for LTCF residents and their families to help everyone understand the importance of COVID-19 vaccination. 

The information below is especially tailored to help answer questions before vaccination. The CDC website offers many other free tools in multiple languages to help answer common questions that are not specific to LTCF residents.








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JAN. 1 2021



Dangerous groupthink at the CDC
By Megan McArdle

If you watch the YouTube video of the now-infamous November meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, you’ll hear Chairman José Romero thank everyone for a “robust discussion.” Shortly thereafter, the committee unanimously agreed that essential workers should get vaccinated ahead of the elderly, even though they’d been told this would mean up to 6% more deaths. This decision was supported in part by noting that America’s essential workers are more racially diverse than its senior citizens.

On Dec. 20, after the public belatedly noticed this attempted geronticide, the advisory panel walked it back, so I need not point out the many flaws of this reasoning. Instead, let’s dwell on the equally flawed process by which the committee reached its decision, because that itself is a symptom of much deeper problems that have plagued us since the beginning of the pandemic.

As James Surowiecki, author of “The Wisdom of Crowds,” pointed out, when a large group acts as though a complicated problem is a no-brainer, that doesn’t mean the solution is obvious; it means something has gone badly wrong. The specific failure might be as banal as groupthink or as worrying as the possibility that some of the gushing endorsements were due less to deep conviction than fear of offending professional colleagues.


__________________________________________________________________

Florida Vaccinates Seniors While
Those in Assisted Living Facilities Wait



While senior citizens across the state are now getting the COVID-19 vaccine, many in assisted living facilities are still waiting their turn.


Governor Ron DeSantis’s initial plan was to put those in long-term care at the very front of the line and he said “the top priority will be our residents of our long-term care facilities. They are at the greatest risk.”

On Wednesday, DeSantis held a news conference at Kings Point, a retirement community in Palm Beach County, where vaccinations began for members of the public 65 years and older.

Last week, the governor held a similar news conference at The Villages in Sumter County.

Veronica Catoe, the CEO of the Florida Assisted Living Association (FALA) said she was surprised to see those vaccinations get underway, considering the governor had yet to authorize the start of vaccinations in assisted living facilities.


_____________________________________________________________________

Sluggish Vaccine Campaign Raises
Specter of U.S. Dysfunction
By Angelica LaVito

U.S. health officials acknowledged that a Covid-19 immunization campaign is crawling out of the starting gate, raising the prospect that the nation’s all-in bet on vaccines could be afflicted by the same dysfunction that hobbled other measures to contain the pandemic.

Only about 3.05 million Americans had been vaccinated as of late Wednesday evening in New York, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. With one day remaining in the year, that represented roughly 15% of the U.S.’s stated goal of immunizing 20 million Americans by the end of 2020 -- a number already repeatedly reduced.


_________________________________________________________________

COVID-19 and the Future of Aging:
The Finances of Retirees



Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging: As the pandemic progresses, what issues emerge as the greatest financial concerns for retirees?

Penny Pennington: According to research our firm conducted in partnership with the research and consulting firm Age Wave, older generations have generally faced less financial and emotional disruption than younger generations during the pandemic. Their finances are aided by savings, Social Security and Medicare. They also have the experience and resilience that comes from decades of meeting life's challenges.

On the other hand, our research also found that retirees tend to be willing to do whatever it takes to support family members in need, even when it means sacrificing their own financial security.


|=====================================================|

NYS assisted living officials say
staff members need vaccinations now

By Emily Burkhard

An official representing assisted living facilities across New York (said) not a single vaccine dose has been administered to residents or staff members so far. She's now calling on the state to do something about that.

"What we are doing is trying to raise awareness and ask the department to respond to this request that they open up the vaccine to our staff now,” Lisa Newcomb, Executive Director of the empire State Association of Assisted Living, said Wednesday.

Newcomb said since the start of the pandemic, hospitals have received "outsized" attention, while long term care facilities were left behind when it came to staffing, financial assistance and even PPE; and vaccinations have been no different.







Meanwhile, back at the Asylum…

Today, being the first day of a new year, and a new decade, I thought it would be a good time to clear the slate, wipe the canvas, scrape off the barnacles and chill our for a while. We all have much to think about this coming year. For most, it will more of the same. The “speed” at which Americans are being vaccinated means we will most likely not see any great change in 2021. In fact, I will go so far as to say that this time next year, we’ll still be wearing masks, avoiding crowds and watching people get sick and die. That is, unless we do what we should have done months ago. Lockdown the nation for two weeks and force people to be vaccinated. And those who refuse should be put into camps (like they did to those undocumented kids) until the threat to America ends.

Okay, that’s as heavy as I want to get today.

Instead of one of my usual rants, I decided to do something different in the way of a tour of the place I have called home for the last 7 years.

I put these two videos together myself a couple of years ago but never posted them here. So, for what it’s worth, I give you a look into my world…





EXTERIOR:……………. https://youtu.be/10BTbGwUXEI

INTERIOR:……………. https://youtu.be/E5yd-JrNSZ0





5 things you may have missed about
Alzheimer’s research in 2020
By Adrienne Holden

While everyone’s eyes were laser-focused on COVID-19 this year — and rightfully so — there were noteworthy developments in Alzheimer’s disease research that you may have missed. This year researchers and clinicians presented new findings that will lead to methods of prevention and treatment and improvements in diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are five things we learned in the field of dementia research this year:

The drug pipeline for Alzheimer’s is heating up. You may have heard of aducanumab, the Biogen drug currently being reviewed by the FDA, but there were other Alzheimer’s drugs that made strides this year:





Retirement: This is how much you should save
to retire comfortably in each state


To estimate what it will cost to retire comfortably in each state, 24/7 Wall St., used the average annual spending of Americans 65 and older, adjusted at the state level for cost of living and life expectancy, federal data and other research.

1. Alabama
• Est. total retirement spending: $894,461 (3rd least)
• Avg. cost of living: 13.6% less than avg. (3rd lowest)​​​​​​​
 Avg. monthly homeownership cost for senior citizens: $357 (6th lowest)
• Pop. 65 and older: 17% (18th highest)










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Dec. 31 2020



What Seniors Need To Know About
The December Stimulus Package

By Elena Botella


On Sunday, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion stimulus bill expected to address the health and economic fallout of the COVID pandemic. The relief measure includes a one-time $600 payment per eligible adult and child — but those $600 “economic impact payments” aren’t the only provision seniors should know about, and in fact, only account for about 18 percent of the bill’s total cost. The coronavirus relief package was included as a part of a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill, which also contained changes to key senior programs. Here, we break down some of the legislation’s most important provisions for older Americans.

$600 Stimulus Checks

The stimulus bill authorizes a one-time $600 relief payment for eligible adults and children. Income cut-offs are $75,000 for individual taxpayers, and $150,000 for couples, with smaller payments authorized for taxpayers whose income falls just above the cut-off point. As was the case this spring, social security recipients, railroad retirees, and those receiving federal veterans benefits should expect to get their payment automatically, whether or not they filed a tax return. Seniors who are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return won’t get a payment. But a new group is eligible for the first time: those in “mixed-status” families. In the spring, citizens and permanent residents were excluded from the relief payment if they had a family member without a social security number, for example, if their spouse was an undocumented immigrant. Undocumented immigrants still aren’t eligible for relief payments, but in the December stimulus package, citizens won’t lose their payment based on the status of their spouse, and can apply for a retroactive payment for the spring check that they missed.


_______________________________________________________________

What you need to know about
America’s eviction crisis

By Kaelyn Forde

New York passed a sweeping law extending its eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until May 1 and bolstering credit protections for people struggling to pay their rent, mortgage or property taxes during the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 into law late Monday, explaining that “the more support we provide for tenants, mortgagors and seniors, the easier it will be for them to get back on their feet when the pandemic ends.”

Housing rights advocates have praised the move, but say more action is needed to protect tenants and homeowners nationwide.


______________________________________________________________

Florida ranks dead last on a nationwide
ranking of long-term care.

How can we do better?


The images  – both visual and mental  –  coming from Florida’s long-term care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic have been heartbreaking. Elderly people trapped in their rooms 24 hours a day to stop the spread of the virus, with no social activities or dining-room meals to alleviate their loneliness. Visits with family over streaming  apps or through glass windows, no hugs or kisses allowed, for months until Gov. Ron DeSantis lifted restrictions. And the ever-present fear as the virus stalked the halls of residential facilities despite all precautions, claiming more than 8,000 lives in long-term care facilities across Florida.

The fear and isolation are so palpable that the normally stoic DeSantis almost wept when talking about it. “Many of the folks understand they have folks who are in the last stage of life. … They would just like to say goodbye, or hug somebody,” the governor said in a September press conference.








Did you ever hear someone say, “Live life as though it were a marathon, not a sprint?” That may be good advice if you are 17, but as anybody who remembers watching Saturday morning cartoons on a black-and-white TV knows, the closer we get to the finish line we all become Jesse Owens. Time, it appears, is relative.
 
I’m about to cross off another month, and another year, and another decade on my calendar. And, though I can’t remember every detail of every day of the past 10 years, I can remember the “highlights.” And they weren’t good.
 
Back in 2010, I was in a wheelchair. A patient in a nursing home unable to stand or dress or wash without help. I was in a dark place with little thought of what the next day would bring, let alone the future.

 I had just began what was to become a two-year endeavor at rehab. It was nothing I had ever experienced before. And it was terrifying. Although they warned me that progress would be slow and painful, they did not prepare me for the despair and agony (physically and mentally) I was to endure. It was so bad and so discouraging that I thought of giving up and resigning myself to be an invalid for the rest of my life. After all, I had little to lose, having lost practically everything. In fact, sometimes getting around in a wheelchair was becoming a possibility. However, after further thought, that didn’t appeal to me at all. I realized I had to try, painful as it may be, to work towards the eventuality of walking on my own. I gave in and did what my physical therapist told me. It took nearly a year, but I got out of the wheelchair and on to a walker allowing me a future which, only a few long months before, seemed an impossibility. Which brings me to today.

Although I amble, slowly, with the aid of a cane, I’m pretty much self sufficient. And, while my days of heavy lifting, housework, home repair and long walks and so many other activities are over, life, if not great, is okay. Fortunately, I found the place I now call home. And, although I am often treated like a child, I am safe and warm and cared for. And that’s good. Not so good is the speed at which time (i.e., my life) is fleeting by. The days, and nights, begin and end with such velocity as to make one indistinguishable from the other.
 
I have taken to waking earlier and earlier in order to extend the day. But to no avail. Time does as it pleases, and it pleases to go faster.
 
Nights are the worst. The darkness lasts forever. And sleep does not help.
 
I fell asleep last night at about 1:00 am and awoke at what I thought was hours later. But a glance at the time bouncing corner to corner of the TV screen told me differently. Only 45 minutes had elapsed. Why doesn’t this happen in the daytime? Does the compression of time take the night off? Was time invented just to torture old people?

Tonight is Time’s turn to shine. People the world over will look at the clock and counting down the minutes to the end of another year.
 
To the young, the new year means another step to the future with all its fears, concerns and, possibilities. Destiny is theirs to make of it as they please. For us older folks, it’s different.
 
Oh yes, we still have a future and we cannot deny. We still have places to go, things to do, and dreams to dream. It’s just that there is less time to do it in. So, we rush (not physically of course) headlong into whatever there is to come, hoping when our time comes, we will have done most, if not all, of what we set out in life to do. Which, after all, is as much as any of us can hope for.
 
Have a happy, safe and blessed New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you around the corner…………………………
 



To Yesterday’s Editorial…


OP-ED: WHERE IS THE VACCINE FOR
 ASSISTED LIVING STAFF AND RESIDENTS?

By Lisa Newcomb


From the earliest days of planning for the development and distribution of an efficacious COVID-19 vaccination, those working in our nation’s congregate care settings for seniors, including assisted living communities, were prioritized as first in line to be vaccinated, and rightfully so: the population they serve has been universally identified as among the most vulnerable.

In the first months of the pandemic, a common criticism was that there was not enough attention or resources given to long-term care settings, including assisted living, and there was outsized attention paid to hospitals. Whether it be PPE, staffing or financial assistance, the hospitals were always first in line.

Perhaps, to some extent, that was appropriate, but not to the detriment of other vulnerable sectors. That should have been a valuable lesson learned as adult care facilities/assisted living residences continue to suffer from a lack of resources and a potentially high incidence of COVID among the frailest of our seniors.



Gov. Cuomo wants to give people recovering from
drug addictions who live in crowded housing COVID-19 vaccine priority

By Joshua Zitser


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said that people recovering from drug addictions in New York will get vaccinated this week.

He explained that they would be prioritized because many of them live in "problematic" shared accommodation.
Republican lawmakers expressed their outrage that people recovering from addiction are being prioritized over some senior citizens and healthcare workers.

Rep. Elise Stefanik called Cuomo "an absolute disgrace."

Sen. Rick Scott followed suit by accusing the governor of "failing the people of New York."

The Office of Addiction Services and Supports said drug users were being stigmatized. "Those at high risk of COVID should be vaccinated in line with other high-risk populations," it said.





The life and death of Billy Baggett: Part I
By Emily Green

“All my life, I seen the world through a window called television, and that’s the only thing I know.”
Interlude

It was over a few grocery-store items that Billy Baggett forfeited another six years of his life.

It was dinnertime in Portland on Aug. 2, 2013, when he attempted to walk out of the Fred Meyer on Burnside Street and Northwest 20th Place with his backpack stuffed full of stolen items: a bottle of B12 vitamins, a package of deli ham, a cold sandwich, pickled pigs’ feet, socks and a couple of DVDs.

When store security grabbed hold of his pack, he panicked and pulled out a keychain pocket knife with a 2-inch blade. Then, he dropped his bag and ran.





Why You Shouldn’t Sign A Nursing Home Or
Assisted Living Facility Arbitration Agreement

By Jason M. Melton, Esq.

Many long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, will routinely include arbitration agreements in their admission documents. It is never a good idea to sign such an arbitration agreement.

Nursing home and assisted living companies include these arbitration agreements for their own benefit. And, many of the protections available in court are not part of the arbitration process. This could include: . . .









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Dec. 30 2020


The Staggering, Heartless Cruelty
Toward the Elderly

By Shai Held

Crises can elicit compassion, but they can also evoke callousness. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve witnessed communities coming together (even as they have sometimes been physically forced apart), and we’ve seen individuals engaging in simple acts of kindness to remind the sick and quarantined that they are not forgotten. Yet from some quarters, we’ve also seen a degree of cruelty that is truly staggering.

Earlier today, a friend posted on Facebook about an experience he’d just had on the Upper West Side of Manhattan: “I heard a guy who looked to be in his 20s say that it’s not a big deal cause the elderly are gonna die anyway. Then he and his friend laughed … Maybe I’m lucky that I had awesome grandparents and maybe this guy didn’t but what is wrong with people???” Some have tried to dress up their heartlessness as generational retribution. As someone tweeted at me earlier today, “To be perfectly honest, and this is awful, but to the young, watching as the elderly over and over and over choose their own interests ahead of Climate policy kind of feels like they’re wishing us to a death they won’t have to experience. It’s a sad bit of fair play.”


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The Long-Term Realities of Being Childless


Many live a fulfilling life without regret and value connections with family and friends

My wife and I have stayed close to four couples for nearly 40 years. We've shared health updates, career successes and setbacks, and celebrated birthdays. Of these five couples, four chose to be childless, including us, and one couple had two children who are now adults.

Now that we're getting on in years and are mostly retired, I wondered what the ramifications are of being childless.


Do people have regrets? Or is being childless a choice that couples make, come to terms with and then enjoy their lives in other innumerable ways? Is preparing for the later years more difficult without children to support you and help in preparation?


________________________________________________________________

Want to retire comfortably? Mississippi, Arkansas
are among states where you need
least retirement savings

By Michael B. Sauter

One of the reasons that many Americans get up and go to work every day is to put some money away for retirement. While Social Security payments can be a helpful financial foundation in retirement, it is often not enough to cover anything but the most basic expenditures, especially in the uncertain financial times wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Based on average annual spending for American seniors and the national average life expectancy at age 65 of 19.4 years, the average American will spend about $987,000 from retirement age on. And those hoping for a more comfortable and financially secure retirement should plan on saving a little more.

Of course, both cost of living and life expectancy vary considerably by state – and so, too, does the cost of retirement. Using the average annual spending of Americans 65 and older – adjusted at the state level for cost of living and life expectancy – 24/7 Wall St. calculated what it will cost to retire comfortably in each state. All data used in the ranking came from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, an independent global health research center at the University of Washington.







4 minutes

It’s pernicious, debilitating, systemic, and cruel. They have fired many from their jobs or not even hired them because of it. It has separated people from the rest of society, and it’s more prevalent now than ever before. And yet, there are no massive protests on the streets of American cities. No placards carried by an
outraged citizenry. Politicians, liberal and conservative, are hesitant to speak out against it. And, even though they represent over 40 million people, (16.5% of the population) they are still a minority. And if you are a regular reader of this blog, chances are it has subjected you to its inhumanity.
 
I’m sure by this time you have guessed what I am talking about. Ageism. And now, because of COVID-19, it’s the dirty little secret they have swept under the rug.
 
Historically, America has never been kind to its elderly.
 
Being a relatively “young” nation, we have always looked to the new and fresh as our ideal and rejected the old and tired. We discard the tried and true for the risky and inexperienced.
 
They have pushed old people aside. Warehoused so as not to have to deal with us. And I am outraged.

Me and my friends here at the A.L. F and Assisted living facilities throughout the state have been incarcerated in our little gulags for 290 days.
 
They have subjected us to, and we have endured, the hardship of isolation and the anguish of loneliness. We have overlooked the awful food, lack of recreation and the separation from other residents, family and friends. All hoping when they developed a cure or vaccine, we would be among the first to benefit from it. But alas. The stain of ageism has, like the steerage passengers on the Titanic, put us last in line for the lifeboats.

I had my tri-annual visit with our in-house primary care physician today. And after a cursory examination, when he once again admonished me for a three-pound weight gain, I asked if he had any idea when we would be receiving our vaccinations. He said, “I don’t know.” The same response we have accepted for nearly 10 months. They know damn well. We’ll get it after all the other “hardship” groups get theirs. Somewhere between prisoners and the public. Which means they have kept us locked up longer than any other group in the state. And if that doesn’t piss you off this should. Every member of Congress has been inoculated, including most of their (young) staffers. Where’s the indignation people? ………................






Dave Barry’s Year in Review:
2020 was a year of nonstop awfulness

By Dave Barry

We’re trying to think of something nice to say about 2020.

OK, here goes: Nobody got killed by the murder hornets. As far as we know.

That’s pretty much it.

In the past, writing these annual reviews, we have said harsh things about previous years. We owe those years an apology. Compared to 2020, all previous years, even the Disco Era, were the golden age of human existence.

This was a year of nonstop awfulness, a year when we kept saying it couldn’t possibly get worse, and it always did. This was a year in which our only moments of genuine, unadulterated happiness were when we were able to buy toilet paper.

Which is fitting, because 2020 was one long, howling, Category Five crapstorm.

We sincerely don’t want to relive this year. But our job is to review it. If you would prefer to skip this exercise in masochism, we completely understand.





Recycling electronics: What to do with your old laptops,
phones, cameras and batteries

By Shelby Brown


Gadgets can pile up over the years -- new ones come out, old ones break. You probably have a drawer full of old batteries and cables, and some old phones, laptops and desktops lying around, which may only be growing larger if you've replaced any of your electronics over the holidays. Perhaps you keep them for nostalgic reasons (I admit I hung onto my first Nokia block phone to "show my kids one day"), or because you thought you might be able to use them again down the line.

Be brave. Stay focused. Peek into your drawers, the garage or a dark corner of your closet, and you're sure to find a pile of electronics you really don't need.

Get more out of your tech. . .










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Dec. 29 2020



Covid-19 wasn't the only medical story this year.
Here's what you missed in 2020.
By Erika Edwards

One health story dominated headlines for virtually all of 2020: the coronavirus pandemic.

But while Covid-19 did slow down medical research in other areas, the science didn't stop. Researchers rolled out new ways to cope with common diseases, and even a treatment for another feared virus.

Here are the accomplishments that may have flown under the public's radar in 2020.

A treatment for Ebola. . .


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Unprotected: Abuse, neglect in senior care homes
raise questions about conditions,
oversight during pandemic

By Carrie Teegardin


Disturbing cases of abuse and neglect inside Georgia’s nursing homes, assisted living communities and personal care homes are coming to light as brutal side effects of the coronavirus crisis, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation has found.

In one case after another, care falls short when staff members are overburdened or underqualified. That’s increasingly been the situation during the pandemic as facilities struggle to find enough workers. Yet breakdowns in care, and even criminal acts, can go unreported, as most homes operated for weeks with no outsiders coming in to check on residents’ welfare.

In some of the worst cases, vulnerable residents were grievously harmed or died.


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Older People Outnumber Younger
People With Student Loans,
and They Owe Far, Far More



A common popular belief about student loans is that they are a young person’s problem. We assume that, by and large, most borrowers are able to have their loans repaid by their mid-30’s. Sure, there may be a few stragglers who take until their 40’s or even beyond to repay their loans, but the conventional wisdom is that people 50 or older who haven’t yet been able to repay their loans are the outliers, the exception to the rule. Well, it turns out that this is completely wrong.

This is Department of Education Data for the fourth quarter of 2020. For comparison purposes, we combined the source data to find statistics for the 5th, 6th, and 7th rows, and the reader can verify the calculations from the data shown.

There are more people over the age of 50 with student loans (8.7 million) than people under the age of 24 with student loans (7.8 million), and they owe, on average, far more ($41,058 compared to $14,807).






2020: A Year Of Lesson's Learned
Part 2
(Our Constitution Is Not Perfect)


5 minutes

One look at my Junior high and High School report cards and you could tell where my interests lay. To the consternation of my parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, they couldn’t understand how I could do so poorly in math and excel in history and what they used to call Social Studies. If they asked, I would have told them.
 
Math, though important, deals with cold, hard, un-yielding, uncaring numbers. I couldn’t deal with something that does not forgive human error. I figured there would always be enough people who could “crunch the numbers” but what we really need are those who could understand the human condition.
 
While I don’t know how many mathematicians there were among our founding fathers, I’m sure every one of them knew his history. And it was from that study of past civilizations they could form a constitution and a system of government that has become the world standard. But even they, in their wisdom, could not have foreseen how the abuse of power taken by one man could upset such a carefully devised plan.

The authors of our democracy knew it wasn’t perfect. It depended too much on "blind trust.” But they went ahead with it on the chance that anybody who is the leader of a nation and put there, not by inheritance or by conquest, but by the free will of its citizens voting in a fair election would at the very least find some humility by that vote of confidence and lead with compassion and empathy. Strike one.
 
I haven’t been in an undergraduate classroom for many years, so I don’t know how they teach American history today. But I can bet somewhere in the syllabus the words “Checks and Balances” come up. That, to me, has always been the pillar on which the rest of our government rests.
 
Our founders knew that one man should never have so much power as to cause him to be immune to the laws of the Constitution. There would always be somebody with the authority to say, “You’ve gone too far. You have overstepped your bounds and you need to be reigned-in.” That being the job of the three branches of government. The executive (A.K.A., The President). The legislative (The house and senate) and the judicial (The Supreme Court). Unfortunately, they were unprepared for groups like Right-Wing Conservatives, Neo-Nazis, Anti-maskers and Evangelical Christians to have such influence over our government as to make it their “bitches.” And neither did we. Which brings us to something we learned this past year.

When we elect a man to be the president of the United States, we elect not only him and his vision, but the visions of a myriad of his supporters who believe, that by putting that man in power, they have a license to promote their anti-Constitutional racist, Neo-fascist agenda, not only without fear of reprisal, but with approval by the president and the legislative majority as well. And they almost pulled it off. But like similar civilizations of the not to distant past, they put all their chips in the hands of the wrong man. A semi-literate, egotistical, egomaniac bully who mistook the cheers of a few thousand people at a rally for the support of most Americans. Fortunately, when it came time to decide whether we would allow the lunatics to continue to run the asylum, we exercised the one thing the president and his cohorts in the congress, as hard as they tried, could not manipulate. The American electorate who found the good sense and courage to rid themselves of a would-be tyrant. Strike three. He’s out.

Will we make this mistake again? Probably yes. And the next time, they won’t nominate an ill-mannered orange-tinted buffoon The next man to lead us down the garden path will be well-spoken, well-educated and beyond reproach and we'll never see it coming………………
 




Donald Trump, the Anti-FDR
By June Hopkins and Stephen Seufert

In April 1932 Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) was running for president when the nation was in the depths of a devastating economic depression.

FDR famously stated, “These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten... that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” In an election year 84 years later, Republican Donald TrumpDonald TrumpNew York Post editorial board calls on

President Trump to 'start thinking' about Georgia runoffs instead of overturning election Loeffler, Perdue praise Trump for signing COVID-19 relief legislation after uncertainty Trump signs .3T relief, spending package MORE confidently promised, “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.” Trump knew that phrase still resonated with millions of disillusioned Americans. In fact — from the 2016 campaign to today — Trump has repeated the phrase “forgotten men and women” at least 163 times.  




Some Medicare costs are higher in 2021.
Here's how you may be able to cut them

By Sarah O'Brien


As happens every time the calendar flips to a new year, Medicare cost adjustments are about to take effect.

This generally means paying more for some parts of your coverage, effective Jan. 1.

For Medicare’s 63 million beneficiaries — most of whom are 65 or older — certain costs change year to year and can affect premiums, deductibles and other cost-sharing. While the upward adjustments don’t necessarily involve huge dollar amounts, they can add up.

“Though the increases are small, we do see retirees worry over them,” said Danielle Roberts, co-founder of insurance firm Boomer Benefits. “For folks living on just Social Security, increases of even just a few dollars are a concern.”









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Dec. 28 2020


The Future of Social Security
Is on the Line in Georgia

By Andrew Young, Nancy J. Altman


On Jan. 5, our earned Social Security benefits will be on the Georgia ballot. The Democratic Party, which created Social Security, wants to protect and expand benefits. Republican elites in Washington, who call Social Security an “entitlement,” want to see its vital but modest benefits cut.

If Georgia voters send Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock to the Senate, Democrats will set the agenda on Social Security. They’ll be able to hold hearings, mark up legislation, and schedule votes. If Ossoff and Warnock win on Jan. 5, legislation to increase Social Security benefits and keep the program fully funded for decades to come has a real opportunity to get to President-elect Joe Biden’s desk.

If Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler win reelection, none of that will happen. There’s nothing Republican Leader Mitch McConnell hates more than requiring the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share towards the common good. If McConnell remains in control of the Senate, he will never hold a vote or even a hearing on legislation to protect and expand Social Security.


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'All in this together' | Women share experiences with
assisted living facilities and
COVID-19 vaccine anticipation

By  Erica Proffer, Anastasiya Bolton


SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Like a child waiting to open a holiday gift, Lyn Heffernan longs for the day that her family gets the COVID-19 vaccine.

She participated in the Pfizer vaccine study.

“If I could be a part of the solution, I wanted, there's so little else that I can do, I wanted to do that,” Heffernan said.



_______________________________________________________________________________________

In the waiting line and worried: 
Florida seniors question when 
they’ll get COVID-19 vaccine
By Jeffrey Schweers


Joe and Rita Leone live in an all-ages condominium community in Estero. 

He’s 84, she's 79. 

He has persistent, chronic AFib, or atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart condition that he manages with regular doses of the blood thinner Coumadin.

“If I got COVID I wouldn’t survive, given my heart condition,” he said during a phone interview Wednesday. “I would really fear contracting the disease and going into the hospital.”

Wearing masks and social distancing have so far kept him and his wife from getting COVID-19 in the 10 months since the pandemic began in March.


But it would be nice to know when they will get the vaccine.







2020: A Year Of Lesson's Learned
4 minutes

As we begin the last week of a year that would best be forgotten, it behooves many writers to recap the past 12 months. While in most years that would be an acceptable and even welcome way of putting things into perspective, I feel that any re-hashing of the events of this year would be akin to pouring salt on a painfully festering wound. Do we really need to be reminded of what we have suffered both personally and collectively? I think not. Instead, let’s look at what we have learned about ourselves and others. And while we are at it, perhaps a little civics lesson would be in order.

Probably the most shocking thing we learned, and learned it early on, is how woefully unprepared we were. For a nation that spends literally billions and billions of dollars on defense, we found ourselves defenseless. And planless.
 
There was a plan in place that might have worked. But we will never know. Because, in his “wisdom” our president at the time decided the plan smacked of too much “Obama”, and therefore had to go, leaving us clueless as how to fight this new unseen enemy.
 
We learned too, that a nation that supposedly was abundant in just about everything fell short of almost everything especially with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for our essential workers.
 
We also learned that when push comes to shove, nobody can produce things faster than the American worker. And when directed by the “War Powers Act” (which most of us has forgotten existed) we shifted our means of production from consumer goods to making respirators and PPE at an amazing rate.

2020 taught us much about ourselves as well.
 
Many of us discovered we liked our independence, our bank accounts, and what we believed is our Constitutionally given right to freedom of choice more than we liked our own lives or the lives of others. The refusal to wear a mask or social distance from one another and use as an excuse that “They are trying to take away or rights” caused an untold number of people to contract the virus. And adding to the confusion, the example set by many of our elected officials who suddenly disregarded basic science and threw caution to the wind and went about their merry, unprotected ways.

However, perhaps the most important lesson learned is that what they taught us in school so many years ago about how our government works in theory does not work as we thought in real life.
 
I’ll give you a chance to look for your old Social Studies textbook and we’ll continue this tomorrow………………………..
 




Why We Need a COVID-19 Memorial to
Those Who Died in Long-Term Care Facilities



The cruelty of the COVID-19 era has stripped us prematurely of many matriarchs and patriarchs, of all races and ethnicities, who had the misfortune to live in long-term care facilities that could not, or would not, save their lives. They are now an utterly disproportionate 40% of the U.S. dead — already 100,000 people.

Already, specific memorials are emerging: my own city has placed stark rows of empty chairs in front of City Hall for all of Newton, Mass.'s dead. Eventually there will be many scattered memorials, less ephemeral — plaques in hospitals, say, like those in fire stations after 9/11.






Find Your Place in the Vaccine Line
(A Calculator)
By Stuart A. Thompson


A vaccine may be around the corner, but how long will it be until you get the shot? Health officials are considering vaccine timelines that give some Americans priority over others. If you’re a healthy American, you may wait many months for your turn.

To put this in perspective, we worked with the Surgo Foundation and Ariadne Labs using their vaccine tool to calculate the number of people who will need a vaccine in each state and county — and where you might fit in that line.

To start, tell us about yourself:










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Dec. 25 2020
How Biden Could Help Older Workers


The barriers to employment among older workers remain formidable, especially due to the pandemic. But the new Biden administration has an opportunity to help.


Consider this: Even in pre-pandemic 2019, when nearly 25% of the workforce was 55 and older, roughly 2.5 million people in that age group would have liked to be working but weren't — largely due to ageism and age discrimination.

On top of that, many older adults are minorities, women and people without college degrees, laboring in jobs with low and unstable wages. The odds of being employed in a decent paying job with good benefits in your 60s are laughably minuscule if you're in an unstable low-wage job in your 50s.

In addition, experienced workers are more vulnerable to becoming long-term unemployed (out of work for 26 weeks or more) than younger workers.


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Trump's plan for $200 Medicare drug cards advances,
though hurdles remain
By Sarah O'Brien


There’s still a chance — though small — that some Medicare beneficiaries could receive some money to help with prescription drug costs.

Nearly three months after President Donald Trump announced his intent to send $200 drug-discount cards to millions of people on Medicare, the stalled plan has cleared one big hurdle: An industry group that ensures regulatory standards are met for health-benefit cards gave its approval on Monday night, according to a report in Politico.

While the group’s blessing was needed for the idea to move forward, other complications remain. For example, the administration would need a plan to let roughly 39 million beneficiaries know the cards are coming, and it’s uncertain how many could be sent out before Trump’s term ends.


_________________________________________________________________________________________

Want to stop cognitive decline?
Wine and cheese could help.
By Derek Beres


Iowa State University researchers found that red wine, cheese, and a weekly serving of lamb could help reduce cognitive decline.

    The observational study is based on a decade of research conducted at the UK Biobank.

    The team also found that excessive salt could help promote diseases of dementia.

The world is not in want of diet advice. Paleo living, vegan lifestyles, eating for your blood type, seasonal and regional eating, low sugar, Mediterannean ingredients, low fat, high fat—numerous bestsellers thrive in every category imaginable. The perpetual challenge is sourcing credible information amidst endless literature of hype.


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These Days, Health Care Comes to Assisted Living

Traditionally, assisted living facilities have focused more on hospitality than health care, emphasizing dining and group activities, while offering residents day-to-day assistance with things like dressing and bathing. But lately, doctors and other health care providers have been more common in assisted living.


This adaptation can be a huge help to the assisted living residents and their families.

As the average age of assisted living residents has increased to 85, so has the frailty of those individuals.






We Have Only Ourselves
4 minutes

We have come to the end of another week. And, may I dare say, a busy one for most of us. And if you are reading this blog, there’s a good chance you are well. Or at least better off than the 18.5 million Americans that are currently ill with COVID-19 or the 325.000 who will never have the chance to read this blog or anything else ever again. Making this one of, if not, the most tragic holiday seasons of all time. And, when all is said and done, we may have only ourselves to blame.
 
I know many of you are placing the blame on the man in the White House, or Mar-a-Lago, or wherever the heck he is. After all, it was his blasé attitude, denial and late-to-the-game half-hearted concession to take basic precautions against the virus that caused many of the early cases and even deaths. But that was months ago. And since then we, and even he has learned

 much about how to prevent the virus from spreading. They told us to wear our masks and to keep a safe distance from one another. We were asked to stay out of crowds and for us not to go to rallys, or sporting events or party’s. And they begged us not to visit our relatives or travel over the Thanksgiving holiday. And we, because we think we are magically immune or somehow protected from the virus believed that it was okay to defy all common sense and exercise our right as a free people to run hither and yon across the length and breath of this nation and do it, anyway. How terribly sad that is for all of us.

The new year is a week away, ending a period in our history we wish we could erase. Unfortunately, even if they never spoke about or written about this blight on our land ever again, the scars and damage done to our bodies and souls will never go away. Besides destroying families and businesses, the virus has done something no terrorist attack could ever do. It has divided us as a nation and caused suspicion among neighbors. And just because the calendar will click one digit to 2021 at 12 midnight on December 31st, the estrangement and distrust we have for people on “the other side” will not just disappear.

Until Monday when we next meet I wish for you and your loved one’s nothing but joy, peace and health……....................

 




Do Longevity Supplements Work
and Are They Safe?


What the latest research says about the burgeoning science, and selling, of longer, healthier life

Aches and pains. A growing waistline. Diminishing eyesight, hearing loss, memory lapses. These are the woes of growing older for some people, once considered inevitable. But recent, exciting discoveries in the fast-growing field of longevity science have some doctors and researchers pronouncing that these "symptoms" of aging may one day be treatable with pharmaceuticals, gene therapies or other yet-to-be-discovered medical technologies.


Many people haven't been content to wait, though. Dozens of commercial producers are selling hundreds of so-called longevity supplements right now, and sales data suggest an awful lot of people are trying them. But do they work? Are they even safe?







Social Security Disability Assistance Programs


Did you know that the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability assistance to eligible individuals and family members? SSA provides disability benefits through two programs:

Social Security Disability Insurance
Supplemental Security Income

Social Security Disability Insurance pays disability benefits to individuals and certain family members who have worked long enough and have a medical condition that prevents working. If you’re curious about your eligibility for this program, take a short questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.

Supplemental Security Income provides financial help to disabled adults and children who have limited income and assets. If you’re curious about your eligibility for this program, take a brief questionnaire and find the next steps on the corresponding page to apply.

To learn more about SSA and the benefits they offer, check out the news article published by Benefits.gov: Five Things to Know about Social Security.

How do I apply for disability assistance?








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Dec. 24 2020



New COVID-19 Relief Package Falls Short
in Supporting Long-Term Care


The House and Senate passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package, which we anticipate President Trump will sign as soon as it hits his desk. Overall, we are disappointed in the provisions that have been set forth in this latest stimulus package. The package largely fails to address the needs of seniors residing in long-term care settings across the country and lacks the promise of the financial resources needed to care for them. While we are still reviewing the text of the bill, which was over 5,000 pages long, we do know the package includes the following items of note:

    $22.4 billion in testing and tracing; long-term care providers are included in a large list of other entities that will also qualify for this funding

    $3 billion added to the Provider Relief Fund (PRF)

    $284 billion added for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) small business loans


_______________________________________________________________________________________

Social Security, Medicare Face Urgent Challenges in 2021


As more baby boomers retire and claim Social Security, the worries about the federal program grow, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, slowing economy and fewer people working to help pay for the program.

We asked several experts their thoughts on what could be expected about Social Security and Medicare next year, other than the planned 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment.
Political Hurdles

Morningstar’s head of retirement research, David Blanchett, who also provided predictions on the future of retirement income planning, told ThinkAdvisor that he believes the Biden administration will look to fund gaps in both programs, but due to the pandemic and its economic effects, he’s not sure there’s going to be the political will to enact any changes.


_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Sens. Thune, Brown Introduce Bipartisan Bill to
Establish Electronic Prior Authorization System,
Get Older Americans Timely Access to Care They Need

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) this week introduced the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act, bipartisan legislation that requires private insurance companies that operate Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to establish an electronic prior authorization (ePA) system to approve medical services in a more timely manner. Implementing an electronic authorization program will reduce delays and help older Americans get quicker access to the treatment and care they need. The bill builds on legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last year by U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).

Prior authorization can play a role in ensuring beneficiaries receive clinically appropriate treatments and help control the cost of care. However, when used improperly, prior authorization can lead to delays in care for patients and result in administrative burdens for providers. The Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act would ...





So We’re Not Getting That $600 After All?
5 minutes

After all the procrastinating, the partisan bickering, the meetings, the compromises and a vote, it looked as if the COVID-19 Stimulus Package was a sure thing. So sure that the Treasury Secretary promised us checks as early as next week. He should have known that a promise made by the Trump administration isn’t worth the breath it takes to make it. The Commander-in-brief, in a last-minute attempt to make the incoming administration’s job even more difficult than it will be, chose not to sign it. He thinks the $600 is too little and should be $2000 instead. And while that sounds like a magnanimous gesture by the president, what it really does is hold up billions of dollars for things like direct rent payments and an unemployment insurance extension as well as money for state and local governments.

Meanwhile, the president took off to Mar-A-Lago for the holiday and some R&R. I guarantee he will use the time to think up what else he can do to screw-up the country before he leaves. [1]

This is not good. In my mind, I had that money already spent. Living on a fixed income, even a few hundred bucks is a big deal.

 

Whenever I can, I like to buy in bulk. No, not the Costco-like skid loads of laundry detergent or paper towels, but 3 packs of Right-Guard, 2 packs of shaving cream or a bag containing 6 pairs of underwear. I store these in a drawer in my dresser. At the end of every month, I revert to my old job in retailing and take an inventory of what I’m running low on. This month it’s toothpaste, crew socks, aftershave and, believe it or not, laundry detergent. I would also like to have my hair cut by a professional. I’ve been cutting it myself since March using a little comb-like device, but I know it doesn’t look right. That $600 would allow me to do that now instead of having to wait two or three months while I save what I can from my Social Security benefits.
 
It’s funny. Never in my wildest thoughts would choosing between a haircut and socks be an issue. Poverty and old age, it seems, do not good bedfellows make.

>>>
Eventually somebody will get to the president and tell him how bad it makes him look not signing off on the package. Who that will be we don’t know. But you can be sure it will not be Melania who probably spends more than $600 a month on nail polish.

But all that aside there is one thing that really makes me nervous. We have never been as vulnerable to attack by a malevolent government or group than we are now. Any fool can see we have no leadership. At least none that has the expertise, or even desire, to avert a conflict. After all, he failed to protect us from COVID-19. How can he be expected to protect us from Russia or China or from any of the radicalized terrorist groups ready to do us harm.

Fortunately, we are less than 4 weeks away from ridding ourselves of the infestation that covers the walls and halls of the West Wing. If we live that long.

Four weeks away from asking, “Hey Joe. Where’s the dough.”……………………….

 
 
[1] Editor’s note: In case you were wondering. It costs the taxpayers $200,000 per hour every time Air force one takes off with the president aboard. The trip to Florida takes about 2 hours and forty-five minutes. Round-trip that comes to $980,000.




80 Over 80: Ranking the Most Influential
80-Plus-Year-Olds in America
By Molly Olmstead


When Slate debuted a feature called “80 Over 80” more than a decade ago, we had two goals in mind: to poke fun at America’s obsession with early achievers (and the 30 Under 30 industrial complex) and point to the lasting influence of octogenarians on American society. In 2008, John Paul Stevens topped the inaugural list.

We brought the feature out of retirement this year because the power of the geriatric set—in politics, in Hollywood, in culture writ large—has never been clearer. America just elected its oldest president ever. Joe Biden, who bested one septuagenarian to win the primary and another to win the general election, will turn 80 before the midpoint of his term. The speaker of the House turned 80 this year. She’s joined by 11 other octogenarians in the House and seven in the Senate. Old money, in every sense, continues to have a disproportionate impact on the electoral process. But today’s most powerful 80-year-olds are everywhere—in the arts, business, academia, law, science, sports.






A New Era in Memory Care 

Trilogy’s BFF program, for instance, is an updated spin on the groundbreaking Best Friends™ approach, developed by Virginia Bell and David Troxel more than 20 years ago. Associates hear the name—BFF means “best friends forever” in text-speak—and grasp the concept immediately. They also go through training.

Every team member learns the life story of the people they serve—their career, their hobbies, their favorite foods—and uses that knowledge to make and maintain connections in a “commitment to create a day filled with life affirming friendship and fun for the residents and help them through their journey,” Alaimo says, such as having a former teacher help put together some “lesson plans.”

Trilogy had already used computer and video-based learning as well as in-person training and coaching, along with role-play exercises, and recognition sessions with small prizes. With COVID, staff use the monthly training modules, but these have been condensed from 10 to 15 minutes to five to eight minutes long, to get to the meat of the message more quickly. Huddles are held at a social distance.








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Dec. 23 2020


Professor gets heat after saying
'whiter' elderly should wait for vaccine

By Eileen AJ Connelly


An ethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania sparked a heated debate by suggesting essential workers should get priority for the coronavirus vaccine over vulnerable senior citizens, because the workers are more likely to be minorities.

“Older populations are whiter, ” Harald Schmidt told the New York Times. “Society is structured in a way that enables them to live longer. Instead of giving additional health benefits to those who already had more of them, we can start to level the playing field a bit.”

The Centers for Disease Control should use its own “social vulnerability index” to decide how to protect older people who are more at risk, Schmidt said. The index uses measures from the Census like poverty, unemployment, disability, housing status and education to determine which communities are most likely to feel the impact of a public health emergency. At least 18 states plan to use the index, he told The Times.


_________________________________________________

Nursing Homes Grapple With Staff
Hesitant to Get the Covid-19 Vaccine

By Anna Wilde Mathews and Sarah Toy


More nursing homes around the country will start getting a Covid-19 vaccine Monday, but the impact of the massive effort will partly depend on winning over front-line workers like LaShundra Williams, who say they are skeptical of the shots.

Ms. Williams, 40 years old, is a certified nursing assistant at St. James Veterans Home in St. James, Mo., and she says she is unlikely to agree to get the shots, even though her son is currently ill with Covid-19. She recently watched a webcast by nursing-home doctors about the safety and benefits of the vaccines, hoping for reassurance, but came away unconvinced.

She is still worried that a vaccine might make her anemia worse, and she thinks the shots are being authorized for broad usage too quickly.

Continue reading  >>  https://www.wsj.com/articles/nursing-homes-grapple-with-staff-hesitant-to-get-the-covid-19-vaccine-11608477474

________________________________________________________

Assisted living well positioned to
fill healthcare delivery gaps


The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerable health status of older adults, but it also revealed the “vital role” that senior living communities play in the larger care continuum, according to a Plante Moran research report.

The investigation, done in partnership with the American Seniors Housing Association, states that once the senior living industry emerges from the pandemic, assisted living providers will have a choice: go back to the status quo, which will see growing competition, increasing costs and lower occupancy, or embrace an expanded role in the healthcare delivery system.

Assisted living providers, according to the report, have “tremendous potential” to differentiate themselves, create new revenue streams and fill a much-needed role in the healthcare delivery continuum by shifting to a healthcare model that offers short-term post-acute care, and care integration and coordination.

Continue reading  >>  https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/news/assisted-living-well-positioned-to-fill-healthcare-delivery-gaps-report/




A Dose Of Reality

I just logged on to SSA.gov to check on how much more, in actual dollars, I’ll be receiving each month for the next year.  And, as I thought, it’s a pitiful sum. After the Asylum takes its cut (they may raise our room and board about 9% of any SS increase) I’ll have a whopping $16 extra. To say that it’s a slap in the face would put it mildly. It’s more like a kick in the groin and a spit in the eye. Fortunately for me, this won’t have much of an effect on my lifestyle. I’ll still have a roof over my head and food (as it is) in my belly. I’ll just have to cut-back on some extras. Sorry, Instacart, Amazon and Chinese food delivery guy.
 
And what about that $600 stimulus money? I’m going to hold on to it for a while because, if they will once again permitted us to mingle with our friends, have dinner together and do the things that make living in a senior community tolerable. I’m going to spend it on a party. Woo Woo. And believe me, we’re going to need it. Things are looking a bit grim around here.

For the second time in a week, they informed us that another one of our staff has tested positive for COVID-19. We now have several infected staff and residents at home or in hospitals. This is in sharp contrast to what we experienced last Spring when nobody at our facility was ill from the virus. Like the rest of the state and the nation, something has changed.
 
It would be easy to blame our out-of-his-mind president and his cavalier attitude towards anything that even remotely looks like a sign of weakness, but that would be only part of it. The reason for this “second wave” and its increased severity is because of our own stupidity. What in the world would make anyone think that traveling to friends and relatives for Thanksgiving dinner would be safe? And now, it will only get worse. Apparently, 8 million cases and 300,000 deaths are okay with many of us. Perhaps what we need more than a vaccine is a dose of reality………………………..




A new round of stimulus checks is coming.
Here's what you can expect.

By Allan Smith

After Congress passed a new Covid-19 relief bill late Monday, millions of Americans are set to receive a new round of direct payments.

For most recipients, the checks will be smaller than those sent out in the previous C
ovid-19 aid package, but still a welcome sight to Americans struggling through the pandemic economy.

Here are some answers to the big questions surrounding the soon-to-be-se
nt payments.

How much will I get?

Individuals who made up to $75,000 in 2019 will receive $600. Married couples who earned up to $150,000 will receive $1,200. Filers listed as "head of household" and who earned $112,500 or less will also get $600. And families will receive an additional $600 — up from $500 in the spring — for each dependent under 18 in the household.






Top Ten Tips for Protecting Your Identity,
Finances, and Security Online


Whether you’re working, banking, shopping, or just streaming a few shows online, these quick tips will make sure you’re more secure from hacks, attacks, and prying eyes.

1 – Protect your computers

Start with the basics: get strong protection for your computers and laptops. And that means more than basic antivirus. Using a comprehensive suite of security software like McAfee® Total Protection can help defend your entire family from the latest threats and malware, make it safer to browse, help steer you clear of potential fraud, and look out for your privacy too.
2 – Protect your phones and tablets too!

Aside from using it for calls and texting, we use our smartphones for plenty of things. We’re sending money with payment apps. We’re doing our banking. And we’re using them as a “universal remote control” to do things like set the alarm, turn our lights on and off, and even see who’s at the front door. Whether you’re an Android owner or iOS owner, get security software installed on your smartphones and tablets so you can protect all the things they access and control.








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Dec. 22 2020



The age of wisdom: why our elders
were the best of us in 2020

By Andrew Anthony

Among the many effects of the pandemic is the attention that has been given to senior citizens, who have been disproportionately affected by death and illness from Covid-19. Broadly speaking, the focus has revealed two opposing impulses: to protect and to abandon. But neither reaction necessarily involves respect for the older population.

One of the hallmarks of western modernity is the celebration of the new and a concomitant devaluing of the old. It’s all part of a highly successful system of thought, at least in material terms, that prioritizes progress over tradition. Inevitably, the new is associated with youth, the outdated with age. Thus the solemn duty of the elderly is to get out of the way, and allow the next generation to make its mark.

Taken to its extreme, this kind of thinking views the pandemic as a natural culling process. Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott (63) found himself in hot water when he suggested families ought to be allowed to make elderly relatives as comfortable as possible while “nature takes its course”.


________________________________________________

Study: High blood pressure speeds
cognitive decline in middle-aged, older adults



Middle-aged and older adults with elevated blood pressure are at increased risk for more rapid cognitive decline, according to a study published Monday by the journal Hypertension.

Systolic blood pressures -- the first or top number in readings -- between 121 and 139 or diastolic blood pressures -- the second or bottom number -- between 81 and 89 were associated with accelerated declines in cognitive performance, the data showed.

This was particularly true if middle-aged and older adults with these readings were not taking medications to control blood pressure.


________________________________________________

It Takes More Than Medicine:
Coping with COVID-19



The holidays, for all their glitter and manufactured cheer, are also notorious for stoking feelings of loneliness and depression.


This year – the first holiday season of the COVID-19 pandemic – will be a bigger test than usual. With coronavirus cases on the rise again across the country, caution will dictate more social distancing and isolation, particularly among older Americans.

Some of the nation's most respected health authorities, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and his boss at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, have publicly said they're foregoing large family gatherings at Thanksgiving this year.

"It can't be understated how important social isolation can be on the health of older adults," says Dr. Ashwin Kotwal, a geriatrician and palliative care specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. "Just like any drug, the social precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic have side effects," he explains, "how older adults are able to interact with their community, see their grandchildren, continue staying physically active and continue even going to see their doctor with normal checkups."




A Christmas That Never Was
6 minutes

What a busy week ahead.
 
I still have to do some last-minute shopping, so I guess I must clean out the back of the station wagon and head to the mall.
 
There’s that set of Lionel trains for little Johnny (he’s 9 now, so I think he’s old enough for that “high-tech” stuff). And if I get a present for Johnny, I have to get one for his sister Suzy. Last year it was an Easy-Bake oven. This year Montgomery Ward has a sale on doll houses, the big ones. I know she’ll just love it. She's such a real girl.
 
My sister is the hardest to shop for. After all, she married “The Richest Man In The World”, as we like to call him, and has everything. Maybe just a bottle of Gallo Burgundy. Is $3 too much to spend for wine?
 
I could just drive over to Main Street and shop at some local stores.
 
Mr. Morgan’s hardware store has some very practical gifts. Last year I got a new set of wrenches for Dad. He was thrilled. Dad’s been working on restoring that old Jaguar XKE and broke one of his favorite tools. He claims that car will be worth something someday. I humor him. Who the heck would want an old English car?
 
Mom says she wants nothing this year, just like she’s been saying ever since I was young. Of course we kids ignore her and buy something she would never get for herself. Each year we try to “top” the previous one. Last year it was a new Kelvinator refrigerator and the year before that an Electrolux vacuum. I swear, I never saw a woman cry that much in my life. (Dad says we should get her some sexy lingerie. That’s so silly. I’m sure they don’t do THAT anymore. After all, he’s almost 67 now.)

Our office Christmas party was last Friday. It was a catered affair (with food from that Jewish deli that just opened) and held in the backroom at the VFW hall. This was the first year they invited family. The boss said the company had a good year so ‘’What the heck.” It must have been. Because we all got some really nice gifts.
 
Charley from accounting got some Old Spice aftershave and a subscription to Popular Mechanics. Myrna, Mr. G’s secretary, got a giant bottle of Shalimar and a J. C. Penney gift certificate. I really lucked out with a carton of Camel’s and a bottle of J&B.
 
I’m truly blessed. I have so much to be thankful for.
 
There’s my beautiful wife of 10 years, and my two brilliant kids. Marge is a great mom and an even better homemaker. She says she didn’t mind giving up her job as Assistant Editor at Vogue. As she has said many times, “Who needs all that glamour when you can have the joy of a home and family.” It’s funny how she always wipes away a little tear when she says that. She must really love her life. Maybe I’ll buy her one of those little cars to run errands with. I understand the Japs make some cheap cars. And who cares if they only last two or three years. I’ll throw it out and buy another one. If they are still around that is.
 
Our lovely home is impressive. I know $45,000 was a lot to pay for a four-bedroom house, but I’m sure I’ll be able to sell it for much more in 20 years when when I pay off the mortgage. After all, why should I pay the landlord $100 a month for our apartment when for just a little more I could own a house.

Yes, life is good.
 
The country is in good shape now that the Republicans are back in power. I know Mr. Nixon will be a fiscally responsible and honest President. And it looks like we are winning the war in Vietnam, and soon our troops will come home. I’m sure we will welcome them back as hero’s. If nothing else, it should make the hippies go away.
 
I’ve got to go now. Somebody is at the door. I think it’s that surprise gift I bought for the family. A new Zenith 24inch Color TV. Now we’ll finally get to see what Lawrence Welk really looks like…………………………………. .
 

 
 
 


New novel demonstrates how older adults still function
in ways not normally expected of their age group
‘A Demain’ by Joe Tom King shows the
complex lives of three senior citizens


With a unique perspective on old age, Joe Tom King’s new novel “A Demain” (published by Archway Publishing) follows three senior citizens navigating sex, love and health as their time on Earth nears completion.

Centering on the lives of Jack and Katie as well as Katie’s friend Maryellen, the story shows their interaction as senior adults though friendships and love affairs. “A Demain” depicts the importance of those connections as they enter into the older phase of their lives as well as the strength and flexibility of older relationships. In addition, although Jack, Katie and Maryellen have common health issues, their exchanges with their doctors are not more significant than those they have with each other or anyone else.

King hopes his book makes the general public aware of how a mature relationship can be. He says that as the “Older population continues to grow, the view of that group needs to be revised to what it can be, instead of the commonly held view of dilapidated, deaf, invalids.”






6 Tips On How To Get The Edge Off
From Your Anxieties And Fears

By: Stan Popovich

Do you ever feel that your overwhelmed with anxiety and your mind is overrun with fearful and negative thoughts? If so, it can be very challenging in getting relief from your current situation.

As a result, here are 6 tips on how to quickly relieve your nerves and clear your head from your current anxieties.

1. Exercise: The best way to get rid of your anxieties is to do some kind of physical activity such as taking a brisk walk or a short run. Exercise is a great way to help relieve your tension and to get your anxieties under control.








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Dec. 21 2020

CDC advisory group: Older adults, front-line essential workers to get Covid vaccine next
Vaccines are expected to start going out to these groups in the coming weeks.
By Erika Edwards and Sara G. Miller

People ages 75 and older and front-line essential workers will be next in line to receive Covid-19 vaccines, according to recommendations from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee.

On Sunday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted in favor of the recommendations, which will go on to the CDC for final approval.

The new proposal comes less than a week after the first Covid-19 vaccines went out to health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities across the country. That group is referred to as Phase 1A. The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization to two Covid-19 vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

In addition to those 75 and older, the next phase, deemed Phase 1B, would include first responders, such as firefighters and police officers, as well as teachers, day care staff and others working in education. Corrections officers, U.S. postal workers, public transit workers and those whose jobs are essential for the food supply — from farmers to grocery store employees — are also next up to receive the vaccine. Altogether, this group includes about 49 million people.


______________________________________________________________________________________


Will People with Disabilities Have
Priority for a COVID-19 Vaccine?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly devastating to people with disabilities. Recent studies indicate that they are three times as likely to die from the virus as the general population.

But as the pharmaceutical industry moves closer to obtaining approval for one or more COVID-19 vaccines, questions continue about whether the vaccines will be allocated in a way that does not discriminate against people with disabilities, and how affordable they will be.

Vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna were both more than 90 percent effective in large clinical trials.  Both companies are now gathering safety data necessary for emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Numerous other vaccines are in various stages of development.


_________________________________________________________________________________

HHS: Assisted Living Providers to Receive $140M
in Phase 3 Provider Relief Expansions
By Chuck Sudo


Assisted living providers stand to receive $140 million in the latest round of Covid-19 relief for health care providers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

That is according to an HHS spokesperson, replying to a request for comment from Senior Housing News on Wednesday’s announcement that the agency is expanding its Phase 3 funding total from $20 billion to $24 billion, after concluding that the initial amount did not sufficiently cover lost revenue and expense increases incurred during the pandemic during the first half of 2020.

The funding will cover up to 88% of providers’ reported lost revenues and expenses attributable to Covid-19. The losses are based on information providers submitted to HHS during the initial Phase 3 provider relief roll-out. An initial round of payments will be sent to providers on Wednesday, and will continue through January as more providers’ applications undergo quality reviews and payment set up is completed.


__________________________________________________________________________________

Many older adults hospitalized with the flu
face persistent functional decline


In a study of older adults admitted to the hospital with influenza and other acute respiratory illnesses during the 2011-2012 flu season, functional decline was common--and for some, this decline was persistent and catastrophic. The findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society .

Among the 925 patients included in the study, 8.4% died, and 18.2% experienced a clinically meaningful loss of function at 30 days post-discharge, of whom half experienced catastrophic disability. Higher frailty at the time of hospital admission was associated with a higher likelihood of experiencing functional decline, catastrophic disability, and death.

"We need to think about the longer-term implications of influenza for older adults--it is not just a short-term illness. This impact on function in the longer-term makes it all the more important to prevent influenza in the first place, including through vaccination," said lead author Melissa K. Andrew, MD, PhD, of Dalhousie University, in Canada.





5 minutes


Last March, when our administrator told us about the stringent measures they would take to protect us against the possibility of what then was a virus we knew little about, nobody could have imagined, 10 months later, we would be no better off than we were that day. If anything, we are worse off. Not only are we getting ill at an alarming rate, but our economy is suffering its biggest blow since the Great depression. And those dopes in Congress were worried about how much it will cost. WTF! 


Finally, after weeks of bickering, accusations and childish behavior, deal was struck late Saturday night.

The best I can figure out, and I know I’m simplifying the situation, is the Democrats wanted to give us another $1200 stimulus check, while the Republicans wanted it to be more like $600 or $800. They appear to have settled on the lower figure, but will give all those collecting unemployment insurance an payment of $300 a week. It’s a drop in the bucket but it does prove Republicans and Democrats can work together. I would have liked to have seen more than just $600 but, I guess, like a tiger’s spots, you can’t keep a good Conservative from being conservative. And considering the environment of divisiveness perpetuated by a megalomaniac President, it’s amazing anything was decided upon.

>>>>>><<<<<<

Today, Monday, December 21st, is the first day of winter. And if you live in the colder places in our nation, Winter means spending more money than when it was warm.

Heating and insulating one’s home, not to mention storm damage, clothing and transportation costs cuts heavily into a family’s bank account. And with little or no income, this Winter will be the harshest in many years. And all the woes are not centered in colder climes. The South will fare no better.

Northerners who usually head south this time of year may not want to travel, leaving resort states like Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Southern California out on a limb.
 
Places like Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a “Mecca” for Canadian snowbirds, no doubt will suffer because of the virus and the travel restrictions that come with it. And the effect it will have on restaurant workers, the retail stores and others who make their living off of tourism this time of the year is immeasurable.

As for us older folks, especially those of us “imprisoned” in our not-so-gilded cages, this WILL be our Winter of discontent. And dis-enfranchised, dis-respected, dis-connected and just plain dissed. If Spring, Summer and Fall were any indications of what we can expect in the next few months, then we are in for a bleak and lonely Winter with not much to look forward to except getting vaccinated and the possibility of lifting some of those harsh restrictions we have endured for nearly a year.

Besides this being the first day of Winter, it’s also the start of Christmas week. But unlike other years, this will be low-keyed with celebrations kept small and close to home.

Gone are the boisterous Christmas office parties meant to reward employees and impress customers. Gone too, will be the traditional Christmas Day activities.
 
Those big family dinners at grandma’s or the in-laws will become not much more than a normal family dinner with eggnog added. Even we Jews will have to curtail our customary Christmas day meal by ordering our Chinese food for delivery or takeout instead of the 6 course sit-down affair we are used to.
 

Finally, I can hardly wait to see what the Asylum comes up with as a gift for us this year.
 
In the past we have seen mugs, scarves, sweat shirts and hoodies. All imprinted with the facility’s logo. Personally, I’d settle for a gift certificate for a large pepperoni pizza delivered to my room…. hot.
 
Joy to the world…………………………….. 

 




Sweden failed to protect elderly in 
COVID pandemic, commission finds
By Johan Ahlander, Niklas Pollard


STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Systemic shortcomings in Sweden’s elderly care coupled with inadequate measures from the government and agencies contributed to the country’s high death toll in nursing homes, an initial report by an official commission said on Tuesday.


Sweden’s pandemic strategy, shunning lockdowns and masks, has stood out internationally. It left schools, restaurants and businesses largely open while appealing to people to socially distance and maintain good hygiene.

When announced during the spring, the strategy was twinned with a goal to “ring-fence” the elderly from COVID-19. But as deaths mounted, especially at nursing homes, the commission was appointed to asses the response.









JOIN THE BROADCAST REVOLUTION
AND CUT THE CORD!
By: John Gilmore

Cord cutting. Getting rid of cable and satellite TV can be a familiar thought but an actionlesss thought. The broadcast revolution is clearly here, but have you joined it? Don’t be daunted by the action of letting go of your provider. Keep your internet connection, but rid yourself of those pesky, massive fees for channel you may have for one-third of the price, or free.

Yes, it is true, if you have Amazon Prime, you are able to receive the majority of your favorite channels for free, presumed free, as you are actually already paying for them in your yearly prime subscription fee.


Apps for all of the traditional broadcast and cable network are available for android and apple products, so when you ‘get rid of cable and satellite tv’, you are not losing the ability to watch your top channels or miss any shows.







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Dec. 18 2020

Vaccination Campaign at Nursing Homes
Faces Obstacles and Confusion
By Rebecca Robbins, Jessica Silver-Greenberg

Walgreens and CVS staff will soon begin vaccinations at tens of thousands of long-term care facilities. Some staff and residents are wary, and there are thorny issues of consent.

 
In coming days, squads of CVS and Walgreens employees, clad in protective gear and carrying small coolers, will begin to arrive at tens of thousands of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to vaccinate staff and residents against the coronavirus.

It promises to be a crucial milestone in America’s battle against a pandemic that has inflicted especially severe carnage on nursing homes. At least 106,000 residents and staff of long-term care facilities have died from the virus, accounting for 38 percent of the country’s Covid-related fatalities.


______________________________________________________________________________

Not all older people can get a Covid vaccine right away.
Most will have to wait a while
By Sarah O'Brien


For the nation’s oldest individuals who are eager for protection against Covid, the waiting game has commenced.

Shipment of 2.9 million doses of the first U.S.-authorized coronavirus vaccine began Sunday, headed for hundreds of sites around the country. With initial supply limited — the total U.S. population is roughly 330 million — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that health-care workers and residents of long-term-care facilities get prioritized in this first phase.

In other words, excluding older folks in those facilities — which includes nursing homes and the like — the 65-and-older crowd may need to exercise some patience.


___________________________________________________________________________________

High-dose vitamin D does not
prevent falls among older adults
By Janel Miller


Among older adults with an elevated fall risk and low serum 25-dydroxyvitamin D levels, daily vitamin D3 supplementation at doses of 1,000 IU did not prevent falls compared with a 200 IU dose, according to a randomized clinical trial.

Several analyses also raised safety concerns about daily vitamin D3 doses of 1,000 IU or higher, researchers said.
The quote is: “Our trial reinforces the fact that there is very little evidence to support high- dose vitamin supplements of any type to improve health." The source of the quote is: Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH.

“Our trial reinforces the fact that there is very little evidence to support high-dose vitamin supplements of any type to improve health,” Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH, the director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins University, told Healio Primary Care. “More is not always better, and may even be worse.”





Random Thoughts

6 minutes

 

On Vaccines:

Today, I asked our admin. If he knew when we here at the A.L.F. would get vaccinated. He told me they (the DOH) haven’t given them a timeline when that may happen. New York’s allocation was only 170,000 doses, and considering the number of hospital employees we have in this state, and the number of people in nursing homes, the chance of us being vaccinated before the end of the year is slim to none. The only bright side to all of this is that they just approved emergency distribution of the Moderna vaccine which may hasten things along for us.


BTW: I need to correct an error. In yesterday’s post I incorrectly said the Moderna vaccine was a “One-and-done” affair with no second shot needed. Sorry, but they require a “booster” shot about 21 days after the initial dose just like the Pfizer vaccine. Not good news for those of us who aren’t partial to shots-in-the-arm.

 

On snowfalls:

 While we got a goodly amount of snow last night, the predicted 12 to 18 inches never materialized, at least not here in Yonkers. It was more like 8 to 10, still a lot, but nothing that we couldn’t handle. However, if you were one of the 45,000 residents of the upstate city of Binghamton (about 170 miles north of here) you would have had to contend with nearly 40 inches of the stuff. The forecast calls for below freezing temperatures for the foreseeable future, which means we’ll be looking at the snow for weeks to come. I really can’t complain. After all, last year the snowfall for the entire season was only 4 inches. Nature has a way of getting even.

And speaking of getting even…

On Dr. Jill Biden:

I guess I expected it. They haven’t sworn Joe Biden in yet, but that hasn’t stopped the right-wing media from turning a meaningless speck of dust into a vacuum cleaner full of dirt. [1]

An Op-Ed piece written by Joseph Epstein in the Wall Street Journal this week claims the first lady-elect is not really a doctor and shouldn’t use that title. [2] If that’s the best Conservative Republican’s can come up with, it’s pretty lame compared to the “rap sheet” the President and his cronies have amassed in the last four years.

Here are my thoughts on this.

Jill Biden earned her doctorate while attending night school. A task I have firsthand knowledge of. It took me 6 years of long days and even longer nights to earn my degree. Combining work with college is a daunting undertaking. There is no time for anything even remotely considered “leisure.” If you are not at work earning a living, you’re reading and doing research and dragging yourself into a classroom or lecture hall at all hours just to advance one’s knowledge. So saying Jill Biden didn’t earn the title is just wrong.

To be clear, Dr. Biden is not a medical doctor or a PhD. Her degree is in education, Ed.D.

“The Doctor of Education (Ed.D. or D. Ed.; Latin Educationis Doctor or Doctor Educationis) is both a research and professional doctoral degree that focuses on the field of education. As the highest degree in the field, it prepares the holder for academic, research, administrative, clinical, or professional positions in educational, civil, private organizations, or public institutions.”

Dr. Biden is a dedicated educator who works, and will continue to work, teaching our next generation of Americans. She has made education her number one priority. Which is more than can be said for our present first lady whose major contribution to America was to destroy the White House rose garden.

Inauguration day is less that 5 weeks away. And I will be proud to call her Doctor or First Lady or Mrs. Biden.

The weekend is upon us. And whether you will spend it digging your car out of the snow or sipping a Piña colada in the backyard of your Florida Condo, we cannot ignore one thing. Over 300,000 Americans are dead. Many of them because some people in their community thought it unnecessary to wear a mask or social distance, as scientists told them to do. Instead, they followed the rantings of a disturbed individual whose only concern was, and still is, is to get re-elected.

 I’ll be back on Monday, the lord willing and the crick don't rise, with more………..

[1] Editor’s note: I consider the Wall Street Journal to be a Right-wing publication. Perhaps not a radical one, but  strongly Conservative leaning.

[[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/is-there-a-doctor-in-the-white-house-not-if-you-need-an-m-d-11607727380

 




More Last Minute Fun & Practical Gifts for Elderly People


    Brain games: Puzzles and games that engage the brain offer numerous health benefits for elderly men and women. Crossword puzzles, word searches, and sudoku books make great gifts for seniors who enjoy a mental challenge. You could even include a personalized pencil for an extra special touch.

    Pill organizer with reminder alarm: Keeping track of medications and when to take them gets increasingly difficult as people age, but pill organizers can help. You can sort out a day's, week's, or month's worth of medications and set automatic alarms to alert your loved one when it's time to take their pills. Be sure to look for a model that has easy-to-open compartments.

    Non-slip socks: How about a gift that combines fashion and function? Socks with rubber grips on the bottom can keep an older person's feet toasty warm while also preventing falls. You have your choice of a huge range of colors and styles, including some aimed at men.






Estate Planning Basics You Need to Know


I like the way my "Friends Talk Money" podcast co-host Pam Krueger put it when describing estate planning in our new episode about it: "I hate the words estate planning. It's just planning."


Some people get scared off by the term "estate planning" because they think it sounds like something only the wealthy need to do. Truth is, one of the greatest gifts you can make for your loved ones is leaving instructions for both your wishes after you die and for if you can't make health or financial decisions while you're alive.

As Krueger said: "It's not always all about money. It's about planning to make things easier for the transfer of your assets and to reflect what's important to you should anything happen."








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Dec. 17 2020

Biden administration needs bipartisan
solutions for older Americans, lawmakers say
By Lillian Bautista


The incoming Biden administration needs to push for bipartisan support to address issues that most concern older Americans, such as COVID-19 relief and the economy, lawmakers and experts said Tuesday.

Older Americans have historically been the most reliable voting bloc and they’re also among those most impacted by coronavirus. In addition, they, like most Americans, have been severely impacted by the economic downturn spurred by the pandemic.

“Here in Hawaii, our seniors, we call them our ‘kupuna,’ our kupuna are our most precious resource, they are irreplaceable pillars of our community, they are a critical voting bloc and they want Congress to work together,” Rep.-elect Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii) said at The Hill’s “New Year, New Leaders: What's Next for the 50+ Voter?” event.


______________________________________________________________________________

People with Alzheimer's lose financial
acumen years before diagnosis


Even before signs of Alzheimer's disease or dementia appear, people are prone to make poor financial decisions, a new study finds.

Older people diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's were more likely to miss credit card payments as early as six years before their diagnosis, compared with similar people without dementia -- about 8% versus 7% -- the researchers found.

Patients with dementia were also likely to have lower credit scores in the three years before diagnosis than those without dementia -- about 9% versus 8%. These financial problems were more common among patients with less education, the findings showed.


__________________________________________________________________________________________

There's a proposal to pay Social Security benefits at a flat rate.
Here's how it would work
By MacKenzie Sigalos


Universal Social Security coverage has been debated for as long as Social Security has existed.

Giving everyone who’s eligible the exact same check every month regardless of how much they made throughout their working career would be a pretty big departure from the way things work now.

The average retired worker receives about $1,500 a month from Social Security, and the maximum benefit for someone at full retirement age is just over $3,000.

Benefits are based on your income, the year you were born and the age you decide to start taking money out. This means higher income workers receive more in benefits than lower income workers.






5 minutes


The snow predicted for these parts, and by “these parts”, I mean the Northeast I-95 Corridor, should start any minute now. And they are saying it should be a “doozy” which in non-meteorological terms means 12 to 18 inches of the white stuff.

Eleven or twelve years ago, the news of a significant amount of frozen precipitation like that would have sent a chill up my spine. (Pun intended.) And, if I wanted to go back further, snow meant a lot of work for the youngest member of the Cooper family, me.


As a strapping teenager, and the only member of my family in any shape to do the job required, I was always the designated shoveler.

During the 1960s, we here in the New York area got some hit with some wicked winter weather. Sometimes it seemed as if the entire era was nothing but a stream of relentless snow storms. And none of them with accumulations under a foot. And shoveling was not an easy task. Or a quick one.

Ours was a corner house which meant that not only did I have to shovel the front walkway and sidewalk, but the half-a-block long side sidewalk and the entrance to the basement. It took me two or three hours to complete.

One of those snowstorms was a political disaster for a New York City mayor. They even named it after him. They knew it as the 1969 “Lindsay Snowstorm.” [1]

It sometimes seems snowstorms have become like milestone markers in my life.

It was a late April snowstorm back in 1976 that had my wife-to-be, and I worried that guests would have difficulty traveling to our wedding and reception. Fortunately, the city got the roads cleaned in time and all went well.

It was another April storm that caused me and my brother to endure a 5 hour drive home from downtown Manhattan. A 12 mile commute that normally would have taken only about 40 minutes. Again, Queens got the worst of it. Since then, I have always been amazed at how snow can cripple a city in just a few hours.

Later, when I moved to an apartment, I thought snow would no longer be a problem. After all, there was a crew of maintenance people with snow blowers clearing the sidewalks of snow, even before it stopped falling. And, because I lived only a block from the subway, my commute to work (mostly underground) would be a snap. So, “let it snow”, I thought. There was only one problem. My car, parked on the street for 3 days, was buried under a “Matterhorn-like” mountain of dirty snow piled there by a merciless city snow plow. And now, that same city wants me to move my car because alternate side of the street parking was back in effect. There’s no winning against Mother Nature.

Fortunately, all that is in the past. And most likely, snow will never be much of a problem for me again unless it hampers our staff and vendors from getting here. Even then, I’m self-sufficient for a few days. I don’t own a car, so no more digging out, and the maintenance crew has the large snowplow hooked up and ready to plow the parking lot and driveway. Finally, snow will to do what it was meant to to do. Just to be looked at and marvel at its beauty and the way it can soften a very hard world………………….

[1] This became known as the "Lindsay snowstorm" because New York's mayor John Lindsay was blamed for not getting streets plowed quickly enough, especially in the boro of Queens.  It nearly cost him re-election later that year, but he won running as an independent.

 



Sophia Loren's New Film Shows the Power Of Age


'The Life Ahead' shines a spotlight on the beauty of intergenerational relationships

"If you accept the aging process and live in the present, then you age gracefully."  — Sophia Loren, New York Times, November 13, 2020.


I first heard of Sophia Loren when I was about eight and a family friend said I looked like her. I presume it was because of my almond-shaped eyes, which were large for my small face. Sadly, the likeness didn't hold. I turned out to be petite and far from voluptuous, but I wore it as a badge that at any point in my life I bore even a passing resemblance to one of the greatest sex symbols of our time.







7 Tips for Rightsizing or Downsizing
During the Pandemic

I always knew that someday we'd sell our "forever" home. The Connecticut house my husband and I have lived in for 28 years has three flights of stairs and isn't well-suited for aging.  And with our children now launched, we no longer need the space we once did. So, after the pandemic hit and the demand for houses in suburbia like ours soared, my husband and I agreed it was the right time to move.

The good news: Our house sold in less than a week.

The bad news: We didn't have a clue where to go next.

Rightsizing vs. Downsizing

Ultimately, after doing some essential research about "rightsizing," we settled on Bucks County, Pa., a charming area just north of Philadelphia and two hours from our Connecticut home. For now, our plan is to rent while we explore and decide on next steps.









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Dec. 16 2020

US nursing homes, confused by initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout,
will begin immunizations next week, CDC says
By Elizabeth Weise &Tom Mooney


The vast majority of nursing homes in the United States won't start vaccinating staff and residents against COVID-19 until Dec. 21, and some won't start until Dec. 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Monday's rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine brought confusion nationwide as it became clear most long-term care facilities and nursing homes were not taking part in the initial immunizations, despite the CDC's decision last week to include residents in the first phase of distribution.

That's because the majority of long-term care facilities opted to take part in a federal program that uses pharmacy chains, including CVS, Walgreens and others, to facilitate vaccination of both staff and residents.


___________________________________________________________________________________


The truth about COVID and senior living
DR. SALLY J. FOOTE


There has been so much concern about the risks to the elderly in retirement living. I recently read an opinion in AARP magazine discouraging adult children from moving parents into assisted/retirement living. I disagree.

I have met elders who caught COVID-19 in the general community, outside of senior living. It may seem odd to think grouping people at this age would be a good thing during this pandemic, but let me share with you what I have learned during this year.

COVID-19 is spread by inhaling the virus, coated in saliva, like a fog, from talking, laughing, singing, in addition to sneezing and coughing, when less than 6 feet apart. The majority of spread now is from the asymptomatic carrier — someone who is not feverish, sneezing or coughing but has the virus in their system. This may be a child, young adult or elder.


_________________________________________________________________________________________

‘Devastating’ Medicare Cuts Threaten Access
to Therapy in Senior Living


Therapy providers are facing a sharp cut to their Medicare reimbursements in 2021, which threatens access to care for older adults and potentially complicates senior living operations. And this comes at a time when residents’ needs are particularly pressing, and providers are under intense pressure related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Medicare reductions will equate to about a 9% cut and are potentially “devastating” to therapy companies that are running on a thin margin, according to Dr. Travis King, chief quality officer at therapy provider Fox.

“Think about a typical organization’s P&L; when you take 9% off of the top-line revenue, with no other actions, it drops right to the bottom line,” King told SHN.


__________________________________________________________________________________________

Tips From Brookdale, CVS, Walgreens On
a Successful Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout
By Tim Regan


With the first doses in the U.S. administered Monday, the senior living industry is close to distributing the Covid-19 vaccine among residents and staff.

In fact, senior living residents and staff could start seeing the vaccine delivered to their communities as early as about a week from now, according to Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles, who is leading the Covid-19 vaccine rollout among long-term care providers for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

But before the first doses arrive, providers will need to focus on who is slated to receive the vaccine and when, how best to vaccinate new residents or employees who came to the community after the process began, and how to ensure that most people take it. Doing so is not a light undertaking, and underpinning a successful vaccine rollout are many smaller moving parts to manage.






At The A.L.F.:
As Fate Would have It…
5 minutes


While they have not given us a date when they will vaccinate us, I doubt it will be before Christmas. Frankly, I’d rather wait for the Moderna vaccine, which only needs one dose to be effective. I’m not that keen on injections.
 
Whether we get the vaccine before or after the holidays doesn’t matter much anymore. A memo sent to us yesterday announced that they will continue to suspend visitations because another staff member tested positive setting the quarantine/lockdown clock back another two weeks. This also means that any hope of returning to normalcy (i.e., communal dining) is no longer in our immediate future. It just goes on and on and on. I often wonder how long will it take before the hopeless of it all affects my own sanity.

 
Thus far, I think I have been bearing up fairly well thanks to internet friends, this blog and a healthy dose of Lexapro. [1]


Of course not everything is all gloom and doom. As a wise man once said, “Any day you wake up on this side of the grass is a good one.” So is having a roof over my head, food in my belly, Netflix and Amazon Prime. And I am doubly blessed by living in a place whose primary aim since the beginning has been to keep us protected from the virus. And, all things considered, they have done an amazing job. Despite some minor setbacks, the incidents of infection among our residents and staff have been relatively low as compared to some other facilities whose death rate is positively medieval. And I owe it all to fate.
 
They describe fate as something that unavoidably befalls a person; fortune; lot. The universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed. That which is inevitably predetermined; destiny. A prophetic declaration of what must be. Sounds a bit mystical, huh?

To be human is to question our existence. Why am I here? And better still, why have I received, or not received, the good fortune that has been given so easily to others. I have thought about that for the past 11 years.

Why did I get a life-changing illness? And why was I spared death?

Why did I lose almost everything I owned (My home, my car and all of my belongings) and wind up here, in a place that is so different from my previous lifestyle?

I believe it was meant to happen. Someone or something wants me alive.


Had I not taken ill, I most likely would have remained living in my apartment, alone with only the bare minimum of virus protection and force to leave my apartment to buy food and other necessities, thereby increasing my risk of infection.  My living expenses compared to what they are now would be triple, and I would still be lonely and isolated.
 
As I aged, my health most likely would have deteriorated until I eventually developed some chronic, life-threatening illness because of unchecked high blood pressure or kidney disease and dropped dead on the floor, remaining there until a neighbor noticed a bad odor coming from my apartment. And then, having no designated contact, they would bury me in a ditch in Potter’s field on a small island off the Bronx coast.

But fate, or luck, or destiny has put me in a position of relative comfort. I am never alone. I want  for nothing and hardly worry about anything. And at 75 years of age, that’s a pretty good deal.

Now, if only the food was better………..
 

[1] Lexapro is widely used, mild and effective anti-depressant.






Singapore's Effortlessly Cool Senior Citizens
Model Ikea's First Merch Line


In classic utilitarian style, the official Ikea logo serves as Efterträda's main design. It also sports a barcode motif featuring Ikea's best-selling product, the Billy bookcase.

TBWA\Singapore recruited models in Chinatown, scouting for folks over 70 years old who "exuded effortless cool." They were invited to style and accessorize from the Efterträda 

collection in their own way, kind of like when Gucci sent models a bunch of clothes and just let them film themselves doing whatever in their houses.

Singapore-based photographers Jang and Kev produced a lookbook, inspired by street style.










America’s 20 Cheapest Cities Where
Everyone Wants to Live Right Now
By Grant Suneson


Each year, millions of Americans relocate to somewhere else in the country, whether it is for retirement, college, or a new job. Yet 2020 offered some Americans a new reason to move — the COVID-19 pandemic, which was declared a national emergency in mid-March. Many people moved away from virus hotspots or left cities because they lost their jobs amid the pandemic. Many Americans likely looked for somewhere they could stretch their savings, relocating to places where the cost of living is relatively low.

To identify America’s cheapest cities where everyone wants to live, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed cost of living, housing affordability, and population growth from migration for 110 U.S. metro areas. We ranked cities based on the net incoming searches relative to outgoing searches for homes in each metro area among prospective buyers on Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, during the first three quarters of 2020 (January through September) as a percentage of the 2019 population. Population data came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates program.







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Dec. 15 2020



Medicare Advantage plans achieve
better outcomes than traditional Medicare

by Robert King

 
Medicare Advantage (MA) outperforms traditional Medicare on several quality measures such as preventive screenings and avoiding hospitalizations, a new report finds.

 
The report released Wednesday and funded by the Better Medicare Alliance, a Medicare Advantage advocacy group, explores healthcare use, outcomes and costs between MA and traditional Medicare.

 
“Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had 49% and 11% higher rates of vaccination for pneumonia and the flu and the contrasts are even more pronounced among high-need, high-cost beneficiaries,” said Allyson Schwartz, president and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “For example, beneficiaries with major complex chronic conditions had 57% lower rate of avoidable hospitalizations for acute conditions in Medicare Advantage than in traditional Medicare.”


Continue reading  >>  https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payer/medicare-advantage-plans-achieve-better-outcomes-than-traditional-medicare-bma-analysis-finds

 ________________________________________________________________


Older adults more respected in Japan,
China and Korea than in US


 
Bias against older adults is more widespread in the United States than in Japan. Image: IStock/Laikwunfai via AFP Relaxnews.

 
Will age bias ever end? Maybe, in certain countries. However, prejudices against older adults seem rather widespread in more individualistic countries, according to a team of researchers from Michigan State University. Two studies published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and European Journal of Social Psychology showed that such biases differed from one country to another and can impact our elders’ health.

 
To come to their conclusions, the researchers used the Implicit Association Test, which measures the strength of a person’s subconscious associations, on more than a total of 800,000 participants in each study from the Project Implicit database. Their main goal was to determine the general population’s bias against aging.

 

 ______________________________________________________

 
Looking Ahead to Life in Your Nineties and Beyond

 
Both of my grandparents lived into their 90s, and I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with them during that stage of their lives. What struck me most about those years was how active and engaged they were as they grew older – and as it turns out, my grandparents weren't outliers in this regard. Thanks to changes in lifestyle and advances in medicine, more people than ever before are expected to live exceptionally long, rich lives.

 
There were 1.9 million Americans aged 90 and over in 2010, and that number is only expected to rise. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau predicted that this population will more than quadruple by 2050, comprising 10% of people in the 65-and-older age bracket. Put another way: One in three of today's 65-year-olds will live into their 90s. That's great news!


With so many people living longer, we started to think about how today's baby boomers are anticipating their lifestyle 30 years in the future, when they'll be nonagenarians or centenarians. To find out, AgeUp surveyed baby boomers in February 2020 about their preferences and pastimes for their 90s and beyond. We prompted respondents to choose three things that they were most looking forward to about their 90s, and the responses weren't unlike what my own grandparents experienced in their later years. Nearly two-thirds (61%) said they were most looking forward to relaxing, followed by spending more time with family and friends (56%) and spending more time on hobbies (37%).


____________________________________________________________

With New Holiday Recommendations from CMS,
the Year of Challenges for Nursing Home
Residents Continues


In advance of the beginning of the holiday season, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued recommendations for keeping nursing home residents safe amidst the continuing Coronavirus pandemic while still allowing them to enjoy the holidays as much as possible. In a call with stakeholders on November 18, 2020, CMS stated that it would not be issuing new visitation guidance in light of a holiday season that coincides with a nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections. Instead, the agency advised facilities, residents, families, and visitors to continue to follow existing guidance for visitation and provided recommendations for celebrating the holidays safely for those residents who exercise their right to leave the facility.

As a threshold matter, CMS recommends that residents not leave the facility during the holidays or for the duration of the Public Health Emergency and urges facilities to educate residents and their families regarding the risks of leaving the facility. Nevertheless, the agency recognizes the right of residents to leave the facility if they choose and recommends the following:




 


What Seniors Really Want for the Holidays


We asked over 10,000 seniors what type of gifts and personal gestures would have the most impact on their lives over the holidays during the pandemic. Spread some cheer this holiday season - especially to seniors that may feel isolated due to COVID.

Seniors Recommended These Gifts for the Holidays

It was clear in the input from the seniors offering suggestions that any gift is more special with a personal touch. Right now, more than anything, the older population needs to know we care and you are thinking of them - so include a hand-written message, or a meaningful anecdote with your gift. It will make a big difference!


#1 House Cleaning Service

#2 Chocolate

#3 Fruit Baskets

#4 Cash

#5 Everyday Items

#6 Meal Delivery Service

#7 Snacks

#8 Cheese and Crackers

#9 Gift Cards

#10 Automotive Service



>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

5 gifts the older adults in your life will actually use
By Brooke Nally

If you're like me, you can never seem to find useful holiday gifts for your older friends and family members.

Here are five great ideas for holiday gifts that any senior will love.

- Restaurant gift cards

- Monthly delivery of a favorite consumable item

- Useful tech items for around the house

- Weighted blankets

- Digital Photo Frames

For details on all these items go here >>  https://www.ksl.com/article/50046228/5-gifts-the-older-adults-in-your-life-will-actually-use






On Gift Giving…
4 minutes

I admit it. I am clueless when it comes to gift giving.
 
As proof, I spent 8 terrifying years trying to figure out the perfect gift for my wife on what seemed like a never-ending procession of birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. One would think that a 1.3 karat VS1 grade diamond engagement ring would have been enough. Evidently, I was wrong. Who knew she expected a gift on every one of those occasions, apparently forever?
It took all of those 8 years before I mastered the basics of “Marital Gifting.”
 
The first thing I learned is the kinds of gifts you give your wife are entirely different from those you gave her when she was just your girlfriend.

While the girlfriend gift can be funny or flighty or even be of the “gag” variety, the wife gift is a serious affair and must always be romantic or, at least, expensive. Especially the Anniversary Gift. I guarantee the wrong gift given on one’s wedding anniversary has been the cause for more men sleeping on couches, separations and divorce than any other single faux pas (save infidelity) a husband can be guilty of.

Another important lesson I learned is, while a box with the name “Timberland” on it may be okay for Christmas, a pair of fur-lined hiking boots will get you zero points when given for an anniversary. The same goes for anything that needs a battery.
 
There are some gifts that are universally acceptable over the entire spectrum of gift-giving opportunities.
 
Something with the name CHANEL on it will go over well, as will anything made of gold (18k or higher). And this is to be preceded with a dinner at any restaurant that doesn’t advertise itself as an “All You Can Eat Buffet.”
 

Symbolic gifts are okay but only as part of an ensemble which must include something that you are supposed to know she has always wanted even though she has never mentioned it.

Many men, unwittingly, have lulled themselves into a false sense of security when
the “Gift Card” made its debut a few years ago. At last there was a way you could get her something she needed and not have to do any real thinking. “Here, honey. It’s a gift card to Home Depot. Go crazy.” Sadly, they mistook its practicality as a panacea for all and any gifting blunders. Little did they know such a blatant act is just short of an of cruelty or abandonment. You might have just as well put on your “wife-beater” undershirt and smacked her around a few times.
 
There are some men that know just the right thing to give for any occasion. How, I don’t know. Maybe they were raised in a houseful of women. These men have selfishly kept that knowledge from the rest of us poor slobs who wander the aisles of Walgreen’s at 10pm Christmas eve looking for a gift that doesn’t say “Last Minute.”………..




How to Completely Wipe
All Data From Your Computer

By Courtney Linder

Whether you're selling it, trashing it, or reusing it, your old computer has a bunch of extremely private data stored inside. And there's a good chance that tossing files in the recycling bin and hitting factory reset won't protect you. If a hacker finds the pattern your computer used to move those 0s and 1s around, they can reverse engineer the original state of your computer and pull out the goods.


To stay safe, you need to properly factory reset your computer before it ever changes hands. Follow the steps below, or consider taking things a step further by hiring a professional company to ensure your data has been destroyed.









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Dec. 14 2020


220,000+ Sign Petition Demanding Biden 'Clean House' of
 Trump Social Security Appointees on Day One


A petition calling on President-elect Joe Biden to fire President Donald Trump's top political appointees at the Social Security Administration on day one has garnered more than 220,000 signatures as the outgoing administration moves forward with a last-minute assault on the New Deal program that could deny benefits to hundreds of thousands people with disabilities.

"On the first day of your administration, rescind the Trump administration's rule changes that undermine Social Security, and fire all of Donald Trump's political appointees to the Social Security Administration," reads the petition launched by advocacy group Social Security Works, which is urging Biden to "clean house" at the agency.

"We must call on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to rescind these dangerous, last-minute rule changes by the Trump administration and fire all of Donald Trump's political appointees from the Social Security Administration."
—Social Security Works

_________________________________________________________________________

Walgreens may begin Covid vaccinations at
 nursing homes before Christmas

By Kevin Stankiewicz


Walgreens said it expects to get its first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine on Dec. 21 and start giving shots to nursing home residents and staff members in the days leading up to Christmas.

The national drugstore chain will play an instrumental role in the early rollout of the much-anticipated vaccination. Walgreens and CVS Health struck deals with the federal government to vaccinate staff and residents at long-term care facilities, which most states have put at the top of the priority list along with health-care workers for receiving Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines.

Pfizer’s vaccine is expected to win emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration imminently, while Moderna’s approval is expected to soon follow.


_________________________________________________________________


The Next Six Months Will Be
 Vaccine Purgatory

By Sarah Zhang

The period after a vaccine is approved will be strange and confusing, as certain groups of people get vaccinated but others have to wait.


With the FDA’s emergency authorization of the first COVID-19 vaccine imminent, the biggest and most complex vaccination campaign in the nation’s history is gearing into action. Planes are ferrying vaccines around the country, hospitals are readying ultracold freezers, and the very first people outside of clinical trials will soon get shots in their arms. The end of the pandemic is in sight.

But vaccines are not an off switch. It will take several months to vaccinate enough Americans to resume normal life, and this interim could prove long, confusing, and chaotic. The next six months will almost certainly bring delays in vaccine timelines, fights over vaccine priority, and questions about how immune the newly vaccinated are and how they should behave. We’ve spent 2020 adjusting to a pandemic normal, and now a strange, new period is upon us. Call it vaccine purgatory.


________________________________________________________


Resiliency helps older adults
deal with the pandemic

By Jocelyn Solis-Moreira

A recent article in JAMA discusses why older adults appear to be coping better with loneliness and social isolation than younger adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemics are stressful, and the loneliness that comes with isolation takes a toll on mental health.

Surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted between June 24 and June 30, 2020, found that 40.9% of respondents experienced at least one mental or behavioral health condition. These ranged from symptoms of anxiety, depression, and trauma to starting or increasing substance use.






Life:
Why Do We Cherish It So Much?

7 minutes

I rarely like to use this column to kvetch, but it goes to everything that’s been going on around us these days.
 
I had a lousy weekend. Mostly because I was ill for most of it.
 
As many of you know, I have lots of problems with my guts. Mainly because I have little of my original equipment left. Surgery 10 years ago left me without a colon and some problems. But, until Friday, pain wasn’t one of them.
 
Over the years following my surgery, I have learned to be careful with what I eat. I try to stay away from difficult to digest food or any foods that are too spicy. But the one thing I can’t control are any little microbes that may have hitched a ride on something I digested. And that’s probably what caused me a weekend of cramping, chills and body aches. And lots of trips to the bathroom.

Of course, the first thing I thought of was “Uh oh, I’ve caught the COVID.” A quick trip to the Google eased my fears. Stomach problems are not a leading symptom of COVID-19. But that still did not relieve me of my discomfort. So, I spent the rest of the weekend hardly eating and drinking a lot of fluids. I’m happy to report that, although there are a few tremors and after-shocks remaining, I’m feeling much better. But that doesn’t mean that I am not concerned about living life and my ultimate demise. And I suspect, as the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise, many of us have thought about our final moments on earth.

Dying did not enter my mind until, as a patient, I saw how things could go south very quickly. You can feel okay one day and then, the next you don’t. And you can tell by the attention the doctors and nurses are giving you, they are worried. But the reality that I might not make it out of the hospital alive didn’t hit home until the night before surgery when a nurse (or maybe it was a doctor) asked if I wanted to see a priest or rabbi. I don’t remember answering. But neither a priest nor rabbi came to see me. Which worked out well because I didn’t die. But that brief encounter with the inevitable gave me cause to think about my demise.
 
It’s hard to realize there will be a time when you are no longer here and that the world will go about its business very well without you. And that pisses me off no end. If you’re lucky somebody might say “I wish_____ were here, he would have known the answer to that.” Or, “_____used to do that for me.” It seems to me, 75 or 80 years on this planet ought to account for more than just a fond memory.

But what is it about life that we want to cling to it as long as possible?
 
I suppose you could ask a dozen people and get a dozen different answers. Some answers will be altruistic.
 
Some will say they want to make the world a better place as if they have a personal stake in its future, while still others tell you they want their children and grandchildren to live in a world free of prejudice, hunger, war and disease. Noble for sure, but man has been saying that for thousands of years and look where we are.
 
Still others will be a little more hedonistic (and perhaps more honest) when they say they “just wanna have fun.”
 
For me, well, I look at life as a soap opera or a long-running sit-com with me as the star and with each day a new episode. And dying means I will never see how it ends or know what incidents lead to its finally.

Did we finally have that war ending life on this planet as we know it? Did a giant meteor cause a mass extinction?
 
Did we cure cancer? Did Aliens finally show themselves? Was there a zombie apocalypse?
 
These are things I’ll never know because I’ll be dead. And dead is the ultimate buzz killer, ad blocker, party-pooper. #eternity. About the only thing that goes on apparently forever is your Facebook account. As long as nobody knows your password and people keep posting to it, your page will continue to exist as long as there is an internet. Creepy, huh?
 
This whole COVID thing has brought us all a little closer to the realization that we are a
ll expendable. Maybe more expendable than we thought. And it caught us off-guard. Many places don’t have room to store the bodies. Funeral directors are overwhelmed and there’s a land-rush on cemetery plots.
 
I know there will be a time when I will have but a few days or hours or minutes to come to grips with the idea that it will soon be all over. I hope by that time I will have had enough of life to let it go without too much fuss.
 
Do I hope there’s an afterlife? It would be nice, I guess. But floating around on a cloud in a state of grace under the watchful eye of my maker for eternity is not that appealing. At least not without Netflix.……………………… .
 





Addiction: An Unspoken Risk of COVID-19


My loneliest holiday was Christmas 2015, the year after my father's sudden death. The idea of making the trek home to eastern Kentucky where I had spent the previous 35 holidays was too much to handle. Instead, I settled on a solo holiday in my new apartment in Baltimore, hoping that its bright white walls and cozy fireplace would help me start a new holiday tradition.

But my vision of a relaxing holiday never materialized.

Instead, I found myself drinking too much and walking the cold, cobblestone streets of the historic city, trying to figure out how I could feel better when everything I did (whether isolating or socializing) seemed to make things worse.  







10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees
By Rocky Mengle, David Muhlbaum


Whether you plan to retire at the beach, near the mountains, or to some other dream destination, make sure you check out the local tax situation before packing your bags and hiring a moving van. If you don't, you might be unpleasantly surprised by a hefty state and local tax bill in your new hometown.

State and local taxes can vary greatly from one place to another. The difference can easily exceed $10,000 or more per year for some people, which is enough to break the bank for a lot of retirees. So, to avoid this kind of bombshell, make sure you do some research before settling on a new location. You can start with Kiplinger's State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees. This tool maps out the tax landscape for each state and the District of Columbia, and allows you to do a side-by-side comparison for up to five states at a time.










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NEXT BLOG TUESDAY, DEC. 15th 2020


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Dec. 11 2020


Flu Shot More Popular Than
COVID-19 Vaccine Among Older Adults

Older adults are less likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine than a flu vaccine, according to a report published online Nov. 24 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 conducted an online survey (Oct. 9 to 27, 2020) of 1,556 randomly selected older adults (aged 50 to 80 years) to assess opinions of the flu vaccine and a potential COVID-19 vaccine.


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Pandemic Fatigue Is Real—
But Now Is Not the Time to Give In to It
By Molly Jong-Fast

“Yes, the vaccine is coming,” I told myself as I spent my first Thanksgiving without any of my 70-something parents in the hope of keeping them safe. Yes, the vaccine is coming, I tell myself as I look ahead to what will be an even lonelier Christmas. Yes, the vaccine is coming, I tell my father, who hasn’t seen his grandchildren in months. Yes, the vaccine is coming, I silently mouth as I look into my children’s bedrooms as they stare into the blue lights of their computer screens, deprived of school, friends, family, and what used to be called normal life.

As we were warned, the “darkest winter in modern history” has arrived on our doorstep, with the most chilling of numbers: More than 2,800 Americans died of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the most reported in a single day since the pandemic started back in March. And on Friday, more than 226,000 new cases were recorded, another new single-day record. California is about to go into another lockdown, and unbelievably one of every 800 people in North Dakota has now died of the coronavirus. Hospitals from Missouri to New Mexico to Minnesota say they will soon run out of beds for the patients who need them. We are a country with more than 14 million cases of the coronavirus—with the numbers rising every day.






Where Do We Go From Here?
What’s The Near-Range Future
For Long-Term Care Residents?
6 minutes

A few weeks ago we here at the Asylum were told we would soon return, with restrictions, to communal dining. 
 
They were going to permit us to get back into our dining room where we they would serve our meals, not in Styrofoam containers with plastic utensils but on real plates with actual knives and forks. And maybe even get some hot, freshly made food for a change instead of the pre-fabricated, factory made and portion controlled sludge they have served since March.
 
But alas. After that first announcement (relayed to me, in person, by our administrator) we’ve heard nothing. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. The plan, if there ever really was one, has gone away with all the other well-meant ideas proposed as a way of combating the continued torture that they have forced only we residents of long-term care facilities to endure. And I do mean forced.
 
Unlike every Tom, Dick and Rudy who they allow to partake in whatever fool-hardy, virus spreading endeavor they please like attending football games, a political rally, religious observances and dining in or out of a bar or restaurant, they have given us old folks the status of “detainees.”  

We have committed no crime or done no deed that should cause those in charge to treat us this way. They have not just restricted our freedoms; they have taken them away. 

I could run down a list of things that would make a Constitutional scholar cringe. But the one that exemplifies what I find most loathsome is that they do not permit our residents to leave the immediate area of this facility without facing the possibility of not being permitted to return.
 
How would you like it if, upon returning home from a trip to the market, you find your landlord standing at the front door refusing to let you in? That’s what A.L.F. residents are subject to. But enough of what is now. What’s in store for us in the near future? When, and if will we see that proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” we have waited for all these months?

It’s very easy to use as an excuse for the stringent precautions the vulnerability to infection old folks have for infection. It’s an easy, catch-all response to questions from irate residents and their loved-ones. And they have the stats to back them up. Residents of long-term care facilities that have complied with the all the rules set forth by local health departments have remained safer and with less fresh cases reported than the general population. My only question is, “Why aren’t they placing the same life-saving restrictions on the public as they have on us?
 
Do I sound bitter and naïve? Perhaps. But if they locked you up for 270 days, forced to watch the world go about its business as usual, eating in restaurants, drinking in bars, traveling about the city enjoying the holiday decorations and attending dinners with your family, perhaps you would exhibit the same animosity we have towards our so-called "protectors."

Here is what I hope to see happen in the short term.
 
I want to have all residents, and the people who take care of us, vaccinated ASAP. Hopefully, before the end of January.
 
Next, I want the Department of Health to take a good, hard look at the results. And, if those results show that the vaccine has done its job and has made us impervious to infection and its consequences, they should remove, or at least mitigate the Draconian constraints
to our lives and well-being that has made us feel like second-class citizens.
 
I want our government to place upon all those members of the public who refuse to be vaccinated, the same regulations and restraints they put upon us. And then we can all sit back and listen to the cry’s of “Unconstitutional” and “Dictatorial” and “Socialistic” we have heard for the last four years.
 
But all levity aside, all us seniors really want is a decent meal, interaction with our friends and relatives, group activities and the luxury of not having to wear a mask all day. Not too much to ask for, is it?……… .
 





Happiness and aging in the US:
Why it is different from other places and why it matters
By David G. Blanchflower, Carol Graham


The past decade has brought increasing concern, in countries all over the world, of declines in mental health and well-being. Across countries, chronic depression and suicide rates peak in midlife. In the United States, deaths of despair are most likely to occur in these years, and the patterns are robustly associated with unhappiness and stress. Well-being is also a factor in differential mortality rates among the old, particularly those over age 70. Better understanding the relationship between well-being and aging is not just an academic exercise. Well-being has a robust association with trends that can ruin lives and shorten life spans. These trends are not unique to the U.S. but are particularly stark here.

In a new NBER working paper, we analyze several different datasets for the U.S. and provide extensive evidence on the middle age patterns, new evidence of how they differ across the married and unmarried—which is not the case in most other wealthy countries, and review new work on well-being and mortality among the elderly.







Vaccines explained: 
As others get the shot, you get a little safer
By Travis Fain, Heather Leah, Izz LaMagdeleine


Raleigh, N.C. — It will be months before there’s enough coronavirus vaccine for everyone, but each person in your orbit who gets the shot makes you incrementally safer.

“The less contagious people walking around there are, the more safe you are," said Rachel Roper, an associate professor in East Carolina University's Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

That's the idea with vaccines: Give it to enough people, break the potential chains of transmission one at a time and don't give the virus anywhere to go.










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NEXT BLOG MONDAY, DEC. 14th 2020


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Dec. 10 2020
Health experts warn of tough holiday season for seniors
By Damare Baker and Lillian Bautista

Health experts are warning that the holiday season poses an increased COVID-19 threat to older Americans, who are already one of the most vulnerable demographics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 million coronavirus cases have been reported since Nov. 23, despite recommendations that people forgo traveling for Thanksgiving and limit celebrations to members of their household.

But many are still holding family gatherings outside the CDC guidelines with people in the high-risk 65-and-up age group.


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One-time Emergency 3% COLA Would Boost
Average Social Security Benefits
an Extra $398 Per Year Over Retirement

“Replacing the announced 1.3 percent COLA with an emergency 3 percent increase is a way to provide a more fair and adequate inflation adjustment to beneficiaries,” says Mary Johnson, Policy Analyst for The Senior Citizens League.


A one - time emergency 3 percent Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) would increase a $1,523 Social Security benefit by about $398 per year on average, over the course of a 25 year retirement period, according to new analysis from The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “Replacing the announced 1.3 percent COLA with an emergency 3 percent increase is a way to provide a more fair and adequate inflation adjustment to beneficiaries,” says Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. “Because retirees tend to use their Social Security benefits to pay for essentials such as housing and healthcare, it would be a way to help stimulate the economy and to put younger adults back to work, which in turn, means stronger funding for Social Security and Medicare as well,” says Johnson.

Getting the annual inflation adjustment so that it accurately reflects the spending patterns of retired adults is a critical part of Social Security income over the course of a retirement. When inflation adjustments don’t adequately keep pace with rising costs, the Social Security benefits of retirees don’t buy as much over time. Research by Johnson has found that Social Security benefits have lost 30 percent of buying power since 2000. “A basket of groceries that cost $70 in 2000 would cost $100 today,” Johnson says. 


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Operation Warp Speed chief predicts ‘significant decrease’
in deaths among elderly by end of January
By Paulina Firozi, Jeanne Whalen, Felicia Sonmez


The leader of the White House’s effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine has predicted that by the end of January, there will be a “significant decrease” in deaths among the nation’s elderly, as high-risk populations in the United States receive vaccinations.

Moncef Slaoui, chief science adviser to Operation Warp Speed, said he expects independent advisers to the Food and Drug Administration to recommend emergency authorization for the vaccine developed by Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech when the panel meets Thursday. The FDA is expected to issue the authorization soon after that. Pfizer’s vaccine is the first in line for approval in the United States.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that if the FDA panel recommends authorization of the Pfizer vaccine later this week, people could start to receive shots “within days.”


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What seniors can expect when
Covid-19 vaccines become available
By Judith Graham

Vaccines that protect against Covid-19 are on the way. What should older adults expect?

The first candidates, from Pfizer and Moderna, could arrive before Christmas, according to Alex Azar, who heads the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Both vaccines are notably effective in preventing illness due to the coronavirus, according to information released by the companies, although much of the data from clinical trials is still to come. Both have been tested in adults age 65 and older, who mounted a strong immune response.

Seniors in nursing homes and assisted living centers will be among the first Americans vaccinated, following recommendations this week by a federal advisory panel. Older adults living at home will need to wait a while longer.

Many uncertainties remain. Among them: What side effects can older adults anticipate and how often will these occur? Will the vaccines offer meaningful protection to seniors who are frail or have multiple chronic illnesses?
Here's a look at what's known, what's not and what lies ahead.







5 minutes

Since when did we become a nation of wacko nut-jobs?

Exactly when did we turn in to a bunch of paranoid schizophrenics who see conspirators behind every bush and anarchists around every corner?

Now, when we need to stand as one, we have instead become 330 million individuals with our own, often selfish, agendas.


While some of it is the atmosphere of divisiveness and prejudice fostered by the current president and the party he represents, much more stems from the very American belief in individualism and self-sufficiency. The lure of the pioneer or the rugged mountain-man, living off the grid, inspires many to feel that dependency on others means weakness on our part.

Perhaps the most difficult thing for me to understand is why has the wearing of masks become a political statement or a sign that one might not be “manly” enough.
 
I understand that when we first noticed that a virus had the potential to wreak havoc on our population, there was a great deal of confusion and misinformation whether masks were even necessary. Some even believed the virus was as widespread as reported and we could easily deal with it by washing our hands and staying away from people who “looked” sick. Just like the precautions we have taken against the flu for a hundred years. And so what if you get sick? You take some NyQuil, drink fluids and stay home for a few days, and stop being such a wuss.

But why, after seeing and reading the media reports showing hundreds and then thousands of people sick and dying in overcrowded and ill-prepared hospitals, did they continue to deny the severity of the infection? Could it be that someone had poisoned a vast number of the population against the media and told them not to believe everything they hear because it’s “fake news?”
 
Nobody thought it might be a plot until the Commander-in-chief said it was. And now, because of that one irresponsible statement, we are in the state we are today. 15.2 million cases and 286,000 dead Americans with 3000 new deaths every day. Despite that, there are those who just don’t get it. They think “government wants to run my life.” When it should be “The government wants to save my life.”

Are we on a path that can lead only to continued hardship, illness and death? Have we passed a point of no return? Perhaps not.
 
They have miraculously given us a chance to reverse the damage already done.
 
We now have a new vaccine and, better still, a new president who won’t promote wacky conspiracies, will be upright and honest when asked tough questions and will not point fingers at the other party as the reason for our problems.
 
But, according to experts, we will not feel the full effect of the vaccine unless at least 75% of the population consent to taking it. A task that may be impossible to accomplish. The damage done to our unanimity as a nation may too difficult to repair. At least in the short term.  Only time will tell. But for some of us, time may be an extravagance we can’t afford.

It’s time we come together and clear the fog that has descended upon us like the virus itself.
 
Dr. Fauci today said (and I paraphrase) “Too many Americans have yet to come to grips with the seriousness of the virus and its consequences and still believe it to be a hoax.” Maybe they need to hear from the ICU nurse who held the hand of a patient until they died and then tell me it’s a hoax…………………………… .
 





Senior-friendly technology becoming popular
means of communications for families
By Ken Brown, Jared Goffinet


During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has been vital for some people to see loved ones, especially senior family members.

Staying connected to family members in quarantine or nursing homes has become increasingly difficult. The pandemic has relegated in-person family visits to an almost prison-like visit with conversations being had through a pane of glass.

Video chats though have become an extremely popular means of communication.

The best part about video chats, according to FOX19 NOW tech expert Dave Hatter, is the simplicity of it all.






9 Enjoyable Activities for Seniors with Limited Mobility

These suggested activities for seniors with limited mobility help boost mood and engagement in life
Seniors with limited mobility can still enjoy a variety of activities

Many older adults lose mobility due to conditions like stroke, severe arthritis, or injuries from falls.

When that happens, activities and hobbies they used to enjoy might now be too difficult.

But loss of mobility doesn’t mean the end of good times. There are many ways to have fun, boost mood, and stay engaged in the world without needing to move around too much.

To help you find things that suit your older adult’s interests, we rounded up 9 wonderful activities for seniors with limited mobility.

9 great activities for seniors with limited mobility










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NEXT BLOG FRIDAY, DEC. 11th 2020


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Dec. 9 2020

Trump launches ‘despicable’ last-minute attack on
Social Security with rule aiming to restrict disability benefits
By Jake Johnson

Just weeks away from relinquishing power to incoming President-elect Joe Biden, the Trump administration is quietly launching a last-minute assault on Social Security by rushing ahead with a rule that, if implemented, could deny critical benefits to hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) late last week submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a proposed rule aiming to further tighten eligibility requirements for Social Security disability benefits, which around ten million Americans currently rely on for a modest monthly income.

“Since the day he took office, President Trump has claimed he would protect Social Security. He is showing his true colors again.”
                                                        —Richard Fiesta, Alliance for Retired Americans


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Social Security Administration is preparing to bar
500,000 Americans from getting benefits
By David A. Weaver

Over the weekend, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sent the Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a proposal that — if similar to a version leaked earlier this year — will bar Social Security benefits from hundreds of thousands of Americans. The document that leaked suggests the proposal could ultimately prevent as many as 500,000 Americans from receiving benefits. Whether SSA can slip this through the regulatory process before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenHong Kong police arrest 8 activists over anti-government protests DHS to begin accepting new DACA applications following court order Trump personally asked Pa. GOP House Speaker for help changing election results: report MORE’s inauguration may depend on whether SSA and OMB respect the formal regulatory process.

If implemented, the regulation should be undone by the Biden administration or overruled by Congress.


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Nursing homes are a top priority for Covid vaccines.
But vaccinating everyone won’t be simple.
By Suzy Khimm


Nursing home residents and staff members will be among the first people in the United States to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

But there are significant challenges to overcome before the vaccine is broadly administered to this high-risk population, which has been hit harder than any other by the pandemic.

The federal government has contracted with CVS and Walgreens to distribute the vaccine to long-term care facilities and open on-site clinics to vaccinate residents. That’s no small logistical feat, but it’s far from the only hurdle this mass vaccination effort faces.

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Assisted Living Rates Increase 6.15% in 2020 —
And Are Set to Go Higher
By Chuck Sudo


Spurred by the continuing shortage of skilled labor in senior living and exacerbated by Covid-19, the costs to reside in assisted living in 2020 are significantly higher than the previous year, according to the latest Cost of Care Survey from insurer Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW).

Assisted living costs rose 6.15%, the highest spike among all care segments. The national median cost for a one-bedroom unit in a private-pay assisted living community is now $4,300 per month, or $51,600 per year. The increase from 2018 to 2019, by comparison, was only 1.28%. The five-year compound annual growth rate for assisted living costs rose to 3.62%, according to the survey.



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Not Just Another Senior Wish List
6 minutes

This will not be a shopping list of the “toys” I want for Hanukkah/Christmas. Heaven knows I have all the crap I need. And anything I don’t have, I’ll buy for myself thank you.
 
On the contrary. This list comprises things many of our seniors need and which Federal, State and local governments have woefully ignored for too many years.
 
As the percentage of older Americans grows, it sometimes appears that there is a concerted effort to reduce or even eliminate vitally needed programs that seniors have come to rely on. And that has to be stopped.
 
First, let’s get this out of the way.
 
Yes. At the top of my list, and I imagine at the top of people’s list the world over, is that we will soon see an end to this pandemic that has taken so much from us. However, the world has not stopped spinning and there will be a tomorrow and seniors will be an enormous part of those tomorrow’s. That is why the new administration needs to confront these issues early on.
 
High on my senior wish list is the problem of affordable housing for older Americans who don’t need the full services of a nursing home, but can no longer live by themselves. And by “affordable” I mean that which people whose sole source of income is Social Security can afford. The model for such places is already in place and working well as subsidized assisted living. We need to expand this so that all who genuinely need it will not be left out in the cold because they can’t come up with the $4000 to $6000 a month room and board. And we don’t have to spend one dime to build them.
 
With malls and big box stores going out of business, thousands of perfectly suitable buildings, complete with infrastructure and utilities, are just waiting for conversion to livable spaces. And the remodeling of those spaces will provide jobs for a variety of trades for years.

Next on my list is something that has been a bone of contention for many years. Social Security.
 
Nobody will deny that the system which has protected seniors and others for 85 years is in trouble. Mainly because the government has been stealing from it for a long time. But just because it has its problems is no reason to do away with it, as some in the present administration would like to do. All it takes is some honesty and the will to make it self-perpetuating. Why haven’t all those millions or billions of dollars collected over the years not been earning money on world markets or placed in interest-bearing instruments? There are people that have become incredibly rich overnight with a lot less. We need to put some of that entrepreneurial know-how to work.
 
And as for today’s benefits, we need payments that better reflect the actual cost-of-living instead of relying on a formula that is out-of-touch with reality.

Finally, and perhaps the most important, is our health care system, especially as it pertains to Seniors.
 
Medicare is the closest thing we have to universal health care. And it works. But it is not perfect. There are too many variables and it’s not free. Most seniors have about $185 deducted from their Social Security benefits to pay for it. And what do we get for that? A system that allows doctors to opt-out and refuse to take on Medicare patients, leaving many to have to hunt for a new doctor. And what about medications? “The average Medicare recipient averages 4.1 prescriptions per month. The distribution is quite skewed, with 11.5% using none, and 25% using six or more. Those who pay their own pharmacy bills average 3.3, whereas those with coverage for some or all of their bills average 4.4.” And the costs of those meds and the amount of co-pay are sometimes out-of-reach for many who have to decide whether to buy food or take their pills. The best way to “fix” Medicare is to make it available to all. It’s time to do the right thing and put the health of Americans ahead of lining the pockets of greedy health-care providers.
 
My list doesn’t end there. I’d like to see other items considered as well.
 
Among those are food and nutrition. So many of us are victims of food insecurity. No one, especially older Americans, should have to decide whether to eat or pay the rent. We need to expand the social welfare systems already in place to include those who would not normally be eligible for aid.
 
I’m sure you could come up with some wishes of your own. I’d like to know what they are………………… 
 



The beauty of a handwritten letter
By Marnie Sara

With no time to waste, I rip it open before I even make it back from the mailbox. With the package in my hand, my heart races as I glance at the return address and smile because I know exactly where it came from. 

The bulky envelope holds two folded papers full of words excited to share their story. I rush to sit down as I try my hardest to interpret the sloppy cursive that fills the pages. Staring at the black ink, my heart is full as I think about how eager I am to write him back.

I discovered the magic of handcrafted letters at a young age. My grandfather, whom I admire so dearly but rarely get to see, has always held a connection with me through letters. He writes me for my birthday, when I lost my first tooth, while I was at camp, and for every other milestone in between. To this day, I still write to him regularly and feel the magic in his words as much as I did when I was 7. When my grandfather mails the envelope, he is sending me a piece of his heart, his best intentions, and closing the distance that keeps us so far apart.






2020 Was A Rough Year, But Here Are 20 Truly
Amazing Things People Did To Get Through It All
by Kayla Yandoli


It's no secret that 2020 has been one of the toughest years — between the deadly pandemic and racial injustice, it's taken a heavy toll on a lot of people. Because we've been through such a dark time, we deserve to celebrate some good things that happened this year.

This inspired us to ask the BuzzFeed Community what helped them get through 2020. Here are their amazing responses:

1. "I adopted a senior rescue dog at the beginning of quarantine. I had already been planning on getting a dog for months, but having to isolate solo (I live alone) increased the urgency of needing a companion. I chose a little guy off the rescue's website who, at 9 years old, was older than I thought I had wanted, but he looked so scared, and I just had to get him." 









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NEXT BLOG THURSDAY, DEC. 10th 2020


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Dec. 8th 2020

States need to step up elder abuse protections
in assisted living, other settings

A new report is calling for increased state action to reduce and prevent elder abuse in assisted living communities and other settings.

According to WalletHub, which released its report on 2020’s States with the Best Elder-Abuse Protections, as many as 13 out of every 14 elder abuse cases go unreported. The personal finance website compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 16 key indicators of elder abuse protection in three categories: elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints, and financial elder abuse laws.

Overall, according to the report, Massachusetts topped the list of states with the best elder abuse protections, followed by Wisconsin, Vermont, Michigan and West Virginia. States that ranked among the worst for elder abuse protections were New Jersey, South Carolina, California, Utah and Montana.


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How Senior Living Providers Are Preparing
for Covid-19 Vaccine Logistics
By Tim Regan


Senior living providers are eagerly awaiting a Covid-19 vaccine — but the logistics around inoculating residents and associates are complex.

On Wednesday, the United Kingdom authorized a Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer for emergency use, increasing hopes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will follow suit in short order. While it appears that a vaccine could be available within weeks, senior living providers face uncertainties and complications surround the vaccine supply chain, who should be prioritized to receive the vaccine, and what providers can do about residents or associates who refuse vaccination.

But one thing is certain: most hopes of returning to normal operations in 2021 hinge on the widespread distribution of a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. That’s why senior living providers including Juniper Communities, ALG Senior and the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society are preparing now to surmount obstacles and ensure a fast and efficient vaccination process, as soon as a vaccine is available. And both are utilizing the help of long-term care pharmacy giant Omnicare and its parent company, CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) as part of the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.


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With New Holiday Recommendations from CMS, the Year
of Challenges for Nursing Home Residents Continues

In advance of the beginning of the holiday season, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued recommendations for keeping nursing home residents safe amidst the continuing Coronavirus pandemic while still allowing them to enjoy the holidays as much as possible. In a call with stakeholders on November 18, 2020, CMS stated that it would not be issuing new visitation guidance in light of a holiday season that coincides with a nationwide surge in COVID-19 infections. Instead, the agency advised facilities, residents, families, and visitors to continue to follow existing guidance for visitation and provided recommendations for celebrating the holidays safely for those residents who exercise their right to leave the facility.

As a threshold matter, CMS recommends that residents not leave the facility during the holidays or for the duration of the Public Health Emergency and urges facilities to educate residents and their families regarding the risks of leaving the facility. Nevertheless, the agency recognizes the right of residents to leave the facility if they choose and recommends the following:

    Maintain social distancing of six (6) feet or more, keep gatherings as small as possible, and use technology to engage with others remotely;






Happy Holidays?
7 minutes

Thursday, December 10th is the first day of Hanukkah, one of two major holidays we celebrate this month. But this year we will face challenges we have never faced before. Just how are we supposed to enjoy a family-oriented occasion without a family?
 
I was married to a nice girl who was very family oriented. And she, being Catholic and having a large extended family, meant holiday time (Thanksgiving and Christmas) was an important part of the year for her. And, while my family was not much for “gatherings”, I got caught up in her enthusiasm and really enjoyed celebrating those holidays with her family. And who wouldn’t? The food, the drink, the presents and the music made for a heady dose of friendship and camaraderie. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, the first Christmas after our divorce I almost asked if I could drop by.


Now, In this year of our despair, confusion and misinformation, we face something we have never faced or asked to face since the first Hanukkah or Christmas. They are telling us to stay away from the people who love us the most. For some, this is so hard to do that they will risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones. And for what? To carry on a tradition that has become more of a commercial enterprise than a celebration of a miracle or the birth of a savior? 

And it’s not like we don’t know what’s going to happen. We had a “dry run” during Thanksgiving when 50 million of us hopped in our cars or a plane and visited the kids or granny just so we can gorge ourselves on food and argue with people we only see once a year. And now, we are seeing the results of that folly. The surge in fresh cases, followed, to be sure, by more deaths, the inability of front-line staff to keep up with the ever-increasing number of patients and the strain this is putting on our economy. All because we are too self-involved, too complacent, or just too f***ing stupid to care.


I have the feeling that those of you who are reading this know what I mean and will do the right thing this year and stay home. However, for those of you who are still on the fence about whether to try your luck, let me tell you why you shouldn’t. Even if you care nothing for others, at least care for yourself.
 
Hospitalization is not fun. Especially when you are fighting an affliction that is trying its best to kill you. And winning.
 
I’m sure many of you may have spent some time as a patient in a hospital. The average hospital stay is about 5 days. For argument’s sake, let’s say the longest you may have stayed in a hospital is two weeks. Even with the TV and the nice bed, it’s not fun. Or even pleasant. All you want to do is go home. And, eventually, you do because they have successfully treated you and you’re feeling better.
 
Now suppose that two weeks becomes two months or more. And for every day of those months a doctor tells you something else is “Not looking good” and they are going to do another procedure on you to ease the problem. And each day, the chances of you leaving that hospital becomes less and less certain until you reach a point where it doesn’t make a difference anymore. Would you still want to risk it?
 
Ten years ago I spent Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year in a hospital bed in New York. Much of it in and out of an ICU. It’s an experience I never want to go through again. It saps your strength, warps your mind, and kills your spirit. But unlike so many people who are lying in a bed in a hospital with tubes stuck in every orifice imaginable because they refused to do what experts are telling them to do, I did not know that a simple change to my lifestyle would have prevented the misery I endured.

No. This will not be the holiday season we were looking forward to. And we have only ourselves to blame. We just can’t help being us. Human. We are born with a natural optimism and curiosity, and unfortunately, little or no common sense. Unlike animals, we believe we are infallible. Instead of fleeing from danger, we toy with it. Injury or death happens to other people. Not us. And, while that spirit got us to the moon, defended us from aggressors and built this country, we often rely too heavily on our instincts, which does not always lead to self preservation. Maybe it’s time we stop acting like humans and more like sheep, if not for ourselves, but for the rest of the flock……………  
 



The Fun of Transcribing Historical Documents From Home

A few months ago, the 72-year-old retired Federal Aviation Administration public information officer signed up to be a "Citizen Archivist" with the National Archives, the nation's official repository for government documents of historical significance. That means he's transcribing handwritten ones as well as and typed and printed scanned images that aren't yet searchable.

"I thought, well, historical research and writing are just up my line," Barker recalls. "So, I looked at the National Archives website and signed up to do transcriptions and have been happily doing it ever since."

Isaacs says these contributions "help unlock history."

The pandemic had sidelined Barker from his main pursuit as a volunteer librarian at Fort Union National Monument in northern New Mexico. He had also written and published a book about the colorful Wild West heritage of the town he lives in. But he was looking for something more to do.






Welcome to Senior's Guide to Computers
Updated for Windows 10
(and perfect for computer beginners of all ages)

Join us as we show you the ins and outs of personal computers using simplified terms, examples, pictures and videos actually described in easy-to-understand English. Geek is not spoken here.

The following sections will cover every area necessary to turn your computer from a $1,000 paperweight to a valuable tool for productivity, communication, business, entertainment and much more:

The Basics - an overview of the main parts of a personal computer (PC) as it relates to your own physical office.









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79 YEARS AGO


On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor , Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans.

Deaths in World War II :

In four years of war, over 405,000 Americans gave their lives in the conflict. The military breaks out figures by state for the Army, which was the branch that contributed the most lives to the effort, by far. Nearly 235,000 soldiers were killed in battle during the war, with over 300,000 dying in total.

In 10 months of COVID-19…





Monday, Dec. 7th 2020



Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine shows robust
immune response among older adults
By Sam Meredith

The coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is safe and triggers a similar immune response among all adults, according to the preliminary findings of a peer-reviewed phase two trial.

The promising early-stage results were published Thursday in The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals.

The study of 560 healthy adults, including 240 over age 70, found the vaccine to be safe and produced a similar immune response among people age over 56 and those ages 18 to 55.
Older people face a “significant risk” of developing severe illness on contracting Covid-19, the WHO has said, citing decreased immune function and potential underlying health conditions. People of all ages are at risk of contracting the virus, however.


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66% of Retirees Spend
 This Much on Health Care
By Chris Kissell


As we age, the need for health care services rises. And millions of Americans depend on their Social Security benefit to cover the cost of such care.

About two-thirds of retirees — 66% — spend more than $375 a month on health care costs, a recent survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) found. That amount is equivalent to roughly one-quarter of the average Social Security benefit of $1,523 per month, TSCL reports.

In addition, 31% of retirees surveyed spend more than $1,000 monthly on health costs, which is about two-thirds of the average Social Security benefit.


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Statins reduce heart disease risk
even in older adults


Older adults benefit at least as much as young people from cholesterol-lowering medications that reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease, according to two studies published Tuesday by The Lancet.

For every 80 people age 80 to 100 who take statins, one heart attack will be prevented, researchers say, while three times that number of people between age 50 and 59 would need to take the drugs to prevent one heart attack, the data from one study showed.

Similarly, cholesterol-lowering medications reduced the risk for heart attack and stroke in those age 75 years and older by 26% for every one-point reduction in LDL cholesterol, the second analysis found.


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Consuming Nuts Linked with Reduced
Inflammation in Older Adults


Older adults who regularly consume nuts have seen reductions in inflammation than those who do not, according to results from a new analysis.

Researchers for the paper assessed changes in circulating inflammatorey molecules in patients in the Walnuts and Health Aging (WAHA) trial. The study sample consisted of 634 adult participants. Participants were divided into those with walnuts in their diet (n=324) and those in a control group (n=310).

According to the study results, compliance with the walnut-rich diet was high, and there were no reported changes in patient body weight. The walnut diet was associated with significant reductions in the concentrations of six of 10 inflammatory biomarkers (GM-CSF, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, and sE-selectin) compared with the control diet.


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Workout Recovery Tips for Seniors
Have Many Benefits


Keeping fit when you’re older can come with complications: joint pain, strain on the heart, and the risk of injury. But the benefits so far outweigh any concerns that more people are incorporating activity into their daily routines. Taking advantage of these workout recovery tips for seniors can maximize the effectiveness of exercise even after it’s over.

Cool Down

We all want to collapse when we finish done working out, but it won’t do you any favors. Your heartbeat is still fast, your temperature is still high, and your blood vessels are dilated. Stop too fast, and you could feel sick or pass out. Cool down by walking for five minutes, stretching gently, and breathing deeply, so your body can ease back into your normal day.

Hydrate



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5 Ways Senior Living Communities
 Support Longevity

Productive engagement is the key to longevity, according to researchers at the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University. That means older adults who stay connected, healthy, and secure can add many happy years to their lives.

A senior living community encompasses many types of senior care and housing options designed for older adults, including independent living, assisted living and memory care. They offer older adults much more than a place to live. Rather, senior living communities provide access to activities and opportunities to socialize and explore new interests, hobbies and passions while freeing one from the burden of home maintenance and chores. Ultimately, this leads to better health and longevity.

Here’s five important ways senior living communities support seniors in living better longer.


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60% of seniors with depression
 won't seek treatment

More than 60% of seniors with depression in the United States won't seek treatment for their condition, according to the results of a nationwide survey released Monday by genetic testing company Myriad Neuroscience.

One-third of surveyed adults 65 and older believe they can "snap out" of it on their own, without counseling, drug therapy or other forms of treatment, the data showed.

"Many older Americans think that admitting they are struggling with depression and anxiety is a sign of weakness," Dr. Mark Pollack told UPI.


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Little benefit for vitamin D, omega-3,
exercise in seniors

Vitamin D, omega-3 supplements and exercising regularly -- either alone or in combination -- won't necessarily lower blood pressure, improve cognitive function or reduce risk for bone fractures in older adults, a study published Tuesday by JAMA found.

Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk for infections in some older adults, however, the researchers said.

For example, older adults who take 800 international units -- or 20 micrograms -- per day of vitamin D lowered risk for infections by 5%, but they had a 3% higher risk for suffering a fracture than those not taking the supplement, the data showed.


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Low-carb and high-fat diet 
helps obese older adults

Scientists continue to explore the right balance of carbohydrates and fat in people's diets. But for overweight or obese older adults, a recent study found that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet might offer special health benefits. The results were published online Aug. 12, 2020, by Nutrition and Metabolism.

Researchers asked 40 obese adults, ages 60 to 75, to follow an eight-week diet in which 10% of calories came from carbs, 25% from protein, and 65% from fat. Carb sources included leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, some fruit, and high-fiber grains. Protein intake consisted of eggs, fish, pork, and poultry. Fat-containing foods included olive oil, coconut oil, nut oils, nut butter, cheese, coconut milk, and avocados.

Compared with a control group, the low-carb, high-fat group lost more visceral fat (the deep hidden fat surrounding abdominal organs). They also had a big drop in insulin resistance and improved their cholesterol levels. These changes are linked with a lower risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. While this diet's long-term benefits are unknown, reducing carb intake could be a way for older adults to jump-start their weight-loss efforts and improve their health in ways that the scale does not always show.


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Why COVID-19 Could Pose
 New Medication Risks


It's common for older adults to take multiple medications, whether they're for easing pain, lowering blood pressure or cholesterol or treating a chronic condition. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified concerns about polypharmacy – regularly taking five or more prescription drugs.


Some prescriptions have side effects, such as dizziness, that can be particularly dangerous for older people; others pose a risk of drug interactions. Adding supplements or over-the-counter products to prevent COVID-19, or drugs to treat it, can compound the risks.


A few months ago, pharmacist Nicole Brandt counseled a 74-year-old Maryland woman who had come to an outpatient clinic for a wellness checkup. Brandt is executive director of the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the University of Maryland. Her patient had reason to be especially fearful of the pandemic: the woman had advanced kidney disease and was on dialysis. The woman mentioned that she had begun taking high-dose vitamin D because she heard it was protective against COVID-19.






Living In Infamy
7 minutes

A stealthy, fierce and deadly enemy attacked America seventy-nine years ago. Similar to the threat we face today. But unlike the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor when we had only a few hours warning that such an incursion would take place, the current president of the United States knew for at least a month (if not longer) that a threat to the lives of every citizen was immanent. And failed to do anything about it.
 
There was no “Date of infamy” speech urging Americans to stand united against a common enemy. Instead, he kept the information from us in the guise of “Not wanting to frighten the people.”
 
 And then, even after the “enemy” had spread its death and destruction across the continent, he continued to deny the severity of the virus or deliver a plan on how to fight it. And, very much like our armed forces in 1941, we woefully lacked the weapons, resources and logistics to deal with it. And now, we are paying the price. 2000 to 3000 new cases are being reported every day. But it didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.


On December 8th, 1941, immediately after FDR’s declaration of war, they reported this…
 
“On Dec. 8, 1941, the newspapers were filled with predictions that the Japanese would soon invade and take the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island, that the British would have to surrender in Hong Kong and Singapore. Other stories reported that Germany and Italy would soon honor the terms of the Axis Treaty and declare war on the United States. Japan might have submarines ready to attack the West Coast. Germany could already have long-range bombers capable of reaching America’s East Coast. For two years, the country had been following the destruction caused by the bombing of London.

So for many young Americans, enlisting was a practical matter of national survival as well as patriotism. Jazz band leader Count Basie put out “Draftin’ Blues” urging women to do their patriotic duty by encouraging their men to join up. “To hold him back might make him slack,” the lyric went. “Just say you got those draftin’ blues.”

All across the country, in urban and rural communities, military recruiting offices were jammed. Some offices announced they would stay open 24 hours, seven days a week to accept enlistments. Veterans of the first World War wanted to enlist, even though most were too old.” 
 
How different today is from then. Why is there no “Call to Action?” Where is the patriotism that American’s are known for? How come we refuse to do even the slightest things (like wearing masks and social distancing) to help stem the tide of an invasion as serious as any we have faced?
 
It would be easy to put the blame completely on Trump. After all, why should we fight an enemy the president says doesn’t exist? But our apathy extends way beyond that. It goes to the heart of who we really are. And, I’m sorry to say, it’s the same thing that has divided this nation for centuries. And that thing is bigotry.

Americans need someone to hate. And, if that someone looks different from us or doesn’t practice our religions, like the Japanese or Arabs, all the better. Look how eager we were to kill anything with a towel on their heads on September 12, 2001. Whether you were a Republican or Democrat, when president Bush said “We’re going to get them”, we said “When and where do I sign up?”
 
If only we could muster up that same enthusiasm, the same togetherness, the same hatred for this virus. But alas, it appears our bias extends only to things with a face. Microscopic organisms don’t bring about the same ire we have for a flesh and blood enemy. If anything, it has the opposite effect. We rile against anything and anybody who has the audacity to tell us what we MUST do to win the war. And we do so sometimes at the cost of our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
 
It’s hard for me to understand why people, when they know full well that family gatherings, political rallies, weddings, marches and demonstrations, crowding into bars and restaurants are likely to cause a surge in the number of cases resulting in needless sickness and death we continue to do it. And why does believing that the recent election was “rigged” translate into refusing to wear a mask? WTF is wrong with those folks? Are they so enamored with the prospect of keeping Trump in office that they will die for it?
 
There are many questions and few answers. Perhaps in the future we will have a clearer picture of why we acted as we did. Unfortunately, by that time, all of us will have passed into history. The only thing we know for sure is that, like 1941, 2020 (and perhaps 2021) are dates that will live in infamy……..… 






Ed Asner and Others Sue SAG-AFTRA
Health Plan Over Benefit Cuts for Seniors


The SAG-AFTRA Health Plan and its trustees have been sued in federal court by Ed Asner and nine other senior participants over the upcoming cuts in benefits and eligibility for the plan.

Asner, a six-time Emmy winner, is the lead plaintiff in the class action complaint, which was filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles. The suit alleges two counts of breach of fiduciary duty, one count of engaging in a prohibited transaction and one count of failing to disclose information material to plan participants.

The suit said the 91-year-old Asner, a former SAG president and current member of the SAG-AFTRA national board, will lose his coverage, even though he had more than $25,950 in yearly covered earnings with residuals and sessional earnings because he will not reach the new qualifying threshold by sessional earnings that goes into effect in 2021.







Tips to help keep senior citizens’
immune system in good shape

Eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the U.S. are people who are 65 years of age or older. And as we head deep into flu season, it’s more important than ever for seniors to stay healthy and build up their immunity.

In today’s Health Watch, an aging expert will give some important tips on how seniors can stay safe and boost their physical and emotional well being.

Staying healthy can start with something as easy as a walking outside.

“Natural sunlight is supercritical. It’s critical for our sleep patterns but also our immune system,” said Lisa Cini, aging expert.





These 10 household tips are the most
searched for diseases on Google in 2020
BY PARMESH DHERA

Today we are telling you in detail about the most searched household tips for diseases on Google in 2020.

The year 2020 is called Corona era, nothing will be wrong as Corona has created havoc everywhere and the entire country has faced many challenges due to COVID-19 infection. But this year is about to leave us in a few days with some sweet and sweet memories. At the end of the year, we have brought some household tips for you that most people did the most searches on Google for diseases. You may have also searched Google on any of these domestic tips.

Sore throat

The first of the most searched lists on Google is the number one home sore throat. It is common to have bacterial and viral infections with weather changes. In such a situation, problems like flu, cold, cold and sore throat start. Especially the sore throat bothers you a lot. Due to this, neither you can eat properly nor you can speak.










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DEC. 4, 2020


Another mouse-less day here at the Asylum but replacement is still on schedule for a Friday delivery. But what time is anybody’s guess. So here’s another SeniorLog-Lite post. . .

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Out Of Touch,
But Never Out Of Mind.


Sometimes you are so close to the problem, you can’t get a clear picture of what is actually going on. That’s the position I am in here at the A.L.F. I am so out-of-touch with my fellow residents I have no idea who is doing well and who isn’t.
 
When the weather was mild and they permitted us to sit in small groups (socially distant and with masks) on our patio and some other locations around the facility we could at least commiserate with one another and therefore relieve ourselves of some tension, not to mention lessening the misery of isolation and loneliness, that has been building up here for the last 260 plus days. Those brief encounters also provided an opportunity to find out the ways others are coping with the lockdown.

Any resident of an assisted living facility will tell you sometimes all we have is ourselves. Not that we are being treated poorly or dangerously, or our basic needs are not being met. Quite the contrary. The staff has been nothing but exemplary in their dedication to keep us safe and healthy. But sometimes, and especially after 10 months of restrictions that have gone far and above what the general population has had to endure, the “basics” is not enough.

Normally we would have two well-attended resident meetings scheduled each month.
 
One meeting, the Resident’s Council, is mandated by regulations set in place by the D.O.H. Every assisted living facility must hold a meeting at least once-a-month, totally free of interference by management or staff. I call it a “Free and open exchange of ideas and opinions.” A member of the administrative staff is present to answer questions and report to management any problems or suggestions the residents have discussed.
 
The other equally popular assembly is our Food Committee meeting.
 
Unlike the Resident’s Council, this meeting is on the raucous side with hisses, boos and catcalls. Food, as you may have guessed, is a sore point around here. But despite the discordant nature of these meetings, oft times they result in changes being made. Now, of course, all that has ended. No meetings. Therefore, no exchange of any ideas that would benefit the nearly 200 residents of this facility. And as as result management has no way of knowing what our real concerns are. 

As a matter of fact I know of no survey ever having been conducted by either facility management or any of the State’s governing bodies where they asked for the opinions of actual residents about how they could improve our lives or what our actual needs and wants are. And I also know they have never asked us to rate any of the services they provided. Maybe they think we are not competent enough to respond to such an inquiry. Or maybe they think only the regular collection of malcontents would answer, or maybe they are afraid of the results.  
 
According to experts, even when we finally receive a vaccine currently on a fast-track to being approved, we may not feel its full effect for months. And unless at least 75% of Americans elect to be vaccinated, the time it will take for us to return to normal will be even longer. None of that is good for Older Americans, in or out of long-term care facilities. And if by the way millions of Americans have reacted to even the simplest order to protect themselves and others from the ravages of the virus is any sign of how the public will respond to any government vaccination order, we old folks are in for a long, long wait before they will allow us to live the life we deserve……………………..  


      We'll be back on Monday, Dec. 7th with a new, full-service Blog-Special Dedicated to Senior health and wellness issues.

Your questions and comments are welcome. Use comment box below.




DEC. 3 2020





It appears Amazon is still on track for a Friday delivery of my new mouse just about the same time my tolerance level and total disgust for having to use the touch-pad on this thing will run out. Why some manufacturer hasn’t figured a way to make a usable mouse a permanent part of the laptop I don’t know. The Amazon website indicates my mouse will be delivered by one of its own vehicles. Sometimes that means the delivery will be ahead of the indicated time. I can’t wait. Meantime, we will continue with a truncated version of the daily blog.
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PREMPTIVE PARDON

Without question the Trump administration has been one of controversy. 


From an election that saw him lose the popular vote and still win in the electoral college to un-kept campaign promises, a constant stream of lies, accusations and untruths to impeachment and denial of the severity of a virus that has killed nearly 300,000 Americans. And now, as his reign as pretender to the throne comes to an end we have the possibility of a presidential pardon for his family and allies and even himself. And all for crimes they have not yet been tried for or crimes they will not even admit they may be charged with.


That’s like a child asking his mom to not punish him for something he may do in the future as long as he promises not to do it but if he does he can’t be grounded or whacked on the behind. 


But just what is Trump, his wife, his kids and their spouses so worried about? The same thing that landed Al Capone in the slammer. TAXES.



The one thing America likes most is its millionaires and billionaires. and as appreciation for their contribution to conspicuous consumption including large donations to political parties and action committees, the federal government grants them tax breaks in the form of many deductions. And while it certainly is legal to avail oneself of many or all of the allowable deductions, a problem will arise when those deductions cannot be documented. In other words. “Why do you say you contributed 1 million dollars to the Red Cross when they say you didn’t.” Or, “show me why that trip to Paris and the $100,000 in purchases you made were business related.” But, while Trump may be concerned over his payments to the IRS, he is even more worried about what he did not pay to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. And, unless he doesn’t realize it, any pardon only covers federal crimes and not those committed in a state or municipality.
.

Trumps business “empire” was headquartered in New York. That means anything that is sold by any Trump company or any business dealings comes under the scrutiny of  New York State. There is no way for a company to avoid collecting and paying those taxes to the state. The only way a company can reduce its sales tax burden is to understate the amount of tax collected. And the only way to do that is to flat-out lie. Something which his majesty is very very good at. That is just some of what the New York State Attorney General will use as ammo for the barrage of indictments that may rain down on the former president as soon as he leaves office. 


From personal experience, I was a small business owner in NY and had some dealings with the tax department, I know that they are not so much interested in putting you in jail as they are in collecting what’s owed to them. And they have the power to do it. One of those methods is to freeze your companies bank account making it impossible to write a check. Not even to pay them. They will go after your personal assets to get their money.


So, what is Trump looking to be pardoned from. 


A presidential pardon does not exempt you from prosecution, a trial or even a guilty verdict or conviction. Does a pardon extend only as far as a jail sentence or will he still have to pay back any ill-gotten funds? According to law one has to be convicted before they can be pardoned. Which, to me, says he knows he’s guilty, he knows there is enough evidence to convict him and he does stand a chance of being locked up in a N.Y. State prison.


It is very unlikely citizen Donald J. Trump will ever step one foot in N.Y. State after January 20th knowing he could be arrested on sight. That means he most likely will be convicted in absentia and it will be up to the N.Y. State Attorney General to try and extradite him from whatever state or country he will be hiding in. 


My prediction is, Trump will never spend one day in jail anywhere. He has too many friends around the world all to willing to provide him sanctuary. But sometimes the means to a conviction is more damaging than the sentence. And with that in mind I have no problem with Trump being remembered for being the most corrupt man ever to occupy the White House……bwc.



DECEMBER, 2ND 2020


Checked Amazon this AM and it doesn't look as though my new mouse will be delivered before Friday. That means I will most likely not be able to return to assembling the blog in its usual format until Monday, Dec. 7th. Unable to wait that long, I have decided to at least continue to post the editorial section daily in the mean time...............Bruce.



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By all indications, it looks like seniors, especially those residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. And I'm alight with that as long as that means we residents(after the time the vaccine is supposed to take full effect)  will be permitted to return to a full regimen of activities including arts and crafts, committee meetings, Bingo and communal dining. Because not to do so means more of the same near prison-like treatment we have been subjected to since March, over 260 days ago. Otherwise we will be nothing more than guinea pigs along with all the other indignities we have been forced to surrender to these past months. However, there is one thing that bothers me. Who will decided when it's okay to return to normalcy? Until now, who's actually in control has been arbitrary and capricious.

Throughout this entire pandemic it's the NY State Dept. Of Health that has been the oversight organization for all of us in long-term care facilities. Unfortunately, they have done a miserable job. The inability of the DOH to come up with a viable plan other than to keep us in a total quarantine/lockdown situation which had no consideration for the emotional and psychological health of the people they say they are protecting is nothing short of criminal. And to permit them to be the deciding body as to a post-inoculation scenario seems like the wrong thing to do. Not just because they have demonstrated their poor management skills, but because they are merely a bunch of politicians and political appointees. The very same people who got us in this mess in the first place.

I propose a separate agency should be set up that would send health professional agents to the individual nursing homes and A.L.F.s to survey, asses, recommend and instruct those facilities as to how to bring it back to pre-COVID conditions. And, I would like to have administrators and owners of those facilities be part of that assessment committee. because no one knows their resident/patients like they do. Because, unlike government agencies, we need to be treated as individuals rather than a herd of old people.


Finally this. With everything going on. With people contracting, getting sick and dying exponentially on a daily basis, we have a president whose only reaction to the chaos is to make sure you know it was he, and not Biden, who is responsible for the speed at which the vaccine was produced. Otherwise he has washed his hands in the matter. And why not. He knows whatever happens concerning the virus after January 20th will be somebody else's problem or his fault. Exactly as he has done for the last four years....................................................bwc

 












Nov. 27 2020


Last-minute rules on assisted living residences
upset many Thanksgiving plans
By Brendan J. Lyons


A last-minute directive this week from the state health department that requires people in assisted-living facilities to adhere to strict rules if they leave for Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings has unsettled the plans of many families who said they had to abandon reunions with their loved ones, even for short gatherings.

The rules are also confusing and "stupid," as one woman described them, noting that the requirement for a resident to present a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of returning to their living facility would be pointless because someone exposed to coronavirus will often test negative for days after.

"If you get exposed on Thanksgiving, going back the next day and having a (negative) test isn’t going to prove anything," said Jill Knapp, whose 96-year-old mother is a resident of Atria Crossgates in Albany.

____________________________________________________________________

Social Security: Something to Give Thanks For in 2020
by Nancy J. Altman, Linda Benesch


This year’s Thanksgiving is far from normal. COVID is raging across the country, millions are out of work, and many of us are seeing our loved ones on a screen instead of across the table. Yet we can still be thankful, and not just for the football and food. Now more than ever, we can be thankful for the chance to make government work even better for all of us. 

Our Social Security system is government at its best. Without it, the consequences of COVID and the resulting economic fallout would be far worse. Social Security provides seniors and people with disabilities with the financial resources to safely shelter in place. In multi-generational families, where younger members have lost their jobs, Social Security’s guaranteed monthly benefits continue to arrive. They provide a stable and reliable source of income. Social Security beneficiaries spend their earned benefits in their communities, helping local businesses weather the pandemic.

The nearly 65 million current beneficiaries and their families aren’t the only ones who benefit from Social Security’s life insurance, disability insurance, and retirement annuities. Many of the 265,000 Americans who have succumbed to COVID left behind spouses and children who will now receive the Social Security benefits their loved ones earned for them. 


__________________________________________________________________

Trump administration wants to cut
food stamps to thousands of seniors.
By Aimee Picchi


More than 8,000 poor senior citizens in Illinois and other states face a "catastrophic" outcome under a Trump administration change that would cut food-stamp benefits on January 1, according to lawmakers. 

Senator Dick Durbin and other Illinois lawmakers are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend the benefit, which is for poor seniors who live in one of 154 supportive living facilities across the state, according to a November 18 letter to USDA secretary Sonny Perdue. 

The USDA said the change would reflect the enforcement of the law after the agency looked into the program, according to an agency spokesman. Supportive living facilities had been given "mixed information" about their eligibility from federal agencies about their eligibility for food stamps, a recent USDA report found. But the agency determined they don't qualify, the report concluded. 


_______________________________________________________________________

1 in 3 Parents Say It's 'Worth the Risk' To
Celebrate Thanksgiving With Family


With Thanksgiving just days away, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge Americans not to travel for the holiday, and health experts nationwide are warning that gathering with family members — even if no one is presenting COVID-19 symptoms — poses serious risks of spreading the virus exponentially. Yet according to a poll published Monday, it appears that 1 in 3 American parents feel that celebrating Thanksgiving with their families is ultimately "worth the risk."
The poll is certainly eye-opening.

After all, it's hard to deny that the pandemic is still a clear risk, particularly as coronavirus cases have continued to skyrocket in recent weeks. As of this moment, the US has surpassed 12.5 million cases and the death toll is a staggering 256,000+. But refresh the news tomorrow, and the numbers are bound to boggle the mind even more.

In short, we're in crisis mode here.







Thanksgiving?

I woke up this morning after a fitful night of tossing and turning. I’m not dealing as well with this quarantine business as I have been. It’s gone on too long and despite the measures and precautions we have taken here at the A.L.F. everything we enjoy doing they have taken from us. And now, with the holidays near, the prospects for anything approaching normal are very dim.
 
In the past, Thanksgiving dinner here at the Asylum has been a big deal.
 
Usually, It’s a sit-down affair at long tables with residents, family and friends in attendance. In the past the food has been fairly good and everybody leaves the dining room feeling happy. A sharp contrast to what we experienced Thursday.

Breakfast was all too familiar. Cold scrambled eggs, two strips of limp bacon and two pieces of what passes for French toast. I made the best of it by tossing the French toast in the garbage and rolling the bacon and eggs in a tortilla for a makeshift breakfast burrito. Hot oatmeal and coffee rounded out another first meal of the day. Was this a portent of things to come? I could hardly wait.
 
I spent the rest of my morning reading emails, Face-booking and working on today’s blog. My usual routine for a weekday. The TV is always on in the background. The mindless chatter helps me to concentrate and makes things a little less lonely. Remembering it was Thanksgiving day, I flipped to the channel carrying the Macy’s parade. As expected, another disappointment. It was a non-parade parade, two blocks long with a couple of wimpy balloons and prerecorded performances. And no bands. A perfect example of mediocrity at its best.

At 12:30 the tapping noise on my door meant my Thanksgiving dinner had arrived. I opened the door.
 
“Turkey or ham”, said the aid.
 
The traditionalist in me automatically said “Turkey.”
 
She handed over a large plastic container, clouded with steam coming from the food. A good sign.
 
Inside was a hodge-podge of traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving favorites.
 
In the container was an obligatory slab of white-meat turkey, a tablespoon of cranberry sauce, a dollop of stuffing, something I think was collard greens and a baked sweet potato. Also in there was a goodly amount of mac and cheese. A slice of pumpkin pie brought up the rear.
 
Before ‘digging-in’, I took some photos for posterity, and the blog. 




They say one should hope for the best and prepare for the worst. With that in mind, I cut into the turkey. Surprisingly, it was pretty decent. Not tough, nicely seasoned and, best of all, hot. 

The stuffing was run-of-the-mill, but not bad. As was the baked sweet potato. I passed on the greens.

The mac and cheese could have been a bit “cheesier” but it too was okay. Even the pumpkin pie was edible.

I suppose, all things considered, dinner was as good as could be expected. I just wish they could have made a greater effort to figure out some way for us to eat in some communal setting. After all, Thanksgiving is so much more than just the food.  But it’s 2020, and that’s the way we live today. Isolated, distant, fearful and defiant. But hey! it’s black Friday and all things are possible. Have a great weekend and don’t forget to exhale …………………………….



Diet study has good news for
older adults trying to lose weight
By Brittany A. Roston

Many people claim that weight loss becomes more difficult the older you get, but a new study led by the University of Warwick finds that this claim is a myth. The research was conducted at University Hospitals Coventry, where experts found that adults over the age of 60 can lose weight just as effectively as younger people.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, analyzed data on patients involved with a ‘hospital-based obesity service.’ The results were reassuring for older adults who want to lose weight but may feel discouraged due to popular myths about weight loss in one’s golden years.

Data on 242 patients were selected from a time span from 2005 to 2016. Patient info was split into two groups, one for people under the age of 60 and the other for people between the ages of 70 and 78. As part of the obesity service the patients participated in, data was collected at the start of their participation and again when they were finished. 





How to Save Money on 
Assisted Living Costs
By Heidi Godman

Assisted living is an important nonmedical service for people who can no longer live on their own and may or may not have cognitive challenges. It’s offered in a home-like setting where you get help with the activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing. And there’s a great social benefit as well. “The assisted living community provides a place to be with other people. There are usually several activities to join in. Because there are individual units, residents can also be as private as they want,” says Maryanne McGuire, executive director of Clover Hill Senior Living, an adult living facility in North Haledon, New Jersey.


But assisted living is pricey, and it’s not covered by Medicare. Monthly charges average about $3,600, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some industry watchers, such as Genworth Financial, suggest it’s more like an average of $4,000 per month. And assisted living costs can hit $10,000 per month or more, depending on where you live and your level of care.










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Nov. 26 2020

Older people who want an early Covid-19 vaccine
might not get one as quickly as they'd like
By Sarah O'Brien

Older Americans eager to get vaccinated against Covid-19 may need to exercise some patience.

While Medicare — which insures much of the 65-and-older crowd — recently changed its rules so it can fully cover a fast-tracked vaccine, the availability of doses will be initially limited. And, individual states are tasked with actually distributing the vaccine and identifying priority populations to innoculate.

“I think there are still major issues to resolve with vaccine distribution, which is being primarily left up to states to work out,” said Juliette Cubanski, deputy director for the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicare policy.

“That includes which populations will be prioritized when it comes to getting the initial doses once they are authorized or approved,” Cubanski said.


_________________________________________________________________


Covid-19 carriers 'most infectious earlier on'
By Smitha Mundasad


People are most likely to pass on coronavirus within the first five days of having symptoms, an extensive study suggests.

The research indicates patients had the highest levels of virus early on in their illness and "live" virus, capable of replicating, was found up to nine days after symptoms began.


'Peak infectivity'

How infectious individuals are depends on many factors, including how much viable virus (essentially, virus that is able to replicate) they are carrying and the amount of virus they have in their bodies.


_________________________________________________________________________

Not home for the holidays:
A lonely Thanksgiving for assisted living
and nursing home residents
by: Anya Tucker

 This Thanksgiving may be a very lonely time for residents living in assisted living facilities and nursing homes and their families. Katy Lucey and Jennifer Miller spoke with NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker about how they wish they could spend the holiday with their mother Betty Lucey.

They say that Betty’s life has always centered around family. Born a twin, she was close to her sister and when Betty had her own children, the holidays were a major deal.

“Holidays in our family is a major deal. It’s always been a major deal,” said Katy.

When Betty began to show signs of Alzheimer’s, she moved to Ingersoll Place, an assisted living and memory care facility in Niskayuna.







From The Editor:
I did not write the following story. I wish I had. I also wish I knew who did so I could give them the credit it deserves. This was written a couple of years ago but it is as timely now as it was then. It reflects much of what we have had to deal with the last few years. 


Thanksgiving Day:
It Could not have Come at a Better Time

As you read this blog, you have either already eaten your Thanksgiving Day dinner and are now feeling the pangs of indigestion, stuffiness, exhaustion, frustration, indignation, and regret, or you are still deciding whether or not you really want to go to your daughter’s second husband’s mother for dinner (remembering that she is a vegetarian and that you will probably be served Tofurky for dinner).

But, no matter what your situation, I can bet that the conversation around the table this year was (Or will be) very different from the usual mindless banter that we all have come to tolerate year after year.


Despite your best efforts  to keep politics out of the dialogue, your endeavor will be in vein.

Everyone seated around the table over the age of five will have his or her thoughts about the national nightmare we just suffered through.

And, if your family (and friends) are anything like mine, you will find both sides of the aisle represented.

And it won’t matter if you are armed with the facts, you will not be able to dissuade anybody that voted for the opposition.

In fact, you lost as soon as you walked into the place.

So, what should you do (if you haven’t already done it)?

You can either keep your mouth shut and sit there with your Tofurky and herbal soda while your blood pressure pushes ever so gently on those artery walls, or, you can remind people why they are all where they are today and what this holiday is all about.

We have all been told (and I am simplifying the reason) that the folks who came over on the Mayflower (a.k.a. “Pilgrims”) did so to flee religious persecution.

And, while that may or may not be entirely the truth, for our purposes it’s as good a reason as any.

Therefore, at the first opportunity or lull in the action, try to slip that thought into the discussion.

This should at least make 50% of the diners agree with you.

The other 50% will glare at you waiting for you to drop the “T” bomb.

But you won’t mention HIS name.

You will simply ask people what happened to the tolerance we (as a nation) used to have towards people of all faiths and backgrounds.

And then, after the murmurs, muttering and buzzing dies down, you will put down your fork, wipe the artificial vegetarian turkey gravy from your chin and proclaim,

“MAYBE AMERICA WAS NEVER AS TOLERANT OF OTHERS AS WE THOUGHT.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: In order to maximize the effects of your observation, you must immediately go back to eating or drinking without really waiting for an answer. This will let the conversational stew boil. This also allows you to wallow in your role as the “Instigator” a bit longer.

You now have the opportunity to either foment the situation even further by asking “Who here thinks we should register all Muslims?” or just ask somebody to “pass green bean casserole please.”

It’s your choice.

In any event, I hope you have or had a great Thanksgiving day and will be able to leave the table with at least one good thought.

You won’t have to go through this for another year.

*Some say that the Pilgrims came here not so much to flee religious persecution, but to persecute.




Diet study has good news for older
 adults trying to lose weight
By Brittany A. Roston 


Many people claim that weight loss becomes more difficult the older you get, but a new study led by the University of Warwick finds that this claim is a myth. The research was conducted at University Hospitals Coventry, where experts found that adults over the age of 60 can lose weight just as effectively as younger people.

The study, which was recently published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology, analyzed data on patients involved with a ‘hospital-based obesity service.’ The results were reassuring for older adults who want to lose weight but may feel discouraged due to popular myths about weight loss in one’s golden years.

Data on 242 patients were selected from a time span from 2005 to 2016. Patient info was split into two groups, one for people under the age of 60 and the other for people between the ages of 70 and 78. As part of the obesity service the patients participated in, data was collected at the start of their participation and again when they were finished.

Read more  >>  





Majority of seniors have been targeted by a
Social Security scam in the past three months.
Here's how to protect yourself
By Lorie Konish


If you receive a text, email or phone call purporting to be from the Social Security Administration, think twice before responding.

The people on the other end are likely fraudsters. And they’re looking to catch individuals off guard and take advantage of their fears.

The November Retirement Confidence Index from SimplyWise, a technology company that helps people make Social Security claiming decisions, found 47% of Americans have been targeted by a Social Security scam in the past three months.










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Nov. 25th 2020

Social Security was a big presidential campaign issue.
What we know about whether it swayed senior voters
By Lorie Konish


This year’s presidential election was expected to usher in a blue wave of votes for Democrats.

Election watchers thought the nation’s seniors ages 65 and up might help turn the tide.

But the results didn’t go exactly as predicted.

The presidential election was closer than expected. Though Democratic candidate Joe Biden has won the Oval Office, exit polls now show that the 65-and-older cohort still mostly voted for President Donald Trump in a lot of battleground states.


_______________________________________________________________________


Better jobs, longer working lives:
Proposals to improve the low-wage
labor market for older workers
By Beth Truesdale

In the United States, as in many other nations with aging populations, policymakers have embraced the notion that most individuals can (and should) extend their working years. The large majority of Americans approaching retirement will not have enough income to maintain their preretirement standard of living. During the past 30 years, private workplace pensions have collapsed, and the United States, like other nations, has effectively cut public pension benefits by raising the retirement age. Working longer is widely proposed as the best way for older people to boost their fragile retirement security (e.g., Maestas and Zissimopoulos 2010; Munnell and Sass 2009; Wise 2017).

Conversations about how to promote working longer—in the sense of remaining in paid work beyond traditional retirement ages—often begin with a deceptively simple question: How can older Americans be encouraged to delay retirement? However, there are at least two embedded assumptions when we equate working longer with choosing to delay retirement: first, that older Americans have jobs from which to retire; and second, that older workers choose the timing of their retirement. Both assumptions were problematic even before the COVID-19 pandemic. They are even more problematic now.


___________________________________________________________________

6 Tips for Achieving Glowing Confidence
in Your Golden Years
By Linda Williams

As our hair grays, faces wrinkle, and our bodies morph into their newest forms, it can be difficult to stand in front of the mirror and feel satisfied with what you see. Teenage outsiders assume that body image issues only impact younger generations, but this preconceived notion couldn’t be further from the truth. Body image, mental health, and self-esteem issues appear in demographics of all ages.

Transitioning into the golden years can wreak havoc on a senior citizen’s body image. As we grow older, life events like divorce and losing a loved one are likely to happen, impacting our body image and aging our faces tremendously. Health issues like diabetes, dementia, and other chronic conditions are also expected to crop up in our golden years, affecting how older generations perceive their physical bodies.

Besides unhealthy body image, other factors can cause senior citizen’s self-esteem to spiral. For example, fewer educational opportunities, lower-income status, and poor physical health can impact individuals’ self-esteem as they age. People with higher incomes tend to maintain elevated self-esteem in their golden years. Not surprisingly, there’s a link between better health and bolstered self-esteem.


________________________________________________________________________




What I’m Thankful For:
A List
3 to 4 minutes

Lists are a writer’s friend. Especially a writer whose time is limited and skill is short. Like me. However, as we approach the holiday season, the compilation of a list is almost compulsory. So here goes.
 
These are some things I, as a survivor (so far) of 2020, am thankful for:
 
Most likely to be on top of everyone’s list this year is “I am thankful for being alive.” And, not only alive, but to have escaped the ravages of a disease that has taken the lives of over 258,000 Americans of which 42% (That’s 108,360) have been patients and residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. My contemporaries.
 
I am thankful, too; the virus has spared all of my friends and relatives from its devastation. It’s nothing short of a miracle.
 
I’m thankful that the illnesses and disabilities I had last year have not worsened.
 
As more and more people are losing their jobs, and their paychecks, I’m thankful to have a place to live where I don’t have to worry about the rent or where my next meal will come from. And also for the staff and management of this facility for keeping me safe and out of harm’s way.

I am thankful for still having the ability to think with a clear mind. To be inquisitive and to express my thoughts in a manner so as to be understood by others.

I am thankful that I am able to remember the past without having to dwell in it.
 
On a broader level…
 
I am thankful most of the voters of this great land of ours have elected Joe Biden to be our next president, ending our national nightmare by voting not to extend the term of the worst and most dangerous threat to our democracy, Donald J. Trump.  

I am thankful for the drug manufacturers who have worked tirelessly to develop vaccines that will hopefully end this months-long scourge that has ruined the lives of so many.

We should all be thankful for the front-line healthcare personnel who, without regard to their own lives, have been there when we needed them.

Finally, I’m thankful for my little family of readers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and given me the impetus to continue writing this blog……………………………..





Retirement Isn't for Cowards 
By Cheryl Oreglia

Every morning, while the sun gently slumbers in the eastern sky, my granddaughter Cora (sometimes it’s Sienna or Audrey) scampers out of her warm bed, and climbs into mine. By this time Looney is entertaining the neighbors with his perfected burpee, as he grinds his way through a virtual bootcamp in the driveway.

Languid is the word that comes to mind, a disinclination for physical exertion, I’m feeling slow and relaxed (not to be confused with lazy).

I sense Cora arranging the pillows, and she curls up next to me, as her puerile demands accost my foggy brain.







Here’s the safest way to shop for
Thanksgiving groceries this year
By Kerry Breen

Even smaller, modified Thanksgiving plans are likely to require some time spent grocery shopping - and while shopping is generally a low-risk activity, especially if masks are worn and social distancing is maintained, it can be worrying to have to spend time around so many strangers while getting the groceries you need.

Experts say there are a few different ways to stay safe while shopping.

Start by making sure you're doing everything you can to get in and out of the store quickly. Make a list in advance so that you know what you need and can avoid lingering in the aisles.










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Nov. 24 2020


Baby boomers have an average of $25,812 of debt,
not including mortgages—
here's how they compare to other generations
By Megan DeMatteo


You might think that baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964 according to Pew Research Center) would be past their debt-carrying years. After all, more than 28 million boomers retired in 2020, a major increase compared to previous years, due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike younger generations, who are still working, covering child-care expenses and buying homes at higher rates, today’s retirees are trying to navigate how to live off of their savings and investments during a time when the stock market is particularly volatile.

But not everyone who retires does so debt-free, however ideal it may sound. Recent data from the Federal Reserve shows that older consumers are carrying debt well into retirement, including mortgages, car loans, personal loans and even credit card balances.

So how is all that debt impacting the average boomer’s credit score? According to Experian’s 2020 State of Credit report, the average boomer has a 716 VantageScore®, which is considered to be good and/or prime.


_________________________________________________________________

Social Security Policy for the Next Administration
 and the 117th Congress
By Rachel Greszler


Rachel researches and analyzes taxes, Social Security, disability insurance, and pensions to promote economic growth.

Summary

Social Security is perhaps America’s most popular federal government program. At the same time, Americans are increasingly uncertain about whether Social Security will be there for them in retirement. Founded with the goal of preventing poverty in old age, Social Security has grown far beyond its original intent. Its current structure—providing the largest benefits to those with the least need and continually rising costs over time—have transformed the program’s role from poverty prevention to intergenerational income redistribution. Unintended growth in Social Security taxes also restricts personal savings, which limits Americans’ choices, while dragging down economic growth. Despite Social Security’s enormous unfunded obligations, it is possible to make Social Security solvent, to increase benefits for lower-income workers, and to return more income and greater control to individuals. This Backgrounder details reforms to make that possible.


______________________________________________________________

Policies to improve workforce services
for older Americans
By Katharine Abraham, Susan Houseman

Americans are living longer, are healthier at older ages, and increasingly are working beyond the traditional age of retirement. While many who work until late in life do so to stay active and connected or for other nonfinancial reasons, others work out of financial need. Owing to a variety of factors including changes in the structure of private retirement benefits, an increase in the eligibility age for claiming full Social Security benefits, and stagnant wages in recent decades for those at the bottom and middle of the earnings distribution, a large share of older Americans lack adequate savings for retirement.

At the same time, the U.S. economy has become more reliant on older workers. Reflecting not only the increased labor force participation of older workers but also, and more importantly, the aging of the baby boomer generation, today nearly a quarter of the labor force is age 55 and older, an increase of 12 percentage points since the mid-1990s.







The Vaccines Are Coming. The Vaccines Are Coming...
But Will We Take It?

4 minutes

I’ll be the first to admit I was wary when Pfizer announced they had a 95% effective vaccine against the virus ready and waiting to ship. To me it seemed more like a self-fulfilling prophecy dictated by a deranged presidential candidate rather than a well-researched, well-tested defense against COVID-19. But after listening to Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla say neither the government nor the president had anything to do with the timing or the speed at which they developed or produced the vaccine, I have
 changed my mind. Therefore, when the governor of my state says it’s a go, I’ll be more than willing to stick my arm out and get stuck. Because the way I feel now, anything that will allow me and my fellow residents here at the Asylum to get back to a normal way of life is more than worth it.

Unfortunately, just vaccinating me and my friends, nursing home patients, the primary care people or even just all the seniors will not help much with stemming the tide of this pandemic. If most of the American population refuse to take it, we’re in trouble.
 
According to Dr. Fauci, while it is unnecessary that 100% of the population gets vaccinated, the more people that do will start the “herd immunity” effect and hasten the eradication of the virus. Just having fewer people with the chance of being infected and therefore spreading the virus to others means the virus will have nowhere to go and eventually all but die out.

But how do we get people to put aside their fears, their mistrust and just plain stupidity so any vaccine will have a chance to take effect? I suppose it depends much on how much we, as a nation, believe our leaders. But as of this writing, that leadership is nowhere to be found. Unless you are on a golf course and run into it on the 18th hole. In case you haven’t noticed the president, who was quick to take credit for how fast they developed the vaccine(s) has done nothing to insure they distribute it expeditiously and fairly. 

Now, when the lives of millions of Americans should be the only thing the president is thinking about, his has focused his priorities only on his attempt to nullify the results of a fair and legal election just to satisfy his own ego. By launching frivolous and unsubstantiated lawsuits and refusing to concede, he is hampering the efforts of the next administration from effectively distributing the vaccine. That’s the man over 70 million Americans voted for. Sadly, many of them may NOT live to regret it. ………….. 






UMD professor researching using social robots
in assisted living facilities


They are doing this with research on using social robots in dementia friendly living spaces.

"The elderly are very lonely these days because family members are not able to visit them or spend time with them. Even the caregivers are not able to approach them close but the robot can do that," said Arshia Khan, a UMD computer science professor and leader of the study.

That’s where the robots come in handy. Khan and her students are programming the robots to interact and monitor residents in nursing homes.

"The robots have emotion detection capabilities so they can detect where the patient's feelings are going and then relay that information," said Anna Martin, a UMD computer science graduate student helping with the study.






Let’s resolve 5 misconceptions
associated with senior living
By Susan Leathers

It’s not unusual for people to have misconceptions about what living in a senior living community is like, especially if your experience with one was years ago. 

That’s why we’ve compiled five of the most common misconceptions, and some facts that just might change the way you view your retirement living options.

Misconception No. 1: A senior living community will limit my freedom, independence and choices.

The reality: You’re free to do — or not do — exactly what you want.











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Nov. 23 2020



The U.S. has plan to vaccinate nursing home residents.
Experts fear it won't work.
By Stephen Gandel


The speedy development of COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer, Moderna and other drugmakers is raising hopes of stopping the pandemic, which has killed more than 250,000 people in the U.S. so far this year. But as the coronavirus continues to spread, some experts worry that the plan to inoculate some of the most vulnerable Americans — those living in nursing homes and other eldercare facilities — is inadequate.

"The way the government has approached the vaccination distribution for nursing homes has been keeping me up at night," said Michael Wasserman, a geriatric care specialist and president of the California Association of Long Term Care Medicine.

Back in March, Wasserman told CBS News that nursing homes risked becoming COVID-19 "killing fields." Eight months later, he remains deeply concerned, with the coronavirus now engulfing much of the U.S. and official new case counts approaching 200,000 a day. "The government has rolled out a plan without engaging with people who have knowledge of how to care for this population," he told CBS MoneyWatch. "I am exceedingly skeptical that implementation will go smoothly."




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As COVID deaths soar, nursing home
deaths caused by neglect surge in the shadows

When COVID-19 tore through Donald Wallace’s nursing home, he was one of the lucky few to avoid infection.

He died a horrible death anyway.

Hale and happy before the pandemic, the 75-year-old retired Alabama truck driver became so malnourished and dehydrated that he dropped to 98 pounds and looked to his son like he’d been in a concentration camp. Septic shock suggested an untreated urinary infection, E. coli in his body from his own feces hinted at poor hygiene, and aspiration pneumonia indicated Wallace, who needed help with meals, had likely choked on his food.

“He couldn’t even hold his head up straight because he had gotten so weak,” said his son, Kevin Amerson. “They stopped taking care of him. They abandoned him.”


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Social Security Defenders Tell Biden to Keep Austerity-Obsessed
Bruce Reed Far Away From the White House
By Andrea Germanos


With a mission to defend Social Security against all threats, progressives in the U.S. sounded the alarm Thursday in response to reports that President-elect Joe Biden is considering senior campaign advisor and deficit hawk Bruce Reed for a top job in the Democrat's White House.

"Whether or not Bruce Reed gets a White House job will be such a big indicator of whether or not the Biden presidency will break from the deficit hawk wing of the Democratic Party."
—Waleed Shahid, Justice DemocratsAt particular risk should Reed, also a former chief of staff to the former vice president, get the job, said Social Security Works, is the protection of Social Security—a program Biden has pledged to defend, despite his record of proposing cuts to it.

"Joe Biden ran for president on a promise to protect and expand Social Security," Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works, said in a statement. "Seniors listened, and delivered his margin of victory in key states like Arizona and Michigan."


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Loneliness a leading cause of 
depression in older adults


Loneliness is responsible for 18% of depression among people over 50 in England, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.

The findings, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, suggest that almost one in five depression cases among older adults could be prevented if loneliness were eliminated.

The researchers found that people's subjective experiences of loneliness contributed to depression up to 12 years later, independent of more objective measures of social isolation.

Senior author Dr. Gemma Lewis (UCL Psychiatry) said: "We found that whether people considered themselves to be lonely was a bigger risk factor for depression than how many social contacts and support they had. The findings suggest that it's not just spending time with other people that matters, but having meaningful relationships and companionship."





Who’s To Blame For The Current Rise In Covid-19 Cases?
Hint: It’s Not Only Him
7 minutes

I had hoped to wake up Sunday morning, turn on the TV news, and hear that Trump had finally done the right thing and conceded the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden. But alas, no such luck. He remains steadfast in his resolve to not only invalidate the votes of millions of Americans, but abolish the democratic system altogether. It’s sad, wasteful, criminal, and most important of all, dangerous.
 
We are in the midst of the deadliest threat to the lives of Americans since WW2. A world-wide pandemic rages unabated while the person who currently infests the White House tells lies, plays golf, and just doesn’t care. And worse, because of his inability to accept reality, he is hampering the efforts of the incoming administration to hit the ground running on January 20th when they administer the oath of office to our next President. Valuable time is being wasted. And, with every tick of the clock, we lose another life, another family is devastated and America’s soul becomes irrevocably tarnished. 

It would be easy to blame all of America’s woes on Donald Trump. And, right until they announced the results of the election, I would have had no problem wagging my finger in his direction. But the election is over. Trump is not out there conducting super-spreader rallies, and defying the experts. We are, essentially, on our own. There is no leadership to tell us anything. So why do we continue on a path that can only lead to more illness and death?
 
Unfortunately, the reasons so many of us refuse to adhere to even the most basic of precautions are the same reasons that have made America what it is for over 240 years. Individualism and self-reliance.

They estimate the United States 2020 population at 331,002,651 people at mid year all, with what they believe to be, their god-given right to think freely as individuals. We are so obsessed with this adherence to singularity, the very thought of being asked to act as one or (heavens forbid) forced to comply with a nationwide edict even for our own good, to be repugnant.
 
It is impossible to know how many people wear masks, practice social distancing, and stay away from crowds. But we know that 73,790,979 [1] of them voted for a man who regularly told them you’re not a real American if you wear a mask. A man who flaunted every state and local law by holding mass rallies with full knowledge of the dangers in doing so. And laughed at any mention that we had lost our ability to control the spread of the virus. That’s an amazing number of people who believe the virus, and all the precautions recommended to abate it, are part of a conspiracy to suppress their freedoms or, at the very least, to be unconstitutional. It makes no difference we are adding almost 200,000 new cases a day.

Yes, it would probably help if, by some miracle, the president went on national TV and told his supporters they must wear a mask for the good of the country. But I guarantee there would remain a staggering number of men, women and children who wouldn’t. Not that they don’t give a damn, but because they just don’t like being told what to do.
 
These are the same adults who can’t keep a job because they think their boss is an idiot for always telling them what to do. The kids who disrupt their class in school. The driver who gets into his car after a night of drinking with his buddies, with complete disregard for the safety of others on the road. The misfits of society who we once thought were only a statistical anomaly and now have become a major factor in our inability to nullify the effect this pandemic really has on our freedom.
 
These people are not our unsung heroes. Defenders of the Constitution. They are not the rugged individuals that fought a revolution or pioneered westward expansion. They are not the men and women who disrupted their lives to work long hours in factories building the implements of war that saved the world from fascism. They are selfish, self-interested people whose narrow-mindedness borders on the criminal, or at the very least, obstructive to the national good.

There are other nations [2] who value their freedoms every bit as dearly as we do. Countries whose citizens are known for their individualism even more so than us. But they have put aside some of that independence not only return to normalcy, but to save their fellow countrymen from illness, misery and death. And they did it without losing one iota of their liberties or freedom. Why? Because they believe in their government and science when they were told what they must do. Unlike us, who, because of the ineffectual manner in which we have managed our government for four years, has fostered distrust in anything it says or does. And, because our great leader, the man who said he would “Make America Great Again” is too busy working on his putting and starting frivolous lawsuits, we will have to wait another 58 days before we have someone with the guts to do the right thing and guide us out of this mess. How many Americans will be dead by then? No one knows. But there will be many more than there are now…………………………… .
 


[1]The latest number of people who voted for Trump.
[2]There are a number of nations like that, but I am referring to Australia and New Zealand as prime examples.






The fact-based approach to keeping the
coronavirus out of your Thanksgiving 
By: Bill McCarthy

With small indoor gatherings driving a record surge of new coronavirus cases across the U.S., public health officials are worried about the holiday season accelerating a worsening situation.

Thanksgiving comes at a difficult time in the pandemic. Hospitals across the U.S. are being overwhelmed by new COVID-19 patients as the country sets daily infection records, and more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths are being reported on average each day.

The safest way to celebrate, public health experts say, is to simply stay home with your household. The mayor of Chicago asked the city’s residents to cancel Thanksgiving plans.

But as Thanksgiving draws closer, experts are bracing for the reality that many traditional celebrations will likely go on as usual, even as the pandemic is worse than ever.






How Much Should You Withdraw
 From Retirement Savings Annually?


We hear a lot — a lot! — about how much we should save for retirement.

But people nearing retirement, and in retirement, are often perplexed about how much of their retirement savings they can afford to withdraw each year without running the risk of outliving their money.


Given today's low interest rates, volatile stock market and COVID-19 job concerns, fears of running out of money in retirement are very real. A recent Alliance for Lifetime Income survey of pre-retirees found that 48% were anxious that their savings might not provide enough for them to live on in retirement.










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Nov. 20th 2020

US House passes bipartisan legislation
to crack down on fraud against seniors


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Baby boomer retirements have taken
a big jump in the past year
By Gary Guthrie

The number of baby boomers who are deciding to retire is at a record pace, at 3.2 million more from 2019-2020 than in previous years. However, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of monthly labor force data, the makeup of those retirees is starting to change. 

The recent increase is more pronounced among Hispanic and Asian American boomers -- up four and three points, respectively. On the geographic side of the equation, the increase is coming from those living in the Northeast U.S. -- up from 35 percent in February to 38 in September.
Job loss may be a factor

Pew researchers say job losses may be a dominant factor in this wave of retirements, probably at the hands of the COVID-19 recession. Since February 2020, the number of retired boomers has increased by nearly 1.1 million. 


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Biden's 'noble' plan for Social Security
wouldn't solve all funding problems
By Dhara Singh

As President-Elect Joe Biden prepares for his first year in office, he’ll have to grapple with the future funding problems facing Social Security and how to insure financial security for older Americans.

From imposing a new 6.2% Social Security tax on earnings above $400,000 to increasing minimum benefits to 125% of the federal poverty level, Biden’s plan — while comprehensive — falls short of solving the biggest issues with Social Security.

But it would lift an estimated 1.4 million Americans out of poverty — only if it can manage to pass Congress.

“Biden’s plan is a noble one, designed to pay more to those who need it most, prevent elder poverty, and provide people with a basic safety net beyond what it does today,” said Chad Parks, CEO of Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, a financial firm. “He intends on paying for these increased benefits with an increase in tax revenue from those earning over $400,000, but it does not do enough.”







Things I Miss, and 
Things I miss Not So Much
(Some Reflection At Week’s End)

6 minutes

I have reached a point in my life I realize there are some things I will never do again. First, let me say that just having the ability to face the fact that I am incapable of doing something is a feat in itself. I suppose one could even call it an epiphany.

While many of the things I can’t do anymore are because I physically cannot do them, there are other things I had to cease because I can’t afford to do them. And still others, because I don’t want to do them again. Let me start with the latter.

 At the top of the list is the “Job.”

 
Notice, I didn’t say work. There is nothing wrong with work, and I was glad I had something to do all day. But work differs from a job. A job you have to do in order to earn money so you can do all the other things that are not a job. It also means that you have to do what somebody else tells you to do. I’ve always felt that needing a job to survive goes against man’s nature and, just because you get a salary, does not mean it’s not very much like slavery. I once owned a business and worked very hard at it. I never considered it a job because the only person I had to answer to was myself. I miss that, but not the job.

Along with not missing the job is not having to contend with all the peripherals that come with it.
I won’t miss having to roll out of bed, in all kinds of weather, just to wait for a subway train crowded with the retched refuse of some other countries teeming shore on a daily commute that saps the soul of even the hardiest of men. And then, having to do it again on the way home. Insanity!

I’m sure there are many other things I won’t miss, but they are minor and don’t deserve attention.

More important is what I can’t do and will miss doing them.

I miss not having a car. Not driving a car (I was never a “car guy” who liked to drive because it was pleasurable), but not having that ability to go anywhere, anytime I wanted is a bummer. To me a car is an appliance, like a washing machine. It’s a means to an end. It’s transportation.

I’ll miss walking in the city.

New York is the best “walking city’ in the world. There is always something new to see. I delighted in trying to find things to do for free or cheap. And I had my camera to record it all.

The neighborhood I now call home is pleasant enough, but not very interesting. And now, because of my mobility problems, maneuvering around the steep hills is all but impossible.

I’ve said this before, but I miss cooking for myself. Cooking is rewarding in so many ways.